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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 76

A Sailor Boy On Board a Brig

page 8

A Sailor Boy On Board a Brig,

built of larch pine from the Duke of Atholl's plantations, and about to be launched at Perth. This vessel was named the Atholl, and the Duke of that period was a spectator at the launch. Soon after we sailed from Dundee for Cronstadt. A change from my comfortable room on shore to a hammock in the forecastle, as well as other unpleasant conditions in life at sea, and the usual trying experience of sea sickness, had to be met and endured without complaint. Soon the sight of the shores of Sweden and Denmark as we passed through the Sound, and the work on deck and aloft, of which I had to take my full share, restored me to cheerfulness! At that time all merchant vessels had to stop at Elsinore and pay tribute for the maintenance of lighthouses in those seas, but the delay caused by this regulation has long since been abolished for compensation given to the Scandinavian Governments. Kronberg Castle, the town of Elsinore, and the city of Copenhagen, with other objects on both sides of the Sound, form a very pleasing and lively scene, specially interesting to myself as being my first sight of foreign lands. The island of Cronstadt, about 16 miles from St Petersburg, has an artificially constructed harbour, defended by heavy artillery on the mole, and batteries on smaller islands near. As the page 9 Neva was then only navigable for small vessels, Cronstadt was the principal naval port and the loading-place for merchant ships. There is little to be seen on the island, but on Sundays seamen of all nations met in crowds at public-houses, for in those days there were no Sailors' Homes, Missions to Seamen, or other Institutions for their moral welfare in foreign ports. Sailors were left to their own resources, and these were neither salutary nor edifying.