The Survivors of the Chancellor HTML version
CHARLESTON, September 27, 1898. -- It is high tide, and three o'clock in the afternoon
when we leave the Battery quay; the ebb carries us off shore, and as Captain Huntly has
hoisted both main and top sails, the north- erly breeze drives the Chancellor briskly
across the bay. Fort Sumter ere long is doubled, the sweeping batteries of the mainland
on our left are soon passed, and by four o'clock the rapid current of the ebbing tide has
carried us through the harbor mouth.
But as yet we have not reached the open sea we have still to thread our way through the
narrow channels which the surge has hollowed out amongst the sand-banks. The captain
takes a southwest course, rounding the lighthouse at the corner of the fort; the sails are
closely trimmed; the last sandy point is safely coasted, and at length, at seven o'clock in
the evening, we are out free upon the wide At- lantic.
The Chancellor is a fine square-rigged three-master, of 900 tons burden, and belongs to
the wealthy Liverpool firm of Laird Brothers. She is two years old, is sheathed and
secured with copper, her decks being of teak, and the base of all her masts, except the
mizzen, with all their fittings, being of iron. She is registered first class, A 1, and is now
on her third voyage between Charleston and Liverpool. As she wended her way through
the channels of Charleston harbor, it was the British flag that was lowered from her mast-
head; but without colors at all, no sailor could have hesitated for a moment in telling her
nationality, -- for Eng- lish she was, and nothing but English from her water-line upward
to the truck of her masts.
I must now relate how it happens that I have taken my passage on board the Chancellor
on her return voyage to England.
At present there is no direct steamship service between South Carolina and Great Britain,
and all who wish to cross must go either northward to New York or southward to New
Orleans. It is quite true that if I had chosen a start from New York I might have found
plenty of vessels be- longing to English, French, or Hamburg lines, any of which would
have conveyed me by a rapid voyage to my destina- tion; and it is equally true that if I
had selected New Or- leans for my embarkation I could readily have reached Europe by
one of the vessels of the National Steam Naviga- tion Company, which join the French
transatlantic line of Colon and Aspinwall. But it was fated to be otherwise.