In December 1892, at the time when his daughter Josephine was born, RK met someone who was to become 'the best friend I made in new England', Dr James Conland, respected physician and a member of the State Legislature, who had grown up on Cape Cod. He had served at sea in his youth with the Gloucester fishing fleet on the Grand Banks. |
Dr Conland's tales of those times fired Kipling's imagination, and led him to embark on Captains Courageous, the story of Harvey Cheyne, a spoiled teenager, son of a railway magnate, who falls overboard from a liner in mid Atlantic. He is picked up by a dory (a small rowing boat) from a fishing schooner on the Grand Banks, and is taken on as a fisherman. The experience changes his life. The book is rich with details of the life at sea of Gloucester fishermen, their talk, the risks they run, and the pride they have in their craft. Ever since, it has been celebrated in Gloucester as an authentic account of a fine old tradition, now passed away.