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washed like an ocean of fire-so vivid was the phosphorus in it-as high as my waist, and tumbled down the steps in a cataract that was like to flood the cabin. I had sense enough to check this by closing the weather door and top of the companion, and there I stood, confounded, horrified, dulled, so that I was like an idiot, I may say, by the dreadful darkness, unable to see anything but the white water, and hearkening to the shrieks of the invisible men which rose with an edge that made the bellowing of the canvas and the thundering of the bursting surges a maddening and distracting uproar indeed. Whilst I stood thus, some one in the blackness on the starboard hand cried out my name.

"Who is that?' I shouted.

'Me-Tripshore, sir. For the Lord's sake, stretch along and give me hold of your hand. I'm drowning down here.' I could not see him, but I was visible to him in the faint haze of light that came up out of the companion. Rejoiced to hear his voice, I swung myself out on to the deck, and, grasping the companion with my left hand, I threw my legs wide apart and leaned down with my right arm outstretched.

'Do you see me?' I cried.

Ay, sir-keep so a minute,' he answered, and presently I felt him seize my hand.

Now that he was close, I could see his outline, but not his face. The deck sloped like the side of a steep hill, it was slippery as ice with the wet, and cataracts of water were incessantly rushing down it from over the bulwarks. The poor fellow could give me no help, and I had to drag him up, which, by a desperate effort and putting forth my whole strength and will, I managed to do, swinging him round into the companion, where he lay awhile on one knee, with his arm on the hand-rail and his head resting on his arm, quite spent and very nearly drowned.

All this while I heard no sounds in the cabin, and the men's voices on deck were stilled. The yacht lay dead on her side. Once only, and shortly after she had heeled over hard and fast aground, a sea raised and bumped her, and I heard the crash of timber aloft, and the sound of a mighty fall, but it was too dark to see what spar had gone; and after that the schooner lay quiet, with the sea breaking against her port side, and shooting high into the air over her, as was to be known by the rattling of the sheets of water when they fell into the boiling whiteness to leeward.

I said to Tripshore, 'Have you your senses?'

'I'm better,' he answered. 'There's an ocean of water in the lee scuppers, and I was drowning in it. I feel full o' water. If I could be sick it 'ud relieve me.'

'Where are the men?'

'Most of 'em drowned, I fear. They got away with the longboat.'

'What time is it?'

'About half-past four.'

"Oh, my God!' I cried.

we might see where we are!'

If the daylight would only come, that

As I said this I heard Sir Mordaunt calling my name. I slid down the steps, and, turning round, found one of the cabin lamps brightly burning, and the whole party, everybody who belonged to our end of the vessel, standing at the table, which alone prevented them from slipping down the cabin floor. Sir Mordaunt grasped his wife round the waist with his right arm, and with the other held Miss Tuke by the wrist. Mrs. Stretton and Carey clung to each other, and Norie stood beside them. Full of hurrying horror as that time was, I could yet find a moment to wonder at the supernatural calmness of Lady Brookes. She was as white as marble, but I could not question that she had her senses; and though she may not have known that any instant the yacht might crumble to pieces under our feet, yet she surely comprehended that our peril was of the direst kind, that we were shipwrecked, lying broken and storm-swept upon some nameless reef, amid the blackness of a howling night.

Both Mrs. Stretton's and Miss Tuke's faces wore rather an expression of consternation than horror. Now and then Carey uttered a low moan-every time the water thundered on the deck she made that noise otherwise no sound came from the women. Their silence indeed was almost shocking to me. In Lady Brookes I should have foretold a behaviour so different, so distracting, that her rigid posture and stony face smote me like a prophecy of immediate death. It seemed to take all hope of life away, as if the bitterness of death had passed from her and the others, and they were waiting to die. What has happened, Walton?' said the baronet, in a strong thick voice.

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The yacht is on her beam-ends ashore,' I replied. Purchase's reckoning is diabolically wrong. I always feared so-yet I had hoped to escape


'What are we to do?' he said.


When he said this they all fixed their eyes upon me, with a dreadful eagerness in their expression-heart-moving beyond endurance, indeed, owing to their silence. I gulped down a sob, and struggling to master my voice, I answered, We can do nothing until daylight comes. It draws on for five o'clock, and we shall have the dawn shortly. Let us pray God that the vessel will hold together--I think she will. She is strong, and can stand this buffeting unless she bumps.'

She is motionless,' exclaimed Norie, in a broken voice. I have not felt her bump for some time.'

Is there no way of finding out where we are?' cried Miss Tuke, wildly and suddenly. Can we not get help from the shore?' It is as black as ink on deck,' I replied. There are no lightsthere is no land to be seen.'



'Oh, the water-the water! Listen to it!' shrieked Carey, cowering, and looking around her with eyes brilliant with terror.

A heavy sea had broken over the vessel and poured over the deck above us, and a bright flood came bursting and smoking down the companion ladder.

Lady Brookes threw her arms up, and Sir Mordaunt pressed her fiercely to him; but she remained as silent as a statue.

I called to Tripshore to close the companion and come down. reckoned that if any of the crew were alive they would be in the forecastle. Be that as it was, we could not let the cabin be drowned. Already the water was as high as the starboard lockers, and the cabin was small enough to be quickly flooded.

Tripshore descended with a faltering motion. No one but myself had known he was on the top of the steps. His clothes were streaming, his sou'-wester had been washed off his head, and his hair was pasted on his forehead, throwing out his bleached face, and making him look more like a corpse than a man. There stood a decanter of brandy on one of the swinging trays, and with the utmost difficulty I managed to seize it and gave it to Tripshore, bidding him put his lips to it and swallow a dram. In truth, numbed and confounded as my mind was by the sudden horror of our condition, I yet preserved sufficient presence of mind to foresee a vital value in this sailor if the wreck held together until the daylight, and that our lives might depend upon my recovering him from his half-drowned state.

I gathered hope when I found the yacht lying immovable. That she was bilged, I knew by the slow rise of the water to leeward in the cabin; but, as I say, that rise was slow, and much of the water that was there had come down the companion; and I guessed if the leak did not drain in faster than it now did, it would be a good bit past daylight before the water came high enough to drive us out of the cabin.1

The worst and most dreadful part was the heavy concussions of the seas which struck the windward side of the schooner, and kept her trembling like a railway carriage swiftly drawn. After every blow there would be a pause, and then down would come the water in tons weight, smashing upon the deck overhead, and washing in a loud roar over the bulwarks on the other side. Every instant I expected to see the companion carried away, or the skylight dashed in. But, mercifully for us, these fixtures stood, so nobly and stoutly built was that vessel down to the meanest of her appointments.

What our position was at this time I will leave you to imagine. The heel of the yacht was certainly not less than fifty, ay, and maybe, more than fifty, degrees. The swinging trays lay with their lee rims hard against the upper deck. So acute was the slope, that nothing but the interposition of the table prevented us from falling

The hold was no doubt full of water, and the draining into the cabin was through the cabin floor.

headlong down the incline. In the light of the lamp we stood looking at one another, all in silence, save but for the occasional screams or moans of alarm which broke from Carey, and once or twice from Miss Tuke, though never from Lady Brookes, when a wave beat upon the deck, and ran snarling and hissing away, like a score of disappointed wild beasts. I shall never forget the expression of anguish in Sir Mordaunt's face. I can recall no hint of fear in it. It was bitter grief and horror, as if he were to blame for the frightful peril that with amazing swiftness had confronted the motionless, staring woman he clutched to his heart.


As for her, her passivity was as though a miracle had been wrought. I thanked God for it, for I knew how the agony of that time would have been heightened by her screams and terror. it was wonderful that she, whom a thunderstorm had driven into hysterics, and who had fainted over the narrative of a disaster, should be standing there now as if all sensibility had fallen dead in her. Perhaps, indeed, this may have been the case. Her aspect was one of petrifaction, or, it might be, that her senses were paralysed by the first alarm, and were unable to take in the full meaning of our situation. She often turned her glittering eyes on me, and stared as though she beheld an apparition. It was a positive relief to see her toss her hands when the water above boomed thunderously. Suddenly Tripshore made a movement.

'Where are you going?' I asked sharply.

To see if anything can be done for our lives,' he answered.

'Stay where you are!' I cried. 'If you show your head above the companion you'll be washed overboard; and I won't have the doors opened. When the dawn comes you'll see it on that skylight. What can be done now, man? It's pitch dark still. Could we see to launch a boat? Would those breaking seas allow us to enter a boat? Stay where you are, I say. Here, at least, we have a refuge.'

Can nothing be done?' exclaimed Miss Tuke, with a dreadful note of despair in her voice.


Yes, yes,' I answered. Everything that can be done shall be done. But it will be madness to leave this cabin until the dawn comes, to let us know where we are and what we can do.'


'Have you no rockets to send up?' cried Mrs. Stretton.


They'll be drowned by this time, sir,' said Tripshore, addressing me. 'They're in the fore peak. There'll be no getting at 'em.' 'They would not help us,' I said. They would not show in this mist; though could we come at them we might fire them through the companion.'

'I'll try and get 'em, if you like,' said Tripshore; but unless yon bulkhead can be broke through, I shall have to go on deck to get down the fore hatch.'

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'No, don't risk that,' exclaimed Sir Mordaunt. The dawn will No. 631 (NO. CLI. N. s.)


be here soon. Mr. Walton is right; we can do nothing in this


Nothing; nor did I regret the want of the rockets, for from the first I never doubted that we were aground upon one of the hundreds of the Bahama shoals, miles out of sight of inhabited land, and that there was no eye but God's to mark our signal of distress, though we should make a blaze as big as a burning city.

The steady posture of the yacht, and my confidence in her strength kept my heart up; and I endeavoured to cheer my companions by pointing out that the wind might drop with the rising sun, and that, though we had lost one boat, we had two others large enough to contain us all. Likewise, that we need not doubt of being able to make our way to one of the numerous islands which lay scattered broadcast upon these seas, where we should get the relief we stood in need of.

Sir Mordaunt asked Tripshore where the rest of the crew were. The man answered that he feared some of them were drowned, but he could not say for certain: he supposed those who lived were sheltering themselves in the forecastle.

I was sorry he answered the question in that way. His reply was a dreadful shock to the women. His saying that he feared some of the men were drowned gave a most crushing sense of realness to our awful situation. Miss Tuke's face contracted as with an agonising spasm, and Mrs. Stretton cried bitterly. Lady Brookes said something to her husband-I did not catch the words—and he laid her head against his shoulder, and soothed her with the most endearing gestures, at the same time looking at me with a most heart-broken expression in his eyes.

In this manner we stood waiting to see the dawn brighten upon the skylight windows, listening with terror to the weary crashing of the seas, feeling with unspeakable dismay the dreadful occasional quivering of the hull; and I at least scarcely daring to hope that the vessel could much longer withstand the cruel hammering of those pounding surges.

(To be continued.)

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