Chapter 1

Iscarcelyknowwheretobegin,thoughIsometimesfacetiouslyplacethecauseofitalltoCharleyFuruseth’scredit.HekeptasummercottageinMillValley,undertheshadowofMountTamalpais,andneveroccupieditexceptwhenheloafedthroughthewintermonthsandreadNietzscheandSchopenhauertoresthisbrain.Whensummercameon,heelectedtosweatoutahotanddustyexistenceinthecityandtotoilincessantly.HaditnotbeenmycustomtorunuptoseehimeverySaturdayafternoonandtostopovertillMondaymorning,thisparticularJanuaryMondaymorningwouldnothavefoundmeafloatonSanFranciscoBay.

NotbutthatIwasafloatinasafecraft,fortheMartinezwasanewferry-steamer,makingherfourthorfifthtripontherunbetweenSausalitoandSanFrancisco.Thedangerlayintheheavyfogwhichblanketedthebay,andofwhich,asalandsman,Ihadlittleapprehension.Infact,IremembertheplacidexaltationwithwhichItookupmypositionontheforwardupperdeck,directlybeneaththepilot-house,andallowedthemysteryofthefogtolayholdofmyimagination.Afreshbreezewasblowing,andforatimeIwasaloneinthemoistobscurityyetnotalone,forIwasdimlyconsciousofthepresenceofthepilot,andofwhatItooktobethecaptain,intheglasshouseabovemyhead.

Irememberthinkinghowcomfortableitwas,thisdivisionoflabourwhichmadeitunnecessaryformetostudyfogs,winds,tides,andnavigation,inordertovisitmyfriendwholivedacrossanarmofthesea.Itwasgoodthatmenshouldbespecialists,Imused.ThepeculiarknowledgeofthepilotandcaptainsufficedformanythousandsofpeoplewhoknewnomoreoftheseaandnavigationthanIknew.

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