A Noble Haul

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Excerpt:- In 1848 I was third mate of a ship called the Mohican a full-rigged craft of 1,200 tons, bound from the River Thames to Adelaide with a general cargo and five first-class passengers only. My name is George Derbyshire, and at the time of this story I was twenty-one years of age, with a second mate's certificate in my chest, but the berth itself still to come, I was very tall, very broad-shouldered, so massively made, in short, that I could have passed for forty ; and I believe I might have been counted as among the most active of seamen—- certainly the liveliest of the ship's company who swung their hammocks in the forecastle of the Mohican — always the first aloft, and the quickest in "laying down" as it is called; the first at the earing, the first at the brace, the first to show the way if there was ever any hanging in the windw All this I may say after these long years without grave risk of being thought egotistical.

Now, being a good sailor, I looked for good treatment: but this no man among us got. The master of the ship was a person named Scudder; as coarse, surly, ill-conditioned a rogue as ever stepped the planks of a ship's deck. He could scarcely speak with decent civility even to the passengers, though he was careful never to offend them.

The crew he regarded as so many dogs, fit only to be sworn at and whistled to and kicked, and could he have had his way and revived some of the agreeable traditions of old naval discipline, there is little doubt that he would have diverted himself every day with a picturesque spread-eagling scene at the gangway — in other words, with a bare back and as many lashes as he could compel his muscular arm to deliver.

  • Author: William Clark Russell
  • Title: A Noble Haul
  • First Published Format: HC
  • First Published Date: 1897

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