Trouble in paradise and not a lump of coal to be had! The wheels of the financial ruin planned for Edmund C. Roberts had at last begun to turn. Of the two undiscovered stowaways, the one planning monetary mischief (this would not be the stowaway bent on torture and murder with the aid of voodoo), had finally gained access to the ship’s wireless station and communicated with Roberts’ trust administrators, convincing them he was indeed Roberts, and that a breach of security had been discovered and consequently he (Roberts), would most definitely not wish for any further funds to advance him until he had dealt with the matter. In the meantime, the counterfeit Roberts advised, all messages from him would henceforth begin with the code word, “pilfer”, in that way altering his principals that it was the real Edmund C. Roberts making any requests.
The first problem arose when the Baci Finale steamed back to the coaling station in San Francisco. The good ship was in desperate need of coal, as they had run down past their reserves in recent weeks because Roberts’ Sea Turtle tangent. And so when they were asked to vacate the docks, Roberts was beyond anger. “Good Lord, man, what do you mean, ‘My credit is not good here?’ My credit, I will inform you, is good anywhere in the world. Anywhere. At any time. There must be some regrettable mistake. Please redo whatever it was that you did in the first place. There has obviously been an error. Perhaps if you would enlist a little competence we might proceed.” The station master would have none of it. “You have no credit and your ship, sir, is now trespassing. Have your captain vacate this dock immediately or I’ll have you arrested and your vessel impounded. Do I make myself clear?”
Roberts sputtered off, regained the Baci and was doubly vexed when once again he was unable to speak directly with his captain. (He had not seen him once since he has departed on his voyage, despite every effort he had made. The ship’s first officer had waylaid him at every turn). The long and short of it is, the ship was moved and Roberts had the turbine launch roused so that he might dissipate his anger. He roared out of the harbor and up the coast, fortune bringing him to a secluded bay where he chanced upon a Sea Maiden with her baby. He’d allowed the triplets and his naturalist, Dr. Marie Gebeaux to accompany him, and that proved to be unfortunate. All five of them gazed across the water at the Sea Maiden and her child, and all five thought of their own mothers and their respective abandonment. It was a very gloomy group that returned to the ship later that day.
Roberts’ notebook reads:
Is there no end to the taunting? Spied our 22nd Sea Maiden in the company of her child. A moving scene. Quite touching, really. That is, if one had not, as a child, been discarded by his own mother!
Sea Maiden 22 “Ursala” Sea Baby 2
April 2, 1913