Once upon a time, in late Nineteenth-Century England little John Masefield lived a happy childhood, with a loving family and a love of books. Then his parents died, and the boy’s guardian, an aunt out of Dickens, sent him off the Conway, the training ship of the Merchant Navy, to cure him of his “book-obsession”.
Young John, you know, had “too much imagination”.
It could have been worse, because the lad loved the sea, and the Conway proved to be a congenial environment, where tutors and fellow students liked his turn for storytelling… Except, poor John was not made for the rigours of service. Once a petty officer, he embarked on his first transatlantic ship, and the voyage was a nightmare of ill-health, fevers and dizzy spells – awfully dangerous, when you are expected to spend half your life climbing up and down the rigging… Continue reading