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The night as she struck was reckoned the worst as ever

we had, And this is a coast in winter where the weather be

awful bad. The beach here was strewed with wreckage, and to tell

you the truth, sir, then Was the only time as ever we'd a bother to get the


The single chaps was willin', and six on 'em volun

teered, But most on us here is married, and the wives that

night was skeered.

Our women ain't chicken-hearted when it comes to

savin' lives, But death that night looked certain-and our wives

be only wives; Their lot ain't bright at the best, sir; but here, when

the man lies dead, 'Tain't only a husband missin', it's the children's daily


So our women began to whimper and beg o' the chaps

to stayI only heerd on it after, for that night I was kept away. I was up at my cottage, yonder, where the wife lay

nigh her end, She'd been ailin' all the winter, and nothin' 'ud make

her mend.

The doctor had given her up, sir, and I knelt by her

side and prayed, With my eyes all red with weepin', that Death's hand

might yet be stayed.

I heerd the wild wind howlin', and I looked on the

wasted form, And thought of the awful shipwreck as had come in the

ragin' storm; The wreck of my little homestead—the wreck of my

dear old wife, Who'd sailed with me forty years, sir, o'er the troublous

waves of life, And I looked at the eyes so sunken, as had been my

harbor lights, To tell of the sweet home haven in the wildest, darkest


She knew she was sinkin' quickly—she knew as her end

was nigh, But she never spoke o' the troubles as knew on her

heart must lie, For we'd had one great big sorrow with Jack, our only


He'd got into trouble in London, as lots o' the lads ha'


Then he'd bolted, his masters told us—he was allus

what folk call wild. From the day as I told his mother, her dear face never

smiled. We heerd no more about him, we never knew where he

went, And his mother pined and sickened for the message he

never sent.

I had my work to think of, but she had her grief to nurse, So it eat away at her heartstrings, and her health grew And the night as the Royal Helen went down on

worse and worse.

yonder sands, I sat and watched her dyin', holdin' her wasted hands. She moved in her doze a little, then her eyes were

opened wide, And she seemed to be seekin' somethin', as she looked

from side to side; Then half to herself she whispered, “ Where's Jack, to

say good-bye ? It's hard not to see my darlin', and kiss him afore I

die !”

my mates

I was stoopin' to kiss and soothe her, while the tears

ran down my cheek, And my lips were shaped to whisper the words I

couldn't speak, When the door of the room burst

open, and were there outside With the news that the boat was launchin'. "You're

wanted !" their leader cried. “ You've never refused to go, John; you'll put these

cowards right. There's a dozen of lives, maybe, John, as lie in our

hands to-night!" 'Twas old Ben Brown, the captain ; he'd laughed at the

women's doubt. We'd always been first on the beach, sir, when the boat

was goin' out.

I didn't move, but I pointed to the white face on the

bed“I can't go, mate," I murmured ; “in an hour she may

be dead.

I cannot go and leave her to die in the night alone.”
As I spoke Ben raised his lantern, and the light on my

wife was thrown; And I saw her eyes fixed strangely with a pleading

look on me,

While a tremblin' finger pointed through the door to

the ragin' sea Then she beckoned me near, and whispered, “Go, and

God's will be done! For every lad on that ship, John, is some poor mother's



Her head was full of the boy, sir-she was thinking,

maybe, some day For lack of a hand to help him his life might be cast

away. “Go, John, and the Lord watch o'er you! and spare

me to see the light, And bring you safe,” she whispered, “out of the storm

to-night.” Then I turned and kissed her softly, and tried to hide

my tears, And my mates outside, when they saw me, set up three

hearty cheers; But I rubbed my eyes wi' my knuckles, and turned to

old Ben and said, “ I'll see her again, maybe, lad, when the sea gives up

its dead."

We launched the boat in the tempest, though death was

the goal in view, And never a one but doubted if the craft could live it

through ;

But our boat she stood it bravely, and, weary and wet

and weak, We drew in hail of the vessel we had dared so much to

seek. But just as we come upon her she gave a fearfull roll, And went down in the seethin' whirlpool with every

livin' soul ! We rowed for the spot, and shouted, for all around was

darkBut only the wild wind answered the cries from our

plungin' bark.

I was strainin' my eyes and watchin', when I thought I

heard a cry,

And I saw past our bows a somethin' on the crest of a

wave dashed by ; I stretched out my hand to seize it. I dragged it

aboard, and then I stumbled, and struck my forrud, and fell like a log on

Ben. I remember a hum of voices, and then I knowed no


Till I came to my senses here, sir—here, in


home ashore. My forrud was tightly bandaged, and I lay on my

little bedI'd slipped, so they told me arter, and a rullick had struck



Then my mates came in and whispered; they'd heard I

was comin'round. At first I could scarcely hear 'em, it seemed like a

buzzin' sound;

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