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HOME > Children's Novel > The Moving Picture Boys on the Coast > CHAPTER XXIV OUT OF THE WRECK
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 “Here come the life savers!” cried Blake a little later, as through the spray that flew over the beach a party of men, in yellow oilskins, could be seen dragging something over the sand.  
“Yes, and few enough of ’em there are to do the work,” said old Abe Haskill. “The government ought to put more men at the station.”
“Some were hurt, trying to launch the boat this morning,” said Joe.
“Very likely,” agreed the old fisherman. “The sea can be cruel when it wants to.”
“And there comes Tom Cardiff!” added Blake, as he to another oncoming figure.
“Yes, and Stanton is with him,” remarked Abe. “They must have left the lighthouse to look after itself, and they’re going to help in the rescue.”
“No danger to the light, now that them pesky wreckers have been caught,” remarked one of the fishermen.
“Boom!” came a dull report over the waste of tumultuous waters.
“What’s that?” asked Blake.
“The signal gun!” cried Abe. “She must be sinking and they want us to hurry help. But she’s too far out yet for a line to reach her.”
Again the signal gun sounded, and hearing it, the life savers hastened their pace, but it was hard work dragging their through the sand.
“Let’s help ’em!” cried Joe. “The ship is drifting up this way. If we make pictures it will have to be from about here. Let’s help drag the !”
“That’s right!” echoed Blake, and the boys, leaving their cameras in charge of Mr. Hadley, hastened to relieve the fagged-out life savers. The fishermen and some of the men joined in also.
“Right about here,” directed the captain of the life saving crew, when the cart containing the gun, “shears” and other parts of the breeches had been dragged farther along. “She’ll strike about here, I fancy.”
The was now much nearer shore, and on her wave-washed decks could be seen the sailors, some of them to the of masts, others to whatever of the rigging offered a hold against the grasp of the sea.
“Get ready, men!” the commander went on. “The wind is bringing her in fast, and it’s going to be against us shooting a line over her, but we’ll do our best. If she strikes now, so much the better.”
“Why?” asked Blake, wonderingly.
“Because then she’ll be , and we can keep our main line . If she keeps drifting inshore while we’re hauling the buoy back and it means that we’ll have to keep up all the while.”
“There, she’s struck!” suddenly called one of the life savers. All gazed out to sea, where, amid a of , the craft could be seen. Her change in position was evident. Her decks sloped more, and instead of drifting she remained in one position.
“The rocks have gripped her,” old Abe, solemnly. “She’ll go to pieces soon now.”
“Then get busy!” cried C. C. Piper, who seemed not to have lost his strangely cheerful mood. “Save those men!”
“That’s what we’re going to do,” said the captain. “All ready now, men.”
“And that means we’d better get busy, Joe,” said Blake. “We can’t do anything to help just 190now. Besides, there are a lot of men here. We must get our cameras in place.”
“That’s right, Blake,” and the two lads got their apparatus in shape to operate, Mr. Hadley doing the same. The machines were set up on some sand hills, far enough back to be out of the spray, which was like a fog close to the surface of the water.
While some of the life savers and their volunteer assistants were burying in the sand the heavy anchor that was to hold one end of the rope on which the breeches buoy would travel, others were getting ready to fire the gun.
In brief, the breeches buoy is operated as follows: A small , or , is used, and an is placed in it. Attached to the projectile is a thin and strong line. It is coiled in a box and placed on the sand near the mortar. The coils are laid around in a manner to prevent . The pegs are then pulled out, and the coils lie one upon the other so that the line may be paid out rapidly.
When the projectile is fired toward the ship, the aim is to make it shoot over her deck, carrying the cord with it. This is called “getting a line aboard.” Once this is done the crew on the vessel can, by means of the small cord, pull 191aboard a heavy cable. This is made fast to the highest point possible.
There is now a cable extending from the shore to the ship, the shore end being made fast to the anchor in the sand. The cable is raised as high as possible on a pair of wooden “shears,” to keep it above the waves.
Running on pulley wheels, on this , tight rope, is the “breeches buoy.” This is a pair of canvas breeches, into which the person to be saved places himself, getting into the apparatus from the deck of the sinking ship. There is a line fast to the buoy, one end being on shore. When the signal is given those on the beach pull, the buoy and the person in it are pulled along the tight rope by means of the pulleys to the beach and saved, though often they are well in the process. Those remaining on the ship now pull the empty buoy back, and other persons come until all are saved.
Sometimes, instead of the canvas breeches, a small enclosed car is used to slide along the rope. In this car more than one person can get, and they are protected from the waves.
“All ready?” asked the captain of the life saving crew, after he had inspected what his men and the others them had done.
“All ready, sir!” came the response.
“Then fire!”
The mortar boomed, through the wind shot the projectile toward the ship, carrying with it the swiftly uncoiling rope. All watched anxiously.
“Too short!” cried the captain a moment later, lowering the glass through which he had watched the effect of the shot. “Use a little more powder this time.”
The projectile was hauled back through the waves, and attached to another line, coiled in readiness, while some of the life savers busied themselves the first rope, in case the second shot failed too.
It did, again falling short.
“Try more powder,” said the captain, grimly. “We’ve got to reach her.”
“And soon,” murmured old Abe. “She’s breaking up fast.”
Once more the mortar was fired, Blake and Joe, as well as Mr. Hadley, getting films of every move.
“There she goes!” cried the captain, in delight, as he watched the third shot. “Over her decks as clean as you’d want! Now to get the poor souls ashore!”
On board the ship could be observed a scene of activity. The sailors began hauling on the line, and presently the big cable began paying 193out from shore. Soon it reached the side of the ship, to be hauled up, and made fast to the of one of the masts.
“Lively now, boys!” cried the captain. “Pull taut and then run out the buoy. She can’t last much longer!”
The men made redoubled efforts, and Blake and Joe, leaving their automatic camera working, while Mr. Hadley turned the operation of his over to Macaroni, the three moving picture experts aided in the work of rescue.
Soon the breeches buoy was hauled out to the ship for its first passenger, and presently the of the cable told that some one was in it.
“Pull, boys!” cried the captain of the life savers, and through the dashing waves, that threw their over the shipwrecked person, the buoy was hauled ashore.
“Grab him!” cried the captain, as the first one saved was pulled up high on the beach.
“It isn’t a him, captain!” cried one of the men. “It’s a woman!”
“Bless m............
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