There Is One Less To Take The Wheel, And One Less To
Lay Out With You Upon The Yard.
You miss his form, and the sound
of his voice, for habit had made them almost necessary to you, and
each of your senses feels the loss.
All these things make such a death peculiarly solemn, and the effect
of it remains upon the crew for some time. There is more kindness
shown by the officers to the crew, and by the crew to one another.
There is more quietness and seriousness. The oath and the loud
laugh are gone. The officers are more watchful, and the crew go
more carefully aloft. The lost man is seldom mentioned, or is
dismissed with a sailor's rude eulogy - "Well, poor George is gone!
His cruise is up soon! He knew his work, and did his duty, and was
a good shipmate." Then usually follows some allusion to another world,
for sailors are almost all believers; but their notions and opinions
are unfixed and at loose ends. They say, - "God won't be hard upon
the poor fellow," and seldom get beyond the common phrase which seems
to imply that their sufferings and hard treatment here will excuse
them hereafter, - "To work hard, live hard, die hard, and go to hell
after all, would be hard indeed!" Our cook, a simple-hearted old
African, who had been through a good deal in his day, and was rather
seriously inclined, always going to church twice a day when on shore,
and reading his Bible on a Sunday in the galley, talked to the crew
about spending their Sabbaths badly, and told them that they might
go as suddenly as George had, and be as little prepared.
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