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NAVAL reader of
Dana's "Two Years
Before the Mast"
must wonder at
the insignificance
of the organic
changes which have
happened in the
vocation of the sea
since that inimitable and exquisite min-
iature of forecastle life was given to
the world. We use iron and steel and
rivets where our fathers employed wood
and treenails and copper bolts; masts
are supported by wire when the old
shrouds and stays were of hemp; we
have got rid of the cathead and the
spritsail yard; our tops are no longer
big enough to give a dance in; we have
ground off the channels into smooth
sides, hove the deadeyes overboard, and
"set up" the rigging, as it is called,
with a convenient machinery of screws
-everything coming inboards, spite of
an ever-narrowing beam. And still the
organic and structural changes are so
few that, bring Dana out of his lit-
tle brig Pilgrim and put him aboard
one of your four-masted metal fabrics
of to-day, with her double topsail and
double top-gallant yards complicating
the heavens which her yard-arms span
into a very nightmare of bewildering
interlacery, and after a few hours he
shall be jumping and running to the
shouts of the quarter-deck with as dis-
cerning an eye and as unerring a hand

as any that may have made a round
voyage in the same vessel.

Of course in speaking of ships I
shall be understood to mean tacks and
sheets-not the funnel and the propel-
ler. The steamboat is a supplement-
al condition of the marine life-a par-
ticular happy after-thought! She is
no more a ship than a locomotive is a
stage-coach. Her sentience is mechan-
ic; her wings are of steam.

The sailing ship is informed and pos-
sessed by the spirit of the "viewless
winds." Hers is the life, and hers the
beauty, too, of the cloud. It is the
conditions of her being which create
and shape the sailor's calling. If I am
asked how it is with Jack on board the
steamboat, my answer must be, I don't

I have gone to several steamship
companies for information about the
duties of the A. B. and O. S. aboard the
propelled keel, and have not been able
to make much of the information sent
to me. The quarter-master has charge
of the helm. He is doubtless an able
seaman, and an able seaman, therefore,
on board a steamer, apparently knows
how to steer a ship. But is this neces-
sarily so? An amidship helm at twen-
ty-three knots an hour is scarcely the
same as having to "meet her" with a
taut bowline and lifting leeches and a
thunderous head-sea within seven points
of the bow.

An able seaman aboard a steamer
Copyright, 1893, by Charles Scribner's Sons. All rights reserved.

JAN 10 1901

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