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cially one active figure with long curling hair, conspicuous ? among the rest.
8. But a great cry rose from the shore at this moment; the sea, sweeping over the rolling wreck, made a clean breach, and carried men, spars, casks, planks, bulwarks, heaps of such toys, into the boiling surge.
9. The second mast was yet standing, with the rags of a rent sail, and a wild confusion of broken cordage flapping to and fro. The ship had struck once, the same boatman hoarsely said in my ear, and then lifted in and struck again. I understood him to add that she was parting amidships, and I could readily suppose so, for the rolling and beating were too tremendous for any human work to suffer long.
10. As he spoke there was another great cry of pity from the beach ; four men arose with the wreck out of the deep, clinging to the rigging of the remaining mast; uppermost, the active figure with the curling hair.
11. There was a bell on board ; and as the ship rolled and dashed, like a desperate creature driven mad, now showing us the whole sweep
of ber deck, as she turned on her beam-ends towards the shore, now nothing but her keel, as she sprang wildly over and turned towards the sea, the bell rang; and its sound, the knell of those unhappy men, was borne towards us on the wind.
12. Again we lost her, and again she rose. Two men were gone. The agony on shore increased.
Men groaned and clasped their hands ; women shrieked and turned away their faces. Some ran wildly up and down along the beach, crying for help, where no help could be. I found myself one of these, frantically imploring a knot of sailors whom I knew, not to let those two lost creatures perish before our eyes.
13. They were making out to me, in an agitated way—I don't know how, for the little I could hear I was scarcely composed enough to understand—that the lifeboat had been bravely manned an hour ago, and could do nothing; and that as no man could be so desperate as to attempt to wade off with a rope, and establish a communication with the shore, there was nothing left to try; when I noticed that some new sensation moved the people on the beach, and saw them part, and Ham come breaking through them to the front.
14. I ran to him, to repeat my appeal for help. But the determination in his face, and his look, out to sea, awoke me to a knowledge of his danger. I held him back with both arms; and implored the men with whom I had been speaking, not to listen to him, not to let him stir from off that sand!
15. Another cry rose from shore; and on looking to the wreck, we saw the cruel sail, with blow on blow, beat off the lower of the two men, and fly up in triumph round the active figure left alone upon
the mast. 16. Against such a sight, and against such determination as that of the calmly desperate man who was already accustomed to lead half the people present, I might as hopefully have entreated the wind. “Mas'r Davy,” he said, cheerily grasping me by both hands, “ if my time is come, 'tis come. If 't an't, I'll bide it. Lord above bless you and bless all! Mates, make me ready! I'm a-going off !”
17. I was swept away, but not unkindly, to some distance, where the people around me made me stay, urging that he was bent on going. I don't know what I answered, but I saw him standing alone, a rope in his hand, or slung to his wrist; another round his body, and several men, holding at a little distance, to the latter, which he laid out himself, slack, upon the shore, at his feet.
18. The wreck, even to my unpractised eye, was breaking up. I saw that she was parting in the middle, and that the life of the solitary man upon the mast hung by a thread. Still, he clung to it.
19. Ham watched the sea, standing alone, with the silence of suspended breath behind him, and the storm before, until there was a great retiring wave, when with a backward glance at those who held the rope which was fastened round his body, he dashed in after it, and in a moment was buffeting with the water, rising with the hills, falling with the valleys, lost beneath the foam ; then drawn again to land. They hauled in hastily.
20. He was hurt. I could see blood on his face, from where I stood ; but he took no thought of that. He seemed to give hurriedly some directions for leaving him more free, and was gone as before.
21. And now he made for the wreck, rising with the hills, falling with the valleys, lost beneath the rugged foam, borne in towards the shore, borne on towards the ship, striving hard and valiantly. The distance was nothing, but the power of the sea and wind made the strife deadly.
22. At length he neared the wreck. so near that with one of his vigorous strokes he would be clinging to it,—when a high, green, vast hill-side of water, moving on shoreward from beyond the ship, he seemed to leap into it with a mighty bound, and the ship was gone!
23. Some eddying fragments I saw in the sea, as if a mere cask had been broken. Consternation* was in every face. They hauled him in—insensible--dead. He was carried to the nearest house; and no one preventing me now, I remained near him, busy, while every means of restoration were tried; but he had been beaten to death by the great wave,
and his generous heart was stilled for ever.
1 Inconceivable, could not be ima- 1 3 Frantically, madly. gined.
4 Consternation, terror, 2 Conspicuous, very noticeable.