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PAPERS OF AN OLD DARTMOOR PRISONER.

EDITED BY NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE,

CHAPTER III.

VESSEL AND OFFICERS-LIFE ON BOARD A PRIVATEER.

Being now fairly out at sea, I had and in the main hold, where the sailors an opportunity to look around me and lived. In the cabin, the case was somesurvey our motley crew of officers and what better; for the Dons who messed men. Our vessel I have already describ- there took care to have the decks well ed, in language which may seem to caulked, and being further aft, when partake largely of hyperbole and bur- the vessel pitched bows under, the walesque; but in all sober earnestness, ter would be likely to expend itself in I believe that a more unsuitable craft, the forecastle and wardroom before it for all purposes of safety or comfort, reached the domicil of those potent never swam the water. Our first at- Seignors, the officers of the cabin.tempt to go to sea in her, had, as has They were allowed to have chests on been related, well-nigh proved fatal to board, which, with a covering of tarall the crew; and although the altera paulin, may be made water-tight. I tion of her bottom had added not a lit- have, many a time, come down from tle to her capacity of keeping afloat, the deck drenched to the skin in water, yet she sat so low in the water, that, and turned into my bunk with my reekwhen there was anything of a stiff ing clothes on-the bedding completely breeze, and a smart sea running, she saturated likewise, and turned out was, almost the whole time, under wa- again in the morning, to go through my ter-just emerging, now and then, as a various duties of the day, as wet as a whale occasionally comes up to the sur- drowned rat, and this for days and face to blow. Until we had reached days consecutively. Notwithstanding the tropical latitudes, we were almost the discomfort of our situation, we had continually submerged, and our decks many a hearty laugh at each other, not being tight, the water was continu- when some poor fellow got more than ally leaking in below-even when it did an ordinary ducking, for Jack is a lightnot come down through the hatchway hearted animal and kicks care behind -wetting our bunks or sleeping-places; him, and contrives to extract fun even and our clothes-bags were, much of the out of his own annoyances. Many a time, completely saturated with the hearty laugh have we had at each other, salt-water. Our vessel being small, when sitting below around our kid of (only about 120 tons burthen,) and re salt beef, so hard that one might have markably deficient in stowage capacity, sharpened his knife on it, and as salt as we were not allowed to take on board if the salt-pits of Salina had concenany chests or trunks, but were restrict- trated all their saline and antiseptic ed to a bag, which would hold about a powers upon it, when the companionbushel by measure, to keep our clothes hatchway-slide had been slipped back in; so that we had no means of secur- for a minute, to let some tardy messing our few duds, (as the sailors call mate dive down to dinner, to have at all articles of clothing.) from the salt- least a barrel of salt water pour down at water; they were thus continually his back, floating away our kid of salt reeking with the wet, as was also our junk and potatoes, and driving us against bedding. This was our case in the one another in the scramble to regain wardroom, and also in the fore-castle, it. However, we were like the old

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VOL. XVIII.-NO, XCII.

woman's eels, wlien she was skinning observed much, and had a happy faculty them—they doesn't mind it, poor crea of communicating what he kuew; and tures, they are used to it.' So was it if we had only known when to believe with us; we minded a wetting as little him, he would have been a very inas does a spaniel.

structive, as he certainly was a very The cabin, as I have said, is the af entertaining companion. termost apartment on board a vessel ; Our first lieutenant was a fine spein this resided the captain, the two lieu- cimen of a man, and of a sailor. He tenants, the doctor and sailing-master. was a native of Marblehead, a town reWe gentlemen of the wardroom were nowned in American history for the invited, one at a time, each day to dine sturdy patriotism of its sons.

He was with the skipper and his mess; and A fine, well proportioned, man, of a this was a red letter day in our calen- frame capable of enduring the greatest dar, for he was a gourmand, and hav- fatigue, sinewy, and well knit; and ing command of every thing appertain- his temper and disposition of the greating to the craft, and a first-rate steward est placability and equanimity. Yet, to wait upon him and compound his there was no weakness about him, he messes, we had always a good dinner was resolute and bold, would state his when we dined with the captain. The orders with clearness and precision, little man would then unlace his dignity and would insist on their being obeyed and condescend to be facetious. It was, promptly and effectually. During my as a matter of course, expected that we short sea pilgrimage, I observed a wonshould laugh at his jokes, and at least derful difference in the way in which affect to believe his stories.

officers get along with sailors. Some I have seen it said, somewhere, that are continually fussing and fidgeting every man has two characters, viz., his about, making a great show of activity, Sunday character, in which he dresses swearing at this man, and raging at that himself up and appears before the world, one, and yet bring very little to pass; and his week-day character, in which for Jack understands the thing well he shows himself to those to whose enough, and can play the old soldier praise or censure he is indifferent. I when he pleases, making a show of have often thought of this remark in doing something, and yet accomplishconnection with our captain ; for, on the ing very little. And with an officer of quarter-deck, he was as stately and un this description, he will play the old bending as the most strenuous stickler soldier; and, however well satisfied the for dignity could desire him to be-walk- officer may be that he is a wonderful ing the weather side of the quarter- smart follow, Jack will roll his tobacco deck with slow and measured tread, over in his mouth. give a knowing wink sole “ monarch of all he surveyed," and with one of his blinkers, sing out “Aye, woe to the luckless wight who should aye, sir;" and laugh in his sleeve at be caught napping in duty. He had a the fussy and fidgety digpitary. Now, hawk's eye to all imperfections and nothing of this kind belonged to Lieut. derelictions, and was prompt to reprove D. ; he would go calmly to work, surand severe to punish. And yet this veying every thing with the eye of a man, over his glass of wine after din seaman, give his orders with dignity ner, was as playful as a child, ringing and propriety; and they were always his jocund laugh till the very deck re- obeyed, as the sailors call it, “ with a sounded with it, telling the most face- will," for there was not a man on board tious jokes, spinning the most incredi- from the captain to the cook, who had ble yarns-himself always the hero of not the utmost confidence in, nnd reshis own tales—and exerting all his pect for our lieutenant. powers of amusement upon one who, Our second lieutenant was from perhaps only a short hour before, had Newburyport, a little, smart, dark combeen the object of his most bitter cen- plexioned man, a perfect contrast to sure or withering rebuke. He was a our first lieutenant, being one of your sailor, and a ripe and good one; had fussy, bustling sort. He was, howbeen supercargo and captain in mer ever, a capable officer, a brave man, chant vessels to almost every port and a good sailor. He was, generally, where an American flag was ever dis- pretty well liked by the crew, but not played; had seen much ; read much; by our captain. These two were al

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most at variance, and the lieutenant tan when he saw it worn by Jeanie exhibited his dislike for the skipper in Deans. all the modes he dared ; our captain Our sailing-master was a prompt being a man who brooked uo indiguiiy and efficient officer, and had a very from any one under his command. responsible office, for the sailing-masier After our capture, and when the skip- has charge of all the sails, rigging, and per had doffed his official character, every thing appertaining to the stowthey got along better together. They, age of the hold, and is obliged, under perhaps, thought it best to forego all the direction of the captain, to sail the former dissensions and adopt the policy craft and to keep the log-book. He recommended to his crew, by the skip- had, in our vessel, two mates to assist per of a Marblehead fishing vessel. him. It appears to me to be an ab

My men,” said he, “we are bound surdity in these days, when the capon a three months' fishing cruise, and tain and lieutenants of an armed vessel for that length of time we have got to are, or aro supposed to be, thoroughput up with each other's company, bred sailors, to have such officers as a whether we like it or not-now, it may sailing-master and mates. be that some of you don't like one, and sent system grew up, some centuries one don't like t'other, but I can tell you ago in England, when there were no there must be no quarreling aboard regular government vessels of war; but this schooner; so what I recommend merchant vessels were taken into the is this, that each one should leave his service, and soldiers were put on board dislikes behind him, and veer and haul to cio the fighting, the sailing-master bea little, veer and haul a little, grense the ing the sailor, captain or commander of spugger and live loving.” The spugger the vessel, and the captain and his lieute. is, I believe, an instrument with which . nants being the commander and officers the fishermen turn the rashers of pork of the soldiers ; this was all very well while being fried. I do not know, then, and in fact could not be otherwise, whether our captain and lieutenant had but the practice now is entirely differever heard of this advice of the fisher- ent; and, yet, in the English and Ameman. They, however, acted upon it, ricán service, the officers are continued. and greased the spugger and lived pass- I believe that most naval men are conably loving.

vinced of the necessity of a reform in Our sailing-master was a little bust- this particular; and the practice, now, ling man about five feet high, born in is to take passed midshipmen as masMarblehead, and bred as a fisherman, ters and mates, so that the office is, in though he had sailed, likewise, in the fact, abolished, and yet the name oonmerchant-service ; and had been one tinued. Our sailing-master, when iror two privateering cruises. He talked ritated, (and it was not seldom,) would the dialect which was peculiar to Mar-. swear all manner of strange onths, blehead some fifty years since, and by which, when not absolutely shocking, which a Marbleheadınan might be dis- were amusing enough ; as his imaginatinguished the world over. They have tion was very prolific in odd conceits changed all that now, and the dialect for imprecations. And yet, he was very remains with but a few antiquated in- superstitious, believed in ghosts and habitants, and will soon be entirely ex- goblins, in haunted houses and haunted tinct. During my privateering days, I ships. and the smallest doubt of the saw much of these gallant sons of the actual incarnation of Satan, would ocean, and I found them to be such have been to him rank blasphemy. I sterling good fellows, notwithstanding used to go on deck sometimes when he their eccentricities—so full of the milk had the night-watch and pace the deck of human kindness-ever ready to with him, and listen to his wonderful share with those poorer than them- stories of the witches of the North selves, and to do a poor fellow a broth- Cape, of ghosts which had appeared in erly kinduess—that I contracted such various shapes and manners, how one a respect for the character of a appeared to “Lucky Nick," of MarMarbleheadman, that it sticks to me blehead, and led him a dance, at night, yet; my heart warms to the brogue among the stones of the grave-yard ; whenever I hear it, as the Duke and how old sailors, when they died at of Argyle's heart warmed to the tar-, sea, turned into Mother Carey's chick

ens.

All this he as firmly believed, his sea-sickness, it was some time beas he did his Bible, and was thoroughly fore he got his sea-legs on. Our little convinced, that if any one killed a Mo- schooner would pitch and roll to a ther Carey's chicken, his own life great degree even when there was but would be the forfeit, and that he would little sea or wind, and I have often seen have to go to supply the place of the him come up on deck in his " long dead bird. Poor fellow, he, too, has togs," (i. e., long coat and pantaloons.) sailed his last voyage, and has gone when he would soon go his full length where his good and bad qualities are

into the lee scuppers. entered on the log-book above.

But the doctor, after he got wonted,' Next comes the doctor. This was as he used to term it, to a sea ife, not the knight of the fiddle mentioned proved to be a very pleasant and agreein our last, for he had become satisfied able companion. He would conform with his near approach to a watery with the utmost good humor to the grave, and had consulted his safety by rough jokes of the sailors, and make going into the country, " to seek for pa- the best of the discomforts of his sitatients on dry land.”

ation. He had a vein of quaint, dry ur present Physic, as the sailors humor about him, which was somenickname the doctor, (for “ Doctor" is times irresistibly comic; and when tel. the nautical appellation of the cook,) ling one of his stories, which would was a tall, lank, raw-boned man from set the table in a roar, not a muscle of the interior of New - Hampshire. his own countenance would be moved, Where he studied, whether he studied but his face would appear as grave as a at all, from what college he got his di- Methodist parson's. He was one of ploma, or whether he had any, I do the innumerable instances which abound not know; and I know nothing of his all over New-England, of one, who, medical or surgical skill. I presume born to no inheritance but poverty, and the owners were satisfied on that score, seemingly destined all his life long to a when they engaged him; but, I be- life of toil and labor, had yet contrived lieve, froin some specimens that I saw, some how or other to pick up a very that owners were not, generally, very tolerable education, and to become a scrupulous as to qualifications. The professional man. How this was aclaw required a surgeon, and somebody complished, I have forgotten, if I ever must go in that capacity, whatever knew ; but I remember that he used to might be his kuowledge of physiology, tell us many a pleasant story of his pathology, or therapeutics. Our doctor school. keeping days ; for, while obtainhad but one opportunity to display his ing his education, he supplied his wants science while on board our schooner, by keeping a country school during the and that was, in the operation of plale- winter season. botony. He bled the man well enough; Having spent so much of my readand when he removed tho tourniquet ers' patience in describing the Dons of from the arm, he applied to the orifice the cabin, I shall pass over my coma quid of tobacco fresh from his mouth, panions of the wardroom, (who were which he said was a most excellent four prize-masters and two master'sstyptic. The practice was a povel one mates,) by saying that they were pleato me, and I commend it to the tobacco sant and companionable men, and good eating professors of the art of healing officers. We lived in the utmost harof the present day, as a styptic always mouy, and made the very best of our at hand to some of them. Our present very uncomfortable quarters. To one of physico was the occasion of a good

them I owe many thanks for his kinddeal of fun to the sailors. He had pess to me, particularly after our capnever, before engaging in this cruise, He is still living, a respectable seen a vessel or salt water; every thing and prosperous shipmaster, from Newwas new to him, and it was some time buryport ; and should these lipes ever before he could become addicted to his reach his eye, I beg him to be assured situation. He was intolerably sea of my undiminished gratitude and resick for several days after our sailing, spect. and used to wish himself at home again The wardroom was a small apartin the bush, a hundred times a day. ment, directly forward of the cabin, After he had somewhat recovered from the store room only intervening. It'

ture.

was, as nigh as I can now recollect, ther than to put the beef and potatoes about 14 feet square, within the bunks into the net, and to put the mess-tally or sleeping places, of which there were on it, carry it to the galley or cookfour on each side ; and it was so low, house, deliver it to the cook, and rethat the tallest of our mess could not ceive it again when sufficiently cooked. stand upright in it. The reader may A sailor's allowance is a pound of beef conceive, that what with our very lim- and a pound of bread per day, an alited accommodations, and the juicy lowance of cocoa for morning and evecharacter of our vessel, we did not live ping meals, a little salt, and occasionally a very comfortable, much less a luxu some butter.

This was our every day rious life ; but we were a “happy-go- allowance, varied only on banjon days, lucky' set of fellows, and contrived to when in lieu of beef and potatoes, we wear away the time as well as if we had stewed beans with pork, and on had been in, (as Jack calls it,) • a white Sundays a duff, or flour pudding limed chamber.' I have often since The sailors, as I have said, ate their wondered why I went to sea in this meals generally on deck, squatting, tnillittle vessel ; for there was at that time or fashion, around their kids. I know fitting out one of the largest and most these details are trivial to those who successful privateer ships that ever are familiar with life afloat, but I beswam the ocean ; she was commanded lieve a large majority of those who by a relation of mine, who made me a have never been to sea, have almost as very favorable offer to go with him; but false a conception of a sailor's life, as I preferred the little schooner. I sup- had the old lady, who asked her son, pose my choice was infinenced by the after his return from a voyage, if they fact, that I had been the short cruise stopped every night, and put up at a before with my little captain, and liked tavern. him; and that the chance of a larger The first day at sea, it was my duty, amount of prize money, was better in under direction of the captain, to make a small vessel, with a few men, in the out the quarter bill ; that is, a record of event of our being able to capture a every man's place in time of action, so valuable prize.

many men to this gun, and so many I will here remark, for the informa more to that, assigning to each man his tion of the generation which has grown proper station at the guns and in the up, in these piping times of peace,' rigging, specifying the boarders, and that privateering was a joint stock con the divisions to which they belonged.

The owners provided the ves Our captain was a martinet in his way, sel, and all the equipments and muvi- and prided himself on carrying on tions of war, provisions, &c., for which things in man-of-war fashion ; and also they received one half of all the prize in having everything nice and tidy about money; the other moiety was divided the schooner-or, as he termed it, among the officers and crew. The "ship-shape and Bristol fashion. Our captain received from 8 to 10 shares, decks were holystoned every morning : the lieutenants and sailing-master, 5 or that is, they were well-sanded, then 6; prize-masters and master's-mates, wet a little, and a large flat stone, called 3 to 4 ; boatswain, gunner, and carpen- a holy-stone, drawn all over it by ropes. ter, 24 to 3 ; able seamen, one, and until it was as free from dirt as it is landsmen and boys, from 3 to {ths of a possible to conceive. More water was share.

then thrown over them to wash off the Forward of the wardroom was the sand, and the operation was completed main hold, in which the crew lodged; by scrubbing them dry. This was the for in fair weather they took their duty of the morning watch ; for the meals on deck. The crew were divid- whole crew, (with the exception of a ed into messes of six each, and each few, such as steward and some others, mess was provided with one or more whom ship custom allows to sleep all kids, and each man with a tin pot and night, and who are therefore denomiiron spoon. Every sailor has a jackknife nated idlers, though commonly the buor claspknife of his own. One of the siest men on board,) is divided into two mess, is alternately, the caterer, or he watches, styled the starboard and laris styled the cook; although he has board watches. The watches are four nothing to do with the cooking, any fur- hours each, in which one half of the

cern.

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