Author: T. Jenkins Hains
Release Date: August 1, 2004 [EBook #13073]
Character set encoding: ASCII
*** Start of this project gutenberg EBOOK Mr. Trunnell ***
Produced by Juliet Sutherland, Mary Meehan and the
Mate of the Ship “Pirate”
By T. Jenkins Hains
Author of “The Wind-jammers,” “The Wreck of the Conemaugh,” etc.
To All Hands under the lee of the weather cloth this is inscribed
By some means, needless to record here, I found myself, not so many years ago, “on the beach” at Melbourne, in Australia.
To be on the beach is not an uncommon occurrence for a sailor in any part of the world; but, since the question is suggested, I will say that I was not a very dissipated young fellow of twenty-five, for up to that time I had never even tasted rum in any form, although I had followed the sea for seven years.
I had held a mate’s berth, and as I did not care to ship before the mast on the first vessel bound out, I had remained ashore until a threatening landlord made it necessary for me to become less particular as to occupation.
It was a time when mates were plenty and men were few, so I made the rounds of the shipping houses with little hope of getting a chance to show my papers. These, together with an old quadrant, a nautical almanac, a thick pea coat, and a pipe, were all I possessed of this world’s goods, and I carried the quadrant with me in case I should not succeed in signing on. I could “spout it,” if need be, at some broker’s, and thus raise a few dollars.
As I made my way along the water front, I noticed a fine clipper ship of nearly two thousand tons lying at a wharf. She was in the hands of a few riggers, who were sending aloft her canvas, which, being of a snowy whiteness, proclaimed her nationality even before I could see her hull. On reaching the wharf where she lay, I stopped and noticed that she was loaded deep, for her long black sides were under to within four feet of her main deck in the waist.
Her high bulwarks shut off my view of her deck; but, from the sounds that came down from there, I could tell that she was getting in the last of her cargo.