Chapter II. The Start

Harry Prendergast went down to Leadenhall Street and saw the managing owner of the Para. As Bertie had anticipated, Mr. Prosser, after hearing Harry's statement that he wished to take a passage to Callao in the vessel advertised to start in a week's time, and that he was much obliged to them for giving Bertie a berth as supernumerary midshipman, said:

"We shall certainly have pleasure in putting your brother's name on the ship's books. He has already explained to me his desire to go out with you; we have had every reason to be satisfied with him since he entered our service, and he had better draw pay as usual, as his service during the voyage will then count towards his time. As for yourself, we do not book passengers, it is more bother than it is worth; but we have no objection to our masters taking one or two. The addition of a mouth or so practically makes very little difference in the amount of ships' stores consumed. The masters pay us a small sum a head and make their own terms with the passengers they take. In that way we are saved all complaints as to food and other matters. Of course a passenger would put on board for himself a stock of such wines, spirits, and little luxuries as he may choose.

"You will find Captain Peters down at the docks. The last cargo has been discharged, and they are giving an overhaul to the rigging and making a few repairs; he is not a man to leave his ship if he can help it while work is going on there."

Harry at once went down.

"Well, sir," the captain said, when he had told him that he wished to take a passage to Callao, and that the owners had referred him to him, "I had fully made up my mind that I would not take passengers again. On my last voyage they were always grumbling at the food, expecting to be treated as if they were in a first-class hotel."

"I am not likely to grumble, Captain; I have been knocking about the King's service since I was fourteen."

"Oh, you are a royal navy man, are you, sir?"

"I am; I am a lieutenant."

"That makes a difference; and I have no doubt we can arrange the matter to our satisfaction."

"I may tell you," Harry said, "that I have a younger brother coming out with me. He is an apprentice nearly out of his time, and was on board the Stella when she was sunk in the Channel. Your owners have kindly arranged that he shall go out with you as a supernumerary; that is one reason why I wish to go in your ship."

The Master thought for a minute or two. "Well, Mr. Prendergast," he said, "I like having one of you naval gentlemen on board; if anything goes wrong it is a comfort to have your advice. If we have bad weather round the Horn, could I rely upon you to give me a helping hand should I need it? I don't mean that you should keep watch or anything of that sort, but that you should, as it were, stand by me. I have a new first mate, and there is no saying how he may turn out. No doubt the firm would make every enquiry. Still, such enquiries don't mean much; a master doesn't like to damn a man by refusing to give him a good character I dare say he is all right. Still, I should certainly feel very much more comfortable if I had a naval officer with me. Now, sir, I pay the firm twelve pounds for each passenger I take as his share of the cabin stores; you pay me that, and I will ask for nothing for your passage. I cannot say fairer than that."

"You cannot indeed, Captain, and I feel very much obliged to you for the offer--very much obliged. It will suit me admirably, and in case of any emergency you may rely upon my aid; and if you have a spell of bad weather I shall be quite willing to take a watch, for I know that in the long heavy gales you meet with going round the Horn the officers get terribly overtaxed."

"And how about your brother?" the captain said; "as he is to be a supernumerary, I suppose that only means that the firm are willing that he shall put in his time for his rating. I have never had a supernumerary on board, but I suppose he is to be regarded as a passenger rather than one of the ship's complement."

"No, Captain, he is to be on the pay-sheet; and I think he had much better be put into a watch. He would find the time hang very heavy on his hands if he had nothing to do, and I know he is anxious to learn his profession thoroughly. As he is to be paid, there is no reason why he should not work."

"Very well; if you think so we will say nothing more about it. I thought perhaps you would like to have him aft with you."

"I am much obliged to you, but I think the other way will be best; and I am sure he would feel more comfortable with the other apprentices than as a passenger."

"Are you going out for long, may I ask you, Mr. Prendergast?"

"For a couple of years or so. I am going to wander about and do some shooting and exploring and that sort of thing, and I am taking him with me as companion. I speak Spanish fairly well myself, and shall teach him on the voyage, if you will allow me to do so. A knowledge of that language will be an advantage to him when he comes back into Prosser & Co.'s service."

"A great advantage," the captain agreed. "Most of us speak a little Spanish, but I have often thought that it would pay the company to send a man who could talk the lingo well in each ship. They could call him supercargo, and I am sure he would pay his wages three or four times over by being able to bargain and arrange with the Chilians and Peruvians. In ports like Callao, where there is a British consul, things are all right, but in the little ports we are fleeced right and left. Boatmen and shopkeepers charge us two or three times as much as they do their own countrymen, and I am sure that we could get better bargains in hides and other produce if we had someone who could knock down their prices."

"When do you sail, Captain?"

"This day week. It will be high tide about eight, and we shall start to warp out of dock a good half-hour earlier, so you can either come on board the night before or about seven in the morning."

"Very well, sir; we shall be here in good time. I shall bring my things on board with me; it is of no use sending them on before, as they will not be bulky and can be stored away in my cabin."

"This will be your state-room," the captain said, opening a door. "I have the one aft, and the first mate has the one opposite to you. The others are empty, so you can stow any baggage that you have in one of them; the second and third officers and the apprentices are in the deck-house cabins."

"In that case, Captain, I will send the wine and spirits on board the day before. Of course I shall get them out of bond; I might have difficulty in doing that so early in the morning. You will perhaps be good enough to order them to be stowed in one of the empty cabins."

"That will be the best plan," the captain said.

"When do the apprentices come on board?"

"The morning before we sail. There is always plenty to be done in getting the last stores on board."

"All right! my brother will be here. Good-morning, Captain, and thank you!"

The following morning at eleven Harry Prendergast was standing in front of the entrance to the British Museum. A young lady came up. "It is very imprudent of you, Harry," she said, after the first greeting, "to ask me to meet you."

"I could not help it, dear; it was absolutely necessary that I should see you."

"But it is of no use, Harry."

"I consider that it is of particular use, Hilda."

"But you know, Harry, when you had that very unpleasant talk with my father, I was called in, and said that I had promised to wait two years for you. When he found that I would not give way, he promised that he would not press me, on the understanding that we were not to meet again except in public, and I all but promised."

"Quite so, dear; but it appears to me that this is surely a public place."

"No, no, Harry; what he meant was that I was not to meet you except at parties."

"Well, I should have asked you to meet me to-day even if I had had to storm your father's house to see you. I am going away, dear, and he could scarcely say much if he came along and found us talking here. You see, it was not likely that I should stumble across a fortune in the streets of London. I have talked the matter over with Barnett--you know our trustee, you have met him once or twice--and we came to the conclusion that the only possible chance of my being able to satisfy your father as to my means, was for me to go to Peru and try to discover a gold mine there or hidden treasure. Such discoveries have been made, and may be made again; and he has supplied me with a letter to an Indian, who may possibly be able to help me."

"To Peru, Harry! Why, they are always fighting there."

"Yes, they do a good deal of squabbling, but the people in general have little to do with it; and certainly I am not going out to take any part in their revolutions. There is not a shadow of doubt that a number of gold mines worked by the old people were never discovered by the Spaniards, and it is also certain that a great portion of the treasures of the Incas is still lying hid. Barnett saved the life of a muleteer out there, and from what he said he believed that the man did know something about one of these lost mines, and might possibly let me into the secret. It is just an off chance, but it is the only chance I can see. You promised your father that you would never marry without his consent, and he would never give it unless I were a rich man. If nothing comes of this adventure I shall be no worse off than I am at present. If I am fortunate enough to discover a rich mine or a hidden treasure, I shall be in a position to satisfy his demand. I am going to take Bertie with me; he will be a cheerful companion, and even now he is a powerful young fellow. At any rate, if I get sick or anything of that sort, it would be an immense advantage to have him with me."

"I don't like the idea of your going, Harry," she said tearfully. "No, dear; and if I had the chance of seeing you sometimes, and of some day obtaining your father's consent to the marriage, all the gold mines in Peru would offer no temptation to me. As it is, I can see nothing else for it. In some respects it is better; if I were to stay here I should only be meeting you frequently at dances and dinners, never able to talk to you privately, and feeling always that you could never be mine. It would be a constant torture. Here is a possibility--a very remote one, I admit, but still a possibility--and even if it fails I shall have the satisfaction of knowing that I have done all that a man could do to win you."

"I think it is best that you should go somewhere, Harry, but Peru seems to be a horrible place." "Barnett speaks of it in high terms. You know he was four or five years out there. He describes the people as being delightful, and he has nothing to say against the climate."

"I will not try to dissuade you," she said bravely after a pause. "At present I am hopeless, but I shall have something to hope and pray for while you are away. We will say good-bye now, dear. I have come to meet you this once, but I will not do so again, another meeting would but give us fresh pain. I am very glad to know that your brother is going with you. I shall not have to imagine that you are ill in some out-of-the-way place without a friend near you; and in spite of the dangers you may have to run, I would rather think of you as bravely doing your best than eating your heart out here in London. I shall not tell my father that we have met here; you had better write to him and say that you are leaving London at once, and that you hope in two years to return and claim me in accordance with his promise. I am sure he will be glad to know that you have gone, and that we shall not be constantly meeting. He will be kinder to me than he has been of late, for as he will think it quite impossible that you can make a fortune in two years he will be inclined to dismiss you altogether from his mind."

For another half-hour they talked together, and then they parted with renewed protestations on her part that nothing should induce her to break her promise to wait for him for two years. He had given her the address of one of the merchants to whom Mr. Barnett had promised him a letter of introduction, so that she might from time to time write, for the voyage would take at least four months and as much more would be required for his first letter to come back. He walked moodily home after parting with her.

"Hullo, Harry! nothing wrong with you, I hope? why, you look as grave as an owl."

"I feel grave, Bertie. I have just said good-bye to Hilda; and though I kept up my spirits and made the best of this expedition of ours, I cannot but feel how improbable it is that we shall meet again--that is to say, in our present relations; for if I fail I certainly shall not return home for some years; it would be only fair to her that I should not do so. I know that she would keep on as long as there was any hope, but I should not care to think that she was wasting her life. I was an ass to believe it could ever be otherwise, and I feel that the best thing for us both would have been for me to go away as soon as I found that I was getting fond of her."

"Well, of course I cannot understand it, Harry, and it seems to me that one girl is very like another; she may be a bit prettier than the average, but I suppose that comes to all the same thing in another twenty years. I can understand a man getting awfully fond of his ship, especially when she is a clipper. However, some day I may feel different; besides, how could you tell that her father would turn out such a crusty old beggar?"

"I suppose I did not think about it one way or the other, Bertie," Harry said quietly. "However, the mischief is done, and even if there was no chance whatever of making money I should go now for my own sake as well as hers. Well, it is of no use talking more about it; we will go out now and buy the rifles. I shan't get them new, one can pick up guns just as good at half the price, and as I know something about rifles I am not likely to be taken in. Of course I have got my pistols and only have a brace to buy for you. You will have time on the voyage to practise with them; if you did not do that you would be as likely to shoot me as a hostile Indian."

"Oh, that is bosh!" the boy said; "still, I certainly should like to be a good shot."

After getting the rifles and pistols, Harry went into the city and ordered six dozen of wine and three dozen of brandy to be sent on board out of bond; he also ordered a bag of twenty pounds of raw coffee, a chest of tea, and a couple of dozen bottles of pickles and sauces, to be sent down to the docks on the day before the Para sailed. Another suit of seafaring clothes and a stock of underclothing was ordered for Bertie. Harry spent the intervening time before the vessel sailed in looking up his friends and saying good-bye to them, and drove down to the docks at the appointed time, his brother having joined the ship on the previous day.

The Para was a barque-rigged ship of some eight hundred tons. At present she did not show to advantage, her deck being littered with stores of all kinds that had come on board late. The deck planks where they could be seen were almost black, the sails had been partly loosed from the gaskets, and to an eye accustomed to the neatness and order of a man-of-war her appearance was by no means favourable; but her sides shone with fresh paint, and, looking at her lines from the wharf, Harry thought she would be both fast and a good sea-boat. She was not heavily laden, and stood boldly up in the water. Nodding to Bertie, who was working hard among the men, he went up on to the poop, from which Captain Peters was shouting orders.

"Glad to see you, sir," the captain said; "she looks rather in a litter at present, doesn't she? We shall get her all ataunto before we get down to the Nore. These confounded people won't send their stores on board till the last moment. If I were an owner I should tell all shippers that no goods would be received within five or six hours of the ship's time for sailing; that would give us a fair chance, instead of starting all in a muddle, just at the time, too, when more than any other one wants to have the decks free for making short tacks down these narrow reaches. I believe half the wrecks on the sands at the mouth of the river are due to the confusion in which the ships start. How can a crew be lively in getting the yards over when they have to go about decks lumbered up like this, and half of them are only just recovering from their bout of drink the day before?"

Up to the last moment everyone on board was hard at work, and when the order was given to throw off the hawsers the deck was already comparatively clear. Half an hour later the vessel passed out through the dock gates, with two boats towing ahead so as to take her well out into the river; the rest of the crew were employed in letting the sails drop. As soon as she gathered way the men in the boats were called in, the boats themselves being towed behind in case they might again be required.

The passage from the Pool to the mouth of the river was in those days the most dangerous portion of the voyage. There were no tugs to seize the ships and carry them down to the open water, while the channels below the Nore were badly buoyed and lighted, and it was no uncommon thing for twenty vessels to get upon the sands in the course of a single tide.

The wind was light, and being northerly helped them well on their way, and it was only in one or two reaches that the Para was unable to lay her course. She overtook many craft that had been far ahead of her, and answered the helm quickly.

"She is both fast and handy, I see," Harry Prendergast, who had been watching her movements with interest, remarked.

"Yes; there are not many craft out of London can show her their heels when the wind is free. She does not look quite so well into the wind as I should wish; still, I think she is as good as most of them."

"I suppose you will get down to Gravesend before the tide turns?"

"Yes, we shall anchor there. The wind is not strong enough for us to stem the tide, which runs like a sluice there. Once past the Nore one can do better, but there is no fighting the tide here unless one has a steady breeze aft. I never feel really comfortable till we are fairly round the South Foreland; after that it is plain sailing enough. Though there are a few shoals in the Channel, one can give them a wide berth; fogs are the things we have to fear there."

"Yes. I have never been down the river, having always joined my ships either at Portsmouth or Plymouth, so I know very little about it; but I know from men who have been on board vessels commissioned at Chatham or Sheerness that they are thankful indeed when they once get round the Good wins and head west."

"Well, Mr. Prendergast, I am against these new-fangled steamboats--I suppose every true sailor is; but when the Marjory began to run between London and Gravesend eighteen years ago--in '15 I think it was--folks did say that it would not be long before sailing craft would be driven off the sea. I did not believe that then, and I don't believe it now; but I do say that I hope before long there will be a lot of small steamers on the Thames, to tow vessels down till they are off the North Foreland. It would be a blessing and a comfort to us master mariners. Once there we have the choice of going outside the Goodwins, or taking a short cut inside if the wind is aft. Why, sir, it would add years to our lives and shorten voyages by weeks. There we are, now, sometimes lying off the Nore, five hundred sail, waiting for the wind to shift out of the east, and when we do get under weigh we have always to keep the lead going. One never knows when one may bump upon the sands. Some masters will grope their way along in the dark, but for my part I always anchor. There are few enough buoys and beacons in daytime, but I consider that it is tempting Providence to try and go down in a dark night. The owners are sensible men and they know that it is not worth while running risks just to save a day or two when you have got a four months' voyage before you. Once past Dover I am ready to hold on with anyone, but between the Nore and the North Foreland I pick my way as carefully as a woman going across a muddy street."

"You are quite right, Captain; I thoroughly agree with you. More ships get ashore going down to the mouth of the Thames than in any other part of the world; and, as you say, if all sailing ships might be taken down by a steamer, it would be the making of the port of London."

"Your brother is a smart young chap, Mr. Prendergast. I was watching him yesterday, and he is working away now as if he liked work. He has the makings of a first-rate sailor. I hold that a man will never become a first-class seaman unless he likes work for its own sake. There are three sorts of hands. There is the fellow who shirks his work whenever he has a chance; there is the man who does his work, but who does it because he has to do it, and always looks glad when a job is over; and there is the lad who jumps to his work, chucks himself right into it, and puts his last ounce of strength on a rope. That is the fellow who will make a good officer, and who, if needs be, can set an example to the men when they have to go aloft to reef a sail in a stiff gale. So, as I understand, Mr. Prendergast, he is going to leave the sea for a bit. It seems a pity too."

"He will be none the worse for it, Captain. A year or so knocking about among the mountains of Peru will do more good to him than an equal time on board ship. It will sharpen him up, and give him habits of reliance and confidence. He will be all the better for it afterwards, even putting aside the advantage it will be to him to pick up Spanish."

"Yes, it may do him good," the captain agreed, "if it does not take away his liking for the sea."

"I don't think it will do that. If the first voyage or two don't sicken a lad, I think it is pretty certain he is cut out for the sea. Of course it is a very hard life at first, especially if the officers are a rough lot, but when a boy gets to know his duty things go more easily with him; he is accustomed to the surroundings, and takes to the food, which you know is not always of the best, with a good appetite. Bertie has had three years of it now, and when he has come home I have never heard a grumble from him; and he is not likely to meet with such luxuries while we are knocking about as to make him turn up his nose at salt junk."

The tide was already turning when they reached Gravesend. As soon as the anchor was down the steward came up to say that dinner was ready.

"I am not at all sorry," Harry said as he went below with the captain. "I ate a good breakfast before I started at half-past six, and I went below and had a biscuit and bottle of beer at eleven, but I feel as hungry as a hunter now. There is nothing like a sea appetite. I have been nearly two years on shore, and I never enjoyed a meal as I do at sea."

The crew had been busy ever since they left the dock, and the deck had now been scrubbed and made tidy, and presented a very different appearance from that which met Harry's eye as he came on board.

Johnson, the first mate, also dined with the skipper. He was a tall, powerfully-built man. He was singularly taciturn, and took no share in the conversation unless directly asked. He seemed, however, to be able to appreciate a joke, but never laughed audibly, contenting himself with drawing his lips apart and showing his teeth.

The wind was light and baffling, so that they did not round the South Foreland until the seventh day after leaving dock. After that it was favourable and steady, and they ran without any change until they approached the line; then there was a fortnight of calm. At last they got the wind again, and made a rapid run until within five hundred miles of Cape Horn. The captain was in high glee.

"We have done capitally so far, Mr. Prendergast. I don't think I ever made so rapid a run. If she goes on like this we shall reach Callao within three months of starting."

"I don't think the weather will continue like this," the mate said.

This was the first original observation he had made since he had sailed, and Harry and the captain looked at him in surprise.

"You think there is going to be a change, Mr. Johnson?" the captain said, after a short pause to recover from his astonishment.

The mate nodded.

"Glass falling, sky hazy."

"Is the glass falling? I am ashamed to say I have not looked at it for the past twenty-four hours. It has stuck so long at the same point that I have quite ceased to look at it two or three times a day as I usually do."

"It has not fallen much, but it is sinking."

The captain got up from the table, and went to look at the glass.

"You are right, it has fallen a good eighth; but that may mean a change of wind. Did you notice any change, Mr. Prendergast?"

"No, I can't say that I did. I looked up, as a sailor always does, when I was on deck this morning, but it was clear enough then, and I have not noticed it particularly since."

But when they went up on deck half an hour later both agreed that the mate was right. The change overhead was slight, but away to the west a dull reddish mist seemed to obscure the horizon.

"We will get the upper sails off at once, Mr. Johnson. These storms come so suddenly off the coast that it is as well to lose no time in shortening sail when one sees any indication of such a change."

The mate at once gave the necessary orders. The sailors started up with looks of surprise.

"Look sharp, men!" the mate said. "We shall have wind, and plenty of it. It will be here before long."

The men, who were by no means sorry for a spell of work after going so long without shifting sail or tack, worked hard, and the white sheets of canvas were soon snugly furled. By this time all the sailors who had been to sea for any time recognized the utility of their work. The low bank had risen and extended the whole width of the western horizon.

"What do you think, Mr. Prendergast? Have we got enough off her?"

"I don't know about your storms here, Captain; but if it were in the Levant I should get every stitch of canvas off her excepting closely- reefed topsails, a storm jib, and fore stay-sail. The first burst over, one can always shake out more canvas. However, you know these seas, and I do not."

"I think you are right. These pamperos, as we call them, are not to be trifled with."

"In that case there is no time to be lost, Captain, and with your permission I will lend a hand."

"All hands take in sail!" the captain shouted.

The mate led the way up the starboard shrouds, while Harry, throwing off his coat, mounted those to port, closely followed by Bertie. Five minutes' hard work, and the Para was stripped for the struggle.

"That is a good job done," the skipper said to Harry as he reached the deck.

"A very good job, sir. The wind may come, but we are prepared for it; there is nothing like being ready in time."

"She is in good trim for it," said the captain, "not above two-thirds laden, and as the wind is off the land, there is nothing to worry us except the Falklands. I shall go outside them. Of course that will lengthen the voyage, but with this westerly wind I should not care about being between them and the mainland. You think the same, Mr. Prendergast?"

"I do, sir; they are a scattered group, and it would not be pleasant to have them under lee."

It had grown sensibly darker, but the line of mist had not risen higher. Harry remarked upon this.

"I almost doubt whether it is coming after all," he said.

The captain shook his head.

"It does not spread over the sky," he said, "because it is largely dust blown off the land. After the first burst you will see that we shall have a bright blue sky and a roaring wind, just as one gets it sometimes in an easterly gale in the Channel. We shall have it in another five minutes, I fancy. I don't think it will be very strong, or we should have had it here before this."

It was not long before a dull, moaning sound was heard, the brown-red fog changed its appearance, swirls of vapour seemed to dash out in front of it, and the whole swelled and heaved as if it were being pushed forward by some tremendous pressure in its rear.

The ship's head was pointing nearly east, the canvas hung down motionless, and there was not a breath of wind.

"Hold on all!" the captain shouted. Half a minute later the billowly clouds swept across the vessel, and a sudden darkness overspread them. Then there was a glow of white light, a line of foam approached as fleet as a race-horse, and with a shriek the gale was upon them. The vessel shook from stem to stern as if she had struck against a rock, and her bow was pressed down lower and lower until she seemed as if she were going to dive head-foremost. But as she gathered way, her bow rose, and in a minute she was flying along at some eighteen knots an hour.

"She is all right now, Mr. Prendergast," the captain said. "It is well we stripped her so thoroughly, and that she is not heavily laden."

Four men had been placed at the wheel, and it needed all their strength to keep her from yawing. In half an hour the sea began to get up, and the captain laid her course south-east, which put the wind on her quarter.

"It is well we were not a degree or so farther south, Captain."

"Yes; it would have been as much as we could do to weather the Falklands; for with this small amount of sail we should have made a terrible amount of leeway. As it is, all is fair sailing."

The darkness gradually passed away, and in an hour after the gale had struck her the Para was sailing under a bright blue sky. Although but few points off the wind, she was lying down till her lee scuppers were under water. The spray was flying over her sparkling in the sun; the sailors were crouched under the weather bulwark, lashed to belaying-pins and stanchions to prevent themselves from shifting down to leewards. Six hours later it was evident that there was some slight diminution in the force of the wind.

"She is going about fourteen knots now," the captain said; "we can head her more to the south. We must be nearly abreast of the islands, and according to my reckoning forty or fifty miles to the east of them."

It was now dark, and the watch was sent below.

"To-morrow morning we shall be able to get some more sail on her," the master said, "and I hope by the next morning the squall will be over, for we shall then have made our southing, and the wind will be right in our teeth when we turn her head west. There is no saying which way it will come when the squall dies out. What do you think, Johnson?"

"We are pretty sure to get it hot from one quarter or another," the man said. "I should say most likely from the south."

"Except for the cold that would be better than west," Harry remarked.

"Yes, if it is not too strong; but it is likely to be strong. After such a gale as we have had, it seldom settles down for some time. As like as not there will be bad weather for the next month."

The next morning when Harry went on deck he saw that the reefs had been shaken out of the topsails and the spanker hoisted. There was still a fresh wind, but it had backed round more to the south, and there was so sharp a nip in it that he went below and put on a pea-jacket. Then he beckoned to Bertie, who was off duty, to join him on the poop.

"That has been a smart blow, Bertie."

"Yes, but I had it worse than that the last time I came round the Horn. I think we shall be shortening sail again before long. The clouds are banking up to the south-west. She is a good sea-boat, isn't she?"

"She has behaved uncommonly well. We shall want all our clothes before night, Bertie. It was May when we started, and it is nearly mid-winter down here."

"There is one thing, we shan't have so much risk of coming across drifting icebergs, most of them will be frozen up hard and fast down in the south. They don't matter much when the weather is clear, but if it is thick one has an awful time of it. On my first voyage it was like that, and I tell you I didn't think I was going to see England again. We had some desperately close shaves."

The wind speedily freshened, and by evening the ship was under close- reefed canvas again. The clouds were flying fast overhead and the air was thick. Before the evening watch was set the ship was brought round on the other tack, and was running to the east of south.

"We will lie on this course till morning, Mr. Prendergast," said the captain, "and then if the wind holds, I think we shall be able to make a long leg and weather the Horn."

For six days the storm raged with unabated violence. The cold was intense, the spray breaking over the bows froze as it fell, and the crew were engaged for hours at a time in breaking up the masses of ice thus formed. Harry had volunteered to take a watch in turn with the first and second mates. The captain was almost continuously on deck. Twice they encountered icebergs, and once in a driving snow-storm nearly ran foul of one. Fortunately it was daylight, and the whole crew being on deck, they were able to put the vessel about just in time. During this time the vessel had only gained a few miles' westing. All on board were utterly exhausted with the struggle against the bitter wind; their hands were sore and bleeding through pulling upon frozen ropes, their faces inflamed, and their eyelids so swollen and sore that they could scarcely see. Then the wind began to abate, and more sail being got on the Para, she was able to lie her course.