By sheer force of character he gained the command of our respect. Though we agreed on deck that he had bungled his story, it impressed us; we felt less able to cope with him, and less willing to encounter a storm.
‘We shall have one, of course,’ Temple said, affecting resignation, with a glance aloft.
I was superstitiously of the same opinion, and praised the vessel.
’Oh, Priscilla’s the very name of a ship that founders with all hands and sends a bottle on shore,’ said Temple.
‘There isn’t a bottle on board,’ said I; and this piece of nonsense helped us to sleep off our gloom.
I MEET OLD FRIENDS
Notwithstanding the prognostications it pleased us to indulge, we had a tolerably smooth voyage. On a clear cold Sunday morning we were sailing between a foreign river’s banks, and Temple and I were alternately reading a chapter out of the Bible to the assembled ship’s crew, in advance of the captain’s short exhortation. We had ceased to look at ourselves inwardly, and we hardly thought it strange. But our hearts beat for a view of the great merchant city, which was called a free city, and therefore, Temple suggested, must bear certain portions of resemblance to old England; so we made up our minds to like it.
‘A wonderful place for beer cellars,’ a sailor observed to us slyly, and hitched himself up from the breech to the scalp.
At all events, it was a place where we could buy linen.
For that purpose, Captain Welsh handed us over to the care of his trusted mate Mr. Joseph Double, and we were soon in the streets of the city, desirous of purchasing half their contents. My supply of money was not enough for what I deemed necessary purchases. Temple had split his clothes, mine were tarred; we were appearing at a disadvantage, and we intended to dine at a good hotel and subsequently go to a theatre. Yet I had no wish to part with my watch. Mr. Double said it might be arranged. It was pawned at a shop for a sum equivalent in our money to about twelve pounds, and Temple obliged me by taking charge of the ticket. Thus we were enabled to dress suitably and dine pleasantly, and, as Mr. Double remarked, no one could rob me of my gold watch now. We visited a couple of beer-cellars to taste the drink of the people, and discovered three of our men engaged in a similar undertaking. I proposed that it should be done at my expense. They praised their captain, but asked us, as gentlemen and scholars, whether it was reasonable to object to liquor because your brother was carried out on a high tide? Mr. Double commended them to moderation. Their reply was to estimate an immoderate amount of liquor as due to them, with profound composure.
‘Those rascals,’ Mr. Double informed us, ’are not in the captain’s confidence they’re tidy seamen, though, and they submit to the captain’s laws on board and have their liberty ashore.’