"I once was, boy," he replied with a sigh which resembled the rumbling of a volcano.
"Captain of the main-top," said the gentleman on the box without turning round.
"What are you now, then?" I asked.
"A boatswain," uttered the gentleman on the box.
"Yes, young gentleman, as our friend there says, I am a boatswain," he exclaimed in a voice of thunder, "and a very important person is a boatswain on board ship, let me tell you, with his call at his mouth, and colt in his hand, as your silent companion there will very soon find out, for I presume, by the cut of his jib, that he is not a midshipman."
"And what is a boatswain on board ship?" I asked, with unfeigned simplicity.
"Everything from truck to kelson, I may say, is under his charge," he replied consequentially. "He has to look after masts, spars, rigging, sails, cables, anchors, and stores; to see that the men are kept under proper discipline, and make them smart aloft. In my opinion a man-of-war might do without h