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Jack in the Forecastle

by John Sherburne Sleeper

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I was born towards the close of the last century, in a village pleasantly situated on the banks of the Merrimack, in Massachusetts. For the satisfaction of the curious, and the edification of the genealogist, I will state that my ancestors came to this country from England in the middle of the seventeenth century.

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But our bread! What shall I say of our bread? I have already spoken of it as mouldy and ANIMATED. On several occasions, in the course of my adventures, I have seen ship bread which could boast of those abominable attributes, remnants of former voyages put on board ships by unfeeling skinflints, to be "used up" before the new provisions were broached, but I never met with any which possessed those attributes to the extent which was the case on board the schooner John. Although many years have passed since I was supported and invigorated by that "staff of life," I cannot even now think of it without a shudder of disgust!



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