"And do you find it more to your taste than seafaring, Mr. Jones?" inquired Mr. Chase. This brought forth a most vehement protest, and another quotation. "Why, sir," he cried, "to be 'Fixed like a plant on his peculiar spot, To draw nutrition, propagate, and rot, is an animal's existence.
'Such a life as you describe would not suit me at all. I'm in the coasting trade, and rarely out of sight of land. It's the jolly times on shore that appeal to me, as much as any seafaring. O, those southern seaports! The smell of them, the riding-lights at night, the glamour! 'Well, perhaps you have chosen the better way, said the Water Rat, but rather doubtfully.
The letter was from Jane's oldest sister, who had married only a few years before, and gone to live in a sea-port town on the New England coast. Her husband was an old captain, who had retired from his seafaring life with just money enough to live on, in a very humble way, in an old house which had belonged to his grandfather.
But to this talk of his, I made reply that I had as good a right to work my passage home as any other among us; for though I had paid for a passage in the Glen Carrig, I had done no such thing regarding the Seabird this being the name of the hulk and to this, my reply, the bo'sun said little; but I perceived that he liked my spirit, and so from thence until we reached the Port of London, I took my turn and part in all seafaring matters, having become by this quite proficient in the calling.
The spirit of a seafaring race which has the salt in its blood from Land's End to John o' Groat's and back again to Wapping had not been destroyed, but answered the ruffle of Drake's drum and, with simplicity and gravity in royal navy and in merchant marine, swept the highways of the seas, hunted worse monsters than any fabulous creatures of the deep, and shirked no dread adventure in the storms and darkness of a spacious hell.
I ate a very fair dinner "laid in a good stock of ballast," as my seafaring friend would have said; wished "Good-bye!" to everybody, and kissed Aunt Emma; promised to take care of myself a promise which, please Heaven, I will faithfully keep, cost me what it may hailed a cab and started.
She accompanied him in imagination through all his perilous expeditions; but she had been permitted to enjoy his society only after long intervals for a few days. Once he remained absent longer than usual, and this very voyage was to have been his last on a pirate craft the peaceful seafaring life was to begin, after his landing, with the marriage.
This man's name was Jorrocks, and he was the first seafaring acquaintance I had made when I had timidly crept down to the quay two years before during the summer vacation; thus, we were now old friends, so to speak. He told us, after we had polished the mess-tin clean, that the brig was going to sail in the morning, for Newcastle, with the tide, which would "make," he thought, soon after sunrise.
He was remarkable for always jerking up his breeches when he gave out his orders, and his voice sounded not unlike the brattling of a tin trumpet, owing to the number of hard north-westers which he had swallowed in the course of his seafaring.
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