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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 110 pages of information about Thrilling Stories Of The Ocean.
give, he raises the weight, and after examining the mark on the rope made by the water, calls out lustily, so that all forward can hear, “By the mark seven,” or “By the deep nine,” according to the case, or whatever the number of fathoms may be.  The lead-line is marked into lengths of six feet, called fathoms, by knots, or pieces of leather, or old sail-cloth.  In narrow or intricate channels, it is sometimes needful to place a man in the chains on each side of the ship, as the depth will vary a fathom or more even in the breadth of the vessel, and it is of great consequence that the leadsmen give the depth correctly, as a wrong report might cause the ship to run aground.  The time that the leadsman is employed in taking soundings is often a period of deep anxiety to the crew and passengers, especially if the vessel be near an unknown coast.  When the decrease in the number of fathoms is sudden, the captain knows that danger is near, and quickly gives orders to alter the ship’s course:  the sailors instantly obey his directions; but sometimes not all their activity and energy can save the vessel; she strikes and becomes a wreck.

Turn to the 27th chapter of the Acts of the Apostles in your Bible, and you will there read the deeply interesting account of Paul’s shipwreck on the island Melita.  Life has often been compared to a voyage—­and aptly so.

You will find that you, like the mariner, are exposed to many dangers, and that you are never for one moment safe in trusting to your own skill to guide your little bark.  In watchfulness and prayer, look to your Heavenly Pilot for directions under every circumstance, often examining your own heart, as the seaman heaves the lead in danger.  Then will you be safely guided through storms and calms, amid rocks and shoals, and reach at last the blessed haven of eternal rest and peace.

THE BALLOON AT SEA.

A balloon is a hollow globe, made of silk, rendered air-tight by a coating of gum and resin, and enclosed within a strong network.  When filled with gas it is so much lighter than the air which surrounds us, that it will rise with heavier bodies suspended to it.  In a sort of car or boat attached, men, who are called “aeronauts,” have performed journeys through the air.

The balloon was invented by a Frenchman named Montgolfier.  Great expectations were at first entertained of this art of sailing through the air, but as yet it has not proved of much practical use.  Many disasters have at different times befallen balloon voyagers.

Many years ago, Major Mooney ascended in his balloon from Norwich, expecting from the direction of the wind that he might descend near Ipswich; but when he had risen about one mile from the earth, a violent current carried him and his balloon towards Yarmouth.  The balloon fell on the sea, about nine miles from land.  The Major supported himself for some time in the water, by holding firmly to the balloon, and was at last rescued from his dangerous situation by the crew of a cutter which was cruising on the coast.

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