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FLOATING SENTINELS.

WHAT finger-posts, warning-boards, milestones,
sign-posts, watchmen, watch-dogs,
lanterns, and long poles with wisps of straw
at the top, are to the wayfarer by land- a
certain fleet of wooden and iron sentinels,
bobbing about among the waves, are to the
wayfarers round our most dangerous coast.
They are of various shapes, and sizes, and
colours, and each has its special duty. We
hear that a fleet of these sentinels has just
come ashore for a holiday, and accordingly we
betake ourselves to their house and premises,
which we find to belong to the Honourable
Corporation of the Trinity Board, at Blackwall.
We are received by the worthy and
hospitable godfather of these Buoys, Captain
Poulter, Superintendent under the Elder
Brethren, who kindly offers to introduce us to
the Buoys at their abode in the great storeroom
of the Trinity Wharf, where they are
now taking their ease and some "refreshments"
after their long absence at sea.

We proceed along the wharf, and arrive at
a huge building of the simplest order of
architecture, viz., the order of the "barn,"
being a great one-roomed house. We enter by
a door of considerable dimensions, suited to
the convenience of the nautical Patagonians;
and, without any intermediate ceremonies, we
find ourselves at once in the presence of the
burly crowd of British Coast-Buoys.

Imagine yourself in the midst of an assemblage
of three or four hundred peg-tops and
humming-tops of eight and ten feet in height,
some humorously standing on their heads
with their pegs uppermost, others lying on
their great round stomachs asleep, or in meditation;
a few youngsters are only of six feet
in height, at present, but here and there are
some of seventeen feet and upwards, being
grown to full maturity. Some of these very
jolly buoys are all white, others all black;
some all red; others of black and white in
stripes- horizontal or vertical stripes- or
black and white in chequers. Some are all
green, with an ominous word in great white
letters upon them- "WRECK."

But though the general form of these
Patagonian Peg-tops is pear-shaped or conical,
their appearance is greatly diversified by
sundry insignia they bear, stuck on the top
of their pegs on their upper side- whichever
side is intended to be uppermost- these
insignia being squares, circles, bird-cages, rat-traps,
diamonds or lozenges, upraised fingers,
funnels, stars, and other crosses and orders,
which denote the rank of the Buoy in question,
and which, by a mutual telegraphic understanding
between it and the captains of vessels,
serve to designate the position and point of
duty it is placed to occupy and fulfil at sea.

The Buoys have all been at sea for six
months; and they are now ashore for six
mouths, at the end of which period they will
all go to sea again.

We are presented, in due form, by Captain
Poulter to most of the head buoys of this great
maritime establishment. This robust figure
in the white pea-jacket, with a thin neck and
a small round head, is Master Knowle; and
the fellow to him, here, is Master South-East
Whiting! This figure in the black jacket,
with a large cross through his head, is Master
Long Sand Head; this tall, gourd-shaped
youngster, in a long coat, encircled with broad
horizontal stripes, is Master South-West Shipwash;
this large red-coated youth, with a red
funnel-head, is no less a person than Master
North-East Goodwin (of Goodwin Sands,
Hamsgate), and his companion, here- though
they are much further apart when out at sea-
in the long black pilot-coat, with a black round
bird-cage head, is Master South-East Goodwin!
Master North Cross Sand, in his red-ochre
jacket, Master Soutli Scroby, in black,
and Master Morte Stone, of Bristol Channel,
who,in his severe simplicity of outline, presents
the figure of an acorn, or filbert, are all excellent
persons, whose acquaintance we are
delighted to make. We also make a low bow
to Master South Calliper, not so much on
account of his broad black-and-white stripes,
as out of reverence for the mysterious, inverted
bushel-basket sort of crown he wears upon
his head! Another figure now claims a marked
attention. Master Elbow, of Broadstairs!
He is painted in black-and-white Scotch Tweed
chequers, lies upon his stomach when on
duty, and is surmounted by an iron rod with
a "stay" or support of another iron rod
placed at an acute angle abaft, on the united
points of which at the top there is placed a
small circle of iron. Sat verbum- see the
chart of the Channel. The very diversified

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