As a schooner among the South Islands, heeling to the honest Trade, skims unaffectedly from port to port, asking but small room of the sea and intent only upon her narrow destiny and little interests; so, I know well, ought a narrative of adventure, treasure-seeking and violent meetings of men, to start, to proceed and to end. Yet from the very veraciousness of those events about to be related, it seems necessary to begin cumbersomely; as if the vessel to manœuvre were a three-decker, the wind baffling and the channel, between harbor and open sea, tortuous and involved. And there will not be any plain sailing until well after the murder in the gully and the examination of the crew-man's wallet.
I had determined while still in those gawky teens, from which so far as concerns locomotion I shall never emerge, to be an author. And I wrote from that period until my thirtieth year with assiduous patience and distinguished unsuccess.