“I know the old scow before to-day, and wouldn’t shipped in her, if I hadn’t been lime-juiced by that villanous landlord that advanced me the trifle. But I seen she was as deep as a luggerman’s sand-barge, and I popped the old cat overboard, just as we rounded the point coming out o’ Kingston harbour,” said a fine, active-looking sailor, who bore every trait of a royal tar, and boasted of serving five years in the East-India service, to his shipmate, while he continued to serve the stay. His words were spoken in a whisper, and not intended for the captain’s ears. The captain overheard him, however; and, as a vessel is a world to those on board, the general sentiment carries its weight in controlling its affairs. Thus the strong feeling which prevailed on board could not fail to have its effect upon the captain’s mind.
“Well, we’ll try her at any rate,” said the captain, walking aft and ordering the cabin-boy to bring up his glass; with which he took a sharp look to the southward.
“I’d shape her course for a southern Yankee port. I haven’t been much in them, but I think we’ll stand a better chance there than in these ports where they make a speculation of wrecking, and would take a fellow’s pea-jacket for salvage.” “We’re always better under the protection of a consul than in a British port,” said the mate, coming aft to inform the skipper that they had carried away the chains of the bobstay, and that the bowsprit strained her in the knight-heads.
The steward’s bravery.
During the worst of the gale, a mulatto man, with prominent features, indicating more of the mestino than negro character, was moving in busy occupation about the deck, and lending a willing hand with the rest of the crew to execute the captain’s orders. He was rather tall, well formed, of a light olive complexion, with dark, piercing eyes, a straight, pointed nose, and well-formed mouth. His hair, also, had none of that crimp so indicative of negro extraction, but lay in dark curls all over his head. As he answered to the captain’s orders, he spoke in broken accents, indicating but little knowledge of the English language. From the manner in which the crew treated him, it was evident that he was an established favourite with them as well as the officers, for each appeared to treat him more as an equal than a menial. He laboured cheerfully at sailor’s duty until the first sea broke over her, when, seeing that the caboose was in danger of being carried from the lashings, and swept to leeward in the mass of wreck, he ran for that all-important apartment, and began securing it with extra lashings. He worked away with an earnestness that deserved all praise; not with the most satisfactory effect for an angry sea immediately succeeding completely stripped the furnace of its woodwork, and in its force carried the gallant fellow among its fragments into the lee-scuppers, where he saved himself from going overboard only by clinging to a stanchion.