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“He is big enough to be a powder-monkey,” observed my father; and as he was not a man who chose to be contradicted, he the next day took me aboard his ship, then fitting out in Portsmouth harbour, to carry the flag of Admiral Sir Edward Hawke. She was indeed a proud ship, with the tautest masts and the squarest yards of any ship in the British navy. She carried one hundred and four guns, all of brass—forty-two pounders on the lower-deck; thirty-two on the middle deck; and twenty-four pounders on the quarter-deck, forecastle, poop, and main-deck. She had huge lanterns at her poop, into which four or five of us boys could stow ourselves away; and from the time she was first launched, in 1756, the flag of some great admiral always floated from the masthead. When my father left me, to attend to his duty, I thought I should have been lost in the big ship, with deck above deck, and guns all alike one another on either side; and hundreds of men bawling and shouting, and rushing about here and there and everywhere. Sitting down on a chest, outside his cabin,—my legs were not long enough to reach the deck,—I had a good cry; and a number of boys, some of them not much bigger than myself, came and had a look at me, but they did not jeer, or play me any tricks, for they had found out that I was the bo’sun’s son, and that they had better not. I soon, however, recovered, and learned to find my way, not only from one deck to another, but up aloft; and before many days were over, had been up to the main-truck; though when my father heard of it, for he was below at the time, he told me not to go again till I was bigger. As I was continually, from ignorance, getting into scrapes, and he could not keep an eye on me himself, he gave me in charge to Jerry Dix, the one-legged fiddler and cook’s mate. Jerry could take very good care of me, but was less able to take care of himself when he had got his grog aboard, and more than once when this happened I had to watch over him. This made us firm friends, and I am very sure that he had a sincere affection for me.

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