p>"Lost your captain and both mates! How in the name of Fortune did that happen?"
"Well, sir, you see it was this way," was the reply. "When we'd been out about a week--we're from Liverpool, bound to Sydney, New South Wales, with a general cargo and two hundred emigrants--ninety-seven days out--when we'd been out about a week, or thereabouts--I ain't certain to a day or two, but it's all wrote down in the log--Cap'n Somers were found dead in his bunk by the steward what took him in a cup o' coffee every mornin' at six bells; and Mr Townsend--that were our chief mate-- he took command o' the ship. Then nothin' partic'lar happened until we was well this side o' the Line, when one day, when all hands of us was shortenin' sail to a heavy squall as had bust upon us, Jim Tarbutt, a hordinary seaman, comin' down off the main tops'l yard by way o' the backstays, lets go his hold and drops slap on top o' Mr Townsend, what happened to be standin' underneath, and, instead of hurtin' of hisself, broke t'other man'
Depending on your tastes, this can be an excellent read. The detail to the rigging of the sailing ships is excellent, the story unusual, the plot and locations diverse. Evocative in terms of scenes, a very few times perhaps a little too detailed, but I didn't cheat, I enjoyed the entire book without skipping a sentence.
The plot was never belabored and I looked forward to reading it nightly (the time I find the most restful to read). A telling sign of how much I liked it was when I reached the end and wanted more.
I've read quite a few of the classic nautical tales, this one worked well for me.