“Isn’t there any way for us to get into that cabin?”
Joe shook his head. There was not the slightest chance for any small piracy to be worked on that craft, so long as Mrs. Kinzer remained the “stewardess” of it; and the two hungry boys were compelled to wait her motions.
A WRECK AND SOME WRECKERS.
Dismally barren and lonesome was that desolate bar between the bay and the ocean. Here and there it swelled up into great drifts and mounds of sand, which were almost large enough to be called hills; but nowhere did it show a tree, or a bush, or even a patch of grass. Annie Foster found herself getting melancholy, as she gazed upon it, and thought of how the winds must sometimes sweep across it, laden with sea-spray and rain and hail, or with the bitter sleet and blinding snow of winter.
“Dabney,” she said, “was the storm very severe here last night and yesterday?”
“Worse than it was over on our side of the bay, ten times.”
“Were there any vessels wrecked?”
“Most likely, but it’s too soon to know just where.”
At that moment “The Swallow” was running around a sandy point, jutting out into the bay from the foot of the highest mound on the bar, not half a mile from the light-house, and only twice as far from the low wooden roof of the “wrecking-station,” where, as Dab had explained to his guests, the lifeboats and other apparatus of all sorts were kept safely housed. The piles of drifted sand had for some time prevented the brightest eyes on board “The Swallow” from seeing any thing to seaward; but now, as they came around the point and a broad level lay before them, Ham Morris sprang to his feet in sudden excitement, as he exclaimed,—
“In the breakers! Why, she must have been a three-master! It’s all up with her now.”
“Look along the shore!” shouted Dab. “Some of ’em saved, anyhow. The coast-men are there, too, life-boats and all.”
So they were; and Ham was right about the vessel, though not a mast was left standing in her now. If there had been, indeed, she might have been kept off the breakers, as they afterwards learned. She had been dismasted in the storm, but had not struck until after daylight that morning, and help had been close at hand and promptly given. There was no such thing as saving that unfortunate hull. She would beat to pieces just where she lay, sooner or later, according to the kind of weather that might take the job in hand, and the size and force of the waves it should bring with it.
The work done already by the life-boat men had been a good one; and it had not been very easy, either, for they had brought the crew and passengers safely through the boiling surf, and landed them all upon the sandy beach. They had even saved for them some items of baggage. In a few hours the coast “wrecking-tugs” would be on hand to look out for the cargo. There was therefore no chance for the ’long-shore men to turn an honest penny without working hard for it. Work and wages enough there would be, to be sure, helping to unload, whenever the sea, now so heavy, should go down a little; but “work” and “wages” were not the precise things some of them were most hungry for.