For the last little while I had even lost; but now, redoubling my efforts, I began once more to overhaul the chase.
I was not a hundred yards from her when the wind came again in a clap; she filled on the port tack, and was off again, stooping and skimming like a swallow.
My first impulse was one of despair, but my second was toward joy. Round she came till she was broadside on to me— round still till she had covered a half, and then two-thirds, and then three-quarters of the distance that separated us. I could see the waves boiling white under her forefoot. Immensely tall she looked to me from my low station in the coracle.
And then of a sudden I began to comprehend. I had scarce time to think—scarce time to act and save myself. I was on the summit of one swell when the schooner came swooping over the next. The bowsprit was over my head. I sprang to my feet and leaped, stamping the coracle under water. With one hand I caught the jib-boom, while my foot was lodged between the stay and the brace; and as I still clung there panting a dull blow told me that the schooner had charged down upon and struck the coracle, and that I was left without retreat on the Hispaniola. 14