Ghost Light at Sea (1932)

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The World's News 1932 (March 2)
  The World's News (Sydney, NSW : 1901 - 1955), Wednesday 2 March 1932, page 20, 21, 26National Library of Australia tGHOST LIGHT Bif Jon L Idriess Author of i^SSETER'S LAST RIDE HE recently discovered gold fieldsinNewGuinea were dreamedofsixtyyearsagowhencitizens -or ganised' the New ã Guinea.Prospecting - Association ' They bought^, the. crazyala brig Maria, 167tons,andsailedforthe Land of Gold on January 25, 1872.cheered to theEleads  by' ; l are welling friends.Atthelast mo ment the captaindeserted, so the first mate.took, charge. Thebrig was armed  mate.took, charge. Thebrig was armed to theteeth, and theGovernment thinkingthey were setting out ona  Bully Hayes buccaneering expedition,discussedplans to stopthem—too lateOfthe seventy-five men whosailed . very few saw the Headsagain. Tom Ingham, of Queensland: W..TPorster.solicitor;and Lawrence Hargrave. the -airmen, were threeofthe lucky ones, r The syndicate hadvisions not only ol ã finding gold,butof opening uptrade relations withChina—bothdreamshave since beenrealised.All went wellfor a week. Thencalms setin, followed by prevaricating winds  They passed theSolitary Islandsunder .squally weather, withtorrentiairain ' dribbling through the leaky decksuntil f even thebunks were sopping, ana the drinking waterfouledwith tar and coal dustOneafternoon a sailorwith gloomy faceclimbeddownfromaloft.and reportedthat the yards were rotten, {the masts worm eaten Withclearweather again thecheertui.crowddriedtheirclothes,oiledrustedfirearms,andãsangand played andtalkedof Gold' Scudding along under fullsail theoldMaria lugged up along the Queensland > coast But again a sailorclimbeddownfromaloft with a face like a graveyard. He swore hecould put his knife to the hiltintothe maintopgallantyard—jit was rotten f He was laughed at. One hour latter came a puff of wind— Snap —down crashedthe yard withthunder ofbelly ing sailTheweatherfresheneduntil moun tainous seas crashed on the Maria, the wind rose to a gale thathowled through the shrouds and snapped their rot$eif strands one by one. Thefore maid shroudcarriedaway to a windblown shriek echoed by the sharp reportsof splittingsailsthat flapped intattered fragments untiltheMaria staggered under  along underbarepoles.Inthe middleof the night camea crash thatput thefearofdeathinthe crowd, forthe deckbulged up in amass oftorn planks , that crazilyawash batteredagainst the bplwarks. Allhandsthat could strovetomendtherigging, to passthe loosen ed planks overboard, beforethe waves should,dash, them right through the ship.In the terrible cohfusion camea startled cry from aman pointing At. aloft.Ail Hands gazed.up, andmany saw* an eerieballof greenish fire danc ing upon t?he yardarm. -  I can't seeit, said Coyle,puzzled. You mustbeblind shrieked Hardy.  Look, it is dancing like a devil'slight Surely you seeit now, shouted CMaliey and Dagleish.  itisall green phosphorous quivering asifitwere LookJLook But somemen could notsee the flre balT;ofiie^scould. - Promthat moment the f£w sailors a bo: *; were filled with foreboding With^toomybrow they swore it wasa  ghost-light.*foretellingdisaster. The storm raged on, plank after plank was torn from tlae ship, daylight showed through her sides. Bucketbri gades* worked day and night until an /Exhausteddeputation urged the skipper to putthem on land at anyprice. Land heraved, notanothermother's son ofyouwill see lano again  fk. Cup turn's bom.mts firstto reach ihie beach.Night came withthewhaleboat thumping at thedavits;the captain or dered it to besecuredaboard.The firstmate hopped to the lashings,but Sea
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