Изображения страниц

rebound is evident, and explains the scales of prices quoted. The tonnage registered for foreign trade had increased in the same year to 800,760; more than which-865,219-made a voyage.

More striking, perhaps, but not more significant, is the speculative movement of prices shown by the sudden news of peace. The intelligence reached New York Saturday, February 11, 1815, at eight in the evening. "Sugar, which on Saturday had stood at $26 the hundred-weight, fell on Monday to $12.50. Tea, from $2.25 the pound to $1. Tin from $80 the box to $25. Specie from 22 per cent. premium dropped to 2." In the next month, March, there sailed from Boston alone 144 vessels, more than half square-rigged, and all but 26 for United States ports. The bottled-up products of the country-grain, tobacco, cotton, and rice were being rushed to market. Flour rose in two days from $7.50 to $10 the barrel; a testimony that not only for eign export, but home supply to the eastward, was now to be open. The fall in foreign products, due to freedom of import, was naturally accompanied by a rise in domestic produce, to which an open outlet afforded increased demand. In Philadelphia the exchange on Boston reflected these conditions, falling from 25 per cent. to 13. At Charleston, in three weeks of April, there arrived 158 vessels exclusive of coasters. These figures, which could be multiplied, sufficiently dispose of President Madison's doubts expressed concerning the effectiveness of the blockade.

It may then be concluded that there was little exaggeration in the words used by "a distinguished naval officer" of the day, in a letter contributed to Niles' Register: "No sooner had the enemy extended his line of cruisers from Maine to Georgia than both foreign and domestic commerce came at once to be reduced to a deplorable state of stagnation. As most of the money loaned to the Government for the

purposes of the war came from the pockets of merchants, they were rendered incapable of continuing disbursements, in consequence of this interruption to their trade; whence the bankruptcy with which the Government was threatened. . . . It was found necessary to remove all restrictions upon commerce, both foreign and domestic; but the merchant found no alleviation, his vessels being uniformly prevented by a strong blockading force, not only from going out, but from coming into port. The coasting trade was entirely annihilated. The southern and northern sections of the Union were unable to exchange their commodities, except upon a contracted scale through the medium of land carriage, and then at great loss; so that, upon the whole, nothing in a national point of view appeared to be more loudly called for, by men of all parties, than a naval force adequate to the protection of our commerce and the raising of the blockade of our coast."

Such is the forgotten bitter truth concerning a war which has left in the United States a prevalent impression of distinguished success, because of a few brilliant naval actions and the Battle of New Orleans. The lesson to be deduced is not that the country at that time should have sought to maintain a navy approaching equality to the British. What had been possible during the decade preceding the war, had the nation so willed, was to place the Navy on such a footing, in numbers and constitution, as would have made persistence in the course Great Britain was then following impolitic to the verge of madness; because it would have added to her enormous embarrassments the activity of an imposing maritime enemy, at the threshold of her most valuable possessions-the West Indies-three thousand miles away from her own shores and from the seat of her principal and necessary warfare.

(To be continued.)


By R. A. Stevenson


HERE was nothing unusual about his appearance. You meet him every morning in Fifth Avenue, roller-skating to school, dangling a hardhandled book or two at the end of a strap. He had a snubbed nose; his Eton collar was rumpled and smudgy, his hair was towsled, but I could plainly see that William Walter Madison, rising thirteen, had something on his mind. He swung his slightly bowed legs from his chair by the window overlooking Wall Street and gazed thoughtfully at the hurrying crowds on the pavement below.

"William has disgraced us," said his father, looking solemnly at me across the shiny office desk. He paused, and slowly tapped the mahogany with his forefinger.

William craned his neck to get a better view of a Panhard that was clacking and sputtering to a circle of messengers and clerks on the opposite curb, but made no


"We tried him at several schools here in the city," his father continued, "but in each case his behavior was such that we were asked to withdraw him. In September last, we placed him in a school in Connecticut. In three weeks-to be exact, in eighteen days he was returned to me by express. Upon my word, sir, he was delivered to me with an addressed tag in his buttonhole by an Irish messenger. The masters wrote that he was incorrigible and that they had returned him by what seemed to them the safest method. I might have felt better had they declared a value on the package." William looked interested for a moment, twisted his neck to adjust the troublesome collar, and rubbed the calf of his left leg with the toe of his right shoe. I was inclined to ask him to explain his remarkable exit from boarding-school, but his father continued:

"We then tried tutors, unsuccessfully. The last incumbent, after a four days'

trial, suggested that I send him to the George Junior Republic. Naturally I was disappointed, but I tried to impress upon my son the serious consequences of his actions and was succeeding in some measure, I thought, when," he added impressively, "William ran away."

I expressed surprise. William looked at the floor.

"Yes, he was gone for two days. I employed a detective, who found him at Coney Island."

"Bath Beach," interrupted William.

Silence," commanded his father. "We have felt his actions keenly. He has obstinately refused to tell me where he was or why he ran away. Yesterday he came to me and asked for one more trial. That explains why I asked you to call. I believe that your are interested in boys. Will you consider his case?"

I exchanged glances with William, and while he expressed no emotion at the prospect of a new educational flyer, I could see that he was taking a quick inventory of my possibilities.

"I would like to make a diagnosis," I observed professionally, "before making a decision."

"Very good," said Mr. Madison.

“William, "I addressed the artist in crime, "will you walk uptown with me?" "Surely, sir;" he slid off his chair and we prepared to depart.

As we were about to leave, the telephone buzzed. Mr. Madison took down the receiver, said "Hello, yes, all right," and hung it in its place.

"Mrs. Madison telephones," he said, "that she would be very glad to have you call this afternoon at five-thirty to talk over William. She has a wedding and a committee meeting on hand and cannot be at home sooner. I hope you will find my son interesting." He added at the door, "I confess that as yet I have not been able to solve the problem he presents."

A few uneventful moments later we turned into Broadway for the long walk up


[ocr errors]

"Billy," I remarked, looking down at his chunky little figure, "I wish I have forgotten how I meant to open the conversation, for suddenly William was not there. He was darting into the street, shouting:

"There goes a hitch!"

He achieved the tail-board of a passing furniture van, settled himself, and grinned. There were two things for me to choose between. One was to admit right there at the corner of Fulton Street and Broadway that the educational problem of William Walter was too intricate, and take a surface car. The other was to hitch on to the end of that van as quickly as I could.

"I used to like ice wagons better," I remarked when I had seated myself beside him, a bit puffy from the unusual exertion.

"They are all to the good in summer," answered William solemnly, "for you can suck ice. But the scales sometimes whack you. Besides, I always take a hitch when I get one, don't you?"

I confessed inexperience and we rode in silence for several blocks. The tail of a wagon furnishes opportunities for observation, but it is not a dignified view-point for a teacher of youth. I thought of my silk hat and hoped that no one I knew would see William, on the other hand, appeared to be enjoying the scenery, and swung his legs with evident joy. His profile showed a line or two of thought, but I was not prepared for his first observation.


"You are game all right," he said at Park Place.

"Thanks," I replied, pleased to know that I had passed my first examination.

[ocr errors]

"People wouldn't look at you if you didn't have that dip on. He pointed to my hat, and I felt the sympathy in his remark. William probably walked to church on Sunday morning stiffly arrayed in a bob-tailed Eton jacket and baggy grey trousers.

His consideration was helpful, but it did not add to my peace of mind. Men turned to look and I heard a typewriter girl giggle as we passed close to the curb. I felt uneasy and was considering how I could descend with my dignity-and Williamand was about to test the persuasive in

fluence of a soda-water treat when he asked in an off-hand way:

"Did you ever run away?"

I forgot my embarrassment and decided at once to stay aboard.

"I was rubbered awful," he continued sadly.

"So was I;" I drew on my imagination, but the story was hanging in the balance. "They found me in four hours."

"They didn't find me," said William emphatically. "That is, the detective ran across me after I had quit running away. I was running home then."

"Of course," I answered, "you couldn't have had a very good time. What happened?"

It was dangerous to ask the direct question, but William Walter was wrapped in his own thoughts and apparently did not hear me.

"Did you ever read 'Treasure Island' and 'Wrecked in the South Seas' and 'A Cabin Boy in the Antilles'?" he asked dreamily. And then I knew that if I was patient and the van didn't stop I would hear something interesting.

"Rattling good books," I replied.

[ocr errors]

They are simply corking," said William. "All about wrecks and sandal-wood and coral and cocoanuts and yams and things. Uncle Billy gave them to me last Christmas. I often thought I'd like to be a sailor. Did you?"

"About once a month." I was very anxious to hear the story of William's life.

"And when I came home from boardingschool-that was funny-father was very much put out. He told me that ever since his father had come to New York with fifty cents and worked hard and succeeded, there never was a Madison that had disgraced the family the way I was going to do when I got hung or something else that was bad. I felt bad-really I did— and I thought they could get along better without me, so I asked father if I couldn't go out West on a ranch he owns, and he said Nonsense! And mamma asked me what her father would think if he knew his namesake was growing up the way I was, and I didn't know, for he is dead, and she cried. I didn't feel very pert myself, so I skipped one day."

“But you came back."
"Yes, I came back."

There was a faint

smile on William's face. "I happened to go down to South Street one afternoon. It's great down there. You ought to go. My tutors used to take me down there when they couldn't think of anything else to do, but they never stayed half long enough. I found the dandiest little schooner you ever saw. She was low and rakish, just like a pirate. There was a bully little cabin with a stove pipe sticking out of the roof and an anchor and coils of rope and everything. Her name was the Sadie B. I sat on the dock looking at her, and when a man came out of the cabin I asked him if I couldn't go aboard. He said I could. I didn't think he was much of a sailor, for he wore a derby hat and suspenders. After I had taken a look round I made up my mind that she was a pretty good boat, and I went back to where the sailor was reading a dirty newspaper on the roof of the cabin, and I asked him if he ever sailed to the South Seas.

"I said I'd go, and I wanted to go and get an oilskin; but the captain gave me one the last cabin boy had before he was promoted. He said, though, that I ought to have some tobacco, so I told him to get some and send the bill to father so that he would get it after we sailed, for I didn't think he would approve of my going. The captain said that I had better pay cash, so I gave him all I had and he clapped me on the back and said that I was open-handed and there was no doubt about it, I would make a good sailor. Then when some more men came aboard he told me that I could go out and be the starboard watch while they got supper.

"That was a great supper. We had ham and fried potatoes with onions in them the way I like them. Mamma will never let the cook serve them that way at home, so I ate a great many. The sailors told me that I had better eat a lot, for I'd probably be sick when we got out to sea and it was a good

"What do you want to know for, Sonny?' thing to have something to work on. I'd he said.

[blocks in formation]

"There are those who call it Original Sin," I answered; "but what did the sailor say?"

"Well he grinned and said, 'Gee whiz! this is funny. I have been looking for a cabin boy for two weeks. Just as soon as I get one we are going to set sail for the South.' I asked him if it was for sandalwood and he said that there was nothing he liked better than to go after sandal-wood, but that it wasn't the season just then. He thought they'd go for coral. Then he told me a lot of stories-spun yarns, I meanand I saw that I had made a mistake about his not being a sailor, for he was very interesting and had been wrecked a great many times so many times that he said he was getting used to it. He said that I could ship with him if I wanted to. It was to be a short voyage, and as he was the captain we could fix the whole matter up right then.

get better quicker. After supper we sat on the deck and one of the sailors showed me how to tie a half hitch and a bowline. I'll show you some day if you'd like it.

"About dark a tug boat came puffing up and the captain said it was time to get busy. The sailors didn't hitch up their pants and sing out' Heave Ho, My Hearties," the way they do in 'Treasure Island,' but they swore all right and I hummed 'Sixteen Men on the Dead Man's Chest, Yo Ho, and a Bottle of Rum.' The first thing I knew we were out in the river and floating past the Battery.

"It was lots better than the way you go to Europe. We were close down by the water and everything looked different. The captain let me hold the other side of the wheel and once he let me hold it all by myself while he went forward to get a chew of tobacco from one of the crew. It was dark when we got to the Statue of Liberty, and the light was lit. The lights down there are all right-specially back in the big buildings. I took a long look at them and the red and green lights of the ferryboats that crossed from side to side, and I said good-by to my native land.

"I wondered how they were getting along at home; for you know father is a good sport when he has time, and I don't like to hurt his feelings no matter what he

thinks, and mamma can't understand. Now and that when he was a boy sailing on the Spanish Main, he would have got whacked on the head with a belaying pin for half that much back talk. Anyhow the port watch was wheeling sand. What

last summer, she hauled me all over London
on top of a 'bus, and the other day when I
wanted to go out on the 'bus here and have
some fun with the man with the megaphone
she said it was common. Now
isn't that funny."

"Yes; and the schooner?" "Well, I was a little lonely and I was glad when the captain said it was time for the starboard watch to go to bed. But I didn't go to sleep right away; the bunk was rather mussy. Perhaps I was a little homesick; it might have been the fried potatoes-anyhow I didn't.

"When I woke up the next morning I thought we would be out of sight of land and I would have to get busy to find my sea legs; but there wasn't any motion and it was as still as anything. I looked out of the window and I saw green piles with barnacles on them. Then I hustled up on the deck to see what the matter was, and there was the Sadie B. tied up to a dock. There was a gang-plank down and the crew were wheeling sand from a pile and dumping it in the hold.

"The captain was sitting on the edge of the dock and I asked him what was wrong. He said that the night before when he got outside the Hook, he discovered that he didn't have enough ballast aboard and he had to come back and get some. I thought it was too bad, and he thought so too, for it was such fine sailing weather, and the weather man said it was going to rain the next day.

[ocr errors]

"You are game all right," he said at Park Place. - Page 499.

that whole trip.

That reminded me that I wanted to know is a belaying pin anyhow? I didn't see one how the Princeton-Cornell game had come out, so I asked him to let me see the paper he had. He said that it was time for the starboard watch to light the fire for breakfast. I asked him if the port watch couldn't do it, and he said that that was mutiny VOL. XXXVI.-57

"The captain seemed to know his business, so I lit the fire and we had breakfast. I didn't like the potatoes quite so much, and afterwards the captain set me to work cleaning lanterns. I found that the star

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »