The Lazarette of The Huntress
by William Clark Russell
International Short Stories edited by William Patten
The Lazarette of The Huntress by William Clark Russell
Published: P F Collier and Son, New York 1910
The Project Gutenberg eBook Release Date: June 16, 2010 [eBook #32846].
I stepped into the Brunswick Hotel in the East India Docks for a glass of ale. It was in the year 1853, and a wet, hot afternoon. I had been on the tramp all day, making just three weeks of a wretched, hopeless hunt after a situation on shipboard, and every bone in me ached with my heart. My precious timbers, how poor I was!
Two shillings, and thrippence – that was all the money I possessed in the wide world, and when I had paid for the ale, I was poorer yet by tuppence. A number of nautical men of various grades were drinking at the bar. I sat down in a corner to rest, and abandoned myself to the most dismal reflections. I wanted to get out to Australia, and nobody, it seems, was willing to ship me in any situation on any account whatever. Captains and mates howled me off if I attempted to cross their gangways. Nothing was to be got in the shipping yards. The very crimps sneered at me when I told them that I wanted a berth.
What was I, do you ask? I’ll tell you…