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I tried and found by experiment that the tide kept sweeping us
westward until I had laid her head due east, or just about right
angles to the way we ought to go.
“We’ll never get ashore at this rate,” said I.
“If it’s the only course that we can lie, sir, we must even lie it,”
returned the captain. “We must keep upstream. You see, sir,” he
went on, “if once we dropped to leeward of the landing-place, it’s
hard to say where we should get ashore, besides the chance of
being boarded by the gigs; whereas, the way we go the current
must slacken, and then we can dodge back along the shore.”
“The current’s less a’ready, sir,” said the man Gray, who was
sitting in the fore-sheets; “you can ease her off a bit.”
“Thank you, my man,” said I, quite as if nothing had happened,
for we had all quietly made up our minds to treat him like one of
Suddenly the captain spoke up again, and I thought his voice
was a little changed.
“The gun!” said he.
“I have thought of that,” said I, for I made sure he was thinking
of a bombardment of the fort. “They could never get the gun
ashore, and if they did, they could never haul it through the
“Look astern, doctor,” replied the captain.
We had entirely forgotten the long nine; and there, to our
horror, were the five rogues busy about her, getting off her jacket,
as they called the stout tarpaulin cover under which she sailed.
Not only that, but it flashed into my mind at the same moment
that the round-shot and the powder for the gun had been left
behind, and a stroke with an axe would put it all into the