old Parson Lewis of Wellfleet, who, from his pulpit window, saw a vessel drive ashore on a stormy Sunday morning. "He closed his Bible, put on his outside garment, and descended from the pulpit, not explaining his intention until he was in the aisle, and then he cried out, 'Start fair' and took to his legs. The congregation understood and chased pell-mell after him."
The brig Polly laid her course to the southward and sailed into the safer, milder waters of the Gulf Stream. The skipper's load of anxiety was lightened. He had not been sighted and molested by the British men-of-war that cruised off Boston and New York to hold up Yankee merchantmen and impress stout seamen. This grievance was to flame in a righteous war only a few months later. Many a voyage was ruined, and ships had to limp back to port short-handed, because their best men had been kidnapped to serve in British ships. It was an age when might was right on the sea.
The storm which overwhelmed the brig Polly came out of the southeast, when she was less than a week on the road to Santa Cruz. To be dismasted and water-logged was no uncommon fate. It hapens often nowadays, when the little schooners creep along the coast, from Maine and Nova Scotia ports, and dare the winter blows to earn their bread.