Marco took his place forward to act as bowman.
It is the duty of the bowman to keep a lookout forward, that the boat
does not run into any danger; and also, when the boat comes to land,
to step out first and hold it by the painter, that is, the rope which
is fastened to the bow, while the others get out. Marco had a pole,
with an iron spike and also an iron hook in the end of it, which he
used to _fend off_ with, as they called it, when the boat was in
danger of running against any obstacle. This was called a boat-hook.
"_Attention!_" said Forester, when the boys were all seated.
Hereupon the boys raised the oars into the air, ready to let them down
into the water.
"_Let fall!_" said Forester. The oars all fell gently and
together into their places.
"_Give way!_" said Forester.
The boat began immediately to glide rapidly over the water, under the
impulse which the boys gave it in rowing. "_Crew at ease_," said
So the boys went on rowing, but understood that they had liberty to
talk. One of them wished to know where Forester was going with them;
but Forester said it was entirely contrary to the discipline aboard
a man-of-war for the crew to ask the captain where they were going.
"Besides," said Forester, "though I could easily tell you, I think you
will enjoy the expedition more, to know nothing about it beforehand,
but to take every thing as it comes."
Forester steered in such a manner as to put the head of the boat
toward a bank at some distance from where they started, on which there
was a thick forest of firs and other evergreens, growing near the