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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316             Music of the Watjebs.
to be agreed upon, they were wrapped up in a piece of newspaper, and the price evidently named ; Jack appeared quite willing to pay it. After some little further talk, he resumed his seat and took off his own boots ; he must be going to leave them for repairs, I thought, and the shop­keeper must have thought the same, for he received them smilingly, and was just beginning to examine them and see what they required, when Jack, who had meanwhile been lacing on his new purchases, suddenly sprang on to his feet and bounded down the long flight of irregular steps with the agility of a cat. As soon as he recovered his surprise the boot-maker went after him, and likewise all the denizens of the stairs. I have no doubt a regular fight would have ensued at the bottom, if the wily customer had not out-distanced him.
The following description of the singing of Chinese river boatmen is given by a well-known English traveller in China :—" On board the yachts constant mirth and good humour prevailed among the seamen. When the weather was calm the vessels were generally pushed on by means of two large sculls or oars turning upon pivots placed in projecting pieces of wood near the bow of the vessel, and not the stern, as is' the practice of most other nations. From six to ten men are required to work one of these oars, which, instead of being taken out of the water, as in the act of rowing, are moved backwards and forwards under the surface in a manner similar to what in England is understood by sculling. To lighten their labours and assist in keeping time with the strokes, the following rude air was generally sung by the master, the whole crew joining in chorus :—

E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III