A few years ago I had with me as chief mate a man who had left his home when quite a boy to come to China. After arrival in Shanghai, he got a position as quartermaster, and worked his way up to chief mate.
After about eighteen years' absence from his home, an older brother of his came to Shanghai in command of a sailing-ship, and the two brothers met. The captain and I were introduced to each other, and I invited him to spend all the time he could with his young brother on board the steamer. Later the captain asked me to use my influence to get his brother to go home with him to see his mother, who was a very old lady, and always yearning to see her child "Sam."
After some trouble, I persuaded him, as a matter of duty, to go home, and obtained for him a year's leave of absence. He left Shanghai in his brother's ship, and went to Iloilo, where the vessel loaded and sailed for America. When the vessel was well on her way towards the Cape of Good Hope, they had one very calm day, and a short distance from them was another vessel showing the American flag. The two brothers agreed to have a boat lowered and to pull over to the stranger for a short visit. This was done, and to their great surprise, when they got on board, they found that the captain was their own older brother.
The two captains had been employed in different ports and on different voyages, and had not met each other in fifteen years, and the oldest and the youngest had never met before.