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ABAFT THE BINNACLE, j TALES BY A SOU' WESTER. "I stayed long enough with the Great Eastern to go fthe taial trip proper," con- tinued Adam, who it will be remembered, as we recounted in our last, told the story of the accidenti which occurred off Hast- ings. "Although many people had booked for this trip to Holyhead from Portland, the management decided not to allow any pas- sengers on this trip, and I don't think the crew generally were sorry. I know I wasn't. "Iib was somewhat exciting that run to Holyhead, because nobody knew just exactly what might or might not happen. It took us 40 hours, our average speed being 13 knots. The greatest care was re- quired getting away from Portland har- bour into the channel; but once in the open we were comfortable, and although we went through a fair sea she barely rolled. Getting inside Holyhead break- water was a bit of r.cklish work, but, Capt. Harrison worked it finely, and we did not forget to toast him later on. "We were saluted by H.M.S. "Hast- ings" and the "Dapper" gunboat, both of which vessels were at anchor inside the harbour awaiting the visit of the Queen. "It was a strange coincidence that as we entered the harbour the "Princess Victoria," a first-class steamer, under the command of Captain John Harrison, brother of *our skipper, was seen beating up channel on her outward voyage from Liverpool. "I forget now how many visitors came on board to inspect us, including royalty, but excursion trains came from all parts of the country, and Holyhead did a fine' trade as far as the cook-shops were con- cerned. "Prince Consort and Prince Napoleon were amongst the distinguished early visittors. "It was a good harvest for the crew, and we wished—well I know I did—that our skipper could accept the many invita- tions from other harbour towns that, wanted us badly to pay them a visit. It was just one of those occasions that only come once in a lifetime, and, well I made a nice little pile. "You all heard of the wreck of the "Royal Charter" close to Puffin Island; well the Great Eastern had a narrow escape of being blown on shore in Holy- head Harbour by the same gale. "The weather had been, unsettled for some! days, and though the morning of Tuesday, October 24th, was calm, the ominous haze that, spread over the Welsh mountains (my geography is a bit weak or I could tell you the names) and the fall- ing biaromeitetr, gave some warning! of the comling storm. "The fires on board the Great Eastern were banked up in order that we might be ready to, steam out to sea if necessary, and Captain Harrison kept on deck watching the cables and sounding, to see if the ves- sel dragged as the wind and sea rose. About ten o'clock the rain set in like a second deluge. Each gUSlt, of wind seemed longer and worse than the last, striking down on us like a blow from a, hammer, testing everything an the way of masts and rigging to the very utmost without i C, 0 something giving away. But in spite of all the Great Elastern rode, steadily and lightly head to wind, and without per- ceptible motion, though a fierce sea was now rolling in, and we could see by the rapidly moving lights among the other shipping far inside the harbour, that they were dipping to it heavily and making the worst of their bad weather. We did everything we could, and there was noth- ing left, but to hold on, and wait for day- light, this latt,er the Captain did most, devoutly, for the wind almost, equalled the force of a hurricane at times, jerking at, the masts as if it would snapi them off at the decks, and making the Great Eastern tremble perceptibly throughout her length and breadth, as if some giant, hand was shaking her. The gale increased in violence until between two and three Wed- nesday morning, when the din was ap- palling, and the rain and hail, driving like shot, made it difficult to> face, and had motor drivers' masks been in fashion at that time they would have been very welcome. The gusts of wind, liadened with hail, became so violent that we all made for shelter, none of us could stand it. W ecould hear the waves heating on the rocks and breakwater like distant, thunder, and the darkness was impene- trable. "At 4 o'clock ia sharp and wistful look out was kept for the light in the break- water, for it. was evident if the gale con- tinued much longer we should have to run out to sea. Two anchors were down, one seven tons, with eight fathoms of chatn, on the statrboard bow, and one of three tons and a half, with sixty fathoms, to port. "At last, after a most exciting and anxious night, the dawn broke, but it was difficult to see where the sea ended and the clouds began. Towards 9 o'clock the wind went right round to the north- east, sending in a beam swell, and now we began to roll heavily. Our position be- came much more seirlious, and at 10 o'clock our skipper had no alternative but to try and raise the heaviest anchor, get our head more under the lee of the breakwater and then let ift go again. With great difficulty she was brought, up to her star- boiard anchor. Before the screw could well get into play it was fouled, and had to be stopped. Directly this happened the steam from the screw boilers was let, into the paddle-engines, which in turn went ahead until the prapellor was free and able to work again. "By this time we had partly swung. into a beam sea, which was then sweeping over and past the breakwater with awful force, and we Ibegan to roll quickly and heavily. In spite of the relief afforded by the screw, the cable of the remaining anchor kept, tautening more and more, and about 10-30 it snapped like a cord and we were adrift, rolling and tumbling like a drunken ship towards shore. The second anchor was let, go, and the screw moved ahead, but the vessel had great way on her, and could not be easily stopped on what looked her road to destruction. At last she brought up, though she made desperate efforts to break from the grip of her new halding tugging and rolling to her chain as though she would pull up a, mountain. Fortunately we held, and after one or two more attempts to break away, her head swung round, and we rode to the gale as before. This was about 12, o'clock, and from that hour the glass begia,n to risei and the worst of the gale was passed and danger was over. "I have never had a more narrow squeak of being wrecked in a harbour, and I don't want such another experience," said Adam. He also told us ere he, left off yarning that shortly after he left the Great Eastern, having met with an old ship- mate, Who promised him a good billet, in a lesser ship it, was true, but better pay. This ship-mate; he incidentally remarked, was one with whom he had .at one time joined in the exciting pastime of Free. Trade or Smuggling, of which he promised to tell us something on another occasion.