Gypsy: The Boys' Favorite
Gypsy was the pride of Captain Avery Smith's eye, and when he turned the wheel he was directing his life savings into the waters of the deep. The other two vessels had captains, but they were hirelings. Even Block Island's Captain Van de Wart, with the magic name, was a hired expert at the wheel. I have forgotten the name of Ella's captain. We boys really liked Gypsy best, for many reasons. The matrons took to Ella because she was safe and refined. The sports and adventurers preferred the stormy ocean trip on Block Island, with her half-concealed delights of card games and small beer. She was decidedly ornate and vulgar.
The harbor was under the hill, and when the wind was right I could hear the steamboats blowing off as they lay ready to sail; often I could catch the sound of the signal bells as the final whistle toots announced the daily departure of each boat. Once they were cast loose and the hawsers had been hauled in and coiled on deck, the steamers swung around in the deep waters of the harbor to make their way down the narrow channel that wound between the hills to the lower reaches of the valley.