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“Mother, we’re afloat agin.” It was a gruff, sleepy voice that spoke, and the old fisherman turned over and snored on, as though the fact of their home being afloat was of no consequence to him. His wife, however, was by no means so easy in her mind, for it was only during the equinoctial gales and an unusually high tide that their home was lifted from its moorings; and now it had been swinging and swaying for hours, and the rusty chains that held it fast to some posts were creaking and straining as though the next gust of windwould certainly carry them out to sea or drive them up the river, where they would inevitably be swamped in a very short time, for their boat-home was leaky at the bottom—had been a water-logged boat before the fisherman took possession of it and turned it into a quaint-looking cottage by running up some wooden walls along the sides, and roofing it in with planks and tarpaulin. Thus converted into a dwelling-house, the boat had been secured, by four chains fixed to posts in the ground, on the top of a mud-bank that formed the boundary of the mouth of the river.
The ocean itself was less than a quarter of a mile from where the old boat was moored, and so the poor woman might well be excused for growing more alarmed as the minutes went on and the gale increased, until the boat fairly rocked, and the children in the adjoining cabin began crying and screaming in their fright.
“Coomber! Coomber!” she said at last, shaking her husband, and starting up in bed; for a sound more dreadful than the children’sscreams had made itself heard above the din of the wind and waves.
“There’s a ship, Coomber, close in shore; I can hear the guns!” screamed his wife, giving him another vigorous shake.
“Ship! guns!” exclaimed the old fisherman, starting up in bed. The next minute he was on his feet, and working himself into his clothes. “She must be on the sand-bar if you heard the guns,” he said.
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