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yards broad, and no sign of man. The river's banks were soft and sloping mud, fit for careening.
"Safe quarters, sir," said Yeo, privately, "as far as Spaniards go. I hope in God it may be as safe from
"Beggars must not be choosers," said Amyas. So in they went.
They towed the ship up about half-a-mile to a point where she could not be seen from the seaward; and there moored her to the mangrove-stems. Amyas ordered a boat out, and went up the river himself to reconnoiter. He rowed some three miles, till the river narrowed suddenly, and was all but covered in by the interlacing boughs of mighty trees. There was no sign that man had been there since the making of the world.
He dropped down the stream again, thoughtfully and sadly. How many years ago was it that he had passed this river's mouth? Three days. And yet how much had passed in them! Don Guzman found and lostRose found and lost-a great victory gained, and yet lost-perhaps his ship lost-above all, his brother lost.
Lost! O God, how should he find his brother? Some strange bird out of the woods made mournful answer "Never, never, never!"
How should he face his mother?
"Never, never, never!" wailed the bird again; and Amyas smiled bitterly, and said "Never!" likewise.
The night mist began to steam and wreath upon the foul beer-colored stream. The loathy floor of liquid mud lay bare beneath the mangrove forest. Upon the endless web of interarching roots great purple crabs were crawling up and down. They would have supped with pleasure upon Amyas's corpse; perhaps they might sup on him after all; for a heavy sickening graveyard smell made his heart sink within him, and his stomach heave;
and his weary body, and more weary soul, gave themselves up helplessly to the depressing influence of that doleful place. The black bank of dingy leathern leaves above his head, the endless labyrinth of stems and withes (for every bough had lowered its own living cord, to take fresh hold of the foul soil below); the web of roots, which stretched away inland till it was lost in the shades of evening-all seemed one horrid complicated trap for him and his; and even where, here and there, he passed the mouth of a lagoon, there was no opening, no relief— nothing but the dark ring of mangroves. Wailing sadly, sad-colored mangrove-hens ran off across the mud into the dreary dark. The hoarse night-raven, hid among the roots, startled the voyagers with a sudden shout, and then all was again silent as a grave. The loathy alligators lounging in the slime lifted their horny eyelids lazily, and leered upon him as he passed with stupid savageness. Lines of tall herons stood dimly in the growing gloom, like white fantastic ghosts, watching the passage of the doomed boat. All was foul, sullen, weird as witches' dream. If Amyas had seen a crew of skeletons glide down the stream behind him, with Satan standing at the helm, he would scarcely have been surprised. What fitter craft could haunt that Stygian flood?
THE CLUB-HAULING OF THE DIOMEDE
From "Peter Simple," BY CAPTAIN FREDERICK MARRYAT
E continued our cruise along the coast, until we had run down into the Bay of Arcason, where we captured two or three vessels, and obliged many more to run on shore. And here we had an instance showing how very important it is that the captain of a man-of-war should be a good sailor, and have his ship in such discipline as to be strictly obeyed by his ship's company. I heard the officers unanimously assert, after the danger was over, that nothing but the presence of mind which was shown by Captain Savage could have saved the ship and her crew. We had chased a convoy of vessels to the bottom of the bay: the wind was very fresh when we hauled off, after running them on shore; and the surf on the beach even at that time was so great, that they were certain to go to pieces before they could be got afloat again. We were obliged to double-reef the topsails as soon as we hauled to the wind, and the weather looked very threatening. In an hour afterwards, the whole sky was covered with one black cloud, which sank so low as nearly to touch our mast-heads, and a tremendous sea, which appeared to have risen up almost by magic, rolled in upon us, setting the vessel on a dead lee shore. As the night closed in, it blew a dreadful gale, and the ship was nearly buried with the press of canvas which she was obliged to carry: for had we sea-room, we should have been lying-to under storm staysails; but we were forced to carry on at all risks, that we might claw off shore. The sea broke over us as we lay in the trough, deluging us with water from the forecastle, aft, to the binnacles; and very often as the ship descended with a plunge, it was with such
force that I really thought she would divide in half with the violence of the shock. Double breechings were rove on the guns, and they were further secured with tackles; and strong cleats nailed behind the trunnions; for we heeled over so much when we lurched, that the guns were wholly supported by the breechings and tackles, and had one of them broken loose it must have burst right through the lee side of the ship, and she must have foundered. The captain, first lieutenant, and most of the officers, remained on deck during the whole of the night; and really, what with the howling of the wind, the violence of the rain, the washing of the water about the decks, the working of the chain-pumps, and the creaking and groaning of the timbers, I thought that we must inevitably have been lost; and I said my prayers at least a dozen times during the night, for I felt it impossible to go to bed. I had often wished, out of curiosity, that I might be in a gale of wind; but I little thought it was to have been a scene of this description, or anything half so dreadful. What made it more appalling was, that we were on a lee shore, and the consultations of the captain and officers, and the eagerness with which they looked out for daylight, told us that we had other dangers to encounter besides the storm. At last the morning broke, and the look-out man upon the gangway called out, "Land on the lee beam!" I perceived the master dash his feet against the hammock-rails, as if with vexation, and walk away without saying a word, looking very grave.
"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.
"We must wear her round, Mr. Falcon. Hands, wear ship-ready, oh, ready."
She has come up again," cried the master, who was at the binnacle.
"Hold fast there a minute. How's her head now?" "N.N.E., as she was before she broke off, sir."
Pipe belay," said the captain. "Falcon," continued he," if she breaks off again we may have no room to wear; indeed, there is so little room now, that I must run the