H. M. S. PHOENIX
quarter but this I should say we were going to have a smart gale of wind."
"Aye, sir," replied the lieutenant, "it looks so very often here when there is no wind at all. However, don't hoist topsails until it clears a little."
Next morning it was dirty weather, blowing hard, with heavy squalls, and the frigate laboring under close-reefed lower sails.
"I doubt whether it clears," said the frowning captain. "I was once in a hurricane in the East Indies, and the beginning of it had much the same appearance as this. So be sure we have plenty of sea room."
All day the wind steadily increased in violence, and the frigate, spray-swept and streaming, rolled in the passage between Jamaica and Cuba, in peril of foundering if she stayed at sea and of fetching up on the rocks if she tried to run for shelter. There was nothing to do but to fight it out. I shall let Lieutenant Archer describe something of the struggle in his own words, old sea lingo and all, because he depicts it with a spirit so high-hearted and adventurous, quite as you would expect it of a true-blue young sailorman.