These stories are drawn from the reality of things, and perhaps I may as well say that they have been written during short intervals snatched from a busy and absorbing commercial life. I have tried to portray the men as they were - brave, dauntless, rugged, uncouth, illiterate, simple-minded, kind-hearted, and, at times, unmercifully savage. And yet there shone through all these conflictingly peculiar eccentricities a humorous kind of religion which belonged exclusively to themselves, but which gave their characteristics a touch of sublimity. We have travelled far since those days of aboriginal stupidity and sordid blood-sucking. The contrast between the comforts and conditions of life at sea then and now cannot be imagined. We may only talk of it; we can never truly estimate the change. I do not draw attention to the comparison because I think the sailor has got any more than he is entitled to. I refer to it in order that he may recognize a desire on the part of modern shipowners and the Legislature to give him every possible advantage consistent with the peculiarities of the trade in which he is engaged

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