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THOMAS R. RUTTER

116 TWENT -,- /.! STREET

SANTA MGMCA, CALIF.



*<



UNIV. OF CALIF. LIBRARY, LOS ANGELES



BROKEN STOWAGE'



BY THE SAME AUTHOR
THE BRASSBOUNDER

"Captain Bone knows the days of sailing
ships, and he has given us a log . . . which is
as breezy as the gale that sent the old wind-
jammer around the Horn." The Bookman.

"A ripping romance of the sea. This is deep-
sea, blue-water life, and has a fascination all
its own." William Lyon Phelps in the Yale
Alumni Weekly.

"The art of this book is well-nigh perfect,
but apart from that (or because of it!) it is as
thrilling as any cooked-up story of adventure
whatever." New York Evening Post.

E. P. DUTTON & COMPANY



'BROKEN STOWAGE'



BY

DAVID W. BONE

AUTHOR OB 'THE BEASSBOUNDER'



"... More or less, if on board to be delivered. Packages
lo\be used as dunnage or wherever required to assist stowage.
Ship not to be responsible for numbers or condition on
delivery." Extract from a Mate's receipt for cargo.




NEW YORK

E. P. DUTTON & COMPANY

68 1 FIFTH AVENUE



Copyright, 1922,
By E. P. BUTTON & COMPANY



All rightg referred



Printtd in the UnitfJ Slatit of Amfrica



TO

MY SHIPMATES

AND THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN
TO SEA WITH ME



2125601



CONTENTS

PAGE

PREFACE . . . . . . . . ix

CHAPTER

I. SETTING OUT ...... i

II. ERRORS OF JUDGMENT .... 9

III. A DEEP-WATER CRITIC .... 38

IV. UNCLAIMED REWARDS .... 44
V. THE SCRIBE ...... 52

VI. STOCKHOLM TAR ..... 56

VII. THE ' REAL ' CASHMIRI SHAWL . . 61

VIII. DROPPING THE PILOT .... 70

IX. OLD PAOLI 75

X. JEEMS SAHIB ...... 80

XI. OFF ST. MICHAEL'S ISLE ... 83

XII. AT BAZAAR 89

XIII. THE HARVEST OF THE NORTH ... 94

XIV. LA CANTINIERE ..... 100
XV. SULIMAN Bux ..... 104

XVI. COASTING DAYS HI

XVII. THE MERCHANTS' CUP . . . . 117

XVIII. BEHIND THE MAY 147



viii CONTENTS

CHAPTER PAGE

XIX. FINDLAY'S SOUTH PACIFIC . . . 156

XX. THE ' BOOTLE BULL ' . . . . 161

XXI. THE ' SHANGHAIED ' RUNNERS . . 167

XXII. CHOTA BURS AT 175

XXIII. A SAILOR'S VIEW . . . 181

XXIV. THE ODDMAN .... 188
XXV. THE ' ARTS AFLOAT ' . . . 195

XXVI. SAILORMEN ON TOUR . . . 208

XXVII. A CHANNEL SUNRISE . 214

XXVIII. PORT SAID AND ' JOCK FERGUSON ' . 219

XXIX. THE STOWAWAY JEW . . . 227

XXX. THE MERRY ANDREW . . 233

XXXI. AN 'ERCTIC VOYAGE . . . . 237

XXXII. A RUN IN .... . 243

XXXIII. " Hi! PADD-AAY! 1 " ... 251

XXXIV. AT OLD QUAY .... 262
XXXV. SUFFRAGE AND BETEL-NUT . . . 267

XXXVI. THE TURN OF THE TIDE . . . 272

XXXVII. His MAJESTY'S CUSTOMS ... 280

XXXVIII. THE CATALOGUE .... 287

XXXIX. FLOOD TIDE AND EBB ... 293



PREFACE

WHEN a cargo is to be stowed in a vessel's
holds, shipshape and sailor-fashion, it is as
well to have small packages handy. If the lading
is of a miscellaneous character, it is all the more
important that there be available some means by
which variety in bulk may be packed securely and
all made solid to withstand the labouring of the
ship in heavy seas. Billets of wood, dholls of coir
yarn, packages of waste material clippings
roots cork all odds and ends of the markets are
used in this way. Though not of much value in
themselves, they are greatly valued by us as being
the wedges and quoins that hold our cargo sea-
worthy.

These humble, sometimes despised, packages
are called 'broken stowage.' We pay for their
use by transporting them overseas at small rates
of freight, frequently free of charge. No great
risks in delivery are accepted by us. A mate's
receipt for them is generally thus worded,

' . . . packages, more or less; if on board,
then to be delivered to consignee. All to be
used as dunnage or wherever required to as-
sist stowage. Ship not to be held responsible,
for numbers or condition on delivery.'

Having explained this much, it remains for me
to trace an analogy between the brief tales and
sketches in the book and these useful, if commer-



x PREFACE

daily unimportant, oddments of the freight market.
It is not at all easy. On my own showing, I have
already discounted their intrinsic value. Still, even
billets of wood and the odds and leavings of mer-
chandise may be trigged up to serve good purpose
and are often, indeed, ornamental. I have
implied that our small packages are perhaps
trumpery, but, fitted into the right place, they make
the best of grounding for weightier and more im-
portant goods. Let the reader, like a good soul,
accept them without warranty!

DAVID W. BONE.



'BROKEN STOWAGE



'BROKEN STOWAGE'

i

SETTING OUT

'TpHERE were three of us in the steerage of,
* the Rotterdam boat. One was a Jew who
beetled his brows and asked himself fierce ques-
tions in Low German, the other was a young little
Fleming with strong 'arms and a hard head, who
told me he had been a fireman on a Vickly' boat.
(He explained that a Vickly' boat was one on
which Vickly' wages were paid.) I was going to
join my ship at Antwerp going to sea on my very
first voyage.

The regular steamer for Antwerp had had a
mishap and would not sail for some 'days. For
me, there could be no going back home after I
had set out in my bravery of brass buttons and bold
good-byes. So I came on the Rotterdam steamer
and trusted to find a train.

We left Leith Docks about midnight a black
bitter midnight, with the wind strong east outside
and a big sea rolling up the Firth and shattering
on the pier-heads. I lingered to sec the town
lights vanish into the mist astern and, feeling ill,



2 'BROKEN STOWAGE'

went below. How the Britannia plunged into it!
How sick I was ! I lay on my back in a low bunk
and tried to court sleep, while the 'vickly' man,
in bad English and worse voice, sang, 'Leedle
Fischer Maiden.' Several times in the night I
got up and tried to get out for a breath of fresh
air, but the steamer was driving her head into the
long seas, with her foredeck all awash, and there
was no shelter from the fury of it. So I returned
to the steerage, to find the 'vickly' man still sing-
ing the same song, but with different words and a
different tune, and the Jew would stare so fiercely
at me that I felt sure he had designs on my 235.
4d. The honest Vickly' man was a friend. His
name was Henrik. He was going to Antwerpert
to "shpend de dollars," as he said. I told him
I was going there to join a sailing ship. He looked
grave, but brightened up when he recollected that
he knew a man who had been round the Horn in
one of these, and who had come back with enough
'dollars' to start a beerhouse in the Shkipper
Strasse "mit two tables in 'de shtreet out!"

"We were for Antwerpen then? We would go
together. That was all recht, Zoone!"

He showed me his money in the knotted corner
of a grimy sweat rag (after looking to see if the
Jew was really asleep), and told me he had left
his 'vickly' boat because Mynheer Zecond was a
'shwartzkopf,' whatever that may be.

In claytime the weather was none so bad. The



SETTING OUT 3

sky ha'd cleare'd, arTd the grey sweep of the North
Sea was set about with many ships on their voy-
agings. I had my first view of a sailing ship under
canvas on the open sea. We passed quite close.
She was the Templar of Arendal, and was stand-
ing to the southard un'der small canvas, for the
wind had still a heavy gust in it, and the barque's
saltwhitened timber 'deck-load showed that she had
lately come through a gale. Already I was learn-
ing my business. The sailors of the steamer
pointed out the 'different rigs of the vessels in
sight. They seemed to take delight in telling me
of all the hardships of life in a wind-jammer, and,
when the Templar thrashed past, told one another
(for my benefit) how glad they were to be in a
well-foun'd steamer and not beating out of sight
of land aboard a floating workhouse. Henrik was
more considerate. He told me what a fine beer-
house his friend had, his friend who had been
round the Horn. Still, it was the sea I wanted,
and not a life of ease and comfort such as he
pictured, and in my low state my thoughts were
none of the brightest.

It was Sunday when we arrived at Rotterdam.
In early morning we steame'd out of the rough of
the North Sea and passed between the low banks
of Nieu Maas. It was my first sight of foreign
soil. How [eagerly I kept lookout, sitting on
Britannia's fore-capstan! For all my boasted lik-
ing the sea, how glaH I was to see th'e green pas-



4 'BROKEN STOWAGE*

ture-lands, the trim little villages, the endless canal
cuttings winding away to the blue of the horizon.
Henrik was there to tell and explain: how that
was the Stddhms and this the Loodswezen, here
was good Genever sold, and there Tabak of finest
quality. Soon my sitting was suspended. The
mate and his men came to clear the ropes for
mooring, and over the bows the high warehouses
and spires of Rotterdam came at us.

The Antwerp train would not start till three in
the afternoon, so the Vickly' man took me down
to sailor-town, the Schiedam Schiedyk, and we
spent the time in a land of boarding-houses and
zeeman's grog-shops. We had refreshment in a
small place. A large signboard informed us that
it was the 'Channel for Orders House/ and under-
neath were the British, American, and Dutch flags
suitably entwined. Here we had beer and sausage.
I asked for tea, and the Vickly' man laughed. I
could have beer or cocoa or chokolat or schnapps,
but tea? The buxom proprietress held up her
hands and said it was not in Rotterdam !

We sat a while, and were about to go, when the
Vickly' man discovered a musical box that jingled
'Leedle Fischer Maiden' in waltz time whenever
a pennig was put in the slot. Then he sat en-
tranced, and nothing could induce him to leave
until it was time to go to the Leith boat for our
baggage. Henrik had a small sailor's haversack
which he slung over his shoulder, but I had to



SETTING OUT 5

engage a man to take my sea-chest and be'dding
to the station. This he did on a long barrow,
having two stout dogs harnessed underneath to
drag it along.

The Antwerp train was slow; we stopped at
every station on the line, and it was late evening
when we arrived at the frontier station of Essen.
Here we stopped for a long time, and an official
ran along the line of wagons shouting an order in
Flamsk and French to "descend you others!" The
Vickly' man shouldered his canvas bag, and I
followed him out into a long shed where our
fellow-passengers were protesting and arguing to
gold-laced officials. Henrik emptied his bag on
the counter, and an official, after examining the
scant items of apparel, put them together again
and motioned that he was satisfied. Then Hen-
rik made for the refreshment place, and I was
for following when the man stopped me with a
long fast sentence in French. I know :enough
French to ask for the pens of your grand-aunt,
but this quick work was beyond me, so they sent
for an officer who spoke English. He asked me
if I had anything to 'declare,' an'd then I under-
stood. He took me to a bench where stood my
sea-chest and bedding, remove'd from the luggage-
van. The chest was opened and my kit displayed
on the bench. There were my gleaming oilskins,
my long sea-boots, the sheath knife and belt (that
I had buckled on so proudly before admiring



6 'BROKEN STOWAGE'

brothers), my uniform with brass buttons. All
new brand new aggressively new.

"Zo. There would be twellef francs feefty of
duty to be paid," they said, sorting them out.

I protested. I was not remaining in Belgium.
I was going to a British ship at Antwerp. I had
no money (indeed, my railway fare had taken most
of my 235. 4d.). The new clothes were for my
use a seaman's outfit.

"No matter," they said, shrugging their shoul-
ders, indifferent, "they are of new. Eet is twellef
francs feefty of duty to be paid."

The crowd in the waiting-room had gone to the
train; I could not see Henrik. There were only
the group of officials and myself beside the long
bench. I counted my money again. I wished I
had not spent so much in the Channel for Orders;
I wished I had not given the man with the two
dogs so much. The officer who spoke English
suggested that I should leave my baggage in bond,
and get my Herr Captain to send for it when I
arrived myself in Antwerpe. This I was about to
do, being the only way out, when a stout little man
came over and asked questions. He was evidently
a superior officer, for the others fell back and
spoke respectfully. 'M'sieu le Chef, M'sieu Wil-
groot,' as they addressed him, was an enormously
stout little man with a round pleasant face and
little merry eye. He had a voice. A voice that
rumbled. A voice from the soles of his boots.



SETTING OUT 7

He spoKe English, and asked me in a kindly way.
I explained my case. I was for Antwerp, to join
my ship, going on a voyage to San Francisco. I
had had no idea that duty would have to be paid,
and had not enough money to pay it. The new
clothes were my outfit sailor clothes that one
goes to sea with. 'M'sieu le Chef fingered my
oilskins and dungarees, drew my sheath knife, tried
it on his finger nail to see if it was sharp, and
motioned to a man to put them all back into the
chest. The man who spoke English made some
slight demur.

"But, M'sieu le Chef, M'sieu Wilgroot, he is
able to pay. It is an officer," he said, pointing to
my brass-buttone'd uniform.

"Ach, no," said M'sieu le Chef. "You nod
onderstand. He is an 'junge loodsmann.' It is
for de brass button dey goes to de sea, aind't it?"

My chest was put into the luggage-van, and
kindly M'sieu T de Chef came with me to the train,
talking and asking questions. He had a way of
saying u No" after every sentence. Evidently he
thought it a turn of speech a sort of finished
colloquialism.

"You goes to San Fransisk San Fransislc no?
Venn you comes back again, 'dot vass long times,
no?" . . . "Ein jahr. 'tt. Dot vass long times,
aind't it?"

At the train they were shunting a new engine in
[Front. I was looking for Henrik. I gasse'd ug



8 'BROKEN STOWAGE'

the line of carriages, and I heard him. In a car-
riage, among a crowd of rosy-faced country people,
sat my Vickly' man. He had had beer in the
refreshment place a lot of beer an'd was enter-
taining his fellow-passengers. He was singing at
the second line 'Skies mid shtorms vass laiden'
when I passed. Seeing me, he hailed loudly;
and motioned to a seat that he had held for me;
two smiling countrywomen bunched their many
skirts and made room. It was clear that Henrik
was already a favourite. I stood for a little, talk-
ing to M'siett le Chef. He told me he once wanted
to go to the sea, and asked again where I was
bound for. . . . "Ach, ja. San Francis San
Francisk no?"

He sighed and lifted his fat left han'd, anb!
sighted along the fingers, as if he could see the
Golden Gate in the dim 'distance. The engine
gave a preparatory snort. He shook my hand,
while I thanked him for his kindness. "Ach, ja"
he said. "Dot vass all recht, Zoone, you vass
to the sea out. . . . Meinselluf, Ah vass for <de;
sea once but no no."

A bell rang and we move'd on.

"San Francis San Fransisk," said M'sieu le
Chef. "tt. Dat vass long way no?"



II

ERRORS OF JUDGMENT



Tj^VERY one on the water-front knew that
*-' Day's Nautical Academy was no longer
popular with the younger men of the sea-service.
Stiff old Captain Day was strong on theory and
first principles, and the time had come, they
thought, when 'tabloid' navigation was "good
enough t' be going on with !" The day of the sail-
ing ship, of long voyages and leisurely preparation
for the exams., was gone. Steam and steam-pres-
sure left no time for going to the root of things;
no time for such an old-fashioned establishment
as Captain Day's. Now, Thorleys' ! Ah ! That
was the place to go to for 'smart' work. No
bothersome 'whys' and 'wherefores' there I Just
ndd, and subtract, and do this, and that! Every-
thing up to date I No time lost ! To-day a new
scholar biting his pens I ... To-morrow a can-
didate, with his titbits and memory-aids all
trimmed and ready! . . . Next week? Huttfi
Off to the sea again, with the ink scarce dry on
a new certificate I . . . Thorleys',!

9



io 'BROKEN STOWAGE'

For a time Old Day kept up a brave show of.
busyness. Never was the big brass plate so
splendidly polished, never the little wooden
Admiral so fine in spick new paint! All to no
purpose! Even the boy in the ship-chandler's
^downstairs could tell you that the 'Academy' was
Deserted. It was of no use for the Captain to
stamp about and move desks and pretend that his
scholars took up all his time. Where was the fine
smell of ship's tobacco that used to hang about
the doorway when the sun-bronzed pupils were
'out' for an interval? Where the group of
anxious youths when the fortnightly exams, were
on, the joyous deep-sea hails when the tests were
successfully over?

Ah, yes! Go up and down the stairs, Captain
Day! Go up and down, humming The West
Wind as if you had never a care in the world!
Carry your head high and your shoulders squared
like the gallant old fellow you are. . . . But you
can't 'blind' the ship-chandler's boy who saw you
looking out over the harbour yesterday; and your
lips were hard set for whistling, and your head
was bowed, and your shoulders were drawn, and
you were looking out, . . . looking out !



"Twen-ty years!"

Busy Mr. Rankman whistled softly, turned the



ERRORS OF JUDGMENT n

letter 'down, and looked across to the Marine
Superintendent. "Whew! Twenty years, eh? A
long time t' be away from the sea, Captain! D'you
know this man? Day, his name is. Wants a post
as an officer in the Line."

"Oh yes!" answered the Superintendent.
"Know him? Yes! Served under him years be-
fore . . . before . . . before he came ashore.
A sound man, sir, but unfortunate . . . very
unfortunate. That affair of the Centurion "

"Ah! The Centurion, eh?" The Director's
usually genial face clouded over, his lips assumed
hard lines. Shipowners have long memories.
"Centurion, eh? Lives lost there, weren't there?
A bad business, if I remember."

"Well! . . . always held that Day was harshly
treated by the Court, sir, over that. If it hap-
pened to-day, they wouldn't break a man for art
'error of judgment.' We know now that there are
such things as wayward sea-currents. True, fifty
lost but that was by the Dago emigrants rushing
the boats. All who stood to Day's orders came
through, and even the Court that broke him com-
mended his gallantry and resource. A sound man,
sir! Sound, but unfortunate!"

"Umm-m ! You seem pretty warm about him,
Captain. Friend o' yours?"

"Well, yes! A friend, if you put it so. Ancl a
frien'd of well-nigh every shipmaster in the port.
Quite half of our men have been through his hands,



12 'BROKEN STOWAGE '

one time or another, in that twenty years since . . .
since th' Centurion. Day's Nautical Academy had
a fine reputation in its day. I'm afraid he's not
'doing much lately. The young men these days
have no time for serious work. They say, too,
that he has lost money in that Burton Docks Com-
pany. I didn't ask him ... a proud old fellow,
sir."

"Aye, aye! But twenty years, Captain!
Dammit, a man can't know much about seafaring
after that lapse of time!"

"That's so! So! But Day has been in close
touch "

"Tutt! Tutt! Well, give 'm a junior berth if
you've got one. He can't do much harm
there. . . . Now, about the Khandahar. We
want "

The busy Director waved Old Day and his
affairs aside, and turned to more important mat-
ters.

So it fell out that John Day came back to the
sea again, and found himself (in the brightest of
brass buttons) superintending the stowage of pas-
sengers' baggage in the hold of the Khandalla of
the Anglo-Indian Line.

Things went well. Captain Barratt was an old
acquaintance, and the other officers (taking cue
from their Commander) treated the old gentle-
man with a deal of consideration and respect. For
a while the work and routine were strangely new



ERRORS OF JUDGMENT 13

to him. Affairs had greatly changed at sea in
twenty years. Seamanship was now steamanship
... all was hurry, bustle. The exactions of keen
competition in shipping left no time for the fine
touches of a seaman's art. Quickly done was well
'done, no matter how lubberly or insecure. High-
pressure steam appliances had made any despatch
possible; it was a case of 'in tide and out tide,'
home and off again a ceaseless round !

Twenty years of putting other people right is
ill training for a junior berth in the sea-service!
Day found it hard to curb his schoolmasterly
habits; to act the part of foreman-stevedore with
proper humility; to sit mumchance at table while
passengers idly speculated on the history of this
strange Chota Sahib, who looked as if he ought
to be Captain by every hair of his trim white
beard. Often he heard the whisper as he passed
on: ' . . . The Centurion, you know! ... A
bad business!"

It was everywhere, that grim spectre of the
Centurion. Ashore it had been forgotten in the
round of work; here in a little world of shipboard
the whole grim story was recalled and told again.
The passengers talked of it. His brother officers
(while avoiding all reference and approach) had a
maddening note of pity in their tone. Once, when
passing Cape Trafalgar, a quartermaster asked
him, civil like: "Beggin' yer par'n, Mr. Day, sir.
Me an' Bill wos 'avin' a hargyment. . . . Warn't



i 4 'BROKEN STOWAGE'

it somew'eres 'bout 'ere as th' Centurion wos
lorst?"

Still, it was a 'fine quiet life for the old man.
The never-changing sea was there, and with every
breath of the clean fresh breeze Old Day felt his
spirits rise (the old spirit that was before the days
of the Centurion and schoolroom drudgery), and
carried his head high and his shoulders squared.

On his second voyage luck came his way the
strange 'luck' at sea that is so often built upon the
misfortunes of others. The Second Officer was
left in a Bombay hospital, and his juniors made
a step in promotion. The next voyage, Day was
raised to Second through a kindly hint of his
friendly Commander. This for the Anglo-
Indian was rapid progress, and the quayside
prophets (in the negative manner of the very wise)'
"shouldn't wondered if Ol' Day didn't get a com-
mand again, sixty an' all as he is 1"

But, all too soon, a change came over his affairs.
Captain Barratt was transferred to a new ship, and
with him went Old Day's reviving prospects. The
new Captain was of a different type. A compara-
tively young man for command, he had influence
with the Directors, and was being pushed rapidly
on. He had not passed through the long years
of probation that engender a tolerance for seem-
ing fault in others. A capable seaman and Com-
mander, energetic, exacting to a degree of harsh-
ness, he had pushed on with never a check. Failure?



ERRORS OF JUDGMENT 15

he knew nothing of; insidious doubt had never
plucked at his coat-sleeve in a moment of difficulty.
'Lucky' London was his nickname on the quay.
'Lucky' indeed in that he had never been tried!
To such a man Old Day, with his history of
failure, could appear as nothing but a useless 'old-
timer.' London, in his hurried way, never courted
a second impression. It was enough for him that
here was a man who had been 'in trouble,' a 'has-
been' . . . who had fallen behind in the race.
The old gentleman's slow, deliberate ways and
scholarly turn of speech irritated the impetuous
young Commander to a point of exasperation.
Trifles become momentous when seen through pas-
sioned eyes; everything that fell to the Second
Officer was judged to be wrongly done. Now it
was a sneer at 'school-book' navigation; again, a
coarse reflection on a point of seamanship. Noth-
ing was left undone to make the old man's position
intolerable, and by the time the Khandalla was
homeward bound, even the man at the wheel knew
that "Ol' Day wos goin' t' get th' sack" as soon
as they arrived home.

II

A bitter night in the Channel, ami the Kharidalla,
homeward bound, hammering down the crest and
trough of a heavy sea driving through the thick
weather that attends a sou'west gale.

Day and a junior were on watch : tramping rest-



16 'BROKEN STOWAGE'

lessly a yard or two, peering beetle-broweb! into
the murk ahead, striving to pierce that pall of
thin rain and driving sleet that lashed, in flurry
and burst, down the wind. At intervals the
steamer's syren sounded out. The dim light in
the bridge 'telegraph' showed 'STAND BY' on the
'dial, but throb and thrust of the powerful engines
below told that speed was up.


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