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The Shellback's Progress In the Nineteenth Century   By: (1847-1937)

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First Page:

[Illustration: FLOUNDERING OF THE "SILVERSPRAY."]

THE SHELLBACK'S PROGRESS

IN THE NINETEENTH CENTURY.

By

WALTER RUNCIMAN, Sen.

LONDON AND NEWCASTLE ON TYNE: THE WALTER SCOTT PUBLISHING CO., LTD. NEW YORK: 3 EAST 14th STREET. 1904.

DEDICATION

TO WALTER TOWNEND, ESQ.

"MY DEAR TOWNEND, Perhaps no two men have ever been bound together with ties of closer or more loyal friendship than you and myself. Many years have elapsed since our unbroken comradeship was formed in the old historic building in Cornhill. You have many claims to friendship and to confidence, and perhaps you can hardly realize what pleasure it gives me to remember that during our intercourse of so many years, your sincerity, directness and single mindedness could always be depended upon. Your joyful relish of a tale of human interest, whether as a listener or a narrator, is always contagious. Your indignation and scorn for unmanly and dishonourable conduct, and your quick appreciation of whatever is generous and true; this, and my high regard for your own personal worth, have given me the wish to inscribe this volume of sea stories to you.

"Ever yours sincerely,

"WALTER RUNCIMAN."

August, 1904

PREFACE

These stories are drawn from the reality of things, and perhaps I may as well say that they have been written during short intervals snatched from a busy and absorbing commercial life. I have tried to portray the men as they were brave, dauntless, rugged, uncouth, illiterate, simple minded, kind hearted, and, at times, unmercifully savage. And yet there shone through all these conflictingly peculiar eccentricities a humorous kind of religion which belonged exclusively to themselves, but which gave their characteristics a touch of sublimity. We have travelled far since those days of aboriginal stupidity and sordid blood sucking. The contrast between the comforts and conditions of life at sea then and now cannot be imagined. We may only talk of it; we can never truly estimate the change. I do not draw attention to the comparison because I think the sailor has got any more than he is entitled to. I refer to it in order that he may recognize a desire on the part of modern shipowners and the Legislature to give him every possible advantage consistent with the peculiarities of the trade in which he is engaged. One of the most recent advantages suggested in their report by the Mercantile Committee, who sat for, I think, about twelve months taking evidence from shipowners, shipmasters, sailors, and others, is that an amended food scale should be adopted, and that the seaman should have the right of appeal against a bad "discharge" that may be given him. In my opinion the great body of shipowners will endorse that portion of their recommendations. It is to be desired that the seamen will recognize in this a willingness on the part of their employers to deal justly with them, for undoubtedly it was the evidence given by shipowners that influenced the Committee.

CONTENTS.

CHAP. PAGE

I. THE WILD NORTH SEA 1

II. CAPTAIN PLUNKER 30

III. CAPTAIN MACGREGOR 67

IV. PIRACY IN THE ARCHIPELAGO 97

V. SAILORS' OPINIONS OF NOTABLE PUBLIC MEN 148

VI. MARY ROUTLEDGE 181

VII. FORECASTLE LIFE 206

VIII. GRUB 253

IX. MISCELLANEOUS 283

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

By THOMAS RUNCIMAN.

PAGE

FOUNDERING OF THE "SILVERSPRAY" Frontispiece

FINDING THE LEAK 40

CAPTAIN PLUNKER ASTONISHED 90

"THERE WERE MANY CALLERS" 140

HAVING A NIP 186

"NOW, BOYS, POUR IT ON THEM SMARTLY!" 236

A NORTHUMBERLAND HARBOUR 288

I

THE WILD NORTH SEA

There was a large fleet of sailing brigs, barques and schooners waiting for a favourable wind and spring tides, so that they might be put to sea without running the risk of thumping their keels off on the Bar... Continue reading book >>




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