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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 291 pages of information about Town and Country; or, life at home and abroad, without and within us.

“On a voyage from Canton, With a rich cargo of silks, satins, teas, &c.  The boy says that the men had drank rather too much, and were stupidly drunk,—­but fudge!  Captain Marlin, you know enough to know that no man would drink too much at sea.  He would be sure to keep at a good distance from a state of intoxication, being aware that much was intrusted to his care which he could not well manage whilst in such a state.”

“Perhaps so,” said Captain Marlin, doubtingly.  “Mr. Granton, this touches a question I have been for days considering.  It is, whether I shall allow my men grog.”

“Of course, of course!” answered the ship-owner; “nothing so good for them round the Cape.  You know the winds there, rather tough gales and heavy seas.  Cold water there, Mr. Marlin!  Why, rather give them hot coffee with ice crumbled in it, or, carry out a cask of ice-cream to refresh them!  Man alive, do you think they could live on such vapor?  You talk like one who never went to sea, unless to see a cattle-show.”

Captain Marlin could not refrain from laughing at such reasoning, yet was more than half inclined to favor it.  He was fond of his wine, and being, as such folks generally are, of a good disposition, he wished to see all men enjoy themselves, especially when at sea.  He wished evil to no man, and had he thought that liquor might injure any of his crew, he would not that morning, in that office, have come to the conclusion to have it on board the “Tangus.”

CHAPTER II.

On a bright, clear morning, a deeply-freighted ship started from a New York slip; a fair wind bore it swiftly down the bay, and a few minutes’ sail found it far from sight of the metropolis of the Union.  Friends had taken the last glimpse of friends, the last interchange of kindly feelings had passed, and deep waters now separated them.  It was the “Tangus,” Robert Marlin captain, with a picked crew, and bound for the coast of Sumatra.  Simon Prim shook his head, as he with others turned and walked home. “’T is a pity men will not see evil and flee from it,” said he, and he pulled his straight coat-collar up, and thrust his hands more deeply than ever into his pockets.  He was a little startled by a light tap upon the shoulder, and quite a happy voice exclaiming, “Why, Mr. Prim, how are you?”

“Verily, neighbor; thou didst move me; but I was thinking so deeply of Captain Marlin and his success, that no wonder thy light touch should do so.”

“But what of him, Prim?”

“His ship, the Tangus, has just left, bound on a long voyage, and with a quantity of deadly poison on board, with which to refresh the crew.  I tell thee, neighbor, I have fears for the result.  The jug may possibly stand still when on land, but when it’s afloat it’s rather unsteady.”

“Very true, but you seem to express unusual anxiety in regard to Captain Marlin and his good ship; thousands have been just as imprudent.”

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