The effect was to lower the sail so quickly, and in such a fashion, with the wind blowing hard against it, that there was a crash, a banging and booming of the canvas, and the boom and gaff. The first mate, who was standing near the mast, was knocked down, narrowly escaping going overboard. "Oh, what has happened?" cried Ruth. "Be still!" commanded Alice, clutching her sister by the arm.
He would gladly have thrown botany or anything else overboard to win the good opinion of Evelyn's mother, but botany now had a real significance and a new meaning for him. Therefore he put in a defense, by saying: "Botany, in the hands of Miss McDonald, cannot be called very feminine; it is a good deal more difficult to understand and master than law." "Maybe that's the reason," said Mrs.
Ella shrieked and called his name imploringly. In the wild anguish of the moment she would have jumped overboard after him had she not been restrained. "Patience," cried her father, "he will rise in a moment." Houghton's little boat, now so heavily freighted, had almost gone under in the suction. The negro, rendered half wild with terror, was bent only on saving his own life.
The captain, standing on the bridge, saw through his glass a wild and nearly naked man making the most extraordinary signs and gestures, staggering and lurching in imminent danger of falling overboard. When the ship had approached quite near the captain saw the man toss a card into the water, and then stand with an ominous rigidity, the meaning of which was unmistakable.
When we mustered the crew there was one man missing. Swept overboard, of course, without being either seen or heard, poor devil! and I only wonder more of us didn't go. "Always something like that. Always. I heard an old mate tell Captain Colchester once that it had come to this with him, that he was afraid to open his mouth to give any sort of order.
Why do you not care for the ship?" "We are not superstitious in our profession, sir," replied the doctor. "But the sea makes people so. I don't want to prejudice you, and I don't want to frighten you, but if you will take my advice you will move in here. I would as soon see you overboard," he added, "as know that you or any other man was to sleep in one hundred and five." "Good gracious! Why?"
"It's a bad business for you, Master Dick," he said; "but the only thing now to be done is to make the best of it. They're a precious bad lot, and the captain and officers are no better. I've made up my mind to run as soon as I can, and I'd advise you to do the same." "That I certainly will when I have somewhere to run to, but at present it seems we should have to run overboard," I answered.
Twice when the vessels were coming down before the wind at a rate of speed that rendered it evident that the efforts of the men at the oars would be insufficient to turn her course, the Fan Fan was steered alongside, grapnels were thrown, and, headed by Lord Oliphant and Cyril, the crew sprang on board, cut down or drove overboard the few men who were in charge of her.
We cast around for the better part of an hour, dropping overboard depth charges which shook the little craft as the explosion sent great funnels of water aloft.