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for furs. We laid our course for the mouth of Columbia river, where we soon arrived. We ascended the river for a mile or two, and came to anchor. At first we saw no Indians, but having fired one or two cannon, several canoes started from the shores and came to us.
They were all miserable looking people, clothed in furs. Many of them had their heads flattened, by boards fastened to them in infancy, so as to give them the shape of a pyramid. They had not many furs, but what they had we purchased for various trinkets. They seemed to be particularly fond of blue beads, and preferred them to everything else.
We observed that the country, around the mouth of the Columbia river, was rugged and rocky. The shore seems to consist almost wholly of mountains. At the present time, there is a small settlement of fur traders near the mouth of Columbia river, called Astoria.
What is the direction of the mouth of Columbia river from the Sandwich islands ? Where is Astoria ?
But this settlement has been made since I was there.
After procuring what furs we could, we sailed down the river, and proceeded toward the north, along the coast. We had not sailed far before we saw an Indian village, situated on the border of a little cove or bay. As the captain thought it probable that we might obtain some furs here, we came to anchor. We then fired a cannon, but the Indians instead of coming to us seemed to be alarmed, and fled away in great terror.
After awhile, however, some of them came back, and waited upon the shore as if inviting us to come to them. Accordingly, the captain went in a boat to them. He found them rather shy, but he procured some furs, for beads, brass medals, buttons, and other trifles.
The next day, some of our spars being broken, the captain sent Jenkins with two of the men ashore, to get two or three small pine trees, of which there were plenty on the land, to replace them. Jenkins and the two sailors went in a boat, and having procured the spars, they set out to return.
Before they reached the ship, it was already dark; and a gale of wind, which had been threatening for several hours, suddenly commenced with great violence. The waves began to heave and roar, as they broke upon the rocks, and the clouds thickened so fast that, in a few minutes after sun down, it was as dark as midnight.
We saw Jenkins and the sailors in the boat, at no great distance, rowing toward the vessel with all their might. All on board the ship were anxious, and they, too, seemed to be aware of their danger. But the sudden darkness cut them off from our view, and we saw them no more. .
The difficulties of our own situation now occupied all our attention. The rain began to fall in torrents, and the lightning burst around us, with such peals of thunder as I had never heard before. The wind fell with such fury upon the ship, that several times she laid her side to the water, so as to dip the ends of her spars in the waves.
The superstitious fears of the sailors were also excited, by seeing little balls of fire, called corposants, which glided along the ropes and sails of the ship, and sometimes balanced themselves upon the spars and the masts. All sailors believe that these are tokens of coming evil; I need hardly tell my readers, however, that they are only electrical sparks, that may sometimes be seen in stormy weather, as well on the land as on the sea.
But in times of danger all strange appearances operate on our fears, and there is no security or peace, but that which is drawn from confidence in God. I hope it may never be the lot of any of my little readers, to be in such peril as awaited us during that night, of which I am telling them the story. But if they experience not such peril, they will all
TALES OF ISLANDS IN THE PACIFIC OCEAN.
TALES OF ISLANDS IN THE PACIFIC OCEAN. 57 certainly find the time, when they would give all other possessions for the assurance, that God is their friend in life or death.
The storm continuing to increase,, our vessel soon broke from her anchor, and she begar to be driven toward the rocks by the wind We now made an attempt to get up some of our sails, so that we might steer away and keep clear of the shore. In this we partially succeeded, and for two or three hours, we kept the vessel off the coast.
But at length our sails were torn away by the violence of the wind, our spars, bowsprit, and mizzen-mast were broken, and being able no longer to resist the gale, we were impelled tapidly toward the land. We had reason to suppose that we should be driven upon the rocks, and had no hope of any other fate.
At length the vessel struck. Then she was lifted up by the waves, and let down again, pounding her against the bottom, with the greatest violence. But to our great joy,