The big lad’s voice broke as he spoke of his lost watchmate. “An, if he was here he would want t’ thank ye too for the way you’ve done by us. I can’t say any more, Captain Schenke—but we want you to take a small present from us—the crew of the Hilda’s gig.” He held out the parcel.
Only half understanding the lad’s broken words, Schenke took the parcel and opened it. “Ach Gott Lieber Gott,” he said, and turned to show the gift to old Burke. Tears stood in the big “squarehead’s” eyes; stood, and rolled unchecked down his fat cheeks. Tears of pleasure! Tears of pity! Stretched between his hands was a weather-beaten flag, its white emblem stained and begrimed by sea-water!
A tattered square of blue silk—the flag of the Merchants’ Cup!
A STORM AND A RESCUE
From “The Wreck of the Grosvenor” BY W. CLARK RUSSELL
All that night it blew terribly hard, and raised as wild and raging a sea as ever I remember hearing or seeing described. During my watch—that is, from midnight until four o’clock—the wind veered a couple of points, but had gone back again only to blow harder; just as though it had stepped out of its way a trifle to catch extra breath.
I was quite worn out by the time my turn came to go below; and though the vessel was groaning like a live creature in its death agonies, and the seas thumping against her with such shocks as kept me thinking that she was striking hard ground, I fell asleep as soon as my head touched the pillow, and never moved until routed out by Duckling four hours afterward.
All this time the gale had not bated a jot of its violence, and the ship labored so heavily that I had the utmost difficulty in getting out of the cuddy on to the poop. When I say that the decks fore and aft were streaming wet, I convey no notion of the truth: the main deck was simply afloat, and every time the ship rolled, the water on her deck rushed in a wave against the bulwarks and shot high in the air, to mingle sometimes with fresh and heavy inroads of the sea, both falling back upon the deck with the boom of a gun.
I had already ascertained from Duckling that the well had been sounded and the ship found dry; and therefore, since we were tight below, it mattered little what water was shipped above, as the hatches were securely battened down fore and aft, and the mast-coats unwrung. But still she labored under the serious disadvantage of being overloaded; and the result was, her fore parts were being incessantly swept by seas which at times completely hid her forecastle in spray.