“They seem in a hurry,” answered Harry, as he adjusted the glass to his eye, “and will go through the Gate in less time than it will take to mention the circumstance.”
“What do you make of them, sir?”
“The little man who called himself Jack Tier is in the stern-sheets of the boat, for one,” answered Mulford.
“And the other, Harry—what do you make of the other?”
“It seems to be the chap who hailed to know if we had a pilot. He means to board us at Riker’s Island, and make us pay pilotage, whether we want his services or not.”
“Blast him and his pilotage too! Give me the glass”—taking another long look at the boat, which by this time was glancing, rather than pulling, nearly at right angles across his bows. “I want no such pilot aboard here, Mr. Mulford. Take another look at him—here, you can see him, away on our weather bow, already.”
Mulford did take another look at him, and this time his examination was longer and more scrutinizing than before.
“It is not easy to cover him with the glass,” observed the young man—“the boat seems fairly to fly.”
“We’re forereaching too near the Hog’s Back, Capt. Spike,” roared the boatswain, from forward.
“Ready about—hard a lee,” shouted Spike. “Let all fly, for’ard—help her round, boys, all you can, and wait for no orders! Bestir yourselves—bestir yourselves.”
It was time the crew should be in earnest. While Spike’s attention had been thus diverted by the boat, the brig had got into the strongest of the current, which, by setting her fast to windward, had trebled the power of the air, and this was shooting her over toward one of the greatest dangers of the passage on a flood tide. As everybody bestirred themselves, however, she was got round and filled on the opposite tack, just in time to clear the rocks. Spike breathed again, but his head was still full of the boat. The danger he had just escaped as Scylla met him as Charybdis. The boatswain again roared to go about. The order was given as the vessel began to pitch in a heavy swell. At the next instant she rolled until the water came on deck, whirled with her stern down the tide, and her bows rose as if she were about to leap out of water. The Swash had hit the Pot Rock.
“Watch. If we know him to be a thief, shall we not lay hands on him?
Dogb. Truly, by your office, you may; but I think they that touch pitch will be defiled; the most peaceable way for you, if you do take a thief, is, to let him show himself what he is, and steal out of your company.”
Much Ado About Nothing.
We left the brigantine of Capt. Spike in a very critical situation, and the master himself in great confusion of mind.