페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

his widowed mother. He had been in the hold thirty-six hours, and quite forty hours without food or drink. He must be too weak to cry out now, It was hard for me to give in, but if he died there from starvation it might go harder with me still. So at last I made up my mind to go and see him.

II. It was not quite sunset when I had the hatch taken off, and I jumped upon the boxes alone. A little way forward I saw a space where Jack might easily have gone down, and to this point I crawled on my hands. I called out, but could get no answer. A short distance farther was a wide space, which I now remembered had been left open on account of a break in the flooring of the hold, which would let anything that might have been stored there rest directly upon the thin planking of the ship.

12. To this place I made my way, and looked down. I heard the splashing of water, and thought I could detect the sound of a tiny jet or stream. At first I could see nothing; but as soon as I became used to the dim light, I could distinguish the faint outline of the boy at some distance below me. He seemed to be sitting on the broken floor with his feet stretched out against a cask. I called out to him: 'Jack, are you there?' And he answered me in a faint, weary voice, 'Yes, captain, help me! Do help! Bring men, and bring a lantern-the old ship has sprung a leak!' Then

1

1 Sprung a leak, water had begun to get into the ship owing to a board having given way.

he added in a more eager tone, 'Make hasteI will try to hold on till you come back.'

13. I waited to hear no more, but hurried on deck as soon as possible, and returned with a lantern and three men. I leaped down beside the boy, and could scarcely believe my own eyes. Three of the timbers were worm-eaten to the very heart, and one of the outer planks had been broken, and would burst in any moment the boy might leave it. His feet were firmly braced against the plank before him. Half a dozen little jets of water were streaming in about him, and he was wet to the skin. I saw the plank must burst the moment the strain was removed from it, so I made my men brace their feet against it as I lifted him. up. Other men were called down with planks and spikes, and with much care and trouble we finally succeeded in stopping the leak, and saving the ship.

14. The plank which had been broken was six feet long by eight inches wide. The damage would have been beyond our reach long before we could have discovered it, and would have sunk us in a very short time. I knew it must have been where the iceberg struck us.

15. Jack Withers was taken to the cabin, and the next day managed to tell his story. Shortly after I threw him down the hold, he crawled forward as well as he could, and when he became used to the dim glimmer, he looked about for a snug place in which to lie, for his limbs were very sore. He went to sleep; and when he awoke he heard a

faint sound, like water streaming through a small hole. He went to the open place, and looked down, and was sure that he saw a small jet of water coming up through the bottom of the ship. He leaped down, and in few moments found that the timber had given way, and the stream was increasing in size. He put his hand upon the plank, and discovered that the pressure of water was forcing it inward.

He had sense to see that if it gave way, all must go the ship be lost, and all hands perish.

16. He saw, too, that if he could only keep the broken plank in its place till help came he might save the ship. So he sat himself down upon it, and braced his feet firmly against the cask, and then called for help. But he was too far away; so low down, with such a mass of cargo about him, that for a long time his voice reached no ears but his own. At last some of the men heard him, but thought that he was talking to himself. And there he sat, with his feet braced, for four-and-twenty weary hours, the water spurting all over him, and drenching him to the very skin. He had several times thought of going to the hatchway and calling for help, but he knew that the broken plank would be forced in if he left it, for he could feel it heave beneath him. His limbs were racked with pain, but he would not give in. I asked him if he would not have given up if I had not come when I did. He answered, 'Not while I had any life in me.' He said he did not think of himself, for he was ready to die, but he would save the rest if he

could; and he had saved us surely- saved us all from a watery grave.

17. The noble boy fell sick, almost unto death; and I nursed him all through his illness; and when he began to recover, and could sit up and talk, I bowed myself before him on my knees, and humbly asked his pardon for all the wrongs I had done him. He threw his arms around my neck, and told me if I would be kind to him he would lay down his life. for me.

18. I never forgot those words, and from that hour I have never struck a blow on board my ship. I make my sailors feel that they are men--that I so regard them, and that I wish to make them as comfortable and happy as possible. And I have not failed to gain their respect and confidence. I make my crew feel that they have a friend and

He was my

superior in the same person. For nine years I have sailed in three different ships with the same crew. A man could not be lured' to leave me, save for an officer's berth. And Jack Withers remained with me for thirteen years. cabin-boy, one of my foremost hands, my second mate, and the last time he sailed with me he refused the command of a new barque because he would not be separated from me. But he is captain now, and one of the best the country ever produced.

19. Such was my dearly bought but now happy experience in the discipline of my ship—and the government of myself.

'Lured, enticed.

[ocr errors][merged small][graphic][ocr errors][ocr errors][subsumed]

I. DID you ever think, as you looked at a heap of old rags, that you saw before you the material from which books are made? Yet it is quite true that out of what you would call rubbish, the most beautiful and pure white paper is produced.

words were traced on

2. The most ancient books were the sides of hard rocks, on which people used to cut or paint the history of their kings. Sometimes the letters and clay, which was afterwards burnt in the form of bricks or tiles. Not very long ago, when the ruins of the great city of Nineveh were dug out, a great number of these inscriptions were discovered, some of which supposed to be more than 4,000 years old.

are

« 이전계속 »