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years' service, more than public servants ought
to have from the public purse? The Authorities
won't answer the question. After patient waiting,
the letter-carriers now beg to inquire if
public opinion will. There, for the present, the
matter rests.


"I WISH I could paint like that!" said a
voice high pitched and with a nasal drawl in it,
as I sat sketching among the highlands of the

"You take an interest in art?" said I,
dabbing away at my landscape, for I saw that the
man meant civilly.

"Art and nater!" answered the tall Yankee;
"art and nater! You're making a pretty view
of it, and so you had oughter, for 'tis an all-fired
location this; yes, 'tis. I guess you're an


"A Britisher born?"


"I know'd it. Them blues and whites air
neat, and like the real thing; the clouds is not
bad; but the water's the thing that shows gumption."

"You should be a judge of your own element,"
I answered, laughing, for I had already
settled my friend's calling, on a second glance at
his cornelian waistcoat buttons and his coral
breast-pin. "You have sailed over a good deal
of blue water in your time."

"Scalp me, stranger," said he, "but you're
right. We must be better acquainted, we must.
I haven't a card, stranger, but my name's Daniel
Coffin, of Providence, Mass., first mate of the
Bird of Freedom, clipper ship, lying down at
New York." And he held out his strong sunburnt
hand for me to shake.

Some more conversation followed. I found
my new friend, like most of his countrymen,
very inquisitive, though the questions he asked
were propounded with an apparent simplicity
that made them by no means offensive. It was
not enough for him to know my name and
profession. He was curious about my
antecedents, my travels, my habits, my prospects,
and the friends I had in America. "Tell
you what, sir," said he at last, "you kiender
took me in, first I spied you out. Something of
the soger officer about that individual, says I to
myself; something square about the carrying of
the shoulders and head, that a man who's knocked
about the world as I have, can't mistake. Mebbe,
thinks I, 'tis an engineer officer from West
Point, making tactical sketches. Have you
done a little in that line, sir, afore you took to
the brush?"

I owned that I had worn the Queen's colours,
and had sold out, after some years in Sydney
and Auckland, to escape the weariness of colonial
quarters, and the tardiness of promotion.

The first mate of the Bird of Freedom
asked no more questions. He began extolling
beyond measure the good qualities of
his skipper, Captain Malachi Hodgson. The
"cap'en" was a scholar, the "cap'en" was a
gentleman fit to pick mutton-chops at Windsor,
the " cap'en" could speak all languages, and had
been over the Italian picture-galleries and
museums, and was an antiquary, and a collector,
and what not. Nothing came amiss to this
extraordinary captain; he had autographs of
all the great or notorious of the earth, gems,
coins, medals, statuettes. Then, the personal
accomplishments of the commander were equal to
his possessions: he could sing and play, and
sketch, and model in wax and clay, and take
photographs, and lecture on chemistry. Now,
would I come and see the Bird of Freedom
when I came back to New York?

I faithfully promised that when I returned to
the city I would call on Daniel Coffin. And we
parted, excellently well pleased with each other.

Three weeks passed before, quitting the old
Dutch farm-house where I had boarded, I went
back to the Empire City. There, as I was one
day skimming the Herald, in a café, my eye fell
on the following advertisement: "CALIFORNIA
DIRECT. The splendid clipper ship, Bird of
Freedom. To sail on the 17th. For freight or
passage, apply, &c." The advertisement recalled
my enthusiastic friend, Mr. Coffin, and the
Admirable Crichton of a skipper whose praises he
had so loyally sounded, and I resolved to be as
good as my word, and to pay him a call. I found
that the ship had dropped down, and was lying
off Long Island. Hiring a pleasure pinnace, I
made the short voyage to her anchoring-ground,
and found reason to admit that the mate's eulogy
had not been much overstrained. The Bird of
Freedom was a magnificent vessel, nearly new,
and of immense tonnage. She was one of
those long, sharp-bowed, lofty-masted craft of
which Americans are so proud, and appeared,
as indeed she was, admirably designed for
speed. I could not help fancying, however,
that her build was better adapted for summer
seas and the trade winds, for quick runs, in fact,
under favourable circumstances, than for
buffeting to and fro in rough variable weather.
"A raal darlint, your honour," cried my tough
old Irish boatman, who had not in twenty years
dropped a note of his brogue; " she lies on the
say like a duck, and is as nate as if she'd a glass
shade over her." By this time we were alongside,
and a rough head, crowned by a Spanish
straw hat, was popped over the bulwarks, while
a harsh voice swore at us, and asked what we
wanted, that we scraped our boat's snout
against their keelson? I answered from the
stern-sheets, taking off my hat, "We were
merely admiring your fine vessel, but may I
ask whether you have on board a gentleman
who invited me to pay you a visit, I mean Mr.
Daniel Coffin?"

The second mate, who was our questioner,
acknowledged my salute by sulkily lifting his
own Panama, and replied, "Yes, I kalkilate
he air. Did you wish to come on board. You'll
find a clean side rope at the starboard gang.