Captain Cook found the ENDEAVOUR in a very tight corner on one occasion, out of which he wriggled, and in recording the circumstance wrote: "We owed our safety to the interposition of Providence, a good look-out, and the very brisk manner in which the ship was manned." In a similar spirit Tom's art was exemplified. He watched the weather, while he coaxed the rain.
He had fastened some sort of enormous flag to a bamboo pole, and was waving it at the end of the old wharf. Davidson didn't like to take his steamer alongside for fear of being indiscreet, I suppose; but he steered close inshore, stopped his engines, and lowered a boat. He went himself in that boat, which was manned, of course, by his Malay seamen.
In vain the midshipmen and their followers fought desperately. Harry was felled by a blow with a war club, Dick cut down with a kris; half the seamen were killed, the others jumped overboard and swam back to their vessel. Lieutenant Hopkins shouted to the men to take to the boats, and the two cutters were speedily manned.
"Where is the ship?" asks Dicky Browne, laying his hand on the arm of one of those ancient mariners to steady himself, while the old salt, who is nearly thrice his age, stands steady as a rock. "Close by; a schooner from some furrin' port, with wine, they say." So shouts the old man back again. "And the life-boat?" "Is manned an' away.
They were not on duty themselves, but they knew that all the South Carolina earthworks and batteries were manned. What would happen? It still seemed almost incredible to Harry that the people of the Union at least of the Union that was should fire upon one another, and his pulse beat hard and strong, while he waited with his comrade.
The captains, as a rule, did not put officers in charge of their boats, and the sailors who manned them, having no competent direction, acted upon their own judgment. Finally, boats which could have made a round trip between the transports and the shore in half an hour if towed by a steam-launch often used up the greater part of two hours in toiling back and forth through a heavy sea under oars.
The consequences of this defiance of advice were fatal to Old Flyblow; for, a week or two after his victory, he was pounced upon by the French corvette, Boudeuse, which was fresh, heavily armed, and well manned. The commodore's jury masts were knocked to pieces by the first broadside, his flag went by the board, and he was completely at the enemy's mercy.
Plenty of smoke was seen, showing the country was inhabited, and the pinnace and yawl were manned and armed, and Cook landed on the east side of the river. Some natives were seen on the other side, and, to try to open communications, the yawl, pulled by four boys, entered the river, whilst Cook followed up the natives, who had retreated towards some huts about 300 yards away.
The government, of course, is in complete control of the merchant marine; but in our present condition many American ships have to be manned by aliens.
It did not make any difference how close he was to the men, he shouted everything through the trumpet; and when they manned the brakes and began to pump, he roared at them, "Down on her, down on her, boys!" so that you would have thought the Neptune could put out the world if it was burning up.