Abbildungen der Seite



other respects, now Here again she “You don't think Katie can be right was carried away by the dance, and, when then? She must have capital opportushe returned, caught the end of a sen- nities of judging, you know, dear.' tence of St. Cloud's, “You will consider “But she is no judge. What can a what I have said in confidence."

girl like Katie know about such things?” “Certainly," answered Mr. Porter “Well, dear, do you know I really "and I am exceedingly obliged to you ;' cannot think there was anything very and then the dance was over, and Mary wrong, though I did think so at first, I returned to her father's side. She had own. never enjoyed a ball less than this, and « But I find that his character was persuaded her father to leave early, bad-decidedly bad—always. Young which he was delighted to do.

St. Cloud didn't like to say much to me; When she reached her own room Mary which was natural, of course. Young took off her wreath and ornaments, and men never like to betray one another; then sat down and fell into a brown but I could see what he thought. He is study, which lasted for some time. At a right-minded young man, and very last she roused herself with a sigh, and agreeable.” thought she had never had so tiring a “I do not take to him


much.” day, though she could hardly tell why, “ His connexions and prospects, too, and felt half inclined to have a good cry, are capital. I sometimes think he has a if she could only have made up her fancy for Mary. Haven't you remarked mind what about. However, being a it?" sensible young woman, she resisted the Yes, dear. But as to the other mattemptation, and, hardly taking the trou- ter? Shall


ask him here?" ble to roll up her hair, went to bed “Well, dear, I do not think there is and slept soundly.

any need. He is only in town, I supMr. Porter found his wife sitting up pose, for a short time, and it is not at all for him; they were evidently both full likely that we should know where he is, of the same subject.

“Well, dear ?" she said, as he entered “But if he should call ?" the room.

“Of course then we must be civil. Mr. Porter put down his candle, and we can consider then what is to be shook his head.

done." To be continued.

you see."



the sky, and gales are abroad, seaward

fly the sympathies of English hearts, THE GOODWIN SANDS.

and the prayer is uttered with, perhaps,

2. special reference to some loved and “God have mercy upon the poor fellows absent sailor. It is those, however, at sea !" Household words, these, in who live on the sea-coast, and watch English homes, however far inland they the struggle going on in all its terrimay be, and although near them the ble reality--now welcoming ashore, as blue sea may have no better representa- wrested from death, some rescued sailor, tive than a sedge-choked river or canal, now mourning over those who have along which slow barges urge a lazy found a sudden grave almost within call way. When the storm-wrack darkens of land—that learn truly to realize the

[ocr errors]


fearfulness of the strife, and to find an and plunging, with the waves surging answer to the moanings of the gale in over their bows. Another moment's the prayer, “God have mercy upon the battle with the tide ;-you heard the poor fellows at sea !”

orders shouted out, you saw the men This lesson is perhaps more fully learnt rushing to obey them,—the pilot steady at Ramsgate than at any other part of the at the wheel,-and you

could forcoast. Four-fifths of the whole shipping bear a cheer as ship after ship shot by trade of London pass within two or the pier head, and found refuge in the three miles of the place; between fifty harbour. Altogether it was a wild, exand a hundred sail are often in sight at citing scene, and you cannot shake off once,-pretty picture enough on a sunny the effect; you shut your book, and listen day, or when a good wholesome breeze to the storm. The wind rushes and is bowling along ; but anxious, withal, moans by; a minute before it was raging when the clouds are gathering, and you over the sea. The muffled roaring sound see the fleet making the best of its way


hear is that of the waves breaking to find shelter in the Downs, and a at the base of the cliff. You get restless, south-westerly gale moans up, and the and

go to the window, peer out into the last of the fleet are caught by it, and dark night, and watch with anxious, it have to anchor in exposed places, and may be nervous, thoughts the bright you watch them riding heavily, making lights of the Light Vessels, which bad weather of it—the seas, every now guard the Goodwin Sands — sands so and then, flying over them. If it is fatal that, when the graves give up winter-time, and the weather stormy, their dead, few churchyards shall render the harbour fills with vessels; tide after such an account as theirs in number, tide brings them in, till they may num- and also that they entomb the brave ber two or three hundred,,many of and strong-men who a few hours them brought in disabled, bulwarks before were reckless and merry, ready to washed away, masts over the side, bows laugh at the thoughts of death-who, stove in, or leaky, having been in colli- if homeward bound, were full of joy, as sion, touched the ground, or been struck they seemed already to stand upon the by a sea. The harbour is then an irresist- thresholds of their homes; or by whom, ible attraction to the residents; the veriest if outward bound, tbe kisses of their landsmen grow excited, and make daily wives, which seemed still to linger on pilgrimages to the piers, to see how the their cheeks, and the soft clasping arms vessels under repairs are getting on, or of their little ones, which still seemed to what new disasters have occurred: hang about their necks, were only to

But it is at night-time especially that be forgotten in the few hours of terrible one's thoughts take a more solemn and life-struggle with the storm, and then anxious turn. As you settle down by the keenly again remembered in the last fireside for a quiet evening, you remem- gasping moments, ere the Goodwin ber the ugly appearance the sky had Sands should find them a grave alniost some two or three hours before, when within the shadows of their homes ! you were at the end of the pier. You felt Saddened with these thoughts, you turn that mischief was brewing; gusts of wind again to your book, but scarcely to read. swept by; and you looked down upon a A sudden noise brings you to your feet ! white raging sea. The Downs anchorage What was it ? An open shutter or door, was full of shipping ; some few vessels caught and banged to by the wind ; or had parted their cables, and had to run the report of a gun? It sounded woefor it, while a lugger or two staggered fully like the latter! You hurry to the out with anchors and chains to supply window, and anxiously watch the light them ; others made for the harbour,- vessels. Suddenly from one of them up you almost shuddered as you looked shoots a stream of light. They have fired down upon

them from the pier, and saw a rocket; and the gun, and the rocket, them in the grasp of the sea, rolling five minutes after, form the signal that

« Ah !” you



a vessel is on the sands, and in need of the east pier. As the waves beat upon immediate assistance. You remember it, and dashed over in clouds of foam, watching the breakers on the sands it looked from the cliff like a heavy during the day, as they rose and fell battery of guns in full play. The boatlike fitful volumes of white eddying men had been on the look-out all day, smoke, breaking up the clear line of but there were no signs of their services the horizon, and tracing the sands in being required. Still they hung about broken, leaping, broad outlines of foam. the pier till long after dark. At last And you realize the sad fact that, amid many were straggling home, leaving those terrible breakers, somewhere out only those who were to watch during in the darkness, within four or five the night, when suddenly some thought miles of you, near that bright light, they saw a flash of light. A few there are twenty or fifty-you know not seconds of doubt, and the boom of the how many-of your fellow-creatures,

gun decided the point. At once there struggling for their lives.

was a rush for the life-boat. She was say, as the storm-blast rushes by, “if moored in the stream about thirty this gale lasts a few hours, and there is yards from the pier. In a few minutes no rescue, the morning may be calm, she was alongside. Her crew and the sea then smooth as a lake; but already more than made up. Some had nothing of either ship, or crew, shall we put off to her in wherries; others had see.” But, thank God! there will be a sprung in when she was within jumping

You know that already brave distance of the steps. She was overhearts have determined to attempt it; manned ; and the two last on board had that strong, ready hands are even now to turn out. In the meantime a rocket at work, in cool, quick preparation; had been fired from the light vessel

. that, almost before you could battle your Many had been on the look-out for it, way against the tempest down to the that they might decide beyond all doubt pier-head, the steamer and life-boat will which of the three light vessels it was have fought their way out into the storm that had signalled. It proved to be the and darkness upon their errand of mercy. North Sand Head vessel. The cork God have mercy upon the poor fellows jackets were thrown into the boat; the at sea-upon the shipwrecked, upon men were in their places, and all ready for the brave rescuers !” is the prayer that a start in a comparatively few minutes. finds a deep utterance from your heart They had not been less active in the during the wakeful minutes of the steamer, the Aid. Immediately upon the anxious night; and, as you fall asleep, first signal her shrill steam whistle revisions of the scenes going on so near,

sounded through the harbour, calling on mingle with your dreams, and startle board those of her crew who were on you again to watchfulness and


shore; and her steam, which is always We

go back to the 26th of November, kept up, was got to its full power, and in 1857, and select the events of that night less than half-an-hour from the firing of for our narrative because, perhaps, never the gun, she steamed gallantly out of the before, or since, did men and boat live harbour, with the life-boat in tow. As through such perils as the Ramsgate she went out, a rocket streamed up from life-boat crew then encountered ; and the Pier Head. It was the answer to the because, moreover, they seem well to light vessel, and told that the assistance illustrate the dangers connected with demanded was on its way. the lifeboat service on the Goodwin Off they went, ploughing their way Sands.

through a heavy cross sea, which often The day in question had been very swept completely over the boat. The tide threatening throughout; it was blowing was running strongly, and the wind in very fresh, with occasional squalls, from their teeth ; it was hard work breasting the east-north-east, and a heavy sea run- both sea and wind in such a tide and gale; gradually made head-way. They steered others, to try and get his vessel off the for the Goodwin, and, having got as sands. near to the breakers as they dared take The Goodwin is a quicksand, and, as the steamer, worked their way through such, terribly fatal to vessels that get a heavy head sea along the edge of the upon it. At low tide a large portion of Sands, on the look-out for the vessel in it is dry, and is then hard and firm, and distress. At last they make her out in can be walked upon for four or five the darkness, and, as they approach, miles; but, as the water flows over any find two Broadstairs luggers, the Dread- portion of it, that part becomes, as the nought and Petrel, riding at anchor out- sailors say, all alive-soft, and quick, and side the sand. These had heard the ready to suck in anything that lodges signal, and, the strong easterly gale being upon it. Suppose the vessel to run bow in their favour, had soon run down to the on, with a falling tide, and where the neighbourhood of the wreck. On making sand shelves, or is steep. The water to the vessel, the new comers find her to leaves the bow, and the sand there gets be a fine-looking brig, almost high and hard; the water still flows under the dry on the sands. Her masts and rigging stern, and there the sand remains soft ; are all right; the moon, which has broken down the stern sinks, lower and lower; through the clouds, shines upon her the vessel soon breaks her back, or works clean new copper; and, so far, she seems herself almost upright on her stern; as to have received but little damage. the tide flows she fills with water, works

Efforts have already been made for deeper and deeper into the sand, until her relief. The Dreadnought lugger had at high tide she is completely buried, or brought with her a small twenty-feet life- only her topmasts are to be seen above boat. The "Little" Dreadnought and this water. Other vessels, if the sea is heavy, boat, with her crew of five hands, has begin to beat heavily, and soon break up. succeeded in getting alongside the brig. Lifted up on the swell of a huge wave,

The steamer slips the hawser of the as it breaks and flies from under them life-boat, and anchors almost abreast

in surf, they crash down with their of the vessel, with about sixty fathom of whole weight upon the sands, and are chain out. There is a heavy rolling sea soon in pieces; or the broken hull fills -but much less than there has been, with water, rolls, and lifts, and works, as the tide has gone down considerably. until it has made a deep bed in the The life-boat makes in for the brig; car- sands, in which it is soon buried—so that ries on through the surf and breakers ; many vessels have run upon the sands and, when within about forty fathoms of in the early night, and scarcely a vestige the vessel, lowers her sails, throws the of them was to be seen in the morning. anchor overboard, ad veers alongside. By way of illustration, let me tell what The captain and some of the men remain happened one dark stormy night in in the boat, to fend her off from the January, 1857, a few months before the sides of the vessel; for the tide, although events now being related. it is shallow water, runs like a sluice, The harbour steam-tug Aid, and the and it requires great care to prevent the life-boat, had been out early in the day, boat getting her side stove in against the trying to get to the Northern Belle, a vessel. The rest of her crew climbon board fine American barque, which was ashore the brig. Her captain had, until then, not far from Kingsgate; but the force hoped to get her off at the next tide, of the gale and tide was so tremendous and had refused the assistance of the that they could not make way,

and were Broadstairs men. But now he begins driven back to Ramsgate, there to wait to realize the danger of his position, and until the tide turned, or the wind modeis very glad to accept the assistance rated. About two in the morning, offered. One of his crew speaks a little while getting ready for another attempt English ; and, through him, he employs to reach the Northern Belle, rockets were the crew of the life-boat, and the fired from one of the Goodwin Light

[ocr errors]

vessels, showing that some ship was in ous position, but have hopes of getting distress there. They hastened at once her off ;-at all events, they will try hard to afford assistance, and got to the edge for it. She is a fine, new, and stronglyof the Sands shortly after three. Up built Portuguese brig, belonging to Lisand down they cruised, but could see bon, and bound from Newcastle to Rio, no signs of any vessel. They waited with coals and iron. Her crew consists of till morning's light, and then saw the the captain, the mate, ten men, and a boy. one mast of a steamer standing out of She is head on to the sand ; but the the water. They made towards it; but sand does not shelve much, and her keel there were no signs of life, and no is pretty even. The wind is blowing still wreck to which a human being could very strong, and right astern; the tide cling. Almost immediately upon strik- is on the turn, and will flow quickly. ing, the vessel, as they concluded, must There is no time to be lost; the first have broken up, sunk, and become effort must be to prevent her driving buried in the quicksand. Away, then, further on the sand. With this obfor the Northern Belle ! Scarcely is the ject the boatmen get an anchor out word given, when the captain of the Aid astern as quickly as possible ; they rig sees a large life-buoy floating near. “Ease out tackles on the foreyard, and hoist her,” he cries; and the way of the steamer the bower anchor on deck, slew the yard slacks. “God knows but what that buoy round, and get the anchor as far aft as may be of use to some of us." The they can; they then shift the tackles to helmsman steers for it. A man makes the main-yard, and lift the anchor well a hasty dart at it with a boat-hook, to the stern, shackle the chain cable on, misses it, and starts back appalled from get it all clear for running out, try the a vision of staring eyes, and matted hair, pumps to see that they work, and then and wildly-tossed arms. They shout to wait until the tide makes sufficiently to the life-boat crew, and they in turn enable the steamer, which draws six steer for the life-buoy ; the bowman feet, to approach nearer. They hope grasps at it, catches it, but cannot lift it the steamer will be able to back close in. His cry of horror brings others to enough to them to get a rope fastened help him; they lift the buoy and bring to the flues of the anchor, and then to the surface three dead bodies that are drag the anchor out, and drop it about tied to it by spun yarn round their one hundred fathoms astern of the waists. Slowly and carefully, one by vessel. All hands will then go to the one, the crew lift them on board and windlass, keep a strain upon the cable, lay them out under the sail.

and heave with a will each time the brig The Violet passenger steamer had left lifts—the steamer towing hard all the Ostend about eleven at night ; about two time with a hundred and twenty fathomis in the morning she got on the Goodwin of nine-inch cable out. By these means Sands; a little after three, there was no they expect to work the brig gradually one left on board to answer the signals off the Sands. of the steam-boat and show their posi- But they soon lose all hope of doing tion; at seven, there was nothing to be this. It is about one o'clock in the mornseen of her but the one mast, the life- ing; the moon has gone down; heavy buoy, and the three corpses sleeping showers of rain fall; it is pitch dark, and their long, last sleep under the life-boat very squally; the gale is evidently fresh. sail. Such are the Goodwin Sands ! ening up again ; a heavy swell comes up

before the wind, and, as the tide flows CHAPTER II.

under the brig, she begins to work very

much. She lifts and thumps down upon THE WRECK ABANDONED, AND THE LIFE- the sands with shocks that make the BOAT DESPAIRED OF. ,

masts tremble and the decks gape open. The boatmen, as soon as they get on The boatmen begin to fear the worst.

« ZurückWeiter »