The poor mate's done his stunt on the mizzen." And so, by doing the seamanly work themselves and putting ropes into the hands of the crew, the mate and the two boatswains got sail on the ship, even to the jib-topsail and the mainroyal staysail. Captain Williams discreetly remained in the background, only asserting himself once, when he knocked an Irishman off the poop.
Part of this cargo we intended to take from London with us, viz., the water-tank, filled, second suit of sails and flying-kites in the shape of spinnaker, jib-topsail, square-headed gaff-topsail, etcetera, also a four-pound rifle gun, with a stock of powder and shot, and a few percussion shells.
Paz, we worked out of Savannah-la-Mar, and, having gained an offing with a light breeze, hoisted all her bits of canvas, even to a light jib-topsail we found on board chiefly, I think, to impress her late owner, whom we could descry on the shore, watching us. He had steadfastly refused to believe us capable of handling a boat, whereas of our party Plinny and Mr.
But she was provided with an abundance of "kites," including an immense gaff-topsail, which extended on poles far above the topmast head, and far beyond the peak, a balloon-jib, a jib-topsail, and a three-cornered studding-sail. The balloon-jib, or the jib-topsail, was bent on with snap-hooks when it was needed, for only one was used at the same time.
Under the two berths were large, though not very deep, lockers, one of which contained the jib-topsail of the craft, and other spare sails, while the opposite one was the fuel locker of the sloop. As the boat had not been used for a long time in cruising, the fuel receptacle was empty, though a spare gaff-topsail had been thrown into it.
We were buried, choked, and half drowned; but when the wave had passed on, the main and mizzenmasts, unsupported by the rigging that I had cut away, snapped cleanly about three feet above the deck, and the broad, flat-bottomed craft straightened up, lifting the weight of the foremast and its gear, and lay on an even keel, with foresail, staysail, and jib set, the fore gaff-topsail, flying jib, and jib-topsail clewed down and the wreck of the masts bumping against the port side.
This conversation was followed by another pause, during which the careful skipper had another opportunity to examine the weather indications. They were decidedly unfavorable. It was probable that a squall, if not a tornado, would soon burst upon them, and he deemed it prudent, even at the risk of being shot, to haul down the jib-topsail, the staysail, and the gaff-topsails.
For three stormy days the ship had been charging along before a wind that had increased to a gale, and a following sea that threatened to climb aboard. The jib-topsail, the skysails and royals, the lighter middle staysails, and the fore and mizzen topgallantsails had been blown away, and the ship was practically under topsails, a bad equipment of canvas with which to claw off a lee shore.