« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
life in jeopardy, and I had been during sleep, in its loneliness of twice scipwrecked. In the last horror, and I fancy I am again misfortune, mind and body were in the ship. These mournful actively employed, and I had no entombments were viewed by leisure to brood orer the future. us at last with that unconcem To be passive, as I now was, with which is shown by men rendered destruction creeping towards me desperate from circumstances. inch by inch ; to perceive the Disease and dissolution were bemost horrible tate advancing come every-day matters to us, slowly upon me, and be obliged and the fear of death had lost to await its approach, pinioned, its power; nay, we rather fixed to the spot, powerless, un trembled at the thought of surable to keep the hope of deli- viving; thus does habitude fit verance alive by exertion : such us for the most terrible situaa situation was the extreme of tions. mortal suffering, a pain of mind “The last precaution I took language is inadequate to de- was to remove the sick to the scribe; and I endured in silence deck, under the shelter of a wet the full weight of its infliction. sail, to afford them coolness.
‘My mate and cabin boy were The next that died was my old now taken with the disease; and townsman, Job Watson. Just on the evening of the fifth day, after I had seen him expire, Will Stokes, the oldest seaman about ten o'clock in the evenon board, breathed his last, justing, when all around was like at the going down of the sun. the stillness of a dead world, I At midnight another died. By was leaning over the taffrail, and the light of the stars we com looking upon the ocean's face, mitted them to the ocean, though, that from its placidity and atwhile wrapping the hammock traction to the eye, was to me round the body of the last, the and mine like an angel of deeffluvia from the rapid putrefac-struction clothed in beauty, when tion was so overpowering and on a sudden I became free from nauseous, that it was with diffi- anxiety, obdurate, reckless of culty got upon deck and flung everything. I imagined I had into its unfathomable grave. taken leave of hope for ever, The dull plash of the carcase, and an apathy came upon me as it plunged, I shall never for little removed from despair. I get, raising lucid circles on the was ready for my destiny, come dark unrufiled water, and break- when it might. I got rid of a ing the obstinate silence of the load of anxiety that I could not time ; it struck my heart with a have carried much longer; so thrilling chillness; a rush of in- that, even when the rising moon describable feeling came over showed me the body of the me. Even now this 'sepulchral mate, which we had thrown into ound strikes at times on my ear the water, floating on its back,
half disenveloped from its ham- weather should come on, gave mock, when I distinctly saw me no apprehension : I was too its livid and ghastly features much proof against the fear of covered only by an inch of the future, or any danger that transparent sea, and a huge it might bring. Robson could shark preparing his hungry jaws give me no assistance; I had to prey upon it,—I drew not therefore to rely upon my own back, but kept my eye coldly exertions for everything. If the upon it, as if it had been the vessel ever moved again, I must most indifferent object upon hand and steer—though, from earth ; for I was as insensible the continuance of the calm, it to emotion as a statue would did not seem likely I should be have been. This insensibility soon called upon to do either. enabled me to undertake any I kept watch at night upon deck, office for the sick, and to drag and could sleep, either by day the bodies of the dead to the or night, only by short snatches, ship's side and fling them over-extended at full length near the board; for at last no one else helm. On the tenth night, was left to do it. All, save while the sea was yet in the remyself, were attacked with the pose of the grave around me, I disorder, and one by one died fell into a doze, and was assailed before the ninth day was com- with horrible dreams, that prepleted, save James Robson, the cluded my receiving refreshment least athletic man I had, and from rest. Millions of living who, judging from constitution, things, which had ascended from was but little likely to have sur- the caverns of the deep, or been vived. The disorder left him engendered from the stagnation weak as a child. I gave him and heat, seemed to play in the most nourishing things I snaky antics on its surface. I could find : I carried him, a aroused myselt, and the silence mere skeleton, into my cabin, on every side seemed more and placed him on a fresh bed, terrible than ever. Clouds were Alinging his own and all the rising over the distant sea-line other beds overboard. I valued and obscuring the stars, and the him as the only living thing with ocean put on a gloomy aspect. me in the vessel; though, had he No sailor was now pacing the died, I should at the time have deck on his accustomed watch. felt little additional pain. I re- The want of motion in the garded him as one brute animal ship, and her powerless sails would have looked at another hanging in festoons amid the in such a situation.
diminishing starlight, added to 'How the ship was to be the solitary feeling which, in navigated by one man, and spite of my apathy, I experiwhat means I possessed of keep-enced; I thought myself cut off ing her afloat in case blowing from mankind for ever, and that
my ship, beyond where winds conversation exhausted him, ever blew, would lie and rot while talking in his incoherent upon the corrupting sea. I for-fits did not produce the same got the melancholy fate of my debilitating effect. “Where is crew at this moment, and the mate?” he wildly asked me; thought, with comparative un-“Why am I in your cabin, cap. concern, that the time musttain? Have they Aung Waring soon come when, the last draught overboard yet ?” I contented of water being finished, I too myself with giving him general must die. The next night, half answers, which appeared to satisfy slumbering, a thousand strange him. I feared to tell him we images would come before my were the only survivors; for the sight; the countenance of my truth, had he chanced to comlate mate, or some one of the prehend it in its full force, might crew, was frequently among them, have been fatal. On returning distorted and fitted upon uncouth upon the deck, I observed that bodies. I felt feverish and un- clouds were slowly forming, well on awaking. One moment while the air became doubly I fancied I saw a vessel pass oppressive and sultry. The inthe ship under full sail
, and tensity of the sun's rays was exwith a stiff breeze—and then a changed for a closer and even second; while no ruffle appeared more suffocating heat, that inon the ocean near mine, and I dicated an alteration of some hailed them in vain. Now I kind in the atmosphere. Hope heard the tramp of feet upon suddenly awoke in my bosom the deck, and the whisper of again: a breeze might spring up, voices, as of persons walking and I might get free from my near me, whom I uselessly chal- horrible captivity. I took an lenged: this was followed by observation, and found that I the usual obdurate silence. I was clear of the rocks and shoals felt no fear; for nature had no of the Bahamas, towards which visitation for mortal man more I feared a current might have appalling than I had already insensibly borne me; all I could encountered : and to the ulti- do, therefore, in case the wind mate of evils with social man, as blew, was to hang out a signal I have before observed, I was in. of distress, and try to keep the sensible ; for what weight could sea until I fell in with some social ideas of good or evil have friendly vessel. with me at that moment ?
'I immediately took measures 'The morning of the eleventh for navigating the ship by myday of my suffering I went down self. I fastened a rope to secure into the cabin, to take some re- the helm in any position I might freshment to Robson. Though find needful, so that I might at intervals in the full possession venture to leave it a few minutes of his senses, the shortest rational when occasion required. I went
aloft and cut away the topsails chance of once more mingling which I could not reef, and re- with my fellow
men filled my duced the canvas all over the imagination, and braced every ship as much as possible, leav- fibre of my frame almost to ing only one or two of the lower breaking. The ship's motion sails set; for if it blew fresh, I perceptibly increased; the ripple could not have taken them in, under her bow at length became and the ship might perish, while audible, she felt additional imby doing this I had some chance pulse, moved yet faster, and at of keeping her alive.
length cut through the water at 'I now anxiously watched the the rate of four or five knots an clouds which seemed to be in hour. This was fast enough motion, and the sight was a cor- for her safety, though not for dial to me. At last the sea be- my impatience. I steered her gan to heave with gentle undula- large before the wind for some tions; a slight ripple succeeded time, and then kept her as near and bore new life with it. I wept as possible in the track of for joy, and then laughed, as I vessels bound for Europe, cersaw it shake the sails and then tain that, carrying so little gradually fill them ; and when at sail
, I must be speedily overlength the brig moved, just at taken by some ship that could noon on the eleventh day our render me assistance. becalming commenced, I be- I disappointed in my expectacame almost mad with delight. tion. After steering two days It was like a resurrection from with a moderate breeze, during the dead; it was the beginning which time I never left the of a new existence with me. helm, a large West Indiaman
earful as my state then was in came up with me, and gave me reality, it appeared a heaven to every necessary aid. By this that which I had been in. The means, I was at length enabled hope of deliverance aroused me to reach Halifax, and finally to new energies. I felt hungry, the river Mersey, about five and ate voraciously; for till that weeks later than the time I moment I had scarcely eaten had formerly calculated for my enough to sustain life.
THE BURNING OF THE EARL OF ELDON. 'On the 24th of August 1834, I Bombay, with a view of returnembarked on board the ship ing to my native land on furEarl of Eldon, of 600 tons, com- lough. She was the finest and manded by Captain Theaker, at strongest ship in the trade, and
any insurance might have been become fire. The captain came had on the chances of her suc on deck, and I asked him what cessfully resisting the winds and it was. He answered steam, waves; but who can foresee and that it was common enough their fate, even for a day? She in cotton-loaded ships when the was cotton-loaded; and as the hatches were opened. I said number of passengers was small, nothing, but the smoke becomthe space between decks was ing more dense, and beginning filled choke up with cotton bales, to assume a different colour, I screwed in as compact and tight began to think that all was not as possible, so as to render it a right, and also that he had some matter of more difficulty to take idea of the kind, as the carpenter them out than it had been to was cutting holes in the deck put them in.
It unfortunately just above the place where the happened that the cotton had smoke appeared to come. I been brought on board damp, went down to dress, and about during heavy rain, and had not half-past six the captain knocked been dried in the warehouses at my door, and told me that previous to its being screwed. part of the cotton was on fire, As this operation is performed and he wished to see all the by very powerful compression, gentlemen passengers on deck. it is not unlikely that fire-damp We accordingly assembled, and might be generated in the same he then stated the case to be manner as in a hay-stack when this, that some part of the cargo it has been stacked damp. The appeared to have spontaneously number of individuals on board ignited, and that he proposed was forty-five, including three removing the bales until they ladies and an infant, and the should discover the ignited ones, captain and his crew.
and have them thrown overOn the 26th of September, board, as also those which apafter a series of baffling winds peared to be in the same and calms, and heavy rains with damaged condition ; and that it squalls of wind, we fell in with being necessary, in his opinion, the trade winds, and began to to do this, he deemed it his duty anticipate our arrival at the to lay the matter before us. We Cape. On the morning of the of course submitted everything 27th, I rose early, about half- to his judgment, and he ordered past five, and went on deck. the hands to breakfast as quickly I found one of my fellow-pas- as possible, and to work to dissengers there: we perceived a cover the source of the fire steam apparently arising from This having been done, he said the fore-hatchway; I remarked to that there did not appear to be Hunt that I thought it might immediate 'danger, and that he be caused by fire-damp, and if hoped we might be able to aver: not immediately checked, might it altogether. However, at eight