I obtained a passage in a French steamer to Callao, whence I made my way overland to San Francisco. I called on Mr. H——, who informed me that the Columbia (not then in port) had made another successful trip, but with results so diminished in the pecuniary sense that he had determined not to risk her again for inadequate profits. Columbia, I may say, was not the steamer’s real name.
I next met Webster at Sydney. The explanation of my being left behind at Port Arthur was simple enough. The “houtcast” had taken so many “caulkers” of rum during the day that he became oblivious to the fact of my being ashore, and Chubb took it for granted that I had returned on board, especially as I had sent back the boat in which I landed with the Chinese agent. My absence was not noted until the small hours of the ensuing morning, when the swift steamer was far enough away. Webster wanted to put back for me, but Chubb, whose regards were strictly confined to number one, decided against it, coolly saying that they could pick me up next trip, and that as it was Webster’s fault I had been left, he, Webster, might if he liked swim back for me. This unmessmate-like conduct, when recounted to me, so excited my ire, that if the worthy Chubb had been within kicking distance at the time, he should have known something further about it. I have not, however, seen him since.
Such were the things I saw and did where the Dragon Flag waves in splendid impotence. I took no notes of anything, excepting as to the build and fittings of the junk, and that merely for my own information, and it was not until long after that the idea of writing an account of these occurrences entered my mind; but I can trust my memory for the main events. If my little narrative should for only a few furnish not merely entertainment but admonition, I shall not have gone through quite uselessly my varied and painful experience of life.
Richard Clay & Sons, Limited, London & Bungay.