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This blog makes liberal use of AB's journals, letters, travel notes, and other sources.

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Monday, 18 February 2013

Tales of adventure

Monday, February 18th., Cadogan Square, London.

At Harold Snagge's yesterday and day before. Basil Lubbock (author of "Round the Horn before the Mast") told various of his adventures in two wars and in Klondyke and as a seaman. He said, and repeated, that he had met only one or two British cowards. Practically everybody was brave in danger. He expected shell-shock, and also 'panic' affecting a number of people together.

Alfred Basil Lubbock, British sailorman, yachtsman and marine author, was born on the 9th of September 1876 , and died at Monks Orchard, Blatchington, Sussex on the 3rd September 1944. He wrote extensively on maritime matters, particularly the latter days of sail, including a wealth of detail and personal reminiscences collected from numerous
square-rig masters. He was a keen yachtsman, hunter and cricketer;
he was a member of the Society for Nautical Research.
John Masefield wrote of him:
"The last 70 years of the sailing ship (roughly from 1850-1920) were full of change and experiment, as iron supplanted wood, and chain and wire replaced hemp. Extraordinary ships were produced in those years in these islands, in the United States and in Germany. Most of these ships were small (as ships are reckoned now), few of them lived long; and they are now gone, like so many of the men who sailed them. Basil Lubbock made a most readable and sailor-like record of them just before it was too late. He put in his record thousands of vivid memories from old seamen, and of beautiful portraits of ships now scrap or coral. He was only just in time. The ships and sailors were gone or going; the businesses had been wound up or changed and their papers destroyed. The patience, perseverance and hard work put into each of his books can only be known by those who have tried such things. He is honoured throughout the seven seas as one who wrote the history of the sailing ship as she was in the generations of her greatest splendour just before she ceased to be."

Either he or Snagge told of some of the methods of the Ford works. When the employees come in and hang up their street things, the hook is whisked up high in the air, and does not come down again until shutting-off time, so that nobody can prepare to go in advance. Also a man had been employed for some time and thought he was doing quite all right, when the manager sent for him and told him he could leave as they didn't want men like him. He asked why? "Look at these photographs," said the manager. One snapshot showed the man stooping to speak to a fellow workman as he was passing from one spot to another. The other showed him looking into a doorway which was forbidden. I should want very high wages for work in these conditions, I think.

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