Stan Hugill quotes Doerflinger in calling Paddy West the "Paul Bunyan of crimping". Usually said to be a Liverpool Irishman, legends of Paddy West's boarding house were traditional in the British mercantile marine. One story tells how West gave rapid seamenship classes, hosted in the boardinghouse and back court, to green sailor boys before passing them on to unsuspecting captains.
The tales say Paddy West is a clever stickler for honesty who would keep an old rope and a cow's horn in his kitchen. Every boy who wanted to go to sea would step over the rope and walk about the horn so that he could claim he had "both crossed the Line an' rounded the Horn!"
The tales and an excerpt of this song can be found, for example, in The Nautical Magazine vol. 75 (1906).
As I was walkin' down London Street, I come to Paddy West's house,
He gave me a dish of American hash; he called it Liverpool scouse,
He said " There's a ship and she's wantin' hands, and on her you must sign,
The mate's a bastard, the captain's worse, but she will suit you fine."
Ch: Take off yer dungaree jacket, and give yerself a rest,
And we'll think on them cold nor'westers that we had at Paddy West's.
When we had finished our dinner, boys, the wind began to blow.
Paddy sent me to the attic, the main-royal for to stow,
But when I got to the attic, no main-royal could I find,
So I turned myself 'round to the window, and I furled the window blind.
Now Paddy he pipes all hands on deck, their stations for to man.
His wife she stood in the doorway, a bucket in her hand;
And Paddy he cries, "Now let 'er rip!" and she throws the water our way,
Cryin' "Clew in the fore t'gan'sl, boys, she's takin on the spray!"
Now seein' she's bound for the south'ard, to Frisco she was bound;
Paddy he takes a length of rope, and he lays it on the ground,
We all steps over, and back again, and he says to me "That's fine,
And if ever they ask were you ever at sea you can say you crossed the line."
To every two men that graduates, I'll give one outfit free,
For two good men on watch at once, ye never need to see,
Oilskins, me boys, ye'll never want, carpet slippers made of felt,
I'll dish out to the pair o' you, and a rope yarn for a belt.
Paddy says "Now pay attention, these lessons you will learn.
The starboard is where the ship she points, the right is called the stern,
So look ye aft, to yer starboard port and you will find northwest."
And that's the way they teach you at the school of Paddy West.
There's just one thing for you to do before you sail away,
Just step around the table, where the bullock's horn do lay
And if ever they ask "Were you ever at sea?" you can say "Ten times 'round the Horn"
And Bejesus but you're an old sailor man from the day that you were born.
Ch: Put on yer dungaree jacket, and walk out lookin' yer best,
And tell 'em that you're an old sailor man that's come from Paddy West's.
Oh, as I went a-walkin' down Ratcliff 'Igh-way,
I stepped in to Paddy West's house.
He gave me a feed of 'Merican hash,
And he called it En-ga-lish scouse,
Saying "Cheer up, my hearty,
For you are just in toime.
Now it's put your name down on the list,
And quick-a-ly you will sign!"
Ch: Put on your dungaree jackets, and we'll give the boys a rest,
And we'll think of the cold nor'westers that we had in Paddy West's!
Now, he asked me was I ever at sea.
I told him, "Three times round Cape Horn!"
"And be Jasus, you are a sailor
From the hour that you was born!"
When I went down to Paddy West's house,
The wind began to blow.
Oh, he sent me up in the garret
The main royal for to stow.
When I got up in the garret,
No main royal could I find,
So I turned around the the window
And furled the window blind.
Now, it's Paddy he piped all hands on deck,
Their stations for to man.
His wife stood in the kitchen,
With a bucket of water in her hand.
The wife let go of the bucket,
And the water it flew its way,
Saying, "Clew up your fore topgallants'l, boys,
She's takin' in the sea!"