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About The Oregon scout. (Union, Union County, Or.) 188?-1918 | View This Issue
L U4BA BELLE LEE.
A ROMANCE OF THE SEA.
"Written for Tub i-'coi-T, by C. P. Hinckley.
T(T)T E left the "Clara Belle Lee," on
y y May 5, lSf0, lying with her
main topsail aback and the
wheel lashed down, wilh three large
sperm whales alongside, to be cut in
and tried out on the following morn
ing. At the first sign of lawn tho crew
were nil on deck. Hot cofleo was
served out' by the cook and steward,
and tho business of cutting in com
menced. The chase and capture of
whales is line sport, but the cutting in
and trying out is hard, disagreeable
By 7 a. m. on tho morning of the
Gth, wc had one of our whales cut in
and the body cast adrift. Wo stood
watching the immense carcass as it
slowly drifted astern. Old Bill Fran
cis heaved a sigh as ho watched it dis
appear, and said :
"If I only had that carcass beached
on the Shimo shore at Nantucket, I
would have sonio money."
"Yes, Bill," answered Mr. Hussey,
"and marry the widow Chase, hey?"
"Oh I don't know about that," an
swered Bill. "Tho widow and I do not
speak now as wc pass by."
"Well, Bill, you must keep up a good
heart, for if we make a groat voyage
you will have money enough then, and
I may yet sec you rolling down Or
ango street, dressed up to kill, with a
girl on each arm wing and wing
with stunsails out aloft and alow, and
the widow Chase looking out of her
window, green with envy, wishing the
had not given you the mitten."
"Darn her eyes!" roared outold Bill,
"she never gave me the mitten ! I left
her and went and shipped on this
bloody old hooker."
After the laugh was over at Bill's
excitement on tho tender subject of
tho widow Chase, Mr. Hussey said:
"Well, Hill, that is the report or. the
island, that she tired you. But what
was the trouble, anyway? You were
escorting her around last winter, and
ever body said you were about to mar
ry."" "That is all people know about it,"
said Bill as ho slowly fished out from
the depth of his pocket a long eel skin
purse, and after hauling out numerous
articles, at last found what he wanted
a note written in a lady's hand and as
he presented it to Mr. Hussey, growled
out: "Read that, sir. That infernal
note - was the commencement of all
Mr. Hussey took the note and read:
Dukk William : Do you love mo as
much as yon did at u quarter to twelve last
night? Say vou do. dearest, and it will
give me spirit to ko down and tackle those
cold beans left over from yesterday.
We all roared with laughter as Mr.
Hussey finished reading the note.
Old Bill was mad at our mirth, and
tho angrier ho became tho more it
made us laugh, lie was shedding his
linen preparatory to "put a head on
some of us," as he expressed it, when
Captain Collin, who had managed to
command his countenanco better than
some of us, spoko up and said:
"Bill, no fighting, or I will stop your
watch below. Come, tell us what an
swer you mado to the widow's letter."
"Very well, sir. I mean no disre
spect; hut those darn young horse
marines referring to us youngsters
havo no respect for their elders. I an
swered back :
Duau Si-sax: I do, Tackle them beans.
And she tackled them with such
effect that she was sick for a week,
in soro distress from indigestion. The
beauty of it was she laid it all to me,"
growled old Bill, "an' allowed that if
I had not told her to go for the beans
she would not have como so near dy
ing. How did I know she was such a
hog?" said Bill. "However, wo patched
up our differences and everything went
on smoothly until about ton days ago.
We had set up, courting, tho widow
and I, on that night until about 12 p.
in., when on leaving her homo I fell
down tho long front steps, in tho dark
ness, and severely cut myself with a
daguerreotypo picture of tho widow
that I carried in my hip pants pocket.
I struck on this, in a sitting posture.
When I found out what hurt mo so, I
was so mad I could not 6pcak. The
widow came to tho door with a light to
seo if I had killed mysolf. But when
she found where I carried her picture
sho was so angry with me she would
not spoak, and went into tho house,
slamming tho door behind her. I have
not seen tho widow 6ince. I went
down to Dr. King's and rung him up,
and paid him a fancy price to pick
out tho pieco. Tho next morning I
shipped as an A. B. on board of tho
01am Belle Leo and here I am. for
better or worse, and tho widow can go
to tho devil."
Wo were all much amused at Bill's
courtship. The captain spoke up and
"Let tho men havo their breakfast,
Mr. Swain, before cutting iu another
whale ; and, steward, give Bill a cake,
a whole cake and pic, for ho certainly
takes the enke, with his confounded
love yarns." J
After breakfast things were lively on
board of tho ship. The fires were
started in the tryworks and the thick
black smoke from tho fire, made by
burning scraps of tryed out blubber,
hung like a pall over the ship until a
light puff of wind would carry it oh"
down to leeward.
A new whale was under the gang
way; twenty men at the windlass heav
ing in the long heavy blanket pie
ces; old Bill Francis doing nothing
but sitting on the windla s bitts,
singing shanties sea songs with the
whole windlass orew roating hi on the
chorus; the long, ponderous yards of
tho ship, with the sails hanging in fes
toons from the yards by the buntlines
and clewlines; the squeaking of the
mincing machine ; the fires snapping
and cracking under the pots; the
hoarse commands of tho ollicors; the
noise of the saws of tho carpenters; the
ring of the coopci's hammers, as they
walked around tho jmmensooak casks,
driving on tho iron hoops solid before
filling them with oil; men at the after
hatch breaking out between decks to
to make room for the oil ; the after
part of tho ship lumbered up with
casks of water and provisions taken
from the hold, all combined to make a
picture, onco witnessed, never to be
The sharks were around the ship,
feeding on the whales. Hundreds of
them. All sorts and sizes, from the
immense bone shark, thirty feet long,
to tho smaller blue shark, shovel-noso
sharks, man caters and ground sharks.
All were there, filled to repletion, ly
ing with their snouts thrust out of the
water onto the sides of tho whales,
with no sign of life about them. Not
a fin would move. They laid quiet
and still, full as a tick with blubber,
their cold, fishy, deadly eyes stareing
you straight in tho eye, without a
blink. I stared at one big fellow until
he commenced to sfacinate me and 1
had to withdraw my eye from his or I
verily believe I should have jumped
overboard to him. Tho little sucking
fish, which his a curious apparatus on
the crown of its head, by means of
which it can fix itself firmly to any
other body, designed by the Creator,
to give this little fish the means of
resting when tired, is quite a curiosity.
Just think of the felicity of liis being
able to cuddle down cosily on the back
of a whale and when ho wakes up
from his comfortable nap, to find him
self at his journey's ends The pilot
fish, jwho swims under the shark, were
there, joining in tho revel a regnlar
Tim Finnigan's wake.
"S-a-i-1 0-h!" was sung out from the
"Whero away?" was hailed from the
"Off' the weather quarter, sir," came
back the answer from aloft.
"Heave away lively, boys, at that
windlass," sang out Capt. Collin, "the
sooner wc get tho jackets off them the
sooner wo can make sail for Berinun
da, and lay in our supply of potatoes
"Yes," said Mr. Chadwick, "and see
the Bermunda girls, hey, Bill?"
"No women for me, Mr. Chadwick.
They will not do," said old Bill. "Tho
bible, Mr. Chadwick, says that woman
was the last thing that God made, and
he did not make her until Saturday
night, and then was in such a hurry to
finish her that ho make her out of a
rib. Anybody can co how tired he
"The widow Chase has soured you
on women, Bill, I can seo plainly,"
said Mr. Hussey. "Now for my part,
considering tho material God had to
work wilh, I think he did a vory good
job when he made woman."
"That is a whale ship, sir, up to
windward," sang out tho lookout aloft,
'and sho is running off for us."
Soon we could see her from tho
deck, a largo four-boat ship, painted
white, and looming largo on tho hori
zon, a noble sight, indeed. She was
evidently bent on Bpcaking us. Cloth
by cloth tho canvass whitened the
yards as sho drew nearer to us, moun
ted the stays and arched liko tho pin
ions of sea birds from tho bowsprit and
jiboooms until tho ship in tho keen
brilliant sunshine showed as a surface
of snow, with some of the iridcsccnsc
of foam in her glittering complexion,
from tho line of gold on her milk
white sides, to whero tho littlo royals
rounded, yearning from under tho
shining buttoons of tho truck; her
top gallant forcastlo black with men
watching us and evidently oxcited by
our having whales alongside; her offi
cers standing on the quartci deck and
in the waist; her captain sitting in the j
starboard boat with his speaking trum- j
pet in hand. Our captain was stand- j
ing by tho wheel house, trumpet in I
hand. Mr. Swain was standing by his I
sido with the ship's spyglass leveled J
on tho rapidly approaching ship.
"They havo all negroes forward, sir,"
he said at last.
"Well," answered Captain Coffin, "it
must be one of Joe Stni buck's ships
then, for he ships negroes if obtaina- j
"That is the 'Mogul,' sir, Captain j
Veedcr," sang out Mr. Hussey. j
"I know her now. She sailed from !
Nantucket last September, before this 1
ship was launched from the railways." I
The "Mogul" soon swept gracefully
by our stern, about forty feet oil.
"Ship ahoy 1 What ship is that?"
came sounding through tho trumpet
with a roar. i
"Tho 'Clara Belle Lec.'of Nantuck
et, Coinn," answered our captain
through his trumpet. "I hope I see
you well, Captain Veedcr."
"Very well, 1 thank you. How is
"Very well, thank you. Will you
come on board, Capt. Vccder?"
"Not now; some other time," an
swered the ''Mogul's" captain. "1 seo
you have been at it. Which way did
the whales go?"
"Down to leeward" answered Capt.
By this time the "Mogul" had swept
by us and it was hard to understand
"How long are you out from homo?"
roared Capt. Vccder.
"Four days out liOO bbls. sperm,"
answered Capt. Coffin.
The answer seemed to surprise those
on board the "Mogul." Wo could seo
them talking together, and as Capt.
Veedcr stepped out of his boat onto
his ship's deck, he swung his trumpet
at us, and his answer was :
"Bully for you!"
They had only taken li0 bbls. of oil
in seven months, though they made a
good voyage later on.
"As the "Mogul" sailed off' down to
leeward of us we stirred our lires vig
orously and hurried her up in the
thick black smoke from our tryworks
"to grease her up a little for luck"
as Mr. Hussey expressed it.
By one o.clock in tho afternoon our
whales were cut in and the carcasses
cast loose from tho ship. All sail was
made and wo squared away for Ber
munda. The wind had raised through
the day and it was now blowing quito
hard, and a heavy soa running. The
"Mogul" was still in sight, far down to
"Tho 'Mogul' is maneuvering down
there as though sho saw whales," was
roared out from aloft.
"Keep tho ship oft' for her, Mr.
Swain," sang out Capt. Collin. "Stew
ard, bring me my glass," and, taking
his spyglass lrom tho steward's hand,
he slung it over his shoulder by the
lanyard attached, and hurried up the
mizz.cn rigging, whore, sitting with his
legs thrown over tho niizzon topmast
crosstrees, he looked long and steadily
at the "Mogul," almost hull down to
leeward. "Her boats aro down," at
last said Captain Collin, "and pulling
towards us, but I seo no whales. Ah,
r.ow 1 do!" ho exclaimed, "a lone whale
coming right for us, threo miles off'.
Crack all sail on ship, Mr. Swain!
Work lively, boys, or those niggers will
get that whale before our eyes, and
that will bo a fine yarn to go back
home. Tho Nantucket girls will all
throw off on you if that thing happens,
so work lively !"
Tho ship was soon under a cloud of
canvass, thrashing through it at a live
ly rate, tho water raising in foam to
our hawser holes as wo Hew through
the angry seas, and wo very soon less
oned tho distance between us and the
"Mogul." In a vory short time we
could see the whale from the deck,
coming to windward, with tho "Mo
gul's" boats trailing along a bhort dis
tance, behind, their crows working
hard at their oars. Ono of tho boats
was some distance ahead of the oth
ers, and very close to the whale, but
not gaining on him much.
"Let tho Hhip como to the wind,"
roared out Captain Coffin from aloft.
"Bank tho fires in tho tryworks. Hoist
and swing tho boats, and work lively
or they will havo tliat whale. Mr.
Swain, you need not lower. Mr. Chad
wick, lower away tho boats and try
hard to cut out that whule?"
"Ayo, aye, sir," answered Mr. Chad
wick, and tho boats were lowered and
away from tho ship in no time
It was blowing heavy. Tno boats
put two reefs in their sails and dashed
down towards tho whalo, coming about
ono rnilo off', head on. Wo watched
them from tho ship with breathless
"They havo mado a mistake, Capt,
Coffin," sang out Mr. Swain to Capt.
Coffin, aloft. "They will not get thero
before tho 'Mogul's' boat. They should
havo braced their boats masts with
their short warps, and carried all sail."
"I b'jlicvo you are right, Mr. Swain,"
said Capt. Collin, anxiously. "Lower
away in your boat and sec if you can
get there. Hut be careful, it is dan
gerous work going down, head on, to
that whale in ihe breeze and sea."
"Aye, ayo, sir. 1 will be careful."
and the larboard boat dropped into the
Then was seen the nnson why Mr.
Swain ranked so high as an ollicer and
Wiialeman. Ho was quick to think
and act, always showing good judg
ment and nervo on trying occasions.
Wo fastened a short warp to tho head
of our boat mast and hauled it down
taught and fastened it to a boat thwart
making tho mast as stone again, set
our boat sail with no iwfs iu it, shoved
out our jib to windward on a boat
hook, and went scudding away after
our boats, wing and wing, Hying through
tho water at a fearful rate, over one
sea and through another. In two
minutes wo were as wet as though wo
had fallen overturn d and all hands
bailing out water that poured into the
boat in sheets. At times it seemed as
though we would ilivo her under en
tirely. But thogo Nantucket made
whalo boats the world can't beat for ;
safety and buoyancy. They are regu
lar life boats. Our stoutoak boat mast
swayed and bent under the tremen
dons press of sail we were carrying,
and wo thought every minute it would
go by the board; but thanks to our
foresight iu staying our mast with our
short warp, it held fast. The strain on
the boat was fearful. Cracks opened
in her sides and the water came in,
but still wc held on. I glanced up at
Mr. Swain and could see by tho ex
pression of his face, tho closely shut
mouth, tho glare of his eye and by tho
look of stern determination on his
countenance that we would get (hero
or go down. But, still, it was any
body's whalo. One of tho "Mogul's"
boats was very close to the whale and
gaining all the time. Tho large six
foot buck niggers were laying hack on
their oars manfully, their ollicer at his
steering oar, with his hat. oil' and heav
ing on the aft oarsman's oar with all
his strength, to help his boat along,
swearing at his men ono minute and
begging them tho next, to pull hard.
Soon wo were up with our own boats,
who, seeing thoy had no show of get
ting thero, let lly their sheets and
came to the wind, watching us. All
rivalry was forgotten. in the face of such
incomparable seamanship, and thoy
swung their hats and let out a tremen
dous shout, and yelled and yelled
again, to cheer and encourage us on
as the heavy waves, hissing and
lifting away, fell in shoots like satin
from tho sharp stem of our boat. Our
boatsteerer crouched in tho bow. Mr.
Swain stood liko a figure of iron at tho
steering oar ; tho rest of us linn on
thwarts, with faces looking forward at
tho rapidly coining whale, with coun
tenances hardened into stone, knitted
brows and every musclo swelled and
sot. Our larboard boat Hew by. Not a
glance did wo direct at our boats wo
had no time A slight wave of Mr.
Swain's hand, in acknowledgement of
this cheer, was all.
"I believe that is a whito whalo,
Clay," said Mr. Swain and it proved
so. White whales aro rare and usually
alono and very ugly. The aro not
white but ot a lead color. "Stand up,
Clay, and get your iron ready. Keep
cool, my boy, and do not get excited.
Got both irons in if you can. If you
boys jump overboard you can stay
there for I will not pick you up."
And tho boys in innocence believed
him, and stayed with tho boat as long
as thero was any boat to stay with
liko good fellows.
Tho "Mogul's" boats, seeing thoy
had no show, slapped tho water with
thoir oars to scare tho whalo, but thoy
wero too lato, for wo dashed alongside
of that whalo in no time, and Clay sent
both irons into his body to tho scu
scing. Our boat mast snapped short
off' as wo fastened to tho whalo, and wo
were buried up in tho folds of tho fal
len canvas, it bothered us badly. If
tho whale had sounded or rim wo
should havo had to cut loose from him.
But ho had no intention of running,
not he. When he felt tho irons ho
stopped quickly, lifted his hoad out of
tho water, showing his long rows of
ivory teeth, and cutting his immense
flukes away from us with a savago
sweep, brought them back again to
wards us with a rush and whirl of
water, knocking our beautiful larboard
boat into kindling wood in no timo,
killing Clay and the tub oarsman or
sinking thorn so that thoy novor rose
to tho surface, for wo novor saw them
again and loft tho rest of us swim
ming for doar life towardaour our oth
er boats coming rushing down to our
(JONTtNOKI) ON fii:0ON) I'AGt;.
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And None but the
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KvervtlihiR in the Millinery Line Constantly on Hand. Al-o ni'imiii' A" .rtnu-nt of
Ladies' Rflisses' and OhilcSrens' Shoes.
Trices Clieititor than any other house in the county. Call and be Convimvd.
Mrs. L. B. Rinchart,
aSF-Ksgs, lSuttcr and Wood taken in trade. Main Street. n on, Or.
1 ! H
sr. V2. cja-uvsuivii, lessee.
The facilities having been ineroaed by tho additi of n fine -i- "ttmrn' of
new typo and a large invoice of the tlncM papers an material, ls ii"v I 'ttor
prepared to execute
TZHZIEl ZETIjSTTEIST WOZE&K:
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Letter Heads, Circulars, Business CanK
Hill Heads, Envelopes, Society -Card.-,
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Legal Hlanks, Ticlcuts, Weddin.: C.rds,
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You can get them at The Scout Job Office.
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Just Received, Direct from the East, a Largo Invoice of LADIES' and
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Also a Fine Assortment of
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My Prices will suit Hie times. Drop in and see mo.
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The Centennial Hotel,
Leading Hotel of Eastern Oregon!
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