The sea was flashing with trails of them. Clancy now began to bite out commands. "Stand ready everybody. In the boat and dory there is everything ready, skipper?" "All ready, boat and dory." Out came Clancy's orders then rapid fire and as he ripped them out, no whistling wind could smother his voice, no swash of the sea could drown it.
The very person who had hailed the Swash, as she was leaving the wharf, who had passed her in Hell-Gate, with Jack Tier in his boat, and who had joined her off Throgmorton's, was now on her deck, urging her commander by every consideration not to let the brig escape. It was at his suggestion that the course was changed.
"Here, try it yourself," he added, taking the headgear off and handing the receivers to me. I put the black discs at my ears, with the little round holes over the ear openings. It was marvellous. I could hear the men washing down one of the cars, the swash of water, and, best of all, the low-toned, gruff gossip. "Just a couple of the men there, now," explained Garrick.
It appeared to be the prevalent opinion among the people, that the late event foreboded evil to the Swash, and long as most of these men had served in the brig, and much as they had become attached to her, had she gone into port that night, nearly every man forward would have run before morning.
MacRae put Vincent Ferrara aboard the Blackbird, himself took over the loaded vessel, and within the hour was clear of Squitty's dusky headlands, pointing a course straight down the middle of the Gulf. His man turned in to sleep. MacRae stood watch alone, listening to the ka-choof, ka-choof of the exhaust, the murmuring swash of calm water cleft by the Bluebird's stem.
His agony goes into action, intense as life. It was bitterly cold. A swash of ice-water filled the bottom of the skiff. She was low enough down without that. They could not stop to bail, and the miniature icebergs they passed began to look significantly over the gunwale. Which would come to the point of foundering first, the boat or the little floe it aimed for? Bitterly cold!
The islets were all too naked and too small, however; and she was compelled to return to the Swash, without any hopes derived from this quarter. Spike had just directed the people to get their suppers as the Mexican came on board. Together they descended to the schooner's deck, where they had a long but secret conference.
Of course, all the others are blockaded, too, but General Beauregard thinks that if we can torpedo the flagship the others will hurry to her assistance and the blockade-runners can get out through the Swash Channel. Our magazines are running low, and we must have arms, powder, everything. There are two or three shiploads at Nassau. This is an attempt to get to them.
If that is n't the brig, Mr. Mulford, running through this very passage, with stun'sails set alow and aloft, I do n't know the Molly Swash when I see her!" "The brig!" exclaimed the mate, recollecting the vessels he had seen at the break-of-day, for the first time in hours. "Can it be possible that the craft I made out to the southward, is the brig?" "Look, and judge for yourself, sir.
The storm steadily increased. Its lashings of sleet grew each hour more furious. The cabin did not reel, for it sat close in a socket of sods it endured in the rush of snow like a rock set in the swash of savage seas.