The Amateur Gentleman (Chapter 8, page 1 of 3)


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Chapter 8

"The 'Bully-Sawyer,' Trafalgar!" murmured the Bo'sun, as they went
on side by side; "you've 'eerd o' the 'Bully-Sawyer,' Seventy-four,
o' course, young sir?"

"I'm afraid not," said Barnabas, rather apologetically.

"Not 'eerd o' the 'Bully-Sawyer,' Seventy-four, Lord, young sir!
axing your pardon, but--not 'eerd o' the--why, she were in the van
that day one o' the first to engage the enemy--but a cable's length
to wind'ard o' the 'Victory'--one o' the first to come up wi' the
Mounseers, she were. An' now you tell me as you ain't 'eerd o'
the--Lord, sir!" and the Bo'sun sighed, and shook his head till it
was a marvel how the glazed hat kept its position.

"Won't you tell me of her, Bo'sun?"

"Tell you about the old 'Bully-Sawyer,' Seventy-four, ay surely, sir,
surely. Ah! 't were a grand day for us, a grand day for our Nelson,
and a grand day for England--that twenty-first o' October--though 't
were that day as they French and Spanishers done for the poor old
'Bully-Sawyer,' Seventy-four, and his honor's arm and my leg, d' ye
see. The wind were light that day as we bore down on their line--in
two columns, d' ye see, sir--we was in Nelson's column, the weather
line 'bout a cable's length astarn o' the 'Victory.' On we went,
creeping nearer and nearer--the 'Victory,' the old 'Bully-Sawyer,'
and the 'Temeraire'--and every now and then the Mounseers trying a
shot at us to find the range, d' ye see. Right ahead o' us lay the
'Santissima Trinidado'--a great four-decker, young sir--astarn o'
her was the 'Beaucenture,' and astarn o' her again, the 'Redoutable,'
wi' eight or nine others. On we went wi' the Admiral's favorite
signal flying, 'Engage the enemy more closely.' Ah, young sir, there
weren't no stand-offishness about our Nelson, God bless him! As we
bore closer their shot began to come aboard o' us, but the old
'Bully-Sawyer' never took no notice, no, not so much as a gun. Lord!
I can see her now as she bore down on their line; every sail drawing
aloft, the white decks below--the gleam o' her guns wi' their crews
stripped to the waist, every eye on the enemy, every man at his
post--very different she looked an hour arterwards. Well, sir, all
at once the great 'Santissima Trinidado' lets fly at us wi' her
whole four tiers o' broadside, raking us fore and aft, and that begun
it; down comes our foretopmast wi' a litter o' falling spars and
top-hamper, and the decks was all at once splashed, here and there,
wi' ugly blotches. But, Lord! the old 'Bully-Sawyer' never paid no
heed, and still the men stood to the guns, and his Honor, the Captain,
strolled up and down, chatting to his flag officer. Then the enemy's
ships opened on us one arter another, the 'Beaucenture,' the 'San
Nicholas,' and the 'Redoutable' swept and battered us wi' their
murderous broadsides; the air seemed full o' smoke and flame, and
the old 'Bully-Sawyer' in the thick o' it. But still we could see the
'Victory' through the drifting smoke ahead o' us wi' the signal
flying, 'Engage the enemy more closely,' and still we waited and
waited very patient, and crept down on the enemy nearer and nearer."

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