Life at High Tide
1st World Library - Literary Society
Publication date: December 2007
Digital Book format: PDF (Adobe DRM)
Darkness had set in. The wind was blowing strong from the southwest, with a fine, wetting, penetrating rain, which even tarpaulins, or the thickest of Flushing coats, would scarcely resist. A heavy sea also was running, such as is often to be met with in the chops of the British Channel during the month of November, at which time of the year, in the latter part of the last century, a fine frigate was struggling with the elements, in a brave attempt to beat out into the open ocean. She was under close-reefed topsails; but even with this snug canvas she often heeled over to the blast, till her lee-ports were buried in the foaming waters. Now she rose to the summit of a white-crested sea; now she sunk into the yawning trough below; and ever and anon as she dashed onward in spite of all opposition, a mass of water would strike her bows with a clap like that of thunder, and rising over her bulwarks, would deluge her deck fore and aft, and appear as if about to overwhelm her altogether. A portion of the officers and crew stood at their posts on deck, now and then shaking the water from their hats and coats, after they had been covered with a thicker shower than usual of rain or spray, or looking up aloft at the straining canvas, or out over the dark expanse of ocean; but all of them taking matters very composedly, and wishing only that their watch were over, that they might enjoy such comforts as were to be found below, and take part in the conviviality which, in spite of the gale, was going forward.