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Title: Voyage of the Liberdade
Author: Slocum, Joshua, 1844-1910?
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Voyage of the Liberdade" ***

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Captain Joshua Slocum

Robinson & Stephenson Boston 1890



The ship--The crew--A hurricane--Cape Verde Islands--Frio--A _pampeiro_.


Montevideo--Beggars--Antonina for maté--Antonina to Buenos Aires--The


Salvage of a cargo of wine--Sailors happy--Cholera in the
Argentine--Death in the land--Dutch Harry--Pete the Greek--Noted
crimps--Boat lost--Sail for Ilha Grande--Expelled from the port--Serious


Ilha Grande decree--Return to Rosario--Waiting opening of the Brazilian
ports--Scarcity of sailors--Buccaneers turned pilots--Sail down the
river--Arrive at Ilha Grande the second time--Quarantined and
fumigated--Admitted to _pratique_--Sail for Rio--Again challenged--Rio
at last.


At Rio--Sail for Antonina with mixed cargo--A _pampeiro_--Ship on
beam-ends--Cargo still more mixed--Topgallant-masts carried away--Arrive
safely at Antonina.


Mutiny--Attempt at robbery and murder--Four against one--Two go down
before a rifle--Order restored.


Join the bark at Montevideo--A good crew--Small-pox breaks out--Bear up
for Maldonado and Floras--No aid--Death of sailors--To Montevideo in


A new crew--Sail for Antonina--Load timber--Native canoes--Loss of the


The building of the _Liberdade_.


Across the bar--The run to Santos--Tow to Rio by the steamship--At Rio.


Sail from Rio--Anchor at Cape Frio--Encounter with a whale--Sunken
treasure--The schoolmaster--The merchant--The good people at the
village--A pleasant visit.


Sail from Frio--Round Cape St. Thorne--High seas and swift currents--In
the "trades"--Dangerous reefs--Run into harbour unawares, on a dark and
stormy night--At Garavellas--Fine weather--A gale--Port St.
Paulo--Treacherous natives--Sail for Bahia.


At Bahia--Meditations on the discoverers--The Caribbees.


Bahia to Pernambuco--The meeting of the _Finance_ at sea--At
Pernambuco--Round Cape St. Roque--A gale--Breakers--The stretch to
Barbadoes--Flying-fish alighting on deck--Dismasted--Arrive at Carlysle


At Barbadoes--Mayaguez--Crossing the Bahama Banks--The Gulf
Stream--Arrival on the coast of South Carolina.


Ocean Currents--Visit to South Santee--At the Typee
River--Quarantined--South Port and Wilmington, N.C.--Inland sailing to
Beaufort, Norfolk and Washington, D.C.--Voyage ended.



Diagram of the _Liberdade_                                52

The _Liberdade_                                           62


Course of the _Liberdade_ from Paranagua to Barbadoes     69


This literary craft of mine, in its native model and rig, goes out laden
with the facts of the strange happenings on a home afloat. Her
constructor, a sailor for many years, could have put a whole cargo of
salt, so to speak, in the little packet; but would not so wantonly
intrude on this domain of longshore navigators. Could the author and
constructor but box-haul, club-haul, tops'l-haul, and catharpin like the
briny sailors of the strand, ah me!--and hope to be forgiven!

Be the current against us, what matters it? Be it in our favour, we are
carried hence, to what place or for what purpose? Our plan of the whole
voyage is so insignificant that it matters little, maybe, whither we go,
for the "grace of a day" is the same! Is it not a recognition of this
which makes the old sailor happy, though in the storm; and hopeful even
on a plank in mid-ocean? Surely it is this! for the spiritual beauty of
the sea, absorbing man's soul, permits of no infidels on its boundless

                                                          THE AUTHOR


     The ship--The crew--A hurricane--Cape Verde Islands--Frio--A

To get underweigh: It was on the 28th of February 1886, that the bark
_Aquidneck_, laden with case-oil' sailed from New York for Montevideo,
the capital o' Uruguay, the strip of land bounding the River Plate on
the east, and called by the natives "Banda Oriental." The _Aquidneck_
was a trim and tidy craft of 326 tons' register, hailing from Baltimore,
the port noted for clippers, and being herself high famed above them all
for swift sailing, she had won admiration on many seas.

Her crew mustered ten, all told; twelve had been the complement, when
freights were good. There were, beside the crew with regular stations, a
little lad, aged about six years, and his mamma (age immaterial),
privileged above the rest, having "all nights in"--that is, not having
to stand watch. The mate, Victor, who is to see many adventures before
reaching New York again, was born and bred on shipboard. He was in
perfect health, and as strong as a windlass. When he first saw the light
and began to give orders, he was at San Francisco on the packet
_Constitution_, the vessel lost in the tempest at Samoa, just before the
great naval disaster at the same place in the year of 1889. Garfield,
the little lad above mentioned, Victor's brother, in this family ship,
was born in Hong Kong harbour, in the old bark _Amethyst_, a bona-fide
American citizen, though first seeing the light in a foreign port, the
Stars and Stripes standing sponsors for his nationality. This bark had
braved the wind and waves for fifty-eight years, but had not, up to that
date, so far as I know, experienced so lively a breeze as the one which
sprung up about her old timbers on that eventful 3rd of March, 1880.

Our foremast hands on the _Aquidneck_, six in number, were from as many
nations, strangers to me and strangers to each other; but the cook, a
negro, was a native American--to the manner born. To have even so many
Americans in one ship was considered exceptional.

Much or little as matters this family history and description of the
crew: the day of our sailing was bitter-cold and stormy, boding no good
for the coming voyage, which was to be, indeed, the most eventful of my
life of more than five-and-thirty years at sea. Studying the morning
weather report, before sailing, we saw predicted a gale from the
nor'west, and one also approaching from the sou'west at the same time.
"The prospect," said the New York papers, "is not encouraging." We were
anxious, however, to commence the voyage, having a crew on board, and,
being all ready, we boldly sailed, somewhat against our better judgment.
The nor'wester blowing, at the time, at the rate of forty miles an hour,
increased to eighty or ninety miles by March 2nd. This hurricane
continued through March 3rd, and gave us serious concern for the ship
and all on board.

At New York, on those days, the wind howled from the north, with the
"storm centre somewhere on the Atlantic," so said the wise seamen of the
weather bureau, to whom, by the way, the real old salt is indebted, at
the present day, for information of approaching storms, sometimes days
ahead. The prognostication was correct, as we can testify, for out on
the Atlantic our bark could carry only a mere rag of a foresail,
somewhat larger than a table-cloth, and with this storm-sail she went
flying before the tempest, all those dark days, with a large "bone in
her mouth,"[1] making great headway, even under the small sail.
Mountains of seas swept clean over the bark in their mad race, filling
her decks full to the top of the bulwarks, and shaking things generally.

Our men were lashed, each one to his station; and all spare spars not
doubly lashed were washed away, along with other movables that were
broken and torn from their fastenings by the wild storm.

The cook's galley came in for its share of the damage, the cook himself
barely escaping serious injury from a sea that went thundering across
the decks, taking with it doors, windows, galley stove, pots, kettles
and all, together with the culinary artist; landing the whole wreck in
the lee scuppers, but, most fortunately, with the professor on top. A
misfortune like this is always--felt. It dampens one's feelings, so to
speak. It means cold food for a time to come, if not even worse fare.

The day following our misfortune, however, was not so bad. In fact, the
tremendous seas boarding the bark latterly were indications of the good
change coming, for it meant that her speed had slackened through a lull
of the gale, allowing the seas to reach her too full and heavy.

More sail was at once crowded on, and still more was set at every stage
of the abatement of the gale, for the craft should not be lazy when big
seas race after her. And so on we flew, like a scud, sheeting home sail
after sail as required, till the 5th of March, when all of her white
wings were spread, and she fairly "walked the waters like a thing of
life." There was now wind enough for several days, but not too much,
and our swift-sailing craft laughed at the seas trying to catch her.

Cheerily on we sailed for days and days, pressed by the favouring gale,
meeting the sun each day a long span earlier, making daily four degrees
of longitude. It was the time, on these bright days, to forearm with dry
clothing against future stormy weather. Boxes and bags were brought on
deck, and drying and patching went on by wholesale in the watch below,
while the watch on deck bestirred themselves putting the ship in order.
"Chips," the carpenter, mended the galley; the cook's broken shins were
plastered up; and in a few days all was well again. And the sailors,
moving cheerfully about once more in their patched garments of varied
hues, reminded me of the spotted cape pigeons pecking for a living, the
pigeons, I imagined, having a better life of the two. A panican of hot
coffee or tea by sailors called "water bewitched," a sea-biscuit, and
"bit of salt-horse," had regaled the crew and restored their voices.
Then "Reuben Ranzo" was heard on the breeze, and the main tack was
boarded to the tune of "Johnny Boker." Other wondrous songs through the
night-watch could be heard in keeping with the happy time. Then what
they would do and what they wouldn't do in the next port was talked of,
when song and yarn ran out.

Hold fast, shipmate, hold fast and belay! or the crimps of Montevideo
will wear the new jacket you promise yourself, while you will be off
Cape Horn, singing "Haul out to leeward," with a wet stocking on your
neck, and with the same old "lamby" on, that long since was "lamby" only
in name, the woolly part having given way to a cloth worn much in "Far
Cathay"; in short, you will dress in dungaree, the same as now, while
the crimps and landsharks divide your scanty earnings, unless you "take
in the slack" of your feelings, and "make all fast and steady all."

Ten days out, and we were in the northeast "trades"--porpoises were
playing under the bows as only porpoises can play; dolphins were racing
alongside, and flying-fish were all about. This was, indeed, a happy
change, and like being transported to another world. Our hardships were
now all forgotten, for "the sea washes off all the woes of men."

One week more of pleasant sailing, all going orderly on board, and Cape
Verde Islands came in sight. A grand and glorious sight they were! All
hail, _terra firma_! It is good to look at you once again! By noon the
islands were abeam, and the fresh trade-wind in the evening bore us out
of sight of them before dark.

Most delightful sailing is this large, swinging motion of our bark
bounding over the waves, with the gale abaft the beam, driving her
forward till she fairly leaps from billow to billow, as if trying to
rival her companions, the very flying-fish. Thwarted now by a sea, she
strikes it with her handsome bows, sending into the light countless
thousand sprays, that shine like a nimbus of glory. The tread on her
deck-plank is lighter now, and the little world afloat is gladsome fore
and aft.

Cape Frio (cold cape) was the next landfall. Upon reaching that point,
we had crossed the Atlantic twice. The course toward Cape Verde Islands
had been taken to avail ourselves of a leading wind through the
south-east trades, the course from the islands to Frio being
southwesterly. This latter stretch was spanned on an easy bow-line; with
nothing eventful to record. Thence our course was through variable winds
to the River Plate, where a _pampeiro_ was experienced that blew "great
guns," and whistled a hornpipe through the rigging.

These _pampeiros_ (winds from the _pampas_) usually blow with great
fury, but give ample warning of their approach: the first sign being a
spell of unsurpassed fine weather, with small, fleecy clouds floating so
gently in the sky that one scarcely perceives their movements, yet they
do move, like an immense herd of sheep grazing undisturbed on the great
azure field. All this we witnessed, and took into account. Then
gradually, and without any apparent cause, the clouds began to huddle
together in large groups; a sign had been given which the elements
recognized. Next came a flash of fire from behind the accumulating
masses, then a distant rumbling noise. It was a note of warning, and one
that no vessel should let pass unheeded. "Clew up, and furl!" was the
order. To hand all sail when these fierce visitors are out on a frolic
over the seas, and entertain them under bare poles, is the safest plan,
unless, indeed, the best storm sails are bent; even then it is safest to
goose-wing the tops'ls before the gale comes on. Not till the fury of
the blast is spent does the ship require sail, for it is not till then
that the sea begins to rise, necessitating sail to steady her.

The first onslaught of the storm, levelling all before it, and sending
the would-be waves flying across in sheets--sailor sheets, so to
speak--lends a wild and fearful aspect; but there is no dread of a
lee-shore in the sailor's heart at these times, for the gale is from off
the land, as indicated by the name it bears.

After the gale was a calm; following which came desirable winds, that
carried us at last to the port we sought--Montevideo; where we cast
anchor on the 5th of May, and made preparations, after the customs'
visit, for discharging the cargo, which was finally taken into lighters
from alongside to the piers, and thence to the warehouses, where ends
the ship's responsibility to the owner of the goods. But not till then
ceases the ship's liability, or the captain's care of the merchandise
placed in his trust. Clearly the captain has cares on sea and on land.


[1] The white foam at the bows produced by fast sailing is, by
sailors, called "a bone in her mouth."


     Montevideo--Beggars--Antonina for maté--Antonina to Buenos
     Aires--The _bombelia_.

Montevideo, sister city to Buenos Aires, is the fairer of the two to
look upon from the sea, having a loftier situation, and, like Buenos
Aires, boasts of many fine mansions, comely women, liberal schools, and
a cemetery of great splendour.

It is at Montevideo that the "beggar a-horse-back" becomes a verity
(horses are cheap); galloping up to you the whining beggar will implore
you, saying: "For the love of Christ, friend, give me a coin to buy
bread with."

From "the Mont" we went to Antonina, in Brazil, for a cargo of maté, a
sort of tea, which, prepared as a drink, is wholesome and refreshing. It
is partaken of by the natives in a highly sociable manner, through a
tube which is thrust into the steaming beverage in a silver urn or a
calabash, whichever may happen to be at hand when "drouthy neebors
neebors meet"; then all sip and sip in bliss from the same tube, which
is passed from mouth to mouth. No matter how many mouths there may be,
the _bombelia_, as it is called, must reach them all. It may have to be
replenished to make the drink go around, and several times, too, when
the company is large. This is done with but little loss of time. By
thrusting into the urn or gourd a spoonful of the herb, and two
spoonfuls of sugar to a pint of water, which is poured, boiling, over
it, the drink is made. But to give it some fancied extra flavour, a live
coal (_carbo vegetable_) is plunged into the potion to the bottom. Then
it is again passed around, beginning where it left off. Happy is he, if
a stranger, who gets the first sip at the tube, but the initiated have
no prejudices. While in that country I frequently joined in the social
rounds at maté, and finally rejoiced in a _bombelia_ of my own.

The people at Antonina (in fact all the people we saw in Brazil) were
kind, extremely hospitable, and polite; living in thrift generally,
their wants were but few beyond their resources. The mountain scenery,
viewed from the harbour of Antonina, is something to gloat over; I have
seen no place in the world more truly grand and pleasing. The climate,
too, is perfect and healthy. The only doctor of the place, when we were
there, wore a coat out at the elbows, for lack of patronage. A desirable
port is Antonina.

We had musical entertainments on board, at this place. To see the
display of beautiful white teeth by these Brazilian sweet singers was
good to the soul of a sea-tossed mariner. One nymph sang for the
writer's benefit a song at which they all laughed very much. Being in
native dialect, I did not understand it, but of course laughed with the
rest, at which they were convulsed; from this, I supposed it to be at my
expense. I enjoyed that, too, as much, or more, than I would have
relished _areytos_ in my favour.

With maté we came to Buenos Aires, where the process of discharging the
cargo was the same as at Montevideo--into lighters. But at Buenos Aires,
we lay four times the distance from the shore, about four miles.

The herb, or _herva maté_, is packed into barrels, boxes, and into
bullock-hide sacks, which are sewed up with stout hide thongs. The
contents, pressed in tightly when the hide is green and elastic, becomes
as hard as a cannon-ball by the contraction which follows when it dries.
The first load of the _soroes_, so-called, that came off to the bark at
the port of loading, was espied on the way by little Garfield. Piled in
the boat, high above the gunwales, the hairy side out, they did look
odd. "Oh, papa," said he, "here comes a load of cows! Stand by, all
hands, and take them in."


     Salvage of a cargo of wine--Sailors happy--Cholera in the
     Argentine--Death in the land--Dutch Harry--Pete the Greek--Noted
     crimps--Boat lost--Sail for Ilha Grande--Expelled from the
     port--Serious hardships.

From Buenos Aires, we proceeded up the River Plate, near the confluence
of the Parana and Paraguay, to salve a cargo of wine from the stranded
brig _Neovo San Pascual_, from Marseilles.

The current of the great river at that point runs constantly seaward,
becoming almost a sea of itself, and a dangerous one to navigate; hence
the loss of the _San Pascual,_ and many others before her.

If, like the "Ancient Mariner," we had, any of us, cried, "water, water
all around, and not a drop to drink," we forgot it now, in this
bountiful stream. Wine, too, we had without stint. The insurance agent,
to leave no excuse for tampering with the cargo, rolled out a cask of
the best, and, like a true Hans Breitmann, "knocked out der bung." Then,
too, cases were broken in the handling, the contents of which drenched
their clothes from top to toe, as the sailors carried them away on their

The diversity of a sailor's life--ah me! The experience of Dana and his
shipmates, for instance, on a sun-burnt coast, carrying dry hides on
their heads, if not a worse one, may be in store for us, we cried, now
fairly swimming in luxuries--water and wine alike free. Although our
present good luck may be followed by times less cheerful, we preferred
to count this, we said, as compensation for past misfortunes, marking
well that "it never rains but it pours."

The cargo of wine in due course was landed at Rosario with but small
loss, the crew, except in one case, remaining sober enough to help
navigate even the difficult Parana. But one old sinner, the case I speak
of, an old Labrador fisherman, became a useless, drunken swab, in spite
of all we could do. I say "we" for most of the crew were on my side, in
favour of a fair deal and "regular supplies."

The hold was barred and locked, and every place we could think of, for a
time, was searched; still Dan kept terribly drunk. At last his mattress
was turned out, and from it rolled a dozen or more bottles of the best
liquor. Then there was a row, but all on the part of Dan, who swore blue
vengeance on the man, if he could but find him out, who had stowed that
grog in his bunk, "trying to get" him "into trouble"; some of those
"young fellows would rue it yet!"

The cargo of wine being discharged, I chartered to load alfalfa, packed
in bales, for Rio. Many deaths had occurred about this time, with
appalling suddenness; we soon learned that cholera was staring us all in
the face, and that it was fast spreading through the country, filling
towns and cities with sickness and death.

Approaching more frightfully near, it carried our pilot over the bar;
his wife was a widow the day after he brought our bark to the loading
berth. And the young man who commenced to deliver us the cargo was
himself measured the day after. His ship had come in!

Many stout men, and many, many women and children succumbed to the
scourge; yet it was our high privilege to come through the dark cloud
without losing a loved one, while thousands were cast down with
bereavements and grief. At one time it appeared that we were in the
centre of the cloud which zig-zagged its ugly body, serpent-like,
through districts, poisoning all that it touched, and leaving death in
its wake. This was indeed cholera in its most terrible form!

One poor fellow sat at the Widow Lacinas' hotel, bewildered.
"Forty-eight hours ago," said he, "I sat at my own hearth, with wife and
three children by my side. Now I am alone in the world! Even my poor
house, such as it was, is pulled down." This man, I say, had troubles;
surely was his "house pulled down!"

There was no escaping the poison or keeping it off, except by
disinfectants, and by keeping the system regular, for it soon spread
over all the land and the air was full of it. Remedies sold so high that
many must have perished without the test of medicinal aid to cure their
disease. A cry went up against unprincipled druggists who were
over-charging for their drugs, but nothing more was done to check their
greed. Camphor sold as high as four dollars a pound, and the druggist
with a few hundred drops of laudanum and as much chlorodyne could travel
through Europe afterward on the profits of his sales.

It was at Rosario, and at this time, that we buried our young friend,
Captain Speck, well loved of young and old. His friends did not ask
whether it was cholera or not that he died of, but performed the last
act of friendship as became men of heart and feeling. The minister could
not come that day, but Captain Speck's little friend, Garfield, said:
"The flags were set for the angels to come and take the Captain to
Heaven!" Need more be said?

And the flags blew out all day.

Then it became us to erect a memorial slab, and, hardest of all, to
write to the widow and orphans. This was done in a homely way, but with
sympathetic, aching hearts away off there in Santa Fè.

Our time at Rosario, after this, was spent in gloomy days that dragged
into weeks and months, and our thoughts often wandered from there to a
happy past. We preferred to dwell away from there and in other climes,
if only in thought. There was, however, one happy soul among us--the
child whose face was a sunbeam in all kinds of weather and at all times,
happy in his ignorance of the evils that fall to the lot of man.

Our sailing-day from Rosario finally came; and, with a feeling as of
casting off fetters, the lines were let go, and the bark hauled out into
the stream, with a full cargo on board; but, instead of sailing for Rio,
as per charter, she was ordered by the Brazilian consul to Ilha Grande
(Great Island), the quarantine station of Brazil, some sixty-two miles
west of Rio, there to be disinfected and to discharge her cargo in

A new crew was shipped and put aboard, but while I was getting my
papers, about noon, they stole one of the ship's boats and scurried off
down the river as fast, no doubt, as they could go. I have not seen them
or my boat since. They all deserted,--every mother's son of them!
taking, beside the boat, a month's advance pay from a Mr. Dutch Harry, a
sailor boarding-master, who had stolen my inward crew that he might, as
he boasted afterward, "ship new hands in their places." In view of the
fact that this vilest of crimps was the loser of the money, I could
almost forgive the "galoots" for the theft of my boat. (The ship is
usually responsible for advance wages twenty-four hours after she has
sailed, providing, too, that the sailors proceed to sea in her.) Seeing,
moreover, that they were of that stripe, unworthy the name of sailor, my
vessel was the better without them, by at least what it cost to be rid
of them, namely, the price of my boat.

However, I will take back what I said about Dutch Harry being the
"vilest crimp." There came one to Rosario worse than he, one "Pete the
Greek," who cut off the ears of a rival boarding-master at the Boca,
threw them into the river, then, making his escape to Rosario, some 180
miles away, established himself in the business in opposition to the
Dutchman, whom he "shanghaied" soon after, then "reigned peacefully in
his stead."

A captain who, like myself, had suffered from the depredations of this
noted gentry, told me, in great glee, that he saw Harry on a bone-laden
Italian bark outward bound,--"even then nearly out of the river." The
last seen of him by my friend, the captain, was "among the branches,"
with a rope around his neck--they hanged him, maybe--I don't know what
else the rope was for, or who deserved more to be hanged. The captain
screamed with delight:--"he'll get bone soup, at least, for a while,
instead of Santa Fè good mutton-chops at our expense."

My second crew was furnished by Mr. Pete, before referred to, and on the
seventeenth of December we set sail from that country of revolutions.
Things soon dropped into working order, and I found reason to be pleased
with the change of crew. We glided smoothly along down the river, thence
wishing never again to see Rosario under the distressing circumstances
through which she had just passed.

On the following day, while slipping along before a light, rippling
breeze, a dog was espied out in the current, struggling in the
whirlpools, which were rather strong, apparently unable to extricate
himself, and was greatly exhausted. Coming up with him our main-tops'l
was laid to the mast, and as we ranged by the poor thing, a sailor,
plunging over the side in a bow-line, bent a rope on to doggy, another
one hauled him carefully on board, and the rescue was made. He proved
to be a fine young retriever, and his intelligent signs of thankfulness
for his escape from drowning were scarcely less eloquent of gratitude
than human spoken language.

This pleasant incident happening on a Friday, suggested, of course, the
name we should give him. His new master, to be sure, was Garfield, who
at once said, "I guess they won't know me when I get home, with my new
suit--and a dog!" The two romped the decks thenceforth, early and late.
It was good to see them romp, while "Friday" "barkit wi' joy."

Our pets were becoming numerous now, and all seemed happy till a
stowaway cat one day killed poor little "Pete," our canary. For ten
years or more we had listened to the notes of this wee bird, in many
countries and climes. Sweetest of sweet singers, it was buried in the
great Atlantic at last. A strange cat, a careless steward, and its tiny
life was ended--and the tragedy told. This was indeed a great loss to us
all, and was mourned over,--almost as the loss of a child.

A book that has been read at sea has a near claim on our friendship, and
is a thing one is loth to part with, or change, even for a better book.
But the well-tried friend of many voyages is oh! so hard to part with at
sea. A resting-place in the solemn sea of sameness--in the trackless
ocean, marked only by imaginary lines and circles--is a cheerless spot
to look to; yet how many have treasures there!

Returning to the voyage and journal: Our pilot proved incompetent, and
we narrowly escaped shipwreck in consequence at Martin Garcia Bar, a bad
spot in the River Plate. A small schooner captain, observing that we
needlessly followed in his track, and being anything but a sailor in
principle, wantonly meditated mischief to us. While I was confidently
trusting to my pilot, and he (the pilot) trusting to the schooner, one
that could go over banks where we would strike, what did the scamp do
but shave close to a dangerous spot, my pilot following faithfully in
his wake. Then, jumping upon the taffrail of his craft, as we came
abreast the shoal, he yelled, like a Comanche, to my pilot to: "Port the
helm!" and what does my mutton-headed jackass do but port hard over! The
bark, of course, brought up immediately on the ground, as the other had
planned, seeing which his whole pirate crew--they could have been little
less than pirates--joined in roars of laughter, but sailed on, doing us
no other harm.

By our utmost exertions the bark was gotten off, not a moment too soon,
however, for by the time we kedged her into deep water a _pampeiro_ was
upon us. She rode out the gale safe at anchor, thanks to an active crew.
Our water tanks and casks were then refilled, having been emptied to
lighten the bark from her perilous position.

Next evening the storm went down, and by mutual consent our mud-pilot
left, taking passage in a passing river-craft, with his pay and our best
advice, which was to ship in a dredging-machine, where his capabilities
would be appreciated.

Then, "paddling our own canoe," without further accident we reached the
light-ship, passing it on Christmas Day. Clearing thence, before night,
English Bank and all other dangers of the land, we set our course for
Ilha Grande, the wind being fair. Then a sigh of relief was breathed by
all on board. If ever "old briny" was welcomed, it was on that Christmas

Nothing further of interest occurred on the voyage to Brazil, except the
death of the little bird already spoken of, which loss deeply affected
us all.

We arrived at Ilha Grande, our destination, on the 7th day of January,
1887, and came to anchor in nine fathoms of water, at about noon,
within musket-range of the guard-ship, and within speaking distance of
several vessels riding quarantine, with more or less communication going
on among them all, through flags. Several ships, chafing under the
restraint of quarantine, were "firing signals" at the guard-ship. One
Scandinavian, I remember, asked if he might be permitted to communicate
by _cable_ with his owners in Christiana. The guard gave him, as the
Irishman said, "an evasive answer," so the cablegram, I suppose, laid
over. Another wanted police assistance; a third wished to know if he
could get fresh provisions--ten milreis' ($5) worth (he was a
German)--naming a dozen or more articles that he wished for, "and _the
balance in onions_!" Altogether, the young fellows on the guard-ship
were having, one might say, a signal practice.

On the next day, January 8th, the officers of the port came alongside in
a steam-launch, and ordered us to leave, saying the port had been closed
that morning. "But we have made the voyage," I said. "No matter," said
the guard, "leave at once you must, or the guard-ship will fire into
you." This, I submit, was harsh and arbitrary treatment. A thunderbolt
from a clear sky could not have surprised us more or worked us much
greater harm--to be ruined in business or struck by lightning, being
equally bad!

Then pointing something like a gun, Dom Pedro said, said he, "_Vaya
Homem_" (hence, begone), "Or you'll give us cholera." So back we had to
go, all the way to Rosario, with that load of hay--and trouble. But on
our arrival there we found things better than they were when we sailed.
The cholera had ceased--it was on the wane when we sailed from Rosario,
and there was hardly a case of the dread disease in the whole country
east of Cordova when we returned. That was, indeed, a comfort, but it
left our hardship the same, and led, consequently, to the total loss of
the vessel after dragging us through harrowing trials and losses, as
will be seen by subsequent events.


     Ilha Grande decree--Return to Rosario--Waiting opening of the
     Brazilian ports--Scarcity of sailors--Buccaneers turned
     pilots--Sail down the river--Arrive at Ilha Grande the second
     time--Quarantined and fumigated--Admitted to _pratique_--Sail for
     Rio--Again challenged--Rio at last.

This Ilha Grande decree, really a political movement, brought great
hardships on us, notwithstanding that it was merely intended by the
Brazilians as retaliation for past offences by their Argentine
neighbours; not only for quarantines against Rio fevers, but for a
discriminating duty as well on sugar from the empire; a combination of
hardships on commerce--more than the sensitive Brazilians could
stand--so chafing them that a retaliation fever sprung up reaching more
than the heat of _febre marello_, and they decided to teach their
republican cousins a wholesome lesson. However, their wish was to
retaliate without causing war, and it was done. In fact, closing ports
as they did at the beginning of Argentine's most valuable season of
exports to Brazil, and with the plausible excuse, namely fear of pain in
the stomach, so filled the Argentines with admiration of their equals in
strategy that they on the earliest opportunity proclaimed two public
holidays in honour of bright Brazil. So the matter of difference ended,
to the delight of all--in fire-crackers and champagne!

To the delight of all except the owner and crew of the _Aquidneck_. For
our bark there was no way but to return where the cargo came from, at a
ruinous loss, too, of time and money. We called at the first open port
and wired to the owner of the cargo, but got no answer. Thence we sailed
to Buenos Aires, where I telegraphed again for instructions. The
officers of the guard-ship, upon receiving my report from Brazil, were
convulsed with laughter, while I----I confess it--could not see the
joke. After waiting two days, this diplomatic reply came from the owner
of the cargo: "Act as the case may require." Upon this matter I had
several opinions. One person suggested that the case required me to
pitch the whole cargo into the sea! This friend, I may mention, was from

I have ever since regretted, however, that I did not take his advice.
There seemed to be no protection for the vessel; the law that a ship
must be allowed to live was unheeded; in fact this law was reversed and
there were sharpers and beach-combers at every turn ready to take
advantage of one's misfortunes or even drive one to despair. I
concluded, finally, to shake the lot of them, and proceeding up the
Parana, moored again at the berth where, a few weeks before, we had
taken in the cargo. Spans and tackle were rigged, and all was made ready
to discharge. It was now, "Come on, McCarthy, or McCarthy, come on!" I
didn't care which, I had one _right_ on my side, and I kept that always
in view; namely, the right to discharge the cargo where I had first
received it; but where the money to buy ballast and pay other charges
was to come from I could not discover.

My merchant met me in great concern at my "misfortunes," but "carramba!"
(zounds) said he, "my own losses are great." It required very little
reasoning to show me that the least expensive course was the safest one
for me to adopt, and my merchant offering enough to pay the marketing, I
found it wisest not to disturb the cargo, but to lay up instead with it
in the vessel and await the reopening of the Brazilian ports. This I

My merchant, Don Manuel, is said to be worth millions of _pesos_. The
foundation of his wealth was laid by peddling charcoal, carrying it at
first, to his credit be it said, on his back, and he was then a good
fellow. Many a hard bargain has he waged since, and is now a "Don,"
living in a $90,000 house. The Don doesn't peddle charcoal any more.

Moored at Rosario, waiting, waiting; but all of us well in body, and
myself finally less agitated in mind. My old friend, Don Manuel, seems
better also; he "may yet purge and live clean like a gentleman."

I found upon our return to Rosario that some of the old hands were
missing; laid low by the scourge, to make room for others, and some were
spared who would have been less lamented. Among all the ship-brokers
that I knew at Rosario, and I knew a great many, not one was taken away.
They all escaped, being, it was thought, epidemic-proof. There was my
broker, Don Christo Christiano--called by Don Manuel "El Sweaga" (the
Swede)--whom nothing could strike with penetrative force, except a

At last, April 9th, 1887, news came that the Brazilian ports were open.
Cholera had long since disappeared in Santa Fè and Buenos Aires. The
Brazilians had established their own beef-drying factories, and could
now afford to open their ports to competition. This made a great stir
among the ships. Crews were picked up here and there, out of the few
brothels that had not been pulled down during the cholera, and out of
the streets or from the fields. Some, too, came in from the bush. Mixed
among them were many that had been let out of the prisons all over the
country, so that the scourge should not be increased by over-crowded
jails. Of six who shipped with me, four had been so released from
prison, where they had been serving for murder or highway robbery; all
this I learned when it was too late. I shall have occasion before long
to speak of these again!

Well, we unmoored and dropped down the river a few miles the first day;
with this crew, the hardest looking set that ever put foot on a ship of
mine, and with a swarthy Greek pilot that would be taken for a pirate in
any part of the world. The second mate, who shipped also at Rosario, was
not less ill-visaged, and had, in addition to his natural ugly features,
a deep scar across his face, suggestive of a heavy sabre stroke; a mark
which, I thought upon further acquaintance, he had probably merited. I
could not make myself easy upon the first acquaintance of my new and
decidedly ill-featured crew. So, early the first evening I brought the
bark to anchor, and made all snug before dark for prudent reasons. Next
morning, the Greek, instead of getting the bark underweigh, as I
expected him to do, came to me demanding more pay for his services and
thinking, maybe, that I could not do without him, demanded, unless I
chose to pay considerably in excess of his regular dues, to be put on
shore. I took the fellow at his first bounce. He and his grip-sack were
landed on the bank there and then, with but little "palaver" over it. It
was then said, so I learned after, that "old S----" would drop into the
wake of some ship, and save his pilotage; in fact, they didn't know
"what else he could do," as the pilots were then all engaged for other

The money was taken care of all right, and so was the _Aquidneck_! By
daylight of the following morning she was underweigh, and under full
sail at the head of a fleet of piloted vessels, and, being the swiftest
sailer, easily kept the lead, and was one of the vessels that did _not
"rompe el banco_," as was predicted by all the pilots, while they
hunched their shoulders above their ears, exclaiming, "No _practico_, no
_possebla_!" This was my second trip down the Parana, it is true, and I
had been on other rivers as wonderful as this one, and had, moreover,
read Mark Twain's "Life on the Mississippi," which gives no end of
information on river currents, wind-reefs, sand-reefs, alligator-water,
and all that is useful to know about rivers, so that I was confident of
my ability; all that had been required was the stirring-up that I got
from the impertinent pilot, or buccaneer, whichever is proper to call
him--one thing certain, he was no true sailor!

A strong, fair wind on the river, together with the current, in our
favour, carried us flying down the channel, while we kept the lead, with
the Stars and Stripes waving where they ought always to be seen; namely,
on the ship in the van! So the duffers followed us, instead of our
following them, and on we came, all clear, with the good wishes of the
officers and the crews. But the pilots, drawing their shoulders up and
repeating the refrain, "No _practico_, no _possebla_!" cursed us
bitterly, and were in a vile mood, I was told, cursing more than usual,
and that is saying a great deal, for all will agree who have heard them
that the average "Dago" pilot is the most foul-mouthed thing afloat.

Down the river and past the light-ship we came once more, this time with
no halt to make, no backing sails to let a pilot off, nothing at all to
stop us; we spread all sail to a favourable breeze, and reached Ilha
Grande eight days afterward, beating the whole fleet by two days.
Garfield kept strict account of this. He was on deck when we made the
land, a dark and foggy night it was! nothing could be seen but the
dimmest outline of a headland through the haze. I knew the place, I
thought, and Garfield said he could smell land, fog or coal-tar. This,
it will be admitted, was reassuring. A school of merry porpoises that
gambolled under the bows while we stood confidently in for the land,
diving and crossing the bark's course in every direction, also guarded
her from danger. I knew that so long as deep-sea porpoises kept with us
we had nothing to fear of the ground. When the lookout cried, "Porpoises
gone," we turned the bark's head off-shore, backed the main-tops'l, and
sent out the "pigeon" (lead). A few grains of sand and one soft,
delicate white shell were brought up out of fourteen fathoms of water.
We had but to heed these warnings and guides, and our course would be
tolerably clear, dense and all as the fog and darkness was.

The lead was kept constantly going as we sailed along in the intense
darkness, till the headland of our port was visible through the haze of
grey morning. What Garfield had smelled, I may mention, turned out to be
coal-tar, a pot of which had been capsized on deck by the leadsman, in
the night.

By daylight in the morning, April 29, we had found the inner entrance to
Ilha Grande, and sailed into the harbour for the second time with this
cargo of hay. It was still very foggy, and all day heavy gusts of wind
came down through the gulches in the mountains, laden with fog and rain.

Two days later, the weather cleared up, and our friends began to come
in. They found us there all right, anchored close under the highest

Eight days of sullen gloom and rain at this place; then brimstone,
smoke, and fire turned on to us, and we were counted healthy enough to
be admitted to _pratique_ in Rio, where we arrived May 11th, putting one
more day between ourselves and our friendly competitors, who finally
arrived safe, all except one, the British bark _Dublin_. She was
destroyed by fire between the two ports. The crew was rescued by
Captain Lunt, and brought safe into Rio next day.

At the fort entrance to the harbour of Rio we were again challenged and
brought to, all standing, on the bar; the tide running like a mill race
at the time brought the bark aback on her cables with a force, nearly
cutting her down.

The _Aquidneck_ it would seem had outsailed the telegram which should
have preceded her; it was, nevertheless, my imperative duty to obey the
orders of the port authorities which, however, should have been tempered
with reason. It was easy for them in the fort to say, "Come to, or we'll
sink you," but we in the bark, between two evils, came near being sunk
by obeying the order.

Formerly, when a vessel was challenged at this fort, one, two or three
shots, if necessary to bring her to, were fired, at a cost to the ship,
if she were not American, of fifteen shillings for the first shot,
thirty for the second, and sixty for the third; but, for American ships,
the sixty shilling shot was fired first--Americans would always have the

After all the difficulties were cleared away, the tardy telegram
received, and being again identified by the officers, we weighed anchor
for the last time on this voyage, and went into our destined port, the
spacious and charming harbour of Rio.


     At Rio--Sail for Antonina with mixed cargo--A _pampeiro_--Ship on
     beam-ends--Cargo still more mixed--Topgallant-masts carried
     away--Arrive safely at Antonina.

The cargo was at last delivered, and no one made ill over it. A change
of rats also was made; at Rio those we brought in gave place to others
from the Dom Pedro Docks where we moored. Fleas, too, skipped about in
the hay as happy as larks, and nearly as big; and all the other live
stock that we brought from Rosario, goodness knows of what kind and
kith, arrived well and sound from over the water, notwithstanding the
fumigations and fuss made at the quarantine.

Had the little microbes been with us indeed, the Brazilians would not
have turned us away as they did, from the doors of an hospital! for they
are neither a cruel nor cowardly people. To turn sickness away would be
cruel and stupid, to say the least! What we were expelled for I have
already explained.

After being so long in gloomy circumstances we felt like making the most
of pleasant Rio! Therefore on the first fine day after being docked, we
sallied out in quest of city adventure, and brought up first in
Ouvidor--the Broadway of Rio, where my wife bought a tall hat, which I
saw nights looming up like a dreadful stack of hay, the innocent cause
of much trouble to me, and I declared, by all the great islands--in my
dreams--that go back with it I would not, but would pitch it, first,
into the sea.

I get nervous on the question of quarantines. I visit the famous
Botanical Gardens with my family, and I tremble with fear lest we are
fumigated at some station on the way. However, our time at Rio is
pleasantly spent in the main, and on the first day of June, we set sail
once more for Paranagua and Antonina of pleasant recollections; partly
laden with flour, kerosene, pitch, tar, rosin and wine, three pianos, I
remember, and one steam engine and boiler, all as ballast; "freight
free," so the bill of lading read, and further, that the ship should
"not be responsible for leakage, breakage, or rust." This clause was
well for the ship, as one of those wild _pampeiros_ overtook her, on the
voyage, throwing her violently on her beam-ends, and shaking the motley
cargo into a confused and mixed-up mess. The vessel remaining tight,
however, no very serious damage was done, and she righted herself after
a while, but without her lofty topgallant-masts, which went with a crash
at the first blast of the tempest.

This incident made a profound impression on Garfield. He happened to be
on deck when the masts were carried away, but managed to scamper off
without getting hurt. Whenever a vessel hove in sight after that having
a broken spar or a torn sail, it was "a _pampeiroed_ ship."

The storm, though short, was excessively severe, and swept over
Paranagua and Antonina with unusual violence. The owner of the pianos, I
was told, prayed for us, and regretted that his goods were not insured.
But when they were landed, not much the worse for their tossing about,
old Strichine, the owner (that was his name or near that, strychnine the
boys called him, because his singing was worse than "rough on rats,"
they said, a bit of juvenile wit that the artist very sensibly let pass
unheeded), declared that the ship was a good one, and that her captain
was a good pilot; and as neither freight nor insurance had been paid, he
and his wife would feast us on music; having learned that I especially
was fond of it. They had screeched operas for a lifetime in Italy, but I
didn't care for that. As arranged, therefore, I was on deck at the
appointed time and place, to stay at all hazards.

The pianos, as I had fully expected, were fearfully out of
tune--suffering, I should say, from the effects of seasickness!

So much so that I shall always believe this opportunity was seized upon
by the artist to avenge the damage to his instruments, which, indeed, I
could not avert, in the storm that we passed through. The good Strichine
and his charming wife were astonished at the number of opera airs I
could name. And they tried to persuade me to sing Il Trovatore; but
concluding that damage enough had already been done, I refrained, that
is, I refracted my song.


     Mutiny--Attempt at robbery and murder--Four against one--Two go
     down before a rifle--Order restored.

July 23rd, 1887, brings me to a sudden and shocking point in the history
of the voyage that I fain would forget, but that will not be possible.
Between the hours of 11 and 12 p.m. of this day I was called instantly
to defend my life and all that is dear to a man.

The bark, anchored alone in the harbour of Antonina, was hid from the
town in the darkness of a night that might well have covered the
blackest of tragedies. My pirates thought their opportunity had surely
come to capture the _Aquidneck_, and this they undertook to do. The
ringleader of the gang was a burly scoundrel, whose boast was that he
had "licked" both the mate and second mate of the last vessel he had
sailed in, and had "busted the captain in the jaw" when they landed in
Rio, where the vessel was bound, and where, of course, the captain had
discharged him. It was there the villain shipped with me, in lieu of one
of the Rosario gang who had been kindly taken in charge by the guard at
Ilha Grande and brought to Rio to be tried before the American Consul
for insubordination. Said he, one day when I urged him to make haste and
help save the topsails in a squall, "Oh, I'm no soft-horn to be
hurried!" It was the time the bark lost her topgallant-mast and was cast
on her beam-ends on the voyage to Antonina, already told; it was, in
fact, no time for loafing, and this braggart at a decisive word hurried
aloft with the rest to do his duty. What I said to him was meant for
earnest, and it cowed him. It is only natural to think that he held a
grudge against me forever after, and waited only for his opportunity;
knowing, too, that I was the owner of the bark, and supposed to have
money. He was heard to say in a rum-mill a day or two before the attack
that he would find the ---- money and his life, too. His chum and bosom
friend had come pretty straight from Palermo penitentiary at Buenos
Aires when he shipped with me at Rosario.

It was no secret on board the bark that he had served two years for
robbing, and cutting a ranchman's throat from ear to ear. These records,
which each seemed to glory in, were verified in both cases.

I met the captain afterwards who had been "busted in the jaw"--Captain
Roberts, of Baltimore, a quiet gentleman, with no evil in his heart for
any one, and a man, like myself, well along in years.

Two of the gang, old Rosario hands, had served for the lesser offence of
robbery alone--they brought up in the rear! The other two of my foremast
hands--one a very respectable Hollander, the other a little Japanese
sailor, a bright, young chap--had been robbed and beaten by the four
ruffians, and then threatened so that they deserted to the forest
instead of bringing a complaint of the matter to me, for fear, as the
Jap expressed it afterwards, when there was no longer any danger,--for
fear the "la-la-long mans (thieves) would makee killo mi!"

The ringleader bully had made unusual efforts to create a row when I
came on board early in the evening; however, as he had evidently been
drinking, I passed it off as best I could for the natural consequence of
rum, and ordered him forward; instead of doing as he was bid, when I
turned to hand my wife to the cabin he followed me threateningly to the
break of the poop. What struck me most, however, was the conduct of his
chum, who was sober, but in a very unusual, high, gleeful mood. It was
knock-off time when I came along to where he was seizing off the mizzen
topgallant backstay, the last of the work of refitting the late
_pampeiro_ damage; and the mate being elsewhere engaged, I gave the
usual order to quit work. "Knock off," I said to the man, "and put away
your tools. The bark's rigging looks well," I added, "and if to-morrow
turns out fine, all will be finished"; whereupon the fellow laughed
impertinently in my face, repeating my words, "All will be finished!"
under his breath, adding, "before to-morrow!" This was the first insult
offered by the "Bloodthirsty Tommy," who had committed murder only a
short time before; but I had been watched by the fellow, with a cat-like
eye at every turn.

The full significance of his words on this occasion came up to me only
next morning, when I saw him lying on the deck with a murderous weapon
in his hand! I was not expecting a cowardly, night attack, nevertheless
I kept my gun loaded. I went to sleep this night as usual, forgetting
the unpleasant episode as soon as my head touched the pillow; but my
wife, with finer instincts, kept awake. It was well for us all that she
did so. Near midnight, my wife, who had heard the first footstep on the
poop-deck, quietly wakened me, saying, "We must get up, and look out for
ourselves! Something is going wrong on deck; the boat tackle has been
let go with a great deal of noise, and--O! don't go that way on deck. I
heard some one on the cabin steps, and heard whispering in the forward

"You must have been dreaming," I said.

"No, indeed!" said she; "I have not been asleep yet; don't go on deck by
the forward companionway; they are waiting there, I am sure, for I heard
the creaking of the loose step in the entry."

If my wife has not been dreaming, thought I, there can be no possible
doubt of a plot.

Nothing justifies a visit on the poop-deck after working-hours, except a
call to relieve sickness, or for some other emergency, and then secrecy
or stealth is non-permissible.

It may be here explained to persons not familiar with ships, that the
sailors' quarters are in the forward part of the ship where they (the
sailors) are supposed to be found after working-hours, in port, coming
never abaft the mainmast; hence the term "before the mast."

My first impulse was to step on deck in the usual way, but the earnest
entreaties of my wife awoke me to a danger that should be investigated
with caution. Arming myself, therefore, with a stout carbine repeater,
with eight ball cartridges in the magazine, I stepped on deck abaft
instead of forward, where evidently I had been expected. I stood rubbing
my eyes for a moment, inuring them to the intense darkness, when a
coarse voice roared down the forward companionway to me to come on deck.
"Why don't ye come on deck like a man, and order yer men forid?" was the
salute that I got, and was the first that I heard with my own ears, and
it was enough. To tell the whole story in a word, I knew that I had to
face a mutiny.

I could do no less than say: "Go forward there!"

"Yer there, are ye?" said the spokesman, as with an oath, he bounded
toward me, cursing as he came.

Again I ordered him forward, saying, "I am armed,--if you come here I
will shoot!" But I forbore to do so instantly, thinking to club him to
the deck instead, for my carbine was a heavy one. I dealt him a blow as
he came near, sufficient I thought, to fell an ox; but it had,
apparently, no effect, and instantly he was inside of my guard. Then
grasping me by the throat, he tried to force me over the taffrail, and
cried, exultingly, as he felt me give way under his brute strength,
"Now, you damn fool, shoot!" at the same time drawing his knife to

I could not speak, or even breathe, but my carbine spoke for me, and the
ruffian fell with the knife in his hand which had been raised against
me! Resolution had proved more than a match for brute force, for I then
knew that not only my own life but also the lives of others depended on
me at this moment. Nothing daunted, the rest came on, like hungry
wolves. Again I cried, "Go forward!" But thinking, maybe, that my rifle
was a single shooter, or that I could not load it so quickly, the order
was disregarded.

"What if I don't go forward?" was "Bloody Tommy's" threatening question,
adding, as he sprang toward me, "I've got this for you!" but fell
instantly as he raised his hand; and there on the deck was ended his
misadventure! and like the other he fell with the deadly knife in his
hand. I was now all right. The dread of cold steel had left me when I
freed myself from the first would-be assassin, and I only wondered how
many more would persist in trying to take my life. But recollecting
there were only two mutineers left, and that I had still six shots in
the magazine of my rifle, and one already in the chamber, I stood ready
with the hammer raised, and my finger on the trigger, confident that I
would not be put down.

There was no further need of extreme measures, however, for order was
now restored, though two of the assailants had skulked away in the dark.

How it was that I regained my advantage, after once losing it, I hardly
know; but this I am certain of, that being down I was not to be spared.
Then desperation took the place of fear, and I felt more than a match
for all that could come against me. I had no other than serene
feelings, however, and had no wish to pursue the two pirates that fled.

Immediately after the second shot was fired, and I found myself once
more master of my bark, the remaining two came aft again, at my bidding
this time, and in an orderly manner, it may be believed.

It is idle to say what I would or would not have given to have the
calamity averted, or, in other words, to have had a crew of sailors,
instead of a gang of cut-throats.

However, when the climax came, I had but one course to pursue; this I
resolutely followed. A man will defend himself and his family to the
last, for life is sweet, after all.

It was significant, the court thought afterwards, that while my son had
not had time to dress, they all had on their boots except the one who
fell last, and he was in his socks, with no boots on. It was he who had
waited for me as I have already said, on the cabin steps that I usually
passed up and down on, but this time avoided. Circumstantial evidence
came up in abundance to make the case perfectly clear to the
authorities. There are few who will care to hear more about a subject so
abhorrent to all, and I care less to write about it. I would not have
said this much, but for the enterprise of a rising department clerk,
who, seeing the importance of telling to the world what he knew, and
seeing also some small emolument in the matter, was I believe prompted
to augment the consular dispatches, thus obliging me to fight the battle
over. However, not to be severe on the poor clerk, I will only add that,
no indignities were offered me by the authorities through all the strict
investigation that followed the tragedy.

The trial being for justice and not for my money the case was soon

I sincerely hope that I may never again encounter such as those who came
from the jails to bring harm and sorrow in their wake.

The work of loading was finished soon after the calamity to my bark, and
a Spanish sailing-master was engaged to take her to Montevideo; my son
Victor going as flag captain.

I piloted the _Aquidneck_ out of the harbour, and left her clear of the
buoy, looking as neat and trim as sailor could wish to see. All the
damage done by the late _pampeiro_ had been repaired, new
topgallant-masts rigged, and all made ataunto. I saw my handsome bark
well clear of the dangers of the harbour limits, then in sorrow I left
her and paddled back to the town, for I was on parole to appear, as I
have said, for trial! That was the word; I can find no other name for
it--let it stand!


     Join the bark at Montevideo--A good crew--Small-pox breaks
     out--Bear up for Maldonado and Flores--No aid--Death of sailors--To
     Montevideo in distress--Quarantine.

As soon as the case was over I posted on for Montevideo by steamer,
where the bark had arrived only a few days ahead of me. I found her
already stripped to a gantline though, preparatory to a long stay in
port. I had given Victor strict orders to interfere in no way with the
Spaniard, but to let him have full charge in nearly everything. I could
have trusted the lad with full command, young as he was; but there was a
strange crew of foreigners which might, as often happens, require
maturer judgment to manage than to sail the vessel. As it proved,
however, even the _cook_ was in many ways a better man than the

Victor met me with a long face, and the sailors wore a quizzical look as
I came over the vessel's side. One of them, in particular, whom I shall
always remember, gave me a good-humoured greeting, along with his shake
of the head, that told volumes; and next day was aloft, crossing yards,
cheerfully enough. I found my Brazilian crew to be excellent sailors,
and things on board the _Aquidneck_ immediately began to assume a
brighter appearance, aloft and alow.

Cargo was soon discharged, other cargo taken in, and the bark made ready
for sea. My crew, I say, was a good one; but, poor fellows, they were
doomed to trials--the worst within human experience, many of them giving
up to grim death before the voyage was ended. Too often one bit of bad
luck follows another. This rule brought us in contact with one of these
small officials at Montevideo, better adapted to home life; one of those
knowing, perhaps, more than need a cowboy, but not enough for consul.
This official, managing to get word to my crew that a change of master
dissolved their contract, induced them to come on shore and claim pay
for the whole voyage and passage home on a steamer besides, the same as
though the bark had been sold.

What overwhelming troubles may come of having incompetent officials in
places of trust, the sequel will show. This unwise, even stupid
interference, was the indirect cause of the sufferings and deaths among
the crew which followed.

I was able to show the consul and his clerk that sailors are always
engaged for the ship, and never for the master, and that a change of
master did not in any way affect their contract. However, I paid the
crew off, and then left it to their option to re-ship or not, for they
were all right, they had been led to do what they did, and I knew that
they wanted to get home, and it was there that the bark was going,

All signed the articles again, except one, a long-haired Andalusian,
whom I would not have longer at any price. The wages remained the same
as before, and all hands returned to their duty cheerful and
contented--but pending the consul's decision (which, by the way, I
decided for him), they had slept in a contagioned house, where, alas,
they contracted small-pox of the worst type.

We were now homeward bound. All the "runaway rum" that could be held out
by the most subtle crimps of Montevideo could not induce these sober
Brazilian sailors to desert their ship.

These "crimps" are land-sharks who get the sailors drunk when they can,
and then rob them of their advance money. The sailors are all paid in
advance; sometimes they receive in this way most of their wages for the
voyage, which they make after the money is spent, or wasted, or stolen.

We all know what working for dead horse means--sailors know too well its

As sailing day drew near, a half-day liberty to each watch was asked for
by the men, who wanted to make purchases for their friends and relatives
at Paranagua. Permission to go on shore was readily granted, and I was
rewarded by seeing every one return to his ship at the time promised,
and every one sober. On the morrow, which was sailing day, every man was
at his post and all sang "Cheerily, ho!" and were happy; all except one,
who complained of slight chills and a fever, but said that he had been
subject to this, and that with a dose of quinine he would soon be all
right again.

It appeared a small matter. Two days later though, his chills turned to
something which I knew less about. The next day, three more men went
down with rigor in the spine, and at the base of the brain. I knew by
this that small-pox was among us!

We bore up at once for Maldonado, which was the nearest port, the place
spoken of in "Gulliver's Travels," though Gulliver, I think, is mistaken
as to its identity and location, arriving there before a gathering storm
that blew wet and cold from the east. Our signals of distress, asking
for immediate medical aid were set and flew thirty-six hours before any
one came to us; then a scared Yahoo (the country was still inhabited by
Yahoos) in a boat rowed by two other animals, came aboard, and said,
"Yes, your men have got small-pox." "_Vechega_" he called it, but I
understand the lingo of the Yahoo very well, I could even speak a few
words of it and comprehend the meanings. "_Vechega_!" he bellowed to
his mates alongside, and, turning to me, he said, in Yahoo: "You must
leave the port at once," then jumping into his boat he hurried away,
along with his scared companions.[2]

To leave a port in our condition was hard lines, but my perishing crew
could get no succour at Maldonado, so we could do nothing but leave, if
at all able to do so. We were indeed short-handed, but desperation
lending a hand, the anchor was weighed and sufficient sail set on the
bark to clear the inhospitable port. The wind blowing fair out of the
harbour carried us away from the port toward Flores Island, for which we
now headed in sore distress. A gale, long to be remembered, sprang
suddenly up, stripping off our sails like autumn leaves, before the bark
was three leagues from the place. We hadn't strength to clew up, so her
sails were blown away, and she went flying before the mad tempest under
bare poles. A snow-white sea-bird came for shelter from the storm, and
poised on the deck to rest. The incident filled my sailors with awe; to
them it was a portentous omen, and in distress they dragged themselves
together and, prostrate before the bird, prayed the Holy Virgin to ask
God to keep them from harm. The rain beat on us in torrents, as the bark
tossed and reeled ahead, and day turned black as night. The gale was
from E.S.E., and our course lay W.N.W. nearly, or nearly before it. I
stood at the wheel with my shore clothes on, I remember, for I hadn't
yet had time to change them for waterproofs; this of itself was small
matter, but it reminds me now that I was busy with other concerns. I was
always a good helmsman, and I took in hand now the steering of the bark
in the storm--and I gave directions to Victor and the carpenter how to
mix disinfectants for themselves, and medicines for the sick men. The
medicine chest was fairly supplied.

Flores, when seen, was but a few ship's lengths away. Flashes of
lightning revealed the low cliffs, amazingly near to us, and as the bark
swept by with great speed, the roar of the breakers on the shore, heard
above the din of the storm, told us of a danger to beware. The helm was
then put down, and she came to under the lee of the island like a true,
obedient thing.

Both anchors were let go, and all the chain paid out to both, to the
bitter end, for the gale was now a hurricane. She walked away with her
anchors for all that we could do, till, hooking a marine cable, one was
carried away, and the other brought her head to the wind, and held her
there trembling in the storm.

Anxious fear lest the second cable should break was on our minds through
the night; but a greater danger was within the ship, that filled us all
with alarm.

Two barks not far from us that night, with pilots on board, were lost,
in trying to come through where the _Aquidneck_, without a pilot and
with but three hands on deck to work her, came in. Their crews, with
great difficulty, were rescued and then carried to Montevideo. When all
had been done that we three could do, a light was put in the rigging,
that flickered in the gale and went out. Then wet, and lame, and weary,
we fell down in our drenched clothes, to rest as we might--to sleep, or
to listen to groans of our dying shipmates.

When daylight came (after this, the most dismal of all my nights at
sea), our signals went up telling of the sad condition of the crew, and
begging for medical assistance. Toward night the gale went down; but, as
no boat came off, a gloom darker than midnight settled over the crew of
the pest-ridden bark, and in dismay they again prayed to be spared to
meet the loved ones awaiting them at home.

Our repeated signals, next day, brought the reply, "Stand in."
_Carramba!_ Why, we could hardly stand at all; much less could we get
the bark underway, and beat in against wind and current. No one knew
this better than they on the island, for my signals had told the whole
story, and as we were only a mile and a half from the shore, the flags
were distinctly made out. There was no doubt in our minds about that!

Late in the day, however, a barge came out to us, ill-manned and
ill-managed by as scared a set of "galoots" as ever capsized a boat, or
trembled at a shadow! The coxswain had more to say than the doctor, and
the Yahoo--I forgot to mention that we were still in Yahoodom, but one
would see that without this explanation--the Yahoo in the bow said more
than both; and they all took a stiff pull from a bottle of
_cachazza_,[3] the doctor having had the start, I should say, of at
least one or two pulls before leaving the shore, insomuch as he appeared
braver than the rest of the crew.

The doctor, having taken an extra horn or two, with Dutch courage came
on board, and brought with him a pound of sulphur, a pint of carbolic
acid, and some barley--enough to feed a robin a few times, for all of
which we were thankful indeed, our disinfectants being by this time
nearly exhausted; then, glancing at the prostrate men, he hurried away,
as the other had done at Maldonado. I asked what I should do with the
dead through the night--bury them where we lay? "Oh, no, no!" cried the
Yahoo in the bow; but the doctor pointed significantly to the water
alongside! I knew what he meant!

That night we buried José, the sailor whose honest smile had welcomed me
to my bark at Montevideo. I had ordered stones brought on deck, before
dark, ostensibly to ballast the boat. I knew they would soon be wanted!
About midnight, the cook called me in sore distress, saying that José
was dying without confession!

So poor José was buried that night in the great River Plate! I listened
to the solemn splash that told of one life ended, and its work done; but
gloomy, and sad, and melancholy as the case was, I had to smile when the
cook, not having well-secured the ballast, threw it over after his
friend, exclaiming, "Good-bye, José, good-bye!" I added, "Good-bye, good
shipmate, good-bye! I doubt not that you rest well!"

Next day, the signal from the shore was the same as the day before,
"Stand in," in answer to my repeated call for help. By this time my men
were demoralized and panic-stricken, and the poor fellows begged me, if
the doctor would not try to cure them, to get a priest to confess them
all. I saw a padre pacing the beach, and set flags asking him to come on
board. No notice was taken of the signal, and we were now left entirely
to ourselves.

After burying one more of the crew, we decided to remain no longer at
this terrible place. An English telegraph tender passing, outward-bound,
caught up our signals at that point, and kindly reported to her consul
at Maldonado, who wired it to Montevideo.

The wind blowing away from the shore, as may it always blow when friend
of mine nears that coast, we determined to weigh anchor or slip cable
without further loss of time, feeling assured that by the telegraph
reports some one would be on the look-out for us, and that the
_Aquidneck_ would be towed into port if the worst should happen--if the
rest of her crew went down. Three of us weighed one anchor, with its
ninety fathoms of chain, the other had parted on the windlass in the
gale. The bark's prow was now turned toward Montevideo, the place we had
so recently sailed from, full of hope and pleasant anticipation; and
here we were, dejected and filled with misery, some of our number
already gone on that voyage which somehow seems so far away.

At Montevideo, things were better. They _did_ take my remaining sick men
out of the vessel, after two days' delay; my agent procuring a tug,
which towed them in the ship's boat three hundred fathoms astern. In
this way they were taken to Flores Island, where, days and days before,
they had been refused admittance! They were accompanied this time by an
order from the governor of Montevideo, and at last were taken in. Two of
the cases were, by this time, in the favourable change. But the poor old
cook, who stood faithfully by me, and would not desert his old
shipmates, going with them to the Island to care for them to the last,
took the dread disease, died of it, and was there buried, not far from
where he himself had buried his friend José, a short time before. The
death of this faithful man occurred on the day that the bark finally
sailed seaward, by the Island. She was in sight from the hospital
window when his phantom ship, that put out, carried him over the bar!
His widow, at Paranagua, I was told, on learning the fate of her
husband, died of grief.

The work of disinfecting the vessel, at Montevideo, after the sick were
removed, was a source of speculation that was most elaborately carried
on. Demijohns of carbolic acid were put on board, by the dozen, at $3.00
per demijohn, all diluted ready for use; and a _guardo_ was put on board
to use it up, which he did religiously over his own precious self, in my
after-cabin, as far from the end of the ship where the danger was as he
could get. Some one else disinfected _el proa_, not he! Abundant as the
stuff was, I had to look sharp for enough to wash out forward while aft
it was knee-deep almost, at three dollars a jar! The harpy that alighted
on deck at Maldonado sent in his bill for one hundred dollars--I paid

The cost to me of all this trouble in money paid out, irrelevantly to
mention, was over a thousand dollars. What it cost me in health and
mental anxiety cannot be estimated by such value. Still, I was not the
greatest sufferer. My hardest task was to come, you will believe, at the
gathering up of the trinkets and other purchases which the crew had
made, thoughtful of wife and child at home. All had to be burned, or
spoiled with carbolic acid! A hat for the little boy here, a pair of
boots for his mamma there, and many things for the _familia_ all
around--all had to be destroyed!


[2] In our discourse, Yahoo was spoken, but I write it in
English because many of my readers would not understand the original.
The signals that we used were made by universal code symbols. For
example, two flags hoisted representing "P" "D" signified "want (or
wants) immediate medical assistance." And so on, by hoists of two, three
or four flags representing the consonants, our wants and wishes could be
made known, each possessing the key to the code.

Our commercial code of signals is so invented and arranged that no
matter what tongues may meet, perhaps those utterly incomprehensible by
word of mouth, yet by these signs communications may be carried on with
great facility. The whole system is so beautifully simple that a child
of ordinary intelligence can understand it. Even the Yahoos were made to
comprehend--when not colour-blind. And, lest they should forget their
lesson, a gunboat is sent out every year or two, to fire it into them
with cannon.

[3] This _cachazza_ is said to be death to microbes, or even to
larger worms; it will kill anything, in fact, except a Yahoo!


     A new crew--Sail for Antonina--Load timber--Native canoes--Loss of
     the _Aquidneck_.

After all this sad trouble was over, a new crew was shipped, and the
_Aquidneck's_ prow again turned seaward. Passing out by Flores, soon
after, we observed the coast-guard searching, I learned, for a supposed
sunken bark, which had appeared between squalls in the late gale with
signals of distress set. I was satisfied from the account that it was
our bark which they had seen in the gale, and the supposed flags were
our tattered sails, what there was left of them, streaming in the storm.
But we did not discourage the search, as it could do no harm, and I
thought that they might perhaps find something else worth knowing about.
This was the day, as I have said, on which my faithful cook died, while
the bark was in sight from the window of his sick ward. It was a bright,
fine day to us. We cannot say that it was otherwise than bright to him.

Breathing once more the fresh air of the sea, we set all sail for
Paranagua, passing the lights on the coast to leave them flickering on
the horizon, then soon out of sight. Fine weather prevailed, but with
much head wind; still we progressed, and rarely a day passed but
something of the distance toward our port was gained. One day, however,
coming to an island, one that was inhabited only by birds, we came to a
stand, as if it were impossible to go farther on the voyage; a spell
seemed to hang over us. I recognized the place as one that I knew well;
a very dear friend had stood by me on deck, looking at this island,
some years before. It was the last land that my friend ever saw. I would
fain have sailed around it now, but a puff of fair wind coming sent us
on our course for the time some leagues beyond. At sunset, though, this
wind went down, and with the current we drifted back so much that by the
next day we were farther off on the other side. However, fair wind
coming again, we passed up inside, making thus the circuit of the island
at last.

More or less favourable winds thenceforth filled our sails, till at last
our destined port was gained.

The little town of Antonina, where my wife and Garfield had remained
over during this voyage, twelve miles up the bay from Paranagua, soon
after our arrival, was made alive with the noise of children marching to
children's own music, my "Yawcob" heading the band with a brand-new
ninety-cent organ, the most envied fellow of the whole crowd. Sorrows of
the past took flight, or were locked in the closet at home, the fittest
place for past misfortunes.

A truly hard voyage for us all was that to Montevideo! The survivors
reached home after a while. Their features were terribly marked and
disfigured; so much so that I did not know them till they accosted me
when we met.

I look back with pleasure to the good character of my Brazilian sailors,
regretting the more their hard luck and sad fate! We may meet again!
_Quien sabe!_

Getting over all this sad business as best we could, we entered on the
next venture, which was to purchase and load a cargo of the famous
Brazilian wood. The _Aquidneck_ was shifted to an arm of the bay, where
she was moored under the lee of a virgin forest, twenty minutes' canoe
ride from the village of Guarakasava, where she soon began to load.

The timber of this country, generally very heavy, is nevertheless hauled
by hand to the water, where, lashed to canoes, it is floated to the

These canoes, formed sometimes from mammoth trees, skilfully shaped and
dug out with care, are at once the carriage and _cariole_ of the family
to the _citio_, or the rice to mill. Roads are hardly known where the
canoe is available; men, women, and children are consequently alike,
skilled in the art of canoeing to perfection, almost. There are no
carriages to speak of in such places, even a saddle horse about the
waterfront is a _rara avis_. There was, indeed, one horse at
Guarakasava--the owner of it was very conspicuous.

The family canoe just spoken of, has the capacity, often, of several
tons, is handsomely decorated with carvings along the topsides, and is
painted, as the "Geordie" would say, "in none o' your gaudy colours, but
in good plain red or blue"--sometimes, however, they are painted green.

The cost of these handsome canoes are, say, from $250 down in price and
size, from the grand turnout to the one-man craft which may be purchased
for five milreis ($2.50).

From the greatest to the smallest they are cared for with almost an
affectionate care, and are made to last many years.

One thing else which even the poorest Brazilian thinks much of is his
affectionate wife who literally and figuratively is often in the same
boat with her husband, pulling against the stream. Family ties are
strong in Brazil and the sweet flower of friendship thrives in its sunny
clime. The system of land and sea breezes prevail on the coast from Cape
Frio to Saint Catherine with great regularity most of the year; the sail
is therefore used to good advantage by the almost amphibious
inhabitants along the coast who love the water and take to it like ducks
and natural born sailors.

The wind falling light they propel their canoes by paddle or long pole
with equal facility. The occupants standing, in the smaller ones, force
them along at a great speed. The larger ones, when the wind does not
serve, are pulled by banks of oars which are fastened to stout pegs in
the gunwail with grummits, that fit loosely over the oars so as to allow
them free play in the hand of the waterman.

Curling the water with fine, shapely prows as they dart over the smooth
waters of the bays and rivers, these canoes present a picture of
unrivalled skill and grace.

I find the following entry in my diary made near the close of
transactions at Guarakasava which in the truthful word of an historian I
am bound to record, if only to show my prevailing high opinion of the
natives while I was among them:--

                                             GUARAKASAVA, Dec. 20th.

     Heretofore I have doted on native Brazilian honesty as well as
     national seamanship and skill in canoes but my dream of a perfect
     paradise is now unsettled forever. I find, alas! that even here the
     fall of Adam is felt: Taking in some long poles to-day the negro
     tallyman persisted in counting twice the same pole. When the first
     end entered the port it was "_umo_" (one); when the last end
     disappeared into the ship he would sing out "_does_" (two).

I had no serious difficulty over the matter, but left Guarakasava with
that hurt feeling which comes of being over persuaded that one and one
make four.

We spent Christmas of 1887 at Guarakasava. The bark was loaded soon
after, and when proceeding across the bay, where currents and wind
caught her foul near a dangerous sand bar, she misstayed and went on the
strand. The anchor was let go to club her. It wouldn't hold in the
treacherous sands; so she dragged and stranded broadside on, where, open
to the sea, a strong swell came in that raked her fore and aft for three
days, the waves dashing over her groaning hull the while till at last
her back was broke and--why not add heart as well! for she lay now
undone. After twenty-five years of good service the _Aquidneck_ here
ended her days!

I had myself carried load on load, but alas! I could not carry a
mountain; and was now at the end where my best skill and energy could
not avail. What was to be done? What could be done? We had indeed the
appearance of shipwrecked people, away, too, from home.

This was no time to weep, for the lives of all the crew were saved;
neither was it a time to laugh, for our loss was great.

But the sea calmed down, and I sold the wreck, which floated off at the
end of the storm. And after paying the crew their wages out of the
proceeds had a moiety left for myself and family--a small sum.

Then I began to look about for the future, and for means of escape from
exile. The crew (foreign) found shipping for Montevideo, where they had
joined the _Aquidneck_, in lieu of the stricken Brazilian sailors. But
for myself and family this outlet was hardly available, even if we had
cared to go farther from home,--which was the least of our thoughts; and
there were no vessels coming our way.


     The building of the _Liberdade_.

     Away, away, no cloud is lowering o'er us
     Freely now we stem the wave;
     Hoist, hoist all sail, before us
     Hope's beacon shines to cheer the brave.

When all had been saved from the wreck that was worth saving, or that
could be saved, we found ourselves still in the possession of some goods
soon to become of great value to us, especially my compass and charts
which, though much damaged, were yet serviceable and suggested practical
usefulness; and the chronometer being found intact, my course was no
longer undecided, my wife and sons agreeing with what I thought best.

The plan, in a word, was this: We could not beg our way, neither would
we sit idle among the natives. We found that it would require more
courage to remain in the far-off country than to return home in a boat,
which then we concluded to build and for that purpose.[4]

My son Victor, with much pride and sympathy, entered heartily into the
plan, which promised a speedy return home. He bent his energies in a
practical direction, working on the boat like an old builder.

Before entering on the project, however, all responsibilities were
considered. Swift ocean currents around capes and coral reefs were taken
into account; and above all else to be called dangerous we knew would
be the fierce tropical storms which surely we would encounter.

[Illustration: Diagram of the _Liberdade_

(Length 35 ft. beam 7½ ft., draught 2½ ft. weight 6 tons.)]

But a boat should be built stout and strong, we all said, one in which
we should not be afraid to trust our lives even in the storm.

And with the advantage of experience in ships and boats of various sizes
and in many seas, I turned to the work of constructing, according to my
judgment and means, a craft which would be best adapted to all weathers
and all circumstances. My family with sympathetic strength pulling hard
in the same direction.

Seaworthiness was to be the first and most prominent feature in our
microscopic ship; next to this good quality she should sail well; at
least before free winds. We counted on favourable winds; and so they
were experienced the greater part of the voyage that soon followed.

Long exposures and many and severe disappointments by this time, I
found, had told on health and nerve, through long quarantines, expensive
fumigations, and ruinous doctors' visits, which had swept my dollars
into hands other than mine. However, with still a "shot in the locker,"
and with some feelings of our own in the matter of how we should get
home, I say, we set to work with tools saved from the wreck--a meagre
kit--and soon found ourselves in command of another ship, which I will
describe the building of, also the dimensions and the model and rig,
first naming the tools with which it was made.

To begin with, we had an axe, an adze, and two saws, one ½inch auger,
one 6/8 and one 3/8 auger-bit; two large sail-needles, which we
converted into nailing bits; one roper, that answered for a punch; and,
most precious of all, a file that we found in an old sail-bag washed up
on the beach. A square we readily made. Two splints of bamboo wood
served as compasses. Charcoal, pounded as fine as flour and mixed in
water, took the place of chalk for the line; the latter we had on hand.
In cases where holes larger than the 6/8 bit were required, a piece of
small jack-stay iron was heated, and with this we could burn a hole to
any size required. So we had, after all, quite a kit to go on with.
Clamps, such as are used by boat builders, we had not, but made
substitutes from the crooked guava tree and from _massaranduba_ wood.

Trees from the neighbouring forest were felled when the timber from the
wrecked cargo would not answer. Some of these woods that we sought for
special purposes had queer sounding names, such as _arregebah,
guanandee, batetenandinglastampai_, etc. This latter we did not use the
saw upon at all, it being very hard, but hewed it with the axe, bearing
in mind that we had but one file, whereas for the edged tools we had but
to go down to a brook hard by to find stones in abundance suitable to
sharpen them on.

The many hindrances encountered in the building of the boat will not be
recounted here. Among the least was a jungle fever, from which we
suffered considerably. But all that and all other obstacles vanished at
last, or became less, before a new energy which grew apace with the
boat, and the building of the craft went rapidly forward. There was no
short day system, but we rested on the Sabbath, or surveyed what we had
done through the week, and made calculations of what and how to strike
on the coming week.

The unskilled part of the labour, such as sawing the cedar planks, of
which she was mostly made, was done by the natives, who saw in a rough
fashion, always leaving much planing and straightening to be done, in
order to adjust the timber to a suitable shape. The planks for the
bottom were of ironwood, 1¼ X 10 inches. For the sides and top red cedar
was used, each plank, with the exception of two, reaching the whole
length of the boat. This arrangement of exceedingly heavy wood in the
bottom, and the light on top, contributed much to the stability of the

The ironwood was heavy as stone, while the cedar, being light and
elastic, lent buoyancy and suppleness, all that we could wish for.

The fastenings we gathered up in various places, some from the bulwarks
of the wreck, some from the hinges of doors and skylights, and some were
made from the ship's metal sheathing, which the natives melted and cast
into nails. Pure copper nails, also, were procured from the natives,
some ten _kilos_, for which I paid in copper coins, at the rate of two
_kilos_ of coin for one _kilo_ of nails. The same kind of coins, called
_dumps_, cut into diamond-shaped pieces, with holes punched through
them, entered into the fastenings as burrs for the nails. A number of
small eyebolts from the spanker-boom of the wreck were turned to account
for lashing bolts in the deck of the new vessel. The nails, when too
long, were cut to the required length, taking care that the ends which
were cut off should not be wasted, but remelted, along with the metal
sheathing, into other nails.

Some carriage bolts, with nuts, which I found in the country, came in
very handy; these I adjusted to the required length, when too long, by
slipping on blocks of wood of the required thickness to take up the
surplus length, putting the block, of course, on the inside, and
counter-sinking the nut flush with the planks on the outside; then
screwing from the inside outward, they were drawn together, and there
held as in a vice, the planks being put together "lap-streak" fashion,
which without doubt is the strongest way to build a boat.

These screw-bolts, seventy in number, as well as the copper nails, cost
us dearly, but wooden pegs, with which also she was fastened, cost only
the labour of being made. The lashings, too, that we used here and there
about the frame of the cabin, cost next to nothing, being made from the
fibrous bark of trees, which could be had in abundance by the stripping
of it off. So, taking it by and large, our materials were not expensive,
the principal item being the timber, which cost about three cents per
superficial foot, sawed or hewed. Rosewood, ironwood, cedar or mahogany,
were all about the same price and very little in advance of common wood;
so of course we selected always the best, the labour of shaping being
least, sometimes, where the best materials were used.

These various timbers and fastenings, put together as best we could
shape and join them, made a craft sufficiently strong and seaworthy to
withstand all the bufferings on the main upon which, in due course, she
was launched.

The hull being completed, by various other contrivances and makeshifts
in which, sometimes, the "wooden blacksmith" was called in to assist,
and the mother of invention also lending a hand, fixtures were made
which served as well on the voyage as though made in a dockyard and at
great cost.

My builders baulked at nothing, and on the 13th day of May, the day on
which the slaves of Brazil were set free, our craft was launched, and
was named _Liberdade_ (Liberty).

Her dimensions being--35 feet in length over all, 7½ feet breadth of
beam, and 3 feet depth of hold. Who shall say that she was not large

Her model I got from my recollections of Cape Ann dories and from a
photo of a very elegant Japanese _sampan_ which I had before me on the
spot, so, as it might be expected, when finished she resembled both
types of vessel in some degree.

Her rig was the Chinese _sampan_ style, which is, I consider, the most
convenient boat rig in the whole world.

This was the boat, or canoe I prefer to call it, in which we purposed to
sail for North America and home. Each one had been busy during the
construction and past misfortunes had all been forgotten. Madam had made
the sails--and very good sails they were, too!

Victor, the carpenter, ropemaker, and general roustabout had performed
his part. Our little man, Garfield, too, had found employment in holding
the hammer to clinch the nails and giving much advice on the coming
voyage. All were busy, I say, and no one had given a thought of what we
were about to encounter from the port officials farther up the coast; it
was pretended by them that a passport could not be granted to so small a
craft to go on so long a voyage as the contemplated one to North

Then fever returned to the writer and the constructor of the little
craft, and I was forced to go to bed, remaining there three days.
Finally, it came to my mind that in part of a medicine chest, which had
been saved from the wreck, was stored some _arsenicum_, I think it is
called. Of this I took several doses (small ones at first, you may be
sure), and the good effect of the deadly poison on the malaria in my
system was soon felt trickling through my veins. Increasing the doses
somewhat, I could perceive the beneficial effect hour by hour, and in a
few days I had quite recovered from the malady. Absurd as it was to have
the judgment of sailors set on by pollywog navigators, we had still to
submit, the pollywogs being numerous.

About this time--as the astrologers say--a messenger came down from the
_Alfandega_ (Custom House), asking me to repair thither at midday on the
morrow. This filled me with alarm. True, the messenger has delivered his
message in the politest possible manner, but that signified nothing,
since Brazilians are always polite. This thing, small as it seems now,
came near sending me back to the fever.

What had I done?

I went up next day, after having nightmare badly all night, prepared to
say that I wouldn't do it again! The kind administrator I found, upon
presenting myself at his office, had no fault to charge me with; but had
a good word, instead. "The little _Liberdade_," he observed, had
attracted the notice of his people and his own curiosity, as being "a
handsome and well-built craft." This and many other flattering
expressions were vented, at which I affected surprise, but secretly
said, "I think you are right, sir, and you have good taste, too, if you
are a customs officer."

The drift of this flattery, to make a long story short, was to have me
build a boat for the _Alfandega_, or, his government not allowing money
to build new--pointing to one which certainly would require new keel,
planks, ribs, stem, and stern-post--"could I not repair one?"

To this proposition I begged time to consider. Flattering as the
officer's words were, and backed by the offer of liberal pay, so long as
the boat could be "repaired," I still had no mind to remain in the hot
country, and risk getting the fever again. But there was the old hitch
to be gotten over; namely, the passport, on which, we thought, depended
our sailing.

However, to expedite matters, a fishing licence was hit upon, and I
wondered why I had not thought of that before, having been, once upon a
time, a fisherman myself. Heading thence on a new diplomatic course, I
commenced to fit ostensibly for a fishing voyage. To this end, a fishing
net was made, which would be a good thing to have, anyway. Then hooks
and lines were rigged and a cable made. This cable, or rope, was formed
from vines that grow very long on the sand-banks just above tide water,
several of which twisted together make a very serviceable rope, then
being light and elastic, it is especially adapted for a boat anchor
rope, or for the storm drag. Ninety fathoms of this rope was made for us
by the natives, for the sum of ten milreis ($5.00).

The anchor came of itself almost. I had made a wooden one from heavy
sinking timber, but a stalwart ranchman coming along, one day, brought a
boat anchor with him which, he said, had been used by his slaves as a
pot-hook. "But now that they are free and away," said he, "I have no
further use for the crooked thing." A sewing-machine, which had served
to stitch the sails together, was coveted by him, and was of no further
use to us; in exchange for this the prized anchor was readily secured,
the owner of it leaving us some boot into the bargain. Things working
thus in our favour, the wooden anchor was stowed away to be kept as a
spare bower.

These arrangements completed, our craft took on the appearance of a
fishing smack, and I began to feel somewhat in my old element, with no
fear of the lack of ways and means when we should arrive on our own
coast, where I knew of fishing banks. And a document which translated
read: "A licence to catch fish inside and outside of the bar" was
readily granted by the port authorities.

"How far outside the bar may this carry us?" I asked.

"_Quien sabe!_" said the officer. (Literally translated, "Who knows?"
but in Spanish or Portuguese used for, "Nobody knows, or, I don't

"Adieu, señor," said the polite official; "we will meet in heaven!"

This meant you can go since you insist upon it, but I must not
officially know of it; and you will probably go to the bottom. In this
he and many others were mistaken.

Having the necessary document now in our possession, we commenced to
take in stores for the voyage, as follows: Sea-biscuits, 120 lbs.;
flour, 25 lbs.; sugar, 30 lbs.; coffee, 9 lbs., which, roasted black and
pounded fine as wheaten flour, was equal to double the amount as
prepared in North America, and afforded us a much more delicious cup.

Of tea we had 3 lbs.; pork, 20 lbs.; dried beef, 100 lbs.; _baccalao
secca_ (dried codfish), 20 lbs.; 2 bottles of honey, 200 oranges, 6
bunches of bananas, 120 gallons of water; also a small basket of yams,
and a dozen sticks of sugar-cane, by way of vegetables.

Our medicine chest contained Brazil nuts, pepper, and cinnamon; no other
medicines or condiments were required on the voyage, except table salt,
which we also had.

One musket and a carbine--which had already stood us in good
stead--together with ammunition and three cutlasses were stowed away for
last use, to be used, nevertheless, in case of necessity.

The light goods I stowed in the ends of the canoe, the heavier in the
middle and along the bottom, thus economizing space and lending to the
stability of the canoe. Over the top of the midship stores a floor was
made, which, housed over by a tarpaulin roof reaching three feet above
the deck of the canoe, supported by a frame of bamboo, gave us sitting
space of four feet from the floor to the roof, and twelve feet long
amidships. This arrangement of cabin in the centre gave my passengers a
berth where the least motion would be felt; even this is saying but
little, for best we could do to avoid it we had still to accept much
tossing from the waves.

Precautionary measures were taken in everything, so far as our resources
and skill could reach. The springy and buoyant bamboo was used wherever
stick of any kind was required, such as the frame and braces for the
cabin, yards for the sails, and, finally, for guard on her top sides,
making the canoe altogether a self-righting one, in case of a capsize.
Each joint in the bamboo was an air-chamber of several pounds buoyant
capacity, and we had a thousand joints.

The most important of our stores, particularly the flour, bread, and
coffee, were hermetically sealed, so that if actually turned over at
sea, our craft would not only right herself, but would bring her stores
right side up, in good order, and it then would be only a question of
baling her out, and of setting her again on her course, when we would
come on as right as ever. As it turned out, however, no such trial or
mishap awaited us.

While the possibility of many and strange occurrences was felt by all of
us, the danger which loomed most in little Garfield's mind was that of
the sharks.

A fine specimen was captured on the voyage, showing five rows of pearly
teeth, as sharp as lances.

Some of these monsters, it is said, have nine rows of teeth; that they
are always hungry is admitted by sailors of great experience.

How it is that sailors can go in bathing, as they often do, in the face
of a danger so terrible, is past my comprehension. Their business is to
face danger, to be sure, but this is a needless exposure, for which the
penalty is sometimes a life. The second mate of a bark on the coast of
Cuba, not long ago, was bitten in twain, and the portions swallowed
whole by a monster shark that he had tempted in this way. The shark was
captured soon after, and the poor fellow's remains taken out of the
revolting maw.

Leaving the sharks where they are, I gladly return to the voyage of the


[4] This alternative I was obliged to accept, or bring my
family home as paupers, for my wealth was gone--need I explain more?
This explanation has been forced from me.

[Illustration: The _Liberdade_]


     Across the bar--The run to Santos--Tow to Rio by the steamship--At

The efficiency of our canoe was soon discovered: On the 24th of June,
after having sailed about the bay some few days to temper our feelings
to the new craft, and shake things into place, we crossed the bar and
stood out to sea, while six vessels lay inside "bar-bound," that is to
say by their pilots it was thought too rough to venture out, and they,
the pilots, stood on the point as we put out to sea, crossing themselves
in our behalf, and shouting that the bar was _crudo_. But the
_Liberdade_ stood on her course, the crew never regretting it.

The wind from the sou'west at the time was the moderating side of a
_pampeiro_ which had brought in a heavy swell from the ocean, that broke
and thundered on the bar with deafening roar and grand display of
majestic effort.

But our little ship bounded through the breakers like a fish--as natural
to the elements, and as free!

Of all the seas that broke furiously about her that day, often standing
her on end, not one swept over or even boarded her, and she finally came
through the storm of breakers in triumph. Then squaring away before the
wind she spread her willing sails, and flew onward like a bird.

It required confidence and some courage to face the first storm in so
small a bark, after having been years in large ships; but it would have
required more courage than was possessed by any of us to turn back,
since thoughts of home had taken hold on our minds.

Then, too, the old boating trick came back fresh to me, the love of the
thing itself gaining on me as the little ship stood out: and my crew
with one voice said: "Go on." The heavy South Atlantic swell rolling in
upon the coast, as we sped along, toppled over when it reached the ten
fathom line, and broke into roaring combers, which forbade our nearer
approach to the land.

Evidently, our safest course was away from the shore, and out where the
swelling seas, though grand, were regular, and raced under our little
craft that danced like a mite on the ocean as she drove forward. In
twenty-four hours from the time Paranagua bar was crossed we were up
with Santos Heads, a run of 150 miles.

A squall of wind burst on us through a gulch, as we swept round the
Heads, tearing our sails into shreds, and sending us into Santos under
bare poles.

Chancing then upon an old friend, the mail steamship _Finance_, Capt.
Baker, about to sail for Rio, the end of a friendly line was extended to
us, and we were towed by the stout steamer toward Rio, the next day, as
fast as we could wish to go. My wife and youngest sailor took passage on
the steamer, while Victor remained in the canoe with me, and stood by
with axe in hand, to cut the tow-line, if the case should require
it--and I steered.

"Look out," said Baker, as the steamer began to move ahead, "look out
that I don't snake that canoe out from under you."

"Go on with your mails, Baker," was all I could say, "don't blow up your
ship with my wife and son on board, and I will look out for the packet
on the other end of the rope."

Baker opened her up to thirteen knots, but the _Liberdade_ held on!

The line that we towed with was 1-1/3 inches in diameter, by ninety
fathoms long. This, at times when the steamer surged over seas, leaving
the canoe on the opposite side of a wave astern, would become as taut as
a harp-string. At other times it would slacken and sink limp in a bight,
under the forefoot, but only for a moment, however, when the steamer's
next great plunge ahead would snap it taut again, pulling us along with
a heavy, trembling jerk. Under the circumstances, straight steering was
imperative, for a sheer to port or starboard would have finished the
career of the _Liberdade_, by sending her under the sea. Therefore, the
trick of twenty hours fell to me--the oldest and most experienced
helmsman. But I was all right and not over-fatigued until Baker cast oil
upon the "troubled waters." I soon got tired of that.

Victor was under the canvas covering, with the axe still in hand, ready
to cut the line which was so arranged that he could reach it from
within, and cut instantly, if by mischance the canoe should take a

I was afraid that the lad would become sleepy, and putting his head
"under his wing" for a nap, would forget his post, but my frequent cry,
"Stand by there, Victor," found him always on hand, though complaining
somewhat of the dizzy motion.

Heavy sprays dashed over me at the helm, which, however, seeming to wash
away the sulphur and brimstone smoke of many a quarantine, brought
enjoyment to my mind.

Confused waves rose about us, high and dangerous--often high above the
gunwale of the canoe--but her shapely curves balanced her well, and she
rode over them all in safety.

This canoe ride was thrilling and satisfactory to us all. It proved
beyond a doubt that we had in this little craft a most extraordinary
sea-boat, for the tow was a thorough test of her seaworthiness.

The captain of the steamer ordered oil cast over from time to time,
relieving us of much spray and sloppy motion, but adding to discomforts
of taste to me at the helm, for much of the oil blew over me and in my
face. Said the captain to one of his mates (an old whaler by the way,
and whalers for some unaccountable reason have never too much regard for
a poor merchantman), "Mr. Smith."

"Aye, aye, sir," answered old Smith.

"Mr. Smith, hoist out that oil."

"Aye, aye, sir," said the old "blubberhunter," in high glee, as he went
about it with alacrity, and in less than five minutes from the time the
order was given, I was smothering in grease and our boat was oiled from
keel to truck.

"She's all right now," said Smith.

"That's all right," said Baker, but I thought it all wrong. The wind,
meanwhile, was in our teeth and before we crossed Rio bar I had
swallowed enough oil to cure any amount of consumption.

Baker, I have heard, said he wouldn't care much if he should "drown
Slocum." But I was all right so long as the canoe didn't sheer, and we
arrived at Rio safe and sound after the most exciting boat-ride of my
life. I was bound not to cut the line that towed us so well; and I knew
that Baker wouldn't let it go, for it was his rope.

I found at Rio that my fishing licence could be exchanged for a pass of
greater import. This document had to be procured through the office of
the Minister of Marine.

Many a smart linguist was ready to use his influence on my behalf with
the above-named high official; but I found at the end of a month that I
was making headway about as fast as a Dutch galliot in a head sea after
the wind had subsided. Our worthy Consul, General H. Clay Armstrong,
gave me a hint of what the difficulty was and how to obviate it. I then
went about the business myself as I should have done at first, and I
found those at the various departments who were willing to help me
without the intervention of outside "influence."

Commander Marquis of the Brazilian navy recommended me to His
Excellency, the Minister of Marine, "out of regard," he said, "for
American seamen," and when the new document came it was "_Passe
Especial_," and had on it _a seal as big as a soup plate_. A port naval
officer then presented me to the good _Administradore,_ who also gave me
a _passe especial_, with the seal of the _Alfandega_.

I had now only to procure a bill of health, when I should have papers
enough for a man-o'-war. Rio being considered a healthy place, this was
readily granted, making our equipment complete.

I met here our minister whose office, with other duties, is to keep a
weather-eye lifting in the interest of that orphan, the American
ship--alas, my poor relation! Said he, "Captain, if your _Liberdade_ be
as good as your papers" (documents given me by the Brazilian officials),
"you may get there all right"; adding, "well, if the boat ever reaches
home she will be a great curiosity," the meaning of which, I could
readily infer, was, "and your chances for a snap in a dime museum will
be good." This, after many years of experience as an American
shipmaster, and also shipowner, in a moderate way, was interesting
encouragement. By our Brazilian friends, however, the voyage was looked
upon as a success already achieved.

     The utmost confidence [said the "Journal Opiz," of Rio], is placed
     in the cool-headed, audacious American mariner, and we expect in a
     short time to hear proclaimed in all of the journals of the Old and
     New World the safe arrival of this wonderful little craft at her
     destination, ourselves taking part in the glory. (Temos confianca
     na pericia e sangue frio do audaciauso marinhero Americano por isso
     esperamos que dentro em pouco tempo veremos o seu nome proclamado
     por todos os jornaes do velho e novo mundo. A nos tambem cabera
     parte da gloria.)

With these and like kind expressions from all of our _friends_, we took
leave of Rio, sailing on the morning of July 23rd, 1888.

[Illustration: Course of the _Liberdade_ from Paranagua to Barbadoes]


     Sail from Rio--Anchor at Cape Frio--Encounter with a whale--Sunken
     treasure--The schoolmaster--The merchant--The good people at the
     village--A pleasant visit.

July 23rd, 1888, was the day, as I have said, on which we sailed from
Rio de Janeiro.

Meeting with head winds and light withal, through the day we made but
little progress; and finally, when night came on, we anchored twenty
miles east of Rio Heads, near the shore. Long, rolling seas rocked us as
they raced by, then, dashing their great bodies against defying rocks,
made music by which we slept that night. But a trouble unthought of
before came up in Garfield's mind before going to his bunk; "Mamma,"
cried he, as our little bark rose and fell on the heavy waves, tumbling
the young sailor about from side to side in the small quarters while he
knelt seriously at his evening devotion, "mamma, this boat isn't big
enough to pray in!" But this difficulty was gotten over in time, and
Garfield learned to watch as well as to pray on the voyage, and full of
faith that all would be well, laid him down nights and slept as
restfully as any Christian on sea or land.

By daylight of the second day we were again underweigh, beating to the
eastward against the old head wind and head sea. On the following night
we kept her at it, and the next day made Cape Frio where we anchored
near the entrance to a good harbour.

Time from Rio, two days; distance, 70 miles.

The wind and tide being adverse, compelled us to wait outside for a
favourable change. While comfortably anchored at this place, a huge
whale, nosing about, came up under the canoe, giving us a toss and a
great scare. We were at dinner when it happened. The meal, it is
needless to say, was finished without dessert. The great sea
animal--fifty to sixty feet long--circling around our small craft,
looked terribly big. He was so close to me twice, as he swam round and
round the canoe, that I could have touched him either time with a
paddle. His flukes stirring the water like a steamer propeller appeared
alarmingly close and powerful!--and what an ugly mouth the monster had!
Well, we expected instant annihilation. The fate of the stout whale-ship
_Essex_ came vividly before me. The voyage of the _Liberdade_, I
thought, was about ended, and I looked about for pieces of bamboo on
which to land my wife and family. Just then, however, to the infinite
relief of all of us, the leviathan moved off, without doing us much
harm, having felt satisfied, perhaps, that we had no Jonah on board.

We lost an anchor through the incident, and received some small damage
to the keel, but no other injury was done--even this, I believe, upon
second thought, was unintentional--done in playfulness only! "A shark
can take a joke," it is said, and crack one too, but for broad, rippling
humour the whale has no equal.

"If this be a sample of our adventures in the beginning," thought I, "we
shall have enough and to spare by the end of the voyage." A visit from
this quarter had not been counted on; but Sancho Panza says, "When least
aware starts the hare," which in our case, by the by, was a great whale!

When our breath came back and the hair on our heads settled to a normal
level, we set sail, and dodged about under the lee of the cape till a
cove, with a very enticing sand beach at the head of it, opened before
us, some three miles northwest of where we lost the anchor in the
remarkable adventure with the whale. The "spare bower" was soon bent to
the cable. Then we stood in and anchored near a cliff, over which was a
goat-path leading in the direction of a small fishing village, about a
mile away. Sheering the boat in to the rocky side of the cove which was
steep to, we leaped out, warp in hand, and made fast to a boulder above
the tidal flow, then, scrambling over the cliff, we repaired to the
village, first improvising a spare anchor from three sticks and a stone
which answered the purpose quite well.

Judging at once that we were strangers the villagers came out to meet
us, and made a stir at home to entertain us in the most hospitable
manner, after the custom of the country, and with the villagers was a
gentleman from Canada, a Mr. Newkirk, who, as we learned, was engaged,
when the sea was smooth, in recovering treasure that was lost near the
cape in the British warship _Thetis_, which was wrecked there in 1830.
The treasure, some millions in silver coins and gold in bars, from Peru
for England, was dumped in the cove, which has since taken the name of
the ship that bore it there and, as I have said, came to grief in that
place which is on the west shore near the end of the cape.

Some of the coins were given to us to be treasured as souvenirs of the
pleasant visit. We found in Mr. Newkirk a versatile, roving genius; he
had been a schoolmaster at home, captain of a lake schooner once, had
practised medicine, and preached some, I think; and what else I do not
know. He had tried many things for a living, but, like the proverbial
moving stone had failed to accumulate. "Matters," said the Canadian,
"were getting worse and worse even, till finally to keep my head above
water I was forced to go under the sea," and he had struck it rich, it
would seem, if gold being brought in by the boat-load was any sign. This
man of many adventures still spoke like a youngster; no one had told him
that he was growing old. He talked of going home, as soon as the balance
of the treasure was secured, "just to see his dear old mother," who, by
the way, was seventy-four years old when he left home, some twenty years
before. Since his last news from home, nearly two decades had gone by.
He was "the youngest of a family of eighteen children, all living," he
said, "though," added he, "our family came near being made one less
yesterday, by a whale which I thought would eat my boat, diving-bell,
crew, money and all, as he came toward us, with open mouth. By a back
stroke of the oars, however, we managed to cheat him out of his dinner,
if that was what he was after, and I think it was, but here I am!" he
cried, "all right!" and might have added, "wealthy after all."

After hearing the diver's story, I related in Portuguese our own
adventure of the same day, and probably with the same whale, the monster
having gone in the direction of the diver's boat. The astonishment of
the listeners was great; but when they learned of our intended voyage to
_America do Norte_, they crossed themselves and asked God to lend us

"Is North America near New York?" asked the village merchant, who owned
all the boats and nets of the place.

"Why, America is _in_ New York," answered the ex-schoolmaster.

"I thought so," said the self-satisfied merchant. And no doubt he
thought some of us very stupid, or rude, or both, but in spite of
manners I had to smile at the assuring air of the Canadian.

"Why did you not answer him correctly?" I asked of the ex-schoolmaster.

"I answered him," said Newkirk, "according to his folly. Had I corrected
his rusty geography before these simple, impoverished fishermen, he
would not soon forgive me; and as for the rest of the poor souls here,
the knowledge would do them but little good."

I may mention that in this out-of-the-way place there were no schools,
and except the little knowledge gained in their church, from the
catechism, and from the fumbling of beads, they were the most innocent
of this world's scheme, of any people I ever met. But they seemed to
know all about heaven, and were, no doubt, happy.

After the brief, friendly chat that we had, coffee was passed around,
the probabilities of the _Liberdade's_ voyage discussed, and the crew
cautioned against the dangers of the _balaena_ (whale), which were
numerous along the coast, and vicious at that season of the year, having
their young to protect.

I realized very often the startling sensation alone of a night at the
helm, of having a painful stillness broken by these leviathans bursting
the surface of the water with a noise like the roar of a great sea,
uncomfortably near, reminding me of the Cape Frio adventure; and my
crew, I am sure, were not less sensitive to the same feeling of an awful
danger, however imaginary. One night in particular, dark and foggy I
remember, Victor called me excitedly, saying that something dreadful
ahead and drawing rapidly near had frightened him.

It proved to be a whale, for some reason that I could only guess at,
threshing the sea with its huge body, and surging about in all
directions, so that it puzzled me to know which way to steer to go
clear. I thought at first, from the rumpus made, that a fight was going
on, such as we had once witnessed from the deck of the _Aquidneck_, not
far from this place. Our course was changed as soon as we could decide
which way to avoid, if possible, all marine disturbers of the peace. We
wished especially to keep away from infuriated swordfish, which I feared
might be darting about, and be apt to give us a blind thrust. Knowing
that they sometimes pierce stout ships through with their formidable
weapons, I began to feel ticklish about the ribs myself, I confess, and
the little watch below, too, got uneasy and sleepless; for one of these
swords, they knew well, would reach through and through our little boat,
from keel to deck. Large ships have occasionally been sent into port
leaky from the stab of a sword, but what I most dreaded was the
possibility of one of us being ourselves pinned in the boat.

A swordfish once pierced a whale-ship through the planking, and through
the solid frame timber and the thick ceiling, with his sword, leaving it
there, a valuable plug indeed, with the point, it was found upon
unshipping her cargo at New Bedford, even piercing through a cask in the


     Sail from Frio--Round Cape St. Thome--High seas and swift
     currents--In the "trades"--Dangerous reefs--Run into harbour
     unawares, on a dark and stormy night--At Caravellas--Fine
     weather--A gale--Port St. Paulo--Treacherous natives--Sail for

July 30th, early in the day, and after a pleasant visit at the cape, we
sailed for the north, securing first a few sea shells to be cherished,
with the _Thetis_ relics, in remembrance of a most enjoyable visit to
the hospitable shores of Cape Frio.

Having now doubled Cape Frio, a prominent point in our voyage, and
having had the seaworthiness of our little ship thoroughly tested, as
already told; and seeing, moreover, that we had nothing to fear from
common small fry of the sea (one of its greatest monsters having failed
to capsize us), we stood on with greater confidence than ever, but
watchful, nevertheless, for any strange event that might happen.

A fresh polar wind hurried us on, under shortened sail, toward the
softer "trades" of the tropics, but, veering to the eastward by
midnight, it brought us well in with the land. Then, "Larboard watch,
ahoy! all hands on deck and turn out reefs," was the cry. To weather
Cape St. Thome we must lug on all sail. And we go over the shoals with a
boiling sea and current in our favour. In twenty-four hours from Cape
Frio, we had lowered the Southern Cross three degrees--180 miles.

Sweeping by the cape, the canoe sometimes standing on end, and sometimes
buried in the deep hollow of the sea, we sunk the light on St. Thome
soon out of sight and stood on with flowing sheet. The wind on the
following day settled into regular south-east "trades," and our cedar
canoe skipped briskly along, over friendly seas that were leaping toward
home, doffing their crests onward and forward, but never back, and the
splashing waves against her sides, then rippling along the thin cedar
planks between the crew and eternity, vibrated enchanting music to the
ear, while confidence grew in the bark that was HOMEWARD BOUND.

But coming upon coral reefs, of a dark night, while we listened to the
dismal tune of the seas breaking over them with an eternal roar, how
intensely lonesome they were! no sign of any living thing in sight,
except, perhaps, the phosphorescent streaks of a hungry shark, which
told of bad company in our wake, and made the gloom of the place more
dismal still.

One night we made shelter under the lee of the extensive reefs called
the Paredes (walls), without seeing the breakers at all in the dark,
although they were not far in the distance. At another time, dragging on
sail to clear a lee shore, of a dark and stormy night, we came suddenly
into smooth water, where we cast anchor and furled our sails, lying in a
magic harbour till daylight the next morning, when we found ourselves
among a maze of ugly reefs, with high seas breaking over them, as far as
the eye could reach, on all sides, except at the small entrance to the
place that we had stumbled into in the night. The position of this
future harbour is South Lat. 16° 48', and West Long, from Greenwich 39°
30'. We named the place "PORT LIBERDADE."

The next places sighted were the treacherous Abrohles, and the village
of Caravellas back of the reef where, upon refitting, I found that a
chicken cost a thousand reis, a bunch of bananas four hundred reis; but
where a dozen limes cost only twenty reis--one cent. Much whaling gear
lay strewn about the place, and on the beach was the carcass of a whale
about nine days slain. Also leaning against a smart-looking boat was a
grey-haired fisherman, boat and man relics of New Bedford, employed at
this station in their familiar industry. The old man was bare-footed and
thinly clad, after the custom in this climate. Still, I recognized the
fisherman and sailor in the set and rig of the few duds he had on, and
the ample straw hat (donkey's breakfast) that he wore, and doffed in a
seaman-like manner, upon our first salute. "_Filio do Mar do Nord
Americano_," said an affable native close by, pointing at the same time
to that "son of the sea of North America," by way of introduction, as
soon as it was learned that we, too, were of that country. I tried to
learn from this ancient mariner the cause of his being stranded in this
strange land. He may have been cast up there by the whale for aught I
could learn to the contrary.

Choosing a berth well to windward of the dead whale--the one that landed
"the old man of the sea" there, maybe!--we anchored for the night, put a
light in the rigging and turned in. Next morning, the village was astir
betimes; canoes were being put afloat, and the rattle of poles, paddles,
bait boxes, and many more things for the daily trip that were being
hastily put into each canoe, echoed back from the tall palm groves notes
of busy life, telling us that it was time to weigh anchor and be
sailing. To this cheerful tune we lent ear and, hastening to be
underweigh, were soon clear of the port. Then, skimming along near the
beach in the early morning, our sails spread to a land breeze, laden
with fragrance from the tropic forest and the music of many songsters,
we sailed in great felicity, dreading no dangers from the sea, for
there were none now to dread or fear.

Proceeding forward through this belt of moderate winds, fanned by
alternating land and sea breezes, we drew on toward a region of high
trade-winds that reach sometimes the dignity of a gale. It was no
surprise, therefore, after days of fine-weather sailing, to be met by a
storm, which so happened as to drive us into the indifferent anchorage
of St. Paulo, thirty miles from Bahia, where we remained two days for

Time, three days from Caravellas; distance sailed, 270 miles.

A few fishermen lounged about the place, living, apparently, in wretched
poverty, spending their time between waiting for the tide to go out,
when it was in, and waiting for it to come in, when it was out, to float
a canoe or bring fish to their shiftless nets. This, indeed, seemed
their only concern in life; while their ill-thatched houses, forsaken of
the adobe that once clung to the wicker walls, stood grinning in rows,
like emblems of our mortality.

We found at this St. Paulo anything but saints. The wretched place
should be avoided by strangers, unless driven there for shelter, as we
ourselves were, by stress of weather. We left the place on the first
lull of the wind, having been threatened by an attack from a gang of
rough, half-drunken fellows, who rudely came on board, jostling about,
and jabbering in a dialect which, however, I happened to understand. I
got rid of them by the use of my broken Portuguese, and once away I was
resolved that they should stay away. I was not mistaken in my suspicions
that they would return and try to come aboard, which shortly afterward
they did, but my resolution to keep them off was not shaken. I let them
know, in their own jargon this time, that I was well armed. They
finally paddled back to the shore, and all visiting was then ended. We
stood a good watch that night, and by daylight next morning, Aug. 12th,
put to sea, standing out in a heavy swell, the character of which I knew
better, and could trust to more confidently than a harbour among
treacherous natives.

Early in the same day, we arrived at _Bahia do todos Santos_ (All
Saints' Bay), a charming port, with a rich surrounding country. It was
from this port, by the way, that Robinson Crusoe sailed for Africa to
procure slaves for his plantation and that of his friend, so fiction

At Bahia we met many friends and gentle folk. Not the least interesting
at this port are the negro lasses of fine physique seen at the markets
and in the streets, with burdens on their heads of baskets of fruit, or
jars of water, which they balance with ease and grace, as they go
sweeping by with that stately mien which the dusky maiden can call her


     At Bahia--Meditations on the discoverers--The Caribbees.

At Bahia we refitted, with many necessary provisions, and repaired the
keel, which we found, upon hauling out, had been damaged by the
encounter with the whale at Frio. An iron shoe was now added for the
benefit of all marine monsters wishing to scratch their backs on our

Among the many friends whom we met at Bahia were Capt. Boyd and his
family of the bark _H. W. Palmer_. We shall meet the _Palmer_ and the
Boyds again on the voyage. They were old traders to South America and
had many friends at this port who combined to make our visit a pleasant
one. And their little son Rupert was greatly taken with the
"_Rib_erdade," as he called her, coming often to see us. And the
officials of the port taking great interest in our voyage, came often on
board. No one could have treated us more kindly than they.

The venerable _Administradore_ himself gave us special welcome to the
port and a kind word upon our departure, accompanied by a present for my
wife in the shape of a rare white flower, which we cherished greatly as
coming from a true gentleman.

Some strong abolitionists at the port would have us dine in an epicurean
way in commemoration of the name given our canoe, which was adopted
because of her having been put afloat on the thirteenth day of May, the
day on which every human being in Brazil could say, "I have no master
but one." I declined the banquet tendered us, having work on hand,
fortifying the canoe against the ravaging worms of the seas we were yet
to sail through, bearing in mind the straits of my great predecessor
from this as well as other causes on his voyage over the Caribbean Seas.
I was bound to be strengthened against the enemy.

The gout, it will be remembered, seized upon the good Columbus while his
ship had worms, when both ship and admiral lay stranded among menacing
savages; surrounded, too, by a lawless, threatening band of his own
countrymen not less treacherous than the worst of cannibals. His state
was critical indeed! One calamity was from over-high living--this I was
bound to guard against--the other was from neglect on the part of his
people to care for the ship in a seaman-like manner. Of the latter
difficulty I had no risk to run.

Lazy and lawless, but through the pretext of religion, the infected crew
wrought on the pious feelings of the good admiral, inducing him at every
landing to hold mass instead of cleaning the foul ship. Thus through
petty intrigue and grave neglects, they brought disaster and sorrow on
their leader and confusion on their own heads. Their religion, never
deep, could not be expected to keep _Terredo_ from the ship's bottom, so
her timbers were ravished, and ruin came to them all! Poor Columbus! had
he but sailed with his son Diego and his noble brother Bartholomew, for
his only crew and companions, not forgetting the help of a good woman,
America would have been discovered without those harrowing tales of woe
and indeed heartrending calamities which followed in the wake of his
designing people. Nor would his ship have been less well manned than was
the _Liberdade_, sailing, centuries after, over the same sea and among
many of the islands visited by the great discoverer--sailing, too,
without serious accident of any kind, and without sickness or
discontent. Our advantage over Columbus, I say, was very great, not
more from the possession of data of the centuries which had passed than
from having a willing crew sailing without dissent or murmur--sailing in
the same boat, as it were.

A pensive mood comes over one voyaging among the scenes of the New
World's early play-ground. To us while on this canoe voyage of pleasant
recollection the fancied experience of navigators gone before was
intensely thrilling.

Sailing among islands clothed in eternal green, the same that Columbus
beheld with marvellous anticipations, and the venerable Las Casas had
looked upon with pious wonder, brought us, in the mind's eye, near the
old discoverers; and a feeling that we should come suddenly upon their
ships around some near headland took deep hold upon our thoughts as we
drew in with the shores. All was there to please the imagination and
dream over in the same balmy, sleepy atmosphere, where Juan Ponce de
Leon would fain have tarried young, but found death rapid, working side
by side with ever springing life. To live long in this clime one must
obey great Nature's laws. So stout Juan and millions since have found,
and so always it will be.

All was there to testify as of yore, all except the first owners of the
land; they alas! the poor Caribbees, together with their camp fires, had
been extinguished long years before. And no one of human sympathy can
read of the cruel tortures and final extermination of these islanders,
savages though they were, without a pang of regret at the unpleasant
page in a history of glory and civilization.


     Bahia to Pernambuco--The meeting of the _Finance_ at sea--At
     Pernambuco--Round Cape St. Roque--A gale--Breakers--The stretch to
     Barbadoes--Flying-fish alighting on deck--Dismasted--Arrive at
     Carlysle Bay.

From Bahia to Pernambuco our course lay along that part of the Brazilian
coast fanned by constant trade-winds. Nothing unusual occurred to
disturb our peace or daily course, and we pressed forward night and day,
as was our wont from the first.

Victor and I stood watch and watch at sea, usually four hours each.

The most difficult of our experiences in fine weather was the intense
drowsiness brought on by constantly watching the oscillating compass at
night: even in the daytime this motion would make one sleepy.

We soon found it necessary to arrange a code of signals which would
communicate between the tiller and the "man forward." This was
accomplished by means of a line or messenger extending from one to the
other, which was understood by the number of pulls given by it; three
pulls, for instance, meant "Turn out," one in response, "Aye, aye, I am
awake, and what is it that is wanted?" one pull in return signified that
it was "Eight bells," and so on. But three quick jerks meant "Tumble out
and shorten sail."

Victor, it was understood, would tie the line to his arm or leg when he
turned in, so that by pulling I would be sure to arouse him, or bring
him somewhat unceremoniously out of his bunk. Once, however, the
messenger failed to accomplish its purpose. A boot came out on the line
in answer to my call, so easily, too, that I suspected a trick. It was
evidently a preconceived plan by which to gain a moment more of sleep.
It was a clear imposition on the man at the wheel!

We had also a sign in this system of telegraphing that told of
flying-fish on board--manna of the sea--to be gathered up for the
_cuisine_ whenever they happened to alight or fall on deck, which was
often, and as often they found a warm welcome.

The watch was never called to make sail. As for myself, I had never to
be called, having thoughts of the voyage and its safe completion on my
mind to keep me always on the alert. I can truly say that I never, on
the voyage, slept so sound as to forget where I was, but whenever I fell
into a doze at all it would be to dream of the boat and the voyage.

Press on! press on! was the watchword while at sea, but in port we
enjoyed ourselves and gave up care for rest and pleasure, carrying a
supply, as it were, to sea with us, where sail was again carried on.

Though a mast should break, it would be no matter of serious concern,
for we would be at no loss to mend and rig up spars for this craft at
short notice, most anywhere.

The third day out from Bahia was set fine weather. A few flying-fish
made fruitless attempts to rise from the surface of the sea, attracting
but little attention from the sea-gulls which sat looking wistfully
across the unbroken deep with folded wings.

And the _Liberdade_, doing her utmost to get along through the common
quiet, made but little progress on her way. A dainty fish played in her
light wake, till tempted by an evil appetite for flies, it landed in the
cockpit upon a hook, thence into the pan, where many a one had brought
up before. Breakfast was cleared away at an early hour; then day of
good things happened--"the meeting of the ships."

     When o'er the silent sea alone
       For days and nights we've cheerless gone,
     Oh they who've felt it know how sweet,
       Some sunny morn a sail to meet.

     Sparkling at once is every eye,
       "Ship ahoy! ship ahoy!" our joyful cry
     While answering back the sound we hear,
       "Ship ahoy! ship ahoy! what cheer, what cheer."

     Then sails are backed, we nearer come,
       Kind words are said of friends and home,
     And soon, too soon, we part with pain,
       To sail o'er silent seas again.

On the clear horizon could be seen a ship, which proved to be our
staunch old friend, the _Finance_, on her way out to Brazil, heading
nearly for us. Our course was at once changed, so as to cross her bows.
She rose rapidly, hull up, showing her lines of unmistakable beauty, the
Stars and Stripes waving over all. They on board the great ship soon
descried our little boat, and gave sign by a deep whistle that came
rumbling over the sea, telling us that we were recognized. A few moments
later and the engines stopped. Then came the hearty hail, "Do you want
assistance?" Our answer "No" brought cheer on cheer from the steamer's
deck, while the _Liberdade_ bowed and courtesied to her old
acquaintance, the superior ship. Captain Baker, meanwhile, not
forgetting a sailor's most highly prized luxury, had ordered in the
slings a barrel of potatoes--new from home! Then dump they came, in a
jiffy, into the canoe, giving her a settle in the water of some inches.
Other fresh provisions were handed us, also some books and late papers.
J. Aspinwill Hodge, D.D., on a tour of inspection in the interest of the
Presbyterian Mission in Brazil--on deck here with his camera--got an
excellent photograph of the canoe.[5]

One gentleman passed us a bottle of wine, on the label of which was
written the name of an old acquaintance, a merchant of Rio. We pledged
Mr. Gudgeon and all his fellow passengers in that wine, and had some
left long after, to the health of the captain of the ship, and his crew.
There was but little time for words, so the compliments passed were
brief. The ample plates in the sides of the _Finance_, inspiring
confidence in American thoroughness and build, we had hardly time to
scan, when her shrill whistle said "good-bye," and moving proudly on,
the great ship was soon out of sight, while the little boat, filling
away on the starboard tack, sailed on toward home, perfumed with the
interchange of a friendly greeting, tinged though with a palpable
lonesomeness. Two days after this pleasant meeting, the Port of
Pernambuco was reached.

Tumbling in before a fresh "trade" wind that in the evening had sprung
up, accompanied with long, rolling seas, our canoe came nicely round the
point between lighted reef and painted buoy.

Spray from the breakers on the reef opportunely wetting her sails gave
them a flat surface to the wind as we came close haul.

The channel leading up the harbour was not strange to us, so we sailed
confidently along the lee of the wonderful wall made by worms, to which
alone Pernambuco is indebted for its excellent harbour; which,
extending also along a great stretch of the coast, protects Brazil from
the encroachment of the sea.

At 8 p.m. we came to in a snug berth near the _Alfandega_, and early
next morning received the official visit from the polite port officers.

Time from Bahia, five days; distance sailed, 390 miles.

Pernambuco, the principal town of a large and wealthy province of the
same name, is a thriving place, sending out valuable cargoes,
principally of sugar and cotton. I had loaded costly cargoes here, times
gone by. I met my old merchant again this time, but could not carry his
goods on the _Liberdade_. However, fruits from his orchards and a run
among the trees refreshed my crew, and prepared them for the coming
voyage to Barbadoes, which was made with expedition.

From Pernambuco we experienced a strong current in our favour, with,
sometimes, a confused cross sea that washed over us considerably. But
the swift current sweeping along through it all made compensation for
discomforts of motion, though our "ups and downs" were many. Along this
part of the coast (from Pernambuco to the Amazon), if one day should be
fine, three stormy ones would follow, but the gale was always fair,
carrying us forward at a goodly rate.

Along about half way from Cape St. Roque to the Amazon, the wind which
had been blowing hard for two days, from E.S.E., and raising lively
waves all about, increased to a gale that knocked up seas, washing over
the little craft more than ever. The thing was becoming monotonous and
tiresome; for a change, therefore, I ran in toward the land, so as to
avoid the ugly cross sea farther out in the current. This course was a
mistaken one; we had not sailed far on it when a sudden rise of the
canoe, followed by an unusually long run down on the slope of a roller,
told us of a danger that we hardly dared to think of, then a mighty
comber broke, but, as Providence willed, broke short of the canoe, which
under shortened sail was then scudding very fast.

We were on a shoal, and the sea was breaking from the bottom! The second
great roller came on, towering up, up, up, until nothing longer could
support the mountain of water, and it seemed only to pause before its
fall to take aim and surely gather us up in its sweeping fury.

I put the helm a-lee; there was nothing else to do but this, and say
prayers. The helm hard down, brought the canoe round, bows to the
danger, while in breathless anxiety we prepared to meet the result as
best we could. Before we could say "Save us, or we perish," the sea
broke over with terrific force and passed on, leaving us trembling in
His hand, more palpably helpless than ever before. Other great waves
came madly on, leaping toward destruction; how they bellowed over the
shoal! I could smell the slimy bottom of the sea, when they broke! I
could taste the salty sand!

In this perilous situation, buried sometimes in the foaming breakers,
and at times tossed like a reed on the crest of the waves, we struggled
with might and main at the helm and the sheets, easing her up or forcing
her ahead with care, gaining little by little toward deep water, till at
last she came out of the danger, shook her feathers like a sea-bird, and
rode on waves less perilous. Then we had time and courage to look back,
but not till then.

And what a sight we beheld! The horizon was illumined with
phosphorescent light from the breakers just passed through. The
rainstorm which had obscured the coast was so cleared away now that we
could see the whole field of danger behind us. One spot in particular,
the place where the breakers dashed over a rock which appeared awash, in
the glare flashed up a shaft of light that reached to the heavens.

This was the greatest danger we had yet encountered. The elasticity of
our canoe, not its bulk, saved it from destruction. Her light, springy
timbers and buoyant bamboo guards brought her upright again and again
through the fierce breakers. We were astonished at the feats of wonder
of our brave little craft.

Fatigued and worn with anxiety, when clear of the shoal we hauled to
under close reefs, heading off shore, and all hands lay down to rest
till daylight. Then, squaring away again, we set what sail the canoe
could carry, scudding before it, for the wind was still in our favour,
though blowing very hard. Nevertheless the weather seemed fine and
pleasant at this stage of our own pleased feelings. Any weather that
one's craft can live in, after escaping a lee shore, is pleasant
weather--though some may be pleasanter than other.

What we most wished for, after this thrilling experience, was sea room,
fair wind, and plenty of it. That these without stint would suit us
best, was agreed on all hands. Accordingly then I shaped the course
seaward, clearing well all the dangers of the land.

The fierce tropical storm of the last few days turned gradually into
mild trade-winds, and our cedar canoe skipped nimbly once more over
tranquil seas. Our own agitation, too, had gone down and we sailed on
unruffled by care. Gentle winds carried us on over kindly waves, and we
were fain to count fair days ahead, leaving all thoughts of stormy ones
behind. In this hopeful mood we sailed for many days, our spirits never
lowering, but often rising higher out of the miserable condition which
we had fallen into through misfortunes on the foreign shore. When a star
came out, it came as a friend, and one that had been seen by friends of
old. When all the stars shone out, the hour at sea was cheerful, bright,
and joyous. Welby saw, or had in the mind's-eye, a day like many that we
experienced in the soft, clear "trades" on this voyage, when writing the
pretty lines:--

     The twilight hours like birds flew by,
       As lightly and as free,
     Ten thousand stars were in the sky,
       Ten thousand on the sea.

     For every rippling, dancing wave,
       That leaped upon the air,
     Had caught a star in its embrace,
       And held it trembling there.

"The days pass, and our ship flies fast upon her way."

For several days while sailing near the line we saw the constellations
of both hemispheres, but heading north, we left those of the south at
last, with the Southern Cross--most beautiful in all the heavens--to
watch over a friend.

Leaving these familiar southern stars and sailing toward constellations
in the north, we hoist all sail to the cheery breeze which carries us

In this pleasant state of sailing with our friends all about us, we
stood on and on, never doubting once our pilot or our ship.

A phantom of the stately _Aquidneck_ appeared one night, sweeping by
with crowning skysails set, that fairly brushed the stars. No apparition
could have affected us more than the sight of this floating beauty, so
like the _Aquidneck_, gliding swiftly and quietly by, from her mission
to some foreign land--she, too, was homeward bound!

This incident of the _Aquidneck's_ ghost, as it appeared to us, passing
at midnight on the sea, left a pang of lonesomeness for a while.

But a carrier dove came next day, and perched upon the mast, as if to
tell that we had yet a friend! Welcome harbinger of good! you bring us
thoughts of angels.

The lovely visitor remained with us two days, off and on, but left for
good on the third, when we reached away from Avis Island, to which,
maybe, it was bound. Coming as it did from the east, and flying west
toward the island when it left, bore out the idea of the lay of sweet
singer Kingsley's "Last Buccaneer."

     If I might but be a sea dove, I'd fly across the main
     To the pleasant Isle of Avis, to look at it once again.

The old Buccaneer, it may have been, but we regarded it as the little
bird, which most likely it was, that sits up aloft to look out for poor

A moth, blown to our boat on the ocean, found shelter and a welcome
there. The dove we secretly worshipped.

With utmost confidence in our little craft, inspired by many thrilling
events, we now carried sail, blow high, blow low, till at times she
reeled along with a bone in her mouth quite to the mind of her mariners.
Thinking one day that she might carry more sail on the mast already
bending hopefully forward, and acting upon the liberal thought of sail,
we made a wide mistake, for the mainmast went by the board, under the
extra press and the foremast tripped over the bows. Then spars, booms,
and sails swung alongside like the broken wings of a bird, but were
grappled, however, and brought aboard without much loss of time. The
broken mast was then secured and strengthened by "fishes" or splints
after the manner in which doctors fish a broken limb.

Both of the masts were very soon refitted and again made to carry sail,
all they could stand; and we were again bowling along as before. We made
that day a hundred and seventy-five miles, one of our best days' work.

I protest here that my wife should not have cried "More sail! more
sail!" when as it has been seen the canoe had on all the sail that she
could carry. Nothing further happened to change the usual daily events
until we reached Barbadoes. Flying-fish on the wing striking our sails,
at night, often fell on deck, affording us many a toothsome fry. This
happened daily, while sailing throughout the trade-wind regions. To be
hit by one of these fish on the wing, which sometimes occurs, is no
light matter, especially if the blow be on the face, as it may cause a
bad bruise or even a black eye. The head of the flying-fish being rather
hard makes it in fact a night slugger to be dreaded. They never come
aboard in the daylight. The swift darting bill-fish, too, is a danger to
be avoided in the tropics at night. They are met with mostly in the
Pacific Ocean; therefore South Sea Islanders are loath to voyage during
the "bill-fish season."

As to the flight of these fishes, I would estimate that of the
flying-fish as not exceeding fifteen feet in height, or five hundred
yards of distance, often not half so much.

Bill-fish, darting like an arrow from a bow, have, fortunately for
sailors, not the power or do not rise much above the level of the waves,
and cannot dart further, say, than two hundred and fifty feet,
according to the day for jumping. Of the many swift fish in the sea, the
dolphin, perhaps, is the most marvellous. Its oft-told beauty, too, is
indeed remarkable. A few of these fleet racers were captured, on the
voyage, but were found tough and rank; notwithstanding some eulogy on
them by other epicures, we threw the mess away. Those hooked by my crew
were perhaps the tyrrhena pirates "turned into dolphins" in the days of

On the 19th day from Pernambuco, early in the morning, we made Barbadoes
away in the West. First, the blue, fertile hills, then green fields came
into view, studded with many white buildings between sentries of giant
wind-mills as old nearly as the hills. Barbadoes is the most pleasant
island in the Antilles; to sail round its green fringe of coral sea is
simply charming. We stood in to the coast, well to windward, sailing
close in with the breakers so as to take in a view of the whole
delightful panorama as we sailed along. By noon we rounded the south
point of the island and shot into Carlysle Bay, completing the run from
Pernambuco exactly in nineteen days. This was considerably more than an
hundred miles a day. The true distance being augmented by the circuitous
route we adopted made it 2,150 miles.


[5] We had the pleasure of meeting this gentleman again on the
voyage at Barbadoes, again at New London, and finally with delight we
heard him lecture on his travels, at Newport, and saw there produced on
the wall the very picture of the _Liberdade_ taken by the doctor on the
great ocean.


     There's a sweet little cherub that sits up aloft,
     To look out for a berth for poor Jack.--_Dibdin's Poems._


     At Barbadoes--Mayaguez--Crossing the Bahama Banks--The Gulf
     Stream--Arrival on the coast of South Carolina.

Many old friends and acquaintances came down to see us upon our arrival
at Barbadoes, all curious to inspect the strange craft. While there our
old friend, the _Palmer_, that we left at Bahia, came in to refit,
having broken a mast "trying to beat us," so Garfield would have it. For
all that we had beaten her by four days. Who then shall say that we
anchored nights or spent much time hugging the shore? The _Condor_ was
also at Barbadoes in charge of an old friend, accompanied by a pleasant
helpmeet and companion who had shared the perils of shipwreck with her
husband the year before in a hurricane among the islands.

Meeting so many of this class of old friends of vast and varied
experiences gave contentment to our visit, and we concluded to remain
over at this port till the hurricane season should pass. Our old friend,
the _Finance_, too, came in, remaining but a few hours. However, she
hurried away with her mails, homeward bound.

The pleasant days at Barbadoes with its enchantment flew lightly by; and
on the 7th of October we sailed, giving the hurricane season the benefit
of eight days. The season is considered over on the 15th of that month.

Passing thence through the Antilles into the Caribbean Sea, a new period
of our voyage was begun. Fair breezes filled the sails of the
_Liberdade_ as we glided along over tranquil seas, scanning eagerly the
islands as they came into view, dwelling on each, in our thoughts, as
hallowed ground of the illustrious discoverers--the same now as seen by
them! The birds, too, of "rare plumage," were there, flying from island
to island, the same as seen by the discoverers; and the sea with fishes
teemed, of every gorgeous hue, lending enchantment to the picture, not
less beautiful than the splendour on the land and in the air to thrill
the voyager now, the same as then; we ourselves had only to look to see

Whether it was birds with fins, or fishes with wings, or neither of
these that the old voyagers saw, they discovered yet enough to make them
wonder and rejoice.

"Mountains of sugar, and rivers of rum and flying-fish, was what I saw,
mother," said the son on his return from a voyage to these islands.
"John," said the enraptured mother, "you must be mistaken about the
fish; now don't lie to me, John. Mountains of sugar, no doubt you saw,
and even rivers of rum, my boy, but _flying-fish_ could never be."

And yet the _fish_ were there.

Among the islands of great interest which came in view, stretching along
the Caribbean Sea, was that of Santa Cruz, the island famous for its
brave, resolute women of days gone by, who, while their husbands were
away, successfully defended home and happiness against Christian
invaders, and for that reason were called fierce savages. I would fain
have brought away some of the earth of the island in memory of those
brave women. Small as our ship was, we could have afforded room in it
for a memento thus consecrated; but the trades hauling somewhat to the
northward so headed us off that we had to forgo the pleasure of landing
on its shores.

Pushing forward thence, we reached Porto Rico, the nearest land in our
course from the Island of Brave Women, standing well in with the
southeast capes. Sailing thence along the whole extent of the south
coast, in waters as smooth as any mill pond, and past island scenery
worth the perils of ten voyages to see, we landed, on the 12th of
October, at Mayaguez in the west of the island, and there shook the
kinks out of our bones by pleasant walks in tropic shades.

Time, five days from Barbadoes; distance 570 miles.

This was to be our last run among the trees in the West Indies, and we
made the most of it. "Such a port for mariners I'll never see again!"
The port officials, kind and polite, extended all becoming courtesies to
the quaint "_barco piquina_."

The American Consul, Mr. Christie, Danish Consul, Mr. Falby, and the
good French Consul, vied in making our visit a pleasant one.

Photographers at Mayaguez desiring a picture of the canoe with the crew
on deck at a time when we felt inclined to rest in the shade on shore,
put a negro on board to take the place of captain. The photographs taken
then found their way to Paris and Madrid journals where, along with some
flattering accounts, they were published, upon which it was remarked
that the captain was a fine-looking fellow, but "awfully tanned!" The
moke was rigged all ataunto for the occasion, and made a picture
indicative of great physical strength, one not to be ashamed of, but he
would have looked more like me, I must say, if they had turned him back

We enjoyed long carriage drives over rich estates at Mayaguez. We saw
with pain, however, that the atmosphere of the soldier hung over all,
pervading the whole air like a pestilence.

Musketed and sabred and uniformed in their bed-ticking suits; hated by
the residents and despised by themselves, they doggedly marched,
counter-marched and wheeled, knowing that they are loathsome in the
island, and that their days in the New World are numbered. The sons of
the colonies are too civil and Christianlike to be ruled always by sword
and gun.

On the 15th of October, after three days' rest, we took in, as usual
before sailing from ports, sufficient fresh supplies to carry us to the
port steered for next, then set sail from pleasant Mayaguez, and bore
away for the old Bahama Channel, passing east of Hayti, thence along the
north coast to the west extremity of the island, from which we took
departure for the head-lands of Cuba, and followed that coast as far as
Cardinas, where we took a final departure from the islands, regretting
that we could not sail around them all.

The region on the north side of Cuba is often visited by gales of great
violence, making this the lee shore; a weather eye was therefore kept
lifting, especially in the direction of their source, which is from
north to nor'west. However, storms prevailed from other quarters, mostly
from the east, bringing heavy squalls of wind, rain and thunder every
afternoon, such as once heard will never be forgotten. Peal on peal of
nature's artillery for a few hours, accompanied by vivid lightning, was
on the cards for each day, then all would be serene again.

The nights following these severe storms were always bright and
pleasant, and the heavens would be studded with constellations of
familiar, guiding stars.

My crew had now no wish to bear up for port short of one on our own
coast, but, impatient to see the North Star appear higher in the
heavens, strung every nerve and trimmed every sail to hasten on.

Nassau, the place to which letters had been directed to us, we forbore
to visit. This departure from a programme which was made at the
beginning was the only change that we made in the "charter party"
throughout the voyage. There was no haphazard sailing on this voyage.
Daily observations for determining latitude and longitude were
invariably made unless the sun was obscured. The result of these
astronomical observations were more reliable than one might suppose,
from their being taken on a tittlish canoe. After a few days'
practising, a very fair off-hand contact could be made, when the canoe
rose on the crest of a wave, where manifestly would be found the best
result. The observer's station was simply on the top of the cabin, where
astride, like riding horseback, Victor and I took the "sights," and
indeed became expert "snap observers" before the voyage ended.

One night in the Bahama Channel, while booming along toward the Banks to
the nor'west of us before stiff trades, I was called in the first watch
by Victor, to come up quickly, for signs of the dread "norther" were in
the sky. Our trusty barometer had been low, but was now on the cheerful
side of change. This phenomenon disturbed me somewhat, till the
discovery was made, as we came nearer, that it was but the reflection of
the white banks on the sky that we saw, and no cause at all for alarm.

Soon after this phenomenon the faint glimmer of Lobos Light was descried
flickering on the horizon, two points on the weather bow. I changed the
course three points to windward, having determined to touch at the small
Cay where the lighthouse stands; one point being allowed for leeway,
which I found was not too much.

Three hours later we fetched in under the lee of the reef, or Cay, as it
is commonly called, and came to in one and a half fathoms of water in
good shelter.

We beheld then overhead in wonderful beauty what had awed us from the
distance in the early night--a chart of the illuminating banks marked
visibly on the heavens.

We furled sails and, setting a light in the rigging, turned in; for it
lacked three hours yet of daylight. And what an interesting experience
ours had been in the one short night! By the break of day my crew were
again astir, preparing to land and fill water at a good landing which we
now perceived farther around the point to leeward, where the surf was

On the Cay is stored some hundred thousand gallons of rain water in
cisterns at the base of the iron tower which carries the light; one that
we saw from the canoe at a distance of fourteen miles.

The keeper of the light, a hardy native of Nassau, when he discovered
the new arrival at his "island," hoisted the British Board of Trade flag
on a pole in the centre of this, his little world, then he came forward
to speak us, thinking at first, he said, that we were shipwrecked
sailors, which indeed we were, but not in distress, as he had supposed
when hoisting the flag, which signified assistance for distressed
seamen. On learning our story, however, he regarded us with grave
suspicions, and refused water to Victor, who had already landed with
buckets, telling him that the captain would have to bring his papers
ashore and report. The mate's report would not be taken. Thus in a
moment was transformed the friend in need to _governor of an island_.
This amused me greatly, and I sent back word to my veritable Sancho
Panza that in my many voyages to islands my mate had attended to the
customs reports; at which his Excellency chafed considerably, giving the
gunnels of his trousers a fitful tug up now and then as he paced the
beach, waiting my compliance with the rules of the island. The governor,
I perceived, was suspicious of smugglers and wreckers, apparently
understanding their ways, if, indeed, even he were not a reformed
pirate himself.

However, to humour the punctiliousness of his Excellency, now that he
was governor of an island, I placed my papers in my hat, and, leaping
into the surf, waded ashore, where I was received as by a monarch.

The document I presented was the original _Passe Especial_, the one with
the big seal on it, written in Portuguese; had it been in Choctàw the
governor would have read it with the same facility that he did this,
which he stared at knowingly and said, "all right, take all the water
you want; it is free."

I lodged a careful report of the voyage with the governor and explained
to his Excellency the whereabouts of the "Island of Rio," as his grace
persistently called Rio de Janeiro, whence dated my papers.

Conversing on the subject of islands, which was all the world to him,
the governor viewed with suspicion the absence of a word in my
documents, referring even to an islet; this, in his mind, was a
reprehensible omission; for surely New York, to which the papers
referred, was built on an island. Upon this I offered to swear to the
truth of my clearance, "as far as known to me," after the manner of
cheap custom-house swearing with which shipmasters, in some parts of the
world, are made familiar. "Not on the island!" quickly exclaimed the
governor, "'for thou shalt not disglorify God's name,' is written in the

I assured the governor of my appreciation of his pious sentiment of not
over-swearing,--a laudable plan that even the Chinese adopt as a policy,
and one that I would speak of on my return home, to the end that we all
emulate the laws of the island; whereupon the governor, greatly pleased,
urged me to take some more water, minding me again that it was free.

In a very few minutes I got all the water I wished for; also some aurora
shells from the governor's lady, who had arisen with the sun to grace
the day and of all things most appropriate held in her generous lap
beautiful aurora shells for which--to spoil the poem--I bartered
cocoa-nuts and rusty gnarly yams.

The lady was on a visit only to her lord and master, the monarch of all
he surveyed. Beside this was their three children also on a visit, from
Nassau, and two assistant keepers of the light which made up the total
of this little world in the ocean.

It was the smallest kingdom I had ever visited, peopled by happy human
beings and the most isolated by far.

The few blades of grass which had struggled into existence, not enough
to support a goat, was all there was to look at on the island except the
lighthouse, and the sand and themselves.

Some small buildings and a flagstaff had once adorned the place, but
together with a coop of chickens, the only stock of the
islanders--except a dog--had been swept away by a hurricane which had
passed over the island a short time before. The water for which we had
called being now in the canoe, and my people on board waiting for me, I
bade the worthy governor good-bye, and, saluting his charming island
queen in a seaman-like manner, hastened back to my own little world; and
bore away once more for the north. Sailing thence over the Great Bahama
Banks, in a crystal sea, we observed on the white marl bottom many
curious living things, among them the conch in its house of exquisite
tints and polished surface, the star-fish with radiated dome of curious
construction, and many more denizens of the place, the names of which I
could not tell, resting on the soft white bed under the sea.

"They who go down to the sea in ships, they see the wonders of the
Lord," I am reminded by a friend who writes me, on receipt of some of
these curious things which I secured on the voyage, adding: "For all
these curious and beautiful things are His handiwork. Who can look at
such things without the heart being lifted up in adoration?"

For words like these what sailor is there who would not search the caves
of the ocean? Words too, from a lady.

Two days of brisk sailing over the white Bahama Banks brought us to
Bimini. Thence a mere push would send us to the coast of our own native
America. The wind in the meantime hauling from regular nor'east trade to
the sou'west, as we came up to Bimini, promising a smooth passage
across, we launched out at once on the great Gulf Stream, and were swept
along by its restless motion, making on the first day, before the wind
and current, two hundred and twenty miles. This was great getting along
for a small canoe. Going at the same high rate of speed on the second
night in the stream, the canoe struck a spar and went over it with a
bound. Her keel was shattered by the shock, but finally shaking the
crippled timber clear of herself she came on quite well without it. No
other damage was done to our craft, although at times her very ribs were
threatened before clearing this lively ocean river. In the middle of the
current, where the seas were yet mountainous but regular, we went along
with a wide, swinging motion and fared well enough; but on nearing the
edge of the stream a confused sea was met with, standing all on end, in
every which way, beyond a sailor's comprehension. The motion of the
_Liberdade_ was then far from poetical or pleasant. The wind, in the
meantime, had chopped round to the nor'east, dead ahead; being thus
against the current, a higher and more confused sea than ever was heaped
up, giving us some uneasiness. We had, indeed, several unwelcome
visitors come tumbling aboard of our craft, one of which furiously
crashing down on her made all of her timbers bend and creak. However, I
could partially remedy this danger by changing the course.

"Seas like that can't break this boat," said our young boatswain; "she's
built strong." It was well to find among the crew this feeling of
assurance in the gallant little vessel. I, too, was confident in her
seaworthiness. Nevertheless, I shortened sail and brought her to the
wind, watching the lulls and easing her over the combers, as well as I
could. But wrathful Neptune was not to let us so easily off, for the
next moment a sea swept clean over the helmsman, wetting him through to
the skin and, most unkind cut of all, it put out our fire, and capsized
the hash and stove into the bottom of the canoe. This left us with but a
_damper_ for breakfast! Matters mended, however, as the day advanced,
and for supper we had a grand and glorious feast. Early in the afternoon
we made the land and got into smooth water. This of itself was a feast,
to our minds.

The land we now saw lying before us was hills of America, which we had
sailed many thousands of miles to see. Drawing in with the coast, we
made out, first the broad, rich forests, then open fields and villages,
with many signs of comfort on every hand. We found it was the land about
Bull's Bay on the coast of South Carolina, and night coming on, we could
plainly see Cape Roman Light to the north of us. The wind falling light
as we drew in with the coast, and finding a current against us, we
anchored, about two miles from the shore, in four fathoms of water. It
was now 8 p.m., October 28, 1888, thirteen days from Mayaguez,
twenty-one days from Barbadoes, etc.

The following was the actual time at sea and distances in nautical miles
from point to point on the courses steered, approximately:

                           _Days._   _ Distance._

From Paranagua to Santos         1        150
 "   Santos to Rio de Janeiro
         (towed by _Finance_)    ¾        200
 "   Rio to Cape Frio            2         70
 "   Cape Frio to Carvellas      4        370
 "   Carvellas to Saint Paulo    3        270
 "   Saint Paulo to Bahia        ½         40
 "   Bahia to Pernambuco         5        390
 "   Pernambuco to Barbadoes    19      2,150
 "   Barbadoes to Mayaguez       5        570
 "   Mayaguez to Cape Roman     13      1,300
                                ---     -----
                                53¼     5,510

Computing all the distances of the ins and outs that we made would
considerably augment the sum. To say, therefore, that the _Liberdade_
averaged a hundred and three miles a day for fifty-three days would be
considerably inside the truth.

This was the voyage made in the boat which cost less than a hundred
dollars outside of our own labour of building. Journals the world over
have spoken not unkindly of the feat; encomiums in seven languages
reached us through the newspapers while we lay moored in Washington.
Should the same good fortune that followed the _Liberdade_ attend this
little literary craft, when finished, it would go safe into many lands.
Without looking, however, to this mark of good fortune, the journal of
the voyage has been as carefully constructed as was the _Liberdade_, and
I trust, as conscientiously, by a hand, alas! that has grasped the
sextant more often than the plane or pen, and for the love of doing.
This apology might have been more appropriately made in the beginning of
the journal, maybe, but it comes to me now, and like many other things
done, right or wrong, but done on the impulse of the moment, I put it


     Ocean Currents--Visit to South Santee--At the Typee
     River--Quarantined--South Port and Wilmington, N.C.--Inland sailing
     to Beaufort, Norfolk and Washington, D.C.--Voyage ended.

No one will be more surprised at the complete success of the voyage and
the speedy progress made than were we ourselves who made it.

A factor of the voyage, one that helped us forward greatly, and which is
worthy of special mention, was the ocean current spoken of as we came
along in its friendly sway.

Many are the theories among fresh-water philosophists respecting these
currents, but in practical sailing, where the subject is met with in its
tangible form, one cause only is recognized; namely, the action of the
wind on the surface of the water, pushing the waves along. Out on the
broad ocean the effect at first is hardly perceptible, but the constant
trades, sending countless millions of waves in one direction, cause at
last a mighty moving power, which the mariner meets sometimes as an
enemy to retard and delay, sometimes as a friend, as in our case, to
help him on his way. These are views from a practical experience with no
theory to prove.

By daylight on the twenty-ninth, we weighed anchor and set sail again
for the north. The wind and current were still adverse, but we kept near
the land, making short boards off and on through the day where the
current had least effect. And when night came on again we closed in once
more with Cape Roman light. Next day we worked up under the lee of the
Roman shoals and made harbour in South Santee, a small river to the
north of Cape Roman, within range of the light, there to rest until the
wind should change, it being still ahead.

Next morning, since the wind had not changed, we weighed anchor and
stood farther into the river looking for inhabitants, that we might
listen to voices other than our own. Our search was soon rewarded, for,
coming around a point of woodland, a farmhouse stood before us on the
river side. We came alongside the bank and jumped ashore, but hardly had
we landed when, as out of the earth, a thousand dogs, so it seemed,
sprung up threatening to devour us all. However, a comely woman came out
of the house and it was explained to the satisfaction of all, especially
to a persistent cur, by a vigorous whack on the head with a cudgel, that
our visit was a friendly one; then all was again peaceful and quiet. The
good man was in the field close by, but soon came home accompanied by
his two stalwart sons each "toting" a sack of corn. We found the
Andersons--this was the family name--isolated in every sense of the
word, and as primitive as heart could wish. The charming simplicity of
these good people captivated my crew. We met others along the coast
innocent of greed, but of all unselfish men, Anderson the elder was
surely the prince.

Purchasing some truck from this good man, we found that change could not
be made for the dollar which I tendered in payment. But I protested that
I was more than content to let the few odd cents go, having received
more garden stuff than I had ever seen offered for a dollar in any part
of the world. And indeed I was satisfied. The farmer, however, nothing
content, offered me a coon skin or two, but these I didn't want, and
there being no other small change about the farm, the matter was
dropped, I thought, for good, and I had quite forgotten it, when later
in the evening I was electrified by his offering to carry a letter for
us which we wished posted, some seven miles away, and call it "square,"
against the twenty cents of the morning's transaction. The letter went,
and in due course of time we got an answer.

I do not say that we stuck strictly to the twenty-cent transaction, but
I fear that not enough was paid to fair-dealing Anderson. However, all
were at last satisfied and warming into conversation, a log fire was
improvised and social chat went round.

These good people could hardly understand how it was, as I explained,
that the Brazilians had freed the slaves and had no war, Mr. Anderson
often exclaiming, "Well, well, I d'clar. Freed the niggers, and had no
wah. Mister," said he, turning to me after a long pause, "mister, d'ye
know the South were foolish? They had a wah, and they had to free the
niggers, too."

"Oh, yes, mister, I was thar! Over thar beyond them oaks was my house."

"Yes, mister, I fought, too, and fought hard, but it warn't no use."

Like many a hard fighter, Anderson, too, was a pious man, living in a
state of resignation to be envied. His years of experience on the new
island farm had been hard and trying in the extreme. My own misfortunes
passed into shade as the harder luck of the Andersons came before my
mind, and the resolution which I had made to buy a farm was now shaken
and finally dissolved into doubts of the wisdom of such a course. On
this farm they had first "started in to raise pork," but found that it
"didn't pay, for the pigs got wild and had to be gathered with the
dogs," and by the time they were "gathered and then toted, salt would
hardly cure them, and they most generally tainted." The enterprise was
therefore abandoned, for that of tilling the soil, and a crop was put
in, but "the few pigs which the dogs had not gathered came in at night
and rooted out all the taters." It then appeared that a fence should be
built. "Accordingly," said he, "the boys and I made one which kept out
the stock, but, sir, the rats could get in! They took every tater out of
the ground! From all that I put in, and my principal work was thar, I
didn't see a sprout." How it happened that the rats had left the crop
the year before for their relations--the pigs--was what seemed most to
bother the farmer's mind. Nevertheless, "there was corn in Egypt yet";
and at the family circle about the board that night a smile of hope
played on the good farmer's face, as in deep sincerity he asked that for
what they had they might be made truly thankful. We learned a lesson of
patience from this family, and were glad that the wind had carried us to
their shore.

Said the farmer, "And you came all the way from Brazil in that boat!
Wife, she won't go to Georgetown in the batto that I built because it
rares too much. And they freed the niggers and had no wah! Well, well, I

Better folks we may never see than the farmers of South Santee. Bidding
them good-bye next morning at early dawn we sailed before a light land
wind which, however, soon petered out.

The S.S. _Planter_ then coming along took us in tow for Georgetown,
where she was bound. We had not the pleasure, however, of visiting the
beloved old city; for having some half dozen cocoa-nuts on board, the
remainder of small stores of the voyage, a vigilant officer stopped us
at the quarantine ground. Fruit not being admitted into South Carolina
until after the first of November, and although it was now late in the
afternoon of the first, we had to ride quarantine that night, with a
promise, however, of _pratique_ next morning. But there was no steamer
going up the river the next day. The _Planter_ coming down though
supplied us with some small provisions, such as were not procurable at
the Santee farm. Then putting to sea we beat along slowly against wind
and current.

We began now to experience, as might be expected, autumn gales of
considerable violence, the heaviest of which overtaking us at Frying-pan
Shoal, drove us back to leeward of Cape Fear for shelter. South Port and
Wilmington being then so near we determined to visit both places. Two
weeks at these ports refreshed the crew and made all hands willing for
sea again.

Sailing thence through Corn-cake Inlet we cut off Cape Fear and the
Frying-pan Shoals, being of mind to make for the inlets along the
Carolina coast and to get into the inland waters as soon as practicable.

It was our good fortune to fall in with an old and able pilot at
Corn-cake Inlet, one Capt. Bloodgood, who led the way through the
channel in his schooner, the _Packet_, a Carolina pitch and cotton
droger of forty tons register, which was manned solely by the captain
and his two sons, one twelve and the other ten years old. It was in the
crew that I became most interested, and not the schooner. Bloodgood gave
the order when the tide served for us to put to sea. "Come, children,"
said he, "let's try it." Then we all tried it together, the _Packet_
leading the way. The shaky west wind, that filled our sails as we
skimmed along the beach with the breakers close aboard, carried us but a
few leagues when it flew suddenly round to nor'east and began to pipe.

The gale increasing rapidly inclined me to bear up for New River Inlet,
then close under our lee, with a treacherous bar lying in front, which
to cross safely would require great care.

But the gale was threatening, and the harbour inside, we could see, was
smooth; then, too, cried my people: "Any port in a storm." I decided
prompt; put the helm up and squared away. Flying thence, before it, the
tempest-tossed canoe came sweeping in from sea over the rollers in a
delightfully thrilling way. One breaker only coming over us, and even
that did no harm more than to give us all the climax soaking of the
voyage. This was the last sea that broke over the canoe on the memorable

The harbour inside the bar of New River was good. Adding much to our
comfort too was fish and game in abundance.

The _Packet_, which had parted from us, made her destined port some
three leagues farther on. The last we saw of the children, they were at
the main sheets hauling aft, and their father was at the helm, and all
were flying through the mist like fearless sailors.

After meeting Carolina seamen, to say nothing of the few still in
existence further north, I challenge the story of Greek supremacy.

The little town of South Port was made up almost entirely of pilots
possessing, I am sure, every quality of the sailor and the gentleman.

Moored snug in the inlet, it was pleasant to listen to the roar of the
breakers on the bar, but not so cheerful was the thought of facing the
high waves seaward. Therefore the plan suggested itself of sufficiently
deepening a ditch that led through the marshes from New River to Bogue
Sound, to let us through; thence we could sail inland the rest of the
voyage without obstruction or hindrance of any kind. To this end we set
about contrivances to heave the canoe over the shoals, and borrowed a
shovel from a friendly schooner captain to deepen the ditch which we
thought would be necessary to do in order to ford her along that way.
However, the prevailing nor'east gales had so raised the water in the
west end of the sound as to fill all the creeks and ditches to
overflowing. I hesitated then no longer, but heading for the ditch
through the marshes on a high tide, before a brave west wind took the
chances of getting through by hook or by crook or by shovel and spade if

The "Coast Pilot," in speaking of this place, says there is never more
than a foot of water there, and even that much is rarely found. The
_Liberdade_ essayed the ditch, drawing two feet and four inches, thus
showing the further good fortune or luck which followed perseverance, as
it usually does, though sometimes, maybe, it is bad luck! Perhaps I am
not lucid on this, which at best must remain a disputed point.

I was getting lost in the maze of sloughs and creeks, which as soon as I
entered seemed to lead in every direction but the right one. Hailing a
hunter near by, however, I was soon put straight and reassured of
success. The most astonished man, though, in North Carolina, was this
same hunter when asked if he knew the ditch that led through where I
wished to go.

"Why, stranger," said he, "my gran'ther digged that ditch."

I jumped, I leaped! at thought of what a pilot this man would be.

"Well, stranger," said he, in reply to my query, "stranger, if any man
kin take y' thro' that ditch, why, I kin"; adding doubtfully, however,
"I have not hearn tell befo' of a vessel from Brazil sailing through
these parts; but then you mout get through, and again ye moutent. Well,
it's jist here; you mout and you moutent."

A bargain was quickly made, and my pilot came aboard, armed with a long
gun, which as we sailed along proved a terror to ducks. The entrance to
the ditch, then close by, was made with a flowing sheet, and I soon
found that my pilot knew his business. Rush-swamps and corn-fields we
left to port and to starboard, and were at times out of sight among
brakes that brushed crackling along the sides of the canoe, as she swept
briskly through the narrows, passing them all, with many a close hug,
though, on all sides. At a point well on in the crooked channel my pilot
threw up his hat, and shouted, with all his might:

"Yer trouble is over! Swan to gosh if it ain't! And ye come all the way
from Brazil, and come through gran'ther's ditch! Well, I d'clar!"

From this I concluded that we had cleared all the doubtful places, and
so it turned out. Before sundown my pilot was looking for the change of
a five-dollar-piece; and we of the _Liberdade_ sat before a pot-pie, at
twilight, the like of which on the whole voyage had not been tasted,
from sea fowl laid about by our pilot while sailing through the meadows
and marshes. And the pilot himself, returning while the pot-pie was yet
steaming hot, declared it "ahead of coon."

A pleasant sail was this through the ditch that gran'ther dug. At the
camp fire that night, where we hauled up by a fishing station, thirty
stalwart men talked over the adventures of their lives. My pilot, the
best speaker, kept the camp in roars. As for myself, always fond of
mirth, I got up from the fire sore from laughing. Their curious
adventures with coons and 'gators recounted had been considerable.

Many startling stories were told. But frequently reverting to the voyage
of the _Liberdade_, they declared with one voice that "it was the
greatest thing since the wah." I took this as a kind of complimentary
hospitality. "When she struck on a sand reef," said the pilot, "why, the
captain he jumped right overboard and the son he jumped right over, too,
to tote her over, and the captain's wife she holp."

By daylight next morning we sailed from this camp pleasant, and on the
following day, November 28, at noon, arrived at Beaufort.

Mayor Bell of that city and many of his townfolk met us at the wharf,
and gave me as well as my sea-tossed crew a welcome to their shores,
such as to make us feel that the country was partly ours.

"Welcome, welcome home," said the good mayor; "we have read of your
adventures, and watched your progress as reported from time to time,
with deep interest and sympathy."

So we began to learn now that prayers on shore had gone up for the
little canoe at sea. This was indeed America and home, for which we had
longed while thousands of miles across the ocean.

From Beaufort to Norfolk and thence to Washington was pleasant inland
sailing, with prevailing fair winds and smooth sea. Christmas was spent
on the Chesapeake--a fine, enjoyable day it was! with not a white-cap
ripple on the bay. Ducks swimming ahead of the canoe as she moved
quietly along were loath to take wing in so light a breeze, but flapping
away, half paddling and half flying, as we came toward them, they
managed to keep a long gun-shot off; but having laid in at the last port
a turkey of no mean proportions, which we made shift to roast in the
"caboose" aboard, we could look at a duck without wishing its
destruction. With this turkey and a bountiful plum duff, we made out a
dinner even on the _Liberdade_.

Of the many Christmas days that come crowding in my recollections now;
days spent on the sea and in foreign lands, as falls to the lot of
sailors--which was the merriest it would be hard to say. Of this,
however, I am certain, that the one on board the _Liberdade_ on the
Chesapeake was not the least happy of them all.

The day following Christmas found us on the Potomac, enjoying the same
fine weather and abundant good cheer of the day before. Fair winds
carried us through all the reaches of the river, and the same prosperity
which attended our little bark in the beginning of the voyage through
tempestuous weather followed her to the end of the voyage, which
terminated in mild days and pleasant sunshine.

On the 27th of December, 1888, a south wind bore us into harbour at
Washington, D.C., there we moored for the winter, furled our sails and
coiled up the ropes, after a voyage of joys and sorrows, crowned with
pleasures, however, which lessened the pain of past regrets.

Having moored the _Liberdade_ and weather-bitted her cables, it remains
only to be said that after bringing us safely through the dangers of a
tropical voyage, clearing reefs, shoals, breakers, and all storms
without a serious accident of any kind, we learned to love the little
canoe as well as anything could be loved that is made by hands.

To say that we had not a moment of ill-health on the voyage would not
tell the whole story.

My wife, brave enough to face the worst storms, as women are sometimes
known to do on sea and on land, enjoyed not only the best of health, but
had gained a richer complexion.

Victor, at the end of the voyage, found that he had grown an inch and
had not been frightened out of his boots.

Little Garfield--well he had grown some, too, and continued to be a
pretty good boy and had managed to hold his grip through many ups and
downs. He it was who stood by the bow line to make fast as quick as the
_Liberdade_ came to the pier at the end of the voyage.

And I, last, as it should be, lost a few pounds' weight, but like the
rest landed in perfect health; taking it altogether, therefore, only
pleasant recollections of the voyage remain with us who made it.

With all its vicissitudes I still love a life on the broad, free ocean,
never regretting the choice of my profession.

However, the time has come to debark from the _Liberdade_, now breasted
to the pier where I leave her for a time; for my people are landed safe
in port.


About the middle of April the _Liberdade_ cast loose her moorings from
the dock at Washington, and spreading sail before a brave west wind,
bent her course along down the Potomac with the same facility as
experienced in December coming up before a wind from the South; then
shaping her course for New York via Baltimore and Philadelphia through
inland passages, the voyage was turned into a pleasure excursion.
Animation of spring clothed the landscape on all sides in its greatest
beauty; and our northern forest the voyagers found upon their return was
not less charming than "tropic shade" of foreign climes. And the robin
sang even a sweeter trill than ever before heard by the crew, for they
listened to it now in the country that they loved.

From New York, the _Liberdade_ sailed for Boston via New London, New
Bedford, Martha's Vineyard, Newport, and Taunton, at which latter place
she hauled out, and the crew, thence to the Bay State Capital, enjoyed
the novelty of a "sail over land."

Then the _Liberdade_ moored snug in Boston and her crew spent the winter
again among friends. They met here during this time the man who advised
the captain at Buenos Aires to pitch the _Aquidneck's_ cargo of hay into
the sea; for not taking the advice--witness, alas! the captain's plight!

Finally, upon return of spring, the _Liberdade_ was refitted on a voyage
retracing her course to Washington, where, following safe arrival, she
will end her days in the Smithsonian Institution; a haven of honour that
many will be glad to know she has won.

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