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.

[1] Sailors call men from any part of the coast of Massachusetts south of Boston Cape Cod men.

[2] Pronounced croj-ac.

[3] This was Sepulveda’s rancho, where there was a fight, during our war with Mexico in 1846, between some United States troops and the Mexicans, under Don Andreas Pico.


Sunday, October 11th.  Set sail this morning for the leeward; passed within sight of San Pedro, and, to our great joy, did not come to anchor, but kept directly on to San Diego, where we arrived and moored ship on—­

Thursday, October 15th.  Found here the Italian ship La Rosa, from the windward, which reported the brig Pilgrim at San Francisco, all well.  Everything was as quiet here as usual.  We discharged our hides, horns, and tallow, and were ready to sail again on the following Sunday.  I went ashore to my old quarters, and found the gang at the hide-house going on in the even tenor of their way, and spent an hour or two, after dark, at the oven, taking a whiff with my old Kanaka friends, who really seemed glad to see me again, and saluted me as the Aikane of the Kanakas.  I was grieved to find that my poor dog Bravo was dead.  He had sickened and died suddenly the very day after I sailed in the Alert.

Sunday was again, as usual, our sailing day, and we got under way with a stiff breeze, which reminded us that it was the latter part of the autumn, and time to expect southeasters once more.  We beat up against a strong head wind, under reefed topsails, as far as San Juan, where we came to anchor nearly three miles from the shore, with slip-ropes on our cables, in the old southeaster style of last winter.  On the passage up, we had an old sea-captain on board, who had married and settled in California, and had not been on salt water for more than fifteen years.  He was surprised at the changes and improvements that had been made in ships, and still more at the manner in which we carried sail; for he was really a little frightened, and said that while we had top-gallant-sails on, he should have been under reefed topsails.  The working of the ship, and her progress to windward, seemed to delight him, for he said she went to windward as though she were kedging.

Tuesday, October 20th.  Having got everything ready, we set the agent ashore, who went up to the Mission to hurry down the hides for the next morning.  This night we had the strictest orders to look out for southeasters; and the long, low clouds seemed rather threatening.  But the night passed over without any trouble, and early the next morning we hove out the long-boat and pinnace, lowered away the quarter-boats, and went ashore to bring off our hides.  Here we were again, in this romantic spot,—­ a perpendicular hill, twice the height of the ship’s mast-head, with a single circuitous path to the top, and long sand-beach at its base, with the swell of the whole Pacific breaking high upon it, and our hides

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