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The Beginning—in which Several Important Personages are Introduced. There existed, not many years ago, a certain street near the banks of old Father Thames which may be described as being one of the most modest and retiring little streets in London. The neighbourhood around that street was emphatically dirty and noisy. There were powerful smells of tallow and tar in the atmosphere, suggestive of shipping and commerce. Narrow lanes opened... more...

Treats of the Engine-Driver’s House and Household. Talk of earthquakes! not all the earthquakes that have rumbled in Ecuador or toppled over the spires and dwellings of Peru could compare, in the matter of dogged pertinacity, with that earthquake which diurnally and hourly shocked little Gertie’s dwelling, quivered the white dimity curtains of little Gertie’s bed and shook little Gertie’s frame. A graceful, rounded little... more...

The Outpost. On the northern shores of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence there stood, not very long ago, a group of wooden houses, which were simple in construction and lowly in aspect. The region around them was a vast uncultivated, uninhabited solitude. The road that led to them was a rude one. It wound round a rugged cliff, under the shelter of which the houses nestled as if for protection from the cold winds and the snowdrifts that took special... more...

Introduces Deep-Sea Fishermen And their Families. On a certain breezy morning in October—not many years ago—a wilderness of foam rioted wildly over those dangerous sands which lie off the port of Yarmouth, where the Evening Star, fishing-smack, was getting ready for sea. In one of the narrow lanes or “Rows” peculiar to that town, the skipper of the smack stood at his own door, grumbling. He was a broad burly man, a... more...

CHAPTER I THE ROCK Early on a summer morning, about the beginning of the nineteenth century, two fishermen of Forfarshire wended their way to the shore, launched their boat, and put off to sea. One of the men was tall and ill-favoured, the other, short and well-favoured. Both were square-built, powerful fellows, like most men of the class to which they belonged. It was about that calm hour of the morning which precedes sunrise, when most... more...


The Garret And The Garden Or Low Life High Up. Sudden Friendships. In the midst of the great wilderness—we might almost say the wilds—of that comparatively unknown region which lies on the Surrey side of the Thames, just above London Bridge, there sauntered one fine day a big bronzed seaman of middle age. He turned into an alley, down which, nautically speaking, he rolled into a shabby little court. There he stood still for a few... more...

Preface. This tale, reader—if you read it through—will give you some insight into the condition, value, and vicissitudes of the light-vessels, or floating lighthouses, which guard the shores of this kingdom, and mark the dangerous shoals lying off some of our harbours and roadsteads. It will also convey to you—if you don’t skip—a general idea of the life and adventures of some of the men who have manned these... more...

Begins the Tale—Naturally. From the earliest records of history we learn that man has ever been envious of the birds, and of all other winged creatures. He has longed and striven to fly. He has also signally failed to do so. We say “failed” advisedly, because his various attempts in that direction have usually resulted in disappointment and broken bones. As to balloons, we do not admit that they fly any more than do ships;... more...

Touches on our Hero’s Early Life, Experiences, and Adventures. Bill Bowls was the most amiable, gentle, kindly, and modest fellow that ever trod the deck of a man-of-war. He was also one of the most lion-hearted men in the Navy. When Bill was a baby—a round-faced, large-eyed, fat-legged baby, as unlike to the bronzed, whiskered, strapping seaman who went by the name of “Fighting Bill” as a jackdaw is to a... more...

Treats of Our Hero’s Early Life, and Touches on Domestic Matters. William Osten was a wanderer by nature. He was born with a thirst for adventure that nothing could quench, and with a desire to rove that nothing could subdue. Even in babyhood, when his limbs were fat and feeble, and his visage was round and red, he displayed his tendency to wander in ways and under circumstances that other babies never dreamt of. He kept his poor mother... more...