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Blue Jackets The adventures of J. Thompson, A.B. among "the heathen chinee"

Blue Jackets
The adventures of J. Thompson, A.B. among "the heathen chinee"
Author: Greey Edward
Title: Blue Jackets The adventures of J. Thompson, A.B. among "the heathen chinee"
Release Date: 2018-11-11
Type book: Text
Copyright Status: Public domain in the USA.
Date added: 27 March 2019
Count views: 23
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Transcriber's Note:
Obvious typographic errors have been corrected.


[Pg i]


[Pg iii]








Chinese characters SUNG-TIE


[All Rights Reserved.]

[Pg iv]

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1870, by
In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.

Shanley & Lynch, Print, 39 Vesey St., N. Y.

[Pg v]


The most cruel and ignominious punishment man can inflict upon hisfellow men, is still enforced in the English Naval Service; though manyindignantly deny it, and stigmatize this story as "a libel on theBritish Navy." Unfortunately for "Blue Jackets" this is not so, and thenovel is founded on facts, as I have been in the service, and, on manyoccasions, seen sailors subjected to most painful degradation at thecaprice of those, who, because they were officers, seemed to forget thatthe men possessed feelings in common with them. As facts are the bestproofs, I quote the "London Daily News," November 7, 1870, which recordsthat on October 30, 1870, a scene, similar in barbarity to the onedescribed in the fifth chapter, occurred in Plymouth Sound, England, onboard the "Vanguard" (Captain E. H. G. Lambert), "within hearing of alarge number of women and children, who were waiting permission to go onboard the iron-clad."

It may interest readers to know, that the adventures of J. Thompson, A.B., among "The Heathen Chinee," are not entirely fictitious, thedescriptions of the peculiar habits of "The Coming Man" being frompersonal observation during a lengthened sojourn in China.


New York, January 1, 1871.

[Pg vii]


I.   Woolwich Dockyard at Noon.—A Deserter from H. M. S. Stinger 1
II.   The Boatswain's Tea-Party.—Engagement of J. Thompson,able seaman, and Miss Mary Ann Ross 10
III.   The Court-Martial on board H. M. S. Victory 16
IV.   Thompson gets into a Difficulty with the RegularArmy.—Amateur Theatricals, and a Surprised Party 23
V.   The Merciful Sentence is Carried Out 32
VI.   H. M. S. Stinger leaves for the Cape.—Some of theLetters written upon that important occasion 37
VII.   In Simon's Bay, Cape of Good Hope.—ExtraordinaryDelusion on the part of Captain Puffeigh with regardto a lovely German Fraulein 44
VIII.   The Persecution of Charles Dunstable, ordinary seaman 50
IX.   At Singapore.—Thompson Visits Mr. Oldcrackle, and isMost Hospitably Entertained.—The Effect of a LovelyPair of Black Eyes upon a too Susceptible Sailor 55
X.   Fatal Result of Crushe's Tyranny.—Death of a GoodOfficer, and Execution of his Assassin 64
XI.   Hong-Kong.—The Stingers Among the Pirates.—LastMoments of Old Jemmy 72
XII.   The Stingers March to the Rescue of a Young Lady.—SmokingOut a Pirate's Nest 81
XIII.   Puffeigh falls in with a Yankee Captain, of whom heBuys some Experience.—Clare's Hallucination 89
XIV.   Capture of Thompson by "The Heathen Chinee."—CaptainPuffeigh and Lieutenant Crushe are Promoted, and leave the Ship 95
[Pg viii]XV.   Thompson Escapes from Sse-tsein, and Ships on board aCanal Boat.—Captain Mo and his Wife Jow.—Bigamy 107
XVI.   An Assault at Arms, and the Stories of two inoffensive Sailors 117
XVII.   A-tae 126
XVIII.   Captain Woodward and Yaou-chung.—How the Taontai"Played it" upon his Guests 134
XIX.   "O-mi-tu-fuh!"—A Chinese Girl's Love and Devotion.—Thompson'sAppearance as a Star Comedian 143
XX.   The Battle of Chow-chan Creek.—Marriage of Miss Moore 152
XXI.   The Stinger Visits Japan.—Mr. Shever's Last Pipe 161
XXII.   Up the River.—Clare Goes through Fire and Water.—Onto Canton 168
XXIII.   Thompson turns Bill-Sticker.—The Notice to QuitServed on Governor Yeh.—Poetry 177
XXIV.   What the Stingers did towards Taking Canton 187
XXV.   Farewell to "The Heathen Chinee."—Hard Timesagain for the Stingers.—Thompson Re-visits his Old Flame at the Cape 194
XXVI.   Thompson Falls (Platonically) in Love with a CharmingYoung Lady "who calls herself Cops" while heis Courted by her Bonne.—Cement for a Broken Heart 204
XXVII.   The Widow's Wooing and What Came of it.—Thompsonis Exposed to a Raking Fire, but comes off with Flying Colours 214
XXVIII.   Home 224

[Pg 1]





The big bell of Woolwich Dockyard had just commenced its deafeningannouncement that "dinner time" had arrived, producing at its firstboom, a change from activity to rest in every department of that vastestablishment.

Burly convicts, resembling in their brown striped suits human zebras,upon hearing the clang, immediately threw down their burdens, and,followed by the severe-looking pensioners who acted as their guards,sauntered carelessly towards the riverside, where they knew boats waitedto convey them on board the hulks. As these scowling outcasts driftedalong, they here and there passed parties of perspiring sailors stilltoiling under the direction of some petty officer; noticing which, theconvicted ones would grin and nudge each other, glad to find that whilethey could cease their labour at the first stroke of the bell, therewere free men who dared not even think of relaxing their hands untilordered to do so by their superiors; and many of the rogues turned theirforbidden quids, and thanked their stars that they were convictedfelons, and not men-of-wars's men.

In the smithies, at the first welcome stroke of the bell, hammers, whichwere then poised in the air, were dropped with a gentle thud upon thefine iron scales with which the floor was covered; the smiths, like allother artisans, having the greatest disinclination to work for theGovernment one second beyond the time for which they were paid. Theengines kept up their din a few moments after all other sounds hadceased, but finding themselves deserted gave it up, and, judging by theway they jerked the vapour from their steam pipes, appeared to be takinga quiet smoke on their own account.

From forge, workshop, factory, mast-pond, saw-mill, store, and buildingshed—from under huge ships propped up in dry-dock, or towering grandlyon their slips,—from lofty tops and dark holds,—out of boat andlighter,—from every nook and corner swarmed mechanics andlabourers,—all these uniting in one eager mob, elbowed and jostledtheir way towards the gate, like boys leaving school.

The dockyard was bounded by a high wall upon the side nearest the town,whilst its river frontage was guarded by sentries, who not onlyprotected the Queen's property, but prevented her jolly tars from takingboat in a manner not allowed upon Her Majesty's service.

[Pg 2]

The doors of the great gate were thrown wide open, and the crowd pouredthrough as if quite ignoring the presence of a number of detectives, whowere posted near it, to prevent deserters from the ships of war frompassing out with the workpeople; special precaution being taken at thattime, as the country required every sailor she could muster, to man theships then being fitted out for service against the Russians.

When the rush was at its height a sailor disguised in the sooty garb ofa smith emerged from behind a stack of timber, piled near the mainentrance, and joining a party of workmen, who evidently recognized him,was forced on with them towards the gate, the man walking asunconcernedly as any ordinary labourer. As they neared the detectivesthe attention of the latter was suddenly distracted by the noise of apassing circus procession, and for a moment the officials were off theirguard.

"Keep your face this way, mate, and look careless at the peelers,"whispered one of the party to the deserter, and the man so warned did ashe was directed, although he scarcely breathed as he brushed by them,the very buttons on their uniforms seeming to spy him out, and to raisea fear in his breast that he would find a hand rudely laid upon hiscollar, and hear the words, "You're a prisoner?" However, they did noteven look at him, and in another moment he found himself free.

The deserter was an able seaman named Tom Clare, a sober, excellentsailor, and the devoted husband of a worthy girl to whom he had been buta few weeks united. Tom had not long before arrived home from the ChinaStation in H. M. S. Porpoise, and finding some property bequeathed tohim, had applied to the Admiralty for his discharge, but his applicationwas refused; and although he offered to provide one or more substitutes,his petition was returned to him, with orders to proceed at once to theship to which he had been drafted, under penalty of being arrested as adeserter. Tom found, to his sorrow, there was no alternative. If hestayed, the authorities would at once arrest him, as

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