Arthur Conan Doyle: Beyond Baker Street

By Janet B. Pascal | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 3
THE HOPE AND THE
MAYUMBA

As soon as Conan Doyle boarded, the steward of the Hope challenged him to a boxing match. This contest provided a welcome chance to prove himself, for Conan Doyle was much more secure in his boxing skills than in his medical knowledge. That night, through the thin walls, he overheard his opponent telling the others, [He's the best surgeon we've had—he's blacked my eye.] After this promising start, Conan Doyle found to his relief that his services as a doctor were actually not very likely to be needed.

Conan Doyle became friendly with the captain and crew. The steward he had boxed turned out to have a good tenor voice and often spent the evening singing sentimental songs to the crew. (Later this steward became a baker in the service of Queen Victoria.) He spent one evening pulling two battling officers off each other over and over. The cook got drunk and ruined dinner three days in a row, until one sailor sobered him up for good by hitting him over the head with a frying pan so hard that his head went right through the bottom, and the pan hung around his neck like a collar.

Before going after whales, the ship spent some time

-30-

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