Two Years Before the Mast eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 591 pages of information about Two Years Before the Mast.
and the crew, being very neat, kept it clean by some regulations of their own, such as having a large spit-box always under the steps and between the bits, and obliging every man to hang up his wet clothes, &c.  In addition to this, it was holystoned every Saturday morning.  In the after part of the ship was a handsome cabin, a dining-room, and a trade-room, fitted out with shelves, and furnished with all sorts of goods.  Between these and the forecastle was the ``between-decks,’’ as high as the gun-deck of a frigate, being six feet and a half, under the beams.  These between-decks were holystoned regularly, and kept in the most perfect order; the carpenter’s bench and tools being in one part, the sailmaker’s in another, and boatswain’s locker, with the spare rigging, in a third.  A part of the crew slept here, in hammocks swung fore and aft from the beams, and triced up every morning.  The sides of the between-decks were clapboarded, the knees and stanchions of iron, and the latter made to unship.  The crew said she was as tight as a drum, and a fine sea boat, her only fault being—­ that of most fast ships—­ that she was wet forward.  When she was going, as she sometimes would, eight or nine knots on a wind, there would not be a dry spot forward of the gangway.  The men told great stories of her sailing, and had entire confidence in her as a ``lucky ship.’’ She was seven years old, had always been in the Canton trade, had never met with an accident of any consequence, nor made a passage that was not shorter than the average.  The third mate, a young man about eighteen years of age, nephew of one of the owners, had been in the ship from a small boy, and ``believed in the ship’’; and the chief mate thought as much of her as he would of a wife and family.

The ship lay about a week longer in port, when, having discharged her cargo and taken in ballast, she prepared to get under way.  I now made my application to the captain to go on board.  He told me that I could go home in the ship when she sailed (which I knew before); and, finding that I wished to be on board while she was on the coast, said he had no objection, if I could find one of my own age to exchange with me for the time.  This I easily accomplished, for they were glad to change the scene by a few months on shore, and, moreover, escape the winter and the southeasters; and I went on board the next day, with my chest and hammock, and found myself once more afloat.


Tuesday, September 8th, 1835.  This was my first day’s duty on board the ship; and though a sailor’s life is a sailor’s life wherever it may be, yet I found everything very different here from the customs of the brig Pilgrim.  After all hands were called at daybreak, three minutes and a half were allowed for the men to dress and come on deck, and if any were longer than that, they were sure to be overhauled by the mate, who was always on deck, and

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Two Years Before the Mast from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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