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Page:Man Who Laughs (Estes and Lauriat 1869) v1.djvu/172

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THE MAN WHO LAUGHS.

"We have no pilot."

"Take the tiller yourself."

"We have lost the tiller."

"Let's rig one out of the first beam we can lay hands on. Nails—a hammer—quick—some tools."

"The carpenter's box went overboard; we have no tools."

"We'll steer all the same; no matter where."

"The rudder is lost."

"Where is the boat? We'll get in that and row."

"The boat is gone too."

"We'll row the wreck."

"We have lost all our oars."

"We'll have to depend upon our sails then."

"We have lost our sails, and the mast as well."

"We'll rig one up with a pole and a tarpaulin. Let's get out of this, and trust to the wind."

"There is no wind."

The wind, indeed, had deserted them, the storm had fled, and its departure, which they had believed to mean safety, meant in fact destruction. Had the sou'-wester continued, it might have driven them wildly on some shore, might have beaten the leak in speed, might perhaps have carried them to some propitious sandbank, and cast them on it before the hooker foundered. The fury of the storm, bearing them onward, might have enabled them to reach land; but no wind now meant no hope. They were going to die because the hurricane was over. The end was near!

Wind, hail, the hurricane, the whirlwind,—these are wild combatants that may be overcome; the storm can be taken in the weak point of its armour; there are resources against the violence which is often off its guard, and often hits wide of the mark. But nothing can be done against a calm: there is nothing tangible which