[From Recollections of an old Manxman, 1906]
I was in the " Vivenoy," it was in the summer, and we were buying herrings. We got our herrings in and sailed. The " St.. Saviour" was gone before us, and was gone round Lang-ness before we started. We overtook her the other side of Banks Howe i.n a calm, and we got up close to her, when we got in it., too, and there we stayed. The " St. Saviour" got a light air of wind, which took her away until she was a mile from us. At last we got a little breeze, and then we were coming up on her all the time. We were just at her stern, and to windward of the harbour, when the wind fell again. A boat came out and took the " St. Saviour" in tow, and we were left there. They got a shilling more a hundred for their herrings than we did.
But that was not all. When we were to windward of the harbour, the skipper came and took the helm from me, and kept her away ; and when Cubbons saw that he kept her away too, and he sailed down past us and took the wind out of our sails. There we were, left behind, and, as there was no boat to take us, we lost the race.
I was going to Whitehaven another time in the " Vivenoy" with herrings ; it was a Saturday. We had not more than 20 mease, and we called into Douglas to try and sell them. But we could not, and we had to start for Whitehaven. It was very thick, the wind was south-west, and it was raining. John was at the helm, and he was running her down along the shore, and he wanted to leave the shore. I was walking the deck, and he asked me to take the helm several times. He had not been long at it at the time. I did not know what he meant, but at last I took it ; and when I looked at the compass, I saw then what he wanted. She wanted to be kept away two points, and he could not do it. He stood by my side all the way across, and every now and then he would say, Thou will gibe her," but I answered,. " No, I wont ; " and that was the way he kept going on all the whole passage until we made the Head. As soon as we made the Head I was relieved. The wind was too fair for him, and he could not steer her, and Hobby was no better. I was only paid so much a trip, but they had all the profit.
I was in Whitehaven, and we had got loaded that day ; and when all was ready I went down to the steps, and there were a lot of Manxmen there. I looked up the Firth, and there was a fine breeze of north-east wind coming down. Big Dick-Biiy-Slooro was there, and old Tommy Gawne, the master of the " Sarah Ann ; and I said to them, " Are you going to sea ?" and big Dick said " No." " Well," I said, I am going," and away I went.
When I got up, the boat was there ready to take her away. We were towed out to the mouth of the harbour, and when she was pointed out, the wind filled the sails and she was off. We went home and back again, and the tide we came in the " Sarah Ann" went out. I cannot recollect any one else who was there at that time.
I remember another time we were in Whitehaven, and the wind was north-east. We were ready to sail, and we hauled down and gave the steamer the rope. There were none going but ourselves. As we were going out there was a lump of a sea, which made her pitch a hit, so that the water was coming in over the bows and out over the stern pretty weighty. Old Jimmy Lawson was at the helm, and he said, " I never saw the like of this in my life."
In the year 1873 there was a company of soldiers in Castletown. The captains name was Butler. He is a brother to Mrs Douglas, now living in the Rock House, in Castletown. After he had been away six months, he came back again, and bought the " Irene" from Mr. George Moorenow Major Moore. After he bought her he could not get anyone to go to Fleetwood with her, but I did not know anything about this until someone told me of it ; and I went to Mr. George Moore and made a bargain with him to go to Fleetwood with her. It is 22 years since, and it was between Christmas and the New Year. I was to get £5 for the voyage and leaving her safe in Fleetwood. There was not another man in the place who knew anything ; and, anyway, they would not have gone, for she was too smallshe was only 25 feet long and about eight feet beam. She was a little smack that he brought from Douglas, and Richard Harrison lengthened her and put two masts in her.
The pay-sergeant in the company I spoke of was married to a daughter of Ned Carrans, who lived at the Creggans ; but Ned lived with the other daughter, who is married to Tom Corkill, the joiner, in Hope-street, in Castletown.
The day we went the old man brought me two pictures to carry to his daughter who was in Fleetwood. We started on Thursday night, and we had a nice passage all day on Friday. Before we got a sight of the land we came to a fleet of trawl boats to an anchor, waiting for the tide to go up, for the wind was right down. We got hold of one of them and went on board, and got hot tea, for we were cold. It wasnt long until they got under weigh to beat up with the tide ; and, in place of letting go the rope, we should have held on ; for after a while they began to leave us, the tide having more effect on them than on us, and they were going further away and leaving us, until at last they were lost in the darkness. When I lost them, I was afraid to go any further, and let her go down back again. I was afraid to let go the anchor, as the rope wasnt very good ; it was my own old one. There was not a bit of rope in her, and I had to take the rope out of my own boat in case we should want it. I was afraid of the tide, and the rope was not very long ; so I did not let go at all.
In the morning it cleared, and we could see the quay. We werent long before we got hot tea, for we needed it badly, because we had had no tea all the time, excepting what we got on board the trawl boat.
The sergeants wife gave us plenty to eat. We did not want any drink. I had not taken any for four yearsnot since the 29th of September, 1869, and that is 22 years since. So long as God spares me, not another drop will go into my mouth; for the oath is on record in heaven, and cannot be broken.
Captain Butler was either in Chester or Manchester, I am not sure which ; but he was home on Monday morning, and I was sent for to the office, where I got more money than I expected. I got money to defray all our expenses back to Castletown.
When Captain Butler had bought the vessel, he told Mr. George Moore that, whoever came out with her, he would pay all his expenses back ; but Mr. George had never said a word of that to me, and I had brought money with me to pay expenses back.
As soon as we got clear we got to the station, and got in the train for Liverpool. On the way the train went over the tops of the houses. We got to Liverpool all right on Monday, and we boarded in " The Trader" that night.
The next morning it was blowing a whole gale from the north-west, so that I thought the boat would not go. But we went down to the Landing Stage, and when we got down I asked the mate if he thought they would sail, and he said, " We will try it anyway." So we had to stop where we were, for the sailing time was almost up.
By-and-bye she started, and she went out of the river nicely ; but she had not gone far when she shipped a sea, and, the cabin doors being open, there were tons of water went down the cabin. We happened to be down, away from the companion, and on the weather side. But there was a poor woman on the lee side, and she was lying on the locker, and the water was very close up to the seat. No more water came down on the passage. She made a very good run after that, and we got home at about seven oclock on Tuesday night.
The next morning I went up to the Great Meadow to get the remainder of my money, and got it all right. But in a day or two there was word came down to me that I was wanted up. I went up, and when I got into the kitchen, there was word sent in to the parlour that I was there. When I went in the door was shut, and Mr. George got his back against it. The old man began talking about the money I had received from Captain Butler, and I made answer, " What was it to any man if I had got a £5 note from Capt. Butler?" The door was then opened, and I was allowed to go ; but they thought I would be soft enough to give them the money I had earned so hard.
The way it came about that I knew anything about Fleetwood was thus : I was sailing in the " Grace Darling." Before :I joined her I was burning kelp with old Ned Moore, and when the kelp was burned we wanted to send it to Glasgow; and, as the Grace Darling" was going to Troon for ecrul, the captain said he would carry it. for us for seven shillings per ton. When we arrived at Troon, I put. it in a truck and went to Glasgow with it, and that cost seven shillings per ton more. That was Ms. per ton off it. When I came home with iso little money, Ned thought that I had kept the remainder, and thought that all his days. We were not friends for many a year through it. But he got an account of it, and that was about all that he did get. I got nothing for all the time I was away, and I got nothing from the skipper excepting my meat during that time. After that I went to sail with them at their own price.
Both are dead now. The mate fell down between the quay and the vessel at Norway, and was killed ; and I dont know what became of old KarranI think he died in Ramsey, for he lived there for his last 20 years. He is dead a long time now. I dont know when he died. I am spared still, thank God for it. No more than others do I deserve, yet God hath given me more.
We went to Fleetwood for a cargo of the best Wigan coals for the parlours, and we wanted a pilot, for not one of us had been there before. There was a steamboat going up, and the captain gave us a man, and we got before her and beat her, and that run sold the vessel. The pilots wanted her, and the trawlers wanted her, and ultimately the pilots got her.
She was not sold that time, nor the next time ; she was sold after we went home the second time.
I dont remember what sort of a passage we had the first time, but the second was the hardest one that I have ever had since ; that is more than 35 years ago. We had a good time to Danger Buoy, but after we had left the buoy it came on to blow. From the buoy to Douglas Bay is 60 miles, and she did it in six hours. There was a roll of rope on deck, and it got loose, and the end of it got out through the scupper, was being towed for a long time. But we caught it before it all went.
We broke the jib halliards on the way. They were chiar, and they stretched till they parted. I had to go up and . reeve them again, and her on her beam ends.
We lay in Douglas Bay until high water, and then we made another attempt. She was tied down to double reefs. . We got as far as Derbyhaven Bay, and held~on there until two hours before high water ; then started again, and when going round the head of the Fort she gave one pitch, which threw the boy lower down in the lee scuppers. But he got up again handy, and got to it again. We got up to Castletown that tide, and that was the last trip for us. The pilots were over before we had all the stuff out of her.
After we were clear of her, the " Refuge" was on the bank, and we went in her. She was made another shapeshe was made higher, and a counter put on her. We put the mast in her and rigged her, and loaded her with potatoes for Douglas. We got to Douglas, and the other two men went home, and I was left ship-keeper. But when the fillers got down to the bottom, they found the potatoes wet. There was a schank without a nail in, and we had to go back and put her on the bank again.
We put a bundle of straw in the hold, and set fire to it, and looked for the leak. It was up about the loading mark. After that we took in ballast, and some beans for a Mr. Worthington, who lived up at Jack Kneales, at the water trough above Ballasalla.
We went to Fleetwood again for coal for Castletown. After that tinie, I think, I left her.
A few years after that I went master myself. It is the same tale I told you before about Dan Flinn and his Irish talons. This trip I am telling you of I went to Port Dinorwic, in the Swilly, for slates for Robert Cain, and they kept us 28 days before we got a slate. On the 29th day we sailed for home, and arrived there the next tide.
When she was clear, I wanted Mr. Anchors to draw stones from the back of the flukenspool for ballast. The next day was a stormy one, and he sent the horses in the wraick. I did not say anything that day, but went about ; for it was a job I did not like. The next morning it was the same. Well, I let him go on the first day, and the second day he said I was too late ; but the third morning I was earlier, and the carts were gone to the shore again. I then said to him to take her and keep her ; and I went and took all belonging to me out of her, and told the boys I was leaving.
The boys had pilfered sense coals out of the waggons, and were taking them away, when the owner and a new master came to take possession. I had been home with my things, when I saw them going on board. The boys had a barrow full of coal just going away with it when they came. He bought the coals, and gave them 2s. Gd. for them, and put them back again into the boat. So we all left.
It was Mr. Mugs who undermined me while I was away. He made one run in her. He was put out of the " Teaser," and he wanted my vessel to go opposition against the " Teaser." But he did not succeed. When he came home he had one hogshead of sugar, and the rest was coals. When she was berthed, the owner took charge of her, and Mugs went into the " Catharine Ann"a little round-sterned thing, carrying 35 tons, belonging to Mr. Mylchreest, the grocer. I dont know who went in the "Refuge" then. Mr. Anchors wanted me to go in her again, but I said no ; that I would never put a foot in her again. But I did. There was a country man in her.
But I am not done with Mr. Anchors yet. I was 50 weeks in her that time, and for that 50 weeks I gave him £50. Out of that £50 there were 50 shillings coming to me ; for I had a shilling out of the £ for sailing the boat. I had settled with him before any of the row began ; but he summoned me for the 50 shillings. He did not get the money, and he had to pay all expenses besides.
The country man who was in her was not fit for master, and they got me persuaded to come with them, and when I got to Ramsey I went and put my own name in the papers. I think I did not go any further with her.
Some 27 years ago, when I had the little " Britannia," myself and Richard Shimmin, in Hope-street, took the notion to go down to Loch Ronsa to fish conger eels. We got down, but the weather was against us all the time. I had a ton of salt, and I sold it to the Scotch. I dont know what I got for it.
We went one fine day, the wind being about north, to the Kyles of Bute. The herrings were plentiful there that time. We had to beat up all the way. I had to go first, for he was not acquainted with the coast, and I was not either ; but I went by the chart, and he followed close behind. His vessel could go faster than mine. His was the " Olive," which was run down at Kinsale, and, of all the hands in her, not one was left to tell the tale.
I went to Troon to load coal. Mr. Young asked me how I got there, for the wind was north-east, and blowing all the time, and we had to quit it altogether. I could not stand it, but the others could hold it very well, for they were all farmers, and every man carried his own purse. I forget when they got home.
I was going to Troon one time. It was very dark, and we could not see the land, and the first place we found our-selves was on top of Turnberry Point. The jibboom just touched it., and she went inside of the cage and never struck. But she soon gathered herself out of that. I dont know what water there was on it, but she did not strike. Our vessel drew four foot light, and she was light then ; we were going to load.
I was another time going to Newcastle with coals in a herring lugger, and the night. came on before we reached there. There was no light on the Pierhead, and when we came to it we dared not venture in, and had to run up for Ardglass. There was an old man-of-wars man at the helm, but he was keeping her too low, and he went over the top of the Walter Rock. I was up forard, and I could have put my hand on the cage. However, we got clear, and got into the outer harbour in Ardgla.ss. The wind was south-east, and blowing hard ; so that every moment I was afraid that she would break the ropes and go ashore. But she held on. The Ardglass men wanted me to run her up round the warehouse, but I said, " No, that is the way to put her ashore ; " and so it was, for she would have. been ashore before we had got her straight, as we had to go round the Churn, and there was no way of doing it with safety.
The gale took off, and we got up to Dundrum and got the coals gut. When the coals were out, we took in potatoes for Douglas. I thought that I would be made to go back with them, but, as it happened, they had so much money as was required, or else we should have had to take them back again.
Now, however, the steamboats will take them if they get the passage money. That is all that is wanted. There is no word about them, until they have filled the Island with them, and there is no room left for the natives, who are forced to clear out.
The last trip that old Charlie Clague made in the "Ocean Gem" I was with him. We left Whitehaven as soon as she floated. The wind was south-east, and it was blowing hard. The whole sail was on her, and the sea was coming over her like a half-tide rock. The " Vivenoy" was going before us, and she was double-reefed, and had plenty to carry. It was in the short days in winter, and the nights were dark. We kept all the sail on that she could carry to get to Derbyhaven Bay before night, and we managed it, and the " Vivenoy," too. But when the tide came so that there was water in for us, we tried to get the chain uushackled, but there were iron pins in the shackles, and we could not get them out ; so I had to set to work with my hands and brains. I put the chain in the fire, and, after a good sweat, I got it out, and left the anchor behind.
When We were going in, we were as near running into the " Lilias" as possible. If she had not shown up her light, we would have run into her. She was just in time to save hirself.
She lay there some days until the gale abated. One of the owners was dead, and his wife had sold her share in the vessel to Captain Cubbin. When Charlie came home they took her from him, and put him ashore.
I went to the herring fishing in another mans place in the " Unity." One night it was blowing very hard, and, while we were hauling the train on board, it became very contrary. The buoys were going under her every time, and every one had a turn of it. At last it came my turn, and I was doing very well ; but she made one pitch and threw me down in the net room, and my knee hit the middle room bulkhead, and the cap of my knee was hurted. I jumped up as quickly as I could, but when I got up to the top again I could put no weight on my foot. Anyway, we got the train in, got the mast up, and got the jib and lug on her, and then we got the mainsail reefed. After it was reefed, they were afraid to hoist it on her. I said to them, If you dont hoist it on her, she will sink," and they hoisted it.
We went to Douglas Bay and sold the herrings. I could do nothing but steer, and I could do that fairly well. When we came to beat up to Derbyhaven, she was enough for any of them.
When we got to Derbyhaven, I could not walk home. I happened on a cart, which carried me home. Some time after that. Hobby Cubbon told me I was shamming. But my knee did not get better for many years. Shamming is a thing I could not do.
The " Alert," of Ramsey, was an old Scotch-built boat. (She was drawing lime from Castletown to Ramsey. This time there was no crew in Ramsey to go in her. I was out of a berth, and the agent sent for me. I went down to Ramsey and took charge of her, and my youngest son, Edward, was with me. We sailed, the wind being south-east. We went round the Point of Ayre, and we got to Peel Bay about low-water time. It was blowing very hard and raining heavily. In the morning the pilots came out to take us in, and we had to tie two reefs in the mainsail and put the third jib on her. I, was afraid she would not beat in, but the men were surprised to see her do so well.
We lay there some days, and then made another start, and got as far as Port Erin Bay, when the wind came round more to the south-west, and kept blowing. The sea came rolling in, and the old windlass went to grief, the bolts were so rusty. I had to go up to James Clagues and get new ones.
One day we went round with the potatoes to Radcliffe, the Coroner, and he gave us nothing for carrying them ; I suppose he thought we had eaten plenty of them to pay us ; but dont think I tasted them. That was in the year 1868.
When I was in the little " Britannia," I took in a cargo of lime for Ireland, to a place called the Quile Quay, near Down-patrick. It went to that city. We had a good passage, but on the way up the narrow passage we got fast, and we had to run the kedge out to get her off. We got clear and got up to the quay, and got the lime out, and I chartered her for Glasgow with two-parts of a cargo of starch. The lime merchant bought some potatoes, and I also bought some, and between us we loaded her.
When we arrived at Greenock, we could not get towed up, and we started to sail her up. We got about half-way, when night came on us, and it became very thick. We came to an anchor. There was another Irish smack in company with us, and we came together. It got so thick that we could not see our neighbour. Some time in the night a tugboat came up, and we held her until morning, when the weather cleared, and the tugboat took us both in tow to Glasgow, and we got up for half the money.
We got discharged, but we did not get much for the potatoes ; but we got all out, and I chartered her for Loch Long with a cargo of coals. I did not know the place, and I called for the farmer the coals were for, and took him in.
When I was taking in the starch at the Quile Quay I had a man filling the lime, and I also employed him to help me to stow the sacks. When the first load came, I took the first two bags and made a stool of them ; and when the third bag came, I told him to get under it and carry it to the stern. He got under it, and he got a few steps, when down he goes. We got it dragged to the stern. The next bag that came I stuck to it myself, and I walked away with it as though it were a bag of oats. I carried them all after that. There were a lot of men on the quay, and they watched me very attentively.
Willie and old Jimmy Lawson were at the winch. The bags were three hundredweight. I was only 9 stones 12 pounds ; and now I am 9 stones 8 pounds. That is 27 years since. I was weighed the other day in the Isle of Whithorn. When I was in America I was only 8 stones.
But I am not done with the little boat yet in Loch Long. We lay on a beach putting the coals out. A gale of wind came from the south-west, and broke all our ropes, which were fastened round rocks for posts. We had the anchor out astern. There were only about seven tons of coal in her at the time. We. put the sail on her and got her back again to the beach. There were great round rocks about., but we got clear of them all unharmed.
The first time I went to Whitehaven I left Castletown early in the morning. It was a fine summers morning, and it was as calm as milk. I went with the first of the flood, and had to pull her a long way. There was a large brigantine going before us, and she got becalmed, too. She was also bound to Whitehaven. I got hungry, and I pulled alongside, and got some tea and biscuits lowered down to me in a bucket. When I was done I cast off the rope and let her go. I thought we could go as fast as she could, but she went away and left us. Then it came on foggy, and the night set in. A little breeze came, and I got across in the night some time, and reached the north head off St. Bees, where I stayed until morning, when I began to find our way down to the harbour. We went close along the shore until we got down to Whitehaven.
When I got into the harbour, the " Mary Grace" was there, and I lodged on board of her for a few days until I got some money earned, and then went. to live in an old fishing boat. I was a long time in her, until she was sold to Baicarres, in Scotland, and I had to take lodgings ashore. But I was not half so comfortable as I was in the fishing boats.
I was fishing lobsters about the head and down at the south head where there are lobsters all the way round. I was the first that fished about the head, and it was about the best place I ever fished. There is an old roper and fishmonger in Whitehaven, and he once told me there were no lobsters about the head, but I told him another story. The water is not deep, and it is, therefore, bad for losing the pots. I lost 30 pots in one summer. The next time I went I lost all the stock, and had not one to put out. It did not take much to break them up at that time, for they were made of sallies, ribs and all ; but now it takes something to carry them away. Bill Callow told me that he would not put straps on them now. As regards the old sort, he told me that he has had as many as 70 lost in a fortnight. He would have the garret full, and he would have 70 more in stock after that. But there were straps to find, and, as they cost a shilling and some one shilling and sixpence, the profit would be gone that season.
I stayed in Whitehaven some 10 months that time, after which I went home to Castletown, and stayed there till the next summer.
I left Whitehaven for Castletown with the " Bessy." The wind was about west. I kept with her for some hours, and thought to make fast to her ; but I left it too long, and, the night coming on, I could not see her ; so I had to paddle my own canoe. I beat to windward all that night, and at day-light I was at the Bank Buoy, and could see the " Bessy" under the Island.
It came on to blow, and I had to tie her down short. I got up to the head, where the wind was furious. I got up as far as Douglas Bay, and I thought of going into Douglas. I took the mast out of her. Before I made any effort to go in, I thought the wind. had taken off. I put up the mast again, and got as far as Langness Point, and got in to the landing stage. The " Bessy" was in Derbyhaven, but I was a tide at home before her.
I stayed at home all that winter until the next spring. Then. I went again to Whitehaven ; but this time she was carried on the deck of the " Violet." The wind was from the eastward. If I had been by myself, it is very likely I would have beat a passage ; but there were nets and pots that she could not carry ; so when I got the chance I took it.
But that summer I got her broken by the harbour works, and got no recompense to repair her.
I got up early in the morning to go down to the head to haul the pots. The wind was coming in from the north, and there was too much of it ; so I turned back, and got as far as the " sugar tong" end, and I went home to bed.
I was up next morning blowing the fire for breakfast, when word came that. the boat was broken. We went down, and the tide was flowing. We had not as much time as to get the things out of her and throw the ballast out before the tide was on us. We got her up on the slip, and from there I got her down. on the New Quay. I tried all the carpenters in the place, but none of them would undertake to put a new side in her. I went to Kennaughs and bought a log of larch, and gave him 14s. for it, and I paid 7s. for sawing it; that made 21s. But I could not get anyone to go to work to repair her. At last Tommy and myself stuck to work, and in a few weeks we got the side in her.
After she was repaired, there was a publican who had a boat, and the bottom was rotten in her ; so he would have me to put a new bottom in her. I got that completed, and got £4 for doing it, From that day to this no other man has put a hand on my boat to mend her, when she was broken, excepting myself ; and now she is broken altogether.
In Whitehaven, again, the ballast barge broke loose, and came down on her, and smashed her two top sides in. That was in 1895, in the heavy gale which was raging at that time. All the rest of the people who had their boats broken got as much as got new ones for them, but I got nothing.
A few days before she was broken the. first time I happened to be down at the head. It was a foggy morning ; it was on Monday. All the boats had been down at the head watching for a barque, but did not find her. They had hauled all my pots before I got down, and they only left two lobsters for me.
But when we were ready to go home, the young fellow who was with me happened to look round, and saw the barque, and we went to her and made a bargain to take her in for £5. But she wanted to go to Workington. I told him at the outset that she would not get into Workington ; for she drew 17 feet of water, and it was only a 17 feet tide.
We went up to Workington, and the harbour master came out to us, and he said the same as I had said. Then we had to go back to Whitehaven again, and we got in the next tide. A boat came out to us, and one of her crew went to the captain and called me for all his tongue could say. We got in all right, and I got my money, and I gave the boatmen their money. I also gave the boy 10s., and Willy 10s.
About three days after that the boat got broken, and the only help I got was front the captain of the barque. He had a lot of finch boards, and he told me to go in the hold and pick out as many as I wanted. So I went and took as many as I could carry on a handcart, and I sold them to the man who owned the house I lived in for five shillings ; and that was all the help I got to make up for the loss of my boat.
It was before that, I think, that I took a cruise down to Ravenglass to explore there. It came on bad weather, and we were nearly starved for meat ; I had to beg at last. Dalziel, the brewer, was down fishing, and I told him my trouble, and he gave me a shilling. At. the time I owed five shillings to the woman where I lodged, but I sent it to her after I went back to Whitehaven.
We went out to haul the pots one day, and while we were out it came on to blow a whole gale of wind. It was low water, aiid there was a great. fresh coming out, and there was an awful sea ; it was rising I 0 or 12 feet. We had three reefs tied in the sail, and, as good fortune would have it, i took marks when I came out. The fresh coming out and the sea coming in made it dreadful ; and I never thought she would go in. But there was no place else for us. It was l6½ miles from Whitehaven, aïid how far from Dutton I dont know. But, anyway, I shaped her for it. The white breakers were perpendicular with the stern, and there were three huge seas coming rolling. We got before two of them, but the third one just finished her. A lot of it came in and went down my boot. She yawed, and the head broke off the rudder. Willie caught an oar and helped the rudder.
I think it was three hauls we gottwo before the storm and one after.
The last time we went back to Whitehaven, I had to borrow some money from Mrs. Cowman to save life, for the weather was dreadfully bad-the worst summer I have ever seen since, I think ; but we got back safe, anyway, to the ole ground again. We stayed in Whitehaven all that winter, and up to the last week in May.
But I have not told you all about. my lobster pots. They were going down to the head on Sundays and hauling my pots. One Sunday, however, I watched a boat getting ready to go down to the head, and the boy who was with me tolci me where they were going. I said to him, " Will thou go down with me to watch them F" and he said " Yes," and away we went on foot ; and we were down as soon as them. They went down past the pots, and on the way back they found them. We were up on the head looking at them. They hauled one, but I said nothing. They then wentto the second, and thereupon I shouted, and they dropped it and ran. That was just before. we left.. I brought the pots away from that up to the harbour so that they would not get so much of them. Soon after that we sailed, for I got sick of them and their work. If I had prosecuted them, they might have murdered me.
I was hauling the pots at Hird after dinner. There was a nice breeze coming down the Firth from the north-east. When the pots were hauled, I told Tommy to go up to the house and get some bread and things we wanted. That was between one and two oclock. When we were ready it was two oclock. It was low water when we started. There was not much wind, but it was coming on gradually, until it came to blow a whole gale. We passed some trawlboa.ts, and they were tying the second reef in the sail. We were going nine or ten miles an hour ; the first hour she did not go more than four or five. There was a large brigantine going before us, and she did not leave us one inch. We were at the Bahama lightship in three hours and a half, and the distance is 28 miles ; and in 2½ hours more we were in Laxey. That was six hours from Whitehaven to Laxey, and that is more than 40 miles.
It was blowing so hard at eight oclock that the steamboats which were in Laxey went out and lay to in Douglas Bay. They dared not go any further, for it blew a living gale from the north. We stayed there two days before we could go any further. I think it was Wednesday before we got to Castletown. That. was great sailing for a 20 feet boat to do. It was the last week in May, 1881 ; it was 15 years for May, 1896.
I took the notion to go to Scotland for a summers outing, and I had the lobster pots with me. So off I started. The first place I landed was in Port Patrick. I stayed all night there, and the. next morning started for Ca.rswell Point, and went into a place called Dolly Bay, and brought another man with me. We fished there a fortnight, but got very little; so I gathered up and went back to Port Patrick, left the man there, and sailed for Port William. I stayed there for two months, but did not do very well. I gathered up the pots ansi went clown to Wigtown Bay to see two little islands called the Isles of Flett. But they did not please me, so I about ship and steered back for the Isle of Man. On the way down I was becalmed, and spent the night sleeping in the boat. The next night I slept in a blacksmiths shop. The people in that place do not care if a stranger walked the streets all night. I should have stayed there that time, only I did not know anything about the place ; but I know something about it since.
Anyway, the next morning I started for home. The wind was south, and not much of it. But it came on fog and south-west wind. I had no compass. I left the Isle at 11 oclock, and before dark I was at the Point of Ayre. It blew very hard all night, and I beat every foot up to Peel, which I reached at 11 oclock that day. When I got up the men asked me where I had came fromhad I come out of the sky or the ground, it blew so hard. None of the boats were in it was the month of Junefor they were fishing herrings in the little boats.
I made an attempt to beat up to Port Erin, but it was too heavy for my ship, and I turned back and went into the harbour, and put her in a safe place. I went up the town, and Taggarts carts were down, and I got a lift home. That was Saturday. When I got home they wondered where I had came from.
On Monday it was fine and calm, and I "padded the hoof" to Peel, and sailed again. I was becalmed that night, and the next day I got to Castletown.
When I came back from Scotland, my daughter-in-law was not well pleased with me, because I ran away with the thirty shillings. But she is all sight now. She was not willing to own me because I was poor. If I was poor I was honest, and I was not too good to do anything to get my bread honest in the sight of all men. As the Apostle Paul says : " Try as much as lieth in you to get your bread honest in the sight of all men." I have tried that all my lifetime ; for, from my memory, I always got my bread honest. I was taught to it, for my mother was a Christian woman all her life.
I was the eldest of seven, and, after I had gone to sea, there was another born prematurely. She lived about 30 years; but now she has gone to the land of the pure and the holy, where nothing unholy shall enter. "Be holy, for I am holy, saith the Lord."
My good mother has gone to the same land. She lived to the age of 81 years. Father died two years ago ; he was a year and 11 months after her. He lived until he was nearly 89 years. He was born last century, and he has now gone to the land of rest that God has prepared for all them that love Him. The last time I saw father he told me that he was ready ; but little did I think that death was so near. It was only a fortnight before that I was up seeing him, and he was well in health. But be took lightness in his head, so that he could not go about. He fell once, and he had to lie in bed. Me was in bed for about two months before he left us.
My third brother, likewise, is gone to that happy land where Gods children are gathered together with Him who opened the way for them, and they followed Him, for He draws them to Himself.
My brother farmed a small place in the Parish of Rushen called Surby, and when he died father and mother had to leave the place, for they could not do the work ; and my other brother took it, and he is in it still. He is now about 15 years in it. It was a home for the rest of my unmarried brothers.
The next brother to me is living in Gansey, facing Port St. Mary Harbour. He bought the house when old Holmes the bankers land and property were sold. His family are all men and women now.
There is another brother living in Port St. Mary. He was pretty lucky at the fishing, end he has since got on very well. He is part-owner of a few fishing boats, and he owns one-eighth part of the " Enigma," a schooner of 150 tons. The " Reaper" is sold to Wales now. He. has built a new house in the Port, and he keeps a coal yard there also, and is doing very well. I think he will have a chance to get his family brought up without being a burden to others.
I have two sisters. One of them is among the barren women she is childless ; but the other has got her share. She has got seven or eight. The eldest was in a fishing boat down at the North of Scotland, and he got knocked overboard and was drowned. She took it very bad ; they thought she would not recover. When he was knocked overboard, he was not seen any more. She has a good husbandin fact both sisters have good husbands, and they make good wives ; for their mother taught them to be so, and herself showed the example.