A month after he reached home, young Boyton started again for Nassau where had sent several letters to the captain of the "Foam" informing him as to when he might be expected to arrive. He sailed on a trading schooner, and when they entered the harbor at Nassau, he was glad to find the "Foam" at anchor there. As the schooner glided past the "Foam," Paul loudly hailed her. Captain Balbo protruded his red head through the gangway. When he recognized Paul, he greeted, him with a burst of semi-nautical and semi-scriptural eloquence and shouted: "Oi'll sind a boat afther ye. Come aboard quick as ye can."
As Paul could not leave the schooner without first having his effects passed through the Custom House, the captain himself came ashore. He nearly dislocated Paul's arm with his vigorous hand shaking and said that he had been waiting at Nassau a week for him. The apparatus being duly passed, all embarked in the captain's yawl and were speedily conveyed aboard the "Foam." There he received the same warm welcome from the captain's good natured wife, who had a neat little cabin prepared for him. After supper the captain and Paul had a long talk on deck where they sat smoking cigars under the brilliant starlight. Paul described fully his father objection to his embarking in the wrecking business, though he was willing to enter into the arrangements, providing his share would be the shells and curiosities, which the captain regarded as so much trash.
"Now, Paul, me b'y," said Balbo, after listening intently to his proposition; "Oi'm an old man an' Oi consider meself an honest wan. Ye can have all the shells an' other things ye consider curiosities that we pick up; but ye must also have share in anything valuable we recover, an' ye can depind on me to give you a shquare dale. As fur that paper Mr. C. drew up, there is no occasion fur it. Oi'm not fond o' papers av ony koind fur Oi've always had more or less throuble wid im. Oi give ye me wurrd an' Oi've yure wurrd an' that is sufficient. The paper can go to the shaarks where it belongs."
He then descended into the cabin and returned with the paper they had signed, which he tore in two and cast into the sea. The next morning the Captain and Paul went ashore for the clearance papers and that afternoon anchor was weighed and the "Foam" stood away for the south. Island after island was visited in the Great Bahama group. Many wrecks well known to the captain were visited and worked successfully. Anchors, chains, windlasses, etc., were found in abundance until the "Foam" was well loaded and sail was made for Kingston, Jamaica. Off Morant Point they picked up a negro pilot in his little canoe far out at sea. The pilot wore a pair of blue pants, white shirt and stove-pipe hat, given him no doubt by some passenger or captain of a merchantman. He gravely saluted all on deck as he passed his bare feet over the bulwarks and turning to the captain said in the peculiar dialect of the Jamaica negro:
"Does yo want er pilot, sah?"
"No," responded the captain, "Oi know this coast well enough, but Oi think ye had bother hoist that craft av yure's on boord an' come wid us into Port Royal. There is signs av a cyclone if Oi'm not mishtaken;" an invitation which the pilot gladly accepted. His outlandish attire and quaint English greatly amused Paul, who after supper, sat beside him on the deck and plied him with questions about Jamaica. The pilot told him many interesting tales, among them one of a famous shark known as "Port Royal Tom" who was supposed to inhabit the waters of Kingston's beautiful bay. "Tom, sah, was a pow'ful shahk, 'bout thirty feet long; but nobody know how ole he was. In de ol'en times big fleets ob English men-ob-war use to anchoh off Port Royal, an' dat shahk got fat on de refuse dat was frown ovahboahd. Sometimes de sailors would heah de yallow gals laughin' an' dancin' on de shoah at night an' dey longed fur to jine dem. Dey wasn't 'lowed to go of'en in dose days 'cause de yallow fevah was dere; but when de sailor boys got a chance dey would slip sof'ly down de side an' strike out fur de shoah. Tom, he know dis custom, an' he kep sharp eye on de boys, an' I 'shure yo' sah, dat dat shahk gobbled up moah seamen dan 'uld fill de bigges' ob de Queen's men-ob-wah. As lots ob de sailors went ashoah fur 'sertion as well as fur 'musement, de navay people winked dere lef' eye at de tricks ob ole Tom. After a while de sailors got to belibe dat he wah under de pay ob de gove'ment, an' many a red-hot cannon ball ware sec'etly dropped ober de side to Tom, yafter firs' temptin' him wid nice pieces ob salt junk. I nab neber seen ole Tom myself, sah, but dey say dat he is 'round heah yet. Lucinda Nelson, de great fortune tellah an hoodoo 'oman done tole me dat Tom's now livin' in a big ware-house down in ole Jamaica an' dat he sel'om comes out 'cause he's getting' quite ole. Ole Jamaica, yo' mus' remembah, sah, is fifteen fathom below de ocean now. Great earthquake come up one night an' swallowed de whole town an only a few yeahs ago, when de watah was right cleah, yo' could see de tops ob some ob de houses still standin' at de bottom. I belibe Lucinda Nelson, sah, fur she's a great 'oman an' known a heap ob tings. Niggah folks all go to her fur hoodoos an' chahms an' I reckon she mus' be close on two hun' yeahs ole."
Captain Balbo who was laying close by did not seem to pay much attention to the story of Port Royal Tom. He had heard it often before; but he pricked up his ears when Lucinda was mentioned and eagerly questioned the pilot as to her present whereabouts. Turning to Paul, he said: "Oi've heard a good dale about, this fortune-teller, an' Oi intind to visit her; she may be able to put us onto somethin' good" Paul laughed at the idea of her knowing anything about wrecks or sunken treasure; but the captain persisted in his determination to find her when they landed.
The wind having dropped, the schooner was becalmed and lazily pitched around on the gentle swell. The captain called loudly to his help- mate Betsy to bring up some fresh cigars and a bottle of grog and settled himself more comfortably on deck to enjoy the pilot's stories.
"Have you ever seen Port Royal Tom?" Paul asked the captain.
"No," responded the Captain; "but a frind av moine did an' ye may rest ashured that he is around here somewhere. Oi wouldn't be surprised if he were in the ould ware-house that our frind, the pilot mintioned."
"I guess yo' see a great many shahks in yoah time, massa Cap'in:" said the pilot.
"Yis," responded the captain, "Oi saw lots av thim." He nudged Paul with his foot and a merry twinkle lit his eyes. "They're curious brutes an' not built like human bein's."
The pilot and Paul were now all attention as the captain seemed inclined to spin a yarn.
"Whin Oi wuz a shtrapping young fellow about eighteen, Oi wuz sailin' aboord a trader. Wan day we were layin' becalmed, as we air now, off Turk's Island. While we were quietly sittin' on the bulwarks, we saw a monstrous shaark off our starboard beam. The ould mon at the toime was snorin' away in his cabin, an' it was a foine chance to have a little fun. We out wid the shaark hook and havin' baited it wid a temptin' piece av junk, attached it to a shtrong line which we rove troo the davitts. Afther smellin' round it, the shaark turned on its side an' swallowed it. All hands clapped on to the rope an' we hoisted him clear out av the wather. A bowline wuz passed over his tail an' we got him on boord an' a few blows wid the axe along the spine quited him down. His floppin' on the deck niver woke the skipper, so we cut him open. We shlit him from close under the mouth to near the tail and overhauled everything that wuz in him. In the stomach we found a collection of soup an' bouillon cans an' bottles enough to shtart a liquor house. As we wuz examinin' the stuff, the ould man came on deck an' thundered out:"
"'What the blazes are ye doin' there messin' me decks up! Get that brute overboord quick an' wash down.' We histed the carcass av the gutted shaark an' passed it over the side. We watched the body as it struck the wather. It remained still fur a few minutes, thin, to our amazement, turned over an' began swimmin'. He casht his eye inquiringly up at the crew, who were all standin' along the rail lookin' at him, as though he wanted somethin'. The skipper himself was so overcome at the shtrange soight that he furgot, fur the toime bein', all about the disgustin' state av the deck. Quickly recoverin' himself, he hoarsely ordered the crew to git the stomach and internals av that shaark overboard and git cleaned down. Three av us grasped the shaark's insides an' liftin' thim to the rail, cast thim into the say. Whin they shtruck the wather they were grabbed be the shark an' swallowed. As his belly was cut wide open, they went through him an' came to the surface. Three times he done this, but did'nt succeed in holdin' thim in their proper place. At this toime all hands were on the rail watchin' the sport an' ivery wan laughed loud at his maneuverin'. The shaark seemed to grow more vexed at each failure an' to resist the merriment of the crew for he cast many furious and malicious glances at the vessel. Once more he backed off fur a charge to swallow thim an' this toime succeeded in holdin' thim in be a nate trick. Instid av turnin' partly on his side an' showin' his dorsal fin afther he had swallowed he kept bottom up and swam slowly away waggin' av his tail with a gratified air while a huge grin spread over his repulsive countenance."
"Great lo'd, sah," said the pilot, "dat was wonderful indeed!"
The captain gazed sternly into the pilot's eye to see if there was the glimmer of a doubt therein, while Paul tumbled into the cabin to suppress his fit of convulsive laughter.
During the night the threatened cyclone made its appearance and the "Foam" let go her anchor in Kingston harbor just time to escape the full fury of the storm. After some considerable trouble at the Custom House, the cargo of the "Foam" was landed and disposed of; except the shells and curiosities gathered in the months' run through tint islands. Those as usual were cased and left in the hands of a merchant for shipment to New York. The sale of the wreckage amounted to three hundred and twelve dollars. After deducting the stores consumed on the vessel, the captain offered half the balance to Paul, who refused, as the shells obtained were equal in value to the wreckage. The captain insisted that he should at least accept one hundred dollars. All business was concluded and the "Foam" provisioned; but the weather was still stormy and unsettled so they decided to remain over until it cleared up. The captain and Paul made many excursions around Kingston. One of them was to the camp of the English soldiers. It was situated on a plateau above the town about four thousand feet from the sea level. To reach this camp they had to charter jackasses. Captain Balbo was not at home on this stubborn craft. All went well on the plains below; but when they reached the steep path up the mountain side the captain could not hold his seat. His fat body would continually slip down on the flanks of the donkey, who would begin to practice as though he wanted to kick a hole in the sky. Three times the captain was unseated but finally he struck a plan of holding on to the donkey's tail and in this manner was towed up the mountain. The magnificent sight from the camp amply repaid them for their arduous ascent. They could distinctly see every part of Kingston as it lay stretched along the shore of its superb bay, while on the other side, a long tongue of land covered with cocoanut trees reached out and almost made the harbor a lake. At the extreme point was the entrance out into the ocean, where immense naval store-houses covered the beach and off them were moored great hulks belonging to the British government. They thoroughly enjoyed the beautiful view and did not regain the town until almost nightfall. Instead of going aboard, the captain proposed to have dinner at a hotel; after which he persisted in making a visit to the fortune teller. The pilot was easily found and consented to act as a guide to the cabin of the dark seeress. Along tramp through the narrow streets and a little out in the country brought them to the habitation of this famed dealer in "Black Art." The house was almost buried by banana trees and heavy vines. In response to the captain's impatient knocks, the door was opened by a little girl, who said:
"Gran won't see any one to-night, no use in trying."
"We must see her fur we're goin' away to-morrow an' won't have another chance," urged the captain.
A querulous voice from the inside was heard saying: "Come Captain, come in if you insist," an invitation which was quickly accepted by the captain who was followed by Paul and the pilot. On entering the back room, a curious sight presented itself. The seeress looked far different from the picture Paul had formed of her in his mind. She was not over five feet high and so thin and wrinkled that she resembled a mummy rather than a human being. On her head she wore a turban formed of some bright colored cloth, while the balance of her apparel consisted of a dark robe embroidered with snakes and other reptiles. The room was adorned with skins of serpents, bunches of herbs, and many weird looking objects.
"So, Captain Balbo, you came to see me at last," exclaimed the old crone; "and who is that young stranger from the far off north that I see at your side?"
The captain was dumbfounded at hearing his name announced by a person whom he had never seen before, but shrewdly remarked:
"If ye know me, why is it ye don't know this young stranger?"
"Ah," responded the fortune-teller, "if he sought me I would know him. He has simply accompanied you as a sightseer. Now, Captain, what can I do for you?"
"How ye know me, Lucinda, is morn than Oi can comprehend, Oi've often heard av ye. As ye know me ye must be aware av me business an' can also tell phat Oi'm here fur."
"Yes, Captain, I know both and the yellow curse you are after lays in a little bay in sufficient quantities to satisfy you on the most southern island in a group of three that bear the same name."
The captain pondered for a while, then said, "It must be the Caicos, for they're the only three islands in a group that bear the same name that Oi know of."
She then went on in a mysterious way to describe to the captain a rock- locked bay, giving him points and descriptions by which he easily recognized the island of East Caicos. She ended the conversation abruptly and ordered them out. Before leaving the captain placed a sovereign in her hand and came away deeply impressed with what the fortune-teller had revealed to him. For quite a distance he remained profoundly silent, then turning to Paul he said: "Oi know the exact place the old devil manes. Though she didn't name the island she described it so closely that it is impossible to mishtake it. It is East Caicos, Oi know the bay well an' it has a great reputation of bein' a resort fur pirates in olden days; an' mark me wurrd, b'y, the visit to that old black will be the means av makin' our fortune. Instead av headin' fur Little Cayman to-morrow mornin', we'll pint her fur East Caicos. It is over fure hundred miles north by east from here; but it will pay us to make the run."
Next morning being fair, the "Foam" left Jamaica and stood off in the direction of the island. They had good weather and fair winds. In four days they passed Cape Maysi, the most easterly point or Cuba. Here they met head winds that caused them to tack four more days, then they got under the lee of the Great Inagua island. The weather was very threatening and every indication pointed to another cyclone, so they decided to run the sloop into one of the sheltered bays that abound on those coasts. Here they lay for two days while the wind whistled and shrieked through the naked rigging. As they were about to get under way the third morning after the dropped anchor, a native came off in a canoe containing pineapples and cocoanuts which he exchanged for a few biscuits. The captain questioned him closely in regard to wrecks around the island and was told about a large Spanish ship that went down years ago on the southeast coast and it was a legend among the inhabitants that she contained a vast amount of treasure. None of her crew ever reached shore so the information was rather vague. Nevertheless, the captain determined to make a try for it. The Indian swore that he knew about the exact location and for the promise of a dollar a day he agreed to pilot them to the place. After a cruise of about thirty miles eastward, they came to the place where the Indian said the wreck had occurred and taking sounding they found bottom a little over nineteen fathoms. The weather being fine they hove to and the yawl containing the diving pump was lowered.
"This is a pretty deep dive," remarked the captain to Paul as he was equipping himself in his armour.
"It is," responded Paul, "the deepest I ever made; but nothing risk, nothing win. Fasten on the face piece and you yourself attend to the signal line."
He dropped overboard and commenced descending slowly, while the captain anxiously and watchfully plied out the signal line and hose. He reached bottom which was full of rocks covered with a slimy growth of marine vegetation; the pressure on him was something enormous. It was very dark and he groped for some time without discovering anything. He signaled the boat to move with him as he pursued his explorations. At last his heart was gladdened by the sight of a wreck overgrown with a heavy mass of weeds and sea plumes. After a closer investigation he was disappointed to find that she was not nearly as large as the vessel described by the Indian; but by her appearance he judged she must have been under water many, many years. All the iron work was eaten away and the timbers badly decayed. He gave the signal, "kedge and buoy." The answer from above was "all-right," and soon after he grabbed a kedge that slowly and silently descended near him. Having fastened it to the wreck, he signaled "haul away," and was soon to the surface and helped aboard the yawl. When the helmet was removed he was very much exhausted. The captain was enthusiastic over his discovery, but was rather disappointed when told of the dimensions of the wreck. The schooner was then hailed to come alongside and all sails were lowered. One of the largest dredges was sent down and Paul descended after it. He used the dredge to clear away the masses of vegetation which covered the wreck. He fastened the claws in the decayed wood and signaling them to haul away, an entrance was at last effected into the hull. He found nothing there to reward him for his trouble and work except long white rows, which on examination proved to be grinning skulls and bones and the traces of rusty iron chains that bound them together in life. Paul was horrified at his ghastly discovery and signaled "haul away." On reaching the dock be informed the captain of his find.
"A slaver, be the mizzen top av the ark," he exclaimed. "There's no use av huntin' through that fellow. They would have no cash aboard if the skeletons are there. They'd have to sell the nagers before they'd have anything av value."
Three days were now spent in looking for the phantom treasure ship, but the captain lost patience finally and unceremoniously kicked the Indian overboard into his canoe and the "Foam" bore away with a fair wind to the island of East Caicos.
The second morning after, East Caicos lay under their port bow. It towered high and forbidding far up in the mist. They beat around to the bay which the Captain supposed was the one described by the fortune- teller. The schooner was anchored to the lee of a reef, while the captain, Paul and two of the crew embarked in the yawl on a tour of investigation. They pulled close under the cliff and into an inlet between two great jaws of barnacle-covered rock that towered high above them. Paul was astonished to see the exact reproduction of the word picture painted by the black fortune-feller of Jamaica before his eyes. They rowed through the inlet on the swell and entered a bay that was perfectly landlocked. All around it to the height of a couple of hundred feet arose a mass of irregular rock, out of which great flocks of gulls and other sea birds flew and angrily circled around the intruders. "This is the place shore enough, Paul. There's no other place loike it on the oislands, Oi could'nt be mishtaken."
At this moment one of the oarsmen exclaimed: "Almighty Lord, Captain! Look over there! See the sharks!"
A short glance was sufficient to reveal the fact that the water was full of these wolves of the deep and they commenced to gather around the yawl in alarming numbers.
"Be careful there, Paul," cautioned the Captain, "keep yure hands in boord," as he hurriedly ordered the crew to swing around and pull out. By this time fully a hundred pair of hungry eyes were following in the wake of the boat. As she retreated, the sharks grow bolder and approached closer; many of them diving from side to side under the boat, while one of them made a snap at the oars. It did not require much encouragement for the black sailors to pull, as their eyes were standing out of their heads at the time and the muscles showed up on their arms like whip cords as they sent the boat flying to the schooner. They reached the side in safety and then every fire-arm and harpoon on the "Foam" was called into play on the ferocious brutes. Many and fervent were the prayers that the captain sent up for the welfare of the black witch at Jamaica, whom he swore he would kill on sight.
After this adventure the schooner was headed to the northwest and for four months the islands and keys wre thoroughly worked. During that time, three trips had been made to Nassau and valuable cargoes of recovered articles discharged. No treasure of any account was found, with the exception of one enormous piece of coral, in which were embedded a number of old Spanish dollars. This object was sold to a tourist at Nassau for the suns of $250. Experience convinced Paul that the tales of vast treasure in the Indies were more fabled than real; still, strange to say, old Balbo firmly believed in them. Every time the water closed over Paul's copper helmet, his sanguine nature firmly expected that untold wealth was about to be opened up to them. During this cruise Paul had neglected no opportunity to secure rare specimens of shells and other marine novelties. In a letter he received from his father during his last visit to Nassau, he was informed that his share of the goods shipped had covered the cost of the submarine armour, dredging apparatus, etc., and that he had placed eight hundred and sixty dollars to his credit in a New York bank. This letter he showed to Balbo who to use his own expression, was "thrown on his beam ends" with astonishment. Paul now persuaded him to give up the dredging of wreckage and treasure hunting and devote the whole time to seeking curiosities. The old man was loth to give up his pet ideas of treasure-hunting and of making long, useless voyages in quest of phantoms. Paul assured him that there was more chance of finding treasure ships by systematically working one locality, so he agreed to turn the schooner into a "shellhunter" as he sarcastically termed it. Everything was ready for another cruise through the Keys and small islands, when the captain, who had secretly been interviewing another fortune-teller, announced his intention of sailing to the coast of Mexico. The first point sighted was Cape Catoche, the northeast point of Yucatan. Along this coast they were most successful and soon filled the schooner with a large and valuable collection of curios with which they sailed to Campachie where they were transferred to a vessel bound for New Orleans. While at Campache, news came in of the wreck of a Mexican brig that occurred on the Alakranes Bank.
The daughter of a rich planter living near Merida, Yucatan, was one of the lost passengers and her father offered one thousand dollars reward for the recovery of her body. An agent was sent down from Sisal to negotiate with Captain Balbo, with the result that the "Foam" bore away to the north taking along one of the surviving sailors of the brig. They sailed to the Alakranes Bank that lay about eighty miles off the mainland. They arrived there on a Saturday night and soon found anchorage. Sunday morning the sea was as smooth as a pond of quick- silver. When they embarked in the yawl and commenced their search, the Mexican sailor was confused owing to different conditions of the water. When he been there last, a wild sea broke over the reefs. In the afternoon they discovered a dark object below, which proved to be the ill-fated brig. Her bottom was almost completely torn out by her contact with the reef so that she sank instantly to the leeward. Through the clear water they could distinctly see her two masts standing while her shattered sails lay thick and tangled through the rigging. Next morning the schooner was taken out and anchored close by and Paul descended to the wreck. As he struck the bottom a few feet from her, he found her heavily canted to star-board. He walked around taking care that his hose pipe would not become entangled in the rigging and clambered over her side. Two good sized sharks shot away from the deck when they heard the hissing of the air escaping from his helmet. He could see very clearly all around, owing to the direct rays of the sun reflecting on the coral reef. On gaining the deck which lay at an angle of about 35 degrees he discovered the iron pumps detached from their place and pinning to the bulwark the body of a dead sailor, or rather part of a body as his legs and stomach had been eaten away. This sight rather unnerved Paul, but he worked his way aft to the cabin hatch which he found securely fastened. A few blows with his pry forced it open and descending the gangway he found himself in a cabin with four state rooms on each side. The rooms on the tower side were rather dark but he opened each door and carefully felt the bunks and bottoms for the body he was in quest of. Finding nothing in the first four state- rooms, he tried the upper ones. There was much more light in these as the sun shone down through the green, clear, water and in through the glass port holes. Everything buoyant in the staterooms had floated up against the deck so that he had to haul and pull them down for examination. The third door he reached he could not open. It was fastened by a bolt on the inside, but with the aid of his pry he soon shot it back. Then swinging the door impatiently toward him, the eddy brought out the upright body of a young woman in her nightdress. Her hair floated around her head like golden sea-weed as it came forward and fell against the glass face-piece of his armour. For a moment he was paralyzed with the shock, but, he quickly regained his nerves, and gently placing his arm around the dead body, he reverently bore it to the deck. Her hands were clasped as though in last supplication to the great power above, while her eyes protruded with terror at the fate she had met. Hastily signaling those above to lower a line, he laid the body carefully against the shattered rigging while he went to grasp the rope. Passing it under her arms and putting two secure half hitches on it, he signaled again to haul away. It gently ascended through the clear water, while a school of fish played around her as though sorry to see her go. Paul followed after and found all on deck solemn and silent, while the captain's good-natured wife was in the cabin wrapping the corpse in a sheet. That night a rude coffin was made in which the remains were placed and the schooner headed for Sisal, where she sailed in with her flag at half-mast. The father faithfully paid the promised reward and the schooner under charter, returned to resume her work at the wreck. Out of this job the captain and Paul made about nine hundred dollars each.
A cruise was then made around the Gulf of Campechie which was most successful. The catch was landed at Vera Cruz whence it was shipped to New York. Sometime before this, Paul had informed his father of the changed condition of his contract with Captain Balbo and requested him to forward the captain's one-half of the proceeds of the goods shipped. At Vera Cruz they found letters, one containing a robust check for Captain Balho, which so pleased that worthy individual, that he determined to spend at least one week ashore and enjoy hotel quarters for which he had a weakness. The gamblers, who abound in Vera Cruz, found a rich victim in the captain, who parted with all the money he could conceal from the watchful eyes of his wife, Betsy, with the guilelessness of a boy ten years old.
A cruise was now made along the coast of Mexico; but the collection of curiosities did not pay for the time engaged, so they concluded to abandon it and stand away again to the islands. At Tuxpan, where they landed for fresh water, they received information of a steamer that had been burned and sunk near Tampico, so they headed the schooner for that port. The steamer had been burned about three weeks before and the hull lay on a bank in eight fathoms of water. The agent offered to engage them to recover the safe for which he would pay them five hundred dollars, or they could have the usual salvage, ten per cent. As it was reported around the port that the safe contained over thirty thousand dollars, besides a number of valuable packages belonging to the passengers, they concluded to take ten per cent. For four days they worked hard on the wreck, removing the confused mass of iron, which was twisted into fantastic shapes by the action of the fire. On the forenoon of the fifth day, Paul sounded something solid and heavy with his pry, far down through the debris near the keel, and after about an hour's hard work sent up the joyful signal: "I've got it," which was received on deck with loud cheers. The chain hooks were now sent down and after a lashing was placed around the safe, the order to "haul away" was given. All hands manned the windlass and the safe was soon suspended between the bottom and the surface. Paul now went up to assist in getting it aboard. Sail was then Made and with light hearts they stood in for the port. The safe was locked and to all appearances uninjured.
"There is three thousand dollars there fur us, Paul me b'y," said the captain as he patted the safe affectionately.
On arriving at the dock, the safe was transferred to the ware-house, where it was forced open and to their dismay and disgust found that it contained nothing of any value. It was subsequently found out that the purser, seeing the ship in danger, had quietly transferred the safe's money to himself and when he landed had vanished and so all the hard work of raising the safe was in vain. Paul laughed at their bad luck, while the captain swore picturesquely in several languages. Preparations were again made for the voyage to the islands which had been postponed on account of this misadventure. One evening the "Foam" stood away to the east. Three o'clock the next morning a furious gale set in and increased hourly until the vessel was under bare poles and scudding for the coast. It was impossible to attempt to beat against the storm, so they stood away helplessly before it, running on to a very dangerous coast. At six o'clock that evening, she stuck in the breakers on the beach opposite Pueblo Viego. Enormous seas poured over her and swept everything from the decks. A boat was lowered but immediately smashed to atoms. In this critical position, the coolest person aboard was Betsy. She a life preserver strapped firmly around her and was covered with one of the captain's oil-skins.
"I guess it is a matter of swim for it," roared Paul to the captain, "as she won't stand this very long."
At this instant the mainmast went and as it swung clear, the stays were hastily cut by the captain and Paul. The captain frantically motioned Betsy to grab one of the lines attached to the mast. The next moment a sea broke over her that carried the three of them, with two of the crew hanging on to the mast, which, clear of the wreck, was rapidly driven towards the shore. Once a great sea broke Paul's hold and he found himself unaided swimming in the mad surf. He was fortunate enough to catch a hatch that was floating near which supported him to the shore where he was thrown with considerable violence and half stunned. He managed to stagger up the beach and in a few minutes discovered Betsy dragging the insensible form of the captain out of the reach of the sea. The captain was not dead, but very near it. One of the crew had an arm broken while the other landed without injury. The three men left on the wreck were lost. When the skipper recovered consciousness he was inconsolable at the loss of his craft. That night the party found shelter in a house about half a mile from the beach where they were hospitably entertained. At the break of day the captain and Paul were on the beach. The sea was still breaking heavily and all that was left of the staunch little "Foam" were her timbers scattered far up and down on the sands. Among them were found the bodies of two of the men, the other was never heard of. So sudden and unexpected was the loss of the vessel that Paul never thought of his money he had safely stowed away in the cabin and he stood on the beach that morning without a cent in his pocket. The loss of his armour and apparatus grieved him deeply but he felt a keen sorrow for the distress of his old friend Balbo. Yet in a way, the captain was more fortunate than himself as Betsy had carried all their earnings safely ashore, stowed away in the voluminous folds of her dress. All day long the Captain, Betsy and Paul and the uninjured seaman, patrolled the beach in the hope that something valuable might wash up. But outside of a few articles of clothing and some casks, nothing came ashore. In the evening they gave it up in despair and returned to the house that had sheltered them the previous night. The next morning after another visit to the beach a conveyance was obtained for Tampico, where they arrived the same evening.
For some days they were at a loss what to do until a vessel appeared in harbor bound for New Orleans. On this the Captain, Betsy and the two seaman procured passage and they vainly urged Paul to do the same; but he had a lingering hope that he might yet recover his apparatus with the aid of the primitive dredgers of the Mexican fishermen, so he refused to leave. He saw them on board the ship and took an affectionate farewell of his old friends. Before parting, the Captain insisted on his accepting a small loan which he said he could return to Nassau whenever he felt like it. There was a suspicious dimness in his eyes as he crushed Paul's hand in his own, while Betsy cried outright as she heartily kissed him good-bye. When the weather became mild again, Paul engaged a small fishing craft and went down the coast to the vicinity of the wreck but his efforts were in vain. His armour by that time was buried far below in the quicksand so he abandoned the search and went back to Tampico.
While sitting disconsolately on the piazza of the little hotel in Tampico, he was approached by an American: "Well young fellow I've heard that you have had pretty hard luck. What do you intend to do?"
"That's just about what I would like to know myself."
"Well, I think I can post you," said his new acquaintance as he leisurely seated himself and hoisted his heels on the rail. "There is a good chance for active young fellows just now. I presume you never did much soldiering, but I guess you can fire a gun."
"Why yes," responded Paul, "I think I could manage that."
The stranger then told Paul that he was connected with the Revolutionists, whose headquarters were then at Palmas and assured him that he would be well taken care of. Paul, who was at the time, open for anything that would turn up, quickly accepted the proposition. The next morning he and fourteen others mounted on mules, and conveying a pack train were pursuing their way up the mountain road in the direction of the headquarters. His filibustering friend furnished Paul with a pretty good rifle and revolver, and informed him that they were on their way to join a party under the command of General Pedro Martineze. He also told him that his own name was Colonel Sawyer; that he had been born in Texas, but had spent most of his life on the frontier and was concerned in many of the Revolutions that disturbed the Republic of Mexico. His principal occupation was running arm and ammunition from the coast to the Revolutionists in the interior. For three days they pursued their journey, camping every night. About ten o'clock on the morning of the fourth, they were stopped by the cry of "Halts, halta." Looking up from where the hail came, they saw the muzzles of thirty or forty rifles pointed at them. Colonel Sawyer loudly cried in answer to their command, "Amigos." In a few moments they were surrounded by a skirmishing party of Revolutionists and conveyed to the camp. Here Paul found several Americans, all soldiers of fortune, none of whom gave him very encouraging accounts of the prospects. Two weeks were spent in the camp from which small expeditions were sent out every day. Paul accompanied one of these to the National road running from Tampico to Monterey, and between the villages of Liera and Maleta. They had a skirmish and succeeded in capturing a carriage, hauled by four horses which contained some person of importance as he was treated with the utmost respect by the Commander and conveyed a prisoner to the camp. The horses were unhitched from the carriage which was left on the road. Soon after Paul and a party under the command of Sawyer, were sent to the town of Bagarono where a cargo of arms had been landed. These by the aid of pack mules were safely transferred to the camp. Soon after there was a heavy engagement in which the entire body of Revolutionists participated near Ciudad Victoria. The revolutionists were badly repulsed and retreated to the mountains. After this it was nothing but a series of raids which were both laborious and unsatisfactory. Paul was fast tiring of this semi-barbarous mode of warfare so that he and four of his companions decided to discharge themselves on the first favorable opportunity. It came sooner than they expected. They were sent under command of Sawyer and others to Metamoras for ammunition. On reaching there, they found the schooner with the promised supply had not arrived. After waiting for some days news came that the Revolutionists had again been repulsed and were all in retreat. This decided Sawyer, who said:
"Boys, the jig is up and the best thing we can do is to get across the river and into the United States."
That night they crossed the Rio Grande in an old tub of a boat that they expected would go to the bottom every moment and landed in safety at Brownsville, on the American shore. Here Paul wrote letters home and requested his father to send him a remittance to Galveston. With the little money they bad, mustangs and provisions were purchased and they started on a long ride to Corpus Christi. It was a wild journey through the chaparral, over the burnt and dried grass of the prairie, across swamps and rivers; but they made the two hundred miles in eight days. Here they separated. While his companions sought employment with the ranchers, Paul for consideration of his mustang, rifle and revolver, induced the captain of a coaster to give him passage to Galveston. He arrived in Galveston and found himself without a cent. He opportunely remembered that his father had a friend there in the person of ex-Governor Lubbock, whom he hunted up. He was cordially received by the Governor, who not only supplied him with all he wanted, but insisted upon his remaining in his house until his correspondence should arrive. In ten days the long looked for letter and remittance came to hand, and Paul lost no time in securing a passage on the steamer Haridan for New Orleans, and from there to New York, where he arrived June 2d, 1867.
He was warmly received by his family and found that his father had a smug sum to his credit in the bank. Paul was now in his nineteenth year; he was strong and so bronzed with the sun that he looked fully twenty-five. For some time after his home coming he was unsettled what to do, and once or twice was on the point of investing in a new outfit and re-embarking for the West Indies. But the pleadings of his mother to abandon the wandering life he liked so well, and to settle down to a steady business prevailed, and his father assisted him to open a store in Philadelphia for the sale of curiosities and Oriental goods. A branch at Cape May was also opened. It was very successful and disposed of large quantities of goods to the visitors there. For two years he successfully pursued this mercantile life and was establishing a good business; but while at Cape May during the summer time his old love for the water drew him continually to the beach, where his magnificent and fearless swimming attracted the attention of all. At times he would swim so far out in the cool, dancing waves that the people could not see his head. His extraordinary power in this line, proved of great value to many unfortunate bathers who were carried out by the under tow and were in danger of drowning. Paul always swam to their assistance, and the first season he spent on the beach, he succeeded in saving fourteen who would certainly have lost their lives had it not been for his help. Many testimonials were presented to him for his bravery. He became very popular with the visitors, but not so with the native boat men who looked upon life saving and the perquisites attached, as their own, and wondered how a volunteer dared to do better than they. His second season on the beach was still more successful in both life-saving and business, and he met with many curious individuals in the persons whom he had saved. One day an excursionist swam far out over the breakers. When he turned to come ashore, he was alarmed either at the distance he found himself out, or feeling the under tow against him, he lost his courage and cried loudly for help. Paul was on the beach at the time, and, quickly divesting himself of his clothing, he sprang away through the breakers to his assistance. The man was very difficult to handle, for he was thoroughly frightened. He would obey none of Paul's injunctions, but persisted in clambering on his back. After extraordinary difficulty Paul succeeded in landing him. The man was unconscious and Paul himself thoroughly exhausted. The same afternoon, while Paul was standing talking to a group of gentlemen, the rescued excursionist appeared, and, calling him to one side, said:
"Say, mister, I hear that you are the man who saved me this morning, and I tell you I am very much obliged to you. I am going home now, and if you ever catch me in that darn water, I'll give you leave to drown me. Before going, I wish to present you some token of my esteem and regard."
Paul assured him that he required nothing, stating that the knowledge he had saved his life was sufficient reward in itself. The persistent individual was not satisfied. He slipped his hand in his pocket and drew forth a pocket-book, from which he extracted a dilapidated looking fifty-cent note. Fervently pressing it into Paul's hand, he said:
"You take that and remember me."
Paul was surprised at the liberal present, but quickly recovering, he said to the departing excursionist: "Hold on, my friend, you are forgetting something." Carefully counting forty-nine cents from a handful of change he drew out of his pocket, he handed it to the rescued man and remarked: "I could not think of taking a cent more than your life is worth."
On another occasion, Paul succeeded in rescuing a young lady who was being rapidly carried out to sea and who would certainly have been drowned but for his aid. In his struggles to get her ashore, he was compelled two or three times to grasp her roughly by the hair. When landed, she was unconscious and in that state was conveyed to her hotel. Paul met a friend of the lady on the beach and inquired, how Miss — ———— was getting along. "Oh very well," was the response; "but she is a very curious young lady."
"How is that?" asked Paul.
"Well, when I visited her this morning I remarked that she ought to be very grateful to you for saving her life. 'I am,' she hesitatingly answered. 'But I think he might have acted a little more gentlemanly and not caught me by the hair. I have a frightful headache.'"
There is an old saying, "That if you wish to make enemy of a man, just save his life or lend him money." Paul's experience convinced him that the saying was true. Many and many a person has he saved from a watery grave, who never even took the trouble to seek him out and thank him.
In the Fall of 1869 Paul lost everything he had in the world by a great fire at Cape May and he left there heavy hearted and disgusted with business. Soon after, his father died and the home was very, very lonely. When the estate was settled up, Paul's old love for travel and adventure came strongly back to him. The Franco-Prussian war broke out. He believed that it was the opportunity that he was looking for. He embarked from New York to Liverpool, thence to Havre, where he presented himself at the Hotel de Ville and offered his services as an American volunteer. At this time the French military authorities were not accepting volunteers as readily as they did later on, so Paul had much difficulty in getting rolled in the service as a Franc-tireur. A few days after he had landed in Havre, he was marching away with a chassepot rifle on his shoulder and a knap-sack and blanket on his back. His uniform consisted of a black tunic with yellow trimmings, blue pants with wide red stripe along the side, a red sash bound around the waist, over which circled the belt which supported his sabre, bayonet and revolver. It also held an arm, the only one of the kind in his company, viz: a bowie knife which he had carried from America. Shoes, leather gaiters and kepi or cap completed the uniform. The company was about sixty strong, all picked men and Paul was the only foreigner in the lot. It was known as la Deuxieme Compagnie Franc-tireurs du Havre. The only visible difference between the regular and the irregular army was the lack of regulation buttons on the latter, and that they had no commissary department and had to provision themselves as they went. Their pay was thirty sous (cents) per day and they received their salary every morning. Out of this they were supposed to support themselves. Notwithstanding this small pay it was the highest given to any body of troops in the French army, as the regulars received but six cents per day, but the Government furnished them with provisions. The company was divided into six messes of ten men each. One of the ten had to act as cook when it came his turn, while others were told off to visit the farm houses in the vicinity of the camp to purchase the necessary provisions. At this time Paul's knowledge of French was very limited; but the Marschal de Logis, a petty officer and a Havre pilot named Vodry could speak English after a fashion. They acted as interpreters for him and gave him instructions in French. In the few weeks the company was camped near Havre, Paul acquired a little knowledge of the most necessary words and learned thoroughly to understand the commands given in French. He was instructed in the manual of arms by the Marschal de Logis. The command from his instructor such as "portez armes," "armes a gauche," "a droit" sounded strangely in Paul's ears. During his previous military career with the freebooting revolutionists of Mexico, there had been no drill whatever. Before the orders arrived to proceed to the front, he was sufficiently acquainted with the commands and terms to pass muster with any in the company. While still in camp, the news of the fall of Sedan was received and the tireurs were hurried forward to the vicinity of Paris on which the Prussians were rapidly advancing. Their first engagement was at Creteil. They did skirmishing for the army of General Vinoy, who had about fifteen thousand men. This was on the 11th of Dec., 1870. The engagement opened early in the morning by the Franc-tireurs and skirmishers on the hills of Mely. They were soon dislodged by the powerful artillery fire of the enemy and retreated to Charenton. Five of Paul's company were killed in the engagement and several wounded. After this they were engaged almost daily in skirmishing and light engagements around Paris. During those stirring times all was pleasant confusion. Paul knew nothing of what was going on, except through the reports of his comrades and they were but half understood; but that they were being slowly and surely driven back was apparent to him. In many of the engagements with the enemy, while several of their skirmishes were successful, he noticed that the tireurs never pursued them in the direction in which they retired. One day near Evereux the company to which Paul belonged saw a balloon coming towards them and a cloud of dust on the road far below showed them that a party of Uhlans were pursuing. At the time the balloon was rapidly descending. The company was ordered into ambush on each side of the road, while the Uhlans with upturned eyes and the occasional popping of a carbine at the balloon, dashed along the road unconscious of the hidden enemy. As they rode past the ambush, the order was given to fire. Twenty riderless horses dashed madly up and down the road, while the balance of the Uhlans sought safety in flight. The balloon descended but a short distance from thee scene of the engagement and was found to contain a man named Du Norof. He had with him dispatches from Paris which was then besieged. Their next engagement was at Martes. They were then under command of General Mocquard, a brave soldier who was always seen well to the front mounted on a little wiry Arab steed. Soon after this engagement the company, to which many new faces had been added to fill up the gaps caused by the shot and shells of the enemy, was joined to the Arme de la Loire.
On the 7th of October, the Franc-tireurs skirmished and opened the engagement at Tourey. This struggle lasted from seven in the morning until noon and many of their number bit the dust. Here for the first time Paul saw the Turcos, a French-African regiment, who distinguished themselves during the fight. Forty-seven prisoners were conveyed from the field by the survivors of Paul's company. On the 9th of October the great battle of Orleans commenced, which lasted for two days. The battle was a desperate one, and losses on both sides were great. The enormous armies engaged in this battle, the marching and counter-marching so rapid, and the deafening roar of the artillery, all added to confuse Paul, and he did not know that the army was in retreat until told by one of his companions. From that time until January, '71, the Franc-tireurs were engaged in many skirmishes and harassed the enemy whenever an opportunity presented itself. But they were slowly and surely driven back by the great and well disciplined army of Germany until they crossed the Seine and found themselves in the Department of Seine Inferieure, that was then invaded by the advance corps of the enemy. Notwithstanding all the scenes of carnage that Paul witnessed, and the dangers surrounding them, he has remarked that those were the happiest days of his life; free from all business troubles and with no property on earth except that contained in his knapsack. The old spirit of mischief that deeply imbued his nature was continually asserting itself, and he was always happy, no matter how somber were his surroundings. Notwithstanding all the dangers he had passed through, he only received two slight wounds, which quickly healed on his healthy body. In the part of France they were now encamped the peasants were rich though very economical. They had a holy horror of the Franc- tireurs, and when they heard of a company approaching, orders were given to the sturdy servant girls to convey all poultry to a place of safety. The place selected was generally the bedroom of the farm house, where the fowls roosted in tranquility on the head and foot of the bed while the disappointed Franc-tireurs searched in vain for material for their soup. As before stated, when the Franc-tireurs camped, parties were detailed to purchase provisions for the different messes. Two would go after bread and beef, two after coffee, sugar, etc., and yet another two after potatoes and vegetables. The last detail was always the favorite of Paul and his friend Vodry, the pilot. The majority of French peasants generally believed Americans were wild Indians. Paul and his friend utilized this belief to their own advantage in this fashion: Taking a sack with them they would depart for one of the surrounding farm houses; concocting a scheme on their way that invariably met with success. Before reaching the house they separated, Vodry going in advance with the sack. When he entered the kitchen of the spotlessly clean Normandy farm house, he would politely remove his cap and in a most courteous and insinuating manner inform the inmates that he was from the Franc-tireur's camp, and came for the purpose of purchasing some pommes de terre (potatoes). At the announcement that he was a Franc-tireur, his reception was never cordial; but knowing that they were compelled by the government to sell provisions to this branch of the army, as a general thing they sullenly complied with the request. Vodry's good manners and pleasing address usually caused them to relent. While the potatoes were being gingerly measured out, he would have them interested in some story of the war, which would invariably end up with the query: "By the way, did you know that we had an American in our company?"
This information immediately aroused their curiosity and they showered questions on him in regard the customs of the wild creature. Vodry then entertained them with the tale of how Paul had left his distant home, thousands of miles away and crossed the ocean to fight for La Belle France. He generally finished by saying: "Perhaps you would like to see him; he accompanied me on my way over, but as a general thing he does not like to come into a house so he remained outside while I came in."
Then without waiting for an answer he would step to the door and loudly hail the American. Paul would quickly appear from around some out-house or hay stack. Hi appearance would be far different from that which he presented at roll call. A slouch hat filled with feathers waved around his head in graceful confusion, a silver gray poncho blanket covered his uniform, outside of which was wrapped his revolver and bowie knife. Several daubs of wet brick dust and blue pencil marks adorned his face. In response to Vodry's call he would bound in with a yell that made the windows in the farm house rattle. He saluted the farmer with a vigorous shake of the hand and gracefully kissed the hand of the good dame of the house and her daughters, if she happened to have any, then stolidly walking around the kitchen he would examine all different utensils and instruments with an absorbing interest as if he never saw such things before. While observing him both with awe and admiration for his devotion to France, they would exclaim, "What a good child, what a brave fellow," etc., etc.
Finding that the time for action had arrived, Paul would approach the farmer and while ringing his hand, would say in broken French: "Cognac bon, cognac bon." The enthusiastic and sympathetic mistress of the house would immediately say:
"Ah, the poor boy wants a drop of cognac! Get him some father!" The reluctant farmer procured a big bottle and a very diminutive glass known as the "petit verre," which held about a thimbleful. Paul would congratulate the good dame on her keen perception. At this period Vodry would generally object saying:
"It is not good to give him cognac as the Americans can not control themselves when they take liquor."
His objections were over ruled and the farmer presented Paul with a miserable little glass full to the brim. This Paul insisted that the matron should drink first and on its being replenished he more emphatically insisted that the farmer should drink before him. While the farmer was drinking, Paul generally secured the bottle as if to relieve him from its charge while drinking. The moment he secured it he gave a wild whoop and placing it to his lips took a seemingly long swig, after which he executed a fantastic war dance around the kitchen to the alarm of the farmer and his worthy family who were only to glad to see him disappear through the door, Vodry remaining to remonstrate with them in regard to their folly in having given fire- water to this untutored child of the forest. He assured them that if he could procure the liquor he would return it, and then shouldering his bag of potatoes expressed the most profound sorrow at the occurrence. He would not proceed far until he was waylaid by Paul who was concealed in some hedge or dyke and the two conspirators resumed their way to the camp. That evening Paul's mess enjoyed the much cherished coffee and cognac so dear to every French heart.
The Gardes Mobiles, a large number of which were in this part of France, were regiments formed of clerks, lawyers, merchants and other citizens, many of whom volunteered and were formed into an army to assist the regulars and Franc-tireurs in repelling the invasion. They were brave fellows but unsophisticated in the ways of war. They were well supplied with nice blankets and abundance of provisions as they were never camped far from their native places. This branch of the service was looked upon by the fight-worn and weather beaten Franc- tireurs as their lawful prey. To be camped near one of them was looked upon as a direct gift from above. At such times the Franc-tireurs never thought of cutting wood for themselves. They frequently changed their dirty and dilapidated blankets for the fresh warm ones of the inexperienced Mobiles.
Hares abound in this part of France and many of them helped to make soup for the freebooters. So frequently had the shots been heard and needless alarms raised that a strict order was given out that there was to be no firing unless at an enemy. One day Paul was doing duty as a sentinel on an outpost, when a large, fat hare appeared on a little hillock not thirty yards from where he stood. Before he remembered about the order he had raised his rifle and sent a bullet crashing through its body. Paul had no time to pick up the hare before he saw the relief advancing on "double quick." So he stood on his post, saluted the officer in command, and in reply to his inquiry said that his gun had gone off accidentally. The officer scrutinized him closely, then looking around soon discovered the cause of the accident. He sent a soldier for the hare, examined it, and placed Paul under arrest, at the same time remarking "that for an accidental discharge of a gun it had a most remarkable effect and that only an American could cause such an accident." After a few hours detention in the guard house, Paul was allowed his liberty. Being the only foreigner, he was a favorite in the company and many of his escapades were overlooked, if a Frenchman had been guilty of the same he would have been severely punished. The captain of Paul's company at this time was an officer whose voice was very weak, and he could never finish a command in the same pitch he had started. He invariably broke down, and the command which was commenced in a stentorian voice was ended in a hoarse whisper. This peculiarity often caused the Franc-tireurs to smile. One morning the company was ready to march; the captain, mounted on a powerful horse, was at their head. Wheeling about and drawing his sword he gave the orders: "Attencion compagnie! En evant." He then suddenly broke down and paused to recover his breath and Paul in a low undertone and in exact imitation of the captain, added the word that ought to follow, "Mar-r-che!"
This drew forth a smothered laugh from the whole company. The captain turned fiercely around and demanded to know who it was that mimicked him. Dead silence prevailed. He gave them a lecture on the respect due to an officer and stated that the next offender of this kind would be severely punished; then added: "I can't find out who it was, but on my soul I believe it was that sacre American."
After this the company took part in many engagements through Normandy, principally at St. Roumain, Beuzeville, Yvetot, Rouen and Bulbec. The company suffered severely and in the last battle were a mere handful. There they lost their brave lieutenant Boulonger, who was shot through the breast. Paul and a party of his companions were detailed to convey the body to Havre, his home, where he was well known and respected. Here Paul saw for the first time in his life the French military burial Mass. This was the most solemn ceremony he had ever witnessed. The great cathedral was draped in crape, which added to the already somber appearance of the surroundings. The coffin of the lieutenant was carried on the shoulders of four Franc-tireurs and deposited on a bier near the altar. The soldiers then retired and joined their comrades. Every gun was polished and every bayonet shone as the Franc-tireurs and about four hundred of the mobiles and regulars marched with military precision into the cathedral. No soldier's cap was removed, while the citizens stood around with bare heads. An officer occupied a position on the steps of the altar and with unsheathed sword faced the soldiers, then standing in the body of the church. He gave orders in a loud voice at intervals during the service and his commands sounded strangely through the echoing arches of the cathedral. At the order "restez armes," the iron shod butts of the muskets dropped together on the stone floor, reminding those present of the stern realities of war and the sweet consolations of religion.
At the elevation of the sacred host, came the orders "Portez armes," "Presenter armes," "a genoux." Every soldier's right knee touched the floor and remained there while the muskets were held "a presenter." The solemn tones of the gong floated through the cathedral. When they ceased, the sharp order of "debout" rang out and all were on their feet in an instant. At the conclusion of the ceremony, the body was again carried out; a line was formed while the band struck up a mournful dirge, and they marched to the cemetery as escort of their lost and well loved officer.
The survivors of the company to which Paul belonged were now drafted into the regular army in the section known as "Bataillon Des Tirailleurs." Paul did not relish the change from the free and easy life of the Franc-tireurs to the strict discipline of the regular army. The company to which he was joined had two "Gatling guns" or "Mitrailleuses" as the French called them. It was drill, drill all day long and as the pay was now only six cents a day and payments only once a week, they had but little chance to play their favorite game of "Petit paquet," a game that had been more regular than prayers in the camp of the "Franc-tireurs." Having become thoroughly drilled in the use of the "Gatling gun" the company was ordered to the front. One evening a comrade said to Paul: "We will have bloody work to-morrow. General Menteuffel's army is advancing and all the out posts have been driven in." But the expected battle was never fought. That night news came that caused a heavy gloom to settle on the camp. No longer the laughing joke passed from comrade to comrade. No longer the patriotic songs were heard through the camp. Bronzed heads were bowed in sorrow and tears trickled down many a cheek. Paul anxious to know the cause of the general depression, asked an officer what was the matter and received the answer: "Paris has fallen." Soon after came the news of the armistice and that no more fighting should take place for thirty days. Notwithstanding the armistice and the conditions that neither army should move, the "Mitrailleuses" were advanced to a favorable point nearer the enemy and the heavy and constant drill resumed.
All expected that hostilities would continue at the close of the armistice. The two armies lay within plain sight of each other. Discipline was strictly enforced; several French soldiers were executed for neglect and disobedience of orders. One cold night Paul stood two hours guard over a Gatling gun that was placed in a shed with no sides and the fierce, cold wind whistled and penetrated his very bones. He was worn out with a heavy day's drill and concluded that he could watch the gun as well above in the shelter as by standing alongside. He mounted the beam and stretched himself out on a board. He knew, that it was instant death to be caught sleeping on guard, but he could not refrain from closing his eyes and was soon in a fretful slumber from which he was awakened by the crunching of the frozen snow under the feet of the advancing relief. Quick as lightning he dropped to his post and sang out the hail: "Halt, who comes?" the answer sounded, "France." On being questioned by the officer why he did not hail them sooner, according to orders, he assured him that, "the words had been frozen down his throat and he could not get them out sooner." The gay Frenchman laughed at his unique excuse and relieved him; but it was a close call for Paul. Before the armistice was ended, the news of the peace declared arrived in camp and soon after orders were given to march for Havre.
The discipline of the regulars was never enjoyed by Paul, neither was their commissary department. Horse flesh was served out three times a week. On other days they received pork and beef. Coffee, sugar, rice, bread and wine were served every second day. The two day's rations of wine never lasted over fifteen seconds. The trade in tobacco is monopolized by the French Government. Who ever bore an order from his commanding officer could receive a certain amount by simply paying for the tax stamp. On railroad trains the regulars could ride for one third and gain admission to theatres and amusement halls at about the same rate, so that the munificent salary they received of six cents per day enabled them to enjoy themselves in a very limited manner. Every barracks and military building in Havre was overflowing with soldiers; and when Paul's company arrived they could find no place to sleep. So they received a document entitled a "billet de logement" that entitled them to a bed in the house on which it was drawn. Sometimes they received an order on the houses in the poorer part of the town and again in the most aristocratic mansions. As a general rule, when a billet carried by two war-worn Franc-tireurs was presented at the door of a chateau, the proprietor would gracefully excuse himself with many suave and flattering expressions. He would present the soldiers with two francs each and request them to get a room at the hotel, at the same time expressing regret at his inability to oblige the gallant defenders of Le Belle France. His house was just then filled by the unexpected arrival of some relatives. Feigning sorrow at being deprived of the supreme honor of sleeping under his roof, the Franc-tireurs would make their adieux. As the door closed they kicked each other for joy because they had obtained what they appreciated more than a nice soft bed. They could sleep as soundly in any of the parks or on the lee side of hogsheads, or on bales of cotton on the quay, after they had enjoyed spending the proceeds of the "billet de logement." The army was now quickly disbanded and Paul found himself once more a citizen. He still retained his uniform, for without it he would have been devoid of clothing.
At this time the Communes were causing the government great trouble in Paris and regiment after regiment was being hurried thither. With one of these regiments Paul managed to reach the capital. Being left to his own resources he was greatly bewildered. The nature of the stirring and exciting scenes he little comprehended. One evening while passing along the boulevard near the Madeleine, a soldier wearing the uniform of the Foreign Legion peered into his face and eagerly inquired if he could speak United States. Paul answered, "yes." The soldier seemed delighted and said, "Have you got any money? I am from Baltimore," all in the same breath. Paul told him that he had a few francs and that he was perfectly willing to divide and invited him to take dinner.
"I will take dinner gladly with you," responded his new acquaintance, "but we had better strike some cheaper quarters than our present surroundings."
So the two turning off the boulevard, pursued their way along the narrow streets until they struck something more in keeping with their financial standing. Here they entered a modest looking cafe and ordered a ragout. While seated at the table they continued their conversation in English. The sour looking landlord after taking their order eyed them suspiciously for a few moments, while trying to understand their conversation. Rushing to the door of an adjoining room he loudly called:
"Corporal, come here. Prussians!"
The room was quickly invaded by a Corporal and one of his friends with drawn sabres in their hands. Paul and his companion, who saw that they were about to be attacked, grabbed chairs and backed into a corner, where they defended themselves against the onslaught. Paul asked them in his best French what they meant and assured them that they were not Prussians but American volunteers. On receiving this information the sabres were lowered and their assailants put them through an examination. Receiving satisfactory answers to all their questions and convinced that Paul and his friend were what they represented themselves to be, the Frenchmen gravely begged to be pardoned and warmly invited them into the adjoining room to take supper in their company. During supper Paul ascertained that their entertainers were officers in the Communes that were organizing in all parts of Paris. They were invited to join the ranks of the "liberators" as the called themselves; after the reception they had received from the gentlemen they wisely thought they had better acquiesce, so they were duly enrolled. That night they had a good lodging provided for them and were told to report at ten o'clock next morning. During the night Paul and his Baltimore friend had a long talk over the situation but they were far from satisfied. Leonard, the Baltimorean, suggested that before they took arms up against the government; they had better investigate a little further. With this intention they rose very early and started for a more respectable quarter of the city. On turning the corner they were amazed to meet the gentlemanly Corporal, who was trying the night before to slit their throats. He wanted to know where they were going. They plausibly assured him that "as they could not sleep in their lodgings on account of fleas they had decided to take a mouthful of fresh air." "Well" responded the Corporal, "you better take a mouthful of something else. Come with me and have a 'petit verre'." They accompanied him to the cafe and pretended to enjoy themselves, which however, they were far from doing. After some conversation the Corporal said:
"Mes enfants you must be around here at ten o'clock". They assured him that they would be on hand and to have no fear. When he had departed they quietly stepped out of the cafe and resumed their walk towards the Tuilleries. They wandered round and round through the narrow streets until they utterly lost their bearings. They came at last to a wide avenue in which there seemed to be great excitement. The cafes were all full of men and women, the sidewalks were thronged with a mad crowd, while cries of "Vive la Commune" were heard on all sides. Through the crowds on the sidewalks and cafes they observed many soldiers of the "Gardes Nationales" who were well under the influence of liquor. The names of "Lecompte," "Thomas" and "Darboy," Paul heard frequently, mentioned by the half drunken and excited crowd. Then a fierce cheer echoed along the street. The women of Monmartre with long ropes attached to cannons came streaming up the boulevard. It was a wild and never to be forgotten sight. Many of the women wore army coats over which their hair floated loose. While one upraised hand grasped a naked sword or sabre the other held a rope that dragged the cannon. Through such exciting scenes as these, Paul and his Baltimore friend lost all count of the hours. It was noon before they thought about their ten o'clock engagement. Even had they desired they could not have found the place owing to their bewilderment. Wandering round, they came to the boulevard near the Rue de la Paix. In this vicinity they saw the first engagement which took place between the Communists and a body of citizens called "Les Hommes d'Ordre." While the firing was going on they stepped in a door way that sheltered them from the flying bullets. Shortly afterwards they found themselves on the Rue Rivolo. Here they saw great bodies National troops. As they were marching past a large building, Paul noticed an officer whom he recognized as his former Marechal de Logis in the Franc-Tireurs. Calling to his companion he quickly entered the same building, where they were confronted by a sentinel. They were permitted to pass in, when they informed him that they wished to see the officer who had just entered, but they failed to find him. As they we about to retire they were stopped by the sentinel, who refused to permit them to leave.
He called for the Corporal du garde who placed both of them under arrest and marched them into a room where many officers were seated. Among them, Paul discovered the one he sought, who also immediately recognized him and advancing asked him how he came to be in Paris. Paul told him he had come to Paris simply through curiosity and if necessary to take a hand in anything that was going on. Paul and his friend were then introduced to the officers present. One of them, a gray headed old fellow said:
"Well boys, I think we will find something for you to do; but as this is a quarrel among Frenchmen, I don't like the idea of any foreigners being mixed up in it. However as you are here we might as well use you."
Paul and his companion looked at each other with perplexity for they did not really know what they were about to join. Turning to his friend the Marechal de Logis, he told him in English of their adventures of the night before and asked him if this was the same army as the other. The officer laughed heartily and translated the story for the benefit of the others, who all joined him in his mirth. The gray haired man who had first spoken to Paul and who was evidently an officer in high rank said in pure English:
"Sons, I think you have done enough for France and it is best for you to leave Paris and go home."
Then calling an orderly he gave instructions that they should be taken to the rail road station and sent to Havre. Before leaving, he presented each with twenty-five francs and instructed the orderly to secure them transportation to the seacoast. The orderly who accompanied them to the station was an enthusiastic admirer of everything American. He had a brother in Quebec, which city he thought was about fourteen miles outside of New York. So vehement was the hospitality he had pressed on Paul and his companion that when he entered the station his military dignity was lost and nothing remained but his idea of treating his American friends to the best in the land. He placed them in a first class compartment against the remonstrance of the guard, whom with drawn sabre, he defied to eject them. As the train rolled out of the station cries of "Vive la France," "Vive l'Amerique," were exchanged.
At Rouen, then held by the Germans who had military guards all around the station, the train was detained for over half an hour owing to an accident. While waiting, Paul and his companion left the station to procure some tobacco. They passed a German soldier on guard at the gate who did not intercept them. On returning, the sentinel stubbornly refused them permission to enter notwithstanding the fact that they showed him their pass-ports and transportation; but they could not persuade him either in French or English to let them pass. At this moment a German officer arrived, when Paul advancing told their situation in French. Taking the transportation card from Paul's hand he showed it to the sentinel, and after many harsh sounding remarks in German he struck him with his open hand across the face. The soldier, still presenting arms to his superior officer showed no sign of resentment; not even a flush mounted to his cheek. The officer passed them in and Paul remarked to him:
"No French soldier would have stood that treatment."
"Possibly not," answered the officer, "but German soldiers know what discipline is."
On arriving in Havre, Paul found many volunteers placed in the same position as himself. All were waiting a chance to return to America; most of them looking to the French government to assist them home. While waiting for these orders that were very tardy in coming, Paul made the acquaintance of a Danish Count who had served all through the war. His quiet, gentle manners and evident embarrassment at being surrounded by the rough crowd of adventurers and soldiers of fortune with whom Fate had thrown him, appealed to Paul's sympathy, He said to the Count: "Come with me and I will take care of you." They secured lodging together on the upper story in a house in the Rue de l'Hospital for the princely consideration of one franc a week, which the landlady informed them must be paid in advance. With the air of a millionaire, Paul paid the rent for the first week and cheerfully intimated to the landlady that they would require the best room in her house as soon as their remittances arrived. Their room was a miserable affair in the attic, lit up with one small window. The scant bed clothes often compelled them to sleep in their uniforms of a cold night. When they reached their apartment they compared notes and found that all the money they had between them amounted to eight francs and seventy five centimes, (about $1.75).
"We must sail close to the wind now, Count," said the ever cheerful Paul to the despondent Dane. "With good management we can live high on a franc a day."
They did not live high, but they subsisted. Paul had entire charge of the household affairs and he drove hard bargains with those whom he favored with his patronage. The little square, two cent cakes of sausage were eagerly scrutinized while he weighed the one cent loaves of bread in his hand. Every two cent herring was examined as closely as a gourmand would a porter-house steak or some rich game. When the provisions were secured, Paul returned to their apartment where he generally found the Count with his head between his hands, seated near the window. "Now for the banquet," he would exclaim as he lit up a sou's worth of wood with which to fry the herring. The little squares of sausage would be placed on the soap dish. At times he prevailed on the Count to go down and get the cracked pitcher full of water, which made up their morning drinking cordial, while Paul was frying the herring. After it was cooked, it was scrupulously divided into two equal parts and they seated themselves. After meals they generally went out to ascertain news from the government in regard to sending them home. Some days they treated themselves to a regular table d'hote dinner at a little eating house kept by a widow on the quay. The cost of this dinner was thirteen sous and they could not often indulge in such a luxury. As time advanced things were getting more and more desperate. The Count was so gloomy and despondent that Paul feared he would end his life as he had threatened to do several times unless something turned up. They were now indebted to the landlady for two weeks' room rent. She had a very sharp tongue and used to fire a broadside at them every time she would meet them. In passing her door while ascending or descending, they generally removed their shoes as they did not wish to disturb her ladyship for whom they entertained great respect. Things continued to grow worse and worse until at last Paul spent the few last sous they had on two small loaves and a herring. They did not have even wood to fry the herring and were compelled to use the stump of a candle, which remained, to cook it with. Before retiring that night, Paul suggested to the Count the necessity of their trying to get some work, to which the Count replied that he would prefer death any time to the idea of going to work. Long before daylight Paul slipped quietly out of bed, dressed himself in his old uniform and proceeded in the direction of the docks. Near one of the bridges he saw a large group of men standing. He joined them and learned that they were all waiting for work, and that they expected the contractor along in a few minutes. The boss soon made his appearance and commenced reading from a slip of paper: "I want ten men at such a dock, five men at another place, eight men at another place and twenty-five men at the dry docks." The crowd separated itself into gangs, Paul joining the one that was called last. As the men passed the contractor, each one was handed a slip. When Paul's turn came to get his slip, the contractor looked at him curiously and said:
"Why, you are an American volunteer, what do you want here?"
"I want work," answered Paul, "and pretty badly too."
"Well," said the contractor: "I am sorry that I have no better job to give you today, but by to-morrow I will have something better."
Paul followed the gang to the dry docks where a large steamer had been hauled up. On exhibiting his piece of paper to the foreman, he received a three cornered scraper, a piece of sharp steel with a handle about eighteen inches long. He was told off to a certain plank suspended by ropes down the side of the vessel in company with two old dock rats who eyed him rather sullenly as though he was an intruder. Paul quickly slipped down the rope and seated himself on the plank, while the two professors climbed leisurely down and took a seat on either end, he occupying the middle. The side of the ship was thickly studded with barnacles and other shell fish. She had just returned from a long voyage to the tropics and was very foul. The air was chilly and raw down on the dark, damp stone dock. Paul was anxious to warm himself, so made a furious onslaught on the barnacles and soon had them flying in every direction. He stopped for breath and found his companions, instead of following his example, were gazing at him with looks of disgust and astonishment. One of them exclaimed:
"Regard him, look at him!"
While the other, with feigned pity, tapped his forehead with the tips of his fingers, as much as to say, "He is crazy, my brother." One of them then placed his hand on Paul's arm and asked him how long he had been engaged in scraping ship's bottoms.
"This is my first day," answered Paul, thinking he might have done something wrong.
"I thought so," responded his questioner. "A few more mad men like you would ruin our work in the dock. Why, at the way you are going the ship's bottom would be clean before night fall. This is the way to do it," and he put his scraper against the side of the vessel and slowly and laboriously removed a single barnacle. Then he laid the scraper on the plank beside him and drew out his pipe which he leisurely filled with tobacco and lighted. After taking a few whiffs he asked Paul where he was from and what caused him to seek work there. Paul fully explained his position and the cause that compelled him to work. After this, his two companions seemed to thaw out and entertained him with words of advice, instructing him in many methods of killing time when the foreman was not around. At noon all hands were called up out of the docks and each received a card to the value of two francs, which the foreman told Paul he could have cashed at the canteen by purchasing a dish of soup or a small piece of bread. Paul indulged in a five cent dinner and deeply regretted that the Count was not there to share it with him. He received one franc and seventy five centimes which he carefully stowed away. After dinner the plank was shifted and they resumed work at the barnacles. Before the six o'clock bell rang to cease work, Paul and his two preceptors were quite friendly. They told him that if he intended to pursue the business he should remember one thing:
"Never do what you did this morning, that is slip down the ropes first, particularly when there are three men to work on a plank, for," they gravely explained, "the two coming down last would occupy seats close to the ropes that net only act as a back brace when resting yourself, but would also be a means of saving your life in case the plank broke; when you could grab hold on the rope and the man in the middle would drop to the stones below and be killed. Of course the two clinging to the rope could be hoisted to the deck or be carefully lowered to the bottom."
At six o'clock Paul received a ticket for two more francs. To get it cashed, he purchased a glass of wine for two sous and then started on a run for his lodgings where he fully expected to find the Count dead. He ran the blockade of the landlady's door without the formality of taking off his shoes. Dashing into the room he exclaimed:
"Count! Count, where are you?"
"Here I am," exclaimed a faint voice from the bed.
"Well, I'm glad you are not dead, we dine at the widow's to-day. Look at this."
The Count started up and gazed on the seventy-three cents Paul exhibited with eager eyes, then looking reproachfully at him he said:
"Paul, I hope you have not taken to the highway." "No," said Paul, "I worked for that and hard too, so come on and we will have such a dinner as we have not had in two weeks."
Under the genial influence of the banquet, the Count confessed to Paul that he had retired to bed in the hope of dying quietly of starvation, providing the landlady had not disturbed him as he felt convinced that Paul had abandoned him. That night the landlady received one week's room rent and graciously gave them three days more to settle up in full. Paul was out again before daylight and sought out the contractor. This day he got a job on the ship Fanita of San Francisco, discharging grain. It was much cleaner and easier than scraping the steamer's bottom. His job was to guide the sacks of grain out of the hold while a horse on the dock attached to a long line passed over a block hoisted them up. While at this work the two mates of the ship stood near the hatchway and commenced making remarks about Paul whom they thought was a Frenchman.
"There is one of those French soldiers," said one.
"Yes," added the other; "he looks pretty hungry and thin; it is no wonder the Dutch licked them."
Paul smiled, but said nothing until a better opportunity presented itself, when he entered into conversation with the mate, who was much surprised to find that he was an American. At dinner time he was invited into the galley and regaled with a sea-pie until he was scarcely able to hail "Allons" to the driver of the horse on the dock, when he resumed work in the afternoon. That evening he was engaged by the captain of the vessel to keep tally on the sacks at five francs per diem. A few days later an order was issued from the Hotel de Ville that all foreign volunteers should assemble there. A hundred and twelve responded to the call and a motley group mustered from all quarters of the globe, representing every branch of the French service and wearing every conceivable kind of a uniform. Notwithstanding the fact that some of them were from Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Ireland, Belgium, etc., they all wanted to be sent to America. The mayor informed them that arrangements had been made to transport them there at the expense of the French Government. He also said that he was authorized to give each volunteer the sum of twenty-five francs, a mattress, blanket and a supply of tin-ware. This joyful news was received with loud cries of "Vive la France! Vive la Republique!" and three hearty cheers were given for the mayor. As the volunteers joyously dispersed, an officer informed Paul that the mayor wished to see him in his private office. When he entered, His Honor informed him that he desired him to take charge of the men on their passage over.
"I know they are a pretty wild lot, and no doubt will not obey orders, still I will depend upon you to do your utmost to keep them quiet, and not have them disgrace the uniform they wear."
He then gave Paul a strong letter of recommendation commending him for his courage and service to France, also presenting him with the arms he bore in the service. To this day Paul retains his chassepot as a memento of the happy, careless days he passed, while serving under the Tricolor of France.
Two days after, all the foreign volunteers were mustered to embark on the steamer Stromboli, the authorities taking the precaution not to give them the promised twenty-five francs until they had passed up the gang- plank. As the steamer moved out of Havre the citizens turned out in large numbers to bid them God speed. And when the bows of the steamer were kissed by the waves of the channel, the boys were all pretty hoarse shouting "Vive la France" in exchange for the cries of "Vive l'Amerique," that was sent over the water to them from the mighty crowd on shore.
The voyage to Liverpool was an uneventful one and the volunteers behaved well with the exception of emptying a cask of wine which they conscientiously filled again with water. This was the property of two French passengers who spent most of their time playing cards on deck and whose amazement when they discovered that their wine bad turned into water, knew no bounds. When the volunteers arrived in Liverpool they found that the steamer England of the National, which was to convey them to the United States was broken down, so they were compelled to remain in Liverpool several days at the expense of the steamship company, until the Virginia of the same line was ready to sail.
While in Liverpool they were treated very well and aroused a great deal of interest owing to their varied uniforms and war-stained appearance. While Paul and three of his companions were slowly sauntering one morning watching the sights, they beheld smoke proceeding from the basement of a rubber store from which the affrighted employees were madly rushing. Paul grabbed one of them and asked him if there was water anywhere around, and was informed that there was both water and hose attached in the basement, but that he would be smothered if he attempted to reach it. Without hesitation, Paul plunged into the basement, and fortunately came on the hose. Turning on the water he pushed his way back through the thick smoke and soon had the fire under control. It was a heap of rubbish and scrap rubber that emitted far more smoke than flame. When the fire engines arrived, it was found that they had nothing to do and the proprietor was so well pleased that he gave Paul five pounds.
When the Virginia was ready to sail, all the soldiers were transferred off to her in lighters. On reaching the deck they were all examined for revolvers and other weapons that when found were immediately placed in the charge of the quarter-master to be returned on reaching New York. There were a number of German emigrants and the steamship officers thought there might be some trouble. Besides the soldiers, there were eight hundred emigrants from different parts of Europe, mostly from Ireland and about fifty cabin passengers. The voyage was very rough and occupied twenty-one days. Many a wild trick was played in that steerage. Many a skirmish was nipped in the bud through the watchful care of the officers of the Virginia, which otherwise might have led to bloodshed. The favorite amusement was cutting down hammocks. Dark forms might be seen on all fours making their way on the greasy and slippery deck in the direction of selected victims. The sharp blade of a knife would be drawn across the taut cord that supported the hammock. Then an uproar that awakened the entire steerage would take place. If the one who was cut down happened to be an Irishman, he would loudly challenge all the passengers to come up and fight him, not caring whether they came in ones or hundreds. His invitation not being accepted he would generally pounce upon some unfortunate swinging near, and a scuffle would ensue in which the contestants were encouraged by hundreds of yells and cat-calls that would bring every steward on the ship into the steerage.
During the long voyage the soldiers suffered greatly from want of tobacco. The ship's doctor, a little Irishman from Dublin, often supplied them with the much needed article, and he had more influence over them than all the other officers on board. His quick wit one day prevented a fight that threatened to end most seriously. It was one of the few fine days that they experienced in the passage and all the hatches were being removed for fresh air. A German emigrant drew a knife on one of the soldiers and made a vicious slash at him. Sides were immediately formed between the soldiers and emigrants and the fight commenced right under the main hatch. It was interrupted by loud cries from above:
"Here you are! Here is what you want. Stop that fighting!"
Looking up they perceived the little doctor seated above with a large supply of tobacco, which he was throwing among the contestants. The fight stopped immediately, all scrambling for the much coveted weed. Before the supply was exhausted their good humor was restored and the fight forgotten.
On arriving in New York the volunteers scattered in every direction. Paul and his friend the Count started for his home. Their odd uniforms and equipments attracted much curiosity and comment. At this time, Paul's mother and elder brother owned a store on Broadway near Thirteenth street, and when he entered in his French uniform, his mother did not know him. On recognizing him she almost fainted. She had been told nothing about his being in the French army and believed he was off on one of his usual voyages. Paul discarded his uniform and was once more attired as a citizen.
While in New York, the Count received a heavy remittance from Denmark. He insisted that Paul must share in remembrance of the dark days when he had stood his friend, in Havre. He also consulted Paul as to what enterprise or adventure they should next embark. At this time expeditions were being secretly sent out from New York to aid the Cubans in their struggle for liberty. Paul thought this the most promising enterprise in which to engage and the Count readily acquiesced. They secured the address of an agent in the lower part of the city with whom they had a consultation and it was agreed that they should leave on the next expedition under General Jordan; but the expedition never sailed. The schooner was captured off Sandy Hook. They returned in company with a lot of others as violators of the neutrality law and spent two days in the Tombs. While there they were recipients of generous supplies of pies and other delicacies and beautiful flowers from fair Cuban sympathizers, and looked upon their discharge as a misfortune. After this the Count requested Paul to go to California with him, but the latter refused as he had decided to take another trip to the West Indies and pursue his former occupation of diving. He had sent letters to his old friend Captain Balbo with whom he often corresponded, and impressed the Count so with the description of the life they should lead among the sunny islands that he consented to join in the enterprise. They commenced negotiations for the purchase of the submarine armour and necessary appliances and only waited to hear from Captain Balbo before purchasing them. A letter from Nassau at last arrived informing Paul of the death of his old friend which caused him sincere regret and of course changed their plans. While still hesitating about what to do, a letter was received by the Count requesting him to return immediately to Denmark. It was so urgent and of such importance that he sailed by the next steamer.