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Jack in the Forecastle - or, Incidents in the Early Life of Hawser Martingale by John Sherburne Sleeper
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books. An indulgence in this taste, and perhaps an innate
dispostion to lead a wandering, adventurous life, kindled in my
bosom a strong desire, which soon became a fixed resolution, TO
GO TO SEA. Indeed, this wish to go abroad, to encounter dangers
on the mighty deep, to visit foreign countries and climes, to
face shipwrecks and disasters, became a passion. It was my
favorite theme of talk by day, and the subject of my dreams by
night. As I increased in years my longing for a sailor's life
also increased; and whenever my schoolfellows and myself were
conversing about the occupations we should select as the means of
gaining a livelihood hereafter, I invariably said, "I will be a

Had my parents lived, it is possible that this deep-seated
inclination might have been thwarted; that my destiny might have
taken another shape. But my father died while I was quite young,
and my mother survived him but a few years. She lived long
enough, however, to convince me that there is nothing more pure,
disinterested, and enduring than a mother's love, and that those
who are deprived of this blessing meet at the outset of their
pilgrimage a misfortune which can never be remedied. Thus,
before I had numbered fifteen years, I found myself thrown a waif
on the waters of life, free to follow the bent of my inclination
to become a sailor.

Fortune favored my wishes. Soon after the death of my parents, a
relation of my mother was fitting out a vessel in Portsmouth,
N.H., for a voyage to Demarara; and those who felt an interest in
my welfare, conceiving this a good opportunity for me to commence
my salt-water career, acceded to my wishes, and prevailed on my
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