Avast My lad – You’re taken all aback, You swagger as if Groggy, Master Jack, Like the colossus which at Rhodes is seen, Your legs a ship of war, might sail between; Steady old Tar – don’t book me in your log, You sprice the Main Brace – twig your bowl of Grog, Mind at the Navy, I am not a railer, For dearly do I love a British Sailor; But wed with one, I even will refuse, Who his own Pigtail for Amusement Chews.
Don’t go chewing your pigtail boys, or the girls won’t have you!
I particularly like the detail of the drawing – note the sailing vessel picked out in a bare few lines but somehow very alive between the sailor’s knees, the starfish and the boat drawn up on the beach…
This comes from a fine set of Victorian-era ‘Vinegar Valentines’ complaining about the characteristics and shortcomings of various categories of (generally bibulous) men. See the rest about cobblers, carpenters tailors, snuff-taking women, two-faced individuals and a host of others at the wonderful Spitalfields Life website here and here.
‘I know you like following interesting threads. In connection with the memorial plaque included in yesterday’s post, I have attached a picture of the West Isleta, later the Empire Merlin, built in 1919 in Seattle, managed by Ropners Shipping, and torpedoed by U-boat U48 about 190 miles west of Cape Wrath.
‘The thought of a 70 year old captain working on that open bridge in the North Atlantic in winter makes me appreciate what a tough lot merchant navy sailors were in those days. Incidentally Captain Simpson was previously Master of the SS Wandy, which attacked and sank a German U-boat in WWI.
I certainly do like a good story! Many thanks for the old photo and information John.