Chapter 19007055

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Chapter NumberVII
Chapter TitleWRECK AND RESCUE.
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article19007055
Full Date1892-02-27
Page Number5
Corrections0
Word Count2383
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleThe Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser (NSW : 1843 - 1893)
Trove TitleThe Boys' Yacht
article text

MERCURY JUNIOR.

THE BOYS' YACHT.

CHAPTER VII.

WBBCK AND RESCUE.

" Steady there ! She's comin' !"

This exclamation from Black Tarr,, who stood stolidly in the dory, brought Non to his senses.

Indeed, there was the greatest need of steadiness. Hal looked up from the bottom of the dory, but as he did so the end of a curling wave from the chop sea struck him full in the face, and for the moment blinded him. The elements seemed to be conspir- ing to the bitter end against the Captain of the

.Kittiewinh.

The dory was now in the middle of the seething waves. Could it pass the white line of breakers

at the bar, or not ?

The man at the oars kept the boat in its position as firmly as he could hold it. He knew well that every third wave was the one to be dreaded. He was measuring the billowB and awaiting his opportunity.

" Bail her out, quick !" he shouted to Hal, who was still bent up on the bottom of the dory, and very nearly helpless.

Black Tarr thrust his oil skin hat into Hal's hands. Hal took the sou'wester and he was not long in finding out what to do. The sea was washing from side to side in the gallant dory, and Hal washed with it. Ho bailed with all his might with the

sou'wester.

" Now hold to her ! Don't let go ! Ugh !"

There was a roar, a mass of white-green foam, a dead weight, a staggering, a manful pull, and the deed was done ; but with what slight margin !

Beyond was still water, and willing hands dtagged the half-swamped but victorious dory to

the firm land.

A wave had almost filled her. Hal was struck down for the third time by its force. He thought all was over then, and blindly clung to the seat. Non had shut his eyes. He, too, expected to die.

The three were pulled ashore with joyful cries. Trot got out, no one knew how-but there might well have been a lurking suspicion in his mind that no one thought of him in that crisis.

Hal staggered up the beach a few steps, and then fell exhausted. His legs could not carry him. But Black Tarr shook himself like a Newfoundland, and rushed along the shore to the Kitticutink.

Hal seemed at first to be seriously hurt. Ladies bent over him as he was borne up upon the high, dry sand, and Non walked trembling by his side. Trot followed, shivering and silent.

When Phineas Scrod saw that his own shipwreck was inevitable, he plunged into the cabin to reach for something heavy. He was a man of quick expedients. He knew that if, in a lull, he could g9t a line to the shore, before the crushing waves exhausted him, he might be saved.

Groping about, his fingers closed upon the soap- stone with the iron handle, which Mrs Maynot bad insisted that Hal should take to keep him warm at night. There was no time for a choice.

Like a cat Phin was en deck and had time to cling to the mast with both arms, before the onslaught

of waters struck the Kittiewink.

The wave enveloped the doomed boat, turning her over on her side. Phineas for the moment was completely submerged. He needed all his muscle and all his courage to enable him to clasp the mast,

as the terrible wave fell back.

The waterfall of pebbles on the beach resounded in his ears. He clung to the mast like a barnacle. Half-entangled in the rigging, he had not a fair chance to jump. Besides, the water was too deep, the rush of the returning wave too quick, the undertow too deadly.

Again the surge of the breakers overwhelmed him. A few more such onsets, and even tough old Phineas Scrod must yield.

Phin thought that he must go now. He wished it had been on the Susan Jinks, and not here. But he was not ashamed of his fate.

" Any way," he muttered, " I found the boys." The receding mass of waters almost tore him away from the mast. But, with a coolnesB worthy of all admiration, Phin, even while under the wave, and maintaining his grip, tied the long end of the jib balyards to the handle of the soapstone.

When the sea left him for the space o£ a few seconds, he landed the precious stone onshore with a, mighty throw. Some one grasped it.

Again came the shock of the sea. For the third time he was overwhelmed. The fury of the rising tide was added to the torrents.

The onslaught drove the Kittitwink higher on the beach. At the same time it nearly stripped her. The tremendous wave receded, the white surf fell back and gathered itself anew. Had it accomplished its purpose ?

Slowly Scrod emerged. He was badly bruised, but the saving rope was taut, held at one end by straining nrmB on the beach, at the other by the pin at the saddle of the mast.

Phineas scrambled out. It was a desperate risk. The Kit tieviink, creaking and groaning, was left alone to its doom.

Phineas hung upon the quivering rope. He had only a few feet to swing himself along j but the weight of the waters had been almost more than he could bear. He was desperate, but exhausted.

The roll of the returning surf, the boiling of the sea at his waist, the murmuring sands, the cry of tho horror-stricken people almost within reach, stunned the old sailor as he braved his fate. There was a surge and a rush, a Binging bb of distant music in his ears, and Phineas waa twisted from the rope and hurled into the seething water.

" Seize him ! Grab him !" shrieked a very loud voice. A man flung himself into the white foam.

He grappled with it, and grasped a dark object desperately. Was it a senseleBB wreck or a breath- ing man ? From the Bhores it was impossible to

tell.

Then the fisherman were seen to turn a white, streaming lace to the land. Aline of strong men had .already been formed. There was a desperate and magnificent pull.

Then tbe waters fell back. Phineas Scrcd had been Baved by his mate.

When the half drowned unconscious man was carried upon the Bhore and laid down, some of the byBtanders wished to roll him over a barrel, and some to stand him on his head, while one scientific summer boarder whipped out a "Guide for all Emergencies," and opening at the wrong page wildly prescribed chalk and and milk for the sake of precipitating the salt water, and thereby saving Mm from the convulsions of poisoning.

It was reserved for Trot to be equal to the occasion. With anxious whines he forced his way through the crowd and cuddled at the limp man's face, licking eyes and ears and mouth with a warm tongue and piteous cries.

This method of treatment for drowning, not prescribed in any medical" treatise, caused Phiu to open hiB eyes with a low groan. Trot, encouraged hy success, redoubled his attentions, .snapping spitefully at any interference.

Scrod, after a few minutes of hazy remembrance, rose to his right elbow. He cast an intelligent look about him and recognized the dog. His first

words were :

" Where's your master ?"

Then he asked, " Are them boys safe ? Save them boys?"

The crowd were deeply touched. Some one's voice was heard in a half sob. The people parted and a tall boy trotted before the prostrate sailor and fell upon his knees in the sand.

" O Phin !" cried Hal, with streaming eyes, " dear Phin. Thank God you're saved ! Forgive me, Phin. I'll never undertake to be captain in all my life again !"

Phin looked upon hiB employer's son and held

out his hand.

Seeing Non, looking scared in the crowd, Phineas beckoned to him. It seemed to the byBtanders like a sacred family meeting.

Black Tare had stepped back when Hal ap-

peared.

" I'm glad my boys are safe. Now we can go home in peace. Whar's my mate ?" asked Phineas. " I knotved he's safe. Nothin' can't drownd him."

" Here he is-he saved you," called out a voice from the crowd.

The stolid old fisherman was shoved to the front, still dripping, and with sand clinging to his clothes. His head waB bare, and he looked aB if he were ashamed of his prominenee.

" No, I didn't," he stammered ; " that is-we all hauled you in, but you saved yourself more'n we saved ye. Can't some un give yea dry bit o'

clothea ?"

He looked*around, and then lifted Phin carefully

to his feet.

ThiB practical point relieved the strain. The crowd closed upon them, and Phineas was carried off to one of the hotels in triumph. Hal followed with Trot a little way, and then turned back to the sea and the Kittiewinh. He was now able to walk and think calmly. Many people were still watching to see the surf pound the boat to pieces. The beach was begining to be strewn with jetsam.

Hal looked at the wreck with a feeling very much like glee. He was sorry that the boat was being destroyed, but not that the end of the boat- ing bad been reaehed.

His foot struck a hard substance. He stooped and picked up-his mother's soapstone. The saving rope had been untied.

Hal .did not thing it strange that the soapstone should be there. He had come to feel no wonder at anything the sea might do.

A small boy picked up a can of tomatoes cast up on the beach, and with great honesty brought it to

Hal.

" Is that yours ?" aBked the boy. " Yes, said Hal.

He mechanically put the can under his arm.

The tide had almost come, and with it a still higher wind and sea. As Hal watched a mighty i wave struck the ill-fated sloop. There was a tear-

ing of wood 5 the mast was wrenched out of her body, and, entangled in sails and rigging, waa carried on the crest of the breaker to the beach.

The Kitticiuinh yawned before bim and drifted

apart.

At this sight Hal drew a deep breath, and turned his back forever on the Kittiewinh. With his soapstone swaying in one hand, his can of tomatoes in the other, Trot rolling in the sand to dry him- self, and the honest small boy behind, Hal followed the crowd as best he might.

He now began to think of the telegram and of his anxious mother. Somehow, he thought that his father could stand the uncertainty, but h s mother-might she not die under the nervous strain ? Hal ran on.as fast as he could.

A quarterof an hour afterward when some one had kindly ferried the shipwrecked boy and the terrier over the river into the town, Hal walked up to the telegraph office, which was situated in a large

white hotel.

The men in the hall, who seemed to be staring in two ways, as if after two curiosities, withdrew their divided gaze and centred it upon our. dilapidated hero. .

The operator seemed to expect him. He had just sent two surprising messages ; but of these Hal knew nothing. The first of the two was written in a very scrawly band with a bad telegraph-office pen, and was much blotted by the blue ink :

to mister Henry maynot. Steamtug Sculpin, any viere on the new Englend cost, try Portland.

i found um. we Qo hum tomorroer in fust Trane Kittiewinh druv ashore, phineas Scrod.

" But how can the Western Union deliver this message ? Isn't its destination a little vague ?" the operator had suggested, mildly. He was only | too willing to do all he could for the interesting

waifs.

" Thet's the company's business," said Phineas, composedly. "You send that off, young fellow, right away, and mark it paid. Here's two quarters,

all I hev."

The operator started it off, and, stranger than all the strange events of that day, Mr. Maynot received that message before sundown, in Portland Harbor, where the discouraged Sculpin had run in for the night.

The next message was written in a precise hand.

To Doctor Parklmst, Sweet Fern, Mass.

Don't worry. Saved by Phin and sailor. Phin stved by sailor and others. Kittiewink not saved at all. AU well. Algernon.

Hal took the pen with trembling fingers, and wrote nervously :

To Mr. and Mrs. Maynot, Sweet Fern, Mass.

Kittiewink gone to pieces. Phin is a brick. Tele- graph money, shoes and clotlies immediately. We're all broken up. Tell mother it's all right. I'm coming right home for good. We'll start by early morning Wain. I guess Tm not fit to be captain of anything except a washtub. The only thing saved is Trot and us and the soapstone. Very lovingly your son, Hal.

This remarkable telegram was marked " collect." It was Hal's first telegram, and he was not in a

frame of mind for countin words.

About sunset that night Hal went out alone to the long pier. He had meant to take another look

at the wreck.

The evening train had brought many strange faces to the hotels and boarding-houses. Hal was diverted by the sight of the tourists, and for the moment forgot the errand on which he had come

out.

As he was looking about, his eye caught sight of a lonely figure sitting on the rocks, eagerly watch- ing the ocean. Something about the lady seemed familiar to him. He approached her timidly. The woman's travelling dress was dusty and disordered, and her face was haggard. Her eyes stared straight out upon the waters.

It- waa his mother, "searching the Atlantic Ocean," as Phineas had Baid.

Hil stood still. He was afraid to speak to her ; but Trot, without any hesitation, bounded into her lap, and said enough for all three.

[The End.]