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Saturday, November 10, 2012

MY WESTWARD TREK Chapter 4


Ladies enjoying the promenade deck
courtesy photobucket.com
 
Morgan was assigned to caring for the passengers. This was something he had never done before because the ships he had sailed on only carried cargo.

Occasionally someone associated with the shipping line would sail but they had to care for themselves.

Here he was expected to see to the needs for the passengers who came from every walk of life. There were the rough and rowdy guys who would just as soon throw you overboard as not.

The plain ordinary men who just wanted to get to California and make their fortune. And the genteel upper class society folks.  

During the day most would like to walk the decks and enjoy the sunshine because it dark and damp below.   A few of the state rooms were better but still everyone needed exercise.

From the beginning Morgan knew his was going to be the toughest job of them all.  He had seen how tension would build up on a voyage and nerves get on edge which could lead to trouble.

This was the reason the Captain chosen Morgan for the job for he sensed there was a toughness about him but it was tempered with respect.

There was one other thing the Captain did and that was to lay in a few barrels of grog. Morgan told the Captain he didn't think that was a good idea and they should dump it over board. 

Instead the Captain assured him that in the next months when the closeness of the ship would cause tensions to rise to a boiling point, a stein of grog would do wonders to soothe the anger that might arise. This was especially true if there was added to it a sleep inducing drug.

The Captain waxed eloquent saying; “When under sail and cabin fever prevails. There is nothing like what a glass of ale can do, when all else fails.”

Morgan chuckled at the Captain's wit for he had not shown this side of his personality before.  He was (had to be) always stern, and demanding.
     
The captain’s strict manner was of necessity forceful and at the same time interesting.  

Morgan soon realized he needed to sharpen his people skills.  He had to deal with the cooks, inspecting their cooking methods, making sure the food was palatable and fit to eat. The cooks didn't appreciate his criticism for the galley was supposed to be their domain.

Morgan knew that sailors didn't like to have women on board and he began to see why. When the ladies were on the deck getting their exercise all attention was focused on them, and crude remarks were directed within their earshot.  It seemed as if some of these men thought that conversational language must be laced with swear words and vulgarities.

Morgan had very little control over this and advised the women to walk up on the Captains deck though it had limited space.

Along with the rest of the men he also would look the women over albeit on the sly.  Of course the women knew he did it and actually enjoyed the attention save for a couple of the older unmarried ones.

Sailing had been uneventful so far; the pirates having been brought under control, their ships were sunk, and their havens now under the control of government militia.  

There was a brief stopover for water, fruits and vegetables at a Caribbean island and it was off again.
 
To be Continued 

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