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    Re: Description of a 'spouter' from "Two Years Before the Mast"
    From: UNK
    Date: 2014 Aug 6, 11:03 -0400
    I think you mean Richard Henry Dana, not Charles W. Dana.

    On Tue, Aug 5, 2014 at 4:51 PM, Richard French <NoReply_French@fer3.com> wrote:
    I thought you might enjoy the disdainful description of a 'spouter' by Charles W. Dana, in Two Years Before the Mast" - not much similarity to the Charles W. Morgan on our voyage, at least!

    -Dick French

    Tuesday, Nov. 10th.  Going ashore, as usual, in the gig, just before
    sundown, to bring off the captain, we found, upon taking in the captain
    and pulling off again, that our ship, which lay the farthest out, had
    run up her ensign.  This meant "Sail ho!" of course, but as we were
    within the point we could see nothing. "Give way, boys!  Give way!  Lay
    out on your oars, and long stroke!" said the captain; and stretching to
    the whole length of our arms, bending back again, so that our backs
    touched the thwarts, we sent her through the water like a rocket.  A
    few minutes of such pulling opened the islands, one after another, in
    range of the point, and gave us a view of the Canal, where was a ship,
    under top-gallant sails, standing in, with a light breeze, for the
    anchorage.  Putting the boat's head in the direction of the ship, the
    captain told us to lay out again; and we needed no spurring, for the
    prospect of boarding a new ship, perhaps from home, hearing the news
    and having something to tell of when we got back, was excitement enough
    for us, and we gave way with a will.  Captain Nye, of the Loriotte, who
    had been an old whaleman, was in the stern-sheets, and fell mightily
    into the spirit of it.  "Bend your backs and break your oars!" said he.
    "Lay me on, Captain Bunker!"  "There she flukes!" and other
    exclamations, peculiar to whalemen.  In the meantime, it fell flat
    calm, and being within a couple of miles of the ship, we expected to
    board her in a few moments, when a sudden breeze sprung up, dead ahead
    for the ship, and she braced up and stood off toward the islands, sharp
    on the larboard tack, making good way through the water.  This, of
    course, brought us up, and we had only to "ease larboard oars; pull
    round starboard!" and go aboard the Alert, with something very like a
    flea in the ear. There was a light land-breeze all night, and the ship
    did not come to anchor until the next morning.  As soon as her anchor
    was down, we went aboard, and found her to be the whaleship, Wilmington
    and Liverpool Packet, of New Bedford, last from the "off-shore ground,"
    with nineteen hundred barrels of oil.  A "spouter" we knew her to be as
    soon as we saw her, by her cranes and boats, and by her stump
    top-gallant masts, and a certain slovenly look to the sails, rigging,
    spars and hull; and when we got on board, we found everything to
    correspond,--spouter fashion.  She had a false deck, which was rough
    and oily, and cut up in every direction by the chimes of oil casks; her
    rigging was slack and turning white; no paint on the spars or blocks;
    clumsy seizings and straps without covers, and homeward-bound splices
    in every direction.  Her crew, too, were not in much better order.  Her
    captain was a slab-sided, shamble-legged Quaker, in a suit of brown,
    with a broad-brimmed hat, and sneaking about decks, like a sheep, with
    his head down; and the men looked more like fishermen and farmers than
    they did like sailors.

    Though it was by no means cold weather, (we having on only our red
    shirts and duck trowsers,) they all had on woollen trowsers--not blue
    and shipshape--but of all colors--brown, drab, grey, aye, and green,
    with suspenders over their shoulders, and pockets to put their hands
    in.  This, added to guernsey frocks, striped comforters about the neck,
    thick cowhide boots, woollen caps, and a strong, oily smell, and a
    decidedly green look, will complete the description.  Eight or ten were
    on the fore-topsail yard, and as many more in the main, furling the
    topsails, while eight or ten were hanging about the forecastle, doing
    nothing.  This was a strange sight for a vessel coming to anchor; so we
    went up to them, to see what was the matter. One of them, a stout,
    hearty-looking fellow, held out his leg and said he had the scurvy;
    another had cut his hand; and others had got nearly well, but said that
    there were plenty aloft to furl the sails, so they were sogering on the
    forecastle.  There was only one "splicer" on board, a fine-looking old
    tar, who was in the bunt of the fore-topsail.  He was probably the only
    sailor in the ship, before the mast.  The mates, of course, and the
    boat-steerers, and also two or three of the crew, had been to sea
    before, but only whaling voyages; and the greater part of the crew were
    raw hands, just from the bush, as green as cabbages, and had not yet
    got the hay-seed out of their heads.  The mizen topsail hung in the
    bunt-lines until everything was furled forward.  Thus a crew of thirty
    men were half an hour in doing what would have been done in the Alert
    with eighteen hands to go aloft, in fifteen or twenty minutes.

    We found they had been at sea six or eight months, and had no news to
    tell us; so we left them, and promised to get liberty to come on board
    in the evening, for some curiosities, etc.  Accordingly, as soon as we
    were knocked off in the evening and had got supper, we obtained leave,
    took a boat, and went aboard and spent an hour or two.  They gave us
    pieces of whalebone, and the teeth and other parts of curious sea
    animals, and we exchanged books with them--a practice very common among
    ships in foreign ports, by which you get rid of the books you have read
    and re-read, and a supply of new ones in their stead, and Jack is not
    very nice as to their comparative value.

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    James Revell Carr, Ph.D.
    Associate Professor of Ethnomusicology
    Department of Music Studies
    School of Music, Theater and Dance
    University of North Carolina at Greensboro
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