(9) Third mate's mess [[47-48]]
[] The third mate generally has a mess, in the expenses of which the fourth; fifth, and sixth mates sometimes partake; the purser and surgeon being invariably at the captain's table. The captain's clerk, who is usually a midshipman; the surgeon's mate, when there is one; and such passengers as pecuniary or other circumstances may compel to economise while on board, all mess with the third mate, who is allowed a certain space before the officers' cabins. This, being inclosed with canvas, makes a very tolerable berth, wherein the table is laid.
Those of the mess who belong to the ship subscribe to lay in such articles of provision, chandlery, &c. as may suffice for their own consumption; the sums paid by passengers who associate with them being applied, in due proportion, towards the maintenance of the latter; any balances arising therefrom becoming the perquisite of the third mate. With the exception of so large a proportion of live-stock as is destined for the captain's table, the mate's mess, in some ships, has been known to claim the palm in many other respects.
When so many passengers are on board as to render it impracticable for
the captain to accommodate the whole at his table, the later applicants
are consigned to the mate's mess during meals; but admitted, so far as
convenient, to a participation of the amusements and society of the round-house.
On some occasions the [] mate's mess has, from the above cause, or
motives of unavoidable economy, been able to boast of rather eminent characters.