At seven bells the “doctor” managed to get some fire started in the galley, and all hands had a drink of hot coffee. This was cheering, and Trunnell soon had the watch hard at work getting out new canvas from the lazaretto aft. The main deck was getting safer, and although she took the sea heavily now and then, she was no longer like a half-tide rock in a strong current.
Topsails were hoisted out from below and gantlines bent. By the time all hands had eaten something and eight bells had struck, we were ready to get up new topsails and start the pumps.
Luckily there was little water below. In spite of the tremendous straining the ship had made no more than could be expected, and in a little over an hour at the brakes we had the satisfaction of having the pumps suck.
All that morning we worked aloft getting new gear up. The British ship drew away on our weather beam, wallowing horribly in the seaway. The wind died away gradually into a good stiff gale, and by noon we had a break or two above us that let down the sunlight. This cheered all hands. A good meal with extra coffee was served forward, and I sat down to the cabin table with Chips and the steward, to eat ravenously of prime junk and preserved potatoes.
“’Tis a quare time ye had ag’in last night, forrads, hey?” said Chips.
“It was interesting for a few minutes,” I answered. “I hope you fixed the fellow’s irons all right. Keys seem to have strange ways aboard this vessel.”
“Well, ye needn’t be afear’d av th’ raskil takin’ leave ag’in. Sure, an’ I riveted his irons this time, as will take a file an’ no less to cut through. I votes we get th’ old man to put him aboard th’ first ship what comes a-heavin’ down nigh enough, hey?”
“It would suit me all right,” I answered.
“Jim and Long Tom an’ Hans an’ a whole lot av us have th’ matter in mind, an’ we’ll speak wid th’ skipper afore long. There’s a divil’s mess below in th’ fore-peak, where a barrel has bruk loose that I’ll have to mix wid first. Be ye a-goin’ in th’ boat aboard th’ stranger whin th’ sea goes down?”
“I suppose so,” I said; “that lot generally falls to a second mate.”
“Be sure, thin, ye have th’ plug in all right an’ th’ oars sound, fer th’ sea will be heavy fer a bad craft, and ye mind th’ irons last night.”
“I’ll just take a look at them before I start. Chips,” I said. “Thank you for keeping tabs on the skipper.”
“It’s no great matter,” he answered; and then we fell to with a will until the meal was finished.
At three bells in the afternoon the sea had begun to go down enough to allow us to get our new topsails on her and a main-topgallantsail. The Pirate went smoking through it under the pressure, trembling with each surge, and throwing a perfect storm of water over her catheads. The English ship was now a mere speck to windward, almost hull down, and we would have to beat up to her if we could.