Aboutfinding the longitude
“Well, Captain Scott, what is the run to-day?” asked Louis Belgrave, the owner of the steam-yacht Guardian-Mother, which had at this date made her way by a somewhat devious course half way round the world, and was in the act of making the other half.
The young magnate was eighteen years old, and was walking on the promenade deck of the steamer with a beautiful young lady of sixteen when he asked for information in regard to the run, or the distance made by the ship during the last sea-day.
“Before I answer your question, my dear Louis, I must protest against being any longer addressed as captain, for I am not now entitled to that honorable appellation,” replied the young man addressed by the owner.
“Once a captain always a captain,” replied Louis. “One who has been a member of Congress is still an ‘Honorable,’ though his term of office expired twenty or forty years ago. The worthy commander of the Guardian-Mother was always called Captain Ringgold in Von Blonk Park and New York, though he had not been in command of a ship for ten years,” argued Louis.
“That’s right; but the circumstances are a little different in my case. In the first place, I am only eighteen years old, and my brief command was a very small one, as the world goes. It hardly entitles me to be called captain after I have ceased to be in command. In charge of the little Maud I was the happiest young fellow on the Eastern Continent; but I am just as happy now, for this morning I was formally appointed third officer of the Guardian-Mother, at the wages paid to Captain Sharp when he had the same position.”
“I congratulate you, Mr. Scott,” said Louis, grasping the hand of the new officer, though he had been duly consulted in regard to the appointment the day before.
“Permit me to congratulate you also, Mr. Scott,” added Miss Blanche, as she extended to him her delicate little hand.
“Thank you, Miss Woolridge,” replied the new third officer, raising the uniform cap he had already donned, and bowing as gracefully as a dancing-master. “Thank you with all my heart, Louis. I won’t deny that I was considerably broken up when the Maud was sold; but now I am glad of it, for it has given me a position that I like better.”
“Now, Mr. Scott, what is the run for to-day?” asked Louis, renewing his first question.
“I don’t know,” replied the third officer with a mischievous smile.
“You don’t know!” exclaimed Louis.
“I do not, Louis.”
“I thought all the officers, including the commander, took the observation, and worked up the reckoning for the longitude. We got eight bells nearly an hour ago, and the bulletin must have been posted by this time.”
“It was posted some time ago. All the officers work up the reckoning; and I did so with the others. The commander and I agreed to a second.”