Jaffery eBook

William John Locke
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 393 pages of information about Jaffery.
Stability was a nonexistent term.  It was a helpless scuttering surge of men and vast wooden cubes.  Most of the men had torn off their upper garments and fought half naked, the sweat glistening on their skins in the feeble light.  Soon the heat became unbearable and I too tore off jersey and shirt.  Liosha joined me and we worked together without speaking.  Her long thick hair had come down and she had hastily tied it in a knot, just as you might tie a knot in a towel, and she had thrown off things like everybody else and only a flimsy cotton, sleeveless bodice, or whatever it’s called, drenched through and sticking to her, made a pretence of covering her from her waist.
“You had to get like flies round these infernal things and wait your time—­if you could—­for the roll, and push and then scramble with ropes and make fast; awl at the same time dance out of the way of the slithering hulks that bore down on you with fantastic murderousness.  And through it all thundered the roaring of the storm, the grind of the engines, the shattering of the propeller lifted above the waves, and the shrieks and creakings of every plank and plate of this steam-driven old Noah’s Ark.
“We had just, with exhausted muscles, made a whole stack fast, and were standing by, panting, haggard eyed, the sweat running down anyhow, twenty of us, Dagoes, Dutchmen, Englishmen, in the dim twilight—­just a shaft of pale illumination coming slick down the ladder where the hatch was open,—­hanging on to edges and corners of cargo, when suddenly the ship, caught on top of a wave, vibrated in a sickening shudder, plunged, and then with an impetus of cataclysm wallowed to starboard.  Andrews shrieked, ‘Stand clear!’ Most of the men leaped and flung themselves away.  But I stumbled and fell.  Before I realized the danger of a vast sliding crate, two strong arms were curled round my waist and I was flung aside, to slither and roll down the swaying deck until I was stopped by the bulkhead.  When I picked myself up, I saw half the men securing the crate and the other half grovelling around something on the deck.  It was Liosha.  She lay white and senseless with blood streaming from her head.

     [Illustration:  Before I realized the danger . . .  I was flung

“In a mortal funk I took her up the ladder with the help of another fellow, and carried her to her cabin.  I never before realised the appalling length of this vessel.  We got her into her bunk aft; I sent the other chap for brandy and first-aid appliances from the ship’s stores, and did what I could to discover how far she was injured. . . .
“Thank God, nothing worse had happened than a nasty scalp wound.  But her escape had been miraculous.  She had saved my life; for as I lay on the deck, the crate charging direct would have squashed my skull into jelly, and crushed my body against the side of the hold. 
Project Gutenberg
Jaffery from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
Follow Us on Facebook