Part 83

Part the Eighty Third: The Gale Takes On Water

 

 

“Man the line!” Osei commanded.  “To your bailing stations, go!”

 

The men of the Raging Gale shot from their spots to form a line from the bilge, the lowest part of the brigantine, along which to pass up buckets to the deck.  In the desperate need for bailing tools, two buckets loaded with grape shot that had been beside the four pounders were emptied over the decks, little round balls rolling through the scuppers as their containers were passed down the line to men at the water line, desperate to keep their ship from sinking.

 

Hope found herself caught up in the panic that swept the crew, unable to find calm in a set position on the bailing line.  She found herself turning to and fro as she imagined the worst.  She thought that the ship was listing badly to starboard, that at any second she was going to slip off the deck, following the rest of her belongings that had already gone over the side after she boarded, she and her remaining possessions joining them in the cruel seas-

 

Hope felt a hand grab her right wrist tightly.  “Help me with this bucket, vous idiot!” hissed Charity.

 

Shaken by the look she received from Charity, Hope grabbed her side of the handle and helped her pass a full bucket to Goor.  The lasses’ two hands could easily have been wrapped in Goor’s fingers from one fist as he took the bucket, his arms the width of the mainmast easily moving it closer to the gunwale.  Separately, the two women would each pass an empty bucket back down below, but needed to work together to move one out.

 

As the bailing continued, more help came from more containers that were found and used.  An iron pot used for making meals was pressed into service, requiring both Hope and Charity to lift it together to move it down below when empty and requiring Goor’s help to heft it when full.  Together, Hope and Charity worked in concert moving vessels along the line to save their vessel.

 

There was no time for Hope to work on a bailing shanty or to even offer a song.  With their musician busy bailing, the crew of the Gale instead picked up their own piece to keep time by:

 

It be dawn and time to go       

Rove away, far away

It be time to cast and stow

Rove, rove away

 

I leave her here ‘fore the dawn

Rove away, far away

Before she wakes I shall be gone

Rove, rove away

 

With five shillings I did buy

Rove away, far away

A night with her from which I fly

Rove, rove away

 

If I be back I try to see

Rove away, far away

If she be willing again wi’ me

Rove, rove away

 

Hope was too scarred of drowning to be offended by the shanty.  Finding herself on a boat about to go down, relying on Charity to stay afloat, one more affront wasn’t going to matter right then…

 

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All content Copyright © 2008 James Ryan

 

One response to “Part 83

  1. If the above shanty seems unfamiliar, there’s a reason:

    I couldn’t find a piece out there that I wanted for this part that would have worked, one that was both salacious and in period. All of the “Well that was a night, but I gotta split” shanties I found could not be confirmed as having been in existence before 1750. If I used one of these, I might as well have Hope call for help on her cell phone!

    So, I took a risk and wrote my own shanty. I concentrated only on putting together an appropriate set of lyrics, but if pressed for a meddle it would probably be along the same lines of the song “South Australia.”

    George M. Cohan it ain’t, but it works for what I need…

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