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cidents of the ocean, contribute to create these vacillating
movements, which will often cause two vessels of equal
speed, and under the same canvass, to seem to be of very
different qualities. In the nights, the changes were great
est, often placing the schooners leagues asunder, and seem,
ingly separating them altogether. But, Roswell Gardiner
became satisfied that Captain Daggett stuck by him inten
tionally ; for on all such occasions if his schooner happened



THE SEA LIONS. 125

to be out of the way, he managed to close again, ere the
danger of separating became too great to be overcome.

Our mariners judged of their distance from the land, by
means of the lead. If the American coast is wanting in the
sublime and picturesque, and every traveller must admit
its defects in both, it has the essential advantage of gra
duated soundings. So regular is the shoaling of the water,
and so studiously have the fathoms been laid down, that a
cautious navigator can always feel his way in to the coast,
and never need place his vessel on the beach, as is so often
done, without at least knowing that he was about to do so.
Men become adventurous by often-repeated success; and
the struggles of competition, the go-ahead-ism of the na
tional character, and the trouble it gives to sound in deep
water, all contribute to cast away the reckless and dashing
navigator, on this as well as on other coasts, and this to
his own great surprise ; but, whenever such a thing does
happen, unless in cases of stress of weather, the reader
may rest assured it is because those who have had charge
of the stranded vessel have neglected to sound. The mile
stones on a highway do not more accurately note the dis
tances, than does the lead on nearly the whole of the Ame
rican coast. Thus Roswell Gardiner judged himself to be
about thirty-two or three marine leagues from the land, on
the evening of the third day of that gale of wind. He
placed the schooner in the latitude of Cape Henry on less
certain data, though that was the latitude in which he sup
posed her to be, by dead reckoning.

" I wish I knew where Daggett makes himself out," said
the young master, just as the day closed on a most stormy
and dirty-looking night. "I don't half like the appearance
of the weather ; but, I do not wish to ware off the land,-
with that fellow ahead and nearer to the danger, if there
be any, than we are ourselves."

Here, Roswell Gardiner manifested a weakness that lies
at the bottom of half our blunders. He did not like to be
outdone by a competitor, even in his mistakes. If the Sea
Lion of Holmes' Hole could hold on, on that tack, why
might not the Sea Lion of Oyster Pond do the same ? It
is by this process of human vanity that men sustain each
other in wrong, and folly obtains the sanction of numbers,



126 THE SEA LIONS.

if not that of reason. In this practice we see one of the
causes of the masses becoming misled, and this seldom
happens without their becoming oppressive.

Roswell Gardiner, however, did not neglect the lead.
The schooner had merely to luff close to the wind, and
they were in a proper state to sound. This they did twice,
during that night, and with a very sensible diminution in
the depth of the water. It was evident that the schooner
was getting pretty close in on the coast, the wind coming
out nearly at south, in squalls. Her commander held on,
for he thought there were indications of a change, and he
still did not like to ware so long as his rival of the Vine
yard kept on the larboard tack. In this way, each en
couraging the other in recklessness, did these two craft
run nearly into the lion's jaw, as it might be ; for, when
the day re-appeared, the wind veered round to the east
ward, a little northerly, bringing the craft directly on a lee-
shore, blowing at the time so heavily as to render a foresail
reefed down to a mere rag, more canvass than the little
vessels could well bear. As the day returned, and the
drizzle cleared off a little, land was seen to leeward, stretch
ing slightly to seaward, both ahead and astern ! On con
sulting his charts, and after getting a pretty good look at
the coast from aloft, Roswell Gardiner became satisfied
that he was off Currituck, which placed him near six de
grees to the southward of his port of departure, and about
four to the westward. Our young man now deeply felt
that a foolish rivalry had led him into an error, and he re
gretted that he had not wore the previous evening, when
he might have had an offing that would have enabled him
to stand in either direction, clearing the land. As things
were, he was not by any means certain of the course he
ought to pursue.

Little did Gardiner imagine that the reason why Dag-
gett had thus stood on, was so ely the wish to keep him
company ; for, that person, in consequence of Gardiner's
running so close in towards the coast, had taken up the
notion that the Sea Lion of Oyster Pond meant to pass
through the West Indies, visiting the key, which was
thought to contain treasure, and of which he had some ac
counts that had aroused all his thirst for gold, without giv-



THE SEA LIONS. 127

ing him the clue necessary to obtain it. Thus it was that
a mistaken watchfulness on one side, and a mistaken pride
on the other, had brought these two vessels into as danger
ous a position as could have been obtained for them by a
direct attempt to place them in extreme jeopardy.

About ten, the gale was at its height, the wind still
hanging at east, a little northerly. In the course of the
morning, the officers on board both schooners, profiting by
lulls and clear moments, had got so many views of the land
from aloft, as to be fully aware of their respective situa
tions. All thoughts of competition and watchfulness had
now vanished. Each vessel was managed with a reference
solely to her safety; and, as might have been foreseen
when true seamen handled both, they had recourse to the
same expedients to save themselves. The mainsails of
both crafts were set, balance-reefed, and the hulls were
pressed up against the wind and sea, while they were
driven ahead with increased momentum.

" That main-mast springs like a whale-bone whip-handle,
sir," said Hazard, when this new experiment had been
tried some ten minutes or more. " She jumps from one
sea to another, like a frog in a hurry to hop into a puddle !"

" She must stand it, or go ashore," answered Gardiner,
coolly, though in secret he was deeply concerned. " Did
Deacon Pratt forgive me, should we lose the schooner, I
never could forgive myself!"

" Should we lose the schooner, Captain Gar'ner, few of
us would escape drowning, to feel remorse or joy. Look
at that coast, sir it is clear now, and a body can see a
good bit of it never did I put eyes upon a less promising
land-fall, for strangers to make."

Roswell Gardiner did look, as desired, and he fully
agreed with Hazard in opinion. Ahead, and astern, the
land trended to seaward, placing the schooners in a curve
of the coast, or what seamen term a bight, rendering it
quite impossible for the vessels to lay out past either of the
head-lands in sight. The whole coast was low, and endless
lines of breakers were visible along it, flashing up with
luminous crests that left no doubt of their character, or of
the dangers that they so plainly denoted. At times, co
lumns of water shot up into the air like enormous jets,



128 THE SEA LIONS.

and the spray was carried inland for miles. Then it was
that gloom gathered around the brows of the seamen, who
fully comprehended the nature of the danger that was so
plainly indicated. The green hands were the least con
cerned, " knowing nothing and fearing nothing," as the
older seamen are apt to express their sense of this indiffer
ence on the part of the boys and landsmen.

According to the calculations of those on board the Sea
Lion, of Oyster Pond, they had about two miles of drift
before they should be in the breakers. They were on the
best tack, to all appearances, and that was the old one, or
the same leg that had carried them into the bight. To
ware now, indeed, would be a very hazardous step, since
every inch of room was of importance. Gardiner's secret
hope was that they might find the inlet that led into Curri-
tuck, which was then open, though we believe it has since
been closed, in whole or in part, by the sands. This often
happens on the American coast, very, tolerable passages
existing this year for vessels of an easy draught, that shall
be absolutely shut up, and be converted into visible beach,
a few years later. The waters within will then gain head,
and break out, cutting themselves a channel, that remains
open until a succession of gales drives in the sands upon
them from the outside once more.

Gardiner well knew he was on the most dangerous part
of the whole American coast, in one sense, at least. The
capacious sounds that spread themselves within the long
beaches of sand were almost as difficult of navigation as
any shoals to the northward; yet would he gladly have
been in one in preference to clawing off breakers on their
outside. As between the two schooners, the Vineyard-men
had rather the best of it, being near a cable's length to
windward, and so much further removed from destruction.
The difference, however, was of no great account in the
event of the gale continuing, escape being utterly impossi
ble for either in that case. So critical was the situation
of both craft becoming, indeed, that neither could now
afford to yield a single fathom of the ground she held.

All eyes were soon looking for the inlet, it having been
determined to keep the Sea Lion, of Oyster Pond, away
for it, should it appear to leeward, under circumstances



THE SEA LIONS. 129

that would allow of her reaching it. The line of breakers
was now very distinctly visible, and each minute did it not
only appear to be, but it was in fact nearer and nearer.
Anchors were cleared away, and ranges of cable over
hauled, anchoring being an expedient that a seaman felt
bound to resort to, previously to going ashore, though it
would be with very little hope of ground-tackles holding.

The schooner had been described by Hazard as 'jump
ing' into the sea. This expression is not a bad one, as
applied to small vessels in short seas, and it was particu
larly apt on this occasion. Although constructed with great
care forward as to buoyancy, this vessel made plunges into
the waves she met that irearly buried her ; and, once or
twice, the shocks were so great, that those on board her
could with difficulty persuade themselves they had not
struck the bottom. The lead, nevertheless, still gave water
sufficient, though it was shoaling fast, and with a most
ominous regularity. Such was the actual state of things
when the schooner made one of her mad plunges, and was
met by a force that seemed to check her forward move
ment as effectually as if she had hit a rock. The main
mast was a good spar in some respects, but it wanted wood.
An inch or two more in diameter might have saved it; but
the deacon had been induced to buy it to save his money,
though remonstrated with at the time. This spar now
snapped in two, a few feet from the deck, and falling to
leeward, it dragged after it the head of the foremast, leaving
the Sea Lion, of Oyster Pond, actually in a worse situation,
just at that moment, than if she had no spars at all.

Roswell Gardiner now appeared in a new character.
Hitherto he had been silent, but observant ; issuing his
orders in a way not to excite the men, and with an air of un
concern that really had the effect to mislead most of them
on the subject of his estimate of the danger they were in.
Concealment, however, was no longer possible, and our
young master came out as active as circumstances required,
foremost in every exertion, and issuing his orders amid the
gale trumpet-tongued. His manner, so full of animation,
resolution and exertion, probably prevented despair from
getting the ascendancy at that important moment. He was
nobly sustained by both his mates ; and three or four of the



130 THE SEA LIONS.

older seamen now showed themselves men to be relied oo
to the last.

The first step was to anchor. Fortunately, the foresight
of Gardiner had everything ready for this indispensable
precaution. Without anchoring, ten minutes would pro
bably have carried the schooner directly down upon the
breakers, leaving no hope for the life of any on board her,
and breaking her up into chips. Both bowers were let go
at once, and long ranges of cable given. The schooner was
snubbed without parting anything, and was immediately
brought head to sea. This relieved her at once, and there
was a moment that her people fancied she might ride out
the gale where she was, could they only get clear of the
wreck. Axes, hatchets, and knives were freely used, and
Roswell Gardiner saw the mass of spars and rigging float
clear of him with a delight he did not desire to conceal,
As it drove to leeward, he actually cheered. A lead was
instantly dropped alongside, in order to ascertain whether
the anchors held. This infallible test, however, gave the
melancholy certainty that the schooner was still drifting
her length in rather less than two minutes.

The only hope now was that the flukes of the anchors
might catch in better holding ground than they had yet
met with. The bottom was hard sand, however, which
never gives a craft the chance that it gets from mud. By
Roswell Gardiner's calculations, an hour, at the most,
would carry them into the breakers ; possibly less time.
The Sea Lion, of Holmes' Hole, was to windward a cable's
length when this accident happened to her consort, and
about half a mile to the southward. Just at that instant
the breakers trended seaward, ahead of that schooner, ren
dering it indispensable for her to ware. This was done
bringing her head to the southward, and she now came
struggling directly on towards her consort. The operation
of waring had caused her to lose ground enough to bring
her to leeward of the anchored craft, and nearer to the
danger.

Roswell Gardiner stood on his own quarter-deck, anxious
ly watching the drift of the other schooner, as she drew-
near in her laboured way, struggling ahead through bil
lows that were almost as white as the breakers that menaced



THE SEA LIONS. 133

them with destruc ion to leeward. The anchored vessel,
though drifting, had so slow a movement that it served to
mark the steady and rapid set of its consort towards its
certain fate. At first, it seemed to Gardiner that Daggett
would pass just ahead of him, and he trembled for his
cables, which occasionally appeared above water, stretched
like bars of iron, for the distance of thirty or forty fathoms.
But, the leeward set of the vessel under way was too fast
to give her any chance of bringing this new danger on her
consort. When a cable's length distant, the Sea Lion, of
the Vineyard, did seem as if she might weather her con
sort ; but, ere that short space was passed over, it was found
that she fell off so fast, by means of her drift, as to carry
her fairly clear of her stern. The two masters, holding with
one hand to some permanent object by which to steady
themselves, and each pressing his tarpaulin firmly down on
his head with the other, had a minute's conversation when
the schooners were nearest together.

" Do your anchors hold ?" demanded Daggett, who was
the first to speak, and who put his question as if he thought
his own fate depended on the answer.

" I 'm sorry to say they do not. We drift our length in
about two minutes."

" That will put off the evil moment an hour or two.
Look what a wake we are making !"

Sure enough, that wake was frightful ! No sooner was
the head of the Sea Lion, of the Vineyard, fairly up with
the stern of the Sea Lion, of Oyster Pond, than Gardiner
perceived that she went off diagonally, moving quite as fast
to leeward as she went ahead. This was so very obvious
that a line drawn from the quarter of Roswell's craft, in a
quartering direction, would almost have kept the other
schooner in its range from the moment that her bow hove
heavily past.

" God bless you ! God bless you !" cried Roswell Gar
diner, waving his hand in adieu, firmly persuaded that he
and the Vineyard master were never to meet again in this
world. " The survivors must let the fate of the lost be
known. At the pinch, I shall out boats, if I can."

The other made no answer. It would have been useless,
indeed, to attempt it ; since no human voice had power to
12



132 THE SEA LIONS.

force itself up against such a gale, the distance that had
now to be overcome.

" That schooner will be in the breakers in half an hour,"
said Hazard, who stood by the side of young Gardiner.
" Why don't he anchor I No power short of Divine Provi
dence can save her."

"And Divine Providence will do it thanks to Almighty
God for his goodness !" exclaimed Roswell Gardiner. " Did
you perceive that, Mr, Hazard?"

The ' that ' of our young mariner was, in truth, a most
momentous omen. The wind had lulled so suddenly that
the rags of sails which the other schooner carried actually
flapped. At first our seamen thought she had been be
calmed by the swell; but the change about themselves was
too obvious to admit of any mistake. It blew terribly, again,
for a minute ; then there was another lull. Gardiner sprang
to the lead-line to see the effect on his own vessel. She no
longer dragged her anchor !

" God is with us !" exclaimed the young master " bless
ed for ever be his holy name."

"And that of his only and true Son," responded a voice
from one at his elbow.

Notwithstanding the emergency, and the excitement
produced by this sudden change, Roswell Gardiner turned
to see from whom this admonition had come. The oldest
seaman on board, who was Stimson, a Kennebunk man,
and who had been placed there to watch the schooner's
drift, had uttered these unusual words. The fervour with
which he spoke produced more impression on the young
master than the words themselves ; the former being very
unusual among sea-faring men, though the language was
not so much so. Subsequently, Gardiner remembered that
little incident, which was not without its results.

"I do believe, sir," cried Hazard, "that the gale is
broken. It often happens, on our own coast, that the southe
casters chop round suddenly, and come out nor'-westers.
I hope this will not be too late to save the Vineyard chap,
though he slips down upon them breakers at a most fearful
rate."

" There goes his foresail, again and here is another
lull!" rejoined Gardiner. "I tell you, Mr. Hazard, we



THE SEA LIONS. 133

shal have a shift of wind ^nothing short of which could
save either of us from these breakers."

" Which comes from the marcy of God Almighty, through
the intercession of his only Son !" added Stimson, with
the same fervour of manner, though he spoke in a very low
tone of voice.

Roswell Gardiner was again surprised, and for another
moment he forgot the gale and its dangers. Gale it was
no longer, however, for the lull was now decided, and the
two cables of the schooner were distended only when the
roll of the seas came in upon her. This wash of the waves
still menaced the other schooner, driving her down towards
the breakers, though less rapidly than before.

" Why don't the fellow anchor !" exclaimed Gardiner,
in his anxiety, all care for himself being now over. " Un
less he anchor, he will yet go into the white water, and be
lost !"

" So little does he think of that, that he is turning out
his reefs," answered Hazard. " See ! there is a hand aloft
loosening his topsail and there goes up a whole mainsail,
already !"

Sure enough, Daggett appeared more disposed to trust
to his canvass, than to his ground-tackle. In a very brief
space of time he had his craft under whole sail, and was
struggling, in the puffs, to claw off the land. Presently,
the wind ceased altogether, the canvass flapping so as to be
audible to Gardiner and his companions, at the distance
of half a mile. Then, the cloth was distended in the op
posite direction, and the wind came off the land. The
schooner's head was instantly brought to meet the seas,
and the lead dropped at her side showed that she was mov
ing in the right direction. These sudden changes, some
times destructive, and sometimes providential as acts of
mercy, always bring strong counter-currents of air in their
train.

" Now we shall have it !" said Hazard " a true nor'-
wester, and butt-end foremost !"

This opinion very accurately described that which fol
lowed. In ten minutes it was blowing heavily, in a direc
tion nearly opposite to that which had been the previous
current of the wind. As a matter of course, the Sea Lion



134 THE SEA LIONS.

of the Vineyard drew off the land, wallowing through the
meeting billows that still came rolling in from the broad
Atlantic ; while the Sea Lion of Oyster Pond tended to
the new currents of air, and rode, as it might be, suspended
between the two opposing forces, with little or no strain
on her cables. Gardiner expected to see his consort stand
out to sea, and gain an offing ; but, instead of this, Captain
Daggett brought his schooner quite near to the disabled
vessel, and anchored. This act of neighbourly kindness
was too unequivocal to require explanation. It was the
intention of the Vineyard men to lie by their consort until
she was relieved from all apprehensions of danger. The
' butt-end' of the ' nor'-wester' was too large to admit of
intercourse until next morning, when that which had been
a small gale had dwindled to a good steady breeze, and
the seas had gone down, leaving comparatively smooth
water all along the coast. The line of white water which
marked the breakers was there, and quite visible ; but it
no longer excited apprehension. The jury-masts on board
the disabled craft were got up, and what was very conve
nient, just at that moment, the wreck came floating out on
the ebb, so near to her as to enable the boats to secure all
the sails and most of the rigging. The main-boom, too,
an excellent spar, was towed alongside and saved.



CHAPTER X.

" The shadow from thy brow shall melt,

The sorrow from thy strain ;
But where thy earthly smile hath dwelt,
Our hearts shall thirst in vain."

MRS. HEMAICS.

As soon as it would do to put his boats in the water, or
at daylight next morning, Captain Daggett came alongside
of his consort. He was received with a seaman's welcome,
and his offers of services were accepted, just as frankly, as
under reversed circumstances, they would have been made



THE SEA LIONS. 135

In all this there was a strange and characteristic admixture
of neighbourly and Christian kindness, blended with a keen
regard of the main chance. If the former duties are rarely
neglected by the descendants of the Puritans, it may be
said, with equal truth, that the latter are never lost sight
of. Speculation, and profit, are regarded as so many inte
gral portions of the duty of man ; and, as our kinsmen of
Old England have set up an idol to worship, in the form
of aristocracy, so do our kinsmen of New England pay
homage to the golden calf. In point of fact, Daggett had
a double motive in now offering his services to Gardiner ;
the one being the discharge of his moral obligations, and
the other a desire to remain near the Sea Lion of Oyster
Pond, lest she should visit the key, of which he had some
very interesting memorandums, without having enough to
find the place unless led there by those who were better
informed on the subject of its precise locality than he was
himself.

The boats of Daggett assisted in getting the wreck
alongside, and in securing the sails and rigging. Then,-
his people aided in fitting jury-masts; and, by noon, both
vessels got under way, and stood along the coast, to the
southward and westward. Hatteras was no longer terrible,
for the wind still stood at north-west, and they kept in view
of those very breakers which, only the day before, they
would have given the value of both vessels to be certain of
never seeing again. That night they passed the formidable
cape, a spit of sand projecting far to seaward, and which
is on a low beach, and not on any main land at all. Once
around this angle in the coast, they had a lee, hauling up
to the south-west. With the wind abeam, they stood on
the rest of the day, picking up a pilot. The next night
they doubled Cape Look Out, a very good landmark for
those going north to keep in view, as a reminder of tlte
stormy and sunken Hatteras, and arrived off Beaufort har



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