the Waters' "
Notes on the text
These notes, edited by Alastair Wilson, are partly new, and partly based on the notes on this tale in the ORG. The ORG Editor was glad to acknowledge the professional advice of F.E. Langer, Esq., OBE, MRINA, MIMarE on certain engineering aspects of the story. Likewise, the present Editor is pleased to acknowledge help from Captain D.P. Richards, RD*, RNR.
The page and line numbers below refer to the Macmillan (London) Standard Edition of The Day's Work, as published and frequently reprinted between 1898 and 1950.
“Then up and spake the caulkyers bold,To fill her forward deck green means to take heavy seas on board; a heavy sea remains solid, and is the basic colour of the sea; a light sea will break up into spray and foam. snore away a ship pushing her way through not too heavy seas makes a noise which sounds rather like snoring. The sound is of the ships’ hull ‘working’ (cf the grumbles made intermittently by the SS Dimbula’s hull, in "The Ship that Found Herself" (also in The Day’s Work).
Which was packing the pump in the afterhold”.
“clear to the tunnel where they sit, my purrin’ dynamos”[Page 293, line 4] lay star-gazing adrift and lying idle on the sea.
“when the fog-buoy’s squattering flight …”.McPhee uses the word in another sense in line 19 of page 306. It is important for the understanding of the story to observe that this phrase does not mean that the Kite was following in Grotkau’s wake, but that she was incidentally in it while crossing astern to take up position just abaft her port beam to observe the port light.
The Master is, by law, in supreme control and command, and the Chief Engineer is his subordinate, although in technical matters the latter is ultimately responsible to those ashore. The Master could put the Chief in irons for a serious offence, e.g., mutiny. To explain fully the legal aspect, since by the Merchant Shipping Acts a seaman is defined as any person except the Master, a pilot or an apprentice, employed on board any (merchant) ship, the Chief Engineer is by law a seaman. The Acts also state that a seaman must obey the Master in all ;awful matters relating to the navigation of the ship. Any suggestion that the Chief Engineer is not under the jurisdiction of the Master is therefore quite wrong, although the Master is careful to avoid interference in the technical side of the engineering department.[Page 302, line 24] Slowed to thirty-four revolutions per minute.
“And he said Throw her down; and they threw her down; and some of her blood was sprinkled.”McPhee’s speech is clearly an echo of this text.