Excerpt:-A clumsier old waggon never dipped her gangways in a swell, and every lift of her square stern hid from the sight of the people who were looking at her on board the Queen the mowing and shining heights of a tall ship hull down. The mercury in the captain's barometer had been steadily sinking since noon. The sky slowly thickened all round, and no sound came from the sea. The swell rolled in breathless heaps, and the white birds vanished. It was the most uncomfortable time the passengers had passed. The ladies could not stand, and the gentlemen staggered, though old Benson observed that most of the men strode the reeling deck with very easy legs — legs of the sea, pliant, elastic, swift in recovery, and a walk that is pleasanter to see than a dance.
Nobody could have supposed that the Queen would roll so abominably. She sank to her covering boards, and a nervous ear might easily have found a direct threat of storm in the cannonading of canvas aloft, in the crackling of strained rigging, in noises of breaking crockery, heavy goods fetching away, little shrieks of women, loud calls from the poop, and answering curses from the forecastle. They clewed up and furled down to the topsails, in which they tied two reefs. At one time when this was doing, Trollope and two or three others stood near the mizzen-mast looking up at the main; they swayed easily on their legs like a boy straddling the middle of a swaying see-saw ; the reef tackles were then being hauled out, the yard was on the cap, and a few hands were slapping their way up the weather rigging.
Author: William Clark Russell
Title: The Tale of the Ten: A Salt-Water Romance
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