His Good and his Bad Luck at Sea

From: The Last of the Huggermuggers: a Giant Story (1856)
Author: Christopher Pearse Cranch
Published: 1856 Boston



  IT was a long voyage, and there was plenty of hard work for Little Jacket, but he found several good fellows among the sailors, and was so quick, so bright, so ready to turn his hand to every thing, and withal of so kind and social a disposition, that he soon became a favorite with the Captain and mates, as with all the sailors. They had fine weather, only too fine, the Captain said, for it was summer time, and the sea was often as smooth as glass. There were lazy times then for the sailors, when there was little work to do, and many a story was told among them as they lay in the warm moonlight nights on the forecastle. But now and then there came a blow of wind, and all hands had to be stirring—running up the shrouds, taking in sails, pulling at ropes, plying the pump; and there was many a hearty laugh among them at the ducking some poor fellow would get, as now and then a wave broke over the deck.

  Things went on, however, pretty smoothly with Little Jacket, on the whole, for some time. They doubled the Cape of Good Hope, and were making their way as fast as they could to the coast of Java, when the sky suddenly darkened, and there came on a terrible storm. They took in all the sails they could, after having several carried away by the wind. The vessel scudded, at last, almost under bare poles. The storm was so violent as to render her almost unmanageable, and they were carried a long way out of their course. Everybody had tremendous work to perform, and Little Jacket began to wish he were safe on dry land again. Day after day the poor vessel drifted and rolled. The sky was so dark, that the Captain could not take an observation to tell in what part of the ocean they were. At last, they saw that they were driving towards some enormous cliffs that loomed up in the darkness. Every one lost hope of the ship being saved. Still they neared the cliffs, and now they saw the white breakers ahead, close under them. The Captain got the boats out, to be in readiness for the worst. But the sea was too rough to use them. At last, with a mighty crash, the great ship struck upon the black rocks. All was confusion and wild rushing of the salt waves over them, and poor Jacky found himself in the foaming surge. Struggling to reach the shore, a great wave did what he could not have done himself. He was thrown dripping wet, and bruised, upon the rocks. When he came to himself, he discovered that several of his companions had also reached the shore, but nothing more was seen of the ship. She had gone down in the fearful tempest, and carried I know not how many poor fellows down with her.

All Sub-Works of The Last of the Huggermuggers: a Giant Story (1856):
PDF Sub-Works open in a new tab. Close the tab when done viewing to return here.