His name was Jan Jansen, and he was a Swede, but had served for several years in the United States navy. On being discharged from it he had made his way to New Sweden, in the northern part of Maine; but, a week before, he had come to Bangor, hoping to obtain employment for the winter in one of the saw-mills. In this he has been unsuccessful; and the previous night, while returning from the city to the house on its outskirts in which he was staying, he undertook to cross a small creek, in the mouth of which were a number of logs; these were so cemented together by recently formed ice that he fancied they would form a safe bridge, and tried to cross on it. When near the middle of the creek, to his horror the ice gave way with a crash, and in another moment he was floating away in the darkness on the cake from which he had been so recently rescued. That it had supported him was owing to the fact that it still held together two of the logs. He had not dared attempt to swim ashore in the dark, and so had drifted on during the night, keeping his feet from freezing by holding them most of the time in the water.
After breakfast Mr. Elmer and the captain held a consultation, the result of which was that the former offered Jan Jansen work in Florida, if he chose to go to the St. Mark’s with them; and Captain Drew offered to let him work his passage to that place as one of the crew of the Nancy Bell. Without much hesitation the poor Swede accepted both these offers, and as soon as he had recovered from the effects of his experience on the ice raft was provided with a bunk in the forecastle.
“Captain Li’s” Story.
All day the Nancy Bell was towed down the broad river, the glorious scenery along its banks arousing the constant enthusiasm of our travellers. Late in the afternoon they passed the gray walls of Fort Knox on the right, and the pretty little town of Bucksport on the left. They could just see the great hotel at Fort Point through the gathering dusk, and soon afterwards were tossing on the wild, windswept waters of Penobscot Bay.
As they cleared the land, so as to sight Castine Light over the port quarter, the tug cast loose from them and sail was made on the schooner. The last thing Mark Elmer saw as he left the deck, driven below by the bitter cold, was the gleam of the light on Owl’s Head, outside which Captain Drew said they should find the sea pretty rough.
The rest of the family had gone below some time before, and Mark found that his mother was already very sea-sick. He felt rather uncomfortable himself, and did not care much for the supper, of which his father and Ruth eat so heartily. He said he thought he would go to bed, before supper was half over, and did so, although it was only six o’clock. Poor Mark! it was a week before he again sat at table or went on deck.