the act of moving forward
There was one thwart set as low as possible, a kind of stretcher in the bows, and a double paddle for
easily or conveniently transported
But the great advantage of the coracle it certainly possessed, for it was exceedingly light and
tending to float on a liquid or rise in air or gas
THE coracle—as I had ample reason to know before I was done with her—was a very safe boat for a person of my height and weight, both
buoyant and clever in a seaway; but she was the most cross-grained, lop-sided craft to manage.
Another definition of "buoyant" is "characterized by liveliness and lightheartedness"--this also seems to fit Jim's description of the little boat, because he personifies it by calling it "she" and seemingly comparing it to a willful woman who would never go in the direction she's pointed towards because she prefers to turn around and around in circles.
the outward flow of the tide
First she loomed before me like a blot of something yet blacker than darkness, then her spars and hull began to take shape, and the next moment, as it seemed (for, the farther I went, the brisker grew the current of the
ebb), I was alongside of her hawser and had laid hold.
Other definitions of "ebb" are "fall away or decline" or "flow back or recede"--these would suggest that an ebb tide should not be dangerous. But an ebb tide is the period between high and low water during which water flows away from the shore, and Jim and his coracle are out at sea.
But, indeed, from what I saw, all these buccaneers were as
callous as the sea they sailed on.
keep company with
By this time the schooner and her little
consort were gliding pretty swiftly through the water;
Jim uses the word "consort" ironically here. Usually, a consort would be another ship that is deliberately traveling with another ship (as in the consort that Blandly would send out if the Hispaniola doesn't return after five months). But Jim is sneaking up on the schooner in order to take it back from the pirates. A consort could also be the "husband or wife of a reigning monarch" and there is nothing royal about Jim's little boat and situation.
toss, roll, or rise and fall in an uncontrolled way
The ship was talking, as sailors say, loudly, treading the innumerable ripples with an incessant
swerve off course momentarily
At the same moment, she
yawed sharply and seemed to change her course.
emitting light without appreciable heat
All round me were little ripples, combing over with a sharp, bristling sound and slightly
a narrow channel joining two larger bodies of water
At the end of the
straits, I made sure we must fall into some bar of raging breakers, where all my troubles would be ended speedily; and though I could, perhaps, bear to die, I could not bear to look upon my fate as it approached.
Another definition of "strait" is "a bad or difficult situation"--this could also fit the example sentence as Jim and his coracle are helplessly "spinning through the narrows for the open sea."
a large sea wave
So I must have lain for hours, continually beaten to and fro upon the
billows, now and again wetted with flying sprays, and never ceasing to expect death at the next plunge.
Among the fallen rocks the breakers spouted and bellowed; loud
reverberations, heavy sprays flying and falling, succeeded one another from second to second;
the top or extreme point of something
Often, as I still lay at the bottom and kept no more than an eye above the gunwale, I would see a big blue
summit heaving close above me;
sink to a lower level or form a depression
yet the coracle would but bounce a little, dance as if on springs, and
subside on the other side into the trough as lightly as a bird.
stopping and starting at irregular intervals
As for the latter's sailing, it was so wild and
intermittent, and she hung each time so long in irons, that she certainly gained nothing, if she did not even lose.
remove (water) from a vessel with a container
Once I shipped a sea so heavy that I had to stop and
bail, with my heart fluttering like a bird, but gradually I got into the way of the thing and guided my coracle among the waves, with only now and then a blow upon her bows and a dash of foam in my face.
A slangy definition of "bail" is "abandon a project or enterprise"--but this would be the opposite of what Jim is doing in the example sentence. When Jim bails, he is removing the seawater that had splashed into his little boat so that he would not have to bail on his chase of the schooner.
secure with battens
If not, the men were lying drunk below, where I might
batten them down, perhaps, and do what I chose with the ship.
I have said this was the worst thing possible for me, for helpless as she looked in this situation, with the canvas cracking like cannon and the blocks
trundling and banging on the deck, she still continued to run away from me, not only with the speed of the current, but by the whole amount of her leeway, which was naturally great.
For a while the ship kept bucking and
sidling like a vicious horse, the sails filling, now on one tack, now on another, and the boom swinging to and fro till the mast groaned aloud under the strain.
a fencelike structure around a deck (usually plural)
Now and again too there would come a cloud of light sprays over the
bulwark and a heavy blow of the ship's bows against the swell;
It occurred to me there was no time to lose, and dodging the boom as it once more
lurched across the deck, I slipped aft and down the companion stairs into the cabin.
water accumulated in the lowest part of a ship
Well, HE'S dead now, he is—as dead as
bilge; and who's to sail this ship, I don't see.
the guidance of ships or airplanes from place to place
All told, we had scarce two miles to run; but the
navigation was delicate, the entrance to this northern anchorage was not only narrow and shoal, but lay east and west, so that the schooner must be nicely handled to be got in.
the wide part of a river where it nears the sea
The shores of North Inlet were as thickly wooded as those of the southern anchorage, but the space was longer and narrower and more like, what in truth it was, the
estuary of a river.
steering mechanism for a vessel
And I put the
helm hard up, and the HISPANIOLA swung round rapidly and ran stem on for the low, wooded shore.
We were both of us
capsized in a second, and both of us rolled, almost together, into the scuppers, the dead red-cap, with his arms still spread out, tumbling stiffly after us.
a slope in the turn of a road or track
canting of the ship had made the deck no place for running on;
the froth produced by soaps or detergents
He rose once to the surface in a
lather of foam and blood and then sank again for good.
quivering as from weakness or fear
He went in with a sounding plunge; the red cap came off and remained floating on the surface; and as soon as the splash subsided, I could see him and Israel lying side by side, both wavering with the
tremulous movement of the water.
In the example sentence, "tremulous" is describing the movement of the water, which is not quivering from weakness or fear. That would be a better description of Jim, who just survived a dagger attack and was looking down at two corpses.
The jibs I speedily
doused and brought tumbling to the deck, but the main-sail was a harder matter.