The Two Whalers, by W.H.G.
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Title: The Two Whalers Adventures in the Pacific
Author: W.H.G. Kingston
Release Date: October 31, 2007 [EBook #23260]
Character set encoding: ASCII
*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK THE TWO
Produced by Nick Hodson of London, England
The Two Whalers
or, Adventures in the Pacific
by W.H.G. Kingston.
I hail from Deal, where my father was highly respected, not on account
of his worldly wealth, for of that he had but small store, but because he
was an honest, upright, God-fearing man, who did his duty to his
neighbour, and ruled his family with discretion.
And my mother--she was a mother!--so loving and gentle and
considerate; she kept us, her children, of whom there were nine, I being
the third, in excellent order, and yet we scarcely discovered the means
she employed. We trusted her implicitly; we knew that she entered into
all our sorrows as well as into our joys and amusements. How carefully
she bound up a cut finger or bathed a bruised knee; or if we were trying
to manufacture any toy, how ready she was to show us the best way to
do the work; how warmly she admired it when finished, and how
proudly she showed it to father when he came in. I was accustomed
from my earliest days to the sight of ships coming into or going out of
the Downs, or brought up before our town, and I used to listen with
deep interest to the account of his adventures in all parts of the world
with which our neighbour, Captain Bland, was wont to entertain us
when he came to our house, or when we went in to take tea with him
and Mrs Bland and their daughter Mary. I can, therefore, scarcely
remember the time when I did not wish to become a sailor, though as
my eldest brother Bill was intended for the sea, and indeed went away
when I was still a little fellow, my father had thoughts of bringing me
up to some trade or other. I should have been content to follow my
father's wishes, or rather to have done what he believed best for me,
had I been sent away inland, where I could not have heard nautical
matters talked about, and where the sea and shipping would have been
out of my sight. While I remained at home the desire grew stronger and
stronger to become like the seafaring men I was constantly
meeting--pilots, masters and mates, and boatmen--and I may venture to
say that a finer race of sailors are nowhere to be found than those
belonging to Deal.
Captain Bland was a thorough sailor. He dearly loved the sea, and the
ship he commanded, and his crew--at least he took a warm interest in
their welfare--but he loved his wife and daughter more, and for their
sakes he remained on shore longer than he would otherwise have done.
Still, he made three or four voyages while I was a youngster, and he
always spoke as if he had no intention of abandoning the sea until he
had laid by a competency for old age. How many a master says the
same, and goes on ploughing the ocean in the delusive hope of reaping
a harvest till the great reaper gathers him into his garner.
Notwithstanding my predilections in favour of a sea life, I was still
undecided as to my future career, when one winter's day, after school
hours, as I was taking a run out on the London Road, I saw coming
along towards me a fine broad, well-built lad, with a sun-burnt
countenance, and a stick having a bundle at the end of it over his
shoulder. His dress, and the jaunty way he walked, with a slight roll, as
if trying to steady himself on a tossing deck, showed me that he was a
sailor. We were going to pass each other, when he looked hard at me,
and I looked hard at him. Suddenly it struck me that I knew his features;
so I stopped, and he stopped, and we gazed into one another's faces.
"Can you be brother Bill?" I exclaimed.
"Bill's my name, my hearty. And you!--are you brother Jack? Yes, I'm
sure you are!" And grasping my hand he wrung it till I thought he
would have wrung it off, while, half-laughing, half-crying for pleasure,
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