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.She seated the Trouts at an umbrellaed table on the patio and brought out glasses of iced tea.“Thank you for the tour,” Gamay said.“It’s a beautiful house.”“The captain and his wife moved up here from Johnny Cake Hill.The whaling merchants wanted bigger homes and gardens that reflected their status in the community.Now, how may I help you? St.Julien said on the phone that you were interested in one of the captain’s logbooks.”“We received a query from a virologist who asked us about an epidemic that struck the Pacific whaling fleet in 1848,” Gamay said.“We’re surveying logbooks from that time to see if we can find any mention of the event.”Rachael raised an eyebrow.“The 1848 voyage was the captain’s last whaling expedition,” she said.“He retired from the sea after that voyage.”“Wasn’t that unusual?” Paul asked.“From what we’ve heard, your ancestor was an extremely successful whaler.”“He was probably the best of his day.And you’re right about it being odd that he stopped going to sea at the peak of his career.He had brought in a full hold of sperm oil on his ship’s maiden voyage and could have had any command he wanted.He said he wanted to spend more time with Hepsa, whom he had married before he left on that final expedition.”“I don’t blame him for wanting to stay home,” Paul said.“Your ancestor was a beautiful woman.”Rachael blushed at the indirect compliment.“Thank you.The captain went to work for the Rotch family.They invented the vertical-integration model still used by multinational corporations and applied it to the whaling industry.” She paused in thought, then said, “According to the Dobbs family lore, something happened on that last voyage that changed his views.”“The face in the captain’s portrait didn’t belong to a man who would scare easily,” Paul said.“No disagreement, Mr.Trout.The captain had been a harpooner before he worked his way up.Anyone who stands in a frail wooden boat and antagonizes a seventy-foot-long sperm whale is not fainthearted.”Gamay leaned forward.“Could the Caleb Nye incident have had anything to do with the captain’s decision?” she asked.Rachael shook her head.“Caleb’s experience would have been a wonderful story for the captain to tell other ship captains when they got together,” she said.“I believe you told St.Julien that the logbook for the 1848 voyage was destroyed,” Gamay said.“Unfortunately, yes,” Rachael said with a sigh.“Caleb’s whaling library went up in flames when his house burned to the ground.He must have been heartbroken at losing his beloved library.There’s now housing for the elderly on the site of the old Nye mansion in Fairhaven.”“Isn’t it curious that the captain would have given his log to a former crewman?” Gamay said.“Not really.The captain would have known about Caleb’s book collection.Also, there was a peculiar bond between the two men.It was said that the captain felt personally responsible for the young man’s unfortunate condition.He wrote an affidavit saying that the Jonah story was true.It was read at the traveling show and helped make Caleb a rich man.”“Did Caleb ever write a book about his adventure?”“Not that I know of.He made the lecture circuit for years under the guidance of a P.T.Barnum type, a promoter named Strater, and they sold pamphlets at the shows, so maybe that was more lucrative than a book would have been.There must have been a great deal written about Caleb.You could dig into old newspaper files, for a start.”Rachael excused herself to answer the doorbell and came back a moment later.“The electrician is here.We could talk later, if you don’t mind waiting.”“We’re on a tight schedule,” Gamay said.“Do you have any suggestions on how we might find out more about Caleb Nye?”“You could start in our basement.We have a section of the diorama Nye used in his presentations.He gave it to a library, but they ran out of room and shipped it over here.We didn’t have room for it, either.Perhaps I can show it to you when I’m not so busy.“In the meantime, there is the New Bedford Whaling Museum.And the various local historical societies.But since you’re short on time, there is one other avenue, although I hesitate to suggest it.”“We’re grasping at straws,” Paul said.“Give it a try.”“Well, then,” she said with a shrug, “you might want to talk to Harvey Brimmer.He deals in antique documents from a shop near the Seamen’s Bethel on Johnny Cake Hill.He unearths some amazing old documents from time to time.”“Why do you hesitate to recommend Mr [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]