Page:Paine--Lost ships and lonely seas.djvu/110

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Corporal William Glass ruled as a wise and benevolent patriarch.

The Blenden Hall was a stout ship bound out from England to Bombay in 1820, an East Indiaman of the stately fleet that flew the house flag of the Honorable Company. Their era was soon to pass, with all its color and romance, the leisurely voyage, the ceremonious formality and discipline, the pleasant sociability. The swifter Yankee merchant ships, hard driven under clouds of cotton duck, used to rush past these jogging East India "tea- wagons," which shortened sail at sunset and snugged down for the night. They carried crews for a man-of-war, what with the midshipmen, the purser, the master-at-arms, the armorer, the calker, the butcher, baker, poulterer, gunner's mates, sail-maker, six officers to assist the commander, and Indian servants to wait on them.

The passengers enjoyed more comfort and luxury in these handsome old sailing ships than the modern reader might suppose. The cabins were much more spacious than the liner's state-rooms of to-day, the saloon was ornate with rugs and teak-wood, with silver plate and the finest napery, and dinner was an elaborate affair, with a band of music, and the commander and the officers in the Company's dress uniform of blue coat and gold buttons,