9. Barrie & Barrie/Loafing




R. Barrie & G. Barrie


George Barrie, Jr.

They sat them down by the dark red
And all at once they cried, "Cut to the hone
Down through the juicy meat."
Their eyes with hunger shone.
    -- with apologies to Alfred.

A FEW minutes before four o'clock, in gray of the balmy morning of May 27, 1904, the yawl Irex slipped out of the club basin. On board were the Slave and the Owner.

The wind was light southerly, dead ahead for getting out, so the Slave manned the small boat, a Delaware River gunning skiff in which we could set a small spritsail. Once clear of the pierheads and some of the smaller craft, which were anchored close in, he came on board and we set up on the mainsail and ran up the jib. Under these we worked out of the fleet and then set staysail and mizzen.

Tide ebb with about three hours to run.

When off Chester Island and while admiring a fine sunrise over the Jersey marshes, the breeze shifted to southwest and freshened, so that we thoroughly enjoyed the brisk beat, in the cool of the early morning, to Marcus Hook, six miles down. There the wind began to lighten, and soon the changing tide compelled us to anchor off Edgemoor. The cornbread having been started we did not have to wait long for breakfast. Left the mainsail up, as both wind and tide were bound the same way.

After breakfast (I cook and the Slave washes the dishes), I set to the pump, as I had flushed the tanks last weekend, and the man at the club had neglected to pump her out during the week. Then we hoisted the small boat, or ducker, as we usually called her, on deck, by means of a short spar, the butt of which rested against the skylight and the outboard end was supported by the peak halyard; from this a tackle was hooked on at the bow, while another at the end of the boom, which was shoved over, was hooked to the stern. This operation did not take long, and was far easier on both boats than dragging the small one over the rail.

The breeze gradually hauled, until by nine o'clock it was northwest, and apparently strong enough for us to beat the tide, so we got under way, setting sprit topsail and big jib topsail, and had a fine sail to the New Castle Range Lights, where we shortened sail on account of the draft caused by a squall which passed to the southwest of us. The Slave was at the tiller, so I prepared to lower the jib topsail. After casting off the halyard I wondered why it would not come down, but on looking aloft discovered I had, by mistake, cast off the topsail halyard, so I got the latter on deck and then tackled the one I had intended.

By this time we were getting near Delaware City and had also to take in the lower sails. Shot into the lock at noon under mizzen and jib. Passed our seven-fifty over the counter of the canal office and worked over to the siding, where we were informed that mules were no longer used for towing purposes, and that we would have to wait for a tug which was coming from the other end, lunched, made some purchases, and then watched the Savarona, a sixty-foot w.l. schooner belonging to a member of the club, lock in and pass on through under her own power.





About two o'clock the tug appeared, and after some time spent in making up the tow, which consisted of a small float loaded with piling, a small Bay schooner, manned by gentlemen of color, and ourselves; the caravan moved up the narrow canal. Terribly slow work and hard steering, as the float wagged from side to side like a dog's tail. After passing the narrowest part of the deep cut, we got a boy from the schooner to come on board and steer for us while we polished off a large roast of beef. Chesapeake City we reached about six-thirty, and there we found Savarona and Irolita, the latter having gone through early in the morning, waiting for our tug to tow them down Back Creek. Locked out at dusk, and soon all were strung out on our way down the creek.

Anchored in the Elk River at eight-thirty, clear and cool, with moon just rising. Prospects for a fine run tomorrow.

Up at four o'clock the next day, and were terribly disgusted to see almost a flat calm; a northwest breath rippled the water of the northern shore, and a southeaster that of the southern shore, with first one way and then the other where we were. Had breakfast and got under way; made half a mile by six-thirty, then had to anchor on account of flood tide. Shaved and fussed around; then came a little heavier breath from the southeast, so we up anchor. At nine o'clock we were at Town Point wharf, a mile and a half from our night's anchorage.

The Savarona came along under power towing the Irolita and very kindly took us in tow. Passed Turkey Point at ten o'clock, where the Irolita cast off and began to beat against a light southwest wind, but we held on. Howell's Point was passed at eleven-fifteen; we were being pulled along at nearly a seven knot clip. Lunched on cold roast beef and graham bread. By twelve-thirty we were at Worton's, and an hour later were a little above Swan Point. Wind freshening, shifting to the south, the owner of the Savarona called to us that they were going to make sail and would tow us all the way to Annapolis. They stood on the port tack for about twenty minutes then came about. The engine was still going, and when the sails filled she would start off with a jump that would nearly lift us out of the water. Three times we came about, and on the fourth our line parted, which was a good thing, as the bowsprit or the bits might have soon gone instead. Wind light and shifty, set sprit topsail and passed two schooners beating down toward the entrance to the Chester River. The Savarona soon left us, and by four o'clock we could see her, well heeled over, down below Sandy Point, evidently having a fine breeze while we stood up like a church and jumped about.

When opposite the Magothy we decided to run in there for the night, but soon changed our minds and concluded to make one job of it. Passed Sandy Point at seven-thirty, having had a fine breeze for the last half hour, and the Slave went below to cook beefsteak and potatoes. I could hear curses coming up and could see the swinging table nearly turning somersaults. Soon he came up insisting that I should eat first; so I jumped below, and between swings managed to gulp down considerable and was soon back on deck. Breeze gradually lightening, passed the red can off Greenberry about eight-thirty, as we could just make it out; eased off sheets to run into the harbor. Nearly got aground just inside the light, we had the correct course, but had turned in a little too soon. Anchored off the piling to the eastward of the shipyard, saw Dimphel's Panola anchored off Burtis's. Turned in dead tired, as we had had a long day.

Cleaned house Sunday morning, and after lunch we started to sail up the Severn in the small boat, but on account of a strong southeast breeze and considerable fuss we turned tail and headed for just inside Horn Point, where we landed at a small pier, made some photographs and walked up on the bluff to the westward of the point, where the view was fine; quite a surf rolling in on the beach; the Bay was beautiful, a deep dark blue; several small boats under sail were dashing to and from the two battleships at anchor in the Roads. We sat admiring the scene for some time, then went on board, put on "store clothes," and went to post some letters and to call on a friend in the town.

After breakfast, the next morning, we took the awning over to Heller, the sailmaker, to get it repaired, as the strong wind of the day before had torn it. From the yard we sailed over to the city dock, landing at the shop of a builder of bateaux, where, after considerable picking over of stock, we purchased a twenty-five-foot spar for a dollar and a half, had it cut to fifteen feet, then he dressed it down, and we sandpapered it. This was for a sprit topsail yard, as the one then in use was too light. Went on board and put a coat of varnish on the new spar. When lunch was over we tumbled into the small boat for a sail up the Severn, had a nice west wind. Looked into several small creeks having twelve or fifteen feet of water in them. The scenery is very pretty up this river; the high, heavily wooded shores are every half mile indented with a deep, narrow creek, which is about half a mile long; at the head, or about four miles from Annapolis, it opens out to a beautiful stretch of water called Round Bay. We sailed for a little more than a mile, then made for home to put on the roast. Harbor full of torpedo boats; the Hartford was there, and a couple of monitors were anchored off the Academy, as the cadets were to start on their cruise in a few days.

Next day, we went ashore to hear the band at the Academy, but we were too late. After lunch, landed at the yard with the window frames of the skylight for the purpose of scraping them, as they had become badly blistered. Very peaceful sitting under the trees; a schooner and small bugeye on the ways for repairs. After scraping the frames we made a long tiller for the ducker out of a piece of three-quarter-inch oak. About five o'clock it looked like a squall, so we went on board and set the rain awning, had dinner, and wrote letters, after which we turned in.

Up at six o'clock, June 1st, breakfasted; hurried ashore to post office and market, then made a beeline for the Academy determined to be in time for the band playing. Were again too late, but we noticed everyone going to the Santee wharf so we joined the procession. On reaching the wharf the visitors went on board the government tug Standish, while the cadets boarded torpedo boats, monitors, a submarine, and a couple of captured Spanish gunboats. We asked what it was all about, and we were informed there was to be target practice out in the Bay. An officer asked if we were from the yacht in the harbor, and said we could board the tug if we liked. Thanked him and jumped aboard. Outside, the fleet scattered, but the tug kept near the monitor, which was firing at two targets; she succeeded in hitting each once, firing about two dozen shots. The Holland did diving, but we were too far off to see much of the performance. Returned to the Academy about twelve o'clock, and stopped at McCusker's office to have a chat.

The afternoon was consumed in another trip ashore and fixing up the topsail yard. Made a lacing which was left on the sail, so that to put the sail on the yard all we had to do was to slip the loops of the lacing over one end of the yard and stretch the sail, making fast at each end, thus allowing the sail, when not in use, to be kept below and the yard in the rigging.

Intended to run around to South River today, but as it was raining quite heavily and we had the rain awning set, we decided to stay where we were. After breakfast and the usual cleaning up we started to polish the binnacle and the brasses below, such as skylight quadrants, locker door catches, etc.; and from nine until twelve thirty we kept at it and then did not have it all done. In the afternoon we went ashore to the post office and stores for provisions. On the way back stopped at the Panola, found Dimphel had been ill all day from too many plates of ice cream the day before. After supper we repaired some of the fenders which had been damaged in the canal.

Next morning we were up at six o'clock, as it looked like clearing, and there being a light northerly air we decided to start; so I stowed the rain awnings while the Slave went ashore for ice. When he got back I had set the mainsail and was getting the topsail ready. Were soon under way. Wind very light, sometimes not any. Drifted across the harbor, saw boat and launch drill, then decided not to go out, as there was no wind and it looked like more rain, so we managed to drift back to our old anchorage. No sooner got the anchor down than it looked like clearing, but we were not to be tempted as there were all the signs of a muggy, windless day. Hung up rain awnings to dry, which made her look like a Chinese junk. Went over to the yard, scrubbed the ducker inside and out, came back, had lunch, and again to the yard for some small blocks of wood to put under the spare anchor which lay on deck. Wandered around, made photographs, sniffed the tar and copper paint. There is nothing like the smell of these for keeping up the "fever," especially on a warm, sunny day in the early spring. By two o'clock the sun was shining brightly and there was a light southwest breeze. About three o'clock we went on board, rolled up the awnings, put on the roast beef, and went ashore for mail, papers, soda, and odds and ends. After dinner the wind fell flat and a few mosquitoes appeared. About eight o'clock we went ashore for sail needles and canvas to make a cover for the rudderhead; the Slave bragged that he was going to do this, but the canvas has never been unwrapped. Armory all lit up for the cadet's ball, and the street in front of the Carvel House was packed with carriages; looked like an opera night in town.

Saturday, June 4th.
Will have been in Annapolis a whole week if we are still here tonight. Up at five-thirty, and while the cornbread was baking we washed down the deck. Never saw such a heavy dew. Pottered around after breakfast, and about eight-thirty got under way as there was a light southeast breeze. Set sprit topsail; the new yard being a big improvement and the sail now setting like a board. On the way out the Emma Giles came in from Baltimore. If you are in Annapolis when she comes in with her load of freight and excursionists, it is worth while to pick out a soft piece of the top log of the pier and watch the proceeding of getting off the goods consigned to the merchants of the town. This operation consumes from three-quarters of an hour to two hours, four times a week, and one wonders where are all the people to consume and pay for this enormous quantity. The inhabitants must live like gourmands, and their homes must be filled to the rafters. As there is a coldness between the storekeepers and the two railroads most of the foodstuffs, dry goods, and hardware, in fact, everything purchased in Baltimore by the former, comes on the Giles.






About half-past ten o'clock the steamer will be seen coming from behind Greenberry Point, and as she passes the lighthouse gives a long blast from her whistle. Then the "tailor" fishers lift up their rods and gather up their paraphernalia, swing in their legs, and stand among the curious crowd which has gathered, the larger portion being small boys, both white and black; the town loafers, and perhaps a few prospective passengers. In the background are half a dozen hacks, in most of which Washington rode the day he resigned his commission, and eight or ten wagons awaiting for the freight.

In a few minutes she is alongside the wharf, the captain being a master hand at this; over the rails leans a crowd of women and children, the latter in such abundance that one is firmly convinced that all of the youngsters and babies of Baltimore are on an outing. Just as the lines are fast a laggardly hack or wagon will clatter down the vitrified brick street at full gallop, the horses covered with lather and the driver cracking his whip and yelling at the top of his voice to the gaping crowd; suddenly he pulls up, the horses sliding and the pole almost sticking into the barouche ahead.

When the gangplank is on the wharf first off are passengers; a drummer or two, and a few people who have come on a visit, but the majority are "trippers" who, while the steamer remains, walk to the Academy. Then comes another gangplank and pandemonium breaks loose in the shape of fifteen coal black niggers clad in the tatters of shirt, trousers, and shoes. They have been lined up on the main deck, each man with a truck in front of him loaded to its utmost; down one plank they tear; up into the freight house, which is soon filled; dump, and back on board by the other plank. They keep this up continuously even on the hottest of sultry August days, singing, shouting, and doing fancy steps, always in a good humor, although they are pestered by small children getting in the way, and there are some narrow escapes, but the stevedore makes a quick turn or a short stop and the stray youngster is hauled off by a chattering parent.

One is reminded of the tales of the old days on the Mississippi and expectantly glances into the boiler room to see if the nigger is on the safety valve. In the meantime, crates of vegetables, boxes of shoes, pieces of farming implements, sides of beef, even barrels of molder's sand, window frames, sofas, bags of flour or meal, which oftentimes leaves a trail along the deck and into the shed, boxes of canned goods, now and then a barrel of crab bait, from which a thousand flies have been disturbed, is trundled off leaving a reeking trail along which the persistent flies are buzzing like a pack of hounds on a fox's scent, coils of rope for the ship chandlers on the city dock, plumber's supplies; in fact, boxes and bundles of every conceivable size and shape containing all sorts of articles, from the pink shirt to tempt the nigger crabber to a piano for some naval officer's wife, are soon scattered over the wharf.

When nearly all are off a few shipments for the landings on West River are taken on, then the trucks are stacked and a carriage or cart followed by a horse is run off; the whistle blows, the last tripper dashes down and jumps on board just as the lines are cast off and the Giles backs off into the harbor, leaving a trail of froth dotted here and there by a shoebox which contained some delicatessen.

By this time the hacks that were fortunate enough to get a fare have long since swayed off up the street and the others are now straggling off; the wagons are loading and soon they have disappeared; the loafers are gone; the anglers are once more absorbed in catching the toothsome "tailor"; the agent is sitting in the doorway of the freight shed to catch the breeze, his pocket handkerchief in one hand mopping his red face and fanning with his hat in the other. The usual reign of quiet being broken only by the occasional bleat of the small brown veal in the cattle pen waiting to be taken to Baltimore when the steamer stops on her return trip in the afternoon.

It was half-past eleven o'clock before we had worked out to the warships in the Roads, as the wind was light and variable. The Massachusetts dipped ensign as we drifted past. Below Tolly Point buoy, which we passed at twelve o'clock, I got into the small boat and made a couple of photos as Irex was going away. The Slave then put her about and I made another, head on, before being picked up. Wind increasing and had shifted to southwest. After getting below Thomas Point Light we made a curve around for the red nun buoy at the mouth of South River, where we eased the sheets, entering about one o'clock. Passed three more buoys, two red and a black, and anchored in Lonehouse Creek a little before two o'clock. Furled sails and dropped below to tackle the cold roast beef; nearly starved, as it was two hours after our regular lunch time. After the bones were picked clean we hopped into the ducker for an exploring expedition. Headed for a creek not given a name on the chart, but situated between Duvall and Aberdeen Creeks. Wind was now a good stiff breeze and some of the puffs were heavy. The creek looked more enticing as we drew near; a pine-topped bluff with a low sandspit was on either side; a bar makes out for some distance from the northerly point, but there are ten or twelve feet in the channel, gradually shoaling to five at the head. It is a beautiful spot, and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

The camera worked hard making pictures of bluffs on one side, a low point with a big tree and small cabin on the other, a small bugeye loaded with peas and strawberries beating out, canoes hauled out on the shore, or tied to a stake close to the bank, with sails lazily flapping in the warm breeze. We went as far as we could, about three-quarters of a mile, and found the usual ending -- a marsh. Beat back a short distance and landed on the west bank, walked up to a very old brick house on the hill, where a fine view up and down the river is to be had. Irex lying close under the opposite shore, looked almost as small as a rowboat. Talked with Shackles, the farmer, for awhile, made a photograph, toddled to the boat, and beat back to the Irex.

Fine work in the river, as there was quite a bobble and we got the lee rail under several times. Beefsteak for dinner, at which we turned up our noses, as we had become regular "whales" on roast beef, although before we had considered the former a great tidbit. Dinner over, we once more took to the ducker and beat up Lonehouse Creek. We were anchored in what should really be called a cove, as the creek comes through an opening fifteen feet wide, five feet deep, and thirty feet long at the head of it. On the inside of these narrows the creek broadens out to a hundred yards, and has a depth of ten feet with the usual bluffs, points, and nigger cabins on each side. As it was rapidly getting dark we could not make out very much; passed one wide branch on the north side, and on the return trip explored it a short distance. Got on board about nine o'clock, hung up the riding light -- why, I don't know, as there was one chance in several thousand of any vessel coming in there.

Sunday morning was cloudy, calm, and humidity very high. Breakfast over we were undecided whether or not to go off in the small boat, as we were afraid there would be rain before long. While deciding, we moved the sockets for the gangway stanchions a few inches aft, as a scupper opened onto the steps; also moved the brass on which the steps rest. When we were finished there were signs of clearing, so got up the longboat and set off to explore Glebe Creek. Wind light and variable, but southeast most of the time. Went to the head, and on the way back landed in front of a deserted cabin, but found no plunder, so hurried on as lunch time was drawing near. The Glebe proper is about two miles long, and in one place over half a mile wide with several short branches and snug little coves.

After lunch, thunder commenced in the northwest, where we could see a heavy squall head which sometimes came near, looking very black, and then would back off again; this performance kept up all afternoon and caused us to be uneasy about going far from the boat. The breeze increased a little about two o'clock, so we once more took to the ducker to sail up Aberdeen Creek, then up the main river to abreast the County Almshouse, an old colonial residence. On the way back we managed to beat a bateau of about twenty-five feet carrying a light road cart which the nigger was taking across the river. Made several photographs on each trip. On getting on board we put on the beef and had a fine swim. Very warm below at dinner, as the breeze was dying out and the squall gradually working nearer; finally arriving at eight-thirty. Strong northwest wind, very vivid lightning, and toward the end a little rain. We had a good lee under the trees, but to be safe we paid out more chain and got on the other side of the creek channel, where we had only a few inches under the keel, but as the bottom was soft and only a slight roll coming in from the river we were not uneasy. Nearly blinded with dust which together with leaves blew off the point. We could see the trees waving frantically back and forth when the lightning would flash behind them.

Were up shortly after four o'clock on Monday and under way at six. Wind very light from the northwest, so I stripped to the waist and towed with the small boat for nearly a mile, then the breeze increasing, got aboard, stripped entirely, and hung overboard under the bobstay to cool off; set the spinnaker and slipped along nicely until out of the river, when it died down and became very shifty. Had intended going to Eastern Bay, but as at eleven thirty, we were only a little above black buoy off Curtis Point we decided to make for West River, and managed to work up to an anchorage on the north side in about eleven feet off Scaffold Creek.

Terribly hot, so we had a swim before lunch, and after it sailed to the south shore in search of ice. Landed directly south of where we were anchored, and, in response to our inquiry, were directed to a boardinghouse around Cedar Point, where we secured about two hundred pounds of soft, native pond ice, and also several pounds of chaff with which the icehouse was filled. When we had it washed and stored on board we were both much in need of limeades and several minutes for cooling off. Another swim and an early supper, after which we visited some friends, taking with us one of a pair of five gallon demijohns in which we keep the drinking water. Before leaving Annapolis both had been filled, but one was nearly empty, while from the other the cork had been forced by the heat the day before, and as they are stored on their sides nearly all the contents ran on the galley floor. Had a pleasant drive with our friend to his father's place, a distance of five miles there and back. On returning we had some choice strawberries and enjoyed an hour's gossip; about ten o'clock filled the jug and started to walk the mile over the fields to where we had left the boat. A squall was rapidly coming down from the northwest, and with the aid of the lightning flashes we managed, after a terrible struggle with the jug, to stumble through an old corn field and a pasture down to the boat. Set sail and slipped out of the cove before the first breath of the squall; on rounding the point no riding light could be seen. We had taken the regular light with us, but had left it in the small boat, and the second light had been turned too low which was the reason for the blowing out.

The wind was increasing, so we took out the sprit. The bay in which the Irex was anchored was one mass of white from the phosphorus. We went along this way for some time with our eyes bulging out trying to make out the Irex during the lightning flashes, finally, thinking we were getting too far out and too much to leeward, we took in the sail and began to row, which was pretty hard work. Suddenly the Slave caught sight of her, and we were soon on board soaking wet from spray. We were just in time to avoid a freshwater bath also, as no sooner were we below than the rain commenced. Half-past eleven; needless to say we were soon in our bunks.

Up at five-thirty Tuesday.
No wind; but we got under way for another try for Eastern Bay. Carried spinnaker to the black buoy off Curtis Point. Breeze light west-southwest. Around the buoy we shifted spinnaker to balloon jib, but as the wind gradually worked to the southward had soon to take it in and set big jibtopsail, which we carried to within two miles of Bloody Point, when we were compelled to take it in as the wind now got dead ahead and lighter. This made us cross, and we began to "swither" as to whether we would struggle on or return to Annapolis. The superiority of the Annapolis market over that of St. Michael's had a great deal to do with our hesitancy. Finally, tossed up, and Annapolis won, so around we came; set spinnaker and headed toward the black buoy off Tolly Point. I dropped back in the small boat to make a photograph. About twelve thirty we had lunch, and at one-thirty were at our old anchorage. What looked like a bad squall was coming from the northwest and we had hardly time to get the sails furled, covers on, and drop below before a terrible rain commenced. Put on swimming tights, went on deck, had a fine shampoo and shower bath, after which we went ashore for provisions; saw several washouts, and the streets looked as though they had been scrubbed. In the evening visited the Dimphels on the Panola.





Up at our usual hour, five, notwithstanding we intended to stay in harbor. Beautiful, clear morning, wind northwest, light at first, but a good breeze by ten o'clock. Varnished the rail cap, bowsprit, some parts of the skylight, and gave the topsail sprit a second coat. Hardly any boats in the harbor, as all the bay craft were making the most of a fair wind up or down, and the warships and the torpedo boats were off on the cruise. We passed five of the latter, yesterday, headed down the Bay. About one o'clock we set sail in the ducker for Duvall Creek, which runs up the bay shore inside of Hackett's Point. Had a most enjoyable sail to the creek, but we had considerable difficulty to get into it on account of a bar which extends across the mouth. When we got inside, found that the trees made the wind very light and fluky, so we rowed for about a mile, then landed on the east side and walked over to the bay shore to inspect a farm at which the Slave had been looking, last winter, with a view to purchase. The Bay looked fine, the surface being a deep dark blue and dotted here and there with a bugeye or schooner bound to or from Baltimore. Did not have such an exhilarating return sail, as the wind began to lighten and the sky became overcast. Made inquiries on shore that night about different farms.

June 9th.
Cloudy, wind very light, evidently because we were going to make a third try for Eastern Bay. Got off about eight-thirty and drifted out to the light where the wind died out and the tide started flood, then we began to turn and drift back, finally, at twelve-thirty, ending up where we started from. Four hours to do one and one-half miles. Had lunch and went to get some mahogany to make plugs for filling up the screw holes in the table top; the screws never having been countersunk. Set to work a little before two o'clock and kept at it until nearly six. Countersunk the screws, made plugs with grain running across, scraped and sandpapered the top, together making a very fine job. The breeze had been increasing all afternoon, and about five o'clock rain commenced, so we set the rain awnings. During dinner had a visit from a friend and two chums of his who had come down to join his boat for the trip back to the club. Asked us to come over in the evening, but as it was raining quite hard we did not go, and the Slave fell asleep, but I woke him up at nine by proposing a round of pancakes. Blowing hard northeast.

Next morning still blowing hard, with a little rain.
Thought of going round to West River again, but decided to stay under cover. Our friend went out at eight o'clock under two reefed mainsail, while we reefed the small boat's sail and started for the shipyard. Nearly had the mast blown out; she fairly flew, and we got soaked. If the reefed part of the sail had been set and the set part reefed we would have been more comfortable. Saw a light bay schooner get under way with much difficulty, and then commenced a series of narrow escapes from fouling wharves and other schooners; but she finally got out. We rowed back to the Irex instead of sailing and had lunch. Took ease in the afternoon and went to bed early.

Saturday, June 11th.
Fine, clear morning, but wind still northeast and strong. Slave went for ice, and we got off at eight o'clock; set balloon jib off Greenberry Point Light, but had to take it in off Tolly Point, as we then headed down the Bay and the wind was dead aft. After a fine sail we anchored off Scaffold Creek, West River, in our old place at ten o'clock, doing the fifteen knots in a little over two hours. Sandpapered the table again and rubbed it with beeswax and turpentine, which gave it a fine finish and does not blister with hot plates. After lunch we sailed up Inspecting House Creek in the ducker, made some photographs, and landed at a very prettily situated little house where lived one Popham, who was very agreeable and who kindly offered us some milk and butter. Stayed for sometime talking and getting local information, then went on board, put on the beef and had a fine swim. Ate a terribly hearty dinner, about six thick slices of beef each, and after washing dishes we managed to tumble into the ducker to sail up to our friends' place. On arriving there we found they had not had supper, and they insisted on us joining them, which we did, and not very sparingly at that. About nine-thirty we once more began to stumble across the fields; but without the jug this time.

Beautiful bright morning on the 12th.
Wind in the same quarter as yesterday and a good whole sail breeze. We were under way at eight o'clock, and beat out of the river. Soon the wind became fluky, and we had a very tiresome sail to Annapolis against a strong ebb tide, it being one-thirty before we anchored off the shipyard. The afternoon was passed in cleaning up and making arrangements to leave the boat with the sailmaker. Monday morning we boarded the train for home.

Arrived in Annapolis for another dash about two o'clock on June 24th, stopped at Watson's for provisions, and then hurried down to the harbor, where I found the Irex anchored safe and sound just off Heller's, with a fresh coat of copper on the bottom, and saw that A.G.'s new launch, also named Merlin, with owner and friend B., had arrived from the club and was anchored a little farther out. Set staysail after getting rid of store clothes and moved out near to the Merlin. Bob arrived at five-thirty, just in time for a swim before dinner. At dusk we went for a short sail in the longboat, and then up to town to call on McCusker.

After breakfast the next morning we laid in ice and water, and as there was no breeze we loitered around the shipyard some little time, but about nine o'clock a southerly air came in, so we made sail. Near Tolly Point the Merlin passed us and headed down for Thomas Point Light, but we had to stand over toward the Eastern Shore; breeze gradually increasing. As we went farther over than was necessary, we found, on coming about, that we could stand rap full for the light. Bob made some photographs and washed a white canvas hat. As we passed Selby's Bay we saw the Merlin anchored there, but we kept on to the old anchorage in Lonehouse Creek; they soon followed, arriving just as we were preparing for lunch after a swim.

In the afternoon there was an expedition of small boats to explore the creek. A.G. in a boat which he had constructed with his own fair hands and which he declared was "tight as a bucket"; but we noticed the bailer frequently at work; evidently the atmospheric condensation was very rapid in their neighborhood. Landed at two places, found an old tumbledown log cabin hidden in the trees at the last, which we supposed must be the original lone house which gave the creek its name; signs of squalls drove us on board just in time to escape a good soaking. Dinner and the rain over, we set sail in the small boat, towing A.G. and B. in their "tight as a bucket" down to Mayo Cove; A.G. put forth music from a mandolin, which together with the wildness of the little cove and a fine sunset lent an enchantment to the evening which was long remembered. Found a bugeye in the cove which appeared to be and yet not abandoned, also a fair sized sloop and several boats on the beach. Returned on board just as an almost full moon was rising.

No wind on turning out next morning, the surface of the river was absolutely unruffled. Explored a deep cove, where we saw a funny old ark laid up on the bank and some picturesquely situated nigger cabins from which was coming a grand odor of smoke and habitation perfume, a something like the "odor of the East." Lots of soft crabs along the shore. Once more on board we set sail and drifted as far as Mayo Point, where, the Merlin coming along passed us a line, as we threatened to open fire on them if they did not; and towed us around into Rhode River. Then we boarded her and went for a run up West River, stopping at Galesville to post letters. In the afternoon A.G. went to the beach to tighten "tight as a bucket," while Bob took a nap, but I soon woke him up by making lots of clatter cleaning the zinc around the stove. We then rowed to the beach, and while I scrubbed the stove top with sand, he explored, returning with an enormous club of red cedar, probably with the hope of not being wakened up from naps in the future. Very warm all day, but after supper, just as we were about to start for a visit ashore, a strong, cool northeaster came down, and we were somewhat splashed while making the mile to our friends' landing. Had a very pleasant hour's visit and returned in the bright moonlight.

Still northeast and blowing hard. A.G. was to run around to Annapolis to meet his son and the Slave, but he had somewhat of a hesitancy; however, after some "guying" from us, he up anchor, and we watched him make fine weather of it out of the mouth of the river. Bob and I made ready the longboat for an exploring expedition, sailed up one or two small creeks, landed at the marine railway, where there were several old hulks, talked with the natives, and returned on board to a stew at noon.

After treating the casserole à la Sprat family we once more took to the longboat for a sail out into West River and landed at Popham's, where we chatted for awhile. The sail back was somewhat flat, as the wind had died out rapidly. As the Merlin had not appeared by the time dinner was over, we landed and walked over to the bay shore, where we could see halfway to Annapolis, but could not make her out. On returning on board we were hailed from the other shore, and on rowing over to investigate found a man with mail which our friends had very kindly sent down. About eight-thirty saw a light coming in the river, which turned out to be the Merlin, after we had given up all hope of seeing them that night; the son and Slave were on board we soon discovered as she ran alongside to deliver the latter and also provisions and ice. Much talk for some little time, then they backed off and anchored. Slave found a holocaust when he opened his bag in which were clothes and ten dozen eggs from his amateur farm; of the latter several were broken, and his blue pajamas were of a yellowish tinge.

On looking for the Merlin Tuesday morning could not see her at first, but finally discovered her close under the bank almost hidden by the overhanging tree branches. Alexander (the son), who soon rowed over to borrow some eggs, said they had rolled terribly during the night and could not sleep for the rattle of pots and pans, so they had moved up the river. Wind southeast, light, still cloudy. Made sail about eight o'clock with the intention of getting to Eastern Bay, but the prospect looked poorly, as the light breeze was dead ahead, and there was considerable bobble out in the Bay left over from the blow of yesterday. Merlin passed us just shortly after we rounded Curtis Point, and soon disappeared in the distance. By twelve o'clock we had managed to lollop over to Bloody Point, where we fed. Bob then tried for a nap, but the Slave and I felt very musical, so he soon came on deck again making some remarks about "silly devils." On rounding Tilghman's Point the breeze picked up somewhat and we had a nice run with eased sheets for a couple of miles, then we had to flatten down again to work up to the mouth of the Wye River, into which we ran. Found the Merlin in Shaw's Bay close up under the bank. We anchored well out, and soon they moved to close by. Water very clear; could see the keel plainly. In the evening had a pleasant sail in the longboat and a phonograph concert on the Merlin. "Tight as a bucket" no tighter.

Heavy rain during the night, which caused the Slave and me to close the skylights and slide, but Bob carried on like a maniac, said it was stuffy, and cried for air.

Shortly after breakfast the sun came out, so we loaded up the longboat and set off with the intention of circumnavigating Wye Island. Started up the Back Wye which is really the Front Wye, but the inhabitants of the Front call what should be the Back, the Front, and those who live on the Back call the Front, the Back.

Had a fine sail up the deep, narrow stream; at the bridge I lifted out the mast and we shot under. Breeze very light going through the Narrows, and we found it very slow work when we came on the wind for the beat down the Front; so much so that we soon took to the oars and stuck to them all the way back. Found the Merlin gone; to St. Michael's we supposed, to leave B., who had to return home. Lunch was well appreciated after our long row. Had a terrible struggle to beat out the Wye in the face of a very light air and a flood tide, but once around Herring Island the breeze freshened and we had a nice little sail to Tilghman's Creek, outside of the mouth of which we anchored. Shortly after four the Merlin appeared, and as usual made for the tall timber. About dinner time a couple of dry squalls passed over, and soon after we started up the creek in the longboat, A.G. and son joining us in their "tight as a bucket," on which they had a sail about the size of a pillow slip. Landed at a tumbledown wharf and walked over to Claiborne, where we posted letters and I purchased sugar. Said farewell to the Merlins before we went on board, as next day we were to start for Annapolis, and they were going to several places down the Bay.

Cloudy and all appearances of rain the next morning.
We were up at five o'clock and breakfast was over and the anchor out by seven. A fine beat down Eastern Bay in the strong breeze made up for the miserable sail up the other day. When outside of Bloody Point, about nine o'clock, I went below and made a large omelette; when it was ready, the jib and staysail were hauled to windward, and the others tumbled below. That omelette lingers in our minds yet! Decided to run over to Herring Bay, and, as the wind had let up somewhat, we sent up the sprit topsail. Sun came out as we reached the black buoy off Holland Point and the breeze sprang up with a jump, so that we fairly boiled into the Bay as far as the red buoy, where we turned. Looked the place well over with the glasses, and it was very attractive to me. The bright sunlight, the sparkling blue water of the Bay, the high bluffs and undulating country back of them, which was dotted with farmhouses surrounded by tilled fields and lots of woodland. I always did have a great desire to see the place, and this glance made a craving for closer inspection, but the anchorage in the open bay is awful poor for our draft, except in southerly or westerly weather.

Once more at the black buoy we set balloon jib and fairly romped up the Bay to Tolly Point, where we took in light sails on account of a squall over Annapolis which did not come to us, but which killed the breeze. Anchored in the harbor about two o'clock, and all dropped below, without furling sails, to tackle the stew which had been prepared on the way in, and which, as usual, soon disappeared. When I crawled on deck after the orgy I saw a great black squall about on us and let out a yell which caused a crush in the companion way. Furled the sails and had rain awning set just as the first drops, of what turned out to be almost a cloudburst, began to patter on the dry canvas. A raid on the market was made, after the rain stopped, for roast-de-beef, which, while cooking, nearly drove the crew frantic, so much so that they had to go for a sail. A sail around to the mouth of Back Creek at dusk finished off a long enjoyable day.

After breakfast, next morning, we all tumbled into the longboat for a sail over to Greenberry Point, but when halfway over, much to our surprise, we saw the Merlin coming in past Greenberry, so we headed somewhat out of our course in order to meet her. She ran along side, and on learning our destination took us on board and our boat in tow, so that in a few minutes we were along side the wharf in Carr's Creek. We walked along the creek shore toward the point for a short distance, then cut across for the bay shore, and came out at a nice little cove, where we stopped for a swim and then headed back toward the farmhouse. Met a puff adder on the way which the chief Merlin declared was only a "harmless garter snake," and while we were arguing about it he puffed up, looked unpleasant at us and then slipped off into the bushes.

The Greenberry Point farm contains something like two hundred and fifty acres, and occupies all of a peninsula which separates Whitehall Bay from Annapolis Harbor, while the point itself, which is rapidly washing away, forms part of the bay shore.

The house which is situated on a high bluff and surrounded by several large trees commands a fine view of Whitehall Bay, the Bay and Annapolis Harbor; an ideal situation for anyone fond of boats, for bay or river sailing are easily attainable, and Carr's Creek affords an excellent anchorage. Returned to the wharf and the Merlin took us over to Annapolis, anchoring close to the Irex. Bob and the Slave rowed up to a crab picking establishment to purchase some boiled crabs, which they ate in the boat as they drifted back. Fish and crabs are tapu on the Irex. About three o'clock the Slave and I escorted Bob to the railway station, as he had children at home crying for bread, and on the way back we loaded up with provisions. Shortly after dinner a very heavy squall came out of the northwest, all wind but no rain. Several boats dragged, we among them, but no damage was done, and the atmosphere was cooled considerable. Decided to run around to West River in the morning.

On waking, after a fine, cool night, we found the surface of the harbor rippled by a light northwest breeze, so after breakfast we set lower sail and sprit topsail, and were away at eight thirty, setting jib topsail as we slipped out the harbor. The breeze had by this time increased so much that the puffs were pretty heavy and had shifted a little to the westward, and it seemed no time until we were looking for the bush which took the place of the black can off Curtis Point. Having to make one tack in the mouth of the river we got a little close to Cedar Point, and as we came about she touched, but had enough way on to carry her around far enough to get the wind on the port side which heeled her over and she slipped off; let the anchor go in our old place off Scaffold Creek at ten-thirty, but found ourselves too far in and that we were stirring mud, so lifted it off the bottom, hoisted the jib and ran out into eight feet, where we let it go again. Tinkered a little before lunch; the Merlin coming in about eleven-thirty and anchoring near us. In the early afternoon the Merlins became tired of the constant rattle of their iron awning stanchions (it reminded one of a boiler foundry); so they moved into Inspecting House Creek and anchored (there was really no need to as she was on bottom) a little above Popham's house. We went in with them, they towing our longboat, and, after anchoring, all paddled over to Popham's for a gabble; but pangs of hunger began to be felt about four o'clock, so we set sail to the Irex; put on the roast and had a swim, after which we togged out for a visit to our friends at Tulip Hill. As we rowed, the breeze having gone dead entirely, past the Merlins' creek we yelled and sirened at a great rate so that they would come out and join us, but they showed no more signs of hearing us than the gentlemen in that old lie who had their ears stuffed with wax, but they finally turned up at the house a great while afterward, having lost their way. A journey home in the moonlight finished a very pleasant evening, although I received somewhat of a shock when the Merlins announced that they had given up their idea of going far down the Bay and would start home next day, so it was agreed that the first stop would be Magothy.

Shortly after five o'clock I had the cornbread in the oven, and at seven we were off before a good northwest breeze. It was a truly delightful morning, very cool, bright sunshine, the water a dark blue, the atmosphere clear as we ever have it in these parts, and the lights and shadows on the shore were perfect. By eight o'clock we were at Thomas Point, and at nine were close to Sandy Point Light, where we should have headed in for Magothy, but as the breeze looked good for some hours yet we concluded to keep on up the Bay. Saw several yachts running down from Baltimore along the shore below the Patapsco, all evidently bound for a Fourth of July cruise, this being the fatal day. Tolchester we passed about twelve o'clock and the breeze began to lighten, and as we passed Worton's Cove, an hour later, it had shifted around to the south sufficiently to enable us to carry the spinnaker, but half an hour later jumped back to its old quarter, and only quick work by the Slave, who was at the tiller, saved the sail from being taken aback. From here on we mostly drifted to within a mile of Turkey Point, where we anchored for a swim and dinner. About sunset came a breeze from the southeast, which carried us by fits and starts close up to Town Point, where, at nine thirty, we concluded to anchor for the night.

Another fine morning with a fine southwest breeze; several schooners bound up for the canal, so we hurried breakfast in order to be in time for the tug which we expected would come down for them, but they all sailed up, so we kept after them, and all went well until we reached the place where we had grounded on the outward voyage; I shied too far to the other side, against the advice of the Slave, and we stuck. Very quickly ran out the kedge and were on our way again in no time, reaching the locks at ten o'clock. Great hopes of reaching the club that night, but after an hour's wait outside the locks our expectations were somewhat dampened, and on locking in we found a big fleet of schooners tied up awaiting the tug which was coming with a tow from the other end and which would not reach here until twelve o'clock. At twelve the news went around that it would not be here before two hours, and so on all afternoon. We finally found that it was dragging a barge loaded to a draft of nine feet six inches through the deep cut which has only nine feet of water. Various schooner captains visited us during the afternoon, and our depth drew forth exclamations of surprise, and as schooners kept arriving we soon had quite a party. At seven the tug would arrive at ten, and after struggling to keep awake that long we heard the time of arrival was put off hours longer, so we went to bed with the expectations of being hauled out at two or three, but our slumbers were undisturbed, and at daybreak still no sign of the tug; but the Merlin came in at ten o'clock.

On Sunday the Merlin had left West River sometime after we did, and before going to the Magothy had stopped at Annapolis for mail, but on arriving at our rendezvous and not finding the Irex had gone back to Annapolis. Next morning she left there, and that night anchored at the mouth of Back Creek.

Much to our joy the superintendent gave his consent to her towing us through, so we at last got off about eleven-thirty with instructions to tie up just beyond the pivot bridge until the expected tow should pass us. On reaching there we tied up and had lunch. We could hear the puffing of the tug for some time, but a bend prevented us from seeing how far away it was. Gradually the sound increased, and soon the tug appeared, snorting at a great rate, with a very deeply ladened barge close behind her, and a light one behind that one. The ladened one was dragging along the bottom, which made her unsteerable and she would make a lurch, first for one side, and then for the other, each time sticking fast until a hawser was run out to the opposite bank, and four men set to her windlass. As she stuck nearly every two lengths one can see it was no wonder over twenty-four hours had been consumed. The light barge waggled about, no one paying any attention to it, and we had a narrow escape from being bumped. After the tow passed us, the north and south bound day boats came along, and then we started once more.

Locked out at three o'clock, wind southwest, so set topsail and spinnaker, but off New Castle had to quickly hand them, as a heavy looking squall was rapidly coming out of the northwest, also took in all lower sails except staysail. Soon the gust was on us, great clouds of dust blew off the shore; after the first puff, which was very heavy, we set the mizzen, then the jib, and soon the mainsail; this pushed her along at a smart clip, and we enjoyed it for about five miles. Off Edgemoor we were in a flat calm, so having finished a big stew I towed her toward the shore with the small boat, but before long a breeze came from the south, really another squall, accompanied by rain, which lasted until we were almost at the club, where we arrived at eleven o'clock and were soon tied up in the basin. 



© 2000 Craig O'Donnell, editor & general factotum.
May not be reproduced without my permission. Go scan your own damn article.


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