First and Last

Hilaire Belloc
First and Last

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Title: First and Last
Author: H. Belloc
Release Date: January, 2005 [EBook #7352] [This file was first posted on April 19, 2003]
Edition: 10
Language: English
Character set encoding: ISO Latin-1
*** START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK, FIRST AND LAST ***

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FIRST AND LAST
BY
H. BELLOC

CONTENTS
ON WEIGHING ANCHOR
THE REVEILLON
ON CHEESES
THE CAPTAIN OF INDUSTRY
THE INVENTOR
THE VIEWS OF ENGLAND
THE LUNATIC
THE INHERITANCE OF HUMOUR
THE OLD GENTLEMAN'S OPINIONS
ON HISTORICAL EVIDENCE
THE ABSENCE OF THE PAST
ST. PATRICK
THE LOST THINGS
ON THE READING OF HISTORY
THE VICTORY
REALITY
ON THE DECLINE OF THE BOOK
JOS®¶ MARIA DE HEREDIA
NORMANDY AND THE NORMANS
THE OLD THINGS
THE BATTLE OF HASTINGS
THE ROMAN ROADS IN PICARDY
THE REWARD OF LETTERS
THE EYE-OPENERS
THE PUBLIC
ON ENTRIES
COMPANIONS OF TRAVEL
ON THE SOURCES OF RIVERS
ON ERROR
THE GREAT SIGHT
THE DECLINE OF A STATE
ON PAST GREATNESS
MR. THE DUKE: THE MAN OF MALPLAQUET
THE GAME OF CARDS
"KING LEAR"
THE EXCURSION
THE TIDE
ON A GREAT WIND
THE LETTER
THE REGRET
THE END OF THE WORLD

FIRST AND LAST

On Weighing Anchor
Personally I should call it "Getting It up," but I have always seen it in print called "weighing anchor"--and if it is in print one must bow to it. It does weigh.
There are many ways of doing it. The best, like all good things, has gone for ever, and this best way was for a thing called a capstan to have sticking out from it, movable, and fitted into its upper rim, other things called capstan--bars. These, men would push singing a song, while on the top of the capstan sat a man playing the fiddle, or the flute, or some other instrument of music. You and I have seen it in pictures. Our sons will say that they wish they had seen it in pictures. Our sons' sons will say it is all a lie and was never in anything but the pictures, and they will explain it by some myth or other.
Another way is to take two turns of a rope round a donkey-engine, paying in and coiling while the engine clanks. And another way on smaller boats is a sort of jack arrangement by which you give little jerks to a ratchet and wheel, and at last It looses Its hold. Sometimes (in this last way) It will not loose Its hold at all.
Then there is a way of which I proudly boast that it is the only way I know, which is to go forward and haul at the line until It comes--or does not come. If It does not come, you will not be so cowardly or so mean as to miss your tide for such a trifle. You will cut the line and tie a float on and pray Heaven that into whatever place you run, that place will have moorings ready and free.
When a man weighs anchor in a little ship or a large one he does a jolly thing! He cuts himself off and he starts for freedom and for the chance of things. He pulls the jib a-weather, he leans to her slowly pulling round, he sees the wind getting into the mainsail, and he feels that she feels the helm. He has her on a slant of the wind, and he makes out between the harbour piers. I am supposing, for the sake of good luck, that it is not blowing bang down the harbour mouth, nor, for the matter of that, bang out of it. I am supposing, for the sake of good luck to this venture, that in weighing anchor you have the wind so that you can sail with it full and by, or freer still, right past the walls until you are well into the tide outside. You may tell me that you are so rich and your boat is so big that there have been times when you have anchored in the very open, and that all this does not apply to you. Why, then, your thoughts do not apply to me nor to the little boat I
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