The Survivors of the Chancellor HTML version
We Catch A Supply Of Fish
DECEMBER 8 to 17. -- When night came we wrapped our- selves in our sails. For my
own part, worn out with the fatigue of the long watch in the top-mast, I slept for several
hours; M. Letourneur and Andre did the same, and Miss Herbey obtained sufficient rest
to relieve the tired expression that her countenance had lately being wearing. The night
passed quietly. As the raft was not very heavily laden the waves did not break over it at
all, and we were consequently able to keep ourselves perfectly dry. To say the truth, it
was far better for us that the sea should remain somewhat boisterous, for any diminution
in the swell of the waves would indicate that the wind had dropped, and it was with a
feeling of regret that when the morning came I had to note down "weather calm" in my
In these low latitudes the heat in the day-time is so in- tense, and the sun burns with such
an incessant glare, that the entire atmosphere becomes pervaded with a glowing vapor.
The wind, too, blows only in fitful gusts, and through long intervals of perfect calm the
sails flap idly and uselessly against the mast. Curtis and the boatswain, how- ever, are of
opinion that we are not entirely dependent on the wind. Certain indications, which a
sailor's eye alone could detect, make them almost sure that we are being carried along by
a westerly current, that flows at the rate of three or four miles an hour. If they are not
mistaken, this is a circumstance that may materially assist our pro- gress, and at which we
can hardly fail to rejoice, for the high temperature often makes our scanty allowance of
water quite inadequate to allay our thirst.
But with all our hardships I must confess that our con- dition is far preferable to what it
was when we were still clinging to the Chancellor. Here at least we have a com-
paratively solid platform beneath our feet, and we are re- lieved from the incessant dread
of being carried down with a foundering vessel. In the day time we can move about with
a certain amount of freedom, discuss the weather, watch the sea, and examine our
fishing-lines; while at night we can rest securely under the shelter of our sails.
"I really think, Mr. Kazallon," said Andre Letourneur to me a few days after we had
embarked, "that our time on board the raft passes as pleasantly as it did upon Ham Rock;
and the raft has one advantage even over the reef, for it is capable of motion."
"Yes, Andre," I replied, "as long as the wind continues favorable the raft has decidedly
the advantage; but sup- posing the wind shifts; what then?"
"Oh, we mustn't think about that," he said; "let us keep up our courage while we can."
I felt that he was right, and that the dangers we had escaped should make us more hopeful
for the future; and I think that nearly all of us are inclined to share his opin- ion.