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Will Weatherhelm The Yarn of an Old Sailor   By: (1814-1880)

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Will Weatherhelm, The Yarn of an Old Sailor, by W.H.G. Kingston.

This is quite a long book, estimated to take sixteen hours forty minutes to read. It was also quite difficult to transcribe, since the type was probably a bit old. Certainly it was a rather small typeface, and was broken up in places. Nevertheless we think we have got the text to better than the prescribed 99.95% accurate, with an expected error rate of less than eighty words in the 164,896 of the text.

The action takes place at the end of the eighteenth century, and ends at the Battle of Trafalgar. Will's family originate from Shetland, a group of islands to the north of mainland Britain. Kingston mistakenly believes that they speak Erse on Shetland, which is not the case: Erse is spoken in Ireland, being similar to the Gaelic spoken in parts of Scotland.

The story moves along well, and is well written. The most outstanding part of the story is the number of times the hero is in a ship wreck of one kind or another, so much so that it is muttered that he must be some kind of Jonah an opportunity used by the author to put the religious view of such a string of coincidences.

I think you'll enjoy the book. I know I have enjoyed transcribing it for you.

WILL WEATHERHELM, THE YARN OF AN OLD SAILOR, BY W.H.G. KINGSTON.

CHAPTER ONE.

MY FATHER'S LAND BORN AT SEA MY SCHOOL LIFE AUNT BRETTA SPOILT BY OVER INDULGENCE ENTICED TO SEA THE KITE SCHOONER CONTRAST OF A VESSEL IN PORT WITH A VESSEL AT SEA MY SHIPMATES MY NAME FIXED IN MORE WAYS THAN ONE A GALE REPENTANCE COMES TOO LATE SUSPICIOUS CUSTOMERS A NARROW ESCAPE NAPLES AND ITS BAY.

My father, Eric Wetherholm, was a Shetlander. He was born in the Isle of Unst, the most northern of those far off islands, the Shetlands. He loved his native land, though it might be said to be somewhat backward in point of civilisation; though no trees are to be found in it much larger than gooseberry bushes, or cattle bigger than sheep; though its climate is moist and windy, and its winter days but of a few hours' duration. But, in spite of these drawbacks, it possesses many points to love, many to remember. Wild and romantic, and, in some places, grand scenery, lofty and rocky precipices, sunny downs and steep hills, deep coves with clear water, in which the sea trout can be seen swimming in shoals, and, better still, kind, honest, warm hearts, modest women with sweet smiles, and true, honest men.

Once only in my youth was I there. I remember well, on a bright summer's day, standing on one of the highest of its lofty hills, sprinkled with thousands of beautiful wild flowers, and as I looked over the hundreds of isles and islets of every variety of form, grouping round the mainland, as the largest island is called, I thought that in all my wanderings I had never seen a greener or more lovely spot floating on a surface of brighter blue; truly I felt proud of the region which my poor father claimed as the place of his birth. I knew very little of his early history. Like the larger proportion of Shetland men, he followed the sea from his boyhood, and made several voyages, on board a whaler, to Baffin's Bay. Once his ship had been nipped by the ice, whirled helplessly against an iceberg, when he alone with two companions escaped the destruction which overwhelmed her. Finally he returned home, and, sickened of voyages in icy regions, became mate of a merchantman trading out of the port of Hull round the English coast. On one occasion, his brig having received severe damage in a heavy gale, put into Plymouth harbour to obtain repairs. He there met an old shipmate, John Trevelyn, who had given up the sea and settled with his family on shore.

John had a daughter, Jannet Trevelyn, and a sweet, good girl I am very certain she must have been... Continue reading book >>




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