All the instances I had heard of topmasts
being whipped out of a ship while there was not wind enough on her deck to blow out a match rushed into my memory.
On the 12th of January, 1893, I was seventeen, and the 20th of January I signed before the shipping commissioner the articles of the Sophie Sutherland, a three topmast
sealing schooner bound on a voyage to the coast of Japan.
However, as their captain begged of us to help him to set up a main-topmast
, and a kind of a topmast
to his jury fore-mast, we did, as it were, lie by him for three or four days; and then, having given him five barrels of beef, a barrel of pork, two hogsheads of biscuit, and a proportion of peas, flour, and what other things we could spare; and taking three casks of sugar, some rum, and some pieces of eight from them for satisfaction, we left them, taking on board with us, at their own earnest request, the youth and the maid, and all their goods.
Well, then, d’ye see, I larnt how a topmast
should be slushed, and how a topgallant-sail was to be becketted; and then I did small jobs in the cabin, such as mixing the skipper’s grog.
, laden with victims, now appeared; then her spars, bending under the weight of men; and, last of all, the top of her mainmast.
In the midst of this witches' sabbath, he was still to be seen on the top of his pillar, like the cabin-boy on the topmast
We would not get down our topmast
, but let all stand, because she scudded before the sea very well, and we knew that the top-mast being aloft, the ship was the wholesomer, and made better way through the sea, seeing we had sea-room.