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Title: On Board the "Rocket"
Author: Adams, Robert C. (Chamblet)
Language: English
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[Illustration: THE ROCKET.]



  ON BOARD THE "ROCKET."


  BY
  ROBERT C. ADAMS.


  "----Ships are but boards, sailors but men: there be land-rats
  and water-rats, water-thieves and land-thieves."

  --_Merchant of Venice._


  BOSTON:
  D. LOTHROP      COMPANY,
  FRANKLIN ST., CORNER OF HAWLEY.



  COPYRIGHT BY
  Robert C. Adams,
  1879.



PREFACE.


All the incidents of this book are facts, occurring in the writer's
own experience. In a few cases names have been altered, in accordance
with his desire, neither to give offence to the living, nor to cast
discredit upon the dead. He makes no apology for its imperfections;
for he issues it, not as a contribution to literature, but as a needed
exposure of abuses on shipboard, which are too common, but too little
known. He refers with diffidence to his own methods of discipline,
believing that in the principles which prompted them, lie the means of
promoting the interests and good repute of our Merchant Marine.



CONTENTS.


    CHAPTER I.

    The _Rocket_--The Cargo--Shipping the Crew--The
    Start--Rolling--Discomfort--Quiet--Gale--Storm
    Music--Discipline--Northeast
    Trades--Aye! Aye!--Doldrums--Sharks--A
    Shark Story--South-east Trades.


    CHAPTER II.

    A Saucy Sailor--Sailors' Treatment--An Easy Ship--Three
    Kinds of Discipline--A Good Run--Proving the Reckoning--Sea
    birds.


    CHAPTER III.

    The Voyage of the "Dublin"--Capt. Streeter--A Darkey
    Crew--No Profanity--The Mates--A Bully--A Tobacco
    Cargo--Owner's Instructions--A Blower--No Sitting
    Down--Pomposity--Brass Knuckles--Flogging--The Third
    Mate--Reefing Topsails--Mr. Jones--A Smart Officer--The
    Brick-wall Theory--Reflections--Good Advice--Land,
    ho!--Porpoises--Mother Carey's Chickens--Captain and
    Mate--Land In Sight--Overheard--Gibraltar--Information--Where
    Christ was born--In the Mediterranean--Jake--Gulf of
    Lyons--Genoa Bay--Quarantine--Discharging Cargo.


    CHAPTER IV.

    The Voyage of the "Dublin" concluded--_Genova La Superba_--Leave
    of Absence--On Shore in Italy--Loading Marble--Mates'
    Opinions about Driving Sailors Ashore--Women in
    Ships--Anchor at Gibraltar--Through the Straits--Pumps
    Choked--How to Clinch Buntlines--Cleaning the Spittoon--A
    Sleepy Officer's Danger--Holystones--Beating a Boy--Officers'
    Ambition--Eternal Vigilance--Old Jenkings--A
    Breeze Aloft--The Pilot's Rebuff--Blood Tubs--Paying
    Off--Promotion--The Mate and the Owner.


    CHAPTER V.

    John Shephard--My Model Sailor--Christmas--Ode to the
    _Rocket_--Grub--Doubtful Islands--Becalmed off Java--Officers'
    Yarns--Off Java Head--Narrow Escape--A Floating
    Light.


    CHAPTER VI.

    Life in the East Indies--Carimata Passage--Singapore--Three
    Months' Extra Pay.


    CHAPTER VII.

    Penang--Penang Hill--Nearly Wrecked--Deliverance--West
    Coast of Sumatra--Padang--Padang Thieves--Padang
    Church--Malay Ordination--Padang Drives--Natives--Captain
    Blowhard--Insolence.


    CHAPTER VIII.

    Another Voyage in the "Dublin"--Second Mate--Mr. Howard's
    Grievances--Mr. Howard Leaves--Leaking--The New
    Mate--Second Mates' Duties--Ships' Work--Squalls--Old
    Harry--At the Fore-truck--Amsterdam--Dutchmen--The
    Captain's Relapse--Worrying the Second Mate--Dreams--A
    Growl--A Cabin Conference--An Irish Sailor--Two Finnish Sailors.


    CHAPTER IX.

    Another Voyage in the "Dublin" concluded--A North Sea Gale--The
    Lee Shore--In Distress--Good-bye to Old Harry--Captain's
    Yarns--Bullies--Gothenburg--Another Start--Decks Swept--Stopping
    the Leak--Hurrying the Crew--A Hard Life--A Freezing Gale--A
    False Bearing--Weatherwise--Leaving the "Dublin"--Mr. Wright's
    Letter--Capt. Streeter's End.


    CHAPTER X.

    Land Again--The "Flying Dutchman"--A Cape of Good
    Hope Gale--Gales--Rolling Down to St. Helena--Watch
    and Watch--Tarring Down--Sailors' Growls--Sailors'
    Opinions--Discontent in the Cabin--Ills of Sea Life.


    CHAPTER XI.

    Sailors' Resources--The Tar Barrel--A Wild Ship--Boarding
    a Vessel--Ready for Port.


    CHAPTER XII.

    Sailors' Songs--Bully or Coax--Treatment of Sailors--Schooner
    "Jane"--A Mackerel Shower--Fog on the Coast--Taking
    a Pilot--Arrived--Paying off--Scraping Belaying
    Pins.

    "Once more upon the waters, yet once more!
    And the waves bound beneath me, as a steed
    That knows his rider."

    --_Byron's Childe Harold._

 "Who would not sell a farm and go to sea?"--_Sailor Proverb._



ON BOARD THE "ROCKET."



CHAPTER I.


In Lloyds Register is recorded:--"_Rocket_, Bk. 384, 135, 25, 16.5,
1851, Medford, W.O., icf.," which being interpreted means, Bark
_Rocket_, 384 tons, 135 feet long, 25 feet beam, 16-1/2 feet depth of
hold, built in 1851, at Medford, of white oak, with iron and copper
fastenings. To which may be added, that she was a well known trader
to the East Indies, being called in those ports "the green bark," on
account of being painted a dark green, or what the painters style tea
color. She was a good looking vessel, neatly finished about the decks,
and the masts and yards were all scraped bright. The chief peculiarity
was that she was narrow in proportion to her length, being compared by
an old sailor to "a plank set on edge." This caused her to be reputed,
and not undeservedly, a crank vessel, and many a gloomy croaker has
uttered the foreboding that like her sister ship, the "Dauntless," she
would go to sea sometime--never to return. Yet for many years she had
gone and come, and though occasionally threatening to capsize, she had
never really performed this undesirable manœuvre. The builder and the
subsequent owner were two of the most practical merchants of Boston.
She must therefore have been well put together and properly cared for,
as there was truth in the remark made, that "what Nat G----, and Dick
B---- didn't know about a ship wasn't worth knowing."

       *       *       *       *       *

The _Rocket_ was lying at Central Wharf in Boston, loading a cargo
for the East Indies. Barrels of beef, pork, tar and pitch were stowed
in the bottom; then followed in miscellaneous order, lumber, sewing
machines, kerosene oil, flour, biscuits, preserves, ice pitchers,
carriages, oars and many other articles.

As the sailing day drew near, the important matter of choosing officers
and crew had to be considered. The first person who applied was an
aspirant to the mate's berth.

"How long have you been to sea?" was asked.

"Thirty years."

"Why! how old are you?"

"Twenty-nine."

"How do you make that out?"

"Oh, I was born and bred at sea."

He was thought to be too old a sailor for a young captain to manage,
and was not engaged. Soon a young man applied, with more modest
demeanor, and he was secured. The rest of the crew were soon picked
out. Wishing to choose for myself who should sail with me for so many
months, the shipping master was told to send on board any good men
who applied to him, giving the preference to Norwegians and Swedes,
these being, in my opinion, both in seamanship and docility, the best
class of sailors that man our vessels. Germans and Scotchmen he was
told to favor next, then Englishmen, and lastly Irishmen, for these,
though often capital seamen, do not as readily as some others endure
privations without grumbling, and are too strong republicans to be
always submissive subjects of a despotic government such as that of
shipboard. American sailors unfortunately are not often in the choice.
They are soon promoted from the forecastle, if they enter it, or else
after short service find they can do better on shore, than by leading a
dog's life at sea.

One afternoon in September all the crew were mustered on board. Captain
Jack Frost came alongside with his tug boat, and his cheery voice
hailed, "Are you all ready, Cap.? Pass out your lines!" The owner said,
"Good-by," and moving towards his yacht, added, "I'm going to give you
a race down the harbor." The fasts were cast off, the bark was tugged
out into the stream; then with topsails set before a strong nor'wester
she showed the towboat the advisability of getting out of her way. We
should have thought she was sailing fast, had not the yacht "Vesta"
overtaken us, crossed our bow, and boomed away down Broad Sound, under
jib and mainsail. Just inside of Boston light we rounded to and let the
pilot get into the canoe from the station pilot boat; then, filling
away, the course was shaped for Cape Cod and the voyage had begun. The
anchors being secured, the top-gallantsails were loosed, and leaving
all the accompanying fleet astern, away we sped, ten knots an hour, and
in four hours passed the Race Light.

The crew numbered eight men and two boys before the mast, a cook, cabin
boy, two mates and captain, fifteen all told, besides one passenger, a
young gentleman travelling for health. Owing to the late hour in the
day at which we sailed, the men had taken several parting glasses with
their friends, and some were inclined to be troublesome. The officers
managed judiciously and kept them quiet, but the mate remarked, he
thought we had "a pretty hard crew." The watches were chosen and the
port watch sent below at eight o'clock, in accordance with the old
maxim "the master takes her out and the mate brings her home." By
this rule the watch variously known as the second mate's, starboard,
or captain's watch, takes eight hours on deck the first night outward
bound, and the mate's, or port watch, does the same the first night of
the homeward bound passage.

The wind had drawn more northerly, becoming rather "scant" for a
course north of George's Shoal, so we squared away down South Channel.
Being right before wind and sea, the bark, having a large proportion of
her heavy cargo in the lower hold, began to roll most distressingly.
She seemed to nearly dip each rail alternately in quick succession.
As the night wore on it grew worse and worse, every drawer slid out
in the state-rooms, the doors of lockers swung open, their contents
got adrift, kegs of paint took to rolling, the turpentine-can upset,
scenting the air, and the pantry floor showed a medley of tin ware,
crockery, brooms, edibles and sundry "small stores" engaged in
kaleidoscopic performances. After getting some of these things secured
more firmly than had been possible in the haste of their reception,
the weary skipper went to his bed, but not to sleep. The berth was
fore-and-aft and he rolled from side to side with every motion. Then,
in distraction, he removed to the transom sofa running 'thwartships
across the cabin, and here he slipped up and down, standing now on his
feet and then on his head. O, the miseries of that night! The close
cabin, the smoky oil-lamp, the smell of turpentine and the quick,
incessant motion created suggestions of sea sickness, even to a veteran
mariner. The mind sympathized with the body, and thus the captain
reflected:--"O, what a fool I am to go to sea, there are the beautiful
home, the spacious rooms, the comfortable and steady bed, the beloved
family circle. What have I done? Renounced them all for a year. For
what? To be shut up in this dismal den, with a crowd of rude vagabonds,
deprived of everything that makes life enjoyable, and visited with
everything to make it miserable. Only let me set foot on shore again
and you'll never catch me on board of a ship."

The morning light was welcome and George's Shoals being well cleared,
the vessel's course was altered to the eastward, bringing the wind more
on the side and steadying her movements. This is one of the pleasures
of sea life, the cessation of motion. "Then are they glad because
they be quiet." But as sea-life originates the evil, it deserves no
credit for the temporary relief. The breeze moderated and we made
easy progress, while the crew were busily at work stowing anchors and
chains, putting on chafing gear, and making the various preparations
for a long voyage. A pilot boat came under our stern to satisfy her
curiosity as to our identity. As she disappeared, we felt that our
last friend on American shores had left us, and we set our faces
resolutely towards the regions beyond. The next day the weather became
threatening. Though October had set in, no gale had yet occurred fit to
be named "the equinoctial storm," therefore, one was considered due by
all who believed in that old-fashioned institution. A gale did come,
but its connection with the equinox was not clearly established. It
blew fiercely enough, however, to deserve that respectable title, and
forced the vessel to lie to under a close-reefed main-topsail, which
finally had to be "goose-winged" (one side of it furled.) The mate went
aloft himself to encourage the crew in braving the storm. For two hours
it blew with almost hurricane violence, or as the mate expressed it, "a
perfect screamer," and we began to fear we should not escape unharmed,
as the seas were getting very "ugly." But the _Rocket_ lay to safely
and behaved splendidly. All night the wind held on with violence, but
at day-break it began to moderate and we escaped with no other damage
than splitting a jib and foretopmast staysail.

A gale of wind at night is a sublime, though fearful, scene. The ship
plunges wildly in the darkness, and skies and waters are equally black,
only relieved by the foaming crests of the mountain waves. But perhaps
the most impressive feature is the music of the gale, nature's grand
organ, or, if any prefer the simile, its bagpipe. The sub-bass of the
storm, as it sweeps over the waves against the hull and through the
lower rigging of the ship, forms the great volume of sound, and above,
in constantly changing variety, come shrieks, screams, wailings and
whistlings of every pitch and intensity, sounding from aloft as the
wind drives through sheave-holes, against the small rigging, and into
cracks in the spars. Few listen to these sounds without an impression
of awe or even dread, and many a brave heart, which scarcely knows
the meaning of the word fear, has felt a thrill and shudder as the
discordant screams and howlings of the midnight gale unite with the
roaring and dashing of the breaking waves.

For the next three days we tumbled about in the subsiding waves,
and experienced the most unpleasant part of a storm, which is not
positively dangerous. The excitement and touch of romance pertaining to
the gale have gone. The disagreeable motion, as the ship, not steadied
by the force of the wind, is tossed to and fro on the waves, which
the gale leaves to testify of its vehemence, causes much discomfort.
Then we "reel to and fro and stagger like a drunken man and are at our
wits end" how to maintain composure of mind, amidst so much bodily
disquietude.

At the commencement of the voyage, I took the first opportunity to call
the officers together on the poop-deck, and privately instruct them in
my ideas of discipline.

This was the drift of my remarks:

For some years past I have made it a rule that there shall be no
cursing or blows used or given on board of my ship. In saying this, I
do not mean that I wish sailors to be allowed to do as they like, or
that I do not wish good discipline maintained. I have sometimes had
to reprove officers for cursing the men and throwing belaying pins at
them, and they seemed to feel that I had curtailed their rights. With
a vindictive spirit, disguised by an air of injured innocence, they
then neglected their duty and made no effort to keep the crew in proper
order, saying, "If the old man doesn't care, I'm sure I don't." Let me
tell you my plan of keeping discipline.

When we start on a voyage the crew generally come on board more or
less under the influence of liquor. Some of them are all ready for a
fight and do their best to bring it on. If you choose to have a row,
it is the easiest thing in the world to find opportunity for it, and
you know how frequently the occasion is seized, and the ship's deck is
stained with blood before she is clear of the land. Now at the start, I
say, Shut your eyes and ears to instances of personal disrespect, and
do not use force to exact the performance of duty, unless as a last
resort when the interests of the ship positively require it. As soon
as you can spare men from work, get into their bunks those who are so
drunk as to be troublesome and let them sleep themselves sober. You
will often, or indeed generally, find that these are the best "sailor
men" in the ship. It was the rum that made the trouble, and I believe
the only successful way of fighting rum is to attack it before it gets
inside of men. Drunken men are more easily controlled than we think,
but it requires tact to deal with them, and, above all, kindness. I
had a sailor last voyage who was roaring about the deck, brimful of
fight, using his insolence to gain a chance to work it off. I stepped
up to him, and he straightened back to return the expected blow. To
his evident surprise I just laid my hand upon his shoulder, and in a
kind but decided tone said, "My man, you go to your bunk." He fired up,
and said in a saucy way, "Do you mean to say I can't do my duty?" I
replied, "We don't need you just now, you'll feel better after you've
had a nap, and we will call you to turn to just as soon as we want
you." "All right, sir," he growled, in a disappointed sort of way, and
tumbled into the forecastle. The next morning he appeared on deck as
quiet and civil as any body, and during the voyage, after he got over a
touch of the horrors, he proved to be the best sailor-man on board, and
was always as respectful as I could wish. There are many vessels where
he would have been off duty a week with a broken head, and then have
needed a second thrashing to take the ugliness out of him.

After we are fairly at sea things generally go on smoothly for about
a fortnight and then the sailors begin to try experiments, to feel
their officers' disposition, test their strictness, and decide how much
liberty they can take. The first sign of this is the neglect to give
an answer to orders, or omitting the word "Sir" from their reply. They
watch to see if this is noticed, and if it is not, they advance to
other liberties, and the inch being granted they very soon take the ell.

When you find this state of things beginning, and a man ceases to give
a respectful answer, check him for it in a manly way, and give him
to understand that such things will not be allowed on board of this
vessel. Do not curse him, nor strike him, nor threaten him in a way to
make him ugly, but rather seek while maintaining your authority to give
an impression of its justice. If he continues to repeat his offence
after this, then punish him for it, by keeping him up in his watch
below, by giving him disagreeable work, by stationing him aloft in the
night, or by any little requirement, which will make him feel that he
is controlled and compelled to do something against his will. If this
fails to subdue him, after a patient trial of it, (for it is not to be
supposed that every unruly spirit is to be conquered in a moment,) the
thing to be done next is to report him to the captain. He is the only
one to whom the law gives power to inflict punishment. If you undertake
to use force you are in danger of prosecution when you arrive in
port, and you are well aware that our courts are very jealous for the
sailor's rights. The captain should then take the matter up and adopt
such measures of correction as, in his judgment, the case requires.
Very often a simple reproof from him will be all that is necessary, as
showing his decided espousal of his officers' cause, and determination
to stand by them. When this is proved, Jack will be apt to give in, but
in an obstinate case irons may be the necessary resort.

Of course I don't wish to be annoyed with the report of every little
misdemeanor or sign of insubordination; but when you fail to suppress
them by the means I have referred to, then let me know about it. If
you will adopt this course, although at first it may be too slow a
method for you, I will promise you that when we reach home you will
say you never got more work out of a crew, and never made a passage in
which you took so much comfort, or which you remembered with so great
satisfaction.

We gave the crew watch and watch, and Saturday afternoon was allowed
them for mending and washing clothes. Sunday at 9 A.M. services were
held in the cabin. Attendance was not compulsory, but as a rule all
hands were present, except the man at the wheel and the officer of the
deck. We made tolerable runs down to lat. 30° N., which we crossed
in lon. 40° W., eleven days out; but here for a few days the "horse
latitudes" assailed us with their calms. We whistled for the wind,
wondered how Job would have acted if he had ever been becalmed, tried
hard to be patient, and thought we were at the threshold of success,
when at last the wind settled at the eastward. A steady freshening
breeze proved we had got the north-east trades, and the log line, as it
marked nine knots over the taffrail, enabled us to be patient without
further effort.

Running along by the wind at the rate of eight and nine knots an hour,
with a regular sea that gave only a pleasing motion to the vessel, and
a blue sky enlivened by the swiftly flying, fleecy trade-wind clouds,
we understood the reality of "the romance of the sea." Flying-fish
continually darted out from under the ship's bow, the beautiful fleet
dolphins ran races, constantly beating us and coming back to try it
again, the fat, puffing porpoises occasionally tumbled across our hawse
and went snorting off to windward; the sea was strewn with patches of
gulf-weed, and Mother Carey's chickens tripped about amongst it as
though afraid of wetting their feet while searching for food. There was
always something to see, and life was never monotonous.

About this time I noticed that the first signs of the relaxing of
discipline were beginning to appear, in the occasional neglect of
the sailors to answer when spoken to. I watched to see if the mates
attempted to correct it, as I desired they should control the men in
minor matters, and I was relieved soon by hearing the mate call out,
"Why don't you answer when I speak to you?" A brief "growl" followed,
but the sailor, a Swede named Peterson gave in, declared he meant no
disrespect and intended to do his duty.

The next thing that occurred in the matter of discipline was, that
one night I heard "Old Brown" reply, "Aye! aye!" to an order from
the second mate, omitting the word "Sir." This is considered a great
breach of ship etiquette; trivial as it seems, I was annoyed that
the second mate took no notice of it. The next day I spoke to both
parties separately about it, and the sailor professed to be utterly
unconscious of his omission. He received a brief lecture and gave all
desirable promises of respectful behavior, and "Sirs" were very clear
and distinct for a while. The sailors seeing that they were kept up to
the mark in these little matters, naturally concluded that they would
not be allowed to do as they liked in greater concerns, and the routine
of watch and watch went on harmoniously and efficiently.

When twenty days out we found ourselves within seven degrees of the
line, but here the trades left us, and for nearly a fortnight the
"doldrums" raged. The bark drifted about with light airs from the
southward, dead ahead, or else lay like a log on the glassy sea,
rolling lazily with the swell, her sails slatting and spars creaking at
every roll.

[Illustration: Calm continues! Utter disgust!! Captain's growl:--"A
sea life should be avoided and execrated by all sensible men. It is
an utter stagnation of intellect and heart, and only develops hatred
towards our fellow men and murmuring at God's Providence. I have tried
it from beginning to end, and I solemnly and deliberately pronounce
it--a dog's life."]

An officer of a ship must have good nerves to be able to endure with
patience that dreadful slatting and creaking, even had he no interest
in the progress of the vessel; but to one earnestly desirous of
making a quick passage, as is usually the case with the captain, the
doldrums are the severest test of disposition that can be applied.
As he walks the quarter-deck, whistling through his teeth, searching
in all corners of the horizon for signs of a breeze, he discovers in
the distance a rippling of the water. It gradually comes nearer the
vessel and greets her with a gentle air. The captain orders all sail
to be set, and the canvas swells out to the wind; the rudder stops its
thumping, the water begins to gurgle in the wake, and the captain,
watching the rate of speed as he leans over the lee-quarter, exclaims,
"That's the breeze! go it, old boat! good-by to the doldrums!" But
the wind lessens; there comes an ominous slat of the spanker, and a
jingling of the sheet blocks that strikes dismay to the "old man's"
heart. He starts up to windward, looks for the breeze and finds it
to be but a catspaw. After the sails have flapped about for a few
minutes, if belonging to a certain class of men, the captain in savage
tones orders the courses hauled up, the spanker lowered and jibs and
staysails hauled down. Then he throws his hat on deck and jumps on top
of it, cursing everything "from an inch high and a year old upwards."
He now casts his eye aloft and snarls out at the mate, "Why don't you
keep those gaskets made up; nobody seems to care anything for the ship,
she would go to destruction if it wasn't for me." The mate gives an
order to a sailor, and as in the heat and dullness of the time he is
not disposed to move very briskly, the angered mate vents his spleen
by a curse or opprobrious epithet. Perhaps a fight follows, or merely
a war of words; the rest of the crew become disaffected; at dinnertime
they go to the galley and growl at the cook for not giving them more or
better grub; and so from stem to stern of the ship, bitterness, wrath,
anger, clamor, evil speaking, with all malice abound.

In the centre of this doldrum region clouds and heavy rains prevail.
Torrents sometimes fall so continuously that the surface water becomes
sensibly freshened. The great "cloud belt" overhangs this region of
gloom. The air is sultry and oppressive, making the body weary and the
spirit depressed. I believe no region on the surface of the globe sends
to the Ear above such a volume of murmurings, blasphemies and strife.

Concerning this place Lieut. Maury quotes from the journal of Commodore
Sinclair: "This is certainly one of the most unpleasant regions in
our globe. A dense, close atmosphere, except for a few hours after a
thunder-storm, during which time torrents of rain fall, when the air
becomes a little refreshed; but a hot, glowing sun heats it again,
and but for your awning and the little air put in circulation by the
continual flapping of the ship's sails it would be almost insufferable.
No person who has not crossed this region can form an adequate idea of
its unpleasant effects. You feel a degree of lassitude unconquerable,
which not even the sea-bathing which everywhere else proved so
salutary and renovating can dispel. Except when in actual danger of
shipwreck I never spent twelve more disagreeable days.

"I crossed the line and soon found I had surmounted all the
difficulties consequent to that event; that the breeze continued to
freshen and draw round to the south south-east, bringing with it a
clear sky and most heavenly temperature, renovating and refreshing
beyond description. Nothing was now to be seen but cheerful
countenances, exchanged as by enchantment from that sleepy sluggishness
which had borne us all down for the last two weeks." Maury himself
says of it: "Besides being a region of calms and baffling winds it is
a region noted for its rains and clouds which make it one of the most
oppressive and disagreeable places at sea. The emigrant ships from
Europe to Australia have to cross it. They are often baffled in it for
two or three weeks; then the children and the passengers who are of
delicate health suffer most. It is a frightful graveyard on the wayside
to that golden land."

The memory of days, nights and weeks repeated at intervals through many
years, when disappointment, depression, vexation and sadness have been
my companions, impel me to heap up testimony against this dreadful
place, the dark valley of the waters. Far more cheerful to the sailor
are the roaring gales of Cape Horn than the sluggish, damp, provoking
airs of the Doldrums.

But there is sometimes mirth in the Doldrums, and one afternoon the
capture of a shark gave us diversion and amusement. A dead calm
prevailed; not a ripple stirred the water, and the dull, sluggish
swells of the sea looked like furrows of polished steel. A sailor
aloft spying a shark alongside gave the information to the deck. The
shark moved slowly around the vessel, and as he passed under the
stern, the second mate threw the harpoon from the taffrail and drove
it right through his body. A vast amount of splashing ensued, and it
was with great difficulty a slip-noose was thrown over his tail. This
being jammed tight he was drawn on board, tail first, by the rope.
His motions on deck were very violent, but a vigorous application of
handspikes quieted him somewhat, and he was drawn forward to the main
hatch and butchered. It seemed impossible to kill him. After his head
and tail were cut off and all his entrails extracted, the body still
thrashed about so as to make the sailors jump clear of it. I took his
back bone for a cane, the carpenter appropriated the skin for sand
paper, and the cook begged for a little ball in his head that he could
"sell to the doctors on shore for a quarter, it being fust rate for
medicine." Many were the theories, abusive remarks and jokes indulged
in around this fallen enemy of the sailors. His long life was said
to be owing to the fact that sharks never died till sunset. The best
joke was Murphy's, who had been in the army, who said "He'd make a
good Northern soldier, he's so long dying." The common theory, that
a breeze always follows the killing of a shark, made everybody more
light-hearted, and the expectation was fulfilled after awhile.

[Illustration: A rain squall in the Doldrums.]

That evening the usual yarn-spinning went on around the booby-hatch,
and among the shark-stories that were related was the following by the
mate, given in his words as nearly as they can be remembered. It was
intended especially for the passenger's enlightenment, but I overheard
it:

"I once made a voyage in the ship "Laguna" from Boston to Cadiz and
back with a cargo of salt. Coming home we had a Cuban planter and his
son, a boy of nineteen, as passengers. The boy was always whistling,
and our mate, who was a regular old sea-dog, who hated to hear
whistling, except in a calm when it would help to raise the wind, kept
prophesying that the nightingale, as he called the boy, would be sure
to bring some bad luck. One day, when a heavy swell was running, but
the wind had nearly died away, a large shark came up in our wake and
followed the ship. The boy was leaning over the taffrail watching the
shark, and his father was walking up and down the poop deck with his
pocket-knife in his hand, whittling a stick. The ship suddenly gave
a heavy pitch and the boy lost his balance and tumbled overboard.
He screamed as he fell, and the father gave another yell and jumped
overboard after him. There was a pretty kettle of fish then. The main
yard was thrown aback, though the ship wasn't making much headway,
and everything handy about decks was tossed overboard--gratings,
life-buoys, and planks. Most everybody threw something, and the
carpenter, who was a stupid muff of a fellow, wanted to do his share
towards the rescue, so he picked up his grindstone and threw that
overboard. The passengers disappeared immediately, and as nothing could
be seen of them from aloft it was useless to get out a boat. We filled
away again with sad feelings, and the old mate said Nightingale might
whistle the whole passage if he would only come back. In a little while
the captain spied a shark under the stern. He got the shark-hook and
put a big junk of salt pork on it, and soon the shark took hold. We
slipped a running bow-line around his tail and hauled him on deck.
After we had smashed his head with handspikes we cut him open, and
there we found the man, the boy and the grindstone. The boy was turning
the grindstone and his father was sharpening his knife in order to cut
a hole in the shark to get out of. They were greatly astonished to find
themselves on our deck again, and the father said it was little short
of a miracle."

It is hard to tell how a vessel ever escapes from this doldrum region;
but by using her chances, constantly spreading her wings to every
fitful breath and gaining a little day by day, she at last strikes
an air that is not a catspaw. It gradually increases, and soon is
pronounced to be the S.E. trades. Such was our lot when we reached lat.
3° N., and the day after, we sailed swiftly across the line in lon.
31° 30´, thirty-four days out. Passing to windward of the Island of
Fernando Noronha, we sped along through the most charming region of the
sea, that of the south-east trades in the South Atlantic.



CHAPTER II.

A SAUCY SAILOR.


One night in the Trades, while the mate's watch were bracing the yards,
I heard the sound of angry voices on deck. The next morning I asked the
mate if he had any trouble with any one in the middle watch.

He replied: "I had some words with Peterson, that's all, sir."

"What was the matter?"

The mate answered: "For some time back Peterson has been slack about
giving an answer. I didn't want to check him before the men, for he
has become religious this passage, and some of the men are down on him
about it. If I growled at him, the men would have another handle on
him; so, after we got through bracing, I called him one side and told
him I wished he would be more particular about giving an answer. I
thought that was treating him pretty kindly; I never condescended to do
as much for a sailor before, but he got mad about it and was saucy. I
gave him some strong talk, and it was all I could do to keep my hands
off him. He says he is going to complain to you about my imposing on
him. They say for'ard he is crazy, and I most thought so myself last
night. I got excited and threatened to knock him down if he didn't shut
up; but all the time he talked religion." Said he, "You can strike me
if you like; I've got all over fighting now; if you hit me on one cheek
I'll turn the other to you."

Peterson had the wheel that forenoon from eight to ten o'clock, and
when I went up on the poop-deck he said, "Will you allow me to speak
to you, sir." "No," I replied, "I am going to speak to you," and I
gave him a sharp reproof for giving the mate "back answers." His
feelings were very much hurt. I perceived the cause of his behavior to
be erroneous ideas upon religious matters. He had led a wild life and
always sailed in rough ships, and at the commencement of the voyage he
was greatly impressed by the treatment adopted, and by the instructions
given at our Sunday service. He professed to have been converted when
a fortnight out, and had ever since been very zealous in exhorting his
shipmates. One remark showed the whole trouble. He said to me, "Now
that we are Christian brethren we are all equal and we ought to get
along easily together." He evidently thought this sentiment should
level the inequality of our stations, and there should naturally follow
a relaxing of discipline, and more familiar treatment. Afterwards I
called him below. He dropped his cap outside the door, and we sat down
at the cabin table. I spoke to him about our difference as fellow
Christians, and as captain and sailor, saying, "If you should insult me
on shore, I should take no notice of it whatever, but if you do so on
board of my ship, while personally I forgive you, yet as master of the
ship I am obliged to resent it, for the sake of discipline. Suppose a
man struck me in the street, to throw contempt upon me as a religious
man, why then I would turn the other cheek to him; but if, when I
entered my house, my boy should strike me in the face, I would punish
him for it, because I consider it a christian duty to rule my own house
well and keep my children in subjection. Just so on board ship it is my
duty to be faithful to the owner's interests, and to guard the trusts
committed to me, subject of course to the spirit of Christ's teachings.
These interests require that there should be good discipline in the
ship, and therefore the mate does right to notice any disrespect that
is shown him."

A day or two after this, Peterson said to me at the wheel, "I've been
thinking over what you said to me. I see that I was wrong, and it
sha'n't happen again." For the remaining ten months of the voyage no
one had a word of complaint against Peterson, and his influence over
his shipmates was most excellent.

In the evening after this occurrence, when the mate came aft at eight
o'clock to relieve the second officer, we began talking about the
affair.

"There is one thing," said the mate, "that I haven't quite settled yet,
and that is whether you can treat sailors well or not. At any rate,
if a man is a Christian he had better not go on board of a ship as
officer. I feel so mad sometimes I'd like to slaughter the whole watch."

I replied, "It's a matter that I settled a long time ago. You cannot
treat a sailor well without his taking some advantage of it. Inferiors
will presume upon a kind disposition in their superiors, all the
world over. It is human nature. I made up my mind to that in the
very beginning. But there is another question. Is it best to treat
sailors well, all things considered? As a matter of principle there
can of course be but one answer:--Christ's teachings entirely settle
that. A divine precept must be of universal application; there can
be no exceptions, and if sea life were proved to be a sphere where
Christ's commands could not be obeyed, it would also be condemned as
an occupation no one could follow guiltlessly. As a question of policy
there seem to be different opinions, though whatever is good principle
must be good policy. I say most decidedly it is best; best for the
ship, for the owners, for the officers, and of course best for the
men themselves. It is very poor policy to make sailors the enemies of
the ship. How many vessels have been set fire to by an enraged crew!
How many spars and sails have been lost, because, just out of spite,
a sailor neglected to report the first stage of an accident which he
alone observed in a dark night! How many ships have remained in port
for weeks after they were loaded, because they had so bad a reputation
no one would go in them, and they only sail at last with a kidnapped
crew! How much running gear has been cut, and how many sails ripped
with sheath knives on the night of arrival at the port of destination,
by men thus taking revenge for harsh usage! How many refusals of duty,
mutinies, murders, and lawsuits have their beginning in a foul word or
blow! Just sum these up and look at the other side. I am no apologist
for those who let sailors do as they like. The results of inefficiency
do not belong to our side of the account. But take this vessel for an
example. We are not treated with the strict deference the sailor gives
to a severe ruler, but we secure his enduring respect and a good name
on shore. We hear more growling about 'grub,' for if the cook doesn't
make 'bread scouse' to suit them, the men are not afraid to come aft to
the cabin to complain about it. In ordinary work we have not quite so
much drive and smartness, but all important duties are done as well if
not better. I think of no other disadvantages, and all that can be said
of what I have named is, that our discipline is not as rigid as that
of ships where men are abused; but no one can deny that we have good
discipline. As to your remark about Christian officers, I must say I
think it a very cowardly speech. If shipboard is a place of trial it is
just the place for a Christian, for who has such resources as he?"

The mate took exception to one part of my admissions and paid me the
compliment of saying, "I never sailed with a captain that received as
much respect from sailors as you do. I notice whenever you come for'ard
how the men straighten themselves up to their work, and the respectful
manner in which they step out of your way."

One moonlight evening, when the trade-wind was driving us briskly
along, we were sitting in our easy chairs on deck enjoying the romance
of the sea, and the passenger asked me, if sailors always behaved well
when they were well treated. In answer I told him the story of


AN EASY SHIP.

When a lad of nineteen years, in company with a friend of my own age,
I made a voyage from Boston to Cronstadt and back to New York as
passenger in the ship "Volant." She was a full-built vessel of about
six hundred tons register and carried a crew of fourteen before the
mast. The captain was a Swede named Nelson, a good natured, worthy man.
Mr. Smith, the first mate, was an Englishman, a man with a very kind
heart and easy disposition. The second mate, Mr. Kemp, was an old sea
dog, hailing from New Hampshire. He was a hard drinker when on shore
and appeared to be wholly destitute of ambition. His sea character
depended entirely on that of his superiors. If they were severe he
could be as great a tyrant as any one, and if they were inclined to
take their ease he could be as quiet and unconcerned as though he
had nothing to do with the ship. Of the sailors, five were Irish,
three were "Dutchmen," two English, two American and two from Nova
Scotia. They were of rather a low grade, but were for the most part
a well disposed set of men, though half of them were very deficient
in seamanship. For the first week of the passage they seemed very
peaceable, with the exception of one man who called himself "Brock," and
was one of the vilest sort of "Liverpool Packet Rats." He was always
grumbling and cursing, no sailor, and a miserable shirk. His talk,
by degrees, affected the others, the poison gradually spread and the
rest of the crew became surly and discontented,--ready to join in with
whatever "growl" Brock might start. It was hard to see what they could
find fault with, for there was scarcely ever a "hurrah" or "bear a
hand" uttered by the officers; the men took fifteen or twenty minutes
to "turn out," and the mate had been forward the second night after
leaving Boston, and had told the watch on deck that there was no need
of more than one remaining on deck, and the rest might lie down on
their chests in the forecastle and be ready for a call. The result was
that the men usually stayed in their bunks all night.

The captain hardly ever opened his mouth in hearing of the crew. At
seven o'clock in the morning he got out of his berth and came to the
breakfast table. After winding his chronometer and taking the usual
observation for longitude, he lighted his pipe and sat down to read the
_New York Herald_, of which he had a large pile on the right hand side
of his chair, and the voyage was principally devoted to building a pile
on his left hand with the papers that had been read. The observation
for latitude was taken at noon, then followed dinner, a smoke and a nap
till about half-past four, and then came another smoke and supper. The
evening was chiefly devoted to his pipe and the favorite newspaper,
and if the weather was unsettled he sometimes appeared on deck once
or twice in the night. It was seldom this routine was disturbed by
anything more serious than an attack on him by his young passengers
with boxing gloves or fencing foils.

When half way across the Atlantic the captain went on deck one evening
to take a look at the weather before "turning in." Casting his eye
to windward he saw that a heavy squall was about to strike the ship,
and looking around for the second mate, he discovered that worthy fast
asleep on the after bitts wholly unconscious of the two squalls that
threatened him. The captain showed the possession of some temper by
catching the sleeping officer by the neck and sending him sprawling
to the deck. "You good-for-nothing," said he, "I didn't think an old
sailor like you would serve me such a trick. Call all hands to shorten
sail!" The second mate picked himself up and got to the forecastle as
quickly as his confused senses would allow him, and called to the men
to "tumble out" as quickly as possible. His own watch were in there as
well as the watch below, and all were soundly asleep. They had got so
accustomed to slow movements that even a squall would not hurry them
much, but a few got out on deck and had just let go the top-gallant
halyards and hauled down the flying-jib, when the squall struck the
ship and laid her almost on her beam-ends, for she had a cargo of
cotton and was very crank. The topsail halyards were then let-go, the
spanker lowered and the ship was got off before the wind. The rain
poured in torrents and the work of shortening sail was certainly not
very agreeable. Through all the work Brock's voice could be heard
swearing and grumbling,--"If any one ever asks me to go another Russian
voyage," said he, "if I've got money enough to buy an old rusty pistol
I'll shoot him." Several of the sails were split and two hours of the
passage were lost by the second mate's nap. The captain thought best
to keep a stricter eye on him after this and ordered that the watch on
deck should keep out of the forecastle. For a few days they did so, but
one by one they tried the experiment of going in there, and finding it
created no uproar, they soon got back to old habits.

When four weeks out we passed the Orkney Islands and the same afternoon
sighted Fair Island off the port bow. We passed within five miles of
the Island, and two boats with six men in each pulled off to meet us.
The men were small and thin and with only one exception had light
complexions and sandy hair and beards. They came on board and begged,
in whining tones, to be allowed to exchange their fish for bread and
salt meat. After a trade, made very much in their favor, they produced
woollen mittens and socks, knitted by the women of the island, and
made another trade. These being exhausted they proceeded to beg, with
a stock of appeals to charitable motives. When all the clothes had
been obtained that seemed likely to be forthcoming, they asked for
"rel-ee-gious books and tracts." Two days after this we made the Coast
of Norway. Then beating against a head wind for two days more we got
through the Skager Rack, passed the Scaw of Denmark, and steered
through the Cattegat towards Elsinore.

The cook of the ship was a negro--a lazy, dirty fellow he was! Neither
the captain nor the officers paid any attention to the state of things
in the galley, except that the "old man" gave an occasional admonition
to be economical, and "Cuffey" lived in ease and slovenliness. The
"grub" was poorly cooked, and scanty at that; and the tea was so weak
that when one night "Doctor," as the cook is always called, forgot to
put any tea into the coppers, the men drank the warm water and molasses
without any idea of the omission. A barrel of beef was intended to last
twelve days at least, but owing to the gifts to the Fair Islanders
the barrel at this time was about exhausted on the tenth day. The
cook thought he could eke it out one day longer, and the consequence
was that in the evening, "Bill," a short, stout Nova Scotian, with a
very lugubrious countenance, marched aft carrying a large tin pan,
containing a very small piece of boiled salt beef. The mate was
standing by the weather-rail, just forward of the poop. Bill deposited
the pan at his feet. Folding his arms he exclaimed in a very meek and
mournful tone, "Mr. Smith, I wish you'd take a belaying pin and beat my
brains out."

"What good would that do you?" said the mate.

"I'd rather die at once than starve to death," the sailor answered.

"Who's going to starve you to death?"

"We don't get food enough for a dog, let alone a man," said Bill.

The mate then endeavored to prove that Bill was not a man; the main
point of his argument being that a few days before he had "made a
splice in the foretopmost studding-sail tripping-line that would be
a disgrace to a loblolly boy." This argument went on for a while,
till the man became convinced that the mate was neither disposed to
accept his polite invitation as to the disposition of his brains, nor
to furnish any more beef that evening. So he thought it best to be
contented with the promise of a larger allowance in the morning, and
make use of the small supply at hand.

The cook was sulky because the men had complained about him, and the
next evening he made the tea with salt water. This imposition was
more than they could swallow, and brought about another complaint, in
consequence of which the captain summoned the "Doctor" aft, and in
a great rage stuttered out a string of phrases, the burden of which
seemed to be, "I--I'll swab the decks with you."

We had a good passage up the Baltic and Gulf of Finland, and got to
our moorings in Cronstadt Mole, where we discharged our cotton and
loaded a cargo of sheet-iron, hemp, cordage and crash. One of the
men was taken ill with cholera and died in the hospital, and a good
deal of discussion took place among the crew as to whether his place
would be filled. Great efforts were made to despatch the vessel by
September 20th, as after that day the premium of insurance on vessel
and cargo would advance one per cent., owing to the increased dangers
of navigation later in the season, making a difference of one thousand
dollars to the owners. On the morning of the twentieth the last of
the cargo was put on board. The captain went on shore to obtain his
clearance papers, leaving word with the mate to be all ready to haul
out of the Mole at noon. Upon his return he found the ship fast at
her moorings, with no signs of any intention to move. Coming over the
gangway in a rage he was met by the mate, who prevented the explosion
that was about to take place by informing him that the men had refused
duty.

"Refused duty!" said the captain; "what can that mean?"

"Why, sir, they say they won't go to sea unless you ship a man in the
place of the one that died."

"But I can't now," said he; "the ship must go right to sea, and no one
would go on such a short notice."

"I've told them that, sir, but that villain, Brock, has made the rest
ugly."

Capt. Nelson returned on shore and spent half an hour in a vain attempt
to find a sailor who would go immediately to sea. Returning on board
he asked me to go into the forecastle and try to persuade the men to
turn to. I did what I could, but of course a boy's talk was not much
heeded, and I got rather scared myself by their curses and threats.
Then the mate came to the door and asked in a shaky voice, "Are you
going to turn to?"

"When that man comes aboard," was Brock's defiant answer.

Mr. Smith hastened back to report that they still refused duty, and
the captain hailed a passing boat and procured some Russians from the
"Captain of the 'Branvault,'" as the harbor-master is called. With
their assistance the ship was hauled to the Mole-head, and gave her
hawser to the towboat that was waiting outside. Then the Russians
stepped ashore, I took the wheel, the mates cast off the lines, and we
proceeded in tow of the steamer.

When fairly off, the captain told the mate to call all hands aft.
Standing by the cabin door he made an address to them, offering to
divide among them the wages that would have come to the dead sailor,
had he lived to complete the voyage.

Some of the men were inclined to give in, but Brock muttered, "We don't
want a dead man's wages."

"Well," said the captain, "I'll give you what I should have paid
another man if I had shipped one."

"Oh, we've been humbugged that way before, Cap'n," said Brock, who
turned and went forward, followed by the rest of the crew, leaving the
captain in the midst of another conciliatory harangue.

The ship was soon abreast of Tollbaken, ten miles from Cronstadt. The
wind was dead ahead; and having nominally sailed, the captain decided
to come to anchor and wait for the wind and crew to favor him.

The mate asked the men if they would turn to and let go the anchor; and
thinking they would thus gain their point, and also their dinner, they
consented. The steamer was cast off and the ship brought to anchor.

The crew were then allowed to get their dinner, but when called on to
work, they again refused. The captain was greatly troubled, and so much
at a loss what to do, that he appealed to me for advice. I felt rather
flattered by his consideration, and suggested that he should put the
men in irons. He was afraid to try that, so I proposed that he should
give them nothing to eat till they resumed duty. When supper-time came
they went to the galley, and being refused, Brock marched aft with his
tin pot in hand, and with the coolest impudence, asked the captain if
they were not to be allowed any supper.

"Not till you turn to," was the reply.

The man then put on an air of injured innocence and declared it was a
shame to try to starve men to death. But he sauntered forward, and the
men turned in, laughing at the way they had "waxed the old man," but
feeling a little concerned on the score of eating.

At nine o'clock in the evening, the wind hauled fair. The captain went
to the forecastle, and after fifteen minutes spent in argument upon the
propriety of their going to work, the promise of some tea, and other
fair words, prevailed upon the men to get the ship under way, and the
passage was fairly begun.

We passed through the Baltic and by Elsinore without any remarkable
occurrence, except the increased independence and insolence of the
crew. They felt that the Cronstadt disturbance had proved there was no
fight in the officers, and some of the crew showed more zeal in taking
their comfort than in obeying orders.

Brock particularly distinguished himself. He boasted in the forecastle
that he was going to try to induce an officer to strike him, in
order that he might raise some money by a lawsuit on arriving in New
York. One day the ship was running before a strong breeze, under the
main-top-gallant-sail. Brock was at the wheel, and, being a miserable
helmsman, was letting the ship yaw about two points each side of her
course.

"Keep her straight," said the captain.

"I should like to see any one keep her any straighter," was Brock's
answer; and upon this the captain took hold of the wheel to prove that
it could be done. Instead of stopping to witness the proof, Brock
started forward.

"Come back here!" shouted the captain.

"One's enough to steer the ship," was the polite answer, and the fellow
made for the forecastle, leaving the captain working the wheel, unable
to leave it until relieved. The mate, finding out the trouble, went to
the forecastle and saw Brock leisurely lighting his pipe.

"Go aft and take the wheel again! What business have you got here?"

"Don't you fret; I'll come out when I get ready," said Brock. The mate
turned away and sent another sailor to relieve the captain. After Brock
had finished his smoke, he appeared again on deck, and politely asked
Mr. Smith if he had a job for him. The mate gave him a few of his
opinions about his behavior, and set him at work aloft.

That night, in the first watch, I was keeping the mate company on deck,
and hearing Mr. Smith's complaints about Brock. "Why don't you knock
him down?" said I. "That's the only kind of treatment such a man can
understand."

"I'll tell you why I don't," said the mate. "About five years ago I
was mate of the ship "Neptune" in the Liverpool trade. We hove up our
anchor in the River Mersey and were being towed out to sea. I was
anxious to get the anchor catted as soon as possible, as the pilot
wanted sail made on the ship, and I had all the crew on the forecastle,
heaving on the capstan. An ugly-looking Liverpool Irishman, called Jim
Kelley, was holding the turn, and just as the anchor was about up to
the cat-head he let go the rope; it flew around the capstan at a lively
rate, and the anchor went down.

"I growled at him for it, and he said it slipped away from him. We
went at it again, and had the anchor half-way up, when Kelley surged
the fall and let it go again. It was raining at the time, and things
were very slippery, and he pleaded that as his excuse; but I thought
I saw mischief in his eye. The end of the fall had hit two of the men
pretty severe blows, as it flew around the capstan. I was pretty mad by
this time, and told him if he did that again I'd knock his head off.
I thought he'd hold on the next time, but just as I was going to say,
"Heave a pawl!" down went the anchor for the third time. I heard the
pilot rattling off a string of oaths as long as the maintop-bow-line,
and I stepped up to Kelley and gave him a touch of my fist that sent
him head first off the top-gallant forecastle on to a pile of chain
cable. He didn't feel like holding any more turns for a day or two,
you may bet, and the rest of the crew said it served him right. But
when we got into New York I was hauled up in court for it, and had to
pay fifty dollars fine. Now I've got a wife and five children, and as
good-looking ones as you'd wish to see they are, too, though I say it,
and my wages are all they have to support them. That villain Brock, is
a good deal of a sea-lawyer, and if I lay my hand on him, it's only
taking the bread out of my little ones' mouths and giving him rum
money. I made a vow after that time that I'd never strike a man again."

"But what can you do," said I; "you ought to keep good discipline.
Hasn't the captain got any legal power to punish ugly sailors?"

"Yes," said Mr. Smith, "the captain has power, but he doesn't want
to be troubled, and it's considered the mate's place to keep the men
straight. Once I went to a captain and reported an impudent sailor, and
the only satisfaction I got was, "What did you come here for if you
can't take care of the crew," and I got turned out of the ship at the
end of the voyage. I made a vow then that I'd never complain to the old
man again; so between my two vows I don't see that I've got much chance
with a sailor that's bent on making a row. If this ai'n't a dog's life,
I'd like to know what it is."

All the way across the Atlantic the sailors may be said to have had
charge of the ship, and did about as they pleased. Brock's insolence
was beyond all bounds, and it seemed incredible that it should be
submitted to by the captain and officers. He was evidently in a
desperate mood to get struck, and one evening at eight o clock,
when the captain kept his watch up a few minutes to take in the
top-gallantsails, as a stormy night was coming on, Brock stepped up to
him and said, "Cap'n, it's too late for you to try and humbug us now.
It's our watch below." The captain sputtered some bad words at him, and
told him he was no sailor: but the hoped-for blow was not given.

The passage ended at last, and New York was reached, none too soon
for all on board. The day after arrival, the crew came to the ship to
be paid off, and Brock called the mate aside and made this startling
speech: "Mr. Smith, I want to beg your pardon for the way I behaved
on this voyage. You're the kindest man ever I sailed with, and I know
I ought to be ashamed of myself. I can show you the marks on my head
where the last mate I was with split it open with a belaying pin, and
I deserved it too. You'd have done right if you had served me the same
way. What would my good old mother have said if she had known what a
wretch I have been! She used to pray with me, and beg me to be a good
man. Now that she's dead, her words sometimes haunt me, and I have made
up my mind that I'll be a different man for the rest of my life." A
tear stood in his eye, and good Mr. Smith took his hand and said, "I
don't bear you no ill-will, Brock. I don't harbor malice towards nobody
living. If a man should cut my throat, I believe I'd forgive him the
next minute." As he turned away, he caught a whiff of Brock's breath,
and the suspicion came sadly to his mind that this repentance was not
so much the result of piety as of whiskey.

This story reminds me of a little incident that occurred in Bombay
when I was mate of the "Lizzie Oakford." There were two English ships
anchored, one on each side of us. It was a calm morning, and we could
hear some of the words spoken on board these vessels. A little after
breakfast our attention was attracted to the ship on the port side,
by the sound of angry voices. The captain was having an altercation
with some of his crew, and very soon passed from words to blows. He
"ended" four or five of them over, and with every stroke of his fist
we could hear him swear about the Act of Parliament. In the course of
half an hour we heard a row on board the ship on the starboard side,
and looking towards her we saw a number of her crew on the poop-deck.
One of the sailors had seized hold of the mate's coat-tail, and was
whirling him around in a circle, while another, with a folded strip of
canvas, belabored his back every time he flew past. Our second mate was
so indignant at this insult to his cloth that he wanted to board the
vessel and fight the sailors on his own account, but he said he should
want to "lick the mate too." "There," said he, "are the two extremes,
and we are the middle. In one ship the officers abuse the sailors, and
in the other the sailors abuse the officers. Here there hasn't been
much of either yet awhile, though I think the old shell-backs have got
a little the best of it."

We ran down the trades, and keeping well to the southward in order to
catch the "brave westerlies" as soon as possible, we came in sight of
Tristan d'Acunha, a noble, symmetrical mountain island, 8,326 feet
high, its top covered with snow. We were becalmed in sight of it for
several hours, and enjoyed resting our eyes, wearied with gazing for
weeks upon the dancing water, by fixing them on this grand, immovable
mass. Books gave an interesting account of a colony formed here; but
we were not near enough to perceive any signs of human life. The lazy
rolling of the bark in the swell, made even the idea of a residence on
the snowy peak seem attractive, and there was comfort in thinking of a
future world which is to be all land.

A breeze, springing up from the north-east, gradually freshened. The
sea being quite smoothed down by the calm, we were able to carry a
press of canvas; and with all sail set and the yards braced up, the
bark lay down on her side, and made a run of 261 miles in 24 hours,
and the day after, she made 252 miles. The fore topgallantmast was
then found to be sprung, and a new one had to be put in its place.
While sending it up, we overtook and passed a brig, loafing along under
reefed topsails, evidently seeming to think it was blowing a gale of
wind, whereas we had our main-royal set. This showed why some vessels
make long passages.

We sped along swiftly, passing the Cape of Good Hope when 61 days out,
and running along the parallel of 40° S., a succession of gales helped
us onward. The weather was chilly, often wet and disagreeable, but our
good progress kept us cheerful. One night was especially exhilarating,
when running in a north-west gale, with the wind quartering, under
reefed canvas, the bark flying away, at the rate of 14 knots, from
wind, rain, thunder, lightning and towering waves. There is some
sublimity in a sailor's life, and this wild scene was a good specimen
of it. I enjoyed standing by the bitts and singing at the top of my
voice some hymns expressing trust in the Creator, knowing that the
noise of the elements made the sound inaudible to the crew. As we
neared Amsterdam Island, the weather continued rainy, and there was no
chance for observations by which to verify our position. On the day I
expected to pass it, the sun appeared, most providentially, just at
noon for a moment. I caught the altitude with my sextant and found the
latitude. But I had no means of determining the longitude. We were a
few miles south of the latitude of the island, so I steered due east,
keeping a hand on the lookout to watch for the land, as I desired
to sight it to verify the reckoning and the chronometers. No land
appeared; a dark night was coming on, and I felt anxious at running
down so nearly in the latitude of the island; but at evening-time it
was light, and at 6, P.M., we saw the noble mass of land, nearly three
thousand feet high, bearing off the weather-quarter. We had already
sailed by it, within five miles distance.

One feature of great interest in these latitudes is the presence of
sea-birds. The noble Albatross, the king of sea-birds, is almost always
in sight, floating in the air about the vessel, no matter how fast
she goes. Its wings seldom move, and what its propelling power is,
no one can tell. It seems to depend only on its volition. The Stormy
Petrel or "Mother Carey's Chicken," is here and everywhere else on the
ocean. The pretty white and black Cape Pigeons flock in the wake. We
caught several of these with small fish-hooks, and tried their value
as component parts of a pigeon-pie, but the flavor was rather strong
and oily. The homely, black Cape Hens are numerous also. They always
bring to my mind a scene witnessed on a former voyage. Coming on deck
one Sunday, I found the mate and passengers engaged in tying pieces
of pork and bits of red flannel at each end of a string and throwing
them overboard. The Cape Hens greedily swallowed the pork, and several
of them were flying about with streamers hanging from their mouths;
another trick was to tie several pieces of pork to the same string.
Two or three birds darting at these, and each swallowing a piece, they
would rise in the air tied together. I took the part of the hens on
this occasion, and let the mate brace the yards for a while.

The weather was cool in these latitudes, and it was no longer agreeable
to sit on deck. Our evenings were usually passed in the cabin, and I
employed some of the hours in reading to the passenger an account of
my experiences in the ship _Dublin_. I explained to him that it was
written while I was officer of a ship, and had no leisure to attempt
literary embellishment. Its sole object was to record the events
relating to the management of the crew, and I requested him to forbear
criticism of its style.



CHAPTER III.

THE VOYAGE OF THE "DUBLIN."


My first voyage, as officer, was made in the good ship "Dublin." She
was six hundred tons register, and of the style said to be built, Down
East, by the mile and sawed off. Her bow and stern were so square,
they gave an impression of truth to this statement, but for all that
she was a staunch, well built vessel, and though twenty-one years old
was still an able and trustworthy ship. Her worthy owner, one of the
merchant princes of Boston, used to go down on the wharf and rub his
hands with delight when the old "Dublin" came into port. She was his
favorite ship, and her blunt bow was more attractive to him than the
rakish model of the modern clippers. He would tell how the copper bolts
were driven into her, only one inch a day, to make them "fit solid;"
how the timbers were "scarfed" and "dowelled," and many other things
that it would need a ship builder's manual to interpret. He considered
a great honor had been done me, by the permission to go to sea as third
mate of her, and shook his head with misgivings when he heard that the
captain had engaged so young and inexperienced an officer. I had been
to sea four voyages, one of them over fourteen months around the world,
before the mast. I could hand, reef and steer, and do the ordinary
work on the rigging, as well as most sailors, so I did not consider my
presumption very great.

Captain Streeter, her commander, was a fine-looking man of about forty
years. He was tall and well formed, with dark complexion, black hair,
beard and moustache, and a coal-black, flashing eye that bespoke a
strong will and a passionate nature. He was very fluent in speech, and
gave the impression on a first hearing that he was what sailors call "a
blower."

When he engaged me, he gave a long and impressive harangue. He didn't
want an officer that was afraid of sailors, but at the same time he
allowed no one to abuse the crew, and especially objected to the use of
profane language, which he condemned as the most foolish of practices.
He appointed the day for me to come on board and I left him pleased
with my success, but with a lurking suspicion that my fair-talking
captain might prove to belong to the class known as "shore-saints
and sea-devils." The owner, however, was one of the best men living,
a noble philanthropist, and a vice-president of the Seamen's Friend
Society. I therefore felt some assurance that his ship would have a
respectable captain and be well conducted.

At six o'clock, one dark morning in the end of November, my fond father
bade me farewell at the door, as I left my pleasant home and its gentle
occupants, and trudged to East Boston, in a storm of sleet, to enter
upon a sphere and mingle with associates so contrasted, that I needed
no other illustration, for the next few months, to impress upon my mind
the two extremes of the future life.

The ship was bound to Richmond, Virginia, in ballast, there to load
a cargo of tobacco for the Mediterranean. In the forenoon, a negro
crew of fourteen men and two boys came on board. They were mostly fine
"strapping" fellows, with bright eyes and shining "ivories," and as we
proceeded down the bay they made the decks ring with their songs; the
main-topsail going to the mast-head to the tune of "Come down you bunch
o' roses, come down," and the fore-topsail halyards answering to the
strong pulls following the sentiment:

  "Sally Brown's a bright Mulatto,
  She drinks rum and chews tobacco."

A man who was loosing the mizzen-top-gallant-sail was heard to utter
some profane exclamations over the bunt gasket, which was made fast
with a knot that resisted all his efforts at untying, being what
sailors call "an anti-gallican hitch." As I have mentioned, Capt.
Streeter had remarked a few days before that he allowed no profane
language on board of his ship, and I wondered if he would take any
notice of this; but I did not wait long before having my curiosity
satisfied. The same thought probably came to the captain's mind, for
he stepped to where he could get a good look at the man, and then
began: "Button your lip up, or I'll knock spots out of you. I don't
allow swearing on board of this boat;" with more to the same effect,
accompanied by several profane epithets. It was evident that the
captain's fluency of speech was not limited to polite conversation, and
his consistency was explained by his remarking, at a future time, that
his rule on board ship was, "do as I order, not as I do."

The Pilot left at Boston Light. All hands were busily employed putting
things to rights, for a ship is seldom in order except when at sea.
There, men are constantly laboring to keep everything "ship-shape"
and tidy, and the moment the vessel is moored at the wharf, crew and
officers generally go over the side, stevedores, riggers and carpenters
take possession, and the decks are in a turmoil until she is again out
of the range of visitors.

It surprised me to see the captain interesting himself in all the
work, for in previous voyages its execution had been left entirely to
the officers. While the mate was securing the anchors, the captain
visited the top-gallant forecastle and offered suggestions, which the
high-spirited first officer treated with a contemptuous silence. The
black eyes shone with suppressed rage, and their owner transferred his
interference to the second mate's labors, which were being employed
in putting on chafing-gear. He soon worked this officer into such a
flurry, that he hardly knew whether he stood on his head or his heels,
and then after putting a stop to a job the carpenter had undertaken,
and peeping into the cook's boilers to see how much beef they
contained, to the delight of all, he disappeared into the cabin, but in
a few minutes his loud tones showed that the steward was the object of
his attentions.

In the evening, after the watches were chosen, the captain joined
the officers on deck and talked familiarly with us, illustrating his
remarks by anecdotes and comparisons more amusing than refined. We
were obliged to confess to each other that he was a very agreeable man
in private, and for a time forgot all the mental imprecations we had
bestowed on him during the day, on account of his interference with the
work.

The mate and second mate had a talk by themselves concerning their
duties, and the second mate, while expatiating upon his own good
qualifications, put his hand in his pocket and pulling out a pair of
brass knuckles put them upon his hand. Holding his fist up, he said:
"I always carry my tools with me, and if you ever want any work done,
you have only to say the word, and you'll find me on hand like Day and
Martin's blacking."

"I don't want you to let me see those things again, while you're on
board of this ship," said the mate.

"Why so; do you intend to let those sailors play Isaac and Josh with
you?"

"No," said the mate, "but when I can't keep men in order, without using
such weapons as that, I'll give up to some one who can. I never knew a
man yet who carried such things but he proved to be a coward at heart."

"No man can call me a coward," replied the second mate in an angry tone.

"Well," said the mate, "I hope you are not one, but I shall think
better of you if I hear nothing more about brass knuckles."

This was not a very pleasant opening of acquaintance, and both parties
took at the outset a dislike to each other.

I gained from each of them a brief account of their antecedents.

Mr. Morrison, the first mate, was a Scotchman by birth, about forty-two
years of age. He had been captain of English vessels, but having met
with misfortunes, concerning which he was very reticent, he had begun
to seek his fortune in the American merchant service. He was a short,
thick-set man, with a ruddy complexion and a cast of countenance
expressing courage and determination. His bearing was significant of
"Scotch pride." He was a man of much intelligence and had received a
good education.

Mr. Howard, the second mate, hailed from the State of Maine. He was of
medium height and well built, but had a brutal look and seemed ordinary
in intelligence. He frankly confided to me the immediate occasion of
his shipping in the "Dublin."

"Last voyage I was second mate of the 'Minerva.' We had a nigger crew
and used 'em pretty rough I must say; but I had 'em in such good
discipline that one day I got mad with a 'moke' about something and I
told him to lay his head down on the hatch for I was going to chop it
off. He did just as I told him, and though he thought I was going to
kill him, he didn't dare to move or say his soul was his own. That's
what I call good discipline.

"We kept them under well enough at sea, but when we got into Rio
Janeiro, what did the scamps do but set fire to the ship, and burn
her up; and two days after a gang of 'em caught me one evening in the
street, and gave me such a pounding that I couldn't see out of my eyes
for a fortnight. I believe they'd have killed me if the police hadn't
come along and rescued me. I vowed then I would sail just once more
with a nigger crew, and from what I hear of this captain, I think he's
just the man that'll suit me."

The "Dublin" had a fair start. In three days we sighted the Capes of
Virginia and in two more worked up the James River to City Point.
City Point then consisted of about twenty dwelling houses beside
the negroes' cabins, and had wharves at which the vessels lay while
receiving their cargoes of tobacco, which came to them in lighters from
the city of Richmond, about thirty miles above, the shallowness of the
river preventing anything but vessels of light draft from proceeding
there. The tobacco was packed in large hogsheads, weighing from one
thousand to eighteen hundred pounds, and as the crew hoisted them in
they kept up a song from morning till night. Negro stevedores from
the shore stowed them in the hold, and the captain spent almost all
his time down there, watching that they saved all the room possible,
frequently making them "break out" again, to the great disgust of the
negroes. I heard one of them saying to the others: "I nebber see such
a man as dis cap'n afore; he tinks he knows eberyting and nobody else
don't know nuffin."

There was of course nothing here to interest us beyond receiving our
tobacco, and when the ship was loaded to sixteen feet draft she dropped
down the river ten miles, into deeper water, and there completed her
cargo.

On a fine clear day in the end of December, we left the shore of
Virginia astern and steered for the Straits of Gibraltar. Fresh and
favorable winds prevailed for several days and we made good progress on
our voyage.

One evening the captain in a confidential mood read us some extracts
from the owner's letter of instructions, and was particularly merry
over the latter part of it, which read: "You will distribute to the men
the books and tracts which are supplied. You will endeavor to suppress
all vice and immorality on board of your vessel and use your best
efforts to promote the welfare of your crew."

The inmates of the ship now felt acquainted with each other, and as a
general thing their good opinions were very much modified.

Capt. Streeter having no taste for reading, and being a man of
energetic and active temperament, could not content himself in his
cabin, and was almost constantly on deck roaming about the ship,
criticizing every job of work, "in every body's mess and nobody's
watch."

When bracing yards, making or taking in sail, he would stand on top of
the house, and accompany his orders with volleys of oaths, provided
things were not done exactly to his mind. If the crew did not move
quite actively enough, and nothing in this way would suit him but the
"clean jump," every blackguard epithet that his fluent tongue and
inventive brain could command was heaped upon them: Scoundrels, black
scorpions, and names too filthy for utterance were their common titles
at such times, and when the men and officers did so well that he could
not find a point to censure, he seemed rather disappointed at losing an
opportunity for this favorite employment. Sailors call such a man, "a
blower."

At night no one was allowed to sit down on deck, and though no work was
to be done, the sailors had to keep on their legs. Such strict rules of
course gave the officers a good deal of disagreeable work. From eight
to twelve at night the men would have to walk the deck, unless engaged
in working ship, and when at four o'clock, A.M., they were roused out,
after four hours slumber, they could not always resist the temptation
to sit down on a spar, or lean over a water-cask. In spite of their
efforts to keep awake, their heads would drop upon their arms and they
would fall asleep.

If anyone wishes to experience something which in his recollections
will serve as a synonym for misery, let him sail in such a ship and
stand the morning watch. In the hour from four to five as he stumbles
about the deck, endeavoring to drive away the drowsiness that weighs
down his eyelids, he will feel a wretchedness, which, unless he is a
very unfortunate man, will seldom, if ever, be surpassed during his
life.

The mate failed to carry out these orders very strictly, as he knew
it could only be done by harsh measures; for though his fiery temper
often led him to strike a blow at some unlucky sailor, he despised
all premeditated schemes to abuse or oppress them. Besides this, he
thought he saw through the captain's character. He imagined that he was
anxious to gain for the "Dublin" the reputation of being a "hard" ship,
provided his officers would do all the necessary "dirty work," but was
unwilling to expose himself to the present dangers of fighting, or the
future disgrace of lawsuits. Their relations to each other were not
very pleasant, for the mate was jealous of the captain's interference
with his work, and the captain, perceiving his state of mind, attempted
to retaliate by little acts of oppression, of which one will be
sufficient to show the spirit.

The mate's room was very small. His only convenience for writing up his
log book was at a narrow standing desk, where he was too much cramped
to do it neatly.

At the beginning of the passage he sat down at the table in the forward
cabin to perform this part of his duty, and the captain coming from his
spacious after-cabin found him there at work. Upon seeing him he drew
himself up, and in a pompous way said: "Mr. Morrison, I want you to
understand that my cabin table isn't a writing desk for officers."

"Oh, indeed," said the mate. "I've always been accustomed to have the
use of it even for my private writing, and I had no idea you would
object to my writing the ship's log here."

"You must learn you ai'n't aboard one of your lime-juice ships now,"
was the courteous response, and the mate retired to his room, his
Scotch pride and temper almost overcoming his desire to respect the
captain.

But the second mate was a man after the captain's own heart. It was
only necessary to show him the way to the captain's good graces, and
his subservience joined to his own brutal passions made him an earnest
disciple.

The crew were a pretty independent and saucy set of negroes, and
required a strict hand to keep them under. From the very first there
had been almost daily little difficulties, and at one time at City
Point a general knock-down was only prevented by the mate's interfering
between the second mate and a sailor, to the great wrath of the former.

A few days after leaving the Chesapeake, Mr. Howard was going around
the deck at about half-past four in the morning, and found a man
called Brooks sitting down and nodding. He awakened him very suddenly
by raising him up by the ears, and then set the whole watch to work
bracing the yards "in" a little. The men were sleepy, and cross at this
"humbugging," for they knew the wind had not altered at all, and this
was merely a "work up job." They were not very prompt with their Aye,
aye, sir.

"Haul in the top-gallant-brace" said the officer.

No answer followed, but he saw the order was obeyed.

"Belay!"

Still no answer.

"Sing out," said he; "if you don't open your gills I'll slaughter you.
Haul in the royal-brace!"

No answer.

He turned in a rage and catching hold of Brooks, who was nearest him,
gave him a blow with his brass knuckles that would have unsettled any
ordinary head. But the darkey's skull was not very sensitive, and he at
once drew his sheath-knife, and stabbed Howard in the abdomen. He had
on thick clothes, and the knife after cutting through them inflicted
only a small flesh wound. Howard was rather frightened by this episode,
and not knowing how badly he was cut, upon seeing the other men seize
handspikes and belaying pins ready to join Brooks, in case of any
further attack, he thought it best to retreat. After breakfast he
reported the case to the captain, who sent for Brooks to come into the
cabin, where he took his position with a pistol and a fathom of ratline
stuff. Having shut the door, so that there should be no witnesses, he
made the man take off his shirt; and then flogged him till the blood
flowed down his back, and the man's cries and promises made him desist.

The captain's prompt espousal of the second mate's cause showed that he
would stand by his officers, and it had the effect of making the crew
more respectful and careful.

Being the third mate, I was of course in the mate's watch; my duty
was to follow up the execution of the mate's orders, and look after
the little details of work. I must know the place for everything
and see that it was in its place. When the decks were cleared up at
night, if the mate in his inspection spied a stray marline-spike or
serving-board, it was the third mate who had to answer for it. If a
sailor wanted spunyarn or seizing-stuff to work with, it was the third
mate who must know where to find it and run and get it, or if the
lockers were not in order or the tar-barrel fetched adrift he was the
first looked at for blame. In his turn of course he could growl at the
sailors, but that was rather poor satisfaction, and he had not filled
his office many days before he came to the conclusion that it was a
most thankless billet, and that a third mate's portion contained "a
larger share of kicks than of coppers." I was only nineteen years old.
The sailors looked upon me as a youngster, and were not inclined to be
particularly respectful, thinking I wouldn't dare to use force with
them.

The captain watched me very closely, wishing to train me up in the
way I should go, and many a harsh-sounding order or rebuke I got from
him on deck, all the more galling because given in the presence of
the men. But personally the captain seemed favorably inclined toward
me, or else he feared lest I might make a report of his doings to the
owner, and thus sought frequent opportunities to talk with me and
smooth over my ruffled feelings. It is not customary for a captain to
have any conversation with a third mate, and I was not quite sure as
to his motive, though I leaned to the latter opinion, judging from
the tenor of all his stories, talk and advice, which was to the sole
end of discipline, or, perhaps more exactly, of fighting sailors. In
consulting with the mate as to this he gave me a decided opinion. "All
the old man wants," said he, "is to have you tarred with the same brush
as himself, and then he thinks you wouldn't injure him ashore, for you
know it doesn't do for the pot to call the kettle black."

One day we were reefing the mizzen-topsail and I was astride of the
yard-arm hauling out the weather earing. The captain saw from the deck
that the men had not gathered up all the slack sail on top of the yard,
before tying the reef-points; and he at once set up a roar of mingled
oaths and orders, which, with a storm howling past my ears produced a
bewildering effect. With some difficulty I divined the pith of his
remarks, and gave the necessary directions; but this was not enough for
the captain, who sang out to me, "What's the use of sitting there and
talking to them, get up on the yard and kick their heads off." A good
deal more followed, but I was too angry to hear anything else and paid
no attention.

The captain saw that I was rather out of sorts for the rest of the
day, and in the dog-watch came up to me as I was leaning against the
booby-hatch and began in his pleasant fluent way to tell me a story.

"You never met Mr. Jones of Baltimore did you?"

"No sir, I never did."

"Well, he was my second mate, when I had the ship 'Daphne' in the China
trade."

I had heard from good authority on shore that the "Dublin" was the only
ship Capt. Streeter had ever commanded, and since being at sea with him
I had learned that Mr. Jones was his ideal officer, and whenever he
wished to give a hint to his present mates upon points where he felt he
could not command, his favorite and usual method was to convey it in a
story about Mr. Jones, and Mr. Jones' name had already become a by-word
among the officers. I knew what was coming and prepared to receive
instructions.

"Mr. Jones," continued the captain, "never went aloft to reef topsails
without having a belaying pin stuck into the leg of his boot. He used
to take his stand in the slings of the yard, and if the sail wasn't
picked up pretty lively, before you could count twenty he would have
been out on both yard-arms, and hit every man a tap on the head that
made 'em take hold like young tigers. Then when the sail was reefed
he'd sing out, 'lay down,' and as every man got into the rigging, if
he wasn't mighty spry, he'd get helped along with a kick, and then
he followed the last man down and jumped on his head and shoulders,
if he could overtake him. I tell you it was fun to see them scatter
when he said 'lay down.' They would come sliding down the backstays
like a parcel of monkeys, and once a Dutchman, who happened to be the
last man, and saw the second mate's boots just above his head, got so
frightened that he jumped down from half way up the main-rigging and
broke his leg. I had to scold Jones though a little for that, as the
galoot was laid up the rest of the voyage."

"I should think that was rather poor economy," said I, "to lose a man's
labor for several months, for the sake of gaining a few seconds time in
getting down from aloft."

"It paid though, after all," answered the captain, "for Jones could get
as much work out of six men as _some_ could out of a dozen. It's worse
economy to be too humane with sailors."

"If that is being a smart officer I hardly think I shall become one,"
said I.

"I'll tell you what it is, you'll never make one unless you give up
some of your conscientious scruples. I must say you do very well about
your work, but you're too humane a man to go to sea, and if you want to
get along in this profession you've got to leave your nice principles
on shore. There's no religion off soundings. The captain of a ship has
got to be a liar, a cheat, a swearer, a fighter and a tyrant; in fact,
if you mean to be a good mate or a good captain you've got to be a
rascal."

"If good principles are good for anything they are good for
everything," I replied, "and if what you say is true, either this is a
profession no one ought to follow or else religion is a sham and ought
to be hove overboard entirely. A good God would never have imposed laws
upon us which would interfere with our necessary occupations, and I
don't believe he meant the Golden Rule to be confined to the shore."

"That all sounds very fine," said the captain, "and perhaps you'd
better knock off going to sea and set up for a parson. But you mark my
words, if you go to sea, you'll have to give up your principles sooner
or later, and you may as well make up your mind to it now. I've seen
a good many that started as fair as you've done, but it didn't last
long. But here we've got proof right alongside of us. Just look at Mr.
Howard's watch there. Every time he opens his mouth you see them piling
along like greased lightning, and he gets half a dozen answers for
every order. But your men don't answer you half the time, and they move
slower than real estate in Chelsea.

"Now if you saw a man walking alongside of a high brick wall, and you
politely asked him to step along a little faster, he'd stop and look at
you; but if you told him the brick wall was tumbling down over his head
you'd see how quick he'd make the dust fly. It's just so with a sailor,
if you are civil to him he won't care a curse for you, but if you let
him know there's something coming down on his head he'll move quick and
respect you. A man didn't answer Mr. Jones once, and he just picked up
the carpenter's caulking mallet and hit him over the head. He never had
to speak twice to him after that."

Finding the captain had got back to his favorite Mr. Jones, I thought
it was of no use to prolong the talk, and it being my watch below I
went to my room. Sitting down upon my chest I thought of the contrast
between the captain's instructions and the teachings of home, and
wondered if I must abandon the latter. It was very evident that there
was not the strict discipline in the mate's watch that there was in
the second mate's, and the captain's comparisons galled me; but it
seemed to me that the discipline in our watch was good enough; the
men did their duty well and were respectful, except that they were not
always particular about answering and sometimes walked along the deck
to ordinary work, whereas the second mate's men always ran, knowing
that a belaying pin or stick of fire-wood would be hurled after them if
they didn't. I felt the captain was right in saying that such strict
discipline could not be maintained, except by working on the fears
of the men, but the question with me was whether it was necessary to
be so strict. Our men in a squall, or gale of wind, would be just as
smart as the second mate's. It was only in ordinary and comparatively
unimportant work that they were at all behind-hand, and I made up
my mind that a system which necessarily required inhumanity and a
sacrifice of honorable principles must be wrong, and I would have as
little to do with it as possible. Opening my chest I took out a bundle
of letters and selected one from my father. It was an answer to one I
had written from City Point, in which I spoke of the severe discipline
which was maintained on board the "Dublin," and the course which was
required of the officers, and asked for advice.

The reply was as follows: "I see that you are partaking of the
responsibilities of life. I should wink at some things--not see them.
I would not be what they call a 'martinet' in discipline, making much
of little things, and enforcing little rules with an air of authority.
But I would establish my character with the men for good nature,
making them feel that in not obeying they offend against kindness. I
do believe that the Gospel contains all the principles necessary to
guide us in government, and that the ways in which God treats us may
often safely be adopted. Men are very sensitive to kindness. If you
have opportunity to show it without risking authority, it is well. I
do not believe that it is necessary to speak always in a tone of stern
authority. I would be very slow to strike if I were you. But remember
that you are now one of the 'powers that be,' and they are 'ordained of
God.' He will help you govern if you look to him, for government is a
divine ordinance; and a third mate is as really government as Lords of
Admiralty or Secretary of the Navy."

After reading this over again, I imagined how Capt. Streeter would
sneer at the idea of influencing sailors by kindness, and could almost
hear him saying, "The only thing that will influence a sailor is a
belaying-pin. Be kind to them and they'll only laugh at you."

When twelve days out the welcome cry of "Land, ho!" was heard in the
morning, and in the horizon, above a low, narrow bank of clouds,
appeared the top of the mountain on Pico, one of the "Western Islands,"
or Azores, at least sixty miles distant. This mountain is over 7,500
feet high, and can be seen in a clear day one hundred miles at
sea. In the afternoon we passed to the southward of, and near to,
Fayal, then by Pico, catching a glimpse of St. George's Island in the
distance between them. The rich verdure of these islands and their
elevations--for Fayal has a mountain of three thousand feet--were
pleasant changes from the blue and level waters; and all enjoyed that
beautiful afternoon as we glided swiftly by these mid-ocean oases. Even
the captain and second mate laid aside their accustomed scowl, and not
an oath polluted the balmy atmosphere. St. Michael's was passed on the
starboard hand in the evening, and the next day we came up with an
English schooner bound from London to St. Michael's, but steering for
Spain. Capt. Streeter told the skipper that he had sighted the island
the evening before, and gave him his longitude. The schooner turned
about and steered in the other direction.

It was blowing a pleasant westerly breeze this day; but at noon a
school of porpoises came dashing along, passed the ship's bow without
stopping to play around it, as they are so fond of doing, and made
away towards the north-east. The captain said it was a sure sign that
the wind was coming from that quarter; for sailors regard it as an
established fact that porpoises either go "head to the wind," or else
towards the quarter of a coming breeze.

The porpoises and the captain were right this time. The wind gradually
hauled around by the N. to N.E., and by night the ship was braced sharp
up on the port tack. The Mother Carey's chickens were flitting about in
the ship's wake very actively, uttering their feeble chirps with more
animation than usual. The captain, noticing them, and at the same time
perceiving a low bank of clouds to windward, predicted a speedy advent
of the gale. He proved a correct interpreter of the signs. We were
called out in the night to shorten sail, and for twenty-four hours were
hove to under the close-reefed main-topsail. Speaking of the Mother
Carey's chickens, the captain asked me if I ever had smelt one, and
said:

"I once caught one with a hook and line, and killed it, thinking I
would stuff it; but I had not got far along with the work before the
odor made me sick, and I hove it overboard. Though it was eight years
ago, the smell is on my hands still. You know they say, that all the
sailors that die at sea turn into Mother Carey's chickens, and the
captains into albatrosses; and I expect this odor hangs on to me
because I love sailors so well. But I must give you a chance to judge
for yourself."

A day or two after, in a calm, he shot one at a little distance from
the ship, and made one of the boys jump overboard and swim for it, in
spite of his dread of sharks. When he had obtained it he roused me out
of a sound nap to come out and smell of it, very much to my disgust. I
found its odor was, to say the least, rather disagreeable.

The afternoon before making the land, the captain ordered the mate
to get the anchors on to the rail and bend the chains. Mr. Morrison
proceeded to carry out the order, but to his great annoyance Capt.
Streeter came forward and kept putting in his oar, giving suggestions
and directions. This was a thing so peculiarly in the mate's province,
which, if one did not understand it, would prove him lacking in
the lowest qualifications for a mate's situation, that the worthy
official's temper was greatly aroused. He suppressed it for a time; but
at each interference his face grew redder and redder, and when at last
the captain told him that the ring of the anchor ought to be brought
closer up to the cat-head, the storm burst forth, and turning around
with a fiery face and defiant eye, he said, "Capt. Streeter, just go
aft and mind your own business; I can take care of the anchors."

"I want you to know that I am captain of this ship, and I'll do what I
please," answered the captain, pale with rage.

"I know you're cap'n; but I want you to know the owners put me aboard
to be mate, and I've let you do my work long enough."

All the men stood amazed at the mate's daring in thus confronting our
ferocious captain, and looked for nothing short of his being murdered;
but to our great surprise the captain cooled down, and in a mild,
persuasive way said: "But, Mr. Morrison, just look at the philosophy of
the thing," (a favorite phrase with him), "you see if that anchor--"

"There's no philosophy about it," burst out the mate's sharp voice.
"I don't want to have any talk with you. I'll only treat you with the
contempt you deserve," and turning his back towards him, he drowned
another mild reply by shouting: "Lower away the fish-tackle!" and
giving continuous orders to the men. The captain, finding himself
literally checkmated, walked aft, apparently calm, but with a tempest
raging within. He sat down on the booby-hatch, and tried to devise
some means of humiliating the mate. His schemes always reached their
culminating point in his brick-wall theory, but when he thought of the
expediency of applying it in this case, and letting the brick-wall come
down on Mr. Morrison's head, he muttered: "He's such a fiery tempered
man, I guess it won't do."

As soon as the mate had got the anchors placed, he told me to secure
them and to clear up, and then went aft, thinking he might as well
settle matters now, if they needed any more settlement.

The men all took sly glances after him, and whispered to each other
that they thought there'd be a fight now; and some offered to bet the
mate would come out best. The captain was very much the mate's superior
in size and build; but the latter was a perfect tiger when aroused, and
was just as fearless, in fact, as the captain in his harangues to his
officers pretended to be.

As soon as he got aft the captain caught a glance of his eye, and
his brick-wall plans were entirely dispelled. In a conciliatory tone
he began, "Mr. Morrison, I think there's no need of your getting so
excited about a little thing. You know every one has their little ways."

"I know you have," said the mate, "and very contemptible ones they
are. I came aboard of this ship with as good a will as ever a man had,
and meant to do my duty faithfully, but you've interfered with all my
work; you stop every job that I get under way, and though I've been
twenty-five years to sea, I'm not trusted even to bend a jib or brace
the foreyard."

"But you know I'm captain of the ship, Mr. Morrison."

"Then you ought to keep in the captain's place, unless there's nobody
below you that knows anything. But from the first day I came on board,
you've undertaken to do my work, and you don't know whether I am
capable of it or not; and you've done it so poorly, I'm ashamed to have
the ship go into port. I've always seen a captain show some respect
to his mate; but you never have a civil word for me on duty, and your
silly, lying stories don't make up for it."

"You must make allowances," replied the captain; "you can't expect a
man always to be smooth-tempered. When Mr. Jones was with me, I--"

"Mr. Jones was a fool, if all you say of him is true," interrupted the
mate. "No one with any respect for himself can make allowance enough
for you; your knock-down principles and vile language are disgraceful."

For every word the captain advanced, the mate brought out two dozen,
and so fast there was no interrupting him. At last the captain found a
retreat by noticing that the sails were lifting, and he gave the order
to brace forward the yards and take in the lower-studding-sail. Going
to the cabin he for once left the mate to work alone, and afterwards
found some relief to his pent up rage by calling the two boys to come
aft with a watch-tackle and taughten up the ropes.

There was kept hanging up in front of the cabin a fathom of ratline
stuff, doubled up and seized, so as to make a loop for the hand and
bring the two ends together. Slipping this over his hand and shaking
the ends, he called out the ropes to the boys, and if they made any
mistake, or were not quite lively enough, he gave them what he called a
dose of rope-yarn tea, by bringing the "cat" down on their backs. This
treatment made them so bewildered and frightened that they made all the
more blunders, and half of the time got hold of the wrong ropes, giving
the captain an excuse for beating them to his heart's content.

He found this such a good relief for a pent-up temper that he
frequently put it in practice, when galled by the mate's contempt
and indifference, and all through the voyage the boys were made the
scape-goats for Mr. Morrison's sins against the captain.

That evening the captain told me that if the night was fine he expected
to sight Cape Spartel, the point of the African coast at the entrance
of the Straits, before morning, as it was mountainous land and could
be seen sixty or eighty miles. At 2, A.M., the lookout discovered it
on the starboard bow. I went into the cabin, and waking up the captain
said to him:

"Cape Spartel is in sight, sir!"

"What!" said he, in a very sharp tone.

I repeated it, and went on deck.

Soon the captain came out and after looking at the land, without
addressing any one, began to swear in a loud tone, saying, "I expect
my officers will take charge of the ship soon, for even the third mate
undertakes to tell me what land we make." A good deal more followed
about "making them know their place."

When he had gone below I asked the mate, what all this breeze meant?
The mate asked me what I said to the captain when I called him, and
then said to me, "The old man must be raving because you said Cape
Spartel is in sight, instead of saying 'there's land in sight.'"

"Well, I must say, he is stuck up," said I. "I asked him the other
day what the longitude was, and I thought he was going to eat me up,
he gave me such a savage look, and all the satisfaction I got was the
information that it was the first time a third mate had ever asked him
such a question. He makes so free with me telling his dirty stories and
spinning yarns about Mr. Jones, that it didn't occur to me I was going
to insult his dignity by asking such a question."

"I could tell him," said the mate, "that he is the first captain I ever
knew to spin yarns to his third mate. His dignity begins at the wrong
place. If he wants his officers to respect him, he must show himself
worthy of respect, instead of being the blackguard that every true man
must loathe."

There was this peculiarity about the cabin, that sounds from the deck
could be heard there very distinctly, and as the mate was in the habit
of holding forth to me in a night-watch concerning the captain's
character, that individual often got the benefit of it. It was contrary
to his idea of discipline also to have any conversation carried on
between officers on duty, and only a few days before he had told me
that he did not wish me to talk with the mate.

All these remarks just made found their way to the captain's opened
ears. To put a stop to it he came out on deck, and passing by us walked
aft without saying a word. Upon looking in the binnacle he saw by the
compass that the ship was a point off her course, and jumping to the
rail he drew out a belaying pin and struck the man at the wheel two
or three blows on the head. He then went around the lee side into the
cabin, and the mate coming aft found the helmsman crying, and learned
the cause.

The next forenoon brought the ship into the Straits of Gibraltar, and
the interesting scenery did a little towards relieving the ill-humor
which had settled on all both fore and aft, in consequence of the
events of the last twenty-four hours. The wind was from the eastward,
dead ahead, and as the ship beat from shore to shore through its length
of fifty miles, striking and constantly changing views were presented
by the rugged African mountains on one hand, the more fertile Spanish
hills on the other, and ahead, the noble and world-renowned Rock of
Gibraltar, three miles in length and 1600 feet high. Its outlines
well represent a crouching lion, an appropriate symbol of its silent
batteries, ready at a moment's notice to pour forth destruction upon an
approaching foe. A strong current runs almost always from the Atlantic
into the Mediterranean, though modified by an easterly wind, and this
helped the "Dublin" to windward, so that at night she passed Gibraltar
looming up high and dark against the starlit sky.

That evening the captain tried his usual panacea upon my moodiness, I
being the only officer he seemed anxious to propitiate, for reasons
best known to himself. His conversation comprised stories about "Mr.
Jones," and explanations of the "philosophy of the thing" as applied
to currents, which in this case he demonstrated, that as water cannot
always run into a place unless some runs out, there must be a hole
underneath the Isthmus of Suez to let it run through into the Red Sea.
And then he evidenced that he was not insensible to the influence of
the noble scenes and historical interest which had surrounded us that
day, by remarking how much of a charm it gave to sea-life to visit such
interesting localities, and he added: "How pleasant it is too, to think
that we are going to visit the land where our Saviour was born!"

I was almost as much astonished by the fact of the captain's mentioning
that name calmly and soberly, as at the information that Christ was
born in Italy. I had already measured his stock of knowledge, and had
received many similar pieces of information before, which, knowing the
captain's conceitedness and temper, I thought it good policy not to
contradict; though even my usual reply of, "Is it so, sir?" sometimes
aroused his ire, as implying a doubt of his correctness in making
assertions; such, for instance, as, that Gibraltar belonged to France,
or that the clouds were six hundred miles above the earth, or that
the moon had no influence over the tides. I felt inclined to try the
experiment, if it was possible to convince him of an error, or rather
to make him acknowledge one--a matter upon which I had great doubt. I
cautiously said: "Christ wasn't born in Italy, was he, sir?"

"Of course not," said the captain; "haven't you read the Bible enough
to know that? I mean Europe; doesn't Italy belong to Europe?"

"Yes, sir," I replied; "but I've always understood that Christ was born
in Palestine, which is a country of Asia."

"Of course he was," said the captain. "I know that very well; and
that's just what I meant to say. We're going to visit that part of
the world where Christ was born. Europe, Asia and Africa make one
hemisphere, don't they?"

"Yes, sir."

"And isn't America a separate one?"

"Yes, sir: one is called the Eastern, and the other the Western
hemisphere."

"Of course it is," said the captain. "I believe if you got two ideas in
your head at once, it would bu'st." He turned haughtily away as though
he had convinced me of the ignorance of not knowing either where Christ
was born, or which hemisphere the "Dublin" was sailing in; but for the
next few days I heard nothing more about "Mr. Jones," "philosophy,"
Scripture or geography, but had a good share of harsh-sounding orders
and snarling rebukes when about my work, and the reason of it I well
understood.

The winds were rather light and baffling in the Mediterranean, and the
ship made slow progress. But the weather was charming. Sea and sky were
of that deep blue which is world-renowned, and which make this sea
emphatically "the blue Mediterranean." Some days, so clear was the air
as almost to impress one with the idea of the vastness and emptiness of
space, and when, commonly speaking, the sky seemed to have disappeared.
But at evening little clouds would gather about and lend their bright
hues to adorn the sunset.

For a week after leaving Gibraltar things went on quietly on board
ship, and I had great hopes that the passage would end peacefully. But
it must needs be that offences come at sea, and one more row had to be
passed through before the harbor of Genoa was reached.

There was a man on board called Jake, a powerful "six-footer," and one
of the best sailors and most cheerful and active of the crew.

One afternoon, the second mate pointed him out to the captain, and
said: "That's a good man; he's as smart as a steel trap, and a willing
fellow, too."

"Yes," said the captain, "I think he is; but don't you tell him so, for
if you do, it won't last much longer."

"No fear, sir," said Mr. Howard, "I don't give compliments to sailors
very often."

That night Mr. Howard had the first watch on deck, and at about 11
o'clock the wind hauled aft a little, giving opportunity to set the
studding-sails. He gave the necessary orders at once; and Jake was the
first one to get into the rigging and mount to the foreyard to cast
the heel-lashing of the boom adrift. He was not ready with it when the
others came up with the ropes to reeve, and the second mate hurried him
up with frequent phrases, such as, "Bear a hand;" "Let's hear from you
there;" "What do you say, now?" and then asked: "What's the matter,
there?"

"The heel-lashing's jammed, sir," was answered.

"Bear a hand and clear it then," said he.

"I'm doing it as fast as I can," said the man, in a sharp, surly tone.

Mr. Howard was not accustomed to have sailors talk to him in that
style, and he gave him a round of curses, and asked him if he knew who
he was talking to.

Jake made no reply, but worked away at the lashing.

In a little while Mr. Howard hailed him again: "Are you most ready
there?"

No answer came, and a repetition of the question followed, with sundry
additions, and, as the officer thought, embellishments.

The reply this time came in the shape of a loud, clear "No!"

It is considered almost as great an insult to an officer as a man can
offer, to omit the little word "Sir," in replying to him; and this is
at the bottom of many a tale of severity, or even murder at sea.

Only stopping to utter one oath, Mr. Howard sprang into the rigging,
ran aloft and swung himself with one hand on to the foreyard. Jake,
seeing him coming, had laid out towards the yard-arm, and called out to
him: "If you strike me I'll cut your heart out!"

Ever since the stabbing affray, Mr. Howard had enlarged his stock of
pocket-tools, and now pulled out a slung-shot. Going out on the yard,
he stood on it holding on to the fore-lift with one hand, while with
the slung-shot in the other he attempted to strike Jake on the head.
He missed his mark, however, and the shot flew out of his grasp and
fell on deck. He had on a pair of thin and well-worn shoes; but with
these he kicked the man until they flew off his feet overboard. By
this time Jake had crawled in past him, and started for the deck. Upon
reaching it, he picked up a capstan bar and took his stand with it
over his shoulder, until the second mate was nearly down the rigging,
then he suddenly aimed a blow at him with all his force, intending to
knock him overboard. He was too much excited to take exact aim, and
the bar struck a ratline and broke it, grazed Mr. Howard's leg and
broke another ratline. Mr. Howard jumped upon deck, and the man turned
furiously upon him, striking at his head with the heavy oak capstan
bar, and swinging it about him in a most determined way. The second
mate dodged and retreated aft, closely pursued by Jake; and one of
the boys was so terrified that he ran into the cabin and called out
to the captain: "One of the men is trying to kill the second mate."
Capt. Streeter never slept in his bed at sea, or removed his clothes
at night; but always lay stretched out on a sofa in the cabin, with a
pistol near him, ready for a call. He at once sprang up and rushed on
deck, and there found Jake swinging the capstan bar from side to side,
and Mr. Howard eluding his blows and making vain attempts to close with
him.

"Put down that handspike!" shouted the captain.

But it swung as fast as ever; and the captain now showed more courage
than Mr. Morrison had given him credit for, by rushing at him just as
he swung his weapon to one side, and seizing it before he could return
a blow. With Mr. Howard's help he wrested it from him, and telling that
officer to hold on to him, he seized the end of the crossjack-brace
(a two and a half inch rope), and beat him over the back, until he
cried most piteously for mercy, and made many promises of future good
behavior. This did not satisfy Mr. Howard, who, as soon as the captain
had let him go, put his brass knuckles on his right hand, and striking
Jake a heavy blow, threw him to the deck. He then kneeled upon him,
clutched his throat with the left hand, and with the knuckles beat him
in the face. The man gasped out cries and entreaties, saying: "Take
him off, cap'n; take him off. Don't let him kill me." And at last the
captain had to catch Howard's arm and say to him: "I guess that'll do,
Mr. Howard. He's got enough for this time."

Jake's face was a sorry-looking object the next day, and for some days
after; and he told the mate he thought one of his ribs was broken. But
he kept at his work as well as he could, and always was particular
about answering Mr. Howard with a "Sir!"

Things went on again quietly, and in three or four days more we were
off the Gulf of Lyons. The prospect of soon reaching port cheered all
on board, and all but Jake seemed lively and even happy.

We signalized the ship "Martha Dutton," Capt. Cheever, when a day's
sail from Genoa; and it immediately after came on to blow a heavy gale
from the south-west. Capt. Cheever was an old sea-captain, and adhered
to the prudent rule of not approaching a lee shore in a gale of wind,
within less than the distance of a day's drift (say sixty miles), and
after awhile he hove his ship to, and waited for a better chance to
make the land.

Capt. Streeter kept the "Dublin" running before the wind into the Gulf
of Genoa; and as the next morning brought a head wind when he was in
sight of his port, he was very much the gainer for his attempt. When
Capt. Cheever arrived three days after him, he shook his head and told
Capt. Streeter he had done the most hair-brained act he ever knew the
master of a ship to commit.

The "Dublin" had yet one day more to wait before dropping her anchor.
The head wind lasted until she had beat up within two miles of the mole
of Genoa, and then it died away calm and continued so, with occasional
light airs from the shore. There was no anchorage, and as the ship
slowly drifted from one side of the bay to the other, we had a fine
chance to take a sea-view of the renowned city of Genoa.

It is situated at the head of the Gulf of Genoa, and at the centre
of an amphitheatre of high hills, which rise quite abruptly from the
sea. On either hand the mountainous coast stretches away in a vast
semi-circle beyond the range of vision. The snow capped Apennines
tower behind and around it, making a noble background to the beautiful
picture. The city itself rises on the steep hills, whose tops for seven
miles are lined with forts, so that from the sea almost every street
can be seen, and the tall houses and palaces mount one above the other,
giving one an impression that a slight convulsion might send them all
sliding down into the sea.

The harbor, or mole, is formed by a sea-wall extending across the
semi-circle made by the immediate hills, securing anchorage where the
vessels moor stem and stern with their own anchors.

This evening as the sun went down behind the mountains, a scene was
formed never to be forgotten. The beautiful blue sky was lit up by
brilliant clouds which, reflected in the still waters, made the sea
almost as glowing as the sky. The mountain sides took every shade of
the darker colors, while their snow-capped peaks blushed with the
crimson tints of sunset. The next morning's sunrise was also a charming
scene, but with it came what was far more acceptable, a good breeze,
and the ship was pointed towards the city. A pilot came off to meet
us, but refused to come on board, as the health officers had not yet
ascertained whether the ship had any infectious disease on board; but
he told the captain to follow his boat, and leading the way into the
mole, pointed out the spot in the quarantine ground where she should
drop anchor. The captain went ashore in a boat, and was rowed to a
flight of steps, which led into a small room with no other egress than
the door by which he entered. A narrow window opened from it into
another room where were several officials, and one of them approached
the window with a pair of tongs, and reaching them out took from the
captain the ship's papers. After smoking them in the chimney for a
minute, he ventured to inspect them. Capt. Streeter was then ordered
to return to his ship, and after a visit from the health officer, who
found everything satisfactory, order was given to air all the bedding
and clothing, to hoist the yellow flag, and remain in quarantine for
three days, when, if things still appeared well with regard to the
sanitary condition of the ship, she would be permitted to discharge.
Capt. Streeter's Yankee energy and impatience chafed a little at this
delay, but in spite of growling and swearing, he had to remain in
solitary confinement for three days, and when at last the order for
release came, and the ship was allowed to take her place in the tiers,
he went to work at discharging with an enterprise and will that created
astonishment, not only to the Genoese, but to all the fleet. Every
morning they were waked up by the song of the crew, as they commenced
at five o'clock in the morning to hoist out the tobacco, for it is
not customary in port to "turn to" until six, and all day long such
choruses as "Walk along my Sally Brown," and "Hoist her up from down
below," rang over the harbor, with all the force that a dozen hearty
negroes could give them. When the "shanty man" became hoarse, another
relieved him, and thus the song and work went along, and in a fortnight
the captain astonished and vexed the consignees by reporting his ship
as all discharged and ready for her outward cargo, whereas they had
allowed her a month's time for this, and the intended cargo of marble
had not yet arrived from the quarries at Carrara.



CHAPTER IV.

VOYAGE OF THE "DUBLIN."--(Concluded.)


Genova _la superba_ is renowned for its palaces, but, as seen from
the harbor, the buildings of the city, apart from their grand and
picturesque location, do not inspire one with much admiration.

After a visit on shore to the palaces and churches I was so charmed
with what I had seen, that I was seized with an intense desire to see
more of the renowned wonders of Italy, and I proposed to Mr. Morrison a
plan for visiting Rome, and asked him what he thought of it?

"I don't see why you can't go, if you want to spend your money in that
way," said Mr. Morrison. "The cargo is all discharged, and we've got to
wait two or three weeks for our marble, so I think you can be spared
as well as not. The only thing is to get on the right side of the old
man, and you seem to understand that pretty well."

The next day with some fear and trembling I made my proposition to the
captain, and excited the breeze I quite expected.

"I thought something of that sort would be coming soon," he said. "I
believe nobody cares a curse for the ship except myself. I like to see
my officers take an interest in their vessel, but I suppose it's of no
use to hope for it. I was mate of a ship once for two years without
setting foot on shore but once, and that was when I was sued for
breaking an old shellback's head and had to go to court. I never knew
Mr. Jones to ask for liberty all the time he was with me. He was a man
who took pride in his ship."

"I am sure I feel an interest in the ship," said I, "but I've often
heard you say yourself that going to sea is a dog's life, and I don't
see why a man should be blamed for getting clear of it when he can do
so without occasioning any disadvantage; and in this case I am sure I
shall not be missed much, for Mr. Howard and Mr. Morrison both say they
can get along without me."

"How long should you want to be gone?" asked the captain.

"About a fortnight, sir."

"Well, I'll give you a week's liberty. You may start next Monday
morning, and be on board again the Monday after."

"But that wouldn't give me time to visit Rome," said I.

"I don't care where you go to, but that's all the time you can have,"
answered the captain.

The next day I went to the Consul, and got him to procure a passport
from the minister at Turin, and on the day appointed by the captain I
procured tickets through to Rome, although I found the steamers did not
connect at Leghorn and I should have to remain there three days. But
this would give me time to go to Florence; I also knew the captain's
only motive in limiting me to a week was the usual one of discipline,
and I felt no hesitation at transgressing a little, if the question to
be decided was whether I should see Rome or not.

I went to the captain with my through tickets and told him that I
should not be able to return in time. He relented a little and said:
"Well, get back as soon as you can."

I took this last remark for my instructions and starting on my journey,
visited Leghorn, Pisa, Florence and Rome, spending eight days in
the Eternal City, and rushing about over its ruins and through its
galleries in a way that astonished the more deliberate travellers whom
I met. On the seventeenth day I again entered the harbor of Genoa,
in the morning, and being a little in dread of an explosion of the
captain's wrath I used my knowledge of his character to concoct a
little plan for shielding myself. It worked admirably.

I had made the acquaintance on board the steamer of a gentleman, the
U.S. Consul at Venice, and I invited him to go on board the "Dublin"
with me and take breakfast, assuring him of a cordial welcome from
Capt. Streeter.

I walked into the cabin and found the captain seated there. "Good
morning, sir," said I.

"Oh! you young blackguard," the captain broke forth, and pausing here
one second as he noticed the stranger in uniform who had followed, I
seized the chance to say, "This is the American Consul at Venice, sir."

"Ah! how do you do, sir; I'm very glad to see you, sir. Welcome on
board the 'Dublin;' take a chair, sir," and in the profusion of his
attention to the consul the captain quite forgot the "blessing" he had
been hoarding up for poor me during the past week, and when he at last
had time to hear my story, he only said, "I thought you'd come back
with some old sailor excuse."

I felt I had earned my visit to Rome at a cheap rate after all, and was
highly pleased at this finale. The trip made a good hole in my earnings
and at the end of a six months' voyage I found myself in debt to the
vessel.

The ship was now taking in marble in blocks, weighing from three to
five tons each. These were hoisted on board from the lighters by a
large "pontoon," which had a great pair of shears and immense tackle
at one end, and at the other a wheel and axle to heave with. The
blocks came up slowly, sometimes two or three at a time, one hanging
below the other, and as they swung over the ship and were lowered down
the hatchway, they were watched with almost breathless silence lest
something should give away and let them go down through the bottom. But
the five hundred tons were taken on board safely, and then the ship
filled up with bales of rags, cases of olive oil and boxes of maccaroni.

Capt. Streeter managed to pick a quarrel with almost every man in port
that he had dealings with. He always seemed to act on the supposition
that those he dealt with were trying to cheat him, and was not at all
backward about telling them so. The consequence was that he was always
in hot water, had a lawsuit with the consignee of his cargo, and got
the reputation, as far as I could ascertain from those who had business
with him, of being either a fool or a liar, or both.

But after all he was a shrewd man, and the result of his bullying and
lying was, that his owners had a moderate disbursement account, and he
thought that would cover a multitude of sins.

His special antagonist on shore was a Mr. Pasamotti, and having a great
inaptitude for getting hold of names, he used to amuse me sometimes at
night by relating his grievances during the day, and giving vent to
invectives against "Mr. Smashempotter."

There were a few American vessels in port. Every evening visits
were exchanged among the ships, and each officer became informed of
the exact character of every ship, whether she was a "wild boat,"
"workhouse," or "good ship;" and of every captain, whether he was a
"hard ticket," "fool," "skin-flint," or "gentleman."

There were three or four regular visitants to the "Dublin." The mate
of the "Eagle" came with long yarns about his captain's daughter, a
romping lassie, who had a flirtation underway with five different
captains, all supposed to be bachelors. The second mate of the
"Example" had curious tales of the means his captain was using to make
the crew desert the ship; and others brought stories of meanness,
tyranny, or debauchery, which made one blush for the honor of his
profession and nationality; while on the other hand, we sometimes were
favored with commendations of captains in the highest terms.

"What was that man doing hanging in a bow-line over the side of your
ship, to-day and yesterday?" asked our mate of Mr. Winthrop, the second
mate of the "Example," as several of us were seated on the poop-deck of
the "Dublin" one evening, while the captain was on shore.

"What! did you notice him?"

"Yes;" said Mr. Morrison, "I'm no friend to sailors, but I think it's a
shame to hang a fellow out all day long in that way."

"When he's got a broken back, too, eh?" said Mr. Winthrop.

"A broken back!"

"Something of the sort. But I'll tell you all about it. We've been away
from home now about nine months, and the sailors get fourteen dollars
a month, so they've got near a hundred dollars due them. Sailors are
plenty here now, and wages are only twelve dollars. Our ship can't
get a freight at present. I don't know how true it is, but one of our
consignee's clerks told me that last time our old man was here, he
cheated his broker out of a commission; and this same man is now doing
all he can to prevent the ship from chartering. He gives bad reports
about the seaworthiness of the ship, I believe; but it's a lie if he
does, for she's as able a craft as there is in these waters; I don't
care where the next comes from. When the old man found he'd got to
stay here some time, he wanted to get rid of his crew, but the consul
wouldn't let him pay them off, unless he gave them three month's extra
wages, and he thought it would be a nice thing if he could make them
run away, and put a thousand dollars or so in his own pocket, or his
owner's, I don't know which. So about a month ago he began to work
them up. He made us cockbill the lower and topsail-yards, and then
the sailors had to scrub them with a piece of canvas and a bucketful
of salt water, beginning at the lower yard-arm and scrubbing above
them all the time as they crawled up. The water of course ran down on
them, and six of them he made us keep soaking and steaming for about
a week. This made most of 'em sick, and Saturday night four of 'em
came to the old man and told him if he'd give them ten dollars apiece,
they'd go ashore. This he did, and made four hundred dollars out of the
operation; and I tell you what, if ever men earned their wages those
fellows have done it since they've been aboard of that packet, for
they've been worked like jackasses day and night.

"The next week we drove five more out of the ship by hard work and poor
grub. The old man was greatly tickled by his good luck, and he thought
if he could get rid of one more he'd let the rest stay, because he
thought the ship might get too bad a name if every one left.

"The fellow he picked out was an English chap, and he told us to
"keep him going." One evening, after we had knocked off work and put
on the hatches, I sent him down in the 'tween decks to see if there
wasn't a stray broom left down there; and it being dark and the 'tween
deck-hatches off, the chap walked right down the main hatch and fell on
the stone ballast in the hold. We heard him singing out blue-murder,
and got the hatches off and hauled him up on deck in a bow-line. He
said his back was broken; but I guess it was only badly bruised. When
the old man got aboard, and we told him of it, he tore round as though
there was something to pay and no pitch hot. The man wanted to go to
the hospital; but the captain didn't relish giving him his pay and
three month's extra, so he let him lie in the forecastle a week and
have his back rubbed with soap-liniment. But the man swore there was
some bone out of place in his back; and the captain got mad and told
the mate yesterday morning to sling the fellow in a bow-line, and make
him scrub the copper all round the ship outside. I wish you could have
been aboard to hear the rest of the fun, for the mate stepped up to him
and said:

"'Capt. Murphy, I've done enough of your dirty work; if you want that
job done you had better ship a new mate to do it.'

"The old man cursed him a few, I tell you, but the mate stood his
ground, and at last the captain told him to go to an unpleasant
locality.

"I've been there the last nine months," said the mate, "and got enough
of it; so if you please, I'll take my wages and leave."

"You don't say your mate left?"

"Yes; the old man tried to pay him off aboard ship, but the mate said
he wasn't going to be put down on the articles as a deserter, and
he made him pay him off at the Consul's with two months' extra for
himself and one for the Consul. I guess the old man won't smile again
for two weeks."

"How about the sailor?"

"Oh, I got orders to do what the mate had refused, and I wasn't too
high-toned to do it, seeing I want to get put in mate. I pitied the
fellow, though I don't believe he's as much hurt as he tries to make
out. At knock-off time to-night the old man happened to be aboard and
the sailor came aft and said he was willing to go ashore, so the old
man gave him a few dollars and he cleared. We've only got six men
aboard now, just enough to keep her in good order."

"We got clear of sixteen men out of our ship at Singapore," said the
mate of the "Tempest." "The whole starboard-watch left one night bag
and baggage and not one of us knew it aft till morning. We kept 'em
holystoning and scraping from dawn to dark, and licked 'em about every
other day on an average. They left about ninety dollars a piece, I
believe; at any rate I heard the old man say he had made $1500 by the
operation."

"There's been a law passed lately," said Mr. Morrison, "which I suppose
is meant to put a stop to this driving sailors out of ships. When
a man deserts and leaves any wages due him, they have to be handed
over to the government when the vessel arrives home, that is, after
taking out enough to pay any extra expense the ship has been put to
in getting other men. The wise heads in Congress thought that if they
could prevent captains from making any money by it, they would have no
inducement to run their crews ashore."

"But they weren't smart enough," said the mate of the "Tempest." "They
might have known that if a man is rascal enough to rob sailors in that
way, for that's just what it amounts to, he won't make any bones about
telling a lie to save the stealings. Now our old man put down on the
articles about seventy dollars paid to each man, and fifteen dollars
expense incurred by the desertion, leaving about four or five dollars,
which may be the Custom House will get."

"It seems rather hard," said Mr. Morrison, "that a ship shouldn't have
the benefit of what wages a runaway sailor leaves behind him. No matter
how well sailors are treated, some will almost always desert, just on
account of their love of change, and often will leave a little money
due them."

"I expect it is hard for the captains to make up their minds to pay
it," said the mate of the "Tempest." "But sailors don't often run away
from a good ship, when they have much money due them, except when they
want to go to the gold mines, or some such thing. I've seen as much
of this driving men out of ships as most men a-going, and done a good
deal of it myself too, but I must say I think it's a shame, and the
sailors need some protection such as this law means to give, and I'm
not sure but this will come as near to doing it as anything can, except
abolishing the three months' pay law, which is the greatest cause of
sailors being driven ashore."

Another evening three or four mates came visiting, and the burden of
our conversation was lady passengers.

"It is always bad luck," said one, "to have either a woman or a
minister aboard. I never knew it to fail yet. It is either a long
passage, or getting dismasted, or short of provisions, or there's a
terrible row in the camp. It's bad enough to carry one woman, as the
'Eagle' is going to do, but when it comes to taking four or five of
them and two missionaries beside, as the 'Tempest' does it's the very
mischief. I don't believe she'll ever reach port."

"You're an old owl," said the mate of the "Tempest." "There's no better
luck that can happen to a ship than to have a lady on board, mind I say
a _lady_. As to missionaries, I've nothing to say, for I never sailed
with any yet, but I stand up for the women. I'd be willing to go for
five dollars a month less wages for the sake of being in a ship that
carried them."

"Tell us your reasons," said Mr. Howard, "before you expect us to
believe you. What good is there in having a woman on board? I don't
believe there's any bad luck in it, nor do I see why you should be
quite so enthusiastic about it."

"I'll tell you my reasons. I've a great opinion of woman's influence
in keeping the edge on men's good manners and principles. A crowd of
men shut up together on a long voyage are continually degenerating into
barbarism. They need some restraint on their selfishness, and a curb
to their brutal natures. A woman's presence in some measure supplies
this. The captain feels bound to respect her, if there's anything of
the man about him, and he's careful how he swears or uses bad language.
The officers take their cue from the old man, and they're not as rough
with the crew, and the sailors in their turn feel the influence and
keep on their good behavior when they're around aft; it puts Jack in
good humor to see calico fluttering, and ribbons flying in the breeze,
for I believe every true sailor is at heart a ladies' man, though he
may not have much grace in displaying it. The man at the wheel keeps
his weather-eye lifting when she comes on deck to take an airing, and
has both his ears unbuttoned to catch any of her words, and when he
gets into the forecastle he says: 'Boys, what do you think the old
woman said this morning,' and then there's a long argument about it all
dinner time, whereas if they didn't have that to talk about, they'd be
growling about the ship, the work and their grub. The good influence
has begun already in our ship just from knowing ladies are coming."

"How's that," said the mate of the "Example."

"Why, my second mate is a great eye-servant. He's as mild as a kitten
when the old man's out of the ship, and doesn't care whether school
keeps or not; but just as soon as the cap'n gets hold of the man-ropes
to come up the side, he begins cursing and heaving belaying pins. The
old man steps over the rail and says to the captain that has come on
board with him, as they go into the cabin: 'That's the boy to take care
of 'em. He makes 'em toe the mark.' Last evening the cap'n came aboard
after knock-off time, when the men were at supper, but the 'shocking
dickey' wanted to shew off, so he went to the starboard forecastle
door, and began raving at somebody about leaving a marline-spike at the
main fife-rail. The cap'n heard him as he came over the gangway and
sung out: 'There, that'll do Mr. Brown; we've got to knock off all such
talk as that--we're going to have lady passengers.' I've sailed with
the old man three years, and that's the first time ever I heard him
find fault with bad language. So I think I've proved my case, haven't
I?"

"Yes," said Mr. Howard, "you're a good champion for the ladies. You'd
do to present their cause before a meeting of shipowners."

"If it's such a good thing for a ship to carry women, why is it that
shipowners are so down on it, and they so seldom allow captains to
carry their wives?" asked the mate of the bark "Vulture."

"One reason," said Mr. Morrison, "is the extra expense; it costs
something to feed them on a long voyage, and they must have more
dainties. Another is that they sometimes cause detention to the ship or
occasion a deviation from the voyage. There was a ship belonging to a
Boston firm that I used to sail for, that was kept waiting in Calcutta
for a week after she was loaded, on account of the captain becoming
a happy father. When the news came home, one of the partners handed
the letter over to the other, and said, 'What do you think of that?'
'Think,' said he; 'I think we won't make baby-houses of our ships any
more.' They made the rule, and after that captains had the choice to
leave their wives at home, or leave the employ."

"It's a hard place for a woman on board of a ship any way," croaked the
"owl" again. "It isn't natural for them to be shut up for months with
a crowd of rough 'barnacle backs,' without any of their sex to gossip
with, and no chance to go a-shopping, except two or three times a year."

"A ship is a hard place for anyone," said I. "Going to sea is an
unnatural life and a hardship to everybody. It's pretty clear from the
Bible how its Maker regards it, for there it is frequently used as a
symbol of evil. 'The wicked are like the troubled sea,' and 'raging
waves of the sea;' 'he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea;' the
beast of Revelation is represented as rising out of the sea, and we
read in the description of the perfect state 'there was no more sea.'
It is not good enough to be allowed in heaven. But in spite of all its
trials and unpleasant features we all like to go to sea."

"Vast heaving there, my friend," said the mate of the "Example." "I
don't like to go to sea, and I never saw a man yet that would own up to
liking it."

"We must be judged by our actions, not by our words," said I. "Sea
life gets people into such a way of 'growling' that they never know
when to stop finding fault; and if you ask them about any of their
circumstances they'll generally give an unfavorable account of them.
But after you've been growling about sea life for a whole voyage,
you'll get on shore, and in three weeks' time you'll be fretting to be
afloat again, and if you don't find a ship pretty soon, you'll growl
worse even than you did at sea. But I'll meet you half way and say
we _prefer_ to go to sea, in spite of its hardships. Against these
we have the offset of seeing foreign countries, the excitement of
constant change of place, and the great pleasure of arrivals at home.
Now, although what was said about the women may have some truth in
it, yet a woman, who loves her husband, may consider his company more
than an equivalent for the privations of life on shipboard; and then,
in foreign ports she's always made a good deal of, and gets a chance
to see everything that's to be seen, and enjoy all the pleasures of
foreign life, so that when you compare her life for a year's voyage,
with the hum-drum existence she would lead by herself in a small
country town; fretting about her good man every time the wind blew
hard, being the only excitement she would have in the whole time he was
away, and I tell you the seafaring woman has the best of it."

"Pretty well argued," said Mr. Morrison, "for a youngster that knows
nothing about it."

After two months in port the ship was again ready for sea; and after a
parting growl with Mr. Smashempotter, the captain came on board with
orders to get under way. With a fresh southerly wind we sailed into the
Bay, and the City of Genoa disappeared astern, just as the sun went
down behind the Apennines.

Moderate breezes and pleasant weather brought the ship again in
sight of Gibraltar ten days after leaving port, and then a calm took
possession of the Straits, and the ship lay helpless at the entrance,
slowly drifting back with the current.

During this time Capt. Streeter had been remarkably pleasant. He
spun long twisters to the second mate and myself, chiefly about his
experiences in fighting sailors, and even made advances towards
favoring Mr. Morrison in the same way; but was not very successful in
this attempt, for whenever the mate detected a lie or misstatement in
the captain's narrations, and this was not seldom, he always felt it
his duty to contradict it, whereas we appeared to accept everything as
gospel. Nothing provoked the captain so much as to have his veracity or
knowledge questioned, and this course of the mate's threatened to bring
on a relapse of the captain's "tantrums."

Toward the close of the day on which we had sighted Gibraltar, a breeze
set in from the westward, dead ahead. By nightfall we got abreast of
the harbor, and all through the night we made short tacks across the
Straits, only to find ourselves in the same place in the morning; and
in the next few hours we rather lost ground, as the current gained
strength with the increasing breeze. So the captain abandoned the
useless attempt, and came into the harbor of Gibraltar and anchored.

The harbor is on the west side of the rock, and is protected by a
sea-wall. On all other sides the rock ascends bare and steep from
the sea-level, but to the westward it presents a pleasant slope, and
on this is the town of Gibraltar with 16,000 inhabitants, besides a
garrison of soldiers; a narrow sandy isthmus connects the rock with the
continent.

The next day I had to go ashore with the captain to get some
blacksmith's work done for the ship, and found a chance to take a hasty
glance at the place, and was surprised to find so much verdure, upon
what I had imagined was wholly a barren rock; but to the south of the
town is a very attractive esplanade. On the north side I stood within
a stone's throw of the base of the rock, and looking aloft, saw it
towering above me in almost a straight wall of 1400 feet. Through
port-holes near the top, the black muzzles of cannon pointed to seaward
from the excavated galleries in the rock.

Capt. Streeter was told there was no chance for an easterly wind for
the next fortnight, and he must make up his mind to stop contentedly
until he saw the rock "put on it's night-cap," as they style the cloud
that hangs over it, as the certain precursor of a "Levanter."

The prophets and signs failed this time, and the next morning a strong
easterly breeze was blowing, and getting under way, the ship passed
through the Straits under reefed topsails, and was once more in the
Atlantic.

The ship was bound to Baltimore, and the direct course would have
been nearly west, but as westerly winds prevail in that latitude, the
longest way around was the shortest way home, and the ship was headed
to the S.W. in order to take advantage of the N.E. trades.

We passed between the Canary Islands, enjoying their verdure and bold
mountain scenery, and saw the volcanic Peak of Teneriffe lifting its
head above the clouds, 12,000 feet from the ocean. Then with moderate
trades we ran down to lat. 22° N., and kept along to the westward,
having beautiful weather, but rather lighter winds than the captain
expected.

The short detention at Gibraltar seemed to break up the captain's good
mood, and Mr. Morrison's provocation soon brought him back to his
former role of "sea-devil."

The ship had carried sand-ballast on a former voyage and the "limbers"
not having been properly cleaned out, whenever the ship rolled heavily,
the sand washed to the pumps. As they were old-fashioned wooden affairs
they had not power enough to raise it, and it settled on the lower
boxes and choked the pumps. The vessel leaked a good deal and we
spent considerable time drawing the boxes with the pump hook, which
sometimes it was difficult to work through a foot or more of sand.
Then we had to hoist the pump on deck and ram out the box with an iron
rod. The captain prided himself on his skill in hooking the pump box,
and whenever he heard the warning sounds, he invariably came on deck,
mounted the fife-rail and took charge of operations. His patience would
soon be exhausted if not successful, and then his profanity was really
awful. Every conceivable phrase of bad language was summoned to express
his petulance, and once, when baffled for a long time by the sanded
box, he rattled off a string of twenty-three words which haunt my
memory as the worst utterance I have ever heard.

In the fine weather of the trades the old suit of sails was bent, as
the captain said, "She must have on her old clothes to tar down in."

The mainsail was bent one afternoon, and in the inevitable inspection
and criticism which followed, the captain informed Mr. Morrison that
the bunt-lines were clinched into the foot of the sail the wrong way.

"How so, sir?" said the mate.

"Why, they ought to be rove from forward aft," said he.

"I don't think so, sir," answered the mate; "they ought to be rove from
aft forward."

"But look at the philosophy of the thing," said the captain; "don't you
see there'd be more chafe on the sail your way?"

"No sir, I don't," said the mate; "the philosophy is all the other way.
They've been bent after your fashion before, and the sail we've just
taken down is about chafed through in the wake of the clinches."

"I've heard the thing argued by intelligent men and they all agreed
with me," said the captain.

"If you want to have it done your way of course you can have it,"
answered the mate, "but it's wrong, and no intelligent man ever said
differently."

The captain, during this conversation gradually worked himself into a
furious passion, but there was something in Mr. Morrison's demeanor
which always kept him from giving the vent to his rage, as he did with
every one else, and after the conversation had been continued a while
longer in a similar strain to the above, he quietly turned away and
walked towards the cabin, but as he passed me he muttered in an audible
tone, "I've never been insulted before in my life, as I have been by
that man."

He worked off some of his spleen that evening by exercising the boys
with the watch-tackle, and giving them a bountiful allowance of his
favorite prescription, "rope yarn tea."

But he did not get back into his pleasant mood very soon, and he
snarled at and picked on the officers and made them ugly, and they
relieved their wrath by growling at the crew, and the men in their turn
got cross, and pretty soon all hands and the cook were in hot water.
There was a great deal of work going on, and if any of Mr. Morrison's
men blundered they were very apt to get a rope's-ending, and if Mr.
Howard's men were at fault, and sometimes when they were not, they had
to dodge their heads for a belaying pin or stick of wood.

Sailors, if they ever chew tobacco, always use it when steering, and
some can do without it at all other times, but must have a "chew" at
the wheel. One of Capt. Streeter's rules was that every man who used
tobacco should clean out the spittoon, when he went away from the
wheel. One forenoon the helmsman said to me: "The man that I relieved
didn't clean out the spit-box, sir." He called attention to it from
fear of being taken to task for it himself. I asked who it was, and
was told it was Jake. I was about to call him out on deck to do the
job, when the captain who was standing near and heard what had been
said, called to me and said: "Let Mr. Howard regulate his own watch.
Give him a call and tell him about it."

The second mate had just gone to sleep, having had eight hours on deck
the previous night, and when I waked him up, and gave him the captain's
message, he was not in very good humor. He understood in a moment what
the order meant, and stepping out on deck he saw the captain standing
by the weather mizzen-rigging, and so went forward to the weather
forecastle door. As he passed the galley he picked up a stick of the
cook's oak fire-wood, and holding it in his hand called for Jake. Jake
turned out promptly and came to the door to see what was wanted, and
just as he stepped on deck, Mr. Howard charged him with the neglect.
Before he had a chance to reply he aimed a blow at his head with the
stick of wood. Jake warded it off with his arm and acting on the
defensive was driven aft by the second mate, who aimed blow after blow
at him, which the man succeeded in avoiding or throwing off. He was
driven aft in this way until he reached the cabin.

A sailor in going aft on the quarter-deck is always required to take
the lee side, and as Jake, rather against his will it is true, was
thus transgressing rules, the captain took the opportunity to come to
Mr. Howard's assistance, and drawing a belaying pin from the rail he
stepped forward and said to Jake: "How dare you come aft on the weather
side of my quarter-deck," finishing his remark by a gesture, which
brought the belaying pin down on Jake's head with great force. Being
now between two fires, he was unable to defend himself, and had to take
a good pounding before he was released to perform the neglected work.

In the middle watch that night Mr. Howard was sitting on the rail
leaning against the boat's davit, and he fell asleep. Jake perceived
his condition, and vowing to one of the men he would push him
overboard, started towards him to do it. The other man sprang after him
and held him back, and in the little struggle that ensued the second
mate was awakened, and sung out to them to "stop that skylarking." For
some time after this Jake was punished by being ordered never to walk
on deck, but always to move at a run; and it became a rather ludicrous
sight to witness Jake's half-gallop, as he careered around about his
duties.

Great efforts were made to have the ship look well. The rigging was
set up, rattled down and tarred, the ship was painted, and every
morning the crew were exercised at holystoning the deck. To do this
the men knelt down, sprinkled sand and water on the deck, and then
rubbed the holystones to and fro to wear the deck smooth and white. The
stones that were used in this ship were of the shape of a brick, only
somewhat larger.

One morning this work was going on, and the second mate found one of
his men had disappeared. He picked up his holystone and went in search
of him. Just as he got to the forecastle door the man, a young sailor
called Dan, was just coming out on deck with a plug of tobacco in his
hand.

"What are you doing in there?" said Mr. Howard.

"I've been to get a chew of tobacco, sir," said Dan.

The second mate gave him a few rounds of curses, and then struck him
over the forehead with the holystone, which flew into pieces, breaking
in the middle from the force of the blow. Dan's head was not much the
worse for it though, and he went back to his work apparently unharmed.

The captain came on deck soon after, and while overseeing the work as
usual, he spied the broken stone.

"How did that stone get broken?" he asked of Mr. Howard.

"I just broke it over that nigger's head, sir."

"Did you, really? He must have a tough head. What was it for?"

"Because he left his work and went into the forecastle," said Mr.
Howard.

"That's right. Keep 'em up to the work; don't take a word from 'em, or
if one of 'em dares give you a black look, just pick up the cook's axe
and split his skull open!"

All this was said in a loud tone for the benefit of the men, and the
second mate was so much encouraged by this endorsement, that the same
day he broke a deck-bucket against another sailor's head, who gave him
a "black look," and as a boy was coiling up a rope in a larger coil
than he fancied, he sang out to him:

"What sort of a way is that to coil up a rope," and hurled an iron
belaying-pin at him with all his might. It missed its mark and made a
deep scar in the wood-work of the forward house. If the captain did not
value his sailors' heads very much, the same imputation did not apply
to his buckets or the appearance of the ship; and this last occurrence
was so manifestly unjust, and resulted moreover in such an injury to
the house, that it brought the second mate a mild rebuke from the
captain, who told him he ought to be careful or he'd kill somebody. He
seemed to forget that splitting skulls open with the cook's axe might
probably lead to that result.

All these affairs, which are but samples of many others, made the
mate and myself still more unfriendly to Mr. Howard, and scarcely any
conversation passed between us. But the captain seeing this coolness,
befriended Howard all the more in private, though one night when all
hands were on deck, he got so furious at the mate's neglect to answer
his orders, that he hauled off his coat and offered to fight the second
mate, greatly to Howard's bewilderment, who thought it was rather poor
business to do all the "captain's dirty work" for him and then get paid
with the abuse, which belonged to the mate, but which the captain was
afraid to give him.

Howard's cruelty and cowardice culminated in an act which even the
captain had to condemn. One of the two boys was named Taylor, and
had formerly been a servant in the house of a well-known senator in
Washington. If not one of the brightest boys in the world, he was one
of the most well disposed, and though he had felt the captain's "cat"
on his back pretty often, nothing seemed to interfere with his good
nature. It was he who called the captain when Jake was attacking the
second mate.

One evening at clearing-up time, Taylor was sent aft on the poop with
a broom to sweep the deck down. But after sweeping a little while, he
rested his broom against the house, and commenced making some motions
for the benefit of the man at the wheel, which seemed to tickle him
very much. Just then the captain happened to look around the corner of
the house, and spying master Taylor's proceedings, he put an end to the
fun by shouting:

"You imp, what are you doing there?"

"Nothing, sir," said Taylor, beginning to move his broom very
assiduously.

"If that's what you call nothing, I'll teach you not to do nothing
again!" and taking him by the neck he hauled him along to where the
cat was hanging at the front of the cabin, and taking it down, gave
Taylor's back such a dressing as it had not received that voyage.
He was amply punished, to say the least, but not enough to suit Mr.
Howard, who followed the boy forward, and getting him forward of the
foremast said to him:

"What did I send you aft for?"

"To sweep the deck, sir," answered Taylor.

"Yes; so I did," said Mr. Howard, "and instead of doing it you must go
to skylarking with the man at the wheel. The 'old man' has licked you
for fooling on the poop, and now I owe you something for not doing what
I told you to."

Without further words he struck Taylor on the face with a belaying-pin,
and followed it up with several blows in the same place. The boy's
shrieks brought the mate forward; but by the time he had reached the
spot, the damage was done, and the boy lay fainting upon the fore-hatch
with his face covered with blood.

The worthy mate, as soon as he comprehended the matter, burst out with
some expressions more forcible than elegant, and said to the second
mate:

"Mr. Howard, there's nothing of the man about you. You're a disgrace
to the very name of a man. An officer that would treat a boy like that
ought to be keel-hauled."

The second mate sneaked away aft, leaving the mate to take care of the
boy.

The next day the captain missed Taylor from the deck, and hearing that
he had laid up, sent for him. He appeared with his face so swollen
and discolored that no one could have recognized him. Capt. Streeter
was quite shocked by the case, and gave him proper lotions from the
medicine-chest. He took a private opportunity to tell Mr. Howard
that he had been rather too severe this time; but avoided any public
reproach of him, not wishing to give any further encouragement to Mr.
Morrison's hostility.

In all this time I was getting along pretty well. The crew had fighting
enough from the other officers to keep them in respectful awe of "the
powers that be" without much need of my using my fists against them,
though the captain kept up his system of alternate persecutions and
insinuating stories, all designed to make me such an officer as he
thought I ought to be.

The mate was treated with all the contempt that the captain dared to
show him, and his naturally irritable temper was by no means soothed
by this feature of his situation. I sometimes had good proof of this
by receiving a snappish rebuke for some fault or omission detected by
the mate's keen eyes. But apart from a momentary exasperation, this
had no great effect on my spirits, for I accepted such occurrences as
the inevitable portion of a third mate, and was only thankful that my
share was no larger than it was.

As for actual pleasure in the course of my duties, that was something I
had learned not to expect on board the "Dublin." The sole idea of the
ship as the captain endeavored to direct it, was work, work, and every
job, whether of putting on a seizing or sweeping the deck, was to be
done with the interest and thoroughness which would attend a matter of
life or death. Nothing that was ship's duty could be called trivial,
and if a shaving took refuge under a spare spar, escaping the boy's
broom, it demanded as great an outcry as one would suppose belonged to
one, who had scuttled the ship. In fact it generally received it, for
if the shaving escaped the officer's eye, it was pretty sure to meet
the captain's glance, for he was very particular after clearing-up time
to search for something, which would give him opportunity to find fault
with his officers, and show them they had not done their duty.

The second mate and I had a room in the starboard side of the after
house, opening out upon the deck. The weather being warm, I usually
left the door open when I turned in, and one morning at about five
o'clock I was awakened by a tremendous string of oaths, uttered by
the captain in a very loud tone just in front of my room. "That shows
the ambition of my officers," said he. "Nothing can be done unless I
see to it myself. I believe if I should keep in my room one day the
ship would go clear to destruction," (only he used a more explicit
name,) and he went on with mingled curses and denunciations about the
ambition of his officers, in a way that made me tremble. The occasion
of this display, I learned, was the falling of a bundle of salt-fish
from underneath one of the boats, and it happened that I had sent a
man the evening before to see that it was well secured, as there was
an appearance of more wind coming during the night. Being before the
wind, the ship rolled a good deal, and the salt-fish fetched away in
spite of the sailor's effort at securing it. There was no damage done
to the fish, but it showed to the captain's mind that his officers had
no ambition, and he made use of it to let off the cross feelings which
mates know as a general thing attend a captain's getting up in the
morning, and seem to be a sort of morning bitters--an appetizer for
his cup of coffee. All these things gave me a vivid impression of the
meaning of the phrase "eternal vigilance;" for no matter how hard I
tried or closely watched, every little while there would be discovered
some job which a sailor had slighted, or a gasket would get adrift on
a yard while I was busied with work which required my whole attention,
and the captain, who had nothing else to do but look for such things,
would happen to spy it, and then would begin his taunting, aggravating
remarks: "Nobody sees anything, but me. I don't know what they'd do
without the old man," and so on, in a way that sometimes goaded me
almost beyond endurance. When the captain saw this effect, in the
next leisure moment he would have a yarn to spin or a word about home
to soothe me again, for he seemed quite concerned about my ultimate
impressions of my captain.

I philosophized over all this and comforted myself with the reflection
that it was good training for me to be under such strict surveillance,
and then I fell back upon the memory of pleasures which had been
the result of this voyage, my travels in Italy; and often in the
night-watch, I sought refuge from my intense broodings over the
captain's tyranny and harshness, by standing, in imagination, by the
Coliseum or under the dome of St. Peter's, or in gazing with memory's
eye upon the almost living figures of Raphael and Guido, or the statues
of the Vatican. The whistling of the wind recalled to me the beautiful
echoes of the Baptistry of Pisa, and the inclining masts, its leaning
tower; or, in more sober moods I remembered my sensations as I stood by
the tombs of Galileo, Michael Angelo and Dante at Florence.

After passing the longitude of Bermuda the course was shaped more to
the northward, and losing the trades, southerly winds and variables
took their place, and helped the good ship along still further. A few
days more would end the voyage, and I hoped the disagreeable features
of it might prove to be already ended.

There was an old negro on board called Jenkings, who was nearly sixty
years of age. He had been to sea a good part of his life, but was now
not much more of a sailor than when he first started. Being in the
mate's watch, poor Jenkings was hauled over the coals every day for
some bad job or mistake; and the mate had expended more words upon him
than upon any two men in the crew.

The captain was very fond of calling Jenkings to him and giving him
an errand at the other end of the ship, telling him to run as fast
as he could, and the captain stood and laughed at his movements; for
his feeble legs made strange work of it, and though they moved up and
down pretty often, made a slow business of forging ahead. One day,
while watching these movements, he remarked to me, as I was sitting on
the deck near him, strapping a block: "A man would be a wretch that
would strike that old thing." And I remembered it as evidence that the
captain had some tender mercies with regard to sailors after all.

The mate never went farther with him than to pull his white beard, or
tie him up in the rigging by his thumbs. But it was very hard for him
to do anything to the mate's satisfaction; and every day Mr. Morrison's
shrill tones and Scotch accent were bestowed most liberally upon old
Jenkings, who always received his rebukes in perfect silence, but with
his thick, pouting lips stuck out beyond their usual great prominence.

In crossing the Gulf Stream we found unsettled weather, as is apt to be
the case in the region of this wonderful current, and were busied in
taking in or setting sail, as occasion required. The captain had given
orders in the afternoon to set the cro' jack; and having just had a
dispute with the mate, he went into the cabin in a cross mood, to get
out of the way while the sail was being set. When the work was about
finished, he was just stepping out of the cabin, as I sung out to old
Jenkings, who was on top of the house: "Let go that buntline; what are
you hauling it taut for?"

"Aye, aye, sir," was the response, uttered in rather a testy voice.

Capt. Streeter was just shutting the cabin door at this time, and did
it with a force that expressed his temper, and this prevented the "sir"
from reaching his ears. He sprang to windward, and seeing me standing
by the mizzen-rigging, called to me: "Get up on the house and knock
that old nigger's head off!"

I stared at him in amazement, wondering if he had gone crazy.

"Get up there," he repeated, "and give him a rope's-end over his back.
Don't take an insult from anybody."

Instead of obeying his direction, I walked towards the captain and
passed him without saying a word.

Capt. Streeter saw the work must come upon him if he wanted it done;
and with a few bounds was on top of the house, and snatching a rope
away from old Jenkings, that he was coiling up, gave him some vigorous
blows over the back with the end of it. "Will you ever speak to one of
my officers again without saying 'Sir?'" said the captain, as he paused
a moment for breath.

"I always do, sir," answered Jenkings, who was wholly at a loss to
understand what all this meant.

"You're a liar," said the captain, with a few more expressions
peculiarly Capt. Streeter's, and gave him another flogging.

When he had finished, he turned and walked to the edge of the house and
said: "Mr. A----, if you ever let a man say aye, aye, to you again,
I'll serve you in the same way."

"No one ever said it to me since I've been aboard of this ship, sir," I
replied.

"Yes, there has," said the captain. "This man just said it."

"You're mistaken, sir; he didn't," said I.

"You call me a liar, do you?" said Capt. Streeter, in a furious
passion. "I'll teach you to know your place. I've treated you so well,
you think you can take charge of the ship; but I'll let you know
I'm captain of her yet." He continued with such a string of words
that there was no chance to reply, and I walked forward to set the
flying-jib, leaving him to talk to the mizzen-mast, which he did for
some time after, to the edification of the man at the wheel, raving and
cursing about white-livered officers, religion, sailors, and ending at
last with an anathema on his own eyes.

Two days after, the water changed from its deep blue to green, and the
deep sea lead found bottom at eighty fathoms. The wind died away as we
approached the land, and we lay becalmed for some hours; but at last
the ship began to move along, though there was scarcely a breath of
wind to be felt on deck. I hove the log in a little while, and reported
to the captain that the ship was going seven knots. He would not
believe it, and told me to try it again; but the same result was shown,
and having occasion to go aloft immediately after, I found a fresh
breeze blowing there. The top-gallantsails and royals were pulling
hard, and the topsails "stood" most of the time, but the "courses" were
hanging up and down, without taking a breath of wind.

That night found the ship again in Chesapeake Bay, with a Baltimore
pilot on board, having been fifty days on the passage from Genoa, and a
little over five months and a half on the voyage.

It was now the beginning of June. The weather was mild and beautifully
clear, and a pleasant westerly breeze enabled the ship to lay her
course up the bay.

When the pilot comes on board, he is always supposed to take sole
charge of the ship; but Capt. Streeter could not bear to think of any
one superseding him, and so kept about deck, frequently giving orders
about the sails or yards. The pilot was somewhat surprised by this
conduct, but said nothing. In the morning, while he was walking on top
of the house, the captain stepped out of the cabin, and seeing that
the wind was a little free, called out in a loud, pompous tone: "Mr.
Morrison, set the foretopmast studding-sail;" his manner implying that
he would show the pilot he didn't allow his ship to go loafing along,
when it could be helped. The pilot kept on with his walk, and the
sailors rove off the gear, rigged out the boom, and hoisted the sail
up. The captain promenaded about with a self-satisfied air, scarcely
deigning to notice the pilot. But a minute after the sheet had been
trimmed down and before the ropes were coiled up, the pilot altered
the ship's course a little, and sang out: "Haul down that topmast
studding-sail!"

The captain disappeared into the cabin very suddenly, and let the pilot
take care of the ship afterward without any interference.

A calm set in in the afternoon, and we anchored off Point Lookout,
at the mouth of the Potomac; but in the early hours of the morning,
a breeze enabled us to get under way again, and meeting a steam-tug,
the captain struck a bargain, and the little boat took us in tow and
brought us by Fort McHenry into the harbor of Baltimore, just before
the sun went down. As much as twenty miles below the city we met
sailor boarding-house runners, cruising in their boats, but refused to
allow them on board, and the refusal in each case called forth a volley
of curses and the foulest language. When near the city a perfect swarm
of boats had collected about the ship, hanging on to her channels or
sailing along by her; and every little while some adventurous person
would climb up the side and attempt to come on board, and if refused,
as they always were, would use most insulting language. One fellow,
who persistently took his stand in the main channels, and refused to
get into his boat, was accosted by the captain with a belaying-pin;
but he coolly drew out a revolver and threatened to blow the captain's
brains out if he dared to touch him. The pilot cautioned the captain
not to quarrel with these men, for they belonged to an organized gang
of rowdies called "blood-tubs," and his life would not be safe on shore
if he took any harsh measures with them.

I thought Capt. Streeter had attained to the highest perfection
possible in the use of profane language, but these men quite equalled
him, using epithets and comparisons, shewing that human ingenuity had
been taxed to the utmost to invent new phrases and combinations of
oaths.

After a good many threats of murdering the captain and officers when
they caught them ashore, they one by one pulled in to the wharves and
left the ship unmolested. The next day the "Dublin" hauled in to a
wharf, at Fell's Point. The sailors had formed great plans for sueing
the captain and second mate, and anticipated a sweet revenge in this
way; but unfortunately they had arrived in a slave state, where a black
man's testimony would not be taken in court, and where also a black
sailor could not be discharged from his ship, unless some white man
became his bondsman that he should leave the state within twenty-four
hours. So there was nothing to do but postpone their revenge to the
indefinite time, when they might catch them in New York or Boston.

A tailor, for the sake of their custom, entered into bonds for the
men, and after making a pretty good bill out of each, shipped them by
railroad to New York.

After the sailors were all settled with, Capt. Streeter called the mate
into the cabin and said to him: "Mr. Morrison, I suppose you want to
leave, since you've told me you're ashamed of the ship."

"I'm not ashamed of the ship, sir," answered the mate; "I'm only
ashamed of the captain. I like the ship very much; I only wish she had
a master worthy of her."

The captain brought about this conversation hoping that in their last
interview he might have the advantage, and pour out on Mr. Morrison
some of the hatred that had been boiling within him since they had
quarrelled off Gibraltar. But the shrewd, sensible Scotchman was too
much for him, and he saw that if he got Mr. Morrison's tongue into
full course he should get a greater worsting than he had had during the
voyage, so he said:

"Well, if you want to leave, hand in your bill. I've had talk enough
with you."

"It's the captain's duty to hand in accounts," said the mate, "and I
should like to have you do it."

Here he was cornered again; so he went into his room and got the
"portage bill," and paid down the wages due him without another word.

The mate then packed up his things, bid me a hearty and feeling
good-by, and as he drove away from the ship his handkerchief went
up to his eyes to wipe away a few tears, which came in spite of his
self-control, as he thought of the contrast between the high purpose
and worthy determination to do his duty faithfully, which inspired him
when he joined the ship, and the disappointment and hatred which marked
the close of the voyage.

The mate being disposed of, to the captain's great relief, and a deeply
muttered curse sent after him, Mr. Howard was summoned to his presence,
and received the reward of all his subservience and brutality, by being
asked to remain by the ship and go as mate the next voyage.

"I should like to go with you, sir," he answered, "for I like you
better than any man I ever sailed with, but I don't know anything about
navigation."

"That doesn't matter," said the captain. "I want Mr. A---- to go second
mate, and he's a good navigator, and if anything happens to me, he
could get the ship into port."

I was then called in and to my great surprise was asked to remain by
the ship until she was discharged, and go next voyage as second mate.

"I'm much obliged to you, sir," I said; "but I don't think I should
suit you very well, and I'm not sure that I shall go to sea again. I
dare say I can find something to do on shore that I am better fitted
for. I've been brought up to act as a gentleman, and an officer's life,
as it is here, would force me to be a very different character."

"I've always told you, you know," said the captain, "that you've got to
give up your nice notions if you go to sea. But you'll come to it in
time. I'm not the worst man that goes to sea, and if you try to find a
better one, you may jump from the frying-pan into the fire. If you're
determined to leave, of course you can go. I never beg anybody to go
with me, but give me your address, and by the time we're ready for sea
again, I'll write to you and see if you haven't changed your mind. You
may think better of it after you've been ashore a few weeks. I want
you to understand there are plenty of second mates to be had, and good
ones too, but I've taken an interest in you, and think I can make a
good officer out of you, so for your own sake I'd like to have you go
again."

I went home the next day. Mr. Morrison had preceded me by one day and
had reported himself at the office of the owner, who received him very
cordially, and, giving him a chair, told him he was very sorry he had
left the ship so soon, and asked what was the reason. Mr. Morrison said
to him:

"I left because I was not willing to sail with Capt. Streeter, and I
consider no man with any respect for himself could sail with him a
moment longer than was absolutely necessary. His knock-down principles,
the language he used, and the example he set on board the 'Dublin' were
such as would shock even a Water-street bully."

"Dear me, dear me," said the good man; "I'm sorry to hear that. I don't
like to have such a man in my ship. I'll talk to him and tell him he
must do differently if he wishes to stay in my employ. He never takes
an officer a second voyage, and I expect something is wrong. I'll look
into it."

Mr. Morrison went into no details, but merely said enough to excuse
himself for leaving the ship, and having apparently satisfied the owner
that there was no blame attaching to him for not remaining by the ship,
he bade him good-morning.

When I got to the end of the story, the passenger gave a sigh of relief
and said: "I'm glad I'm not on board the "Dublin." I think I prefer the
_Rocket_."



CHAPTER V.

JOHN SHEPHARD.


After passing Amsterdam Island we gradually turned our course to the
northward, and without any delay in the debatable ground north of the
westerly wind region, we struck the south east trades. One evening the
vessel was slipping along at the rate of seven knots, with the wind two
points free and the sea so smooth that motion was scarcely perceptible.
A hush pervaded the ship, that seemed indicative of as much peace
within the vessel as without. At six o'clock John Shephard came to the
wheel, and the quiet sailing and steady steering inclined me to break
the usual custom--"no conversation with the man at the wheel." "She
steers well to-night, doesn't she, John?"

John blushed up to his eyelids, as was his wont when addressed by the
"old man."

"Yes, sir, she steers like a pilot-boat."

"This is pleasant sailing," I added, "if going to sea was all like this
we would have the old women for sailors."

"It's the pleasantest going to sea ever I saw," said John, "and things
are first rate all the time now; I never in all my going to sea knew
things go on so well in the forecastle; we don't have any growling or
rows with each other, and if things could be like this I wouldn't mind
going to sea all my life."

"You don't expect to go all your life then, I suppose?"

"No sir, I came near knocking off some time ago, but I had bad luck."

"How was that?" I asked.

"Well, sir, I'm most ashamed to tell you, but it was this way: I was
at Bombay in an English ship when the Sepoy war broke out, and I left
the vessel and joined the army. I was at Delhi, and when we took the
city I went through the palaces and got a good deal of plunder. I had a
diamond ring that was worth two or three thousand dollars and I got a
lot of gold coin and jewels that I sewed into a belt and wore around my
waist. When the war was over I was discharged in Calcutta and engaged
passage in a steamer for England. I meant to go home to Hanover, buy
a farm and live there with my old mother, and I had money enough to
keep us there in comfort. But the night before I was to sail I got on a
spree, and the next morning I found myself lying in a gutter. Somebody
had taken the ring off my finger and stolen the belt from my body, and
I hadn't a cent left in the world. So I had to give up going home, and
ship before the mast again. What little money I have earned since, I
have sent to my mother, but I can't get ahead any, and every hour in
the day I think about that awful night in Calcutta and what I lost."

This explained the pensive look that John continually wore. I was much
touched by his story, told with child-like simplicity, his speech with
its slight German accent striking musically upon the ear.

John was my favorite sailor. He was a Hanoverian by birth, and I
suppose had some German name, but what it was I never knew. "John
Shephard" was the false flag he sailed under. He had made a previous
voyage with me and afterwards sailed on a third. On the first voyage
he had been selected by the mate as the scape-goat for his ill temper.
Many mates who aspire to the reputation of being "bullies" thus pick
out a good-natured, inoffensive man, and hurrah, shout and curse at
him, while the men whom they know would resent such conduct are treated
mildly and their faults are overlooked. Soon reports came to me about
that "green dutchman, John," "a perfect galoot," who didn't "know B
from a bull's foot," didn't "know enough to go into the house when
it rains," was "enough to make a minister swear," and so on. He was
sent to do all the dirty work, pound the iron rust, slush the masts,
do "rope-yarn jobs" aloft in a gale of wind, often being sent aloft
without any explanation of what he was to do, and when he got above
the top where he could scarcely hear, a volley of orders and abuse was
yelled at him with bewildering effect. He certainly at such times did
seem stupid, but all through the voyage I saw no resentment shown,
heard no "back answers" and only noticed the flush of the cheek that
betrayed the wounded spirit he so submissively controlled. I began to
love that quiet, faithful sailor and to protect him from abuse whenever
I could do so without disorganizing discipline.

On the present voyage I noticed that John was always placed at the
best work. If a cringle was to be put in a sail, or a cloth let in,
a seizing to be squared, or a ratline to be straightened, John was
called on oftener than anyone else to do it. I asked the mate one day:
"How is it you put John at such good jobs; do you consider him a good
sailor-man?"

"Yes, sir," said the mate; "he's just as good a sailor-man as there is
in the crew. It doesn't do to watch him too closely though. If I stand
over him he often gets flustered and does things back-handed, but let
him try his own way and he'll do things shipshape."

I was delighted to hear a good word spoken for John, and thought much
better of the mate for his perception and wise dealing. Often have I
said: "If all sailors were like John it would be only a pleasure to
go to sea." He lives in my memory as my model sailor, in spite of his
deficiencies.

He was a well-formed man, of medium size, straight and compact, with
light, curly hair, good features, a very clean face with rosy cheeks,
and blue eyes that were really beautiful in their soft expression.
His cheerful smile and modest blush made it a pleasure to accost him.
He was always neat in his dress, and though four bells struck when he
was riding down a stay "up to his eyes" in tar, he would dive into
the forecastle and in a few minutes appear to take his trick at the
wheel with clean dungaree pants and hickory shirt. As his clear voice
repeated the course, "Nord, nord-east, half east," I would go below
saying to myself, "The ship will be well steered these two hours."

Where is John now? Has he bought his farm yet in the Faderland? Or
has he fallen over board, or died in a foreign hospital? Has he been
disheartened by the harsh treatment of cruel mates and become degraded
in his habits on shore? May God bless him wherever he is, and through
all his wanderings bring him safely to the Fatherland!

We attempted a Christmas dinner in the cabin, while the sailors had
their plum duff in honor of the festival. Our table bore a goodly
display of articles, as regards name, but probably their quality would
be less attractive to landsmen's palates. We dressed in our "shore
togs;" appropriate sentiments were uttered, and an original ode was
recited, as follows:


ODE TO THE _ROCKET_.

  TUNE: "_Van Amburgh's Menagerie_."

  The _Rocket_ is our vessel's name,
    A noble Boston bark.
  Her qualities are known to fame,
    As I need not remark.
  For fourteen years she's ploughed the wave,
    And sailed through every clime;
  Though billows roar and tempests rave,
    She always comes to time.

  _Chorus_: The _Rocket_ now we'll praise,
              For she's as good a craft
            As ever dashed aside the sprays,
              Or at the storm-king laughed.

  The captain, first and second mate,
    A passenger beside,
  Are lads as true as ever ate
    Plum duff upon the tide.
  The Straits of Sunda is our goal
    To which we're speeding free;
  And now we fill the flowing bowl
    To life upon the sea.

  _Chorus_: Here comes the fiery _Rocket_
    With sportsmen smart and gay;
  If birds would not be shot at
    They'd better keep away.

  When with fresh wind and flowing sheet
    We're flying through the foam,
  Our hearts with joy and gladness beat,
    As round the world we roam.
  Or in the calm and tropic night,
    The stars recall to mind
  The eyes, as beautiful and bright
    Of girls we've left behind.

  _Chorus_: Speed on thou noble _Rocket_!
    Until the voyage ends,
  And our good fortune brings us
    Once more to home and friends.

  Roll on ye waves, ye breezes blow,
    Swift speed us on our course,
  And soon to Asia's shores we'll show
    The Ensign and Black Horse.[1]
  And when we step on Java's strand,
    Our double toast shall be
  The glorious old bark _Rocket_, and
    The Romance of the sea.

  _Chorus_: The _Rocket_ now we'll praise,
    For she's as good a craft
  As ever dashed aside the sprays,
    Or at the storm-king laughed.

The vessel had received a liberal outfit from the owners, who expressed
the wish that the sailors should not be restricted to a diet of salt
beef and hard bread, believing this to be the most expensive way of
provisioning a ship, as well as an unsatisfactory one to the crew.
Accordingly the men were allowed "soft bread" every night; there was
a good supply of potatoes, onions, and beets on board, and mackerel,
herrings, tongues and sounds, dried apples, corn meal, and pickles
were provided, in addition to the usual supplies of rice, beans, split
peas, salt codfish and the inevitable beef, pork, and "hard-tack."
Molasses and vinegar were freely served out, these condiments often
making a plain meal quite palatable, and one evening in a week molasses
gingerbread was furnished in place of the "soft bread." In the cabin
we had a tolerable supply of canned provisions and had no reason to
complain. I find, however, the following entry in my journal:

"I feel a strong desire to get ashore and have something new to eat. We
have a good supply of stores, but there is so much sameness necessarily
in our table fare, that the very thought of meal times takes away one's
appetite. We had a large stock of vegetables and still have potatoes,
onions and beets, so there is no fear of scurvy. I have sometimes said
that the only advantage I ever discovered in going to sea, was the
ability to eat onions, without fear of offending one's associates. But
after indulgence in this respect every day for three months, I feel
willing to renounce this luxurious privilege of sea life, and endure
the privations of civilized society for a while."

Very small incidents become noteworthy at sea and one day was enlivened
by the appearance of the Malay cabin boy before me, with very solemn
face, exclaiming, in tragic tones: "Sir! the ginger won't live long."
It proved that a jar of preserved ginger, having been left open in the
pantry, the officers had treated themselves in a night-watch, thus
shortening its life.

Some little anxiety was caused by some doubtful islands being set
down on the chart, but we sailed over their supposed locality without
striking anything, or seeing any sign of shoal water.

Those who have examined charts of the sea, have noticed frequent
interrogation points, which indicate that dangers have been reported in
the localities designated. The charts of the Pacific Ocean especially
abound with these reputed rocks and shoals, and keep the navigator
in continual alarm, lest one should prove to be a reality. It was a
wonder to me how these false alarms, as most of them are now known to
be, could ever have been given, but an occurrence, by which I myself
was deceived, has suggested a plausible explanation of some of the
instances.

I was sailing in the South Pacific (in the ship "California,") in lat.
24° 20´ south, lon. 125° 6´ west. We were steering south, with the
wind north, the sky clear, and the ship going about two knots through
the water. At 1, P.M., the officer of the deck reported to me that
there were breakers ahead, and on the port bow. I went on deck, and
saw what appeared to be an extensive field of breakers, and also a low
island or sand bank, thirty feet high, and three miles long, without
trees or verdure, and with shoals, on which the sea broke, extending
five miles from it to the north and west. The island bore south-east,
eight miles distant, and the nearest breakers were two and one half or
three miles distant from the vessel.

The mate went aloft with me to the mizzen-topsail yard, and with my
marine glass we took a good look, and were both entirely convinced that
what we saw were genuine breakers. The sea was very smooth and we could
see the swell rolling towards us, then cresting, and spreading thin
sheets of foam upon the water. The island also appeared very distinct
as seen through the glass. I went down on deck with the intention of
altering the ship's course, but deciding to run a little nearer to the
breakers, I went up to the fore-topsail yard to watch them and steer
the ship past them. I soon noticed that they changed their position
somewhat, that the ship drew no nearer to them, and that there was a
perfect calm where they prevailed. Finally I found the whole appearance
was an optical delusion, caused by the sun shining upon the glassy
swell of the sea, and a peculiar state of atmospheric refraction.

I kept the ship on her course, and sailed through the spot where the
first breakers appeared, finding blue water there, but still observing
the breakers in the calm spots at varying distances for the next three
hours, until 4, P.M., when the breeze freshened at the west, and the
illusion was dispelled. The island vanished after being in sight for an
hour, and I presume was caused by the looming of the swell of the sea
in the horizon.

The whole ship's company were deceived by this remarkable appearance,
and if circumstances had not favored my prolonged inspection of it, I
should certainly have made a report which would have added another to
the list of doubtful dangers, which are combined puzzles and terrors to
navigators.

Fresh south-east trades brought us north at an average speed of over
nine knots, for a few days, and carried us to lat. 12° 30´ S. Here,
according to books, we should find the N.W. Monsoon, and anticipating
it I had followed the sailing directions and kept to the westward of
the direct course, in order to be sure of fetching into the Straits
of Sunda with the north-west wind. Instead of this, eleven successive
days of light south-east airs and calms attended us. Coming at the end
of the passage, this delay was very hard to bear, and we saw daily the
hopes of a "crack passage" dwindling away. The tropical sun poured
down upon us, and with no breezes stirring to alleviate its effects,
discomfort of body was added to the distress of mind. The attitudes
assumed on one of these calm, hot days, are so expressive of the mental
emotions entertained, that the reader for further information as to how
we felt, is referred to our artist's portrayal of the scene.

The _Rocket's_ cabin was below the poop-deck, built in the style
called a "trunk," that is, sunk part way into the between decks.
My room was in the forward end, on the starboard side, and a small
window opening through the "break of the poop" admitted sights and
sounds from the deck. This was often very serviceable in keeping track
of what was going on when the "old man," as the captain is always
styled, was supposed to be safely out of the way. I also overheard
many conversations not intended for my ear, and was sometimes
entertained by the officers' yarns as they sat on the booby-hatch in
the dog-watch, six to eight o'clock in the evening. As this was the
passenger's first experience of sea-life, they very kindly supplied
him most liberally with information on that topic. Some of the items
were of considerable interest. The mate gave most of the stories, but
the second mate sometimes "put in his oar." One evening, I heard the
mate describe, in terms that would have done honor to a city-press
reporter, the construction of a new steamer that was to combine two
means of locomotion. A railroad was laid on her deck, and when she
left New York, a train containing the passengers started from her
stern. When the bow of the ship reached Liverpool, the train would just
get to that end of the ship, having been rushing ahead all the time
that the steamer was crossing the Atlantic. If I remember rightly, the
passengers were only three days in crossing by this double method of
travel.

[Illustration: Dead calm.--Thermometer 90° in the shade.]

The second mate followed this up with an account of a sailing-ship that
he was in, which had a gangway built around the ship, and the captain
used to ride around the vessel on horseback with a speaking-trumpet,
giving orders. The ship was lighted by gas. Pipes with hot tea and
coffee ran to the captain's state-room from the galley, and a small
railroad was laid on deck to carry the hands fore and aft, but it was a
horse-car affair, and so on.

The most remarkable story, I felt worthy of record, and I will give it
in the mate's words.

"When I was mate of the clipper ship "Nonesuch" (she had three decks
and no bottom) we were sailing in the Indian Ocean bound from Mauritius
to Calcutta, in ballast. One day, looking to windward I saw a great
splashing in the water, which rapidly approached the vessel. I ran
up the mizzen-rigging and discovered that a large whale was coming
towards us pursued by a swordfish, which made attacks upon it whenever
it could overtake the whale. As they neared the ship the whale sank
a little below the surface of the water, and then, seeing the hull of
the vessel in the way, it rose to the surface, gave one twist of its
tail, and with a tremendous effort leaped into the air, and went clean
over the royal-mast head. I never was so astonished in my life, and the
swordfish appeared to be equally surprised, for he stopped and looked
aloft for half a second, and then making a dive he went under the keel
of the ship. As he rose to the surface on the other side, he pointed
his sword up straight in the air, and when the whale fell he caught it
on the point and whirled it round and round for nearly a minute. Then
the whale got off, the swordfish being wearied out, I suppose, and both
started on another race. After going a little distance the whale turned
towards the ship, and being too feeble now, from loss of blood, to take
another leap, he struck the ship and swung alongside, broadside on. The
swordfish came on with such force that his sword pierced the body of
the whale and we felt the jar as it struck the ship's side. There they
lay thrashing and bleeding. We were surprised that the whale didn't
move off, as we had been going five or six knots, and we also noticed
that our speed was reduced. The carpenter went down into the hold,
and found that the fish's sword had cut right through the side of the
ship, and whale and swordfish were made fast to us. He got his hammer
and bent the end of the sword so that it couldn't be pulled out; and
the whale soon dying, we turned into a whale-ship for a while, cut it
up and tried out several barrels of oil. We shot the swordfish with a
rifle, but left his sword in the plank, and it was cut out when we got
home and put in a museum for a curiosity. We found the greatest lot of
trash in the whale's stomach that you can imagine--pieces of sailor's
shirts, old boots, tin pans, glass bottles and preserve-cans. There was
a very fine linen handkerchief with some queer letters in the corner,
which no one could make out. The captain carried it home and showed
it to a minister, who was a great scholar. He said the letters were
Hebrew and spelt Jonah! There seemed to be no doubt that this was the
very whale that swallowed the prophet, when he cut sticks off to sea
and got hove overboard in a gale of wind. It's said Jonah felt down in
the mouth after the whale took him in, and no doubt he cried and took
out his handkerchief to wipe his eyes. Then he came out pretty sudden,
and must have dropped it in his surprise. I've always believed in Jonah
since then."

One afternoon, when ninety-eight days out, we sighted Java Head, the
south-western point of Java, and at sunset were just fifteen miles west
of it. This seemed almost like arrival at our destination. It is a
great relief to the navigator, after months of steering by the stars,
to find his reckoning proved correct by seeing the dry land appear,
just where his calculations lead him to look for it. It thrills his
mind to think that he has been enabled to find his way through pathless
wastes, over half the circumference of the globe, to a little head-land
in the eastern seas. He feels a reverence for the noble science whose
deductions have led to this result, and also usually indulges in
some self-complacent emotions at his own successful application of
its rules. Having bearings of the land he now knows where he is by
sight, and gladly leaves his life of faith. He finds, however, that
this element of security is offset by a vast increase of danger. In
proximity to the land are rocks and shoals, and around them sweep ever
varying currents. Dark nights and storms envelope and assail him, and
hours of anxiety are passed, such as are wholly unknown in the deep sea
sailing.

This night I was destined to experience the hazards of coast navigation
and to recognize the preserving hand of God in preventing our
shipwreck. Knowing my position so exactly, I felt emboldened to attempt
to work into the Straits of Sunda in the night. In the evening a fresh
breeze sprang up ahead varying from E.S.E. to E.N.E., accompanied by
heavy rain-squalls. The night was very dark and I remained on deck
the whole time, except for the few moments occasionally required for
marking the supposed position on the chart and planning the movements
of the vessel. We made several tacks and at three o'clock in the
morning, when I supposed we were well into the Straits, after a
rain-squall had passed, the clouds broke away, revealing the old moon
just getting out of bed from behind a high hill directly ahead, towards
which we were hastening at a rate of speed which would have cast us
upon its shores in another quarter of an hour. The bark was immediately
hove to, while I tried unsuccessfully to verify my position. Daylight
revealed that we had been about running into Java Head, the current
having set us back S.W. by S. 32 miles in twelve hours. So here we
were, instead of being in the Strait, still at its entrance, not having
secured any gain from all the night's work, the insidious current
having robbed us of the fruits of our toil. I had been fretting all
the night because the wind would not haul and allow us to steer in a
certain direction. I was thrilled and instructed by noticing on the
chart that, if I had been permitted to take the course I desired, we
should have certainly been wrecked on the dangerous reef extending
from Prince's Island. How near we came to it I cannot say, but that we
avoided it was not owing to my own skill, but to Him whose hand led me
in the uttermost parts of the sea. Many a successful navigator in these
Eastern waters could join me in acknowledging that in some instances
his safety has been owing "more to luck than good management" as the
common phrase goes, or as one had better say, to a kind Providence.
This event gave me an illustration of "Prayer answered by crosses" and
in later trials has helped me to say: "Thy will be done."

The next night, being in very close quarters among islands and rocks,
I took bearings of a light to test my progress, the darkness hiding
the dangers from view. A light breeze was blowing, and the bark moved
at the rate of about two knots through the water. The light however
remained on the same bearing, showing that we gained nothing on it, and
I supposed the same strong current was neutralizing all the power of
the wind. I was about to come to anchor to avoid the peril of drifting
about in the darkness amid so many dangers, when a close inspection of
the light with the marine glass, showed it was not on the land, but on
board a vessel in shore, sailing with us, and on the other side we soon
discovered a rock, which we were passing quite swiftly, the current
evidently having changed in the opposite direction. This event supplied
another moral reflection: the importance of measuring by a right
standard.

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 1: The owners' private signal.]



CHAPTER VI.

LIFE IN THE EAST INDIES.

  "It is a goodly sight to see
  What Heaven hath done for this delicious land."--_Byron._

  "And, oh! if there be an Elysium on earth,
  It is this, it is this."--_Thomas Moore._


The East Indies is a name generally applied to the archipelago lying
S.E. of Asia, containing the islands of Sumatra, Java, Borneo, Celebes
and others. It was visited by voyagers from the Western World in the
16th century, and since that time Portuguese, Dutch, English and French
have controlled parts of its domain.

I wish I could affect the reader's imagination as my own senses were
impressed, when, after the stormy night, in which we barely escaped
shipwreck, we sailed in the early morning along the shores of Java,
an island so beautiful in its aspect, so luxuriant in its productions,
and so delightful in its varied climates, as to have been claimed by
many as the veritable locality of the Garden of Eden. As we sail along,
monkeys chatter at us from the trees and rocks that girt the shore;
bright plumaged birds are seen on the wing, and the dewy air floats off
to us so loaded with odors suggestive of delicious fruits, that one
instinctively opens his mouth to devour it. This makes plain an idiom
of the Malay language. "To take a walk" is expressed in that tongue by
words meaning to eat the air. I can hardly recommend this chamelion
diet as a staple food, but it is most excellent for dessert.

Sailing up the Straits of Sunda, the waters attract the notice by the
curiosities floated on their surface. Cuttlefish bones, such as our
canaries use, cocoanuts, a great variety of fruits and leaves, and even
floating rocks, which are found to be pumice stone, pass the vessel
in continued procession. Besides these an evidence of civilization is
usually noticed in the form of square-faced gin bottles, for these
abound in the neighborhood of the Dutch settlements.

At Anjer, a little village nestled among dense foliage, "bumboats" come
off to supply the ships with fruits and provisions. One of these making
fast to a vessel, a man climbs up on deck, dressed in jacket and pants
of striped red and yellow cotton and introduces himself as Paul Jones;
but if he visits an English ship he, perhaps, knows enough to select
a name less offensive in its allusions. This boat contains yams (the
eastern substitute for potatoes), cocoanuts, bananas, fowls, shells,
Java sparrows, and always monkeys. A sailor sometimes sets these last
loose, and they escape on board the ship and retain their liberty. The
last time I passed Anjer homeward bound, my previous experience with
monkeys led me to send word to the crew that they might buy as many
monkeys as they wished, but I should charge $10 for each one's passage
to New York. The consequence was that no monkeys were bought; but after
getting to sea, I found the crew had invested in squirrels, which had
the art of taking very long leaps through the air, so that one was
often startled by hearing a whiz, and feeling an animal alight on the
back of the neck. I resolved that in future squirrels should also be
excluded from the free passengers' list.

Rounding St. Nicholas Point into the Java Sea, we sail among small
islands, each a perfect gem of landscape beauty. All have read of the
formation of these coral islands; how the little insects rear the
structure and die at the water's surface when their work is done. Then
the drift of the sea collects upon the coral, earth slowly accumulates;
cocoanuts are washed up, and taking root, send up the tall palm-trees;
finally, the whole island becomes a mass of luxuriant verdure. A
glistening white sand beach surrounds it, and at a little distance it
is encircled with a wreath of foam, as the sea ceaselessly breaks over
the surrounding reef. These are the jewels of the eastern seas--the
emerald brooch with silver setting, fastened upon the bosom of the deep.

Anchoring in Batavia harbor, native boatmen row us ashore, giving
monotonous grunts as they ply their oars; and pulling up a long canal,
we land at the "boom," or Custom House. A carriage is secured, a sort
of barouche, having four wheels, and one seat with projecting hood.
A driver sits on the box, wearing a loose bright-colored frock, his
head covered with an enormous gilt hat, in shape like an inverted
wash-bowl. Two ponies are attached to the carriage; the driver cracks
his whip and beats them to enforce a start, but in vain. This carriage,
in the Malay tongue, is called a "crétur," but an Irishman would
certainly apply that term to the horses, for of all created animals,
donkeys not excepted, these East Indian horses are the most erratic
and unaccountable in their movements. In this case an appeal to the
bystanders brings a crowd to push the vehicle ahead, until the ponies,
through fear of being run over, decide to get out of the way, and
start off upon a gallop, which is maintained till the destination is
reached; unless they should happen to stop suddenly, stand on their
heads and kick their heels at the driver's wash-bowl hat; or else,
turning at right angles, dash off the road into a hedge. I was once
driving in Penang, in the Straits of Malacca, with a gentleman, in an
American buggy drawn by a Sumatra pony; a horse passing at a gallop
infuriated the animal, and he rushed at his utmost speed along a
smooth, wide road. At its sides were ravines fifteen or twenty feet
deep, at the bottom of which ran streams of water. No obstruction was
in sight save a solitary buffalo cart on the left hand side of the
road; and because that was the only point where he could not have the
freedom of the whole road, there that pony deemed the path of duty to
lie. As he approached the cart he bolted off to that side of the road,
tottered a moment on the edge of the bank, and over it we went. Flying
through the air, I struck my head on the opposite side of the ravine,
and rolled down into the stream under the pony, who looked as though
he wished he hadn't done it. Some natives helped me up into the road,
and when I appeared on board ship the next morning with my bruised and
battered face and soiled clothing, the sailors cast suspicious glances,
and I learned afterwards, were quite elated at having detected their
moralizing captain in the indulgence of a night-long spree with such
results. This injury to my reputation may account for my prejudice
against East India ponies; but now that I have given them a bad name
I have had my revenge. It must be admitted that they are indispensable
to comfort, with all their ills, for the fierce tropical sun forbids
noon-day walking, and some covered conveyance is an essential of life
in the East; so, in China, each person has his sedan chair carried
by two coolies; in the Straits' Settlements, his one-horse gharry,
and in the Dutch places his crétur. Some security is given against
the waywardness of the ponies by the frequent practice of building
embankments at the sides of the roads; and some escape their dangers by
using good horses from Australia, or, occasionally, fine Arab steeds.

The hotel at which we arrive is a two-story building, and in the rear
extend lines of one-storied structures, with wide walks covered by
verandahs, upon which the rooms all open. Upon my first arrival at
this hotel I entered the office, but saw no person there, unless Mr.
Darwin's friends should insist that I applied that term to a large
monkey, who was seated upon the table engaged in pouring the contents
of a capacious inkstand upon the open pages of the hotel register. My
presence ended this evidence of a dawning fondness and aptitude for the
fine arts.

Allow me to describe a day's life as a sample of the mode of existence
among the foreign residents. In the morning one is awakened by a
servant entering the room with a cup of tea; looking out upon the
verandah, another servant may be seen engaged in cleaning the shoes.
He plucks a flower from a plant close at hand, rubs it over the
shoe and then applies the polishing brush, with brilliant effect.
This is called the shoe-plant; and nature makes another appropriate
arrangement in producing the soap tree, with the fruit of which the
hands may be cleansed. Seizing the towels, one next proceeds, in his
sleeping costume, across the court yard to the bath house; this is a
room paved with tiles, containing a large tank of water. The mode of
bathing is that practised by the natives. Standing alongside the tank
the person dips out water in a small bucket and pours it on the head.
This becomes a very favorite method of performing ablution. Returning
to the room, the sleeping costume is laid aside for the habiliments of
the day; but it demands a description, for few things are more peculiar
or essential to a comfortable life in the East. It consists of loose
trousers, called pajamas, and a jacket, called bajou. The pajamas are
made of colored calico, the more brilliant in color and startling in
pattern the better. They are gathered about the waist with a string.
The bajou is of white calico, buttons closely about the throat and
reaches to the hips. This dress is worn not only at night, but whenever
in the day one is free from business or society. The first morning I
spent in Java I encountered a lady robed in white. I averted my eyes,
but saw another lady approaching, and then another; and finding them
unconcerned, I gained assurance enough to inspect their costume. I
learned that in the Dutch settlements in the East Indies ladies adopt
a dress corresponding somewhat to that of the native women, which they
wear during the heat of the day, and only appear in European costume
in the evening. This dress consists of the "sarong," or loose skirt
of colored calico reaching to the ankles, and the "cobaiya," a white
sack descending to the knees. Sandals are worn, but no stockings. The
first impression upon the masculine beholder is not pleasant. It seems
a decidedly slipshod attire; but we soon become accustomed to it, and
admire, at least, the good sense that leads to the consideration of
comfort, rather than fashionable appearance.

After the bath the gentleman dresses for the day, either all in white
or with a loose black sack coat. Breakfast is served, consisting of
broiled fowl, eggs, fruits, &c., and at about ten o'clock the carriage
takes him to his office. Between twelve and one a lunch is served on
the business premises, the chief item of which is curry. This demands
description. We have all seen bottled curry powder, but what is used
on the spot is made fresh every day. The ingredients are ground upon a
stone and mixed together. The meat of a cocoanut is grated, moistened
with water and squeezed by the hand over the curry powder. Into this,
prawns, or bits of fowl or meat, are placed and the dish is ready. Rice
is first taken upon the plate and curry is added. A tray is handed
containing a dozen little plates, each holding some kind of peppers,
pickles, spices or chutney, and one is supposed to take a little of
each, or else to make a judicious selection. A dried fish, called a
Bombay duck, is broken up over the pile and more meat or fowl may be
added, or else some fricadel, a delightful compound of bread, eggs
and minced fowl. Finally all is thoroughly mixed together and eaten
with the aid of a spoon or fork. This tastes better than it, probably,
sounds to the reader's ears, and there is no recollection of the East
more suggestive and fascinating to a former resident than the curry. It
seems strange, however, that in such warm climates nature should crave
such heating and stimulating food.

If it is not steamer-day, the gentleman will probably drive home at
about four o'clock; the pajamas and bajou are donned, a book or short
nap occupy an hour; another bath is taken, and the evening dress is
assumed, which usually will be of white, with a short jacket, such as
is worn by waiters in our hotels. A walk or drive is taken in the cool
of the evening, ladies and gentlemen appearing without headdress or
hats; or if hats are worn, they are light articles, made of cork or
pith, with good ventilation. They meet where the band may be playing,
or drive along the charming suburbs, or saunter to the club-house.
Between seven and eight they sit down to dinner, and get up at some
indefinite period between nine and day-light. The men smoke their
cigars between the courses, drink liquors throughout the meal, and
afterwards take a night-cap of brandy and water. They retire finally to
beds covered with rattan mats, and devoid of bedclothes. A lamp remains
lighted all night in the room, and consists of a glass tumbler half
full of water, with cocoanut oil poured in, and a small wick floated on
top in the centre. This is the lamp of the East.

The houses of the foreign residents are one-story structures, raised a
few feet from the ground, built of brick or stone, covered with plaster
and whitewashed. A broad flight of steps leads to a wide verandah,
which is supplied with furniture, especially easy chairs of luxurious
model, and this place is the sitting-room and reception hall of the
family. Within are parlor and bedrooms, and at the back of the house
is another verandah, generally used as a dining-room. One who takes
an evening's walk, and as he passes each house, looks through the
dark foliage at the brilliantly lighted verandah, with its family and
social groups, will get a series of most enchanting tableaux. When the
residents wish to be "not at home," they darken the front verandah and
get further into their houses, so callers are spared useless inquiries.
In the rear of the house, the servants' lodgings, kitchen and
bath-house are placed. The kitchens are a novelty. A raised platform
runs the length of the building, and on top of it, or in arches near
the top, several fires are built as needed, one for each dish to be
prepared. There is no chimney; the smoke not absorbed by the food,
escapes through the doors. The servants are numerous, and each has his
separate sphere. There is no "maid of all work" in the East. Every
person has his "boy," who hovers about him in all his waking hours, and
cares for him much as a nurse for a child. The boy is called for every
trivial service, and I have heard the master shout repeatedly for the
"suppada," as servants are called, and when he came running breathless
from the rear of the house, he was ordered to move a chair that stood a
few yards off, in order that the luxurious master could put his feet on
it.

The vegetation of the East impresses the traveller with its luxuriant
growth and beauty of form and color. There is no "Fall;" all is
evergreen. The cocoanut trees abound, perhaps, most commonly. The form
of its straight stem, with branches spreading from the top, and the
fruit nestling at the summit, are familiar to all. It is interesting
to see the natives climb these tall trunks to gather the cocoanuts.
Sometimes they ascend by stepping upon notches cut in the tree, and at
others they put a loop of rope around both ankles, and seize another
loop with both hands, their arms encircling the tree; then alternately
grasping the trunk with feet and hands they ascend swiftly, and soon
the thump of the nuts on the ground is heard. Picking up a green one,
and cutting a hole, you may obtain a delicious drink of sweet water.
The "flame tree" attracts especial notice in Batavia. Its lower leaves
are of a dark green, and grow gradually lighter until at the top they
are straw-colored, forming a pyramid of light. Outside the limits
of the town one comes to the jungle, which may thus be described,
partly in another's words: Imagine a forest of gigantic trees standing
together almost like the stalks in a wheat field. They are smooth
and branchless for four-fifths of their height, and then spreading
out, interlacing, form a complete canopy. Then a growth of shorter
trees springs up, winding their branches in and out among the trunks;
then comes a growth of ferns, palms and plants, and finally, the
whole mass is woven together by a network of creepers and parasites,
from the slender rattan to the vine as thick as a man's body. In the
elbows of the trees are many orchidaceous plants thriving on the air
and sending down their shoots into the network below. This jungle is
absolutely impenetrable by man, but the tiger roams through it, and
lurks on its border for the unwary passer-by. Beyond the jungle may be
seen the "Paddy-fields," the light green color of the growing rice,
pleasing the eye in contrast with the copper-colored beeches and the
purple mountains beyond the plain. The graceful bamboo waves in every
direction, and gains respect as being the most useful growth of the
East, though botanists term it only a grass. Its uses are innumerable;
but two extremes may be mentioned. With it the natives build their
houses and beat their children. The tropical fruits require a word of
mention. There is the durian, the favorite of the natives, smelling,
it is said, like a dead elephant, and tasting, to my palate, like a
mixture of nuts and onions. The mangosteen, the choicest of fruits; the
delicious mango, the pummalow, rambutan, ducoe, and banana,--all awaken
pleasant memories as the favorites of the table.

The natives are short, homely and copper-colored, or, as they like
to describe themselves, "the color of gold." The men dress in jacket
and pants, with the sarong wrapped about the waist, or hung loosely
from the shoulders. The women wear the sarong and cobaiya previously
described, and their general appearance so much resembles that of men,
that it is sometimes difficult for an impartial eye to distinguish
the sexes. The teeth are filed and stained black from chewing the
betel nut, as it is deemed unbecoming to have "white teeth like a
dog." The houses are of bamboo, covered with a thatched roof, and
mounted on posts, and the front-door steps consist of a ladder. The
food is chiefly rice; but if report is true many revolting creatures
are devoured, and worms and white ants are occasionally taken "as a
relish." The buffalo is a member of society that deserves notice. A
hump on his back serves to hold the yoke, and he is driven by a string
tied to a ring of rattan passed through the nose. After work they
delight to stand in the river or canal, and with only their heads above
water, enjoy a cooling off. The Dutch Government requires every native,
who walks after dark, to carry a torch. This is composed of stems from
the cocoanut tree, and is fanned into flame as the holder hears an
approaching footstep. They vie with the fireflies in making the night
attractive.

Many customs are striking to the visitor. The woman walks in front of
the man, so that she may regulate the pace as she desires, a refinement
we might copy. After marriage the husband goes to the bride's home and
resides. A man leaves his property to his nephews and nieces, not to
his own children, for he casts a slur upon female virtue by saying: "A
man may be sure his sister's children are of his own blood, but who
knows that his own are?"

Descriptions of life so luxurious as that of the East Indies may seem
attractive and fascinating to dwellers in the harsh, northern climes;
but there are compensations. The enervated East Indian resident sighs
for the cold winter, the bracing sleigh ride, the animating change of
seasons, cultivated society, the intellectual stimulus of scientific
investigation and literary criticism, and though myself partial to the
East in many respects, I would say with England's poet:

  "Better fifty years of Europe than a cycle of Cathay."

In six days the cargo destined for Batavia was landed, and on a
Saturday the vessel cleared for Singapore. The wind was ahead and it
was a difficult and dangerous task to work out among the many shoals
that lie in the harbor. No pilot could be obtained, and every one
advised me to wait till Sunday morning, and start with the fair breeze
that was sure to blow in its early hours. I had scruples about sailing
on Sunday if it could be avoided, yet feared censure if I detained the
vessel, so I resolved to make a start. We got under way, shot between
the shoals and cleared the shipping in safety. We passed our Sunday
quietly sailing across the Java Sea with the fresh N.W. Monsoon.

We had the task before us of beating up the Carimata Passage against a
head monsoon and an opposing current. It was a difficult undertaking,
often requiring weeks of fruitless labor, and a month was allotted
for the passage to Singapore by our friends in Batavia. On a previous
voyage I had found a disadvantage in having the crew engaged in
work, which sometimes prevented prompt attention to the manœuvering
of the vessel, indeed I considered once that I lost a day or two by
being prevented from tacking ship at the moment desired. Now I gave
orders that no jobs on the rigging, that were unnecessary, should be
undertaken, but that the crew should be kept standing by to work ship.
This then received sole attention. The sails were always trimmed, the
yards braced, and with every favoring variation of wind we tacked and
retacked, fighting our way with incessant vigilance by day and night,
slowly gaining ahead in spite of the opposing forces. We steered by
rocks and shoals, shot through the narrow Panambanga Channel off the
west coast of Borneo, and then, with a steady beat through the Southern
China Sea, we gained the Singapore Strait, and anchored in the harbor
of Singapore eleven days and a half from Batavia. This was an exciting
passage. Sailing night and day in those narrow waters occasioned a
great tension of nerves and limited the opportunities for sleep. One
night in particular remains in vivid remembrance, when near dangerous
shoals, out of sight of land, and uncertain where the current might
have drifted us, the hours of anxiety seemed like years, and in the
morning I looked in the glass with a half-serious apprehension lest
my hair had turned grey, according to stories we read of such effects
being produced by strong emotions. But there were pleasant days, when
gliding slowly by the evergreen islands, through the smooth blue waters
full of minute objects of interest, with distant mountain ranges to
rest the eye upon, life seemed as full of romantic enjoyment as the
imaginations of fabled story.

[Illustration: The midnight catastrophe.]

Upon arrival at Singapore my first indulgence was in a good all-night's
sleep in bed, which one learns to appreciate after days and nights on
deck.

On one of the few occasions during this passage, when I had an
opportunity to catch a nap on the cabin sofa at night, I was greatly
alarmed by being aroused from dreams of shipwreck, by water pouring
over me from a jug upset by the swinging open of a locker door.
Anything that happens to "the old man" is considered important on
shipboard, and this was deemed worthy of illustration.

At Singapore we discharged the rest of our cargo and loaded a quantity
of tin, gambier and gutta percha. We remained twenty-three days here,
most of the time being spent in waiting for the merchants at Penang to
purchase cargo, as the vessel's appearance at that port while they were
buying would have made the native traders put up their prices. So we
hid away at Singapore, and a very pleasant hiding place it was.

The first novelty that greeted our arrival was an assemblage of canoes
and boats. From the former small boys dived for coin, thrown from the
vessel, catching them before they descended far below the surface of
the water. From the latter were offered us fruit, birds, monkeys,
shells and corals, the last named being especially beautiful. A whole
boat load of these at "a hard bargain" was secured for seventy-five
cents. The appearance of the town is very picturesque, luxuriant
foliage appearing amidst the collections of white houses, and hills
rise in the rear covered with nutmeg and fruit trees, while near by the
fertile jungle dips its abundant growth into the sea. Many pleasant
hours were passed on shore; the fascinating hospitalities of luxurious
homes were enjoyed; a picnic in the midst of the jungle nine miles from
the city afforded a splendid view of tropical scenery; and a drive
to a cocoanut plantation of five hundred acres showed how European
enterprise is economizing the fertile products of the East. One evening
especially remains prominent in agreeable recollection, when I dined
with an old Boston friend. The table was spread on the rear verandah
where the trees waved close to us, and the air was full of delicious
odors and the singing of insects, their differing notes seeming like
tunes. Truly life in Singapore is fascinating.

There were a number of American vessels here waiting for freights
to improve in different ports of the East. In order to save expense
they desired to discharge their crews, but, three months' extra pay
being required by the consul, they either had to add to the lack of
employment the further infliction of supporting an unprofitable crew,
or drive the men to desertion by acts of cruelty and oppression. Every
day almost there was some row in the harbor on board an American ship,
and this law and its results was a continual topic of discussion.

In a work entitled "Among our Sailors," the author, Dr. J. Grey Jewell,
formerly Consul at Singapore, speaks at some length about the law
requiring three months' extra pay for seamen discharged abroad, and
concludes: "I am convinced that the law is a good one and that it
should stand."

During some years' experience in command of vessels I formed the
opinion that this is not a good law, and further that there is no
enactment concerning our merchant marine so injurious to sailors, so
vexatious to shipmasters, so unjust to shipowners, or so corrupting to
its executors in its influences. I believe most of those familiar with
its operations will approve of my pronouncing it a great curse. This
law was made in the beginning of the century, when Americans manned
our ships, and when these vessels visited ports seldom frequented,
where the discharge of a seaman might often leave him in destitution,
with no means of returning home. Now our ships are chiefly manned by
foreigners, who are more at home in foreign ports than in those on our
own shores, where only we may discharge them; and commerce has become
so extended that few places are visited by ships whence ready exit may
not be obtained.

Some instances of the operation of this law will best explain its
evils. A European crew were shipped in an American vessel at San
Francisco for a voyage to Liverpool, the shipping articles containing
the clause, made customary by the law prohibiting discharge of seamen
abroad, "and thence to a final port of discharge in the United
States." At Liverpool the men wished to leave and return to their
homes in Norway and Germany, or sail on other voyages. The ship was to
remain for several weeks in Liverpool and then sail for San Francisco
again, and the men had no desire to go in that direction. Wages in
Liverpool were lower than those paid this crew from California, so
the shipowner's interest demanded that he should not be obliged to
support and pay a useless crew for the weeks his ship was idle, and
that he should be allowed to man her for a new voyage at the lowest
rate of wages. On application to the Consul by the captain and sailors,
information was given that the crew might be discharged, but one
month's pay must be given to the Consul, and two months' pay extra to
each seaman. The crew, in order to be released, offered to return the
two months' pay to the captain, after signing a receipt for it, but the
captain, desiring to avoid the unjust imposition altogether, gave the
wages to the mate, who privately handed them to the sailors, and they
took their departure. The captain next reported to the Consul under
oath, that his crew had deserted without his knowledge or consent,
but the Consul, finding out that the men had received their money,
insisted on the payment of one month's wages at his office. Another
vessel shipped a crew at San Francisco to be discharged at Liverpool,
but still this extra payment was required.

A few years since a dozen American ships, one of them under my command,
arrived at a port in Asia. The trade they were engaged in was depressed
and they were doomed to remain idle for several months. The ships were
manned by foreigners, and the captains deemed it their duty to the
owners to avoid paying and feeding full crews for several months, when
they had no need of their services. Steamers and vessels in various
trades were arriving and departing daily, affording opportunity for
the men to obtain employment and leave the port. Application was made
to the Consul for permission to discharge the crews, which was given
on condition of compliance with the three months' pay law. This no one
cared to do; and the "fair means" being deemed unfair to the owner foul
means were employed. The captain of the S---- told his men they had
better leave, but, hoping to secure the two months' extra pay, they
declined. Orders were given to the mate to work them up and drive them
out of the ship. He accordingly hung planks over the ship's side, one
foot under water, and made the sailors stand on them and scrub the
ship's copper with sand, keeping them always on the sunny side of
the ship. It was the month of June. The tropical sun poured upon the
men's heads, while their feet were in the water, and glanced upon their
bodies from the copper they were polishing, giving no small torment.
One man ventured to go on deck and complain, but the smart mate soon
thrashed him into submission. That night half of the crew deserted.

Attached to the Consul's office was a shipping-master, who gave
personal attention to all details of business connected with crews, the
Consul merely expounding the laws to inquirers in his inner office, and
maintaining the dignity of the U.S. Government in a general way. The
shipping-master was in close alliance with the police of the place, and
the arrest of the deserters from the S---- was soon reported to him. He
thereupon informed the captain that the men must be received on board
again, but by mutual agreement a certain sum was paid to the shipping
master for each man, and they were reported to the Consul as deserters.
The remainder of the crew were soon got rid of, and the rest of the
ships followed suit, paying $10 to $15 per man to the shipping-master.

My own crew were much attached to their ship and were unwilling to
leave. I would not allow them to be oppressed in order to drive
them away, and the owners were forced to submit to the expense of
maintaining a large crew, besides the loss occasioned by the idleness
of the ship. After some time, half of the crew, knowing that they were
not wanted, and were only a burden, consented to leave; but the Consul,
in reply to the application, held up the three months' pay law, and my
choice was to keep the men or pay sixty dollars each besides the wages
due.

In this dilemma the shipping master offered to allow the men to
"desert," upon my paying him fourteen dollars apiece, which was to be
called "two weeks' board."

I felt compelled in justice to my owners' interest to adopt this plan,
and connive at the rascality by which an unjust law was evaded by those
entrusted with its enforcement. The matter was arranged so as to do
no violence to my conscience in the matter of oath and declaration of
desertion.

This shipping master, after a short term of service was able to
buy a half interest in a large ship, and probably approves of the
three-months' pay law. The previous Consul is said to have taken away
eighty thousand dollars after a few years' residence.

The owners of the ship I commanded are a firm on whom Dr. Jewell, in
the above-mentioned work, has cast severe aspersions, and it is due
to them to say that at the close of the voyage, while admitting that
a less humane captain would have made a more economical voyage, they
thoroughly approved of my principles, and said they did not mind losing
a thousand dollars now and then in support of them. They however
remarked that Capt. ----, who was a notorious sailor driver, sailed
his ships cheaper than any other captain in their employ, as he never
had a sailor remaining by the vessel in port. A few weeks after this
conversation it happened that news was received that Capt. ----'s ship
had put into Rio Janeiro with a mutinous crew, and some of the sailors
had been shot by the captain. Considerable expense and delay to the
voyage was caused by this, and the owners were overheard to say that
Capt. ---- should never have another chance to put one of their ships
into port in distress. They saw that the question of economy was not
always against the "humane captain."

The above facts, selected as samples from a multitude, illustrate the
assertion that the three months' pay law is:

_First_, An occasion for the exercise of much cruelty to the sailor,
and often obliges him to have the disgrace of desertion attached to his
name, in order to secure the release from his ship which his interests
demand.

_Secondly_, It obliges captains to resort to wrong or questionable acts
to secure their owners' interests, and involves them in many unpleasant
controversies.

_Thirdly_, It is a heavy tax on the shipowner, and is one among several
causes of the decay to our commerce.

_Fourthly_, It furnishes great temptation to corrupt action on the
part of consuls, and has, in too many cases, brought disgrace upon the
flag they represent.

What remedy is there? will be asked.

In 1840 an Act was passed authorizing consuls to use discretion in
enforcing the law in cases of discharge by mutual consent. This in 1856
was repealed and the law is now strenuously insisted on. Some other
nations permit the free discharge of crews where good reason or mutual
consent is shown, and where the Government is assured of freedom from
expense. Let the present law be wholly repealed, and give consuls power
to discharge men freely, where satisfaction is given that they will not
become a burden upon the United States. This satisfaction should be a
proof of the employment or shipment of the sailors, or else a deposit
of money for a limited term, or a bond for the payment of any future
expenses incurred, which might be collected at the port of entry in the
United States.



CHAPTER VII.

SINGAPORE.


Leaving Singapore in the early morning, we turned into the Strait
of Malacca, and with perfectly serene weather and light but varying
winds we slipped easily along through its smooth waters. The land was
always in sight, with its eternal verdure, and often we glided by gems
of islets that were beautiful enough to grace a paradise. "Eternal
sunshine gilds" these shores, and one who would enjoy the _dolce far
niente_ to perfection, should have his easy chair on a good ship's
deck, with sheltering awning overhead, and sail in the N.E. monsoon
season in the Eastern Archipelago.

Occasional puffs of wind favored us, and in the short time of four and
a half days we sighted Pulo Penang, and ran through the narrow South
Channel into its harbor.

Penang may be described as lovely and hot. It is situated on a plain,
and to the westward and seaward rises a high mountain, shutting off
the sea breezes, which might refresh the heated brow. This mountain,
however, is a noted sanitarium, and on its top a cool climate may be
found, which is often eagerly sought for its bracing effects upon the
heat-debilitated frame. The American Consul, a worthy Scotchman, had
rented a bungalow on the summit for a month. He kindly invited the
passenger and myself to spend a night there in turn. The passenger went
first, but soon the sad tidings were brought that he had been thrown
from his horse and broken his neck. The authority for this statement
was that a soldier had told a sailor so. Both professions, fortunately,
were at fault and the passenger returned in due time with his neck in
good order. His only explanation of the report was the statement, that
his pony was so small that he placed his feet on the ground and let the
animal gallop away from under him.

In my turn I ascended the hill, and spent the night, returning in the
cool of the morning. The deep ravines with their walls of verdure, the
beautiful views of the island, the sea and the main land beyond, the
delightful coolness of the air, the wonderful specimens of vegetation,
such as the air plants, hanging luxuriantly from the branches of
trees, fed by the air and rain on their surfaces, the traveller's
palms, with stores of fresh water kept in their hollowed leaves for
the thirsty wayfarer, and the tree-ferns, twenty feet in height, all
these with the strangest bird melodies imaginable made the trip one of
enchantment. One bird and a beetle made noises like a sawmill, another
bird sang the scale descending--five notes at least, and still another
sang it ascending. One more imitated the sound of a bell. At the foot
of the waterfall that descends the mountain, baths are established.
The Europeans assemble there in the evening and after the external
application of water, too frequently take an internal application of
"brandy cocktails."

The military band plays weekly on the "Sepoy Plain," back of the town,
and a pleasant gathering of the residents takes place.

An orphan-house and mission was being carried on here by some devoted
English missionaries, who, like their friend Mr. Müller of Bristol,
working independently of Societies, looked to the Lord to provide.
Their Christian fellowship, and the hours spent in searching the
Scriptures with them, were precious privileges.

We were a fortnight here, loading tin, nutmegs, mace, tapioca and india
rubber, and then sailed for Padang, where we were to complete our cargo
with coffee and cassia.

We beat out from Penang against a head wind, and with a slant reached
across the Strait of Malacca. We then found light breezes to waft us
along the north coast of Sumatra, "the Pepper Coast," as it was known
to our East India merchants of Boston and Salem in earlier days. A
pleasing change here occurred in the landscape. It is so rare to see
ground not covered with verdure in these regions, that the sight of
Golden Mountain near the north-west point of Sumatra was quite a treat.
It is a finely-formed peak and has much bare ground on its sides,
which appears golden in the intense sunlight. This was an enjoyable
day, but an anxious night followed. We were sailing pleasantly, with
all studding-sails set, through the passage between Pulo Way and Pulo
Rondo, twelve miles wide, when at midnight the wind died away and
the current swept us toward the island. There was no wind to make
the vessel steer, a cast of the lead proved there was no bottom at
sixty fathoms, so we could not anchor, and an inspection of chart and
sailing directions showed that the rocks arose perpendicularly from
deep water. No human device could save us from shipwreck, and unless a
breeze sprang up off-shore our bark would soon break in pieces against
the rocks. For this breeze I earnestly prayed. All hands were called
on deck; a long length of chain was overhauled with the intention of
letting go the anchor at the last moment, in the forlorn hope of its
finding bottom, and then the crew were stationed at the braces ready to
trim the yards the moment a breath of air might be perceived. I stood
at the stern watching the nearing approach of the dread rocks, which
now loomed through the darkness in frightful proximity, and wetting a
forefinger I held it out to catch the first trace of a breeze, but in
vain; until, when the last hope was about to expire, and a few minutes
more were expected to seal our doom, I perceived the faintest air
imaginable breathing off the land. The yards were immediately braced,
and the effect was to turn the vessel's head from the shore. I dropped
a fishing-line over the stern, and watched to see if it would trail
out; but it hung up and down showing that the vessel had no headway.
Soon, however, an additional breath came, then a little puff, and to
my exceeding joy, I felt the line give a slight pull at my fingers
as it stretched out into the wake. Then the water rippled along past
the rudder and we slowly but surely glided away from the dangerous
coast. Among many recollections of peril and anxiety, that calm hour,
when in utter helplessness we looked destruction in the face, will
remain prominent for its intense emotion, and the occasion it gave for
thanksgiving to the Hearer of prayer.

[Illustration: Despair.--Off Padang for six days.]

The West coast of Sumatra is faced by an innumerable number of islets,
rocks and shoals, outside of which lie a chain of larger islands. We
kept out in the open sea until off Padang, preferring a more circuitous
but safer route than the direct passage along shore. Here we could
sail day and night, without anchoring when darkness or squalls hid
the way. But our progress was slow and the passage became tedious and
trying. In the day time light airs and calms prevailed, the hot sun
poured down its rays with scorching intensity, and the air was so clear
that we once saw a peak one hundred and six miles distant. At night
heavy squalls of wind burst upon us, with torrents of rain and terrific
peals of thunder; the balls of fire, called by the sailors corposants,
blazed at the mast-heads, and the lightning was incessant. When sixteen
days out from Penang we sailed through Siberet Straits, and the next
evening just at dark we were within fifteen miles of our anchorage at
Padang. A dark squally night prevented our running in, and a heavy N.W.
gale and southerly current drove us a few miles south of the port. For
the next six days we were hard at work trying to make these few miles,
but as soon as we gained a little, a calm prevailed and the current
set us back again. The water was too deep for anchorage and we were
entirely dependent on the wind, which, however, coquetted with us till
endurance almost ceased to belong to our virtues. The captain's state
of mind as he descended bare-footed to the cabin after having stood on
deck in a rain squall, which was vainly expected to bring a breeze, may
be suspected by a glance at our artist's sketch of the posture assumed
upon the cabin sofa.

Six days of this harassing work made me so desperate that I took
advantage of a long continued squall to run in a dark night along the
dangerous reefs, and guided only by the roar of the breakers gained
a position, from which the next day we were able to work into Padang
Roads and anchor inside of the beautiful Island "Pulo Pisang," or
Banana Isle.

After safely anchoring at our long desired haven, a crew of native
boatmen manned the bark's boat and pulled me to the town of Padang two
miles distant. We rounded Apenberg, the hill to which its chattering
monkeys have given a name, and ascended a river a short distance to the
landing place.

When the preliminaries of business were transacted, my consignee kindly
invited me to reside at his house, and I enjoyed the change from a
cabin to a luxurious home. At day-light I visited the vessel, returning
on shore after breakfast. The house was built of wood with wide
verandahs in front and rear. Posts about six feet high supported it
from the ground, leaving a space under the house for air to circulate,
and rogues also as it proved; for a few weeks before my arrival a
robbery occurred, and it is supposed, in this way. The thieves went
under the house and bored holes in the floor of the sleeping room,
through which they introduced the smoke obtained by burning the leaves
of a narcotic plant. The inmate being stupefied, the thieves broke in
at the front door, robbed the house and took away an iron safe that
was chained to the bed of the sleeper. They were so sure of their work
that they stopped in the garden to open the safe, but being unable to
do this, they carried it to the beach and buried it in the sand, where
it was found the next day with its contents intact, except a few small
articles of jewelry, which the thieves had managed to shake out through
a small opening they had made. New York or London could hardly surpass
this. Many thought the house servants must have been abettors, as they
were accustomed to sleep on the verandahs outside the thresholds of
three entrances to the house, so that anyone entering must step over
them. Nothing could be proved against them, and we repeatedly had
occasion to step over their bodies at night and open the doors when
returning at late hours, and at such times entrance was often effected
without disturbing their sound slumbers.

The first Sunday in port, I left the officers to conduct the services
and attended the Dutch church on shore. I asked the captain of a Dutch
vessel to accompany me, but he said: "No, it is not respectable to go
to church here, and I am ashamed to." I told him our Lord's words about
those who are ashamed of Him; but that didn't trouble him, so I went
alone. I found one European civilian present, but not one lady, and
some soldiers and half castes. They first sang with great deliberation
a Psalm from a book which had the notes printed over each line; then
followed a prayer, hymn, half of the sermon, two contributions, the
remainder of the sermon a hymn and benediction. During the sermon any
one, who felt tired of sitting, arose and stood for a while. After
service I spoke to the minister in the ante-room. He and all the men
lit their cigars, and after a short chat and smoke they all went
puffing towards home. The next Sunday I gladly went on board and was
refreshed by the cheerful vigor with which the sailors sang the hymns:
"When I survey the wondrous cross," and, "Just as I am, without one
plea." The services were held on deck and the singing must have rung
over the harbor. Returning on shore, I called on board of a Dutch bark
and found a party assembled, among whom was the organist of the church,
all drinking brandy and smoking, the minister being absent from town
that day.

One day I attended the ordination of a Malay (Mohammedan) priest. The
Mohammedan religion is here intermingled with many of the ideas and
practices of heathendom, and it is the custom to test the worthiness
of the candidate for the priesthood by placing around his waist a band
containing long needles with the points against his abdomen. He then
at a given signal runs toward an appointed goal. The people give chase
and endeavor to strike the needles inwards and kill him. If he escapes,
he is deemed to have established his fitness for the office, thus
making legs and not heads or hearts the necessary qualifications. On
this occasion the Dutch soldiers were present in force to prevent this
barbarity, and the ceremony was restricted to a procession, praying and
reading the Koran.

There are few places in the world as lovely as Padang. The evening
drives along the roads bordered by the tall arching "arrow trees,"
with views of ocean and mountains on either hand, are amongst the most
charming recollections I retain of any land where I have wandered.
Kindly hospitalities join to heighten such charms.

The interior of Sumatra is most wonderful. There you enjoy a temperate
climate, Swiss and tropical scenery combined, an eternal spring and
a fertility of soil almost beyond belief. The suggestion made to me,
of taking a plantation, raising coffee and leading a life of exile in
a paradise, might have been very tempting, but for the restrictions
the Dutch government imposes upon all trade and enterprises, and the
obstacles presented by the uncouth Dutch language.

Here "every prospect pleases" and man is no viler than he is elsewhere.
Contact with the natives of Asia and the East Indies has raised my
opinion of "the heathen." The average of them appear as virtuous and
upright as the mass of men in Christian lands. I have really seen
less frequent display of vice than I have in our cities, and have
noticed many pleasant exhibitions of family affection, kindness and
honesty. The people in the interior of Sumatra are represented as being
remarkable for virtue, temperance and integrity; and even on the coast
they must be admitted to compare very favorably with the foreigners
about them, whom it is said they speak of contemptuously among
themselves as "drunken Europeans;" but they readily contract their
vices. Christianity unquestionably elevates all whom it reaches, but
our civilization alone has proved no moral blessing to those who have
experienced its influences in the distant regions of the earth.

After lying at Padang for a few days a bark appeared in the offing, and
with the spy-glass I discovered that she had our owner's flag at the
main. I started for her in my boat, introduced myself to the captain
and piloted him into an anchorage.

Capt. Blowhard was a stranger to me, but I was much pleased to have the
companionship of a countryman in this far-off port. As we passed the
_Rocket_, he remarked she looked very well, only she was rusty outside.
We had finished painting her the day before, so this comment excited my
surprise; but I soon discovered the captain's eye-sight was defective,
and I had the pleasure of supplying him with a pair of spectacles. We
went on shore together, and I introduced him to his consignee; but the
polite Dutchman was startled at seeing the captain swing his legs over
the arm of the chair and monopolize all the talk with boasts about his
clipper bark and her performances. In the evening I took him to drive,
and attempted to point out the sights of the place and the beauty of
the scenery, but his attention was not to be secured; during the whole
of the drive he kept his face toward me, and poured forth a continuous
stream of narrative and self-adulation. I learned that he had resigned
the command of one of the finest ships in the world to serve his
country. He passed highest in examination on Navigation, was appointed
executive officer of a large frigate, and soon, for his valor, was
given the command of a gunboat. After a celebrated naval battle his
vessel was so riddled with shot, that she was sent to Alexandria for
the Government to inspect as a curiosity. President Lincoln and a
committee from the Senate visited her and gave the captain public
thanks for his brave conduct. Commodore ---- remarked that there were
only three gentlemen in the Volunteer Navy: Smith, Jones, and Blowhard.
At the close of the war he was offered a position in the regular Navy,
with a splendid command, but he declined, saying he only had desired
to serve his country, and he wished no reward. I was much impressed
with all this information, and his invitation to breakfast on board the
next morning, with so brave, polite and magnanimous a man, inspired me
with gratitude and awe. I went on board to breakfast and was politely
received. His politeness was then exercised towards his steward, who,
being unable to find the napkins (which probably were not often used,)
was led around the cabin by the ear until they were discovered, the
captain remarking to me, "He's a good-natured nigger or he'd have been
killed long ago." The meal was enlivened by frequent abuse of this
poor darkey, and I was not sorry when it was time to go on shore. We
went in the same boat, and as the captain continually talked with his
face toward me, I perceived, what I certainly thought were the fumes
of whiskey; but I discovered the injustice I had done him, after a
while, when he remarked, "I bought some Cologne at Batavia, and it's
the queerest stuff I ever saw; it smells just like whiskey. I put some
on my handkerchief just before I left the vessel, and I thought I'd
mention it to you lest you might think I'd been drinking, which I never
do." This should be a warning to temperance men to be careful in their
choice of eau de cologne. We dined together at the hotel that day, and
the captain entertained the whole company with his conversation. At one
time, addressing a remark to a young Dutch officer, the latter replied:
"No speak Engleesh," when the captain rejoined: "Every _gentleman_
speaks English." The officer understood this and accepted it as an
insult. Withdrawing from the table he found friendly assistance in
concocting an English note, challenging the captain to fight a duel
with broadswords. But this met with no response from the captain.

Our friendship did not grow, and the sentiment of kindred nationality
failed to continue in its first ardor.

On Sunday afternoons we had services on deck, under the awning. I
invited Capt. Blowhard and his crew; but the captain said he didn't
approve of letting the crews of different vessels mix together, so
we held our meetings by ourselves, with the exception of a few Dutch
sailors from a neighboring vessel. As the _Rocket_ and the "F----" were
both homeward bound and in the same employ we felt much rivalry about
the passage and some interest was excited among the merchants over the
anticipated race. As the "F----" was reported the fastest vessel and
her captain was certainly the most dashing man, the bets were in her
favor. Having less cargo to take in, she was loaded first and got three
days start of us.

One calm morning we drifted out of Padang Roads and slowly worked our
way southward in search of the Trades; but when obtained, pleasant
breezes and fine weather favored us. After passing Mauritius we took "a
streak" of strong S.E. and E. winds which put a new face upon matters.
Our dull start had made us feel hopeless about the race, but now we
seemed to be gaining time and the thought of the "F----" ahead kept
sail from coming in many a time when prudence suggested it. Every thing
was cracked on and two topmast studding-sail booms were carried away
within twenty-four hours. But they were immediately replaced, and on we
sped ten knots an hour, feeling we were going very fast, except when
now and then an English tea clipper came up astern and passed out of
sight ahead.

I learned at sea that there had been one disagreement on board during
my absence on shore at Padang. A sailor, called Harry, being reproved
for something by the mate, gave a back answer. Then being threatened,
he said: "I'm not afraid; you ain't bigger than a pint of cider,
anyway." This was an insult that seemed warrant enough for a fight, and
few officers could have resisted it. I was pleased to learn, that in
spite of this great provocation, the mate had restrained his impulses,
in obedience to my orders, and had succeeded eventually in controlling
the man.

When the cooler weather again drove us to the cabin in the evening, the
passenger lent his patient ear to the story of "Another voyage in the
'Dublin.'"



CHAPTER VIII.

ANOTHER VOYAGE IN THE "DUBLIN."


ABOUT three weeks after I left the "Dublin" a letter came on from Capt.
Streeter, saying that the ship was going to load a cargo of tobacco
and staves at Baltimore for Amsterdam, and asking me to go with him
as second mate. I had almost hoped the offer would not come, for
whenever the scenes of the last voyage had been recalled to my mind, in
the midst of the delightful and elevated associations of home, I had
shuddered as though the veil of a lower world had been drawn aside, and
its enormities and fiendish spirit had been disclosed to me. I could
scarcely summon courage to return to it, and I also felt that it might
be my duty to avoid a sphere of such temptation and bad influences. On
the other hand, I had scarcely enough confidence in my abilities to
ship as second mate with a stranger, and felt from what I had seen and
heard of other ships that there was a great uncertainty as to whether
a change would be for the better, and this could only be proved by
experience. With some misgivings I decided to go. I liked the owner
so much, and was so pleased by the interest which he showed toward
me, that I thought it desirable to keep in his employ, even though I
found things were not just to my mind on board ship; and the owner's
assurances that the captain would improve, relieved my apprehension a
little, though I knew Capt. Streeter's smooth way of talking too well
to place much dependence upon it. Still the captain was shrewd enough
to know on which side his bread was buttered, and if the owner had told
him as he said, that his remaining in the ship was dependent upon his
good behavior, it was reasonable to suppose that his conduct might be
influenced somewhat by this motive.

A week later witnessed my arrival on board the "Dublin." The captain
seemed glad to see me, but Mr. Howard was not so cordial, and appeared
very much under the weather.

"I tell you what it is," said he, as we walked forward together to have
a chat, "I've been second mate of a ship a long time, but I never had
a man treat me so like a dog as Capt. Streeter's done since we've been
in port. He wanted the ship scrubbed around outside as soon as the
copper got out of water; and a man offered to do it, and paint her
beside, for ten dollars, when the regular price that other ships pay is
twenty dollars. But the old man kicked up 'Bob's a dying,' and swore
he wouldn't pay no such price; and then he gave me so many hints, and
told me so many stories about what that cursed Mr. Jones of his used
to do in port, that at last I offered to do it myself. So he hired a
raft, and a boy to help me, and then I scrubbed the ship and painted
her bends all round. I thought that would satisfy him, but as long as I
had got my hand into dirty work, he thought he wouldn't let me take it
out, and he had the face to tell me to go over the bow and coal-tar the
bob-stays, and all the rest of the iron-work. I was just fool enough
to do it, and he's kept me going ever since at jobs that any decent
captain would hire a man to do; but it's about played out now. He's
so mean he'd skin a louse for its hide and tallow; and his soul is so
small you could punch the pith out of a horse-hair and put his soul
inside, and then it would rattle if you shook it."

I did not try to soothe him very much, and rather hoped he wouldn't be
soothed; for the prospect of his leaving the ship, which was suggested
by the tenor of his remarks, was not at all unpleasant to me.

The next morning Mr. Howard had a talk with the captain in the cabin
after breakfast, and then came out on deck to where I was standing and
said: "Mr. A----, I'm going to leave the ship."

"Are you?" said I, greatly astonished but equally pleased. "What is
that for?"

"Well, I'll tell you why. One thing is, I've got sick of the old man,
and another is that I know I'm not competent to go mate of a ship,
for I don't know no more about navigation than that windlass does,
and the first time the old man got mad with me at sea, he'd heave it
up in my face, for all he talks so fair now about it's not making any
difference. But another thing I'll tell you, and I don't want you to
get mad with me for saying it, for I never met a man on board of a ship
that I liked any better than I do you; I don't think we can get along
together. I'm bound to make the old shell-backs toe the mark, and if
they don't do it I can't talk polite to 'em. I wasn't brought up to
that business. But whenever I've had a row at sea you've hardly spoken
to me for a week after. Now if I go in this ship again, I know we shall
be at loggerheads all the time, and it's a bad job for officers of a
ship if they can't sail alongside of each other. I've got a chance to
go second mate of the ship "Robert Stanwood," and the mate's a man
just like myself, and we can hitch horses. The fact is, I've too much
respect for you to sail with you. You're too good a man to go to sea.
It's a life only fit for a rascal, but if you're bound to go, I hope
you'll get along well, and have a mate to your liking, though I think
they are scarce fish in these waters."

I was certainly pleased at Mr. Howard's decision, but was much touched
by his way of announcing it.

"I don't wonder that you want to leave, Mr. Howard," I replied; "but
it would be more for your interest to stay, and if you make up your
mind not to be quite so hard on sailors, I think we can get along
pleasantly. You must remember it isn't the most important thing in a
man's life to make sailors run the mile in less than three minutes,
when a four-minute pace would be just as good for the ship and the
owners. I believe in making sailors work and keep in their place, but I
don't believe in giving up all one's good principles to do it, nor do I
think it is necessary."

"Perhaps not; you and me has been brought up very different, and we
must go our own way. I've got an ugly temper, I know; but it's there,
and it's got to come out. When you've seen as much of sailors as I
have, maybe you'll think the best way to deal with 'em is to knock 'em
down."

Mr. Howard left the ship, much to the captain's sorrow; for he was a
man after his own heart, and he hoped he had at last found officers
that were willing to sail with him on a second voyage.

The ship leaked a good deal even in port, and by the captain's orders
another man and myself had to pump her out, involving half an hour's
work morning and night on a straight wooden pump handle. After
the trouble we had on the last passage, I was astonished that new
pumps had not been procured, and as I was in correspondence with the
bookkeeper in the owner's office, in the course of a friendly letter
I slipped in a word about the pumps. By return mail a letter came
from the owner, telling the captain to get the best pumps that could
be obtained. He told me this without suspicion of my agency in the
matter, but remarked: "The owner is very ready to say get this or
that, but when the bills come in he would find fault about the heavy
disbursements." The ship went to sea without them and I felt very loth
to go in her, for the only explanation that occurred to me was, that
the captain wanted to get the ship into a port of distress, and have an
underwriter's job, which would give him a chance to enrich his pockets
with percentages.

The person, who came to undertake the mate's duties for the voyage, was
a young man of twenty-five years, named Wright, a native of Baltimore.
He had received a liberal share of his education in the streets, and
was familiar with the peculiarities of "Blood-tubs" and "Plug-uglies."
But besides these questionable accomplishments he possessed a tall,
manly form, a handsome, expressive face, and a clear eye, which, while
it impressed one with its determination, also implied a nature that
despised meanness. His manners were quite gentlemanly, and after a
short intercourse with him I felt convinced that he was superior in
natural gifts to any man I had yet sailed with; and I was much pleased
with the change of mates.

The ship had loaded a full cargo of Maryland tobacco, which comes in
smaller casks than the Virginia, though still of good size, weighing
upwards of nine hundred pounds. Several thousand staves had also been
stowed away, to fill up all the spare room, and the ship's stores
and water having been taken on board, she was ready for sea, and
accordingly received the crew, and proceeded down the Chesapeake
towards the sea.

The crew, as usual upon the commencement of a voyage, were for the
most part under the influence of liquor. The mate was very reserved in
talking about sailors, and told no fighting stories, which I thought
must be evidence that he was a peaceable man, and as they came over the
rail and staggered into the forecastle, he had remarked to me; "We'll
have 'em all straight in a day or two. I don't like a drunken row, and
we must shut our eyes to some things the first day."

He carried out these precepts, except upon finding a young Irishman
sitting on his chest in the forecastle while all the other sailors
were at work, when the answer that was given to the order to come out
on deck was the brandishing of a sheath-knife and the declaration
that he wasn't going to work "on board the bloody hooker." The mate
settled this question by snatching away the knife, hauling the man on
deck, and hitting him two or three cracks with a belaying pin, and the
captain seeing it showed some signs of reform by shouting: "That'll do,
Mr. Wright, that'll do till we get outside."

Leaving the pilot off the Capes of Virginia, the voyage was fairly
begun, with a fresh S.W. wind, which increasing to a strong breeze blew
after us for seven days, and took us half way across the Atlantic.

I now stood watch alone for the first time, and it seemed a tremendous
responsibility to be left in charge of the ship on a dark, squally
night. How a person could become so unconcerned as to fall asleep, as I
knew Mr. Howard had sometimes done, was more than I could understand.
I found a great difference between a second and third mate's position.
When I was in the latter, I had only to obey orders and see to the
execution of work designed by my superiors. But now I had to decide
upon such matters for myself, and it sometimes set me at my wits' ends
to find work to keep my eight men constantly employed, particularly
in wet weather when sails and rigging could not be worked on. It had
seemed easy enough when third mate, for whenever at a loss I could fall
back on the mate for a job. But now when the watches were changed the
mate would start me with some work and going below would leave me to
get along as well as I could.

It is customary, as a general thing, for the mate to take special
charge of the foremast and jib-boom, and the second mate of the
mainmast and mizzen-mast, as far as keeping them in order is concerned.
But the mate keeps the general supervision of the work, and the second
mate would not make any changes of consequence without the mate's
approval. This obliges him to resort to small jobs to keep his men
employed when more extensive work fails, and they are apt to be of
the character denominated "humbugging" by sailors, and of which the
exponent is sawing wood with a hammer. It must be admitted that a great
deal of work is done on board ship, which will hardly bear the test
of necessity. But the men must be constantly employed, and if other
things fail the chain-cable will always have rust enough on it to
admit of cleaning, as a last resort; and if some who wonder "what they
find to do on board ship," could have spent a day in one of the flash
California clippers of a few years' ago, they would have seen a large
crew busied not only in the day-time, but through the night, scraping
eye-bolts and iron belaying-pins till they shone like silver, smoothing
off the paint work by rubbing with stones, scraping other parts bright,
as also the masts and yards, and wearing away the deck with holystones,
as well as the more legitimate work of making and taking in sail,
bracing yards and repairing sails and rigging.

The rule of labor in such vessels is comprised in the sailor's
"Philadelphia Catechism:"

"Six days thou shalt labor and do all thou art able; and on the
seventh, holystone the decks and pound the cable."

I found, too, that it was rather harder to get along with the sailors.
Having entire control of my watch I took much more interest in their
performance of work, and any laziness or stupidity excited my pugnacity
in the like greater proportion.

The crew, with two or three exceptions, were a poor set of men; not
particularly ugly in disposition, but ignorant, thick-headed and lazy,
and very trying to an officer's temper.

The captain behaved wonderfully well, and seemed so sincerely
endeavoring to restrain his usual sea indulgences, that I had no regret
at my decision in making the voyage.

The mate got along rather quietly, and proved himself to be a very
efficient officer; and there was something in his calm, decided
bearing which gave the captain great confidence in him, and also kept
him somewhat from his customary interference with mate's duties.
He bestowed pretty liberal attention on the second mate's affairs,
however, and used to make me understand sometimes what Mr. Morrison had
endured the previous voyage.

The mate was not harsh with the sailors, and carried on his work with
very little noise, giving ordinary orders in a mild tone. But still
he was strict, and the men had to move at a lively pace and be wide
awake; and sometimes when they failed to do this, he did not resist the
temptation of sending a curse and a belaying-pin after them, or perhaps
giving them a touch of a rope's end. There was nothing, however, like
Mr. Howard's abuse of men, and if a sailor did come in for a rap, he
was pretty sure to be in the wrong. His relations to me were very
pleasant. When relieving each other at night, if no work was going
on, we had a short chat, or the mate told some little yarn about the
Liverpool packet trade, which he had sailed in a good deal.

There was no third mate this voyage, so we had to depend on each other
for sociability.

Though it was the month of August the weather was blustering and
changeable. The S.W. wind which had favored us so well gave place to
northerly and easterly winds, with unsettled and squally weather. At
times nearly all sail would be set to a steady breeze, when suddenly
the black, threatening clouds would spring up from the horizon, and
with only a few minutes' warning, spread over the sky, bursting upon
the ship in a furious gust, while all hands would be at work clewing up
and hauling down the slatting, booming and rustling sails; and officers
and sailors increased the noise by what would seem to a landsman a
perfect Babel of harsh orders and shrill cries.

Those are the times that try officers' souls, and the times that test
the sailors' merit. In fine weather a little laziness or ignorance may
perhaps be borne patiently, but in a squall there is no forgiveness for
a man who "hangs back," or "doesn't know what he's about."

In the confusion attending these squalls some of the sailors seemed to
forget what little they knew, and were frequently letting go the wrong
ropes or running everywhere except to the place where they were wanted.
The captain's good resolutions succumbed to this pressure so far as to
allow his tongue to regain its old fluency at cursing; the mate was
pretty active both in words and deeds; and as for the second mate, he
used to bite his lips pretty hard to keep his tongue quiet.

There was an old sailor on board who had greatly attracted my interest,
partly owing to the circumstances attending his coming on this voyage,
and partly because of his good nature and willingness to work as well
as his feeble energies would permit. He was now fifty-two years old,
and a confirmed drunkard. The day after leaving Baltimore he came to
the steward, as he was about going into the galley with a pan of dough,
and asked him if he knew where the ship was bound to.

"Certainly," said the steward, "don't you?"

He shook his head, and the steward told him: "We're going to Amsterdam."

Old Harry's story was this: He was the son of a clergyman in Virginia,
and when quite young had run away to sea. He fell into bad habits
which prevented his rising in his profession, and for years he had been
drifting about, sometimes in the navy, and again in merchant vessels.
Though he had occasionally returned to his friends, his appetite for
strong drink had always overcome his good resolutions, and he had long
ago been given up as a hopeless case. He had a brother in Norfolk,
well to do, who, after several unsuccessful efforts of late years to
find traces of Harry, had discovered his last voyage. Upon the arrival
of the ship at Baltimore he had sent him a sum of money to defray his
expenses home, and offered to give him a shelter and support him for
the rest of his days. Old Harry was glad enough to accept this offer,
for he was now quite broken down in health, and in his sober hours at
sea had many anxious thoughts as to what would become of him in the
future. But he could not resist the inclination for another good drink
before he started, and his next sensible moment found him removed from
the den in Baltimore, where he had been carousing, to the forecastle,
out of sight of land, and with only fifteen cents in his pocket. These
he offered to the steward for a glass of whiskey, with most imploring
tones, but failed to obtain it. He had a touch of _delirium tremens_,
and after getting rid of the devils who, he fancied, were tormenting
him, he was in a most thoughtful and penitent mood.

A twenty-two days' passage brought the ship into the English Channel.
Passing through the Straits of Dover into the North Sea, the wind
hauled to the northward and increased to a fresh gale. The topsails
were double-reefed, and the ship slowly forged ahead, though making
some leeway, causing the captain to feel anxious about the lee shore,
which was in sight not far distant.

The Dutch pilots usually cruise about Dungeness, at the entrance of the
Straits, but not happening to run across one, Capt. Streeter was in too
much of a hurry to wait, and so kept on. Now he became very anxious to
procure one, and being off Antwerp he ordered he me to set the "Jack"
at the fore royal-mast-head as a signal for a pilot. I gave the signal
halyards to one of the men, and told him to lay aloft and reeve them at
the fore. The man slowly climbed up the rigging, but when he got to the
royal-mast his courage gave out. The ship was lying over very much and
jumping heavily in the sharp sea, so that it was a matter of difficulty
to hold on, and much more so to shin up the long mast-head. I cheered
the man on, who made two or three unsuccessful attempts to reach the
truck, but after ascending a short distance invariably slid back to
the eyes of the rigging. Another man was now sent up to help him, or
do the work for him, and I travelled aloft also to drive them up. But
both men were thoroughly frightened; so much so that I feared they
might lose their hold altogether, and I did not like to force them at
this risk, so at last I took the halyards myself and soon was at the
mast-head. Just at this moment Capt. Streeter came out of the cabin and
walked forward to see if his order had been executed. There he beheld
his second mate at the fore truck, and two sailors in the cross-trees
looking at him performing their work. This was rather opposed to his
idea of things, so he armed himself with the long unused cat, which had
been out of service since the negro-boys escaped from its tutelage,
and when the men reached the deck he gave them each a good flogging;
and when I appeared he said to me: "If I ever see you do sailors' work
again for them, I'll treat you in the same way."

But the flag did not bring the pilot, though the wind moderated enough
to quiet the captain's fears of the lee-shore. Laying off and on during
the night, in the morning the spires and windmills of Holland appeared
rising out of the sea before the land was visible. A pilot boat came
along side and a rosy-cheeked little Dutchman clambered over the rail.
In his short sailor's jacket he looked like an overgrown boy; but he
proved himself a good pilot, by bringing the ship into the Zuyder Zee
and then entering her in the canal at New Diep, the port of Amsterdam.

Vessels formerly sailed up the Zuyder Zee to Amsterdam, but were
often detained two or three weeks for water enough to carry them over
a certain bank. The enterprising merchants, to obviate this delay,
dug a canal fifty miles long, from Amsterdam to New Diep, making it
wide enough for two frigates to pass abreast, and the ships are drawn
through this to the city in about eighteen hours; or, if preferred,
they can discharge at New Diep into canal-boats, which convey the cargo
to the city. Another deeper and shorter canal has been made since then.

Capt. Streeter chose the latter plan and speedily got to work at
discharging the tobacco and staves. With two men I worked in the hold,
breaking out and slinging the cargo, and the rest on deck, at the
tackle, hoisted it out.

Though the ship lay alongside the quay, the captain refused permission
to any of the sailors to go on shore in the evening, saying all
they wanted was to get drunk, and the sailors not relishing this
restriction, and thinking they had done enough hard work on board the
"Dublin," took leave of absence on their own account, and for awhile
every morning found two of the crew missing, until only three or four
were left.

In a fortnight the ship was all discharged and ballasted, the captain
went to the city, settled his freight and cleared for Cronstadt. I
had to curb my love of sight-seeing, as my duties would not allow me
to visit the city. In New Diep I saw the Dutch people, the women with
their gold bands hung across their foreheads, and metal head-dresses
ending in front in two little cullenders holding curls, and the men
with their pipes, even the minsters walking to church on Sunday smoking.

The clean swept pavement and the white walled houses with their red
tiled roofs confirmed the reputation of that people for order and
cleanliness.

The captain upon returning to the vessel shipped some men, and put to
sea, having a final "growl" at the captain of the steamboat that towed
him out, bestowed upon him rather because he was the last Dutchman
he should see for a while, than because of any special fault in the
person. But he had to take Capt. Streeter's opinion of his countrymen,
and to say the least they were not very flattering to his national
pride. "Slower than real estate in Chelsea;" "don't know enough to
go into the house when it rains;" "put two ideas in their heads and
they'd bu'st," were a few of the favorite phrases made to apply to the
subject under consideration, as many times before they had been applied
by Capt. Streeter to such unfortunate people as came into the world
outside of the limits of "free and enlightened America."

In three days we rounded the north of Denmark and squared away through
the Cattegat with a fresh north-west wind. Before we reached Elsinore
we had a change of wind to the southward, and were all day beating up
the roads, where we anchored at dark. The next morning we started, with
a fleet of one hundred and fifty vessels, to beat into the Baltic. All
hands were on deck, and we tacked every fifteen minutes. As the Dublin
was flying light, and most of the fleet were coal-laden, she soon
distanced them all, and at sunset we weathered Falsterbo and squared
away up the Baltic.

After leaving New Diep, a change came over the captain; the restraint
which he had seemed to impose upon his passions during this voyage,
vanished, and he acted as though intent upon making up for lost time,
and relieving himself of an accumulation of malice and profanity. In
a head wind or calm he would throw his hat on deck and jump on it,
pouring forth abundant curses, and once even went so far as to shake
his fist aloft and swear at "Him who made the calm." The sailors shook
their heads and remarked to each other that the old man wasn't helping
things much, and in the forecastle they told stories about ships being
becalmed until the crew starved, or until the grass grew so long on her
bottom that it took root at the bottom of the sea and held her fast
when at last a breeze came.

The crew behaved pretty well, were very civil and prompt in obeying
orders, and proved themselves good "sailor men" withal.

After the captain had about exhausted his vocabulary on the calm, he
felt the need of something or person else to vent his spite upon; and
as the crew, who usually received these attentions, hardly gave the
excuse in this case, he very suddenly turned upon the second mate,
watched me every moment, and criticised every act that could be in any
way twisted so as to bear it.

He had always appeared more friendly to me than to any one else,
and this sudden change took everyone by surprise. It could hardly
be accounted for except by supposing it to be the expression of his
displeasure at my failure to develop into an officer after his own
heart.

It was soon evident that he had returned to the worst phase of his last
voyage. I, of all others, had occasion to notice it, for the captain's
peculiar attentions were bestowed upon me. His piercing eye was
fastened upon me during the greater part of the day, and often in the
night he crept stealthily on deck in hope of discovering some neglect
of duty, but always found me awake, and the yards and sails trimmed
as they should be, unless it happened that he came out within a few
moments of a little change of wind, and on one or two such occasions
he declared it had been so for half an hour, and taunted me with
inattention, or threw out a hint that he suspected me of having been
asleep--the greatest fault an officer can be guilty of. His principal
reason for the latter suspicion on one occasion was that he had a dream
about wild horses, which never occurred except when an officer was
asleep. He had proved it several times, and never knew it to fail. Mr.
Jones never went to sleep but once on deck, and that time the captain
woke up in the midst of this dream and caught him.

These things were very galling, but I was able to avoid any
disrespectful response, until one morning his taunts were heaped upon
me beyond endurance, and I had to answer back.

My watch came on deck at 8 A.M., and the captain told me to take a pull
of the main tack. He stood superintending the work as usual, and as we
hauled on the rope he shouted out what were supposed to be encouraging
orders: "Haul, you wicked rascals." "Lay out your beef on it;--bend
your backs to it; you wouldn't haul a mackerel off a gridiron!"
Finally, upon his calling out: "Haul away!" I understood him to say
"belay," and giving that order to the men the rope was made fast.

"How dare you belay a rope when I'm looking out for it?" shouted the
captain in a rage.

"I thought you ordered me to," said I.

This was an unfortunate speech, as Capt. Streeter had a decided
animosity to anyone's using the word _thought_.

"What business have you got to think, I'd like to know," he replied.
"You didn't ship for that. I'll make you know your place. I'm the only
man that's allowed to think aboard of this ship. You'll try to take
charge, if I let you keep on with your airs a little longer. You swing
about the decks now as though the ship belonged to you."

These phrases and several others were rattled off, one after the other,
and interlarded plentifully with oaths. Meanwhile I and the whole watch
stood gazing in wonder at the captain, scarcely knowing what to make of
this great ado about nothing. He walked aft a few steps and turned to
watch my movements as I set the men at work. The mate was standing by
the main hatch, and he told me to let one of my watch sew some canvas
on the foot of the mainsail, and directed me to let him sit in the
bight of a main buntline while he worked at it. I started the man at
his job exactly as the mate wished, but as the man caught hold of the
buntline to swing himself up to the desired position, the captain burst
out upon me again:

"What kind of back-handed work is that? Why don't you lower the man
down in a bo's'n's chair? I believe if you got two ideas in your head
it would bu'st. I'd like to know what is the matter with you?"

"The matter is," said I, "that I've always been treated decently till I
came here, and I'm not used to be cursed about and snarled at as if I
was a loblolly boy. Because I'm good natured you're trying to impose on
me, but I can't stand everything."

"If you say another word I'll knock your head off," said Capt.
Streeter, shaking his huge fist in my face. "Don't undertake to dictate
to me what kind of talk I use. I'd swear if the owner and God Almighty
were here." Then he said: "No! I won't fight you, if you were a man of
my size I would, but I'll treat you like a boy that's beneath my notice
that way. But after this I'll keep you in your place. Go set your men
to work, and mind you behave yourself."

That day Capt. Streeter paced the deck a good deal, evidently in deep
thought, and in the evening after supper he called me into the cabin.

"Mr. A----" said he, "do you know that a man who has had any education
can give a slur that'll hurt a good deal more than another man can.
Now, I feel one word from you more than I do a dozen from any one else,
and I feel hurt at the way you spoke to me this morning."

"I've always tried to be respectful to you, sir," I replied, "and I
think I've been more so than any body else would have been, because
I've been anxious that no one should think I put on any airs on account
of your familiarity with me. For the last week you've done nothing but
snarl at me and pick upon me. I know, of course, that I'm at fault
sometimes, but not as much as you try to make out."

"You can't expect a sea captain to be as mild as a parson all the
time," said Capt. Streeter. "You must make allowances. If I'm not quite
perfect I want you to respect me as your captain!"

"I always mean to respect you as my captain; but, if you'll allow me to
speak the plain truth, it's impossible to respect you as a _man_, and
I'm not always able to conceal my private feelings."

"If you can't respect me as a man, I want you to as your captain," said
Capt. Streeter, biting his lips and looking as though he had received a
slur that cut pretty deep. "That'll do."

Capt. Streeter felt that the account stood rather against him, and took
continual opportunities to annoy me, and occasionally repeated the
sentence which closed his cabin conference, showing that my remark had
taken strong hold upon him.

The night before we reached Cronstadt I had a good talk with the
captain, and he came to the conclusion he had better turn his
attentions to somebody else, and we gradually got to better terms with
each other.

In Cronstadt we discharged ballast and loaded a cargo of iron and hemp.
The crew were called every morning at half past four, which of course
was not very agreeable, and one morning an Irish sailor growled so
much about it, the mate went into the forecastle and struck him two or
three blows with his brass knuckles. A half hour afterwards the mate
picked up a handspike and struck him a blow across the stomach, and
after breakfast he told the captain of it, and the man was called aft
and severely beaten on the back with the end of the main clew-garnet,
a good sized rope. No more complaints were made about early rising.
The mate had a row with another sailor one day, and receiving some
insolence, threw a heavy piece of wood at his head, which fortunately
missed its mark. The man was so frightened that he deserted that night
with one of his shipmates.

The ship was loaded so deeply and was leaking so much, and moreover
had such wretched pumps, that many misgivings were expressed as to her
ever crossing the Atlantic safely. The superstitious among the crew
were still more disaffected when two Finnish sailors came on board,
for a Finn is believed to have dealings with the evil one, and to be
a dangerous shipmate. We sailed for Boston one September morning,
and beat down the Gulf of Finland. The crew that were shipped at New
Diep were to get fifteen dollars a month, but wages were higher in
Cronstadt, and the two Finnish sailors had shipped for twenty dollars.
They had signed articles to that effect, drawn up by the American
Consul. This grieved the captain's economic soul, and the day after we
sailed, he called one of the Finns into the cabin and summoned me for a
witness. He told the man that if he didn't prove to be a first-class,
able seaman, he should cut his wages down to ten dollars a month; but,
if he would sign the articles that the rest of the crew were on, and
accept fifteen dollars, he would say nothing about his seamanship.
The man was confident of his ability, and had every appearance of a
thorough seaman. He understood English imperfectly, and was somewhat
bewildered by this proposition, but he realized it was a scheme to
defraud him of five dollars a month, and he respectfully declined to
sign the new articles, saying, he had signed once before the consul
and that was his bargain. After a little useless argument, the captain
rose and shut the cabin door; then he caught the man by the neck with
his left hand, and gave him a blow with his right fist that knocked
him down. He jumped on his chest two or three times with his whole
weight; and then kneeling on top of him pounded his face severely. The
man cried out for mercy and promised to sign. He was then helped to
the table and wrote his name on the fifteen dollar articles. The other
Finn was at the wheel at the time, and whether he heard anything of
what was going on or not, he seemed to lose his head just then, and ran
the ship off her course. The mate, perceiving it, struck him and put
another man in his place. He was just coming forward as the captain and
his shipmate stepped out of the cabin. The bruised face of his comrade
startled him, and when the captain told him to go into the cabin he
refused, supposing he was going to be beaten for his bad steering. The
captain, without further words, seized a belaying pin from the rail and
hit him a powerful blow on the head, which cut a deep gash on the side
of his forehead, and in a moment his face was one mass of blood. The
steward and myself carried him into the cabin, by his head and heels,
and seating him on a stool in a state-room, bound up his broken head
with strips of sail cloth in lieu of rags. The captain brought a pen to
him and told him to write his name on the old articles.

"What ish dis?" he asked.

"Do as you're told," said the captain, and the man signed.

The captain then put a pair of handcuffs on the man's wrists, though he
was as quiet as possible, and he was left to meditate on the privileges
of sailing under that symbol of freedom and justice, the American flag.



CHAPTER IX.

THE "DUBLIN"--CONCLUDED.


When eight days out from Cronstadt the ship was in the North Sea about
forty miles S. W. of the Naze of Norway. The weather was rainy and
the sky dark and threatening. The wind gradually increased to a gale
from the westward, and in a few hours the ship was hove to under the
close-reefed main-topsail, laboring heavily in the ugly confused sea.
Careful attention to the pumps showed that the ship was leaking more
than usual, keeping the pumps constantly going. The sand washed to the
well-room and choked the pumps, which had not force enough to throw it
out. It was blowing a living gale, the ship was leaking badly and the
pumps were useless, the alternative that was presented was to founder
at sea, or run for some port. Accordingly, in the afternoon, the
captain ordered the yards to be squared, and the ship scudded before
wind and sea towards the Cattegat. Getting one pump clear, the crew, by
constant work, kept the water from gaining rapidly; but a new danger
was now before us. The captain had not seen the sun for twenty-four
hours and was not very confident as to the ship's position; she was
running towards the land, and an error of a few miles in the reckoning
might result in the loss of all on board before the next day-break.
The Coast of Denmark is very low and cannot be seen far at sea even
in clear weather, and though Captain Streeter hoped to fetch to the
northward of it, still he felt very much concerned, as the distance
would probably be run before day-light. I shall never forget my
feelings as I stood by the wheel that night, in the middle watch, while
the ship scudded before the howling tempest in the pitchy darkness,
perhaps towards sudden and certain destruction.

The negro steward had the best eyes of any man in the ship, and at the
first dawn of day he went forward and looked anxiously and earnestly
ahead. In a moment the cry, "Land, ho!" sounded, and he ran aft and
reported to the captain that he could see the land not more than five
miles off. Calling all hands the captain hauled the ship by the wind
and crowded all the sail possible in order to keep the ship off the
lee-shore and weather the northern point of Denmark, which, as the day
broke, appeared on the lee bow. He found that he had missed his course
by only eight or ten miles, but had it not been for the steward's
eye-sight, or had day dawned fifteen minutes later, the error would
have proved fatal. The ship struggled bravely against the gale under
double-reefed topsails, a press of canvas that threatened "to take the
sticks out of her," but she seemed inspirited by the nearness of the
dangerous coast, and when she finally fetched by the Scaw and squared
away across the Cattegat, all on board felt that the question of life
and death was decided in their favor, and cheerfulness and thankfulness
took possession of them. One hundred and fifty vessels and three
hundred lives were reported lost in that gale. That afternoon the ship
took a pilot off the Swedish coast, and proceeding seven miles up the
River Gotha, anchored at Masthugget, a suburb of Gothenburg.

The next day a survey was held and it was decided that the ship must
discharge and be hove down, though the leak was no more than good pumps
could have kept under. Here was a dismal prospect. It was October and
three months must pass before the "Dublin" could be ready for sea
again, and then it would be January, and probably the river would be
frozen over, so that she would be ice-bound till spring. The dreary
looking country and the low unattractive town which was in sight
presented little temptation to a long residence, and great discussions
went on in the forecastle, whether the "old man" would discharge the
crew or not.

By law, sailors discharged from an American ship abroad are entitled to
three months' extra pay, one third of which goes to the Consul. This
made the crew still more anxious to leave and they impatiently awaited
the decision. The Consul, with unusual liberality, told Capt. Streeter
that if his crew wished to be discharged and would at once take passage
in the steamer for England, he might let them go without any extra pay.
The men were a little disappointed at this, but were so dissatisfied
with the ship that they preferred to leave on these terms, and were
accordingly paid off and took the steamer for Hull, England. As they
passed the "Dublin" on their way down the river they waved their hats
and one of them shouted "Bad luck to the old hooker."

One evening in New Diep, old Harry went into the between decks on some
duty, and as it was rather dark there he fell through the hatchway into
the hold and broke his right arm. Captain Streeter was too economical
to employ a doctor, and too strict a disciplinarian to allow the sailor
to go on shore to see one; he also believed that he knew more than all
the medical fraternity put together. He therefore set the bone himself,
but did it so badly that the arm was nearly useless after the bones
had knit. Harry was very downhearted about it, for now he could no
longer ship as an able seaman and, as usual, when he was discharged
at Gothenburg he sought relief from his sorrows in drink. In a few
days he was picked up in the gutter, one cold morning, penniless and
almost naked. The United States Consul kindly gave him some clothes,
and wished him to accept a very serviceable coat which had belonged to
his coachman. But the sailor said: "Old Harry is an old man-o'-wars-man
and he can't wear a coachman's coat. Cut those big buttons off and I'll
take it." In his buttonless coat he was put on board the steamer for
England and disappeared.

One Sunday I went up to Gothenburg, in one of the little steam launches
that ply up and down the river. In the evening after my return I told
the mate of my visit; and after hearing my description of the city, he
said:

"I wish you'd been aboard this afternoon when Capt. Mann of the brig
"Hong Kong" was down in the cabin, visiting the old man. They talked
so loud I couldn't help hearing all they said, though I didn't listen.
You know you told me Capt. Streeter never commanded a vessel before he
had this one; but if you had heard his yarns, you'd have learned that
he's had charge of a whole fleet of ships, and he had such a great
reputation that the Emperor of Russia wanted him to command one of his
"cravats," as he called it, but I suppose he meant corvettes. He told
the Emperor that if he took charge of her, the first thing he'd do
would be to run her into action and get the crew killed off, in order
to make room for true-born Americans--the only men who could get two
ideas in their heads without bursting. The Emperor didn't like this
plan of disposing of his subjects very well, but he knew that Capt.
Streeter was such a smart man that he still urged him to accept, until
the affair ended by the captain telling him he wouldn't take one of his
ships if he'd give her to him.

"That wasn't the yarn I started to tell you though. Capt. Streeter said
that he commanded the ship "Seaman's Bride." (I'm pretty sure he's
been second mate of her). He was loading teas at Shanghae on owners'
account, and they wrote to him to make the quickest passage home he
possibly could, and not to spare either spars, sails or rigging. In
eighty-four days after leaving Shanghae he dropped anchor off the
Battery; the quickest passage ever made. He had carried away a set of
top-gallantmasts, sprung the fore topmast, mainmast-head, and fore and
main topsail-yards, and blown away two suits of sails. On discharging
her, they found two of her deck beams broken, five knees started in
the between decks, and four hanging knees in the lower hold broken,
and so on till he ran up a list longer than a bill of repairs on an
underwriter's job. When he got the ship's damages told, he began on
the damages to sailors, and I tell you they were still worse. He
killed two men outright and in New York nineteen men went ashore with
broken heads, all fixed to order by himself, for his mates didn't know
anything, and feared everything in the shape of sailors, and he had to
lick them too. I never heard a man tell a straighter story in my life.
I believe the old man would beat Tom Pepper at a yarn, and they say he
was more than a match for the Old Nick at lying. I'd like to be behind
the door when the match was going on, anyway. I never thought he told
the truth very hard, but I believe now he's forgotten how, if he ever
knew."

"Why," I added, "you know he said himself one day, 'I never tell the
truth except when a lie won't answer,' and I thought he came nearer
telling the truth than usual when he said that."

"My opinion of Capt. Streeter," said the mate, "is that he would be a
thundering rascal if he dared to be, but he hasn't got the pluck, and
he tries to get the credit of it by making up in lies what he hasn't
courage to do."

"He's a pretty hard man though," said I; "I've seen him handle some
sailors very roughly."

"Hard man," said the mate; "I wish you could have seen the work in some
ships I've been in. What courage does it take for a great two-fisted
fellow like him to handle a single sailor. There was old "Blower
Aiken," who used to keep a bucket full of coal on the poop to heave
at the sailors, and when they were at the main braces, if they didn't
haul hard enough to suit, and it wasn't very often they did, he'd get
up on the after-house, and jump down on top of one of the men, and
then turn to and lick the whole watch. When I was in the packet-ship
"Mountaineer," along with 'Bully Nat Johnson,' I was with what I call a
hard man. If the man at the wheel got the ship a little off her course,
I've seen him pick up a boat-hook and run it through the man's cheek,
and keep him standing at the wheel till his trick was done.

"We were coming home from Liverpool once, and went out of the North
Channel; but then the wind came from the northward and blew a living
gale. This brought the Irish coast on our lee, and the 'old man'
carried sail pretty hard to claw off. Our fore-topsail blew all to
ribbons, and while we were up bending another, a boy fell off the lee
yard arm. Only the man next to him noticed him, and it was blowing so
hard he could not make any one hear to windward. The mate, who was on
deck, saw it, and beckoned to me to come down. (I was third mate of
her). When I got on deck, he told me what had happened, and he had just
thrown a rope which the boy had got hold of; for the ship of course was
only just drifting. We tried to haul him in, but when he was nearly up,
he slipped his hold and fell into the water. He floated aft, and caught
hold of the main chain-plates; and just as I was going to get a rope
round him the old man yelled out to me: 'Go up on that fore-topsail
yard.'"

"'There's a boy overboard, sir,'" said I.

"'I don't care,' said he; 'let him help himself. If we don't get that
fore-topsail bent we'll all be lost.'"

"While I stopped for this talk, a sea had washed the boy away, so I
went up aloft.

"The sailors were so frightened at the force of the gale and flapping
of the remnant of the old sail that they had all laid in off the yard,
and wouldn't go out again. The old man came up and kicked them, and
jumped on their heads as they stood in the rigging and top, but they
wouldn't stir, and at last the second mate and I crawled out on the
weather yard arm, and he lashed me on to the yard with a gasket, and
then I cut away the old sail and hauled out the head of the new one,
for the men came out when they found some one to take the weather
earing.

"Old Johnson is dead now. They called him one of the smartest men that
sailed out of New York, and he could always command his own wages, but
I guess old Jimmy Squarefoot is putting him over the road now for--four
bells! you don't say an hour's gone a'ready; you must want to turn in."

The cargo was discharged into lighters and stored on shore. Then the
"Dublin" was hauled into the shipyard and her inmates, captain, two
mates, cook and steward moved to boarding houses on shore. The ship
was hove down on her side, caulked and sheathed, and all day long we
stood on the rafts alongside and went through the form of watching the
workmen. We had a vacation from the captain's society in the evening,
except when I had to go up to his lodgings and write his business
letters for him.

The beginning of January found the ship again loaded and ready for sea,
only waiting for sailors, who were very scarce; partly so, because the
captain had told so many fighting stories in the ship-chandlers' stores
that the bad reputation the old crew had given the vessel had been
confirmed and increased. The river froze over, and though a channel
was kept open by steamers, this might be expected to close any night,
and unless the ship desired to remain until spring it was time for her
to leave. So she was towed down to an outer harbor through seven miles
of ice and in a few days the captain joined her with a crew of young
Swedes--no old sailors being willing to join the vessel. The river was
now frozen entirely over, and even in this harbor ice had formed for
two miles out amongst the islands towards the sea. Accordingly the
captain made a bargain with the fishermen of the place to break out
the ship, and they assembled in force with their ice boats. These were
built with sharp bows which the men lifted and struck upon the ice,
and as it gave way they jumped on to the boat. When a space had been
cleared ahead of the ship, her fore-topsail was set, and she crashed
along until brought up by the firm ice, when the boats again went to
work while the ship held on by a line toggled into the ice astern. In
this way we worked all of one day, and at its sunset found ourselves in
open water; then we made sail and steered to the westward, delighted to
be at last homeward bound.

Ten out of fifteen of the crew could not speak English and most of
them were young men and very poor sailors. But they were "willing" and
well disposed, and the knowledge of Swedish I had acquired in the long
winter evenings enabled me to work ship with them quite easily.

The captain had not improved his opportunity to master the language,
and it nearly drove him distracted when the men ran to the wrong end
of the ship to execute an order. He tried on his "tantrums" at first,
and issued his volleys of curses and blackguardism from the top of the
after-house, but the sailors only turned and stared at him with their
mouths open in wonder. He gave this up after awhile and we had quite a
peaceable passage.

The ship made good headway in spite of this, and soon again passed
Fair Island and the inevitable boat-load of beggars, and commenced
battling with the Atlantic. Lat. 60° N. in the month of January is
not a very agreeable locality to sail in, and gales of wind were
frequent visitors. We were about half way across the ocean, when one
evening the captain, anxious to finish his passage, was "carrying on"
to the ship with the double-reefed topsails, steering west, with the
wind north. The ship was thus right in the trough of the sea and as
it blew a fresh gale, and the seas were beginning to roll higher and
higher, the men cast many uneasy glances to windward. At a little
before eight o'clock, while the watch was pumping ship, a sea broke
on board forward, and breaking down the bulwarks and tearing away the
water-casks from their lashings, swept aft, and catching up the crew
at the pumps carried them down into the lee scuppers. As I was washing
about with the surges of the water I at first thought I was overboard,
but after awhile managed to get on my feet and was pleased to find the
deck still under them. Half a dozen men were standing up to their necks
in water howling Swedish exclamations, declaring they had broken arms
and legs and so on, and when I got around to windward the moon broke
out through the clouds and showed a scene of the greatest confusion.
Boat, spars, and ropes had been washed off the house, and the decks
were piled up with the _debris_ of water-casks and bulwarks. As soon
as the frightened sailors could be got to work sail was reduced, and
upon surveying the damage done, it was found that the ship's stem was
started away from the "wood ends" and the water must be pouring into
the hold. Some hands at once were set to work to prepare for throwing
overboard cargo from the fore-hatch and the rest sent to the pumps. To
the great relief of all, the noble pumps that had been furnished in
Gothenburg worked splendidly and freed the ship from water. As soon as
the mate could get time he began to count the men, fearing that some
had been washed overboard, and failing to make out the number he took a
look into the forecastle and discovered five sailors snugly ensconsed
in their bunks. When they spied the mate they all began to groan and
cry, and upon inquiry he learned that one had broken his back, two had
broken legs, and the other two broken arms. He called the captain, who
made a hasty examination which convinced him they were more frightened
than hurt, and he said: "I'll give you all just five minutes to get out
on deck, and if you ai'n't out in that time I'll come in and drive you
out with a handspike." This threat brought the broken legs and arms
into action and they all made their appearance within the prescribed
time, somewhat bruised but none of them seriously injured.

Two days after this the water was quite smooth and the captain desired
to do something to stop the leak forward, which kept the pumps going
nearly all the time. It was necessary for some one to go over the bow
in a "bow-line," and as the weather was cold and the person would dip
in the water, it was an unpleasant as well as a dangerous task. The
captain disliked to order any one to do it, but the mate volunteered
to the work. A bed-quilt was cut up into long strips, and being
lowered down over the bow in the bight of a rope with a stick, the
mate proceeded to stuff the quilt into the open seam and then nailed
canvas over it down to the water's edge. At every dip he was nearly
submerged in the cold waves, but manfully did his work until the last
nail was driven, and then the hammer dropped from his benumbed hand and
he was drawn on board thoroughly chilled. He was taken to the cabin
and treated to a stiff drink of whiskey. He soon recovered from the
immediate effects of his exposure, though for some time after he felt
the drain it made on his powers of endurance. The leak was reduced one
half by his labors and he was regarded as a hero.

All felt very anxious upon approaching the coast, fearing to encounter
heavy weather while the ship was in this crippled condition. But in
spite of our hopes the gales were destined to come.

A few days after this, another gale set in at midnight, and at one
o'clock in the morning all hands were called to double-reef the
topsails. It was a dark, wild night, blowing hard with rain and sleet,
and very cold. The crew were so worn out with exposure they were not
very lively, and we were an hour and a quarter before we got below
again. In reefing the fore-topsail we were aloft twenty minutes, the
sail being wet and stiff and the yard not being properly braced to the
wind so as to "spill" the sail. The captain swore we had been up there
two hours, and said he would see if the main-topsail couldn't be worked
quicker. He got his rope's end, and at the order "lay aloft," he flew
around the deck and beat every man into the rigging; then he followed
them aloft, thrashing at every one he reached. When they laid out on
the yard, he walked out to each yard arm holding on to the top-gallant
studding-sail booms, which were triced up, and beat each man over the
head and shoulders. Standing in the maintop he struck at each sailor
as he passed down. We were five minutes longer than we had been at the
fore-topsail, but the captain flattered himself he had hurried matters.
In memory, this dark night, the fierce storm, the cold blinding sleet,
the weak and disheartened crew and the worst storm of rage, curses and
blows from the captain, form an abiding impression of a demoniacal
event.

The ship was so deep her decks were always wet, and seas broke over her
continually when the wind attained to any force. Even if protected with
oil-clothing a sea would often knock one down and soak him. To stand on
deck four hours in a cold, stormy night, soaked to the skin and with
boots saturated and partly filled with water, makes one's life seem to
be oozing away. No wonder sailors are short-lived; sea exposure and
shore degradation soon use them up!

When about in the longitude of Cape Sable we took a fresh southerly
gale with warm rainy weather, and the same afternoon it suddenly
hauled to the north-west, increasing in force, and the weather
becoming very cold. The wet sails froze so stiff that it was with the
greatest difficulty that the crew could furl them, and while trying to
close-reef the fore-topsail five of the men had their hands frozen and
with difficulty got safely on deck. The "Dublin" had the old-fashioned
whole topsails and it was a dreadful job to handle them. The plan of
making two handy sails out of one large one as in the "Howe's Rig,"
which is now almost universally adopted, is one of the greatest
blessings of the age to the mariner, and yearly saves numbers of lives
and a vast amount of hardship. Some of the men, whose hands were
frozen, restored the circulation by rubbing them in the icy water which
washed over the deck, but two of them were disabled, and upon arrival
in port had to submit to the amputation of some of the fingers and
toes. I had both hands frozen, but soon thawed them out in the cold sea
water.

The ship was now hove to on the starboard tack, the gale was blowing
fiercely, and ice making on the ship. The clothes of the men were
frozen upon them, and when the watch was ordered to go below I took the
last dry clothes I had from my chest and turned into my bunk. I was
only just going to sleep, when above the noise of the gale sounded the
rustling and slatting of the fore-topsail, which had blown adrift, and
then came the mate's cry, "all hands ahoy! Rouse out here and furl the
fore-topsail." This was a moment of real hardship, and it required a
great deal of heroism to spring from one's bunk and face the freezing
gale aloft. I confess I shirked duty and waited for a second call,
which fortunately did not come. A few sailors soon appeared on deck,
and the rest too much terrified or too irresolute to meet the harsh
duty were dragged out of their bunks by the mate and driven aloft, with
threats of blows from a handspike he carried in his hands.

For fifteen minutes the crew battled with the stiff icy sail. Again and
again they had it gathered up and the blast would sweep it from their
benumbed hands, but finally the gaskets were passed around it and the
order was given to "lay down." The sailors then turned in and rolled
themselves up in their blankets to try one phase of a sailor's life,
"turn in wet and turn out smoking."

All the next day the gale raged with fury, the ice was a foot thick on
deck, and the ropes and rigging were masses of ice. It was impossible
to work ship or make sail and we let her lie and drift to the
southward. The day succeeding, the gale moderated and the thermometer
suddenly started up. Trying the temperature of the water alongside,
we found ourselves in the Gulf Stream. All that day we were employed
drawing up the warm water from alongside, pouring it over the rigging
and beating off the ice. At night we got it sufficiently cleared
to allow us to make sail. Fine weather succeeded and in a few days
we found ourselves on George's Bank. The captain hailed the fishing
schooner, "Eliza A. Proctor," to find out our position, as he was
somewhat distrustful of the accuracy of his chronometer.

"Schooner ahoy!"

"Halloa," answered a shrill voice.

"What is your longitude?"

"We hai'n't got no longitude; we're after fish!"

"How does George's Shoal bear?"

"Nor' West by North."

As we passed the schooner Capt. Streeter discovered that the skipper
was his mate of two voyages previous--Mr. Foster, whom he had
quarrelled with and discharged from the ship in Mobile. The bearing
he gave did not at all agree with the reckoning; the captain had some
misgivings as to the skipper's information and decided not to trust to
it. The schooner "Emporia" afterwards gave us another bearing and when
we sighted Cape Cod we found Foster had deceived us, and given a course
that would have wrecked the ship if it had been followed. He evidently
did it out of spite to his old commander.

Capt. Streeter was weather-wise, and continually prophesied the changes
of the wind. Once when it had been blowing from the north-west for two
or three days, it began to moderate and give evidence that this wind
had had its day. The captain said in the evening: "This wind is about
done now, it will haul around to the eastward, going by the north, or
it may die away calm and haul around by the south." At four in the
morning I called him and told him there was an easterly breeze.

"Which way did it haul?"

"By the north, sir."

"Didn't I tell you so?" said the captain.

The evening we made Cape Cod, the sky began to clear in the westward
and a light breeze came from that direction. "Now," said the captain,
"we are in for it. It's just my luck. It's going to blow a living gale
of wind from the nor'west; we shall be driven off the coast and not
fetch back here for a fortnight." This was rather disheartening and I
couldn't help replying: "If I thought so I wouldn't say it, for I think
we have had quite trouble enough without borrowing any."

"I tell you what it is young man," said the captain, "there's a
difference between borrowing trouble and being weather-wise."

A light westerly breeze blew all the next day. We beat up the bay with
fine weather and off Boston light took the steam-tug "R.B. Forbes,"
which towed us quickly up to Lewis' Wharf, just as the day had ended. I
heard a familiar voice through the darkness, and the ship was no sooner
fast, than I went over the rail and for two days abandoning myself to
the joys of home I tried to forget that there ever was a "Ship Dublin."
Then I visited the ship, and the captain at once inquired "Did you
notice how it blew last night? I knew it was coming; I'm not often
deceived about the weather." I received the compliment of being asked
to make another voyage in the ship and the black eyes snapped at my
rather peremptory refusal.

The owner was offended with me for leaving, and finding that I had
suffered in his good opinion by doing so, I ventured after some days,
to excuse myself by saying just enough about Capt. Streeter to justify
my conduct. He was very indignant, wouldn't allow such a man to sail
for him, but didn't see how he could discharge him just then. He would
tell him to do differently though. One of the partners remarked, "Oh,
they all swear and fight, and Capt. Streeter is the smartest commander
we have ever had."

He sailed again on another Russia voyage with the old instructions to
"use his best efforts to suppress all vice and immorality on board and
promote the welfare of his crew." How he did it the following letter
from Mr. Wright the mate, written from Cronstadt will tell:

"I suppose you would like to hear how this old boat gets along and what
kind of a voyage we've had so far. When we left the wharf at Boston,
I called the men to come out of the forecastle and go to work, but
the answers I got weren't very polite. They called out, 'we want to
make our beds up; don't get your temper in an uproar; don't fret' and
some other remarks that you can fancy. I got pretty mad, and I just
picked up an iron belaying-pin and went into the forecastle and made
Rome howl. All hands turned on me, and I had all the fighting I wanted.
Things got too hot for me and I had to go aft and ask the old man to
come in and help me. I thought he would be very glad to have such a
chance for "spiflicating sailors" as he calls it, and some men I've
sailed with wouldn't have asked for better sport than to walk into
those sailors and make them take the measure for their coffins on deck.
The way the old man showed the white feather surprised me. He got on
top of the after-house, with a pistol in his hand, and called to the
men to come aft, and talked to them as mild as a sucking parson. They
were pretty sullen, and five men swore they wouldn't do a hands turn
of work on board. The old man told me to put them in irons, and I did
it without much trouble, for they had too much headache to make any
more fuss. I put a rope through between their wrists and triced them up
with the main lift tackles till their feet only just touched the deck.
It wasn't long before they wanted to turn to. One was hurt so bad that
we thought he would die, and he has been laid up the whole passage. I
have had several sprees with the men since, but now I only have to
hold up my finger and they mind me. The old man doesn't say much to
the sailors, but he's down on the second mate, who is a youngster, and
doesn't know much, and he hazes him when he wants to let off steam. We
are loading for Boston, and I hope we will get there soon, for I've
been about long enough in the "Dublin." I hope you'll get a good ship
and a captain that'll suit you, but they are scarce fish to find."

The ship was sold on her return, and the captain entered another
employ. His vessel finally went to Australia. When riding horseback
he was thrown, and broke his ankle. The doctors declared amputation
was necessary. With his usual contempt for medical opinions he drove
them away, and thought he could apply to his own case the skill he had
exercised on Old Harry, but in a few days he died of lockjaw. His end
appeared significant to those who knew how his powers of speech had
been misused.



CHAPTER X.

COAST OF MADAGASCAR.

  "A strong nor'wester's blowing, Bill;
    Hark! don't ye hear it roar now?
  Lord help 'em, how I pities them
    Unhappy folks on shore now!"--_Wm. Pitt._

  "In noble minds some dregs remain.
  Not yet purged off, of spleen and sour disdain."--_Pope._


We sighted the coast of Madagascar about Fort Dauphin, but at a
distance of nearly fifty miles, so that our view of it was not very
distinct. But it is always a pleasure to a sailor to see land, and a
great relief after many days of wearisome, changing, wave scenery to
let the eye rest upon the everlasting hills. The mountains symbolize
stability and unchangeableness, and as the aspirations of the heart are
ever towards those things most in contrast with present experience,
so the sailor's life of unrest and variableness disposes his dream
of happiness to be one of enduring repose. This idea the land as
contrasted with water expresses to his mind. A thrilling sensation
always accompanies the sound of "Land, ho!" and longing glances are
directed to the faintest loom of land in the horizon.

Our easterly winds continued and took us to the coast of Africa, which
we sighted about Algoa Bay. Then the wind became light and variable and
with smooth water we sailed slowly along in sight of the land for four
days. One evening we sighted the light on Cape Agulhas, the south-east
point of Africa, and with the wind freshening at N.N.E. soon ran it out
of sight on the starboard quarter. Before this breeze sprang up we were
in company with a large ship showing Dutch colors. She sailed alongside
of us for a considerable time, then slowly gained ahead, crossed our
bow and in a few minutes disappeared from sight, though the twilight
gave a long range to the vision. Many were the conjectures about her,
and some of our crew will always believe they saw the veritable "Flying
Dutchman," the phantom ship that is supposed to cruise off the Cape of
Good Hope. The legend concerning her, as many will remember, is, that
a Dutch captain, who had encountered very severe gales, was advised to
put the ship back to a port of distress, but swearing a terrible oath
he declared he would beat around the Cape if it took him till the Day
of Judgment. In punishment for his sin he is doomed to battle with the
elements until that day, and his battered hulk, with threadbare sails
and skeleton crew haunts the southern sea.

At eight in the evening we passed another ship bound the same way, but
under close-reefed topsails, whereas we had the royals set. We hailed
her and found she was the "Meteor" from Batavia, but whither she was
bound, or where she hailed from, we failed to learn, for we went by her
so fast there was no time for further questions.

"What can she be doing under that sail?" asked the mate.

"O, she has got a prudent captain," I replied. "The barometer has
been down low for the last two days and no doubt there is a gale of
wind coming on. I can't take in sail though in this country, with a
fair wind blowing, until I see the breeze coming. Every mile here is
precious and as long as there is a chance to gain ahead we must use it.
But you must keep your eyes peeled to-night for nor'west squalls."

At ten o'clock I carefully inspected the wind and weather. It was a
bright starlight night, with not a cloud to be seen, except that ahead
in the horizon was a low streak that looked like a fog bank. A fresh
breeze was blowing from the northward driving the ship along nine
knots, with the yards just clear of the backstays, all sail being set.
The mate had the watch on deck, and I said to him, "This is fine, I
only hope it will last, but the glass says, No. However, very likely
we'll have good warning before the change comes. Keep a sharp lookout
and if it breezes on, or the weather looks threatening, get the light
sails off of her and give me a call."

In half an hour after that, the mate shouted "clew up the fore royal,"
but no sooner had they let go the halyards than a furious blast from
the north-west struck her flat aback. The helm was put hard up and
having a good deal of headway the vessel fortunately "fell off." None
of the watch below needed a call for every one was out of his bunk in
a few seconds as the bark, nearly on her beam ends, and the shaking
sails, gave their own summons. I was on deck promptly and shouted,
"Lower down the spanker;" but the mate had his men forward hauling down
the jib and flying-jib, for the sheets had parted and the sails were
blowing into ribbons. The second mate got his watch along aft as soon
as possible, and in the meantime I jumped on top of the after-house
to let go the spanker throat-halyards. As I passed forward of the
mizzen-mast to go to leeward, the wind and the inclination of the
vessel gave me a slide, and away I went head foremost off the house on
to the main deck. I had on rubber boots with my pants tucked into them,
and as I fell the belaying-pin of the main brace went up the right boot
leg and there I hung, heels up and head down in the lee-scuppers, while
the good bark was lying beam on to the hurricane, which threatened
every moment to dismast her, and in the meantime was blowing to
pieces a number of her sails. The night was pitchy dark and the rain
poured in large drops which, with the force of the wind, struck like
hail, while the storm roared with a sound such as that with which the
express train affrights one who stands on the platform of a country
station past which it flies. I managed to extricate myself from this
awkward position, and crawling to windward renewed the directions for
shortening sail. The vessel was run off to the S.E. for two hours while
we took in and furled every sail except the close-reefed main-topsail
and then she was brought to the wind on the port tack.

That was a night we long remembered, and a hard time the crew had
furling the wet sails in the cold rain, but there was one alleviation
to their discomfort, for I had the cook "roused out" and ordered him to
make coffee for all hands; and as soon as she was hove to, a mug of hot
coffee and a cake of hard bread gave them one of the greatest treats
they ever had in their lives.

"The prudent captain got the best of it this time," I said to the mate.

"I'm not so sure of that, sir," said he; "if he's been waiting two days
for the wind to blow we've gained enough distance on him to pay for a
good deal more damage than we've got."

"But it's a lucky job we did not lose our masts," I said; "if there had
been a flaw anywhere they would have gone. Things held on well. Didn't
it give you any warning?"

"No, sir," said the mate. "That bank that was hanging there ahead, when
you were on deck, was what did the mischief. It seemed to hold about so
and didn't look very threatening, but in five minutes it spread right
up over the sky. I made a start to get sail in before it struck her,
but I wasn't in time."

The gale blew very hard through the night and continued for seven
days, but it moderated at times so that we set the whole topsails for
a few hours. Four different times we were obliged to heave to under
the close-reefed main-topsail and once it was "goose-winged." This
time it blew a fearful gale. There was a black overcast sky, hanging
so low down that it seemed not far above the mast heads, and driving
across with great rapidity. Hard hail-squalls now and then passed over,
and every face had to be shielded from the stinging violence of the
hailstones. The sea was tremendous. At times there would be but one
wave in sight, that, the whole ocean, and towering high up above the
rail almost even with the tops it would come rolling on seeming to
bear inevitable destruction; but as it approached, the good bark would
gradually mount up its side, and then be whirled up and lifted over its
summit like a little toy. As the waves broke, the wind lifted the whole
crest into its arms and bore it onward mingling sea and air, driving
the spray in horizontal lines high aloft across the ship. At about two
o'clock in the afternoon a sea broke alongside and a good portion of
its top came tumbling in over the weather rail. Nothing could resist
its force. In went the galley and forecastle doors, the water-cask
lashings gave way, the pig-pen on the main hatch was smashed all to
pieces, the spare main-yard broke adrift, and the sea, having spent its
force, found a passage for itself through the lee ports.

[Illustration: Fishing off the Cape.]

After this gale a calm prevailed for a few hours and we heeded
Horsburgh's praise of the fishing on the Banks of Agulhas, by
trying our fortune with the line. The only result, however, was the
accompanying sketch of the performance.

[Illustration]

By these gales we lost eight days on our passage and only gained one
hundred miles in nine days, an inspection of our track for ten days
will show how hard it is sometimes for sailing vessels to make quick
passages.

When fifty days out we sighted the revolving light on Cape of Good
Hope, and the next day having a light westerly wind we stood along the
coast to the northward and enjoyed a fine view of Table Mountain.

This turning of the corner was a joyous event. Now we pointed the
ship's head towards home and realized that we were actually bound
there, which it was hard to do while our course had any southing in it.
Fine weather regions lay before us, and an immense load was removed
from the captain's mind by the safe "doubling of the Cape."

South-east winds set in next, and we went "rolling down to St. Helena"
before fresh trades, with very fine weather.

The steady winds and settled weather of the South Atlantic are always
taken advantage of by the homeward bound ships to tar-down the rigging,
paint and "fix up" generally for port. It is customary to keep all
hands then, even in ships where it is not the continual practice.
That is, instead of having only half of the crew at work at a time
and alternating every four hours, all hands are kept on deck in the
afternoon from one o'clock until six. They all get dinner together at
twelve and no work is done from noon until one. At one all "turn to,"
and either all hands get supper together at six, or one watch gets
theirs at half-past five and the other at six. Under the watch and
watch system a sailor is on deck ten hours out of the twenty-four on
one day and fourteen hours on the next, making twenty-four hours of
work and twenty-four of rest in forty-eight. In the all-hands system
a man is on deck thirteen hours one day and fourteen and a half the
next, making twenty-seven and a half hours of work and twenty and a
half of rest in forty-eight. To the advocates of the eight-hour system,
this may seem an undue proportion of working hours, but it is to be
remembered, however, that half of these hours occur in the night time,
when, if the wind is steady and weather fine, there is no work to be
done, and if the helmsman and the lookout are wide awake and the crew
answer promptly to a summons, it would not be noticed in most ships if
the men stole a nap on deck between times. But in "hard ships" the men
are always kept moving. The officers of course at all times in their
watch on deck must be wide awake and, it is presumed, on their feet, so
that keeping all hands is more of a privation to them than it is to the
sailors.

The mate asked me one night after we got past the Cape, if he should
begin now to keep all hands until the work was done.

"Do you think you could get the work done with watch and watch?"

"I suppose we could," said the mate, "but we shall have to keep driving
at it right up to Boston Light."

"Did you ever go through the trades with watch and watch?" I asked.

"No, sir, I never did," said the mate.

"Well, I never did myself till last voyage, then I was so well pleased
with the result that I should like to try it again. The voyage before
that, I came on deck one night, while we were keeping all hands, and
found the second mate sitting on the bumpkin, his arms on the rail and
his head buried down in them, while he was snoring after the style
called 'driving the pigs to market.' The next day I had a talk with
him about his neglect of duty. He acknowledged his fault, but said it
occurred in spite of all he could do. He said he had tried every way
he could think of to keep himself awake. He had walked the deck until
he was compelled from sheer exhaustion to sit down, for it was a hot
sultry night, and he had been on his legs all day long. He assured me
very earnestly that he had not neglected his duty intentionally. Said
he: 'Cap'n, did you ever have any fault to find with the way I kept the
night watch before we had all hands?'

"'No,' I answered, 'none whatever.'

"'No, sir,' he said, 'and I am sure you had no occasion to. Excuse me,'
said he, 'I don't mean to growl at your way of doing things, but I
can't feel that an officer is greatly to blame if he is drowsy at night
in an all-hands ship. I was studying it all out last night while I was
dragging myself fore and aft the deck trying to keep awake, and this
was what I made out: I get nineteen hours to myself out of forty-eight,
and when you take out meal-times, dog-watch, a little time for keeping
clothes in order and what time I give up to the ship in my watch below
to help things along, I can't get more than twelve hours' sleep in
two days. Six hours a day is thought a small allowance on shore where
a man can sleep it right through. But our rest is so broken I don't
believe it does as much good. Three hours and a half or four hours is
the longest sleep one can get at a time, and then he has to stand four
hours on deck before he has a chance to get another cat nap.'

"I felt he had a good deal of truth on his side, though I didn't like
to tell him so, and I thought a good deal about it afterwards. The next
voyage I resolved to try how watch and watch would work, and when we
got into the S.E. trades, homeward bound, I told the mate to say to the
men: 'There's just so much work that's got to be done before this ship
reaches port; now if you can do it with watch and watch, you shall have
it, but if there's any 'sogering' or loafing you'll be kept up in the
afternoon.'

"We began it. The men all worked with a will, and I am certain that
as much was done as on the previous voyage. I took special pains to
compare, and all through I noticed that there was more drive, and less
loafing, going for a drink, turns round the foremast, and long spells
at the grindstone. On some of the large jobs, too, I had a good chance
to judge. I suppose there's no job that admits of as many 'soger
moves' as scrubbing ship outside. The men come up on deck every little
while to haul up or 'fleet' the stages they are working on, and then
they spin out the time before they get back by sharpening knives and
scrapers, or getting a drink, and a good many other moves that every
one knows, who has ever had to follow up old sailors.

"When we had all hands we scrubbed the ship around outside in one day
and thought we had done a smart piece of work; but with watch and
watch we scrubbed her and cleaned the chain-plates below the channels,
beside, in the same time, and as far as I could see the work was done
fully as well. The difference was, that the men all felt an interest
in showing how the watch and watch system would work, and there was no
dodging, or loafing, or spinning yarns on the stages.

"Now I should like to have you do the same thing this passage, and the
fact is, I want to see it proved a second time before I go over to it
altogether."

[Illustration: Second officer sitting for his portrait, belaying pin in
hand.]

The next Monday the sailors supposed that we should begin of course
to keep all hands in the afternoon, and when eight bells was struck
at noon, they all opened their ears and looked out of the corners of
their eyes at the mate, waiting for the expected and dreaded order,
"All hands get dinner." But nothing was said, and the men kept on with
their work, with their brains full of surmises as to what it meant.
At one bell, when the watch came out, the mate mustered all hands at
the main-hatch, and said to them: "Men, the captain says he's willing
to give you watch and watch all the time, if you can get the work done.
But this bark has got to be put in just as fine order as any ship that
ever went into Boston harbor. Now we'll try you and see what you can
do. But if the work lags, or there's any hanging back, I'll have you
out."

So we went to work with the watch, fitting the rigging, and tarring
down. The men did as well as we could wish, things went on quietly, and
the work disappeared day by day faster than we had expected.

The crew presented a rather uncouth appearance on deck during this
period, for one suit of clothes was devoted to serve through the
tarring and then go overboard. The officers were not much more
attractive in appearance, as the second mate's portrait will testify.

It had a good moral effect to secure one day's cleanliness out of
seven, the result of our system of services in the cabin on Sunday.

The sailors in the _Rocket_ were favored with good living, watch and
watch, and kind treatment. They were never cursed, nor called by hard
names. Instruction was given to those who desired it, and religious
influences pervaded the vessel. The voyage was a pleasant one. Fine
weather and favoring breezes usually prevailed, and the fairest regions
of earth were visited. If sailors could ever be happy and contented,
these circumstances, which probably were in marked contrast to the
experiences of many, should have produced this result upon that crew.

When the voyage commenced they had no praise too good to bestow. They
allowed they were in a good ship; the captain was the best man they
ever sailed with; the officers were perfect gentlemen; the "grub" was
first-rate. But, on the homeward passage, although everything was the
same as when outward bound, the sailors sat down on their chests in the
forecastle with their feast of "soft-tack" and apple-sauce in their
pans, and, as the saying is, they growled like bears with sore heads.
Their behavior on deck and manner of working was unexceptionable, but
if their life and talk in the forecastle were chronicled it would
convey the impression that they considered themselves an ill-used,
poorly-fed and oppressed set of men.

The mate one evening practised an eaves-dropping in which he proved
the truth of the old proverb, "listeners never hear any good of
themselves." Old Nielson, a Swede, the best sailor-man in the ship,
with his mouth stuffed nearly full of molasses gingerbread, was leading
the growl. Said he, "I've been to sea thirty-two years and I never
sailed in a worse ship than this is. Nobody aft knows what we get to
eat, and that nigger gives us just as little as he likes. Last ship I
was in the cap'n or mate went into the galley every day and saw things
were cooked right and plenty of 'em, but here we don't get any more
notice taken of us than though we were a parcel of dogs. If the old
man had _some_ crews with him I bet he wouldn't impose on them. But
sailors don't seem to have any spunk now-a-days, same as they used to.
There's a whole barrel of vinegar down below, and yet we can't have but
two bottles full a week. What does he want to carry it home for? He's
keeping it back just to spite us. Do you call that being a Christian? I
call him a mean old skin-flint; if he's going to heaven, I don't want
to go there."

Now what did all this mean? Why, just this. They had found some of the
gingerbread not done quite through. That was all. On board of most
ships they would have been hard at work with "all hands on deck," all
the afternoon, and had hard bread and beef only for supper. No doubt
they would have enlivened the meal by growling about that in just the
same way. In spite of all his mutterings in the forecastle, this man
Nielson would come out on deck and be a model man in his behavior.
His cheerful, "Aye, aye, sir!" would ring out to every order, and
his respectful manners joined to his good seamanship had made him a
favorite with captain and officers.

The explanation of this unreasonable conduct is that expressed in the
well-known lines of Dr. Watts:

  "Let bears and lions growl and fight,
  For 'tis their nature to."

So it is with an old sailor, he must growl. Officers of ships often
say, they would not give a snap for a sailor that didn't growl, and
there is a good deal of truth in the remark. It by no means follows
that all who growl are good men, but it is certainly a fact that most
of the thorough-going old sailors are inveterate growlers.

This growling is a natural result of the life they lead. Spleen enters
more or less into the constitution of every one's character, and all,
at times, desire an opportunity of exercising this latent spite upon
some person or thing.

The man on shore has a wide range of objects upon which to scatter
it. There are his household and family arrangements, his employment
and business relations, the religious tenets of others, the affairs
of his city and the politics of the country. He comes home from his
day's business with an accumulation of spleen, resulting from numerous
annoyances. His good breeding and consideration perhaps keep him from
venting it upon his family, and he holds it in until after tea; then he
takes up the evening paper, glances over its contents and entertains
his patient wife or a friendly neighbor with a good, hearty growl about
the stupidity of the cabinet officers, the short-sightedness of the
President, the absurdity of the financial policy, and then berates a
politician for his foolish speech. Now his pent-up wrath has escaped.
He feels easier. Gradually cheerful conversation creeps in as his
shrewd companion notices his subsiding temper. Soon all his vexations
have escaped his mind or become far lighter burdens, and the next
morning he walks down town with a good courage and joyous heart.

But as for Jack, what are his diversions of mind? What does he care for
politics or religion or finance? Or, if he does care, where are the
newspapers and the evening caller? Where are the public amusements or
the endearments and consolations of social life? There are almost no
occurrences to direct his thoughts away from a continual contemplation
of, and brooding over the unpleasant circumstances of his life, and for
lack of these he must continue to dwell upon the sole objects which
interest him, and as a natural result their importance is magnified and
the habit of such contemplation increases with every voyage.

When the mate reported the "growl" he had overheard, I said, "If I
was a betting man I would lay a heavy wager that the day old Nielson
arrives in port he will say I am the best captain he ever sailed with,
and he never in his life sailed in such a good ship before." An exact
verification of this remark occurred on arrival. It happened that the
mate was riding in a horse-car, when old Nielson came in and sat
beside him. He began to talk over the voyage, and soon exclaimed, "I've
been to sea thirty-two years and that's the best ship ever I sailed
in, and if I go to sea all my life, I never expect to find another man
like our captain." This speech was very likely as far from the truth
as were the growls uttered at sea, but it illustrates a proverbial
habit of the sailor, to complain of his present circumstances and speak
well of the past. Amidst the growling of the forecastle it is seldom
that "last ship that I was in" is mentioned without praise. This fact
ought to be remembered to the sailor's credit. However ungrateful and
unappreciative he may appear with regard to his lot, in his memories
the bright things are uppermost, and he is not prone to speak evil of
old scenes and associates without good reason.

Reflections upon the incident narrated led to the attempt to illustrate
the subject in rhyme, by verses, to be called "Sailors' Opinions,"
which were to be divided into two parts, entitled "This Ship," and
"Last Ship." In this effort it was designed to portray a sailor's
comments upon the ship he was then sailing in, and the same man's
expressions concerning the same ship, uttered during his next voyage
in another vessel. They are produced here, as they may be recognized
as truthful by some who have lived in a ship's forecastle. It may be
premised that sailors in the watch below generally talk in the evening
from eight till half-past eight (one bell), and this is a favorite
time for "growls." When one bell strikes, pipes drop from the mouth,
growls cease and snores begin.


SAILORS' OPINIONS.

PART I.

"THIS SHIP."

 _SCENE.--A ship's forecastle--Crew in their bunks--Jack loquitur._

  I've followed the sea over thirty-two years,
  In the Navy, hard Packets and wild Privateers;
  But of all the old vessels that ever I cursed,
  Just shiver my timbers if this ain't the worst.

  The bloody old wall-sided cranky concern--
  I think every squall she is sure to o'erturn,
  And the way that she rolls and goes pitching about
  Would have made all the patience of Job fizzle out.

  It's enough to provoke a good parson to swear,
  To see the bad way her old rotten sails tear,
  And I never go higher aloft than the top
  Without fear that the foot-ropes will give me a drop.

  I wonder those owners are suffered to live
  Who send out a ship that will leak like a sieve,
  Which every time that she gives a bad jump
  Makes fifty more strokes to be worked at the pump.

  We ought to arrest the old man as a cheat
  For bringing us here where there's nothing to eat;
  It's a terrible shame for an old Yankee tub
  To feed her good men with such horrible grub.

  To be sure, he now and then gives us some flour;
  But the mean dirty rat, it's because it's gone sour,
  And as for his pies and the dried apple sauce,
  I'd a precious deal rather have good old salt horse.

  We slave every week day on board of the craft,
  But on Sunday the hypocrite makes us come aft--
  He preaches an hour about Christian hopes,
  Then sends us on deck to give swigs at the ropes.

  There's a heap of good sense in the famous old rule
  Always choose a big rascal before a great fool.
  And one thing I promise, whatever may happen,
  I'll not sail again with a psalm-singing Cap'n.

  The ship must have been in amazing great straits
  When she took such poor things as these men are for mates.
  It worries one's temper beyond all its bounds
  To be bossed round the decks by such humbugging hounds.

  Now! shipmates, you know I'm not given to growl,
  And I hate a bad temper with all of my soul;
  But worked and most starved till one scarcely can crawl,
  A man that won't growl is just no man at all.


SAILORS' OPINIONS.

PART II.

"LAST SHIP."

    Last time I went to sea
    I sailed on board the _Rocket_;
    Those were good days for me
    And money in my pocket.

    She was a perfect boat,
    An easy one to handle--
    For speed no ship afloat
    Could hold to her a candle.

    She tacked just like a yacht
    And lay to like a duck;
    If others thrived or not
    She always was in luck.

    The owners fitted out
    In such a liberal way,
    All things were trim and stout
    From keel to royal stay.

    The captain was a trump--
    A perfect "saint in boots";
    He never gave a thump
    To greenhorns nor galoots.

    The mates were tip-top men,
    Gave us our watch below;
    No oaths and curses then
    Though it blew high or low.

    We mustered aft to prayer
    And navigation classes--
    We had the best of fare
    And lots of duff and 'lasses

    I've sailed for many a year
    And soon will have to dock it;
    But while I've breath I'll cheer
    And brag about the _Rocket_.

Even in the cabin there was a tendency to dissatisfaction, and the
passenger expressed his weariness of our simple and restricted fare by
composing a parody on the "Ode to the Rocket," in which she was abused
as heartily as any old sailor could have done it. His pencil was also
called into requisition, and the scantiness of fare on the cabin table
was graphically portrayed.

Sea life is a severe test of disposition, and it must be a remarkable
amiability which can endure its vicissitudes without complaint. Lord
Byron's prescription for truly knowing a man: "Go to sea with him," is
certainly correct, as regards knowledge of a man's temper.

The first verse of the Parody will serve as an example of its sentiment:


"IN THE DOLDRUMS--HOMEWARD BOUND."

  The _Rocket_ is an old tub's name,
    An aged Boston bark;
  Her lack of speed is known to fame,
    As I need not remark.
  For fifteen years she's rolled and pitched.
    And leaked in every clime,
  She's worn out two old captains
    And a young one in his prime.

  _Chorus._--The _Rocket_ we won't praise,
             For she's a wretched bark,
           Homelier than Joe Bowers' dog,
             And slower than Noah's ark.

Our stock of conversation got low after so long a season of
intercourse, and many trivial arguments were sustained for lack of
better material. Perhaps the most frequent of these minor themes was
the question, whether the dish which sailors always call "Hash," was
properly hash or minced meat.

[Illustration: Illustrated bill of fare:--"Spuds and Soft Tack."]

One of our greatest causes of annoyance, and a frequent occasion of
growls was the presence of cockroaches, in numbers which can only be
expressed by millions. The vessel for some time past, had been making
yearly voyages, which brought her home in the summer and kept her in
the Tropics in the winter, so this army had never been exposed to the
potent destroyer, cold weather. They were not the little creatures that
housekeepers are unpleasantly familiar with, but were almost more
like birds than insects, and carried out this resemblance in certain
conditions of the atmosphere, when they took to flying, tempting one
to jump overboard to escape their attacks against his head. They were
omnipresent day and night, alive, dead, whole or in parts. They eat the
bindings of books and everything that had paste in its composition,
and their especial relish seemed to be for pomade. In spite of all
precautions so many had encamped in the sugar, we had to pass our tea
through a strainer, and there was but little food free from their
presence or flavor, after it was sweetened. Were it a less disgusting
subject I could fill a volume with accounts of these creatures. I
will only add one of the many experiences with them. They were very
fond of frequenting my cabinet organ, and often while I was playing a
note would become dumb. An inspection would usually show a cockroach
leg caught by the reeds as its proprietor passed over them and left
it behind him. A ship at San Francisco had to pay twenty thousand
dollars for damages done to the cargo by cockroaches. The organ on
leaving Padang had a more agreeable inmate, which remained in it for
several weeks, a cricket, who entertained us with his evening chirp,
and lulled one to sleep with the pleasing fancy that he was on shore.



CHAPTER XI.

SAILORS' RESOURCES.

 "Necessity, the mother of invention."--_Farquhar._

 "A knock-down argument; 'tis but a word and a blow."--_Dryden._


Fertility of resources is one of the most desirable traits of character
to the seaman. His limited means and appliances beget contrivance and
invention, and he naturally acquires a facility in accomplishing work
under difficulties. His whole mode of life is an exemplification of the
possibility of making much out of little. The sailor, with his "chest"
for a chair, his knees for a table, the sheath-knife and spoon his only
utensils, secures his food with all the necessary benefit. With the
scanty sewing materials, buttons, pins and knicknacks jumbled together
in his "ditty box," he contrives to mend his clothes or rig the model
of a ship in his spare hours.

The carpenter, with his hammer and hatchet, does an amount of execution
astonishing to the shore artizan, who has well filled tool-racks. The
cook would likewise startle, perhaps offend, the ladies sensibilities
by the manner in which his appurtenances do manifold duties, besides
those considered appropriate. The mate racks his brain daily to
discover how to repair a sail without canvas, mend a chain without
spare links, paint ship without brushes, or tar the rigging without
tar. The captain is as much put to it as any one in contriving for all
the departments under his care. So they become Jacks of all trades,
and too often masters of none. One incident of a personal nature will
illustrate the manner in which necessity often becomes the mother of
invention on shipboard. One day when off the west coast of Sumatra,
the carpenter was caulking and paying the deck-seams. I picked up a
little bit of his pitch and put it in my mouth, but soon removed it
with the gold fillings from two teeth attached. Severe toothache soon
followed. At Padang I enquired for a dentist, but to learn that none of
those kindly torturers had yet located there. The surgeon of the place
would extract the teeth for twenty dollars apiece, but the pleasure
of paying this moderate sum was no inducement to lose the "ivories."
But the cavities must be filled to exclude the air. Boy Frank had been
in a dentist's office, so he was summoned to the council on the old
man's toothache. He put in a filling of pitch and then of rubber, but
they were not destined to remain. Finally, at sea the pain induced the
resolution to part with the teeth. Frank was called again. There were
no forceps in the ship, and an investigation of all the implements led
to the selection of my spring-punch. The tooth of this was removed,
the carpenter filed the lips to make them tenacious of grip, the big
Webster's dictionary was laid on the cabin table, and resting my head
back upon this, Dr. Frank made a desperate effort to pull out teeth,
gum and jaw at one attack. He was speedily driven on deck, and warned
not to try that again. At last he thought of an amalgam filling, but
how should it be obtained? I possessed a silver "ten-cent piece, saved
from the obliterating ravages of the age of Greenbacks. This I filed
into dust, and after a serious consideration my thermometer-tube
was broken, the mercury was extracted and mingled with the silver.
Then laying my head once more on the dictionary, the cavities were
effectually filled, the only instruments used by the dentist being a
crotchet needle and a screw-driver. It was not till three years after,
that other fillings were substituted by an American dentist in China,
who laughed as much at my story of the previous operation, as I did
at his account of the way the King of Siam tested the set of teeth
made for him, by putting this worthy dentist's hand in his mouth, and
nearly biting off the fingers. He was not so much injured, however, as
to be unable to carry off the bag of a thousand dollars in gold, the
price of his work."

Speaking of tarring without tar reminds me how this difficulty was
overcome. Having had a great deal of work, turning in and fitting
the rigging, the supply of tar gave out, and when we reached the
south-east trades in the Atlantic, and were rolling down to St. Helena,
an inspection of the tar-barrel showed it was only fit for a bonfire
on the next dark night. How should we make the rigging black and
shiny? was the query of thoughts, dreams and discussions in succeeding
days and nights. I will confess what I did, but do not recommend the
process. Two bundles of rattans were chopped up and consumed in the
cook's stove with the draft checked. The ashes were placed in a barrel
and pounded fine with an impromptu pestle, then linseed oil and varnish
were added, and with this production, well stirred, all the ropes were
"tarred" with such good effect that many old sailors admired the black
gloss of the rigging as they inspected the vessel at Central Wharf.
But using up the paint oil for this, brought about another crisis. How
should we paint ship? That was most essential to our good appearance.
After many experiments the kerosene oil was selected to serve as the
substitute, the sailors' whale oil was appropriated to cabin use, and
Jack was invited to illuminate his premises with a slush lamp, a wick
floated in beef fat contained in a tin can. So the ship was painted!
These are samples of the makeshifts of sea life.

The first moonless evening was appointed for the final ending of the
tar-barrel. It was sawn in two, the smaller half being chopped up and
deposited with the carpenter's chips and shavings in the remaining
part. A bit of old rope from the "shakings barrel" suspends it over the
side, while the cook with a fire-brand ignites the contents. As the
flames gather volume the barrel is dropped into the sea. The sailors
spring to the rail or into the rigging to watch it as it emerges from
under the ship's counter and is left astern in the wake. For awhile
it blazes fiercely and continuously, then it disappears--ah, it's
gone! No, the swell hides it. There it is again! Its disappearances
and reappearances occur at gradually lengthening intervals till it no
longer can be seen from deck. The second mate runs half way up the
mizzen-rigging and exclaims, "I see it." Soon he shouts "I can just see
it from the topmast cross-trees." Then it is given up, faces are turned
from the stern to the bow, for the gaze on shipboard is always forward,
seldom backwards, and as the ship presses on into the dark night, we
think with subdued feelings of the lost light, and fall to moralizing
or musing as the disposition of each inclines him.

The south-east trades took us to the line and then the doldrums raged
again, but instead of giving a repetition of the miseries of this
region I will relate the second mate's yarn about a "Wild Ship."

One calm night in the doldrums I went on deck in the middle watch to
see if there were any signs of a breeze. The moon "had scoffed the
clouds," and shone brilliantly upon the glassy sea. The courses were
hauled up, jib and staysails hauled down, and the vessel made no motion
ahead. I felt that I could not sleep till a breeze came and thought
I would stay on deck and help the second mate keep his watch; so I
called him to me, and as we leaned over the rail, I said, "Mr. Bangs, I
believe you told me you sailed in the 'Bloodhound' once. I should like
to hear about your voyage."

So he told the following yarn:

"When I got home from Australia in the 'Grace Darling,' after I'd had
a lively time on the Cape, and my money began to get low, I went up
to Boston to the Sailors' Home and began to look for a ship. My chum
Bill Holmes and I made up our minds we would sail together again, and
as we cruised about the wharves, we came across the ship 'Bloodhound'
lying at India wharf. She was an extreme clipper, eighteen hundred
tons register, and the handsomest vessel I ever clapped eyes on. I
was told she was bound out to 'Frisco,' and that evening I asked the
Superintendent of the Home about her, for I felt rather shy of those
crack California clippers. I had been shipmates with a man who was with
Bully Woodman in the 'Sea Witch.' He had a fashion of shooting at the
men aloft with a revolver, or would let go the topsail halyards when
men were on the yard and shake them overboard. His owners paid him five
thousand dollars a year and fighting expenses, and sometimes these were
pretty heavy. They used to clear the ship out with another captain, and
put Woodman aboard at Sandy Hook, for it was hard to ship a crew to
sail with him. There were several men of that style in those clippers,
and I thought the Superintendent would know if the 'Bloodhound' was a
safe boat to go in. He said she belonged to Jones and Thompson one of
the most respectable firms in Boston. Deacon Jones was a member of Old
South church, a tip-top man. He often gave lectures to young men about
good principles and success in life, and it was certain he wouldn't
allow any 'bullyragging' in one of his ships, for he was a good friend
of sailors.

"We went to the shipping-office next day and found the articles just
opened, and Bill and I were the first ones that signed. In a week we
went on board, and just as we hauled out from the wharf the mate came
over the rail with his duds.

"'Halloa!' said one of the men; 'I'll be blowed if we haven't Johnny
Clarkson for mate, and he's the biggest rascal that ever walked a
ship's deck.'

"It seemed that the reason why the mate didn't join the ship any
sooner, was, because he was such a notorious scoundrel that it would
be very hard to ship a crew if it was known that he was to go in her;
so the captain or owners kept him out of sight, until the last moment,
when all the crew were on board, and the steam-tug alongside, and then
he made his appearance.

"The ship came to anchor in the stream as the wind was ahead, and when
we got below that night into the forecastle, there were great yarns
a-going about the mate. The Dutchmen got scared half out of their wits,
and made up their minds to be murdered before they were a month older.

"There was a man named Jackson on board, who was boatswain of the
'Flying Cloud,' in Hong Kong, when Clarkson was there, mate of the
'Black Squall.'

"He was the chap that first spotted him when he came on board, and he
told hard stories about his carryings on and the number of sailors he
had murdered.

"The old man stayed ashore, and that night the mate and passenger got
to drinking in the cabin, and about ten o'clock the mate came forward,
'three sheets in the wind, and the fourth shaking.' He couldn't find
any one on the watch, and while he was prying about forward, he tumbled
over the chain-cable, and hurt himself some, I guess, by the noise he
made. Then he called all hands, and got the whole thirty of us out on
deck. He gave us a lecture in rather a different style from the owner's
speeches. He called us all 'the sons of sea-cooks,' that he could twist
round his tongue, and cursed us in a way that made our blood run cold;
about all we could make out was, that he was Johnny Clarkson, and was
going to jump down our throats, drive us around, play the mischief,
and kill Injuns generally. At last, he set the watch and sent us below
saying, 'Remember, I'm Johnny Clarkson.'

"We thought we'd got enough of an introduction, and if we could have
helped ourselves we wouldn't have continued the acquaintance; but there
was no backing out then.

"The next morning the captain and his wife came off in a steam-tug, and
we got underway and towed out past the light.

"The 'old man' was a Dane, or some kind of a Dutchman, named Johnson;
that's all I know about him or his wife, except that the passenger told
me in 'Frisco,' that he wrote home to his friends, that the captain was
a demon and his wife was a she devil.

"While we were making sail on the ship, the mate travelled about the
decks, raving like a madman. He thought one man didn't haul hard enough
on the main-topsail halyards, so he cursed him and called him a bad
name. The man gave him a 'black look' in return, and Clarkson knocked
him down senseless, with a big gash cut in his head, with an iron
belaying-pin. When the yard was mastheaded he sung out, 'haul that
thing out of the way and belay.'

"All hands were kept up in the afternoon and, if there was any excuse
to be found for doing it, the watch below would often be called
out in the forenoon. Every order was accompanied by an oath, and
belaying-pins, and leading-blocks were hurled about the deck at any one
that didn't move on the 'clean jump.' Things went on this way for about
a fortnight, without anything very particular happening, except that
somebody got licked nearly every watch, and then we had a little the
biggest row that ever I saw aboard of a ship.

"We were running down the north-east trades with all our port
stu'n'sails set, and at eleven o'clock one night in the second mate's
watch, a very heavy squall struck her. The mate jumped out on deck and
called all hands, without saying anything to the 'old man.' We didn't
get out of the forecastle quick enough for him, and he and the third
mate stood by the door on one side, and the second mate and boatswain
on the other side of the deck, and every man as he came out got struck.

"Jackson said to me, 'Hold on, Bangs, don't you go out till I do.'

"Just then the mate looked in and said, 'Bangs you hurry, get out on
deck!'

"'He's coming out when I do,' said Jackson.

"'Jackson,' said the mate, 'when you're ready come out on deck,' and
he went away. He never tried to impose on Jackson, and I thought I'd
keep close to him to secure my own safety. As the third mate struck one
of the sailors, the man drew his sheath-knife and cut him slightly.
Then there was a race. The man ran aft and the third mate after him.
Away they went around the poop and forward again, until the third mate
tumbled over a man that the second mate had knocked down, and so lost
the chase.

"When Jackson and I got out there was a general fight going on; some
of the watch on deck had pitched in, and belaying-pins and handspikes
were flying round at a lively rate. The 'old man' got on deck in the
midst of all this, and I guess he thought the Old Nick was let loose,
or else his officers had gone crazy. The man at the wheel had run her
off before the wind to save the sails, but there hadn't been the first
thing done about taking in anything.

"'Haul down that main-topmast studding-sail,' shouted the captain; for
the tack had parted and the sail was blowing all to pieces.

"The fighting stopped now, I hardly know how. But several of the
sailors were 'ended over' on deck with broken heads, and some of us
were at the main-hatch keeping clear of the 'muss.' I believe the rest
gave it up and ran forward of the foremast.

"The 'old man' kept singing out his orders, and at last the mate went
aft and had some words with him, while we went to work and saved the
pieces. The man at the wheel said the mate cursed the 'old man' all up
in a heap, and told him to go below and he'd look out for the ship, and
after a little jaw, the captain backed down and went into the cabin. We
blew away a lot of sails that night; one topmast and two top-gallant
stu'n'sails, a flying-jib, main-topmast staysail, fore royal, and broke
off the foretopmast stu'n'sail-boom, which tore an awful big hole in
the foresail. I guess if the owner knew how much that fight cost him he
would be still more of a sailors' friend. I never could quite account
for the officers not taking in sail sooner, unless it was they had been
drinking.

"Besides having all hands, we used to be kept going all night long in
the watch on deck, and after we got round the Cape into the south-east
trades we had to work every minute, either doing necessary duty,
or else performing military drill with handspikes, or something of
that sort. Night times our principal work was polishing the iron
belaying-pins and eye-bolts, for when we went into 'Frisco' every piece
of iron-work about deck shone like silver. We all had our stations
rubbing the iron with our sheath-knives, and every half hour, when the
bell struck, we had to call out like sentinels. This is the way it
would go: First, the man on the forward house, who was polishing the
cook's stove-pipe, would sing out: 'Cook's stove-pipe, one bell and
all's well!' Then would come, 'Starboard main-topmast staysail sheet
iron belaying-pin, one bell and all's well;' 'starboard eye-bolts
main-rigging;' 'strap of main-topsail halyard block;' and so on. When
all the workmen had sung out, you'd hear, 'Starboard handspike gangway
sentinel, one bell and all's well;' and then the port side the same.
These were two men that had to walk with shouldered handspikes on
the bridges that went from the top of the after-house to the boat's
gallows. At the last the mate would hail the skysail-yard, and a voice
would come down, 'Man in the moon, one bell and all's well.' This would
be some unlucky chap who was lowest down in the mate's good graces, but
got kept highest up in the air.

"That was the way every half hour at night when we were not pulling and
hauling. You wouldn't think men would stand such nonsense? I assure you
they did though, and they didn't dare to growl even in the forecastle,
for there was some one prowling about outside, pretty often, listening
to what was said; and if a man growled he was very apt to get licked
next watch. The second mate gave one man an awful thrashing, for no
other reason I believe than because he overheard him saying in his
watch below, 'This is a humbugging old workhouse.'

"There were lots of other moves they put up with. There were five
or six men in our watch that didn't know much, and the mate took a
particular fancy to hazing them. One morning he came forward with some
canvas for fools' caps, and made these men sew them in their watch
below. Then he took some empty flour barrels, knocked the heads out,
and cut holes each side of the top. We all wondered what was to pay
now, and at night we found out. He called these men aft, made them
put on the fools' caps and dismount one of the guns that stood by the
after-hatch. Then each man got into a barrel and ran his arms through
the holes, so that he had a kind of wooden shirt on. The mate made
a rope fast to the gun-carriage, and taking his seat, he made the
men grab the rope and haul him fore and aft the deck. He sat on the
carriage, holding a long stick with a sail-needle in the end, with
which he pricked up all the men he could reach, wherever the barrels
didn't protect them, and he cursed the rest in a way that hurt most as
bad."

"Mr. Bangs, didn't the captain have anything to say to all this?" I
asked.

"Not that I know of. I believe it just suited him. He didn't do any
fighting himself, but he'd get on top of the house and everlastingly
curse us."

"Did you ever get struck?" I asked.

"No sir."

"I suppose not," said I. "I never heard a man tell a yarn yet about a
wild ship, but he always went clear himself."

"But it's a fact," said the second mate, "Bill Holmes and I were about
the only ones in the crew, except Jackson, that didn't get a rap on the
head before the ship got to 'Frisco.' I expect we got spared because we
were Yankee boys, but I came pretty near catching it once or twice.

"Some of the men were shamefully beaten for no cause whatever, except
that they were good-natured Dutchmen. The mate used to fight with a
belaying-pin, or else use his fists, but the second and third mates
always carried brass knuckles in their pockets, and when they cut a
man's face open it sometimes made an ugly sore. But the fighting didn't
worry me as much as the blackguardism, for sometimes we'd go along a
few days without a blow being struck. There was no let up, though, to
bad words. Every order was followed up with oaths and vile language.
All the officers from mate to boatswain were tarred with the same
brush, and when all hands were on deck shortening sail, or tacking
ship, I don't believe hell could have furnished worse talk. I often
wondered what Mr. Jones would have thought if he could have dropped
down aboard, and Bill Holmes used to say that he thought Mr. Jones
would have done service to the cause of humanity if he'd taken a little
pains to pick out a decent captain and mate to oversee his sailors in
the 'Bloodhound,' in addition to his speech-making.

"We had a quick passage of one hundred and five days, but we didn't
get to Frisco any too soon to suit us, and we all cleared out bag and
baggage as soon as the ship got to the wharf.

"The ship anchored in the stream first; the mate got a boatman to take
him across the Bay, and he hid up country somewhere for awhile, to keep
clear of the police. Then he got aboard of a ship, just as she was
going out of the harbor, and went second mate of her over to China.

"When we hauled into the wharf on a Sunday afternoon, there were about
a thousand people down to see 'the blood boat' as they called her, for
the boarding-house runners had reported her character. The men got out
warrants against the officers, but none of them were arrested, for they
kept out of sight for awhile and the sailors all had a good drunk, and
what didn't go up to the mines were all shipped off again in less than
ten days, and the affair blew over.

"The next I heard of Clarkson he was mate of the ship 'Fantail' with
Capt. Harry Saunders, and went from Boston to Frisco in her. One day
he punished the 'galoots' by making them jump overboard in a calm, and
straddle a long plank made fast at one end by a rope from the ship.
He had made them some paddles and they had to work them as though
they were towing the ship ahead. Another time he lashed six of them,
head and heels together, laid them along the deck in a line, lashed
the heels of the last one to a ringbolt and putting a rope around the
shoulders of the first one he took it to the capstan and made some of
the sailors heave taut till the poor fellows on the stretch cried out
blue murder.

"Clarkson could always get more wages from the religious shipowners of
Boston than any mate sailing out of the port; he was considered such a
smart officer.

"They complain that there are no American seamen to man our ships,
and if the truth were known it would be found that the decent lads
are driven out of the service, in disgust, by the brutality of the
officers, or if they get through the forecastle they find it useless
to become officers unless they are qualified to be prize-fighters. The
boys on Cape Cod are going into stores in the cities, or on to farms
out West, instead of going to sea as they used to do.

"I've often wished I could have a word with Mr. Jones about that
voyage. I don't profess to love sailors much and I think sometimes that
the better you treat them the worse they are. But if a man really wants
to do them good, I should think he would do it at sea as well as on
shore."

"Rather," I said, "he should do more at sea than on shore. A sailor
spends three-fourths of his life on board ship and, if one wishes to
subject him to good influences, it would seem reasonable to bring
them to bear upon him where he passes most of his time. But Mr. Jones'
style seemed to be to build bethels and homes for him to benefit by in
the two weeks he is on shore, and then leave him for months in entire
neglect to hear only curses and blackguardism, and suffer tyranny.

"Besides, a sailor is more open to good impressions at sea than he is
ashore. There, his mind is full of novelties and pleasures and has
little room for good counsels, but on board ship in a long dreary
voyage, he reflects upon his past life, sees his follies and is
disposed to make resolutions of reform."

"Well," said I, "that yarn seems to have raised the wind; there appears
to be a light air on the port-quarter. You may square in the yards."

The second mate assured me so positively that his story was true, that
I wrote it out while fresh in my memory, word for word as he told it.

The last day of the "doldrums" brought about an event which had a great
effect in reviving our spirits. In the morning we made a ship ahead,
bound the same way, and at noon we caught up with her and spoke her.
It was the "Renown," from Calcutta bound to New York, ninety days
out. After dinner we spied a sail on our starboard bow bound to the
southward. She slowly drew down towards us and at two o'clock we saw a
boat put off from the "Renown" to board her. It was now nearly calm
and I thought I would imitate the example. So our quarter-boat was
lowered, and the mate and four men pulled away towards the stranger.
They reached her in about an hour and at four o'clock were again on
board, with a large roll of Boston newspapers, and what was still
better in the sailors estimation, a few pounds of tobacco. The mate
reported her to be the bark "Nonantum," from Boston, bound to Buenos
Ayres, twenty-six days out. He said the captain was in a dreadful stew
about falling to leeward of Cape St. Roque. He had only had E.S.E.
winds in place of north-east trades and had been unable to gain any
longitude. Now he expected nothing less than a fortnight's dead beat.
This had not put him in very good humor, and our men were told by his
sailors that one of the crew had just upset a tar-bucket on deck, and
the "old man" had been making the mate clean it up himself. The mate
said the captain had his wife aboard and that she was cross-eyed and
"as homely as a hedge-fence," but for all that he enjoyed making his
best bow to her, and asking her how she liked going to sea, which he
said was the only polite speech he could think of.

"What a little world a ship is," I thought. "There they are in that
bark shut up by themselves and engrossed with their own concerns as
though there were nothing and nobody else in existence. They have their
trials and growls and disagreements, just as we do and as the "Renown"
does, but each of us as isolated as is one star from another. Well,
poor fellow, I hope he'll fetch by St. Roque!"

There were fifteen newspapers in the bundle, and for the next week we
all took something of a vacation from our little world and enjoyed
a view of the larger one. A multitude of topics were discussed both
aft and forward, and had a good effect in stimulating our minds, and
diverting our thoughts from their well-worn channels, in which they
were moving with but a sluggish drift.

The same evening that we boarded the bark, the north-east trades
came in a squall, and started us again on our homeward course. They
brought with them also a more bracing air, which had a great effect
in restoring the elasticity of our spirits. On we sped, averaging two
hundred miles a day until we reached lat. 26° N. in lon. 65° W., where
the trades left us and the variable winds of the "horse latitudes" set
in.

The bark was now in fine order. She had been tarred down, painted
inside and out, and her masts and yards were all scraped bright and
had received good coats of oil and varnish. The yards we had scraped
in Padang when the sails were unbent, but the masts were done on the
passage. We all declared she looked as fine as a new fiddle. But there
was still plenty of work to be done in the way of small jobs, and
in keeping in order what was finished, though the main work being
completed we all felt easier in mind and more pleased to see her move
rapidly towards port. The sailors were very lively and every occasion
was seized for a song at their work.



CHAPTER XII.

SAILORS' SONGS.

 "Odd's life! must one swear to the truth of a song."--_Matthew Pryor._


The songs of the sea offer a field for research, and one who could
trace the origin and use of some of them would doubtless discover
interesting, romantic histories. No information can be obtained from
sailors themselves on this point. No one knows who their favorite
"Reuben Ranzo" was, or whether "Johnny Boker" ever did what he is
so often requested to "do," nor can any one say more concerning the
virtues and vices of "Sally Brown" than is declared in song.

Sailors' songs may be divided into two classes. First, are the
sentimental songs sung in the forecastle, or on the deck in the
leisure hours of the dog-watch, when the crew assemble around the
fore-hatch to indulge in yarns and music. Dibdin's songs, which the
orthodox sailor of the last half century was supposed to adhere to as
closely as the Scotch Presbyterian to his Psalter, are falling into
disuse, and the negro melodies and the popular shore songs of the day
are now most frequently heard. The second class of songs is used at
work, and they form so interesting a feature of life at sea, that a
sketch of that life would be incomplete without some allusion to them.
These working songs may be divided into three sets:

First, those used where a few strong pulls are needed, as in boarding
a tack, hauling aft a sheet, or tautening a weather-brace. "Haul the
Bowline," is a favorite for this purpose. The shantyman, as the solo
singer is called, standing up "beforehand," as high above the rest of
the crew as he can reach, sings with as many quirks, variations and
quavers as his ingenuity and ability can attempt, "Haul the bow-line,
Kitty is my darling;" then all hands join in the chorus, "Haul the
bow-line, the bow-line _haul_," shouting the last word with great
energy and suiting action to it by a combined pull, which must once
be witnessed by one who desires an exemplification of "a long pull,
a strong pull, and a pull altogether." This seldom fails to make the
ropes "come home."


HAUL THE BOW-LINE.

[Illustration:

  Haul the bow-line, Kit-ty is my dar-ling;
  _Chorus._ Haul the bow-line, the bow-line _haul_.
][Music]

Then the song is repeated with a slight change in words, "Haul the
bow-line, the clipper ship's a rolling," &c., and next time perhaps,
"Haul the bow-line, our bully mate is growling."

Great latitude is allowed in the words and the shantyman exercises his
own discretion. If he be a man of little comprehension or versatility,
he will say the same words over and over, but if he possesses some
wit, he will insert a phrase alluding to some peculiarity of the ship,
or event of the time, which will cause mouths to open wider and eyes
to roll gleefully, while a lively pull follows that rouses the sheet
home and elicits the mate's order "Belay!" A good shantyman is highly
prized, both by officers and crew. His leadership saves many a dry
pull, and his vocal effort is believed to secure so much physical
force, that he is sometimes allowed to spare his own exertions and
reserve all his energies for the inspiriting shanty.

Another common song is:--


HAUL AWAY, JOE.

[Illustration:

  Way, haul away; O, haul away, my Ro-sey.
  _Chorus._ Way, haul a-way; O, haul a-way, _Joe_.
][Music]

And another:--


JOHNNY BOKER.

[Illustration:

  Oh do, my Johnny Boker,
  Come rock and roll me o-ver,
  _Chorus._ Do, my Johnny Bo-ker, _do_.
][Music]

In both of these, the emphasis and the pull come at the last word of
the chorus: "Joe" and "do," as they end the strain, put a severe strain
on the rope.

In the second set of working songs, I would place those that are used
in long hoists, or where so large a number of pulls is required that
more frequent exertion must be used, than is called for by the first
set, lest too much time be occupied. The topsail halyards call most
frequently for these songs. One of the most universal, and to my ear
the most musical of the songs, is "Reuben Ranzo." A good shantyman, who
with fitting pathos recounts the sorrows of "poor Reuben" never fails
to send the topsail to the mast-head at quick notice, nor to create a
passing interest in the listener to the touching melody:--


REUBEN RANZO.

[Illustration:

  Oh, poor Reuben Ranzo,
  _Chorus._ _Ranzo_, boys, _Ranzo_!
  Oh, poor Reuben Ran-zo,
  _Ranzo_, boys, _Ranzo_!

  Oh, Reuben was no sailor,
        Chorus, and repeat with chorus.
  He shipped on board of a whaler,
                    Chorus, &c.
  He could not do his duty,
                    Chorus, &c.
  The captain was a bad man,
                    Chorus, &c.
  He put him in the rigging,
                    Chorus, &c.
  He gave him six and thirty,
                    Chorus, &c.
  Oh, poor Reuben Ranzo.
                    Chorus, &c.
][Music]

In this song the pulls are given at the first word "Ranzo" in the
chorus, sometimes at its next occurrence in addition.

Of all the heroines of deck song Sally Brown's name is most frequently
uttered, and a lively pull always attends it. She figures in several of
these songs; one has as its chorus "Shantyman and Sally Brown." But it
is used more frequently, I think, in connection with the song:--


BLOW, MY BULLY BOYS, BLOW.

[Illustration:

  Oh, Sal-ly Brown's a bright mu-lat-to;
  _Chorus._ _Blow_, boys, _blow_!
  Oh, she drinks rum and chews to-bac-co,
  _Chorus._ _Blow_, my bully boys, _blow_!

  Oh, Sally Brown's a Creole lady,
                Chorus, and repeat with chorus.
  Oh, Sally Brown, I long to see you,
                Chorus, &c.
  Oh, Sally Brown, I'll ne'er deceive you.
                Chorus, &c.
][Music]

It will be noticed that neither rhyme nor sentiment has much place in
these songs. Each line is usually repeated twice, even if there be a
rhyme impending, for the shantyman's stock must be carefully husbanded.

A favorite and frequently used song, in which Bonaparte's fortunes are
portrayed in a manner startling to the historian, as well as to those
who may have the fortune to hear it sung at any time, is:--


JOHN FRANCOIS.[2]

[Illustration:

  Oh, Bo-ney was a war-rior, _A-way_, hey way!
  Oh, Bo-ney was a war-rior, _John Fran-cois_.

  Oh, Boney went to Roo-shy,
                  Chorus.
  Oh, Boney went to Proo-shy,
                  Chorus.
  He crossed the Rocky Mountains,
                  Chorus.
  He made a mistake at Waterloo,
                  Chorus.
  He died at Saint Helena.
                  Chorus.
][Music]

Where Tommy actually proceeded to when he went "a high low" nobody
knows, but the fact is related with continual gusto nevertheless:--


TOMMY'S GONE, A HIGH LOW.

[Illustration:

  My Tom-my's gone and I'll go, too;
  _Chorus._ Hur-rah, you high low.
  For with-out Tom-my I can't do.
  _Chorus._ My _Tommy's_ gone a _high low_.

  My Tommy's gone on the Eastern Shore,
                    Chorus.
  My Tommy's gone to Baltimore,
                    Chorus.
][Music]

A person who knows a little of geography can send Tommy around the
world according to his own discretion.

One of the best illustrations of the absolute nothingness that
characterizes the words of these songs, is given by the utterances
attending the melody called "Shanadore," which probably means
Shenandoah, a river in Virginia. I often have heard such confusing
statements as the following:--


SHANADORE.

[Illustration:

  Sha-na-dore's a roll-ing riv-er,
  _Chorus._ _Hur-rah_, you roll-ing riv-er.
  Oh, Sha-na-dore's a roll-ing riv-er,
  _Chorus._ _Ah hah_, I'm bound a-way o'er the wild Mis-sou-ri.

  Shanadore's a packet sailor,
                  Chorus.
  Shanadore's a bright mulatto,
                  Chorus.
  Shanadore I long to hear you.
                  Chorus.
][Music]

and so the song goes on, according to the ingenuity of the impromptu
composer.

Sailors are not total abstainers as a rule, and one would suspect that
a song like "Whiskey Johnny" might find frequent utterance:--


WHISKEY JOHNNY.

[Illustration:

  Whis-key is the life of man,
  _Chorus._ _Whis-key_ John-ny.
  We'll drink our whis-key when we can,
  _Chorus._ _Whis-key_ for my John-ny.

  I drink whiskey, and my wife drinks gin,
                      Chorus.
  And the way she drinks it is a sin.
                      Chorus.
  I and my wife cannot agree,
                      Chorus.
  For she drinks whiskey in her tea.
                      Chorus.
  I had a girl, her name was Lize,
                      Chorus.
  And she put whiskey in her pies.
                      Chorus.
  Whiskey's gone and I'll go too,
                      Chorus.
  For without whiskey I can't do.
                      Chorus.
][Music]

Another popular song is:--


KNOCK A MAN DOWN.

  I wish I was in Mo-bile Bay.
  _Chorus._ _Way_, hey, knock a man down.
  A-roll-ing cot-ton night and day.
  _Chorus._ _This_ is the time to knock a man down.

The words already quoted will enable a person to sing this and nearly
all the songs of this set. He can wish he was in every known port
in the world, to whose name he can find a rhyme. If New Orleans was
selected, he would add, "Where Jackson gave the British beans." At
"Boston city," his desire would be, "a-walking with my lovely Kitty."
At "New York town," he would be, "a-walking Broadway up and down,"
or at Liverpool he would finish his education, "a-going to a Yankee
school."

The third set of working songs comprises those used at the pumps,
capstan and windlass, where continuous force is applied, instead of
the pulls at intervals, as when hauling on ropes. Many of the second
set of songs are used on such occasions, but there are a few peculiar
to this use and of such are the following:


RIO GRANDE.

[Illustration:

  I'm bound a-way this ve-ry day.
  _Chorus._ Oh, you Ri-o!
  I'm bound a-way this ve-ry day, I'm bound for the Ri-o Grande.
  _Chorus._ And a-way you Ri-o!
  Oh, you Ri-o, I'm bound a-way this ve-ry day,
  I'm bound for the Ri-o Grande.
][Music]


PADDY, COME WORK ON THE RAILWAY

[Illustration:

  In eigh-teen hun-dred and six-ty three,
  I came across the stormy sea.
  My dung'ree breech-es I put on
  _Chorus._ To work up-on the rail-way, the rail-way,
  To work up-on the rail-way.
  Oh, poor Pad-dy, come work on the rail-way.
][Music]

Many other songs might be named, some of which, peculiar to the
Liverpool packets, are of a rowdy nature.

One cannot but regret that a more rational set of words has not
been introduced to this service of song. A sphere offers for some
philanthropic poet to provide a more elevating style of composition.
On the old theory, the ballad-maker may accomplish more reform than the
law-giver.

In addition to these songs are the unnameable and unearthly howls and
yells that characterize the true sailor, which are only acquired by
years of sea service. There is the continuous running solo of "way-hey
he, ho, ya," &c., &c., accompanying the hand-over-hand hoisting of jibs
and staysails. Then for short "swigs" at the halyards, we have such
utterances as "hey _lee_, ho _lip_, or _yu_," the emphasis and pull
coming on the italicized syllables on which the voice is raised a tone.
Then comes the more measured "singing out," for the long and regular
pulls at the "braces." Each sailor has his own "howl" peculiar to
himself, but fortunately only one performs at a time on the same rope.
The effect, however, when all hands are on deck at a time, and a dozen
ropes are pulled on at once, is most suggestive of Babel. One learns
to recognize the sailors' method of singing: when lying in his berth
in the cabin he can tell what man is leading and by the measure of his
cadence can judge what class of ropes is being pulled. He thus can
often divine the changes of wind and weather without going on deck. The
wakeful captain with nerves harassed by contrary winds will recognize
the hauling in of the weather braces by the cry, and with only this
evidence of a fair wind will drop off into the slumber he so greatly
needs. At other times he will be impelled to go on deck by the evidence
that the outcries betoken the hauling of clew-lines and bunt-lines at
the approach of a threatening squall. By attention to these and other
sounds, and the motions of the vessel, an experienced mariner knows the
condition of affairs above deck without personal inspection.

The songs of the sea, as I have said, invite attention and research,
and I shall be glad if this brief sketch may incite another to more
thorough investigation.

How do you get along with your sailors? is a question often asked, to
which I will now endeavor to give a practical answer. The first captain
that I went to sea with remarked to a gentleman in my hearing: "If it
were not for sailors it would be only a pleasure to go to sea." Many
a time have I heard this echoed since and perhaps have repeated it
myself. No one has ever suggested how to do without sailors, so the
most rational question is, How shall we manage them? The only approach
to a quarrel on this passage was with "Little Hans," a diminutive
Swede, who was very great in temper and irritability. He was ordered
to do some work, but pleaded illness in excuse. Some passionate words
ensued, as the mate doubted his sincerity, but in the end Little Hans
made most ample apologies and confessed with tears what a bad temper he
had.

There must be these frictions on shipboard. They occur in every vessel.
They cannot be prevented entirely, and the only question is how to
deal with them. Shall authority be maintained on the instant by the
assertion of brute force, or shall the man by patient, judicious, but
firm treatment be in time subdued. The latter is the course I advocate.
It involves momentary mortification and great self-control, but gives
more abiding peace and great self-satisfaction.

  Who overcomes by force
  Hath but half o'ercome his foe.

An officer once said to me, "There are only two ways to treat sailors;
you must either bully them or coax them." Accepting this definition of
my theorizings I would say:

"By all means, coax them!"

But our success in controlling the men was not due alone to the method
of discipline adopted. In many ways they were made to feel that a
friendly spirit existed towards them, and that a desire to benefit them
ran through all the rules and customs of the ship. Some of the methods
I have tried successfully are the following: Saturday afternoons
were given up to the crew as a time for mending clothes and cleaning
themselves, and on Sunday morning when called aft to attend religious
services they had no excuse for not putting in a neat appearance. The
effect of this was often noticeable in creating more cleanly habits,
and I have repeatedly been complimented upon the unusually good looks
of my sailors when on shore or attending services. Wednesday evenings
a Bible Class was held, at which the men were encouraged to read aloud
the passages in the Bible which they were directed to search out,
illustrating the topic in hand. The valuable libraries furnished by
the Seamen's Friend Society, with other reading matter, were placed
at the disposal of the crew. Frequently on Saturday evenings lectures
were given upon matters of interest to the sailor, as, The Winds, The
Currents, The Stars, The Sea Serpent, &c. In the afternoons, when
weather permitted, the young men of the crew in their watch below
attended a navigation class, and took the first lessons in a science
which many of them will practice when commanding vessels in time to
come. I never found that such familiarity bred contempt, for all this
intercourse was dignified. On the contrary it rather heightened their
respect for the captain, as was evidenced by the remark of one after a
lecture, "I tell you when a man sees what a head our old man's got, it
makes him feel what a little pimple he's got on his own shoulders."

I have narrated methods of control which I have used with tolerable
success, but I am well aware that government cannot be reduced to an
exact science. With the help of the best systems some will fail to
control those under them, and others from the simple character and
energy of their natures, without extraneous aid, will command the
respect and obedience of those subject to them.

While human nature is what it is there will exist a conflict between
service and power. As the mind and heart are elevated and renewed these
conflicts will decrease, but it is only to a higher and purer sphere,
where sin will not exist and where all is perfect as God is perfect,
that we can look for continued and entire harmony.

Lest my reader should be tempted to yawn at this rather prosy effusion,
I append our artist's sketch of the result of such an indulgence on
shipboard.

When near the latitude of Bermuda, one afternoon when it was nearly
calm, we spied a schooner ahead drifting toward us. Visions of Nova
Scotia potatoes excited our enthusiasm; the boat was got ready and when
the vessels were near each other, the mate, passenger and two sailors
went off to board her in search of news and supplies. The passenger
had on a new cap of white duck made in naval style, and his imposing
appearance perhaps accounted for the trepidation of the captain of
the schooner, who stood on deck in his stockings trembling, as though
he might be fearing the attack of a pirate. When the mate politely
presented my compliments and asked for a few potatoes, his assurance
returned and he was enthusiastic in his desires to serve us.

[Illustration: The effects of a yawn.]

The schooner was the "Jane" of Shelburne, Nova Scotia, ten days out for
Barbadoes. The supplies obtained were salt-fish and a few potatoes.
But the captain, in the kindness of his heart, sent me a jar of
preserved wild strawberries gathered and prepared by his wife, which he
repeatedly assured the mate were "real nice," and, as though he might
not be believed, he turned to the man at the wheel and said, "Ai'n't
they, John." They certainly proved deserving of his encomium. We got
a little country newspaper, that gave a few items of news, and a "New
York Ledger," which proved to be a year old.

She reported a heavy gale two days before, when we had been in calm
weather.

Discussions of this event, the news obtained, and a salt-fish dinner
enlivened a few days.

The last Saturday afternoon of the passage, the decks were washed down
early and at four o'clock all hands were called aft. The captain took
his stand at the capstan and the crew sitting on boards laid upon
deck-buckets, listened attentively to a temperance lecture, and some
warnings and instructions about the dangers of life on shore soon to be
encountered. Several signed the pledge afterwards, "Old Brown" among
them.

The first sign of our approach to land was the meeting with some
fifty schooners mackerel fishing, south of Nantucket Shoals. As we
came among them one put his helm up, and running down on us till his
bowsprit seemed nearly to touch us, he sheered alongside and shouted,
"Cap'n, do you want some fish?"

"Aye! aye!" I replied.

Then the air was filled with mackerel aimed at my head by a half-dozen
men, and some of them came near the mark. Three schooners in succession
paid us this compliment, and all hands had a good supper and breakfast
of mackerel in consequence.

We generally expect a gale when coming on the coast and always promote
our fears by recalling the old rhyme:

  "If the Bermudas let you pass,
  Oh then beware of Hatteras;
  If safely you get by Cape May
  You'll catch it sure in Boston Bay."

This time our fears were not realized.

We bent the chains and put the anchors in the shoes, and on a Friday
evening were almost within range of the Highland Light when a dense
fog set in and deferred our hope of seeing it. The wind was moderate
from the southward and we rounded to every two hours for soundings,
and then kept on the course. A man was stationed on the top-gallant
forecastle with a fog horn, which he sounded vigorously, and now and
then received similar responses from neighboring vessels. The blast of
one horn continued to draw nearer until it seemed close by us, then we
heard a dog barking and a hoarse voice sounded through the fog, "How
are you steering?"

"No'th by west," said I.

"I'm heading east south east," said the stranger.

Then close alongside of us we saw a schooner.

"How does Cape Cod bear?" I asked.

"Nor' nor' west thirty miles," replied the skipper, as his craft
vanished in the fog.

"Just agrees with the chronometer," said I to myself. "That's doing
well."

"Pretty soon came another approaching blast of the horn, and in time
came the same question, "How are you steering?" and a voice shouted,
"Keep her to the no'th'ard and east'ard; I'm just going in stays."

"Hard a-port," I shouted to the man at the wheel, and just as the
ship's head began to answer to the helm, a cry sounded from right under
our bow, "Hard a-starboard, or you'll run into me." I sprang to the
wheel and lent the man a hand to shift the helm over, and then we saw a
large three-masted schooner with her jib-boom almost grazing our fore
channels.

"All right, Cap'n, you'll go clear; I've got my jibs aback," shouted a
cheery voice, and then he, too, drifted away into the darkness.

In the morning the fog lifted and the wind came out dead ahead. Two
pilot boats came running down from the Cape Ann shore, and the leading
one, being intent on securing both our vessel and a ship to leeward,
dropped a pilot in a "canoe" while sailing ten knots an hour, and sped
on to the other ship, thus successfully cutting out her rival. The
pilot pulled alongside of us, and we took both himself and his boat
on board. Many eager questions were asked, one of the first being,
if the "F----" had arrived? We were told she had not, and we had the
satisfaction of beating her eight days on the passage. All day we were
beating up the Bay, and at 10 P.M. took a tow boat off Boston Light
which soon brought us alongside Central Wharf, where we made fast early
on a Sunday morning after ninety-three days passage from Padang. In the
morning I stepped on to the wharf to take a survey from a new point of
view of what had been my home for so many months. As I was standing
near the stern I noticed some sailors belonging to the Revenue Cutter,
sitting down with their backs toward me and their legs hanging over the
edge of the wharf. They were discussing the looks of the vessel, and I
heard one of them say, "I wouldn't want to go to sea in that bark. She
must be a regular workhouse. Everything aboard of her is scraped bright
from her trucks to her fenders. Just see how that royal-yard shines!"

I walked up to them and said: "Boys, does she look well?"

"Yes," answered the one that had just spoken; "a neater looking vessel
than that never came into this harbor."

"Well," said I, "her crew haven't lost a watch below the whole voyage."

"Oh! that's a different thing then," said he; "if a man has watch and
watch he's got no right to complain. Of course he expects to work in
his watch on deck."

The next day the crew were paid off, all being sober except Murphy. I
handed him his money and said, "Take good care of that and don't throw
it away." Murphy was already well past a condition to take care of
anything. He had indulged in one good spree the night before, and was
now what would be called "ugly drunk." His thick black hair was tossed
about in confusion over his head, and his dark eyes fairly snapped
with passion. Holding his money in his clenched fist he brandished it
aloft and said, "Cap'n, all that's going for rum," and off he went
with a waiting land-shark, who no doubt sent him to sea within a week,
penniless and ragged. But everybody else was sober, and on the whole
the crew made a very creditable appearance, so much so that it excited
remarks from many who saw them.

As I went on shore I met the shipping master, old Capt. Harding. "Your
crew make a good show for themselves to-day," said he. "I never saw
a more orderly set, or heard any crack their ship up quite so much.
There was one man standing by me while I was talking to a gentleman,
and hearing me say something about the bark he put in his handspike and
said he, 'That's the best ship that sails out of this port. The captain
of her is a gentleman and a sailor and a Christian. We obeyed him just
out of the respect we had for him. There's nothing of the humbug about
_him_. He doesn't go round the decks trying to scare up work just to
haze men. The officers were good men, too. They've kept us at work
pretty sharp, but we had watch and watch the whole time, south-east
trades and all. She's in fine order and we did all the work up except
to scrape the belaying pins. We had to let those go. I'm sorry we
didn't have time to scrape _them_.'"

"After he went away the gentleman said, 'That sounds well, doesn't it?
That's better than broken heads and curses and lawsuits.' I told him I
thought I knew all the ins and outs of a sailor, but it was something
new to me to hear one regret he 'didn't have time to scrape the
belaying-pins.'"

The crew all went to the Sailors' Home, except Murphy, and behaved
well. Old Brown was a well-known character in Boston, and I was told
this was the first time he had ever kept sober in port. His friends
were quite astonished at such good conduct. He went to San Francisco on
his next voyage, and I heard afterwards that the mate of the ship had
selected him as a good man to "bully," he being quiet and inoffensive.
He beat him and drove him about the decks in a way that completely
disheartened him, and on reaching port he took to drinking again and
was "beastly drunk" all the time he was on shore.

In a few weeks the crew all scattered on different voyages, excepting
four who waited to sail again with me in another ship. I remember
them with affectionate interest and am sure they hold fast a pleasant
recollection of the days

  ON BOARD THE _ROCKET_.

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 2: Pronounced Frans-war.]

THE END.



Judge Burnham's Daughters. By "Pansy" (Mrs. G.B. Alden.) Boston: D.
Lothrop Co. Price $1.50. The multitude of readers of Mrs. Alden's
stories will remember _Ruth Erskine's Crosses_, and will be glad to
meet its principal character once more in her new character of wife and
mother, ripened by experience and strengthened by trial. Her marriage
will be remembered, and the radiant prospects of the future which
attended it. Her husband was kindness itself, but he cared little for
religious matters, and could not sympathize with what seemed to him
the very ridiculous and puritanical ideas of his wife regarding many
things. Still he always gave way to her. The great trouble of her new
life, however, was the disposition evinced by her two step-daughters
to resist her authority and cause her pain by their recklessness and
disobedience. Her husband, Judge Burnham, was wealthy, and occupied
a high social position. He was exceedingly proud of his family and
sensitive as to his reputation. He was strongly opposed to Ruth's being
actively connected with religious or temperance movements, and this
fact sometimes brought them dangerously near serious misunderstanding.
The pressure was constant, and made many unhappy hours for her,
especially when questions of right and propriety arose between her and
her step-daughters and an appeal was made to the father. Suddenly a
blow fell upon the house. The younger daughter fled from home to marry
a gambler and forger, and was disowned by her father and forbidden the
house. A few months later the other daughter fell a victim to quick
consumption, but in her later days turned to the mother whom she had
disliked and disobeyed, and finally died in her arms. The story with
its later incidents is a sad one, but its darkness is lighted by the
surprise which awaits the reader at the close. It is written in Mrs.
Alden's usual fascinating style, and like all her books, is transfixed
with a purpose.


The Secrets at Roseladies. By Mary Hartwell Catherwood. Boston: D.
Lothrop Company. Price $1.00. This charming story of the life on the
Wabash, which originally appeared as a serial in Wide Awake, will be
read by boys and girls with equal pleasure, for the action of the story
is pretty well divided between the two. The boys will be immensely
entertained with the adventures of the four young treasure-seekers,
particularly with that which ends in their capture by the crazy
half-breed Shawnee, who proposes to cut off their thumbs to bury in the
excavation they have made in the burial mound. The girls' secret, which
is of a very different character, is just as amusing in its way. Mrs.
Catherwood has a wonderful fund of humor, and a talent for description
which many a better-known author might envy. The character of old Mr.
Roseladies is capitally drawn, and the account of his journey to the
depot after Aunt Jane's trunk is really mirth-provoking. Cousin Sarah
and "Sister" and little Nonie are all charming, and the reader will
close the book with regret that there is not more of it.


Brownies and Bogles. By Louise Imogen Guiney. Ill. Boston: D. Lothrop
Co. Price $1.00. This little volume might be fitly styled a fairy
handbook, as in it the author describes every kind of the "little
people" that is found in traditions or literature in all the countries
of the world. There are the brownies and waterkelpies of Scotland, the
troll and necken of Sweden, the German kobalds, the English fairies,
pixies and elves, the Norwegian and Danish dwarfs and bjergfalls, the
Irish leprechauns, and a score of others, some of whom are mischievous,
some malicious, some house-helpers, and some who are always waiting to
do a good turn to those they like. The author mingles her descriptions
with anecdotes illustrative of the different qualities and dispositions
of the various fairy folk described.


Story of the American Sailor. By E.S. Brooks. Ill. Boston: D. Lothrop
Co. Price $2.50. Although several volumes have been written descriptive
of the rise and development of the American navy, this is the first
and only work of which we have knowledge that takes wide ground, and
deals with the American sailor. In its preparation Mr. Brooks has not
been actuated by a desire to merely make a readable book for boys; he
has given it the attention which the subject demands as a part of the
history of the country.

It would be a difficult matter to get at the first American sailor, or
to even guess when he existed, but that our continent was once well
populated, and that its prehistoric inhabitants sailed the lakes and
seas as well as trod the land, is a matter of certainty. Later, when
America became known to Europeans, the new comers found Indians well
provided with excellent canoes, built of bark or fashioned from logs,
but they were "near shore" sailors. The author quotes one instance
where a deep sea voyage was undertaken by them in the early days of
the English settlers. Certain Carolina Indians, he says, wearied of
the white man's sinful ways in trade, thought themselves able to
deal direct with the consumers across the "Big Sea Water." So they
built several large canoes and loading these with furs and tobacco
paddled straight out to sea bound for England. But their ignorance of
navigation speedily got the best of their valor. They were never heard
of more.

The early white navigators of our waters can hardly be considered
American sailors. The new found continent was to them of value only for
what could be brought away from them in treasure or in merchantable
produce, and it was only when an actual and permanent colonization
began that a race of native-born sailors was developed on the Atlantic
coasts.


OLD CONCORD: HER HIGHWAYS AND BYWAYS. Ill. By Margaret Sidney. Boston:
D. Lothrop Co. Price $3.00. Of all the books of the year there is not
one which carries within it such an aroma of peculiar delight as this
series of sketches and descriptions of the highways and byways of that
most picturesque of towns, Old Concord. Concord is like no other place
in New England. There may be other places as beautiful in their way;
there are others, perhaps, of more importance in the Commonwealth, and
we know there are hundreds of places where there is more active life to
the square foot, but with all these admissions Concord still remains a
place of special charm, the result and consequence of more causes than
we care to analyze. Its picturesqueness and a certain quaintness of
the village has always been noticed by visitors, no matter from what
part of the globe they may have come. Added to this is the flavor of
Revolutionary history, and the atmosphere created by the daily lives
and presence for years of three or four of the giants in American
literature. Here lived Hawthorne, and Emerson, and Thoreau, and the
Alcotts, father and daughter, and the work that they did here has made
it a literary Mecca for all time.

These sketches have all the accuracy of photographs, together with
that charm of color and life which a photograph never possesses. The
author is a resident of Concord, and a dweller in one of its historic
mansions, and is thoroughly acquainted with every nook and corner of
the town as well as with every legend which belongs to them. The task
which she assumes of guiding readers to the places made famous by pen
and sword, is a labor of love. She tells us how the pilgrimage should
be undertaken, and what should be seen. We visit with her the ancient
landmarks which belong to past generations, and the more modern ones
which have even more interest to the multitude.



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