The Story of Paul Boyton - Voyages on All the Great Rivers of the World
by Paul Boyton
Previous Part     1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9     Next Part
Home - Random Browse


After the Count's departure Paul joined a submarine company in New York and pursued the occupation of diver for over six months. He was wonderfully successful and when he resigned he had the largest salary of any diver in their employ. The cause of his resignation was the reports he had had heard about the diamond fields in South Africa. He determined to cast his fortune with the diamond hunters that were going from different parts of the world to the promised "Eldorado,"

Having secured a supply of implements and stores that he considered necessary, he took passage on the tall rigged ship Albatross, commanded by a friend of his. The Albatross was bound for China by way of Cape Town, and the captain promised to land him there. They had a long, pleasant voyage, during which Paul spent his time shooting at sharks over the side and trolling for fish. One day in the vicinity of the equator his hook was snapped by a dolphin, which he succeeded in bringing to the deck. It was laid on the shady-side of the galley and the sailors watched with great, curiosity the innumerable tints which radiated from its body. This transition in color was considered by the on-lookers as a visible evidence of the pain which it suffered. Picking up an ax Paul quickly dispatched it. In passing the equator the usual tom-foolery of receiving Neptune and baptizing those who had never crossed the line before, was enjoyed with one slight exception. The imitation of the god Neptune when coming out of the fore chains over the bow, missed his footing and fell into the sea. Fortunately for him the ship was becalmed at the time. With the aid of a line and a boat hook which one of his mates fastened firmly to his collar, he was drawn aboard. His appearance was certainly far from god-like. Paul often enjoyed the conversation of sun old sailor named Joe Clark. He was a misanthropist at the unjust inequality that existed in the conditions of life, and often sung a verse of his own composition which gave him intense satisfaction, as he chanted it while sewing sails or making sennet. It consisted of a few lines, the import of which was, that no matter how rich or gorgeous the outer apparel might be, all alike have to eat, drink and die. He was a typical tar and proved a source of continual amusement to Paul. He had sailed a long time with the captain of the Albatross on different ships, and the captain told Paul that he never made a voyage but that he did not express his determination that it would be the last one; and no matter what occupation he could get ashore, either street cleaning or farming he would take it in preference to going to sea again. After three days of shore life old Joe was tired of it and always headed for some outward bound ship. Once when Paul and Joe were leaning over the bulwarks and gazing out on the glass-like surface of the equatorial waters in which they were then sailing, old Joe reflectively exclaimed:

"Mister Boyton, I wish I had a hundred thousand dollars. You may be sure that I would never make another voyage and it would save me from the fate of many an old shell-back that is dying around now."

Joe's firm belief was that every old sailor who died, turned into a sea- gull. Prompted by curiosity, Paul said: "Now, Joe, what is the first thing you would purchase supposing you had one hundred thousand dollars?"

"A quart of good Scotch whisky," promptly exclaimed Joe with a string of oaths to confirm his assertion, and he smacked his lips in satisfaction as though already enjoying it.

About two months after leaving New York, Table Rock was sighted and the same day anchor was let go off Cape Town. During this long voyage Paul improved the opportunity in studying and getting more practical ideas of navigation. By the time they cast anchor at Cape Town the captain assured him that he was as competent as himself and begged him to keep on with him to China as the man holding the position of first mate was very unskillful and he wished to get rid of him. Paul, however, had the diamond fever and no amount of persuasion could change his mind. He landed and secured quarters in Cape Town. With his usual happy-go-lucky disposition he had never inquired before leaving New York in regard to the location of the diamond fields, and he presumed that they were situated thirty or forty miles from the Cape. In Cape Town he became acquainted with an officer of the steamer Cambrian, named John Lord, who also had the diamond fever and intended going to the fields. Their pursuits being similar they naturally drifted into acquaintanceship. After a little conversation, Paul asked him how he was going up.

"Well," responded Lord, "I would go upon the regular wagon but my finances will not permit me. It costs twelve pounds and one is only allowed twenty pounds baggage."

"Twelve pounds? Sixty dollars? Why, good Heavens, how far is it? I was thinking about walking up."

"A little over seven hundred miles," was Lord's reply. Paul nearly fell over in his astonishment but said: "We are here and will get up no matter how far it is!"

On comparing notes they found that they could not afford to take the regular wagon that generally consumed twelve days in reaching the fields. They were told about another town named Port Elizabeth by going to which they could save three hundred miles of overland travel. Owing to the enormous fares charged in those times, they found it would be cheaper to go from Cape Town direct by ox trains. It took one of these trains from fifty to sixty days to get up and was anything but a comfortable trip. While waiting in Cape Town very much perplexed as to how they would get up, Paul made the acquaintance of an agent of Cobb & Co., who were engaged in the transportation business from the coast to the diggings. After some conversation, Paul was engaged to go as assistant superintendent of a heavy train which was about to start. On their long and tedious trip, the average time was about fifteen miles a day, when the order for outspanning would be given. This order meant to unhitch, dismount and camp for the night. As there were very few restaurants or hotels on the way, a large quantity of provisions was carried and like an army the train was made up in messes and did their own cooking. The Hottentot drivers and assistants made one mess, the passengers another, while those in command formed a third. Lord was also fortunate in getting transportation with the same train. This opening was looked upon as a Godsend as they not only got up themselves with their tools but had their provisions free. The train consisted of fifteen immensely long covered wagons of the stoutest build. Each wagon had between seven and nine thousand pounds made up mostly of provisions and for which the moderate price of nine dollars per hundred pounds was made for transportation. To each wagon was hitched a long line of oxen, harnessed to a strong chain. The Hottentot drivers were artists in handling their terribly long whips. Besides the oxen and fifteen wagons, was a mule team with the officers in charge. Three days after leaving Cape Town, the train drove into Wellington, fifty miles north. Soon after they entered the mountain, Bain's Kloof. They had great difficulty passing over this road through the mountains. Frequently they were obliged to double the ox teams on a single wagon in order to climb some steep ascent. The scenery through the mountains was exceedingly wild and picturesque, and the Hottentot driver with whom Paul was conversing, assured him that far away in the mountain tops were leopards and fierce baboons. The mountains being passed after a hard day's travel they entered the little village of Ceres where they outspanned for the night. From Ceres they passed on over a level plain occasionally passing a kail or cottage. At some places on the road the natives sold them hot coffee and cakes. The country over which they traveled was thinly populated. Occasionally a tramping adventurer or two would come with the wagons, all heading in the same direction. About ten days later the train entered Caroo Port, a vast desert, horribly desolate and forbidding. It was dead level and lay like a sea asleep. The heat was overpowering. Before entering the desert, a large supply of water was laid in and the order of travel was changed so that they ran at night instead of in the day time. This wilderness is about sixty miles wide and it took them five days to cross it. Whenever a wind rose on this desert the mouth, eyes, ears and nose were filled with dust, making life miserable. At Durands, a solitary farmhouse stood like an oasis. They got a fresh supply of water there. After leaving the Caroo they entered a desert called Kope. In crossing this waste, they stumbled on many and many a skeleton of poor fellows, who had no doubt succumbed on account of the heat and lack of water. The crossing of these two deserts cost them many oxen. These were replaced at Beaufort by a relay that was in reserve for such an emergency. After leaving Beaufort they struck into a thickly wooded country that was a relief. Sometimes during the day, while the train was slowly wending its way onward, the superintendent and Paul would ride ahead for a hunt. They got some antelope and a large number of partridges. Paul was much surprised to find that game was much scarcer than he had been lead to believe by reading about South Africa.

They now entered a country where there were many ostrich farms, a business which was very remunerative. Ostrich chickens cost from twenty- five to fifty dollars apiece. In three years they will furnish plumage worth from twenty-five to thirty dollars each year. A Hottentot told Paul that many of the ostriches that then stood around in sight had been hatched by fat old Hottentot women who took two or three eggs away from the hens and lay with them in feather bed until they were hatched. The truthfulness of this story, Paul never verified.

After passing Victoria they wended their way slowly through great plains covered with a stumpy herbage. Here they saw large numbers of secretary birds and bustards and maramots and springbok antelope. Several of the latter were shot and added greatly to the comfort of the mess. Every few days they met the up or down carts, going or coming from the diamond regions. These would sometimes stop and give the news of above or below. It did not take much penetration to know the successful from the disappointed, coming from the mines as they got out of the train to stretch themselves. Forty days after leaving the Cape, they outspanned on the banks of the Orange river, into which Paul, without any ceremony, plunged with eagerness and enjoyed his first swim in Africa. Here they had to ferry and a slow and tedious occupation it was. About a week later they entered Pneil to which place the freight was consigned. The village was a small one, more like a camp. Down a steep ravine tents were pitched on every available spot, where a level surface afforded a floor. They were raised without regard to symmetry or order. Paul and his friend Lord looked around the camp and secured lodging with an old Californian who agreed to board them during their stay for ten shillings a day. At the same time he assured them that he did not intend to remain long there as the diggings were nearly played out and he was going to shift the following week to Dutoitspan. After prospecting for several days and finding that they could not get a claim unless it was for an exorbitant price, they decided to adopt the Californian's idea and start over for the "dry diggings" at Dutoitspan. On arriving there they met a sorter who assured them that he was fully posted in regard to claims, the value of the stones found and everything else and agreed to enter partnership providing they purchased the outfit. After some hesitation and examination, they agreed to this. They bought a sieve, sorting table, and tent with cooking apparatus, etc., and started for a claim. They were fortunate in getting one about thirty feet square. There they erected their tent, under the supervision of the sorter who unceremoniously made himself head of the camp and who did more talking than work. Then they began the digging of the trench around their claim. Their sorting table was set up and they went to work with a will that was backed with enthusiasm and hope. The result of their digging was turned into the sieve, which was suspended by a rope from a cross bar, with handles on one side. The digger would swing it backwards and forwards until all the loose fragments of earth were broken off and nothing remained but the small stones like line gravel. These were then carried over and dumped on the sorter's table, who examined them carefully and placed anything promising to one side. But for three weeks nothing of any value was found. The small specimens that were obtained were disposed of to the dealers who daily visited every camp and digging. The amount derived from their sales barely kept the diggers in provisions. About this time Lord fell ill of dysentery, which was prevalent in all the camps in this vicinity, and Paul had to do double work to give the gentlemanly sorter, who refused to do any digging, occupation. Being tired and worn with the two-fold labor, Paul was tempted many times to abandon the claim and take a rest, and was prevented only by the fear that jumpers would take advantage of the work already done. The unwritten law at that time was that if a miner ceased working his claim for a certain length of time it could be "jumped" by others. About this time Paul also began to suspect the honesty of the sorter and kept a close eye on him. These suspicions he communicated to Lord, then recovering and found that Lord entertained the same ideas. So one evening after a hard day's work they grabbed the sorter and held an inquest on his pockets after calmly seating themselves on his head and knees. Their suspicions were verified by discovering stones on him that were valued the next day at one hundred and ten pounds. The frightened sorter willingly surrendered all they found, and confessed under the pressure of a revolver that he had been systematically robbing them for some time. Though pleased that they had discovered so much, Paul and his friend were both discouraged and disgusted with the diggings and they agreed that the first good strike they made they would leave it. After that they acted as their own sorters but with indifferent success. A couple of weeks later, Lord who had been out to purchase provisions returned with a speculator who was willing to purchase the claim. A long talk followed. At last they disposed of it to him with all their outfit for the sum of fifty pounds which left them not much richer than when they had started for the diamond fields. A short time after that they were in Cape Town once more, smelling the fresh, salt air. Here Lord obtained a position on one of the Union Co.'s line of steamers, while Paul remained in the hope of finding some ship going to China or Japan. Paul remained in Cape Town three weeks; but no chance opened to go to the eastward. He embarked on a French vessel that came in shorthanded, bound for Marseilles. He went before the mast as there as no other position on her and he had had enough of South Africa.

After a quick passage along the west coast of Africa they reached the straits of Gibraltar and stood across the blue Mediterranean to Marseilles. While there, assisting to discharge a cargo, Paul fell through a hatch and was badly wounded on the leg by coming in contact with the ragged edge of a roll of copper. At first he did not think he was much injured but as his leg kept on swelling, the captain strongly advised him to go to the marine hospital and conveyed him there in a cab. The ward in which Paul was placed contained about one hundred and fifty little iron beds filled with unfortunates like himself. The hospital authorities ran the institution on the principle that the less they gave the patient to eat, the sooner he would recover and get out. Breakfast consisted of a slice of bread and a little cup of very weak wine; dinner of some very feeble soup, bread and the same kind of wine. The supper was a repetition of the breakfast. After a couple of day's sojourn in the hospital, Paul was ravenous with hunger and would have willingly left if he had been able to do so. In vain he assured the good sister in his best French that it was his leg and not his stomach that was ill. In response she would smile sadly as she placed the meager allowance on the little stand at the head of the bed.

Paul was in bed number eleven. Number twelve was occupied by a Frenchman, who was fast dying, and number thirteen by an English sailor with a leg and arm broken. The Frenchman was so far gone that his appetite had failed so that he could neither eat nor drink. Notwithstanding this, his rations were always left on his stand at the head of his bed. The invalid and his provisions were watched by the English sailor and Paul with deep interest. Two or three times by the aid of his good leg Paul succeeded in confiscating the major portion, before the sailor could reach his unbroken arm out. One day after a consultation, the doctor shook his head slowly and told the sister that number twelve would not much longer remain a charge in her hands. This news was gladly listened to by Paul and the sailor. His dinner was placed as usual at the head of the bed but the Frenchman paid no attention to it. His labored breathings showed plainly to the watchers that the end was near. A few convulsive heavings followed, then the English sailor remarked: "I think he has slipped his cable." Paul got quietly out of bed to ascertain the truthfulness of the sailor's remark and made a grab for the soup and bread at the same time the sun- bronzed arm of the sailor reached out for the wine. Soon afterwards the nurse discovered that the patient had passed away and his body was carried to the dead house.

A couple of weeks later Paul was discharged from the hospital thoroughly cured, and eager to embark in anything that promised adventure. He was anxious if possible to secure some ship bound for America, and for this purpose haunted the docks and watched every new arrival closely. While sauntering around one morning he was accosted by a rough looking man who inquired if he was a sailor and wished to ship, Paul answered yes but that he wanted to ship on a vessel bound for the United States. "Well," said the stranger, "I am the captain of the bark Pilgrim and am bound for Valparaiso, why not that trip?"

Paul absolutely refused to go around the Horn. The captain then told him that they intended to start that night; but on the way out would stop at Malaga where he could land, and by going to Gibraltar get a ship much easier. He promised to pay him well for the run, so Paul consented to go. The Pilgrim was then laying in the offing and when Paul went to the landing to take the small boat to go to her, he found two other sailors belonging to her, who were going to Malaga on the run, the same as himself. One of them confidentially informed Paul that she was a floating hell and that he might expect lively times on the run down. Paul responded that he could stand it if the rest could. The row boat containing the sailors ran along side and the line was passed down. One of the sailors jumped lightly into the chains and took hold of his mate's bag. He tossed it on the deck without looking where it was going. His own was then passed up to him which he mounted the rail and jumped on deck. He had no sooner reached it than he was struck a powerful blow on the face and knocked on his back. His companion jumped on deck and found his comrade lying bleeding and half stunned. Over him, as if about to kick him, was the form of a powerful looking man who proved to be the first mate.

"What's the matter," exclaimed the sailor last landed. "What's this?"

"Perhaps you would like the same kind of a dose my hearty," exclaimed the mate as he came towards him with clenched fists.

"Well, no," was the response, "I don't intend to take any, but I will give you one that will teach you not to bill sailors in open port," and he drew his sheath knife and made a lunge that would certainly have disemboweled the first mate had he not quickly dodged the thrust and retreated to the cabin.

While the sailor who had drawn the knife was bending over his wounded comrade, the captain appeared, and exclaimed:

"This kind of work won't do! What's the meaning of this row?"

The sailor who had been struck explained to the captain how he had accidentally hit the mate while throwing his bag aboard, and that his partner had only come to his assistance when he thought he had been killed.

"Go forward, boys, go forward," the captain said. "I'll see that no more of this occurs."

This scene had been witnessed by Paul as he sat quietly on the rail. When the men went forward he stepped down and approached the captain, saying:

"Captain, I have been informed that your ship is a pretty wild one and by what I have seen I think she bears out her reputation all right. Now I consider myself fully competent to do my duty and will do it; but I want to give you fair warning that if I am molested by either of your bully mates, as I presume you have two of them, I will take good care of myself. The days when an officer can treat sailors with impunity are a thing of the past."

To which the captain responded: "You'll be all right, go away forward and stow your things."

When Paul entered the forecastle he found that the crew consisted of nine men seated on their sea chests and bunks, holding a council of war. They all agreed that it was a pretty bad ship and they determined to stand by one another. The council was broken up by a gruff voice:

"Come my hearties. Turn to with a will. Get your hand spikes and man the windlass."

All hands sprang out and quickly the clanking of the windlass chain was heard coming in. "Look over the head, young fellow," said the mate to Paul, "and see how she is." Paul complied and reported, "straight up and down." Soon after a tug came alongside, the line was passed over to her, the anchor catted and the Pilgrim stood away on her voyage. All hands were sent aloft to shake out sail and everything was ready to sheet home when the tug slacked up and cast off the cable. As the tug came around and returned to port she passed close alongside and the captain saluted the commander of the Pilgrim who was then showering oaths on the quarter deck and said sarcastically:

"My brave and gentle captain, the Lord have mercy on the unfortunate sea-infants who have trusted themselves in your hands."

Paul, who stood near by, overheard the tug captain's farewell and it convinced him that the Pilgrim's commander bore an unsavory reputation with sea-faring men. Every sail being set and lines coiled the decks were washed down. The crew, except Paul, who was at the wheel, were called up and ranged in a line along the deck. The two mates then advanced and tossed up a coin for first choice. The first mate won and said, "I'll take the man at the wheel." The second mate's choice then fell to a sailor at the right end of the line. Then they selected men alternately until they were divided into two equal parts. The first mate's watch being known as the starboard and the second mate's as the port watch. One watch was then ordered below while the other remained on deck. Soon after Paul was relieved from the wheel by another seaman and walking forward met the sailor who had been knocked down by the first mate as he came aboard. This man called him aside: "Did you notice that the first mate selected myself and mate in his watch? He evidently intends to do my friend some mischief for the slash he made at him."

He also informed Paul that he had a strong suspicion, which was shared by his mate that it was the captain's intention to take them all out to Valparaiso and not allow any to land at Malaga. This suspicion was confirmed next day in Paul's mind by the captain who sent for him to come aft. When he entered the cabin the captain said: "Young fellow, I like your appearance and wish you would change your mind and come on out with me to Valparaiso, I carry no boatswain, but I will give you that position and a pound a month extra, providing you can induce those two shell-backs who came aboard with you to do the same."

To gain time, Paul answered that he would speak to them and report in the evening. It was at that moment the farthest thought from his mind. After a consultation with his shipmates, both of whom assured him they would never consent, it was agreed that they should feign willingness to go. They knew that the captain had the power to hold them in the offing and prevent their landing so they determined to escape at the first opportunity at Malaga. The captain was so delighted with Paul's report that he insisted on his having a glass of grog, and was in such good humor that he went on deck and amused himself by smashing the nose of an unfortunate Norwegian, who was then at the wheel. This was a favorite pastime of both captain and mate's, but it was generally practiced on those whom they knew would never resist their cruelty. The Pilgrim was a brute to steer and a very slow ship, notwithstanding they had a fair wind it took them ten days to reach Malaga, where they anchored well off the shore. She then commenced to receive the balance of her cargo of wine by means of lighters. The crew were closely watched during the day. At night the oars were removed from the gig, swinging at the stern and as an extra precaution a heavy chain and padlock were passed around it. For three days the lighter came alongside but no chance presented itself to Paul and his companions to get ashore. Seeing that the cargo was about completed and that it would only take a few more lighters to fill her, Paul determined to leave that night. A large plank that acted as fender was stretched along the side. This he concluded to use for the purpose of getting his companions and bags ashore. He advised them to have everything stowed away in as small a space as possible and to have as large a supply of sea-biscuit and salt meat as they could secure. It was Paul's anchor watch that night, from one to two. When he came on deck he found it a clear, brilliant star-light night and the sea as smooth as a cup of milk. After walking around for about a quarter of an hour he stepped softly in the direction of the after cabin and listened intently. He was satisfied that all aft were sound asleep. Coming forward to the forecastle he found the two sailors all ready to join him. Their clothing and provisions were firmly lashed up in pieces of tarpaulin. The three silently and cautiously crept to the side; a sharp knife severed the rope that held up one end of the fender and the other was lowered quietly until the plank was afloat on the surface. A couple of turns were taken in the rope that held it over a belaying pin, and Paul said:

"Now is the time, one of you slip down the rope and deposit the bags on the planks. Then get in the water and rest your hands on the side." The water was very phosphorescent and the fish left trails of light after them as they dashed hither and thither below. Just as one of the sailors was about to step over and descend, either a porpoise or some large fish shot from under the vessel and left quite a trail of light in its wake. The sailor hesitated: "That must be a shark," he said, "if we get in that water we are bound to be eaten up."

Time pressed and Paul remonstrated with him in vain to get down. Any moment either the captain or the mate might wake up and discover them. To show an example that there was no danger Paul grasped the rope and slipped silently into the sea. He was followed by one of the sailors, but the other could not overcome his fear and decided to remain. His decision was irrevocable for he cast off the line and said:

"Good-bye boys, I am sorry that I can't go, I dare not risk it."

Paul and his companion pushed out and quietly passed under the stern and until sufficiently far away from the vessel, they were very gentle in their movement. Feeling more secure they struck out with powerful strokes driving the plank that supported their bags, ahead. The mountains that surround Malaga on all sides and tower far up in the starlit sky seemed only a few hundred yards away; but it was a full mile before the end of the plank grated on the shore and the sailors scrambled out on the slippery and weed covered rocks. They landed a little to the north of the city and grasping their bags commenced the ascent of the mountain. This was very steep and rough and exceedingly dangerous work as it was not yet daylight. Having gained a good height up the side they rested. A faint glimmer was just then tingeing the sky and everything around them was still as death. The gentle lapping of the waves against the rocky shore, the barking of the dogs in Malaga, and the occasional crow of a rooster rang out with wonderful distinctness. The anchor light of the ship about one mile away twinkled as though only a little distance off. Not yet feeling secure they began climbing upwards. The progress was arrested by a hoarse sound coming from the direction of the ship. As they sat on the rocks to listen, they heard the voice of the mate baying out oath after oath, calling the watch and asking:

"Who was the last on watch? Where is the watch? Turn out all hands!"

Then oaths from another voice came floating up and they had no difficulty in recognizing the choice maledictions of the captain as he rushed on deck to ascertain the cause of the disturbance. After this a confused murmur arose from the deck through which they fancied they could hear the blows of massive fists rained down on the heads and faces of the unfortunate seaman. They distinctly heard the sharp order: "Lower away the gig!" The click, click of the cleat as the rope ran through the blocks sounded alarmingly near to them. Soon after, advanced daylight revealed to them the boat as it was swiftly rowed to the shore. They recognized the captain seated in the stern and laughed heartily over the thought of the great rage of the commander whom they knew was eating his heart out. They surmised that his mission was to go to the Consul and report them as deserters and also start the Carbineros in search of them, by means of a reward for their capture. But they felt secure in the place they had selected, far up on the mountain. They quietly enjoyed the scenes below and watched the lighters as they carried out the last of the cargo. They laughed as they saw the captain's gig shoot fretfully from ship to shore many times during the day, while they enjoyed their pipes and ate with relish their salt beef and sea-biscuits. Late in the afternoon they observed with glee the last lighter leave the side of the Pilgrim, the captain's gig hoisted on board, and the heavy sails loosened and dropped down. The clanking of the anchor chain was joyful music as it was taken on board and the Pilgrim under full sail soon glided away on a tack to the eastward. That night they decided to camp in the mountains, but it proved so chilly and uncomfortable that when the hour of three boomed out from the clock below, they decided to move. They carefully descended the mountain side until they found a road. This they followed until they entered the town which they passed through without molestation. They took the road to the south which they thought led to Gibraltar. By daylight they were well out of Malaga and walking rapidly along. During the day they met many peasants and exchanged the "buenos dias" and proceeded on their way undisturbed. That night they came to a monastery, where a peasant assured them they could find rest and supper. They were hospitably received in the traveler's quarters. The assistant did not seem to comprehend the Mexican-Spanish which Paul brokenly spoke. He finally succeeded in making the monk understand that he could speak French and that if there was any one around who could understand that tongue he would be more at home. In response to his request the assistant disappeared and soon returned with a venerable looking priest who spoke French fluently. Paul explained to him that they were seamen en route from Malaga to Gibraltar and that they wished to get some information as to the road, also hospitality for the night. Their request was complied with and they were assured that they were perfectly welcome. Paul then questioned the priest in regard to the Carlos revolution and said that he would just as soon join that as join a ship. The priest, who proved to be an ardent admirer to Don Carlos, assured them that it was impossible, as the seat of the revolution was away in the north and too far for them to hope of reaching it by foot. He advised them to continue on their way. Next morning after breakfast they resumed their march and two days after entered the gates of Gibraltar. Here they proceeded to a sailor's boarding house, where they were assured they would have no difficulty in getting a ship. Next day while hesitating over an offer they had from the captain of a fruiter to run down to the Grecian Islands where he intended to load with dry fruit and return to New York, a little English bark entered the bay. Her first mate was so ill that they decided to land him and leave him in the hospital. Paul sought out the captain and after a close examination was engaged in the position vacated by the sick man. The bark was the George, of North Shields, England. Paul induced Captain Moore also to ship his companion before the mast. The same day she weighed anchor and stood away on her course to Alameira. The crew of this little bark was a happy family. The captain was an easy, quiet humane man and a thorough sailor; the second mate was the owner's son who came out more to gain experience than to do duty as an officer. This was a far different craft from the blood-stained and wild Pilgrim that was then ploughing her way to the westward. An oath or an angry word was newer heard on the decks of the George, and the sailors seemed to do more work than the sullen and harassed seamen on the Pilgrim. They sailed up the beautiful coast of Andalusia and close in to the foot of the mountains that towered from the clear blue, waters of the Mediterranean far above the clouds, where their snow-white caps were cool and refreshing to look at from the burning deck below. The bark was laden with coal consigned to a firm in Alameira and the captain's instructions were to bring back a cargo of Spanish grass and copper ore. At Alameira they had to anchor in an open roadsted and the George's cargo was discharged into lighters. The method of discharging coal where there are no steam engines or docks to run alongside, is rather primitive and is known as "jumping." An upright stairs or ladder is made on the deck by lashing spars together. A block is fastened far above in the rigging over the hatch through which a rope is rove leading down into the hold. The end of this rope is fastened to a long spar just the height of the ladder and terminating in a number of lines called whips. These are grasped by six or eight sailors who climb the ladder, made of spars, that has been set over the hatch. When the large bucket is filled with coal below, the order is given to jump. The seamen simultaneously spring from the spar while banging on to the whips, and their combined weight brings up the huge tub of coal, which is grasped by the lighter men and dumped over the side into their boat. When the cargo of coal was discharged they commenced taking in copper ore until she was sufficiently ballasted to proceed up the coast to Motril to finish her cargo with Spanish Grass. This article is a coarse grained material something like a rush and of the nature of willow and bamboo combined, and is used extensively in England in the manufacture of mats, chair bottoms, etc. It was put up in bales and proved a most disagreeable article to stow away in the hold.

The cargo being completed, anchor was weighed to the cheerful sound of "homeward bound" and the George started on her voyage to Newcastle, England. Owing to head winds the bark had to tack all the way to Gibraltar. Sometimes close under a mountain and again far out in the Mediterranean, she beat her way down the coast. The weather was clear and beautiful and the crew did not have much to do outside of cleaning her down, mending and making sails. All who could handle the needle well were engaged in that occupation. They sat on the quarter deck and sewed industriously while the boatswain chalked and cut the lines for them. Good natured Captain Moore spent his watch on deck, chatting away with them and listening to their yarns. He thoroughly enjoyed their jokes and superstitions with winch many of their quaint stories were intermingled. While doing so he usually smoked a long clay pipe and being a very forgetful man the moment he laid it out of his hands he never remembered where he had left it. He was also a very short sighted man and the boys often had a quiet joke on him by shifting the pipe from place to place while he was looking for it. Once the boatswain, named Smith, who was as mischievous as a monkey, thought he would play a good joke on the captain. Seeing him lay his pipe on the lattice work aft of the wheel and run down into the cabin to get his glasses, Smith jumped up and threw his pipe overboard and sketched one in chalk in the same place. On mounting the deck the captain took a long look at the stranger that had just hove in sight over the starboard bow; then laid his glasses on the skylight and looked around for his pipe. When he saw the sketch he reached forth his hand to pick it up. Being convinced by the suppressed murmur of merriment he heard among the sail-sewers that they knew of the joke, he quickly disappeared down the hatchway. The sailors drove sail needles into each other in their hilarity. As he captain made no remark, the incident was forgotten.

The following Sunday morning the captain called Paul down and told him to order all hands on deck and get the chain hooks. This order surprised Paul as it was very unusual for any work to be done on Sunday except to stand watch, steer and trim sail. He made no remark, however, but proceeded to the deck and ordered all hands out. The men let their washing, sewing, and other domestic duties to which they generally devoted their attention on Sunday, and came on deck more astonished than Paul was. He then told the boatswain to get out the chain hooks. The captain now appeared and gave the order to "hoist away that starboard chain and trice it along the deck." This was a terrible job as fully sixty fathoms of the heavy anchor chain lay stowed away in the chain locker below. The men sprang to work and fathom after fathom of the chain was pulled up with the aid of the hooks and tried in lengths along the deck. When the boatswain reported "all up, sir," the order was given, "Get up the port chain." The men groaned, but complied without a murmur and link after link of the heavy chain from far below was drawn up through the iron bound hole in the deck. It was almost noon when the perspiring and worn out sailors had it all up. Again the report, "It is all up, sir," was given to the captain:

"That's impossible Mr. Smith, look down and see if you can't find more."

In compliance with the order, Smith applied his eye to the hole and again assured the captain that it was taut.

"Look again and see if you can't find it."

"Find what?" irritably enquired Smith.

"Why, my pipe to be sure. You can now let the crew go below."

Notwithstanding their fatigue, the boys had to laugh and all agreed that that was one on the boatswain.

The crew was great on debating and many and many a foolish question came up in the forecastle. After long argument, Paul was generally made referee. One evening during the dog watch he could hear a violent debate in the forecastle and wondered to himself what ridiculous question would now be presented to him for decision. He was quickly enlightened by seeing two of the sea-lawyers approaching the quarter deck. One of them was named Hiram Young, a very ignorant but positive American sailor, the other named Daniel Sneers, an Englishman equally ignorant and if possible more positive. When they neared the quarter deck Paul asked: "Well what is it?"

"We want you to decide a question sir," said Young, "this 'ere Sneers says and maintains as what England put in a challenge in the paper and kept it in for six months, offering to fight any country on the face of the earth, and I argues as she never put it in a American paper or she would a' been snapped up like that," demonstrating his remark by snapping his forefinger and thumb.

Paul tried to show them the difference between nations and prize fighters, but neither of them seemed thoroughly satisfied with the explanation given. As they walked back to the forecastle, Paul overheard Young remark, that "She might a put it in French or a Italian paper, but he was d—d if they ever put in a American paper!"

When they reached Gibraltar a heavy west wind was blowing in through the strait. Under lowered top-sails they were compelled to beat up and down under the shelter of the rocks. A large fleet of weather bound vessels kept the George company. It is too deep to anchor here, so the vessels are compelled to keep moving up and down until they get a fair wind to go through the straits into the Adriatic. While cruising about, the vessels passed so closely that the crews could hold conversation with each other, and many a friend was recognized and hailed. Their second morning under the lee of the rock during Paul's watch the large bark Culpepper, commanded by a very irritable old mariner was slowly passing. The angry voice of the captain, as he heartily cursed his crew was plainly heard on the George. In a lull in the torrent of abuse an Irish sailor who was leaning over the George's rail, said derisively:

"Hould on, hould on Captain, till the waters bile and Oi'll go over and shave ye."

The remark was overheard by the captain of the Culpepper who cried loudly and angrily:

"Bark ahoy, there! Bark ahoy, there."

"What do you want?" responded Paul coming to the side.

"Are you the captain?" demanded the infuriated ruler of the Culpepper.

"No," said Paul, "he is below."

"Then call him up," he thundered.

At this moment, Captain Moore, who had heard the conversation, protruded his head through the hatch and Paul informed him that the captain of the Culpepper desired to speak to him. He hailed the Culpepper and desired to know what was wanted.

"Why one of your ——- shell-backs insulted me," was the answer that floated across the water.

"What did he say?" inquired Captain Moore.

"Why he told me to wait till the water boiled and he would come aboard and shave me," thundered the angry captain of the Culpepper.

"And why the blazes don't you wait, it would add to your personal appearance considerably," said Captain Moore as he disappeared down the gangway.

About noon the wind changed and the long looked for easterly breeze came rippling over the waters of the Mediterranean. All sail was made and the fleet stood away through the straits. The Culpepper stood side by side for about five miles during which time the crews keenly enjoyed the broadside of compliments that was hurled from vessel to vessel by the two commanders. The George made a fair run and in due time entered the mouth of the Tyne and was soon after moored at the docks at Newcastle where Paul left her. He was loth to do so as it was the pleasantest vessel, captain and crew he had ever shipped with.

He then engaged himself as first mate on the ship Campbell, a Nova Scotia boat bound from North Shields to Philadelphia with a cargo of chemicals. When a couple of days out he discovered that the second mate was more brutal than either of the worthies on the Pilgrim. He was always below during the second mate's watch on deck so he had no chance of witnessing any acts of brutality, but he was posted on the subject by the men in his own watch, whom he always treated with kindness and consideration. He informed the captain about the reports he had heard. The latter agreed that it was wrong to maltreat sailors; but Paul felt sure that he closed his eye to many strange doings on his ship and that when a man representing himself to be a sailor came aboard and proved incompetent, there was no punishment considered severe enough for him. Three such unfortunates were aboard this ship, one in Paul's watch and two in the second mate's watch. Paul soon discovered that the man was unskillful. He could neither steer, reef nor splice so he set him to scrubbing, and by a few encouraging remarks got him to work harder than any one on the watch. The unfortunate would-be sailors in the second mate's watch did not fare so well. He instructed them in the mysteries of navigation through the agency of his fists. While the watches were being relieved, Paul noticed their blackened eyes and swollen cheek that evidenced all too plainly the effect of the second mate's bad temper. One night during the second mate's watch, the vessel was struck by a number of baffling squalls that seemed to come from every direction. This necessitated constant trimming of the sails and the men were kept hard at work. Every few minutes one could hear the hoarse orders given as the men scampered hither and thither to man the ropes. The oaths, blows, and fighting on this watch, kept both the captain and Paul awake. Seeing the captain turn out of his bunk and light his pipe, Paul remarked: "They are having a pretty warm time on deck."

"Yes," responded the skipper, "I presume Stanley is drilling some of those landmen."

At eight bells, when Paul's watch on deck commenced, he relieved the second mate, who was in a towering rage at the stupidity of his watch. The vessel was then under reefed topsails only and prepared for the uncertain squalls that were driving all around. At daylight Paul ordered hands aloft to shake out the reefs and set top gallants. As the top sail was raised he noticed dark blotches all across it and hailing the man aloft he asked him what caused them.

"Blood, sir," answered the sailor.

Paul well understood the meaning of it and knew it to be the work of the second mate, who had beaten the men over the head with a belaying pin while they were reefing. Shortly after the captain came on deck, Paul called his attention to the blood-stained sail and said: "This work has got to be stopped."

The captain shrugged his shoulders. "What can we do?"

"That's for you to say," answered Paul. "You're in command here."

"Well, I'll have to talk with Stanley when he turns out."

At seven bells the order: "Pump ship, call the watch," was given. The watch was called but failed to respond. The sailor sent to call it again reported that port watch did not intend to turn out. It was now eight bells and time for Paul's watch to go below. The captain came on deck followed by the second mate, with whom he had been remonstrating. Paul reported that the watch had been called out but refused to come. The second mate with a terrible oath started forward saying:

"I'll have the dogs on deck mighty soon."

He reached the forecastle door and flung it back. The same moment both Paul and the captain saw him stagger and fall to deck. He bellowed lustily for help. The captain and Paul rushed to his assistance and found him bleeding profusely from knife wounds in the breast and abdomen, while the port watch with drawn knives stood sullen and determined looking in the forecastle. This sight staggered the captain who exclaimed:

"Mutiny by the eternal!" and called loudly for the steward to bring him his revolver.

Paul ordered some of his watch to carry the mate, who was groaning, aft, then advancing to the forecastle door said:

"Boys, this is not right. This must not be. Put up those knives. If you have any grievances come out like men and give them to the captain."

"Oh, we have nothing to say against you or the captain," responded the leader, "but we have determined to die before we turn to under that man again."

Paul requested the men to keep calm and cool and he would speak to the captain who, during this interval, had slipped back to the cabin to arm himself. Paul advised the captain, as he met him coming out of the cabin with a revolver in each hand, not to go to the men in that shape.

"I am sure those men are determined. Their bloodshot eyes and frenzied manner convince me that they have not slept a wink during the watch below and have deliberately planned this outbreak and mean mischief. I cannot guarantee that my watch will not join them as they are all heartily sick of the second mate's inhumanity."

The captain thought it over for a few minutes and said, "You go forward and find out what they want."

When Paul returned to the forecastle he informed the men that the captain was anxious to hear their complaint and see that they were righted, and advised them to walk aft in a body and speak for themselves, assuring them at the same time that they would receive justice. After some hesitation they agreed to go aft. Paul preceded and told the captain that they were coming and he could hear their complaints for himself. At first the captain seemed inclined to bully the men and assert his authority; but the determined look caused him to change his mind, and he was very diplomatic in his treatment of them.

"Boys," he said, "I have sailed the seas for many a year and always like to treat my men well. One thing I object to and that is murdering mates. Now you are all in open mutiny and I am authorized by law to shoot you."

Here the men laughed derisively.

"Now," he continued, "I am against bloodshed and I want to know just what you men want and what I can do for you."

They looked at each other and to the one whom they regarded as leader. He was a sturdy, powerful Scotchman who stepped forward and said:

"If you were against bloodshed, why didn't you come out last night when the second mate tried to kill some of us. We are willing to turn to again; but not under that hound. We meant to kill him, he deserved it and if he is not dead it is not our fault. We are well aware that there is no law for a sailor before the mast, so at times the sailor has to take the law in his own hands. Now me and my mates are willing to work ship under you and the first mate but you must keep that brute out of sight providing he recovers."

The captain made another speech to the sailors in which he promised them that they would not again be molested by the second mate. He also stated that Paul could take the port watch and he would take the starboard watch. The men appeared well satisfied with this arrangement and turned to with a will. The captain and Paul walked up and down the quarter deck talking over the situation. The determined attitude of the men seemed to have caused a change in the captain's opinion, so much so that he gave Paul a long lecture on the duty of superior officers to treat their men kindly.

An examination of the second mate proved that he had been cut in five different places. All the simple remedies in the sea-chest were applied to relieve him from his sufferings. Neither the captain nor Paul had sufficient medical knowledge to know whether he was seriously wounded or not. They ad the steward wash the cuts which they covered liberally with plasters to stop the bleeding. The captain then insisted on giving the wounded man a tumblerful of strong whisky, saying "that it was the best thing in the world to kill a fever." They came to the conclusion that there was no danger of the mate passing away quickly owing to the savage kick he made while laying in his bunk, at the head of the inoffensive steward who was doing all he could to help him. But his wounds proved so severe that he was not able to leave his bunk until the vessel reached Philadelphia. Owing to the new arrangement, everything went well. There was no more fighting, cursing, or driving and the work on board was done promptly and cheerfully.

In a conversation with one of the two young fellows who were the special victims of the wounded mate's ferocity, Paul ascertained that he was a delicate and well educated youth from Hartford, Connecticut, whose romantic dream for years had been to go to sea. He ran away from home and fell into the hands of the master of a sailor's boarding house who robbed him of all he could and put him aboard a ship bound for Hull. The captain and officers of this ship proved humane, and though not absolutely ill-treated or beaten, his life was a misery. From Hull he went up to the Tyne on a coaster, where he joined the Campbell. He assured Paul with tears in his eyes, that several times before the outbreak in the forecastle he had concluded to dive overboard and swim far down in the sea to end his misery. He is a type of the many boys who think there is nothing but pleasure and romance in connection with life on the sea.

About this time heavy westerly winds set in against the Campbell and drove her far out of her course and for weeks she beat about in the most horrible weather. To add to their discomfort some of the water casks were stove, so that the crew were placed on short allowance until they were relieved by a barkentine named, The Girl of the Period. She was from Palermo with fruit, sixty-three days out and bound for New York.

In exactly seventy-one days after the Campbell had made sail out of the mouth of the Tyne she tied up at the docks at Philadelphia. Paul left this ship thoroughly satisfied with his experience and with the firm resolution never again to tread the plank of a ship either as sailor or officer.


While in Philadelphia he met the President of the Camden & Atlantic Railroad Company, who was desirous of negotiating with him in regard to taking charge of the life saving service at Atlantic City, a great watering place at the ocean terminus of the road. After a few interviews, the arrangements were made and the contract signed. Paul was installed as captain of a station built out on the beach and equipped with all kinds of life saving apparatus. During the seasons of 1873 and 1874 he held this position and so careful his watch and so efficient his system that not a single life was lost, and when he left the service he had the glorious record of having saved seventy-one lives. He also spent much of his time perfecting his appliances. It was while in this service that his attention was first attracted to the life saving dress in which he afterwards became so famous. As this dress will often be alluded to in the pages to follow, it may be well at this time to give its description:

It was invented by C. S. Merriman of Iowa, and consists of a pants and tunic made of highly vulcanized rubber. When the pants are put on the tunic is pulled over the head and down over a steel band at the upper part of the pants where it is firmly secured by a rubber strap. All portions of the body are covered except the face. There are five air chambers in the costume; one at the back of the head which acts as a pillow and when fully inflated it draws the thin rubber around the face so that no water can wash down. The other chambers are situated in the back, breast, and around each leg from the hip to the knee. The entire dress weighs about thirty-five pounds. When in water, the wearer of this suit can be horizontal or perpendicular on the surface. When standing upright, the water reaches to about the breast. When voyaging, he propels himself by a light double bladed paddle six feet long. He assumes the horizontal position feet foremost and some times uses a sail to help him along. During the winter of 1873 and spring 1874, Paul devoted much of his time to experimenting in this dress and became very expert in its use. His fearlessness in the water was no doubt of great aid to him. Many a fine, warm summer night he spent far out at sea in his dress and dreamed of the many voyages he would make in the future; but he never for a moment imagined the fame he would acquire in after years or the extraordinary voyages he would make through its means; but he thought of the thousands of lives that would be saved by this dress if properly introduced to the world. With the confidence of youth and the strength of manhood he was willing to take any chances to attain this object. At this time his passion for life saving amounted to a craze. He studied long and deeply on the best method to attract the world's attention. At last he struck upon a plan which he considered a good one and which he determined to put into execution at the close of the life saving season.

In the fall of 1874 he proceeded to New York. He spent a week with his mother, to whom, however, he did not confide his intention, fearing that it might worry her. His plan was to take passage on an outward bound vessel and when two hundred miles off the American coast to drop overboard and make the best of his way back to land. For this voyage he secured a rubber, water-tight bag with air chambers sufficient to support about fifty pounds of provisions. It also contained a compartment for fresh water. Into this bag he packed sufficient provisions in a condensed form to last him ten days; also two dozen signal lights with striker for same, some rockets, compass and a knife. Besides this his baggage consisted of his suit, a strong double bladed axe to be used for protection against sharks or sword fish. He innocently boarded several vessels and confided his intentions to the captains. They unanimously agreed that no attempt at suicide should be made off their vessel, for such they termed his enterprise. The newspapers at this time got hold of the plan and made it a subject of fun. Tired at failure to get a captain to take him off shore, Paul decided to adopt another plan. So on Saturday, October 11th, 1874, he quietly walked up the gangplank of the National Line Steamship Company's steamer The Queen. He carried his little store of baggage as if it was the property of one of the passengers. He walked forward and deposited his stuff; then mingled among the crowd. It was not his intention to cross the ocean so he neglected the necessary form of purchasing a ticket. When The Queen steamed away from her dock, Paul descended into the steerage and stowed away his outfit in an unoccupied bunk. From that time until Sunday evening, he kept very quiet and no one on board knew of his intentions. About eight o'clock he slipped on deck and under the shelter of a life boat commenced to dress himself in the suit. The weather had been fair and the steamer was making good headway so he calculated she was at that time two hundred and fifty miles out. He was quickly dressed in his armor, and with the rubber bag in one hand and the paddle in the other he was about to make a leap into the sea, when a hand was laid roughly on his shoulder and a gruff voice said:

"Here, where are you going?"

Paul mildly explained that he was going ashore. The deck was all excitement in a moment as the deck hand loudly reported to the officer on the bridge.

"Bring him aft," was the command.

Equipped in his strange looking dress, bag in one hand, paddle in the other and an ax strapped to his side and firmly gripped by two sailors, Paul was ushered back. They were followed by a crowd of curious passengers. On the captain perceiving him he exclaimed:

"Ah! Boyton you are aboard of me. Take off that suit and pass it over to the steward."

Paul remonstrated and told the captain that he had no ticket to Liverpool. He thought this confession would excuse him and cause the captain to assist in his return to America; but the captain would not even let him put himself off. Paul was compelled to undress and his entire outfit was turned over to the steward with orders to place it in the captain's cabin. The latter then took Paul into the chart room, where he had a long conversation with him. All Paul's pleadings and excuses that he was not prepared and that he would get safely back on shore were made in vain. The captain told him not to worry about his ticket, and requested the steward to give him an unoccupied bunk in the officer's quarters.

Paul's disappointment could not be described in words. He was in no way prepared for the enforced voyage to Europe having but one suit of clothing and only fifty dollars in cash. He had presented his entire salary with the exception of the money he had, to his mother before leaving New York, with the excuse that he was simply going down the coast and did not need it. The quarters given to him by Captain Bragg were very comfortable and his treatment was of the kindest. The next day the captain sent for Paul and they had a long talk. The captain drew from him many of his former experiences and adventures and was favorably impressed by the frank, open nature of the young fellow. He sympathized with him in his too apparent disappointment and shared his earnest desire to introduce an apparatus that would be the means of saving the lives of many sea-faring men. The captain promised that should they reach the Irish coast in good weather, he would allow Paul to go off and thus carry out his original idea on the European coast, which he assured him would be just as effective as on the American side. During the trip across, Paul spent much time with the captain in the chart room. While they studied over the charts, the captain pointed out to Paul one place off the Irish coast and several in the Irish sea where he could make a landing in either Ireland or England. The place selected by Paul was off the coast of Ireland in the vicinity of Cape Clear, as he was assured he could get under the lee of the island in case of a high wind from any direction. The news of the captain's permission to Boyton to leave the vessel when off the Irish coast, was spread among the passengers and every one, both fore and aft, manifested the most lively interest in the experiment. Some of the officers protested vigorously against it. Captain Bragg was a determined man and when he gave the word the only course was to obey him. On the evening of Tuesday, the 21st, the captain called Paul into the chart room and said:

"We are now nearing the Irish coast and the barometer is as low down as I have seen it for many a year and there is every indication of a gale. The coast you intend to land on acts as a breakwater for all northern Europe and the waves that pile up on it during a storm are something astounding. The cliffs that resist them are from one hundred and eighty to three hundred feet high and they are as straight up and down as a mainmast in a calm. Cape Clear that I expect to sight soon lays several miles off the mainland. On it is a powerful light that will guide you. The gale may not break for some time yet if you can make the Cape, you can drop around to leeward and land on it. And when the weather clears you can cross to the main."

Having thus explained the nature of the coast they were then rapidly approaching and the possibility of a gale which might dash him to pieces against the cliffs, the captain requested Paul to defer his experiment until they reached some part of the Irish sea where a landing could be made with more safety to himself. Paul was anxious and eager to get overboard and firmly held the captain to his word.

"As I have promised I will stand by it," said the captain.

At nine o'clock that night Paul fully prepared, with ax, paddle and bag securely lashed to him, was ready to leave. It was a wild, dark night. Great swells caused The Queen to roll heavily. In a few moments the cry of "A light on the port bow, sir" rang over the decks.

"That's Cape Clear," said the captain, "Now, Boyton, if you are ready, I'll stop her."

"Ready and willing," was Paul's response.

At this moment the first officer approached and earnestly remonstrated with the captain saying:

"This will cause us all trouble. This man will surely lose his life."

The answer to his protestation was:

"On the bridge there, stop her."

The great screw ceased to beat the foaming water behind and The Queen glided along with her own impetus.

"Good night captain! Good night ladies and gentlemen," said Paul as he stepped over the rail and grasping a rope commenced to descend the side. The vessel rolled heavily to port; he felt the sea around his feet, then up to his armpits. He let go the rope and kicked himself vigorously off the side. A loud cheer of farewell echoed over the waters. The vessel driving rapidly forward soon left Paul behind. He stood upright in the water and shouted cheerfully.

"All right captain, I'm all right."

His cheery call was echoed by the command "All right, go ahead."

A few moments after the lights of the Queen disappeared, and Paul was alone on the dark, rolling sea. From his position on the deck before going overboard, he could distinctly see the gleam of the Cape Clear light; but on the sea far below he could not find it. He knew the direction of the wind, that was then south west and guided his course accordingly. On every mighty swell that lifted him high up, he looked eagerly in the direction of the light and soon discovered it ahead. Perfectly content and without a fear of danger he kept paddling along occasionally cheering himself with a few snatches of a sea song as he drove his paddle strongly in the water and propelled himself toward the light which he observed more frequently when raised high up on the swells. The wind was steadily increasing and soon burst into terrible gusts. The long lazy roll of the sea changed and sharp, snapping waves continually broke over him. These grew larger and more powerful every moment. About two hours after he left the Queen the gale was on him in all its fierceness and the light was lost to his view. The heavy rain that accompanied the gale almost blinded him, and the seas grew so high that he abandoned paddling and sought only to keep his head against the overpowering waves that then drove down on him. An indescribable feeling of loneliness came over him. Once his paddle was wrenched from his hand by a heavy sea, but he fortunately recovered it. At times a great wave would completely submerge him. Then he would shoot to the crest where he would have time to breathe before he was again hurled down a sloping mass of water that seemed to him fully a hundred feet to the bottom. During this terrible ordeal, he has since confessed that he firmly believed that his last hour had come. He thought of all his transgressions. To use his own words:

"I recalled every mean trick I had ever committed against God and man in my reckless life and I did my utmost to remember the best and most effective prayer that I was taught when a boy."

For hours, that seemed weeks to him, he was driven along before the mighty seas. About three o'clock in the morning the water became more agitated and a booming sound struck Paul's ear. Coming to an upright position, he peered eagerly to leeward thinking he might be close to Cape Clear. He saw what seemed to him to be a dark mass of clouds banked up against the morning sky along which ran flashes of white. He quickly realized that he was nearing the cliffs and the flashes were the mighty waves that broke in fury against them. Knowing that to approach them would be certain death, he unlashed his paddle and made a frantic endeavor to back off through the enormous waves that were driving him slowly but surely to destruction. Notwithstanding his almost superhuman efforts he was carried in by an irresistible force closer and closer to the death dealing cliffs. At the same time he noticed by the changing head lands that the currents were driving him to the southward and hoping for an opening in the threatening wall of rock, he redoubled his efforts to gain more sea room. At times the enormous waves seemed to lift him almost to the surface of the cliffs, then again he sank far below while they seemed to raise like a cloud against the sky. Closer and closer he was driven in until their frightful roar almost deafened him. A streak of early daylight now showed through the black cloud of rock that was gradually approaching. He thought that this might be some cut in the cliffs and reversing his paddle propelled himself cautiously toward it. While hesitatingly examining the entrance a sea struck him. Another and another followed in quick succession and nearly in a senseless state, he was hurled into a little ravine. To save himself from the retreating wave he grasped a piece of rock. The next moment he was struck by another sea that sent him high up, and gaining his feet he rapidly reached a position in which he was safe from the surging breakers. He discovered that the cleft into which he was washed was the course of a fresh water creek which flowed into the sea. After resting himself for a short time on the rock, he examined his bag and found that it was all right. He then commenced to ascend the cliffs and on reaching their top the force of the gale almost blew him off his feet. He struck a signal light. This is a light made of chemicals which burns with intense brilliancy. Bracing himself against a rock he held it above his head. The flare lit up the surrounding cliffs. While it was still burning he turned to windward and looked down on the huge breakers that made the cliff on which he stood tremble as they dashed in against it. While gazing down on the mad water, he realized for the first time the terrible danger he had passed through in safety and recognized in his escape, the hand of the Great Pilot above. And as the flare died out and the beating gale struck him fun in the face, he sank to his knees and fervently thanked the good God who had so miraculously steered him to safety.

He had struck the light in the hope of attracting some coast guard's attention. He was not sure whether he was on the island of Cape Clear or on the mainland. Receiving no response, he started inland over the cliffs and found a well worn road. This he followed for some distance until he came to a place where it branched off, one road leading to the coast and one leading into the country. He chose the one running to the coast and soon afterwards entered the street of a village. No light was visible. The furious gale tore along the street carrying slates from off the roofs of the low houses. These crashed around him in an uncomfortable and dangerous manner. Rounding a bend to the village street he observed a light burning brightly in a window. To this he made his way hoping to find some one up. In answer to his repeated knockings a man appeared at the cautiously opened door. At this moment the force of the wind pushed Paul suddenly forward and carried the door and man bolding it heavily in. The affrighted expression of the man as he gazed on the strangely clad figure was ludicrous. While braced against the door he hesitated whether to close it or to let go and expel the intruder. Paul turned and helped him close the door against the fierce gusts of wind pouring in. The man recovered himself and inquired:

"Phere air ye frum?"

"New York," responded Paul.

"Phat air ye doin' here? How did ye come?"

Paul explained to him that he had left a ship that night when off Cape Clear.

"Phat did ye lave her fur?" questioned the perplexed life-guard for Paul had noted at once that he was in a life-saving station.

"Well, just to come ashore," said Paul.

"An' d'ye mane to say that ye came ashure in this gale?"

"I do."

"How many came ashure wid ye?"

"No one."

"Phere's ye're ship now?"

"God knows, I don't."

Question after question followed; but Paul was unable to convince the coast-guard that he had left the ship voluntarily and had landed in safety. The guard could not understand why any man should leave a vessel and come in on the coast of Ireland in such a gale unless he was shipwrecked. He thought Paul's brain had been injured by concussion with the rocks and a pitying expression came over his face as he said:

"Well, me poor fellow, 'ts no matther where ye're frum. It's me duty to help ye and yure mates an' if ye'll only tell me phere they air Oi'll collect the b'ys an' have thim out. Now tell me as calmly as ye can, how many is drohwned besides yureself?"

Paul saw his mistake and positively assured the guard that he was the only person to land, and that there had been no wreck and that the steamer had proceeded on her way to Queenstown. Notwithstanding all his protestations the coast guard could not realize the situation. The man before him was, however shipwrecked and in distress, so with the proverbial hospitality for which the Irish are famous, the guard said:

"Niver moind me lad how ye came ashure. Ye look tired enough. Come in here an' lay near the fire."

When Paul entered the warm room he removed his uncouth costume. He was thoroughly worn out buffeting the waves and with his long tramp down the road, so he gladly accepted the proferred bunk close to the fire and was soon in a sound sleep from which he was awakened by a kindly voice saying:

"Here me poor fellow, take this, 't will do ye good."

Before Paul could realize it he had poured a glass of whiskey down his throat, the strength of which raised every individual hair on his head. It was then about eight o'clock in the morning and the coast guard house was full of the villagers, men and women who curiously crowded around his bunk. They were a wild looking lot. Paul noticed the women particularly. They looked strong and rosy. They all wore long cloaks with a hood covering the head, and their feet were naked and as red as a pigeon's. From the expressions he overheard, he concluded that the coast-guard man had drawn on his imagination in explaining the stranger's appearance in the station.

"Did he railly swim from New York?" he heard time and again.

"Oh, thin he's not human if he could do that," and many other exclamations of like nature greeted the astonished Paul as he drowsily turned out of the bunk.

The coast-guard man now approached and driving the curious villagers out of the station, he invited him to breakfast in a little tavern across the way. The entire village was out. Crowds blocked their way as they crossed the street. While eating breakfast Paul learned that the most of the excitement was created by a report that he had swam all the way from New York. In conversation with the guard, he found out that the village was called Baltimore, a little coast town about thirty miles from where he had left the steamer; and also that there was no telegraph office nearer than Skibbereen, a distance of nine miles. There was but one conveyance in the village and as the driver was a very eccentric character, it was doubtful if he could be induced to go out on such a stormy morning. Paul requested that this man be sent for. Soon afterward he appeared pushing his way through the villagers. He was a strange looking man. The coast guard introduced him:

"Here is Andy," said he.

The latter acknowledged the introduction, by pulling his head forward with a lock of hair and exclaiming, as he eyed Paul curiously:

"Did ye railly swim from New Yark'"

Paul laughed, saying: "I hear you have a horse and I am anxious to get over to Skibbereen and send off a telegram. I would like to have you take me over there."

"It's no harse Oi have," he solemnly responded, "but Oi've wan av the finest mares in the south av Ireland an Oi'll drive ye over for six shillin'. But did ye railly swim from New Yark? Shure it's not natural."

Paul urged him to get his animal as quickly as possible and the driver rushed through the door only to be surrounded by a group of wild looking villagers, who questioned him both in Irish and English. Soon after Andy re-appeared coming down the village street driving a sorry looking nag. As he approached the tavern and saw Paul and the guard at the door, he shouted loudly to the crowd to separate, as though wishing to show Paul the blood in his favorite mare. He punched her with a little stick from which the sharp point of a nail protruded and by a dexterous movement dodged the flying hind feet that were aimed at his head.

"Phat de ye think o' that, sur? There's blood fur ye." A murmur of admiration stirred the crowd.

"But where is your cart? Hurry up and get her hitched," urged Paul.

Soon after Andy drove up to the door of the coast guard station with his jaunting car. The mare was hitched to the car with a curious combination of harness composed of twisted hay, rope, cords and leather. As nearly every one knows, a jaunting car is a two-wheeled affair. Over each wheel runs a seat, fore and aft, and in the centre is a little receptacle for small baggage, called the well. A car generally carries four passengers, two on each side. On such occasions, the driver sits on a little seat over the well, looking to the front, while the passengers' backs are turned toward each other. Having only one passenger, Andy decided to sit on the opposite side of the car to ballast her evenly. After Paul bid good-bye to the coast guard and thanked him for his hospitality, he placed his rubber suit on the forward part of the seat and sprung up behind. Andy seemed in no hurry to get under way. A multitude of knots in the harness required attention and he carefully scrutinized every part of the car while the villagers kept up a volley of comments such as: "Shure it's a quare customer ye have this mornin', Andy my b'y. The Lord betune ye an' harrum, Andy avick. Shure it's no human bein' ye're drivin' away wid." And many other remarks made in Irish, no doubt, of the same encouraging character.

"Come, come," exclaimed Paul impatiently, "let us get off?"

Andy reluctantly clambered on the opposite seat and commenced driving slowly up the village street, followed by a loud huzza. He seemed ill at ease and was loth to leave, driving so slowly that Paul had to urge him on. Reaching the last house on the straggling village street, he stopped the car and turning to Paul said: "Oi want to get a light fur my pipe, sur."

After a little time, during which Paul heard a vehement conversation going on inside, Andy re-appeared holding a coal of fire on the bowl of his clay pipe. He remounted again and slowly drove away followed by the shrill blessings and good wishes of the barefooted woman that stood at the door. Their way now lay along the cliff-road and squall after squall came bearing in from a roaring sea outside. At times Andy would reach across when the booming of the breakers could be heard coming up through ravine on the cliffs and say:

"Shure no human bein' could live in that sea, sur. Did ye come on top of the wather er under?"

"Oh, drive on, drive on," was the impatient response, "never mind."

Seeing one more than usually severe squall coming down on them from the sea, Paul, who was facing windward, thought he would be more comfortable if he would slip the rubber tunic over his head and shoulders. This he did without attracting the attention of Andy and he leaned forward pointing the comical shaped head-piece to the rapidly advancing squall. The head-piece not being inflated, the aperture for the face hung down like a great mouth. The car suddenly gypped and Paul felt his side sink a little. Turning around find the cause and pulling the head-piece from over his eyes, he saw the affrighted Andy about twelve yards away in a ditch. His eyes filled with terror, seemed to protrude from his head while he rapidly made the sign of the cross over his face and breast.

"What's the matter? What are you doing there?" thundered Paul. "Come on, get up, get up. What's the matter with you?"

"Och, shure, it's well Oi knew that it was no christian Oi had wid me this mornin'."

"Come on now, or I'll drive on without you," angrily exclaimed Paul, "don't you see that this is only a rubber dress that I put on to protect me from the rain."

After considerable persuasion, Andy was induced to remount and they continued through the heavy rain in silence. Soon after Paul asked:

"Andy, how far is it yet to Skibbereen?"

"About fure miles, ye're honor, and Oi wish it was only fure feet," In, added in an audible undertone.

Shortly after the houses on the outskirts of Skibbereen began to appear and Andy brightened up wonderfully and became quite communicative. He informed Paul that a friend of his had a hotel there and that it was a good one and that he would drive straight to it.

"Con Sullivan kapes the foinest hotel that mon er beast iver shtoped at," he concluded.

There were few on the streets as they drove up to the hotel. Paul dismounted and taking his suit into the hotel, asked for a private room. He then inquired of the landlord where the telegraph office was and started for it. He wrote a telegram, one to the captain of the Queen and one to the English office of the "New York Herald," Fleet Street, London. The lady operator scanned over the dispatch to London, then closely scrutinized Paul. Seeing her hesitation about accepting the telegram, Paul demanded to know what was the cause of it. "Excuse me, sir," said she, "but we have to be very careful about the nature of the telegrams we send out from here. I must first call the superintendent, before I can accept this."

When that individual appeared he looked it over and asked Paul if the contents were all true and correct.

"They assuredly are," impatiently exclaimed Paul, "I want you to get it off as quickly as you can," and he followed this up by several remarks not over complimentary to their methods of doing business.

Paul then returned to the hotel where he found Andy surrounded by a crowd to whom he was relating his adventures and giving a history of his eccentric passenger in his own way. When they saw Paul he was an object of the wildest curiosity. The crowd poured into the hotel after him and invaded the dining room, so he had to remonstrate with the landlord who unceremoniously shouldered-them out. The news of Paul's arrival on the coast seemed to have spread with the rapidity of a prairie fire all over Skibbereen, and people commenced gathering from all parts of the town around the hotel. One of the gentlemen who insisted on coming in was the superintendent of the telegraph, Mr. Jolly. He apologized for his seeming discourtesy at the office and assured Paul that the dispatch he had written seemed so improbable that he could not in justice blame them for not receiving it. He proved to be a very friendly, sociable gentleman and gave Paul all the assistance and information he desired. He informed him that he would have to leave Skibbereen by stage which would depart in a couple of hours. This stage would convey him to the first railway station, some ten or twelve miles away where he could get a train in the afternoon for Cork. He urgently requested him to remain over for a few days and enjoy the hospitality of Skibbereen. Paul, being anxious to reach Cork, declined. He requested the landlord to send Andy in to settle up. As the hero was ushered in, it was easy to observe that the people had been filling him as well as pumping him.

"Here are your six shillings, I believe that is what you asked me."

"That's roight, sur," said Andy as he reached his hand, "that's fur meself, but how about me mare?"

"What have I got to do with your mare?"

"Shure, sur, ye don't want the poor baste to starve to death."

"Certainly not, she is yours and you ought to feed her."

"But, sur, Oi niver had a traveller yet as didn't pay fur the mare's eatin' an' drinkin' as well as moine."

Paul was amused at this new rule, but was informed by Mr. Jolly that such was the custom in that part of Ireland.

"Well, Andy," said he, "how much do you think it will take to keep your mare from starving until you get back to Baltimore? Here's your two shillings more."

Andy accepted the two shillings with evident satisfaction on behalf of the mare.

"That's the eight shillin' ye gave me fur the mare an' meself, an' Oi think yure honor ought to give me two more in consequince av the fright ye gave me. Shure it'll be a long day befure Oi git over it! Whin Oi turned an' saw that ingia rubber thing over ye Oi thought it was the very divil himself."

Paul laughed and handed him over the other two shillings, with: "Now, that's all you get."

"Well, good luck an' may the—" here his flow of blessings were cut off by Mr. Jolly who threw him out of the room.

When the stage coach drove up to the door almost the entire population of Skibbereen was out. Lusty cheers were given for Paul as he mounted the outside of the coach, in answer to which he fastened the American flag to his paddle and waved it to the cheering populace as he drove out of town. On reaching Dunmanway, Paul entered the train and started for Cork.


Soon after Paul left the Queen, the gale that almost cost him his life, broke down on that gallant vessel. The captain put her nose in it and headed her off for sea. All night she ploughed against it while the huge seas burst over her and whitened her smoke stacks with salt to the very top. Not a soul on board believed that Paul would last in the gale half an hour after she broke out, and the captain blamed himself keenly for letting him go. The steamer did not succeed is reaching Queenstown harbor until noon next day. When the lighter came along side for the mails a man passed a telegram up to the captain. He feverishly tore it open and found with great relief that it was from Paul.

"Thank God that he is safe," he exclaimed, and he then read it aloud to the passengers.

Cheer after cheer went up as the news was spread along the decks. Having discharged her mail and passengers for Ireland, the Queen resumed her way to Liverpool, while the lighter steamed into Queenstown. Evidences of the ravages of the storm were visible on all sides. Dismantled ships, unroofed houses and vessels ashore told the story of its force in that vicinity. It was afterwards ascertained that fifty-six vessels were lost in the same storm on the southern coast of Great Britain that night. When the lighter reached Queenstown, the passengers were full of excitement in regard to Paul's wonderful feat and they spread the story broadcast both in Queenstown and Cork. To their disgust, they found that the people disbelieved them and laughed at them saving:

"This is a fine Yankee yarn you are springing on us now."

To convince the skeptical people of Cork, a party of them telegraphed all over the coast to see if they could not find Paul, to verify their story and from Skibbereen they learned that a man answering that description had passed through there and was now on his way to Cork.

When Paul arrived at the station he found himself surrounded by many of his late fellow passengers, who enthusiastically received him and escorted him to the hotel. The news of his remarkable adventure spread over Cork as rapidly as it had over Skibbereen, so that the hotel was thronged with eager people, the newspaper fraternity being well represented. It was late that night before he got through with his persistent interviewers and before he woke next morning, the story of his extraordinary adventure and daring was all over America. The Cork papers contained columns, describing his struggle with the ocean. Before he could dress himself, cards came showering into his room and when he went down he found the hotel packed with people eager to see him. For a few days Paul enjoyed the extravagantly warm hospitality of Cork. He was taken everywhere worth visiting, entertained with dinners, parties and receptions until his head swam with the whirl of attentions that he was so unaccustomed to. During his stay in the hotel a large party of huntsmen who came to Cork to participate in a grand hunt nearby, had a banquet to which he was invited. Paul was made the hero of the evening and so many were the toasts drank in his honor that he looked anxiously for a chance to escape the profuse but reckless hospitality. When an opportunity presented itself he slipped out and took a long walk in the night air. As he returned to the hotel and was about to ascend to his room, he could hear his late companions in one of their hunting songs enjoying themselves. Observing a stalwart porter connected with the hotel, laboriously bearing one of his late red-coated entertainers on his back as he mounted the stairs, Paul, thinking some accident had occurred ran to the porter and asked: "Why, what is the matter with the gentleman? Is he killed? Has there been a fight?"

"Oh, no sur, it's wan of the gintlemen, he's only a little overcome. Oi put thim all to bed this way, yure honor, and moight ave had the pleasure av puttin' yureself to bed if ye had remained."

With sailor-like recklessness, Boyton never thought of how all this would end and he spent what money he had freely. One morning before rising from his bed, he began thinking the situation over. As he examined it closely and counted what money he had left, the outlook took on a most gloomy hue. He was confident that he did not have coin enough to pay half his hotel bill alone, not to think of getting home. After studying the matter over for some time he came to the conclusion that the only course he could pursue was frankly to confess to the landlord how he was situated and offer to leave his rubber suit until he could return home and send for it. Then he would go to Queenstown and see if he could not procure a position on some vessel bound for America. Just as he came to this conclusion he was interrupted by a knock at the door.

"Ten to one it's the landlord with my bill," thought Paul.

When he opened the door he was confronted by an energetic, little man who talked with great rapidity.

"Captain Paul Boyton, I believe, sir. Here is my card, I thought I would bring it up myself to save time. I have a great scheme for you. Go on, proceed with your dressing and I will talk about it. I am the manager of the Opera Company now playing at Munster Hall and I have a scheme by which you and I will make a considerable amount of money. I presume you are not averse to making money?" looking inquiringly at Paul.

"Well, no," responded Paul. "It's very useful at times."

"Well, sir, I have a great scheme. A great scheme, indeed."

"What is it?"

"You know all Cork is wild to see you, and my idea is that you shall give a little lecture. We can fill Munster Hall from pit to dome."

Paul looked at the man curiously for a few moments and made up his mind that he was crazy.

"Why, my dear sir, I am not a lecturer. I could not lecture. I never even made a speech in my life."

"That's nothing, that's nothing," responded the nervous and energetic little manager, "So much the better. I will do the lecturing for you. All you will have to do will be to stand there and exhibit your dress."

"Well, under those circumstances," responded Paul, who still considered the manager a little off, and seeing a probable means of paying his hotel bill, "What terms will you give me if I consent?"

"One half the house and I will do the advertising."

"And the lecturing too, remember," said Paul.

"Yes, yes, that's all right, we'll sign the contract immediately."

"But hold on," said Paul, "there is another question I want to ask you. How much do you suppose my share will be?"

"Between thirty and forty pounds. I am almost certain."

"Are you positive it will be twenty-five pounds?"

"Absolutely positive, confident my dear fellow."

"Then," said Paul "I will sign this contract on condition that you will pay me five pounds in advance."

Paul thought this stroke of policy would end the interview and rid him of his visitor. To his intense surprise, the five pound note was laid on the table without any hesitation. It was quickly transferred to Paul's pocket.

"Now make out your contract and we will sign it."

"Have done so, have done so; did it last night when I thought of the scheme. Have it all made out. Sign here."

Paul carelessly glanced over the contract an affixed his signature; after which the manager shook him warmly by the hand and congratulated him on having entered on such a brilliant enterprise, and said "I will now go and attend to the printing. We will dine together," he added as he disappeared through the door.

"And remember you do the lecturing," Paul called after him as he rushed down stairs.

When he left, Paul locked the door, drew out the five pound note which he carefully examined to convince himself that it was genuine. He then in his great joy took two or three handsprings and made such a noise that the chambermaid rapped on his door and desired to know if the gentleman was knocking for anything. During the day, the manager visited Paul frequently and gave him encouragement. By evening the report of the intended lecture had circulated pretty well and Paul was frequently stopped on the street by acquaintances who assured him of their pleasure at having a chance to hear him speak. Paul took pains to tell all who questioned him in regard to it that it was not he but Mr. Murphy who was going to give the lecture. Next day Cork was covered with great bills announcing the lecture for the following evening and a feeling of nervousness overcame Paul as he beheld his name in such enormous letters. This nervous feeling was in no way allayed when he perused one of the bills and found that the enterprising manager, had not only promised that he would give a description of his landing on the Irish coast but that he would relate many thrilling adventures he had passed through in the American, French and Mexican wars; would describe time methods of life-saving in America, and compare it with the British method of life-saving service, and many other things that Paul did not dare to read, as he had sufficient. He sought out the plausible Mr. Murphy and vehemently went for him for deceiving the public.

Previous Part     1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9     Next Part
Home - Random Browse