|xvi CHAPTER I.|
|WE START—BREAKFAST—THE TREASURE—LOG COMMENCED—NAUTICAL PHRASEOLOGY—DIARY—A ROW—MADE UP||280|
|A DIFFERENCE—PUFFIN—THE C. J.—LOG—BEAUMARIS—GUNS—THE ROVER—WADS—DIFFICULTIES—THE RAMROD—LOG AGAIN—ROW THE THIRD||285|
|LOG CONTINUED—BECALMED—BOOKS—TIME—FORGETFULNESS—LAZINESS—UNPLEASANTNESS—BLACK EYED SUSAN—WILLIAM—BILLIARDS—FIDDLES—DANCING—EFFECT OF CALM—THE CAPTAIN—A SUSPICION||290|
|LOG-DIARY RESUMED—THE TREASURE—TESTIMONIALS—INTOXICATION—DIFFERENCES—STEERING—THE COMPASS—RAIN—THE LIEUTENANT DISAGREEABLE—MORE ROWCAPTAIN HIMSELF AGAIN—THE TREASURE—A FIGHT||294|
|THE MERSEY—DISCUSSION—QUESTION—NEGATIVED—THE IDEAL—THE REAL—ROLLING GAIT—SALTS ASHORE—THE HOTEL—COMFORT—BED||298|
Beaumaris, Wales.—Two friends propose to me in the summer, “Let’s have a Yacht and go somewhere.” I demur, on account of probable expense. They explain that it won’t be any more expense than being on shore. Migsby (subsequently the Commodore—a born Commodore—) goes into what he calls details on paper, from which he proves to our satisfaction that “life on the ocean wave is,” so to speak, “the cheapest thing out.”
The question naturally arises where’s the Yacht?
I have been always of opinion up till now, that a yacht must be bought. I find it can be hired. “What tonnage would we like,” asks Migsby. I look at Finndon (“afterwards,” as they say in the Pantomime bills, “Lieutenant”) and observe that I don’t care about the tonnage. (Truth to myself. What does Migsby mean?—I own (to myself) to being entirely ignorant of nautical matters, and haven’t an 278 idea on the subject of tonnage. No doubt he will gradually explain.)
“A seventy-five will be too large for us,” says Migsby, after pausing for a reply.
“Yes,” I reply decisively; “besides,” I am impelled to add smilingly, “we don’t want a man of war.”
This is taken for a good joke. They laugh, I say “Well, but seriously we don’t want a seventy-five, because what are we to do with cannons?” They burst into shouts. I had always heard of a “seventy-four” as one of the Wooden Walls of Old England and connected with Nelson, the Nile, Trafalgar, and so forth. Ergo: I thought that that was what Migsby meant by a seventy-five, and that he could in consequence of the invention of steam and turrets pick one up cheap, which, with the portholes closed, would do for a yacht. He explains that he means seventy-five tons, not guns. Oh!
Happening to be talking of this when the Postman arrives, he (the postman) observes that if we want a yacht there’s one to let at Bangor, which belongs, he thinks, to Purkiss the Baker.
What on earth can a Baker want with a yacht, unless he goes out in it to get accustomed to the “roll of the sea.”
Migsby and Finndon will go over and see the Baker of Bangor.
The Baker of Bangor is interviewed and the affair is settled.
The “yacht” appears to me to be something between a small coal barge and a big fishing-boat. Instead of being 279 light, elegant, varnished and polished, it is quite black outside, and a dirty white inside. However Migsby explains that the look of the thing doesn’t matter, as we get it cheap by the week.
Migsby further discovers that the Crew can be hired (also cheaply) at Bangor, and so we obtain a Captain (in thick boots, a Jersey, and a tarpaulin hat) and a Cook who is recommended to us as a “treasure.”
In costume there is no difference between the Cook and the Captain, and in fact their general appearance is remarkably similar, the Captain perhaps being a trifle dirtier than the Cook when off duty, and the Cook when on duty being a trifle dirtier than the Captain.
With this Crew we start from Bangor.280
WE START—BREAKFAST—THE TREASURE—LOG COMMENCED—NAUTICAL PHRASEOLOGY—DIARY—A ROW—MADE UP.
Our breakfast—my first breakfast—on board, is simple and unostentatious. There is a table in the cabin. Its legs are up in the air; that is, it is supported from above instead of below by thin ropes, which with some little ingenuity we have now reduced to equal lengths. It must be a very good arrangement this when the ship is in motion, as, through its swinging about, the centre of gravity (I believe I speak scientifically) is invariably preserved. Our Treasure of a Cook sends us in some capital tea, some eggs excellently boiled, and some thin slices of bacon beautifully grilled. We all agree that he is a Treasure. The Captain and Crew breakfast together in the “forecassel,” or hold; they’ve got no table, nothing but the top of the stove, and, from what I saw, I suppose they must lie in their berths while taking their meals, as on any other supposition the disposal of their legs is a mathematical impossibility.
The Captain comes to our cabin for a second supply of “rations,” which sailors, it appears, prefer to tea. The Commodore 281 serves out a tumbler of brandy between them, and tells them that after breakfast we would “get under way, or weigh (whichever it is)” and sail down the straits. It is arranged that now is the time to make my daily entry in the Log. I refer to it.
“Tuesday. Wind blowing down the straits;” that is, when I hold out my pocket-handkerchief, it is blown out towards Beaumaris, and my hat goes in that direction, while my hands are engaged with the log and handkerchief. The Captain had said it was blowing freshish. He was right: the Commodore won’t let him go after my hat in the small boat, which is unkind.
Log again. “Freshish wind; hat overboard; no attempts at a rescue. Getting under way (or weigh). The Captain says he must take the tiller (N.B., something to do with steering), and the Commodore tells me I must bear a hand (N.B., a nautical phrase, we are all talking nautically now, and I have given up wearing braces) and assist at the cab-stand, or cap-stand. (N.B., I think it was the cap-stand; I don’t like to ask the Commodore what is the meaning of these phrases, because it makes him so angry, and his explanations are not as clear as I should have expected from a person who knows so much about these sort of things; but I gather that cap-stand, which is a sort of post to which the anchor is fastened, is so called from the expression a ‘capful of wind,’ of which you can’t take advantage unless the anchor is unfastened.)”
Private Diary from Log.—I regret to say that there was a little disturbance on board, to-day. I further regret 282 to say that it was, to a certain extent, my fault. I have apologised, and peace reigns again. It was in reality, the Lieutenant’s fault, not mine. He came downstairs to talk to me soon after the order about bearing a hand at the cap-stand had been given, and we agreed that the Commodore was rather over-bearing. Why should he call himself a Commodore? Why should Tom only be a Lieutenant? Why, I added, should I only be a Mate? Tom said he wouldn’t stand it if he was in my place. We agreed that something ought to be done about it at once. We ought to speak to the Commodore. Tom observed that as I was going on deck I might at once speak to him, and he would back me up. On consideration I thought it would be better if he spoke to the Commodore, and I would back him up. I liked the idea of backing him up, because, as I have said before, the Commodore does get so angry. We settled that we’d both go and speak together. We went up on deck, I first. The Commodore was at the head of the Companion. (N.B. The cabin ladder.) I told him I wanted to speak to him. The Lieutenant, instead of backing me up, went down the Companion to fetch his hat. I hate a fellow who sneaks away. I told the Commodore that I thought as our voyage was only for fun, that is putting it as pleasantly as possible, I ought to be something more than a Mate. The Commodore wanted to know what I meant by “fun?” I said that my meaning was it was all a lark. He replied that he understood me, and I’d better bear a hand for’ard. I refused unless I was something more than a Mate.
What would I be? he wanted to know.283
Not having given this point sufficient consideration, I suggested that I should like to be a Cornet. He said if I was going to play the fool we’d better give the whole thing up. Did I know, he asked, that rank on board a gentleman’s yacht was recognised in the Navy? I didn’t know this, but if it was so I certainly preferred being a Cornet to anything.
He said Cornets weren’t nautical, being dragoons. The Lieutenant joined us here, and said (by way of backing me up) that I had better get a Commission in the Mounted Marine Force. I asked if these were recognised in the Navy? The Commodore answered decidedly, recognised everywhere. It struck me that this was a very good idea as a pacific compromise. It was agreed that I should apply for a Commission to the Admiralty by letter; they grant these to yachtsmen like commissions to Volunteers, and that I should write up to Town for a uniform. They told me that if I wanted to save expense, I’d better write to Mr. May, the costumier of Bow Street, who had plenty of these uniforms second-hand as good as new, and at a very moderate figure. We couldn’t wait for it, but the parcel might be addressed to me on board the Saucy Nautilus in the Docks, Liverpool, where we should be in a few days. The Lieutenant wrote the letter while I was bearing a hand.
Log.—“The anchor is weighed, and precious heavy it was. It took three of us and a strong chain to get it on board. The mainsail is up; we all bore hands in hauling her up. The foresails are up; we cried, ‘Tally-ho!’ all the time, and shouted, ‘Now together! Tally-ho! ho! ho!’ We are moving as I write, so I can’t write any more. Wind freshisher; 284 latitude and longitude uncertain at present; compass on board to tell us all about that. We’re fairly off. A Life on the Ocean Wave, Tally-ho!”
P.S. I reopen this to say I’ve made a mistake. The Cap-stand isn’t a Cap-stand; we haven’t got such a thing on deck. I thought that the thing by which the anchor is weighed was the Cap-stand; it isn’t, that’s the windlass. I’ve often heard of a windlass. Directly they told me I said, “Oh, that’s it, of course,” as if I’d only forgotten the name. That’s my artfulness. Tally-ho!285
A DIFFERENCE—PUFFIN—THE C. J.—LOG—BEAUMARIS—GUNS—THE ROVER—WADS—DIFFICULTIES—THE RAMROD—LOG AGAIN—ROW THE THIRD.
Belay! We’ve had another row. It was not my fault this time. I am disappointed. Puffin Island I knew wasn’t anywhere near America, but I was not prepared to find it within a mile or so of Bangor—just, in fact, at the entrance of the Straits. I joined in the cruise under the impression we should go somewhere a long way off—Niagara, for instance, or at all events, the coast of France. My companions (I don’t mean the ladders, but the Commodore and Lieutenant) say that they came to shoot Puffins. I am not naturally irascible, but when I heard this I said, “Blow Puffins!” They have, however, promised to go on a voyage, and we’re to victual and take in stores at Liverpool.
A Puffin is a bird; the Lieutenant described it as a sort of a C. J., and I said, “Oh, indeed!” [Note. It strikes me suddenly, while jotting this down in my diary, that he meant a Sea-Jay, of course.] By the way, “Tallyho” is not a nautical expression; it’s “Yeo ho” I meant. I am getting no end of a hand at a Log. Here’s an entry:—286
“Tuesday. After breakfast.—Wind blowing Any way. [The Lieutenant put this in for a joke: it means N.E. way. When the Commodore saw it, he said if we were going to make idiots of ourselves, we’d better give the whole thing up. We promised not to be idiots. Order restored.] Piped all hands to belay. (I really must get a pipe, and learn how to belay.) Belayed from 8 till 9 A.M. (This means that we lay on deck and read, or talked and smoked. The Captain was not belaying—he was steering. The Treasure, i.e. the Cook, was in the forecassel, that is, his head and shoulders were in the forecassel, washing up.)
“9 A.M.—Passing Beaumaris. Guns brought out to shoot Puffins with. They’ve given me a gun. I am lying on deck, noting down in my Log. They’ve given me powder, shot, wads, and caps, and I’ve got to shoot Puffins. This is delightful. The boat has scarcely any motion, and, contrary to my wildest expectation, I feel quite well. I sing for sheer joy, Rover is free!’ I don’t know any more than that line, and haven’t a notion of its tune. We sight the Island of Puffin, and the sea. How very rough the sea looks about Puffin!—quite different to the Straits. The Captain says it is roughish there. I begin to wonder whether——but no, ‘The Rover is free! the Rover is free!’ But it does look rough. Wind blowing. Guns going to be loaded. Puffins, tremble. Log closed for the present.”
Diary.—I told the Commodore I wasn’t much of a shot (no more I am, as I have subsequently discovered) when on board a yacht. What I may be on shore, I don’t know, as I 287 have never had the opportunity of trying. I knew something about it, though, having luckily practised, years ago, at a penny a shot, or so much a dozen, on a wooden blackbird tied to a pendulum in a gallery of Savile House. Then there was a dirty man, in shirt-sleeves, to load for me, so that I never, as it happened, observed that process. What puzzled me was the wads. I thought I’d copy the other fellows in loading, but couldn’t, as they’d both got rifles that didn’t require ramrods and wads, &c.
To load a gun by the light of nature, is not so easy as I had imagined from seeing the man at Leicester Square. All I ever noticed him doing was to put a cap on. So I laugh it off (I don’t mean I laugh the gun off, but the awkwardness of the situation), by saying to the Lieutenant, “Ha! ha! ha! You don’t know whether powder, or shot, or wads go in first, eh?” He is evidently annoyed at this charge of mine, though playfully made, and replied, “Wads, of course.” (I recommend this method of gaining information in preference to any unnecessary display of ignorance.) He says “wads.” I’ll use two to begin with. I must here remark what an ill-constructed affair is a powder-flask; I never seemed to be getting any out at all, and yet after eight or nine attempts I found the barrel full almost to the brim—I mean muzzle. This delays me, and I have to begin again. We now get in full view of Puffin Island, and into the rough water. I go below to load, where I can be quiet. I find the Treasure in the cabin, aft. I don’t know what associates him in my mind immediately with brandy and rations. He is very civil, and offers to load my gun. 288 I tell him that the wads are already in, and he takes them out. I say, “Oh, you don’t use them, eh?” So I gather there are more ways than one of loading a gun. The cabin is very stuffy and hot, and getting up the companion with a gun in my hand is very difficult. Standing on deck with it is more difficult. I now refer to an entry, evidently made in short hand, on account of the motion of the vessel:—
“10 A.M.—Rough. On deck. Difficult to write. Comdre says note Puf. Isle. Put gun down take log. Comd says what long. and lat. Map. School Atlas. Puf. Isle not down. Long. and lat. 53 by 4. Map 2. Miles or feet? Rough. Waves. Treasure at bow. Waves hat. For help. To fright Pufs. Pufs frightd. Flock flying. Commdre shoots. Lieut. shoots. Not well to-day. Capn says calm outside: wish it was inside.”
Diary from Recollection. At Night.—I recollect when my turn came I made a shot. Not a bad one as a shot. It must have hit something. In loading rather hastily and jauntily, for I was pleased with my execution, which had quite taken away my qualmishness (N.B., nothing like firing off a gun as a remedy against sea-sickness), I jerked the ramrod sharply down the barrel, and it striking against the wads, or something, jerked itself sharply into the air, ever so high, and fell into the sea. I proposed going out in the little boat and recovering it. The Captain said, better get a diver to do that. My shooting was over for the season.289
Log.—“11 A.M.—Passing Puffin. Calmer. Pipe all hands to second breakfast or first dinner. Rations No. 3 for Captain and Treasure. Hungry. Latitude and longitude as before.”
At this meal, the waves being still boisterous, we have to hold the swinging table with one hand and eat with the other. We then adopt the plan of two holding while the third eats. As this would prolong the dinner indefinitely and spoil the third person’s dinner, we let the table go and dine as we can. We sit against our berths. At the third helping of soup the Commodore’s plate makes a rush at his mouth, and I find myself sprawling over the Lieutenant. The Commodore says I might have helped it if I’d liked. I reply I mightn’t, angrily. He returns, that if I can’t help playing the fool everywhere, we’d better give the whole thing up. After he has said this, he and the Lieutenant, accompanied by two plates and the soup tureen and the table, come right over me all in a lump. I catch hold of the Commodore’s hair. The rest of the dinner may be described as the Treasure staggering in with hot tins holding hotch-potch and sea-pies, and we alternately sprawling over one another with soup plates until one of the ropes break, when we are all on the floor together—tins, mugs, tureens, plates, hotch-potch, sea-pies, my gun, log book, and powder-flask.290
LOG CONTINUED—BECALMED—BOOKS—TIME—FORGETFULNESS—LAZINESS—UNPLEASANTNESS—BLACK SUSAN—WILLIAM—BILLIARDS—FIDDLES—DANCING—EFFECT OF CALM—THE CAPTAIN—A SUSPICION.
Log. “Out at sea. Between Puffin and Liverpool. Both places invisible. Wind, none. Long. and lat. uncertain. Been uncertain for two days. Wish we could get on.”
In fact, a dead calm. For one whole day not a wave, not a ripple, to be seen anywhere. The sails won’t act, the rudder can’t act, we can’t act. We have nothing to read, and have, as the notices of weddings run, “no cards.” When I say we have nothing to read, I do not mean that there is a scarcity of books; no, on the contrary, the Commodore had three shilling volumes—The Gambler’s something, The Forger’s something else, and Revelations of a somebody. These we had read, and hard work it was. The Lieutenant possessed an Almanack, an Index to an Atlas (Atlas wanting), and part of a Catalogue of the South Kensington Museum. I had two old letters unanswered, a collection of small bills unpaid, a metallic pocket-book 291 without a pencil, and a book of Douglas Jerrold’s Black-Eyed Susan with the cover off, and defective in pages towards the climax. This last, and the Almanack, afford us some amusement in the earlier part of the day, from, I should say, 7 A.M. till 10; after which hour commenced an uncertainty about time in general. The Lieutenant hasn’t got a watch, the Commodore has lost his key, and I have forgotten to wind mine up. The Commodore says he never saw such a fellow as I am for forgetting a thing. Having nothing to do, we breakfast for the third time, and the Lieutenant gives out double rations to the Crew. We then lie on our backs at the stern and smoke. We begin by saying that this is very jolly. In the course of an hour, I observe that I don’t think it is so very jolly, which provokes the Commodore into remarking that I know nothing about yachting, and that if I am getting tired of it, I’d better give the whole thing up.
If ever I have a yacht of my own, I’ll have a billiard table on board. That’s what we want, a billiard table. The Commodore and Lieutenant smoke incessantly: I try to, but never can manage more than two pipes and a half; and the half’s a little uncertain. I endeavour to get up a conversation on a sailor’s resources when there’s a calm. Billiards for instance. They observe, Billiards! contemptuously. I refer to Black-Eyed Susan as an authority. William, I recollect, used to swear pretty considerably, call people on shore “swabs, land-lubbers,” his wife’s relations “grampuses,” and a ploughman, from whom he wished to gain some information, “a dying dolphin;” while on board he’d reef in yards, pipe broadsides to quarters, stride like a lion 292 with surf in his face, whispering “Susan,” to himself during an action, bring other people on their beam-ends, heave a head, charge an elderly gentleman of loose character with “cutting the painter of a pretty pinnace, and sending it (the pinnace) drifting without a compass,” and so forth; but what he did when there was a calm doesn’t appear; unless at the end, which is torn out in my book, and then, if I recollect right, the only time there was a calm, the Admiral took advantage of it to try William by court-martial, and have him hanged before it got rough again. I suggest to the Commodore that sailors generally have a fiddle on board, and dance. The Commodore says grumpily, that there isn’t a fiddle, and if there was he wouldn’t dance. The Lieutenant calls upon me (he is lying stretched out like a star-fish) for a song. Being unable to oblige, I offer to read William. Offer declined without thanks. I say I am sure I’d heard something about dancing round the caboose, or spinning yarns over the galley fire. I know I’ve seen a picture somewhere of “Saturday night at sea.” The answer to this, on the part of the Commodore, is, that it isn’t Saturday night. As to sitting round the galley fire in the caboose, which is where the Treasure cooks, it is evident that, as there is only room for the Treasure’s head and shoulders, three people attempting to dance there, or spin yarns, would find themselves inconveniently crowded. The subject drops. The Captain here appears and requests rations. Considering that it is calm, and that the Captain is an Old Salt, he seems to keep his legs very badly. On his request not being immediately acceded to, he 293 repeats the word several times with variations, as if he had not, in the first instance, succeeded in making himself sufficiently intelligible.
The course he chooses to adopt (these sailors are the queerest people!) doesn’t improve matters, as he slips from “Rations” down to “Rachel,” and from that to “Rayshe when he catches hold of a rope, and then begins to laugh as if he’d done something clever. As he has evidently come up to amuse us, I laugh too, just to humour him, whereat he becomes suddenly grave, and frowns upon me rather rebukingly.
It strikes me at the same time that it evidently does the Commodore, that this is the effect of a calm upon the Captain. The Lieutenant thinks that rations have had something to do with it. I should perhaps have been inclined to his opinion, but for the Captain himself saying it was the calm.294
LOG-DIARY RESUMED—THE TREASURE—TESTIMONIALS—INTOXICATION—DIFFERENCES—STEERING—THE COMPASS—RAIN—THE LIEUTENANT DISAGREEABLE—MORE ROW—CAPTAIN HIMSELF AGAIN—THE TREASURE—A FIGHT.
Our yachting is over for this year. I note down the account of our last few days. After the calm came a storm. The Captain and the Treasure became so hopelessly intoxicated that we had to manage the vessel ourselves. We first found it out in consequence of a delay on the part of the Treasure in bringing in dinner. We found him in the caboose boiling our compass in a stewpan, while the Captain was doubled up in a corner nodding and smiling like a Mandarin. On remonstrating with the Treasure he became obstinately polite, and clung to the repetition of one word, “tessermonels,” by which we gradually understood him to mean that he could refute the present charge of intoxication by reference to his testimonials. The Captain only shook his head and muttered “rations.” I called to mind the Mutiny of the Bounty, and thought what a horrible thing it would be if our crew suddenly broke out 295 into open defiance of authority. However they didn’t mutiny, but went fast asleep.
The Commodore was now obliged to take the steering in hand. We, that is the Lieutenant and myself, managed the sails; and it is really as easy as possible to haul in the mainsail-gaff, and the top jib-boom and so forth, although it sounds difficult. The question arose as to where the land was? I thought that it was on the right. The Commodore asked how far off? I referred to the index of my map, but as there was no map with it, this proceeding did not help us to any great extent.
When night set in should we still go on sailing? the Lieutenant asked. The Commodore said, why not? I agreed with him, why not? Because, the Lieutenant reminded us, the compass was broken, and how could we steer without a compass? I agreed with him, and put this question to the Commodore as a poser. He was ready for the emergency. “How,” he asked, “did people steer when they hadn’t compasses, eh?” I gave it up; so did the Lieutenant at first, though as an after-thought he said, “By the stars.” “Very well,” returned the Commodore, “then we’ll steer by the stars,” and thought he’d settled the matter. I asked, “By what stars?” and the Commodore said, that “if I was going to play the fool and upset all his arrangements, we’d better give the whole thing up.” I wanted to make a few further inquiries, but the Commodore said he must steer, and I oughtn’t to speak to the man at the wheel. Taking advantage of his inability to quit his post, the Lieutenant and myself went for’ard, and after a short conversation, settled that steering 296 by the stars was humbug. The Captain and Treasure were still heavily asleep. Towards evening it began to rain. I didn’t know that it did rain at sea; I thought it was only on land to make vegetables grow. It rained until it was dusk, and then a bit of a wind sprung up. Most extraordinary thing, as I told the Lieutenant, that I always thought the wind went down at night. The Lieutenant, who had been getting more and more disagreeable ever since the insubordination of the Crew, said, “Down where?” If the Commodore hadn’t asked him to take a turn at the wheel we should have quarrelled. He didn’t manage the steering well, and took, the Commodore informed me, all the wind out of our sails. I know they began to flap about in a vacillating manner, and the Commodore remonstrated. The Lieutenant who was very grumpy, said, “He’d better do it himself, if he was so clever.” I tried to pacify them by saying what did it matter? On which they both replied, “Oh, didn’t it matter?” sarcastically. Luckily the Captain was suddenly restored to consciousness, and came aft with a rather dazed expression. He said he couldn’t make out what had been the matter with him. He hoped we didn’t think it was anything like intoxication. We confessed that we thought the symptoms somewhat similar, but he explained to us that in his case it was a sort of a something that he’d once had when he was a child, and the doctors said it wouldn’t come again; but, having come again, it had, he explained, took him quite unawares like. He believed he’d never quite got over the measles. He strongly reprehended the conduct of the Treasure; and proposed that he should be discharged at Liverpool.297
He took the helm, and we were all silent and sulky. I made up my mind that I’d desert when I got on shore, and I think we all, when we did speak, came to the conclusion that we wanted a larger yacht. The Treasure woke up, and became obstreperous and quarrelsome at midnight. He engaged in a single-handed combat with the Captain, but on his foot slipping, he was luckily knocked down the companion and shut up in our cabin, where he abused us through the skylight until he went to sleep again. His imprisonment prevented us from taking our natural rest below. So we sat on deck and tried to pretend we were enjoying ourselves. The Commodore looked glum, and smoked. The Lieutenant squatted with his chin on his knees and grumbled: while I spent my hours in drowsily meditating on William, Susan, the nautical drama, my costume waiting for me at L’pool, and the probable expenses of our trip. Log.—Morning broke: grey, dull, and drizzling, wind anyhow.298
THE MERSEY—DISCUSSION—QUESTION—NEGATIVED—THE IDEAL—THE REAL—ROLLING GAIT—SALTS ASHORE—THE HOTEL—COMFORT—BED.
I make my last extract from the Log.
“Entered the Mersey this morning. Low water. Stuck on the bar. Wind E. Latitude and longitude, vide map of England; place, Liverpool. The Treasure penitent and apologetic. Intend to send yacht back to Bangor, by Captain and Treasure. Commodore and Lieutenant think that it hasn’t been such bad fun, after all; they say I can’t rough it. I say I can. They ask me then will I go to Norway? I reply no, decidedly. High tide. We are off the bar, and are going into L’pool. Just in. Wind changed.”
I had always thought that the arrival of a yacht was a picturesque sight. I imagined, from what I had gathered, that you pulled up alongside of the Quay, where there were Officers and Yachtsmen to meet you: that they cheered you all the way wherever you went, crying “Hurrah! Bravo!” or anything else that came into their heads. I also had an idea, that, before landing, you sailed majestically into Quarantine, and were saluted by a Flag-ship. But nothing 299 of this sort is done; at least at Liverpool. We couldn’t get up to the kerb, I mean the Quay, but had to go ashore in our small boat. We paid off the Captain and Crew, who neither cheered us, nor offered to carry our luggage to the cab. It seems so absurd to talk of a cab, now, after being a son of the Ocean for nearly three weeks. Sailors always roll about when they come on shore: so we all rolled about; at least I did. The Commodore pretended that it made no difference to him. It did to me; walking properly was really difficult, and by the aid of a little art, I made lots of people think I was a sailor. The Lieutenant suggested enviously that they thought I was a fool. But this was only said because he couldn’t roll from one side to the other. When a salt is on land he spends all his money: I did this with great facility, beginning with a warm bath, a basin of turtle at the Adelphi Hotel, and a box of cigars at the first Tobacconist’s.
To-night I sleep in a comfortable bed: I write this from my room in the Adelphi. O the luxury of sheets! The Commodore has just come into my room to smoke a cigar with me before turning in. He still talks about keeping watch, and one bell. He says he wishes that we had had the Saucy Nautilus during the American war, we might have been a blockade runner, and made our fortunes.
To this observation, which he made when I was in bed and had shut up my diary, I replied that I shouldn’t have run blockades, and I made some joke about blockade and blockhead, which this morning I can’t call to mind. I recollect his answering, that he was going to have proposed another voyage, soon, for smuggling or whaling (or something 300 which he thought amusing), but that if I turned everything into ridicule, why of course he’d better give up the whole thing at once.
As I don’t remember anything of the Commodore after this, I fancy I must have fallen off to sleep.
Morning.—They have both gone: and have left me to settle the hotel bill. They’ll “make it all right” (this in a letter) “when we meet in town.” I am now off to town, to make it all right.
After Note.—The Treasure and Captain on being left to themselves, must have taken freely to “rations” as they ran the yacht aground somewhere in the straits (having luckily got as far as that), and then decamped with the small boat, leaving the Nautilus to take care of itself and be found by the Baker of Bangor (as it subsequently was) grounded and lying helplessly on its side.
Proceedings threatened against us.
Last Note.—Baker of Bangor pacified. Damages settled. End of Cruise.
BRADBURY, EVANS, AND CO., PRINTERS, WHITEFRIARS
MORE ROW—CAPTAIN HIMSELF AGAIN
dash — missing at line break
‘The Rover is free!’
open quote missing
BLACK EYED SUSAN
text has EYE’D
I know I’ve seen a picture somewhere of “Saturday night at sea.”
[So had his readers. The drawing was done in 1841 by George Cruikshank; you can see it here.]
and from that to “Rayshe,”
text has “Rayshe,’
The original of this text is in the public domain—at least in the U.S.
My notes are copyright, as are all under-the-hood elements.
If in doubt, ask.