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Paul Gerrard The Cabin Boy   By: (1814-1880)

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Paul Gerrard, The Cabin Boy, by W.H.G. Kingston. Here is another book in the true Kingston style lots of swimming, sharks, wrecks, battles, pirates, woundings.

Paul goes to sea in the first place because his father has lost a legal case in which the Devereux family had been claiming his estates and land. To Paul's surprise, who should be in the midshipman's mess but a young man called Devereux, whose life Paul was able to save following his serious wounding. So we just need to keep in mind that Paul is always looking slightly askance at Devereux. Eventually they become great friends.

It makes a good audiobook. PAUL GERRARD, THE CABIN BOY, BY W.H.G. KINGSTON.


Darkness had set in. The wind was blowing strong from the southwest, with a fine, wetting, penetrating rain, which even tarpaulins, or the thickest of Flushing coats, would scarcely resist. A heavy sea also was running, such as is often to be met with in the chops of the British Channel during the month of November, at which time of the year, in the latter part of the last century, a fine frigate was struggling with the elements, in a brave attempt to beat out into the open ocean. She was under close reefed topsails; but even with this snug canvas she often heeled over to the blast, till her lee ports were buried in the foaming waters. Now she rose to the summit of a white crested sea; now she sunk into the yawning trough below; and ever and anon as she dashed onward in spite of all opposition, a mass of water would strike her bows with a clap like that of thunder, and rising over her bulwarks, would deluge her deck fore and aft, and appear as if about to overwhelm her altogether. A portion of the officers and crew stood at their posts on deck, now and then shaking the water from their hats and coats, after they had been covered with a thicker shower than usual of rain or spray, or looking up aloft at the straining canvas, or out over the dark expanse of ocean; but all of them taking matters very composedly, and wishing only that their watch were over, that they might enjoy such comforts as were to be found below, and take part in the conviviality which, in spite of the gale, was going forward.

It was Saturday night, and fore and aft the time honoured toast of "sweethearts and wives" was being enthusiastically drunk, nowhere more enthusiastically than in the midshipmen's berth; and not the less so probably, that few of its light hearted inmates had in reality either one or the other. What cared they for the tumult which raged above their heads? They had a stout ship and trusted officers, and their heads and insides were well accustomed to every possible variety of lurching and pitching, in which their gallant frigate the Cerberus was at that moment indulging. The Cerberus , a fine 42 gun frigate, commanded by Captain Walford, had lately been put in commission, and many of her officers and midshipmen had only joined just before the ship sailed, and were thus comparatively strangers to each other. The frigate was now bound out to a distant station, where foes well worthy of her, it was hoped, would be encountered, and prize money without stint be made.

The midshipmen's berth of the Cerberus was a compartment of somewhat limited dimensions, now filled to overflowing with mates, midshipmen, masters' assistants, assistant surgeons, and captain's and purser's clerks, some men with grey heads, and others boys scarcely in their teens, of all characters and dispositions, the sons of nobles of the proudest names, and the offspring of plebeians, who had little to boast of on that score, or on any other; but the boys might hope, notwithstanding, as many did, to gain fame and a name for themselves. The din of tongues and shouts of laughter which proceeded out of that narrow berth, rose even above the creaking of bulkheads, the howling of the wind, and the roar of the waves... Continue reading book >>

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