SEPTEMBER 30th to OCTOBER 6th.—The "Chancellor" is a rapid
sailer, and more than a match for many a vessel of the same
dimensions. She scuds along merrily in the freshening breeze,
leaving in her wake, far as the eye can reach, a long white line of
foam as well defined as a delicate strip of lace stretched upon an
The Atlantic is not visited by many gales, and I have every
reason to believe that the rolling and pitching of the vessel no
longer incommode any of the passengers, who are all more or less
accustomed to the sea. A vacant seat at our table is now very rare;
we are beginning to know something about each other, and our daily
life, in consequence, is becoming somewhat less monotonous.
M. Letourneur, our French fellow-passenger, often has a chat
with me. He is a fine tall man, about fifty years of age, with
white hair and a grizzly beard. To say the truth, he looks older
than he really is: his drooping head, his dejected manner, and his
eye, ever and again suffused with tears, indicate that he is
haunted by some deep and abiding sorrow. He never laughs; he rarely
even smiles, and then only on his son: his countenance ordinarily
bearing a look of bitterness tempered by affection, while his
general expression is one of caressing tenderness. It excites an
involuntary commiseration to learn that M. Letourneur is consuming
himself by exaggerated reproaches on account of the infirmity of an
Andre Letourneur is about twenty years of age, with a gentle,
interesting countenance, but, to the irrepressible grief of his
father, is a hopeless cripple. His left leg is miserably deformed,
and he is quite unable to walk without the assistance of a stick.
It is obvious that the father's life is bound up with that of his
son; his devotion is unceasing; every thought, every glance is for
Andre; he seems to anticipate his most trifling wish, watches his
slightest movement, and his arm is ever ready to support or
otherwise assist the child whose sufferings he more than
M. Letourneur seems to have taken a peculiar fancy to myself,
and constantly talks about Andre. This morning, in the course of
conversation, I said,—
"You have a good son, M. Letourneur. I have just been talking to
him. He is a most intelligent young man."
"Yes, Mr. Kazallon," replied M. Letourneur, brightening up into
a smile, "his afflicted frame contains a noble mind. He is like his
mother, who died at his birth."
"He is full of reverence and love for you, sir," I remarked.
"Dear boy!" muttered the father half to himself. "Ah, Mr.
Kazallon," he continued, "you do not know what it is to a father to
have a son a cripple, beyond hope of cure."
"M. Letourneur," I answered, "you take more than your share of
the affliction which has fallen upon you and your son. That M.
Andre is entitled to the very greatest commiseration no one can
deny; but you should remember, that after all a physical infirmity
is not so hard to bear as mental grief. Now, I have watched your
son pretty closely, and unless I am much mistaken there is nothing,
that troubles him so much as the sight of your own sorrow."
"But I never let him see it," he broke in hastily. "My sole
thought is how to divert him. I have discovered, that in spite of
his physical weakness, he delights in travelling; so for the last
few years we have been constantly on the move. We first went all
over Europe, and are now returning from visiting the principal
places in the United States. I never allowed my son to go to
college, but instructed him entirely myself, and these travels, I
hope, will serve to complete his education. He is very intelligent,
and has a lively imagination, and I am sometimes tempted to hope
that in contemplating the wonders of nature he forgets his own
"Yes, sir, of course he does," I assented.
"But," continued M. Letourneur, taking my hand, "although,
perhaps, HE may forget, I can never forget. Ah, sir, do you suppose
that Andre can ever forgive his parents for bringing him into the
world a cripple?"
The remorse of the unhappy father was very distressing, and I
was about to say a few kind words of sympathy when Andre himself
made his appearance. M. Letourneur hastened toward him and assisted
him up the few steep steps that led to the poop.
As soon as Andre was comfortably seated on one of the benches,
and his father had taken his place by his side, I joined them, and
we fell into conversation upon ordinary topics, discussing the
various points of the "Chancellor," the probable length of the
passage, and the different details of our life on board. I find
that M. Letourneur's estimate of Captain Huntly's character very
much coincided with my own, and that, like me, he is impressed with
the man's undecided manner and sluggish appearance. Like me, too,
he has formed a very favourable opinion of Robert Curtis, the mate,
a man of about thirty years of age, of great muscular power, with a
frame and a will that seem ever ready for action.
Whilst we were still talking of him, Curtis himself came on
deck, and as I watched his movements I could not help being struck
with his physical development; his erect and easy carriage, his
fearless glance and slightly contracted brow all betokened a man of
energy, thoroughly endowed with the calmness and courage that are
indispensable to the true sailor. He seems a kind-hearted fellow,
too, and is always ready to assist and amuse young Letourneur, who
evidently enjoys his company. After he had scanned the weather and
examined the trim of the sails, he joined our party and proceeded
to give us some information about those of our fellow-passengers
with whom at present we have made but slight acquaintance.
Mr. Kear, the American, who is accompanied by his wife, has made
a large fortune in the petroleum springs in the United States. He
is a man of about fifty, a most uninteresting companion, being
overwhelmed with a sense of his own wealth and importance, and
consequently supremely indifferent to all around him. His hands are
always in his pockets, and the chink of money seems to follow him
wherever he goes. Vain and conceited, a fool as well as an egotist,
he struts about like a peacock showing its plumage, and to borrow
the words of the physiognomist Gratiolet, "il se flaire, il se
savoure, il se goute." Why he should have taken his passage on
board a mere merchant vessel instead of enjoying the luxuries of a
Transatlantic steamer, I am altogether at a loss to explain.
The wife is an insignificant, insipid woman, of about forty
years of age. She never reads, never talks, and I believe I am not
wrong in saying, never thinks. She seems to look without seeing,
and listen without hearing, and her sole occupation consists in
giving her orders to her companion, Miss Herbey, a young English
girl of about twenty.
Miss Herbey is extremely pretty. Her complexion is fair and her
eyes deep blue, whilst her pleasing countenance is altogether free
from that insignificance of feature which is not unfrequently
alleged to be characteristic of English beauty. Her mouth would be
charming if she ever smiled, but exposed as she is to the
ridiculous whims and fancies of a capricious mistress, her lips
rarely relax from their ordinary grave expression. Yet humiliating
as her position must be, she never utters a word of open complaint,
but quietly and gracefully performs her duties accepting without a
murmur the paltry salary which the bumptious petroleum-merchant
condescends to allow her.
The Manchester engineer, William Falsten, looks like a thorough
Englishman. He has the management of some extensive hydraulic works
in South Carolina, and is now on his way to Europe to obtain some
improved apparatus, and more especially to visit the mines worked
by centrifugal force, belonging to the firm of Messrs. Cail. He is
forty-five years of age, with all his interests so entirely
absorbed by his machinery that he seems to have neither a thought
nor a care beyond his mechanical calculations. Once let him engage
you in conversation, and there is no chance of escape; you have no
help for it but to listen as patiently as you can until he has
completed the explanation of his designs.
The last of our fellow-passengers, Mr. Ruby, is the type of a
vulgar tradesman. Without any originality or magnanimity in his
composition, he has spent twenty years of his life in mere buying
and selling, and as he has generally contrived to do business at a
profit, he has realized a considerable fortune. What he is going to
do with the money, he does not seem able to say: his ideas do not
go beyond retail trade, his mind having been so long closed to all
other impressions that it appears incapable of thought or
reflection on any subject besides. Pascal says, "L'homme est
visiblement fait pour penser. C'est toute sa dignite et tout-son
merite;" but to Mr. Ruby the phrase seems altogether