The French have used the steam of water to drive a rotating wheel, but that is for the future, and now the drivers and their mules stood ready, and a good band of crewmen were similarly prepared over their levers — and if the Hull should veer, other wights to rescue her. Mr Pulpitt was scurrying down and up in a flurry of sands as a Dervish, warning all to beware of ropes, if they snap, they’ll have your head — which they all knew, as Men of the Sea—
“Come, we are ready.” And before Mr Pulpitt could utter otherwise, Sir Benjamin gave the signal with a wave of his hat, and it began, the eight mules being driven by their masters, the strain taken up.
The creak of ropes was the mouth of a old soothsayer, uttering lowest moans, and nothing. Not a budge.
“Again, I say!”
Again the mules were driven and a cracking of rope and wood — when, a-shudder, she made her first move. Stopped — and then went again — further.
A cheer from all the Crew, and the Hull began its passage. She had moved some six yards in the first hour, with the Pullies gearing and the mules excellent to their great battle. The hull was light, in relative understanding, and the grease method was cleverer than rollers, by the steepness of the incline, a slide of rope tallow creating a perfect Road. Though constantly exhorted by Mr Pulpitt to be cautious, as they levered past the bumps and obstacles, the Ship went up the Hill.
Over the course of two days, not a rope ever parted and not a man injured; and when Sir Benjamin Saintsbury heard that last crack, that doomsday Crack of Hull landed in Receptacle, he praised his Maker.
There into her grave, the once-Spanish ship was interred, to be caulked well with pitch and allowed to set. With more carpentry work carried out, to make the decking surround and other fitments, after which, the stream was diverted and allowed to flow in the pipes. As the first dribbles of water went in, Saintsbury saw his Inspiration flesh’d.
Three Weeks earlier, a Tub — now making a worthy Tub.
Sir Benjamin bent to cup some of the Water clear. “I was thinking some Fish, Mister Pulpitt.
As well as some Swimmers, and not just these, Potamids also, or Mermaids, as Sailors call them.” But even now, to his Estimation, the Grotto Lagoon was perfect in all Respects. It lay in front, a dark green calm Mere: in its appointed Time to usher all aboard for Divertissement, Nocturnals, Revels.
He let fall the Water through his Fingers. A Potentate needs make a Splash.
‘T was as if he had ordered a Sea be made,
Except the Sea was in the Ship, as he look’d at it,
And more, the Ship — with its Sea — was on the Island.
All of Nature had been subtly revers’d, the Effect to capsize the Senses, without Call on Marsala or Rum. However, unlike many Men, who would at an Instant make their Path to Fear, Sir Benjamin took Pleasure at the Land of Imagination and so in these contrary Propositions. And to call his Grotto a Name, to give it a Mark in Minds:
“The Black Lagoon,” he said. “So she shall be nam’d, and tho’ she travels Nowhere, she shall be a great Wonder.”