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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 76

A Mishap at Sea

A Mishap at Sea.

Ice was already formed on the surface of the water at Cronstadt, and our brig was amongst the last to leave the port and sail down the Baltic page 12 towards home, where we were not destined to arrive that season, for after passing the coast of Sweden we overran our distance southwards, and at dawn one fine frosty morning low land was seen right ahead, to which we were running with all sails set. With a shock of surprise and dread, an attempt was made to bring the brig's head off shore, but it was too late; her keel had touched the ground, her helm was immovable, and soon she lay helplessly rolling and bumping on a lee shore. Fortunately for us the wind kept low and the sea smooth, so that we were able to get an anchor out to windward with the long-boat. Some fishermen came alongside and informed the captain that we were on the coast of Pomerania, not far from the town of Wolgast, whence a pilot was sent to us, and by discharging some of the cargo in the boats and keeping a heavy strain on the cable, we got the vessel afloat before evening, and away from the spot which, had the weather been boisterous, would most probably have proved fatal to all of us. It then became necessary to take the brig into the harbour of Wolgast for repairs. Winter set in, and there we had to remain until the ice broke up in the following spring; the crew were quartered on shore, and, by the considerate care of my relatives at home, I was soon sent by the British Consul to board in a country house, where the governess of the family spoke English, and kindly undertook to instruct me in her own German tongue, which she was well able to page 13 teach. As I was quite separated from English intercourse, I speedily found it necessary to acquire and make use of the German colloquial language, which I found to be of great advantage to my enjoyment of life in Pomerania, as well as in after years.