|Newspaper Title||The Capricornian (Rockhampton, Qld. : 1875 - 1929)|
|Trove Title||In Days Gone By|
&alc5 and f hctchcs.
IX DAYS GONE BY.'
Bv ax Old Settler.
sKirrEB jack's vaex.
Well, Muster Brian, and gents all, I don't know notbin' aboat sich things as y ott were a pitchio' od ; beio as von may say only a common sailor like. But I don't mind tellin yez what happened to me once. ' As I sailed, as I sailed,' as tbe old aoog goes ; if so be as yer all agreeable ? ' ?? Ob, by all means. Jack ; let as have it It will make OS forget all about Bolan's pud dines and brandy sauce, flavoured with Bras
de*Fer and Sir Kay mood's dost.'* ' Well yer eee, I were a boy of thirteen or thereabouts— I'm not a coin to pitch any soft sawder abuct — * Poor bat booest parients,' no more nor Mr. Bolan, case whv, I never knowed my father no more than a pappy dog. The old 'ootnan were dead a good bit, nigh od tuo years, so 1 goes to say to a seafaring life, specially a boys; bat itfl a darned sight better than loafin' aboat along chore, aod my be fetchin op at the gallows. I belonged to a brig of aboot two hundred tons ; her name was the Sir Peter, of neb a place — never mind the name of it. It was my second voyage in tbe craft. I rubbed on 'boat ae well as most other sea archins, gettm' more kicks nor ha pence. Still an* all, I were pretty well treated in tbe main. The skipper be were a surly sort of a fellow. Kep' hisself to bisself werry moch. He were not bad to the hands ; bat tbe mate and I knew that be nsed to booze up on tbe brandy bottle, more an' was good or safe for him to men. An' if we were in close navigation, snch as the English Channel by night, and tbe weather was bad, he had to get half seas over to be of any samce ; and by the through the eye of a needle, when his eyes were like two bo rat holes in a blanket. This here voyage we were bound to Bio Janeiro, in the Brazils, with a general cargo ; an' for fear the men might get at it, some casks of brandy were b towed right aft again the cabin bulkhead. We fell in with very bad weather in the chops of the Channel, and ooce or twice the skipper talked of raaoing for the Cove of Cork till the weater mode rated. It would ha' been a gond thing if he bad. Bowsomdeverhe changed bis mind, and hnmtnered away for five or six weeks. Then the weather changed, and instead of gales of wind, we had calms, and Paddy's hurricanes op and down the masts. Now, all through being so long delayed, the skipper's store of greg run short. I knowed it, because there used always be some grog on the swinging tray for tbe officer* of the watch ; aod that was knocked off. The skipper be were cranky, and abort-tempered, an began to interfere with tbe men, which be never done afore, leaving everything to the Chief Officer, who was a good man and a e'ever sailor. Poor fellow ! How, tbe foremost bands were Dearly all forriners, Datch and French, and the like. I'm not saying that the thing might not have happened with an English crew, bnt I don't think it woald myself. Well, tbe old man took it into his bead that the stores wonld no short ; and if all bands lived in the cabin he'd eave a lot of grab by it. And so he did. for tbe fellows were afraid to eat enough before him -tbe half of them. He osed to happened to He down afterwards, he would growl out. Av. ye'd ate yer grub like the beasts of the beld, aud then, lie down and die. Be was a bit afrsiii of the mate, too, aod accoserf him of keepiog a private log. Still, an all. he went the came way as tbe rest. Well. we ha.l been knocking about in the doldrumt 80 long that tlie men began to think we would never see land again, and told all sorts of yarns about ships that had been foand, and and Dot a soul od board. We had got into the horse latitudes, and should leave our bones there. Well, bovlike I was mighty canoes to know why they called 'em the horse latitudes. And a big Dutchman we bad told me a yarn of a Yauket? sht[t with hones on board as got drifted about m moch tbe same way as we were doing, uatil the crew were driven to eat tbe remaining horses, aod when they were finished to eat each other, and the way be tot*, it was enough io give ooe tbe blues. Well, the mate an.l I kept a purty close watch on the ('kiriper, for somehow wt mistrusted And pool r?»s--n we bad. for he stuck to bis cnoakii.c an-1 itfalihy. locking bis cabin door bt-hmd him «hen he'weut in. I set a watch ou bin) Out- nisjlit 1 crept down and listened at sort o noise. Say-. I to myself,0'' that's an an cur, an be'e tr) tn' to scuttle tbe ship.' Up 'I -i-»n*t think sr- : he's boring tbroaj-h tbe bulkhead to L'et at tbe grog in tbe bold ; and ?ho»M hear lutn ' This went on for a cmple of day* and tht-n the old man took another freak, an. I «a* continually almost oo deck ; An-I tJie tewpera he ase-l to go into aboat nntbini.' At all. I watched a chance and got into h'« caliin while he was on deck, aod sore Cnoui-h the mate was right. He had bored a lot of holes close together in the balk head, and cat a square piece «mt. The bole was big ennui; h tor him to crawl through, and found a to talk about a change in tbe weather, and io a fit of pission, smashed tbe barometer in smithereens, 'cause it showed no eigo* of a change ami was making him out to be a liar. Be o*ed to come od deck at night and curse *rj-i swear, and chalce bis fiat at tbe heavens ? Written for tbe Capritnntian by a geBtlfMB Of long au t Tjr.eil colonial experience.
aod blaspheme. Lord, how he did rave. Theo be nsed to make tbe hands shorten sail, so as to be ready for tbe big blow which was comtne. and a few minutes afterwards make sail again. At last we got so used to this that we took no notice of it ; it seemed tbe regular thing, a matter of coarse, like eating our meals. I was the only one the mate had to talk to, aod aayi he to me, 4 1 can't take the ehip from him, for be aint done anything bad enongb yet j besides I am afraid tbe furriners woald not stick to me.' * No more they woald, sir.' says I, ' for they're always grow ling and fighting among themselves.' One afternoon the skipper came on deck, 'twas about three bells — that's half-past one — and as nsnal be bas tbe light sails taken in ; tbe mainsail furled, and topsails closed reefed. I watched him. His face was working like a man's in a fit, and he kept talking to himself as be strode up and down the deck. He looked round as if he was seeking something. Close by tbe stem of the long boat an iron bar about two feet long, and an inch or an inch and a- half thick was lying Some of 'i had been using it for a lever. H. _i j-ed roand to see if anyone was watching bim. ^nd popped it nnder his coat and went below. A few minutes afterwards he calls me. * Don't come down,' says he, ' go aud tell the mate I want him.' So I oaye, ' Mr. Grim ley, tbe captain wants yon in tbe cabia.' So he went down. I was cleaning some brass work close to the companion, when the skip per pops up like a Jack-in-the-box. 'What are you doing there, you yonng devil ?*? says be, ' are yoa listening ? Go away forward, and let tbe bands come to me as 1 want them. Bill Hardy. I want you.' So down he goes, and called them one by one. Fifty went down, bat noae of them came back again. The last he called was tbe cook. 1 was mighty no easy, and having no shoes on, I crept to tbe skylight, and looked down. Tbe sight I saw nearly turned me ioto stone. (To be continued)