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and had received word that his wife was very sick in New York. He was
anxious to get home and my ship was the first that was going. I advised
him to wait three days and take the Hamburg-American liner, which would
arrive fully five days before us; but he said he had not money enough to
go that way except in the steerage, and he could not think of doing that
because his boy's health was none too good. So, of course, I agreed to
take the two. The boy looked up at me and said,

"'Thank you, sir; and please make the ship hurry, because mamma is
waiting for us.'

"I promised him I'd do my best, and, indeed, I did make up my mind to
push the ship as she'd never been pushed before. We sailed at three
o'clock on June 28th - I remember that date well enough. It was a
lowering damp afternoon, with a brisk southwesterly wind, and as soon as
we got fairly out into the North Sea the ship began to butt into a nasty
chop that sent the spray flying over her bows. But I was able to escape
the worst of it by hugging the Holland coast, and so got down into the
English Channel in some comfort. But now it was no longer possible to
hug the coast, for that would have carried me too far out of my course.
However, the _Bristow_ made good progress till we passed Fastnet Rock
and got well out into the Atlantic. And there our troubles began. The
morning of our third day out dawned with a hard low sky, a dead calm,
and a deep, long, oily swell underrunning the ship. She rolled pitiably
indeed. The barometer began to fall, and the wind rose and became very
unsettled. I think that before noon it blew from every point of the
compass, and some of the gusts were regular white squalls. The swell was
running from the south, but the wind was chiefly from the west,
southwest, and northwest. Toward evening the wind settled down, and by
dark it was dead calm. But the terrific swells that swept up from the
south, the gradual fall of the barometer, and the lurid state of the sky
told me that there was a lot of trouble ahead of us yet. We were about
400 miles west of Fastnet at ten o'clock, and I lay down, giving my
first officer instructions to call me in case the wind rose. Just before
midnight I was aroused, and went on deck to find the wind coming in
short angry blasts from the nor'west. At midnight it came out with the
full force of a hurricane right in our teeth. In a short time a terrible
confused sea was running. It was a frightful night. At three o'clock in
the morning a thunder-storm swept over with the gale. Fierce lightning
and a deluge of rain combined to make an appalling scene. Daylight found
the ship reeling and staggering over huge jagged walls of water that
loomed up ahead of her as if they would swallow her. Just after four
o'clock a fearful sea fell bodily over the starboard quarter and stove
in one side of the cabin, filling it with water. I saw that it was
madness to try to drive the ship against such weather, and I hove her
to. When I went to my breakfast, Mr. Howard, my passenger, and his son
were there, very quiet and with white faces.

"'Will the ship sink, Captain?' asked the boy.

"'Oh no,' I answered; 'she's all right.'

"'But we sha'n't get home to mamma so soon,' murmured the boy,


"I had hove the ship to so as to bring the damaged side of the
deck-house to leeward, and I set the carpenter at work repairing it. We
were hove to for twenty-eight hours, and then, the weather moderating
somewhat, I started the _Bristow_ ahead at half speed. We had drifted
back fully seventy-five miles, and as we did not make more than three
knots an hour ahead, it took us fully a day to recover the lost ground.
Although the force of the wind had abated, it was still blowing a gale,
and the sea was sufficiently heavy to impede our progress very much. In
all my experience at sea I have never met with such heart-breaking
weather. If the wind had only shifted to our beam I would have been
profoundly grateful, while a hurricane on our quarter, disturbing at any
other time, would have filled me with joy. That boy's pale anxious face
and the thought of the sick mother at home haunted me as I walked the
reeling bridge or clung to its rail, and held my breath when some green
wall crashed down upon our forecastle deck. But the westward sky seemed
to be made of chilled steel, and out of its pitiless lips blew one gale
after another, and all full of a biting cold that made the name of
summer a foolish jest. For two weeks, inch by inch, the _Bristow_,
running her engine at its full power, fought her way against a series of
westerly gales. The decks were white with crusted salt, and the
iron-work became browned with rust, until the ship began to look old and
haggard from her struggle with the elements. But the worst had not come
yet. On the seventeenth day out, while I was at my dinner, the
pale-faced boy and his father sitting opposite to me and gazing at me in
mournful silence, the chief engineer came to me with a grave
countenance, and asked me to step aside that he might speak with me.

"'Captain,' said he, 'I am sorry to tell you that the coal in our
bunkers is getting very low, and that unless we make better headway it
will run out before we make port.'

"'Cut up all the spare wood in the hold,' I said, 'and feed that to the

"The engineer went away shaking his head, and then the boy came up to me
and said,

"'Captain, are we ever going to get home?'

"'Oh yes,' I said, with an effort to appear cheerful; 'of course we are.
We're doing very well now.'

"The boy looked at me reproachfully and walked away. His father hadn't
said a word to me for two days. But I declare it wasn't my fault. Well,
you may think we had had our share of trouble, but we were not through
yet. On the afternoon of July 20th several large ice-floes were sighted,
and that night the ship ran into a dense field of ice. By this time most
of our spare wood had been burned, and we were depending largely on our
sails to carry us along, while the wind, which was still blowing half a
gale, was almost dead ahead. And here we were in an ice-field that
hemmed us in as far as the eye could see. The temperature of the air was
bitterly cold, and it seemed as if we had been plunged into the midst of
arctic regions. The ice-floes crashed and groaned, gulls whirled
phantomlike and screaming above our stained spars, and all the time the
wind blew against us as if some supernatural force were bent on driving
us back. On the evening of the 21st the ship's carpenter came to me and

"'Captain, there are six inches of water in the hold.'

"For a minute, I think, I could not speak, for this new misfortune quite
stunned me.

"'Have you found the leak?' I asked at length.

"'Not yet, sir,' he answered. 'It is somewhere forward, though.'

"'Make a close search for it, and let me know at once,' I said.

"He went below, and in about half an hour reported that one of the
plates in our starboard bow had been cracked by the ice. The break was
below the water-line, but I succeeded in stopping it up by melting some
tar, which I fortunately had aboard, and pouring it into the crack. Our
engine was stopped altogether now, because the ice was so thick that it
was dangerous to push the vessel ahead. There was a good deal of sea
underrunning the ice, and it required the greatest skill and
watchfulness to prevent disaster. To avoid injury altogether was quite
impossible. At four bells in the morning watch on July 23d, while we
were still in the ice-field, there was a jar and a crash. I sprang from
my bunk, in which I had been lying dressed, and jumped on deck.

"'What in the world has happened now?' I cried.

"'Carried away our rudder, sir,' called the second mate, who was leaning
over the taffrail.

"The pale-faced boy came up to me, and looking into my face with his
great solemn eyes, said,

"'What shall we do now?'

"'Rig another,' I answered as bravely as I could.

"I'm not going to describe to you the rigging of a jury-rudder, because
it's one of the commonest feats of sea-engineering; but I will tell you
that it cost us a day's hard work, and required the use of some spare
stuff which I would have been very glad to put into the furnaces, for
the coal supply was becoming smaller and smaller, and we were seven
hundred miles from the nearest port. Well, we were twelve long,
heart-breaking days in the ice. Fortunately it rained heavily during two
of those days, and by using everything we had on board, including the
boats, to catch the rain, I succeeded in fairly replenishing the supply
of water in our tanks. We were fortunate in having an unusually large
supply of food, and this alone saved us from falling into the straits of
hunger. We had plenty of everything except beef and pork. These articles
were exhausted, and we had to depend upon canned food, bread, crackers,
tea, and coffee. But we had enough of those to last us three months, so
that I did not deem it necessary to shorten the allowances. On August 2d
we got clear of the ice, and began to make progress at the rate of four
knots an hour under sail and a little steam, but three points off our
course. In all this time we had sighted nothing save one distant sail;
but on August 3d, to our intense joy, a steamer rose over the horizon
ahead of us. I set signals of distress, and they were seen. The steamer
proved to be the _Argonaut_, from Halifax for Liverpool, and her Captain
agreed to tow us into Halifax. It was a long, long way, and we knew it
would be a slow task, but the thought of it lightened every heart. My
men jumped eagerly to the task of passing the great hawser, and at four
o'clock in the afternoon it was stretched, and the _Argonaut_ began to
drag us westward at six knots an hour. Our ship's company gathered in
the bow and gave a cheer, and the boy smiled and said,

"'At last we shall get home to mamma.'

"I turned in after that and slept the sleep of exhaustion. The
_Argonaut_ towed us gallantly for 250 miles; and then, on the night of
August 5th, we ran into another gale from the nor'west. It was not as
bad as those we had previously encountered, but it checked our advance,
and before morning had raised a heavy sea. At eight o'clock the tow-line
parted with a report like that of a gun. To think of stretching it again
in such a sea was hopeless, but the _Argonaut_ lay by us all day.
Several times in the course of the following night we saw her lights,
but before morning the wind shifted to the southeast, a fog came up, and
we never saw the _Argonaut_ again. Sadly we set sail on the _Bristow_,
and began to move slowly through the still troubled waters. But at nine
o'clock the fog cleared off, the wind hauled to the eastward, and the
sea became moderate. I was now able to set every stitch of canvas on the
vessel with a fair wind, and I laid my course for St. John's,
Newfoundland. We forged ahead at four knots an hour, and hope revived in
every breast. But before night the wind fell light, and our progress
became nothing better than a drift of two knots hourly. Still we were
going ahead, and we did not despair. Calm weather and light winds
continued till August 10th, and then the wind came in ahead. We were now
about two hundred miles from Cape Race. Two schooners passed us in the
course of the day, and I signalled to them our condition, asking them to
report us, and they promised to do so. I now determined to use the last
fuel I could find aboard the ship. Our coal had been exhausted, and I
did not dare to strip the spars from the masts lest I should still need
them to make sail. All the bulkheads in the ship were iron, but I had
every available bit of wood-work cut away, including the doors, and so
made enough steam to start the engine again. We went ahead very slowly
all that day, but the following morning, when 38 miles southeast of Cape
Race, we came to a stand-still. Our fuel was all gone, and the boilers
were cold.

"'What shall we do now?' asked the pale-faced boy.

"'Send a boat to Cape Race for help,' said I.

"My first officer, Hiram Baker, and four seamen volunteered to make the
voyage, and at nine o'clock, with a well-provisioned and unsinkable
life-boat, they pushed off from the ship. We watched them out-of sight
with aching hearts and throbbing eyes. There was a light breeze from the
westward, and the life-boat was able to work to windward, so she could
come pretty near laying her course. The weather seemed settled, and I
felt that unless some unforeseen accident occurred she would reach her
destination before the next day. And so, indeed, she did. Two powerful
sea-going tugs were despatched from St. John's, and on the afternoon of
August 12th they hove in sight. Two hours later they had us in tow, and
that night we arrived in St. John's, six weeks and three days out. The
boy and his father hurried off to the telegraph office and sent a
message to New York. In the morning a messenger came aboard with an
answer. I can never forget with what eager hands Mr. Howard tore open
the envelope. Then he threw his arms around his boy and said,

"'She is much better!'

"'Then we shall be at home in time, after all.'

"And he came up to me and gave me a kiss, which rewarded me for all my

* * * * *

In the thirteenth century the Chinese government issued some paper
currency. To-day there are probably but two notes of that issue extant.
One is in the British Museum, and the other in the possession of the
Oriental Society of St. Petersburg. These notes were issued in the reign
of Hung Woo, the founder of the Ning Dynasty, who died in 1398. The face
value of the notes is about a dollar, and that issue of paper currency
was the only one ever guaranteed by the Chinese government. To-day these
notes are probably the rarest and most valuable of currency issues.
Nearly all note collectors and Chinese bankers are fully aware of their
existence and their value.



I don't like to be very ill - just ill enough to make her,
(My grandmamma) say softly, "Child, I'll fix you some stewed Quaker."

It's sweet and thick and very nice, and has molasses in it,
And lots of vinegar and spice; you want it every minute.

And being medicine, of course you sip and say it's dandy.
Just only think! it's _medicine_, and tastes like taffy candy!

Now castor-oil and squills, and stuff that wrinkles up your forehead,
And puckers up your mouth, and gags and burns, are simply horrid.

_I_ don't mind being ill at all, if darling grandma'll make her
Nice dose she used to make for pa when he was young - stewed Quaker.


The bicycle has proved useful as a life-saving machine in many
instances, but it remained for John O'Hara, of Broome Street, in New
York, to discover how good a bicycle is as a means of escape from a mad
dog. John is a well-grown lad, and is so fond of bicycle-riding that he
goes on wheeling trips through the streets of the Fast Side. All of
these streets are crowded, but probably no one of them is so jammed full
of pedestrians and push-carts and peddlers' wagons as Forsyth Street.
Experts say that no other part of the world is so thickly populated as
this neighborhood, so you can easily imagine how difficult it must be to
go wheeling a bicycle through it.

John O'Hara was enjoying a pleasant spin on the smooth asphalt pavement
of Forsyth Street, near Broome, at noon the other day, when he noticed
the crowd scattering right and left, and diving into open hallways and
down cellar stairs. Presently he heard a cry of "Mad dog!" He wheeled
around and turned to flee to the southward. As he hurried away he looked
back over his shoulder, and saw a big white dog galloping after him, its
red tongue lolling out, and yellow foam dripping from its open jaws. As
the dog ran it turned and snapped viciously right and left. The cries of
the crowds on the sidewalk warned everybody on the pavement, so that
there was a clear field ahead of O'Hara for several blocks. He pushed
hard on the pedals, and sprinted away as hard as he could. If he could
only be sure of plenty of headway he knew he would be safe. The dog was
not running very fast, for his gait was uncertain, and he wavered from
side to side.

If O'Hara had turned out into any of the side streets he would have been
safe, but in the excitement of the moment he did not think of this. His
one idea was to run ahead as fast as possible. Now and then the carts
and wagons in the street were slow in turning out, and O'Hara had to
slow up. In this way he ran five blocks, now gaining on the dog, and now
almost overtaken. At Canal Street there was such a jam of vehicles that
the bicycle rider almost had to stop. The dog galloped ahead of him,
snapping at the wheel as it went past. O'Hara might have even then
turned northward for safety, but he was too excited, as probably most of
us would have been in his place. He kept straight ahead, and as the dog
fell in front of him, the wheels of the bicycle passed over its neck and
stunned it. Away went O'Hara at full speed, and a policeman, fortunately
near at hand, shot and killed the dog before it could recover. Probably
this is the first time that a bicycle was ever used as a weapon as well
as a means of flight from danger.


It has frequently been asserted that no fortifications of masonry could
resist modern ordnance, and this is doubtless true so far as heavy siege
guns are concerned. But in the recent war against China the Japanese
troops found on several occasions that with their light batteries of
field and mountain artillery they were unable to make any impression
upon the heavy stone defences of some of the walled Chinese towns. The
gates, especially, seemed able to resist any amount of bombarding, for
the masonry was much thicker and higher at these points, and frequently
there were three and four heavy iron-bound oaken doors to be broken open
before an entrance could be effected. The attacks on these walled towns
furnished occasions for a number of brave deeds on the part of the
Japanese soldiers, who proved themselves to be reckless in the display
of courage, and absolutely fearless in the face of the greatest dangers.
One of the first occasions of the kind was at Kin-chow, a good-sized
town surrounded by a very high stone wall with only a few gates. The
Japanese artillery had been firing at the principal gate for an hour or
so without effect, and the infantry had made assault after assault
against the perpendicular walls without being able to dislodge the
enemy, who were well screened behind battlements and embrasures. At last
the commander of the attacking force decided that the only way to get
into the town would be to blow open the gate with dynamite or
nitro-glycerine. It was all very well to decide upon this, after looking
at the heavy doors from a distance through field-glasses, but it was an
entirely different matter to put the explosive in place and set it off.


Nevertheless, as soon as it was announced that it had been determined by
the commander to blow open the gates, Onoguchi Tokuyi, a private soldier
of the corps of engineers, volunteered to take the cartridge and place
it under the doors. He rushed from among his companions and ran straight
for the wall, from the top of which the Chinese poured a perfect hail of
bullets at him. But the Chinese soldiery never aim, and usually fire
with their eyes closed, so that Tokuyi reached the gate unharmed. He
placed the bomb under one of the hinges, lit the fuse, and only had time
to retreat a few steps when with a roar and a crash the great oaken
doors were torn to pieces and fell inward. The soldier was knocked down
by the force of the explosion, but he quickly picked himself up, and,
leaping through the dust and smoke, placed a second cartridge under the
inner gate and blew that open in the same way. By this time a perfect
avalanche of Japanese infantry was pouring through the opened doorway,
and in a very few minutes the Chinese were in full rout. Tokuyi was
found unconscious after the fight, lying near the second door. He had
been hit in the shoulder by a bullet as he entered the outer gate. He
was treated by the army surgeons, and sent home to Japan to get well,
and then he was decorated for his bravery by the Mikado.


A similar exhibition of courage was given by an infantryman at the
storming of the Gemmun Gate at Ping-Yang. There, too, the thick stone
walls proved impervious to Japanese shot and shell, and after two
fruitless assaults it was decided to try some other method. Lieutenant
Mimura volunteered to open the gate single-handed, but Private Harada
stepped out and said he would follow along and help. Both men then ran
for a corner of the gateway, while their comrades diverted the attention
of the Chinese defenders by keeping up a hot fusillade. Mimura and
Harada clambered quickly up the face of the wall by placing their hands
and feet in the chinks between the stones. They succeeded in reaching
the top without being seen by the Chinese, who were busy blazing away at
the main body of the enemy, and then jumped down and rushed for the
inside of the gate. They had to cut their way through a horde of
Chinamen as soon as they had gotten inside the town; but they finally
beat them off, and threw the bolts of the heavy gates, that were at once
shoved in by the attacking force outside. Both Lieutenant Mimura and
Private Harada were promoted the next day.

* * * * *

Two gentlemen had a rather lively dispute, which finally wound up in an
agreement to fight it out in a duel. One of the gentlemen was extremely
thin and the other stout. The stout gentleman complained that it would
be useless for him to fire at such a shadow, for one might as well
expect to hit the edge of a razor as to hit the man. Whereupon the lean
man made the proposal to chalk a line down the fat man, and if his shot
failed to take effect within the narrow side of the line it wouldn't




[Illustration: Decorative H]

igh on a Saxon hill-side overlooking the pleasant valley of the Itz, and
in the shadow of the loftier Frankenwalds, stands an old castle now gray
with age and rich in memories. In one of its many guest rooms, near an
open window, about which crows and jackdaws hung with swirl and clamor,
there sat, many years ago, a stockily-built, firm-featured,
fearless-eyed man writing a letter.

Armed men fill the castle; upon its walls and on its highest turrets
watchmen stand on guard; above it floats the standard of the Elector of
Saxony; and the great gate opens only to the summons of those who come
with credentials or password.

The time is one of anxiety and excitement, for the Protestant Princes of
northern Germany have taken a bold stand against their lord the Emperor.
Messengers ride daily to and from the castle, and letters are sent now
this way and now that, freighted with important measures or hot with
words of protest, counsel, and appeal, strengthening those who waver,
restraining those who are over-bold.

As by his open window in the ancient castle of Coburg, where his
presence is honored and his word is law, the strongman sits at work.
What is the letter that he writes? Who is the Prince or preacher for
whom his words of wisdom are penned? Is he a soldier issuing commands,
or a councillor sending advice to Elector, Duke, or King?

We draw near the writer, and as we look over his shoulder, following the
queer old German script his quick quill traces on the paper, this is
what we read:

"Grace and peace in Christ. My dear little son, I am glad to hear
that thou learnest well and prayest diligently. Do this, my son,
and continue it; when I return home I will bring thee a fine

"I know a beautiful cheerful garden, in which many children walk
about. They have golden coats on, and gather beautiful apples
under the trees, and pears and cherries and plums; they sing, and
jump about, and are merry; they have also fine little horses with
golden bridles and silver saddles. And I asked the man, 'Whose
children are they?' He replied, 'These are the children who like

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Online LibraryVariousHarper's Round Table, August 27, 1895 → online text (page 3 of 7)