Jack Tier eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 536 pages of information about Jack Tier.
in two.  The passage in which the Poughkeepsie was standing to and fro was clear of them, of course; and about a mile and a half to the northward, Spike saw that he should be in open water, or altogether on the northern side of the reef, could he only get there.  The gravest dangers would exist in the passage, which led among breakers on all sides, and very possibly among rocks so near the surface as absolutely to obstruct the way.  In one sense, however, the breakers were useful.  By avoiding them as much as possible, and by keeping in the unbroken water, the boat would be running in the channels of the reef, and consequently would be the safer.  The result of the survey, short as it was, and it did not last a minute, was to give Spike something like a plan; and when he went over the side, and got into the boat, it was with a determination to work his way out of the reef to its northern edge, as soon as possible, and then to skirt it as near as he could, in his flight toward the Dry Tortugas.

CHAPTER VII.

  The screams of rage, the groan, the strife,
  The blow, the grasp, the horrid cry,
  The panting, throttled prayer for life,
  The dying’s heaving sigh,
  The murderer’s curse, the dead man’s fixed, still glare,
  And fear’s and death’s cold sweat—­they all are there.

Matthew Lee.

It was high time that Captain Spike should arrive when his foot touched the bottom of the yawl.  The men were getting impatient and anxious to the last degree, and the power of Senor Montefalderon to control them was lessening each instant.  They heard the rending of timber, and the grinding on the coral, even more distinctly than the captain himself, and feared that the brig would break up while they lay alongside of her, and crush them amid the ruins.  Then the spray of the seas that broke over the weather side of the brig, fell like rain upon them; and everybody in the boat was already as wet as if exposed to a violent shower.  It was well, therefore, for Spike that he descended into the boat as he did, for another minute’s delay might have brought about his own destruction.

Spike felt a chill at his heart when he looked about him and saw the condition of the yawl.  So crowded were the stern-sheets into which he had descended, that it was with difficulty he found room to place his feet; it being his intention to steer, Jack was ordered to get into the eyes of the boat, in order to give him a seat.  The thwarts were crowded, and three or four of the people had placed themselves in the very bottom of the little craft, in order to be as much as possible out of the way, as well as in readiness to bail out water.  So seriously, indeed, were all the seamen impressed with the gravity of this last duty, that nearly every man had taken with him some vessel fit for such a purpose.  Rowing was entirely out of the question, there being no space for the movement of the arms.  The yawl

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Jack Tier from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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