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Page:Man Who Laughs (Estes and Lauriat 1869) v1.djvu/167

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139
PORTENTOSUM MARE.

at every rise and fall of the waves these hailstones rolled about the deck like marbles. The hooker, whose deck was almost even with the water was being beaten out of shape by the heavy sea and its clouds of spray. On board it each man was for himself. They clung on as best they could. As each sea swept over them, it was with a sense of surprise that they saw that all were still there. Several had their faces torn by splinters. Happily despair makes stout hands. In terror a child's hand has the grasp of a giant; agony makes a vice of a woman's fingers; a girl in her fright can almost bury her rose-coloured fingers in a piece of iron. With hooked fingers they hung on somehow, as the waves dashed over them; but each wave increased their fear of being swept away.

But their fears were suddenly relieved.