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Wreck of the Golden Mary - Charles Dickens

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I was apprenticed to the Sea when I was twelve years old, and I have
encountered a great deal of rough weather, both literal and
metaphorical.  It has always been my opinion since I first possessed
such a thing as an opinion, that the man who knows only one subject
is next tiresome to the man who knows no subject.  Therefore, in the
course of my life I have taught myself whatever I could, and
although I am not an educated man, I am able, I am thankful to say,
to have an intelligent interest in most things.

A person might suppose, from reading the above, that I am in the
habit of holding forth about number one.  That is not the case.
Just as if I was to come into a room among strangers, and must
either be introduced or introduce myself, so I have taken the
liberty of passing these few remarks, simply and plainly that it may
be known who and what I am.  I will add no more of the sort than
that my name is William George Ravender, that I was born at Penrith
half a year after my own father was drowned, and that I am on the
second day of this present blessed Christmas week of one thousand
eight hundred and fifty-six, fifty-six years of age.

When the rumour first went flying up and down that there was gold in
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