The chief engineer, of course, is not tied directly to his coal-passers, but to men close to himself; close not only in actual distance, but in experience, knowledge, and sympathy; men who speak the same languages as he does, who understand what he means when he speaks, and who speak to him in ways he understands. These men immediately under him are similarly tied to their immediate subordinates by wires of knowledge, experience, and sympathy—these to their immediate subordinates, and so on.
The same statement applies to the captain in his relations with the chief engineer. The captain may not be an experienced engineer himself; but he is familiar enough with engineering, with its difficulties, its possibilities, and its aims, to converse with the chief engineer in language which both clearly understand.
The same principles seem to apply throughout the whole range of the personnel: so that, no matter how large the organization of any navy may be, there is—there must be, if good work is to be done—a network of invisible wires, uniting all together, by a strong yet flexible bond of sympathy.
And has the material of the navy no connection with this bond? Who knows! Brass and steel are said to be lifeless matter. But does any naval man believe this wholly? Does any man feel that those battleships, and cruisers, and destroyers, and submarines are lifeless which he himself—with his own eyes—has seen darting swiftly, precisely, powerfully on perfect lines and curves, changing their relative positions through complicated