WE CONDUCT SEVERAL LEARNED ARGUMENTS WITH THE CAPTAIN OF THE PRISCILLA
Captain Welsh soon conquered us. The latest meal we had eaten was on the frosty common under the fir-trees. After a tremendous fast, with sea-sickness supervening, the eggs and bacon, and pleasant benevolent-smelling tea on the captain’s table were things not to be resisted by two healthy boys who had previously stripped and faced buckets of maddening ice-cold salt-water, dashed at us by a jolly sailor. An open mind for new impressions came with the warmth of our clothes. We ate, bearing within us the souls of injured innocents; nevertheless, we were thankful, and, to the captain’s grace, a long one, we bowed heads decently. It was a glorious breakfast, for which land and sea had prepared us in about equal degrees: I confess, my feelings when I jumped out of the cabin were almost those of one born afresh to life and understanding. Temple and I took counsel. We agreed that sulking would be ridiculous, unmanly, ungentlemanly. The captain had us fast, as if we were under a lion’s paw; he was evidently a well-meaning man, a fanatic deluded concerning our characters: the barque Priscilla was bound for a German port, and should arrive there in a few days,—why not run the voyage merrily since we were treated with kindness? Neither the squire nor Temple’s father could complain of our conduct; we were simply victims of an error that was assisting us to a knowledge of the world, a youth’s proper ambition. ‘And we’re not going to be starved,’ said Temple.
I smiled, thinking I perceived the reason why I had failed in my oration over-night; so I determined that on no future occasion would I let pride stand in the way of provender. Breakfast had completely transformed us We held it due to ourselves that we should demand explanations from Joseph Double, the mate, and then, after hearing him, furnish them with a cordial alacrity to which we might have attached unlimited credence had he not protested against our dreaming him to have supplied hot rum-and-water on board, we wrote our names and addresses in the captain’s log-book, and immediately asked permission to go to the mast-head.