The rocket was in position, and about to be fired, when our black-bearded Coastguardsman arrived. The light was applied. Suddenly the group of spray-washed men, and a few pale-faced spectators who had ventured to descend, and part of the overhanging cliffs, burst into intense light as the great rocket went out to sea with a wild roar.
Its voice roar as of wind or steady thunder calling always has silenced other voices. Birds do not build, nor squirrels climb too near that deep reverberating note, although the blue heron, fearless, frequently stands in summer on the spray-washed rock and seems to listen.
The sublieutenant hauled himself in turn to windward. Curley Crothers gave the wheel a half-spoke and looked as if he had no interest in anything. Joe Byng in the chains bowed his head and groaned inwardly; his sticky, spray-washed lead seemed all-absorbing. "Tell that black robber to hurry aboard, unless he wants me to come in without him."
No conversation allowed, not even possible; the truly demoniacal noise, yet just outside on the other side of a small window, the open country, the mighty waters of the ever-boiling "Kettle," or Chauldron, and the steep spray-washed cliff. Standing on my toes I could, looking out of Netty's small window, discover all this.