Two Years Before The Mast A Personal Narrative Of Life At Sea By Richard Henry Dana, Jr.





























































































































 -   The heavy head sea was beating against her bows
with the noise and force almost of a sledge-hammer, and - Page 20
Two Years Before The Mast A Personal Narrative Of Life At Sea By Richard Henry Dana, Jr. - Page 20 of 618 - First - Home

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The Heavy Head Sea Was Beating Against Her Bows With The Noise And Force Almost Of A Sledge-Hammer, And Flying Over The Deck, Drenching Us Completely Through.

The topsail halyards had been let go, and the great sails filling out and backing against the masts with a noise like thunder.

The wind was whistling through the rigging, loose ropes flying about; loud and, to me, unintelligible orders constantly given and rapidly executed, and the sailors "singing out" at the ropes in their hoarse and peculiar strains. In addition to all this, I had not got my "sea legs on," was dreadfully sick, with hardly strength enough to hold on to anything, and it was "pitch dark." This was my state when I was ordered aloft, for the first time, to reef topsails.

How I got along, I cannot now remember. I "laid out" on the yards and held on with all my strength. I could not have been of much service, for I remember having been sick several times before I left the topsail yard. Soon all was snug aloft, and we were again allowed to go below. This I did not consider much of a favor, for the confusion of everything below, and that inexpressible sickening smell, caused by the shaking up of the bilge-water in the hold, made the steerage but an indifferent refuge from the cold, wet decks. I had often read of the nautical experiences of others, but I felt as though there could be none worse than mine; for in addition to every other evil, I could not but remember that this was only the first night of a two years' voyage.

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