“Now, up with you!”
When he saw Federigo’s form scrambling up over the edge, he said, scornfully, “Now then, at last we part. Good-bye, my old and faithful friend!”
With that he went his way, and heard the Brazilian screaming and stamping with rage down on the dam behind him in the dark.
An opportunity offered almost immediately for taking a passage home with the Tonsberger before alluded to, and Salve gladly availed himself of it, calculating upon being taken off by one of the pilot boats off the coast of Arendal.
It was with a strange deep feeling that he once more trod the deck of a home vessel, and as he went about and listened to the people’s talk, felt himself an object for their curiosity. The southern brown of his face, the foreign cut of his clothes, and his whole exterior, marked him as coming from a much higher condition of sailor life than any with which they were acquainted, and he passed for an Englishman or an American; for he purposely avoided being recognised by them as a countryman, and had made his agreement with the skipper in English.
It was certainly a long time since he had been on board a craft so miserably found in every way as this leaky old galliot was. She had been bought by auction for a small sum at Faerder; and in shape resembled an old wooden shoe, in which her skipper venturesomely trudged across to Holland through the spring and winter storms, calculating that he and his crew could always lash themselves to something to avoid being washed overboard; that their timber cargo would keep them afloat; and that as long as the rigging held they could sail. He carried no top-gallant-mast, so as not to strain her; her sails were all in holes, as if they had been riddled with bullets; and where ropes had broken in the rigging, they had been tied in clumsy knots, instead of being spliced in proper sailor-like fashion. There was not much to boast of in the way of navigation either; the captain keeping his log by the simple method of spitting over the side, or throwing a chip of wood overboard, and making his calculations according to the pace it drifted past. The food, too, was on a par with all the rest, and the cook could be heard beating the dried fish with the back of an axe to make it tender. Salve seemed to have dropped all at once into home life and ways again.
The crew were dressed in thick winter clothing, and had the appearance of navvies rather than of sailors, but they were all fearless, hardy-looking fellows, as most of the men who risk their lives on these timber vessels are; and what immediately struck him with a feeling of pleasure, was the honest expression which every countenance, without exception, wore. It was long since he had seen a sight of the kind, and he felt ashamed of himself for going about with his knife ready to hand, as had been his custom for so many years, and put it away in his chest the very first day. He took a pleasure in leaving his watch and money out on the top where they might easily have been taken, and was filled with surprise and admiration when he found that they were not stirred.