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PASSING OF THE SEAL HUNTER. The award of the Paris tribunal was the first check to his career, but it was left to recent events to mark the final passing of the fur seal hunters in ihe water of the North Pacific. ft is not the lubberly landsman who on the rookeries hits a sturdy but harmless bull seal over the head with a club that is spoken of, but a far more picturesque individual, the hunter of the pelagic sealing schooner. His was a calling that arose and flourished ex clusively on the Pacific Coast, was in its heyday i bout live years ago and is now becoming a his tory. His was a life teeming with danger and adventure, demanding biawn and brain and daring; arduous, perilous and exciting. Al though unsung in verse and unrecorded in prose save in the brief marine news dispatches his career will ever he honored by those who go down to the sea in ships, for they appreciate what he was and what glory he deserves. Pelagic sealing and seal poaching are all one to the average reader of newspapers. "Seal poachers" is the term hurled at the fur seal hunter* by those journalists who know not of what they write, but think that to b? patriotic they must condemn that to which the United States Government is opposed. Whatever the merits of the controversy be Sealing Schooners and Supply Steamer at Rendezvous Harbor on Afognak Island, Western Aslaska. ATALE OF TWO WOMEN AND BROWN WHITE BY J. F. ROSE-SOLEY. 111. .'Well, then," started the old man, •when I first came to Apia I was a young man. with no wife to look alter me, and I don't know but that I was better off for my loneliness, though I've bet»n happy enough since. Now I'm alone again," and he heaved a sigh, for reference to his own marital experiences always made hint heavy hearted. "But to come back to my story," he continued, "being alone like that, I nat urally wanted some one to do my wash ing, and the very first day I landed a lit ile half-caste boy came to me. He was not more than five or six, I should think, with light curly hair, and a skin which showed only a touch of the tar brush. He seemed a fine, manly little chap, and in terested me from the first, especially as I couldn't understand a word of Samoan, and he spoke English. So he acted as my interpreter. " 'Please, sir.will you let mother do your washing?' was the first remark he made to me. " 'And who's mother?' I asked. " 'Oh, mother's a Samoan. She washes for a lot of the sailors and men who come here. She does the things well. too. Only $1 a week.' " 'But where'? your father?' "'I don't know.' And his blue eyes tilled with tears. 'But I'm white, I am. Mother days so, and 1 go to school with the whi c boys at the priest's, ana I'll 'tit any boy who says I am a Samoan.' "I was interested in this curious tropi cal product, and, of course, gave the mother my washing to do. She seemed _ decent kind cf woman when she came for tho clothes not exactly pretty, but with an. honest, faithful face. And she wrs fond of the boy, too; no mistake about that. "By and by. when I got to know them better, I learned all about their life his tory, though the little drama was then only at its commencement. But after ward—many years afterward— l saw the last scene played out. "Some half a dozen years before a dis solute young man, by trade a blacksmith, had come to Apia, and, as a matter of course, hud taken a native wife. But he lound the climate too hot for his work, or tween the nations as to pelagic or open sea sealing outside of a protected zone encircling the Bering Sea rookeri-s it is a misnomer to term those brave and hardy men who hunted the s?al on the bosom of the broad Pacific poachers. A poacher is one whom a thorough sport-man detests; a pelagic seal hunter is one whom all sportsmen must admire. To know what a pelagic seal-hunter was one must know something of how pelade sealing was carried on. For over 100 years it has been known that annually-, about February, the fur seals were 10 be found in larger or smaller schools, moving northward, off the Pacific Coast on their annual pilgrimage to the Bering Sea rookeries. Off the vicinity of Coos Bay, Oregon, is where the seals usually first appear. They move leisurely northward, scattered over a wide area of sea. While their movement is general, it must not be supposed that large numbers are to be found in company. About Jul}' 1 they pas« through the channels of the Aleutian Is'an is and enter Bering Sea, Boon to haul themselves out on the rookeri s. Year after year they have pursued the same course, varying hardly more than two or three days in entering the sea. By reason of the fact tbat the United States | else it was the drink, or some other cause, for after be bad been there a year he | | cleared out, leaving his young wife with j a baby a few months old in her arms. He I left no money or anything else behind lor • her support, and when he was gone no one troubled more about him. "It would have been easy enough for the woman to have got another husband, a native this time, to whom the baby would have been no obstacle. But no, Siami, as she called him, meaning Jim, would one Gay come back to her, and in the : meantime there was Siami the younger, ! named after his father, to look after and ' tiring up in white man's style, so that when her husband returned he might I have no reason to be ashamed of their j child. "This one idea stuck to her right | through. . Siami must be brought up as a papaiangi, as a hi c man's son. and not as a Samoan. Therefore, sbe refused to go back and live with her people in the native style, though of course, being kind to their relations, as all Samoans are, they would have been glad to keep her. "She knew that if she took her boy into a native house she could not prevent bis learning native habits and growing up like a brown-skinned youth. So she did a brave thing for an island woman, though it mightn't seem muc.i to you, being accustomed to the ways of Euro peans. Stic cut Herself adrift from her family altogether and took her few sticks of furniture into a small weatherboard bouse, which -tie rented at the back of the town. It was only a miserable little place, hardly more than a hut, but she made a home c f it for her boy, "She got washing from the ships, and the people of Apia, knowing her sad story and admiring her independence, gave her odd jobs of ma making and needle-work, at which she was very c.cv' r. So she just managed to exist, but as for the boy, he fared like a rich man's child. The mother would live on tnro or bananas, or any native food she could I pick up, but the boy must have every luxury. The mother might wear an old cotton lava-lava for her sole garment, but the child must always be dressed in trie daintiest little clothes the Apia store's • could furnish. THE SAN FRANCISCO CALL, SUNDAY, DECEMBER 5, 1597. leases the rookeries and the right to kill a cer tain number of seals on them annually to a private corporation this Government has long Jooke i with disfavor upon the operations of the open-sea sealers, who ply their vocation while the seals are moving up the coast. The theory of the Government is that the slaughter of seals at sea so reduces the number that the seal tribes will sooner or later be extinct, while if the num ber to be killed is limited to those killed on the islands no perceptible lessening would be ex perienced. While the term "poacher" has been freely used there has been no instance of poaching for over five years, while there are only two on rec ord for the last 'en years. They took place when lawless sealers raided the rookeries and killed seals on the shore. True, previous to the first modus vivendi and in the seasons of 1838 ana 1889 with possibly a few cases later, British schooners have sought to seal within the then prohibited area of Bering Sea, but ince the Paris tribunal decided that the United Statesdid •not have exclusive jurisaict ; on over the whole sea this was hardly to be considered poaching. It was about twelve years ago that the pelagic sealing fleet began to assume large proportions. In the season of 1892. when pelagic sealing was The Supply Steamer Coquitlan. ',1 am afraid some of the Apia trades- ' men, being not altogether hard-hearted men, failed to put on a profit when they supplied the poor woman wiih the dainty articles. But she never knew it, bless you. She was so independent that she would not have dealt at a store if she had thought she was beinr favored at all. Bie even tried to learn Baalish so that she might talk to her son in what she deemed to be his proper language, but I am afraid she was not very successful at that. Her tongue could not manage our barbarous consonants, and 'Siami kea kume hele' was her nearest approach to calling the boy to her in Baalish. "Every Dlgbt, when the day's work and play were over, she would dress the boy up carefully in his best coat ana iron light the lamp and seat him before a colored picture-book which some kind auy had given her, at the one table their little hut possessed. Everything was neat and clean, the floor properly swept, the little bits of furniture polished till you could see your face in them, and there was nothing to indicate that tho home might not have belonged to some English women in humble circumstances. "Many a night have I dropped in and found the couple sitting the c, little Jimmy laughing at his pictures and the woman busy over her needlework. His father might come back at any minute, she would explain in her simple way; he would like to find his boy a papaiangi gentleman and not a common Samoan child. "For herself the poor soul had never a thought, ber whole being centre i round the boy. And when he got big enough the eood fathers tock him in at the con vent school, and he was educated with the white children, so that he rrew'np speak ing English perfectly. Though they never admitted it 1 am sure that the kindly priests stretched a point in the mother's lavor, or else the poor woman would never have been able to pay the fees for her son's education. "As long as I was in Apia 1 never lost sight of this interesting couple, but after a few years, you know, I got married my self. Then I went away trading In New Bri am. and so for a time I heard nothing of the mother and her son. "When I did come back to the Navi gators I found Jimmy quite a grown-up lad — _ general favorite throttrhout the whole town. His education was finished, and he could read and write belter than the majority of white men on the beach, let alone the half-castes. His mother's friends, and she had many, had got him a good position in one of the largest stores. He was already able to help her a little, and promised to do well for himself in life. The good woman was still single, she lived confidently in tne hope that one day Siami would return and tind that his. son had been well brought up and was ie illy a pipalangi. This was ber one con solation, poor woman, and she had held to the idea so long that at last she had at its height, there were ninety-five schooners in the fleet. All but twelve or fif teen floated the British flag. It was the practice of tbe sch< oners to get to sea in February and endeavor to fall in with the seals as speedily as possible. Each schooner carried irom tour to eight hunters. For each hunter there were two boat puilers. In addition tc these the crew of the average schooner was made up of a captain, a mate, a cook and a boy. J height, there were -five schooners in the All but twelve or fif onted the British flag. as the practice of the ters to get to sea in ary and endeavor to a with the i-eal- as ly as poss.bie. Each ler carried irom tour lit burners. For each r there were two boai s. In addition tc these rew of tbe average ler was made upoi a n, a mate, a cook and ther permitting, the boats woull take leave of the schooner every morning and scatter about on the ocean, looking for seals. Sometimes tbe schooner and her littie fleet of boats would be 400 or 500 miles off shore wuen at work. The boats would range away from the vessel * to a distance often or fifteen miles. And here c:me in one of the dan ers of the life. In tbe North Pacific Ocean fogs have a most depre-sing and annoying habit of shutting down on the water scare without a moment's warning. They are thick and clammy, and to a sealer possess hor rors untold. With such a fog shutting off a view of the schooner from the hunters the latter were in a dangerous predicament. They all car ried compasses, and olten water and a small amount of food. On the appearance of a foe the schooner would commence discharging a small cannon kept for Sealers Boarding the Supply Steamer to Get Mail, First News From Home in Five Months. that purpose to notify the boats of her presence. With all that, however, boats often failed to get back. There have been many cases where the three men comprising the crew of a hunting craft have gone off in the morning from the schooner far out to sea, and have never returned or been heard from. There are other cases where such crews have been picked up nearly dead from starvation and exposure days after they lost their home craft. The danger of sudden gales and storms at sea was another one the sealer had to face. That it J grown to believe in it. I did not see much i of her then, though, for soon after I got back to Apia I bought this store, and moved out of town altogether." The old man paused and wiped his fore head. Talking always made him perspire, he said. And Silei, who seemei by some kind of instinct "to understand that he had been conversing about women of her own race, beamed with her most engaging smile as she handed him the bowl of kava. "But did Jimmy never come back?' I asked, when I saw that he had recovered his energy. "Oh. yes; that's tbe second and saddest act in the drama. He did come back; worse luck. "It was about two years ago and I was living quietly enough down here. I hadn't seen m eh of the young half-caste or his mother for some time, since it was seldom I went to Apia, a place where one only snends money and does no good to one's self. But I had heard that the boy had shown great business aptitude, and had been advanced to a responsible por tion in the firm, so that he was able to keep his old mother in comfort. To do him ju-tice, he was not like most young people who, once, they are grown up and able to shiit for themselves, think no more of their parents. Naturally, though, he didn't admire his father much when he saw him. "He told me all about it himself. I was sitting here when I was surprised to see him turn up in grand style, with a large whaleboat and a tig crew of natives. His firm was snort of copra, be said, to com plete the cargo of a ship they were load ing, and had sent him round the islands to buy up all he cou'.d get. He offered a good price, so our business was soon satis factorily settled, and then, as it was get ting la c in the afternoon, and it was a long way to the next station, I persuaded him to spend the night. When we were settled down comfortably over our kava, he sail, 'I suppose you know father's come back?' " 'What,' and I whistled with surprise at the happening of the long expected, 'you don't mean to say, Jimmy, that the old man's turned up again?' " 'Yes, ii's true enough,' Jimmy replied, 'and a nice handful we've found him.' '• Tell me all about it.' "'You know,' Jimmy went on, 'that mother always bad a habit of getting everything ready in the evening for fath er's return. When I was a little child she used to dre«s me lor the occasion, an d, now I'm grown up, I try to humor her as much as I can. So, whenever there's nothing special going on I sit with her in the evenings and put on mv best coat, just to keep tier company. Well, about a fortnight ago we were there, quietly enough, when suddenly mother looked up from her work and said: " • "Your father will come back to-night, Siami." " 'She had *aid the game thing many times before, so 1 didn't take any special was no small danger is shown by the record — long and ghastly — of lives lost in his manner. In hunting the seal the hunter stood upright in the bow of the double-ended boat, his shot gun or rifle ready across his breast. Aft sat the boat-pullers, facing each other, one pushing nnd one pulling the oars. Often they put up a small sail and. toot it easy while the hunter kept up his watch forward. In good sealing the capta n and the mate have often taken out a boat, sometimes leaving the cook and dog alone to watch the vessel. The hunter was a superior individual. He often made from $1000 to $1800 a season lasting eight or nine months. He lived in th- cabin wi the captain and mate, and had nothing to do with tne liling or navigation of the vessel. His ability as a shot had need to be excellent and of a peculiar quality, for his t isk wa= a d.fli cult one. All that s exposed of a seal above water is a nose anl small bit of head. A hy animal, the sea. is hard to approach. Add to this the necessity of shooting him while he is bobbing up and down on a wave and while the boat is also doing aquatic gymnastics and one may imagine a seal is difficult to hit. To recover the body of a sea! shot in the water it is nece sary that the shot be so accurate as to eau c instant death ; otherwise the wounded ani mal sinks. The boat-pullers worked on what was termed "lays." That is, they received a certain per centage of the value of the skins secured on a voyage. In addition they also received small wa^es. The hunter received a fixed price for every skin he took. Captain and mate received salaries and ''lays." The practice of the schooners was to follow the seal herds close up to the Aleutian Islands. There they would meet at a previously ap pointed rendezvous, the supply steamer from Victoria, bringing mail and supplies. The catch would be transferred from schooners to steamer, and then the schooners would go on for the re mainder of the season. They would cruise about he entrance to the sea for stragglers or would strike westward to the Asiatic coast to pick up the seals tbat had migrated northward on the Japanese and Siberian coasts. Sometimes a schooner would be rash enough to get within Siberian waters and would promptly be pounced upon by a Russian gunboat, seized and her crew hurried off to Petropaulovski, to be either sent to prison or allowed, after several months' confine ment, to return horne — if they could get there. notice, but just then the door was roughly pushed open and a fat, middle-aged man came in. He didn't look a very respect able party; his face was flushed, and he rolled in his walk as if he had been drink ing, and he wore a ragged suit of clothes which would have disgraced a beach comber. But mother knew him, and like a fl ish she had her arms round his neck and was hugging and kissing him. "Hero's your father come bt-ck; I knew he would, I waited long, but now he is here." "'The man seemed dazed by this sudden display of affei tion, and said nothing for a while. I sat quietly at the table, won dering what would happen next. "'Then mother took the man by the hand and pointed me out.' " ' "There's our boy, Siami," she said, as well as her tears would let her. "I have cared for him well. Look at him, is he not a tine papaiangi gentleman?" "'The man sefnicd sort of dazed. He passed his hand over bis forehead and i hen he recovered himself. "Oh, yes, I remember now; there was a kid when 1 went away. Blessed if I hadn't forgotten oil about it. I never thought it would live; it seemed such a sickly little thing. But what did yer want to go and make a gentleman of the boy for, Mele? What I wants is a rood hard working boy, with a trade at his fingers' ends, who can be a help to his father in his old age." '• 'Mother was terribly disappointed, I could see, though she tried to hide the tears which would fall. Stili, she replied. "If he is a gentleman, he's a steady hard working lad, and he's getting $15 a week at the -*tor ." " "When the old man heard this his bleared eyes brightened. "Oh, all light then, Jimmy, my son; here's my band, and I hope you'll be a good son to your dad, who's come all this way to seek you cut." " -But I wouldn't take his dirty hand. He might be my father, so Jar as I knew, but I wasn't going to have anything to do with him. So I left the house, and I haven't been back since. I've tried to persuade mother to come away, too, but -he will slick to him, though he*'* the dru ketiest old loafer on the beach. Every penny he can tqueeze out of her goes in drink, and he tried the same game on me but I turned him out of the store quick tOUeh.' " 'What's he be n doing ail this time?' I asked. " 'Oh, he's been in Australia, and, from what I hear, he did pretty well at his trade for a while. But lately he failed altogether, and then, when he found the colonies played out, he thoueht he would run down to Samoa and see what he could do here. I've told mother again and anain not to give him any money, so as to make him go to work; but it's no use, she's too fond of him.' "This was all J mmy's tale and next day he went his way in the boat, and I heard no more of the matter for a while. Transferring Bags of Sealskins to the Supply Steamer and Receiving Supplies at Sea. "But a few months later I went on a Malanga up to Tununga, where, you know, there are several stores. I had some business there, for I was buying up tobacco, but 1 thought 1 would make a bit of a pleasure trip of it a3 well. So I went along by easy stages, stopping several nights at villages on the way. And, the last night before I got to Tun unga, I found a white man living in a Samoan house. His name was Johnston, he said, he was a blacksmith by. trade, and had bsen making some ironwork for a man who was building a schooner near by. But now the job was finished a.:d he was just living on among the Samoans, wait in: for something else to turn up. I couldn't help thinking that there wasn't much chance of getting work in that place, but he didn't seem to mind. He was a free and easy old fellow and I soon made myself quite at home with him. By and by he produced a bottle of gin, a rare thing in those pans, and we were soou friendly enough. He had a native wife, a good-looking young girl, and he seemed reconciled to his lot an to be in no hurry to go out and look for work where he might have had a chance of finding it. "He was very talkative and told me a lot about himself and his family, and soon I began to suspect something. It wasn't the name — that was common enough. But when he said that he had been in Sa moa twenty years before and had only re turned a lew months ago, it dawned upon me. , "'Were you married- when you first came here?' I asked. "'Oh, yes,* he replied, carelessly. 'I had a native wife, but I never thought any more about her after I went away.' " 'And a child, too?' "'Oh. yes, there was a boy born just be fore I lelt. He's grown up now into a fine young fellow and getting a good >alary at So-and-so's store. But be won't have any thing to say to his old lather; much too great a swell for that.' "I thoueht the old father deserved all the treatment he had cot, but, of course, it would not have been polite to say so. "Then the fellow told* mo more of his family history and confided to me that he had come to Samoa utter his business in An tralia failed in the hope of setting up a blacksmith's shop. But he bad gone on the scree w en he arrived and soon spent the little money he brought with him. Now he dd it see how to send for his wife and children, much less how to keep hem when they got here. " 'Children, did you any!' I exclaimed, thinking of young Jimmy and the Sa moan woman, with her unchanging fidelity. " 'Oh, ■yes,' said the old man, quite una bashed, 'I've a wife and six kids in Aus tralia. And they've got a -ood education, too, for I was well off then. L >ok here.' "He went to a battered old sea -Chest, which appeared to be his whole personal luggage, and from under a layer of rag In 1892 I made the trip northward on 'ne sup ply steamer, the Coquitlam of Vancouver, B. C, Captain E. E. McLeil >n. We had two appointed rendezvous. Besides making them we met sev eral schooners at sen. We brought the first news from home that the sealers had received in months. It was pathetic to note their euge ness as they swarmed aboard of us to get their letters, to hear the hungry shouts a- tney lowered into their boats the fresh fruit- and delicacies we brought them. One ap preciated then what this exile at sea signified. Couiminder Robley D. Evans, U. S. N., was that year in command of tne United States patrol" He went gunning for us with some of hi- fl-et with the object in view of preventing our giv ng provisions to schoolers, thus break ing up heir work for the remainder o: the sea son. He succeeded, although we tried our best to prevent him. It was the revenue cutter Cor win, acting under his orders, that finally caught us, but not until we had provisioned nine schooners and had given mail to seventeen oth ers whom we were about to prov sion when the seizure was made. A prize crew saw us sately to Siika, where the civil authorities looked after our physical comfort for a time. They say the Sitka jail has never l een whitewashed half so well since the crew of the Coquitlam finished the job that summer. • Bui the authorities had to give us up after all, for the contention of the Government that it he'd jurisdiction over twelve miles from shone and that we should have cone beyond J«V tw-lve-mile and not the three-mile limit in making our cargo transfers wa" punctured eventually by the Circuit Court of Appeals, sit ting at San Franci-co. The move of Commander Evans was a good one, however— from the Government if not irom a just standpoint — for many of the schoon ers lost the latter half of their season. Since then no supply steamers have been seized. Strange as it may seem, most of the hunters who were hunting seals from a British vessel were Americans, and not a few of the British vessels were British in name and register only, owners and crew beiny Americans. With the Paris award prohibiting the use of firearms in pelagic sealing, and with the com bined effort now seemingly being mode to stop such hunting, the seal hunter will soon be a thing of the past. He cops, bin he leaves an honorable record behind him. May some writer who love* to weave stories of danger and daring study him as he was a"d rentier him immortal in a tale of the North Pacific. ABHMUB N. Bnowsr. ged clothing extracted a package carefully wrapped up in brown paper/ It turned out to contain a cabinet photograph— a family group representing a comely mid dle-aged mother and six well-dressed children. " 'There's the family,' sa rd Johnston. 'There s Johnny, the eldest; he's a real clever boy; he* going to be a great archi tect some day; he's in a good Sydney of fice. And there's Polly; she plays the piano fine.' "Thus the old man ran over the little accomplishments of his white children I listened in silence, but I couldn't help thinking all the time of the plain, b-own skinned woman sitting so patiently with her little boy and waiting for Siami *« - come back." '■ii" (the e\p.) / Learning to Ride. I never recall my first attempt to ride a wheel without experiencing a thrill of pleasure to think that I am still alive. With the aid of two experienced riders I had managed to mount a wheel. Haidiy had I taken a firm grip on the hanule-bars than the two accomplices re leased their hold and left me alone to tho wild mercies of an unmanageable bike. I knew well that everything depended upon my coolness, so I held the handle bars with a still firmer grip and endeav ored to balance my body to the move ments of the wheel, which was now shy ing desperately from one side of the road to the other. Already I realized that I was in a hopeless pos tion, and, as the wheel struck the curbing at this moment, I hastily dismounted. Perhaps I did not get off in a very graceful manner, never theless I struck the sidewalk with a force ana enthusiasm that won the applause of the onlookers. By the end of * "lree weeks I was able to lay aside ray crutches, remove the splints from my arm and take 'he pledge against beef tea. For a time I caied not to ride, so well satisfied was I in being able to walk; but in an unguarded moment I again fell a victim to the pernicious habit. This time I was more successful, and be came so well satisfied with my success that I determined to visit a young lady acquaintance. It was not until I was about to leave } that I realized my inability to mountJ The very thought made me turn pale, a. * by the time I reached the gate cold bea/s o. perspiration were standing on my ore he..d. After making several unsuccessful attempt to mount, the young lady c.me to my assist nee; the ne ghLors a. so came out to encoura-e us by b ts of advice nnd kindly suggestions. With each failure I tec. me more excited, my wheel became more unmanageab c, until in sheer des peration I started off leading the. bike, and traying that some friendly comet would strike the earth in my immediate vicinity. Kick BowPEN.