The Survivors of the Chancellor HTML version
An Unusual Route
OCTOBER 7. -- This is the tenth day since we left Charles- ton, and I should think our
progress has been very rapid. Robert Curtis, the mate, with whom I continue to have
many a friendly chat, informed me that we could not be far off the Bermudas; the ship's
bearings, he said, were lat. 32 deg. 20' N. and long. 64 deg. 50' W. so that he had every
reason to believe that we should sight St. George's Island before night.
"The Bermudas!" I exclaimed. "But how is it we are off the Bermudas? I should have
thought that a vessel sail- ing from Charleston to Liverpool, would have kept north- ward,
and have followed the track of the Gulf Stream."
"Yes, indeed, sir," replied Curtis, "that is the usual course; but you see that this time the
captain hasn't chosen to take it."
"But why not?" I persisted.
"That's not for me to say, sir; he ordered us eastward, and eastward we go."
"Haven't you called his attention to it?" I inquired.
Curtis acknowledged that he had already pointed out what an unusual route they were
taking, but that the cap- tain had said that he was quite aware what he was about. The
mate made no further remark; but the knit of his brow, as he passed his hand
mechanically across his forehead, made me fancy that he was inclined to speak out more
"All very well, Curtis," I said, "but I don't know what to think about trying new routes.
Here we are at the 7th of October, and if we are to reach Europe before the bad weather
sets in, I should suppose there is not a day to be lost."
"Right, sir, quite right; there is not a day to be lost."
Struck by his manner, I ventured to add, "Do you mind, Curtis, giving me your honest
opinion of Captain Huntly?"
He hesitated a moment, and then replied shortly, "He is my captain, sir."
This evasive answer of course put an end to any further interrogation on my part.
Curtis was not mistaken. At about three o'clock the look-out man sung out that there was
land to windward, and descried what seemed as if it might be a line of smoke in the
northeast horizon. At six, I went on deck with M. Letourneur and his son, and we could
then distinctly make out the low group of the Bermudas, encircled by their formidable
chain of breakers.