« 上一頁繼續 »
the jibs and stay-sails hoisted, and the yards. properly trimmed. A man had been already sent to the wheel; and, as the Condor stood out of the bay before the favoring breeze, the topgallant-sails were set, the fore-sail, main-sail, and cross-jack were flung to the breeze; while, with each addition of canvas, the speed of the ship rapidly increased, and very soon the last familiar objects on the shore, so dear to our hearts, had faded into "airy nothingness," in the dim distance astern.
And when the pilot, whom some one has aptly called the "connecting link between sea and shore," departed from the ship, then, for the first time in my life, I experienced the sensation of genuine, perfect home-sickness. The pilot had scarcely left us, however, when the wind commenced hauling gradually ahead, increasing rapidly, meanwhile, until it became necessary to double-reef the top-sails; and the excitement attending the operation of shortening sail, together with the novelty and grandeur of the scene, had the immediate effect to arouse me to a sense of present duty, and to dissipate, for the time, the gloomy thoughts upon which my mind had begun to dwell.
The royals and top-gallant-sails having been
clewed up and furled, the top-sail halyards were let go by the run, and the yards clewed down upon the caps; the reef-tackles were then hauled out, and the order given to "jump aloft, and clap a double-reef in the fore and main topsails!" I mechanically followed the crowd of men who were running up the main rigging, and with some difficulty succeeded in getting upon the top-sail yard; but I am fearful that I rendered little assistance during the operation of reefing.
The cries and responses from different parts of the yard of "All fast to wind'ard;" "haul to leeward;" and, "knot away;" were, of course, unintelligible to me: and all that I could do, was simply to watch the operations of my shipmates, and endeavor to learn in this manner the proper method of recfing top-sails.
A high sea was now running: and I had scarcely left the yard, when I began to feel the premonitory symptoms of sea-sickness. By the time I reached the deck, a deathly faintness had come upon me; and I began to experience a strong desire to "cast up" accounts with old Neptune; but I was determined not to yield to the malady until compelled to do so, and, accordingly, continued to render what assistance I could to my shipmates.
The fore and main top-sails had been reefed simultaneously, and those who first descended to the deck proceeded immediately to reef the mizzen; which, being accomplished, all hands "tailed out" upon each of the top-sail halyards in succession, and to the music of a lively sea-song, the yards were quickly mast-headed.
Every thing being thus made secure alow and aloft, the crew were divided into two watches, called respectively, the starboard, and the port or larboard; the latter, in which I had been chosen, being allowed to go below immediately, while the starboard watch was left in charge of the deck.
I was thus relieved from duty for the space of four hours, and with trembling limbs,-for the relentless malady of the sea had already commenced its debilitating effects upon my system, I proceeded to the forecastle. At this moment, while sea-sick, home-sick, and sick at heart, I suddenly remembered that my father had placed a letter in my chest a short time previous to the sailing of the ship, charging me not to open it until out of sight of land. This letter I now took from the till of my chest, and having thrown myself into my berth, proceeded
to read the following words, which seemed, indeed, like "balm to the wounded spirit":
DEAR SON DANIEL,-When you peruse these lines, you will, doubtless, be far from home and friends, upon the bosom of the great deep. Your heart will be sad, no doubt, in view of the trials and privations which await you during your long absence from your native land; but you must remember that you have kind friends at home who will never forget you, and who will give you a joyful greeting upon your return.
I love you with a father's love, and it will make my heart leap for joy to see you become an honest and respected man. I may never see you again, and if so, let my last charge to you be as follows:
Be honest in all your dealings; be faithful and diligent in the performance of your duties; be just and kind to your associates, and strive in all cases, to do to others as you would be done by, for this is the golden rule, and the foundation of all morality.
When called to perform duty on shipboard, be prompt to obey; you will thus gain the respect of your superiors, and insure yourself kindly treatment from them. Try to regard your fellow-seamen as brothers, and to treat them accordingly; and if you should find any who seem at first insensible to the power of kindness, do not render evil for evil, but rather
seek to overcome evil with good; you will find in the end that kindness is an investment that never fails to pay.
Think of your dear mother as you remember her on earth; think of her now as an angel in heaven. Perhaps she is permitted to watch. over you in all your wanderings, — and this thought will be to you an incentive to do right, as well as a consolation in the hour of trouble, and distress. Think of your father, your brother, your sisters, and all your friends on shore; wherever you may roam, my dear son, or whatever may be your lot in life, ber the light of home."
Pray to God, daily, to protect and sustain you through all your vicissitudes and under all circumstances; feeling assured that if you put your trust in Him he will never leave you nor forsake you.
Be careful of your clothing, and keep it neatly repaired. This will add greatly to your comfort on shipboard, while the habits of neatness and order thus formed will be of lasting value to you.
May He who "holds the waters in the hollow of his hand," bless you and keep you in safety during your voyage; may He grant you health, happiness and prosperity, is the constant prayer of
Your affectionate father,
New Bedford, Aug. 5, 1856.