« AnteriorContinuar »
night. One of them had ripped open her stern and we were towing a useless hulk.
“Cut the cable and let her go!" called the skipper.
The loss of the boat was a great help to the strugsgling schooner; she kept into the wind better and enabled the skipper to try for the harbor without another tack. We were only a quarter mile from the breakwater when the skipper rolled the wheel down and turned the bows of the Nimbus straight toward the 10 Seething sands of the shore.
How she rolled over to port as her stern came into the wind! It was a tense moment but she righted
! splendidly. Every moment was tense. It would be a miracle to save the schooner from being dashed upon 15 the shore before she could be turned into her anchorage and the anchors get a grip that would hold her in place.
What a harbor to enter! Schooners lining both sides of the wharf four tier deep. Others anchored off the wharf in every best anchorage. Still others, a ao forest of masts showing through the spray, holding their ground under the breakwater and giving no chance for an incoming schooner to enter astern of them without grave risk of being beached.
In the midst of the mass of ships, where one would as need to guide his craft without running others down, was the whirlpool of waters rushing through the opening of the breakwater and driving all vessels from its path. Little wonder that the skippers and old seamen
left the headland and rushed to the wharves as John Deane turned the bow of the Nimbus toward the breakwater's end.
It was a frightful sight for them, if a grand one. Into everyone's life comes some greatest moment. This was ours as it was theirs on the wharf who beheld the master mariner handle his schooner that morning. A fleeing schooner, stripped clean for the race, was headed toward shipwreck, or safety; tighteen fishermen, warm and hopeful, to be rescued or drowned, 10 inside two minutes; a young skipper, bareheaded at the wheel, a life line about his waist, his keen eye sweeping the harbor for the best course; the veteran Spurling on the house above him motioning with his arms — for nothing could be heard in the roar of the 15 waters — signaling the course down to the man at the wheel; a bunch of men at the bows ready to cut the anchors from the rails; another group in yellow jackets, with faces bleached by the night's sleet, huddled about the foresail halyards. This fleeting glimpse only. Then the Nimbus dashed from the clearer waters to bury herself from the view of onlookers in the blinding storm of waves that poured over the breakwater.
The schooner turned sharply inshore at the end of the breakwater, rushing along between the wall of wood on one side and the row of protruding bowsprits on the port side, every one of which seemed to jab
into her shrouds as she fled past. When she emerged from the blinding spray she struck a clear space of water, the roaring cataract of brine that poured through the break in the wall.
She was heading straight for schooners anchored near the wharf when John Deane whirled the wheel hard down to bring her into the wind before she should ram the other ships. The jumbo came down with a rush, the bow of the schooner turned quickly under to the control of the rudder, and just when she was about to drift off before the wind and torrent, the two anchors plunged from the rails to grip the bottom and hold the Nimbus in place.
All was over! As John Deane reached down to unis fasten the rope from his waist the hoarse cheers of men on the wharf were wafted through the frightful din to his ears. They knew what it meant to save his schooner, to save his men, and to keep the black crape from fishermen's homes.
- Skipper John of the Nimbus.
1. What is the chief thing of interest in this story? Who is its hero? The lives of how many men depended on him? What kind of young man do you picture him to be?
2. Find these words in the selection and put in words of your own that mean almost the same: prey; tur'bu-lent; crāters; dory; elements; im-plic'it; in'fin-ste; cat'a-ract.
3. Make a list of the sea words used.
(This selection from Skipper John of the Nimbus, by Raymond McFarland, is used by special permission of the publishers The Macmillan Company.)
THE HOME OF THE SEA FAIRIES
By MATTHEW ARNOLD
HILDREN dear, was it yesterday
We heard the sweet bells over the bay?
— The Forsaken Merman.
THE KEYS TO SUCCESS
The door to true success can be unlocked only by several age-old keys. They are called by homely names such as Industry, Perseverance, Honesty, Faithfulness to Friends, Loyalty to Employer, Economy, Common Sense, and Foresight. You can do nothing better than to cultivate these virtues.