Music Of The Waters - online book

Sailors' Chanties, Songs Of The Sea, Boatmen's, Fishermen's,
Rowing Songs, & Water Legends with lyrics & sheet music

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264              Music of the Waters.
of Consul having been able to render him some assistance, he was very glad to be of use to the Consul's daughter; and besides giving me the specimens of the Russian water-songs, he entertained me with many a comical story of sea-life, and some strangely cute remarks on the seamen of various nations. I happened to say how difficult I had often found it to induce the sailors to sing for me; " I suppose it is because of their proverbial shyness," I added. " Your English sailors may be shy, miss, not that I have found them so," was the quick reply, " but I know the greatest amount of cheek—that's how you call assurance, I believe—in all Russia, is to be found in the navy."
He had spent all his life at sea, that is, from a very tender age, and like many of my other sailor-guests, appeared to find great pleasure in examining the ordinary objects of an English drawing-room. "This is prettier than most cabins I have been in," he remarked, and then apparently thinking he had displeased me by such a candid opinion, he added, " In fact, it's about the best I've seen."
Some one had evidently told him that it was the proper thing to shake hands with any one who entered a room while he was in it, for a lady coming in while he was singing one day, was evidently as much startled as I was, at having her hand most cordially gripped by a rough sailor. I ventured to point out to him, after she left, that this ceremony could be dispensed with, and indeed might not at all times be considered agreeable ; he took my hints in very good part, and the next time we were interrupted, contented himself with a profound bow.
He told me that Russian sailors have a great love for birds, and that many of them, going on long voyages, ask permission to take some favourite caged songster with them. It was from this man I learnt of the popularity of the Russian National Anthem in the navy, and I have rarely heard more enthusiasm in any performance than he put into his Russian version of it when I played the anthem

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