At length he saw that there was no possible chance of saving the ship, and called all those he could get to obey him to lower a boat, that they might endeavour to preserve their lives. What was his dismay to find just then a heavy squall strike the ship; but her after-rigging being already burned, while her head sails were all set, she paid off before the wind. Away she flew.
The crew had climbed into the after-rigging, which was all that now remained standing, and they made despairing signs for help; but it was impossible to render any. They had enough to do to keep themselves afloat.
It was thirty feet to the bottom of any one of these empty tanks, and those who followed did so at creeping speed. He was clear of the mob. A light bound and he was on the ship's rail beside the after-rigging. The captain, leaning as far out as the chart deck would allow, shook a raging arm at Kieran. "You'll assault, you'll batter my men right and left, will you, you crazy mutineer?"
Mark forgot the smarting and throbbing from his burns on the instant, as he snatched out his dirk, for knowing as well as if he could see everything that the whole of the after-rigging was lying across the deck and dragging at the side, so that the schooner lay on the water like a gull with a broken wing, he felt that in a few minutes a couple of boats' crews from the Nautilus would be aboard; and if there was to be any resistance, now was the time to make a diversion.
The ship came driving down on us on the starboard bow. It appeared that if she struck us she must sink us at the moment. Our helm was put to starboard, and by sheering a little to the other side, we escaped the dreaded blow. At that instant she turned round, and her main-yard got foul of our after-rigging. This brought our sides together, and she hung dragging on us.