wind’ward, the point from which the wind blows.
star’board, the right-hand side of a ship.
bruised, injured, hurt.
* * * * *
She was a sailor cat, indeed, and it was a sailor who first brought her on board.
Our steamer was lying at her pier in the North River, at New York, taking in cargo.
One of our men, who had been ashore, came back with a little gray-and-white kitten in his arms. She was very poor and thin, and her little furry coat was sadly soiled with dirt and grease.
But she had not lost all her fun, for she was making play with her tiny fore-paws at the ends of the sailor’s red beard, to honest Jack’s great delight.
“Where did you pick that up, Jack?” asked the third officer.
“Well, your honor,” said Jack Harmon, touching his cap with a grin, “seems to me she must have left her ship and gone to look for another, for I found her tramping along the pier there, and mewing as if she was calling out for somebody to show her the road.
“So I thought that, as we have many rats aboard the old craft, she would be able to pick up a good living there; and I called to her, and she came at once, and here she is.”
Here she was, sure enough; and as Jack ended his story, she chimed in with a plaintive little “Me-ow,” which said, as plainly as ever any cat spoke yet, “I’m very cold and hungry, and I do wish somebody would take me below and give me some food!”
She had not long to wait. Half an hour later she was the best-fed cat in that part of New York City, and that night she lay snugly curled up with a good warm blanket over her.
Of course, the first thing to do with an adopted cat is to give it a name, and Jack Harmon, who was a bit of a wag in his way, and a great admirer of the monster elephant which was just then making such a stir in New York, called his new pet “Jumbo.”
Jumbo soon became the pet of the whole crew, and of the passengers, too, when they came on board, a few days later, for the voyage back to England.
Before we were half-way across the ocean, the bits of meat or cake, and bits of white bread soaked in milk, which were being constantly given her by one and another, had made her look as round as an apple.
The ladies were never tired of stroking her soft fur and admiring her dainty white paws, which were now as spotless as snow. The children romped all day with this new playmate, who seemed to enjoy the sport quite as much as themselves.
But Jumbo was not content with mere play. She seemed to think herself bound to do something to “work her passage.” Whenever any of the crew went aloft to take in sail, Jumbo would always climb up, too, as if to help them.
Jack Harmon was still her favorite, and whenever it came his turn to stand at the bow and keep watch, there was Jumbo going backward and forward.