Redburn: His First Voyage, Being the Sailor-Boy, Confessions and Reminiscences of the Son-of-a-Gentleman, In the Merchant Service
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Wellington Redburn is a fifteen-year-old from the state of New York, with only one dream - to run away to sea. However, when he does fulfil this long-held fantasy, he quickly finds that reality as a cabin boy is far harsher than he ever imagined. Mocked by the crew on board the Highlander for his weakness and bullied by the vicious and merciless sailor Jackson, Wellington must struggle to endure the long journey from New York to Liverpool. But when he does reach England, he is equally horrified by what he finds there: poverty, desperation and moral corruption. Inspired by Melville's own youthful experiences on board a cargo boat, this is a compelling tale of innocence transformed, through bitter experience, into disillusionment. A fascinating sea journal and coming-of-age tale, Redburn provides a unique insight into the mind of one of America's greatest novelists.
shipmates concerning America; and from something that dropped, I was led to imagine that he contemplated a voyage to my country. Charmed with his appearance, and all eagerness to enjoy the society of this incontrovertible son of a gentleman – a kind of pleasure so long debarred me – I smoothed down the skirts of my jacket, and at once accosted him; declaring who I was, and that nothing would afford me greater delight than to be of the least service, in imparting any information concerning America
invented their dual number for the particular benefit of twins? 54 SOME SUPERIOR OLD NAIL-ROD AND PIG-TAIL IT has been mentioned how advantageously my shipmates disposed of their tobacco in Liverpool; but it is to be related how those nefarious commercial speculations of theirs reduced them to sad extremities in the end. True to their improvident character, and seduced by the high prices paid for the weed in England, they had there sold off by far the greater portion of what tobacco they
astride of the spanker-boom, with his arms over his head, but I never could find out what that was for; a second was in the fore-top, with a coil of glass rigging over his shoulder; the cook, with a glass ax, was splitting wood near the fore-hatch; the steward, in a glass apron, was hurrying toward the cabin with a plate of glass pudding; and a glass dog, with a red mouth, was barking at him; while the captain in a glass cap was smoking a glass cigar on the quarter-deck. He was leaning against
nights were so many weeks long, that a Greenland baby was sometimes three months old, before it could properly be said to be a day old. I had seen mention made of such things before, in books of voyages; but that was only reading about them, just as you read the Arabian Nights, which no one ever believes; for somehow, when I read about these wonderful countries, I never used really to believe what I read, but only thought it very strange, and a good deal too strange to be altogether true; though
the Mersey; its docks, and ships, and warehouses, and bales, and anchors; and after descanting upon the abject times, when ‘his noble waves, inglorious, Mersey rolled’, the poet breaks forth like all Parnassus with : – ‘Now o’er the wondering world her name resounds, From northern climes to India’s distant bounds – Where’er his shores the broad Atlantic waves; Where’er the Baltic rolls his wintry waves; Where’er the honored flood extends his tide, That clasps Sicilia like a favored bride.