[From Recollections of an old Manxman, 1906]
But I have a little tale to tell you about one Christmas when we were in Ramsey in the " Amelia.," a little smack, owned by Mr. Jefferson. While we were there the "James Crossfield" went ashore aback of Langness, and all the passengers and crew were lost. We could not get the lime out.
When we got home we had a meeting, and we all volunteered to go round the town to gather money to get up a ball. So we went round on all the owners, and others, and gathered about 30s., and we ordered a dinner. Every man got plenty to eat. When the dinner was over, the drink came in. Some had got drunk before the dinner was ready, and had to go home before the big pot was boiled. When the drinkers got well " boozed" they began to blackball each other with soot and flour. There was a bag of flour on the table, and some of them were making free with it, and were sprinklirig it on each other. There was snow on the ground, and when we broke up they began to snowball each other, and they snowballed me all the way home. When supper was over I began to dance, and I took who I could get out on the floor. Old Charlie Clague gave me a sign to take big Thomas Moore out to dance, and I laid hold of him and pulled him out ; but he would not dance. When he would not do anything, I caught him on my arm and lifted him. up on the table ; and he weighed 10 stones at the time. The gas-burner was above his head, and I dont know how he missed it. Next came Dicka Kelly, but he was not so good. His coat began to tear, and I had to drop him, and the spree came to a close.
They stole Richard Harrisons bottle of whiskey from him, and I got share of it on the Bridge on the way home. Then the snowballing began. They snowballed me all the way home, and they knocked me down 20 times ; and just at the door, Cubbon, the " Aid," fired one at me, and it hit my wife on the breast, and she was suckling the child at the time. But, luckily, it was not very hard. After that. they put a ladder across Cubbins door and shut him in, and to Charlie Wattersons door they tied a cart, and they could not get out of the house in the morning until they were let out.
I told them then that it would be the last spree they would get me to, and so it was ; for I dont remember being drunk but once after that, and that was in the December of the next year. That was the last time in this life.
If my wife had been as good as my mother, I would not have had the privilege of compiling this book ; for it is through her these 18 years adventures have taken place, owing to her taking a nursling from a woman who ran away from her husband. I told her not to have anything to do with it, and took my hat and walked out. When I came back the. child was still there, but the mother had gone ; and he has been there ever since, and he is now in his 18th year. That was in the year 1878. My wife asked his mother what the childs name was, and she replied " Joseph," and the eyes glared in her head.
When I came in, I told her that he would not sleep in the same bed as I did ; and that night she took a bed for herself, and she has stuck to it
I have a word or two of advice to give you married women. Do not take so much of your own way. When you were single, you could have your fill of it. ; but when you are tied to a man, it dont answer.
My wife brought me a deal of trouble through her way-wardness, and I advise you all to take thought about your doings ; for it does not take much to break the peace of the house sornetimes.
My wife took another nursling. I allowed her to take this one, and he is left with her, too ; but he has grown to be a big boy. He is the biggest and the strongest lad in the town he lives in.
The adopted daughter is married now six years. She was married in 1890. She is living in the house altogether. She is the mother of five now, and there is Joe. The mother was the cause of all the mischief. I have left the house ten times, hut I am now at home, having just returned recently.
I left Castletown on Christmas Eve, at about seven oclock in the morning, with the wind about east, and easy. It was not far off high water. I had the sail on her, and when the tide was done the wind was done, and I had to put the oars out and pull ; so I pulled up to Santon River, when it came on a thick fog, and I had to pull all the way to Douglas.
I went into Douglas and got a cup of coffee, and came away again and pulled up to Banks Howe. Then it cleared, and I put the mast in her again. The wind came from the north-west, and it carried me as far as the Bahama lightship. Then the wind came from the south-east. I was not too su.re, but I thought so, and it proved to be so. It came on to blow, and I thought of turning back, but I did not. I had no compass that time either. I hung her on, and some time in the night I had to take. the big sails off her and put the stormers on. It was dark and foggy, and I could not see anything. I saw one vessel some time in the night, but she was not going the same way as I was. That was all I saw until I was very nearly across, when I saw a steamboat going north. Not long after that there came a heavy shower of rain, and the wind shifted through the night. The sea was so heavy I had to run her several times ; I dared not keep her to. After the wind shifted it cleared. I was close to the land ; I was nearest Workington. But I could have been in Whitehaven in the same time.
I got into Workington, and I did not know it, and asked a man what place it was. lie said " Workington," and I was surprised.
The man knew me, and he took me to his house, and gave me hot tea and dry clothes. My two boots were full of water. He also gave me a bed by the fire. I got up in the morning quite refreshed and got my breakfast.
I made sail again and off for Whitehaven. When I got there, a man told me a vessel had come in laden with timber, and she had washed her deck-load off. But, thank God, I did not wash anything away.
After I had been in Whitehaven a good while, I took the notion to go home again. I started one day with several more vessels. There was a Ramsey schooner going with me, and kept with her. There was another schooner bound to Dublin, and her and I kept alongside of one another to Langness. The wind was from the north, and I had a fine time, and got into Castletown in the early morning, about five oclock, as also did the. " North Barrule."that being the name of the Ramsey schooner I was coming across with.
The next time I went to Fort Yilliam[sic William ?] to fish cods, in the winter, in the month of November ; but it kept blowing from the south-west, and we could not earn as much as kept us. We had not a good train of lines, and I lost most of mine., besides some I had borrowed.
But the season was very nearly up, and I wanted to get home. There came a north-west wind, and I kept her along the shore until daylight., and in the morning I left the land; but I had to go back to make it sure, and then start afresh. There was a good breeze of wind, and sea, too ; and when I came up Ramsey Bay there was a boat came out of Ramsey and came right up to me, and her crew looked at me as if they had never seen a man before.
I got to Ramsey that day, and stayed all night there. The next morning the wind was ahead. There was a little steam-boat going up to Laxey, and I asked the captain to give me a pull up, and he agreed. He was ready to start then, and away we went. When we got there, the " St. Mary" was there, bound for Douglas, and he pulled me up to Douglas. I stayed on board all night, and the next morning I paddled We had a very good fishing107 carp and about 8 hundred-weight. of conger eels. She was sunk down two planks with fish. That was the most I ever had in her, and I had fished in her since the year 1871. From that till now is 25 years.
Last winter, in that north-west gale, I was in Whitehaven, and she was up at the Breston. There was a schooner broke adrift., and she came down on top of the hopper, and the hopper came down on my boat. There were five of us there at the time, but we could not get her away from the hopper. She hit her once and then bounced off her, and then she came back the second time, and smashed the two top sides in her; bt not a penny did they give me to make the damage good. All the rest. of the people who ha.d boats broken got thei made good. But., because I took my boat away, they would not give me any help at all.
When I went to Whitehaven the next time I went to the treasurer, and told him the whole story from first to last. But it was no good it was all because I took her home. I had to go when I got the chance to get her carried.
But we must go back to my superior in fishing, for it was he that made a fisherman of me. If it had not been for him, I would not have been a fisherman ; and but for my wife I would not have been so many times across the channel in a 20 feet boat I have no one to thank for what I am only him and her.
He was a drunken man, and I could not blame him for it so much, as his wife drove him to it. She was a proud and a drunken woman, too. She would go to the drapers shops and draw anything on his head, and he had to pay for it. Her pride and high-spiritedness brought her to the Asylum three times, and at last she had to be brought home to her sisters, in Surby, and there she died. He remained behind her some six or seven years, and then died among strangers, who were no kin to him.
He was a self-righteous mana. man who never did any harm to anyone, but he was always doing harm to himself. He told me many a time that he made no sins to be forgiven for. I had many a long talk with him, but I could not make anything of him ; he still kept the same notion. I cant tell did he alter before he changed worlds. I never heard anything further about him.
This mans wife had two daughters, but they died before her. The youngest son, Benny, died about the same time as the sisters The children were educated very well. Two of them were parsons in the Church of England, two of them schoolmasters, another a draper, another a mason and stone-cutter, and another is a good scholar.
The mason and stone-cutter is at the present time in Ramsey. He is foreman for the Town Commissioners, and he has held that position for about 10 years. I was in his house at tea eight months ago, on the way to Scotland. He is married the second time. My wife suckled the first one when she was a baby, for we lived by them. He has been all night with me and his father in the boat fishing conger eels. When he was a. youth about 14 years of age, his father went to America, and stayed three years there. He thought to settle down there, but he could not get his wife to go ; so he had to return home again. When he came back he bought a farni three ntiles above Castletown, and when he went to pay the money the owner would not take it. " Well, then," he said to him, "I will go and put it in the bank in your name," and he did so ; and shortly afterwards the bank broke. They went to law about the money, and Mr. B. lost £1,400, and it made a poor man of him all his days. He then went from bad to worse, and, as long as he lived, it was the same.
He went to Ireland and bought a pair of carriage horses, and went to Whitehaven with them. Then he went up near Carlisle, nnd sold them there to an old gentleman named Carruthers. He was never married, and they commenced to talk about the women. The old man told him that he had a son by the servant. Mr. B. said the best thing he could do was to marry her. She was called in, and the question was put to her. She blushed and went away ; but she was called again. She was asked again, and she consented, and the next morning the clergyman was sent for, and they were married in the house. For so doing, Mr. B. got a dividend of £400 in railway shares. It gave him from £28 to £30 per year. The old man is dead, but the son is living on the estate still. If that had not been left Mr. B., he would have been in the almshouse long ago.
His wife put him to his wits end, and my wife has done the same with me. I never knew two women so straight alikethey were so wayward as could be. There was more than one evil spirit in them. There were seven in Mary Magdalene.
My wife is living still, but she has not mended much, if anything. If she had not been so, I would not have such trouble with her. She was a spoiled child, and her temper is always badshe cant help it.
I wanted to go to Balcarry Bay ; so one day we started. The wind was north-east., and the ebb tide came down with a rush, and we could not get up ; so we just tacked ship and went back again, and we were back in Whitehaven the next morning at daylight, because she did not fetch. I thought it was a bad omen. It is more than 20 miles to it, and we were up the other side of Workington, and that was more than 20 miles, and then we had about nine miles to come down from where we made the land. That was a round ot about 50 miles and more.
I was another day down at St. Bees Head hauling the pots. When the pots were hauled, we set the sail, and every reek was tied, for it was blowing very heavily. From the time we started until we were at the pierhead was only nine minutes. The distance is three miles from the head to the harbour. I had my watch with me, and we timed her. When we got to the bar there was no waternothing but broken water. There is a bank at the pier, and there was no water, and we had to go to sea. When we hauled her by the wind she sprung nearly out of the water ; she would have went across to the Island like a duck. The men on the pier said they had never seen a little boat do the same thing before.
The next voyage was to North Wales. I started three days before Jubilee Day, in the year 1887. The weather was very calm, and I was getting on very slow. It took me three days and two nights to get across.
The day after I started the bread got done. On the way I came on a barque becalmed, and I put the oars to work and pulled alongside. She was an Austrian, and I hailed her for something to eat, and I got a plateful of biscuits, as hard as pieces of wood, and a small piece of beef ; and I gave him all the lobsters and crabs I had. I left him. That lasted for 24 hours. I got hungry again, and the next I met was an Irish schooner. I hailed her, and got a big dishful of broken bread and a large piece of boiled beef. I asked them if they had seen the land, and they said "Yes." I could see it myself then. I was to the west of Port Lynas, and a breeze sprung up, and I was not long until I was in Amlagh. I slept
there that night, and the next morning I sailed for Holyhead, with a fine breeze. That was Jubilee morning, and I shot the pots round the b~reekwater, and fished over as far as the North Stack and round about it. The wind came in from the west, and I tt~ok them away. There were lobsters all the way. I went no further than the North Stack, and then came back again and begun at the breakwater, and fished for two months. There were carp, big callig, conger eels, and a few crabs.
One day I thought I would go out to the Skerries to fish callig for bait. Very soon after I got there it came on to blow, and rain and fog came on, and I got a bit timorous; for, if the sea had got up, I would not have got from it, for there is a terrible tide about it. As I was coming away, there was a yacht came in from sea out of the fog and went in for the breakwater ; so I got under weigh and held her tight by the wind, and fetched the west end of the break-water. The pots were there, and I hauled them and came away home.
It happened that day that there was a raffle in the house for a watch. The watch belonged to Mrs. Woodalls son, and he pawned it to get money to get married, and could not redeem it. The landlady wanted the money, and the old woman arranged a plan to get the watch. She went and got tickets printed, and sold. them at sixpence each. She sold about 150 of them, and this was the day set apart for the raffle. There was provided for my dinner a quart of new milk and bread and butter, but I did not take it, and I brought it in the house with me.
When I got in, I could not get to the. shelf to get a basin; but I got one and went upstairs to my room, and took my dinner there ; and when I was done I went out into the yard to do something, and Jane came out to me, and she said, " Didnt you promise to take a ticket ?" I said " Yes," and she went and got me one, and I gave her the money. Directly she came out again and told me I was wanted. I went in and took the cup and tossed the dice three times, and I was seven above every one. They did not get any nearer. I gave them until eight oclock at mght, but they got no nearer ; so I went out and left them. When I came back the watch was handed to me. I looked at it, and saw the tears coming down the mothers cheeks. I said to myself, " It wont do to keep the watch," so I handed her the watch, and she gave me five shillings. If I had kept the watch, I would have had to pay that. money.
You would think that I had to come home to win the watch for the old woman. She is in her grave now, and Jane is married to a lame tailor and a fisherman.
I was there once two years later, but I did not stop long that time. I thought of shifting to the south shore, and I started in the morning about eight oclock. The wind was north-west when I started, but when I was about Half-way out in the bay the wind shifted to the southward. That wind is not good round that shore. I took a penny and tossed up whether I would go the other side or go home. It turned out that I was to go home, and I let her go with a fair wind. It was a fine day, and I got a good passage. I just got to the Chickens light when the wind fell, and I was becalmed all night. In the morning there came a little breeze from the eastward, and I was soon in Castletown Bay, and got in the harbour at eight oclock. the next morning all well.
I stayed at home the next two summers, and the next spring I went to Wales again. I had a mate with me this time. The vessel was laden with lobster pots ; there were 23 hampers, so there was not much room in a 20 feet boat. All of them had 30 pounds of stones in them for ballast to keep them down. We started about 11 oclock. We had not gone far when the wind veered round from north-east to south-east, and a sharp breeze came on ; but we hung her on by the wind that flood, and about high water we tacked ship and stood her to the eastward. In the morning we tacked ship again, and the first thing we saw was the Holyhead mail boat coming from Kingstown. It was a bit dark, and the wind went round to the south-west. It cleared, and we could see the land. Then we had a fair wind for Amlagh, and we were not long until we were in Amlagh.
We went up to the Post-office to wire home at five oclock in the evening on Saturday. We fished there for about a week, but the bait was hard to get, as there was very little to be got about Amlagh ; so we went down about Point Lynas, and down to Dulis Rocks, and we got some there. But we could get no bait.
We were able to eat all the bread we earned at Amlagh, for the stuff was very scarce. We thought about going down to Beaumaris to meet some of the fishing boats, so that we might get some fish from them. We started, and as we were gomg, there was a boat going with us, and we went to her and stayed with her all night, and got our tea and breakfast and a basket of fish.
The evening before we went into Beaumaris and sold the lobsters we had for eightpence per pound. The next morning we started for Dulis Rocks to get the pots. We hauled 10 ot them and shot them again, and hauled the other 10 and carried them with us to Puffin Island, and shot them there. We went up to Beaumaris and took lodgings there. The next morning again we started for Dulis Rocks, and hauled the other 10 and carried them down to Puffin Island. We got more lobsters that haul than we got at all. We were doing very well, until my mate began to long, and I had to send him home by the boat to Liverpool. How he got from Liverpool I dont know, but he would have been better if he would have stopped with me. But be wanted home, and I 1et him go.
I fished about Puffin Island all that summer, and did very well. There were two buyers there, and they bid against each other until they put them up to1s. 6d. per pound. I had one day as much as 10s. for my lobsters, and never less than 10s. There was a man living on the Island, and he was hauling the pots for me. I saw him once, and many a time he had done so when I did not see him. I could have transported him. I fished all the way round the west head, and there were lobsters all the way up Red Wharf Bay. But the water was shallow, and shallow water and northerly winds did not agree with the potsit broke them in pieces.
I lived in Beaumaris that winter. When the visitors had gone, there was no more sale for the stuff ; so I gathered a hamperful of lobsters, but I did not know what to do with them. One of the boatmen told me there was a free passage to Liverpool for a week, and he told me who to go to. I. went and got a pass, and got the hamper On board the boat, and went home and got changed, and got back in time. They had to come down from the bridge, and I got into Liverpool at eight oclock at night.
I did not know where to go There were two lads came to me and engaged to bring the hamper to the market for sixpence. I gave them the hamper, and I had plenty to do to keep up with them. But. we got up, anyway, and when we got there the shop was shut. I went to Duncans shop and asked them to take it. in until morning. They asked me what was to be done with it;, and I said they were to be sold. He said, "Come at six oclock in the morning, and they will be sold."
Then I went to hunt for Kings Dock, and found it, and the " Ida" was in. I went on board, but there was no one there. I was coming away, when Edward came round the corner. I pretended I did not know him ; but he knew me, and I went back. Shortly after they all came, and some ok them were the worse for drink. That company did not suit me, so we went to look for lodgings. We went to a coffee shop and got some coffee, and I got lodgings there ; but Edward went back to the vessel.
I got up about six irs the morning and went down to the dock. When I got down there was no one up, and I went round the dock to have a look of the ships. When I came back he was up and lighting the fire, and he asked why I did not waken him. I said I was not in a great hurry.
They went to sea that day. I got my breakfast, and he and I went up to the market. The stuff was sold at 10d. per pound. They weighed them, and I got my money. Then we went to a cork shop and got a stone of cork, and went down to the Landing Stage with it. We next went to the wire shop to get some old wire to make lobster pots. He came about half-way with me, for the " Ida" was hauling down to the gates, and he had to run to meet them.
I was in time for the boat. She sailed about nine oclock, and we got to Beaumaris about four in the evening. I was ready for work again in the morning.
But, before I go any further, I must go back a bit, and tell you about the fishing up the Swilly. I had the pots shot round the half-tide rock, but there were not many lobsters, and I had a shot in the mouth of the bridge. The men said that I would not see them again, but I did, and not one of them was shifted. I went on upside the bridge, but there was not much up there. I shot a good bit inside the bridge, and the flood caught them and dragged them down, and filled them full of sand and shells, so that I could not get them up. I had to get help, but I did not shoot there any more.
I went up very near to Port Dinorwic. There were a few up there, but not many. I was up as far as Carnarvon, but not fishing lobsters. I went up for a sight. I was twice up. I have been through the bridge 15 times. I came down against the tide.
Once I was going up to haul the pots, and I had some lobsters. I called at a ladys house along the river as I was going up and left some lobsters, but the lady was not in, and I had to stay up there all night. I walked down to the ladys house to get the money for the lobsters, and when went in the pot was boiling on the fire. But there was no one to put the lobsters in the pot, and I was just in time to put them in. I got my money and went back to the bridge, for the boat was ebbed dry. I had to ebb her to empty the sand out of the pots.
After that I went up towards the Port Dinorwic. I had a search, but had not much luck ; for, it being the winter, I could not do much. The rest of the fishermen were getting some fish, but I could not get any ; so I had to give it up and stay in the house.
When the spring came, I put the pots out again, and I got a few lobsters. I had four lobsters in a hamper, and one night the hamper, and lobsters, and all went. But I saw the lobsters in the fish shop. The hamper I never saw again. But I knew who took them. It was time for me to shift.
There was one day an aged widow and a young woman came to the house and talked awhile. They asked me if I was a married man, and I said yes. The both of them were well off ; they had plenty of money.
There was another day I was coming in from sea, and I met some ladies going down the pier. One of them said as she was going by, " Better a fisherman than none." I thought on it many a time. If I had only been singlewhich they an thought I was. But when they found I was married, I saw them no more.
I was down at Ormes Head. I fished all round Ormes Head. It was the most barren ground ever I fished on. There were neither lobsters nor crabs about it. There was one place where they said there were some ; but I did not put the pots on it, for the visitors were so close toit was on the east corner aback of the stage.
I was going down often to Llandudno with lobsters in the summer. When I was fishing there, it came on a gale ot wind from the northward. All the boats were on the beach, but my one was out in deep water. One of the boatmen said to me, " I would rather than something if my boat was out where thy one is." When the tide came, they were all in great danger. That same young fellow took the water and swum out to his boat, and saved her. If he had not gone on board, she would have been on the sand in pieces. My one rode through the gale first-class.
I was down many times with lobsters and for bait. When the steamers time was up, there was no passage up or down. So I did not stay long after the lobsters were taken. The ground got cleaned pretty well, and I then made tracks towards home.
But I have gone too fast. I went to Holyhead and had another trial, but it was no better than before. I had a trial round the breakwater, but it did not satisfy me ; so shifted to the east end of the bay. There were some lobsters there, but the tide was so strong, I could not manage it. I lost some of the pots there. I would have got them, but I would not step another day.
I went and left them, and went to Puffin Island again, and had another trial. But there was nothing to get ; so I had to get ready to go home. I made a start one night about one oclock, and I pulled all the way to Puffin Island. I got a little breeze, and got to the 10 feet bank. When I got there I went to look for bread and something to eat. There was none. I had forgotten a four-pound loaf on the table. I had nothing but some cheese and water, and I ate the cheese by itself. I had some water in a jar. That was all I got until the next morning. My compass gave out ; it had got damp, and the card fell through it, and it was of no more use to me on the way. I spoke a barque, and asked whereabouts was the land, and they pointed. I was going right ; but it fell calm, and my going was done. I saw two of the Douglas boats going in the darkness. Soon after that I fell asleep, and when I awoke there was plenty of wind and fog too. Then it began to clear a bit, so that I saw a little yacht, and then another.
I had a fair wind for Douglas, and I went in. I went up to the Coffee Palace and got something to eat. After I had refreshed myself, I went to sea again to beat a passage to Castletown. I saved the water up to the old quay. As I was coming in the bay there was a boat coming from Port St. Mary, and as she was going round the new pier head the boom caine over, and the boat turned over and threw the men in the water. But, as there were only about three feet of water in at the time, the men were not harmed, with the exception of a wetting.
There was another day that same summer a man got a new boat built, and he went out in the bay to try her. He gyved her, and she filled and went to the bottom. There was another boat racing with them, and she was close to her ann picked them. up, or else they would have been drowned. They got the new boat lifted up again, but Tom Hide did not keep her long. He sold her in Douglas, and then bought another, and he went to Whitehaven to fish herrings. He made an exchange there, and when the season was up he brought her home to Castletown, and laid her up on the bank He went away to sail on the big ships, and he never came back ; for he died on board the vessel, and was buried at sea.
He was married three times. I knew the first wife myself, but the other two I did not know. The second one he married in Swansea. The third one was a drunken one, and the sister went out to Liverpool and took all the things from her, and she sold the boat to a man in Laxey. The boat may be there now, for all I know. That was in January, 1891.
I came home from Beaumaris the last week in July, 1889; and I have been fishing at home ever since up to Christmas Eve, 1891, when I started at seven oclock in the morning, with a little breeze from the north. But it did not last long. It was from the east outside, and then fell altogether. It was about high water, and I had to down mast and pull in to Santon River. I then pulled all the way to Douglas. It was so foggy that I could not see anything. I was between the outer pier and the breakwater.
The Wave" went. ashore at Maryport, and the men got saved by a boat from the shore. The vessel afterwards went to pieoes and everything was lost . Tue other boat was the "Go Ahead." Her mainsail gave way, and she went ashore on Workingt.on Point, and went to pieces, and all hands were drowned. It was a week before the bodies were found.
I made up my mind to go to Ireland. I had got about 15 miles off the Calf of Man, when the wind came ahead. I will not try it any more in that ship.
I left Castletown one morning in the spring of 1894 ; I am not sure of the month. I usually stayed in Ramsey, but this tune I went on. The night came on, and I got as far as Garliestown, but I did not know it. The wind was off the land, and it was pretty dark. I did not know the place, and, in place of letting go the anchor, I stayed her, and went back along the shore, until I was very nearly Port Sollagh Point. I was going at a great rate. I came across a boat with two men in her, and I did not see them at first. They shouted for me to keep her away. If I had done that, I wimid have cut her in the middle ; but I down helm and saved them. They were pulling in, and I biew them. They were from the Port, and they said I had better go to the Port. I said no; that I was going to Garliestown, but they said that I would be on the point. However, I got clear, and went back again to Garliestown. It was daylight when I got back. I had sailed 100 miles in 24 hours.
But I did not stop long in Garliestown ; it did not please me. I did not find the right place, and I went to the Port and fished the remainder of the summer. I had a hamper full of lobsters, and the wind came in from the north-west. The hamper was on the sand, and the lobsters got sanded and killed before I could get to them. I got vexed, and left, and I got the " Mary Welsh" to carry 10 of the pots to White-haven for me, and I had eight or nine myself. She was going to Garliestown to finish loading, and I went to Garliestown, lioo. It was night, and very fine, with the wind from the east.
I stayed about two hours there, and then went to sea. I was not long gone when I heard the " Integrity" hoisting the sail ; but she did not catch me until I was a long way the other side of the Ross. Then we began to beat to wind-ward. It was so thick that we could not see the land, anti the first place we made was Workington. She was bound to Maryport, and I was bound to Whitehaven. She came to at Workington, and I went on to Whitehaven. The " Mary Welsh" came in in a few days, and I got my pots, and I shot lihem up in Workington Bay, and lost seven of them. The weather broke, and then the season was up ; so I put the rest into Willies cellar. That was the time she got broken in Whitehaven.
That same time, in Fort William, I went out to the Scars with the sappers and miners in the fall of the year 1894 in. the evening. I had a boatload of men, women, and children, and they were catching mackerel on the way going out. But on the way back the wind was too strong. They had the " stuff" with them, and some of them got drunk. The boat was full of people, and I could not stir in her. The wind was pretty much ahead ; and it got dark. I had to make three tacks before I got up to the harbour. When we did get to it, we had hard work to find it, but we got in all right. There were 15 of us altogether. I was thankful we arrived safe; but I would never go again for the moneyI only got 10s., when I should have had £1 at the least. The man who wan out with them the year before had put his boat up on the grass that day. She was a big boata herring boat of about. seven tonsbut my boat was only about one ton. She was top-heavy with the drunken crowd. I think I never was so fixed as I was at that time. But I never will do the same thing again as long as I live in this world ; and I wont have to do it in the next world. Only his boat was stripped ready to put her by for the winter, I would not have got the chance. I had been at the Scars many a time, for I have shot the pots there. I saw a seal there one day.
In the spring of 1894 I took the notion to try about the Ross Island at Kirkcudbright, and I left Castletown in the morning, with the wind south-west. I got on nicely until I was well across, when the wind fell, and it was calm. In the night the steamboats were lying about, and the tide carried me to the eastward so far that I could hear the train going alono the English shore. I kept her to the west as much as I could. It was on a Saturday I left, and it was on Sunday eveningfour oclockwhen I made the Ross. It was thick and hazy, and the wind was from the eastward. There was a trawlboat not far from me. I heard them talking and blowing the horn.
I was speaking to the men afterwards up at the fish-house. The next day I had to go up to the town to get provisions~ and I got the kettle boiled and had some hot tea, and then I went down to the Ross again. I had no place to sleep at night ; but, as luck would have it, there was a little schooner came in to where I was to discharge some chemical stuff for the farmers, and I got lodgings in her. When she went away I had no place to sleep then, excepting in a stable among some straw.
I did not find any lobsters ; so I stowed all the pots in her, and sailed west. Just as Istarted it came on very thick fog, and I could not see anything. I saw the " Integrity" when I started, she wan bound to the port ; and I did not know where I was bound. The wind was south-west, and it was so thick as a hedge. I could see nothing. At last I came to the rocks, and I was in the middle of them. If it had been a large vessel, she would not~have got out ; for I had to go round one big one. I made a little tack and stood in again, and I came to a beach. I saw an old broken building. Next thing I saw was two little girls, and I asked them where I was ; but they ran away. Then I saw a woman, but she did not run away. I asked her where I was, and she said, " Isle of Whithorn." I said, " I know where I am now, I was here before." I down mast and sails, and I got help to shoot the pots, and I shot them from where I was down along the shore. Iii the morning I had two dozen lobsters. Then I went in the harbour ; but I could get no place to sleep. Four boys went with me to a farmers house, and he put me in the stable among the horses. But I slept very well.
My Saviour was born in a stable, and He slept in the stable that night.
The next day I managed a room for myself, and I lay on a bundle of straw that. night. The next day Mrs. Duff sent me a mattress and I got a bed and some bed-clothes, and then I was pretty much at home. I lived and worked there be-tween two and three months, until I had searched as far as the Nook Farm. But there was not much over there ; so it was time to be gathering up to go home.
On Saturday I lifted the pots and stowed them in her, and sailed for the Island. I held on that day and night, and the next morning the Isle of Man wú dead to windward of me. It was Sunday morning. The wind was ahead, and I up helm and ran for Whitehaven, and I was in there in good time. The crabs were in the pots until Monday morning. I put her on the slip, and took the crabs out of the pots and sold them on the spot. I got 10s. for them.
I made a bargain with the same man for 3s. 6d. per score, and I went right back again to the same place to fish for him, and I sent him five score. He sent word that they were dead and I sent him another lot, and wired the same time that they were sent. But there was no money came, and I sent no more to him. I sent a barrelfull to Mrs. Cowman, and I got a sovereign back for them.
In the summer of 1895 I wanted to have a sight of Heston Island, up Solway Firth. I started one morning, with the wind north-west, and got to Ramsey in the evening, and stayed there that night. and the next day, for it was not fit to go across. The second morning I started about six oclock in the morning. I got up at five, and I was clear about six. I had a good passage to Heston Island. I was there a quarter before 12, the old man in the hut told me. I took a rest for awhile, and then went and shot the pots about the Island, and went up the river to find lodgings. The tide was ebbing, and I did not know the depth, and I got ebbed on the sand, and there I had to stop most of the night before I got over the bank.
When I got up everybody was asleep, and I went walking about to get beat, for I was cold. In the morning I got hot tea, and I was all right. I engaged a house from an old woman whose husband was drowned in the river, and she went with her daughter. Her husband was a fisherman. I had been a week in the house, when one morning they both came up to the house, and they began tumbling the bed, and made out that I was lousy. It was only done to get me rooted out of the place, for fear that I would be opposition to them.
So I had to leave the house, and go and lodge with the old ferryrnan, but not for long, for I began to flap my wings. I went across to Whitehaven to get a line from Willie for bait for the pots, for I could get no fish any other way. When I came back I did not get a shot of the line. I had the pots shot round Heston Island, but there was not anything excepting buckies for bait for the cods. When I had had a good trial, I went one day and gathered three bags of mussels for bait for the fishermen, and I put them in Willies cellar, and went back again and gathered all the pots, and sailed for the old ground at the Isle of Whithorn, and stayed there. It was late when I came to it, and I thought of staying all the winter there ; for I wanted to get this work done.
But a few days before Christmas I got a letter from Edward, my son saying that I had better try to get home for Christmas to get share of the goose, and that bothered me. I put my clothes in a bag, and locked the door and put the key in my pocket, and sailed. I got to the Point of Ayre soon on the night, but it was very dark. There were a lot of vessels coming round the Point and going up along the shore. But I was afraid to go so close as them. I had a compass, but had no light. I picked up a light., and took it for the Chickens light, and ran steadily for it ; and I was at it before day-light. When daylight came, I did not know the land nor the light, and I came creeping along the shore against the tide, until I got to Drumnore. I stayed that night in Drunmore.
The next day there was a " puffer" in discharging coal, and I asked Him if he would give me a pull up to the isle.He said he would, and we started, but it was late. The wind was south.east, and it caine on to blow, and it got dark before we reached the head. He kept so far off that I could make nothing out. There was no light on the Pierhead, and I could not see any of the house lights, and missed the place altogether, and got in the stinking Port. I thought I was going right, until I was enveloped among the rocks, and she was ashore before I had time to bless myself. She ran her stern high on the rocks, and her stern was under water. My clothes were wet with one sea.
It was that dark that I could not find my way up, and I went head-over.heels over a hedge. When I got up to the street I met the boys, and I told them what had happened. They went down, and they threw the anchor out ; I suppose they thought to hold her there. But everything went out of her, and she came up to the beach that night, and in the morning she was up against the wall. Her one side was broken, and the mast and the sails were left behind riding the gale for three or four days before they came ashore. All the lobster pots and straps, and all the broken wood, I got and brought them home ; and then I went to work to break her up.
I sold all I could, and, as the " Integrity" was bound to Whitehaven with oats, I gathered all together, and put them in her, and went to live in the forecastle until she got to Whitehaven. But she was days before she got away.
I was on board on New Years Eve, and the boys came down and were like to kill me with stones. Before that they broke the window of the house in which I lived on two different occasions. There were no policemen in the place, and they could do as they likedthere was no one to stop them. They are the most wicked lads I ever seen. I was afraid of my life.
I went to Mr. Duff, and he gave me a pass to Whitehaven by train, and I got away, because it was not fit for the vessel to go to seait was foggy and calm, and there was no sign of getting away. So I got away the quickest way. The boys did not know or think what they were doing, or I think they would not have done it.
I got to Whitehaven, but the smack was about a week before she came. I got all my things and put them in the cellar, and I had to wait another week before I could get a passage home. The Manx boat came in, and I went to the captain and stated my case to him, and I got a passage to Douglas ; and I got home all right. The coal boats brought the pots and all the things home to Castletown. That was about the third week in the New Year of 1896.
When I got home I was threw out of gear, for I had no boat then, and I had to borrow. I asked first one and then another, but they all had excuses.
At last I got the loan of a little boat from George Quine, and I set to work to build a new one. I had the keel of the old boat that was broken ; it was a keel that I put under her myself, and was not much the worse for wear. I cut a foot and a half off it, and left it 19 feet long. I got permission from Mr. Thomas Moore to lay the keel in his yard, and I went to work myself. I wanted another boat builder to come to help me, but he could not come, as he was building one himself. So I had to do the best I could myself. I got no help but what the little boys gave me after school; and now and then a man came in and held on the nails for me.
I went to sea every. day and hauled the pots, and gave 10s. per week to the house. I got up at four oclock every morning and done three or four hours work, and then went out and hauled the pots. When I came in I had to go round the town to sell them, until I would be as tired as could be. I would then go to work again at the boat. In six weeks she was launched, and in seven weeks she was at sea.
I was hurried pretty much, for George wanted his boat. I never worked so hard since I knew what work was. I did not get a penny of money from any one ; I paid for all the nails that went in her. She is well nailed ; she is not half-nailed. I paid for the stem and stern posts, and the first lot of boards. There is some timber that is not paid for. When he makes the iron right, then Ill make the rest right.
The last week in May, 1897, I left Castletown, bound for the Isle of Whithorn, for the purpose of fishing lobsters and crabs. I got into Ramsey that night, and started again in the morning, with the wind from the north-westa nice breeze. Before long the wind died away, and I was carried with the tide away to the Scars. It was low water, and i began to go to the eastward again ; but the wind changed to the south-east, and very light. As I came towards the Isle, the tide came back along the shore, and I was in danger of being brought back again, only for two men in a boat who came to my help, and towed me into the bay.
I fished there all the summer, and when the summer was over, about Hollantide, I made a start for Whiteha.ven on Wednesday morning, with the wind south-west, and got well towards the English shore, when the wind fell calm, and it was very dark. In the morning I found myself up the Firth, north-east of the Ross, off Kirkcudbright. It was not long before a breeze sprung up. It was very dark, and I could not make the land. I had no compass, and I was only going by guess-work. There was a schooner in comuany with me, and I followed her, but could not make the land at all.
I was one night out, and was going to be the second. I did not know exactly where I was, and started for the Island. It. was dark and thick, and blowing strong, with a very heavy sea. I hove her to the most of the night. When it broke day I started agsin, and it was not long before I made the Point of Ayre. I had just gone by it when I heard the horn blowing, and I made towards the place, and saw the lighthouse. The tide was going to the north-west, and I got past it, and got to Peel all right, and went into there and got the first meal that I had had for two days and a night. I thought of staying the night, but the men got me persuaded that I would get up to Port Erin before night. I started again for Port Erin, but the wind got light, and it was getting dark. I got as far as the Niarbyl Point, when the wind came down off the mountains a whole gale, and I could not hold the land ; so I let go the stone and 30 fathoms of rope, and then let go the second 30 fathoms with two pieces of iron on it, and that kept her head to the storm. In the morning it blew harder than before, so that I dared not hoist the sail. It. then moderated a little, and I double-reefed the sail and set it, and was setting. the jig, when the sail went above the double reef. Then I put the jib on her for a mainsail, and pulled in the anchors, and stood for Peel as I thought. I was out from Port Erin about 10 miles. Spanish Head was outside off the Calf of Man a cables length. Any sailor will know what distance I was off the land.
I started to try to get Peel, but I was going off the land all the time, she was falling so much. I put the topsail on her again, and it was torn three times. While it was flying in rags, the steamer "Kella," of Whitehaven, bound for Harrington, saw my position, and turned and came for me, and one of the men came on board and put everything on deck. Then I got up myself, with enough to do, and she towed her astern until it began to get dark, when they concluded it would be best to take her on board. So they stopped the boat and took her on board. But, in putting the slings on her, they did not put them in the right place, and the shaft rant through the one side of her. But she is mended now.
Printed by BROWN & SONS, LIMITED, for the Author, WILLIAM HUDSON, Bridge-street, Castletown, Isle of Man.