The hero of this story is Walter Leigh, who takes a job as second mateaboard a gasoline-powered yacht owned by a Mrs Vansittart, whosehusband is an American industrialist. Julius Vansittart is a rathernasty 12-year-old, who, despite his life being saved by Leigh, when hehad fallen overboard, hates the English, and never misses an opportunityof being as unpleasant as possible, even to the point of stupidity.
I have not been putting you through your facings just out of sheer feminine curiosity; I've been doing it with a purpose. I am Mrs Cornelia Vansittart, wife of Julius Vansittart of New York, engineer, the inventor of the Vansittart gasoline engine. I am passionately fond of yachting, so my husband made me a present of the Stella Maris, and consented to my making a voyage in her round the world. She is a good ship, and I have a good crew; but I have only two mates, and Kennedy says that in a ship of this size, and on such a cruise as we are contemplating, I ought to have a third. At first I didn't propose to do anything of the kind, for I don't like being told by anybody what I ought to do, or to have; but somehow, when I saw you lost in admiration of my ship, I sort of took a fancy to you. I like the look of you, and thought that if I must have a third mate, I'd like one something like you; so I invited you to come aboard, that I might have a chance to talk to you and find out if you came up to sampl