naval operations are likely to be undertaken â€” - at Mobile
24 BRAVE OLD SALT, OB *
and at Wilmington. The rebellion lias had so many
hard knocks that the bottom must drop out before many
"I am afraid the end is farther oil than most people at
the North are willing to believe," said Mr. Pillgrim.
" Every thing looks hopeful. If we can contrive to
batter down Fort Fisher, and open Mobile Bay, the
rebels may count the months of their Confederacy on
" I think there is greater power of resistance left in
the South, than we give it the credit for."
" The rebels have fought well ; what of it? " continued
the commodore, who did not seem to be pleased with the
style of the lieutenant's remarks.
" As fighting men, we can hardly fail to respect those
who have fought so bravely as the people of the South."
" People of the South ! " sneered the commodore.
" Why don't you call them rebels? "
" Of course that is what I mean," answered Mr. Pill-
*grim, a slight flush visible on his cheek.
" If you mean it, why don't you say it? Call things
by their right names. The people of the South are not
all rebels. Why, confound it, Farragut is a Southerner ;
so is General Anderson ; so are a hundred men, who have
distinguished themselves in putting down treason. It's
an insult to these men to talk about the people of the
South as rebels."
LIFE OX THE QUABTEIi DECK. 25
" I agree with you. Commodore Portington, and what
I said was only a form of expression."
" It's a very bad form of expression. Why, man, you
are a Southerner yourself."
"I am ; and I suppose that is what makes me so
proud of the good fighting the people of the South â€” I
mean the rebels â€” have done. We can't help respecting
men who have behaved with so much gallantry."
" Can't we?" exclaimed the commodore, with a sneer
so wholesome and honest, that Lieutenant Pillgrim with-
ered under it. "I can help it. I have no respect for
rebels and traitors under any circumstances."
" Nor I, as rebels and traitors," replied Pillgrim,
u As rebels and traitors ! I don't like these fine-spun
distinctions. If a man is a traitor, call him so, and
swing him up on the fore-yard arm, where he belongs."
" You are willino; to acknowledge that the rebels have
fought well in this war?" added the lieutenant.
" They have fought well : I don't deny it."
" And you appreciate gallant conduct? "
" That depends on the cause. No, sir ! I don't appre-
ciate gallant conduct on the part of rebels and traitors.
It is not gallant conduct ; and the better they fight, the
more wicked they are."
" I can hardly take your view of the case."
" Can't you? The best fighting I ever saw in my life
26 LEAVE OLD SALT, 0%
was on the deck of a pirate ship. The black-hearted
villains fousrht like demons. Not a man of them would
yield the breadth of a hair. ATe had to cut them down
like dogs. Is piracy respectable because these men
" Certainly not ; but the bravery of such men â€” "
" Nonsense ! I know what you are going to say ; but
you can't separate the pirate from his piracy, nor the
traitor from his treason," replied the commodore, warm-
ly. " The other day I saw a little dirty urchin fighting
with his mother. The young cub had run away, I sup-
pose, and the woman was dragging him back to the
house. He was not more than six years old, but he
displayed a power of resistance which rather astonished
me. He kicked, bit, scratched, and yelled like a young
tiger. He called his mother everything but a lady.
The poor woman tugged at him with all her strength,
but the little rascal was almost a match for her. 1
wan^d to take him by the nape of the neck, and shake
the ugly out of him : nothing but my fixed principles of
neutrality prevented me from doing so. I suppose, Mr.
Pillgrim, you would have sympathized with the brat,
because he fought bravely."
" Hardly," replied the lieutenant, laughing at the simile.
" But he fought like a tiger, and displayed no mean
strategy iti his rebellious warfare. Of course he was
worthy of your admiration," sneered the commodore.
LIFE ON THE QUAE TEH DECK. 27
" That's hardly a fair comparison."
" The fairest in the world. The rebels have insulted
their own mother â€” the parent that fostered, protected,
and loved them. They undertook to run away from her ;
and when she attempts to bring them back to their duty,
they kick, and scratch, and bite ; and you admire them,
because they fight well."
" I stand convicted, Commodore Portington. I never
took this view of the matter ; I acknowledge that you
are right," said Mr. Pillgrim.
Somers, who had been an attentive listener to the con-
versation, thought the lieutenant yielded very gracefully,
and much more readily than could have been expected ;
but then the logician was a commodore, and perhaps it
was prudence and politeness on his part to agree with
his powerful superior.
After dinner the party took a ride to the beach and to
the Glen ; and after an early tea, Somers and Pillgrim,
who were to be fellow-passengers to Philadelphia, ~ here
the Chatauqua was fitting out, began to demonstrate in
the direction of their departure. Kate, though she had
been tolerably playful during the afternoon, had, in the
main, carried out her good resolution to be proper. She
had not been impudent â€” hardly pert ; and deprived of
this convenient mask for whatever kindness she might
have entertained towards the young ensign, she seemed
to be very cold and indifferent to him. She was more
28 BRAVE OLD SALT, OR
thoughtful, serious, and earnest than when they had met
on former occasions. He could not help asking himself
what he had done to produce this marked change in her
" Good by, Miss Portington," said he, when he had
taken leave of her father and mother.
" Good by, Mr. Somers. Shall I hear from you when
you reach your station ? " she asked, presenting her hand.
" If you desire it."
" If I desire it ! Why, Mr. Somers, you forget that I
am deeply interested in your success."
" Perhaps, if I do anything of which you would care to
learn, the newspapers may inform you of the fact," re-
plied Somers, with a kind of grim smile, which seemed
actually to alarm poor Kate.
" I would rather hear it from you."
" I judge that you are more interested in my suc-
cess than you are in me."
" Ah, Mr. Somers, you cannot separate the pirate
from his piracy, pa said ; nor the hero from his heroism,
let me add."
" Thank you, Miss Portington."
"I cannot forget how deeply indebted we are to you,
" I wish you could."
"Why do you wish so?" demanded the astonished
maiden ; more astonished at his manner than his words.
LIFE OX THE QUARTER DECK. 29
" I am sorry to have you burdened with such a weight
" I think you mean to quarrel with me, Mr. Somers.
I beg you will not be so savage just as you are going
away," laughed Kate, though there was a troubled ex-
pression on her fair face. " I asked you if I should hear
from you, Mr. Somers."
" Certainly, if you desire."
" Why do you qualify your words? I should be just
as glad to hear from you as I ever was."
" Then you shall, at every opportunity."
" Thank you, Mr. Somers. That sounds hearty and
honest, as father would say."
" I do not wish you to feel an interest in me from a
sense of duty. I shall not write any letters from a sense
of duty, or even because I have promised to do so. I
shall write to you because â€” because I can't help it,"
stammered Somers, almost overcome by the violence of
" I thank you, Mr. Somers, and I am sure your letters
will be all the more welcome from my knowledge of the
" Good by," said he, gently pressing the little hand he
u Good by," she replied ; and to his great satisfaction
and delight, the pressure was returned â€” a kind of tele-
SO BRAVE OLD SALT OB
graphic signal, infinitely more expressive than all the
words in the spelling-book, strung into sentences, could
have been to a young man in his desperate condition.
Mr. Ensign Somers was now entirely satisfied. That
gentle pressure of the hand had atoned for all her reserve
and coldness, real or imaginary, and made the future
bright and pleasant to look upon. Undoubtedly Mr.
Somers was a silly young fellow ; but there is some con-
solation in believing that he was just like all young men
under similar circumstances.
Mr. Pillgrim followed him out of the house, and they
hastened down to the wharf to take the steamer for New
York. On the passage the two officers treated each
other with courtesy and consideration, but there appeared
to be no strong sympathy of thought or feeling between
them, and they were not drawn so closely together as
they might have been under similar circumstances, if
there had been more of opinion and sentiment common
On their arrival at Philadelphia, they found the Cha-
tauqua was still in the hands of the workmen, and would
not go into commission for a week or ten days. They
reported to the commandant of the navy yard, and took
up their quarters at the " Continental," where Somers
found his old friend Mr. Waldron, who had been de-
tached from the Tlo alie at his own request, and ordered to
the Chatauqua, in which he was to serve as executive
LIFE ON THE QUARTER DECK. 31
officer. This was splendid news to Soraers, for he re-
garded Mr. Waldrou as a true and trusty friend, in
whom he could with safety confide.
" Do you know Lieutenant Pillgrim? " asked Somers,
after they had discussed their joint information in regard
to the new ship.
"I am not personally acquainted with him, though I
have heard his name mentioned. He is a Virginian, I
"If I mistake not, there were some doubts about his
loyalty, though he never tendered his resignation ; he has
been kept in the background."
" He seems to be a loyal and true man."
" No doubt of it, or he would not have been appointed
to the Chatauqua."
" He has some respect for the rebels, but no sympathy."
" I think he has frequently applied for employment,
but has not obtained it until the present time. I have no
doubt he is a good fellow and a good officer. He ranks
next to me. But, Somers, I leave town in half an hour,"
continued Mr. Waldron, consulting his watch. " I am
going to run home for a few days, till the ship goes into
commission. I will see you here on my return."
Somers walked to the railroad station with his late
commander, and parted with him as the train started.
During the three succeeding days, he visited the mu-
32 BRAVE OLD SALT, OR
seums, libraries, and other places of resort, interesting to
a young man of his tastes. He went to the navy yard
every day, and, with his usual zeal, learned what he
could of the build, rig, and armament of the Chatauqua,
and gathered such other information relating to his pro-
fession as would be useful to him in the future.
Lieutenant Pillgrim passed his time in a different man-
ner. Though he was not what the world would call an
intemperate or an immoral man, he spent many of his
hours in bar-rooms, billiard-saloons, and places of public
amusement. He several times invited Somers to "join''
him at the bar, to play at billiards, and to visit the thea-
tre, and other places of more questionable morality.
The young officer was not a prude, but he never drank,
did not know how to play billiards, and never visited a
gambling resort. He. went to the theatre two or three
times ; but this was the limit of his indulgence.
Mr. Pillgrim was courteous and gentlemanly ; he did
not press his invitations. He treated his brother officer
with the utmost kindness and consideration ; was always
ready, and even forward, to serve him; and their rela-
tions were of the pleasantest character.
One evening, when Somers called at the office for the
key of his room, after his return from the navy yard, a
letter was handed to him. The writing was an unfamil-
iar hand, scrawling and hardly legible. It was evidently
the production of an illiterate person. On reaching his
room he opened it.
LIFE ON THE QUARTER DECK. 33
THE WOUNDED SAILOR.
Z^W'HE curiosity of Somers was not a little excited
before he opened the uncouth letter in his hand.
It was postmarked Philadelphia, "which made its
reception all the more strange, for he had no friends or
acquaintances residing in the city. He tore open the
dirty ejnstle, which was not even enclosed in an envelope,
and read as follows : â€”
Phila. June the 19. 1884.
Mr. John Somers Esq. Sir. I been wounded in the
leg up the Missippi and can not do nothing more. I
been in your division aboard the Rosalie, and I know
you was a good man and I know you was a good officer,
I hope you be in good helth, as I am not at this present
writen. my Leg is very bad, and don't git no better.
This is to inform you that I am the only son of a poor
widdow, who has no other Son, and she can not do noth-
ing for me, nor I can't do nothing for her. I have Fout
for my countrey and have been woundded in the servis.
34 BRAVE OLD SALT, OR
If you could git a penshin for me. it would be a grate
help to me Sorrow in condition. I live No â€” Front Street.
If I might make bold to ask you to come and see a old
Sailor, thrown on the beam ends of missfortune, I would
be very thankful to you.
Yours to command,
N. B. The doctor says he thinks my Leg will have
to come off.
Tom Longstone knows me, and you ask him, he will
tell you all About me.
" Thomas Barron," mused Somers, as he folded the
letter. " I don't remember him. There were two or
three Toms on board the Rosalie. At any rate, I have
nothing better to do than call upon him. He is an old
sailor, and that is enough for me."
It was already after dark ; but he decided to visit the
sufferer that night, and after tea he left the house for
this purpose. He was sufficiently acquainted with the
streets of this systematic city to make his way without
assistance. Of course he did not expect to find the home
of the old sailor in a wealthy and aristocratic portion of
the city ; but if he had understood the character of the
section to which the direction led him, he would probably
have deferred his charitable mission till the following
day. On reaching the vicinity of the place indicated, he
LIFE ON THE QUARTER DECK. 35
found himself in a vile locality, surrounded by the lowest
and most depraved of the population.
With considerable difficulty he found the number men-
tioned in the letter. The lower story of the building was
occupied as a liquor shop, and a further examination of
the premises assured him the place was a sailor's board-
ing-house. As this fact was not inconsistent with the
character of Tom Barron, he entered the shop. Half a
dozen vagabonds had possession ; and as Somers entered,
the attention of the whole group was directed to him.
" Is there a sailor by the name of Thomas Barron in
this house?" asked Somers of the greasy, corpulent
woman, who stood behind about four feet of counter,
forming the bar, on which were displayed several bottles
" Yes, sir ; and very bad he is too," replied the
woman, civilly enough, though the young officer could
hardly help shuddering in her presence.
"Could I see him?"
" I 'spect you can, if you be the officer Tom says is
comin' to see him."
" I am the person."
" Tom's very bad."
" So he says in his letter."
u He hain't had a minute's peace or comfort Avith that
leg sence he come home from the w r ar. Be you any
r^ uition of his ? "
36 BRAVE OLD SALT, OR
" I am not."
" Mebbe you're his friend."
" He served under me in the Rosalie."
"Tom hain't paid no board for two months, which
comes hard on a poor woman like me, takin' care of him,
and his mother too, that come here to nuss him."
" Perhaps something can be done for him."
" "Well, I hope so. I don't see how I can keep him
Â£ny longer. He owes me forty dollars. If any body '11
pay half on't, I'd keep on doin' for him."
" I will see what can be done for him. "Why was be
not sent to the hospital?"
u He's too bad to be sent, and he don't want to go,
nuther. He says the doctors try speriments on poor
fellers like him, and he don't want to be cut up afore
he 's dead."
" Well, I will endeavor to haw. something done for
him. I am entirely willing to help him as much as I
" Perhaps you'd be willin' to do sunthin' towards
payin' my bill, then."
" Perhaps I will ; but I wish to see the man before I
do anything. "Will you show me to his room ? "
" I don't go up and down stairs none now. Here,
Childs, you show this gentleman up to the front room,"
said the landlady to one of the vagabonds before her.
" Then go and tell Tom his officer has come. I suppose
LIFE ON THE QUARTER DECK. 37
they '11 want to slick up a little, afore they let you in ;
but Miss Barron will tell you when she is ready."
Somers followed the man up a flight of rickety stairs,
and was ushered into the front room. It was a bed-
chamber, supplied with the rudest and coarsest furniture.
The visitor sat down, after telling Childs that the sailor's
mother need not stop to " slick up " before he was
admitted. He did not like the surroundings, even in-
dependent of the villanous odors that rose from the
groggery, and those that were engendered in the apart-
ment where he sat. Slush and tar were agreeable per-
fumes, compared with those which assaulted his sense
in this chamber ; and he hoped Mrs. Barron would
humiliate her pride to an extent which would permit him
to make a speedy exit from the house.
Mrs. Barron, however, appeared not to be in a hurry,
and Somers waited ten minutes by his watch, which
seemed to expand into a full hour before he heard a
sound to disturb the monotony of the chamber's quiet.
But when it was disturbed, it was in such a manner that
he forgot all about the place and the odors, the hour and
the occasion, and even the poor sailor, who had so
piteously appealed to him for assistance.
In the rear of the room in which Somers sat, there
was a door communicating with another apartment.
The house was old and out of repair ; and this door,
never very nicely adjusted, was now warped and thrown
38 BRAVE OLD SALT, OR
out of place, so that great cracks yawned arouiid the
edges, and whatever was said or done in one room, of
which any knowledge could be obtained by the sense of
hearing, was immediately patent to the occupants of the
other. Somers heard footsteps in the rear room, though
the parties appeared not to have come up the stairs by
which he had ascended. The rattling of chairs and of
glass ware next saluted his ears ; but as yet Somers
had not the slightest interest in the business of the ad-
joining apartment, and only wished that Mrs. Barron
would speedily complete the preparations for his re-
" It's dangerous business," said one of the men in the
rear room ; which remark followed a smack of the lips,
and a rude depositing of the glass on the table, indicating
that the speaker had just swallowed his dram.
The man uttered his remark in a loud tone, exhibiting
a strange carelessness, if the matter in hand was as dan-
gerous as the words implied.
" I know it is dangerous, Langdon," said another per-
son, in a voice which instantly riveted the attention of
Somers heard the voice. It startled him, and he had
no eye, ear, or thought for anything but the individual
who had last spoken. If he had considered his position
at all, it would only have been to wish that Mrs. Barron
might be as proud as a Chestnut Street belle, in order to
LIFE ON THE QUARTER DECK. 89
afford him time to inform himself in relation to the
business of the men who occupied the other room.
" You have been shut up in Fort Lafayette once,"
added the first speaker.
" In a good cause I am willing to go again," replied
the voice so familiar to the ears of Somers. " I lost
eighty thousand dollars in a venture just like this. I
must get my money back."
" If you can, Coles."
Coles ! But Somers did not need to have his identity
confirmed by the use of his name. He knew Coles's
voice. At Newport he had lain in the fore-sheets of the
academy boat, and heard Coles and Phil Kennedy ma-
ture their plan to place the Snowden on the ocean, as a
Confederate cruiser. He had listened to the whole con-
versation on that occasion, and the knowledge he had
thus obtained enabled the government to capture the
steamer, and defeat the intentions of the conspirators.
The last Somers had known of Coles, he was a pris-
oner in Fort Lafayette. Probably he had been released
by the same influence which set Phil Kennedy at liberty,
and permitted him to continue his career of treason and
plunder. Coles had lost eighty thousand dollars by his
speculation in the Snowden, for one half of which Ken-
nedy was h olden to him ; but the bond had been effectu*
ally cancelled by the death of the principal. Coles
wanted his money back. It was a very natural desire ;
40 BE AVE OLD SALT, OE
but Somers could not help considering it as a very ex-
travagant one, under present circumstances.
The listener could not help regarding it as a most
remarkable thing, that he should again be within hear-
ing of Coles, engaged in plotting treason. Such an
event might happen once ; but that it should occur a
second time was absolutely marvellous. If our readers
are of the opinion that the writer is too severely taxing
their credulity in imposing the situation just described
upon them, he begs they will suspend their judgment till
the sequel justifies him.
It was so strange to Somers, that he could not help
thinking he had been brought there by some mysterious
power to listen to and defeat the intentions of the con-
spirators. He was not so far wrong as he might have
been. It was Coles who spoke ; it was Coles who had
been in Fort Lafayette ; and it was Coles who had lost
eighty thousand dollars by the Snowden. All these things
were real, and Somers had no suspicion that he had in*
haled some of the vile compounds in the bar below,
which might have thrown him into a stupor wherein he
dreamed the astounding situation in which he was actu-
Somers listened, and when Coles had mixed and drank
his dram, he spoke again.
" I can and will get my money back," said he, with
an oath which froze the blood of the listener.
JLIFE ON THE QUARTER DECK. 41
* Don't believe it, Coles."
" You know me, Langdon," added the plotter, with a
Langdon acknowledged that he did know him ; and as
there was, therefore, no need of an introduction, Coles
" You know me, Langdon ; I don't make any mistakes
Perhaps Langdon knew it ; but Somers had some
doubts, which, however, he did not purpose to urge on
" Phil Kennedy was a fool," added Coles, with another
oath. " He spoiled all my plans before, and I was glad
when I heard that he was killed, though I lost forty
thousand dollars when he slipped out. He spilt the milk
Somers thought not.
" Phil was smart about some things ; but he couldn't
keep a hotel. Why, that young pup that finally gave
him his quietus, twirled him around his fingers, like he
had been a school girl."
" Thank you, Mr. Coles ; but I shall have the pleas-
ure of serving you in the same way before many weeks/'
thought Somers, flattered by this warm and disinterested
tribute to his strategetic ability.
" You mean Somers?" said Langdon.
" I mean Somers. The young pup isn't twenty-one
42 BRAVE OI+DSALT, OR
yet, but lie is the smartest man in the old navy, by all
odds, whether the others be admirals, commodores, lieu-
tenants, or what not."
" That's high praise, Coles."
" It's true. If he wasn't an imfernal Yankee, I would
drmk his health in this old Bourbon. Good liquor â€” isn't
it, Langdon ? "
" Like the juice of a diamond."
" I would give more for this Somers than I would for
any four rear admirals. He has just been appointed to
the Chatauqua ; but he will be in command of some small
craft down South, before many months, doing more mis-
chief to us than any four first-class steamers in the ser-
vice. He is as brave as a young lion ; knows a ship
from keel to truck, and is as familiar with every bolt and
pin of an engine as though he had been a machinist all
"Big thing, eh, Coles?"
"If I had this Somers, I could make his fortune and
mine in a year, and have a million surplus besides."