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theaman." And so we had a boy Harry” in our crew, though he un-
watch. And with apparent impartiality he made a division, numerically equal. But it did most unaccountably happen that certain of the smartest, most able-bodied seamen fell into the starboard watch, which chanced to be
Lee and Jimmy were apportioned to the mate's or larboard watch, and Harry and myself to the other. Then came the captain's customary address, and I wonder that each word did not perish on the
that uttered it. “My hearties, I like your looks first rate. You are a hale set of fellows as I have seen in a crew for a long time, and it's my opinion we're going to have a pleasant voyage, and a pleasant season for it. Now if you'll do your duty and be faithful, you'll find me a right clever master, and you shall have the best of usage and the best of fare ; but if you don't, you'll find I can make this ship a perfect hell for you. Go below, the starboard watch.” And down into the forecastle we bounced in a trice; when, after hearing many a hearty curse on the skipper for abducting sundry well-filled demijohns and bottles, all were soon rolling about in the hug of Morpheus.
Now that forecas'le was a queer pen at best; and ours was probably as good a specimen as any on the waters, being what was scientifically called a “ Top-gallant forecastle,” or “ House on deck.” It was as large, except in height, as a common sized room ; and around its sides were ranged about twenty-four berths, from under which twenty-four huge chests stuck out half their lengths. In the middle of the floor was stacked up a promiscuous heap of bools, caps, oil-cloth jackets, and every sort of sea-accoutrement. Such was the bedlam confusion in which ate, slept, and lived, by turns or all together as occasion required, twenty-four persons. Yet in all this—and I took my full share of discomfort as well as labor—I was contented, ay, and happy; and who, with the least conformity of disposition, would not be ? Thrown together, as sailors are, with common interests and common fare, obliged to participate in common toils and dangers, they speedily lose every vestige of selfishness—that bane of society. There is nothing a sailor will not do for his shipmate—nothing he will not share to the last with him. Thus can a rough but hearty generosity, with an unvarying round of pleasantry, inake of the most dismal quarters an agreem able home.
At midnight we were all roused from a deep sleep by a thundering rattle against the door, followed immediately by the deafening call, “ Sta—r-b’rd wa—tch, a-h-o-y! Eight bells there! Hear the news ?" We were soon up and out, giving place to the sleepy deckers; and our men in turn wrapping around them their pea-jackets, disposed themselves for a little napping on whatever came convenientsome on a spar, some on water-casks, others in the coil of a rope, and others still on the “ soft side of a board.” I tried all these devices, and many others equally inviting, but not the least rest could I get, much less sleep. And moreover feeling a little queer--not sea-sick, for I
was never sea-sick--but a sort of indescribable all-over-ness, as some poet has written, “ All was not right, yet where the wrong ?” I came to the conclusion that there was no use in torturing one's self so, especially as there was nothing in creation to do outside, that I could see. So in I stole, and crept into bed, where I was forth with dreaming as sweetly as ever in my life before. How long after it was, I do not know, but I was suddenly brought to consciousness by a severe punching at my sides. Turning over, I saw boy Harry standing by my bunk. “ Vot you thleep for? They hunt for you all over the thyip. The thecond mate, he be hell on you.” In an instant I was out on the floor, but in the utmost fright and uncertainty what next to do. him," says he, “ you be thick-you no can vork.” I told Harry to go up slily where the men were, and not say a word about me, soon as I saw the mate's head turned, I followed up, and “tailed onto" the rope, on which they were pulling, as if nothing had happened. Now our “second Dickey” was a gruff, but noble-hearted sailor, and was liked by the crew in proportion as he was hated by the captain, which was no small amount. But he was not to be deceived so easily by a novice in his trade. He had seen boys” before. So singling me out shortly after, he asked me why I did not obey the call.” I answered that “ I was sick, and couldn't get out:" But that excuse, which had so often before served me as a talisman on similar emergencies, he heeded not in the least. “If I ever catch you,” said he,
stowing yourself away again, I'll haul you out by the ears. Now remember' it.”. And I did remember it, Mr. White-not only to preserve those tender organs from the rough tug you threatened, but also to give no occasion for them to hear more such kind remarks. , “ And you, young Dutch chunk,” he continued, " if you ever stay away again half the night, looking him up, I'll lash you by the ears to the mainmast." “ Yeth thir," coolly replied Harry.
At eight bells again, four o'clock--for the bell was struck every half hour-we had the extreme felicity of yelling at the forecastle door, “ Larbowlines a-hoy.” Thus through the twenty-four hours, except six in the afternoon, we had an alternation of watches at each" eight bells ;" the "dog watch," of two hours in the evening, serving to alternate the succession of watches every other night. On Sundays and stormy days we usually had “ watch and watch”--that is, an alternation of watches throughout the entire day. A storm never comes amiss to poor Jack; for as well as the excitement which he longs for, it brings him rest.
Let me now present to you, kind reader, our crew at meals. Around the forecastle sit, each on his own chest, one or both watches, as may be. Out from among the dirty clothes in his bunk, each one pulls a basin, quart cup, and spoon. The boys bring in from the galley and set down in the middle of the Alvor, two or three kids of food, out of which all help themselves. At eight o'clock comes breakfast; but such a breakfast! That eternal “ scouse !" -a mushy mess of sea-biscuit or potatoes boiled up with bits of salt meat. Then each had his "pot” of the black extract of burnt peas, with a little molasses in it-vulgarly
called coffee. These, without butter, salt, or seasoning of any kind, for we never had those luxuries, constituted our unvarying morning repast. At noon we sared a little better, for variety at least. Twice a week we had molasses with “ duff”.
-a bag of flour boiled solid in salt water ; twice, vinegar with beans--i. e. water-gruel with a sprinkling of beans in it; twice, mush; and for the odd time, boiled potatoes, which relished remarkably, seeing that we could get nothing but rocksalt to eat with them. Supper is easily told. Salt horse-flesh, barleymeal and saw-dust sea-biscuit, and each man a quart of a decoction of some villainous herbs, a little“ bewitched” with molasses. This, Captain Howe, was the good living you promised us! Yet in New York you were thought to be decently honest; some even thought you to be temperate and gentlemanly; but, alas ! how speedily does the salt sea wash off a scaly virtue! Your portly, manly figure very much belied your immaterial parts.
But I must pass over several days, during which we had steady, fair winds, and were constantly bowling along under all our canvas, and with every stu’n-sail set. We were now on the “ Banks,” groping on through that everlasting fog, which settles like night on those dark shoals. Oh! that driving, drizzling, drenching air ! shivering, wretched hours have I spent in it, so cold and damp ! Nothing is impervious to it. Often have I cast off three and four dripping duplicates of ordinary garments, and wrapped myself in as many wet blankets, to enjoy a short oblivion of trouble and discomfort. It was on one of these dismal nights, while we were on the Banks, just as our watch, which had gone below, wearied with hauling in studding sails for several hours together, had fallen comfortably to sleep, that we were suddenly startled by a loud cry at the door—"all hands! Shorten sail !” As soon as possible we were out of our bunks and hastening half dressed to the quarter deck. The wind, which had risen during the night, was now blowing a gale, driving fiercely against us mingled sleet and spray. The sea was capped with foam, and on its whitened surface our ship was wildly plunging, careening her bulwarks almost to the water's edge. “Hurry up here ! Hurry up here !" roared the captain, who was clinging to the mizzen shrouds to windward. “Clew
the royals and top-gall’nt-s'ls ! Haul up the courses! Lay up and furl!" And command followed fast on command, answered ever by the hurried " Ay, ay, sir," till all sound was lost in the din of flapping canvas and clattering ropes. I had been aloft several tinies before ; and was now only awaiting an opportunity to learn that first and hardest duty on ship-board, to furl a royal. So, heedless of storm and darkness, I soon found myself following Lee up the weather main rigging. Over the ratlins we clambered lustily ; now into the “top," and now upon the “cross-trees.” Here clapping hands and feet to the large “ stays,” we "shinned” up to the royal yard. Making up and fastening the “ bunt" in the middle, we each ran out on the “ foot-ropes," with the end of a gasket” between our teeth, which we wound taut around both yard and sail, and bringing it in, fastened it to the "tye,” when our royal was furled. Thence slipping down again, we were soon on deck.
Often since then have I recalled the peril of that first adventure, when scarce a week at sea, and in a midnight gale, I found myself swaying and quivering with the blast, in the highest part of the ship now forced to cling with all my might to the yard-arm, and now, in a lull of the wind, passing another turn of the gasket-at one moment bending with the mast far down towards the water, and at the next rebounding with my feet flying in mid-air. And I have wondered that I could so carelessly have gazed into the dark, scowling sea beneath, and so recklessly laughed at the howling storm. Yet such were but common occurrences, To the sailor, these scenes are the romance of life, the theme of yarns,' the food of the soul. As such I too, though young, enjoyed them; and nothing ever pleased me more than a frowning sky, and a cresting sea along the distant horizon. When I reached the deck, I was bare-headed, my oil-jacket as near wrong side out as possible, my inner raiment flying at loose ends, and every part of me soaking wet. Finding the sails, except the top-sails, already stowed, I hastened down to the forecastle ; whither boy Harry came soon after, in even worse plight than myself. He was swearing away “ how he'd be down on that dam Dimmy Duckth. The thkippy, he thend him up to the miththen r'yal mit me. And he don't can do a dam thing. He hide in the top.'” And so indeed it was. Poor Jimmy had not the heart to make his first essay on such a night ; and accordingly had stopped at the “lubber's hole,” leaving Harry to furl his sail alone.
During the next day we set all sail again, and passing off the Banks, suddenly emerged into pleasant weather. But we were rolled about most wantonly by a tremendous sea, the relics of the last night's gale. Thus speedily every thing settled again into the usual round of day duties. “ Wash decks” in the morning—"pump ship, the watch," and " hold the reel, boys,” every eight bells—and “braid sennet, “make mats for chafing gear,” when there is nothing else to be done.
It was one afternoon, not many days later than this, as there was a sly inkling among the younger and lighter portion of the crew, that the remaining part of the day would be devoted to the peculiarly unpleasant duty of "slushing” the upper masts, when, lo! and behold! boy Harry was nowhere to be found. Immediately every nook and cranny of the ship rang to the loud cry—“ Boy Harry!” “ Boy Harry!" It happened to fall to my lot to rummage the forecastle for him; when hunting for some time all alone, I at last heard a low whisper, issuing out from a heap of rubbish in the back side of a bunk—" Charley! Charley! The mate he find me, he athk me vere I thick, vot I tell him ?" “ Tell him," said I, "you are sick to the stomach.” 66 Vere be the thtomich ?" Pointing out its locality, I hove another blanket over him, and was forth with busily engaged again tumbling chests about; when the chief mate stepped in and commenced the search for himself. We must now introduce to the reader, Mr. Beattie, our first mate, a most skillsul seaman, but a narrow, conceited soul ; who dwelt most rigidly on the “minor points of the law," and seemed to think his reputation depended on his petty tyranny over the boys. After searching
some time, he at last stumbled on Harry, buried in his dark nest. And out he hauled him to view rather roughly, asking, with many pretty adjuncts to his speech, what he was stowed away in there for ? I'th thick, thir-Oh! hard thick in my thtomich' thir.”. “ That's your case then, is it ?" said the mate. “I'll soon fix you out.” So aft he hurried, and in a few minutes came back with a wine-glass nearly filled with castor oil. The instant Harry saw what the game was to be, seized the glass from the mate, applied it to his lips, and quicker than thought, its contents were gone. And the officer, turning about, stalked off in all the pride of conscious cunning. Ah, Mr. Beattie, if you
had had the dilated pupils of my eyes in that dark corner, you might not have been quite so well pleased, as you saw your medicine taking rather an external route to the digestives of that mischievous lad. Of course it was several days before boy Harry could do any more work ; and of course he presented a most doleful appearance, especially when any officer was in sight.
Onward and onward we ploughed through the wide waste, not once being obliged by contrary winds to turn from our course, and frequently cleaving the waters at the rapid rate of fifteen knots an hour. On the evening of the sixteenth day out from New York, the bold shores of Lizard Point, on the coast of England, loomed into view. Passing this almost within the distance of a stone's cast, we sailed on up the channel. And when morning again broke upon us, we were standing, with shortened sail, off the blue hills of Normandy. Oh! glorious sight! for what though lovely France be now raving in a wild crazyfit, and with bloody arın is dealing death to myriads of her sons ; her soil will give us respite from the ceaseless tumble of old ocean, and we long to look on her beauty. During the morning a French pilot boarded us, and we again made sail. Ah! what a noble sight do we present, as the gallant St. Denis dashes by the lighthouse and along the pier, and a thousand delighted eyes are fastened on us from shore. “ Starboard the helm !" “Let go all halliards !" Drop the larboard anchor there for’ard !" “What! cable chain parted ?" "Let fly the the other!” And here we are, safe moored in one of those beautiful basins which intersect the maritime city of " Havre de Grâce.”
For want of time and space to continue, at present, these desultory sketches, I must, kind reader, leave you at this part of the narrative.