Sea Scamps/Jordan Knapp, Trader
JORDAN KNAPP, TRADER
JORDAN KNAPP and I met in rather a peculiar way. We were thrown together by accident, and with such force that I was knocked on my beam-ends, and he, fouling some of my running rigging with his foot, tripped and took a header into an empty 'rickshaw standing by the curb and smashed it as flat as a pancake.
Then for a moment there was an all-round mix-up. Two or three little Jap policemen jumped on Knapp and got the strangle hold. A Yankee sailorman that was lounging past leapt into the mess and knocked over a couple of native spectators who seemed inclined to lend the policemen a hand, and a very irate and tousled shopkeeper with a cut over his eye dashed suddenly from the little shop and began to whack me with a carved bamboo stick. Then, to lend a touch of romance to the situation, a very pretty and stylishly dressed English girl came running from the same shop, and, armed with a parasol, made a flank attack on my assailant that diverted him sufficiently to let me get on my feet and knock him down.
By this time Knapp had got himself together, and having slung the policemen to right and left, stood towering in the middle of an admiring and respectful circle, like an old bull buffalo surrounded by wolves. The sailor had got hold of one of the shafts of the 'rickshaw, and was swinging it back and forth, admiring the glitter of the silver bands, and telling the crowd, in fluent and profane Irish-American, of the variety of mutilations that he would inflict for a very slight consideration. I turned to my fair rescuer to thank her for her timely aid, but she suddenly burst into tears.
"It was all my fault," she sobbed, "papa told me that these nasty little Japs would swindle one if they got a chance, but I did so want a set of those lovely little whist counters——"
"Excuse me," I said, "but would you mind telling me what all the row is about? Perhaps I can help you."
Knapp overheard me and strode over to where we were standing, scattering the crowd right and left as he came.
"I'll tell you!" he said; "I reckon that I'm going to need the most help, from the looks of things. I went into that darn store to buy some little gewgaw to send to my sister-in-law, and while I was waiting I heard that little skunk (pointing to the proprietor) getting mighty fresh to this lady. She had ordered some of these whist counters,—the kind that snap up on end,—and had paid for them in advance. When she called to get them just now she found that some of them wouldn't work. Naturally she wanted him to fix 'em the way he'd allowed to, and then he got sassy and said something he'd no business to, so I just reached for him by the scruff of the neck, and gave him a shake or two to teach him United States manners. Well, he hollered and the police came in, and if we've left anything of that store it must be all on the outside. Finally I tripped and come out head first, and if I hadn't lit in that baby-carriage, I calculate I might have cashed in. Now, never you mind at all, miss," he went on, turning to the girl; "just you take your counters and trot along. This is my row, and I calculate to get out of it without losing any more hair."
I put the girl in her 'rickshaw, and she weepingly departed with her purchase. Then I turned to Knapp. The police had got reinforcements, and were drawing up in a way that boded further trouble. The sailor was leaning on his shaft and delivering a drunken oration.
"I'll see you through this thing, if you don't mind," said I, "because I think you acted just right, and I may be able to help you. My name's Brown, and I'm from New York."
"Shake!" he said, holding out a big sinewy fist, and giving me a grip that made me squirm. " My name's Knapp, and I'm from New London."
"Good," said I; "now let's get in a 'rickshaw and go to police headquarters. Then we'll see what we can do."
"All right!" said he—"so long as they don't try to lay hands on us."
We made a very imposing procession. First came a couple of policemen, then Knapp and a policeman or two, then myself, followed by the shopkeeper and more policemen. The sailor brought up the rear, refreshing himself at intervals, and singing a coon song. We lost him before we had got very far.
When we reached headquarters I sent a note to an English resident of the place who was a friend of mine, and of some influence in the city. He soon arrived, and Knapp and I explained the difficulty.
"That's easily fixed," said he, and harangued the shopkeeper for a while. The man did not seem very well satisfied, but finally said something to the police captain, who turned to us and said that the complaint had been withdrawn, but that he would have to fine us five dollars for breach of the peace, and resisting an officer, or some such rot. The Japs are really getting very civilised. I expect it will not be very long now before they get police corruption, just like New York. My friend told us that he had impressed the shopkeeper with the idea that if he pressed the charge it would result in a boycott of his shop by foreigners.
Knapp cheerfully paid the fine, and we departed with much ceremony and many bows. He wanted to go right back to the Benten Dori and parade around, but I persuaded him to return peaceably to the Grand, where he told me that he was stopping. He wouldn't let me go, however, until I had promised to lunch with him the following day.
When I went around to the hotel the following noon, I found Knapp in the billiard room, deep in an emphatic argument on the silver question, with a hirsute compatriot from Kansas. He was illustrating the point of his remarks by frequent reference to a much scarred and battered Mexican dollar which lay in the palm of his hand, and making constant reference to the various stamps of the different banking houses with which it was indented to prove its genuineness. The moment he caught sight of me he forgot his argument, and, striding over, gave me one of those grips which I had already learned to dread.
"Just waiting for you, and trying to convert this damn-fool Hoosier to sound money in the meanwhile," he said. "Let's have lunch at one. Boles 'll be back then, and I want you to meet him."
"Who's Boles?" I asked.
"Oh, he's my partner—in a way," he answered vaguely. "He'll be back in a little while. Play pool?"
"Yes," I answered; "I'm fairly good at most useless accomplishments."
"That sounds like Boles," he said a little curiously. "What is your business, Mr. Brown, if you don't mind my asking?"
"Not a bit. I'm a painter—an artist," said I, seeing that he looked a little puzzled.
"You don't say—now who would have thought it; why do you know I sized you up as a keen business man—a promoter or something like that? Did you come 'way out here to paint pictures?"
"Yes, partly, and partly for the trip." I saw that he was dying to ask me if I was a man of independent means, but with all of his Yankee practicality, Knapp was a man of more than a little tact and delicacy, as I afterwards discovered.
The marker set up the balls and Knapp broke safe. Now, if there is any one place where I do excel, it's at a billiard or pool table. Without boasting, I can honestly say that I have seldom struck the amateur that could beat me on a long score. Probably the man never lived who could not excel in some particular direction if he only was fortunate enough to find out, first, wherein his talent lay, and second, to make the most of it when discovered. I take naturally to the ivories, and knowing that I'm good at this one thing if at nothing else, I don't hesitate to say so in advance. I'm not one of those star players who say how useless they are, and then beat a man all to pieces and make him feel badly. Those chaps usually spot a man about fifteen balls, beat him at that, and then apologise for being in such poor form.
Knapp and I played three full strings in—well, never mind how many minutes. I was in my very best form, and he has since told me that he was also. Before we had been at it long we had all the loungers in the hotel around the table. Neither of us could seem to miss a shot, and when one began to play the other would sit down and light a fresh cigar. Knapp would sprawl that great frame of his across the table,—he never once used the bridge,—his big deeply lined features would freeze for a moment, while his keen grey eye glanced around the cushions, then he would shoot, and the ball would glance or carom to its pocket as straight as a die.
I beat him every string by one point, which really is no beat at all. We sat down amid a murmur of applause, and chatted for a while. He said that I was the first man that had ever beaten him three straight strings, but he was not at all sore, because he said that he had never played better pool in his life.
Knapp had his back to the door and I was facing him. While we were talking, a man came to the door and took a quick survey of the room. He was a fine-looking chap, of about middle age, with a strong athletic-looking figure, and a face that combined force of will with intellectuality and culture; the face of a general after a long, hard campaign, or that of an explorer who carries in his mind the ineradicable pictures of untold horrors. I was so fascinated by him that I forgot to listen to what Knapp was just then saying. He noticed my preoccupation and looked around to discover the cause.
"Why, there's Dr. Boles now!" he exclaimed.
The doctor saw us then, and came quickly over. I noticed that everyone turned to look at him again as he passed. He was really a strikingly handsome man, but it wasn't that which compelled attention as much as the hard, masterful expression about his mouth and eyes. Still, when all was said, I do not think that his personality seemed any stronger than that of the big New Englander beside me, only that of the doctor was more concentrated. Taking them together, I thought, they were a combination with which few would venture to meddle.
Knapp introduced us in his careless, offhand way, and Dr. Boles gave me his hand with a smile that was singularly winning.
"Mr. Knapp told me of the good turn you did him yesterday," he said; " I'm very glad to meet you, because otherwise there was danger of my getting tired of hearing about you."
"And now he's got a fresh grip on me by knocking me out at pool," Knapp cut in.
"Did you beat him at pool?" said the doctor in surprise. "Good; these Yankees need a setback once in a while to keep them where they belong."
"And you darned Britishers need an all-fired yank by the collar to keep you up in the front of the procession—where you don't belong," said Knapp.
It was always that way. Boles was forever getting in some really unnecessary thrust, to which Knapp would respond by a retort as rough and jagged and abrupt as the rock-bound hills from which he came, but they never carried it beyond that. There were never two men, I am sure, who respected one another more and approved one another less.
I don't think that I have ever enjoyed a luncheon more than I did that day. Aside from the interest which their characters afforded, both men were full of anecdote and reminiscence of the most fascinating description, the Englishman talking in a quiet and often very instructive manner, and the Yankee presenting people and incidents in a half-humourous way, striking in similes and antithetical comparisons, and despite his humour, or perhaps because of it, endowing the listener with his own shrewd power of analysis and observation. One of the most conspicuous qualities of his conversation was the constant thread of loyalty to his own place and people that was woven throughout his whole discourse. He did not say that there were no places in the world that could take precedence in usefulness or beauty over his own little "Nutmeg State"; he simply conveyed the idea that if there were such places, he had yet to see them, and that if he did see them he would want someone to tell him of it at the time, as otherwise he doubted that he would know it.
When we had finished luncheon we went out on the verandah in front, where we had a smoke and a talk, and watched the shore boats and sampans plying back and forth from the different vessels to the beach. One of the big Maru steamers was coming up the bay, and we watched her long, trim, yacht-like hull slip swiftly up to its berth. Launches were bouncing back and forth from the men-o'-war, little sails twinkled nimbly in and out behind the great resting seafarers, and the whole scene was so filled with life and colour that I became distrait in contemplation of it all. Boles' voice roused me.
"What are your favourite subjects, Mr. Brown? I suppose I ought to know, but we globe-trotters and exiles soon lose track of the arts of peace—eh, Knapp?"
"I paint marines chiefly," said I, a little nettled. It really seemed as if he ought to have heard something of my academy picture of the beach at Mogi.
"You don't say. Been a great deal at sea, I presume."
"On the contrary," said I, "the voyage out here is the only sea trip that I have ever taken."
Boles looked surprised, then thoughtful.
"I don't see how a man can properly translate the sea until he has seen it from every point of view, in every phase, in all of its different moods. I have spent much of my life upon the sea, but I learn something new about it with every meeting—and probably always will."
"I have seen the ocean in all its moods, I think—from the shore," said I.
"Ah, from the shore—but that is quite different. There you get the sight, but not the feeling, of the sea. To be sure, where the waves break they are most furious, but one feels their impotence. That is not the feeling of the sea. That is simply the feeling of the land. On the deep sea, 'way off soundings, there seems no limit to its power. Along the shore it is trammelled. It is the difference between seeing a tiger in a cage and seeing him slipping toward you through the striped jungle-grass. No—to paint a great picture of the sea you must have seen it from the wet, slippery, slanting deck of a small sailing vessel, with the glass and the sun going down and the wind and the sea rising. Your head must have reeled with the quick, swooping plunge from the crest of one great swell to the trough of the next; your face must have stung with the lash of the spray, and your ears rung with the scream of the wind aloft, while the salt brine trickles down into your mouth. Then you may carry away in your heart a picture that will make you famous with a fame that will live forever!"
He leaned forward on the arms of the chair and looked at me with parted lips and sparkling eyes. It was easy to guess the name of this man's mistress. Even Knapp seemed interested.
"Yes," he said, nodding; "I guess the doctor's about right—and think of the money you'd get for pictures with all that in 'em."
Boles gave a short laugh. "Yes," he said, "I forgot that—think of the money."
"What you say is very true," I answered, "and I have often realised it in my work. Art, of course, is not reproduction, it is interpretation; and one can't interpret what one has never felt, as you say. For that reason I have never attempted what you might call a deep-sea painting. My work has all been along the shore."
"Then I think that I can safely predict that you will never be quite contented until you have tackled Old Ocean in her unfettered might," said Boles with a smile.
"I believe you are right," I answered. "In fact, I have several times been on the verge of taking a voyage on a sailing ship, but every time something has happened at the last moment to prevent me, or else I have lost my nerve about it."
"Oh, I don't know. The dread of the unknown probably, and then I'm a poor sailor."
"You'd soon get over that. And it would do you a world of good. Pardon me if I seem personal, but you look as if you had been bent over an easel too much of late. An artist of any sort—a painter or writer or musician—has as much need of flesh and blood as a blacksmith. Think of the vitality that goes into a Turner, or a book like 'Les Misérables,' or the Liebestod from 'Tristan und Isolde.' Why, man, after the nor'east monsoon had blown through your brain for a fortnight, and you had watched the great mellow tropic moon rise out of a silent starlit sea, you could paint pictures such as you never dream of now, I don't care how good your work."
"Better chuck your duds into your kit and come along with us," said Enapp.
"Go with you where?" I asked in surprise
"Knapp has anticipated me as usual," said the doctor. "It's like this, Mr. Brown. We've got a tight little schooner that we picked up at quite a bargain, and we've just finished fitting out for a trading cruise around the Philippine Archipelago. I have done a good deal of that sort of thing, and understand the business, and we are both old sailormen. I've got four big crates of trading junk that a friend of mine, who is the captain of a transport, brought out from the States and has left in Manila for me—condemned cutlery, gewgaws, Yankee notions, beads, and all that sort of truck. We will get a Chino cook and a couple of Filipino boys to pull and haul and run aloft, but we want another white, man, more for company than anything else. If you want to come along as our guest I'll guarantee to teach you practical seamanship. You would be under no obligation to us whatever, as you could spell us when we wanted to go ashore together for any reason, and do not want to leave the schooner with the boys."
Knapp nodded. "Yes," he said, "and if you want to take a little share in the venture, just to give you an interest in the game, why we're perfectly agreeable—but do just as you please about that."
I looked from one to the other in much perplexity and doubt.
"Gentlemen," said I, "this is a very generous proposition, but it is so unexpected that I don't just know how to regard it "
"Well," drawled Knapp, "let's put it on a business basis, then you can tell better how you stand. Boles and I have got this schooner and we're going to run over to Manila and get our trading stuff, and then take a cruise around the open ports of the southern islands of the group, on the lookout for a cargo of hemp, which is 'way up just now—tobacco, coffee, copra, curios, pearls, silks, piño, or any darn thing we can lay hands on at a reasonable bargain. Some of the time we'll both want to go ashore, and as we don't want to leave the vessel with only the natives aboard, we want another white man to take charge when we're away. Or perhaps we might want him to attend to something ashore. Afloat you can take your trick or not—just as you choose. And as I said, if you want to take a little share in the thing, why go ahead. The rest of the time you can paint and sketch, and potter around to your heart's content."
"It sounds very attractive," said I. "Do you mind if I think it over and let you know to-morrow?"
"Not a bit; rather you would, in fact. We expect to clear in three days."
"Very well," said I; "then I'll leave you now, and meet you here in the morning?"
"All right—and mind you make your plans to come," said Knapp. "Good-bye!"
I left them in rather a dazed condition, and went back to my studio. At first I had no idea whatever of accepting the proposition; first, because I knew nothing of the men, but chiefly because I am of an æsthetic rather than adventurous disposition, and the thought of crossing the China Sea and cruising for an indefinite period in unknown waters, and amidst hostile and savage people, was rather terrifying. But what Dr. Boles had said about my art had struck a very responsive chord, and really, when I come right down to it, I believe I have more physical courage than I realise. Knapp has since told me that when things really look threatening I am "as sandy as a bull-pup."
Another reason for my wanting to go was on account of what the doctor had said about my physical condition and appearance. I had been a little worried about myself for the last month, as I seemed to have got into a sort of acute nervous condition, which I attributed to overwork, and perhaps a few more Scotch-and-sodas than I really required. But, worst of all, I could no longer deny that the quality of my work was deteriorating, and rather than that I would go to almost any extreme.
The next morning, however, all of my misgivings returned, and a lot of new ones besides. By the time that I reached the hotel I had finally made up my mind to call the thing off. Boles met me on the verandah.
"Good-morning!" he said cheerily. "Well, I see you have decided to go with us."
"Eh—yes," said I; "I've decided to go," and then I felt much better. Although I had known these two men but a day, I instinctively gave them my confidence. And I was greatly reassured by the knowledge that if I did get sick there was a doctor right at hand, upon whose strength I felt that I could lean. Knapp had told me that Dr. Boles had once been a surgeon of considerable prominence in London, and that he had given up his profession owing to some discredit that was brought upon him on account of his having once performed a daring and original operation on some case without the knowledge or consent of the family. The patient died, and the doctor was so severely censured that he gave up the practice of his profession, and had since led a wandering life.
Knapp came in shortly, and when he learned that I had made up my mind to go, held out his hand, but I had learned better than to put my own into that jaw-trap, so we went in and had a drink instead. Of course I had no desire to take any share in the enterprise, as I have as much money as I am ever likely to need, but I stocked our lockers well up with the best bottled hardware there was to be had in Yokohama. I did not think that Dr. Boles was any too keen about my contribution to the mess, and I was rather glad of it on the whole, though I had already seen that neither he nor Knapp were what might be called drinking men.
We sailed the last of that week, and, as I had expected, for the first twenty-four hours my life wasn't worth a dead fish. Time and again I was on the point of offering Knapp and Boles any price they wanted, even to the point of buying the schooner outright, to set me back on the beach. But I managed to refrain, both from pride and from the strong premonition that they wouldn't do it for any price. When finally I managed to crawl on deck the second day I was forced to acknowledge that Boles was right in saying that there was a lot for me to feel and see before I would be able to catch the spirit of the sea, but before I had been on deck an hour I began to think more kindly of the long stretch ahead of us, also of an egg and a cup of coffee.
The northeast monsoon was blowing a piping twenty-knot breeze over our starboard quarter, and the schooner was tearing along under a jib, forestaysail, foresail, and mainsail, with her port scuppers almost awash, and the big following seas swelling high under her stern as they boosted her along. Knapp wanted to set the maintopsail, but Boles said that she was trimmed by the head as it was, and he pointed out how she would bury her bows when she yawed off with a big sea under her stern. At the time I did not understand any of those things, but Boles began my nautical education just as soon as I was able to get around, and it wasn't long before I knew that schooner as I know my box of colours. She certainly was a beauty, and as I grew wiser in shiplore I saw why Boles had bought her in Yokohama and sailed her to Manila in preference to getting one of the dumpy wind-scows used in and about the latter place. She was of the regular island type of schooner, but rather smaller than most of them, and had been built for a yacht.
The next morning the monsoon was roaring away with about the same velocity and almost in the same quarter, and Boles said that it would probably carry us right down to the eastern coast of Luzon without shifting or dropping. The fourth day out we sighted some of the Loo Choo Islands, and from that time on sighted some land almost every day. If the glass had commenced to drop, we would have made more easting so as to get out of their neighbourhood, but there was never a sign of bad weather or any of those terrific typhoons that, in certain seasons, sweep down just in the course that we were taking. On the sixth day we sighted the island of Formosa, or Tai Wan, which was ceded to Japan by China in 1895. Three days later the coast of Luzon loomed up early in the morning on our port bow. From there on we had variable winds, and not until four days later did we sight Merivalles Mountain, which lies at the entrance to Manila Bay, and which, for some reason or other. Boles cursed heartily. Knapp and I were glad to see it. We ran past Corregidor and up to the city, dropping our anchor behind the breakwater, and Boles immediately went in with his papers to report to the captain of the port.
Everything was all right, so the next day we had our trading stuff towed out to us in a casco, and also stocked up our commissary again, so that by evening we were ready for sea. I very much wanted to spend a few days in the place, both on account of its historic interest, and also to make a few sketches, but, of course, all delay was a matter of dollars and cents to Knapp and Boles. The latter was ashore until after dark, and when he came off I saw that he had heard something of interest.
"Come below," he said to Knapp and me; "I have just got wind of a good thing."
We went down into the cabin, and Boles hauled some charts out of his locker and spread them on the table.
"I have just learned from a friend of mine ashore, who is in a good position to know all about these things, that there is a fine, fat cargo of hemp waiting for the first comer at Mayongong, a little place in the south of Samar—ah, here it is. It seems that the port has not been opened yet, but there will be no difficulty in our getting the stuff if we can only manage to reach there before a certain little brigantine that left here yesterday on the same errand. There is a handsome commission on it if we win out, and not much lost if we don't. Now, what do you say? shall we have a go at it? Strictly speaking, it's against the law; but the offence is only a technical one."
I looked at Knapp, who grinned.
"That seems to be our specialty, doc—to correct these fool regulations. Let's have a go at it. It 'll be easy enough to pick up a little more somewheres else and change the figures on the manifest."
"No," said Boles, "we can't do that exactly, but I think I know how we can arrange it all right. Well, on the jump, boys—we're cleared and can't afford to waste any time. These little coasting coffins are slow as death and nothing like as sure, but a day's a big start, and it's only a matter of five hundred miles or so. We'll have our chin when we get under way."
He jumped up through the companionway, we right behind him, and the next moment he was hammering on the scuttle of the forehatch to break out our three native boys, while Knapp and I set to work casting off the stops of the foresail. After that I swarmed out on the bobstays and cleared the jib, while the Chings manned the windlass and Knapp and Boles started to get the foresail on her. When they got the chain short up, all hands of us lay aft on the mainsail halliards, and I'll bet that the big sail had never before gone up so quickly. Boles took the wheel and the rest of us manned the windlass and broke out the anchor, and then I ran up the jib and hauled it flat. She paid off quickly before the little night breeze that is always wafted from the land in tropical countries after the sun is set, and once more we were under way. The big hospital ship loomed right across our bows as, with the wind abeam, we ran out along the breakwater, and when we passed close under her stem I could look through the windows of her deckhouses and see the doctor making his evening rounds through the clean, bright, sparkling ward, with its electric fans and lights, and beds with fresh white linen. There were some officers sitting on the hurricane deck, and we could hear their laughter and the tinkle of a mandolin. Outside the breakwater the big transports and men-o'-war were lying, blazes of light above phantom, ghost-white hulls. Far to the northward a gunboat, hull down over the horizon, was signalling with her search-light, and we could see the great luminous ray sweeping the heavens back and forth.
We rounded the end of the breakwater, and, slacking our sheets, stood away toward Corregidor, and soon the myriad lights of the Luneta twinkled dim and indistinct. Our topsails and staysail were quickly set, and the slap-slap of the little waves under her forefoot grew faster and faster as she gathered way. Soon the lights of the city faded, and by midnight we were drawing into the channel to the southeast of Corregidor.
The following morning we worked down along the shore past Taal, and by two o'clock were beating through the San Bernardino Channel. It was fortunate that the wind held, as I do not think that we could possibly have done it at night, and Boles would have certainly attempted it rather than anchor and wait for the dawn.
We were becalmed all the following night, for which I was duly grateful, as I had no wish to be shipwrecked on those hostile shores, but Boles fumed and swore, and Knapp whistled for the breeze, spat over the rail, and finally took to throwing pennies into the water. It is all very well to talk of the folly of superstition and all that, but I have noticed that at sea the most practical of men will seek to propitiate the fickle goddess in the most childish way. Omens and hoodoos don't work so well on the land because there are so many cross currents to counteract them; on a great, simple element like the sea, however, they are more apt to run their course unless diverted by some counter spell. And people feel this. It must be something more than a mere idle fancy when a hard-headed, practical Yank like Jordan Knapp gets to throwing money overboard to bring a breeze, even if it is only a quarter of a cent or so.
It was of no use, however. There we lay absolutely motionless, for we were off Marinduque Island and completely land-locked, the high hills of Mindoro completely blanketing us from any breeze that might have cut in from the China Sea. Our only hope and consolation was that our unconscious adversary might have caught the same streak of calm.
The next morning we caught a nice little slant from the sou'west which, though it headed us a little, was much better than none. Boles longed to run down through the San Juanico Straits, between Samar and Leyte, and if we had only had a fair wind and tide we could have saved at least 150 miles by doing so. But, as it was, he decided that the risk was too great, as it is a narrow, winding place through which the tide tears like a mill-race. Besides, in many places we would have been within easy rifle range of the shore, and we had heard in Manila that the place swarmed with hostile Filipinos. So we had to go away down through the Surigao Straits.
Although Knapp and Boles were constantly chafing at the delay, the trip was a delightful one for me. I never tired of watching the bold, rugged, mountainous islets rising purple and saffron-tinted from that sparkling azure sea. The glorious tropic cloud effects of sunrise and sunset were a constant joy to me, and never have I got such impressions of high lights and half-tones as came at those quick, transient moments of maddeningly elusive tints that come between the bright, sparkling day and the soft, tropic night. I made studies galore, and having the true artistic spark—as I think—glowed and expanded under the warm praise of both of my companions. My most enthusiastic critics, however, were our little Jap sailors, who, when Boles was below, would often sneak behind me and peer over my shoulder with fascinated eyes and give delighted little grunts when, with a few quick strokes, I would bring out some bold effect of light and shadow.
It was not until the sixth day after we left Manila that we entered San Pedro Bay, and drew near to our destination. I was down in the cabin shaving, because I always like to keep well "policed," as Boles calls it, even at sea, when a bellow of rage from Knapp brought me flying up the companionway, under the impression that some calamity had occurred. And apparently it had.
We were rounding the point, and there, just off the village, lay a schooner very much like our own!
It was certainly discouraging. To have worked and worried as we had, won our race through dangerous and unknown waters, and then to find an unlooked-for rival already on the ground was enough to make one swear. Knapp evidently thought so.
We held a little conference, and it was decided that Knapp and I should go ashore and see how the ground lay, while Boles remained on the schooner as a sort of reserve. Here I was able to be of some service to my mates, as I had spent several years studying in Europe, and could speak Spanish like a native. Boles could speak good Spanish, too, but Knapp, when speaking to any foreigner, simply raised his voice to a shout, making up in volume what he lacked in intelligibility.
We dropped into our dinghy and pulled ashore in some uncertainty. A few natives came down to the beach to see us land, and seemed quiet and friendly. One of them showed us to the presidente's house. He told us on the way that the presidente was in conversation with the señors from the other vessel, which had just arrived that morning from Cebu.
As we drew near, we heard the quick patter of voices raised in argument, and occasionally a staccato laugh. Then we were discovered, for the voices ceased, and the presidente himself came out to greet us.
I wished him "good-day," and for a while we talked in a circle, exchanging compliments and felicitations. He was a rather good-looking Spanish-Visayan mestizo, and seemed a person of breeding and poise. Soon I introduced Knapp, who crumpled his paw, and I explained that we were Englishmen and on a little trading cruise, and hearing so much of the wealth and resource of his well-known city, as well as of the great personal charm of its presidente, we had put in while passing, to give ourselves the pleasure of paying our respects and making his acquaintance, and casually to see if, perhaps, he might happen to have a few bags of coffee, a little tobacco, or possibly some hemp, which just now was of little value owing to the cursed Americanos.
He threw both hands above his head with a gesture of despair.
"Ah, amigo, why did not the blessed Virgin send you an hour earlier! It is true that the storehouse yonder is full of hemp which I have been saving for the rise in price that I thought was sure to come as a result of the interruption of the industry by these cursed Americanos. But at last I am obliged to let it go, for how otherwise can my son Emilio pursue his studies in Paris, where he has gone to become a famous artist? Already he has painted a fresco of the Passion for our cathedral, which you see across the square. This morning the Carmen has arrived from Cebu, and I have just agreed to deliver the hemp at a most ruinous price,—a half, indeed, of what it has cost me to get the crop,—but what would you have? Emilio must not go hungry."
"Alas," said I, "I can indeed feel for your anxiety as a parent, which does you infinite credit, also your solicitude concerning your son's career. I also am an artist in a poor way," and I showed him my half-filled sketch-book. He turned the leaves in great delight.
"San Diego!—but the señor is a great master. Seldom has it been my fortune to gaze upon such work." Surprising as it may seem, some of these Filipinos are really exceedingly good art critics. "Oh, that my son Emilio were only here! Sacremento!—here is the mouth of the Pasig, and here Corregidor with the sun going down behind it—it is indeed wonderful!"
"That's right. Brown, jockey him along," remarked Knapp behind me. Somehow that irritated me, but it brought my mind back to the matter in hand. I led the presidente to the corner of the verandah.
"It grieves me, señor," said I, "that Emilio might have to be disappointed in the amount of his remittance. Rather than have that happen would it not be well, perhaps, to let us have this hemp at a little higher price?"
"Ah, the English señor is indeed my friend, but it is impossible. These men are old acquaintances of mine—and desperate characters. If I were to play them false, who knows? It is possible that they might burn my village!"
I held a short conference with Knapp, in which I told him what I had learned. His mouth puckered, and he drew his great brows together in thought. Then his face expressed a sudden inspiration.
"Ask him when he's got to deliver the cargo," he said. I did so.
"To-night," replied the Spaniard; "as soon as the coolies can bring the cascos down the river, which will be at about ten o'clock."
"Ask him if he minds telling you how much he is to get for his darn hemp," Knapp said again.
The señor hesitated a moment, but thinking no doubt that it really made no difference since the stuff was as good as sold, told me. The price was indeed ridiculously small. In confirmation, he showed me a roughly drafted contract from the owners of the schooner to pay the money down as soon as the hemp should be delivered on board. This I showed to Knapp, who studied it carefully.
"Now, kid," he said at length excitedly, "is the chance for you to get in your fine work. Tell this old greaser that, although disappointed in getting our cargo, we bear no ill-will, and invite him and these other greasers out aboard to lunch. Tell 'em we've got a bully cook, and the best booze that money can buy. They'll come—or greasers are a lot different in this part of the world than they are anywhere else. Then we'll go back aboard and talk to Boles. I've got a plan—just listen to that!" A roar of boisterous laughter came from the house. "Said they'd burn his village, did he? We'll teach 'em—the bloodthirsty pirates."
I failed utterly to follow his train of thought, but did as he told me. The presidente was apparently delighted.
"The señor honours me; it would afford me the greatest pleasure. And if the señors will condescend to enter my poor house we will have a flask of Madeira, and you shall meet these others—the ladrones that they are. But you must not be offended if they are somewhat noisy, for they have just finished two bottles of my best."
With some ceremony he showed us up the stairs, for the house, like most of the more pretentious Filipino dwelling-houses, was of the Spanish style of architecture, having the entrance for vehicles under the dwelling portion. As we went up the steps there came another roar of laughter from the parlour, followed by the crash of breaking crockery. A look of agony came over the face of our host.
"Ah, the pigs! they are not satisfied to ruin me in purse, but must demolish my dwelling as well. Madre de Dios—but listen to them!"
It was evident that our competitors were getting pretty well along. As we entered the room we saw a picture that reminded me of some of the tales of the early buccaneers that I was so fond of reading as a boy. One of the Spanish traders, a big, hairy, muscular brute of most villainous countenance, had captured a pretty little Filipina, or, I expect more probably, mestiza girl, who, from her marked resemblance to our host, I strongly suspected of a blood-relationship to him. He was holding her tightly clasped in one big knotted arm, pinning her arms to her side, while with the other he unsteadily jammed a goblet of rum to her lips. The other scoundrel, a wiry, cadaverous, wicked-looking devil, was holding her round little chin in his skinny, hairy paw, while the other was wrapped two or three times around a rum-puncheon that he held in his lap. As we came in he raised this above the frightened girl's head.
"Eh bueno,' he snapped; "if the little fool refuses to take the sacrament, then must we baptise her," and with these words he emptied the fiery stuff on the poor girl's head so that it ran down into her eyes and made her scream with pain. I felt our poor host's hand close on my arm with an agonised grip while an involuntary gasp of anguish escaped from his lips. It was more than I could stand, and I leaped forward to do I don't know what, but Knapp's iron grip fell on my shoulder and pinned me in my tracks.
"Hold on, kid," he said in a most peculiar voice, "sit tight and keep your eye on the ball, as Boles says. These swill-tubs 're going to pay for this before we get through with them or I'm a Frenchman. But there's no hurry. Do as I tell you now and try not to give yourself away."
It was hard work, but with a voice that choked a little in spite of me, I spouted a few compliments, and invited the scoundrels off to dinner that noon. They accepted effusively, but my patience was about gone, so telling them that we would look for them, Knapp and I left. When we were walking back to our boat, I turned to him, my voice trembling with suppressed anger.
"Now, for Heaven's sake, will you tell me why you want that slime out on our schooner? If that kind of thing is to be my job, you'd better look around for a new boy right off."
He grinned and patted me on the shoulder.
"Don't you worry, sonny, you'll have a chance to get even before you're many hours older. Your Uncle Jordan's got a plan, a little scheme to teach these gents a lesson—and get that hemp at the same time, just by way of illustration. It 'll be a sort of illustrated lecture on the folly of intemperance." He laughed softly.
He didn't speak again until we got out aboard. Then we went below and told Boles of all that had happened. Before I had finished a light came into his eye and he began to grin as Knapp was doing. But it was a grin that showed his teeth a bit.
"Savvy?" said Knapp, when I had finished.
"I think so," said Boles, "but it's a slightly dangerous game, and we've got no right to mix Brown up in it without his permission." He turned to me. "Knapp's scheme is this, Brown: to get these two scoundrels off here and lay the keel for a jag—a sea-going jag that will last for twelve hours or so. Then, when they're well sewed up, to take 'em back aboard their schooner and leave them. In the meanwhile we'll do a little financiering with the presidente, and make it worth his while to have his shipping-clerk, or whoever has charge of the loading, being foully deceived by us, mistake our schooner for the Spaniards', and deliver the stuff to us. The presidente's agent will receive from me the sum agreed upon, for which he will receipt. He has never seen either of our friends, so it will be easy for me to impersonate the Spanish captain. You and Knapp will have to be the reception committee and entertain our friends while I have a chin-chin with the señor. Of course he runs a little risk, but he is paid for that, and a few pesos to the Spaniards will square things. In case there is any delay in loading, or getting out of this hole to-morrow morning, it is easily possible that we may have a little fight on our hands. Now what do you say?"
What was I to say? What would any man with a spark of spirit have said? And really, as I believe I remarked before, I am by no means devoid of physical courage when I feel that I am in the right. Although small in stature, and if I have led a life of ease and luxury, and more or less coddling until my aunt died a year ago, I have always felt that, under certain conditions, I might really become a very dangerous man. Knapp thinks I might, and even Boles has complimented me at times on not being afraid. Besides, the thought of that mestiza girl was smouldering inside me, and I wanted to see the brutes that had maltreated her get their deserts. I didn't quite like the hemp part of it, but of course Boles and Knapp weren't on a yachting trip, if I was.
"As far as I'm concerned, go ahead," said I; "entertaining's my long suit, and if I can't beat that hairy gorilla to death as I'd like to, perhaps I can drink him to death, or into 'D. T.'s.'"
I dodged the slap on the shoulder that I saw coming from Knapp.
"That's the talk, youngster. We'll make a roaring buccaneer of you yet. Now let's unlimber for the fray."
A little after twelve we saw our guests making their way uproariously down to the beach, and a few minutes later their outrigger was alongside. Although they had been hard at it all the morning, they had by no means reached the limit of their capacity. At first they were a little reticent, but after emptying a glass or two of cognac to our better acquaintance, and finding that Boles and I could chatter with them neck and neck, they threw off their reserve and became the brutal wild animals that they were. I really felt sorry for the poor presidente, who, although the ancestors on his mother's side may have been head-hunters and perhaps cannibals, was still very much of a gentleman in his manners, and seemed sorely embarrassed for the behaviour of his friends.
After we had drunk a bottle of cognac, I remarked that it was very hot below, and, rising, suggested that we go on deck and sit under the awning. The two Spaniards followed me, and as the second one came up the ladder, looking back, I saw Boles lay a detaining hand upon the shoulder of the presidente, who had risen to follow. Taking my cue from this, I jawed my loudest, encouraging them to do the same, which was not difficult, as the brandy, on top of all the wine they had drunk that morning, seemed to act as sort of a spur to their powers of conversation.
Pretty soon Boles and the presidente came on deck, and I could see from the thoughtful air of the latter that the doctor had been sounding him a little, though I felt quite sure that he had not made any definite proposition. Boles told me afterwards that his idea was simply to suggest a train of thought that would give the señor the opportunity to broach the subject himself later on. Of course, in that case, we would be in a better position to make a bargain. At any rate, it served to keep him sober and thoughtful.
Our Chinese cook gave us a very good dinner indeed, and, from the way those two swine laid into the "chow," I began to doubt if the capture of the hemp would pay for the hole they made in the stores.
We went rather easy on the drink, as it would not do to put them out of commission too early in the day. About eight bells, however. Boles rose and told them that, as a proof of the ineffable joy it gave him to meet three such distinguished men and charming companions, he was going to give himself the great pleasure of compounding a "British Navy punch" in their honour. With that he raked out a bowl and a bottle of about every different kind of liquor we had in our wine-locker, and set to work. What he put in that foul decoction I know, because I know about what we had, but the proportions will always remain a dark secret. When finished, it was a rather pleasant and harmless enough tasting prescription, but, as Knapp afterward said, "It was sighted for five thousand yards, and ten drops was a dose for an adult." Boles served it out in long whiskey-and-soda goblets. Of course if Knapp and I had had any sense we would have gotten rid of ours over the side, but, somehow, that struck me as unsportsmanlike, and he afterwards said that he felt the same way. As for Boles himself, nothing short of sulphuric acid could have ever put his steady head on the bias.
We stuck at it, drink for drink, for about four rounds, and then the blow fell. We seemed suddenly to have run into a fogbank—then it cleared a bit and I saw the two Spaniards dancing furiously up and down, locked in one another's arms—and wondered how they ever managed to do it with the schooner on her beam ends. Thereupon I was lost in admiration for their cleverness, and wanted to go over and embrace them, as they weren't such bad fellows after all! But when I got up, a swell must have gotten under her, for the deck rose with me. About this time I discover that I was very warm and perspiring freely, so the joyous idea occurred to me to take a swim, and with that object in view I hastily began to divest myself of my clothes, but a sudden heave of the vessel, coming most inopportunely while I was standing oh one leg to pull the other through my trousers, upset me and I went over into the scuppers—wonderful how soft the deck was—I had never noticed it before! I dimly overheard Boles saying to the presidente: "And then Emilio might take a course at Juliens——" I felt very tired, and the last impression that I was conscious of was of Knapp leaning back in his chair and bawling at the top of his lungs:
"I cracked my whip and the leader spr-u-ung.
And the off horse broke the wagon tongue."
When I awoke, it seemed to me that I had just gone over Niagara Falls, and was about to enter the rapids. I rose suddenly upright, and it did not need the thump that I gave my head on the deck above to remind me that I had one. Knapp was standing beside my bunk with a grin on his face and an empty bucket in his hand. Behind was Boles, wearing a worried look.
"How do you feel?" he asked anxiously.
"Oh, not so bad; I'm more used to this kind of hardship," said I, beginning to "take notice."
"What time is it?"
"Morning or evening?"
"Morning," he answered with a bit of a smile. "Getting your bearings?"
"Yes," said I, thinking a bit. "We had a time, didn't we? How about the hemp?"
"Come on deck if you feel able," said he. "It's interesting up there."
I got to my feet, very dizzy and sick and sore. But it was always my curse to feel no after-affects to speak of; if I had, it would have been much better for me, I suppose. I never yet knew of a man with a weak stomach getting "D. T.'s." The companionway was a stiff proposition, but, once up, the cool air revived me.
The schooner was still at anchor, but her main and fore-sails were set, and the anchor hove short up. The decks were covered with long, golden-yellow hemp fibres, seeing which my eyes came open wider still.
"For the Lord's sake——" I began in amazement, but Boles tapped me on the shoulder.
"Oh, never mind that," he said. "Look over there!"
I looked, and what I saw sobered me up like a cold plunge. Just under our stern lay the schooner of our rivals, and astern of her, not a cable's length away, there lay a newcomer, a little brigantine of about our own tonnage. Her boat lay alongside the schooner, but no one was in sight. I looked aloft, then on all sides. Not a breath of air was stirring.
"The plot thickens," said I, turning to Boles.
"Well, rather. There are four white men on that new chap, and I don't know how many natives. The worst of it is that we were taking on the last of that hemp when the brig came in. Otherwise we might slip out before they got wind of what was up."
"What's to be done?" I asked.
"It's rather hard to say, but I shouldn't wonder if Knapp had the right idea."
I looked around, and there sat Knapp on the edge of the hatch cleaning a rifle.
A noise astern of us caught our ears. We looked back and saw four men come up the after companion of the schooner. Boles levelled his glass.
"There are our friends of yesterday," he remarked, "and they act as if they were vexed about something."
My ear was caught by a little flapping noise aloft. Looking up I saw the mainsail gently stirred. Outside a dark blue streak appeared on the horizon. A puff of air caught my cheek.
"Hooray," I exclaimed; "there comes the breeze!"
"Yes," said Knapp, "and here come the greasers."
We looked astern and saw that the boat had put off from the schooner and was heading for us. The sun sparkled on some bright objects in her stern-sheets. At the same moment another boat, which we had not noticed before, left the schooner and headed for the brig.
"Heave up your hook," said Boles; "run up your headsails—quick, before that boat gets here!"
Knapp and I jumped forward, but as I went I threw a look over my shoulder and saw that the mainsail on the schooner was going up. The brig had not yet furled her canvas, having probably decided that they were too late. As I pulled and hauled and yelled at our Japs, I heard the clank of her windlass going round and the clink and clatter of the chain cable running through the hawse-pipe. We worked like Trojans, but the water was deep, and before the anchor came in sight Boles called Knapp and me aft. The Japs kept right on heaving. Without a word Knapp jumped below and brought up two rifles and two cartridge belts, one of which he buckled on, handing the other to me. Boles had already equipped himself.
"Now, kid," he said, "just do as your uncle Boles tells you, and don't do anything until he tells you.
"Lie on your bellies behind the bulwarks," said Boles, "and keep those chaps in the stern covered. You can aim through the scuppers, and if one of that crowd points a gun this way, knock him over—and don't waste any time about it."
"Kaiya-aa matee!" sung out one of our Japs from the bow.
Boles waved his hand aloft, and the next moment we heard the iron rings of the jib scraping along the forestay. Slowly the schooner began to pay off. But the boat was now close alongside and coming on as if they meant to board us. In the stern sat our gorilla-like friend and his evil-looking mate. The sight of them sent little shivers through me and down my spine, but I think that it was excitement rather than fear.
Boles hailed the boat and waved them back with his hand.
"Go back, my friends," he shouted; " we cannot receive you, as we are going out. Adios.
The boat kept right on its course.
"Stop, señors!" called Boles again; "I say we cannot receive you. Another stroke at your peril!"
The boat still kept on.
"Shoot high, boys," said Boles, "about a foot over their heads. Let them feel the wind!"
Our rifles rang out, and the boat immediately held water. The gorilla rose to his feet.
"But why is this, amigo?" he called reproachfully. "I do not understand. We have but come to bid adios to our kind hosts."
"Then for what purpose are the weapons which I saw but a moment ago in the stern of the boat?" Boles replied.
The face of the gorilla underwent a change. His brows came down and his lips curled up with an expression of malignant ferocity.
"Ah—Dios!—pigs of Englishmen, you have stolen our cargo, first having poisoned us with your vile decoction."
"They're not the only ones," I said to myself.
"The señor is surely in error," answered Boles politely. "It is true that we have taken on a few bales of very poor hemp—but for all of it we have paid a good price and received a receipt. As we were stowing the last of it, I learned with deep regret that our schooner had been mistaken for yours, and it is probable that the mistake has not yet been discovered. But what would you have? Business is business, and a man must look after his own interests—is it not so?"
"Yes," replied the Spaniard, "and for that reason I will inform the señor that unless he delivers over the cargo to us, we will come and take it by force." He smiled, and his yellow teeth gleamed through his bristling moustache.
"What does he say?" demanded Knapp impatiently. "What's all this jawing about, anyway? Why don't you ask 'em what they're going to c about it?"
"He's just told us," said I. "He says that we've got to give up the hemp."
Knapp scowled. "How do you say 'go to hell' in Spanish?" he asked.
"Shut up!" I answered; "I want to hear what Boles says."
The situation by this time was becoming quite exciting. The first little puff of air had dropped again, and the tide was slowly setting us down on the schooner. There were four men standing in the schooner's bows, and four more in the boat alongside, and, to make things more interesting still, the brig had weighed her anchor and was standing across our bows. If we fouled the schooner it was easy to see that the game was up; on the other hand, if we managed to keep clear of everything, we might possibly keep them from boarding until we drifted out into the zone of breeze at the mouth of the little bay.
"Brown, get our boat over and tow us out a bit to clear that schooner—quick! Knapp, you keep those scoundrels covered, and if one of them reaches for a gun, nail him!"
I jumped to my feet and, running forward, hustled our Japs to the boat-falls, which consisted simply of a couple of light tackles and a jig hook, rigged from both mast heads. Boles was haranguing the Spaniards with honeyed words, and they seemed a little undecided as to what course to pursue. Then suddenly I saw the gorilla snatch a rifle from the thwart and throw it to his shoulder. Two reports came simultaneously. Boles staggered a little against the wheel, but the Spaniard fell with a crash across the gunwale of the boat, which promptly capsised, throwing all hands into the bay.
"Hurry up with that boat," sang out Boles.
We dropped the boat overboard, and three of the Japs tumbled into it. I quickly caught up the end of the jib halliards and threw a turn around the bob-stay as we passed under it. The Japs pulled lustily, and in a minute began to swing her head out. But, better still, a faint draught of air caught her peak, and the little ripples began to play around her forefoot. I began to think that we were well out of it, when, happening to glance over our weather bow, I saw that the brig had put her helm up anJ was running down on us as fast as the light air would permit. To my uneducated eyes a collision seemed inevitable, and I started aft to get my rifle, when Boles hailed me.
"Stand by to cut that bow-line when I give the word—then get aft here as quick as you can to repel boarders! Now stand by to slack your jib-sheet!—Leggo your jib-sheet!" I cast it off the pin and let it run. The brig was not a cable's length away and coming along with a fresh puff of the breeze in her topsails. A knot of men were gathered in her eyes.
"Cut the bow-line!—hard-a-lee!—tumble aft here! Don't shoot—knock 'em overboard!"
The brig was almost on us as we luffed, and if they had guessed our design they could have easily jammed their helm down and fouled us, but as she was still paying off, and being a clumsy craft, we swung across their bows before they knew it. They tried to swing in after us then, but it was too late. Her starboard run struck our port quarter a glancing blow, and, as it did so, four of the men leapt down on our deck. The first, a Spaniard, fired a pistol almost in Boles' face as he jumped, but at the same moment the bow-sprit of the brig fouled the main topping-lift, though Boles had let the mainsheet run. The rope snapped, but the strain suddenly tautened the mainsheet, which lew up, knocking our captain over backwards into the lee scuppers. The next moment Knapp had seized he man in both of his great hands and hurled him lack against the next, a half-breed, knocking both men off their feet. I had brought the capstan brake aft with me, and, slipping past Knapp, I drove the butt of it into the next man's face.
By that time Boles had climbed to his feet and, jumping across the deck, grabbed the wheel and clawed the spokes toward him as fast as he could work his arms. At the same time, Knapp had gripped the Filipino who came last by the waist and swung him up over his head. The man screamed like a rabbit, thinking, no doubt, that he was about to be dashed lifeless on the deck, but the next moment a mighty heave sent him flying over the rail into the bay.
I was standing over the other three, swearing in Spanish at the top of my lungs and brandishing my capstan brake. One of them, lying almost under the wheel, started to get to his feet, but when he was almost up, Boles let drive with his fist and stretched him out again.
Just then our little sailors, who had pulled back to the schooner as quick as they could, came running aft, and, under Knapp's direction, bound our prisoners' hands behind their backs. The face of my antagonist was a mass of blood, but he was conscious and swearing vigorously.
The brig was astern of us, drifting aimlessly. A boat had put off from the schooner and had picked up the capsised party, who, from the maledictions that came up to us against the wind, were far from showing the gratitude that they should have felt. I could make out the gorilla nursing one arm in the stem. Knapp afterwards told me that he had shot him through the shoulder.
Knapp looked all around him, then threw back his head and laughed.
"If that lubber hadn't upset that outfit, we might have been in bad shape," said he.
"Yes," I answered, "we'd not only have had them to look after, but the chap that went after them from the schooner. What if——"
I broke off, horror-stricken, and looked at Boles. He had fallen face downward across the wheel. On the deck beneath him was a great pool of blood. Knapp was beside him in one great stride.
"Boles!" he gasped—"old fellow! Oh, my God!"
As if he had been a child, he picked him up in his great arms and carried him below. I put one of the Japs at the wheel, motioned to the cook to watch the prisoners, and followed him.
Boles was shot in two places—one a glancing ball long the side of the head, and the other a bullet clean through the lungs. When Knapp realised that his own shot had been too late to save his friend, his grief and self-reproach were pitiful to see. But it was all unnecessary, for the doctor made a good recovery from both wounds.
When we got off the end of the point, safe from all pursuit, Knapp hove the schooner up and set the prisoners ashore, as we had no earthly use for them, suppose they made their way back along the beach. We had made Boles as comfortable as possible, and after he came out of his faint he calmly superintended our rough attempts at a surgical dressing. Strange to say, the hole through his chest healed almost immediately, but he told me that this was very apt to be the case in wounds of this description.
Knapp was a poor hand at navigation, but under Boles' direction we managed to find Manila again in about a week. We stopped at one little place on the way, and got a little more hemp and some tobacco.
When we got back to Manila, I found that I really had no desire to leave the schooner, and as they were very anxious to have me stay with them, and Knapp even offered to pay me an even share, I decided to remain for a while longer. Of course I declined, in fact absolutely refused, to accept any of the money profits of the enterprise, considering myself to be more than amply repaid in the benefit to my health and the grand impetus given to my work. For a man may study, sketch, and read; but until he has laid his naked life in the hollow of the hand of the great ocean god on his own domain, he has yet to feel the Spirit of the Sea.