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of letting pilots have their glasses on board of a king's ship,” said I," so I will take mine this time.”
“ You're right, Tom-you can't take the spy-glass out of the captain's hand, as you do in a merchant vessel.”
“Well, good-bye, father ; I shall come down again as soon as I can—there's another gun, the captain of the frigate is in a hurry."
They always are on board of a man-of-war, if no attention is paid to their orders or their signals. Come, start away.”
I went down to the bcach, the men launched the galley, and I was soon on board. As I gained the quarter-deck, I was met by the captain and first lieutenant, who were standing there.
“Well," said the captain, "where's the pilot ?" “I am, sir," replied I, taking off my hat. Where's
your warrant?” There, sir,” replied I, offering him the tin case in which I carried it. Well, all is right, my good fellow; but you seem
hand.” “Not so young as to lose so fine a vessel as this, I trust, sir," replied I.
I hope not, too; and I dare say you are as good as many with grey hairs. At all events your warrant is sufficient for me, and the frigate is now under your charge. Will you weigh directly ?”
“If you please; the wind will probably fail as the sun goes down, and, if so, we may just as well lie off the Foreland to-night."
The frigate was soon under weigh ; she was evidently
but a young
well manncd, and as well commanded. The vind fell, as I expected, and after dark we barely stemmed the cbb tide. Of course I was up all night, as was my duty, and occasionally entered into conversation with the officer of the watch and midshipmen. From them I learnt that the frigate, which was called the Euphrosyne, had just returned from the West India station; that they had been out four years, during which they had two single-handed encounters, and captured two French frigates, besides assisting at many combined expeditions; that they were commanded by Sir James O'Connor, who had distinguished himself very much, and was considered one of the best officers in the service; that the frigate had suffered so from the conflicts in which they had been engaged, that she had been sent home to be surveyed; it was found that she must be docked, and undergo a thorough repair, and consequently they had been ordered to Sheerness, where the ship would be paid off. At daylight there was a leading wind up the river, and we made sail, carrying with us three-fourths of the flood. The discipline and order of the ship’s company were so great that I felt much more confidence in piloting this vessel, notwithstanding her greater draught of water, than I did a merchant vessel, in which you had to wait so long before the people could execute what you required; here, it was but to speak, and it was done, and well done, and done immediately : the vessel appeared to obey the will of the pilot, as if endued with sense and volition; and the men at the lead gave quick and correct soundings; the consequence was, that I had every confidence, and, while the captain and officers sometimes appeared anxious at the decrease of the depth of water, I was indifferent, and I dare say appeared to them careless, but such was not the case.
“Quarter less 5.”
Quarter less 5. Pilot, do you know what water wo draw?"
“Yes, Sir James, I do; we shall have half four directly, and after that the water will deepen."
As it proved exactly as I stated, the captain had after that more confidence in me. At all events tho frigate was brought safely to an anchor in the river Medway, and Sir James O'Connor went down to his cabin, leaving the first lieutenant to moor her, for such were the port orders. As I had nothing more to do, I thought I might as well go on shore, and get a cast down by one of the night coaches to Dover. I therefore begged the first lieutenant to order my certificate of pilotage to be made out, and to inquire if I could take anything down to Deal for the captain. A few minutes afterwards I was summoned down to the captain. I found him sitting at his table with wine before him. My certificates, which the clerk had before made out, were signed, but my name was not inserted.
I must have your name, pilot, to fill in here." “ Thomas Saunders, Sir James," replied I.
“Well, my lad, you're young for a pilot; but you appear to know your business well, and you have brought this ship up in good style. Here are your certificates,” said he, as he filled in my name.
I had my spy-glass in my hand, and, to take up the certificates and fold them to fit them into my tin case, I laid my glass down on the table close to him. Sir James looked at it as if surprised, took up in his