She was painted white, with a lead-colour bottom, and her four funnels were white with black tops. But they were burning and scraping off all her outside paint, from the sheer-strake downward, and I asked the foreman what colour they were going to repaint her.
Then, while we were all standing agape, our ears deafened by the thunder and our eyes blinded by the glare of the lightning, a fierce gust of hot wind swept over us, filling our two staysails with a report like that of a cannon and laying the ship over to her sheer-strake.
"Now, steady men," cautioned the skipper. "Do not fire until I give the word, then pour your broadside in upon her decks not a shot below the sheer-strake for your lives." I well knew of whom he was thinking when he said this; Antonia was doubtless in the cabin, and it was her safety for which he was thus careful.
So saying, he stepped off the brace-iron, planting his feet firmly on the broad beading which ran along the top edge of the sheer-strake, and leaning his body against the bulwarks, whilst he grasped the outer edge of the rail to steady himself, he speedily and easily reached the mizzen-chains.
"Anfinn Ganfinn gives mouth, And blows us right south; There's a crack in the sack, With three clews we must tack." And heeling right over, with three clews in the sail, and the heavy foremost fellow astride on the sheer-strake, with his huge sea-boots dangling in the sea-foam, away they scudded through the blinding spray right into the open sea, amidst the howling and roaring of the wind.
The fact is, Mr Grenvile, that these here shallow, beamy craft ain't intended to sail on their sides; bury 'em below their sheer-strake and they begins to drag and to sag at once. We're doin' quite as well as can be reasonably expected in such a sea as this, as is proved by the way that we're keepin' pace with the commodore.
She was a most beautiful vessel, lying long and low upon the water, her hull painted all black, from her rail to her copper, relieved only by a single narrow white stripe running along her sheer-strake from her white figure-head to the rather elaborate white scroll-work that decorated her quarter.