The Survivors of the Chancellor
Something About My Fellow Passengers
SEPTEMBER 30 to October 6. -- 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 freshen- ing
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 azure ground.
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 some- thing 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 de- jected 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 ex-
pression is one of caressing tenderness. It excites an invol- untary commiseration to learn
that M. Letourneur is con- suming himself by exaggerated reproaches on account of the
infirmity of an afflicted son.
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 unceas- ing; every
thought, every glance is for Andre; he seems to anticipate his most trifling wish, watches
his slightest move- ment, and his arm is ever ready to support or otherwise assist the child
whose sufferings he more than shares.
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, brighten- ing 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 re- marked.
"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."