Under Sail by Felix Riesenberg

Under Sail by Felix Riesenberg

Author:Felix Riesenberg [Riesenberg, Felix]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Good Press
Published: 2019-12-12T00:00:00+00:00

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Table of Contents


Table of Contents

The memory of our famous dinner ashore, a feast that was enjoyed over and over again in reminiscences during the succeeding months of the voyage, brings to mind, by very contrast, the sad picture of a body of men who were constantly hungry. These unfortunates were the crew of the iron ship British Monarch. We became very friendly with the crowd on the Britisher during our stay in port, finding them there when we came and leaving them behind when we put to sea. These poor devils talked of food, thought of food, and dreamt of food; they did everything but eat it in anything like satisfying quantities.

They were a typical English ship's company in this case, carrying a larger number of Britons than was generally the rule. The Dutchman, that is anything hailing from the north of Europe, of course predominated.

"Bli me if she ain't the 'ungriest bloody tawnk hout o' Lunnon. Arsh thy calls hit. Sye, hif arsh hever tysted like that, so 'elp me. And they arsts me to heat me fill, the rotters! Blarst 'em! The bloody rotters!"

The speaker, a native of parts near London, a vivacious and interesting lad named Parker Tweedy, treated us to this and much more in the same vein. Tweedy elected himself a "Hextra 'and" at our mess and helped clean up the kids on many an occasion. In fact many a pocket full of tack and many a half pan of dry hash went from the Fuller to the British Monarch.

Two very youthful apprentice boys, fair haired and rosy faced, with china-blue eyes, were among her complement. These children, they were nothing more, gloried in the most awful command of profanity. The boys were to be seen wandering about ashore of an evening, their faded blue uniform caps proclaiming them the sons of doting parents who were willing to pay a bonus of fifty pounds in order that their boys might learn the rudiments of seamanship and navigation on the clipper ship British Monarch, late of the China and Australia trade. "Uniform is worn—meaning the caps—and the young gentlemen are berthed in separate quarters in the cuddy house." So read the tale that snared them. However, nothing except hunger ever seemed to happen to these lads, and as they flattened their noses against the confectioner's windows ashore, they were unconsciously absorbing lessons that might be of value to them in after life.

Like most English ships of this class, the British Monarch was a disgrace to the sea and in no way representative of the best traditions of the English service. The system in vogue in ships of her kind may be epitomized as one of least work and less food. Day after day the crew would sling a scaffold plank over her side and chip her rusty plates in a languid, melancholy way, interspersing their half-hearted labors by lengthy discussions. Small patches of the chipped surface would be coated with red lead


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