Tales of the Sea, by W.H.G. Kingston.


This is a collection of nine stories, some short, and some not so short.

They are all very good reading, and Kingston seems to be at his best in

the short story mode. You will probably enjoy the two episodes from the

life of "Uncle Boz", that form the second story, especially the first,

when he organises the rescue of the crew and passengers of a vessel that

is wrecked near his house on a stormy Christmas Day.

The first story, "Happy Jack", is by far the longest, occupying one

third of the whole book. Jack, in spite of the desires of his lawyer

father, goes to sea, where he has many adventures, culminating in an

event in which he was presumed to have perished. Very short of money,

and looking somewhat dishevelled, he reaches home, where he is not

recognised by his sisters, but a girl who was being brought up by the

family, and who was mutually interested in Jack, does recognise him, and

he is given a proper welcome home.





Have any of you made a passage on board a steamer between London and

Leith? If you have, you will have seen no small number of brigs and

brigantines, with sails of all tints, from doubtful white to decided

black--some deeply=laden, making their way to the southward, others with

their sides high out of the water, heeling over to the slightest breeze,

steering north.

On board one of those delectable craft, a brig called the _Naiad_, I

found myself when about fourteen summers had passed over my head. She

must have been named after a negress naiad, for black was the prevailing

colour on board, from the dark, dingy forecastle to the captain's state

cabin, which was but a degree less dirty than the portion of the vessel

in which I was destined to live. The bulwarks, companion-hatch, and

other parts had, to be sure, once upon a time been painted green, but

the dust from the coal, which formed her usual cargo, had reduced every

portion to one sombre hue, which even the salt seas not unfrequently

breaking over her deck had failed to wash clean.

Captain Grimes, her commander, notwithstanding this, was proud of the

old craft; and he especially delighted to tell how she had once carried

a pennant when conveying troops to Corunna, or some other port in Spain.

I pitied the poor fellows confined to the narrow limits of her dark

hold, redolent of bilge-water and other foul odours. We, however, had

not to complain on that score, for the fresh water which came in through

her old sides by many a leak, and had to be pumped out every watch, kept

her hold sweet.

How I came to be on board the _Naiad_ I'll tell you--

I had made up my mind to go to sea--why, it's hard to say, except that I

thought I should like to knock about the world and see strange

countries. I was happy enough at home, though I did not always make

others happy. Nothing came amiss to me; I was always either laughing or

singing, and do not recollect having an hour's illness in my life. Now

and then, by the elders of the family, and by Aunt Martha especially, I

was voted a nuisance; and it was with no small satisfaction, at the end

of the holidays, that they packed me off again to school. I was fond of

my brothers and sisters, and they were fond of me, though I showed my

affection for them in a somewhat rough fashion. I thought my sisters

somewhat demure, and I was always teasing them and playing them tricks.

Somehow or other I got the name among them and my brothers of "Happy

Jack," and certainly I was the merriest of the family. If I happened,

which was not unfrequently the case, to get into a scrape, I generally

managed to scramble out of it with flying colours; and if I did not, I

laughed at the punishment to which I was doomed. I was a

broad-shouldered, strongly-built boy, and could beat my elder brothers

at running, leaping, or any other athletic exercise, while, without

boasting, I was not behind any of them in the school-room. My father

was somewhat proud of me, and had set his mind on my becoming a member

of one of the learned professions, and rising to the top of the tree.

Why should I not? I had a great-uncle a judge, and another relative a

bishop, and there had been admirals and generals by the score among our

ancestors. My father was a leading solicitor in a large town, and

having somewhat ambitious aspirations for his children, his intention

was to send all his sons to the university, in the hopes that they would

make a good figure in life. He was therefore the more vexed when I

declared that my firm determination was to go to sea. "Very well,

Jack," he said, "if such is your resolve, go you shall; but as I have no

interest in the navy, you must take your chance in the merchant


"It's all the same to me, sir," I replied; "I shall be just as happy in

the one as in the other service;" and so I considered the matter


When the day of parting came, I was as merry and full of fun as ever,

though I own there was a strange sensation about the heart which

bothered me; however, I was not going to show what I felt--not I.

I slyly pinched my sisters when we were exchanging parting kisses, till

they were compelled to shriek out and box my ears--an operation to which

I was well accustomed--and I made my brothers roar with the sturdy grip

I gave their fingers when we shook hands; and so, instead of tears,

there were shouts of laughter and screeches and screams, creating a

regular hullabuloo which put all sentimental grief to flight. "No, no,

Jack, I will have none of your tricks," cried Aunt Martha, when I

approached with a demure look to bid her farewell, so I took her hand

and pressed it to my lips with all the mock courtesy of a Sir Charles

Grandison. My mother! I had no heart to do otherwise than to throw my

arms round her neck and receive the fond embrace she bestowed upon me,

and if a tear did come into my eye, it was then. But there was another

person to whom I had to say good-bye, and that was dear little Grace

Goldie, my father's ward, a fair, blue-eyed girl, three or four years

younger than myself. I did not play her any trick, but kissed her

smooth young brow, and promised that I would bring her back no end of

pearls and ivory, and treasures of all sorts, from across the seas. She

smiled sweetly through her tears. "Thank you, Jack, thank you! I shall

so long to see you back," she whispered; and I had to bolt, or I believe

that I should have began to pipe my eye in a way I had no fancy for. My

father's voice summoned me. "Now, Jack," he said, "as you have chosen

your bed, you must lie on it. But remember--after a year's trial--if

you change your mind, let me know."

"No fear of that, sir," I answered.

"We shall see, Jack," he replied. He wrung my hand, and gave me his

blessing. "I have directed Mr Junk to provide your outfit, and you

will find it all right." Who Mr Junk was I had no conception; but as

my father said it was all right, I troubled my head no more about the


My father's old clerk, Simon Munch, was waiting for me at the door, and

hurried me off to catch the Newcastle coach. On our arrival there he

took me to the office of Junk, Tarbox and Company, shipbrokers.

"Here is the young gentleman, Mr Junk," he said, addressing a one-eyed,

burly, broad-shouldered personage, with a rubicund countenance, in a

semi-nautical costume. "You know what to do with him, and so I leave

him in your hands. Good-bye, Jack, I hope you may like it."

"No fear of that, Mr Munch," I answered; "and tell them at home that

you left me as jolly and happy as ever."

"So, Master Brooke, you want to go to sea?" said Mr Junk, squirting a

stream of tobacco-juice across his office, and eyeing me with his sole

bloodshot blinker; "and you expect to like it?"

"Of course I do; I expect to be happy wherever I am," I answered in a

confident tone.

"We shall see," he replied. "I have sent your chest aboard of the

_Naiad_. Captain Grimes will be here anon, and I'll hand you over to


The person he spoke of just then made his appearance. I did not

particularly like my future commander's outside. He was a tall, gaunt

man, with a long weather-beaten visage and huge black or rather grizzled

whiskers; and his voice, when he spoke, was gruff and harsh in the

extreme. I need not further describe him; only I will observe that he

looked considerablycleaner then than he usually did, as I afterwards

found on board the brig. He took but little notice of me beyond a

slight nod, as he was busy with the ship's papers. Having pocketed

them, he grasped me by the hand with a "Come along, my lad; I am to make

a seaman on ye." He spoke in a broad Northumbrian accent, and in a

harsh guttural tone. I was not prepossessed in his favour, but I

determined to show no signs of unwillingness to accompany him.

We were soon seated in the stern of an excessively dirty boat, with

coal-dust-begrimed rowers, who pulled away with somewhat lazy strokes

towards a deeply-laden brig lying out in mid-stream. "Get on board,

leddie, with you," said the captain, who had not since my first

introduction addressed a single word to me. I clambered up on deck.

The boat was hoisted in, the topsails let fall, and the crew, with

doleful "Yeo-yo-o's," began working round the windlass, and the _Naiad_

in due time was gliding down the Tyne.

She was a very different craft to what I had expected to find myself on

board of. I had read about the white decks and snowy canvas, the bright

polish and the active, obedient crew of a man-of-war; and such I had

pictured the vessel I had hoped to sail in. The _Naiad_ was certainly a

contrast to this; but I kept to my resolve not to flinch from whatever

turned up. When I was told to pull and haul away at the ropes, I did so

with might and main; and, as everything on board was thickly coated with

coal-dust, I very soon became, as begrimed as the rest of the crew.

I was rather astonished, on asking Captain Grimes when tea would be

ready--for I was very hungry--to be told that I might get what I could

with the men forward. I went down accordingly into the forecastle,

tumbling over a chest, and running my head against the stomach of one of

my new shipmates as I groped my way amid the darkness which shrouded it.

A cuff which sent me sprawling on the deck was the consequence. "Where

are your eyes, leddie?" exclaimed a gruff voice. "Ye'll see where ye

are ganging the next time."

I picked myself up, bursting into a fit of laughter, as if the affair

had been a good joke. "I beg your pardon, old fellow," I said; "but if

you had had a chandelier burning in this place of yours it would not

have happened. How do you all manage to see down here?"

"As cats do--we're accustomed to it," said another voice; and I now

began to distinguish objects around me. The watch below were seated

round a sea-chest, with three or four mugs, a huge loaf of bread, and a

piece of cheese and part of a flitch of fat cold bacon. It was rough

fare, but I was too hungry not to be glad to partake of it.

A boy whom I had seen busy in the caboose soon came down with a kettle

of hot tea. My inquiry for milk produced a general laugh, but I was

told I might take as much sugar as I liked from a jar, which contained a

dark-brown substance unlike any sugar I had before seen.

"Ye'll soon be asking for your bed, leddie," said Bob Tubbs, the old man

whose acquaintance I had so unceremoniously formed. "Ye'll find it

there, for'ard, if ye'll grope your way. It's not over airy, but it's

all the warmer in winter."

After supper, I succeeded in finding the berth Bob had pointed out. It

was the lowest berth, directly in the very bows of the vessel--a

shelf-like space, about five feet in length, with height scarcely

sufficient to allow me to sit upright,--Dirty Dick, the ship's boy I

have mentioned, having the berth above me. Mine contained a mattress

and a couple of blankets. My inquiry for sheets produced as much

laughter as when I asked for milk. "Well, to be sure, as I suppose you

have not a washerwoman on board, they would not be of much use," I sang

out; "and so, unless the captain wants me to steer the ship, I will turn

in and go to sleep. Good night, mates."

"The leddie has got some spirit in him," I heard Bob Tubbs observe.

"What do you call yourself, boy?"

"Happy Jack!" I sang out; "and it's not this sort of thing that's going

to change me."

"You'll prove a tough one, if something else doesn't," observed Bob from

his berth. "But gang to sleep, boy. Ye'll be put into a watch

to-morrow, and it's the last time, may be, that ye'll have to rest

through the night till ye set foot on shore again." I little then

thought how long a time that would prove; but, rolling myself up in my

blanket, I soon forgot where I was.

Next morning I scrambled on deck, and found the brig plunging away into

a heavy sea, with a strong southerly wind, the coast just

distinguishable over our starboard quarter. The captain gave me a grim

smile as I made my way aft.

"Well, leddie, how do you like it?" he inquired.

"Thank you, pretty well," I answered; "but I hope we sha'n't have to

wait long for breakfast."

He smiled again. "And you don't feel queer?"

"No, not a bit of it," I replied. "But I say, captain, I thought I was

to come as a midshipman, and mess with the other young gentlemen on


He now fairly laughed outright; and looking at me for some time,

answered, "We have no young gentlemen on board here. You'll get your

breakfast in good time; but you are of the right sort, leddie, and

little Clem shall show you what you have got to do," pointing as he

spoke to a boy who just then came on deck, and whom I took to be his


"Thank you, captain," I observed; "I shall be glad of Clem's

instruction, as I suppose he knows more about the matter than I do."

"Clem can hand, reef, and steer as well as any one, as far as his

strength goes," said the captain, looking approvingly at him.

"I'll set to work as soon as he likes, then," I observed. "But I wish

those fellows would be sharp about breakfast, for I am desperately


"Well, go into the cabin, and Clem will give you a hunch of bread to

stay your appetite."

I followed Clem below. "Here, Brooke, some butter will improve it," he

said, spreading a thick slice of bread. "And so you don't seem to be

seasick, like most fellows. Well, I am glad of that. My father will

like you all the better for it, and soon make a sailor of you, if you

wish to learn."

I told Clem that was just what I wanted, and that I should look to him

to teach me my duties.

"I'll do my best," he said. "Take my advice and dip your hands in the

tar bucket without delay, and don't shirk anything the mate puts you to.

My father is pretty gruff now and then, but old Growl is a regular

rough one. He does not say much to me, but you will have to look out

for squalls. Come, we had better go on deck, or old Growl will think

that I have been putting you up to mischief. He will soon pick a

quarrel with you, to see how you bear it."

"I'll take good care to keep out of his way, then," I said, bolting the

last piece of bread and butter. "Thank you, Clem, you and I shall be

good friends, I see that."

"I hope so," answered my young companion with a sigh. "I have not many

on board, and till you came I had no one to speak to except father, and

he is not always in the mood to talk."

Clem's slice of bread and butter enabled me to hold out till the

forecastle breakfast was ready. I did ample justice to it. Directly I

  • collection [kə´lekʃən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.收集;征收;募捐   (初中英语单词)
  • reading [´ri:diŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.(阅)读;朗读;读物   (初中英语单词)
  • rescue [´reskju:] 移动到这儿单词发声  vt.&n.救援;挽救   (初中英语单词)
  • vessel [´vesəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.容器;船;脉管   (初中英语单词)
  • welcome [´welkəm] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.受欢迎的;可喜的   (初中英语单词)
  • steamer [´sti:mə] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.汽船;轮船;蒸笼   (初中英语单词)
  • portion [´pɔ:ʃən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.嫁妆;命运 vt.分配   (初中英语单词)
  • commander [kə´mɑ:ndə] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.指挥员,司令员   (初中英语单词)
  • complain [kəm´plein] 移动到这儿单词发声  vi.抱怨,叫屈;控诉   (初中英语单词)
  • illness [´ilnis] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.生病,不健康,疾病   (初中英语单词)
  • satisfaction [,sætis´fækʃən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.满意;满足   (初中英语单词)
  • punishment [´pʌniʃmənt] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.罚,刑罚   (初中英语单词)
  • running [´rʌniŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.奔跑的;流动的   (初中英语单词)
  • relative [´relətiv] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.有关系的 n.亲属   (初中英语单词)
  • ambitious [æm´biʃəs] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.有雄心的;热望的   (初中英语单词)
  • therefore [´ðeəfɔ:] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.&conj.因此;所以   (初中英语单词)
  • resolve [ri´zɔlv] 移动到这儿单词发声  v.决心 n.决心;刚毅   (初中英语单词)
  • sensation [sen´seiʃən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.感觉;轰动;轰动一时   (初中英语单词)
  • shriek [ʃri:k] 移动到这儿单词发声  v.&n.尖叫(声)   (初中英语单词)
  • laughter [´lɑ:ftə] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.笑,笑声   (初中英语单词)
  • flight [flait] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.逃走;飞行;班机   (初中英语单词)
  • farewell [feə´wel] 移动到这儿单词发声  int.再见 n.&a.告别   (初中英语单词)
  • otherwise [´ʌðəwaiz] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.另外 conj.否则   (初中英语单词)
  • embrace [im´breis] 移动到这儿单词发声  vt.&n.拥抱;采纳;信奉   (初中英语单词)
  • waiting [´weitiŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.等候;伺候   (初中英语单词)
  • arrival [ə´raivəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.到达;到达的人(物)   (初中英语单词)
  • countenance [´kauntinəns] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.面部表情;脸色;面容   (初中英语单词)
  • costume [´kɔstju:m] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.服装(试样);女装   (初中英语单词)
  • wherever [weər´evə] 移动到这儿单词发声  conj.无论在哪里   (初中英语单词)
  • aboard [ə´bɔ:d] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.&prep.在…上   (初中英语单词)
  • accent [´æksənt, æk´sent] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.重音;口音 vt.重读   (初中英语单词)
  • working [´wə:kiŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.工人的;劳动的   (初中英语单词)
  • canvas [´kænvəs] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.帆布;油画(布)   (初中英语单词)
  • accordingly [ə´kɔ:diŋli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.因此;从而;依照   (初中英语单词)
  • stomach [´stʌmək] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.胃;胃口,食欲   (初中英语单词)
  • consequence [´kɔnsikwəns] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.结果;后果;推断   (初中英语单词)
  • pardon [´pɑ:dən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.&vt.原谅;饶恕;赦免   (初中英语单词)
  • distinguish [di´stiŋgwiʃ] 移动到这儿单词发声  v.区分;识别;立功   (初中英语单词)
  • cheese [tʃi:z] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.干酪,乳酪   (初中英语单词)
  • inquiry [in´kwaiəri] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.询问;质询;调查   (初中英语单词)
  • unlike [,ʌn´laik] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.不同的 prep.不象…   (初中英语单词)
  • acquaintance [ə´kweintəns] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.相识;熟人,相识的人   (初中英语单词)
  • pointed [´pɔintid] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.尖(锐)的;中肯的   (初中英语单词)
  • height [hait] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.高度;顶点;卓越   (初中英语单词)
  • mischief [´mistʃif] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.伤害;故障;调皮   (初中英语单词)
  • companion [kəm´pæniən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.同伴;同事;伴侣   (初中英语单词)
  • doubtful [´dautful] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.怀疑的,可疑的   (高中英语单词)
  • southward [´sauθwəd] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.&n.向南方向(的)   (高中英语单词)
  • notwithstanding [,nɔtwiθ´stændiŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  prep.&conj.虽然;还是   (高中英语单词)
  • nuisance [´nju:səns] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.损害;讨厌的人(事)   (高中英语单词)
  • scramble [´skræmbəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  v.&n.爬;争夺;炒(蛋)   (高中英语单词)
  • athletic [æθ´letik] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.运动的;强壮的   (高中英语单词)
  • learned [´lə:nid] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.有学问的,博学的   (高中英语单词)
  • determination [di,tə:mi´neiʃən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.决心;决定   (高中英语单词)
  • sturdy [´stə:di] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.坚强的;坚定的   (高中英语单词)
  • courtesy [´kə:tisi] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.礼貌;殷勤;好意   (高中英语单词)
  • sweetly [´swi:tli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.甜蜜地;美妙地   (高中英语单词)
  • outfit [´aut,fit] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.装备 vt.供给;装备   (高中英语单词)
  • conception [kən´sepʃən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.构思;概念;怀孕   (高中英语单词)
  • considerably [kən´sidərəbli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.显著地;十分   (高中英语单词)
  • thickly [´θikli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.厚厚地;密密地   (高中英语单词)
  • finding [´faindiŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.发现物;判断;结果   (高中英语单词)
  • bucket [´bʌkit] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.水桶   (高中英语单词)
  • delighted [di´laitid] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.高兴的;喜欢的   (英语四级单词)
  • recollect [rekə´lekt] 移动到这儿单词发声  v.重新集合;恢复   (英语四级单词)
  • scrape [skreip] 移动到这儿单词发声  v.&n.刮,削,擦;搔   (英语四级单词)
  • parting [´pɑ:tiŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.&n.分离(的)   (英语四级单词)
  • sentimental [,senti´mentl] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.感伤的;多愁善感的   (英语四级单词)
  • personage [´pə:sənidʒ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.名流;人物,角色   (英语四级单词)
  • cleaner [´kli:nə] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.清洁工人;干洗商   (英语四级单词)
  • obedient [ə´bi:djənt] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.服从的,恭顺的   (英语四级单词)
  • apiece [ə´pi:s] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.每个,每件,每人   (英语四级单词)
  • partake [pɑ:´teik] 移动到这儿单词发声  v.参与;分享;同吃   (英语四级单词)
  • solicitor [sə´lisitə] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.律师;掮客   (英语六级单词)
  • visage [´vizidʒ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.面容,面貌   (英语六级单词)
  • seaman [´si:mən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.海员,水手   (英语六级单词)

  • 上传人 欢乐鱼 分享于 2017-06-26 17:17:15
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