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19th Century American Whaling

Bonin Islands

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Ashley's Glossary of
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Dana's Dictionary of
Sea Terms


W. H. Macy

Ballou's Monthly Magazine.
Vol. XXVIII, No. 2 (Aug 1868)

150 Ballou's Monthly Magazine.



      The fine ship Autocrat, of which I had the good fortune to be first officer, was running through the trades, outward bound, with a gentle, all-sail breeze. Everything was drawing handsomely; the watch were lazily "yarning" in groups, forward, and Captain Randolph and his beautiful wife, with little Jerome, had lingered on deck, enjoying the fine tropical moonlight till the child’s eyelids drooped, and he leaned heavily against his mother for support.

      "Come, Jerome," said his mother, as she turned to go into the cabin, "it is time these young eyes were closed for a long nap. Good night, Tom," she continued," for I suppose I shall be asleep before you and Mr. Bailey have finished your long yarns. Good-night, Mr. Bailey." And with her little boy by the hand, she glided below.

      She always called her husband "Tom," and in such a tone that the rude abbreviation was sweeter to the ear than the most aristocratic title she could have given him. There was a world of affection in every word and look exchanged between this happy couple, and it had always seemed to me that the history of their early love must have something of romance about it. There was a slight foreign accent in Mrs. Randolph’s speech, a musical trill in the pronunciation of her r’s, which seemed to tell of sunny France. I had asked no questions, for my curiosity was restrained by a feeling of delicacy, and I was not then so well acquainted with the captain’s noble nature as I afterwards became.

      We sat smoking in silence for several minutes after all was still in the cabin.

      "What are you thinking of, Mr. Bailey?" said the captain at last, in a cheerful voice. "Not homesick, I hope?"

      "No sir," said I. "I have not much to make me so. If I had a family like yours, and was leaving them behind, I might well have that feeling. To tell the truth, I was thinking how happy you must be with such ties."

      "That is true," returned the captain; "but I can only say by way of advice, 'Go thou and do likewise.’ The same ties will yet cling around you, I hope, and that you will find their bonds as pleasant as I do."

      "Thank you, sir," I answered. "I was thinking, also, that Mrs. Randolph seems to be no stranger to the sea."

      "She ought to be no stranger to it; for, I may say, it was on that element that I picked her up. But I have never told you the history of my first acquaintance with Louise. It is sufficiently strange to interest you, I think; and, as you have a quiet watch, and the ship seems to take care of herself with a good hand at the wheel, perhaps I shall never have a better opportunity than now."

      The captain then proceeded to tell me his story, which I shall endeavor to transcribe in his exact words.

      I was only in my nineteenth year, when I arrived home from my first whaling voyage in the old Grand Turk. It was at a time when oil was high in Europe, and she, as well as many other ships about that time, were sent to sell their cargoes in England or France. I was promised a good berth in the spring, and thought I might as well employ the winter in making this voyage to Europe. So I stuck by the ship, and we sailed for London on the same bottom, without discharging. The winter passage across the Atlantic proved a very severe one, and, in riding out heavy gales, the old ship was terribly strained; but we finally reached London, with both pumps going for dear life. Here the cargo was disposed of to good advantage; but it was found that the ship would need more repairs than she was worth, and she was condemned and sold for the benefit of all concerned. I thus found myself adrift in a foreign port, and, as it might be some time before I got a chance to return home, I decided to accept the inducement held out by a "South Seaman" which was fitting out, and make a foreigner of myself for the time being. I accordingly shipped as a boatsteerer, or "harpooner," as they termed it, in the barque Glencoe, bound to the Pacific Ocean by the eastern route round Good Hope. I shipped in haste to repent at leisure; for we had not been long at sea before I found reason to do so in sackcloth and ashes. Captain Judd proved to be a man utterly unfit for the position he held, by reason of indulgence in drink. And perhaps no greater curse can befall a

How Tom Randolph found his Wife. 151

ship on a long voyage than intemperance on the part of her captain.

      We met with nothing unusual on the outward passage, and had passed the latitude of the Cape and of Tristan D’Acunha, when one morning, on going to the masthead, I discovered a vessel ahead, of peculiar appearance as to her rig, she appearing to have but one sail set, and that a staysail, or jib of some sort. We stood on towards the stranger, and, on nearing her, it was evident she was a ship of five or six hundred tons, with only the main-lower mast standing. The main-staysail was set, while a smaller staysail was bent up and down the mainmast aft, by way of trysail. Soon the tricolor of France was made out, lashed low down in the main rigging. She was evidently in great need of assistance.

      We ran down across the Frenchman, old Judd cursing them all the way for a pack of frog-eating lubbers, who didn’t know how to keep their sticks in the ship, nor to rig jury ones after they had lost them. Only three men and one female were to be seen on her deck. We lowered a boat and boarded the ship, which we found to be the transport Fontenoy, one hundred and thirty days from Toulon, bound to the Marquesas Islands. This was about the time when Louis Philippe was possessed with a mania for planting colonies in the Pacific, and had placed military and naval forces at the Marquesas and Society Islands. Their story was a sad and eventful one. They had sailed from France with a crew of thirty men, and a cargo of supplies, and military and naval stores. All had gone well until after leaving Madeira, where they had merely touched and sent a boat in; but shortly after leaving this island, the smallpox made its appearance, and assumed its most malignant form, baffling all the medical skill at command; for the surgeon himself was one of the earliest victims. One after another died, and were launched overboard as soon as possible, the nature of the disease being such that the bodies could not be preserved even for decent burial; and the ship became, for a time, a floating charnel-house. The captain and mate sickened and died; discipline was almost at an end, and each expected to be struck down by the terrible malady; for previous vaccination seemed to be little, if any, protection against its attacks. They experienced heavy weather as they approached the latitude of the Cape, and, as their force was reduced to a few weakened and disheartened men, they dared not carry sail, but kept the ship under snug canvas all the time. As the disease showed signs of abatement, no new victims being now attacked, they were encouraged with the hope that it had spent its force, and that they would yet be able to work her into one of the Cape settlements; but their sufferings had only begun. They met with a gale in which they were obliged to let run and clew down everything; and while endeavoring to furl the fore-topsail, which was already double-reefed, at a heavy plunge of the ship, the foremast broke off about six feet above the deck and went over the side, carrying with it the main-topmast. Nine men were on the foretopsail-yard at the time, endeavoring to furl the sail, and all found their graves in the ocean but one. This one, with the second mate and the man at the helm, were now the sole survivors of a crew of thirty. They had managed to cut the wreck clear of the ship, and the gale continuing from the westward, it was determined to put her before the wind, if possible, and run for Mauritius; but the ship being in bad trim, and much down by the head, it was found very dangerous to run her, and, as a last resort to prevent broaching to, the mizzenmast was cut away. This left nothing standing but the bare mainmast; for the topmast in its fall had destroyed the maintop, and, wringing the trussband off, had also unslung the mainyard; and for the salvation of the ship and their lives, they had cut everything adrift and let all go. From this time she had gone nearly where the wind and sea might drive her. An attempt had been made to raise a spar to lash to the stump of the foremast; but, owing to rugged weather and want of physical force, it was abandoned. They had now been forty days to the southward of the Cape, and were nearly worn out and in despair of relief, when the Glencoe was seen running down for them.

      The three men and the young lady were transferred to our own ship, and, as we could not spare men to rig her up, or work her into port, it was thought best to destroy her by fire, after taking out all the valuables of small bulk, and such few stores as we had room for. She was fired in several places, and within an hour she blew up with a terrific explosion, having a considerable quantity of powder on board.

      The young passenger's name was Louise Duchesne, daughter and only child of a naval officer attached to the frigate Renie Blanche, of the Pacific squadron. Her mother had

152 How Tom Randolph found his Wife.

died about a year previous, and M. Duchesne, on learning the sad intelligence, had written for Louise to come out to him by the first ship that offered. He would probably be on that station for two years or more, and, being denied leave of absence from his duties, had obtained permission to send for his daughter. She would then be near him, and could be well cared for among the small number of her countrywomen, either at Tahiti or Novaheva, as might be found most convenient. She had accordingly broken up their humble home in Rouen, disposed of their few household goods, and taken passage in the Fontenoy.

      The three men agreed in their accounts of the heroism of the brave young girl who had seemed sent as an angel of mercy among them. Throughout the dreadful days and nights of the pestilence, she had moved among the sick, doing those thousand little nameless things that only women can do, to alleviate suffering where it could be done, and to cheer the dying sailor when all hope had departed. Louise Duchesne was seventeen at that time. She had been carefully brought up by an excellent mother, and was well educated; indeed, I was compelled to admit that her English was much better than my French, upon which I had hitherto plumed myself. With all the graces and delicacy of a true woman, she combined great strength of character, and the more recent circumstances of her life had tended to develop it. It is impossible for me to explain to you in detail the progress of our love for each other; for no language can do it. I am something of a believer in affinities; and I know that, in our case, there seemed an attraction between us at our first meeting. I loved her more and more as I knew her better; and I was as certain that I was loved in return, as if the words had passed her lips; for, with all her strength of self-control as displayed throughout those fearful trials on board the Fontenoy, Louise has little skill in concealing her real feelings in matters where her heart is directly concerned. If disposed to try her skill at coquetry, she would doubtless make a sad failure of it.

      It was soon apparent to me that Captain Judd was fascinated by the charms of his fair young passenger, and was in no hurry to get rid of her society. I had thought that, under the circumstances, he would have felt it his duty to deviate from his course so as to touch at Mauritius, or Bourbon, and land his passengers, where they might find countrymen, and means either to pursue their voyage, or, at least, to return to France; but I was not long in discovering that he had no such intention. I was certain that he cared little where the three men were landed, or what became of them. Indeed, I knew that he would gladly be rid of Dupin, the second mate, who was devotedly attached by ties of admiration and gratitude to "Mademoiselle Duchesne." That he had sinister designs of some sort upon Louise, I felt quite certain. He had told the men that he should land them at some English port in Australia, or New Zealand, while he had flattered her with promises, as I learned from herself, that he would deliver her directly to her father at the Marquesas. My advice to her was to stay in the ship rather than to land at any of the English colonies, as the chances were very small of her being able to join her father, by any conveyance from there, for several months to come. I fully appreciated the position in which she was placed, and the difficulty she encountered in deciding what to do. She disliked the captain's behaviour towards her, and could not always conceal her aversion, though she endeavored to do so, as far as her transparent heart would admit. She would gladly have been rid of his attentions and presence; but the alternative was to throw herself upon the protection of a consul, or of strangers, for a long time, with but a remote prospect of reaching her destination. There was a probability, too, that the captain, if steadily baffled in his efforts to win any encouragement from her, might finally land her at Tahiti or Novaheva. I was, of course, anxious to be near her; and though no direct word of love had yet been spoken, I felt that I was ready to defend her honor and peace of mind even with my life, if found necessary.

      We pursued our voyage, going "southabout" round Van Diemen's Land, and touching at Hobart Town, where we landed Dupin and the two French seamen. The former offered to ship with us and do seaman's duty; but the captain was only too glad to be rid of him. I promised Dupin when he left us, that no harm or insult should ever come to Mademoiselle Duchesne while I was near to protect her; and he agreed with me that it was best, under the circumstances, that she should stay in the ship. He had learned from the French consul that Captain Judd had given assurances that he should

How Tom Randolph found his Wife. 153

visit one of the French colonies as soon as the nature of his whaling voyage would admit. So, much to my delight, of course, she remained on board the Glencoe.

      The captain, now that her countrymen were absent, was more bold in making his advances; but Louise always met them with such steady firmness and half-concealed aversion, that he found himself foiled at all points, and could make no progress in his suit. Once, when much elated with liquor, he had made a serious attempt to kiss her; but even then she succeeded in baffling his purpose without making a tragedy scene. This I learned, not from Louise herself, but from the steward, who had been guilty of seeing and hearing more than was required of him. I ought still to have kept quiet, trusting to the girl's tact to keep her troublesome suitor at bay; but, foolish young lover that I was, I could not control my indignant feelings, and my zeal precipitated matters. I took occasion to tell Captain Judd, in as calm a tone as I could command myself to use, that he was doing wrong in taking advantage of a defenceless girl, thus accidentally thrown upon his protection.

      "What do you know about it, boy?" said he, livid with passion. "Who appointed you her champion?"

      "The feeling that should never desert a gentleman," I replied. "Every man should be the champion of a woman in her present position."

      He raved and swore, threatening to put me in irons for mutiny; but I did not much fear that, for he had no proof of mutinous intentions on my part, and, besides, he knew as well as I, that any such course would at once put an end to all his hopes of success with Louise. He said something about his "right to kiss a pretty girl when he liked," which roused the ire within me to such a pitch, that, ignoring for the moment our relative positions, I threatened him with dire vengeance unless he ceased annoying her with his attentions, and told him he might consider me his mortal enemy from that hour. He was utterly astounded at my temerity, but took me at my word, nursing his revenge till he found an opportunity to gratify it.

      A day or two after this explosion, we lowered in pursuit of whales, I being in the second mate's boat. We struck a whale, and got a hole knocked in the boat's bottom, so that she filled and went down under us; but we had time to run the oars athwart the gunwales and lash them down, the lanyards being always ready for that purpose, so that while she floated level with the surface, she could not roll over. The captain came down and took off the crew, all but myself, leaving me to remain on the wreck and secure everything I could, keeping my waif set, while he went on board and worked the ship up, she being then not more than a mile and a half under my lee. I was not at all uneasy, although the whale had run to leeward with the other two boats, supposing, of course, the ship would keep her weather gage till the sunken boat was secured. I saw him go alongside, and veer his boat astern; soon afterwards the helm was put up, and the ship kept off for the fast boats! My heart sunk within me as I thought of the chances of her not being able to find me; for it was late in the afternoon, and I doubted as to the means of showing my whereabouts after nightfall. The lantern-keg was lashed under the stern sheets, and was, of course, under water. My first impulse was to cut it adrift and lash it on the loggerhead, so as to be above the surface, though the chances were in favor of the water having already penetrated it. Even now I had no thought of treachery on the captain's part; for, drunken and unprincipled as I knew him to be, I had never supposed it possible that he could abandon a man to a lingering death, merely to get him out of his way. I supposed another boat might have been stove, or some unlooked-for emergency occurred to leeward. If they killed the whale, I knew he could not take him alongside and then beat the ship up to me, though, it is true, he might send boats to windward to find me and take me off. No words can give an idea of my sensations as I realized that I was powerless in the matter, and could do nothing but sit where I was, in the most agonizing suspense.

      I saw the ship luff to again, being at least five miles to leeward of me, so that, from my low position at the surface of the sea, I could tell nothing of the boat's manoeuvres. I could make out, however, that she did not take the whale alongside, but again boarded her tacks and stood on a wind under all sail, evidently trying to beat up again. If I could get a light to set now, my chances were good. I seized the hatchet, and, sitting up on the loggerhead, knocked the head out of the keg, and found, as I expected, everything soaked with water. There was no means, then, of striking a light, and throwing everything in again, I went

154 How Tom Randolph found his Wife.

forward to replace the hatchet in the bow. As I did so, I perceived that one of the ceiling boards had washed adrift and floated up, exposing to view the hole in the boat’s bottom. Contrary to my expectations, it was a small and comparatively shapely hole, made by the corner of the whale’s flukes. It occurred to me that I might be able to stop it, so as to free the boat of water. With some pieces of canvas and ropeyarns, I made a wad, with which I plugged it quite securely, and then trimming the boat carefully, so as to keep both gunwales just above the surface, I commenced baling with the large bucket, and soon had the satisfaction to find I was gaining on her. At this I redoubled my exertions, and before dark I had the water nearly down to the thwarts. I paused to rest a little from my labors, and to take a look at the situation. The ship was hull down in the northern board, under all sail, sharp on a wind, and, if she went in stays at dark, would probably fetch nearly up to me on the other tack. The sky to windward was threatening, and indicated wind during the night. I soon went to work again baling, and made good progress; for my plug had now soaked so tightly into the hole, that the leakage was very small. I suppose I worked two hours after dark before I stopped to rest. The sky to windward was then more black and threatening than ever. Far away to leeward was a light appearance along the horizon, but no ship’s light could yet be seen, and the barometer of my hopes fell accordingly. I turned again anxiously to windward, thinking how I should weather the squall when it should burst upon me. I thought there was a spot in the gloom blacker than the rest – a pillar of darkness intensified as it were. It loomed larger and nearer – a rushing sound of waters was borne down to my ears on the night wind, and then a sailor’s cry, as of men hauling on some running gear. It flashed upon me – a ship! Yes, it was now assuming form and shape, as, with a fast beating heart, I grasped the fog-horn, raised it to my lips, and sounded a blast with all the concentrated power of lungs that I could summon. I was heard – there was a stir and rally of eager men as the black hull rushed by me within a few yards. I hailed in English, and was answered in French. I repeated my hail in that language; there was a rattling and fluttering of canvas as the ship was thrown short up into the wind – a light boat was soon nearing me, guided by the sound of my fog-horn, and a few minutes found me safe and well cared for on the deck of the French whaling barque Salamandre. My boat was abandoned, as the approaching bad weather would not admit of delay. Before leaving her, I pulled the plug out of her bottom, so as to allow her to fill again. The next day being thick and squally, nothing more was seen of the Glencoe.

      I found the Salamandre was to visit the Society Islands in a short time, to recruit. My situation was very pleasant on board, and I could have rejoiced at the change of quarters, had it not been for the separation from her I loved, and my anxiety about her. I had told Captain Gautier the simple story of my being left to take care of the boat till the ship worked up to me, but did not mention my quarrel with Captain Judd, nor even the fact of a lady passenger being on board.

      We made Huaheine a few weeks after this, and, looking in at the harbor, found a barque at anchor, which showed English colors. A single look with the telescope assured me that this was the Glencoe. I at once sought an interview with Captain Gautier, and told him the whole story, not concealing from him the deep interest I felt in the girl. I told him of the threats exchanged between the captain and myself, and hinted a suspicion that my situation when he picked me up was not altogether accidental. He heard me through, and then said, as he was bound to Tahiti, where most likely the girl’s father could be found, he would be glad to offer her a passage up in the ship. He did not think it probable that my captain meant to abandon me at sea; but the circumstances were suspicious, to say the least, and it was agreed that my rescue should be kept a secret from him.

      "It is probable," said Captain Gautier, "that the young lady is now on shore among the French officers, if, indeed, she has not already gone to Tahiti in one of the small craft. By the way, what did you say her name was? O, you have not yet told me!" said he, carelessly.

      "Louise Duchesne."

      The captain rose to his feet.

      "Duchesne!" he cried. "Is her father an officer on board the French flag-ship?"

      "Yes sir," I answered.

      "My own little niece, that I have not seen since she was a little fairy sprite of a child! I had heard, by letters, of my sister’s death, but knew nothing about Louise having left home to come out here. And I so near her! I must go ashore at once, and, if my darling

How Tom Randolph found his Wife. 155

is still here, I must have her on board, and take her up to her father."

      I went with the captain in his boat, being prepared with a disguise, so as not to be recognized by any of my old shipmates. We found a detachment of French troops here, and, on visiting the quarters of the commanding officer, we learned that Louise was then awaiting conveyance to Tahiti, having arrived only the day before. Not wishing to be known to her before her meeting with her uncle, I took a stroll in the cocoanut groves, and in my walk encountered Jack Magnus, one of my brother boat-steerers of the Glencoe, on a cruise alone. I knew Jack could be trusted, so I made myself known to him. He was delighted to see me, whom he had, of course, given up for dead, and we sat down under a tree, while Jack gave me a detailed account of matters on board after I had been left on the sunken boat.

      The vague suspicion that I had entertained of Captain Judd was correct, that he had meant to leave me to my fate; at least, such was his original intention. He had gone on board, and fortified himself well with liquor; had renewed his insulting attentions to his fair passenger, but she, being prepared, met him in a manner quite unlooked for. With a pistol at his ear, she convinced him that he could not "kiss a pretty girl when he liked," unless she liked too; and, the baffled ruffian retreated on deck, deferring his purpose for the present. He had then put the helm up, and run down to the fast boats; and while making his preparations for taking the whale alongside, his officers came on board and remonstrated against the risk which he would run in leaving me so far to windward, when night was coming on. The intoxicated captain tried bluster at first, swearing he would use his own judgment and be hanged to them all, and that he could beat the ship up to me with the whale fluked alongside. But, finding that from remonstrance they would proceed to open mutiny, as the indignation of all hands was roused to fever heat at his villany, he was fain to yield to circumstances, and was compelled to leave the whale and make all sail on the ship. Sail had been carried all night, and lights set at the gaff and in the rigging, but nothing was seen. Cruising over the same ground the next day, the boat was fallen in with, full of water, just as she was left, which satisfied every one that I had perished. From that hour a great change had come over the captain, who was justly looked upon as my murderer. He had drunk deeply to drown the gnawings of remorse, and, as his potations increased, his reason seemed to be leaving him; indeed, as Jack expressed it, he was all unstrung, and would soon be fit for nothing but Bedlam.

      Of course his suit with Mademoiselle Duchesne was at an end, while she, poor girl, had drooped every hour since the boat was found. Not even the arrival at Huaheine (for the mates had compelled Captain Judd to take the ship directly there), nor the prospect of speedy reunion with her beloved father, could rouse her from the apathy of despair into which she had fallen. "And it's my belief, Tom," said Magnus, "that the girl is sweet on you. If so, I think you’re a lucky dog, and I only wish it was me. I’m sure I’d meet her more than half way."

      All this was, of course, delightful news to me. I felt that the knowledge of my safety would "minister to a mind diseased," and bring back the roses to her cheeks. It was agreed that Jack should keep his own counsel for the present, saying nothing of having met me. There was no danger, he said, of my seeing Captain Judd for the day, as he had gone out on a boating cruise round to another village, and would not return before night.

      My meeting with Louise I will not attempt to describe. She had been prepared for it by her uncle’s story; but the dear girl could not disguise her feelings, and, before we left the commandant’s hospitable quarters to go on board the Salamandre, the words of love had been spoken from full hearts.

      As the sun was dipping, the Glencoe's boat was seen pulling along shore, with Captain Judd seated in the stern; and it was evident he meant to come alongside of us, knowing nothing, of course, of what had transpired, but wishing to learn what vessel it was. As he drew near, I reconnoitred from behind the rail; and even after all that Magnus had told me, I was unprepared for the ravages that drunkenness and remorse had made, for he appeared but the wreck of his former self. I now determined on a severe trial of his nerves, which was neither more nor less than to tend the side myself as he came on board. Permission was readily granted by the mate of the Salamandre, and I swung the manropes to him without fairly exposing myself to his view. He seized them with unsteady hands, and came staggering up the side ladder; he had nearly reached the rail, when, looking upward, he met my eyes fixed upon his, our

156 How Tom Randolph found his Wife.

faces close together. I can never forget while I live the change that passed over his features. His stony gaze was riveted for a moment upon me. "Great God!" said he; "the sea has given up its dead!" His grasp relaxed, and he fell with a heavy crash backward into his boat. His crew shoved off and pulled leisurely into the harbor, seeming to care very little whether he recovered or died; and that was the last I ever saw of Captain Judd, lying there in a fit. I heard that he died within a few weeks afterwards of delirium tremens, during the attacks of which he was constantly haunted by my spectre, sitting in the water on the sunken boat.

      Two days afterwards the Salamandre entered the beautiful bay of Papeete in Tahiti, and came to anchor directly under the guns of La Reine Blanche. A light cutter pulled alongside of us; the officer, a noble-looking, elderly gentleman, steps on deck; the musical cry, "Mon pere!" rings on my ears, and Louise Duchesne is pressed to the heart of her father. She had been mourned as lost; for no tidings had reached them from the Fontenoy since she had touched at Madeira. The Bucephale transport which sailed from France long afterwards, had experienced very heavy weather, but arrived out in safety.

      I was my own master during my stay at Tahiti, and to say that I was happy in the society of Louise and her father is but a slight expression of my feelings. M. Duchesne was duly informed of our attachment, and raised no objection to our union at the proper time, if we still continued both true to our first impulses, but advised me to follow up my profession for the present. I soon found an opening again under my own flag. The Hercules came in, bound to the northwest, and wanting a second officer. I secured this situation, and promised Louise, in the words of the old sea-song, that I would "bring back her parting kiss as pure as I received it." One season filled the ship, and, on our arrival home, I found my earnings to amount to a snug sum. One more voyage would place me well on my feet, and enable me to provide a home for my little French bride. I at once reshipped as mate of the same ship, with the understanding that she would stop at Tahiti before going North. I found Louise true to her promises, and more lovely than ever, but expecting to return to France soon, as the Reine Blanche was to be relieved by another frigate, which was shortly expected. Again we exchanged our vows of eternal truth, and parted; and once more good fortune attended me. We finished the voyage in twenty months, and I found letters awaiting me from Havre on my arrival. I broke the seal with a trembling hand. Louise was an orphan; she had found a home with her Uncle Gautier, the whaling captain, and was in receipt of a small pension; for M. Duchesne had fallen in a mountain skirmish with one of the unsubdued tribes at Tahiti, while gallantly heading a party of seamen and mariners from the frigate.

      The next day found me in New York, where I secured a passage in the Havre packet ship, just on the eve of sailing. I need not dwell upon our run across the Atlantic; the meeting with the dear girl who had been the guiding star of my career, or the voyage home in the same ship with her as Louise Randolph, my own, my wife for all time.

      My voyage in command of the old Hercules was a fortunate one; and if this be equally so, I shall be able to give up roving while still comparatively young. Our union has been one of great happiness, and I can only say to you again, 'Go and do likewise.'"

      And the captain, with his cheerful "goodnight," went below.

      "Mr. Bailey," said his wife, the next morning at breakfast, "what yarn was it that you and Tom were so interested in last night? Was it about what he picked up in the French transport?"

      I was obliged to confess that it was.

      "Yes," said she," but I'll warrant he didn’t tell you how he nearly lost his life in saving mine, when the boat capsized at Tahiti; nor how he preserved us all from destruction by fire on the Havre packet ship; nor how he has provided for good Uncle Gautier (who lost his leg by an accident), and made him comfortable for life; nor how – "

      "No indeed!" I answered; "he told me none of those things."

      "Ah!" said she, with a glance of pride at her husband, "Tom’s modesty will be his ruin yet. He has a true lawyer’s tact for telling a part of the truth."


Author: Macy, William Hussey
Title: How Tom Randolph Found his Wife.
Publication: Ballou's Monthly Magazine.
Vol/No/Date: Vol 28, No. 2 (Aug 1868)
Pages: 150-156

W. H. Macy