In many ships to carry a little weather helm was thought advantageous, and it was told of a certain deck-officer he who repeated the story to me made the late Admiral Porter the hero that the ship being found to sail faster in his watch than in any other, the commander sent for him and asked the reason. "Well, sir," replied the lieutenant, "I will tell you my secret.
This operation concluded, and nothing found, he mounts the ladder, touches his hat to the deck-officer, and reports the boat clean; whereupon she is hauled out to the booms. Thus it will be seen that not a man of the ship's company ever enters the vessel from shore without it being rendered next to impossible, apparently, that he should have succeeded in smuggling anything.
So it was again brought up before the deck-officer, who immediately summoned the master-at-arms. "Break open that box!" "Certainly, sir!" said the master-at-arms; and, wrenching off the cover, twenty-five brown jugs like a litter of twenty-five brown pigs, were found snugly nestled in a bed of straw. "The smugglers are at work, sir," said the master-at-arms, looking up.
Arrived at the accommodation ladder, and on deck, Code found a vessel with white decks, glistening brass work, and discipline that shamed naval authority. The subaltern, saluting, reported to the deck-officer that his mission had been completed, and the latter, after questioning Code, ordered that he be taken to confinement quarters.
I doubt the crew grumbled and d d a little under their breath, for the process was tedious; yet it was not only a fad, but necessary, and the deck-officer who habitually neglected it might possibly rise to an emergency, but was scarcely otherwise worth his salt. In my humble judgment, he had better have worn a frock-coat unbuttoned.
The cockswain is astounded; for, to be reported to the deck-officer as a smuggler, would inevitably procure him a sound flogging, and be the disgraceful breaking of him as a petty officer, receiving four dollars a month beyond his pay as an able seaman.
I had given her the commander's room, Bradley and I taking that of the deck-officer, while Olson and two of our best men occupied the room ordinarily allotted to petty officers. I made Nobs' bed down in Lys' room, for I knew she would feel less alone. Nothing of much moment occurred for a while after we left British waters behind us. We ran steadily along upon the surface, making good time.
But, when they heard the Alabama was really going out, he put the question to the vote around the breakfast-table, whereupon it was carried unanimously that the Deerhound should go too. When the deck-officer of the Kearsarge sang out, "Alabama!"
From the twenty-seventh of April to the evening of the fourth of May we had fogs, great cold, and an amazing quantity of icebergs. On the thirtieth, when luckily the fog lifted for a time, we counted sixteen of them. The day before, one drifted under the bowsprit, grazed it, and might have crushed us if the deck-officer had not called out quickly, Luff.
But recent occurrences had sharpened the vigilance of the deck-officer to an unwonted degree, and seeing the box going down the hatchway, he demanded what that was, and whom it was for. "All right, sir," said the master-at-arms, touching his cap; "stores for the Purser, sir." "Let it remain on deck," said the Lieutenant. "Mr.