The Three Cutters

Frederick Marryat
Three Cutters, by Captain
Frederick Marryat

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Title: The Three Cutters
Author: Captain Frederick Marryat
Release Date: May 21, 2007 [EBook #21559]
Language: English
Character set encoding: ASCII

Produced by Nick Hodson of London, England

The Three Cutters
by Captain Marryat.

Reader, have you ever been at Plymouth? If you have, your eye must
have dwelt with ecstasy upon the beautiful property of the Earl of
Mount Edgcumbe: if you have not been at Plymouth, the sooner that
you go there the better. At Mount Edgcumbe you will behold the finest
timber in existence, towering up to the summits of the hills, and
feathering down to the shingle on the beach. And from this lovely spot
you will witness one of the most splendid panoramas in the world. You
will see--I hardly know what you will not see--you will see Ram Head,
and Cawsand Bay; and then you will see the Breakwater, and Drake's
Island, and the Devil's Bridge below you; and the town of Plymouth
and its fortifications, and the Hoe; and then you will come to the
Devil's Point, round which the tide runs devilish strong; and then you
will see the New Victualling Office,--about which Sir James Gordon
used to stump all day, and take a pinch of snuff from every man who
carried a box, which all were delighted to give, and he was delighted to
receive, proving how much pleasure may be communicated merely by a
pinch of snuff; and then you will see Mount Wise and Mutton Cove;
the town of Devonport; with its magnificent dockyard and arsenals,
North Corner, and the way which leads to Saltash. And you will see
ships building and ships in ordinary; and ships repairing and ships
fitting; and hulks and convict ships, and the guard-ship; ships ready to
sail and ships under sail; besides lighters, men-of-war's boats,
dockyard-boats, bum-boats, and shore-boats. In short, there is a great
deal to see at Plymouth besides the sea itself: but what I particularly
wish now is, that you will stand at the battery of Mount Edgcumbe and
look into Barn Pool below you, and there you will see, lying at single
anchor, a cutter; and you may also see, by her pendant and ensign, that
she is a yacht.
Of all the amusements entered into by the nobility and gentry of our
island there is not one so manly, so exciting, so patriotic, or so national,
as yacht-sailing. It is peculiar to England, not only for our insular
position and our fine harbours, but because it requires a certain degree
of energy and a certain amount of income rarely to be found elsewhere.
It has been wisely fostered by our sovereigns, who have felt that the

security of the kingdom is increased by every man being more or less a
sailor, or connected with the nautical profession. It is an amusement of
the greatest importance to the country, as it has much improved our
ship-building and our ship-fitting, while it affords employment to our
seamen and shipwrights. But if I were to say all that I could say in
praise of yachts, I should never advance with my narrative. I shall
therefore drink a bumper to the health of Admiral Lord Yarborough and
the Yacht Club, and proceed.
You observe that this yacht is cutter-rigged, and that she sits gracefully
on the smooth water. She is just heaving up her anchor; her foresail is
loose, all ready to cast her--in a few minutes she will be under way.
You see that there are ladies sitting at the taffrail; and there are five
haunches of venison hanging over the stern. Of all amusements, give
me yachting. But we must go on board. The deck, you observe, is of
narrow deal planks as white as snow; the guns are of polished brass; the
bitts and binnacles of mahogany: she is painted with taste; and all the
mouldings are gilded. There is nothing wanting; and yet how clear and
unencumbered are her decks! Let us go below. There is the ladies'
cabin: can anything be more tasteful or elegant? Is it not luxurious?
And, although so small, does not its very confined space astonish you,
when you view so many comforts so beautifully arranged? This is the
dining-room, and where the gentlemen repair. What can be more
complete or recherche? And just peep into their
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