The Nevada Left Auckland Two Feet Deeper In The Water
Than She Ought To Have Been, And Laboured Heavily.
Seas struck her
under the guards with a heavy, explosive thud, and she groaned and
strained as if she would part asunder.
It was a long weird day. We
held no communication with each other, or with those who could form
any rational estimate of the probabilities of our destiny; no
officials appeared; the ordinary invariable routine of the steward
department was suspended without notice; the sounds were tremendous,
and a hot lurid obscurity filled the atmosphere. Soon after four
the clamour increased, and the shock of a sea blowing up a part of
the fore-guards made the groaning fabric reel and shiver throughout
her whole huge bulk. At that time, by common consent, we assembled
in the deck-house, which had windows looking in all directions, and
sat there for five hours. Very few words were spoken, and very
little fear was felt. We understood by intuition that if our crazy
engines failed at any moment to keep the ship's head to the sea, her
destruction would not occupy half-an-hour. It was all palpable.
There was nothing which the most experienced seaman could explain to
the merest novice. We hoped for the best, and there was no use in
speaking about the worst. Nor, indeed, was speech possible, unless
a human voice could have outshrieked the hurricane.
In this deck-house the strainings, sunderings, and groanings were
hardly audible, or rather were overpowered by a sound which, in
thirteen months' experience of the sea in all weathers, I have never
heard, and hope never to hear again, unless in a staunch ship, one
loud, awful, undying shriek, mingled with a prolonged relentless
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