Page images
[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

been, and was still drifting. The or four, I was pained to see, although motion of the ship and strong cur- nearly naked in freezing weather, had reat prevented my koowing this to got up into the main shrouds. From a certainty, both our anchors, wbich the time she had first struck, the seas were of over-proportioned sizes, being had broken so completely over us, that down, and our cables, nearly new, out, it rendered every effort abortive towards with their whole scope of a hundred the first and most laudable intention of fathoms. While at the lead, I observ- cutting the cables, making some sail, ed something at a distance to leeward and driving as far as possible on shore ; like a white foam; and remarked it to or, at the worst, to cut away the masts. the boatswain, who was standing near. But such was its sudden violence, that He replied, be thought it no more than nothing was soon thought of but to atthe curl of the waves. Not satisfied tempt to hold on as long as possible, with this, I went aft into the yawl and efforts for any thing else were imastern, and was soon satisfied they practicable and abandoned. While were breakers, and not far off. I holding on to the quarter.rail, we were quickly went below to the cabin, awoke at every sea overwhelmed and washed the captain, and aroused the passengers, out at arin's length off our legs, and He soon ran upon deck, and had just many were forced from their holds and gained it, when, at fifteen minutes past drowned, or broken and bruised to twelve, the ship struck. Those below death by pieces of the wreck. Finding were directly alarmed by the shock, for it impossible to stand longer this freezthe previous inotion, with the noise of ing and suffocating drenching, I watchthe wind, and the roar of the sea, must ed my chance, and sprang over the have prevented their sleeping, and bur- heads of some that were in the mizen. ried, affrighted to the deck. The sea rigging, and gained the mizen top, adbegan instantly to break over every part vising the rest 10 follow, as I was cer. of the ship, and all were struck with tain no one could stand such horrid horror on looking round at the awful seas five minutes longer. Here,in the prospect, and the inevitable destruction mizen-top, in the intervals of the ship's that awaited them. Some were in their striking, I fell to thrashing myself, preshirts, others half-dressed, and many paring for the waves. I took off my with their clothes in their hands. For slioes, and beat the soles of iny Teet. Niy the first time, I saw seameu completely limbs had been for some time inuch terror-struck, and dismayed. The cap- ber mbed, and my feet without feeling: tain ordered the steward to go down, ded, however, at last, by great and secure some articles in the cabin ; exertiort, in circulating the blood, and he descended, but soon came up with rendered myself once more warm. the dismal tidings that the cabin was While aloft, the work of chaotic defull of water. Many, from the vio- struction was busily carried on by the lence of her striking, were obliged to dread ministers of death. It appeared hold on by the railing, and the captain as if orders had been given from above among them gave orders to cut away on this night for total and indiscriminate the inasts. The carpenter was sick in destruction in the shortest time possible. his hammock below. I asked several There I could almost perceive those for the place where the axe lay. “We spirits of vengeance who“ ride in the don't know of any age, Sir," was the whirlwind, and direct the storm." From answer, “ Lord have mercy upon us.” thence was a view of a shipwreck in all

The seas now made complete its terrors, and in all its sublimity.-breaches over every part of the ship, While here, most of those below were and perceiving I should have to com- now washed from their grasps, and soon mit myself to the waves, I threw off my met death. The mainmast likewise tell pea-jacket and hat. Most of the crew over the side, unfortunately the wrong and passengers were holding on to side, to windward, off shore, the ship the different parts on the quarter-deck, laying broadside to the sea, and having as the highest part of the ship; three a weather heel.

The ship continued to beat very heard the voices of two or three others hard upon a ledge of rocks till she was and among them the captain, their in pieces. The long boat, by repeated hones probably mostly broken, and but seas was forced from her grips and just alive. These I believed were all fastenings, and the small boat astern, chat still survived. instantly after struck, and was carried After I had plunged into the sea, away upon the top of a sea, with all its and rose, I held on for a moment to appendage of sails, tackles, and lashings. the upper works, which was all that I soon found myself going over with was now left of the ship. I then the mizeo mast, which fell, and carried quitted and began to strip, no easy me along with it. I was plunged into manauvre for a person in my then sitthe sea,and received a few scratches and uation, as I had on a thick jacket, bruises, but happily extricated myself, waistcoat, two pair of trowsers, and and by making my way down the rig. neckerchief. While doing this, some ging, with difficulty regained the ship. one, and the only one whom I discovI was now beset on all sides with con- ered clinging to the ship's umbers, was flicting timber, but was well aware of the suddenly washed from his hold, and danger which threatened me. It was extending his arms grasped my necker. indeed passing the watery ordeal to chief behind, and we sunk together; cross the ship at this time to gain the pushed for breath myself, it was no time shore, and, springing in the interval of for ceremony, the next hold I perhaps a sea to gain te other side, I found could not disengage, and I was not every plank of the main deck washed so beside myself as by attempting to off and in pieces, the fore-mast had now assist another to ensure certain death likewise fallen, and nuinerous pipes of to both. I therefore quickly unried wine floating around added to the gin: my neckerchief; be sunk with it in eral wreck. I had fallen in springing his hand, and I saw him no more. I among this rain, and had so far receis- presuined he was a passenger from his ed but one or two serious bruises ; but white shirt ; and from bis great size, a tremendous wave now swept before Senior Monasteria, a Spanish engineer. it some large spars, and carrying me While under water, I in a moment along with it my right leg was struck stripped myself, and again rose to the b, one of them just at the joint of the surface, divested of all covering but knee, which was instantiy crushed, and my shirt ; my leg bung down useless jambed in between that and a deck in the water ; besides which, L had beam,a few of which still remained lust, several cuts in my feet, several bra, ses (as near as I could distinguish, for it upon my ribs, and a large cut over my was now as dark as Erebus.) Now left eye, through which the chilling for a few moments jainbed in, as it were coldness the water struck to the bea. i. in a vise, my situation was most critical, Although always an expert swimmer, and frightlully dismaying. The blow I found I could barely keep myself I felt had almost severed my.leg, and above water. Fearless before of wind kept it still confined, another sea was and water, I was now puzzled; for roaring towards me, which would infal- swimming, even with health and whole libly have washed some large surround- bones was unavailing in a sea like this. ing timber higher up against my head Hitherto I had seen no land, but was and body, and of which I was in in- swept and carried along by every sea stant expectation. But, by a fortunate which came over me, and I resolved rise of the water, I caught hold of the to get hold of the first thing I fell in lee-rail and threw myself over the ship's with, and gain breath, of which I was side into the sea, not with a hope of very short. I soon seized hold of a reaching the shore, which I did not bale of goods, but it being wet and know how to steer for, as I had not heavy was of no use, for every sea rollseen it, but resolving to hasien my end, ed over me, and I quitted it nearly expreferring to die with sea room, and to hausted. I saw pumberless pieces of avoid a death which seemed equal to the wreck, and was in constant danger being broken upon the wheel. I had of being struck by some which I often

VOL. 4.]
Fracker's Nurrative.

293 avoided by diving and scrambling from, but without success. I was much fabut which the prodigious seas would tigued and could scarcely keep hold of wholly overwhelm.

the crate, for every sea would sweep I stood this hard buffeting for a- us at least ten feet before it. I had albout a dozen seas, and nature was fast most despaired of the land's being near, retreating from the conflict; being des- and was fearful that at last it might perately pushed for breath, as I could prove only a shoal. Still however,holddraw but little in the short interval of ing on with hopeless iodifference, I the seas. I had now been dearly half soon aster observed a sudden lull, and an hour in the water, and balf the time that the waves were not a third so viounderneath it; disabled as I was, I had lent. I shook myself, and roused my withstood beyond my hopes this war drowsy spirits, looked round and found of elements, but my breath now desert- myself inside the breakers ! I quickly ed me like the flash of a taper, and an- again dropped myself down and with other sea struck out every particle of my foot touched the ground. I found the remainder. Suffocated and stran- it was of sand, and in a few moments gled, I gasped twice with a convulsive I got up to about breast high in the waleap. It was in vain, another sea swept ter, and then by shoving myself forward over me, I saw death inevitable, terri- by leg and arms, soon crawled out upon ble, and face to face. I had but time the beach. Thus, after being more with a läst breath to say involuntarily than half an hour in the water and matbe ejaculation, “ Lord Jesus, receive king my way for nearly three quarters my spirit,” and quickly suok many of a mile through a tremendous sea at feet under water without the least, or midnight, I at last found myself upon a most distant hope of again seeing the desert beach, certain that no one could light, but with the fullest assurance I have reached ten fathoms from the ship, had taken a last view of transient ob- which in an hour and a half after she jects, and till the last trump summoned first struck was scattered in pieces on all hands I should rise no more. My the strand. Some idea may be had of seoses with my breath also forsook me, the violence of the elements, when not and for a moment my mind was filled a single inast came on shore entire, and with the most singular and delightful out of twenty-three persons, among sensations, seemingly in an enrapturing whom were four stout African slaves, dream. This, however, was as mo- whose constant practice of swimming inentary as it was wonderful. Whether renders them almost amphibious, but frn the violence of a wave which then one body came on shore that night.

vuse over me, or by the pain of the The remainder, buried by the first wave, wounds ard chill of the water, I am not came not on shore till nine days aftercertain by what means, I was soon wards. brought to my senses, and r se again Amazed and nearly stunned, I atto the surface seemingly refreshed ; templed to stand, but my leg relused iis on lookiog around I distinctly discover- office,and I fell backward to the ground, ed a few fathoms from me, as if su- burt by the fall, and the blood streampernaturally throwo in my way, some. ing froin several wounds. Half Iraniic thing large and light, for it kept con- with pain, and the severe wintry weathstantly above the waves; I exerted my er, a groan for the first time escapremaioing power, and reached it. It ed me. Here as I lay extended on the was a large crate containing nothing earth, I repeatedly wished for death, but straw ; clinging to this I soon re- for his stroke would have been welcome. covered breath, as its buoyancy kept Then I could have met bis face not as it high above the geas. A fier holding the grim visage of the dread king of terto this some length of time, and con- rors but as the hope-inspiring countenstaotly turning it round as my weight ance of meek-eyed mercy. I considpulled it over towards me, I still kept ered the fate of my companions far courage, and dropped myself frequently more ha py than my owo, for their down without quilling my hold with the sufferings though severe were but moeastest hope of touching the bottom, mentary, while mine were perhaps to

be protracted till struggling nature slow- me bailing ; I was however too fatigneck ly giving way, sunk under misery at its to remove. At daybreak I looked out utmost stretch. Sufferings so acute, I of the cask and beheld a large sandy determined not to endure. The dread beach covered to a great extent on each alternative therefore was soon chosen, side of me with the wreck, but not a and I resolved to put an end to my ex- vestige of the ship as long as the pump, istence by the first means chance should or any thing moving except the gulls. throw in my power.

In fact I was assured on first reaching I had a firm opinion that the shore the shore that oo mortal alone could was a barren and desolate country, make his way thro' such seas, in such a without inhabitants for a great distance, nighi, to the land. My owo preservawith no chance of being discovered, tion I considered as falling but little impenetrable from swamps and shrub- short of a miracle. A shipwreck so sudbery ; and not being able to move witb- den, an escape so singular, the uproar out torture, I should certainly not sur. I had witnessed, and the sight now bevive till the morning. Groping my fore me, my scattered seoses could way at the edge of the water, I felt scarcely conceive real; I for some time something large, and sound to my sure actually doubted myself awake, for it prise a pipe of wine; here was the seemed like an horrible dream. lowest part of the cargo on shore be- I then again composed myself in the fore me. I was upon the point of cask, and owing to pain, the fumes of koocking my head against it, and dash- the wine, and great exertion, I remaining out my brains, but doubted my ed during this day nearly insensible,and strength to give a blow sufficient. Å in a trance-like stupor. Towards sunset, second thought most happily struck me; I was fearful of being carried away by the cask was big enough to contain the return of the water, during the apme, and by knocking in the bead, if pos- proaching night, with the pipe. In this sible, would, if placed in a favourable dangerous situation, I reluctantly crawlposition, be a complete shelter from ed out of the cask, and ho ding up mv the horrible cold. Hope once more useless leg from Irailing on the ground, brightened, and gave me triple vigour, and hitching myself backward, with my Groping farther round, I found sev- right hand, I gained in this manner the eral sticks of wood, dunnage to the foot of a sand bill further up the beach. pipes, and taking up one, I got round I crawled up this as high my strength to the upper bead and by repeated would permit, to be free from the reach strokes made a breach, the wine spirted of the sea, and as night was now fast out thro' the crevices; I drank some, approaching, it was in vain to look farand then continued my strokes with rea ther for a shelter. Finding no refuge newed force. The head at last was above the ground, I resolved to seek entirely stove in, the wine washed out one below it, and dug a large hole in the over me, the touch of which to my fro- sand on the top of the hill,got into it, and zen carcase was electric,and most agree with my disabled leg undermost, pullable. I then placed two piecus of the ing and raking the sand over me, laid head staves into the bilge or bottom of down. The sand and a shirt were my the cask, to make it square and level, and only covering. The weather was excrowded in. It seemed and felt like tremely cold, the sand wet, and during an oven. I had all this time been part- the night it rained and blew tremenly in the water at the edge of the surf, dously; the wet sand drifting around which now came into the cask at every in smothering showers covered every wave, which kept me constantly ibrow- part of me, and repeatedly filling my ing it out with my left hand as I lay hair, ears, nose, eyes, and mouth, kept upon my back as the least painful po- me constantly spitting it out to prevent sition. This labour I was obliged to suffocation; while the weather com. continue during the remainder of the pelled me to sit up and thrash myself night till towards morning, when the every ten minutes to prevent freezing. wind somewhat abated, the tide ebbed, Once I resolved to shift my position to and the surf retreating, no longer kept get under the lee or into some hollow

Vol. 4.]

Fracker's Narrative.


upon the sheltering side, and I accordregain the beach : a difficult task, which ingly crawled to some distance, I knew I however surmounted and reached the not in what direction, owing to extreme beach about noon. darkness, and inade another hole, then The weather was still inauspicious thrashing my arms for some time, again and cloudy, the gale not much abated, laid dowo, covering myself as before and the sea continued to roar. When with sand to resist the cold. Such was descending the slope, I had seen among my bed, and such the manner in wbich the great mass of articles on the beach, I passed this night, alone, on a desert a large wine cask, which lay at a short beach, in a foreign land, while the wild distance, with one head stove in by the beasts of the forest with their consoling sea, the other facing the wind and sea, music added an enchantng serenade! and the mouth near the bill, which was

la the morning I looked around, and a shelter in front. This was a fine house observed I had got to the other side for me,and fortunately just what I wanof the sand bill, in sight of a low and ted; I made towards it, entered it, and marshy country, but saw no sign of laid down being very weak and fatiguhabitation or cattle. I made shift to ed; but I soon found the bare staves get out of the sand. I now took a too hard for my bare bones, and bruisurvey of myself ; I looked like no- sed carcase. I shortly after sallied out thing buman, nothing in the likeness of in search of a covering, and in hopes any thing upon earth or in the waters of finding some bed, mattrass, or blanbeneath ; covered with sores which ket among the wreck. I took a survey were filled with sand, as were also my of each side, and saw at a distance hair, eyebrows, beard, and whiskers; something that looked like a bed, but my leg swelled almost to the size of a on comiog up to it, I found only a sack wool sack, my left wrist out of joint, of white cotton wool, wet and heavy, and hand swelled and useless : my which I could not remove. I then feet swelled and wrinkled like tripe, from returned to the cask, rested awhile, remaioing so long in the water, and both and took another survey. I soon saw painful from numerous wounds; my at a great distance down the beach, tobody of all colours, as if a rainbow was wards the water, some rolls of cotton wrapped round me and withal nearly bagging, of which we had a great num-. naked. I was indeed a figure too ber on board, and again I started out shocking to excite pity, too disabled to in pursuit. I was a long while in getexcite fear, and too monstrous for any ting to them, and then found them so sensation but astonishment. I descend- buried in the sand, that I was an hour ed the slope of the hill, and slowly in digging and clearing away the sand moved along for some time among the from arouod them. They were two biishes that grew around, till I espied large rolls like bed-tickings, standing upat some distance a low place among right, with about twenty yards of one the grass and shrubbery, which I rolled round the other. I unrolled one thought might contain water.-In half from the other, when I found the inside an hour, resting at intervals, I reached one still wet. I pushed it down, and it, and found to my great joy I was not rolled it along before me, hitching mydeceived. The water was clear, and self up to it, and then pushing it from excellent. I at first tried several differ- me again. Thus I got it up to the cask, ent plans to get my mouth to the brook, and across its mouth, getting into which, at last lying at length on the ground, I unrolled eight or ten fathoms, laid and rolling up to it, I succeeded. It down in the cask, and pushed and was the inost delicious draught I ever spread it as I could underneath me. I tasted, I drank an immoderate quantity, then no rolled a much inore, and coverwaited awhile and drank again. Look. ed myself with it. Though this was ing around I saw nothing but wbat still wet, and covered, as was every thing indicated a barren and inhospitable else, with sand, I now thought myself waste, I was therefore compelled to very well off, and my situation very make my way over the sand hills, and comfortable, compared to tbat of the QE ATHENQUX. Vol. 4.

last thirty hours.

« PreviousContinue »