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heads, and those who with spyglasses too late for the enterprise ; the cork kept a look-out in the direction of the jackets were thrown into the boat, and light-vessels confirmed them in their put on by the men. The powerful disbelief.
steam-tug, Aid, belonging to the harAbout nine o'clock, tidings came that bour, and which has her steam up a brig was ashore on the Woolpack night and day ready for any emergency Sands, off Margate. It was of course that may arise, got her steam to fuil concluded that the two Margate life- power, and, with her brave and skilful boats would go to the rescue; and, master, Daniel Reading, in command, although there was much anxiety and took the boat in tow, and made her excitement as to the result of the way out of the harbour. James Hogben, attempt the Margate. boatmen would who, with Reading, has been in many rake, no one had the least idea that a wild scene of danger, commanded the the services of the Ramsgate boat would life-boat. It was nearly low water at be required. Thus time passed on,
the time, but the force of the gale was util twelve o'clock, when most of the such that a good deal of spray was men went away to dinner, leaving a few dashing over the pier, and the snow, only on watch. Shortly after twelve, the which was falling in blinding squalls, coast-guard man from Margate hastened had drifted and eddied in every probreathless to the pier and to the har- tected nook and corner, making it hard bour-master's office, saying, in answer work for the excited crowd who had to eager inquiries, as he hurried on, assembled to see the life-boat start, to that the two Margate life-boats had been battle their way through the drifts and wrecked, and that the Ramsgate boat against the wind, snow and foam, to was wanted. The harbour-master im- the head of the pier. There at last they mediately gave the order to man the assembled, and many a heart failed as life-boat. No sooner had the words they saw the steamer and boat clear the passed his lips, than the sailors who pier and encounter the first rush of the had crowded around the door of the wind and sea outside. “She seemed to go office in expectation of the order, out under water," said one old fellow; rushed away to the boat. First come, “I wouldn't have gone in her for the first in; not a moment's hesitation, universe;" and those who did not know not a thought of farther clothing! The the heroism that such scenes called news soon spread; each boatman as he forth in the breasts of our watermen, heard it made a hasty snatch at his could not help wondering somewhat at south-wester cap and bag of waterproof the eagerness that had been displayed overalls, and raced down to the boat; to get a place in the boat—and this and for some time boatman after boat- although they knew that the two man was to be seen rushing down the Margate life-boats had been already pier, hoping to find a place still vacant wrecked in the attempt to get the short for himn. If the race had been to distance which separated Margate from save their own lives, instead of to risk the wreck, while they would have to them, it could scarcely have been more battle their way through the gale for hotly contested. Some of those who had ten or twelve miles before they could won the race, and were in the boat, get even in sight of the vessel. were ill-prepared with clothing for the nothing against the daring or skill of hardships they would have to endure; the Margate boatmen, or the efficiency for, if they had not their things at hand, of their boats that they failed. In such they would not delay a moment to a gale success was almost impossible obtain them, fearing that the crew without the aid of steam. With it might be made up before they got they would probably have succeeded ; there.
These were supplied by the without it the Ramsgate boat would generosity of their friends, who had certainly have failed. come down better prepared, although As soon as the steamer and boat got
It says clear of the pier they felt the full force storm ; they were well clear of the pier, of the storm, and it seemed almost settled to their work, and getting on doubtful whether they could make any gallantly. They passed through the cud progress against it. Getting out of the channel, and had passed the black and force of the tide as it swept round the white buoys, so well known to Ramspier, they began to move ahead, and gate visitors, when a fearful sea came were soon ploughing their way through heading towards them. It met and broke a perfect sea of foam.
over the steamer, buried her in foam, with engines working full power, plunged and swept along. The life-boat rose to along ; every wave, as it broke over her it, and then, as she felt the strain on the bows, flying up, sent its spray mast high, rope, plunged into it stem on, and was and deluged the deck with a tide of for a moment nearly buried. The men water, which, as it swept aft, gave the were almost washed out of her; but at men on board enough to do to hold on. that moment the tow-rope gave way to The life-boat was towing astern, with the tremendous strain ; the boat, lifted fifty fathom of five-inch hawser-an with a jerk, was flung round by the enormously strong rope, about the thick- force of the wave, and for a moment ness of a man's wrist. Her crew already seemed at the mercy of the sea which experienced the dangers and discomforts broke over her amidships. “Oars out!” they were ready to submit to without a was the cry as soon as the men had murmur, perhaps for many hours, in got their breath. They laboured and their effort to save life. It would be laboured to get the boat's head to the hard to give a description to enable one wind, but in vain; the force of the gale to realize their position in the boat. was too much for them, and, in spite of The use of a life-boat is, that it will all their efforts, they drifted fast to the live where other boats would of neces- Broke Shoal, over which the sea was sity founder; they are made for, and beating heavily ; but the steamer, which generally only used on, occasions of throughout was handled most admirably, extreme danger and peril, for terrible both as regards skill and bravery, was storms and wild seas. The water flows put round as swiftly as possible, and very in the boat and over it, and it still floats. cleverly brought within a yard or two Some huge rolling wave will break over to windward of the boat as she lay it and for a moment bury it, but it rises athwart the sea. They threw a hawlingin its buoyancy, and shakes itself free; line on board, to which was attached a beaten down on its broadside by the bran-new hawser, and again took the waves and wind, it rises on its keel boat in tow. again, and defies them to do their worst. The tide was still flowing, and, as it Such was the noble boat of which we rose, the wind came up in heavier and are writing. The waves that broke over heavier gusts, bringing with it a blindher drenched and deluged, and did ing snow and sleet, which, with the everything but drown, her. The men, foam, flew through the boat, still freezfrom the moment of their clearing the ing as it fell, till the men looked, as pier to that of their return, were up to one remarked at the time, like a body their knees in water. They bent forward of ice. They could not look to windas much as they could, each with a firm ward for the drifting snow and heavy seas hold upon the boat. The spray and continually running over them ; but not waves beat and broke upon their backs ; one heart failed, not one repented of and, although it could not penetrate winning the race to the life-boat. Off their waterproof clothing, it chilled them Broadstairs they suddenly felt the way to the bone-for, as it fell, it froze. So of the boat stop. “The rope broken bitter was the cold that their very mit- again,” was the first thought of all; but, tens were frozen to their hands. After on looking round, as they were then a tremendous struggle, the steamer enabled to do, the boat being no longer seemed to be making head against the forced through the seas, they discovered to their utter dismay that the steamer efforts that had been made to save the had stopped. They thought that her shipwrecked, and the destruction that machinery had broken down, and at had been wrought, as effort after effort once despaired of saving the lives of had been overcome by the fury of the the shipwrecked ; but soon they dis- gale. covered, to their joy, that the steamer But where was the wreck ? They had merely stopped to let out more could see nothing of her: had she been cable, fearful lest it might break again, beaten to pieces, all lives lost, and were as they fought their way round the they too late? A heavy mass of cloud North Foreland. It was another hour's and snow-storm rolled on to windward struggle before they reached the North of them, in the direction of the Margate Foreland. There the sea was running sands, and they could not make out any tremendously high. The gale was still signs of the wreck there.
There was increasing ; the snow, and sleet, and just a chance that it was the Woolpack spray rushed by with hurricane speed. Sand that she was on. They thought it Although it was only the early after- the more likely, as the first intelligence noon, the air was so darkened with which came of the wreck declared that the storm, that it seemed a dull twi- such was the case; and accordingly they light. The captain of the boat was determined to make for the Woolpack steering; he peered out between his Sand, which was about three miles farther coat-collar and cap, but looked in vain on. They had scarcely decided upon for the steamer. He knew that she this, when, most providentially, there was all right, for the rope kept tight; was a break in the drift of snow to but many times, although she was only windward, and they suddenly caught one hundred yards ahead, he could see sight of the wreck. But for this sudden nothing of her. Still less able were the clearance in the storm they would have men on board the steamboat to see the proceeded on, and, before they could life-boat. Often did they anxiously have found out their mistake and got look astern and watch for a break in back, every soul must have perished. the drift and scud to see that she was The master of the steamboat made out all right; for, although they still felt the flag of distress flying in the rigging, the strain upon the rope, she might be the ensign union downwards; she was towing along bottom up, or with every doubtless the vessel they were in search man washed out of her, for anything
But still it was a question how they could tell. Several times the fear they could get to her, as she was on the that the life-boat was gone came over
other side of the sand. To tow the the master of the steamer. Still steamer boat round the sand would be a long and boat battled stoutly and success- job in the face of such a gale; and for fully against the storm.
the boat to make across the sand seemed As soon
as they were round the almost impossible, so tremendous was North Foreland, the snow squall cleared, the sea which was running over it. and they sighted Margate, all anxiously Nevertheless, there was no hesitation looking for the wreck ; but nothing of on the part of the life-boat crew. It her was to be seen. They saw a lugger seemed å forlorn hope, a rushing upon riding just clear of the pier, with fore- destruction, to attempt to sail through mast gone, and anchor down, to prevent such a surf and sea ; but to go round her being driven ashore by the gale. the sands would occasion a delay which They next sighted the Margate life-boat, they could not bear to think of. Without abandoned and washed ashore, in West- hesitation, then, they cast off the towgate Bay, looking a complete wreck, the rope, and were about setting sail, when waves breaking over her. A little beyond they found that the tide was running so this, they caught sight of the second furiously that it would be necessary for life-boat, also ashore ; and then they them to be towed at least three miles to learnt to realize to the full the gallant the eastward, before they would be suf
ficiently far to windward to fetch the in their recoil, they mounted up in wreck. It was a hard struggle to get columns of foam, which was caught by the tow-rope on board again, and a the wind, and carried away in white heavy disappointment to all to find streaming clouds of spray, and the fearthat an hour or more of their
ful roar of the beating waves could be precious time must be consumed before heard above the gale. But straight for they could get to the rescue of their the breakers they made. No wavering, perishing brother seamen ; but there no hesitation; not a heart failed! was no help for it; and away they The boat, although under only her went again in tow of the steamer. double-reefed foresail and mizen-as The snow squall came on, and they little sail as she could possibly carrylost sight of the vessel ; but all were was driven on by the hurricane force of anxiously on the look out; and now the wind. On through the outer range and then in a lift of the squall they of breakers she plunged, and then came could catch a glimpse of her. They indeed a struggle for life. The waves no could see that she was almost buried longer rolled on in foaming ranks, but in the sea, which broke over her in leapt, and clashed, and battled together great clouds of foam; and again many in a raging boil of sea. They broke and weary were the doubts and specu- over the boat; the surf poured in first lations as to whether or no any one on on one side and then on the other; some board the wreck could still be alive. waves rushed over the boat, threatening
For twenty minutes or so they battled to sweep every man out of her. “Look against the wind and tide. The gale, out, my men ! hold on ! hold on!” was which had been steadily increasing since the cry when this happened ; and each the morning, came on heavier than ever; man threw himself down with his breast and the sea was running so furiously, on the thwart, and, with both arms that even the new rope with which the clasped round it, hugged it, and held to boat was being towed could not resist it against the tear and wrestle of the the increasing strain, and suddenly wave, while the rush of water poured parted with a tremendous jerk. There over their backs and heads and buried was no thought of picking up the cable them in its flood. Down for a moment again. They could stand no farther delay, boat and men all seemed to sink; but and one and all rejoiced to hear the cap- the splendid boat rose in her buoyancy tain give orders to set the sail.
and freed herself of the water which had for a moment buried her, and her
crew breathed again. A cry of triumph CHAPTER III.
arose from them—“All right! all right!
now she goes through it ; hold on, my THE RESCUE AND THE RETURN.
A moment's lull; she glided
on the crest of a huge wave, or only HARDER still the gale, and the rush smaller ones tried their strength against of the sea, and the blinding snow—the her; then the monster fellows came storm was at its height. As they headed heading on; again the warning cry for the sands, a darkness as of night was given, “Look out! hold on, hold seemed to settle down upon them; they on !” Thus, until they got clear of could scarcely see each other ; but on the sands, the fearful struggle was often through the raging sea they drove the repeated. But at last it ended, and gallant boat. As they approached the they got into deep water, leaving the shallow water, the high part of the breakers behind them. They had then sand, where the heaviest sea was break- only the huge rolling waves to contend ing,—they could see spreading itself be- with, and they seemed but as little in fore them, standing out in the gloom, a comparison to the broken water they barrier-wall of foam ; for, as the waves had just passed through and escaped broke on the sand, and clashed together from. The boat was put before the
wind, and every man was on the look little to the vessel. The waves break over out for the wreck. For a time it re- them--for a moment bury the boat; and mained so thick that there was then, as they break upon the vessel, the chance of finding her, when again, the spray hides the men, lashed to the rigging, second time, a sudden break in the storm from their sight. They hoist up
the sail a revealed her. She was about half a mile little to help the boat sheer, and soon a to leeward. They shifted their foresail huge wave lifts them ; they let out a with some difficulty, and again made in yard or two more cable by the run, and for the sands to the vessel. The appear- she is alongside the wreck! With a cry, ance of the wreck made even the boat- three men jump from the rigging, and men shudder. She had settled down are saved. The next instant they see a by the stern upon the sands, the sea huge wave rolling towards them, and making a clear breach over her. The might and main, hand over hænd, all starboard-bow was the only part of the haul in the cable, and draw the boat hull visible; the mainmast was gone ; away from the wreck, and thus escape the foresail and foretopsail blown adrift; being washed against her, and perhaps and great columns of foam were mount- over her, to certain destruction. Again ing up, flying over her foremast and they watch their chance and get alongbow. They saw a Margate lugger lying side. This time they manage to remain a at anchor, just clear of the sand, and little longer than before ; and, one after made close to her. As they shot by another, thirteen of the shipwrecked leap they could just make out through the from the rigging to the boat; and away roar of the storm a hail—“ Eight of our she is again. “Are they all saved ?" No'; men on board ;” and on they flew into three of the Spaniards are still left in a sea which would in a moment have the rigging; they seem almost dead, and swamped the lugger, noble boat though can scarcely unlash themselves from she was. Approaching the wreck, it the shrouds, and crawl down, ready for was with terrible anxiety they strained the return of the boat. This time the their sight, trying to discover whether peril is greater than ever. They have to there were still any men left in the go quite close to the vessel, for the men tangled mass of rigging, over which the are too weak tɔ leap; they must remain sea was breaking so furiously. By de- longer, for the men have to be lifted on grees they made them out. “I see one, board ; but as before, coolly and determitwo, three ! The rigging is full of nately they go to their work; the cable them !" was the cry; and, with a cheer is veered out, the sail manæuvred to of triumph at being still in time, they make the boat sheer, and again she is settled to their work.
alongside; the men are grasped by their The wreck of the mainmast, and the clothes, and dragged into the boat. tremendous wash of the sea over the The last in the rigging is the cabin-boy; vessel, prevented their going to the lee he seems entangled in the shrouds. (The of the wreck. This increased the danger poor little fellow had a canvas bag of tenfold, as the result proved. About trinkets and things he was taking home; forty yards from the wreck, they low- it had caught in the rigging; and his ered their sails, and cast the anchor cold, half-dead hands could not free over the side. The moment for which it.) A strong hand grasps him, and the boat had so gallantly battled for tears him down into the boat; for four hours, and
and the shipwrecked a moment's delay may be death to waited, in almost despair, for eight, all. A tremendous wave rushes on had at last arrived. No shouting, no
them; hold, anchor ! hold, cable ! give whisper beyond the necessary orders; but a yard, and all are lost! The the suspense and risk are too terrible! boat lifts, is washed into the foreYard by yard the cable is cautiously rigging ; the sea passes ; and she settles payed out, and the great rolling seas down again upon an even keel! If are allowed to carry the boat little by one stray rope of all the tangled rig