By Herman Melville
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Additional info for White Jacket or the World in a Man-Of-War
In vain I kept clapping my pocket like a nervous old gentlemen in a crowd; that same night I found myself minus several valuable articles. So, in the end, I masoned up my lockers and pantries; and save the two used for mittens, the white jacket ever after was pocketless. 55 Chapter X - From Pockets to Pickpockets * As the latter part of the preceding chapter may seem strange to those landsmen, who have been habituated to indulge in highraised, romantic notions of the man-of-war's man's character; it may not be amiss, to set down here certain facts on this head, which may serve to place the thing in its true light.
Many a time have I, a maintop-man, found myself actually faint of a tempestuous morning watch, when all my energies were demanded—owing to this miserable, unphilosophical mode of allotting the government meals at sea. We beg you, Mr. Secretary, not to be swayed in this matter by the Honourable Board of Commodores, who will no doubt tell you that eight, twelve, and four are the proper hours for the people to take their Meals; inasmuch, as at these hours the watches are relieved. For, though this arrangement makes a neater and cleaner thing of it for the officers, and looks very nice and superfine on paper; yet it is plainly detrimental to health; and in time of war is attended with still more serious consequences to the whole nation at large.
Here I am! Mad Jack is in his saddle on the sea. That is his home; he would not care much, if another Flood came and overflowed the dry land; for what would it do but float his good ship higher and higher and carry his proud nation's flag round the globe, over the very capitals of all hostile states! Then would masts surmount spires; and all mankind, like the Chinese boatmen in Canton River, live in flotillas and fleets, and find their food in the sea. Mad Jack was expressly created and labelled for a tar.