So far was the dispute carried, that schooners armed, and filled with armed men, cruised for some time on the waters of the Chesapeake, and all the initiatory steps of a little war were taken by both parties. The interference of the general government prevented what would have proved, had it been left to itself, a very sanguinary affair.
S. Alexander is manager, that I went on the following day, still escorted by Mr. G . Here we heard that captains of schooners which had arrived from Hawaii, report that a light is visible on the terminal crater of Mauna Loa, 14,000 feet above the sea, that Kilauea, the flank crater, is unusually active, and that several severe shocks of earthquake have been felt. This is exciting news.
Whereas in the old days it had been impossible to get the produce of the land, copra chiefly, down to the coast where it could be put on schooners or motor launches and so taken to Apia, now transport was easy and simple. His ambition was to make a road right round the island and a great part of it was already built.
I left Dublin really, I may say, an almost unseen Dublin behind me and turned my face Belfastwards. Drogheda is the last place of which I have taken any notes. I was a day or two there. In fact I was more than a few days, but was confined to my room by a severe neuralgia most of the time. There is a fine railway bridge here, lofty enough for schooners to sail under.
All gray, an' drivin' like mad. The seas was rollin' in, with a frothy wind-lop atop o' them. They'd lift us, smother us, drop us, toss the schooners ridin' in our lee, an' go t' smash on the big, black rocks ashore. Lord! how they pulled at the old Sink or Swim! 'Twas like as if they wanted her bad for what she done. Seems t' me the Lord God A'mighty must 'a' knowed what He was about.
On a favorable morning the baidarkas leave the schooners, and, holding their direction so as to describe a large fan, can view a good piece of water. A paddle held high in air shows that game has been sighted, and a large circle, perhaps a mile in circumference, is at once formed around the otter, each baidarka trying to get in the first successful shot.
A fleet of prairie schooners is anchored in the South Platte bottom, waiting for it to dry up, as I trundle down that stream every mile made interesting by reminiscences of Indian fights and massacres next day, toward Ogallala; and one of the "Pilgrims" looks wise as I approach, and propounds the query, "Does it hev ter git very muddy afore yer kin ride yer verlocify, mister?"
The half-hour that succeeded was one of engrossing interest. It settled the point whether the schooners could or could not eat their way into the wind sufficiently to weather the danger. Fragment after fragment was passed; blow after blow was received; until suddenly the field-ice appeared directly in front. It was in vast quantities, extending to the southward far as the eye could reach.
The firing of shot and shrapnel at the cotton pile seemed to produce no adequate effect, and he ordered Flint to cease his operations. "Back her, Mr. Amblen," he added to the pilot. "Back her at full speed." The schooners were doing very well; instead of wandering off into the bay, they had fallen into the channel, and were drifting with the tide.
Watkins, the contractor, announced to Cleggett that his task was finished, except for the removal of the rubbish in the hold. Cleggett, going carefully over the vessel, and examining the new parts with a brochure on the construction and navigation of schooners in his hand, verified the statement.