* Jim is a water clerk, and a popular person in the Eastern ports where he lives. As a water clerk, Jim sails out to meet any ship about to anchor, introduce himself and the ship-chandler for whom he works, and serve the ship's captain in whatever capacity necessary.
* Jim was sent to a training ship for officers of the mercantile marine. One particular winter day aboard the training ship, a coaster crashed into an anchored schooner and a cutter of boys, Jim not one selected, was launched from the training vessel to aid the crew of the stricken vessels.
* Jim felt that he was better served remaining behind, having been able to learn more than those involved in the actual rescue, and felt that he alone knows how to deal with the fractious wind and sea.
* Two years later with his training complete, Jim goes to...
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