Sailor and Beachcomber: Confessions of a Life at Sea, in Australia, and Amid the Islands of the Pacific by Arnold Safroni-Middleton

Sailor and Beachcomber: Confessions of a Life at Sea, in Australia, and Amid the Islands of the…

byArnold Safroni-Middleton

Kobo ebook | September 15, 2019

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I will write you that which no man has written before. I will tell you the truth as I found it. I will tell you of the aspirations of rough but brave men in distant lands and on the ships of distant tropic seas. I will tell you the truth of many thrills that buoyed me up with hope in my wanderings, and also of the chills that crushed in the last forlorn stand on the field of adversity. Aye, you shall hear of those things that men dream of in silence. I will pour them out of my soul for the calm eyes of stern reality. My pages of romance have long since been shrivelled up in tropic seas, under blinding suns, on the plains and in the primeval bush lands, but still I am the living book of all that has been in the dear old dead romance of passionate boyhood. The glorious poems, the dreams of what should be, the flinchless fight for right, have all faded away and left in the secret pages of life the withered flowers of old friendship, tied up with magic threads of women’s kisses, the memories of dead, brave comrades, some under the seas and others under the bush flowers of Australian steeps or beneath the tropic jungle of the South Sea Islands. There they sleep with the memories of savage native men singing by their tiny huts which have long ago vanished before the tramp of the white men. All these things are in this book, with the poetry of life which is mine, mingled with the memories of haunting dreams of that world of Romance which so many of us sail away to but never, never find. I cannot promise that in the chapters to follow I can tell all that befell me in the exact order in which the events happened, for it must be that after the flight of years I should stumble a bit in the days and months of a life that was lived in the midst of wild adventure and incessant travel from land to land; but it will be enough to assure you that the characters that I tell you of really lived and for all I know many are still living. When I tell you that an old cockatoo dropped down from the tropic sky on to a blue gum twig overhead and surveyed me with a sideways melancholy eye as I sat alone by my camp fire, be quite sure that that cockatoo lived and breathed, took stock of me and flew away into the sunset, and has doubtlessly dropped into the scrub, a small bunch of dead feather and bone, years ago. At school I read more from the pages of romance than from school-books. At fourteen years of age the opportunity arrived, and secretly, with the help of an older friend, I succeeded in securing a berth on a full-rigged sailing ship, and, within four hours of my trembling carcass creeping up the gangway and down on to the great decks, I was before the masts going down Channel bound for Australia. My recollections of the first few days are dim. The skies bobbed about, I swayed on deck, the brave old heroes of ages past flew out of my brain into the stormy moonlight and shrieked in the sails overhead, as my head swelled to the size of the dome of St Paul’s and I vomited. I longed to be home again. Alas! deep-sea sailing ships do not turn round and speed with haste for their native port in response to the feeble schoolboy’s tearful voice. I was done for! Hopes, glories, vast ambitions, all vanished! My thin legs trembled along on the decks till I staggered through a little cabin door and fell into my bunk. By some great oversight in the sea discipline I was allowed to sleep for five hours; I cannot remember to a certainty now, but I think I was drowned and died about a thousand times in that first off-watch sleep. I soon recovered, and discovered that sea captains do not stand on the poop cracking jokes and shying oranges and coco-nuts up at the crew, as they laughingly toil among the sails.

Title:Sailor and Beachcomber: Confessions of a Life at Sea, in Australia, and Amid the Islands of the…Format:Kobo ebookPublished:September 15, 2019Language:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:146563262X

ISBN - 13:9781465632623

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From the Author

I will write you that which no man has written before. I will tell you the truth as I found it. I will tell you of the aspirations of rough but brave men in distant lands and on the ships of distant tropic seas. I will tell you the truth of many thrills that buoyed me up with hope in my wanderings, and also of the chills that crushed in the last forlorn stand on the field of adversity. Aye, you shall hear of those things that men dream of in silence. I will pour them out of my soul for the calm eyes of stern reality. My pages of romance have long since been shrivelled up in tropic seas, under blinding suns, on the plains and in the primeval bush lands, but still I am the living book of all that has been in the dear old dead romance of passionate boyhood. The glorious poems, the dreams of what should be, the flinchless fight for right, have all faded away and left in the secret pages of life the withered flowers of old friendship, tied up with magic threads of women’s kisses, the memories of dead, brave comrades, some under the seas and others under the bush flowers of Australian steeps or beneath the tropic jungle of the South Sea Islands. There they sleep with the memories of savage native men singing by their tiny huts which have long ago vanished before the tramp of the white men. All these things are in this book, with the poetry of life which is mine, mingled with the memories of haunting dreams of that world of Romance which so many of us sail away to but never, never find. I cannot promise that in the chapters to follow I can tell all that befell me in the exact order in which the events happened, for it must be that after the flight of years I should stumble a bit in the days and months of a life that was lived in the midst of wild adventure and incessant travel from land to land; but it will be enough to assure you that the characters that I tell you of really lived and for all I know many are still living. When I tell you that an old cockatoo dropped down from the tropic sky on to a blue gum twig overhead and surveyed me with a sideways melancholy eye as I sat alone by my camp fire, be quite sure that that cockatoo lived and breathed, took stock of me and flew away into the sunset, and has doubtlessly dropped into the scrub, a small bunch of dead feather and bone, years ago. At school I read more from the pages of romance than from school-books. At fourteen years of age the opportunity arrived, and secretly, with the help of an older friend, I succeeded in securing a berth on a full-rigged sailing ship, and, within four hours of my trembling carcass creeping up the gangway and down on to the great decks, I was before the masts going down Channel bound for Australia. My recollections of the first few days are dim. The skies bobbed about, I swayed on deck, the brave old heroes of ages past flew out of my brain into the stormy moonlight and shrieked in the sails overhead, as my head swelled to the size of the dome of St Paul’s and I vomited. I longed to be home again. Alas! deep-sea sailing ships do not turn round and speed with haste for their native port in response to the feeble schoolboy’s tearful voice. I was done for! Hopes, glories, vast ambitions, all vanished! My thin legs trembled along on the decks till I staggered through a little cabin door and fell into my bunk. By some great oversight in the sea discipline I was allowed to sleep for five hours; I cannot remember to a certainty now, but I think I was drowned and died about a thousand times in that first off-watch sleep. I soon recovered, and discovered that sea captains do not stand on the poop cracking jokes and shying oranges and coco-nuts up at the crew, as they laughingly toil among the sails.