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ny; the ladies, in particular, endeavoring to imitate all the airs and graces of the sex—the only drawback being a little hoarseness of the voice, and now and then the use of an expletive, which would escape them when something went wrong in the dance, and they forgot they had the aprons on. The favorite dancingtunes were those of Wapping and Wide Water Street, and when I speak of the airs and graces, I must be understood to mean those rather demonstrative airs and graces, of which Poll and Peggy would be likely to be mistresses of. On these occasions, the discipline of the ship was wont to be purposely relaxed, and roars of laughter, and other evidences of the rapid flight of the jocund hours, at other times entirely inadmissible, would come resounding aft on the quarter-deck. Sometimes the recreation of the dance would be varied, and songs and story-telling would be the amusements of the evening. The sea is a wide net, which catches all kinds of fish, and in a man-of-war's crew
John S. Pierson (search for this): chapter 34
bution among Portuguese passengers, and to give, upon the coast, to visitors from the shore, &c. When in port, please keep conspicuously on the cabin-table, for all comers to read: but be very careful not to take any ashore, as the laws do not allow it. A pen had been run through the last injunction, as though the propagandists of grand moral ideas had become a little bolder since the war, and were determined to thrust their piety down the throats of the Portuguese, whether they would or not. If there should be any attempt now, on the part of poor old Portugal, to seize the unlawful distributor of the tracts, a gunboat or two would set the matter right. A little farther on, on the same cover, was the following instruction: As may be convenient, please report, (by letter if necessary,) anything of interest which may occur, in connection with the distribution; also take any orders for Bibles, and forward to John S. Pierson, Marine Agent, New York Bible Society, No. 7 Beekman Street.
Breckinridge (search for this): chapter 34
Some of them forgot, entirely, to mention how they had implored me to save their ships from destruction, professing to be the best of Democrats, and deprecating the war which their countrymen were making upon us! How they had come to sea, bringing their New England cousins with them, to get rid of the draft, and how abhorrent to them the sainted Abraham was. Why, Captain, they would say, it is hard that I should have my ship burned; I have voted the Democratic ticket all my life; I was a Breckinridge man in the last Presidential zontest; and as for the nigger, if we except a few ancient spinsters, who pet the darkey, on the same principle that they pet a lap-dog, having nothing else to pet, and a few of our deacons and church-members, who have never been out of New England—all of whom are honest people enough in their wayand some cunning political rascals, who expect to rise into fame and fortune on the negro's back, we, New England people, care nothing about him. That may be all ve
Charles Francis Adams (search for this): chapter 34
needed gold abroad, with which to pay for arms, and military supplies of various kinds, shiploads of which were, every day, passing into New York and Boston, in violation of those English neutrality laws, which, as we have seen, Mr. Seward and Mr. Adams had been so persistently contending should be enforced against ourselves. Western New York, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, and Iowa had gathered in the rich harvests from their teeming grain-fields; and it was this grain, laden ound it one of the most difficult parts of my duty, to convince some of these free-and-easy fellows, who had mistaken the Alabama, when they signed the articles off Terceira, (after that stump speech before referred to,) for what Mr. Seward and Mr. Adams insisted she was, a privateer, that everything was captured in the name of the Confederate States, and that nothing belonged to them personally. The California-bound ships frequently had on board boxes and bales of fine clothing, boots, shoes,
n eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth. The enemy had put one of my officers in irons, and I had followed the rule of the good book. Now let us hear from Captain Gifford, of the Dunbar. This witness says:— On the morning of the 18th of September, in latitude 39° 50′, longitude 35° 20′, with the wind from the south-west, an. The steamer being in the track of outward and homeward-bound vessels, and more or less being in sight, every day, she will make great havoc among them. Captain Gifford does not seem to have anything to complain of, in particular, except that the sailors had to put their clothes in bags, and that his trunk was small; but both in the South, merely for the love of grand moral ideas. The terrible drenchings, that Captain Tilton got, did not seem to have made the same impression upon Captain Gifford. Few of the masters, whose ships I burned, ever told the whole truth, when they got back among their countrymen. Some of them forgot, entirely, to mentio
John Falstaff (search for this): chapter 34
the same ship's company. These gentlemen play a very unimportant role in seamanship, but they take a high rank among the crew, when fun and frolic, and not seamanship, are the order of the day—or rather night. In the Alabama, we had a capital Falstaff, though Jack's capacious pouch was not often with fat capon lined; and as for sherry-sack, if he now and then got a good glass of red-eye instead, he was quite content. We had several Hals, who had defied their harsh old papas, and given them the slip, to keep Falstaff company; and as for raconteurs, we had them by the score. Some of these latter were equal to the Italian lazzaroni, and could extemporize yarns by the hour; and there is nothing of which a sailor is half so fond as a yarn. It was my custom, on these occasions, to go forward on the bridge—a light structure spanning the deck, near amidships —which, in the twilight hours, was a sort of lounging-place for the officers, and smoke my single cigar, and listen to whatever m<
October 7th (search for this): chapter 34
rk, and bound for Europe, laden with grain. The English, French, Prussian, Hamburg, Oldenham, and other flags were fast monopolizing the enemy's carrying trade, and enjoying a rich harvest. These were not the sort of junks that we were in quest of, but they compensated us, somewhat, for the time and labor lost in chasing and boarding them, by supplying us with late newspapers of the enemy, and giving us valuable information concerning the progress of the war. On the afternoon of the 7th of October, the weather being fine, and the breeze light, we chased and captured the American bark, Wave Crest, from New York, bound for Cardiff, in Wales, with flour and grain. In the language of the enemy, we plundered her, that is, we received on board from her, such articles as we needed, and after having made use of her for a while, as a target, at which to practise the men at the battery, we burned her. Filing away, we again made sail to the north-west. We were now, in about latitude 41°
September 23rd (search for this): chapter 34
vessel, and removed the colony back to the New England States. The gale which was described in the last chapter, did not prove to be very violent, though it blew sufficiently fresh to reduce the Alabama to close-reefed topsails, with the bonnets off her trysails. It was but the forerunner of a series of gales, occurring about the period of the equinox. The bad weather had the effect to put an end to the whaling season, a little in advance of the regular time. From the 19th to the 23d of September, we were constantly under reefed sails, and the wind being from the northward, we drifted as far south as the 34th degree of latitude. We were now in a comparatively unfrequented part of the ocean, and had not seen a sail since the capture of the Elisha Dunbar. During the prevalence of this bad weather, our prisoners necessarily suffered some inconvenience, and were obliged to submit to some discomforts. I need not say that these were greatly magnified by the Northern press. The mast
October 3rd (search for this): chapter 34
ound ships defy all the bad weather, so prevalent in this stream, on account of the easterly current which accelerates their passage, at the rate of from two, to three miles, per hour. The stream, therefore, has been literally bearded by commerce, and has become one of its principal highways. It is because it is a highway of commerce that the Alabama now finds herself in it. Nor was she long in it, before the travellers on the highway began to come along. Early on the morning of the 3d of October, two sail were simultaneously reported by the look-out at the mast-head— one right ahead, and the other on the lee-bow. As both the ships were standing in our direction, there was no necessity for a chase. We had nothing to do but await their approach. As their hulls were lifted above the horizon, we could see that they were fine, large ships, with a profusion of tapering spars and white canvas. We at once pronounced them American; and so, after a little, they proved to be. They wer
October 1st (search for this): chapter 34
l in hand, to muster the watch whose turn it was to be on deck. The most profound stillness now reigned on board during the remainder of the night, only broken by the necessary orders and movements, in making or taking in sail, or it may be, by the whistling of the gale, and the surging of the sea, or the cry of the look-outs at their posts, every half hour. To return now to our cruise. We are passing, the reader will recollect, from the Azores to the Banks of Newfoundland. On the 1st of October, the following record is found upon my journal: The gale moderated during the last night, but the weather, to-day, has been thick and rainy, with the wind from the north-west, and a confused, rough sea. No observation for latitude. The barometer, which had gone down to 29.8 is rising, and stands at nine P. M. at 29.9. The ship being about two hundred miles only, from the Banks of Newfoundland, we are trying the temperature of the air and water every hour. At nine P. M. we found the te
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