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mercredi, 27 octobre 2010

Sans thon, pas de sardines

"Haul on the signal halyard. Lower the keelson."

Our captain frantically waved to let go, and the next moment we were tossed bodily into the cataract. The boat heeled gunwale under, and suddenly, but the bowman kept his feet like a Blondin, dropped the boat-hook, and jumped to unlash the halyard; a wave buried the boat nose under and swamped me in my kennel; my heart stopped beating, and, scared out of my wits, I began to strip off my sodden clothes; but before I had half done the sail had been set; both men had miraculously fended the boat from a rock, which, by a moment's hesitation, would have smashed us in bits or buried us in the boiling trough formed by the eddy below it, and, with another desperate effort, we had slid from danger into smooth water.

Evidently, when washed overboard, he had grasped and become entangled in a trailing halyard.

A beat, a heart-beat musters all,
One heart-beat at heart-core.
It musters. But to clasp, retain ;
To see you at the halyards main --
To hear your chorus once again !


(When I bought a boat to bring hither I knew not the distinguishing term of a single halyard, save the "topping lift," and even that scant knowledge was idle, for I was blankly ignorant of the place and purpose of the oddly-named rope.)

And old Aaron Halyard paused, and blushed a little, as he remembered the embarrassing incident of that day.

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