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 leaned over the rail, ``as sick as a lady passenger.’’ He had been to sea several years, and had, he said, never been sick before.  He was made so by the irregular pitching motion of the vessel, increased by the height to which he had been above the hull, which is like the fulcrum of the lever.  An old sailor, who was at work on the top-gallant yard, said he felt disagreeably all the time, and was glad, when his job was done, to get down into the top, or upon deck.  Another hand was sent to the royal-mast-head, who stayed nearly an hour, but gave up.  The work must be done, and the mate sent me.  I did very well for some time, but began at length to feel very unpleasantly, though I never had been sick since the first two days from Boston, and had been in all sorts of weather and situations.  Still, I kept my place, and did not come down, until I had got through my work, which was more than two hours.  The ship certainly never acted so before.  She was pitched and jerked about in all manner of ways; the sails seeming to have no steadying power over her.  The tapering points of the masts made various curves against the sky overhead, and sometimes, in one sweep of an instant, described an arc of more than forty-five degrees, bringing up with a sudden jerk, which made it necessary to hold on with both hands, and then sweeping off in another long, irregular curve.  I was not positively sick, and came down with a look of indifference, yet was not unwilling to get upon the comparative terra firma of the deck.  A few hours more carried us through, and when we saw the sun go down, upon our larboard beam, in the direction of the continent of North America, we had left the banks of dark, stormy clouds astern, in the twilight.


Friday, September 16th.  Lat. 38 N., lon. 69 00’ W. A fine southwest wind; every hour carrying us nearer in toward the land.  All hands on deck at the dog watch, and nothing talked about but our getting in; where we should make the land; whether we should arrive before Sunday; going to church; how Boston would look; friends; wages paid; and the like.  Every one was in the best spirits; and, the voyage being nearly at an end, the strictness of discipline was relaxed, for it was not necessary to order in a cross tone what all were ready to do with a will.  The differences and quarrels which a long voyage breeds on board a ship were forgotten, and every one was friendly; and two men, who had been on the eve of a fight half the voyage, were laying out a plan together for a cruise on shore.  When the mate came forward, he talked to the men, and said we should be on George’s Bank before to-morrow noon; and joked with the boys, promising to go and see them, and to take them down to Marblehead in a coach.

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