"`Who are you?' said the captain.
"I told him that I wanted to go to sea.
"`You are too little and too young.'
"`Why, do you think that you dare go aloft?'
"`I'll show you,' replied I; and I ran up the rigging like a cat, and went out at the topgallant yard-arm.
"When I came down, the captain said, `Well, I think you'll make a sharp seaman by and by; so I'll take you, and, as soon as I get to London, I'll bind you apprentice.'
"The ship, which was a collier, was soon out of port, and before the day had dawned I found myself on the wide ocean, which was hereafter to be my home.
"As soon as the hurry and confusion were over, I was examined by the captain, who appeared to me to be a very rough, harsh man; indeed, before the day was over I almost repented of the step which I had taken, and when I sat down cold and wet upon some old sail at night, the thoughts of my mother, and what distress I should occasion her, for the first time rushed into my mind, and I wept bitterly; but it was too late then. I have often thought, Mr. Seagrave, that the life of hardship which I have since gone through has been a judgment on me for my cruelty to my mother, in leaving her the way I did. It broke her heart; a poor return, William, for all her care and kindness! God forgive me!"