But he still descended. Step by step, painfully, semi-consciously, the brain-sick, nauseated boy clung to the ratlines. On his grip depended his life, and this, in a dim, stupid sort of way, he realized. He must reach them, he must! A furious fighting spirit came over him.
His head suddenly cleared; the deadly nausea left him; his limbs grew light. Jack shouted aloud and came swiftly down. He called out defiantly at the storm. He raved, he yelled in wild delirium. All at once he felt the cross-trees under his feet.
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With a last loud cry of triumph he sank down on the projecting steel pieces that formed, at any rate, a resting place. Down, down, down he went, straight as a stone toward the dark, black, raging vortex through which the ship was fighting.
John Maxtone-Graham (–) wrote many books on trans-Atlantic ocean travel, among them Titanic Tragedy: A New Look at the Lost Liner, Normandie. Based on the lovely island Långholmen in central Stockholm Lost Liner strive to make fantastic films and wonderful effects. Our team of dedicated artist are.
He felt rather than heard a despairing cry; but did not know whether it had come from his lips or not. I should never have let him go. That boy is the bravest of the brave. You may well say that. A seasoned sailorman might have hesitated to go aloft to-night. From the bridge they saw him for a moment, in the gleam of light from a porthole, crossing the wet deck. He clambered into the shrouds and then began climbing upward along the perilous path Jack had already traveled.
And then there was nothing but the shriek of the wind and the beat of the waves, while the two officers gazed piercingly upward into the darkness where they knew not what tragedies might be taking place. One of the two quartermasters, struggling with the bucking, kicking wheel, was ordered to get the apparatus ready and focus it on the foremast. The canvas hood was taken off the big light and then a switch snapped, sputtering bluely.
A radiant spear of light pierced the night. It hovered vaguely for a few instants and then settled on the foremast. It revealed a thrilling scene. Schultz had clasped in his arms the unconscious form of Jack Ready. For the young wireless man, when he collapsed, had been caught by a stay and held in position on the cross-trees. Slowly, and with infinite caution, the old quartermaster began to descend the shrouds.
It was a nerve-racking task to those looking on. Jack was not a light-weight, and the descent of his rescuer, clasping the boy with one arm while he held on with all his strength, was painfully slow. But at last they reached the deck in safety, and Captain McDonald was there in person to meet them. But now let us take this lad to my cabin. And so it proved. Flynn, he was feeling almost as hale and hearty as ever, although his terrible ordeal when he was flung back and forth pendulum-wise had left him with a racking headache.
The captain showered congratulations on him, but reminded him that never again must he risk his life in such a perilous way. She bears no good reputation. Once she was chartered to the Haytian government and was used as a war ship; then she was in the smuggling trade along the coast. The last I heard of her she was laid up in the marine Basin at Ulmer Park. Her history has been one of troubles.
Do you feel strong enough to go back to your key? By the way, did the Endymion have any message? Was she in trouble? James Jarrold, one of the first-class passengers. Is Jarrold a heavy-set man with a blue, square jaw and bristly, black hair? Idt vos just a yob dot hadt to be done und I didded idt.
But Schultz, embarrassed and red as a beet under his tan, had hurried off. Like most sailors, Schultz hated sentiment. To him, his daring deed of saving Jack from his perilous perch in the cross-trees had been all in the line of duty. Back in the wireless room once more, Jack looked in on Sam. The boy was sitting up in bed staring feverishly out into the wireless room.
Something was wrong with the wireless. How do you feel? The mere thought makes me feel bad again.
I wakened about half an hour ago and there was a man out there in the wireless room. Jack had temporarily forgotten all about Jarrold. What had Jarrold been doing in the wireless room while he was absent? He came in here this evening and was much interested in getting first news of a yacht called the Endymion. But if he was rummaging about that desk, that is another matter. There was not much more sleep for Sam that night. He fought bravely against his seasickness and took the key for a time while Jack stole a catnap. Both boys worked hard to get in touch with the Endymion once more, but they failed to raise her operator.
So far as Jack could make out, nothing had been taken from the desk by Jarrold; and the boy came to the conclusion that the man, disbelieving his word, had searched the desk for some evidence of a previous message from the Endymion. At breakfast the next morning Jarrold, cleanly shaven around his blue chin, appeared in the saloon of the ship accompanied by a very pretty young lady, who, Jack learned, was his niece, Miss Jessica Jarrold.
The man did not raise his glance to Jack, although the latter eyed him constantly. The young woman, though, regarded Jack with a somewhat curious gaze from time to time. He was pretty sure in his own mind that she knew of the events of the night. In fact, she made it a point to leave the table at the same time as did Jack. As they both emerged on deck through the companionway she addressed him. Although the sea was still running high, the sky was clear and the weather good. She steadied herself against a stanchion as the ship pitched, and Jack found himself thinking that she made a pretty picture there.
She was clad in a loose, light coat, and bareheaded, except for a scarf passed over a mass of auburn hair, from which a few rebellious wind-blown curls escaped. Her dark eyes snapped and she bit her lip with a row of perfectly even, gleaming little teeth. My uncle is rich and would pay you well for any favor you did him, and then I should be awfully grateful. No doubt he will tell you.
Depend upon it, though, Miss Jarrold, if I get any word from the Endymion which I can give you without violation of the rules, or if any message comes for either yourself or your uncle, you will be the first to get it. She made a gesture of impatience and turned to meet her uncle, who was just emerging from the companionway. Jarrold glared at Jack with an antagonism he did not take much trouble to conceal. I shall report you to the captain. And then, seeing the error he had made, he turned to his niece. I refuse to waste more time arguing with this young jackanapes.
Later that morning something happened which caused Jack to cudgel his brain still further to explain the underlying mystery that he was sure encircled the girl and Jarrold, and in which Colonel Minturn was in some way involved.
He was sitting at the key with the door flung open to admit the bright sunshine which sparkled on a sea still rough, but as a mill pond compared with the tumult of the night before, when there came a sudden call. Are you ready? He drew his yellow pad in front of him and sat with poised pencil waiting for the message to come through the air from a ship that he knew was at least two hundred miles from him by this time.
The message was a long one, and about the middle of it came a word that made Jack jump and almost swallow his palate. The word was Endymion , the name of the yacht that had sent out a call for Jarrold through the storm.
Then, closely following, came a name that seemed to be corelated to every move of the yacht: James Jarrold! At last the message, about two hundred words long, was complete. He turned in his chair as he felt someone leaning over him and noticed a subtle odor of perfume. Miss Jarrold, with parted lips, was scanning the message eagerly.
He caught her in the act. But the young woman appeared to be not the least disconcerted by the fact. With a wonderful smile she extended a sheet of paper. Jack was taken aback. He had meant to accuse her point blank of trying to read off a message which was clearly of a highly important nature. But her clever ruse in providing herself with the scribbled message that she now held out to him had quite taken the wind out of his sails.
Of course, she merely came in here to see what was going on, and, by Jove, she came in at just the right time, too. Lucky the message was in code.
go to site I wish I knew what game was up.