On a small deck, left free at the bows, the boatmen stand, urging on the boat with long sweeps; while the roof of the cabin, or upper deck, as it might be called, is the chief resort of the servants and the rest of the crew.
A tight curb on a China-man will make him do a great deal of work: at the same time, he has spirit enough to resist real ill treatment. All the mechanics and house-builders, and many boatmen and fishermen of Singapore, are Chinese.
Would it not be better to send him back with a letter to Wu, requiring gifts of betrothal? We would lose all by making a scandal." Ho Chang's rage was already half spent, and he now let himself be persuaded by degrees. He went out and asked the boatmen where they were. "We are approaching Wu-ch'ang." "You will anchor there."
The boatmen, too, were continually whispering to one another in dismay, and eying their three superiors with distrust, while even the servants began more and more to form dismal surmises, and to watch their master and mistress with looks of suspicion. Huldbrand often said in his own mind, "This comes when like marries not like when a man forms an unnatural union with a sea-maiden."
During the flood season the falls are obliterated and skillful boatmen pass over them in safety; while the Dalles, some six or eight miles below, may be passed during low water but are utterly impassable in flood time. At the Dalles the vast river is jammed together into a long, narrow slot of unknown depth cut sheer down in the basalt.
Consequently, no boatmen would consent to pass the cave at night; the peasants shunned the place, even in the daytime. But the faithful girl sang on, night after night, month after month, and patiently waited; her reward must come at last.
But, with his customary promptitude, Putnam ordered his men into their single boat, himself taking the helm, and pushed off just as the savages came within sight of the shore. The disappointed and infuriated Indians sent a shower of balls after the boatmen, but none took effect; though the fugitives seemed doomed to certain death by drowning in the foaming rapids of the river.
I have observed already, in a former work, that, as far as my experience of travelling in the wilds of Canada goes, and it is rather extensive, I should always in future journeys prefer to provide myself with the true French Canadian boatmen, or voyageurs, or, in default of them, with Indians.
Rowing yesterday evening through a beautiful sunset into a more beautiful moonrise, my two sable boatmen entertained themselves and me with alternate strophe and anti-strophe of poetical description of my personal attractions, in which my 'wire waist' recurred repeatedly, to my intense amusement. Little Missis Sally, That's a ruling lady.
They tried in vain to make her swallow a few drops of wine and vinegar to bring her to life; but finding all their efforts unavailing, gave way to tears and lamentations, which soon recalled us into the house. "The lady is dead! the lady is dead! We can only weep, and send for a priest." The boatmen mingled their cries with those of the women, and increased their confusion.