Two Years Before The Mast - A Personal Narrative Of Life At Sea
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Two Years Before the Mast is a book by the American author Richard Henry Dana, Jr., written after a two-year sea voyage starting in 1834 and published in 1840. It is of note that he did not set out to write Two Years Before the Mast as a sea adventure, but to highlight how poorly common sailors were treated on ships. It quickly became a best seller.
water forward, he was left high and dry at the side of the long-boat, still holding on to his tin pot, which had now nothing in it but salt water. But nothing could ever daunt him, or overcome, for a moment, his habitual good humor. Regaining his legs, and shaking his fist at the man at the wheel, he rolled below, saying, as he passed, “A man’s no sailor, if he can’t take a joke.” The ducking was not the worst of such an affair, for, as there was an allowance of tea, you could get no more from
wide, straight, and long, usually of velvet, velveteen, or broadcloth; or else short breeches and white stockings. They wear the deer-skin shoe, which is of a dark-brown color, and, (being made by Indians,) usually a good deal ornamented. They have no suspenders, but always wear a sash round the waist, which is generally red, and varying in quality with the means of the wearer. Add to this the never-failing cloak, and you have the dress of the Californian. This last garment, the cloak, is always
was no “cheerily” for us, and we did without it. The captain walked the quarter-deck, and said not a word. He must have seen the change, but there was nothing which he could notice officially. We sailed leisurely down the coast before a light, fair wind, keeping the land well aboard, and saw two other missions, looking like blocks of white plaster, shining in the distance; one of which, situated on the top of a high hill, was San Juan Campestrano, under which vessels sometimes come to anchor, in
one who has not been a long, dull voyage, shut up in one ship, can conceive of the effect of monotony upon one’s thoughts and wishes. The prospect of a change is like a green spot in a desert, and the remotest probability of great events and exciting scenes gives a feeling of delight, and sets life in motion, so as to give a pleasure, which any one not in the same state would be entirely unable to account for. In fact, a more jovial night we had not passed in the forecastle for months. Every one
home and hoisted up, the anchor tripped and catheaded, and the ship under headway. We were determined to show the “spouter” how things could be done in a smart ship, with a good crew, though not more than half their number. The royal yards were all crossed at once, and royals and sky-sails set, and, as we had the wind free, the booms were run out, and every one was aloft, active as cats, laying out on the yards and booms, reeving the studding-sail gear; and sail after sail the captain piled upon