Two Years Before the Mast

Two Years Before the Mast

3.96 (10,410 ratings by Goodreads)
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Excerpt: ...until the next morning. As soon as her anchor was down we went aboard, and found her to be the whale-ship Wilmington and Liverpool Packet, of New Bedford, last from the off-shore ground, ' with nineteen hundred barrels of oil. A spouter' we knew her to be, as soon as we saw her, by her cranes and boats, and by her stump top-gallant-masts, and a certain slovenly look to the sails, rigging, spars, and hull; and when we got on board, we found everything to correspond, - spouter fashion. She had a false deck, which was rough and oily, and cut up in every direction by the chines of oil casks; her rigging was slack, and turning white, paint worn off the spars and blocks, clumsy seizings, straps without covers, and homeward-bound splices' in every direction. Her crew, too, were not in much better order. Her captain was a slab-sided Quaker, in a suit of brown, with a broad-brimmed hat, bending his long legs as he moved about decks, with his head down, like a sheep, and the men looked more like fishermen and farmers than they did like sailors. Though it was by no means cold weather (we having on only our red shirts and duck trousers), they all had on woollen trousers, - not blue and ship-shape, but of all colors, - brown, drab, gray, aye, and green, - with suspenders over their shoulders, and pockets to put their hands in. This, added to Guernsey frocks, striped comforters about the neck, thick cowhide boots, woollen caps, and a strong, oily smell, and a decidedly green look, will complete the description. Eight or ten were on the fore topsail yard, and as many more in the main, furling the topsails, while eight or ten were hanging about the forecastle, doing nothing. This was a strange sight for a vessel coming to anchor; so we went up to them, to see what was the matter. One of them, a stout, hearty-looking fellow, held out his leg and said he had the scurvy; another had cut his hand; and others had got nearly well, but said that there were plenty alo
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Product details

  • Paperback | 146 pages
  • 187.96 x 241.3 x 10.16mm | 226.8g
  • English
  • Illustrations, black and white
  • 1236710487
  • 9781236710482

Rating details

10,410 ratings
3.96 out of 5 stars
5 35% (3,638)
4 35% (3,687)
3 23% (2,387)
2 5% (496)
1 2% (202)
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