The transport remained in port but one day, and in thirty hours after her arrival Archie found himself sailing again over the blue Pacific. The weather, for a few days, was almost perfect. A cloudless sky overhead, a warm breeze from the west, and a smooth sea made things very pleasant aboard ship, and Archie began to realise that there are times when it is delightful to be at sea.
All that I had hoped to find aboard of her in the way of comforts and luxuries was there, and more too. Indeed, if a good bed, and the best of food, and excellent wines and tobacco, had been all that I wanted I very well might have settled myself on the Ville de Saint Remy for the balance of my days.
"Will you direct us to our moorings, sir?" Jack shouted to the watch officer aboard the gunboat. "Proceed slowly east. Our launch will follow and show you your moorings," came the reply. Then the launch glided around the stern of the gunboat, leading the way. Ten minutes later the "Benson" and the "Hastings" were moored, at the extreme eastern end of the line of submarine craft.
Marble, after listening an instant, glancing his eye round to make certain the mulatto steward was not in the discussion. "No one darkey ever could make all that outcry. Bear a hand below, Miles, and see if Africa has come aboard us in the night."
"Now, up helm, steersman, and lay us aboard!" commanded Marshall. "Be ready, men, to throw your grapnels the moment that we touch; and boarders, stand by to follow me into the enemy's main chains!"
“As I am at present in charge of the submarine purchased by the United States from your company, and at least in nominal charge of the ’Farnum,’ as well, I am, in a measure, to be looked upon, for the present, as your commanding officer.” “Yes, sir,” assented the boy. “You came aboard your craft, this morning, in a very questionable looking condition.” “Yes, sir.”
Knowing the fellow so well as you must, you will not be surprised to learn that, from what I saw, I quickly guessed there was something very seriously wrong aboard here; and a little judicious investigation soon enabled me to arrive at the actual facts.
It is remarkable how "busy" all those icebergs made the sea look: to have gone to bed with nothing but sea and sky and to come on deck to find so many objects in sight made quite a change in the character of the sea: it looked quite crowded; and a lifeboat alongside and people clambering aboard, mostly women, in nightdresses and dressing-gowns, in cloaks and shawls, in anything but ordinary clothes!
Captain Elisha also talked of other things, principally about the sail-boat, the summer lease of which he had arranged that afternoon. He declared the sloop to be an "able craft of her tonnage" and that they would have some good times aboard her or he missed his guess.
"Ah! So it is. I remember. You remember, too, Joe. Little schooner, the Tropic Bird sixty days out from Callao five hundred cases of whisky aboard sunk in squall. It was thirty years ago. Think of five hundred cases of thirty-year-old whisky! There's money in that if I can lay my hands on the schooner. Suppose you try that, you boys on a twenty per cent. basis. Come now, what do you say?"