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THE PILOT. 71

said the pilot : " I would give five years
from a life, that I know will be short, if the
ship lay one mile further seaward."

This remark was unheard by all, except
ing the commander of the frigate, who
again walked aside with the pilot, where
they resumed their mysterious communi
cations. The words of assent were no
sooner uttered, however, than Griffith
gave forth from his trumpet the command
to " heave away!" Again the strains of
the fife were followed by the tread of the
men at the capstern. At the same time
that the anchor was heaving up, the sails
were loosened from the yards, and opened
to invite the breeze. Tn effecting this duty,
orders were thundered through the trumpet
of the first lieutenant, and executed with
the rapidity of thought. Men were to be
seen, like spots in the dim light from the
heavens, lying on every yard, or hanging
as in air, while strange cries were heard
issuing from every part of the rigging, and
each spar of the vessel. " Ready the fore-
royal," cried a shrill voice, as if from the
clouds ; " ready the fore-yard," uttered



THE PILOT*



the hoarse tones of a seaman beneath him ;
" all ready aft, sir/' cried a third, from
another quarter ; and in a few moments
the order was given to " let fall."

The little light which fell from the sky,
was now excluded by the falling canvas,
and a deeper gloom was cast athwart the
decks of the ship, that served to render the
brilliancy of the lanterns even vivid, while
it gave to objects out-board a more appall
ing and dreary appearance than before.

Every individual, excepting the com
mander and his associate, was now ear
nestly engaged in getting the ship under
way. The sounds of " we're away"
were repeated by a burst from fifty voices,
and the rapid evolutions of the capstern
announced that nothing but the weight of
the anchor was to be lifted. The howling
of cordage, the rattling of blocks, blended
with the shrill calls of the boatswain and
his mates, succeeded ; and though to a
landsman all would have appeared confu
sion and hurry, long practice and strict
discipline enabled the crew to exhibit their
ship under a cloud of canvas, from the



THE PILOT. 73

deck to the trucks, in less time than we
have consumed in relating 1 it.

For a few minutes, the officers were not
disappointed by the result, for though the
heavy sails flapped lazily against the masts,
the light duck on the loftier spars swelled
outwardly, and the ship began sensibly to
yield to their influence.

"She travels! she travels!" exclaimed
Griffith, joyously ; " ah ! the hussy ! she
has as much antipathy to the land as any
fish that swims ! it blows a little gale aloft,
yet!"

" We feel its dying breath," said the
pilot, in low, soothing tones, but in a man
ner so sudden as to startle Griffith, at
whose elbow they were unexpectedly
uttered. " Let us forget, young man,
every thing but the number of lives that
depend this night, on your exertions and
my knowledge."

" If you be but half as able to exhibit
the one, as I am willing to make the other,
we shall do well," returned the lieutenant,
in the same tone. " Remember, whatever
may be your feelings, that we are on an
VOL. i. E



74 THE PILOT.

enemy's coast, and love it not enough to
wish to lay our bones there."

With this brief explanation, they sepa
rated, the vessel requiring the constant
and close attention of the officer to her
movements.

The exultation produced in the crew by
the progress of their ship through the
water, was of short duration ; for the breeze
that had seemed to await their motions,
after forcing the vessel for a quarter of a
mile, fluttered for a few minutes amid their
light canvas, and then left them entirely.
The quarter-master, whose duty it was to
superintend the helm, soon announced that
he was losing the command of the vessel,
as she was no longer obedient to her rud
der. This ungrateful intelligence was
promptly communicated to his com
mander, by Griffith, who suggested the
propriety of again dropping an anchor.

" I refer you to Mr. Gray," returned
the captain ; " he is the pilot, sir, and with
him rests the safety of the vessel."

" Pilots sometimes lose ships, as well as
save them," said Griffith ; " know you



THE PILOT. 75

the man well, Captain Munson, who holds
all our lives in his keeping, and so coolly
as if he cared but little for the venture ?"

" Mr. Griffith, I do know him ; he is,
in my opinion, both competent and faith
ful. Thus much I tell you, to relieve your
anxiety ; more you must not ask ; but is
there not a shift of wind ?"

" God forbid !" exclaimed his lieuten
ant ; " if that north-easter catches us
within the shoals, our case will be desperate
indeed I"

The heavy rolling of the vessel caused
an occasional expansion, and as sudden a
re-action, in their sails, which left the
oldest seaman in the ship in doubt which
way the currents of air were passing, or
whether there existed any that were not
created by the flapping of their own can
vas. The head of the ship, however,
began to fall off from the sea, and notwith
standing the darkness, it soon became ap
parent that she was driving in, bodily,
towards th eshore.

During these few minutes of gloomy
doubt, Griffith, by one of those sudden re-
E 2



76 THE PILOT.

vulsions of the mind, that connect the op
posite extremes of feeling, lost his animat
ed anxiety, and relapsed into the listless
apathy that so often came over him, even
in the most critical moments of trial and
danger. He was standing, with one elbow
resting on the capstern, shading his eyes
from the light of the battle-lantern that
stood near him with one hand, when he
felt a gentle pressure of the other, that re
called his recollection. Looking affection
ately, though still recklessly, at the boy
who stood at his side, he said

" Dull music, Mr. Merry."

" So dull, sir, that I can't dance to it,"
returned the midshipman. " Nor do I
believe there is a man in the ship who
would not rather hear ' The girl I left
behind me,' than those execrable sounds."

" What sounds, boy ! The ship is as
quiet as the quaker meeting in the Jerseys,
before your good old grandfather used to
break the charm of silence with his sono



rous voice."



" Ah ! laugh at my peaceable blood, if
thou wilt, Mr, Griffith," said the arch



THE PILOT. 7

youngster ; " but remember, there is a
mixture of it in all sorts of veins. I wish
I could hear one of the old gentleman's
chants now, sir ; I could always sleep to
them, like a gull in a surf. But he that
sleeps to-night, with that lullaby, will
make a nap of it."

" Sounds ! I hear no sounds, boy, but the
flapping aloft ; even that pilot, who struts
the quarter-deck like an admiral, has
nothing to say."

" Is not that a sound to open a seaman's
ear ?"

" It is in truth a heavy roll of the surf,
lad, but the night air carries it heavily to
our ears. Know you not the sounds of
the surf yet, younker T'

a I know it too well, Mr. Griffith, and
do not wish to know it better. How fast
are we tumbling in towards that surf, sir ?"

" I think we hold our own," said Grif
fith, rousing again ; " though we had
better anchor. Luff, fellow, luff, you are
broadside to the sea !"

The man at the wheel repeated his for
mer intelligence, adding a suggestion that



78 THE PILOT.

he thought the ship " was gathering stern-
way. 55

" Haul up your courses, Mr. Griffith, 5 '
said Captain Munson, " and let us feel the
wind. 5 '

The rattling of the blocks was soon
heard, and the enormous sheets of canvas
that hung from the lower yards were in
stantly suspended " in the brails." When
this change was effected, all on board stood
silent and breathless, as if expecting to
learn their fate by the result. Several con
tradictory opinions were, at length, ha
zarded among the officers, when Griffith
seized a candle from the lantern, and
springing on one of the guns, held it on
high, exposed to the action of the air.
The little flame waved, with uncertain
glimmering, for a moment, and then
burned steadily, in a line with the masts.
Griffith was about to lower his extended
arm, when, feeling a slight sensation of
coolness on his hand, he paused, and the
light turned slowly towards the landj"
flared, flickered, and finally deserted the
wick.



THE PILOT. 79

" Lose not a moment, Mr. Griffith/'
cried the pilot, aloud ; " clew up and furl
every thing but your thrde topsails, and
let them be double-reefed. Now is the
time to fulfil your promise."

The young man paused one moment,
in astonishment, as the clear, distinct tones
of the stranger struck his ears so unexpec
tedly ; but turning his eyes to seaward, he
sprang on the deck, and proceeded to obey
the order, as if life and death depended on
his dispatch.









CHAPTER V.



" She rights, she rights, boys ! wear off shore !'>

Song.



THE extraordinary activity of Griffith,
which communicated itself with prompti
tude to the crew, was produced by a sud
den alteration in the weather. In place of
the well-defined streak along the horizon,
that has been already described, an im
mense body of misty light appeared to be
moving in, with rapidity, from the ocean,
while a distinct but distant roaring an
nounced the sure approach of the tempest,
that had so long troubled the waters.
Even Griffith, while thundering his orders
through the trumpet, and urging the men,
by his cries, to expedition, would pause, for
instants, to cast anxious glances in the~
direction of the coming storm, and the
faces of the sailors who lay on the yards

.



THE PILOT. 81

were turned, instinctively, towards the
same quarter of the heavens, while they
knotted the reef- points, or passed the gas
kets, that were to confine the unruly can
vas to the prescribed limits.

The pilot alone, in that confused and
busy throng", where voice rose above voice,
and cry echoed cry, in quick succession,
appeared as if he held no interest in the
important stake. With his eyes steadily
fixed on the approaching mist, and his
arms folded together, in composure, he
stood calmly waiting the result.

The ship had fallen off, with her broad
side to the sea, and was become unmanage
able, and the sails were already brought
into the folds necessary to her security,
when the quick and heavy fluttering of
canvas was thrown across the water, with
all the gloomy and chilling sensations that
such sounds produce, where darkness and
danger unite to appal the seaman.

" The schooner has it !" cried Griffith ;
" Barnstable has held on, like himself, to
the last moment God send that the squall
B 3



82 THE PILOT.

leave him cloth enough to keep him from
the shore !"

" His sails are easily handled," the com
mander observed, e( and she must be over
the principal danger. We are falling off
before it, Mr. Gray ; shall we try a cast
of the lead ?"

The pilot turned from his contemplative
posture, and moved slowly across the
deck, before he returned any reply to this
question like a man who not only felt
that every thing depended on himself, but
that he was equal to the emergency.

" 'Tis unnecessary," he at length said ;
" 'twould be certain destruction to be taken
aback, and it is difficult to say, within se
veral points, how the wind may strike
us."

" 'Tis difficult no longer/' cried Grif
fith ; " for here it comes, and in right
earnest !"

The rushing sounds of the wind were
now, indeed, heard at hand, and the words
were hardly past the lips of the young lieute
nant, before the vessel bowed down heavily



THE PILOT. 83

to one side, and then, as she began to move
through the water, rose again majestically
to her upright position, as if saluting, like
a courteous champion, the powerful anta
gonist with which she was about to con
tend. Not another minute elapsed, before
the ship was throwing the waters aside,
with a lively progress, and, obedient to
her helm, was brought as near to the de
sired course, as the direction of the wind
would allow. The hurry and bustle on
the yards gradually subsided, and the men
slowly descended to the deck, all straining
their eyes to pierce the gloom in which
they were enveloped, and some shaking
their heads, in melancholy doubt, afraid to
express the apprehensions they really en
tertained. All on board anxiously waited
for the fury of the gale ; for there were
none so ignorant or inexperienced in that
gallant frigate, as not to know, that they,
as yet, only felt the infant efforts of the
wind. Each moment, however, it increas
ed in power, though so gradual was the
alteration, that the relieved mariners
began to believe that all their gloomy fore-



84 THE PILOT.

bodings were not to be realized. During
this short interval of uncertainty, no other
sounds were heard than the whistling of
the breeze as it passed quickly through
the mass of rigging that belonged to the
vessel, and the dashing of the spray, that
began to fly from her bows, like the foam
of a cataract.

" It blows fresh," cried Griffith, who
was the first to speak in that moment of
doubt and anxiety ; " but it is no more
than a cap-full of wind, after all. Give us
elbow-room, and the right canvas, Mr.
Pilot, and I'll handle the ship like a gentle
man's yacht, in this breeze."

" Will she stay, think ye, under this
sail T } said the low voice of the stranger.

" She will do all that man, in reason,
can ask of wood and iron," returned the
lieutenant ; " but the vessel don't float
the ocean that will tack under double-
reefed topsails alone, against a heavy sea.
Help her with the courses, pilot, and you'll
see her come round like a dancing-
master."

" Let us feel the strength of the gale



THE PILOT. 85

first," returned the man who was called
Mr. Gray, moving from the side of Griffith
to the weather gangway of the vessel,
where he stood in silence, looking ahead
of the ship, with an air of singular coolness
and abstraction.

All the lanterns had been extinguished
on the deck of the frigate, when her
anchor was secured, and as the first mist
of the gale had passed over, it was suc
ceeded by a faint light that was a good
deal aided by the glittering foam of the
waters, which now broke in white curls
around the vessel, in every direction. The
land could be faintly discerned, rising like
a heavy bank of black fog, above the mar
gin of the waters, and was only distin
guishable from the heavens, by its deeper
gloom and obscurity. The last rope was
coiled, and deposited in its proper place,
by the seamen, and for several minutes the
stillness of death pervaded the crowded
decks. It was evident to every one, that
their ship was dashing at a prodigious rate
through the waves ; and as she was ap
proaching, with such velocity, the quarter



86 THE PILOT.

of the bay where the shoals and dangers
were known to be situated, nothing but the
habits of the most exact discipline could
suppress the uneasiness of the officers and
men within their own bosoms. At length
the voice of Captain Munson was heard,
calling to the pilot.

" Shall I send a hand into the chains,
Mr. Gray/' he said, " and try our water ?"

Although this question was asked aloud,
and the interest it excited drew many of
the officers and men around him, in eager
impatience for his answer, it was unheeded
by the man to whom it was addressed.
His head rested on his hand, as he leaned
over the hammock-cloths of the vessel, and
his whole air was that of one whose
thoughts wandered from the pressing ne
cessity of their situation. Griffith was
among those who had approached the
pilot, and after waiting a moment, from
respect, to hear the answer to his com
mander's question, he presumed on his
own rank, and leaving the circle that stood"
at a little distance, stepped to the side of
the mysterious guardian of their lives.



THE PILOT. 87

" Captain Munson desires to know
whether you wish a cast of the lead ?"
said the young officer, with a little im
patience of manner. No immediate answer
was made to this repetition of the question,
and Griffith laid his hand, unceremoni
ously, on the shoulder of the other, with
an intent to rouse him, before he made
another application for a reply, but the
convulsive start of the pilot held him
silent in amazement.

" Fall back there," said the lieutenant,
sternly, to the men who were closing
around them in a compact circle ; " away
with you to your stations, and see all clear
for stays." The dense mass of heads dis
solved, at this order, like the water of one
of the waves commingling with the ocean,
and the lieutenant and his companion were
left by themselves.

" This is not a time for musing, Mr.
Gray/' continued Griffith ; u remember
our compact, and look to your charge is
it not time to put the vessel in stays ? of
what are you dreaming?"

The pilot laid his hand on the extended



88 THE PILOT.

arm of the lieutenant, and grasped it with
a convulsive pressure, as he answered

" 'Tis a dream of reality. You are
young, Mr. Griffith, nor am I past the
noon of life ; but should you live fifty
years longer, you never can see and ex
perience what I have encountered in my
little period of three-and-thirty years!"

A good deal astonished at this burst of
feeling, so singular at such a moment, the
young sailor was at a loss for a reply ; but
as his duty was uppermost in his thoughts,
he still dwelt on the theme that most in
terested him.

" I hope much of your experience has
been on this coast, for the ship travels
lively," he said, " and the daylight showed
us so much to dread, that we do not feel
over- valiant in the dark. How much
longer shall we stand on, upon this tack?"

The pilot turned slowly from the side of
the vessel, and walked towards the com
mander of the frigate, as he replied, in a
tone that seemed deeply agitated by his
melancholy reflections

66 You have your wish, then ; much,



THE PILOT. 89

very much of my early life was passed on
this dreaded coast. What to you is all
darkness and gloom, to me is as light as if
a noon day sun shone upon it. But tack
your ship, sir, tack your ship; I would
see how she works, before we reach the
point, where she must behave well, or we
perish."

Griffith gazed after him in wonder,
while the pilot slowly paced the quarter
deck, and then, rousing from his trance,
gave forth the cheering order that called
each man to his station, to perform the
desired evolution. The confident assu
rances which the young officer had given
to the pilot, respecting the qualities of his
vessel, and his own ability to manage her,
were fully realized by the result. The
helm was no sooner put a-lee, than the
huge ship bore up gallantly against the
wind, and dashing directly through the
waves, threw the foam high into the air, as
she looked boldly into the very eye of the
wind, and then, yielding gracefully to its
power, she fell off on the other tack, with
her head pointed from those dangerous



90 THE PILOT.

shoals that she had so recently approached
with such terrifying velocity. The heavy
yards swung round, as if they had been
vanes to indicate the currents of the air,
and in a few moments the frigate again
moved, with stately progress, through the
water, leaving the rocks and shoals behind
her on one side of the bay, but advancing
towards those that offered equal danger on
the other.

During this time, the sea was becoming
more agitated, and the violence of the
wind was gradually increasing. The latter
no longer whistled amid the cordage of
the vessel, but it seemed to howl, surlily,
as it passed the complicated machinery
that the frigate obtruded on its path. An
endless succession of white surges rose
above the heavy billows, and the very air
was glittering with the light that was dis
engaged from the ocean. The ship yield
ed, each moment, more and more before
the storm, and in less than half an hour
from the time that she had lifted her an
chor, she was driven along, with tremen
dous fury, by the full power of a gale of



THE PILOT. 91

wind. Still, the hardy and experienced
mariners who directed her movements,
held her to the course that was necessary
to their preservation, and still Griffith
gave forth, when directed by their un
known pilot, those orders that turned her
in the narrow channel where safety was,
alone, to be found.

So far, the performance of his duty ap
peared easy to the stranger, and he gave
the required directions in those still, calm
tones, that formed so remarkable a contrast
to the responsibility of his situation. But
when the land was becoming dim, in dis
tance as well as darkness, and the agitated
sea was only to be discovered as it swept
by them in foam, he broke in upon the
monotonous roaring of the tempest, with
the sounds of his voice, seeming to shake
off his apathy, and rouse himself to the
occasion.

" Now is the time to watch her closely,
Mr. Griffith, 3 ' he cried; " here we get the
true tide and the real danger. Place
the best quarter-master of your ship in
those chains, and let an officer stand by



92 THE PILOT.

him, and see that he gives us the right
water."

" I will take that office on myself," said
the captain ; " pass a light into the wea
ther main-chains."

" Stand by your braces ! " exclaimed the
pilot, with startling quickness. " Heave
away that lead ! "

These preparations taught the crew to
expect the crisis, and every officer and
man stood in fearful silence, at his as
signed station, awaiting the issue of the
trial. Even the quarter-master at the cun
gave out his orders to the men at the
wheel, in deeper and hoarser tones than
usual, as if anxious not to disturb the quiet
and order of the vessel.

While this deep expectation pervaded
the frigate, the piercing cry of the leads
man, as he called, " by the mark seven,"
rose above the tempest, crossed over the
decks, and appeared to pass away to lee
ward, borne on the blast, like the warnings
of some water spirit.

" 'Tis well," returned the pilot, calmly,
" try it again."



THE PILOT. 93

The short pause was succeeded by an
other cry, "and a half-five!"

" She shoals! she shoals!" exclaimed
Griffith ; u keep her a good full."

" Ah ! you must hold the vessel in
command, now," said the pilot, with
those cool tones that are most appall
ing in critical moments, because they
seem to denote most preparation and
care.

The third call of " by the deep four ! "
was followed by a prompt direction from
the stranger to tack.

Griffith seemed to emulate the coolness
of the pilot, in issuing the necessary orders
to execute this manoeuvre.

The vessel rose slowly from the inclined
position into which she had been forced by
the tempest, and the sails were shaking
violently, as if to release themselves from
their confinement, while the ship stemmed
the billows, when the well-known voice of
the sailing-master was heard shouting from
the forecastle

" Breakers ! breakers, dead a-head ! "

This appalling sound seemed yet to be



94 THE PILOT.

lingering about the ship, when a second
voice cried -

" Breakers on our lee-bow ! "

" We are in a bight of the shoals, Mr.
Gray/' said the commander. " She loses
her way ; perhaps an anchor might hold
her."

" Clear away that best-bower/' shouted
Griffith through his trumpet,

u Hold on ! " cried the pilot, in a voice
that reached the very hearts of all who
heard him ; " hold on every thing."

The young man turned fiercely to the
daring stranger, who thus defied the dis
cipline of his vessel,, and at once de
manded

" Who is it that dares to countermand
my orders ? is it not enough that you run
the ship into danger, but you must in
terfere to keep her there ? If another
word"

" Peace, Mr. Griffith/' interrupted the
captain, bending from the rigging, his
gray locks blowing about in the wind, and
adding a look of wildness to the haggard
care that he exhibited by the light of his



THE PILOT. 95

lantern ; " yield the trumpet to Mr. Gray;
he alone can save us."

Griffith threw his speaking trumpet on
the deck, and as he walked proudly away,
muttered, in bitterness of feeling

" Then all is lost, indeed, and among
the rest, the foolish hopes with which I
visited this coast."

There was, however, no time for reply ;
the ship had been rapidly running into the
wind, and as the efforts of the crew were
paralyzed by the contradictory orders
they had heard, she gradually lost her
way, and in a few seconds, all her sails
were taken aback.

Before the crew understood their situa
tion, the pilot had applied the trumpet to


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