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Friday, November 9, 2012

MY WESTWARD TREK Chapter 2


Boxing
courtesy photobucket.com

Due to the abuse heaped upon him Morgan had challenged a bully to a fight.

As the two combatants circled each other, the crew closed in around them and started to yell all kinds of obscenities and cursing.

Morgan never took his eyes off of the bruiser in front of him.  He knew he had to get in the first punch for that guy was strong as an ox and mean to go along with it.

Morgan feinted with his left hand and his opponent flinched just enough for Morgan to hit him in the throat. While the guy was gasping for breath Morgan let loose with a barrage of punches which put him down. As he started to get up Morgan hit him again and put him down again.

courtesy free clip art
This time as the brute started to get up he had his knife in his hand.  It was the one that he had cut up several men in previous knife fights.

Morgan stepped back away from him, but the crew shoved him back toward the guy as he slashed at Morgan.  The captain hit the bully in the head with a belaying pin and split his scalp open which knocked him unconscious.

His buddies picked him up and took him to his bunk.  The ship's doctor sewed his scalp back together before he woke up for he wouldn't have dared to do it while he was awake.

The thug thought that Morgan had knocked him out and upon captain’s orders no one ever told him any different.

After that fight the crew respected Morgan and he wasn't picked on anymore.  Even the guy he fought said he was a good fighter, and became friends with him.

Coming back to port after a successful voyage all the sailors got their pay and headed for the houses of pleasure, and railed on Morgan for not joining with them.

While their stories of their exploits intrigued him he had seen too many come down with the pox after a few days at sea, and he did not want to take a chance on that.  He saved most of his money except to buy necessities such as clothes and things for his folks.  

Morgan was back at his home for a few weeks due to major repairs being made to his ship when a clipper ship came into harbor to pick up its load.

clipper ship
courtesy free clip art
Some of his shipmates told they were going to sign on to sail to San Francisco.  San Francisco, he thought, “That sounds exciting.”  He had never considered making a trip that far. Most of his voyages were a few hundred miles but this was going to be a journey for almost a year.

He had only heard stories about sailing around Cape Horn, and the danger of doing so.  It was called the graveyard of ships. Time after time the news came telling of the sinking of another vessel. These new clipper ships were twice as fast as the ones Morgan had sailed on and he was fascinated by them.

They were not only faster, but they were also safer with better crew accommodations. The crew selection was more discriminating and many of the drunks and hell raisers were quickly passed over.

The ship that was loading was named Westward Ho.  It was a new one and was preparing to set sail on its maiden voyage for San Francisco, needing only a few more hands to fill out its crew.

Morgan was beside himself as he proudly sauntered up to the hiring office.

Disappointment began to set in as he waited at his place in line for their standards were set very high.  Good sailors who he had sailed with were being rejected, and he began to doubt his chances of signing on.   

To be Continued 

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