saw myself surrounded, found a precious stimulus for
my courage and a convenient soothing draught for con-
science. Even had all been plain sailing, I do not hint
that I should have drawn back. Smuggling is one of
the meanest of crimes, for by that we rob a whole coun-
try pro rota, and are therefore certain to impoverish the
poor : to smuggle opium is an offence particularly dark,
since it stands related not so much to murder, as to
massacre. Upon all these points I was quite clear j my
224 THE WRECKER.
sympathy was all in arms against my interest ; and had
not Jim been involved, I could have dwelt almost with
satisfaction on the idea of my failure. But Jim, his
whole fortune, and his marriage, depended upon my suc-
cess ; and I preferred the interests of my friend before
those of all the islanders in the South Seas. This is a
poor, private morality, if you like; but it is mine,
and the best I have; and I am not half so rnnch
ashamed of having embarked at all on this adventure,
as I am proud that (while I was in it, and for the sake
of my friend) I was up early and down late, set my own
hand to everything, took dangers as they came, and for
once in my life played the man throughout. At the
same time, I could have desired another field of energy ;
and I was the more grateful for the redeeming element of
mystery. Without that, though I might have gone ahead
and done as well, it would scarce have been with ardour ;
and what inspired me that night with an impatient
greed of the sea, the island, and the wreck, was the hope
that I might stumble there upon the answer to a hun-
dred questions, and learn' why Captain Trent fanned his
red face in the exchange, and why Mr. Dickson fled from
the telephone in the Mission Street lodging-house.
JIM AND I TAKE DIFFERENT WAYS. 225
I was unhappy when I closed my eyes ; and it was to
unhappiness that I opened them again next morning, to
a confuted sense of some calamity still inarticulate, and
to the consciousness of jaded limbs and of a swimming
head. I must have lain for some time inert and stupidly
miserable, before I became aware of a reiterated knock-
ing at the door; with which discovery all my wits flowed
back in their accustomed channels, and I remembered
the sale, and the wreck, and Goddedaal, and Nares, and
Johnson, and Black Tom, and the troubles of yesterday,
and the manifold engagements of the day that was to
come. The thought thrilled me like a trumpet in the
hour of battle. In a moment, I had leaped from bed,
crossed the office where Pinkerton lay in a deep trance
of sleep on the convertible sofa, and stood in the door-
way, in my night gear, to receive our visitors.
Johnson was first, by way of usher, smiling. From a
little behind, with his Sunday hat tilted forward over
his brow, and a cigar glowing between his lips, Captain
Nares acknowledged our previous acquaintance with a
succinct nod. Behind him again, in the top of the
stairway, a knot of sailors, the new crew of the Norah
Creina, stood polishing the wall with back and elbow.
226 THE WRECKER.
These I left without, to their reflections. But oui two
officers I carried at once into the office, where (taking
Jim by the shoulder) I shook him slowly into conscious-
ness. He sat up, all abroad for the moment, and stared
on the new captain.
" Jim," said I, " this is Captain Nares. Captain, Mr.
Nares repeated his curt nod, still without speech ; and
I thought he held us both under a watchful scrutiny.
" ! " says Jim, " this is Captain Nares, is it ?
Good morning, Captain Nares. Happy to have the pleas-
ure of your acquaintance, sir. I know you well by
Perhaps, under the circumstances of the moment, this
was scarce a welcome speech. At least, Nares received
it with a grunt.
"Well, Captain," Jim continued, "you know about
the size of the business? You're to take the Nora
Creina to Midway Island, break up a wreck, call at
Honolulu, and back to this port ? I suppose that's
understood ? "
"Well," returned Nares, with the same unamiable
reserve, "for a reason, which I guess you know, the
cruise may suit me ; but there's a point or two to settle.
We shall have to talk, Mr. Pinkerton. But whether I
go or not, somebody will; there's no sense in losing
time ; and you might give Mr. Johnson a note, let him
take the hands right down, and set to to overhaul the
JIM A2?D I TAKE DIFFERENT WAYS. 227
rigging. The beasts look sober," he added, with an ail
of great disgust, "and need putting to work to keep
This being agreed upon, Nares watched his subordinate
depart and drew a visible breath.
"And now we're alone and can talk," said he
u What's this thing about? It's been advertised like
Barnum's museum ; that poster of yours has set the Front
talking; that's an objection in itself, for I'm laying a
little dark just now ; and anyway, before I take the ship,
I require to know what I'm going after."
Thereupon Pinkerton gave him the whole tale, be-
ginning with a businesslike precision, and working him-
self up, as we went on, to the boiling-point of narrative
enthusiasm. Nares sat and smoked, hat still on head,
and acknowledged each fresh feature of the story with a
frowning nod. But his pale blue eyes betrayed him, and
"Now you see for yourself," Pinkerton concluded:
"there's every last chance that Trent has skipped to
Honolulu, and it won't take much of that fifty thousand
dollars to charter a smart schooner down to Midway.
Here's where I want a man ! " cried Jim, with contagious
energy. "That wreck's mine; I've paid for it, money
down ; and if it's got to be fought for, I want to see it
fought for lively. If you're not back in ninety days, I
tell you plainly, I'll make one of the biggest busts ever
seen upon this coast ; it's life or death for Mr. Dodd and
228 THE WRECKER.
me. As like as not, it'll come to grapples on the island;
and when I heard your name last night and a blame'
sight more this morning when I saw the eye you've
got in your head I said, 'Nares is good enough for
me! J "
"I guess," observed Nares, studying the ash of his
cigar, " the sooner I get that schooner outside the Farall-
ones, the better you'll be pleased."
" You're the man I dreamed of ! " cried Jim, bouncing
on the bed. "There's not five per cent of fraud in all
"Just hold on," said Nares. "There's another point.
I heard some talk about a supercargo."
" That's Mr. Dodd, here, my partner," replied Jim.
" I don't see it," returned the captain, dryly. u One
captain's enough for any ship that ever I was aboard."
" Now, don't you start disappointing me," said Pinker-
ton; "for you're talking without thought. I'm not
going to give you the run of the books of this firm, am
I ? I guess not. Well, this is not only a cruise ; it's
a business operation; and that's in the hands of my
partner. You sail that ship, you see to breaking up
that wreck and keeping the men upon the jump, and
you'll find your hands about full. Only, no mistake
about one thing : it has to be done to Mr. Dodd's satis-
faction ; for it's Mr. Dodd that's paying."
" I'm accustomed to give satisfaction," said Mr. Nares,
with a dark flush.
JIM AND I TAKE DIFFERENT WAYS.
" And so you will here ! " cried Pinkerton. " I under-
stand you. You're prickly to handle, but you're straight
"The position's got to be understood, though," re-
turned Nares, perhaps a trifle mollified. " My position,
I mean. I'm not going to ship sailing-master; it's
enough out of my way already, to set a foot on this
"Well, I'll tell you," retorted Jim, with an indescriba-
ble twinkle: "you just meet me on the ballast, and
we'll make it a barquentine."
Nares laughed a little; tactless Pinkerton had once
more gained a victory in tact. "Then there's another
point," resumed the captain, tacitly relinquishing the
last. " How about the owners ? "
" 0, you leave that to me ; I'm one of Longhurst's
crowd, you know," said Jim, with sudden bristling
vanity. " Any man that's good enough for me, is good
enough for them."
" Who are they ? " asked Nares.
" M'Intyre and Spittal," said Jim.
" 0, well, give me a card of yours," said the captain :
"you needn't bother to write; I keep M'Intyre and
Spittal in my vest-pocket."
Boast for boast ; it was always thus with Nares and
Pinkerton the two vainest men of my acquaintance.
And having thus reinstated himself in his own opinion,
the captain rose, and, with a couple of his stiff nods,
230 THE WKECKEB.
"Jim," I cried, as the door closed behind him, "I
don't like that man."
" You've just got to, Loudon," returned Jim. " He's
a typical American seaman brave as a lion, full of re-
source, and stands high with his owners. He's a man
with a record."
"For brutality at sea," said I.
" Say what you like," exclaimed Pinkerton, " it was a
good hour we got him in : I'd trust Mamie's life to him
" Well, and talking of Mamie ? " says I.
Jim paused with his trousers half on. "She's the
gallantest little soul God ever made ! " he cried. " Lou-
don, I'd meant to knock you up last night, and I hope
you won't take it unfriendly that I didn't. I went in
and looked at you asleep; and I saw you were al
broken up, and let you be. The news would keep, any
way; and even you, Loudon, couldn't feel it the sanu
way as I did."
"What news ? " I asked.
"It's this way," says Jim. "I told her how we stood,
and that I backed down from marrying. ' Are you tired
of me?' says she: God bless her! Well, I explained
the whole thing over again, the chance of smash, your
absence unavoidable, the point I made of having you
for the best man, and that. ' If you're not tired of me,
I think I see one way to manage,' says she. ' Let's get
married to-morrow, and Mr. Loudon can be best man
JIM AND I TAKE DIFFERENT WAYS. 231
before he goes to sea.' That's how she said it, crisp
and bright, like one of Dickens's characters. It was no
good for me to talk about the smash. ' You'll want
me all the more,' she said. London, I only pray I can
make it up to her; I prayed for it last night beside
your bed, while you lay sleeping for you, and Mamie
and myself; and I don't know if you quite believe
in prayer, I'm a bit Ingersollian myself but a kind
of sweetness came over me, and I couldn't help but
think it was an answer. Never was a man so lucky !
You and me and Mamie ; it's a triple cord, Loudon. If
either of you were to die ! And she likes you so much,
and thinks you so accomplished and distingue-looking,
and was just as set as I was to have you for best man.
' Mr. Loudon,' she calls you ; seems to me so friendly !
And she sat up till three in the morning fixing up a
costume for the marriage ; it did me good to see her,
Loudon, and to see that needle going, going, and to
say 'All this hurry, Jim, is just to marry you!' I
couldn't believe it; it was so like some blame' fairy
story. To think of those old tin-type times about
turned my head; I was so unrefined then, and so
illiterate, and so lonesome; and here I am in clover,
and I'm blamed if I can see what I've done to deserve
So he poured forth with innocent volubility the ful-
ness of his heart ; and I, from these irregular communi-
cations, must pick out, here a little and there a little,
the particulars of his new plan. They were to be mar
tied, sure enough, that day ; the wedding breakfast was
to be at Frank's; the evening to be passed in a visit
of God-speed aboard the Norah Creina; and then we
were to part, Jim and I, he to his married life, I on my
sea-enterprise. If ever I cherished an ill-feeling for
Miss Mamie, I forgave her now ; so brave and kind, so
pretty and venturesome, was her decision. The weather
frowned overhead with a leaden sky, and San Francisco
had never (in all my experience) looked so bleak, and
gaunt, and shoddy, and crazy, like a city prematurely
old ; but through all my wanderings and errands to and
fro, by the dock side or in the jostling street, among
rude sounds and ugly sights, there ran in my mind,
like a tiny strain of music, the thought of my friend's
For that was indeed a day of many and incongruous
occupations. Breakfast was scarce swallowed, before
Jim must run to the City Hall and Frank's about the
cares of marriage, and I hurry to John Smith's upon the
account of stores, and thence, on a visit of certification,
to the Norah Creina. Methought she looked smaller
than ever, sundry great ships overspiring her from close
without. She was already a nightmare of disorder ; and
the wharf alongside was piled with a world of casks, and
cases, and tins, and tools, and coils of rope, and miniature
barrels of giant powder, such as it seemed no human
ingenuity could stuff on board of her. Johnson was in
JIM AND I TAKE DIFFERENT WAYS. 233
the waist, in a red shirt and dungaree trousers, his eye
kindled with activity. With him I exchanged a word
or two; thence stepped aft along the narrow alleyway
between the house and the rail, and down the companion
to the main cabin, where the captain sat with the com-
missioner at wine.
I gazed with disaffection at the little box which for
many a day I was to call home. On the starboard was a
stateroom for the captain ; on the port, a pair of frowsy
berths, one over the other, and abutting astern upon the
side of an unsavoury cupboard. The walls were yellow
and damp, the floor black and greasy ; there was a pro*
digious litter of straw, old newspapers, and broken pack-
ing-cases ; and by way of ornament, only a glass-rack, a
thermometer presented "with compliments" of some
advertising whiskey-dealer, and a swinging lamp. It
was hard to foresee that, before a week was up, I should
regard that cabin as cheerful, lightsome, airy, and even
I was presented to the commissioner, and to a young
friend of his whom he had brought with him for the
purpose (apparently) of smoking cigars; and after we
had pledged one another in a glass of California port, a
trifle sweet and sticky for a morning beverage, the func-
tionary spread his papers on the table, and the hands
irere summoned. Down they trooped, accordingly, into
the cabin ; and stood eying the ceiling or the floor, the
picture of sheepish embarrassment, and with a common
234 THE WRECKER.
air of wanting to expectorate and not quite daring. In
admirable contrast, stood the Chinese cook, easy, dig-
nified, set apart by spotless raimeut, the hidalgo of the
I daresay you never had occasion to assist at the farce
which followed. Our shipping laws in the United
States (thanks to the inimitable Dana) are conceived in
a spirit of paternal stringency, and proceed throughout
on the hypothesis that poor Jack is an imbecile, and
the other parties to the contract, rogues and ruffians. A
long and wordy paper of precautions, a fo'c's'le bill of
rights, must be read separately to each man. I had
now the benefit of hearing it five times in brisk suc-
cession ; and you would suppose I was acquainted with
its contents. But the commissioner (worthy man)
spends his days in doing little else ; and when we bear
in mind the parallel case of the irreverent curate, we
need not be surprised that he took the passage tempo
prestissimo, in one roulade of gabble that I, with the
trained attention of an educated man, could gather but a
fraction of its import and the sailors nothing. No
profanity in giving orders, no sheath-knives, Midway
Island and any other port the master may direct, not to
exceed six calendar months, and to this port to be paid
off: so it seemed to run, with surprising verbiage; so
ended. And with the end, the commissioner, in each
case, fetched a deep breath, resumed his natural voice,
and proceeded to business. " Now, my man," he would
JIM AND I TAKE DIFFERENT WAYS. 235
say, "you ship A. B. at so many dollars, American gold
coin. Sign your name here, if you have one, and can
write." Whereupon, and the name (with infinite hard
breathing) being signed, the commissioner would pro-
ceed to fill in the man's appearance, height, etc., on the
official form. In this task of literary portraiture he
seemed to rely wholly upon temperament; for I could
not perceive him to cast one glance on any of his models.
He was assisted, however, by a running commentary
from the captain: "Hair blue and eyes red, nose five
foot seven, and stature broken " jests as old, presum-
ably, as the American marine; rnd, like the similar
pleasantries of the billiard board, perennially relished.
The highest note of humour was reached in the case of
the Chinese cook, who was shipped under the name of
" One Lung," to the sound of his own protests and the
self-approving chuckles of the functionary.
"Now, Captain," said the latter, when the men were
gone, and he had bundled up his papers, "the law re-
quires you to carry a slop-chest and a chest of medicines."
"I guess I know that," said Nares.
"I guess you do," returned the commissioner, and
helped himself to port.
But when he was gone, I appealed to Nares on the
same subject, for I was well aware we carried none of
"Well," drawled Nares, "there's sixty pounds of nig-
gerhead on the quay, isn't there ? and twenty pounds of
236 THE WKECKEB.
salts ; and I never travel without some painkiller in my
As a matter of fact, we were richer. The captain had
the usual sailor's provision of quack medicines, with
which, in the usual sailor fashion, he would daily drug
himself, displaying an extreme inconstancy, and flitting
from Kennedy's Ked Discovery to Kennedy's White, and
from Hood's Sarsaparilla to Mother Seigel's Syrup. And
there were, besides, some mildewed and half-empty bot-
tles, the labels obliterated, over which Nares would
sometimes sniff and speculate. "Seems to smell like
diarrhoea stuff," he would remark. "I wish't I knew,
and I would try it." But the slop-chest was indeed rep-
resented by the plugs of niggerhead, and nothing else.
Thus paternal laws are made, thus they are evaded;
and the schooner put to sea, like plenty of her neigh-
bours, liable to a fine of six hundred dollars.
This characteristic scene, which has delayed me over-
long, was but a moment in that day of exercise and agi-
tation. To fit out a schooner for sea, and improvise a
marriage between dawn and dusk, involves heroic effort.
All day Jim and I ran, and tramped, and laughed, and
came near crying, and fell in sudden anxious consulta-
tions, and were sped (with a prepared sarcasm on our
lips) to some fallacious milliner, and made dashes to the
schooner and John Smith's, and at every second corner
were reminded, (by our own huge posters,) of our des<
perate estate. Between whiles, I had found the time to
JIM AND I TAKE DIFFERENT WAYS. 237
hover at some half-a-dozen jewellers' windows ; and my
present, thus intemperately chosen, was graciously ac-
cepted. I believe, indeed, that was the last (though not
the least) of my concerns, before the old minister, shabby
and benign, was routed from his house and led to the
office like a performing poodle ; and there, in the grow-
ing dusk, under the cold glitter of Thirteen Star, two
hundred strong, and beside the garish glories of the
agricultural engine, Mamie and Jim were made one.
The scene was incongruous, but the business pretty,
whimsical, and affecting: the typewriters with such
kindly faces and fine posies, Mamie so demure, and Jim
how shall I describe that poor, transfigured Jim?
He began by taking the minister aside to the far end of
the office. I knew not what he said, but I have reason
to believe he was protesting his unfitness ; for he wept
as he said it : and the old minister, himself genuinely
moved, was heard to console and encourage him, and at
one time to use this expression: "I assure you, Mr.
Pinkerton, there are not many who can say so much n
from which I gathered that my friend had tempered his
self-accusations with at least one legitimate boast.
From this ghostly counselling, Jim turned to me ; and
though he never got beyond the explosive utterance of
my name and one fierce handgrip, communicated some
of his own emotion, like a charge of electricity, to his
best man. We stood up to the ceremony at last, in a
general and kindly discomposure. Jim was all abroad;
238 THE WRECKER.
and the divine himself betrayed his sympathy in voice
and demeanour, and concluded with a fatherly allocu-
tion, in which he congratulated Mamie (calling her " my
dear") upon the fortune of an excellent husband, and
protested he had rarely married a more interesting
couple. At this stage, like a glory descending, there
was handed in, ex machina, the card of Douglas B. Long-
hurst, with congratulations and four dozen Perrier-Jouet.
A bottle was opened; and the minister pledged the
bride, and the bridesmaids simpered and tasted, and I
made a speech with airy bacchanalianism, glass in hand.
But poor Jim must leave the wine untasted. "Don't
touch it," I had found the opportunity to whisper ; " in
your state, it will make you as drunk as a fiddler."
And Jim had wrung my hand, with a " God bless you,
London ! saved me again ! "
Hard following upon this, the supper passed off at
Frank's with somewhat tremulous gaiety. And thence,
with one half of the Perrier-Jouet I would accept no
more we voyaged in a hack to the Norah Creina.
" What a dear little ship ! " cried Mamie, as our minia-
ture craft was pointed out to her. And then, on second
thought, she turned to the best man. " And how brave
you must be, Mr. Dodd," she cried, "to go in that tiny
thing so far upon the ocean ! " And I perceived I had
tisen in the lady's estimation.
The dear little ship presented a horrid picture of con-
fusion, and its occupants of weariness and ill-humour.
JIM AND I TAKE DIFFERENT WAYS. 239
From the cabin the cook was storing tins into the laza-
rette, and the four hands, sweaty and sullen, were passing
them from one to another from the waist. Johnson was
three parts asleep over the table; and in his bunk, in
his own cabin, the captain sourly chewed and puffed at
"See here," he said, rising; "you'll be sorry you came.
We can't stop work if we're to get away to-morrow.
A ship getting ready for sea is no place for people, any-
way. You'll only interrupt my men."
I was on the point of answering something tart ; but
Jim, who was acquainted with the breed, as he was with
most things that had a bearing on affairs, made haste to
pour in oil.
"Captain," he said, "I know we're a nuisance here,
and that you've had a rough time. But all we want is
that you should drink one glass of wine with us, Perner*
Jouet, from Longhurst, on the occasion of my marriage,
and Loudon's Mr. Dodd's departure."
" Well, it's your lookout," said Nares. " I don't mind
half an hour. Spell, ! " he added to the men ; " go
and kick your heels for half an hour, and then you can
turn to again a trifle livelier. Johnson, see if you can't
wipe off a chair for the lady."
His tone was no more gracious than his language ; but
when Mamie had turned upon him the soft fire of her
eyes, and informed him that he was the first sea-captain
she had ever met, "except captains of steamers, of
240 THE WRECKER.
course " she so qualified the statement and had ex.
pressed a lively sense of his courage, and perhaps im-
plied (for I suppose the arts of ladies are the same
as those of men) a modest consciousness of his good
looks, our bear began insensibly to soften; and it was
already part as an apology, though still with unaffected
heat of temper, that he volunteered some sketch of his
"A pretty mess we've had," said he. "Half the
stores were wrong; I'll wring John Smith's neck for
him some of these days. Then two newspaper beasts
came down, and tried to raise copy out of me, till I
threatened them with the first thing handy; and then
some kind of missionary bug, wanting to work his pas-
sage to Raiatea or somewhere. I told him I would take
him off the wharf with the butt end of my boot, and he
went away cursing. This vessel's been depreciated by
the look of him."
While the captain spoke, with his strange, humourous,
arrogant abruptness, I observed Jim to be sizing him
up, like a thing at once quaint and familiar, and with a
scrutiny that was both curious and knowing.
" One word, dear boy," he said, turning suddenly to
me. And when he had drawn me on deck, "That
man," says he, "will carry sail till your hair grows
white; but never you let on, never breathe a word. I