But it was a case of `yo heave' and `paul' in vain, the hemp cable coming home as taut as possible, and then surging off the capstan without moving the poor little Martin a hair's-breadth from her sandy bed. "We must get out the stream anchor, Mr Gadgett," sang out the commander.
"Yo ho, my lads!" bawled out old Jellybelly, quite in his element, I believe, as he liked to hear his own voice. "Round she comes! Heave and paul with a yo heave ho!" "By jingo, she's moving!" Mr Gadgett quivered out, more excited than I had ever seen the grey-haired gunner before. "Another turn or two, my lads, and she'll be afloat!"
"Hurrah!" he cried a moment after. "She is moving, Mr Gadgett. Stand by there, furrud, to veer off the cable of the port bower!"
This was at once manned, there being no want of volunteers, every one of us wanting to have a turn at the capstan bars, even before Mr Gadgett, the gunner, who was on duty forward, gave the word.
Through the energetic instructions of Mr Gadgett, who was a most painstaking officer, and spared no trouble to teach us our duties properly, we had learnt when ashore on our drill-ground at Haslar to master all the necessary manipulation of our `little barkers, as the gunner used to call them, learning how to cast them loose from their lashings, run them back for loading, and prepare them for firing, all in similar dumb-show fashion to our sail-drill experiences in the old ship; and now, when we were able to load with real powder and shot, and make Mr Gadgett's `barkers' bark in earnest, the interest of our gunnery drill was increased tenfold.
"By jingo!" exclaimed Mr Gadgett, smiling for once, for I never previously saw the slightest change of muscle on his thin, weather- beaten, grey-whiskered face, "you'll do!"
There was Gadgett Malone. Proper dog he was used to sing 'Love me, an' th' World is Mine. He got all balled up with a widder, first crack out o' th' box, an' she shook him down for his roll an' put th' skids under him in great shape inside of a month. He's back on th' Force again. There was Barton McGuckin. When he pulled out he shook hands all around, I mind.
Mr Gadgett, the bo'sun, was complaining just now of their taking up all the fairway of the deck, and told me I must get rid of them from here somehow or the other!" "All right," responded the seaman-instructor to this suggestion of the master-at-arms; and, turning to us, he said, "Take up your hammocks, my lads, and follow me down to the lower deck.
Mick soon became one of our best shots, Mr Gadgett complimenting him on having the sharpest eye on board the brig, my chum often, when acting as Number 1, who you must know invariably sights the gun, succeeding in smashing our improvised target all to pieces. "How is it, Donovan," asked the gunner on one of these occasions, "you have such a steady aim? Why, boy, you haven't been at it very long.