Cape Breton's Magazine

> Issue 33 > Page 47 - Capt. David A. MacLeod: My Early Years

Page 47 - Capt. David A. MacLeod: My Early Years

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1983/6/1 (288 reads)

One of the old sailors asked me if I would like a cure for seasickness. I said I would. "Well, you get a piece of fat pork and tie a string on it, and push it down your throat and then pull it up again." All hands laughed at that. That was the sympathy I got, but I kept on, and in a few days I got back my appetite. All the sailors were by the run to Quebec, and were paid off there. They were good sailors and a fine crowd of men. It was thick of fog in the River St. Lawrence and we came to anchor next morning. It was fine the next morning, and we were ordered aloft to loosen the sails. This was the first time I had been aboard of a ship heaving up anchor. I heard the mate (he was an old country Irishman) singing out in a pleasant cheery voice: "Now then, boys, strike a light, it's duller than a grave-yard." One of the sailors, a good Shanty man, started in with: In 1856 I found myself in a H of a fix From working on the railway • the railway. Oh poor Paddy works on the railway. In 1857 when Daniel O'Connell he went to Heaven He worked upon the railway • the railway Oh poor Paddy works on the railway. In 1858 I was outward bound for the golden gate To work upon the railway • the railway Oh poor Paddy works on the railway.... and so on to the end of the century. The mate sings out: "Vast heaving." Lifted up his hand and reports to the Captain: "The anchors a peak, Sir." "Very good. Sir, loose sails fore and aft." "Aye, aye. Sir. Lay aloft some of you gentlemen sons in disguise. You boy," he said, turning to me, "Lay aloft and loosen the main royal and leave the skysail fast. Lay out there four or five of you and loosen the headsail." Then the halyards are stretched along the deck fore and aft. Sailors lay aholt with their sinewy arms, singing out: Oh poor Reuben Ranzo Ranzo Oh boys Ranzo was no sailor Ranzo boys Oh Ranzo so he shipped on board of a whailor Ranzo Oh boys Oh Ranzo. I will never forget that morning. It was a lovely morning in July. The sun was just rising, I felt fine, and did not mind go? ing aloft at all, and I just loved the cho? rus of the chanties mingled with the sea breeze whistling aloft along among the spars and rigging. I had forgot all about being sea sick and had got my sea legs on and was longing to hear the call for break? fast. We sailed up to Quebec past the bran? dy pots past travest light ships--lovely scenery. I went across to Quebec to mail some let? ters and sent home the first instalment of money to pay for the horse I killed, by registered letter. In the lower town, you could find plenty to talk English, but in the upper town where the post office was very few could talk anything but French. I noticed gilt letters on a clift, "HERE WHERE MONTGOMERY FELL (1776)" but am not sure. I then walked up a flight of very steep steps to the plains of Abraham and got back in time for supper and on duty at 6 o'clock. I enjoyed it immensely at Quebec. Our thanks to Mary Fraser, former Head Librarian at the McConnell Library, Sydney, for first bringing Capt. McLeod's manuscript to our attention. She had received it from the late Capt. John Parker. And thanks as well to Ian Macintosh, Head Librarian, and the staff of the McConnell, for providing access to these materials. Mrs. J.E.Hobart, Bramalea, Ontario, sent us the photo of her grandfather, and Murdock A. Ferguson, Cleveland, obtained Capt. McLeod's dates from his gravestone. If you have a photo or information, please let us know. Capt Bmon 3Be6 Welcome To Your Home Aw'ay From Home! Our Bed and Breakfast program enables you to stay with Cape Breton families and experience the Island's famous hospitality first hand. Look for our welcoming signs all across the Island: in coastal fishing villages, in the scenic highlands, close to beaches, museums and shopping. We invite you to come and make new friends, explore special places, sleep soundly and enjoy home cooking. A list of Bed and Breakfast homes can be obtained at any Cape Breton Tourist Association Bureau. This project is supervised by the Cape Breton Development Corporation. More information can be obtained by writing: P. O. Box 1750, Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada BIP 6T7 Attention: Ray Peters. Cape Breton Bed and Breakfast WELCOME TO YOUR NEW HOME AWAY FROM HOME! Au Coin des Dames Ladies' Wear, Fabrics and Notions Jewelry and Cosmetics CHETICAMP, N. S. 224-3228 Whale Cruises Capt. Bill Crawford, Cheticamp Boat Tours, P. 0. Box 10, Grand Etang, N. S. (902)224-3376 Three Locations in your area ROBIN Cheticamp Main Store 224-2022 Inverness 258-2241 Cheticamp Furniture Store 224-2434 YOUR FAVORITE SHOPPING CENTRE FOR ALL YOUR NEEDS. Founded in 1766. (47)
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