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Mr. Kazallon thought that booking passage on a cargo ship from Charleston to Liverpool would be a charming way to return to his English homeland. If only he knew! A crazed sea captain, a disaster in the hold, storms, oppressive heat, sharks and starvation are just some of the many travails that will beset both passengers and crew. Will any of them survive the wreck of the Chancellor?
CHARLESTON, SEPTEMBER 27th, 1869.—It is high tide, and three oâclock 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 northerly 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 oâclock the rapid current of the ebbing tide has carried us through the harbour–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 south–west 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 oâclock in the evening; we are out free upon the wide Atlantic.
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 I, and is now on her third voyage between Charleston and Liverpool. As she wended her way through the channels of Charleston harbour, it was the British flag that was lowered from her mast–head; but without colours at all, no sailor could have hesitated for a moment in telling her nationality,—for English she was, and nothing but English from her water–line upwards to the truck of her masts.