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We immediately steered towards the venturous little bark, but owing to the violence of the waves, it was some time before we could get alongside of her and receive her unfornate crew on board our vessel. They were five in number, but one only was in a condition to speak, and from his first words it was easy to see what had been their sufferings.
Water, water!” he stammered out in a broken voice; “we are dying of thirst.” The poor fellows were instantly conveyed to the cabin, and every care bestowed upon them that the kindness of our crew and the skill of the surgeon could suggest. In spite of all our efforts two of the sufferers expired before morniog; the three who survived were very ill for many days. As soon as they were able to speak, we expressed our anxiety to hear their sad history, and one of them related it to us, in the following words:
“We belong," said he,“ to an English vessel, as you have probably already guessed; I am indeed the only one among us who can speak French. I was the second lieutenant on board a frigate bound for the Pacific. Our ship was old, and many among us suspected her being not seaworthy, which unfortunately proved to be the case, for during a violent storm, which drove us far out of our course, we discovered that we had sprung a leak. In spite of all our labour at the pumps, the vessel filled very fast; the storm still raged around us, and our destruction seemed inevitable. Our only chance was to take to the boats. One of them was upset almost immediately, and all who were in her met with a watery grave, but those in the other boat began soon to doubt whether their comrades' fate was not to be envied. We had thrown a bag of biscuit and some salt pork into our boat. But in the hurry and confusion, we had forgotten to take water; perhaps, indeed, it would have been impossible to get a barrel out of the hold in time, for the frigate went down in five minutes after our quitting her. However that may be, our sufferings from thirst soon became intense; the storm had ceased, and the burning sun beaming upon our unsheltered heads made us almost frantic. We forgot all the other dangers and hardships to which we were exposed, -we thought only of the heat and thirst, which became daily more insupportable. I advised my companions not to eat the salt pork, which aggravated, instead of relieving their suffering; but the biscuit being exhausted, most of them could not refrain from the only food which remained, and, what was even worse, they drank the salt water. This, when taken in large quantities, and as the only liquid, generally produces delirium ; several of our sailors lost their senses, and two of them, in frenzy, threw themselves over the side of the boat and perished in the waves. The rest of our sad company sat in gloomy silence, most of them unable to speak; one after another died, till our number was reduced to five, and of those, I alone retained my consciousness, probably from my having abstained from the pork and from sea-water.
On the day on which your vessel appeared, I had given up all hopes of escape, and only endeavoured to prepare myself for death by prayer. My mind was, however, so confused that I could scarcely form connected thoughts, and all around me seemed burning, -a few hours more and it would have been too late. When I perceived a ship at no great distance, I feebly raised an oar with a piece of linen fastened to it, which we had made for a signal of distress, in case of our meeting with a vessel ; but the effort was too much for
me, and I sank down in the boat, as I believed to breathe my last. I remember no more, till I found myself on board your ship and surrounded by kind faces.”
Here ended the English officer's sad tale. Feeling for
his sufferings and those of his surviving companions, we spared no pains to restore their health, and console them for the loss of their comrades and of all they possessed. In the course of our voyage we fell in with a British vessel, and at their request our new friends were taken on board of her. We parted with kindly feelings on both sides, all national differences having been swept away by the friendly relation of obligers and obliged which had axisted between us.
We were now sailing among the innumerable groups islands which are called by the general name Polynesia, and among
which our intended discoveries were to be made. I am not now writing a log-book, and indeed if I attempted to give a minute account of the various islands we visited, and of the adventures we met with in the Pacific, I should never have done. I shall only say that we succeeded in our object, which was to ascertain the exact position of a group of islands hitherto very little known; we found, however, that they were mere rocks of coral, and too insignificant in size to make our discoveries of much importance, except to navigators. This business being over, we had only to think of returning home, and accordingly we steered for Cape Horn. We now entered on the most disagreeable part of our voyage, for the climate at the southern extremity of America is very cold, and the weather generally stormy; the doubling of Cape Horn, in particular, is a most perilous affair. We accomplished it, however, in safety, and after many days of weary tossing on the raging ocean, we at last reached warmer latitudes and a calmer
All thoughts were now fixed upon home; every day brought us nearer to France, and our spirits rose with the joyful prospect of seeing our friends and country again. · The only tbing which prevented our happiness from being
complete was the absence of our companion the Humming Bird, which had been separated from us during the stormy weather we had met with near Cape Horn; we had seen nothing of her since, and were becoming anxious concerning the fate of our comrades. It was, therefore, determined to wait some days at Madeira, in order to give her time to come up
Our time was pleasantly spent at this beautiful island, which unites in a great degree the vegetation of Europe with that of the Tropics. The climate is considered the finest in the world, and invalids are often sent there to recover their health. After waiting about a week at Funchal, the principal town of Madeira, we were joined by the Humming Bird, to our great satisfaction. It appeared that she had been driven out of her course by the storm which had divided us, and not being quite so fast a sailer as the Lightning, she had not been able to recover her lost time. We now proceeded homewards without more delay, and soon entered the Mediterranean.
No more adventures occurred to disturb the tranquillity of the last days of our voyage, and we reached Marseilles, where we were to land, in perfect safety, and with feelings of the deepest thankfulness for having been preserved amidst all the dangers we had encountered during an absence of nearly two years.
Borneo, which, after New Holland, is the largest island on the globe, is almost unknown, except round the coast; but I intended to be more daring than former travellers, and in my youthful ardour I determined not to be daunted by any difficulties in my endeavours to explore the country.
THE LAST MINSTREL.
The way was long, the wind was cold, The minstrel was infirm and old; His withered cheek, and tresses gray, Seemed to have known a better day; The harp, his sole remaining joy, Was carried by an orphan boy. The last of all the bards was he, Who sung of Border chivalry; For, well-a-day! their date was fled, His tuneful brethren all were dead; And he, neglected and oppress'd, Wished to be with them, and at rest. No more on prancing palfrey borne, He caroll’d, light as lark at morn; No longer courted and caress’d, High placed in hall, a welcome guest, He poured, to lord and lady gay, The unpremeditated lay Old times were changed, old manners gone; A stranger fill'd the Stuarts' throne; The bigots of the iron time Had call'd his harmless art a crime. A wandering harper, scorn'd and poor, He begg'd his bread from door to door; And tuned, to please a peasant's ear, The harp a king had loved to hear.
He pass'd where Newark's stately tower