Jack Tier eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 536 pages of information about Jack Tier.

CHAPTER VI

  “At the piping of all hands,
  When the judgment signal’s spread—­
  When the islands and the land,
  And the seas give up their dead,
  And the south and the north shall come;
  When the sinner is dismayed,
  And the just man is afraid,
  Then heaven be thy aid,
  Poor Tom.”

Brainard.

The people had now a cessation from their toil.  Of all the labour known to sea-faring men, that of pumping is usually thought to be the most severe.  Those who work at it have to be relieved every minute, and it is only by having gangs to succeed each other, that the duty can be done at all with anything like steadiness.  In the present instance, it is true, that the people of the Swash were sustained by the love of gold, but glad enough were they when Mulford called out to them to “knock off, and turn in for the night.”  It was high time this summons should be made, for not only were the people excessively wearied, but the customary hours of labour were so far spent, that the light of the moon had some time before begun to blend with the little left by the parting sun.  Glad enough were all hands to quit the toil; and two minutes were scarcely elapsed ere most of the crew had thrown themselves down, and were buried in deep sleep.  Even Spike and Mulford took the rest they needed, the cook alone being left to look out for the changes in the weather.  In a word, everybody but this idler was exhausted with pumping and bailing, and even gold had lost its power to charm, until nature was recruited by rest.

The excitement produced by the scenes through which they had so lately passed, caused the females to sleep soundly, too.  The death-like stillness which pervaded the vessel contributed to their rest, and Rose never woke, from the first few minutes after her head was on her pillow, until near four in the morning.  The deep quiet seemed ominous to one who had so lately witnessed the calm which precedes the tornado, and she arose.  In that low latitude and warm season, few clothes were necessary, and our heroine was on deck in a very few minutes.  Here she found the same grave-like sleep pervading everything.  There was not a breath of air, and the ocean seemed to be in one of its profoundest slumbers.  The hard-breathing of Spike could be heard through the open windows of his state-room, and this was positively the only sound that was audible.  The common men, who lay scattered about the decks, more especially from the mainmast forward, seemed to be so many logs, and from Mulford no breathing was heard.

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Jack Tier from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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