Our voyage to Rio de Janeiro was one of fifty-four days. The novelty of sea life made it interesting to us neophytes. We caught sharks and dolphins and struck porpoises and shipjacks. Sea birds, too, we could catch, such as petrels and boobies, with baited hooks. As we approached the Brazilian coast we were becalmed on the Abrolhoes shoals and we hauled in lots of gouper and red snappers. We luxuriated on this fine fish diet, but we had also not disdained the meat of the shark and porpoise. As illustrating the force of attraction of objects on the ocean, which is well known, I mention this instance. An English merchantman brig called the Condor was becalmed near us for several days, and two or three times we had to lower our boats and tow her away to a safe distance from our ship. The St. Louis kept company with us all the voyage to Rio. Sometimes the commodore would signal for her to come within hail and she would run along parallel with us so graceful in her movements I thought, showing the bright copper on her bottom as she lazily dipped or rolled on the long ocean swell. Nobody could speak on these occasions but the commanding officer. On one of these speaking times, when a stone could easily have been thrown from one ship to another, one of the midshipmen of the St. Louis was, we thought, playing smart. He would shin up to the main royal masthead and put his cap on the main truck. This attracted the attention of our commodore, and after the ships had parted company he said to the pitt luff: ‘I don't see our midshipmen much aloft, Mr. Chauncey. Give the order hereafter that these midshipmen of each watch keep watch in the three tops.’ This was news to us. Up in the tops we could sit down, even lie down if we thought fit, and nobody could see if we read a novel in our high perch. I was the unfortunate one that got this delightful condition broken up. A soft bright warm day I was in the maintop. To get rid of the gabbling of the men who were on the weather side of the top I took the lee side, and making a sort of an awning of the royal studding sails stretched myself out with the ‘Hunchback of Notre Dame’ in my hand. The quiet and the opportunity were too much for me and I fell into a snooze. Unfortunately the officer of the deck hailed the top. Now it
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