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White Wings Vol II. Founding Of The Provinces And Old-Time Shipping. Passenger Ships From 1840 To 1885

Chapter I. — Two Tragic Voyages

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Chapter I.
Two Tragic Voyages.

Wreck Of The Ship Strathmore.

In these days of wireless we have no conception of the terrible anxiety people went through in the old days when anything happened to one of the sailing ships. Months and months elapsed before anything was known, and in the interval the relations and friends of those on board went through agonies. A typical case in point where nothing was heard of a ship for about ten months, occurred in 1875-76, when the Strathmore went missing. People had time to almost forget her when a small band of survivors was landed in England, and the tragic story was told.

The Strathmore, Captain Alex. Macdonald, left London on April 17, 1875, for Dunedin with a total of 88 people, including 38 of a crew. In June, when the ship was in the Southern Ocean, the weather was very foggy, and the captain set a course that he thought would take him south of the Crozets. Suddenly at half-past four in the morning on July 1, the ship drove right on a rocky coast, which afterwards proved to be one of the Crozets. Fortunately she ran between two rocks, which held up the fore-end for some time, the stern being under water practically immediately after she struck. There was naturally a poignant scene in the darkness, and Captain Macdonald called out: "Good-bye; it's all over. Save yourselves by the boats at once."

By daylight the whole of the vessel was under water with the exception of the forecastle head. Some of the unfortunate people found a doubtful shelter on top of the deckhouse, and others clambered up the fore-rigging. It was fortunate the ship did hang on to the rocks, even in this precarious position, otherwise the death roll would have been longer than it was.

Captain Macdonald and the first mate were early washed over-board and drowned, and 37 others of the unfortunate people also lost their lives. The second officer, Mr. Peters, who will be remembered in later years in command of the Helen Denny and other vessels that traded to New Zealand, succeeded, with the assistance of others, in getting the gig and the dinghy off the deckhouse and safely launched, and in these as many as could be carried made for the land. The black rocks, one or two 70 feet high, towered in front, and the place looked hopeless, but about a mile away from thepage 106 wreck a tolerable landing place was found. It was late afternoon before the gig returned to the wreck, and five more people were taken off. Many of the shivering people had to spend yet another night on the wreck, not knowing what was going to happen. The weather was the middle of winter, bitterly cold, and as the ship struck when nearly everybody was in bed, many of them had but scanty clothing to protect them against the intense cold.

At daylight the gig returned and eventually all the survivors, forty-nine in number, were got ashore. They had a few blankets and some sailor clothing, but nothing adequate, and many of the people suffered from frost-bite, one man dying. That night the remains of the Strathmore canted over and sank out of sight.

Where the survivors landed was a most desolate spot, rocks everywhere, with nothing in the way of vegetation except some sparse grass and weeds. It was on one of the rocks called "The Twelve Apostles," and the nearest island of any size, which might have been more hospitable, was six miles off—but it might just as well have been sixty, for the shipwrecked people early lost the only two boats they had saved, a storm springing up and smashing them on the rocks. Before these boats were broken up the people managed to save two barrels of gunpowder, one cask of port wine, two cases of rum, one case of brandy, two cases of gin, one case of preserves, one case of boots, and eight tins of sweets. The boots would have been most acceptable, but unfortunately they were women's and almost useless. They also saved a passenger's box, which gave them some blankets, knives, and spoons. The sweet tins came in very useful, as they were used for pots and lamps. There was, fortunately, a good spring of water on the island. Several of those saved had matches, so there was no difficulty about starting a fire, but there was not a great deal of wood about, and even though foraging parties went out they could not rake up more than enough to last about a month. Afterwards they found that bird skins made an excellent fuel, so they were never short of a fire.

The weather was bitterly cold, and one of the survivors died from exhaustion the first day ashore. For the two first nights the people had no shelter whatever, but by the third night they had rigged up a lean-to, made with stones and turf, which held the whole of the party, now numbering forty-eight. Subsequently other shelters were rigged up, and the little community was divided into six messes, each doing its own cooking.

There was only one lady on board the Strathmore, a Mrs. Wordsworth, who was accompanied by her son, both being saved. For these two a separate shelter was made some distance from the others. Mrs. Wordsworth when taken into the boat had on only a nightdress and petticoat. She was treated with special care and attention. Her son gave a graphic account of their life on the island. "The first night," he said, "my mother had a few planks to lie upon, but her legs were nearly broken by the number of people crowding in under the canvas. The two following nights we slept in a sort of open cave, and though covered with frost and with icicles hanging over our heads, we preferred it to our experience of the first night. After this we had a little shanty of our own.

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"The food we chiefly lived on was albatross, of which the young gave more eating than the old, being larger and heavier. Another bird we used was one which we at first thought was a 'mollyhawk,' but we afterwards discovered they were what the sailors call 'stink-pots.' They were very large birds with strong beaks. I remember getting a bite from one which hurt through a Wellington boot, trousers, and drawers. We caught these birds by chasing them into rough places, where they found it difficult to rise, and we then killed them with clubs. Our favourite vegetable was a sort of moss with long spreading roots, and we were often so hungry that we ate dirt and all. Owing to the season of the year the nights were very long, fifteen hours, which we tried to pass in sleep. Our dreams were generally of food in some shape, but there was always a feeling in the background that spoiled these dream feasts.

"When my mother got ashore she was wet through, starving, and cold. One of the sailors took the shirt off his back and gave it to her; and she also had a pair of men's trousers, a pair of men's drawers, a pair of stockings, an overcoat, and other odds and ends, all given her by the sailors. The coarse, rank flesh of the seabirds disagreed with her, and she suffered much from low fever and a dreadful bowel complaint. She was reduced to a perfect skeleton, and was so weak that I had to turn her over in the night when she wanted a change of position. Although she had been very subject to rheumatism she was never troubled with it while on the island, in spite of her great privations. Our clothes were seldom quite dry, and we often had to lie down in absolute slush, with the rain beating on our faces, but none of us took cold, owing, I suppose, to the ammonia in the guano-covered soil.

"Nearly all of us suffered from diarrhoea, and similar trouble, and the wine and spirits were invaluable. A small salt cellar of wine, or spirits and water, was served out nightly until finished, except a bottle of wine and a bottle of rum, which were buried for the use of the sick.

"Two dishes I prepared for my mother were brains of birds, fried, and the heart and liver minced with moss. We had no salt, and flavoured our dishes with gunpowder and sea water.

"When the wood we had collected for firewood was all finished, except a few sticks we kept for the purpose of cleaning the birds we used for food, we tried to keep the fire going with turf, but it merely smouldered slowly. Luckily someone threw a skin on the fire one day, and we were surprised and delighted to find that it burned readily. That, of course, solved the fuel problem. To save our matches we kept a sort of lamp going, feeding it with oil made from the fat we scraped off the bird skins.

"We seldom could clean ourselves, the dirt being too fast on to permit of cold water taking it off. However, we had a method of cleaning our faces by rubbing them with the bird skins, afterwards rubbing them with the feathers.

"At one time we were very hard up for food, having only two birds left. We were very weak and low-spirited. One day some of the party went to the other side of the island where we were wrecked, and there they saw a number of large mud-nests, with a great lotpage 108 of beautiful white birds, 'mollyhawks.' They were so tame that they flocked down at our feet. We killed about a hundred, and had such a feast off the tails! The appendage was cut off close to the back, the long feathers pulled out, and the tail being grilled for a time in the fire, was considered a great delicacy. Another real delicacy came at this time—the mutton birds and birds of a similar kind. Later on we got some eggs."

Mrs. Wordsworth and her son afterwards resided for some years in England, and later came out to Taranaki to live.

It is interesting to know that there are several of Mrs. Wordsworth's descendants in New Zealand. Two of the daughters of her son, Mr. Charles Francis Wordsworth, who wrote the account from which the above extracts are taken, are living in Auckland, two more live in Taranaki, and a son is in the British consulate in Hankow.

It was weary work waiting and waiting for a ship, and some of the poor people doubted whether they would ever be rescued. All the party took turns in watching the signals that were arranged as soon as the shelters were up. A mast was set up on the highest rock on the island, and a blanket hoisted as a signal of distress. During their weary watch the people on the islands had the agony of seeing four vessels pass, but none of them took any notice of the signals, though one of them was within two miles of the island and must certainly have seen that there was someone ashore.

This supposition was afterwards found to be correct. Some of the passengers by a vessel called the White Eagle, upon arrival at Auckland, declared that they saw signals on the island when passing, and that they reported the matter to the ship's officers, who, however, "pooh-poohed" the idea.

The signals were also seen by another vessel, but this was not known to the watchers, so they were saved that much disappointment. Mr. Henry A. King, who now lives at 122, Fox Street, Gisborne, was a passenger by the barque Helen Denny, which left London in June, 1875, bound for Napier. The night after they were due to pass to the south of the Crozets the mate said he was sure he had seen a fire on the islands during the night. When Mr. King suggested that possibly there had been a wreck and there were some survivors on the shore, the mate said: "Oh, no; whalers often go there." When the Helen Denny reached Napier the people ashore asked if anything had been seen of the Strathmore, then long overdue. Mr. King never associated the lights seen by the mate with the missing vessel, but months afterwards, when he heard the story of the wreck, he knew it must have been the fires lit by the Strathmore's survivors.

By December the number of people on the island was reduced to 44, and there were no further deaths.

January, 1876, was more than half gone, and still there was no sign of rescue, "until, on the 21st of that month, an American whaler noticed the signals and stood in for the island. The survivors could hardly speak for joy when they saw her lower two boats, and their feelings call be imagined when they realised that at last rescuepage 109 was at hand. The whaler proved to be the Young Phoenix, and her captain agreed to take the forty-four castaways off the island. It was then getting dark, and after Mrs. Wordsworth and her son and one or two had been taken off, and some bread and pork sent ashore; the whaler stood off, promising to come back for the rest the next morning.

Next day, as early as possible, the rest of the survivors were taken off. Before they left the desolate island where they had spent six weary months, they made crosses which they set up over the graves of their companions who had died, and they also buried an account of the wreck and their hardships.

On board the Young Phoenix the rescued people were treated with the greatest kindness. Hot baths and clean clothes were luxuries they greatly appreciated, and the men experienced the pleasure of a good smoke after having been without tobacco for the whole six months.

As the Young Phoenix was too crowded, the captain transferred twenty of the Strathmore's people to a vessel called the Sierra Morena, which was fallen in with on January 26. The Young Phoenix was bound for Mauritius, to which place she carried her contingent of the saved people, and the Sierra Morena, which was bound for Karachi, India, landed her batch at Point de Galle, Ceylon, as she feared running short of provisions and water. These passengers were later landed at Southampton early in April.

News travelled slowly in those days, and it was not until March, 1876, that word reached London of the fate of the Strathmore.

Thanks to the kindness of Sergeant W. Cooper, of Hamilton, I am able to give a list of the people on board the Strathmore, showing those drowned and those who were saved. Sergeant Cooper received the list from Mrs. Peters, of Arbeath, Scotland, relic of Captain T. B. Peters, who was second mate of the Strathmore when she was wrecked. Mr. Peters later came to New Zealand in command of the Stracathro, when she visited Auckland in 1881. He died later in America. The survivors were:—

Passengers.—Mrs. Wordsworth, Charles F. Wordsworth, Frederick Bently, Spencer Joslin, Hilton Keith, Thomas Henderson, George Crombie, Alfred Walker, Walter Walker (child), William Rooke, George Ward, Joe Ward, George Skidmore, Thos. Standring, James Wright, Robert Wilson, George Mellor, William Wilson, Robert Linnie, E. B. Stanbury.

Crew.—Thos. B. Peters (second mate), John C. Allan (third mate), C. R. Jackson (boatswain), Walter Smith (sailmaker), John Pirie (carpenter), G. F. Buttenshaw, David Wilson, Joe Ducke, John Smith, John Nicol, John Evans, John Warren, J. G. Stainworth, H. Erickson, M. Rioldan, W. Vinning, J. Wilson, J. Wilson, J. Wilson, E. Sharp, W. Husband, J. Frail, J. Leaske, J. Fitzmaurice, C. Tookey, T. Blackmore, H. Turner, F. Carmichael, E. Preaton.

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Those drowned were:—

Passengers.—Mrs. Walker, Miss Henderson, Percy Joslin, Mr. Riddell, Mrs. Riddell, Mr. Mabille, Mrs. Mabille, Mr. Blair, H. C. Sinnock, Mr. E. Goodrich, Mrs. Goodrich, and family of eight, Mr. Silk, Miss Silk, B. W. Bell, H. Dallen, J. Moore, M. Johnson, J. C. Ridge, F. Chilton, J. Dagnam, H. Lewis.

Crew.—Captain Macdonald, William Ramsay (first mate), Peter Jansen, H. Fellows, M. McLean, R. Williss, P. Cogan, J. O. Backstrom, and E. May. There was also a passenger whose name was unknown, but he had been a sergeant in the army.

Mr. Alfred Walker died in Auckland on June 30, 1926, aged 84 years. For many years he was a well-known sharebroker. He was an enthusiastic bowler, being a member of the Carlton Club.

Mr. David Wilson is, we believe, the only survivor of the Strathmore. He is the town clerk at Ormondville, Hawke's Bay. Mr. David Wilson and Mr. Robert Aitkenhead Wilson were sons of Captain Wilson, who commanded the Warrior Queen for several voyages to New Zealand. Mr. R. A. Wilson was a passenger, and Mr. David Wilson an apprentice on the Strathmore. Mr. R. A. Wilson died in Auckland on February 18, 1914. He was for many years manager of Ross and Glendining. He is survived by four sons, Mr. Frank A. Wilson, solicitor, Tauranga; Mr. C. Douglas Wilson, public accountant, Napier; Mr. A. Wilson, town clerk, Otaki; and Mr. R. G. Wilson, architect, Napier. Mr. William Wilson, passenger, and Mr. A. Wilson, one of the crew, belonged to another family.

Another vessel bearing the name Strathmore, a ship of 683 tons, under Captain Mann, sailed from London with 184 passengers on June 29, and arrived at Port Chalmers on October 2, 1856.

Burning Of The William Brown.

A thrilling story of the sea is that of the burning of the ship William Brown off the Western Isles. Fortunately there was only one life lost, but if it had not been for the timely arrival of a passing brig the toll must have been much heavier, and one can readily conceive the fate of the William Brown being added to the long list of "mysteries of the sea." A fine vessel of between 400 and 500 tons, she, together with her cargo, was valued at some £30,000. Her commander, Captain Barclay, was a particularly fine sailor, and during the terrible ordeal he acted up to the best traditions of the British mercantile marine. I have been fortunate in happening upon two excellent accounts of the tragedy, one being the story told by Mr. P. Thomson, and the other by Mr. Thomas Hirst. Mr. Thomson's narrative appeared in a contemporary Scotch paper, and I am indebted for a copy of it to Mr. M. G. Thomson, of Dunedin, a grandson. Mrs. Hirst's story was told in a letter she wrote to her children, and for a copy of that I am indebted to Miss Lucy Devenish, of New Plymouth, a grand-daughter of this fine old pioneer lady.

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There were nine passengers on the William Brown, and the crew brought the total on board to twenty-three souls. In addition to Mr. Thomson and family, and Mr. and Mrs. Hirst, there were also on board Mr. and Mrs. Muckleston, who, like the Hirsts, were afterwards well-known residents of New Plymouth.

The Hirsts had emigrated to New Zealand, and were Home on a trip to visit some of their relations who lived in Yorkshire. People who believe in occult influences will be interested in a rather peculiar incident connected with this family. Mrs. Hirst had an elder sister named Margaret, between the two there being a strong bond of sympathy. Margaret for Some reason or other took a strong dislike to the William Brown, and did all she could to persuade Mr. Hirst not to take passage by her, but he was anxious to get back to New Zealand, and did not listen to the protest of his sister-in-law. One morning after the William Brown had sailed Margaret came down to breakfast depressed and anxious. Pressed for the reason she said she had had a strange vision or dream. She thought she saw the door open, and Mrs. Hirst enter with outstretched arms, saying, "Here we are, Margaret,; and we've lost everything." A few weeks later the identical door opened and Mrs. Hirst entered, her hands outspread, and she used the very words Margaret had heard in her dream.

It was on September 5, 1861, that the William Brown sailed from London for Nelson, but owing to bad weather and other causes she put in at Plymouth and did not sail from that port until the 17th. Across the Bay of Biscay dreadful weather was experienced, but all went well until October 2, when just after tea one of the sailors put his head down the hatch, and asked in an excited voice for any buckets or pans, as a fire had broken out in the forehold. "I felt as though my blood had ceased running for a moment, and grew quite chilled," wrote Mr. Thomson, "but to hand up our slop-pans, throw on my coat, and rush forward to see what was the extent of the danger, was the work of an instant. I found that smoke was issuing from out of the bulkhead which divides the forecastle from the hold, and also through the deck at the foremast."

After going back to reassure the rest of the passengers, who were all on deck in a state of alarm, Mr. Thomson went below to collect his papers and a few other things, but even then smoke was entering the cabin. Going on deck again he helped the crew to fight the fire. Holes were cut in the deck, and water was poured down, and it was thought that they were getting the fire under. Just at this stage occurred the only fatality that marked this exciting fire. The captain had sent the steward down into the cabin to get up some provisions, the sextant, and charts, for fear they would have to take to the boats. The man made one trip, and then went below a second time. When the captain called, the steward did not answer, and, fearing a mishap, the captain rushed into the cabin, where he found the poor fellow in a state of collapse, overcome by the smoke. The captain and Mr. Hirst got the man on deck and every effort was made to restore animation, but life was extinct.

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All this time the fire was gaining in intensity, and Mr. Thomson, who had a rifle and cartridges, began firing shots in the hope that some vessel would see the flashes. Further desperate efforts were made by the crew, with the help of the male passengers, to fight the fire, but at last came the order to clear away the long boat, and then the passengers knew that the worst had happened. As the boat had been used as a pen for sheep it was in a very dirty state, but it was soon cleared out and with much difficulty launched. The gale that had been blowing had calmed down very much, but still there was a bad sea running, and more than once it was thought the boat would be swamped, or crushed against the side of the burning ship.

Then came the difficult task of getting the passengers off. First came the children, then the women, and then the men, and last the crew. It was a fearful job. A line was passed round the body of each passenger, who was then lowered into the little boat, which was tossing wildly alongside. "A great deal of water came aboard," says Mr. Thomson, "and the passengers were wet up to the middle. Once the boat was nearly down; as the ship rolled, it caught the side of the boat and nearly forced it under, till the water rushed in. I thought all was over, and instinctively began to throw off my topcoat, which was ballasted with over a hundred rounds of ball cartridge, but it rose again immediately, and was with difficulty veered astern, and fastened to the ship with a long rope.

"By this time the flames had broken out through the deck, and all round the forecastle hatch was a mass of flame. The foremast began to shake, and the captain ordered the longboat's painter to be cut, so that the boat might be clear of the ship before it fell, which it shortly did, bringing down with it the main topgallant mast, etc. This was at 11.15 p.m. So here we were, adrift in a leaky boat, over 200 miles from the nearest land, with a very heavy cross sea running which took the utmost skill and attention of the captain and crew to guard against.

"We kept as near the burning ship as we could, as if any ship was near it would bear down on the flames, and we could thus be more readily saved. At 1 a.m. the mainmast fell, and the ship drifted slowly before the wind, while we were rapidly going to leeward and the wind and the sea was getting worse. Shortly after this one of the crew said he saw a vessel's lights coming near us."

The poor people could not believe it at first, but the joyful news was true, and they could distinguish the sails of a brig near the burning wreck. The stranger sailed round, and at one time was so close to the drifting boat that the shipwrecked people tried to attract his attention by shouting. Then Mr. Thomson tried his rifle, but it was so wet that he could not fire it off. The brig hove-to near the burning ship, and Captain Barclay sent off his second mate and four sailors in the gig, which was being towed behind the longboat, with instructions to try and reach the brig, and tell them of the plight of the longboat, which the sailors were unable to navigate in the sea that was running. Fortunately the gig reached the brig all right, coming up to her at about 3 a.m. In the meantime thepage break
The Handsome Ship Rodney.

The Handsome Ship Rodney.

(See page 184.)

Wreck Of The Ship Strathmore.

Wreck Of The Ship Strathmore.

(See page 105.)

page 113 longboat was drifting all the time to leeward, and the men left in her could do nothing more than keep her head to the wind and sea.

Everyone prayed for daylight, and when it came there was no sign of the brig, but a little later they saw her bearing down on them, making a zig-zag course in the direction it was thought the boat would drift. Soon she was alongside, and willing hands soon got them on board the brig, which proved to be the Hedvig Charlotta, of Stockholm, Captain F. A. Hallengrien, bound from St. Ubes to Rio with salt.

The people of the brig could not do enough for the unfortunate passengers and crew of the William Brown, and Captain Hallengrien put in to Madeira to land them so that they could get back to England. It was Sunday, October 6, four days after the fire, that they were landed at Funchal. They landed in a poor plight, one wanting shoes, another a coat, a third a cap, and so on; "a beautiful set of scarecrows," Mr. Thomson called them. They got a very cool reception from the British Consul, and were all billeted on one Portuguese family—two beds for twenty-three people! It was a poor sort of reception, but things improved later on, and, anyhow, they were thankful to be alive.

The next thing was to get back to England. The captain, the mates, and two cabin passengers took passage to Lisbon in the Portuguese mail boat, but the rest of the shipwrecked people had to wait until October 18 for the English mail steamer. Before these people left Madeira their first bad impressions of the Consul and the British residents were quite changed, Mr. Thomson saying that the greatest kindness was shown them, and everything was done to ease the calamity as much as possible by gifts of clothes and other necessities.

Mr. Thomson eventually left London again in the ship Matoaka on November 14, 1861, and arrived at Lyttelton on February 11, 1862.

"We had terrible weather through the Bay of Biscay," wrote Mrs. Hirst. "Such gales, and the wind mostly against us. On the second of October the wind changed in our favour, but there was a fearful sea running. We sat rather long at our tea. The captain was cheerful and hopeful, and after tea he went on deck, my husband going with him. In a few minutes later one of the sailors came and said there was smoke coming from the hold. The captain and mates went forward. My husband came and told me, and I put on my shawl and bonnet, and went up on deck. The men came to get buckets, or anything to hold water. Some of the children had gone to bed, but we got them up and dressed them on the poop, and brought their blankets up.

"It began to rain, and we went down again into the cabin, but it was full of smoke and we were obliged to go up once more. I got my pocket with my purse in, and my husband got his portmanteau with his papers and money in. It rained a little, and we covered ourselves with blankets. The scene forward was an confusion. The captain came aft and told us to keep up as hepage 114 thought they were getting the fire under. The steward got up a bag of biscuits a cask of water, the captain's desk and sextant. We did not know the steward had gone down again for the chart. The captain called 'Steward!' but there was no answer, and he rushed into the cabin and shouted 'Help!' My husband ran down, and in an instant they brought up the lifeless body of the poor steward. We did what we could to restore animation, but he was quite gone. The captain was obliged to leave him to us, while he went into the cabin to get his chart, my husband calling to him all the time to make certain that he was not overcome by the smoke. The captain succeeded and brought it to me to take charge of. They then closed the cabin so that no air could get in. The captain again came aft and said there was no hope of getting the fire under. He called the men to launch the boats. The women and children sat perfectly quiet and nothing was heard but the voice of prayer, the little boys kneeling on deck, with hands clasped and their faces turned upwards. The words of our Saviour came to my mind, 'Fear not; only believe.'

"The flames had now burst forth with great fury. It was supposed that it was oil and turpentine that was burning. The captain feared that the foremast would burn through. Getting into the longboat, the mate and four of the crew took with them the biscuit and water. We then threw in the blankets, and the women and children were lowered. I was the last of the women. I put my legs over the side and they then tied two ropes round me. There was a roaring sea, and the boat dashed about fearfully. Twice I was lowered, and the third time I landed safely in the bottom of the boat. Then the men passengers were lowered, but the sailors and the captain remained on the ship.

"As the boat dashed against the ship's side we thought every minute she would be stove in, or that the mast would fall over on her. At last we got clear of the ship and dropped astern, being still made fast to the ship by a long rope. All this happened within about four hours from the fire being first discovered. We saw them lower the captain's gig and he was the last man to leave the ship. When they came up to us the captain got into our boat, to which the gig was fastened, and with an axe he cut away the rope by which we were made fast to the ship. I was sitting in the middle of the boat, and the water was up to my waist. The captain would have me move to the end, where the other women were, and as he lifted me up said, "Oh, she has been sitting in the water and never spoke.' The captain said the fire would be seen twenty miles off, and that our only chance of being picked up was to remain near the ship. They then cut the rope and we drifted away. It was a great relief, although we feared the result.

"We still kept near the ship, the waves every moment appearing ready to swallow us up. Towards midnight the wind increased, and we had a cross sea. The men worked with all their might to keep the boat head on to the sea, and she was continually working round broadside on, and then there was nothing for it but she would ship a heavy sea, and we feared she would be swamped. Three oars werepage 115 lost by the men, who worked for dear life. About one o'clock we thought we saw a light, and every eye was strained. In a short time, oh, what a rapturous sight! A green and a red light were visible, and a ship was evidently bearing down upon the burning vessel. Alas, however, we were drifting fast away. By this time the foremast had gone and the vessel was one burning mass from stem to stern.

"Mr. Thomson bad his rifle, but the sea had washed over it and it would not fire. We had a lantern and a few matches, but they would not light. The men shouted with all their might, but oh, how faint it seemed! There was nothing but to pray and wait for daylight. The captain's gig was then cut adrift and some men were sent in her to try and get to the ship. It was with heavy hearts that we saw the poor little boat bounce away on the top of the waves, looking no bigger than a cockle shell. We soon lost sight of her. With thankful hearts we saw the first streak of daylight, and then we took one of the oars, and fastened two red handkerchiefs to it for a signal. We had lost sight of the ship for some time, but as daylight increased we again saw her bearing down upon us.

"None but those who have been similarly situated can form any idea of what our feelings were. She was soon near us, and we were very glad to see Mr. Smith (the second mate) and the men of the gig all safe on board. They threw us a rope, which was soon made fast to our boat, and we were quickly safe on board, the captain coming last."