Billeder på siden

dash at this boat, seized with his wide-spread jaws, and crushed it into atoms, allowing the men barely time to escape his vengeance by throwing themselves into the ocean.

Captain Deblois again seeing the perilous condition of his men, at the risk of meeting the same fate, directed his boat to hasten to their rescue, and in a short time succeeded in saving them all from a death little less horrible than that from which they had twice so miraculously escaped. He then ordered the boat to put for the ship as speedily as possible; and no sooner had the order been given, than they discovered the monster of the deep making toward them with his jaws widely extended. Escape from death now seemed totally out of the question. They were six or seven miles from the ship; no aid even there to afford them necessary relief, and the whale, maddened by the wounds of the harpoons and lances which had been thrown into him, and seemingly animated with the prospect of speedy revenge, within a few cable's length. Fortunately, the monster came up and passed them at a short distance. The boat then made her way to the ship, and they all got on board in safety.

After reaching the ship, a boat was dispatched for the oars of the demolished boats, and it was determined to pursue the whale with the ship.

As soon as the boat returned with the oars, sail was set, and the ship proceeded after the whale. In a short time she overtook him, and a lance was thrown into his head. The ship passed on by him, and immediately after they discovered that the whale was making for the ship. As he came up near her, they hauled to the wind, and suffered the monster to pass her. After he had fairly passed, they kept on to overtake and attack him again. When the ship had reached within about fifty rods of him, they discovered that the whale had settled down deep below the surface of the water, and as it was near sundown, they concluded to give up the pursuit. Subsequent events proved, however, that the whale had formed a deadly resolution to destroy the ship which had given him so much


While Captain Deblois was waiting on deck for the reappearance of the whale, he suddenly saw it approaching at the rate of fifteen miles. an hour. In an instant the determined monster struck the ship with tremendous violence, shaking her from stem to stern. She quivered under the violence of the shock as if she had struck upon a rock. Captain Deblois immediately descended into the forecastle, and there, to his horror, discovered that the whale had struck the ship about two feet from the keel,


abreast the foremast, knocking a great hole. entirely through her bottom, through which the water roared and rushed in impetuously. Springing to the deck, he ordered the mate to cut away the anchors and get the cables overboard to keep the ship from sinking. In doing this, the mate succeeded in relieving only one anchor and getting one cable clear, the other having been fastened around the foremast. The ship was then sinking very rapidly. The captain went into the cabin, where he found three feet of water; he, however, succeeded in procuring a chronometer, sextant, and chart. Reaching the decks, he ordered the boats to be cleared away, to get water and provisions, as the ship was keeling over. He again descended to the cabin, but the water was rushing in so rapidly that he could procure nothing. He then came upon deck, ordered all hands into the boats, and was the last to leave the ship, which he did by throwing himself into the sea, and swimming to the nearest boat. The ship was on her beam-ends, her topgallant-yards under water. They then pushed off some distance from the ship, expecting her to sink in a very short time. Upon an examination of the stores they had been able to save, it was discovered that they had only twelve quarts of water, and not a mouthful of provisions of any kind.

The boats contained eleven men each, were leaky, and night coming on, they were obliged to bail them all night, to keep them from sinking.

Next day, at daylight, they returned to the ship, no one daring to venture on board but the captain, their intention being to cut away the masts, and fearful that the moment the masts were cut away the ship would go down. With a single hatchet the captain went on board, and cut away the mast, when the ship righted. The boats then came up, and the men, by the sole aid of spades, cut away the chain-cable from around the foremast, which got the ship nearly on her keel. The men then tied ropes around their bodies, got into the sea, and cut holes through the decks to get out provisions. They could procure nothing but about five gallons of vinegar and twenty pounds of wet bread. The ship threatened to sink, and they deemed it imprudent to remain by her longer; so they set sail in her boats, and left her.

They were then in a dreadful state of anxiety, as it was doubtful whether they should be able to reach land or see any vessel. With faint hopes of being rescued, they directed their course northerly, and on the 22d of August, at about 5 o'clock, P. M., they had the indescribable joy of discerning a ship in the distance. They made a signal, and were soon answered, and in

a short time they were reached by the good ship Nantucket, of Nantucket, Massachusetts, Captain Gibbs, who took them all on board, clothed and fed them, and extended to them in every way the greatest possible hospitality.

On the succeeding day, Captain Gibbs went to the wreck of the ill-fated Ann Alexander, for the purpose of trying to procure something from her, but as the sea was rough, and the attempt considered dangerous, he abandoned the project. The Nantucket then set sail for Paita, where she arrived on the 15th of September, and where she landed Captain Deblois and his men. Captain Deblois was kindly and hospitably received and entertained at Paita by Captain Bathurst, an English gentleman residing there, and subsequently took passage on board the schooner Providence, Captain Starbuck, for New Bedford, which was reached on the 12th of August, and where the account of the strange disaster created the deepest surprise and interest.

« ForrigeFortsæt »