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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
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
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 кеер
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,
as well as astonishment, we perceived, that we were driven upon-a sandy beach, instead of a rocky shore.
Soon after this, the day began to dawn, and we saw that our ship was high upon the beach. We were enclosed by rocks, but at such a distance as not to endanger our safety. When the morning came the storm subsided, and soon after sunrise, the sky was entirely clear of the clouds, which had spent their fury upon
The sea gradually assumed a state of tranquillity, and we were left to take a calm survey of our condition.
We had been thrown upon the shore at no great distance from the water: so the captain entertained hopes that, in the course of two or three weeks, we should be able to get off the vessel.
While we were considering these things, we heard a prodigious groaning at a considerable distance. We looked in the direction of the sound, and there we saw a very large whale, that, like ourselves, had been driven upon the beach by the storm. Several of us left the ship and went to look at this huge creature.
It had been thrown upon the sand by the waves, and when the sea retired it left the helpless monster at a great distance from the water. There it lay moaning piteously, once in awhile slapping the earth with its tail, producing a sound more terrible than thunder. I went along side of this creature. Its bulk was truly astonishing. I believe a coach and two horses could have been driven into its mouth.
We soon returned to the ship, and began to make preparations to get her off. I need not tell you, that we all felt great anxiety on account of Jenkins and the two sailors. Whether they had gone back to the shore, or been lost in the sea, we could not tell, but the latter seemed by far the most probable. But it was in vain to indulge useless fears, and we continued to work at our ship with the greatest industry.