Ships and Memories: Merchant Seafarers in Canada's Age of Steam

By Eric W. Sager | Go to book overview

5
CLASS

Every Canadian ship had a social structure. Where one stood in the pecking order depended largely on one's job. The hierarchy varied a great deal from one type of ship to another and from one time period to another. But it was always there. 1

In small schooners, in coasting or fishing, members of the crew were often well known to each other, because they were family relations or members of the same small outport community. There was still a hierarchy in the vessel, but it was sometimes difficult to perceive. As you read the following little story, remember that Charlie is the master of this crew. They have put into St. Pierre, sometime in the early part of the twentieth century.

Charlie he was skipper and I was cook. 'Now,' he said, 'we wants some dinner.' [He was] gettin' a few drinks in now, he was. He said he bought a dozen eggs and three pound of halibut. 'Go aboard now,' he said, 'and cook that.' That was some combination. So me and Dick went aboard. 'Now,' he said, come back again for us when dinner is ready' -- him and Albert.

So anyhow, I went aboard and cooked dinner and Dick went ashore when he was ready for 'em, and he found 'em alright,

-85-

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Ships and Memories: Merchant Seafarers in Canada's Age of Steam
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Illustrations vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Introduction 3
  • 1 - Yarns 15
  • 2 - Going to Sea 29
  • 3 - Work 41
  • 4 - Officers and Masters 71
  • 5 - Class 85
  • 6 - Family 97
  • 7 - Masculinity 106
  • 8 - Hazards 118
  • 9 - War 126
  • 10 - Union 139
  • 11 - Canada 150
  • Notes 157
  • GLOSSARY 167
  • SOURCES AND COLLABORATORS 171
  • Suggestions for Further Reading 173
  • Index 177
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