The Last West and Paolo's Virginia eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 16 pages of information about The Last West and Paolo's Virginia.

  “In Behring Sea they tell,” said he,
    “How Hansen, in the ‘Adele,’
  Waiting for night, with never a light,
    Dared the reefs and ocean swell.

  “A rascal bold, in misdeeds grown old,
    He had raided far and wide;
  But never before in the sealers’ lore
    Had the Pribilof[1] reefs been tried.

  “But an Aleut[2], by his sealskin boot
    And the grave of his father, swore
  For a keg of booze and a pair of shoes
    To sell their secret, and more.

  “So Hansen knew to a yard or two
    Where the hidden ledges ran;
  And the breakers’ roar on the reefs and shore
    Were guides to the daring man.

  “The trailing kelp and a flash might help
    Where the phosphorus burned bright,
  For the deed was done past set of sun
    When the stars were hid from sight.

  “The schooner’s kedge to a rocky ledge,
    By a hempen cable tied,
  With silent stealth, for the raiders’ health,
    Was lowered overside.

  “Then with muffled oars they reached the shores
    Near a crowded rookery;
  Where the voice of seals, in loud appeals,
    Drowned the moan of wind and sea.

  “There were clubbed ten score and some dozens more
    Of the seals which in panic came
  Like frightened sheep before the sweep
    Of the raiders’ far-flung chain;

  “For they took their stand, where the rocky land
    Slopes down to the surf-worn beach,
  To intercept the herd that swept
    Like a torrent, the sea to reach.

  “Their dories lay in a tiny bay
    On a bit of sandy shore;
  And they loaded seals by heads or heels
    Till the boats would hold no more.

  “On many a trip to the little ship
    The skiffs went back and fore,
  Till she streamed with blood in a crimson flood
    From the deck to the cabin door.

  “The seals were piled in confusion wild
    On deck, by a seaman there;
  While the hold was stored and the cabin floored
    Whenever he’d time to spare,

  “For they had to sail before the pale
    Light came of a breaking day;
  Lest the sealing guard should follow hard
    And capture them with their prey.”

* * * *

  “In the dawn’s pale light that followed the night
    The sealing guard went round;
  But the bloody turf, by the edge of the surf,
    Was the only sign they found;

  “For a curtain fell on the Behring swell
    And hid the schooner’s flight;
  But they lay the blame on Hansen’s name
    For the lawless deeds that night.”

[1]Pribilofs—­a group of islands in Behring Sea, where the fur seal breeds.

[2]Aleut—­a native of the Aleutian Islands.

The Coast of British Columbia

  On the far stretching coast of B. C.,
    Where the hills and the seas interlace,
  Is a cruising ground yet unexcelled,
    Where the yachtsman can loiter or race.

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Project Gutenberg
The Last West and Paolo's Virginia from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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