Belay that! Now, the main-topmast staysail. Let go the down-haul; that is it, that rope you have your hand on cast it off! That's right. Here are the sheets; hook the clips into that ring-bolt there close to the second gun. That is all right. Now take a turn with the running part round that cleat! Capital! Now wait a moment."
He made out that a Siwash was fumbling at the down-haul made fast near his side, and when the man's shadowy figure rose up against the whiteness of the foam he made a jump forward. Then he was on the bowsprit, lying upon it while he felt for the foot-rope slung beneath.
Then he made out that a Siwash was fumbling at the down-haul made fast near his side, and when his companion's shadowy figure rose up against the whiteness of the foam he made a jump forward. Then he was on the bowsprit, lying upon it while he felt for the foot-rope slung beneath.
"Man overboard!" sang out one of the crew, who was pulling away at the jib down-haul in order to stow the sail, the halliards having been cast loose, "Man overboard!" in a voice which rang through the vessel fore and aft, and attracted everybody's attention. "Hi!
To the end of this line is attached any small rope that lies handiest on the forecastle, probably the top-gallant clew-line, or the jib down-haul.
The ship lay very broad off, so we thought it better spooning before the sea, than trying or hulling. We reefed the fore-sail and set him, and hauled aft the fore-sheet; the helm was hard a-weather. The ship wore bravely. We belayed the fore down-haul; but the sail was split, and we hauled down the yard, and got the sail into the ship, and unbound all the things clear of it.
Away aloft, Donkin, overhaul the gear," ordered the mate inflexibly. "Fetch the sail along; bend the down-haul clear. Bear a hand." Then, the sail set, he would go slowly aft and stand looking at the compass for a long time, careworn, pensive, and breathing hard as if stifled by the taint of unaccountable ill-will that pervaded the ship. "What's up amongst them?" he thought.
This one great sea changed the aspect of affairs suddenly as the flash of a gun. Three minutes later the same wave overtook the Spray and shook her in every timber. At the same moment the sheet-strop parted, and away went the main-boom, broken short at the rigging. Impulsively I sprang to the jib-halyards and down-haul, and instantly downed the jib.
The explanation of the mystery lay before his eyes. There at the triangular junction, where the connecting rod linked with the down-haul of the semaphore, the bolt had fallen out, and the whole thing was disconnected. The bolt with its screw nut and washer were lying on the ground, where, apparently, they had fallen.
The main-topsail was clewed up and fortunately saved, the mizzen-staysail was set. "Stand by, to cut away the stoppers of the best bower anchor to let it go, stock and fluke," said Captain G. "Man the fore-topmast-staysail down-haul; put your helm down! haul down the staysail."