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"Pig-Headed" Sailor Men From "The Strange Adventure Of James Shervinton and Other Stories" - 1902   By: (1855-1913)

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In "Pig-Headed" Sailor Men, a collection of short stories by Louis Becke, readers are transported to the South Pacific, where the author skillfully weaves tales of adventure, excitement, and even a touch of romance. Originally published in 1902, these stories revolve around the lives of seafaring men, capturing the essence of maritime culture and the hardships faced by sailors.

One of the standout stories is the eponymous "Pig-Headed" Sailor Men, which follows the misadventures of bold and stubborn sailors navigating treacherous waters. Becke's vivid descriptions bring the dangerous nature of sailing to life, immersing readers in the power of the sea and the challenges of sailing through unknown territories. The author expertly combines suspense and action, keeping readers engrossed in the story until the very end.

Another notable story in this collection is "The Strange Adventure of James Shervinton." Here, Becke delves into the life of the eponymous character, an Englishman who becomes embroiled in an extraordinary escapade. Through vivid storytelling, the author explores the cultural clash between the European and indigenous peoples, shedding light on the complexities of colonialism and its far-reaching impacts. Becke's understanding of human nature shines through, as he crafts a tale that explores themes of bravery, loyalty, and the pursuit of freedom.

What stands out in "Pig-Headed" Sailor Men is Becke's ability to capture the diverse range of characters encountered in the South Pacific. From hardened sailors to exotic islanders, each character is fleshed out with detail and authenticity. Additionally, the author's intimate knowledge of the region is evident as he describes the lush landscapes and the idiosyncrasies of the Pacific Islanders, highlighting his deep respect and understanding of their rich culture.

While some may argue that the collection's portrayal of women is limited, it should be considered in the context of the time in which it was written. Nonetheless, Becke's talent lies in portraying the complexities of human relationships, exploring the dynamics between sailors and their communities, and ultimately revealing the struggles faced by those living on the periphery of society.

In conclusion, "Pig-Headed" Sailor Men from "The Strange Adventure Of James Shervinton and Other Stories" is a captivating collection that transports readers to the South Pacific. With its authentic portrayal of seafaring life, memorable characters, and exploration of themes such as colonialism and cultural diversity, this book offers a fascinating glimpse into a bygone era. Louis Becke's talent for storytelling shines through, making this a highly recommended read for anyone seeking adventure, romance, and an insight into life at sea.

First Page:


By Louis Becke



Crossing from Holyhead to Ireland one night the captain of the steamer and myself, during an hour's talk on the bridge, found that we each had sailed in a certain Australian coasting steamer more than twenty years before he as chief officer and I as passenger; and her shipwreck one Christmas Eye (long after), which was attended by an appalling loss of life, led us to talk of "pig headed" skippers generally. His experiences were large, and some of his stories were terrible even to hear, others were grotesquely humorous, and the memory of that particularly pleasant passage across a sea as smooth as a mill pond, has impelled me to retell some of the incidents I related to him of my own adventures with obstinate, self willed, or incapable captains.

My first experience was with a gentleman of the "incapable" variety, and befell me when I was quite a lad. I had taken my passage in a very smart little Sydney (N.S.W.) barque bound for Samoa via the Friendly Islands. She was commanded by a Captain Rosser, who had sailed her for nearly twenty years in the South Sea trade, and who was justly regarded as the doyen of island skippers. He was a "Bluenose," stood six feet two in his stockinged feet, and was a man of the most determined courage, unflinching resolution, and was widely known and respected by the white traders and the natives all over the South Pacific... Continue reading book >>

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