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Saved by the Lifeboat   By: (1825-1894)

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Saved by the Lifeboat, by R.M. Ballantyne.

This book is mainly to describe the lifeboat service, and how private individuals can donate the money for building a new lifeboat.

We start off with a wreck just occurring near a little seaside village, and how the local men rushed down to the beach to do what they could to save life. We then move to the offices of a mean grasping shipowner, who will do anything to avoid properly equipping his ships with what they would need if disaster struck. Eventually he is brought to a more sensible state of mind, and donates money for a new lifeboat.

There is a good fund raising chapter, and it is interesting how very much the same today's appeals for the lifeboat service are, though of course today's lifeboat is a very different item to the lifeboats of over a hundred years ago.




On a dark November afternoon, not many years ago, Captain Boyns sat smoking his pipe in his own chimney corner, gazing with a somewhat anxious expression at the fire. There was cause for anxiety, for there raged at the time one of the fiercest storms that ever blew on the shores of England.

The wind was howling in the chimney with wild fury; slates and tiles were being swept off the roofs of the fishermen's huts and whirled up into the air as if they had been chips of wood; and rain swept down and along the ground in great sheets of water, or whirled madly in the air and mingled with the salt spray that came direct from the English Channel; while, high and loud above all other sounds, rose the loud plunging roar of the mighty sea.

"I fear there will be a call before long, Nancy, for the services of the new lifeboat," said Captain Boyns, rising and taking down an oilcloth coat and sou' wester, which he began to put on leisurely; "I'll go down to the beach and see what's doin' at the Cove."

The captain was a fine specimen of a British sailor. He was a massive man, of iron build, and so tall that his sou' wester almost touched the ceiling of his low roofed parlour. His face was eminently masculine, and his usual expression was a compound of sternness, gravity, and good humour. He was about forty years of age, and, unlike the men of his class at that time, wore a short curly black beard and moustache, which, with his deeply bronzed countenance, gave him the aspect of a foreigner.

"God help those on the sea," said Mrs Boyns, in reply to her husband's remark; "I'm thankful, Dan, that you are on shore this night."

Nancy was a good looking, lady like woman of thirty three or thereabouts, without anything particularly noteworthy about her. She was busy with her needle at the time we introduce her, and relapsed into silence, while her stalwart husband pulled on a pair of huge sea boots.

"Did you hear a gun, Nancy?" cried the captain, as a terrific blast shook every timber in the cottage "there! ain't that it again?"

Nancy listened intently, but could hear nothing save the raging of the storm. The captain completed his toilet, and was about to leave the room when the door suddenly burst open, and a lad of about fourteen years of age sprang in.

"Father," he cried, his eyes flashing with excitement, "there's a brig on the sands, and they are going to launch the new lifeboat!"

"Whereaway is't, lad?" asked Boyns, as he buttoned up his coat.

"To lee'ard of the breakwater."

"Oh Harry, don't be too venturesome," cried Mrs Boyns earnestly, as her strapping boy was about to follow his father out into the pelting storm.

Harry, who was tall and strong for his age, and very like his father in many respects, turning round with a hearty smile, cried, "No fear, mother," and next instant was gone.

The scene on the beach when father and son reached it was very impressive... Continue reading book >>

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