'Can I trust you?'

The chief carpenter in our neighbourhood, and a wonderful carpenter he is too, was one of three brothers (Newberys) belonging to our lifeboat crew. He had caught a number of men as they jumped at the top of a wave, when to his astonishment, as the boat rose for about the twentieth time, he saw a handsome young lady dressed in black satin, with a baby in her arms standing by the rail…

He shouted ‘Jump, ma’am!’ but she did not seem ready to jump. As the boat disappeared he heard her voice saying: ‘Am I to trust myself to you?’ The lifeboat rose level to the deck again, and he said: ‘Yes, ma’am, throw me the baby for a start.' She answered, ‘No, I will stick with my baby. Can I trust you?’

Down went the boat again. A brief interval and my friend the carpenter showed his face at the deck level and shouted: ‘ I am a family man with two children. Come along, ma’am.’ She replied with these astonishing words as the lifeboat began another descent: “Well, you look like a respectable man and I will trust you, but can you promise me we shan’t get wet, with the baby’s best clothes? … at the next chance our gallant carpenter grabbed the lady and baby and hauled them into the boat.”

Launch JEB Seely