Always Eager for Excitement
From Adrift in the South Seas: Including Adventures with Robert Louis Stevenson (1934) 227–45. Thomas Murray MacCallum was first deckhand then cook aboard the Equator, captained by a highly skilful 23– year-old Scot, Denny Reid. His memories in old age may take ‘cautious sifting’ (Furnas, 533) but give a first-rate picture of ship-board life, of Louis’s spirit, and of his friendship with the captain. In an omitted section, MacCallum describes how Louis and Lloyd thought seriously of going into trading with Reid and buying their own boat, to be called the Northern Light. As a company name MacCallum offered the ‘Jekyll-Hyde & Company’. From Reid and his crew Louis learned much of trading practices, knowledge put to use in The Wrecker and The Beach of Falesà. The Hawaiian interlude came to an end with a flurry of activity (May 1889) over Molokai’s leper colony and Father Damien, about whose detractor, one Reverend Dr Hyde, Stevenson later wrote scathingly. The Stevenson party, minus Aunt Maggie who had returned briefly to Scotland, sailed south. In the remote Gilbert Islands of Micronesia they made a landfall at Butaritari. At Apemama Louis met the tyrannical King Tembinoka, and typically won over this dangerous figure, who said his farewells in November 1889 with tears coursing down his fat cheeks. On 7 December the Equator steamed into Apia harbour, Samoa.
KeywordsSteam Beach Hull Breakwater Lost
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