Complete Works of Virginia Woolf: The Voyage Out
Somewhere about the middle of the seventeenth century a single sloop watched its season and slipped out by night, bearing within it all that was left of the great British colony, a few men, a few women, and perhaps a dozen dusky children.
Often, leaning upon the column in the verandah, he had watched the English ships with English schoolmasters for pursers steaming into the bay.
a small sailing ship with one mast ( = a post to support the sails.)
an officer on a ship who is responsible for taking care of the passengers, and for the accounts.