into the North
sea when the weather, always boisterous in those latitudes in the winter season, became so bad that the captain conceived it prudent to put into Christiansand in Norway
Time was precious — for there were pressing obligations pending.
Moreover, the captain and crew were to be discharged after the lapse of a limited time.
Under these circumstances, the passenger, Mr. Brown
,. whose status on board was known only to the captain, urged him to “put to sea” on the least abatement of the gale.
They had been out in blue water only a few hours when the vessel began to exhibit her powers of diving and coming up, after the fashion of the porpois, as if for the amusement of all on board.
But the engineers and crew, not amused by these fantastic tricks, as they were neither ducks nor fish, petitioned the captain to “put back” into, port.
He, quite of their opinion, proposed the same to Mr. Brown
but the latter, though in a minority of one, declined to accede to the proposition of the majority — the rule of the sea being the reverse of that on land under republican government — and expressing his entire confidence in the “sea-worthiness” of the vessel, advised the captain to assure the engineers that turning back was always, attended with danger; that there was bad luck in it; that the only danger lay in stopping the engines; that, in a word, the safety of the vessel and all on board depended entirely on the continuous.
movement of the engine, and the watchful care of it by the engineers.
She weathered that gale and arrived off the coast of France
in clear weather and a smooth sea, where — a very singular coincidence — a steamer had taken up her
anchorage, as though there had been some preconcerted arrangement for their meeting, for this was neither a port nor harbor.
The agent of the builders, who had been up to this time the ostensible owner of the vessel, concluding it would be as well for him to land on the nearest point of the coast, took his departure, accompanied by the captain and crew, and went on shore, indulging the pleasing remembrance of an adventurous passage from the North
sea, and the still more pleasing anticipation of the fruitful results he was about to realize.
This procedure would seem inhospitable and unkind towards the little craft that had borne them safely through the tempestuous weather of the North
sea, thus to be left with one solitary man on board.
But she had not long to remain in this unpeopled state.
Boats came, crowded with men, from the steamer that lay close by, not only curious to see, but, perhaps, to minister to the wants of