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Old 01-27-2016, 02:23 PM
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CHAPTER VII

We Lose Our Fare, We Lose Our Boat, and We Lose Our Liberty

«Jacob», said Tom to me one day, rowing his boat close to mine, «do you remember that my apprenticeship is up tomorrow? How much more have you to serve?»

«About fifteen months,» I answered.

Here we were interrupted.

« I say, you watermen! Would you like a good fare?» cried a man from the bank.

«Where to, Sir?»

«Gravesend.»

«That’s a long way,» replied Tom. «Are you in a hurry, Sir?»

«Yes, in a great hurry. I shall lose my ship. How much will it be?»

«Two guineas, Sir.»

«Very well. Just come up to the inn here, and put in my luggage.»

We brought down his luggage, put it into the boat, and started down the river.

The man was very talkative, and we soon found out that he was the master’s mate of a big frigate. His ship lay off Gravesend ready to sail next day.

We were rowing fast, and in the afternoon were close to the frigate. A rope was thrown to us from the deck, and the man’s luggage lifted out of the boat. At that moment the ship’s launch suddenly appeared, coming from the -shore at great speed. It struck our little boat, and Tom and I found ourselves in the water.

The seamen from the launch pulled us in, while our boat floated away half-sunk. As soon as we were on board the frigate we asked one of the officers to send the launch to pick up our boat.

«Speak to the first lieutenant – there he is,» was the reply. I went up to the man.
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