On the slow, monotonous passage across the Atlantic
, nothing worthy of note occured, save the appearance of a clipper built bark, bound from Baltimore
to Rio de Janeiro
, laden with flour.
She was under all sail, going rapidly through the water, with a free wind.
There is but one object, either in nature or art, given to the eyes of man to behold more beautiful than the ship under “full sail.”
The French flag was hoisted at the “peak” of the Stonewall
, and immediately the American
flag was shown by the bark.
When she had come within a suitable distance, the French
flag was hauled down, the Confederate
hoisted in its place, and a “nineinch” shell thrown across her bow. The music of such a projectile, flying through the air with ignited fuse, is not that of the Aeolian harp.
With “flowing sheets,” the bark “came up into wind” as gracefully as are the movements of the swan when gliding through the waters of a placid lake.
Here was, presented an unpleasant conflict of duty and inclination.
To destroy such a craft was repulsive; and yet duty might demand it. The commander of the Stonewall
would gladly avail himself of a justifiable excuse to avoid such an alternative.
The captain of the bark was brought on board.
His troubled appearance may be more easily imagined than discribed.
In great anguish he declared that he had been in that trade many years, and this was the first time he had brought his wife and little daughter with him. Here was an appeal that added to the embarrassment of the situation, not easily disregarded.
had no accommodations for such passengers, and moreover this was not the kind of game she was in pursuit of. The captain of the bark was given to understand that a bond would be required of him for the release of his vessel, and that he should assure his owners they were indebted solely to his wife and daughter for the rescue of their vessel and cargo from the flames.
A heavier oppression was never lifted from the human breast, and his countenance beamed with all the kindly feelings the human heart is susceptible of. He begged that he might be allowed to present to the Stonewall
some of the luxuries with which his pantry was supplied.
His offer was gratefully acknowledged, but declined.
The bark went on her way rejoicing, and the Stonewall
pursued her course to Nassau
, a convenient port at which to procure coals.
She did not enter the harbor, but received the coals outside — an unpleasant indication, for there were rumors on shore, though not authentic, which made the Stonewall
an unwelcome visitor.