or, A Life Before the Mast
et, a Philadelphia ship, had been sent in by, I believe, the Cleopatra, Sir Robert Laurie. On board this ship were two American lads, apprentices. With these boys I soon formed an intimacy; and their stories of the sea, and their accounts of the States, coupled with the restraints I fancied I endured, gave rise to a strong desire to see their country, as well as to become a sailor. They had little to do, and enjoyed great liberty, going and coming much as they pleased. This idleness seemed, to me, to form the summit of human happiness. I did not often dare to play truant; and the school became odious to me. According to my recollections, this desire for a change must have existed near, or quite a twelvemonth; being constantly fed by the arrival and departure of vessels directly before my eyes, ere I set about the concocting of a serious plan to escape.
My project was put in execution in the summer of 1805, when I could not have been more than eleven years old, if, indeed, quite as old. I was in the market