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Two Years Before the Mast - Chapters 29-32 Summary & Analysis

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Like all ships, Alert ignores port regulations against dumping ballast and over the new bed builds a fire to fumigate the sealed vessel. While they wait to resume work, the men listen to Dana read the best parts of Walter Scott's Woodstock. Next day, the hold is prepared to receive 40,000 cured hides. Tasks are divided up to make most efficient transferring of hides from storage on shore to the ship. Dana, as an experienced curer receives the heavy job of throwing hides on a pole to have the dust beaten out of them. They are then carried on men's heads (protected by lamb's wool hats) to the boats, rowed out, and stowed away. The final task is "steeving," fitting the hides together like pages in books for maximum compactness. Alert compromises between two accepted methods. All hands singing helps the process. The crew...

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This section contains 1,208 words
(approx. 4 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Two Years Before the Mast Study Guide
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