They had only a day to wait, as the regular steamer for Tien-tsin was advertised to leave on the afternoon following their return. She was not so large and comfortable as the one that had carried them to Han-kow and back; but she was far better than no steamer at all, and they did not hesitate a moment at taking passage in her. They found that she had a Chinese crew, with foreign officers—the same as they had found the river-boat and the steamers from Japan. The captain was an American, who had spent twenty years in China, and knew all the peculiarities of the navigation of its waters. He had passed through two or three shipwrecks and been chased by pirates. Once he was in the hands of the rebels, who led him out for execution; but their attention was diverted by an attack on the town where they were, and he was left to take care of himself, which you can be sure he did. Another time he saved himself by crawling through a small window and letting himself fall about ten feet into a river. The night was dark, and he did not know where to go; but he thought it better to take the chance of an escape in this way, as he felt sure he would have his head taken off the next morning if he remained. Luckily he floated down to where a foreign ship was lying, and managed to be taken on board. He thought he had had quite enough of that sort of thing, and was willing to lead a quiet life for the rest of his[Pg 353] days..