Page images

on which they took in fail immedi. ship struck with such violence as to ately, and let go the small bower dain the heads of those who were anchor, which brought up the ship standing in the cuddy against the at a whole cable, and the rode for deck above them; and the fatal blow about an hour, but then drove; they was accompanied by a shriek of hornow let go the sheet-anchor, and ror, which burit at one inftant from wore away a whole cable, and the every quarter of the ship. fhip rode for about two hours longer, “ The seamen, many of whom when fhe drove again.

had been remarkably inattentive “ Whilst they were in this fitu-' and remiss in their duty during ation, the captain fent for Mr. great part of the storm, and had acHenry Meriton, the chief officer tually sulked in their hammocks, who furvives, and aked his opinion and left the exertions of the pump, as to the probability of saving their and the other labours attending lives; to which he replied with equal their situation, to the officers of the calmness and candour, that he ap- thip, and the foldiers, (who had prehended there was very little hope, been uncommonly active and assias they were then driving fast on duous during the whole tremendous the shore, and might expect every conflict) rouzed by the destructive moment to strike; the boats were blow to a sense of their danger, now then mentioned, but it was agreed poured upon the deck, to which no that at that time they could be of endeavours of their officers could no ufe, yet in case an opportunity keep them whilst their asistance Mould present itself of making them might have been useful, and in franserviceable, it was proposed that the tic exclamations demanded of heaofficers should be confidentially re ven and their fellow-fufferers, that quested to reserve the long-boat for succour, which their timely efforts the ladies and themselves; and this might possibly have succeeded in precaution was immediately taken.

procuring; but it was now too late, “ About two in the morning of the ship continued to beat on the Friday the 6th, the ship ftill drive rocks, and foon bulged, and fell ing, and approaching very fast to with her broadfide towards the shore: the shore, the fame officer again When the ship struck, a number of went into the cuddy, where the cap- the men climbed up the enfign-itaff, tain then was, and another conver under an apprehension of her going fation took place, Captain Pierce to pieces immediately. expresling extreme anxiety for the

Mr. Meriton, the officer whom prefervation of his beloved daugh- we have already mentioned, at this ters, and earnestly asking the officer crisis of horror, offered to these unif he could devise any means of sav. happy beings the best advice which ing them; and on his answering could posibly be given to them ; he with great concern that he feared it recommended their coming all to would be imposible, but that their that side of the ship which lay lowest only chance would be to wait for

on the rocks, and singly to take the the morning, the captain lifted up opportunities which might then ofhis hands in silent and distressful fer of escaping to the thore. And ejaculation.

having thus provided to the utmost " At this dreadful moment the of his power for the safety of the


[merged small][ocr errors]

desponding crew, he returned to the yards in depth, and of breadth equal
round-house, where by this time all to the length of a large ship, the
the passengers, and most of the offi- fides of the cavern so nearly up-
cers, were assembled, the latter em- right as to be extremely difficult of
ployed in offering consolation to access, the roof formed of the ftu-
the unfortunate ladies, and with un- pendous cliff, and the bottom of it
paralelled magnanimity suffering strewed with sharp and uneven rocks,
their compassion for the fair and which seem to have been rent from
amiable companions of their mif- above by some convulsion of na-
fortunes to get the better of the ture.
fenfe of their own danger, and the “ It was at the mouth of this ca.
dread of almost inevitable annihi- vern that the unfortunate wreck lay
lation. At this moment, what must stretched almost from side to side of
be the feelings of a father-of such it, and offering her broadside to the
a father as Captain Pierce ! horrid chasm,

“ In this charitable work of of “ But at the time the ship struck,
fering comfort to the fair sufferers, it was too dark to discover the ex-
Mr. Meriton now joined, by assur- tent of their danger, and the ex-
ances of his opinion, that the ship treme horror of their situation ;
would hold together till the morn even Mr. Meriton himself conceived
ing, when they would all be safe : a hope that the might keep together
and Captain Pierce observing one till day-light, and endeavoured to
of the young gentlemen loud in his chear his drooping friends, and in
expressions of terror, and hearing particular the unhappy ladies, with
him frequently exclaim that the this comfortable expectation, as an
fhip was going to pieces, he chear- answer to the captain's enquiries,
fully bid him hold his peace ; ob- how they wenton, or what he thought
serving to him, that though the ship of their fituation ?
should go to pieces, he would not, " In addition to the


al. but would be safe enough.

ready in the round-house, they had “ It will now be necessary to de- admitted three black women, and scribe the Gituation of the place two soldiers wives, who with the which proved fatal to so many valu- husband of one of them had been able and respectable persons, as permitted to come in, though the without such a description it will be seamen who had tumultuously dedificult to convey a proper idea manded entrance, to get the lights, of the melancholy, the deplorable had been opposed, and kept out by scene.

Mr. Rogers, the third mate, and “ The ship ftruck on the rocks at Mr. Brimer, the fifth, so that the or near Seacombe, on the island of numbers there were now increased Purbeck, between Peverel Point, to near fifty ; Captain Pierce sitand St. Alban’s-head, at a part of ting op chair, cot, or some other the shore where the cliff is of valt moveable, with a daughter on each height, and rises almost perpendi- side of himn, each of whom he altercular from its base.

nately pressed to his affectionate bo“ But at this particular spot the fom; the rest of the melancholy af cliff is excavated at the foot, and fembly were seated on the deck, presents a cavern of ten or twelve which was strewed with mufical in

[P] 2


struments, and the wreck of furni- ftaff had been unshipped, and atture, trunks, boxes, and packages. tempted to be laid from the ship’s

“ And here also Mr. Meriton, fide to some of the rocks, but withhaving previously cut several wax out fuccefs, for it snapped to pieces candles into pieces, and stuck them before it reached them ; however, up in various parts of the round. by the light of a lanthorn, which a house, and lighted up all the glass seaman, of the name of Burmaster, Janthorns he could find, took his handed through the sky-light of the seat, intending to wait the happy round-house to the deck, Mr. Medawn, that might present to him the riton discovered a spar, which apmeans of effecting liis own escape, peared to be laid from the ship's and afford him an opportunity of side to the rocks, and on this spar giving assistance to the partners of he determined to attempt his elhis danger; but observing that the cape. poor ladies appeared parched and “ He accordingly laid himfelf exhaufted, he fetched a basket of down on it, and thrust himself for. oranges from some part of the round. ward, but he foon found that the house, and prevailed on some of them fpar had no communication with the to refresh themselves by fucking a rock; he reached the end of it, and little of the juice. At this time they then flipped off, receiving a very were all tolerably composed, except violent bruise in his fall; and beMiss Mansel, who was in hysteric fore he could recover his legs, he fits on the floor deck of the round. was washed off by the surge, in house.

which he supported himself by swim“ But on his return to the com- ming, till the returning wave dashed pany, he perceived a considerable him against the back part of the alteration in the appearance of the cavern, where he laid hold of a small fhip, the sides were visibly giving projecting piece of the rock, but was way, the deck seemed to be lifting, lo benumbed, that he was on the and he discovered other strong fymp- point of quitting it, when a seaman toms that she could not hold toge- who had already gained a footing, ther much longer, he therefore at extended his hand, and assisted him tempted to go forward to look out, till he could secure himself on a litbut immediately saw that the thip tle shelf of the rock, from which he was separated in the middle, and ciambered still higher, till he was that the fore part had changed its out of the reach of the surf. position, and lay rather farther out “ Mr. Rogers, the third mate, towards the sea; and in this emer- remained with the captain, and the gency, when the next moment might unfortunate ladies, and their combe charged with his fate, he deter- panions, near twenty minutes after mined to seize the present, and to

Mr. Meriton had quitted the ship: follow the example of the crew, and Soon after the latter left the round. the foldiers, who were now quitting house, the captain asked what was the ship in numbers, and making become of him ? and Mr. Rogers their way to a shore, of which they replied that he was gone on the knew not yet the horrors.

deck, to see what could be done.' ci Among other measures adopted After this a heavy fea breaking to favour these attempts, the enlign- over the thip, the ladies exclaimed,

« Oh

[ocr errors][merged small]

«s. Oh poor Meriton; he is drown- of the sea at other times drowning
ed, had he stayed with us, he their voices.
would have been safe ;” and they “ Mr. Brimer had followed Mr.
áll, and particulary Miss Mary Rogers to the poop, where they had
Peirce, expressed great concern at remained together about five mi-
the apprehension of his loss.-On nutes, when on the coming on of the
this occafion Mr. Rogers offered to last-mentioned fea, they jointly seiz-
go and call in Mr. Meriton; but this ed a hen-coop, and the same wave
was opposed by the ladies, from an which he apprehended proved fatal
apprehension that he might share the to some of those who remained be-
fame fate.

low, happily carried bim and his
“ At this time the sea was break- companion to the rock, on which
ing in at the fore part of the ship, they were dashed with such violence
and reached as far as the main-mait, as to be miserably bruised and
and Captain Pierce gave Mr Ro- hurt.
gers a nod, and they took a lamp, « On this rock were twenty-se.
and went together into the stern ven men, but it was low water, and
gallery, and after viewing the rocks as they were convinced that upon
for some time, Captain Pierce asked the flowing of the tide they must
Mr. Rogers if he thought there was all be washed off, many of them at-
any posibility of saving the girls; tempted to get to the back or fides
to which he replied, he feared there of the cavern, out of the reach of
was not, for they could only disco- the returning sea; in this attempt
ver the black face of the perpendi. scarce more than fix, besides him.
cular rock, and not the cavern which self and Mr. Brimer, succeeded; of
afforded shelter to those who esca. the remainder some shared the fate
ped; they then returned to the which they had apprehended, and
round-house, and Mr. Rogers hung the others perished in their efforts to
up the lamp, and Captain Pierce, get into the cavern.
with his great coat on, sat down be “ Mr. Rogers and Mr. Brimer
tween his two daughters, and strug- both however reached the cavern,
gled to suppress the parental tear and scrambled up the rock, on nar-
which then burst into his eye. row shelves of which they fixed them.

". The sea continuing to break in selves : Mr. Rogers got so near to very fait, Mr. M‘Manus, a mid- his friend Mr. Meriton as to exshipman, and Mr. Schutz, a passen- change congratulations with him ; ger, asked Mr. Rogers, what they but he was prevented from joining could do to escape; who replied, him by at least twenty men who “ Follow me,” and they then all were between them, neither of whom went into the stern-gallery, and could move without immediate pefrom thence by the weather upper ril of his life. At the time Mr. quarter gallery upon the poop, and Rogers reached this station of pofwhilst they were there a very heavy sible safety his strength was so fea fell on board, and the round. nearly exhausted, that had

the house gave way, and he heard the struggle continued a few minutes ladies Thriek at intervals, as if the longer he must have been ineviwater had reached them, the noise tably loit.

[P] 3

“ They

« They now found that a very tigue, weakened by bruises, bat. considerable number of the crew, tered by the tempeft, and benumbed seamen, soldiers, and some petty with the cold, quitted their hold. officers, were in the same situation fasts, and tumbling headlong either with themselves, though many who on the rocks below, or in the surf, had reached the rocks below, had perished beneath the feet of their perished in attempting to ascend; wretched associates, and by their what that situation was they were dying groans, and gulping excla ftill to learn ; at present they had mations for pity, awakened terrific escaped immediate death, but they apprehensions in the survivors, of were yet to encounter cold, naked their own approaching fate. ness, wind, rain, and the perpetual At length, after the bitterest beating of the spray of the sea, for a three hours which mifery ever lengthdifficult, precarious, and doubtful ened into ages, the day broke on chance of escape.

them, but instead of bringing with “ They could yet discern fome it the relief with which they had part of the ship, and folaced them- flattered themselves, served to disfelves, in their dreary stations, with cover all the horrors of their fituthe hope of its remaining entire till ation ; they now found that had the day-break, for, in the midst of their country been alarmed by the guns own misfortunes, the sufferings of of distress which they had continued the females affected them with the to fire for many hours before the most acute anguish, and every sea ship struck, but which from the vio. that broke brought with it terror, lence of the storm were unheard, for the fate of those amiable and they could neither be observed by helpless beings.

the people from above, as they were « But, alas! their apprehensions completely ingulphed in the cavern, were too soon realized. In a very and over-hung by the cliff, nor did few minutes after Mr. Rogers had any part of the wreck remain to gained the rock, an universal shriek, point out their probable place of which still vibrates in their ears, refuge ; below, no boat could live and in which the voice of female to search them out; and had it been distress was lamentably distinguish. possible to have acquainted those able, announced the dreadful ca. who would wish to assist them, with tafirophe; in a few moments all their exact situation, no ropes could was hulhed, except the warring be conveyed into the cavity to faciwinds and beating, waves: the litate their escape. wreck was buried in the remorseless The only prospect which offerdeep, and not an atom of her was ed, was to creep along the side of ever' after discoverable.

the cavern, to its outward extre“ Thus perished the Halfewell, mity, and on a ledge scarcely as and with her worth, honour,' skill, broad as a man's hand to turn the beauty, amiability, and bright ac corner, and endeavour to clamber complishments.


the almost perpendicular preciMany of those who had gained pice, whose fummit was near two the precarious stations which we hundred feet from the base. have described, worn out with fa “ A:d in this desperate effort did


« PreviousContinue »