For Treasure Bound

Harry Collingwood
For Treasure Bound
By Harry Collingwood
It was the last week in the month of November, 18--.
The weather, for some days previous, had been unusually boisterous for
the time of year, and had culminated, on the morning on which my
story opens, in a "November gale" from the south-west, exceeding in
violence any previous gale within the memory of "the oldest
inhabitant" of the locality. This is saying a great deal, for I was at the
time living in Weymouth, a most delightful summer resort, where,
however, the feelings are likely to be more or less harrowed every
winter by fearful wrecks on the far-famed and much-dreaded Chesil
Beach, which connects the mis- named island of Portland with the
We had dined, as usual, at the primitive hour of one o'clock; and with
Bob Trunnion--about whom I shall have more to say anon--I had turned
out under the verandah to enjoy our post-prandial smoke, according to
invariable usage. My sister Ada would not permit us the indulgence of
that luxury indoors, and no conceivable disturbance of the elements
could compel us to forego it altogether.
We were pacing the verandah side by side, quarter-deck fashion, with
our hands behind our backs and our weeds between our teeth, making
an occasional remark about the weather as the sheeted rain swept past
us, and the trees in the distance and the leaf-denuded shrubs in the
garden bowed before the fury of the blast, when a coastguard-man,
whom I had occasionally encountered and spoken to in my rambles,
came running past, enveloped in oilskins and topped by a sou'-wester.

As he went by, seeing us, he shouted, "Ship coming ashore in the West
Bay, sir!" and was the next minute at the bottom of the hill, en route, as
fast as his legs could carry him, for the town.
Our house was situated in a pleasant suburb called Rodwell; the high-
road which passed our door led direct to the Smallmouth Sands, at the
farther extremity of which was the Chesil Beach; and we conjectured
that the coastguard-man had come from the beach along this road to
give notice to the chief officer stationed in the town.
To run indoors, don our foul-weather rigging, and notify my sister that
we were off to the scene of the anticipated wreck, was the work of a
moment. The next we were in the road, inclined forward at an angle of
forty-five degrees against the wind, and staggering slowly ahead in the
direction of the sands. The coastguard-man had a fair wind of it, and
was going a good eight knots when he passed us; but just at the top of
the hill, as we were exposed to the full strength of the gale, we did not
forge ahead at more than about one knot. However, matters mended
soon after, for we surmounted the brow of the hill, and began the
descent on the opposite side; here the road took a slight bend, which
brought the wind well abeam; so keeping close under the hedge to
windward of us, we rattled away as fast as we could go.
After nearly an hour's severe exertion we reached the beach. The vessel
which was expected to come on shore was a full-rigged ship,
apparently of about eight hundred or a thousand tons, and evidently a
foreigner, by her build and rig. Some conjectured her to be French,
some Spanish, and others avowed their belief that she was a German;
but she was still too far off, and the weather too thick, to enable any
one to form a clear judgment as to her nationality.
"Whoever she is," said the chief boatman, "the skipper of her is a
downright good seaman, and doesn't intend to lose his ship whilst he
can do anything to save her. He drove into the bay about two hours ago,
sir," said he, turning to me, "and this is the second time that he's tried to
fetch out again; but, Lord! he don't know this place so well as I do, or
he'd be as sartain as I be that she'll never go outside o' the Bill o'
Portland again. The ship don't float that, with her sails alone, could get

out of the bay, once she got into it, with the wind and tide the way it is
now; and afore the tide turns he'll be knocked into match-wood, or my
name's not Joe Grummet. There he comes round again," continued the
man, who had kept his eye on the vessel all the time he was speaking;
"but it's no good; he's more 'n a mile to leeward of where he fetched
last time, and he'd better give it up and run her ashore whilst 'tis light
enough to
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