Mr. and Mrs. Vidbel have spent their days in the mountains, carrying a rope and following Siam's enormous tracks. Their hope has been to get one end of the rope around the elephant's leg and the other around a sturdy tree. Once they got Siam staked down, they believed, they could lead her home with an elephant hook.
Sometimes, as the Vidbels climbed the slopes last week, Virgil Phinney sailed over them in his Piper Cub, throttled down the engine and shouted a word of encouragement or guidance. On the ground they were apt to encounter an impromptu safari, its members carrying such odd equipment—for an elephant hunt—as a .22 rifle, bird-watching glasses and a picnic lunch.
Siam has knocked over a few stone fences in her wanderings—her tendency is to walk through them instead of stepping over—but aside from that she hasn't done much damage. More than one farm wife has glanced out her kitchen window and seen the elephant pass harmlessly down the lane and out of sight.
When, on the 13th day of her freedom, Siam ventured down from the cold Catskill heights and was finally made secure, with the help of a chain, by Mr. Vidbel and others, Vidbel's expectation was confirmed: knowing Siam, he was pretty sure she would eventually grow tired of roots and berries and even freedom and would be heading home again to a good meal of grain, hay, carrots and potatoes.
Nothing in the sedate world of cruising yachtsmen is more carefully hedged with legality and circumspection than the charter of one's own boat—even to a close friend. Terry Jaeger, advertising director for Kennecott Copper, member in good standing of the New York Yacht Club and owner of the 52-foot schooner Serene out of New York, is a careful and traditional yachtsman. He rented out his lovely teak-planked ship for a fortnight or so last August to Joseph Schmitz of Chicago with all the formalities that were due, including the approval of the broker, inspection of Mr. Schmitz' merchant marine master's license, a personal chat with Schmitz and a sailor-to-sailor shake to seal the bargain. Jaeger and Schmitz are not likely to be as intimate again. Serene (see opposite page) is now weeks overdue and presumably far at sea.
The Coast Guard is sure Serene didn't sink offshore—they'd have found wreckage by now—and Jaeger is equally certain she didn't sink at sea. "Serene is a stout ship. They could lock themselves below and she'd sail them around the world," he said positively. Indeed, Jaeger is beginning to believe that he may be the victim of a thing rare in the 20th century. "I think it may be piracy," says Jaeger, whose personal serenity is understandably missing. "I've been talking to an admiralty lawyer and he thinks that that's what it might be. Anyway, we're looking it up. He says he can't remember ever having run across a case.
"The penalty for piracy," Jaeger adds, with a hint of satisfaction, "is death."
A seafaring man strolled into a sporting goods store near the Baltimore waterfront a few days ago and asked, in the most matter of fact tones, for a couple of pieces of unusual fishing equipment: some 600-pound test line and 500-pound test leader. "You going after whales?" asked the clerk, a little uncertainly. "If they'll bite," said the sailor. He wasn't kidding, and his request was not quite as unusual as it sounded. Steamboats were not made for fishing, but a real fisherman will not quit trying just because he is on a steamboat or because his mates feel (as most of them do) that he is "nuts—real nuts." There are few sporting goods stores that do not get occasional visits from sailors wistfully bent on curious equipment.