Samantha dreams up amazing adventures and makes them come true. As Sam Jones, she captures the hearts of unusual friends and makes difficult decisions that get her into all kinds of situations of danger or enchantment. Together, with her friends, Samantha faces up to the consequences of some fantastic experiences with gumption and joy and flair and wit and honor and—well, you'll see she really gets the most out of life!
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“Off with you, girl! You’re wasting my valuable time.” There they were
again—almost the same words shouted at me by the last three ships’
captains I’d met.
“But why?” I pleaded. “Why can’t you have a cabin girl instead of a
“Because it just isn’t done, that’s why!” he bellowed. “Now out, before
I throw you overboard.” A rusty flush spread over his face. Suddenly I was
angry, too—angry with all the captains who had turned me away without
an explanation—angry, most of all, with the unwritten rules that were
keeping me from doing what I wanted to do more than anything in the
world. I squared my shoulders.
“I will go to sea,” I said, trying to keep my voice steady. “I’ll find
a captain who’ll hire me on, and I’ll be the best cabin girl in the whole
I turned and ran out of the captain’s cabin, dodging past the stevedores
who had stopped working to watch my retreat. Their laughter followed
Once I was out of sight of the ship, my defiance faded. Suddenly I
felt more tired than I’d ever been, as though all my energy had drained
away with the anger. I sat back against a wharf piling and closed my eyes. I
thought about what I’d said. It surely would be no trick to be the best cabin
girl in the world, since I’d be the only cabin girl in the world. No wonder
everyone laughed at me.
Misery washed over me like a great wave. The dream of my life seemed
more remote than ever now. For as long as I could remember I had loved
ships and the sea. When I was just a baby, Uncle Thad had carried me on
his shoulders along this very dock. I still remembered the longing that
filled my heart at the sight of the tall ships. Ever since then I had dreamed of being out there on the ocean. It seemed that nothing else in the entire world could ever make me happy.
Wanting to dispel the misery of failure, I opened my eyes and looked
around. Before me lay the East River docks with ships crowded up to them
to take on supplies or loading and unloading cargo. Bristling with masts,
they were a strange forest of leafless trees sprouting endless lengths of vine-
like rope and rigging.
How would it be to live out my life without going to sea? The thought
filled me with a steely coldness. I sat up straighter. There could be no
giving up. I had to find a way to make it work.
Each of those ships had a captain who was, I was convinced by now,
determined to keep me from going to sea. I learned some of the reasons
later, but just then all I could think of was finding a way to get one of them
to overlook the fact that I was a girl. But maybe getting one of them to
hire me even though I was a girl was not the right approach. I had to make
certain that the next captain I met would—well—just not notice I was a
I jumped up and grabbed my knapsack. Actually, it was Garvey’s
knapsack. Garvey was my brother. He had gone to sea and never came
back. So, I kind of took his bag and the clothes in it when I ran away from
home. Now they would help to transform me.
Just across the dock an open warehouse door promised privacy. Inside, some men, shirtless and sweating, heaved huge grain sacks onto a cart. Before they could take notice of me, I slid behind some stacks of wooden crates. Towering above my head, they hid me from view of the doorway. It was easy then to move between the rows to a secluded corner of the building.
Once hidden, I opened my knapsack and pulled out a long butcher knife I had taken from home. Grabbing a handful of curls, I began to cut. It took some hacking and sawing, but soon the hair lay on the floor. Blinking away tears, I told myself I could always grow it back.
It took only a few more minutes to change into the muslin shirt and
sailcloth pants that had once belonged to Garvey. The shirt felt smooth and comfortable, but the heavy pants would take some getting used to. I pulled a cap over my raggedy hair. With no mirror I could only hope my disguise would work.
. . .