“Up there, Mr. Wilson,” said the captain to the second lieutenant, “and see how far the land trends forward, and whether you can distinguish the point.” The second lieutenant went up the main-rigging, and pointed with his hand to about two points before the beam.
“Do you see two hillocks, inland?”
“Yes, sir,” replied the second lieutenant.
“Then it is so,” observed the captain to the master, “and if we weather it we shall have more sea-room. Keep her full, and let her go through the water; do you hear, quartermaster?”
“Ay, ay, sir.”
“Thus, and no nearer, my man. Ease her with a spoke or two when she sends; but be careful, or she’ll take the wheel out of your hands.”
It really was a very awful sight. When the ship was in the trough of the sea, you could distinguish nothing but a waste of tumultuous water; but when she was borne up on the summit of the enormous waves, you then looked down, as it were, upon a low, sandy coast, close to you, and covered with foam and breakers. “She behaves nobly,” observed the captain, stepping aft to the binnacle, and looking at the compass; “if the wind does not baffle us, we shall weather.” The captain had scarcely time to make the observation, when the sails shivered and flapped like thunder. “Up with the helm; what are you about, quartermaster?”
“The wind has headed us, sir,” replied the quartermaster, coolly.
The captain and master remained at the binnacle watching the compass; and when the sails were again full, she had broken off two points, and the point of land was only a little on the lee-bow.