HotFreeBooks.com
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

"Never mind, my boy, never mind, the people all understand how it is. You will have nothing to do except to make a few remarks."

But Paul was not satisfied. He tried to commit to memory the few remarks he supposed he would have to make when he was introduced; but he would no sooner get them in ship shape than they would disappear again. The night of the, to him, terrible ordeal arrived. Manager Murphy took him to the Hall in a carriage. Great crowds surrounded the building and the manager assured him that it was already full inside. The arrangements were that Paul was to appear between the acts of the opera, which that night was "Madame Angot." Murphy took Paul to his own private office in the second story and encouraged him in every way he could. Paul listened to the music of the first act, as it rolled by with fearful swiftness. Never before in his life did he experience the feeling of nervousness which now seemed to possess him. Once during Murphy's absence from the office he raised the window and looked down into the river Lee that ran alongside the building and wondered if he could drop into the water without breaking his leg. All that deterred him was the thought of the five pounds that had been advanced. The fated moment arrived; the manager said:

"Your suit and paddle and appliances are out on a table on the stage. The curtain is down and the moment it rises you walk boldly out to the side of the table and I will follow you. Don't be afraid, the audience is most kindly disposed toward you and will give you a warm welcome."

Up went the curtain, Murphy's hand was laid on Paul's shoulder as he said:

"Now, my boy, step right out."

Paul braced himself and with his heart as near his mouth as he ever had it before during his existence, walked over to the table on which lay his suit, paddle, etc., etc.

The deafening roar of applause that greeted him set him more at his ease. He looked around for Mr. Murphy, but failed to see that worthy gentleman. So making a few steps towards the foot-lights he thanked the audience, in a trembling voice, for their kindness. He told them that he was no speaker and that Mr. Murphy had promised to do the lecturing part of the business. At this moment cries broke out all over the house:

"Brace up, Captain, never mind Murphy, its yourself we want to hear," and many other similar good-natured remarks.

This encouragement had the effect of steadying Paul's nerves and he calmly proceeded to give a vivid account of the terrible adventure he had passed through a few days before. He grew more confident as he proceeded and the frequent outbursts of applause gave him ample time to collect his thoughts and express himself with ease. His mind flew to what he had read on the bill and he traveled over the ground in a very thorough manner. When he concluded and bowed his thanks, the applause was as warm and loud as any ever heard in the Hall.

When he reached the wings he was embraced by the enthusiastic Murphy, who was vehement in his congratulations and easily smoothed Paul's feelings against him. To his intense surprise, Paul found that he had been speaking over one hour and he could not persuade his acquaintances but that he was an old hand at the business. Next morning Paul read his speech in the papers and it caused him as much surprise as it did Manager Murphy when he read it. His portion of the proceeds amounted to thirty-two pounds. When manager Murphy paid him over the balance after deducting the advanced five pounds, he felt more like a gentleman traveling in Europe for his health. On the same day he received three telegrams from Dublin all offering engagements to lecture; also an offer from the Cork Steamship Company to appear in Queenstown harbor in his suit where they would run excursions. The Dublin offers he left in the hands of Manager Murphy while he accepted the offer of the Steamboat Company. A couple of days after he appeared in Queenstown harbor and every steamer in Cork was loaded on that occasion. From this appearance he realized a little over ten pounds. In the meantime the story of his remarkable adventure on the Irish coast had been commented on by the English press and so many doubts cast on it, that prominent English papers sent their correspondents to Cork to investigate the matter thoroughly. These gentlemen questioned Paul closely and got his whole story. Then they went to Baltimore and got the testimony of the coast-guard. They thoroughly examined the coast and under the guidance of the coast-guard discovered the exact place be made his miraculous landing.

They learned that the place he came ashore was the only available landing for miles, the coast being formed by precipitous rocks and that if he had drifted one mile to the southward lie would have been cut to atoms on the sharp and dangerous reef known as the "Whale Rocks." Thoroughly satisfied with their investigation they returned to London and confirmed the story in every particular.

Paul next went to Dublin where he had a week's engagement to lecture in the Queen's Theatre. His reception was if possible more enthusiastic than in Cork. He cut his lecture out of one of the newspapers and studied it, so on that point he felt more easy. He appeared every night at the theatre, which was filled to its utmost capacity. At the conclusion of his lecture, he would bow his acknowledgements to the audience and retire behind the curtain, where a tableau was arranged.

It represented the scene of his landing, and he standing with uplifted paddle on which was tacked the American flag. A supe threw a bucket of water over him, previous to his mounting the imitation cliffs, the curtain would roll up and behold the hero as he just emerged from the sea in his glistening rubber suit. The applause was tremendous. The last night, every one being paid off and feeling good, Paul stepped behind the curtains in his suit to receive his customary ducking. The bucket of water was missing. The stage hand who was very mellow exclaimed:

"I had it here a moment ago but I can't find it now. Ah, here it is," and he drew a pail from under a table and deluged Paul. Up went the curtain, the audience screamed, Paul looked down on his armor in dismay, instead of water he was covered with white calsomine, when a voice from the gallery roared:

"That's the first rale white-washed Yankee I've ever seen."

A white washed Yankee is an Irishman who has spent about two years in America and returning to his own country apes the accent and eccentricity of the down east Yankee.

Before leaving Dublin, Paul gave an exhibition in the lake in the Zoological Garden, Phenix Park and so intense was the desire to see him in the water that the sum of seventy pounds was received from admissions. He also made a run down the Liffy through the heart of the city, during which time it is estimated that over a hundred thousand people turned out to see him.

On November 9th Paul made a swim from Howth Head to the historic Island of Dalkey, a distance of about ten miles. The following day he was presented with an illumined address signed by many of the most prominent people in Dublin, also with an elaborately worked American flag and gold medal. The address concluded with the following words: "The subscribers desire that Captain Boyton will regard this presentation as a reminiscence of his visit to Ireland and as a token of the high estimation in which they hold him as a fearless experimentalist in bringing under public notice the most valuable life saving apparatus that has yet appeared."

Paul made many good friends during his stay in Dublin and visited almost every point of interest in that historic city. He discovered a very original character in the car-driver who conveyed him to the theatre every evening. Whenever he had a leisure hour always spent it driving around he quaint old city with the driver, Pat Mullen, who entertains him with his stories and witicisms. While driving along the, Liffy one day Pat said:

"Would ye loike a little devarsion, Captain? If ye do, Oi'll take ye through Pill Lane; but ye must look out fur yure head, sur."

Pill Lane he described as a street mostly inhabited by fish-women who displayed their stock in trade on a tray on the head of a barrel, These ladies, like their sisters in Billingsgate, London, bad a great reputation for their vigorous use of the English language and the choice epithets that they often hurled at the heads of passers by who did not purchase from them. Pat explained that his method was to drive down the Lane at a good gait and by picking out two or three of the star performers he would arouse them by a method peculiarly his own. That consisted in driving quite close to these barrels and so near some of them that the step projecting from the side of the jaunting car would send the barrel and fish flying all over the sidewalk. Of coarse this was presumably quite accidental.

Paul consented to try the experiment, being assured that there was no danger in it. As they drove into the head of the Lane, he soon discovered that Pat was well known in that locally. The cries of:

"There's the the dirtily blaguard agin. Look out there, Mrs. Murphy, etc."

All these salutations were received by the imperturbable Pat with smiles and bows and a cheery remark, as he dodged a dead fish or some other missile aimed at his head. When little farther down the Lane, Pat said: "Look out now, Captain, do ye see the fat woman down there? She's a beauty an' Oi'n goin' to shtir her up. Ye'll hear a flow av iloquence such as ye niver heard in yure loife, sur. Oi'm sorry she's on yure side as the car, sur. Droivin' up, sur, ye wud not be so liable to get hit."

At this moment, by a dexterous twist of the horse's head, the iron step struck the barrel and scattered the contents, while Pat leaned across and said:

"Ye'll excuse me, Mrs. Olahan, that was an accident."

"Oh it's ye," exclaimed the lady addressed, as she hurled the cup that she was drinking tea out of at Pat. Then a torrent of language burst forth which could be heard far down the Lane as they drove quickly through; but not fast enough to escape the fusillade of decayed fish and every other missile, even to the head of a barrel, which could be hurled by Mrs. Olahan and her sympathizing friends. When they emerged from the Lane, Pat turned around and said:

"Air ye bruised, Captain?"

"No," said Paul, "but I don't want any more of that kind of diversion."

A long time afterwards, while in London, Paul read of a Dublin driver who was taking a party of women home one night and either through accident or design drove them all into the middle of the canal. Their loud outcries attracted people to the rescue and when they arrived on the scene, they found the driver seated high up on the seat trying to control the mad struggles of his steed, while he calmly requested the rescuers to "niver moind the women but to save the harse."

At the time Paul thought this must certainly be his old friend, Pat Mullen, and afterwards ascertained that he was correct in his surmise.

When his engagements in Dublin terminated, Paul went to London, where he found that interest in his exploit on the Irish coast was still manifested. He then began a series of experiments down the Thames and in the waters in the vicinity of London. The London papers were teeming with accounts of him and his adventures. About this time he formed the resolution to cross the channel from England to France and was busying himself in preparations. One morning he was surprised to receive an order from Osborne to appear before the Queen. Paul's friends assured him that this was a great honor and one which would be of much advantage to him in England.

The order was for him to appear before Her Majesty on the river Modena, East Cowes, Isle of Wight. He left London, having made his preparations Saturday morning and went to Portsmouth, where he was entertained by the Mayor, American Consul and members of the Yacht Club. The same night he crossed over to Modena on the Isle of Wight, where he took rooms in the hotel. Sunday morning he went aboard the royal yacht Alberta, and introduced himself to the captain, whom he found to be a jolly old sea dog. From a letter written home by Paul about this date, the following extract is taken: The yacht I boarded seemed as big as a man-of-war. A Marine stopped me on the gang plank with the question: 'Whom do you wish to see?'

'Why the captain of course.'

The sentry called to a petty officer, who escorted me to the captain. He conducted me to a gorgeously furnished cabin. When I introduced myself, the weather beaten tar grasped me warmly by the hand. He invited me to be seated and accept some refreshments. While discussing them, we also talked over my exhibition before the Queen the next day. I was anxious to acquit myself in the presence of royalty in a creditable manner, so I plied the captain with questions to obtain all the information possible. He told me that to please the Queen anything I did had to be done quickly. In answer to my question, how will I hail her, he said: 'In addressing Her Majesty, you must say first, Your Majesty. After that you can continue the conversation with the word madame.'

Well that won't be very difficult thought I, and I can get through with it all right. Before leaving the Captain, I requested him to send down a few men in the morning to help me get traps aboard. Returning to my hotel I spent most of the afternoon writing. I was interrupted by a waiter, who informed me that General Ponsonby, Private Secretary to the Queen, and two ladies desired to see me. I ordered them shown right in. The General, a fine, dignified old gentleman came in followed by two very handsome ladies. He introduced himself and the ladies saying: 'Captain, this is the Hon. Lady Churchill and this is the Hon. Lady Plunkett. The ladies curiosity was so great to see you that we came down from the Castle to have a little talk.'

I invited them to sit down and consider themselves at home. The General then put a number of questions in regard to my former life and Irish coast adventure. In a brief manner I gave them a story in the best way I could. It seemed to entertain them considerably as the ladies often laughed heartily. As they were about to leave the thought occurred to me, 'these are my guests, I ought to offer some hospitality. So backing up to the fire-place I took hold of the bellrope saying; 'General and ladies I hope you will mention what you will take.'

At this both the ladies laughed merrily and the General said: 'No, Captain, thank you. The ladies and myself have already been entertained handsomely.'

By the twinkle in the ladies' eyes I think they would have accepted my invitation and taken a drink if it had not been for the austere presence of the General. During the conversation I confided to them my trepidation about meeting the Queen, but they assured me that Her Majesty was a very kind lady and that I need have no fear, whatever, of any breach of court etiquette. After a warm handshaking, they bade me good-bye and said they would see me on the morrow.

After their departure I resumed my writing when I was again interrupted by the re-appearance of the General, who explained to me in behalf of the ladies that much as they would have liked to accept my hospitality, I must not feel hurt by their refusal. They were ladies of Honor to Her Majesty and it would be a terrible scandal if they accepted any hospitality in the hotel. 'But that won't prevent you and I, Captain, from drinking the ladies' good health.'

The General and I passed some time together and he gave me many useful hints. The next morning about twenty able-bodied British tars presented themselves at the hotel to transfer my effects on board the royal yacht. By their united efforts they succeeded in getting it aboard; but I could much more easily have carried the whole outfit myself. When on board I descended to the Captain's cabin where I donned my suit and got the appliances in the rubber bag. All this time carriages were rapidly driving up to the side of the yacht, which was moored at the dock; depositing their loads of courtiers, who came aboard and promenaded up and down the decks. I was standing forward with the Captain at the time and he told me the names of several noted personages and high officers who were pouring up the gang plank. One venerable looking man attracted my attention. I said:

'Holy blue, Captain, look at that man coming aboard now without any pants on.'

'That gentleman,' said the Captain, 'is John Brown, Her Majesty's most faithful servant and that is the National Scottish costume he wears.'

As I was gazing on John Brown with considerable curiosity, the Captain said:

'Stand by now. Her majesty is coming. When I tell you, you walk aft, bow to her and get over the side and do your work.'

The crowd on board obstructed my view so that I could not see the Queen come aboard. In a moment the Captain returned from the gang-way where he had been to receive her, and said:

'Walk right aft. Her Majesty is waiting for you.'

I might as well confess to you that my idea of a Queen had been formed by seeing the play of Hamlet, where the Queen of Denmark comes on the stage with long white fur robe, covered with pieces of cat's tails and a crown on her head. I certainly did not think that the Queen of England would dress in this exact way, but I thought she would have something to distinguish her from the coterie of ladies that surrounded her on deck. So I walked aft, paddle in one hand, rubber bag in the other and dressed in my suit. I came to a group of ladies, a little separate, around whom bare headed courtiers stood and was about to pay homage to a fine, grandly dressed maid of honor, when turning around I observed the face of the Queen which was made familiar by the thousands of photographs, which grace the windows in nearly every store in London. She is a stout, motherly woman, more plainly dressed than any one around her. I looked at her for a second and said:

'Your Majesty, I believe.'

With a kindly smile she answered, 'Yes.'

'Will I take the water, Your Majesty?'

I was confused by the mistake I came near making, in taking the maid of honor for the Queen.

'If you please,' she responded with the same kindly and encouraging smile.

It didn't take me long to get over the side of that vessel, you can rest assured. Remembering the Captain's injunction not to keep her waiting long, I drove through all the exhibition I could give and as I clambered aboard again the perspiration stood all over my forehead. On gaining the deck, I bowed to the Queen again and was about to go forward. The Queen stopped me and said:

'Captain Boyton, I am both delighted and astonished at your wonderful work in the water; I believe that dress will be the means of saving numbers of valuable lives.'

She asked me how old I was and many other questions. A handsome young lady who stood at her side said:

'Don't you feel very much fatigued after such an exertion and are not your clothes wet under your dress?'

'Oh, no, Miss, not the least.'

At this answer of mine a laugh went up from the royal group and I suspected that I had made some mistake. I added. 'To prove to your Majesty that I am perfectly dry underneath the suit, I am, with your permission going to take it off. You need not be afraid, I am perfectly dressed underneath.'

Seeing that she did not object, I quickly unbuckled the tunic and hauled it over my head cast it on the deck and kicking off my rubber pants, I stood in my stocking feet before them. The Queen examined the mechanism of the dress with much interest and said:

'I would like to have a suit made for the use of this yacht, and I wish you a safe journey across the channel.'

Seeing that the interview was about closed I said:

'Now, Your Majesty, I hope you will excuse any error I have made, for you see that you could not naturally expect me to be posted in court etiquette.'

The Queen laughed heartily in which she was joined by the surrounding crowd and said:

'You did very well, Captain.'

When she left I again joined Captain Welch, of the Yacht, who told me that Her Majesty was well pleased. 'You may be sure of a handsome present.'

I then asked him what was the cause of all the laughter. He said:

'Why that was the only mistake you made. You should have addressed Princess Beatrice as Your Royal Highness; but that is all right.'

Soon after, Paul received an elegant chronometer gold watch with motto and heavy chain by General Ponsonby from the Queen and with the request that he would send her his photograph.



CHAPTER IX.

Paul now commenced plans for his channel trip. He visited Boulogne, Calais, Folkestone and Dover and decided on taking a course from Folkestone to Boulogne. M. L'Onguety, the President of the Boulogne Humane Society, offered to give him the best French pilot on the channel and his lugger to steer him across. The steamer Rambler was also engaged to accommodate the press representatives and invited guests. The most intense interest prevailed not only in Europe, but in America. Letters and telegrams came pouring in on Paul to reserve space for the special correspondents of the most noted newspapers in the world. Mr. McGarahan, the brilliant and lamented correspondent of the New York Herald, who was one of the party on the Rambler, wrote the following account of this memorable trip.

"The start was to be made at 3 o'clock on the morning of April 10th, 1875, from Dover, that hour being set on account of the tide favoring. In order to be up in time, the newspaper correspondents and friends who were to accompany the intrepid voyager on the tug, did not go to bed at all, the hours intervening being spent in the parlors of the Lord Werden hotel. The morning was cold and raw and when the sound of a bugle apprised the crowd that the time for starting had arrived, there was a hustling for warm wraps. At the quay from which the start was to be made, a great number of people had gathered regardless of the unseasonable hour and the chill air. There was a most horrible din and confusion, caused by the shouting and rush of the people, the whiz of rockets, the puffing of steamboats and the hoarse sound of speaking trumpets, all amid the glare of Bengal lights and burning pitch. The firing of the tug's gun announced the start. A black figure, like a huge porpoise, could be seen in the cold, grey water and then disappear in the darkness. Those on the tug thought they would lose him; but at length his horn was heard far out on the water and the tug immediately headed in that direction in order to take the lead and show him the way. Pursuing slowly forward he was kept within hail, as the lights of Dover gradually grew dim in the distance and the lighthouse on the Goodwin Sands shone clear and bright like the star of morning."

"The pilot was one sent over from Boulogne by the French Societe Humaine, said to be the best on the French coast. The course agreed upon was as follows: Take the tide running northeast from Dover at three in the morning, which would carry them seven or eight miles in that direction somewhere off Goodwin Sands. Here the tide turns about six 'clock and runs southeast down the channel. They would follow this tide to a point considerably below Boulogne, where the current sweeps again to the east and flows into Boulogne harbor, which they hoped to reach about three in the afternoon, making a distance of sixty miles."

"At five o'clock in the morning, when daylight came, everything was going well and the exact course indicated by the pilot had been followed, except that the start been about twenty minutes late. Boyton now paddled alongside and called for his sail, which he adjusted to his foot by means of an iron socket without getting out of the water, lit a cigar and struck out again. The little sail instantly filled and commenced pulling him along in fine style, making a very appreciable difference in his rate of speed. At six o'clock they were off Goodwin Sands, a little short of the point that it had been planned to reach. The tide now commenced turning and they were soon running down the channel under a very favorable breeze; but a nasty sea and thickening weather. Nearly in the middle of the channel, there is a sand bank called the Ridge or, by the French, the Colbart, which splits the current in two, throwing one along the French coast and the other along the English. It was, of course, the intention of Boyton and the pilot to get into the French current; but either because the swimmer did not get far enough to the east, with the tide running out or what seems more probable, because the pilot, owing to the thick weather, which hid both the French and English coast, missed his reckoning, they were swept down the English side of the Ridge and all chance of reaching the French coast before night was lost. Paul resolutely attacked this ridge, hoping to get over it and reach the French current in time. It proved to be a terrible struggle. The sea here was foaming and tumbling about in a fearful way for the voyager. It was not a regular roll or swell, but short, quick, chopping waves, tumbling about in all directions, that whirled him round and round, rolled him over and over, rendered his puny sail utterly useless and blinded him with foam and spray. It was a strangely fascinating spectacle to watch him in his hand to hand struggle with the ocean. The waves seemed to become living things animated by a terrible hatred for the strange being battling with them. Sometimes they seemed to withdraw for a moment, as if by concert and then rush down on him from all sides, roaring like wild beasts. For two hours the struggle continued, during which time he did not make more than a mile; but at last he came off victorious and reached the current running along the French coast, where the sea, although nasty, was not so unfavorable. But it was now one o'clock and instead of being several miles south of Boulogne, as he had hoped, he was almost opposite and the current had already turned again to the north, thus carrying him far past the place. He determined, however, to push on and endeavor to land at Cape Grisnez, about ten miles north of Boulogne. He did not seem tired although he had eaten scarcely anything since taking to the water. The weather grew rainy, foggy, cold and miserable. Boyton worked steadily forward; but the pilot began to grow anxious. It was evident that he would not make the French coast before dark, and he expressed his determination to push on all night if necessary. The wind and sea were both rising, promising a bad night. It would be impossible to follow him in the darkness and fog. He would inevitably be lost and if he should miss Cape Grisnez, he would be carried up into the North Sea. At length, towards six o'clock, the pilot declared that he would not be responsible for the safety of the ship, so near the coast in the darkness and fog. The Captain was, of course, unwilling to risk his ship, and it was decided that the attempt would have to be given up. Paul and his brother, who was on the tug, both protested against this resolution in the most energetic manner. The former maintained his ability to finish his undertaking, declaring that he was not in the least fatigued, and to prove it swam rapidly around the ship. It was agreed that he had thoroughly demonstrated his ability to cross the channel and that it would be folly to risk the ship, the life of everybody on board, as well as himself by cruising along the coast all night in the fog and darkness. He at last agreed to go aboard and give it up maintaining, however, his ability to stay in the water all night. It was just half past six o'clock when he set foot on the deck of the tug, after having been a little more than fifteen hours in the water."

Paul felt keenly the disappointment at the failure of his first attempt to cross the channel, notwithstanding the telegrams of congratulation from the Queen, Prince of Wales and many high personages on both sides of the Atlantic. He firmly resolved to attempt it again. He was young then, only twenty-seven years of age and did not know what fatigue or fear was. When he returned to London, he received many offers to exhibit himself in his dress. He at last closed with a well known Manager for the sum of fifty guineas per day, about $250. At this time he did little more than paddle around in the water, fire off a few rockets and his exhibition would not last more than, perhaps half an hour. He has often laughed heartily since, to think of the miserable apologies for a exhibition that he then gave, when compared with the magnificent show that himself and company of water experts give at the present day. Notwithstanding his lack of knowledge of the show business, he always succeeded in pleasing the public, who gathered in enormous crowds wherever he was announced. His managers reaped a rich harvest through his work. Their share for three days' exhibition in Birmingham alone, amounted to over six hundred pounds, $3000.

Invitations showered in on him from every quarter for dinners, banquets, receptions and society gatherings of every description. Hundreds of these he was compelled to decline, on account of press of business. Notwithstanding all this flattering attention and flood of prosperity, he never lost his head or changed in either action or speech. He looked upon it as a matter of course and felt just the same as he did when diving with Captain Balbo, or bush-whacking under Colonel Sawyer. Towards the end of May he had his arrangements completed for his second attempt to cross the channel. This time he determined to reverse the course. Instead of starting from England, he decided to leave from Cape Grisnez, France, and land on any part of the English coast he could. A couple of days before the attempt, he went to Boulogne. It was arranged that he should leave at three o'clock in the morning, when the steamer containing the English correspondents would arrive.

John Laty, a well known London newspaper man wrote the following account of his second attempt:

"As we draw near Cape Grisnez light, aboard the Earnest, Capt. Edward Dane, preparations are made by Mr. M. Boyton for proceeding ashore to assist in his brother's departure. A boat is lowered from the davits. It is soon manned, your artist slipping down the rope with the agility of a sailor. He is the last straw. The boat is pulled off. The Earnest steams slowly on, for three o'clock is close at hand and that is the hour fixed for Captain Boyton's start from the Cran aux Anguilles, El Chine, about two hundred yards to the east of the Grisnez light.

"Three A.M.—A rocket rushes up from the boat sent ashore. It is the signal of Captain Boyton's departure. It is answered by a display of fire-works from the Earnest. A gun is fired and Grisnez light flickers and goes out. Day is breaking; but Captain Boyton is not discernable yet. Over the gray waters one sees through a good glass, the white fringe of surf breaking on the sandy beach, which is lined by a black mass of people behind whom is burning a large bonfire. A speck is at length made out to the right of the boat, 'three points off,' as the white haired old salt on board remarks. The sky gets lighter, the sea deep blue. We can now plainly see the dauntless Captain paddling actively away toward us, riding buoyantly over the swelling waves, and making good progress in his gray suit of india-rubber. His brother comes on board soon, with the news that the boat can not venture through the surf that foams up the beach. The stout little craft now receives a compass which is placed in the stern, where the mate takes his place to act as pilot. Off the boat puts once more, to act thence forth as Captain Boyton's guide.

"Four A.M.—We give the Captain a ringing cheer as he paddles alongside the Earnest. He answers that there are some people on shore who want to come aboard and that his sail too has been left behind. His message delivered, he paddles away again. In a few minutes he shouts out that if a boat is not sent off for those on shore he will turn back himself.

"If you don't do it," he says, "they will have to walk back to Boulogne, thirteen miles."

A crew having volunteered, Mr. Michael Boyton determines to brave the surf. The Earnest steams back as near as she can safely go to Cape Grisnez. A second boat is lowered. Before it can reach the shore a fisherman's skiff makes from the beach, and transfers to the boat of the Earnest the three or four drenched passengers invited by Captain Boyton to accompany him on his voyage. They are Baron de la Tonche (Sub-Prefect of Boulogne) Mr. Merridew, Pilot Mequin and others. It is a quarter to six by the time the Earnest overtakes Captain Boyton. He gives a cheery trump of satisfaction from his foghorn, when he learns that his sail and his guests have been fetched from land. He does not have recourse to his sail yet as the wind (w. n.-w.) continues unfavorable. He has nevertheless paddled to such good purpose by six o'clock that he has covered seven miles from Cape Grisnez, albeit he is but five miles from the French coast, having been carried up channel by the current. His plan is totally opposite from the one followed by him in his last voyage. Whereas he then went with the tide, he is now endeavoring to cut across the tides, in accordance with the advice of Captain Dane and the counsel of an eminent hydrographer, who had most courteously made out an elaborate chart and entered into the minutest details as to the channel currents, for Captain Boyton's guidance.

"Quarter to eight:—Boyton calls for his sail. The staunch little lath of a mast is fixed into the socket attached to one of his feet. The tiny sail fills; but sends him on a wrong tack, wind still blowing w. n.-w. Nothing daunted, Boyton paddles onward for another hour. He then sends the laconic message, 'All right!' by the first pigeon post of the Folkestone Pigeon Club. Wind w.s.-w. Captain Boyton hoists sail again at twenty-five minutes to ten and now scuds along beautifully, like some large sea-bird skimming over the blue waves. A critical time for him approaches. Captain Dane relieves the mate as pilot. When he is pulled out to Boyton, the daring voyager is paddling mechanically. He is very drowsy. Captain Dane's quiet, calm encouragement revives the failing Boyton. He feels greatly invigorated by the plain breakfast. No Liebig mess, this time, taken to him by Dr. Benjamin Howard, Honorary Secretary of the New York Humane Society. This morning meal and the two other meals taken by Boyton during his arduous undertaking cannot be considered very epicurean. Each frugal repast consists of nothing more than half a pint of good strong tea, green with a dash of black, and a couple of beef sandwiches. The tea wakes him up directly. Inspirited by the cup that cheers, he is roused to fresh vigor, and zestfully plies his paddle with wonted dexterity.

"Quarter to twelve.—Captain Dane says that Boyton is now in mid- channel. The tide has swept him north-easterly. The French cliffs are dim. The white cliffs of Dover are not yet visible to the naked eye. In half an hour the coast line of England looms in sight. Clearer and clearer the cliffs grow out of the haze as the afternoon wears away. At twenty minutes from two a steamboat full of excursionists from Folkestone, decked with flags from stem to stern, sends a volley of rattling cheers across the water, and fair hands flutter handkerchiefs in honor of Captain Boyton, who runs up the stars and stripes in acknowledgement of their hearty encouragement. Another steamer proceeding across the channel is cheering Captain Boyton and dipping her ensign in his honor. More and more distinct grow the Dover cliffs. The outline of the Castle is clearly defined. 'Thou art so near and yet so far' might be appropriately struck up by the Captain, whose voice is strong and cheery whenever he exchanges a shout with us.

"6:30 P.M.—A calm and beautiful evening. Boyton sailing with a faint wind and in slack water. He has by this time crossed two tides. The flood up channel still. 8 P.M.—The ebb down channel to the Varne, being carried many miles north and south respectively by each, and is now in a fair way to reach England, being only four miles from Dover Castle, according to the encouraging news of Captain Dane. So clear is the air that Cape Grisnez and the Varne buoy are still in sight. The last pigeons are now dispatched. Twenty-nine in all have gone during the day. The longest three miles ever known are now entered upon. Hour after hour passes and three miles is ever the distance from shore, so says Captain Dane. The south Foreland lights flash out in our face. Dover lights shine brightly a little distance to our left. The interminable three miles are not lessened a jot. The crew of the Royal Wiltshire Life Boat, specially sent by the National Life Boat Association, warmly cheer the plucky Boyton. He again asks the distance.

"Three miles", shouts back Captain Dane.

"Ah," grimly answers Boyton, with a spice of the Mark Twainish humor peculiar to him, "that's about it. They've just told me from the life- boat its five miles, and, as your steamer is two miles long, we're right in our reckoning all around; but I don't care if it's twenty-five, I'm going to make it."

"Quarter to nine.—Boyton takes supper, lights a cigar and paddles perseveringly along, although he has now been close on eighteen hours in the water. Bravo heart! He is now paddling more strongly than he was in the morning. The three miles shrink, at last into two and three quarters and about this time the one sensational incident of this voyage happens.

"Captain Boyton's own words best describe the episode: 'About an hour before I got on land, I heard a tremendous blowing behind me. It startled me for the moment, for I guessed it was a shark. I instantly drew out my knife, but while I was in the act of doing this, a second snort came closer to my head. I out with my knife and instantly threw myself into a standing position, ready to strike if I had been attacked; but simultaneously with this movement of mine a tremendous black thing leaped completely over me and darted away like lightning. It was a porpoise.'

"The Earnest slowly steaming, Captain Dane casting the lead every few minutes, creeps so near to the towering South Foreland by 2 A.M. that one might almost throw a biscuit ashore. The feat is on the eve of being accomplished. The ebb is not yet so strong that he cannot make palpable progress through the tide. The curlews up in the cliffs are shrilly heralding the dawn, or welcoming Boyton, which you please. A fisherman's skiff has put off to show the safest landing place. The intensest interest is felt by the group on the bridge of the Earnest. Though day is breaking, the sea is still so dark that only the two boats can be discerned close to the shore. A cheer comes over the waters at half past two. Our hearts give a bound. We know the young hero has accomplished his daring task, and we send back our heartiest cheers to him. A rocket rushes up and curls in triumph over the cliffs. No one on board can be more exultant than Mr. Michael Boyton. Yet he coolly calls through the speaking trumpet, 'Come back now. That will do for to- night!'

"The rocky strip of beach on which the Captain has landed is in Fan Bay, a hundred yards or so west of South Foreland Lights. There from he is speedily rowed to the steamer. Receiving a fresh round of British hurrahs on nimbly embarking, he is warmly shaken by the hand, his comely, bronzed face lighting up with a modest smile, albeit his eyes and skin must be smarting terribly from the continual wash of the salt sea waves for twenty-three hours and a half.

"Captain Boyton is sufficiently recuperated before Folkestone is reached, to receive anew the homage which Englishmen are ever ready to pay to heroic pluck and endurance. Dover honors him with a salute of eleven guns as the Earnest glides by. Folkestone harbor is gained at last. Our adieux paid to Captain Boyton, no one seems loth to land." Paul received congratulatory telegrams from the Queen, the Prince of Wales and President Grant. Dover gave the Captain a dejeuner. Folkestone, or rather the South Eastern directors, entertained him at a banquet on Saturday evening, when he felicitously thanked Captain Dane and others for their generous services during his channel voyage.

After his successful attempt, which caused the wildest excitement over all the world, he rested a few days before resuming work, under his managers. Medals, flags, jewelry, addresses and presents of all kinds poured in on him. The Humane Society at Boulogne voted him their massive gold medal representing the First Order of French Life Saving.

All during the summer, Paul appeared in the different towns and watering places in England, getting his regular pay of fifty guineas a day, equal to $1,750 per week. In September his agent accepted of two week's engagements for exhibitions in Berlin at Lake Weissensee. The business that was done there was simply stupendous, and Paul's treatment by the inhabitants of Berlin will never be forgotten by him. For the first time in his life he fell in love. His inamorata was a blue-eyed young German lady, the sweetest and loveliest girl in Berlin; he carried her colors in many a lonely voyage in after years. But it never amounted to anything more than warm friendship, as his love for his free and adventurous life was much stronger than any chains Cupid could weave.



CHAPTER X.

At the close of his Berlin engagement, Paul determined to make a voyage down the Rhine. With that intention he started for Basle, Switzerland. Several correspondents of French, German and English papers desired to accompany him on his trip. As the river is very rough and swift between Basle and Strassburg, they decided to join him at Strassburg when he arrived there. In October, 1875, he started on his first long river voyage, four hundred miles, to Cologne.

At five o'clock in the morning he stepped into the rapid Rhine, with nothing but his bugle and paddle. His first run was to Strassburg, seventy miles below. News did not travel along the upper Rhine fast in those days and the peasantry did not know of his trip. His unexpected and strange appearance caused no little fright among the people along the banks. At one point he came on three workmen, engaged in mending an embankment. While approaching them on the swift current, he raised himself up in the water and blew a blast on his horn. The workmen looked around and seeing a strange figure standing in the water blowing a trumpet, perhaps thought it was old Father Rhine. They did not wait to investigate; but disappeared up the bank in a hurry. About noon Paul arrived at Breisgann, where he got some refreshments. The course of the river now ran along the Black Forest, and is much narrower there. The scenery is weird and somber and although the region is interesting, it is somewhat monotonous. People of the Black Forest are a dreamy and superstitious race; they would stand and look at the uncouth figure in the water for a moment and then run. One old man who was gathering driftwood was so surprised and frightened that he sprang from his boat and ran up the bank without waiting to secure it. At nightfall Paul was still driving along. He heard a peasant whistling and singing on the bank, he hailed him and inquired in German, how far Strassburg was below. "Eine stunde," (one hour,) was the reply.

He afterwards found out that it was the custom in that part of the country to give distance by time. In half an hour afterwards the lights of the bridge at Kohl showed up. There were two bridges there, one for the railroad and one a low pontoon bridge. While watching the high railroad bridge, as he was rapidly approaching on the current, he struck on one of the pontoons and was whirled under. On coming to the surface, he hauled for the shore and landed. It was then eight o'clock and no one was visible. Knocking on a door a woman opened it. She saw the dark figure all glistening with water and sent forth a series of yells that caused the entire neighborhood to turn out. A German policeman approached, took Paul in charge and conducted him to a hotel near by. He said:

"I recognized you, Captain, and your friends are all in Strassburg and do not expect you till to-morrow. The city is about three miles from the river. I will send immediately for a carriage."

When it arrived, he found that it contained three of his friends, who had been apprized of his landing. They drove to a hotel in Strassburg. The next day was spent in hunting for and purchasing a flat bottom boat for the reporters. The Berlin press was represented by Count Von Sierasowsie, an invalid officer with both legs cut off. He had to be carried around in a perambulator. He had a private soldier, which the German government allowed him, as a servant. The balance of the reporters were from France and England. A boat about forty feet long and eight feet wide was purchased and two men, who professed to know something about the channel of the Rhine, engaged to navigate it. It was nothing more than an open craft; no roof, so the correspondents put in straw and chairs to make themselves comfortable. A place was reserved in the bow for the Count's perambulator. The following day all the baggage was placed aboard. Paul had three trunks which had been forwarded from Berlin. Dr. Willis, the English correspondent, observed that Paul passed a strong line through the handles of his trunks and secured each firmly one to the other. Then he tied a buoy to the end of the line. The doctor inquired why he did so.

"Oh," answered Paul, "I always like to be prepared. In case this boat sinks I can easily find my baggage by means of this buoy which will float on the surface."

This remark had not a very encouraging effect on the doctor. That afternoon the voyage was resumed and they ran all night on a swift current. Great danger and difficulty were experienced from the floating mills. They kept the crew busy guiding the unwieldy boat out of danger. The reporters did not rest much. The only one on board who slumbered with pleasure was Simnick, the Count's servant, who seemed to take to sleep as naturally as a duck to water. Paul kept well ahead of the boat and warned them of dangers.

Next day came out clear and warm. As the approached Worms, they were met by gaily decorated steamers and large parties of ladies and gentlemen in small crafts. The burgomaster in an official boat was rowed off to Paul's side. His boat contained a liberal supply of the famous Lieb frauenmilch. He presented Paul with a magnificently chased goblet saying:

"Captain, you must accept the hospitality of Worms even if you do not stop," and filling the glass to the brim, also his own and the officials' who accompanied him and gave a "Lebenhoch."

The fairest and most interesting part of the Rhine was now reached, that which teems with historic and legendary associations; the part too, that possesses a population second to none in the Fatherland for generosity and hospitality. The whole voyage was now a continuous fete. At almost every place they passed the Burgomaster with his friends came out and invited them to drink a cup of wine for which every part of the Rhine is famous. All day they continued down the blue and rapid water and at three o'clock the next morning landed at Mayence, where they woke the sleepy inhabitants with rockets and bugles. The run from Strassburg lasted thirty-six hours; they were glad to get warm comfortable beds in the hotel where they rested till Monday. Before leaving Mayence, telegrams poured in from every point on the river below. One was signed Elizabeth, Princess of Schaumburg-Lippe, congratulating Paul and inviting him to stop at Wiesbaden.

The party left Mayence on Monday and continued dropping down the river. From this place on, the banks presented a very thronged and lively appearance. Perhaps no other river in the world could be found to equal that from Mayence to Cologne in the variety of its life and the multiplicity of its associations. Reception after reception was tendered the voyager and his party and every place seemed to vie with the others in the warmth and good will of its welcome. At Geisenheim, the committee who met Paul on the river, insisted that he must come ashore as a reception was prepared for him. They landed and found a number of Americans, including Consul General Webster. About twenty lovely girls dressed in white and carrying baskets of flowers met the party at the bank. They all implored Paul to come up with them and see their picturesque town and insisted that he must join in the parade. Paul was anxious to continue his way down the river; but the bright eyes and the sweet, soft tones of the beautiful daughters of the Rhine made him an easy victim, so a procession was formed, the young ladies leading and Paul and his party were marched to the hotel, where an informal reception was held. When they left Geisenheim, the press boat was literary loaded down with hampers of delicious wine.

That same evening they reached Bingen. Here the Captain was warned to beware of Bingen Loch and the Lurlei. He took but little stock in the stories about their dangers and secretly determined to dash right into the legendary whirlpool. That whirlpool which has been the theme of Heine's song, has also been the dread of Rhine boatmen from time immemorial. Legend says it is presided over by a fairy maid who lures hapless fishermen to the spot by her syren voice and rejoices in their destruction. The beauty of this part of the Rhine is indescribable. Mountains tower directly up from the water's edge, here and there dotted with historic castles. Time after time was Paul's bugle salute answered on the ramparts far above and many a fair hand waved a handkerchief. When they approached the Lurlei, the boatmen used superhuman efforts to get away from the dreaded whirlpool and hugged the opposite shore. Their cries of:

"This way Captain, the Lurlei," were unheeded by Paul who kept directly for the jutting rock which causes the eddy known as the whirlpool.

"Where are you going?" thundered out one of the members of the press, "Come to this side of the river!"

"Oh, I'm going to visit the mermaid," responded Paul and a few minutes afterward he was in her embrace; or rather in the embrace of the noted Lurlei. Instead of swallowing him up, as had been anticipated, it only whirled him around a few times; he soon succeeded in getting away with a few strokes of his paddle and rapidly overhauled the terror-stricken occupants of the press boat. He dashed alongside and with a dexterous twist of his paddle, sent a shower of water over the astounded and horror-stricken Simnick, who was sure that the voyager must be crazy to take such risks.

"Why," said Paul, "there are a thousand more dangerous eddies in the Mississippi that have never been heard of," and he laughed heartily at the danger he had passed.

At Coblentz the Strassburg boatmen refused to go any farther so they were sent home. The guiding of the press boat was now left to the tender mercies of Simnick. Some of the press men occasionally volunteered to help him. His erratic steering brought him showers of abuse, the occupants of the boat became so nervous that they earnestly desired Paul to remain as near them as possible. Paul knowing that his baggage was aboard, did not require a second invitation. Once Simnick landed the party on a bar, before they got the boat afloat again, all excepting Simnick's master, the Count, were compelled to take off their shoes and shove her off.

Shooting pontoon bridges was the greatest danger. On approaching one, all were aroused and the press men's-hearts were kept pretty close to their mouths. The Count, seated forward in his little carriage, was almost knocked over board, while the boat grazed some spar or bridge. On each of these occasions, the imprecations of the Count, both loud and deep, fell harmlessly around the stolid Simnick. The Count adopted new tactics when approaching a place where bad steering would be likely to cause serious trouble. He would, by the aid of his hands, get down from his carriage and seat himself in the bottom of the boat with the expression of his face, saying:

"Well, if I have to die, I will not have my brains knocked out."

The fifth day after leaving Strassburg, the party reached Cologne, where they were received by the booming of cannons and ringing of bells. The greatest excitement prevailed in the quiet old town and Paul was the recipient of many honors and presents. Several poems were dedicated to him, good, bad and indifferent. One very persistent poet, whose knowledge of English was rather limited, bored him considerably. He got so inflated over Paul's feigned praise, who had tried this ruse to get rid of him, that he had his poem put in a German paper and printed in English at his own expense. It was as follows:

Hall my boy! coming to us with a ton full of reason, Bringing that, what now is most of season: The best of these we did meet since years In a period of apprehensions and fears.

You are, no doubt of those good hearted fellows, Who like to lead the men through friendly meadows; God bless always your noble, humane aim, And give to it the success you do claim.

The people by his loud acclamation, May prove to you that it feels no temptation To cut the throats, to break the necks around And make a grave of all European ground.

It is a sort of cry that's rising, To prove that there are men enough despising Armstrong and Krupp etcetera With Dyrose, Snyder, Mauser, yea.

Are you returned to Uncle Sam's cottage, Then make aware your countrymen of every age: Your finding the German people sorry for human life, But not for scorn and war and strife.

And now, farewell, my boy, with your ton of reason, May God you bless at every season.

The trip on the Rhine concluded, Paul in company with Doctor Willis visited several cities in Germany, Holland and Belgium, where he gave exhibitions till the ice stopped his work. He then crossed to England and took a steamer to New York on a flying trip home, where he arrived December 28th, 1878. He had been gone about sixteen months.



CHAPTER XI.

After spending a few weeks with his family, Captain Boyton received an invitation to visit a friend in St. Louis. While there the swift current of the Mississippi, which was then flowing with ice, tempted him and he made a voyage from Alton to St. Louis, about twenty-five miles. A boat containing newspaper reporters was to accompany him down; but the weather proved too cold for them and they abandoned him after a few miles. The thermometer was below zero, and a man was frozen to death that morning in a wagon at Alton. His reception in St. Louis was something extraordinary. The deafening noise made by the steamers and tug boats as they passed the bridge was heard far beyond the city limits. Before he left St. Louis he gave a lecture for the benefit of St. Luke's Hospital, and on that occasion was presented with a massive silver service. General Sherman made the presentation speech.

From St. Louis he went to New Orleans where he decided to feel the waters in the stronger currents of the lower river. He concluded to take a run of a hundred miles and gave himself twenty-four hours in which to make the voyage. Several members of the press intended to accompany him on the trip and a row boat was procured for their accommodation. This boat was placed on board the steamer Bismarck that was bound to St. Louis. It was arranged with the Captain to drop them off at Bayou Goula exactly a hundred miles above. As the steamer, to get ahead of an opposition boat, started an hour before the advertised time, all the newspaper reporters except one, were left behind. At six o'clock the next morning, Paul and the reporter were landed on the levee at a miserable looking little Louisiana village. They breakfasted at the solitary hotel; after which they made enquiries in regard to a pilot. All agreed that a colored man named Gabriel was the best. They sauntered forth on the levee to hunt up Gabriel. They were followed by a large crowd of negroes, young and old who had heard about the wonderful man- fish. Paul was informed that Gabriel was out in the river catching driftwood, and the entire colored population appeared to join in yelling for "Gabe" to come ashore. Gabriel, who was a tall, sad looking negro, was called on one side by Paul who explained that they desired his services for twenty-four hours, he stated that there was plenty of provision aboard for him and that he would send him back from New Orleans by steamer, so that his trip would not cost him a cent. Gabriel received the communication in stolid silence. He then retired to a log where he seated himself in the centre of a number of his darkey friends. After a consultation, he returned and announced that the figure would be twenty-five dollars.

"Why, what do you mean, you black rascal!" exclaimed Paul, "it will really be only one day's work. How much do you make a day gathering driftwood?"

"Two an' foah bits a day sah."

"And you want twenty-five out of me for one day's work? I will give you three dollars."

"All right, boss, all right, sah," responded Gabriel without a moment's hesitation.

Soon after, Paul and the newspaper man were approached by a darkey, who introduced himself as Mr. Brown. He said:

"I heah dat yo' hab engage Gabe fur pilot ye' down to New Yorleans. Dat niggah don' know nofing 'bout de riber, sah, no sah, me do dough, an, me'll go down fur nothin' sah."

"Are you sure you understand the channel down the river?" asked Paul.

"Deed I do, sah, I knows mos' oh the cat-fish tween heah an' dere."

"Consider yourself engaged, providing you can get the boat away from Gabriel."

"Dats all right sah, lebe dat to me," Mr. Brown answered. A liberal supply of hay for the comfort of the reporter was placed in the row boat.

As the hour approached for them to depart, the levee was thronged with darkies of all sizes and ages, who gazed in open mouthed astonishment, when they saw the dark form in rubber appear and step into the Mississippi. By a clever ruse Mr. Brown got charge of the boat and shoved her off, much to the discomfiture of Gabriel. He returned Gabriel's maledictions with bows and smiles. They shot rapidly away on the yellow flood and were soon far below Bayou Goula. As night came on, Paul requested Brown to light his lantern and get ahead. Brown lit the lantern, but insisted on keeping behind instead of taking the lead. To all Paul's remonstrances he would reply: "Yo' doin' all right, Capen, jus' go right 'long, right 'long, sah."

Paul soon discovered that the negro knew far less about the river than he knew himself and so he threatened that if Mr. Brown did not keep up, he would be tempted to dump him overboard, where he could renew his acquaintance with his old friends the cat fish.

All night they glided between the dark forests on either side of the river. Paul frequently amused himself by startling a camp of negro fishermen. They spear fish by the light of a fire they build close to the bank. All he had to do in order to break up a camp was to float down quietly until the glare of the fire played on him, then stand up in the water and utter a few howls to attract the darkey's attention. One sight of so hideous a figure in the rubber dress was enough. Their fishing was adjourned for that night.

About three in the morning, Paul found himself far ahead of the press boat and made the forest ring with the echo of his bugle to wake Mr. Brown up. Two or three times he had to wait for the boat. At last he decided that there was no use in dallying or he would never get to New Orleans in twenty-four hours; so he shot ahead and let the boat take care of itself. Before daylight in the morning he heard the roar of a great crevasse that had been formed near Bonnet Carre. The river bank there had been washed away for about four or five hundred yards and a great volume of water was being swept into the forests and swamps below. Without much difficulty he passed this dangerous break and at daylight his bugle called the early risers in the village to the river bank. Here without leaving the water, he got a cup of hot coffee and while he was drinking it, those on the bank informed him that there was a white boat just coming around the bend in the distance, so he concluded to wait for it. Soon after, Mr. Brown, pulling lazily along, arrived. Paul rated him soundly for his tardiness. The reporter was sound asleep, doubled up in a pile of hay at the bottom of the boat. At five o'clock that evening, exactly twenty-four hours after they started, they tied up at the levee in New Orleans where they were received by about ten thousand people, who covered the levee and crowded the deck of the steamers.

While resting in New Orleans after his run, Paul was waited on by a party of gentlemen, who announced themselves as a committee appointed to call on him and see if they could induce him to give an exhibition in......, an interesting little town up the river.

"Have you got any water that can be enclosed?" Paul inquired.

They said they had a beautiful little lake right back of the town that could be properly fenced, so that no one could look on without paying. They promised that Captain Boyton should have the entire receipts, and that they would make it a gala day providing he would come up, and assured him of the warmest kind of reception. "We'll have music too," added one of the committee men.

Being so assured, Paul promised to be on hand. The committee started for home where they commenced to rouse the country. One morning Paul, accompanied by Mr. Brown stepped off a steamboat at .........., and was received by the committee who were waiting for him and who immediately escorted him to the hotel where he was cordially invited to "limber up." After breakfast, the voyager was escorted to the lake and saw to his annoyance that there was no fence or enclosure around it. He remonstrated with the committee and said that they could never get a fence around it in time. The answer was, "Never mind, Captain, never mind. We'll guarantee that no one stands around that lake without paying."

All the morning crowds kept pouring into town. By noon, the main street was filled with wagons, ox-teams and mules with vehicles of every kind, shape and color, all carrying crowds of whites and negroes. Paul dined with the Mayor, at the hotel and after dinner commenced to dress in his suit. The Mayor informed him that there would be a parade to start from the hotel door and that he would be escorted to the lake by the guard and the band. When the hour arrived, Paul was led from the hotel by his honor and was mounted on a cart to which two white mules were hitched in tandem. The Mayor mounted with him. Behind this cart, drawn up in military array were fifty men armed with shot guns. In front of the cart rode the Grand Marshall of the occasion followed the band which consisted of a solitary hand-organ. Order for advance being given, the parade started for the lake. When they reached the water-side, Paul was requested to step into the little tent which had been erected for him and to be seated until the fence was made. The Grand Marshal then ordered all the people to fall back, while he stationed the guards with loaded shot guns at intervals around the entire lake. Then riding his horse wildly up to the crowd he informed them that "this line of guards was the fence and that any person coming within one hundred yards of the line would be shot."

"This," pointing to two of the committee men, who stood with shot guns near an old soap box in which a slit was cut to receive the money, "is the entrance gate. Niggers twenty-five cents, whites fifty cents. Now get right in or get off this prairie."

The whole exhibition was unexpectedly successful. There was not a dead- head around the lake. Paul took for his share two hundred and thirty dollars, beside spending one of the pleasantest days he remembers. This town is now a smart city and Paul withholds the name because the citizens may not relish this reminiscence.

Soon after, Paul went to Louisville, Ky., where he made a run over the Falls of the Ohio. This feat caused the most intense excitement in Louisville and vicinity. He then went to Europe and commenced his exhibition season at Amsterdam, Holland, in May, for by this time he was well launched in the show business. He exhibited with much success all through Holland and Germany. August 3d, 1876, he found himself in the town of Linz, Austria. Here he met with an accident from which he almost lost his right eye, by the premature explosion of a torpedo. He was an invalid in the hotel on the banks of the Danube for two weeks. The constant sight of the inviting water of the Danube started the desire in his heart for another voyage, and it did not take him long to make up his mind to take a run to Buda Pesth, about four hundred and fifty miles below. When he announced his intention to take this voyage, it was quickly telegraphed all over the country bordering on the river. Almost the whole city of Linz turned out to bid him goodbye as he stepped into the Danube. The current was very swift; but the river was greatly cut up by islands and bars. He could see nothing blue about the Danube. That river was almost as yellow as the Mississippi. Like all rivers it has its bug-bear. The Struden is the terror of the Upper Danube. It consists of a sharp and dangerous rapid, picturesquely surrounded by high wood covered hills. Great crowds were gathered here to see Paul make his plunge. He passed under two or three heavy waves that completely submerged him. As he was hurried away on the wild current, he held his paddle high up in acknowledgment to the cheers.

His reception in Vienna was most enthusiastic. From Presburg he was accompanied for about two miles by the swimming club and he was made an honorary member by a vote taken while he was paddling in the river surrounded by his swimming friends. He was then left alone and all that day he traveled through a barren and desolate country. He occasionally ran across parties of gold dust hunters who were at work on the sand bars. They were a wild looking lot of people and all wore white shirts and baggy trousers. His appearance as he skimmed along on the current never failed to produce the utmost consternation among the groups who had possibly never heard of him. It was a very warm day and the sun burned his face cruelly. In the evening the mosquitoes hovered around him in clouds and made his life miserable. That night he was drowsy and fatigued in consequence of his hard work all day. About eleven o'clock, in spite of himself, he went to sleep, though well aware of the danger he ran from the mills. The Danubian mill consists of two great barges fastened together by beams and decked over with a large wheel between them. They are anchored in the swiftest part of the current which drives the machinery. He was awakened from his nap by hearing a tremendous crashing noise and found himself just passing in between two barges and in a second or two would be under the rapidly revolving wheel. The current hurled him against it. Before he could recover one of the planks struck him over the eyebrows and the next struck him on the back of the head driving him completely under. His paddle was smashed in two and one half of it gone, while he could feel the warm blood running down his forehead. With the broken piece of the paddle he managed to gain the eddy back of one of the barges. The miller was awakened by his cries for assistance and the stalwart Hungarian appeared on the deck with a lantern and threw a rope to the almost fainting man. Paul grasped this firmly and was hauled up till the light of the lantern revealed his blood covered face and glinting rubber head piece. The miller uttered a cry of terror, let go the rope and ran into the mill where he securely fastened himself, thinking no doubt that some evil sprit of the Danube had appeared to him. When the terrified miller loosened his hold on the rope, Paul now almost entirely exhausted dropped back into the current and floated away in a semi-conscious condition. With his half paddle he succeeded in keeping clear of the mills and drifted till day light. His eyes were almost closed by the swelling of his forehead. Soon after he discovered a castle high up on the banks on one side of the river, the inhabitants of which he stirred up by a blast on his bugle as he was drifting helplessly. A boat shot away from shore and picked him up. The boat contained an Austrian officer and two soldiers. The officer informed him that the castle to which he was being conveyed, was the fortress Komorn. His wounds were quickly dressed by the surgeon and in two days he was sufficiently recovered to resume his trip.

From Komorn he ran all day and the following night to make up for lost time. About daylight next day great mountains towered up each side of the river that was there narrow and rapid. About eight o'clock he arrived at a little village and was informed that it was Nagy, about forty miles above Buda Pesth. Here he got some refreshments and started on his last run. A few miles below he saw a very high mountain, surmounted by a cross, up which ran a zig-zag road. At each bend of this road was erected a grotto containing some scene from the Passion of Our Lord. This Way of the Cross is a celebrated place of devotion to the pious people of Buda Pesth. As he passed the mountain he saluted a party of ladies and gentlemen standing on the shore. One of the gentlemen hailed him in German with the request to slack up a little and they would come off in a boat. Paul complied with their request and stood upright in the water and drifted quietly along. The boat was soon beside him: it contained two ladies, evidently mother and daughter, and two gentlemen. The daughter, about eighteen years of age, was, in Paul's estimation, the most lovely girl he had ever seen. He gazed with a look of admiration on her wondrous beauty and paid but little attention to the shower of questions that were put to him in Hungarian-German by the male members of the party. In his best German, he asked her what he already knew, that was, "how far it was to Buda Pesth?"

She smiled and answered in French, "about thirty-five miles. I presume you can speak French better than German?"

This was just what Paul wanted. She now acted as interpreter for the whole party and her sweet voice drove away all feeling of fatigue. As the current was driving the party rapidly down, the mother suggested that it was time that they should say good-bye. Before going, one of the gentlemen asked through the young lady, "if M. le Capitaine would take a glass of wine?"

Paul responded, "that it was pretty early in the morning for a toast, but if he was permitted to drink to the health of Hungary's fairest daughter, he would sacrifice himself."

With a musical laugh she handed him a glass filled with sparkling Tokay. A general hand shake all around followed and as Paul's rubber-covered, wet hand grasped that of the young lady, he begged her to present him with the bunch of violets she had pinned to her breast, as a memento of the pleasant moments he spent in her company. She complied with his request, he gallantly kissed them and pushed them through the rubber opening of the face piece, down into his breast.

As he resumed paddling, the thought occurred to him, that the frank cordiality of the male occupants of the boat had undergone a decided change, and their farewell was a little more formal than their introduction; but he paid little attention to that and struck away for Buda Pesth with a strong steady pull, while he hummed:

"Her bright smile haunts me still."

The news of his approach had been telegraphed to Buda Pesth. When he arrived at the Hungarian capital both banks and the bridges were black with people and the cry of, "eljen Boyton, eljen America," re- echoed on every side. The warmth of his reception in Buda Pesth was simply indescribable. In narrating the story of his voyage down the Danube, he mentioned the fair vision he had encountered at Visegrad. This was duly published with his other adventures. From Buda Pesth he returned by railroad to Vienna, where he had an engagement to give an exhibition for the Boat Club. This contract being filled and free to go anywhere he wished, he followed his fancy and took the first train for Buda Pesth again. Here he gave many successful exhibitions; one of largest was for the benefit of a girl's home at was a favorite charity in Buda Pesth. At the close of the exhibition he was bewildered by the shower of flowers and bouquets thrown on him in the water. Next day he received a letter addressed, as follows: Sir Captain Paul Boyton a Buda Pesth, Hotel Europa.

The contents of the letter were:

Sir!—Accept our hearty thanks for your generous complaisance, having succored foreign interest in a foreign land. We assure you, that your name and the remembrance of your noble action never leave the hearts of these young girls, whom we can help through your beneficence to instruct them useful professions. Let me render you our thanks, we do never forget your gentlemanlike conduct.

I remain very much obliged, your esteemer ELMA HENTALLERF, Secretary; MRS. ANNA KUHNEL, President of the Union of Ladies. Buda Pesth, 1876, Sept. 18.

During all this time Paul kept his eyes wide open in the hope of again meeting the beautiful young lady, who had made such an impression on his heart. One day a Hungarian officer met him on the street and said "Captain wouldn't you like to be presented to the young lady you met on the river at Visegrad?"

"Would a duck swim?"

The officer told him to be ready that evening and he would take him around to their private box in the National Theatre. Paul was ready a couple of hours before the appointed time. They entered the box and the object of Paul's dreams arose and advancing with a charming smile, said in English:

"I'm so delighted to see you, Captain."

"Not any more than I am to see you. Why didn't you speak English to me on the river?"

"Well," she exclaimed, "I was a little confused and did not remember that Americans spoke English, but let me present you to my mother and the gentlemen."

Paul was then introduced to an Austrian officer and a count who with her mother were occupants of the box. Little attention was paid to the play going on by Paul, who kept up a running conversation in English mixed with French, with the charming girl at his side, but wily diplomat that he was, he got in an occasional remark to her mother in German. At the close of the performance, Paul offered his arm to the young lady, while the Austrian officer took the mother in tow. The other gentlemen in the party took the lead at the door. They walked leisurely home through the narrow streets and the officer who was escorting the mother clinked the scabbard of his long sword in a savage manner on the cobble stones. Before they parted at the door of her home, Paul had asked for and obtained permission to call the next day. He then turned away accompanied by the officer and walked in the direction of his hotel. The officer asked him how long he intended to remain in Buda Pesth. Paul did not give him very much satisfaction as he was running free at the time and had no course mapped out. On arriving at the hotel, the Captain invited the officer to take some refreshments. While seated at the table, the latter introduced the subject of dueling and asked Paul questions in regard to the code in America. Paul easily seeing the drift of his thoughts, entertained him with accounts of hair-raising combats with bowie knives, revolvers, shot guns and cannons, assuring him they were of frequent occurrence in the part of the States where he came from. He told the officer that he did not know one of his friends who would not rather participate in a duel than be invited to a banquet. When the warrior parted from Paul he was stuffed fell of harrowing yarns, all of which he seemed to believe, at least his demeanor was much more gentle than when he had entered the hotel. Paul remained in Buda Pesth two weeks longer than he expected, during which time he was a frequent visitor at the home of the fair Irene, where he was always welcomed by herself and parents. Then followed a trip through the principal cities of Hungary.

He then went to Italy where on the 4th of November, 1876, he started on a long voyage down the Po from Turin to the Adriatic, a distance of about six hundred and seventy miles. He was determined to make this trip in one continuous run, intending it as a feat to test his endurance. Paul's knowledge of Italian was very limited and his knowledge of the river he was about to embark on, less. All the inhabitants of Turin seemed to have turned out to see him start. To carry his provisions, map, etc., he had a little tin boat made about two feet, six inches long and eight inches wide. This little craft bore the name, "Irene D'Ungeria," Irene, belle of Hungary, and was the model from which his well known "Baby Mine" was the evolution. The weather was cold and the water intensely so. Its source was the Alps, then in plain view and covered with snow.

He started on a Saturday morning at nine o'clock. The current was exceedingly strong, rushing over gravel beds on which he frequently grounded. The country in the vicinity was very beautiful with high ground on each side. At every little village and hamlet, he was received with enthusiastic "vivas" and many were the kind invitations he was tendered to stop and take refreshments. All these he declined as he had ample provisions in his little boat for a four day's run. This boat he had attached to his belt by a line about three yards long. She behaved very well; but when he reached very violent rapids he was compelled to pick her up and place her on his legs before him. About nightfall a lady and gentleman came off in a small boat and requested him to stop for the night assuring him that the danger in the river below was very great. It contained many mills under which he might be carried; but his mind was made up and he went steadily along on his perilous voyage. The night was very cold and the struggling moon occasionally lit up the valley. He struck many times heavily on the rocks and frequently entered false channels. About three o'clock Sunday morning, he heard a loud roaring noise and supposed it to be some freight train passing over the bridge at Casale, a village below, which he considered was then near. About the same time a thick, white fog peculiar to the Po, settled over the river. Through this he picked his way cautiously and as the current swept in around the bend of the river, the noise he heard before seemed to be no great distance away. The speed of the current seemed to increase and in a few minutes afterwards, he was shot over a dam and hurled in the tumbling water below. Before he could extricate himself, the little boat had been upset and was about sinking when he grabbed her. The current soon drove him far below the dam, where he landed on a bar and emptied his tender of water. He knew her contents were ruined; but it was too dark to examine, so he kept on his voyage until sunrise, when he landed and found that all his provisions were converted into a kind of pudding, dotted with cigars instead of fruit. The small flask of Cognac and a bottle of oil were the only things uninjured. A pull at the Cognac flask served him for breakfast and he paddled away on his voyage with vigorous stroke. The sun rose that morning in a deep red color and as the rays illumined the snow clad Alps, that looked so near him, the valley of the Po and the remnants of the fog were bathed in a soft red light, so that even the very water seemed turned to blood. A sight more beautiful and peculiar than this, Paul never witnessed since or before. The river now seemed to shoot from the hills into the low land. On either side was a heavy growth of willows.

He saw no one until about nine that morning, when sweeping around a bend he came on a boat containing two men with a swivel gun, after ducks. Both men were greatly excited and one of them turned the swivel in his direction. Paul shouted vigorously at him not to fire, and fortunately he did not. He ran along side and held a conversation in the best Italian he could muster. They informed him that he was nearing the village of Frassinetto and offered him provisions. He accepted a piece of bread which he ate and again started on his journey. A couple of hours afterward he came to a flying bridge, an institution peculiar to many European rivers. It consists of a long line of small boats strung together on a heavy cable, anchored in the centre of the river. The boats supported the cable. The last boat on the line is the ferry or bridge. This is much larger than any of the others and has a steering oar. When cast away from one shore, the ferry is steered diagonally against the current to the opposite side while the line of boats supporting the cable swing with it. Paul often found these bridges exceedingly dangerous, particularly at night time. Then the ferry is always tied and the line of small boats lead from the centre to the side for about a hundred yards below. The bridge men at Frassinetto were notified of Paul's approach by his bugle and never having heard of him before, rowed out in a skiff and were very indignant when they found that he would not be rescued. All day Sunday he drove ahead on the rapid current. By consulting his maps, which he fortunately saved and dried on the deck of the Irene, he found that he could not make the run in four days as he had expected when he started. Sunday evening he obtained some provisions from a miller and though feeling very sleepy and much fatigued, he kept driving along all night. The roar of the waters as they dashed against the mills, put him on the alert. Monday morning he was faint and fast becoming exhausted; but was encouraged by the hope of soon reaching Piacenza. There he expected to meet his agent, get a little rest and a full supply of much needed provisions.

The agent in question, was a Scotchman, he had met in Milan, before going to Turin. His occupation was that of a tenor singer; but he failed to make a success of it, he was open for anything that turned up. Finding that he was a good Italian scholar, Paul engaged him. He was not exactly Paul's idea of what an agent ought to be, as he showed too much fondness for the good things of this life. When seated with a dish of cutlets and truffles flanked by a generous sized bottle of wine, he was apt to make statements that were rather unreliable. Before leaving Milan for Turin, Paul told him, as the Po was to him an unknown river, he could not tell at what time he could make on it, so that he must use his judgment from the reports he would get from above, in regard to the progress he was making down the river. He then instructed him to go to Piacenza on Saturday as he expected to be able to reach that point on Sunday evening. Paul afterwards learned that instead of waiting until Saturday; his courier, full of self importance, started for that city the same day Paul left on his way to Turin. On arriving there he introduced himself to the Sindaco and newspaper men, by whom he was feted and ample opportunity was given him to indulge in his favorite dishes. On his own responsibility, he informed the journalists that Captain Boyton would be sure to arrive on Sunday evening, and at that time almost every man, woman and child in Piacenza was on the banks of the river two miles away from the town. Finding that the Captain did not appear at the time he announced and that the crowd was getting angry, the agent slipped away and got back just in time to catch a train for Ferrara much farther down the river. Most of the crowd waited on the banks until dark, then returned and commenced to hunt for the agent; not finding him, they satisfied themselves by burning his effigy in the public square.

Monday broke on Paul, chilly and uncomfortable. Once in a while a faint gleam of sunshine would light up the river and he took advantage of any long reach before him, free from mills, to take a nap. He woke from one of these naps by hearing a cry on the banks and saw a fisherman gazing intently at the floating object. He half opened his eyes, but never made a move, curious to see what effect his presence would make on the peasant. At this time the current was setting him into the shore. The fisherman ran down along the bank to a point and there stood, pole in hand, waiting to capture what he no doubt thought was a dead body. As he was thrusting the pole out, Paul quickly assumed an upright position in the water and saluted him with the words:

"Buon giorno."

The pole dropped from his hand and with one frightened shriek he rushed up the bank and disappeared. About one o'clock the bridge at Piacenza came in sight but instead of being full of people, as he expected, Paul saw only a few working men and some soldiers. No sight of the agent was visible, so he decided to run through and stop at Cremona about thirty miles below. He saluted the workmen and soldiers as he was carried under the bridge with frightful velocity. At this time his strength was almost gone and he was heart sore that he should fail in his self-imposed task; but felt that he was able to continue on as far as Cremona, about twenty-five miles below. The day grew more dreary and it seemed to him as if it would soon commence to snow. He continued working slowly and stubbornly along, when he was arrested by a cry behind him. Coming upright and wheeling around, he saw a young officer standing in a boat pulled by about twenty pontoneers. As he shot alongside, the officer stretched forth his hand to shake Paul's and said in French:

"You must come on board and go back to Piacenza. The public are greatly disappointed. Your agent said that you would be here yesterday and a great reception was prepared for you."

Paul thanked him but firmly declined to return. The officer then asked him if he desired anything and Paul informed him that he was badly in need of provisions and some oil for his lamp. He had missed the little light on the head of the Irene during the long, lonely nights on the river.

"There is a village a couple of miles below," said the officer, "and if you will slack up a little, I will run ahead and have all you need by the time you come opposite."

The pontoneer's boat shot away and Paul followed quietly after them.

When he arrived off the village, the boat again pulled out into the stream with not only the supplies desired, but a most excellent meal, consisting of boiled eggs and other nutritious edibles, along with a bottle of fine old Barolo, the sparkling red wine of that country. While eating the food, Paul, with the boat alongside, drifted slowly with the current and during that time, he ascertained that the young officer, who had manifested so much interest in him, was the son of General Pescetta, Minister of Marine. Shortly before being overtaken by the friendly Italian, Boyton was beginning to feel terribly fatigued and had serious thoughts of throwing up the trip; but under the influence of the hearty meal and the invigorating wine, his courage was renewed and he felt he could easily complete the journey. All that day he passed through lonely and miserable looking country. Swampy lands and rice fields bordered either side of the river. About five o'clock he saw two men on the bank and called out to them, asking how far it was to Cremona:

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