Wednesday, February 13

Of Charles Winchester

I was passing an alley one night on Bermuda when out from it came multiple cries for Charles Winchester. As I could tell they was all drunk as Lords I paid no mind but went on into the tavern myself.  As it turned out Charles was in that very tavern. I told him of the hullabaloo, and he was curious, so back we went. 

So it had become custom among some of our fellows when given shore leave to make a pact before time that one would agree to stay sober enough to carry or pilot the other back to their berth once they was full to the gills. That work usually required one man to tend one other. Some of them hit upon the idea to rent a horse and then several fellows could be heaved on him at oncet with only one to steer. 

As it happened, they had turned down a blind alley with no way out. 

“The damn thing keeps missing her stays and we’s grounded on this lee shore” explains the almost sober one who was to pilot.

Winchester got the horse turned around for them and set them off again, but after that it become their custom to pay for Winchester’s drinks if he would agree to be the horse pilot.  It seems he had been in the business of trading horses before he run off to sea.  Charles could not just lead a horse , but ride and all, which was a rare skill in a tar.

-James Cullen,
Remembrances of Eight years before the Mast,

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