Pursuit of the Blackhawk
Stephen Doyle just returned from a job for the Western Union Extension Company in the northern Colony of British Columbia; the race against the Atlantic Cable Co. to reach Europe with telegraph. His shanghaied wife of eighteen months had returned, escaping the ship Blackhawk. Stephen walked the docks asking, where can I find the Blackhawk More
A year and a half ago in 1865, STEPHEN DOYLE’S wife, RACHEL, and son, MICHAEL, disappeared from their home in San Francisco. Now, Stephen has just returned by ship from a three-month expedition into the interior of the northern part of the Colony of British Columbia for the Western Union Extension Company. He was hired to survey and map the last three hundred miles of the Collins Overland Telegraph, a heated race with the Atlantic Cable Company to to establish a telegraph service to Europe. He returned with company telegrapher, STANLEY MITCHELL.
Met at the docks by his previous employer, HUGH RANDALL, Stephen was told that Rachel had returned from having been shanghaied, but Michael had died at sea. Rachel’s ordeal as a slave of the ship’s captain and two mates, made her bitter about men, and she no longer felt she could be a wife to Stephen, so petitioned for dissolution of their marriage. Hugh also told Stephen about the ship, BLACKHAWK’s previous destinations, and how Rachel escaped.
Stephen told Hugh he wanted to take time off and sail to New York, then travel back across the plains. But instead, he learned the Blackhawk had sailed from San Francisco three weeks ago; its captain ADDISON CORFE; it’s destination Buenos Aires, Africa, and England, same route as Rachel was taken.
Accompanied by Stanley, his pursuit on the ship, SKYANGEL, chanced him to meet a sailor who had sailed with Captain Corfe. The Skyangel sailed to Buenos Aires and caught the Blackhawk, ready to sail to Africa on the morning’s tide.
Stephen, Stanley, and the seaman who had sailed with Corfe, agreed to point him out at his favorite diner. Corfe and three men exited the diner and surprised Stephen and Stan at the door. Outnumbered, and with Stephen’s quick thinking, he told them he was a diamond merchant and was looking for immediate passage to Cape Town, and that Stan was his diamond expert. They would pay for passage upon arrival, with diamonds he had in a bank vault there. Agreeable to Corfe, they obtained passage and when half way to Africa, Stephen learned from a crewman that his son Michael did not die at sea, but being very ill, was unknowingly to Rachel, dropped off at Santiago, Chile.
Once in Cape Town, Stephen helped a stranded American, FRANK DELORNE, who in turn helped him find and deal with Corfe and his mates in a most unfavorable manner.
Stephen found Michael in Santiago, cared for by a physician, and then by a childless couple. Stephen took Michael back to Rachel, who was still at her parent’s home.
A year later at the doorstep of his new home, Stephen plucked a fully bloomed red rose before he unlocked the door. He held it between a thumb and forefinger as he carried his new bride to their wedding bed. While she lay with her hair spread to the sides, he held the rose out to her and said, “You are the most beautiful woman in the whole world.”
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