Wood, Wind, Water
Evé Gaudet squinted up at the schooner's four thin masts and intricate rigging. He was a big man, with a long, unshaven face of leather, and gnarled, craftsman's hands. He still held his chisel and mallet as we stood there on the beach, looking at the wounded hulk of the Reine Marie Stewart. The bad news had just come from Halifax.
"A cot-damn shame!" Gaudet muttered. The schooner could be repaired for twenty or thirty thousand dollars, he said, hauled off the beach, replanked and rigged again, and she would earn the cost in two or three trips with lumber down to the West Indies. But the owners were going to wreck her here on the Nova Scotia shore, one of the last handful of great sailing ships.
To Gaudet it was not the loss of a job. He had plenty of work in his little shipbuilding shop at the beach edge. At present he was working on a fifty-foot fishing boat, to be powered with an automobile engine, but what is such a craft to a man who has built Bluenose schooners and seen them set out, full sail, against the dawn?
When Gaudet was ten years old his father gave him some old tools and lumber and let him explore wood. He had been working with tools and wood ever since, like his father, his grandfather, his great-grandfather, and several generations before that. Always the Gaudets have built ships here on the North Shore. And here was the last of them that Gaudet expected to see, the beautiful, clean-lined Reine Marie Stewart,