Monday, September 18

Mr. Booke

A sailor named Booke has been with us for the last year. He is a tolerable sailor and prior to his impressment was a thief and pickpocket of some repute, if such things can be reputable. He is caught frequently stealing Baptiste's leaches for fishing bait, but I think they have finally put a stop to that. 

 He is well liked by the sailors, but not as well amongst the officers, especially the boatswain Hollybrass who is constantly on the lookout for any misbehavior. 

 When we are in port, he isn't allowed to go out on his own, but always manages to slip away, coming back with a wallet full of handkerchiefs and other sundries which he will then sell to the sailors for less than they could buy them in the stores. 

 He loves to sing and play the fiddle and is usually very jovial, however the men report that he is constantly hatching plans to escape and offering up partnerships in his criminal activities to anyone who will entertain him. 

 Recently while in port, he slipped away and was discovered in the house of a Lady Carroline Linnington’s home with a bundle full of fine silver and as much food as he could stuff into a wallet. He was captured by the constable and handed over to the ships crew for which he received several lashes. Baptiste considers him a friend and personally saw to his care after the administration of the cat. 

 He is a rogue in every way, but on quiet nights while the boat rocks, his singing does bring a small comfort and make me feel at home. 

-William Bowles, Midshipman 1803

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