We Had Got The Light
Sails Furled, The Courses Hauled Up, And The Topsail Reef-Tackles
Hauled Out, And Were Just Mounting The Fore-Rigging, When The Storm
In an instant the sea, which had been comparatively quiet,
was running higher and higher; and it became almost as dark as night.
The hail and sleet were harder than I had yet felt them; seeming to
almost pin us down to the rigging.
We were longer taking in sail
than ever before; for the sails were stiff and wet, the ropes and
rigging covered with snow and sleet, and we ourselves cold and nearly
blinded with the violence of the storm. By the time we had got down
upon deck again, the little brig was plunging madly into a tremendous
head sea, which at every drive rushed in through the bow-ports and
over the bows, and buried all the forward part of the vessel. At this
instant the chief mate, who was standing on the top of the windlass,
at the foot of the spenser mast, called out, "Lay out there and furl
the jib!" This was no agreeable or safe duty, yet it must be done.
An old Swede, (the best sailor on board,) who belonged on the forecastle,
sprang out upon the bowsprit. Another one must go: I was near the mate,
and sprang forward, threw the down-haul over the windlass, and jumped
between the knight-heads out upon the bowsprit. The crew stood abaft
the windlass and hauled the jib down, while we got out upon the weather
side of the jib-boom, our feet on the foot ropes, holding on by the spar,
the great jib flying off to leeward and slatting so as almost to throw
us off of the boom.
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