The Black Lagoon 1.2

“That Spanish sloop, the two-master, at Port Royal this year or more, you know it,” said Sir Benjamin. “Mouldering, that none has a use for, will she sail? If she is not twenty chains from the shore at all times, can she be sailed here?”
To Mr Knapp, his second of administration, who sucked at his teeth.
“If the wind is right, and I have eight men to crew her, it may be. She is sound enough, I suppose.”
“You shall have men, and grateful from the Prison, if it is necessary. And then I will have you careen her.”
“Careen her?”
“Driven onto the beach, is all I require. Mr Pulpitt will explain to you what is to be next.”
Knapp still wanted to ask why. Why?

And there she was, by the work of Mr Knapp, the Alcatraz, out of Santander, driven on the beach and toppled over (which is the true meaning of the Careen), her first last journey done. Then, the swarming of carpenters, and the sawing, a constant hammering, the breaking down with axes, the cutting and respliceing by the ropemakers and the carrying by workmen. By these, the ship was brought to its constituting Parts.
Hard by the landside cliff, a grounding for the ship’s iron capstan spindle was dug; this, the largest work. The oak capstan was set, and the ship’s beams used as longer levers. The Frameworks went up, made of Gaffs and Bumpkins, to provide Stanchions for Pullies. The Sails, restitch’d and jointed, then steeped in rope Tallow, were then laid on the slope, a sharper notion than Rollers, given the Incline they had set themselves to fight against.
“Not a third Part of the Ship’s Weight is the Hull, I guess it,” said Pulpitt: and he was correct.
The Downhaul and the Lazy Jack,
The Parrel Beads, the Turnbuckles,
The Throat and the Stay Mouse, the Boomkicker, the Shackle Rig,
Clewlines and Buntlines, the Clevis Pins and the Earings.
Not a piece was wasted in Endeavour, and not a Piece was required extra to that already given them by Providence.
All had been divided, Hull and not-Hull.
Now they had to discover whether the scheme was sound or no.
And one July night of the year 1691, unable to sleep for the Morrow’s Act, not at the Cove of dark Flesh, but distracted in hope this would not prove a Embarrassment — but no, Master Pulpitt was a skill’d Calculator and Knapp a skill’d Builder — we have the skills, let us make Jamaica become a great Show, he thought. Even the King might come to hear of it, and he began to dream more firmly of success to his Enterprize. He imagined the people in their procession, up towards the Governor’s residence, Saintsbury the Magnificent, they seem’d to call him. Did ever a French King? Was ever such a thing so made at a French king’s court or a Hapsburg Court…? He thought not.
And Pulpitt at the same hour hiccoughed with his purer worries, that his rope tallow method would fail, and he be laughed at. His head wobbled; his head will not be cut off if it fails, but he had an Ache in it left.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: