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Henry Masterman Mist Diaries and Prisoners Pie Magazine

Diaries of Heny Masterman Mist and a copy of Prisoners’ Pie, the Ruhleben Camp magazine. Learn more.

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BC Archives MS-2570

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Homeward Bound.

It was in the second dog-watch, about one to three bells; the three-masted, three skysail yarder "Demosthenes" was snoring along through the last ot the N. E. Trades, drawing nearer and ever nearer the still far-off "Coastwise Lights of England", after a voyage of some twelve months duration. The sailors, already infected with "Channel Fever" are stumping up and down forrard, with faces shining from the recent application of "Sunlight" and relating experiences of former "Payings off", and -- the subsequent hilarious events.

One or two, brushing up their shore togs, are seated on the fore-hatch vowing, amid hearty expectorations, not to "play the fool this time".

"Bhedad," remarks an Irishman, "twould 'ave bain alright last v'yage, av 't hadn't bain for that little divil av a monkey oi throid to take home wid me. The divil fly away wid his soul, for he must hop out at ivery blissid station an' make straight for the refrishment room, an' av course, oi had to follow the cratur. No! Divil take me av oi have anythink more to do wid the Omadhauns, shtalin' a poor sailorman's money an' lavin' him wid a head loike the foires av --.

Here the cook's head is seen protruding from the galley-door. "Yes", says "Doctor", emerging and joining the group. "I do allow as monkeys is a nuisance, a 'orrible nuisance, none knows better than me, as 'as 'ad hexperience of them, but hif it 'adn't been for three monkeys once hi shouldn't 'ave been 'ere tonight."

"Give us the yarn, Doctor," comes the chorus from two or three voices.

"Well," says Doc, after cadging a pipe of tobacco and a match to light it with, "any of yer ever 'eard of the "Pythonome" four-mast barque? No? 'm, honly to be expected; any' ow hi took 'er 'ome from Caleta Calosa -- Falmuth for orders, — chief cook hi woz. I 'ad three Malay monkeys wiv me wot the Guvn of the Malay Peninsular presented to me for savin' the Norwegian bargue hi was in at that time, but that's another story. Yes! we 'ad a good run down to the 'Orn in the "Pythonome", but the ole man, Capen Smiff-Piggit, wasn't much of a navigator has I hinformed 'im after wot I'm goin' ter tell yer 'appened. Well them monkeys, big 'Enery an' Little Simon an' Alf, they woz the plague o' my life, wiv their thievin', sneakin' ways; hif our howners 'ad known arf wot them monkeys scoffed per die-em, they'd a 'ad fits. Hit woz allus the same in fine weather: did hi leave the galley to go haft for a moment, them dam monkeys woz 'elpin' theirselves to all hi 'ad. They used to sit on top of the 'ouse, close agen the galley skylights, an' as I 'ad to 'ave 'em open in 'ot weather, they could shove their legs or harms, or wotever y' call 'em, through an' pinch anything on my shelves.

"Yes! they played 'ell sometimes; mind once I woz just comin' from the Saloon, wen hi sees a scramble on top of the 'ouse, an' lo

BC Archives, MS-2570 Box 1 File 6 / MIST, Henry Masterman / Ruhleben magazine, Prisoners’ Pie, 1916.

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