Page:The Fall of Maximilan's Empire.djvu/38

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The offer was duly substantiated, and an occasional boat-load of fresh food was hailed with joy by the ship's company. Through the kindness of the Liberal officers the unexpected luxury of having some washing done also added to the ward-room happiness. It was soon arranged that the boat should go in on this errand regularly on Tuesdays and Fridays if the weather permitted; if not, on the succeeding day. It was also settled that all communications from Commander Roe should be forwarded at once by special courier to the city of Mexico, or to the head-quarters of President Juarez. As the ship was in plain sight from Camp Casa Mata, the United States ensign hoisted at the main truck was agreed upon as a signal that a boat was about to leave with the desire of communicating; whereupon an escort, with led horses, would be sent down to the beach to meet the boat and accompany the officers to head-quarters. Acting-Master John McGowan, the navigating officer, was deputed for this duty, with Midshipman Rich usually in charge of the boat. They were also accompanied, as a rule, by Mr. Melville, the chief engineer of the ship, who, having accepted the thankless office of caterer of the ward-room mess, did his best in this way to discharge his trust. This officer was the same that has since achieved such renown as an Arctic explorer. Soit dit en passant there was another future Arctic hero in