Life On The Mississippi By Mark Twain




















































































































































 -  I even got to 'setting' her
and letting the wheel go, entirely, while I vaingloriously turned my
back and inspected - Page 80
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I Even Got To 'setting' Her And Letting The Wheel Go, Entirely, While I Vaingloriously Turned My Back And Inspected The Stem Marks And Hummed A Tune, A Sort Of Easy Indifference Which I Had Prodigiously Admired In Bixby And Other Great Pilots.

Once I inspected rather long, and when I faced to the front again my heart flew into my mouth so suddenly that if I hadn't clapped my teeth together I should have lost it.

One of those frightful bluff reefs was stretching its deadly length right across our bows! My head was gone in a moment; I did not know which end I stood on; I gasped and could not get my breath; I spun the wheel down with such rapidity that it wove itself together like a spider's web; the boat answered and turned square away from the reef, but the reef followed her! I fled, and still it followed, still it kept - right across my bows! I never looked to see where I was going, I only fled. The awful crash was imminent - why didn't that villain come! If I committed the crime of ringing a bell, I might get thrown overboard. But better that than kill the boat. So in blind desperation I started such a rattling 'shivaree' down below as never had astounded an engineer in this world before, I fancy. Amidst the frenzy of the bells the engines began to back and fill in a furious way, and my reason forsook its throne - we were about to crash into the woods on the other side of the river.

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