“Come on! Never mind breakfast! They’re going to fire the gun!”
RESCUED FROM THE SEA
Larry paused only long enough to don his oilskins, as it was still raining hard. The coffee was made, but he did not wait for any, though he wanted it very much. But he knew he ought to be on the spot to see all the details of the rescue from the sea, and it was not the first time he, like many other reporters, had gone on duty, and remained so for long stretches, without a meal.
Bailey was some distance down the beach. He had on his yellow suit, which he had donned to go out to the woodshed, some distance from his hut. Larry caught up to him. He was about to speak of the man at the hut when the fisherman cried:
“Something’s wrong! They’re coming up this way with the apparatus! Must be they couldn’t find a good place down there to rig the breeches buoy.”
Larry looked down the beach. He saw through the rain and mist a crowd of yellow-suited figures approaching, dragging something along the sand. He looked out to sea and beheld the blotch that represented the doomed vessel. All thought of the man at the hut was, for the time, driven out of his mind.
On came the life savers. They halted about a mile from the hut, and Larry and Bailey ran to join them.
“Did you save any?” called the fisherman to Captain Needam, who was busy directing the rescue.
“Got some in the life-boat early this morning,” was the answer. “They took ’em to the lower station. We couldn’t get back with the boat. All ready now, men. Dig a hole for the anchor, Nate. Sam, you help plant the mortar. Have to allow a good bit for the wind. My! but she’s blowin’ great guns and little pistols!”
Larry had his first sight of a rescue by means of the breeches buoy. The apparatus, including a small cannon or mortar, had been brought from the life-saving station on a wagon, pulled by the men along the beach. The first act was to dig a deep hole in the sand, some distance back from the surf. This was to hold the anchor, to which was attached the shore end of the heavy rope, on which, presently, persons from the wreck might be hauled ashore.
Once the anchor was in the hole, and covered with sand, firmly packed down, arrangements were made to get a line to the vessel.
“Put in a heavy charge!” cried Captain Needam. “We’ll need lots of powder to get the shot aboard in the teeth of this wind!”
Several men grouped about the brass cannon and rapidly loaded the weapon. Then, instead of a cannon ball, they put in a long, solid piece of iron, shaped like the modern shell, with a pointed nose. To this projectile was attached a long, thin, but very strong line.
“Are they going to fire that at the ship?” asked Larry, who was not very familiar with nautical matters.