I found myself counting the black spots on a fish’s back, the steps leading up to Monaco on its hill, the number of men and women in the Grand Salon at Monte Carlo, of men with mustaches, of clean-shaven men, of men with beards in the restaurants, of vessels in sight from the terrace, of everything, in fact, which seemed capable of furnishing a sentence or of starting up a discussion.
Once or twice I ran over late at night to Monte Carlo, and occasionally Thwaites and I met after ten o’clock at the Casino of Mentone to play bowls or try our luck at the tables; but the spirit of J. P. never failed to attend upon these dismal efforts at amusement. If I heard an epigram, witnessed an interesting incident, or observed any curious sight, out came my note book and pencil and the matter was dedicated to the service of the morrow’s duties.
Finally, after several false starts, we all found ourselves on the yacht with the prospect of spending most of our time aboard until Mr. Pulitzer sailed for his annual visit to America.
YACHTING IN THE MEDITERRANEAN
Taken at its face value a month in the Mediterranean, on board one of the finest yachts afloat, with visits to Corsica, Elba, Nice, Cannes, Naples, Genoa, Syracuse, and the Pirams, should give promise of a picturesque and entertaining record of sight-seeing, the kind of journal in which the views of Baedeker and of your local cab driver are blended, in order that the aroma of foreign travel may be wafted to the nostrils of your fresh-water cousins.
What my narrative lacks of this flavor of luxurious vagrancy must be supplied by the peculiar interest of a cruise which violated every tradition of the annals of yachting, and created precedents which in all human probability will never be followed so long as iron floats on water.
It was part of Mr. Pulitzer’s scheme of nautical life to shroud all his movements in mystery. One result of this was that when we were on the yacht we never knew where we were going until we got there. The compass-course at any moment betrayed nothing of Mr. Pulitzer’s intentions, for we might turn in at night with the ship heading straight for Naples and wake up in the morning to find ourselves three miles south of the Genoa lighthouse.
Apart from Mr. Pulitzer’s fancy, our erratic maneuvers were affected by our need to make good weather out of whatever wind we encountered, on the one hand because J. P., though an excellent sailor, disliked the rolling produced by a beam sea, since it interfered with his walking on deck, and on the other hand, because several of the secretaries suffered from sea-sickness the moment we were off an even keel.
Mr. Pulitzer was not a man prone to be placated by excuses; but he had come to realize that neither a sense of duty nor the hope of reward, neither fear nor courage, can make an agreeable companion out of a man who is seasick. So, unless there was an important reason why we should reach port, we always made a head-wind of anything stronger than a light breeze, and followed the weather round the compass until it was fair for our destination.