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shot not having reached him. Where the ball passed, not one of us
precisely knew, but I fancy it must have been over our heads and
that the wind of it may have contributed to our disaster.
At any rate, the boat sank by the stern, quite gently, in three
feet of water, leaving the captain and myself, facing each other, on
our feet. The other three took complete headers, and came up
again drenched and bubbling.
So far there was no great harm. No lives were lost, and we
could wade ashore in safety. But there were all our stores at the
bottom, and to make things worse, only two guns out of five
remained in a state for service. Mine I had snatched from my
knees and held over my head, by a sort of instinct. As for the
captain, he had carried his over his shoulder by a bandoleer, and
like a wise man, lock uppermost. The other three had gone down
with the boat.
To add to our concern, we heard voices already drawing near
us in the woods along shore, and we had not only the danger of
being cut off from the stockade in our half-crippled state but the
fear before us whether, if Hunter and Joyce were attacked by half
a dozen, they would have the sense and conduct to stand firm.
Hunter was steady, that we knew; Joyce was a doubtful case--a
pleasant, polite man for a valet and to brush one’s clothes, but not
entirely fitted for a man of war.
With all this in our minds, we waded ashore as fast as we could,
leaving behind us the poor jolly-boat and a good half of all our
powder and provisions.