Excerpt from "Open Boat"
by Stephen Crane
(1) Four men in an open lifeboat caught glimpses of the steamer sinking into the sea…
(2) A seat in this boat was not unlike a seat on a bucking bronco, and, by the same token, a bronco is not much smaller. The craft pranced and reared and plunged like an animal. As each wave came, and she rose for it, she seemed like a horse leaping a fence outrageously high. A great disadvantage of the sea lies in the fact that after successfully going across one wave, you discover there is another behind it just as important and just as nervously anxious to do something effective in the way of swamping boats.
(3) "Good thing it’s an on-shore wind," said the cook. "If not where would we be?"
(4) "That’s right," said the correspondent.
(5) The busy engine master nodded his assent.
(6) Then the captain in the bow chuckled in a way that expressed humor, contempt, tragedy, all in one. "Do you think we’ve got a show, now, boys?" said he.
(7) Whereupon the three went silent, save for a little hemming and hawing. To express any particular optimism at this time they felt to be childish and stupid, but they all doubtless possessed this sense of the situation in their mind. A young man thinks doggedly at such times. On the other hand, the ethics of their condition was decidedly against an open suggestion of hopelessness. So they were silent.
(8) "Oh well," said the captain, soothing his children, "we’ll get ashore all right."
(9) But there was that in his tone which made them think, so the engine master said, "Yes, if this wind holds!"
(10) The cook was bailing water, "Yes! If we don’t break apart in the surf."