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heard their story.
The vessel was an English bark, full of soldiers, bound to New Brunswick. She
had sprung a leak, like ourselves, and was only kept afloat by constant
pumping and bailing. She had put back for England on account of the wind and
the distance. Our captain was asked to keep near the transport, and we
shortened sail accordingly. For three days and nights the two vessels ran side
by side, within hail; our passengers and officers drinking to theirs, andvice
vers, at dinner. On the fourth day, the weather being fine, the wind fair,
and our reckoning making us near the channel, we told the Englishman we would
run ahead, make the land, and heave-to. We stood in so far that the poor
fellows owned afterwards they thought we had left them. This was not our
intention, however, for we no sooner made the land than we hauled up, and
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brought them the joyful news of its vicinity. They cheered us again, as we
closed with them, and both ships jogged on in company.
Next morning, being well in with the land, and many vessels in sight, the
Englishmen desired us to make sail, as they could carry their bark into
Falmouth. We did so, and reached London, in due time. On our return to New
York, the Washington was sold, and I lost my preferment in that employment,
though I went with a character to another vessel, and got the same berth.
Chapter XIII.
My next craft was the Camillus, a ship that was bound to Greenock, via
Charleston. We got to the latter port without accident, and took in a cargo of
cotton. The ship was all ready for sailing of a Saturday, and the captain had
gone ashore, telling me he would be on board early in the morning, when we
could haul out and go to sea, should the wind be favourable. I gave the people
their Saturday's night, and went into the cabin to freshen the nip, myself. I
took a glass or two, and certainly had more in me than is good for a man,
though I was far from being downright drunk. In a word, I had too much, though
I could have carried a good deal more, on a pinch. The steward had gone
ashore, and there being no second-mate, I was all alone.
In this state of things, I heard a noise, and went on deck to inquire what
was the matter. My old ship, the Franklin, was shifting her berth, and her
jib-boom had come foul of our taffrail. After some hailing, I got on the
taffrail to shove our neighbour off, when, by some carelessness of my own, I
fell head-foremost, hitting the gunwale of the boat, which was hanging, about
half way up to the davits, into the water. The tide set me away, and carried
me between the wharf and the ship astern of us, which happened to be the
William Thompson, Captain Thompson, owner Thompson, mate Thompson, and all
Thompson, as Mathews used to have it. Captain Thompson was reading near the
cabin windows, and he luckily heard me groan. Giving the alarm, a boat was got
round, and I taken in. As the night was dark, and I lost all consciousness
after the fall, I consider this escape as standing second only to that from
the shark in the West Indies, and old Trant's gun, the night the Scourge went
down. I did not recover my recollection for several hours. This was not the
effect of liquor, but of the fall, as I remember everything distinctly that
occurred before I went from the taffrail. Still I confess that liquor did all
the mischief, as I had drunk just enough to make me careless.
In the morning, I found myself disabled in the left arm, and I went to a
doctor. This gentleman said he never told a fellow what ailed him until he got
his whack. I gave him a dollar, and he then let me into the secret. My
collar-bone was broken. "And, now," says he, "for another dollar I'll patch
you up." I turned out the other Spaniard, when he was as good as his word.
Going in the ship, however, was out of the question, and I was obliged to get
a young man to go on board the Camillus in my place; thus losing the voyage
and my berth.
I was now ashore, with two or three months of drift before me. Since the time
I joined the Washington, I had been going regularly ahead, and I do think had
I been able to stick by the Camillus, I might have brought up a master. I had
laid up money, and being employed while in port, I was gradually losing my
taste for sailor amusements, and getting more respect for myself. That fall
from the Jaffrail was a sad drawback for me, and I never recovered the lee-way
it brought about.
I was more than two months ashore, behaving myself rationally on account of
my arm. At the end of that time, I went on board the Sally, a ship also bound
to Greenock, as her second-mate. This vessel belonged to Charleston, and it
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was intended she should return to her own port. The voyage turned out well,
and my arm got as strong as ever. On reaching Charleston, I left the craft,
which was laid up, and shipped in a schooner of the same name, bound to St.
Domingo, as her chief mate. This was no great craft, certainly, though she
proved a tight, wholesome sea-boat. We went out without any accident, arriving
in safety at Cape Henry. After discharging cargo, and smuggling on board a
quantity of doubloons--four hundred and eighty, it was said--we got under way [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]