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Salvage Point
by [?]

It was there that I spent a day with them, in the summer of 1918, after many years during which we had not met. I was on naval duty, with Commander Kidd, of a certain station on the Maine coast. By invitation we put in with the motorboat S.P. 297, at Salvage Point. So it was that I met my old friends again, and knew what had become of their barque of love which I had helped to save from shipwreck.

The house on the peak of the hill was just what it ought to be; not aggressively rustic, not obtrusively classic–white pillars in front of it, and a terrace, but nothing dominating–it had the air of a very large and habitable lighthouse.

The extraordinary thing was the arrangement of the grounds. At every point one came upon some reminder of salvage. On the glorious August day when I was there, shipwreck seemed impossible: the Southern Way which opened to the Ocean was dancing with gay waves; the blue mountains of Maine were tranquil on the horizon.

“But you see,” said Will Hermann, “this is really rather a dangerous point, though it is so beautiful. It is the gateway of the open sea, and there are three big ledges across it. A ship that has lost her bearings a little, or is driving in through thick weather, easily comes to grief. But there is not often a loss of life, only the ship goes to pieces. And we save the pieces.”

It was true. There was a terrace west of the house, with a balustrade made of the taffrail of a wrecked brigantine. The gateway to the garden was the door of an old wheel-house. There was a pergola constructed from the timbers of a four-masted schooner that had broken up on the third ledge. The bow of the sloop Christabel, with the name still painted on it, was just outside the garden-gate. Everywhere you saw old anchor-bits, and rudder-posts, and knees, all silver-greyed by the weather, and fitted in to the decor of the place.

The prettiest thing of all was a crow’s-nest from a wrecked brigantine, perched on the highest point of the hill, and looking out over the marvellous panorama of sea and shore, island and mountain. Here we sat, after a hearty luncheon with Alice and her three boys and half-a-dozen others who were with them in a kind of summer camp-school; and while we smoked our pipes, Will Hermann told this story.

“You see, Alice and I have a mania for things that have been salvaged. We don’t like the idea of the wrecks, of course. But they would happen any way, whether we were here or not. And since that is so, we like to live here on the point and help save what we can. Sometimes we get a chance to do something for the crews of the little ships that come ashore–hot supper and dry clothes and so forth. But the most interesting salvage case that we ever had on the point was one in which there was really no wreck at all.

“It was a bright September afternoon ten years ago–one of those silver-blue days when there is a little quivering haze in the air everywhere, but no fog. We were sitting up here and looking out to sea. Just beyond the end of Dunker Rock a large motor-boat came in sight through the haze. She was about sixty feet long, with a low cabin forward, a cockpit aft, and a raised place for the steersman amidship–a good-looking craft, and evidently very speedy. She carried no flag or pennant. She came driving on, full tilt, straight toward us. We supposed of course she would turn east through the narrow channel to Winterport, or sheer off to the west into the Southern Way and go up the bay. But not a point did she swerve. Steady on she came, toward the three big ledges that lie out there beyond that bit of shingly beach at the end of the point.

“‘I can’t see any helmsman,’ said Alice, ‘those people must be asleep or crazy. Give them a hail through the megaphone. Perhaps you can make them hear.’