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The Cruise of the Dainty Rovings in the Pacific   By: (1814-1880)

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The Cruise of the Dainty, Rovings in the Pacific, By William H G Kingston.

Another book of great adventure, this time in the Pacific, where, at the time, many of the Islanders were, with good reason, ill disposed towards Europeans, having been tricked so often in various unpleasant ways, even to the point where they would be invited on board to do some bartering, only to be battened below hatches, and then sailed off to Peru to be used as slaves. Our adventurers encounter hostility in places, but on the whole their worst enemies are the weather, and also ill intentioned crews of vessels such as those described above.

A short book, but a good read or listen, and you'll enjoy it.



"Never was bothered with a more thorough calm!" exclaimed my brother Harry, not for the first time that morning, as he and I, in spite of the sweltering heat, paced the deck of our tight little schooner the Dainty , then floating motionless on the smooth bosom of the broad Pacific. The empty sails hung idly from the yards. The dog vanes imitated their example. Not the tiniest wavelet disturbed the shining surface of the ocean, not a cloud dimmed the intense blue of the sky, from which the sun glared forth with a power that made the pitch in the seams of the deck bubble up and stick to the soles of our feet, and though it might have failed to cook a beefsteak in a satisfactory manner, was rapidly drying some strings of fish hung up in the rigging.

The white men of the crew were gathered forward, in such shade as they could find, employed under the superintendence of Tom Platt, our mate, in manufacturing mats, sinnet, rope yarns, or in knotting and splicing; the dark skinned natives, of whom we had several on board similarly engaged, were mostly on the other side of the deck, apparently indifferent as to whether they were in the shade or sunshine. Even my brother, the commander of the Dainty , was too impatient to think much about the broiling we were undergoing, as we walked from the taffrail to a short distance before the mainmast, where we invariably turned to face back again; while during the intervals in our conversation, from an old habit, he whistled vehemently for a breeze, not that in consequence he really expected it to come.

As we walked with our faces forward I was amused by watching old Tom, who, marline spike in hand, was stropping a block, now inspecting the work of one man, now that of another, and then giving his attention to a lad, seated on the spars stowed under the long boat, engaged in splicing an eye to the end of a rope.

"Is this all right, Mr Platt?" asked the lad, handing the rope to the mate, who, squirting a mouthful of tobacco juice over the bulwarks, turned it round and round to examine it critically.

"Ay, t'will do, Dick wants scraping a bit; let's see how you'll serve it," answered old Tom, giving back the rope.

After taking a few more turns my brother stopped. "Do you think, Platt, that, we shall be long delayed by this provoking calm?" he asked.

"Can't say, Cap'en. Known such to last for the better part of a week in these latitudes," answered the mate, coming a few steps aft. "Maybe, though, we'll get a breeze to morrow, maybe not."

"We are not likely to get it yet, at all events, from the look of the sky," said Harry. "We'll rig the awning and persuade Mary and Fanny to come on deck. They'll be better here than in the close cabin." Just as he spoke Nat Amiel, his young brother in law, appeared at the companion hatch.

"Wanted to see if you were asleep, as we have been below all the morning," he exclaimed. "Well, I declare, it is hot, though it's baking enough in the cabin to satisfy a salamander... Continue reading book >>

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