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TitleTwo Years Before the Mast: A Personal Narrative of Life at Sea
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Table of Contents
                            From the Pages of Two Years Before the Mast
Title Page
Copyright Page
Richard Henry Dana Jr.
The World of Richard Henry Dana Jr. and Two Years Before the Mast
A Log of Dana’s Two Years
	CHAPTER I - Departure
	CHAPTER II - First Impressions—“Sail Ho!”
	CHAPTER III - Ship’s Duties—Tropics
	CHAPTER IV - A Rogue—Trouble on Board—“Land Ho!”—Pompero—Cape Horn
	CHAPTER V - Cape Horn—A Visit
	CHAPTER VI - Loss of a Man—Superstition
	CHAPTER VII - Juan Fernandez—The Pacific
	CHAPTER VIII - “Tarring Down”—Daily Life—“Going Aft”—California
	CHAPTER IX - California-A South-easter
	CHAPTER X - A South-easter—Passage up the Coast
	CHAPTER XI - Passage up the Coast—Monterey
	CHAPTER XII - Life at Monterey
	CHAPTER XIII - Trading—A British Sailor
	CHAPTER XIV - Santa Barbara—Hide-Droghing—Harbor Duties—Discontent—San Pedro
	CHAPTER XV - A Flogging—A Night on Shore—The State of Things on Board—San Diego
	CHAPTER XVI - Liberty-day on Shore
	CHAPTER XVII - San Diego—A Desertion—San Pedro Again—Beating up Coast
	CHAPTER XVIII - Easter Sunday—“Sail Ho!”—Whales—San Juan—Romance of ...
	CHAPTER XIX - The Sandwich Islanders—Hide-curing—Wood-cutting—Rattlesnakes—New-comers
	CHAPTER XX - Leisure—News from Home—“Burning the Water”
	CHAPTER XXI - California and Its Inhabitants
	CHAPTER XXII - Life on Shore—The Alert
	CHAPTER XXIII - New Ship and Shipmates—My Watchmate
	CHAPTER XXIV - San Diego Again—A Descent—Hurried Departure-A New Shipmate
	CHAPTER XXV - Rumors of War—A Spouter-Slipping for a South-easter-A Gale
	CHAPTER XXVI - San Francisco—Monterey
	CHAPTER XXVII - The Sunday Wash-up—On Shore—A Set-to—A Grandee—“Sail Ho!”—A Fandango
	CHAPTER XXVIII - An Old Friend - A Victim—California Rangers—News from ...
	CHAPTER XXIX - Loading for Home—A Surprise—Last of an Old Friend—The Last ...
	CHAPTER XXX - Beginning the Long Return Voyage—A Scare
	CHAPTER XXXI - Bad Prospects—First Touch of Cape Horn—Icebergs—Temperance ...
	CHAPTER XXXII - Ice Again—A Beautiful Afternoon—Cape Horn—“Land Ho!”—Heading ...
	CHAPTER XXXIII - Cracking on—Progress Homeward—A Pleasant Sunday—A Fine Sight—By-Play
	CHAPTER XXXIV - Narrow Escapes—The Equator—Tropical Squalls—A Thunder Storm
	CHAPTER XXXV - A Double-reef-top-sail Breeze - Scurvy-A Friend in ...
	CHAPTER XXXVI - Soundings—Sights from Home—Boston Harbor—Leaving the Ship
	Concluding Chapter
	AFTERWORD - Twenty-four Years After
		Twenty-four Years After
Dictionary of Sea Terms
Inspired by Richard Henry Dana Jr. and Two Years Before the Mast
Comments & Questions
For Further Reading
Document Text Contents
Page 262

knocked off his huge sombrero, and at the same instant, with the other, broke the
egg upon his head, and springing behind me, was out of sight in a moment. The
Don turned slowly round, the cologne, running down his face, and over his
clothes and a loud laugh breaking out from every quarter. He looked round in
vain, for some time, until the direction of so many laughing eyes showed him the
fair offender. She was his niece, and a great favorite with him, so old Don
Domingo had to join in the laugh. A great many such tricks were played, and
many a war of sharp manœuvering was carried on between couples of the
younger people, and at every successful exploit a general laugh was raised.
Another singular custom I was for some time at a loss about. A pretty young

girl was dancing, named, after what would appear to us the sacrilegious custom
of the country—Espiritu Santo,gq when a young man went behind her and
placed his hat directly upon her head, letting it fall down over her eyes, and
sprang back among the crowd. She danced for some time with the hat on, when
she threw it off, which called forth a general shout; and the young man was
obliged to go out upon the floor and pick it up. Some of the ladies, upon whose
heads hats had been placed, threw them off at once, and a few kept them on
throughout the dance, and took them off at the end, and held them out in their
hands, when the owner stepped out, bowed, and took it from them. I soon began
to suspect the meaning of the thing, and was afterwards told that it was a
compliment, and an offer to become the lady’s gallant for the rest of the evening,
and to wait upon her home. If the hat was thrown off, the offer was refused, and
the gentleman was obliged to pick up his hat amid a general laugh. Much
amusement was caused sometimes by gentlemen putting hats on the ladies’
heads, without permitting them to see whom it was done by. This obliged them
to throw them off, or keep them on at a venture, and when they came to discover
the owner, the laugh was often turned upon them.
The captain sent for us about ten o’clock, and we went aboard in high spirits,

having enjoyed the new scene much, and were of great importance among the
crew, from having so much to tell, and from the prospect of going every night
until it was over; for these fandangos generally last three days. The next day, two
of us were sent up to the town, and took care to come back by way of Capitan
Noriego’s and take a look into the booth. The musicians were still there, upon
their platform, scraping and twanging away, and a few people, apparently of the
lower classes, were dancing. The dancing is kept up, at intervals, throughout the
day, but the crowd, the spirit, and the élite, come in at night. The next night,

Page 522

A packet is a fast vessel making scheduled stops for passengers or deliveries;
Hingham is a coastal town in Massachusetts.

Cape Cod town; Dana mentions the Massachusetts landmarks he passes as the
Alert nears Boston.

Abrupt, sharp gusts.

Casfle Island is a Boston sea fort.

From Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part II (act 1, scene 1).


Deep ocean water.

In fear; the Latin phrase was placed as a legal clause in documents as an
assurance of compliance to the terms of a contract.

The first Savings Bank for Seamen opened in Boston in 1833, sponsored by the
Boston Seaman’s Friend Society and the Boston Port Society.

Pamphiets, often of a practical religious nature, suitable for public distribution.

Chapels for seamen.

The strait between San Francisco and the Pacific Ocean.

Page 523

Alcatraz was then a military fortress.

A temperance society in San Francisco that ran a Home for the Inebriate.

Pronounced Leese. [Dana’s note]


Incomplete line from Virgil’s Georgics (3.284) that means “meanwhile it flees,
irretrievable time flees” (Latin).

From Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage (canto 4, stanza 179), by George Gordon,
Lord Byron (1788-1824).

Outdoors; in the open air.

Mercury mines that began operation in 1845.

Canyons (Spanish).

Dana quotes from Virgil’s Aeneid (3.57); the phrase means “cursed hunger for
gold” (Latin).

An officer of inferior rank.

Reference to the 1849 murder of Boston doctor George Parkman.

All terms in this Dictionary followed by an asterisk have been added to Dana’s
original by the editors of this edition.

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