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Page:Man Who Laughs (Estes and Lauriat 1869) v1.djvu/146

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CHAPTER X.


THE COLOSSAL SAVAGE, THE STORM.


IN the mean time the captain had caught up his speaking-trumpet: "Cargate todo, hombres! Let go the sheets, man the down-hauls, lower ties and brails! Let us steer to the west, let us regain the high sea! Head for the buoy, steer for the bell; there 's an offing down there. We've yet a chance."

"Try," said the doctor.

Let us remark here, by the way, that this buoy, a kind of bell-tower on the deep, was removed in 1802. There are yet alive very aged mariners who remember hearing it. It forewarned, but rather too late.

The orders of the captain were obeyed. The Languedocian made a third sailor. All bore a hand. Not satisfied with brailing up, they furled the sails; secured the clew-lines, bunt-lines, and leech-lines; clapped preventor-shrouds on the block-straps, which thus might serve as back-stays. They braced the mast; they battened down the ports and bulls' eyes, which is a method of walling up a ship. These evolutions, though executed in a lubberly fashion were nevertheless thoroughly effective. The hooker was stripped to bare poles. But in proportion as the vessel, stowing every stitch of canvas, became more helpless, the havoc of both winds and waves increased. The billows ran mountains high.