• SAILING ALONE AROUND THE WORLD (complete 1+2) (2/3)

    From Captain Joshua Slocum@21:1/5 to All on Fri Jan 25 04:19:21 2019
    [continued from previous message]

    lashed the helm, and my vessel held her course, and while she
    sailed I slept.

    During these days a feeling of awe crept over me. My memory worked
    with startling power. The ominous, the insignificant, the great,
    the small, the wonderful, the commonplace - all appeared before my
    mental vision in magical succession. Pages of my history were
    recalled which had been so long forgotten that they seemed to
    belong to a previous existence. I heard all the voices of the past
    laughing, crying, telling what I had heard them tell in many
    corners of the earth.

    The loneliness of my state wore off when the gale was high and I
    found much work to do. When fine weather returned, then came the
    sense of solitude, which I could not shake off. I used my voice
    often, at first giving some order about the affairs of a ship, for
    I had been told that from disuse I should lose my speech. At the
    meridian altitude of the sun I called aloud, "Eight bells," after
    the custom on a ship at sea. Again from my cabin I cried to an
    imaginary man at the helm, "How does she head, there?" and again,
    "Is she on her course?" But getting no reply, I was reminded the
    more palpably of my condition. My voice sounded hollow on the empty
    air, and I dropped the practice. However, it was not long before
    the thought came to me that when I was a lad I used to sing; why
    not try that now, where it would disturb no one? My musical talent
    had never bred envy in others, but out on the Atlantic, to realize
    what it meant, you should have heard me sing. You should have seen
    the porpoises leap when I pitched my voice for the waves and the
    sea and all that was in it. Old turtles, with large eyes, poked
    their heads up out of the sea as I sang "Johnny Boker," and "We'll
    Pay Darby Doyl for his Boots," and the like. But the porpoises
    were, on the whole, vastly more appreciative than the turtles; they
    jumped a deal higher. One day when I was humming a favorite chant,
    I think it was "Babylon's a-Fallin'," a porpoise jumped higher than
    the bowsprit. Had the Spray been going a little faster she would
    have scooped him in. The sea-birds sailed around rather shy.

    July 10, eight days at sea, the Spray was twelve hundred miles east
    of Cape Sable. One hundred and fifty miles a day for so small a
    vessel must be considered good sailing. It was the greatest run the
    Spray ever made before or since in so few days. On the evening of
    July 14, in better humor than ever before, all hands cried, "Sail
    ho!" The sail was a barkantine, three points on the weather bow,
    hull down. Then came the night. My ship was sailing along now
    without attention to the helm. The wind was south; she was heading
    east. Her sails were trimmed like the sails of the nautilus. They
    drew steadily all night. I went frequently on deck, but found all
    well. A merry breeze kept on from the south. Early in the morning
    of the 15th the Spray was close aboard the stranger, which proved
    to be La Vaguisa of Vigo, twenty-three days from Philadelphia,
    bound for Vigo. A lookout from his masthead had spied the Spray the
    evening before. The captain, when I came near enough, threw a line
    to me and sent a bottle of wine across slung by the neck, and very
    good wine it was. He also sent his card, which bore the name of
    Juan Gantes. I think he was a good man, as Spaniards go. But when I
    asked him to report me "all well" (the Spray passing him in a
    lively manner), he hauled his shoulders much above his head; and
    when his mate, who knew of my expedition, told him that I was
    alone, he crossed himself and made for his cabin. I did not see him
    again. By sundown he was as far astern as he had been ahead the
    evening before.

    There was now less and less monotony. On July 16 the wind was
    northwest and clear, the sea smooth, and a large bark, hull down,
    came in sight on the lee bow, and at 2:30 P.M. I spoke the
    stranger. She was the bark Java of Glasgow, from Peru for
    Queenstown for orders. Her old captain was bearish, but I met a
    bear once in Alaska that looked pleasanter. At least, the bear
    seemed pleased to meet me, but this grizzly old man! Well, I
    suppose my hail disturbed his siesta, and my little sloop passing
    his great ship had somewhat the effect on him that a red rag has
    upon a bull. I had the advantage over heavy ships, by long odds, in
    the light winds of this and the two previous days. The wind was
    light; his ship was heavy and foul, making poor headway, while the
    Spray , with a great mainsail bellying even to light winds, was
    just skipping along as nimbly as one could wish. "How long has it
    been calm about here?" roared the captain of the Java , as I came
    within hail of him. "Dunno, cap'n," I shouted back as loud as I
    could bawl. "I haven't been here long." At this the mate on the
    forecastle wore a broad grin. "I left Cape Sable fourteen days
    ago," I added. (I was now well across toward the Azores.) "Mate,"
    he roared to his chief officer - "mate, come here and listen to the
    Yankee's yarn. Haul down the flag, mate, haul down the flag!" In
    the best of humor, after all, the Java surrendered to the Spray .

    The acute pain of solitude experienced at first never returned. I
    had penetrated a mystery, and, by the way, I had sailed through a
    fog. I had met Neptune in his wrath, but he found that I had not
    treated him with contempt, and so he suffered me to go on and

    In the log for July 18 there is this entry: "Fine weather, wind south-southwest. Porpoises gamboling all about. The S.S. Olympia
    passed at 11:30 A.M., long. W. 34 degrees 50'."

    "It lacks now three minutes of the half-hour," shouted the captain,
    as he gave me the longitude and the time. I admired the
    businesslike air of the Olympia ; but I have the feeling still that
    the captain was just a little too precise in his reckoning. That
    may be all well enough, however, where there is plenty of sea-room.
    But over-confidence, I believe, was the cause of the disaster to
    the liner Atlantic , and many more like her. The captain knew too
    well where he was. There were no porpoises at all skipping along
    with the Olympia ! Porpoises always prefer sailing-ships. The
    captain was a young man, I observed, and had before him, I hope, a
    good record.

    Land ho! On the morning of July 19 a mystic dome like a mountain of
    silver stood alone in the sea ahead. Although the land was
    completely hidden by the white, glistening haze that shone in the
    sun like polished silver, I felt quite sure that it was Flores
    Island. At half-past four P.M. it was abeam. The haze in the
    meantime had disappeared. Flores is one hundred and seventy-four
    miles from Fayal, and although it is a high island, it remained
    many years undiscovered after the principal group of the islands
    had been colonized.

    Early on the morning of July 20 I saw Pico looming above the clouds
    on the starboard bow. Lower lands burst forth as the sun burned
    away the morning fog, and island after island came into view. As I
    approached nearer, cultivated fields appeared, "and oh, how green
    the corn!" Only those who have seen the Azores from the deck of a
    vessel realize the beauty of the mid-ocean picture.

    At 4:30 P.M. I cast anchor at Fayal, exactly eighteen days from
    Cape Sable. The American consul, in a smart boat, came alongside
    before the Spray reached the breakwater, and a young naval officer,
    who feared for the safety of my vessel, boarded, and offered his
    services as pilot. The youngster, I have no good reason to doubt,
    could have handled a man-of-war, but the Spray was too small for
    the amount of uniform he wore. I could never make out. But I
    forgive him.

    It was the season for fruit when I arrived at the Azores, and there
    was soon more of all kinds of it put on board than I knew what to
    do with. Islanders are always the kindest people in the world, and
    I met none anywhere kinder than the good hearts of this place. The
    people of the Azores are not a very rich community. The burden of
    taxes is heavy, with scant privileges in return, the air they
    breathe being about the only thing that is not taxed. The mother-
    country does not even allow them a port of entry for a foreign mail
    service. A packet passing never so close with mails for Horta must
    deliver them first in Lisbon, ostensibly to be fumigated, but
    really for the tariff from the packet. My own letters posted at
    Horta reached the United States six days behind my letter from
    Gibraltar, mailed thirteen days later.

    The day after my arrival at Horta was the feast of a great saint.
    Boats loaded with people came from other islands to celebrate at
    Horta, the capital, or Jerusalem, of the Azores. The deck of the
    Spray was crowded from morning till night with men, women, and
    children. On the day after the feast a kind-hearted native
    harnessed a team and drove me a day over the beautiful roads all
    about Fayal, "because," said he, in broken English, "when I was in
    America and couldn't speak a word of English, I found it hard till
    I met some one who seemed to have time to listen to my story, and I
    promised my good saint then that if ever a stranger came to my
    country I would try to make him happy." Unfortunately, this
    gentleman brought along an interpreter, that I might "learn more of
    the country." The fellow was nearly the death of me, talking of
    ships and voyages, and of the boats he had steered, the last thing
    in the world I wished to hear. He had sailed out of New Bedford, so
    he said, for "that Joe Wing they call 'John.'" My friend and host
    found hardly a chance to edge in a word. Before we parted my host
    dined me with a cheer that would have gladdened the heart of a
    prince, but he was quite alone in his house. "My wife and children
    all rest there," said he, pointing to the churchyard across the
    way. "I moved to this house from far off," he added, "to be near
    the spot, where I pray every morning."

    I remained four days at Fayal, and that was two days more than I
    had intended to stay. It was the kindness of the islanders and
    their touching simplicity which detained me. A damsel, as innocent
    as an angel, came alongside one day, and said she would embark on
    the Spray if I would land her at Lisbon. She could cook flying-
    fish, she thought, but her forte was dressing bacalhao . Her
    brother Antonio, who served as interpreter, hinted that, anyhow, he
    would like to make the trip. Antonio's heart went out to one John
    Wilson, and he was ready to sail for America by way of the two
    capes to meet his friend. "Do you know John Wilson of Boston?" he
    cried. "I knew a John Wilson," I said, "but not of Boston." "He had
    one daughter and one son," said Antonio, by way of identifying his
    friend. If this reaches the right John Wilson, I am told to say
    that "Antonio of Pico remembers him."


    Squally weather in the Azores - High living - Delirious from cheese
    and plums - The pilot of the Pinta - At Gibraltar - Compliments
    exchanged with the British navy - A picnic on the Morocco shore.

    I set sail from Horta early on July 24. The southwest wind at the
    time was light, but squalls came up with the sun, and I was glad
    enough to get reefs in my sails before I had gone a mile. I had
    hardly set the mainsail, double-reefed, when a squall of wind down
    the mountains struck the sloop with such violence that I thought
    her mast would go. However, a quick helm brought her to the wind.
    As it was, one of the weather lanyards was carried away and the
    other was stranded. My tin basin, caught up by the wind, went
    flying across a French school-ship to leeward. It was more or less
    squally all day, sailing along under high land; but rounding close
    under a bluff, I found an opportunity to mend the lanyards broken
    in the squall. No sooner had I lowered my sails when a four-oared
    boat shot out from some gully in the rocks, with a customs officer
    on board, who thought he had come upon a smuggler. I had some
    difficulty in making him comprehend the true case. However, one of
    his crew, a sailorly chap, who understood how matters were, while
    we palavered jumped on board and rove off the new lanyards I had
    already prepared, and with a friendly hand helped me "set up the
    rigging." This incident gave the turn in my favor. My story was
    then clear to all. I have found this the way of the world. Let one
    be without a friend, and see what will happen!

    Passing the island of Pico, after the rigging was mended, the Spray
    stretched across to leeward of the island of St. Michael's, which
    she was up with early on the morning of July 26, the wind blowing
    hard. Later in the day she passed the Prince of Monaco's fine steam-
    yacht bound to Fayal, where, on a previous voyage, the prince had
    slipped his cables to "escape a reception" which the padres of the
    island wished to give him. Why he so dreaded the "ovation" I could
    not make out. At Horta they did not know. Since reaching the
    islands I had lived most luxuriously on fresh bread, butter,
    vegetables, and fruits of all kinds. Plums seemed the most
    plentiful on the Spray , and these I ate without stint. I had also
    a Pico white cheese that General Manning, the American consul-
    general, had given me, which I supposed was to be eaten, and of
    this I partook with the plums. Alas! by night-time I was doubled up
    with cramps. The wind, which was already a smart breeze, was
    increasing somewhat, with a heavy sky to the sou'west.

    Reefs had been turned out, and I must turn them in again somehow.
    Between cramps I got the mainsail down, hauled out the earings as
    best I could, and tied away point by point, in the double reef.
    There being sea-room, I should, in strict prudence, have made all
    snug and gone down at once to my cabin. I am a careful man at sea,
    but this night, in the coming storm, I swayed up my sails, which,
    reefed though they were, were still too much in such heavy weather;
    and I saw to it that the sheets were securely belayed. In a word, I
    should have laid to, but did not. I gave her the double-reefed
    mainsail and whole jib instead, and set her on her course. Then I
    went below, and threw myself upon the cabin floor in great pain.
    How long I lay there I could not tell, for I became delirious. When
    I came to, as I thought, from my swoon, I realized that the sloop
    was plunging into a heavy sea, and looking out of the companionway,
    to my amazement I saw a tall man at the helm. His rigid hand,
    grasping the spokes of the wheel, held them as in a vise. One may
    imagine my astonishment. His rig was that of a foreign sailor, and
    the large red cap he wore was cockbilled over his left ear, and all
    was set off with shaggy black whiskers. He would have been taken
    for a pirate in any part of the world. While I gazed upon his
    threatening aspect I forgot the storm, and wondered if he had come
    to cut my throat. This he seemed to divine. "Senor," said he,
    doffing his cap,

    "I have come to do you no harm." And a smile, the faintest in the
    world, but still a smile, played on his face, which seemed not
    unkind when he spoke. "I have come to do you no harm. I have sailed
    free," he said, "but was never worse than a contrabandista . I am
    one of Columbus's crew," he continued. "I am the pilot of the Pinta
    come to aid you. Lie quiet, senor captain," he added, "and I will
    guide your ship to-night. You have a calentura , but you will be
    all right tomorrow." I thought what a very devil he was to carry
    sail. Again, as if he read my mind, he exclaimed: "Yonder is the
    Pinta ahead; we must overtake her. Give her sail; give her sail!
    Vale, vale, muy vale! " Biting off a large quid of black twist, he
    said: "You did wrong, captain, to mix cheese with plums. White
    cheese is never safe unless you know whence it comes. Quien sabe ,
    it may have been from leche de Capra and becoming capricious - "

    "Avast, there!" I cried. "I have no mind for moralizing."

    I made shift to spread a mattress and lie on that instead of the
    hard floor, my eyes all the while fastened on my strange guest,
    who, remarking again that I would have "only pains and calentura,"
    chuckled as he chanted a wild song:

    High are the waves, fierce, gleaming, High is the tempest roar!
    High the sea-bird screaming! High the Azore!

    I suppose I was now on the mend, for I was peevish, and complained:
    "I detest your jingle. Your Azore should be at roost, and would
    have been were it a respectable bird!" I begged he would tie a rope-
    yarn on the rest of the song, if there was any more of it. I was
    still in agony. Great seas were boarding the Spray , but in my
    fevered brain I thought they were boats falling on deck, that
    careless draymen were throwing from wagons on the pier to which I
    imagined the Spray was now moored, and without fenders to breast
    her off. "You'll smash your boats!" I called out again and again,
    as the seas crashed on the cabin over my head. "You'll smash your
    boats, but you can't hurt the Spray . She is strong!" I cried.

    I found, when my pains and calentura had gone, that the deck, now
    as white as a shark's tooth from seas washing over it, had been
    swept of everything movable. To my astonishment, I saw now at broad
    day that the Spray was still heading as I had left her, and was
    going like a racehorse. Columbus himself could not have held her
    more exactly on her course. The sloop had made ninety miles in the
    night through a rough sea. I felt grateful to the old pilot, but I
    marveled some that he had not taken in the jib. The gale was
    moderating, and by noon the sun was shining. A meridian altitude
    and the distance on the patent log, which I always kept towing,
    told me that she had made a true course throughout the twenty-four
    hours. I was getting much better now, but was very weak, and did
    not turn out reefs that day or the night following, although the
    wind fell light; but I just put my wet clothes out in the sun when
    it was shining, and lying down there myself, fell asleep. Then who
    should visit me again but my old friend of the night before, this
    time, of course, in a dream. "You did well last night to take my
    advice," said he, "and if you would, I should like to be with you
    often on the voyage, for the love of adventure alone." Finishing
    what he had to say, he again doffed his cap and disappeared as
    mysteriously as he came, returning, I suppose, to the phantom Pinta
    . I awoke much refreshed, and with the feeling that I had been in
    the presence of a friend and a seaman of vast experience. I
    gathered up my clothes, which by this time were dry, then, by
    inspiration, I threw overboard all the plums in the vessel.

    July 28 was exceptionally fine. The wind from the northwest was
    light and the air balmy. I overhauled my wardrobe, and bent on a
    white shirt against nearing some coasting-packet with genteel folk
    on board. I also did some washing to get the salt out of my
    clothes. After it all I was hungry, so I made a fire and very
    cautiously stewed a dish of pears and set them carefully aside till
    I had made a pot of delicious coffee, for both of which I could
    afford sugar and cream. But the crowning dish of all was a fish-
    hash, and there was enough of it for two. I was in good health
    again, and my appetite was simply ravenous. While I was dining I
    had a large onion over the double lamp stewing for a luncheon later
    in the day. High living to-day!

    In the afternoon the Spray came upon a large turtle asleep on the
    sea. He awoke with my harpoon through his neck, if he awoke at all.
    I had much difficulty in landing him on deck, which I finally
    accomplished by hooking the throat-halyards to one of his flippers,
    for he was about as heavy as my boat. I saw more turtles, and I
    rigged a burton ready with which to hoist them in; for I was
    obliged to lower the mainsail whenever the halyards were used for
    such purposes, and it was no small matter to hoist the large sail
    again. But the turtle-steak was good. I found no fault with the
    cook, and it was the rule of the voyage that the cook found no
    fault with me. There was never a ship's crew so well agreed. The
    bill of fare that evening was turtle-steak, tea and toast, fried
    potatoes, stewed onions; with dessert of stewed pears and cream.

    Sometime in the afternoon I passed a barrel-buoy adrift, floating
    light on the water. It was painted red, and rigged with a signal-
    staff about six feet high. A sudden change in the weather coming
    on, I got no more turtle or fish of any sort before reaching port.
    July 31 a gale sprang up suddenly from the north, with heavy seas,
    and I shortened sail. The Spray made only fifty-one miles on her
    course that day. August 1 the gale continued, with heavy seas.
    Through the night the sloop was reaching, under close-reefed
    mainsail and bobbed jib. At 3 P.M. the jib was washed off the
    bowsprit and blown to rags and ribbons. I bent the "jumbo" on a
    stay at the night-heads. As for the jib, let it go; I saved pieces
    of it, and, after all, I was in want of pot-rags.

    On August 3 the gale broke, and I saw many signs of land. Bad
    weather having made itself felt in the galley, I was minded to try
    my hand at a loaf of bread, and so rigging a pot of fire on deck by
    which to bake it, a loaf soon became an accomplished fact. One
    great feature about ship's cooking is that one's appetite on the
    sea is always good - a fact that I realized when I cooked for the
    crew of fishermen in the before-mentioned boyhood days. Dinner
    being over, I sat for hours reading the life of Columbus, and as
    the day wore on I watched the birds all flying in one direction,
    and said, "Land lies there."

    Early the next morning, August 4, I discovered Spain. I saw fires
    on shore, and knew that the country was inhabited. The Spray
    continued on her course till well in with the land, which was that
    about Trafalgar. Then keeping away a point, she passed through the
    Strait of Gibraltar, where she cast anchor at 3 P. M. of the same
    day, less than twenty-nine days from Cape Sable. At the finish of
    this preliminary trip I found myself in excellent health, not
    overworked or cramped, but as well as ever in my life, though I was
    as thin as a reef-point.

    Two Italian barks, which had been close alongside at daylight, I
    saw long after I had anchored, passing up the African side of the
    strait. The Spray had sailed them both hull down before she reached
    Tarifa. So far as I know, the Spray beat everything going across
    the Atlantic except the steamers.

    All was well, but I had forgotten to bring a bill of health from
    Horta, and so when the fierce old port doctor came to inspect there
    was a row. That, however, was the very thing needed. If you want to
    get on well with a true Britisher you must first have a deuce of a
    row with him. I knew that well enough, and so I fired away, shot
    for shot, as best I could. "Well, yes," the doctor admitted at
    last, "your crew are healthy enough, no doubt, but who knows the
    diseases of your last port?" - a reasonable enough remark. "We
    ought to put you in the fort, sir!" he blustered; "but never mind.
    Free pratique, sir! Shove off, cockswain!" And that was the last I
    saw of the port doctor.

    But on the following morning a steam-launch, much longer than the
    Spray , came alongside, - or as much of her as could get alongside,
    - with compliments from the senior naval officer, Admiral Bruce,
    saying there was a berth for the Spray at the arsenal. This was
    around at the new mole. I had anchored at the old mole, among the
    native craft, where it was rough and uncomfortable. Of course I was
    glad to shift, and did so as soon as possible, thinking of the
    great company the Spray would be in among battle-ships such as the
    Collingwood , Balfleur , and Cormorant , which were at that time
    stationed there, and on board all of which I was entertained,
    later, most royally.

    "'Put it thar!' as the Americans say," was the salute I got from
    Admiral Bruce, when I called at the admiralty to thank him for his
    courtesy of the berth, and for the use of the steam-launch which
    towed me into dock. "About the berth, it is all right if it suits,
    and we'll tow you out when you are ready to go. But, say, what
    repairs do you want? Ahoy the Hebe , can you spare your sailmaker?
    The Spray wants a new jib. Construction and repair, there! will you
    see to the Spray ?

    Later in the day came the hail: " Spray ahoy! Mrs. Bruce would like
    to come on board and shake hands with the Spray . Will it be
    convenient to-day!" "Very!" I joyfully shouted.

    On the following day Sir F. Carrington, at the time governor of
    Gibraltar, with other high officers of the garrison, and all the
    commanders of the battle-ships, came on board and signed their
    names in the Spray's log-book. Again there was a hail, " Spray
    ahoy!" "Hello!" "Commander Reynolds's compliments. You are invited
    on board H.M.S. Collingwood , 'at home' at 4:30 P.M. Not later than
    5:30 P.M." I had already hinted at the limited amount of my
    wardrobe, and that I could never succeed as a dude. "You are
    expected, sir, in a stovepipe hat and a claw-hammer coat!" "Then I
    can't come." "Dash it! come in what you have on; that is what we
    mean." "Aye, aye, sir!" The Collingwood's cheer was good, and had I
    worn a silk hat as high as the moon I could not have had a better
    time or been made more at home. An Englishman, even on his great
    battle-ship, unbends when the stranger passes his gangway, and when
    he says "at home" he means it.

    That one should like Gibraltar would go without saying. How could
    one help loving so hospitable a place? Vegetables twice a week and
    milk every morning came from the palatial grounds of the admiralty.
    " Spray ahoy!" would hail the admiral. " Spray ahoy!" "Hello!" "To-
    morrow is your vegetable day, sir." "Aye, aye, sir!"

    I rambled much about the old city, and a gunner piloted me through
    the galleries of the rock as far as a stranger is permitted to go.
    There is no excavation in the world, for military purposes, at all
    approaching these of Gibraltar in conception or execution. Viewing
    the stupendous works, it became hard to realize that one was within
    the Gibraltar of his little old Morse geography.

    Before sailing I was invited on a picnic with the governor, the
    officers of the garrison, and the commanders of the war-ships at
    the station; and a royal affair it was. Torpedo-boat No. 91, going
    twenty-two knots, carried our party to the Morocco shore and back.
    The day was perfect - too fine, in fact, for comfort on shore, and
    so no one landed at Morocco. No. 91 trembled like an aspen-leaf as
    she raced through the sea at top speed. Sublieutenant Boucher,
    apparently a mere lad, was in command, and handled his ship with
    the skill of an older sailor. On the following day I lunched with
    General Carrington, the governor, at Line Wall House, which was
    once the Franciscan convent. In this interesting edifice are
    preserved relics of the fourteen sieges which Gibraltar has seen.
    On the next day I supped with the admiral at his residence, the
    palace, which was once the convent of the Mercenaries. At each
    place, and all about, I felt the friendly grasp of a manly hand,
    that lent me vital strength to pass the coming long days at sea. I
    must confess that the perfect discipline, order, and cheerfulness
    at Gibraltar were only a second wonder in the great stronghold. The
    vast amount of business going forward caused no more excitement
    than the quiet sailing of a well-appointed ship in a smooth sea. No
    one spoke above his natural voice, save a boatswain's mate now and
    then. The Hon. Horatio J. Sprague, the venerable United States
    consul at Gibraltar, honored the Spray with a visit on Sunday,
    August 24, and was much pleased to find that our British cousins
    had been so kind to her.


    Sailing from Gibraltar with the assistance of her Majesty's tug -
    The Spray's course changed from the Suez Canal to Cape Horn -
    Chased by a Moorish pirate - A comparison with Columbus - The
    Canary Islands-The Cape Verde Islands - Sea life - Arrival at
    Pernambuco - A bill against the Brazilian government - Preparing
    for the stormy weather of the cape.

    Monday, August 25, the Spray sailed from Gibraltar, well repaid for
    whatever deviation she had made from a direct course to reach the
    place. A tug belonging to her Majesty towed the sloop into the
    steady breeze clear of the mount, where her sails caught a volant
    wind, which carried her once more to the Atlantic, where it rose
    rapidly to a furious gale. My plan was, in going down this coast,
    to haul offshore, well clear of the land, which hereabouts is the
    home of pirates; but I had hardly accomplished this when I
    perceived a felucca making out of the nearest port, and finally
    following in the wake of the Spray . Now, my course to Gibraltar
    had been taken with a view to proceed up the Mediterranean Sea,
    through the Suez Canal, down the Red Sea, and east about, instead
    of a western route, which I finally adopted. By officers of vast
    experience in navigating these seas, I was influenced to make the
    change. Longshore pirates on both coasts being numerous, I could
    not afford to make light of the advice. But here I was, after all,
    evidently in the midst of pirates and thieves! I changed my course;
    the felucca did the same, both vessels sailing very fast, but the
    distance growing less and less between us. The Spray was doing
    nobly; she was even more than at her best; but, in spite of all I
    could do, she would broach now and then. She was carrying too much
    sail for safety. I must reef or be dismasted and lose all, pirate
    or no pirate. I must reef, even if I had to grapple with him for my

    I was not long in reefing the mainsail and sweating it up -
    probably not more than fifteen minutes; but the felucca had in the
    meantime so shortened the distance between us that I now saw the
    tuft of hair on the heads of the crew, - by which, it is said,
    Mohammed will pull the villains up into heaven, - and they were
    coming on like the wind. From what I could clearly make out now, I
    felt them to be the sons of generations of pirates, and I saw by
    their movements that they were now preparing to strike a blow. The
    exultation on their faces, however, was changed in an instant to a
    look of fear and rage. Their craft, with too much sail on, broached
    to on the crest of a great wave. This one great sea changed the
    aspect of affairs suddenly as the flash of a gun. Three minutes
    later the same wave overtook the Spray and shook her in every
    timber. At the same moment the sheet-strop parted, and away went
    the main-boom, broken short at the rigging. Impulsively I sprang to
    the jib-halyards and down-haul, and instantly downed the jib. The
    head-sail being off, and the helm put hard down, the sloop came in
    the wind with a bound. While shivering there, but a moment though
    it was, I got the mainsail down and secured inboard, broken boom
    and all. How I got the boom in before the sail was torn I hardly
    know; but not a stitch of it was broken. The mainsail being
    secured, I hoisted away the jib, and, without looking round,
    stepped quickly to the cabin and snatched down my loaded rifle and
    cartridges at hand; for I made mental calculations that the pirate
    would by this time have recovered his course and be close aboard,
    and that when I saw him it would be better for me to be looking at
    him along the barrel of a gun. The piece was at my shoulder when I
    peered into the mist, but there was no pirate within a mile. The
    wave and squall that carried away my boom dismasted the felucca
    outright. I perceived his thieving crew, some dozen or more of
    them, struggling to recover their rigging from the sea. Allah
    blacken their faces!

    I sailed comfortably on under the jib and forestaysail, which I now
    set. I fished the boom and furled the sail snug for the night; then
    hauled the sloop's head two points offshore to allow for the set of
    current and heavy rollers toward the land. This gave me the wind
    three points on the starboard quarter and a steady pull in the
    headsails. By the time I had things in this order it was dark, and
    a flying-fish had already fallen on deck. I took him below for my
    supper, but found myself too tired to cook, or even to eat a thing
    already prepared. I do not remember to have been more tired before

    [continued in next message]

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