Billeder på siden

sail away from us. In fact, in a short time the brig disappeared. We now resigned ourselves to despair; we even envied those whom death had taken away from the suffering we were now to undergo. We determined to seek consolation in sleep. The day before, we had suffered exceedingly from the rays of a burning sun; we now made an awning to screen us from the heat, and lay down beneath it. We agreed to carve our names on a plank, along with a short recital of our adventures, and to hang it to the mast, in the hope that it might reach our government and our families. We had passed two hours in these desponding reflections, when the master-gunner went from under the awning, in order to go to the forepart of the raft: he had scarcely, however, put his head out, when he turned toward us and uttered a loud cry. Joy was in his countenance, his hands were stretched out toward the sea, and he scarcely breathed: he could only utter, “We are saved; the brig is near to us!'

We rushed out, and found that she was in fact only a mile and a half distant, and was steering directly toward us under a press of sail. Joy now succeeded to despair; we embraced each other, and burst into tears. Even those whose wounds rendered them incapable of more exertion, dragged themselves along to the side of the raft, in order to enjoy

the sight of the vessel which was to deliver them. Each laid hold on a handkerchief, or a piece of linen, to make signals to the brig, which neared us fast: a few returned thanks to Providence for their miraculous preservation. We now recognized the vessel to be the Argus, and soon after had the pleasure of seeing her shorten sail when she was within half pistol shot. The crew, dispersed through the shrouds and on the deck, waved their hats, to express their pleasure at having come to our relief.

A boat was now lowered, commanded by M. Lemaigre, who ardently wished to be the person who should take us from the fatal raft. He removed the sick first, placed them beside him in his boat, and showed them all the care and attention which humanity could prompt. In a short time we were all in safety on board the brig, where we met some of our shipwrecked companions who had been saved in the boats.

“ All were affected to see our miserable condition: ten out of the fifteen were scarcely able to move: the skin was stripped off our limbs, our eyes were sunk, our beards long, and we were in the most emaciated condition. As soon as we had been discovered, they prepared some excellent broth for us, and mixed in it some wine, to recruit our exhausted strength. Our wounds were dressed; and, in short, we received

every attention which our miserable state required. Some became delirious; but the care of the surgeon, and the kind attention of every one on board, soon wrought in us the most favorable change."

The Argus, as has been already mentioned, had been, after some delay, sent from Senegal, with instructions to afford assistance to the crews of the boats, and afterward to look for the raft. In her course she had become aware that the crews in the boats had been saved, and had rendered them some succor while coasting the desert. Her search for the raft was at first fruitless, and after cruising about for a number of days, she had turned helm to proceed to Senegal. It was while returning that the party on the raft had seen and lost sight of her. Having reached to within forty leagues of the river, the wind veered to the south-west, and the captain said that he would steer for a short time in that direction; he tacked accordingly, and was standing toward the raft for about two hours, when those on board descried the vessel on the horizon. This change of course, as we have seen, saved the fifteen unfortunate beings, who at the time did not expect they could hold out four-and-twenty hours longer; for the last two days had been spent without food, and only a small quantity of wine was left.

As soon

as the party was removed to the Argus, that vessel steered for Senegal, which it reached next day. In the evening it moored close to the shore, and on the following morning, the 19th July, anchored in the roads of St. Louis.

Thus were fifteen, all who remained alive out of a hundred and fifty individuals left on the wreck, rescued from the death which seemed to await them. Of the fifteen, five died in a short time of the injuries they had sustained ; and the remainder carried on their wounded and emaciated bodies the lasting effects of their protracted and most miserable sufferings on the raft.


It will be recollected that, at the disgraceful scramble in leaving the Medusa, seventeen persons, some of them in a state of intoxication, did not depart with their companions in the boats. Lachaumareys, on quitting the vessel at one of the port-holes, promised to send out succor to them as soon as he should reach the land. To fill up the measure of his depravity, the captain falsified this as well as his other promises; and it is not less distressing to know that neither the party generally who escaped in the boats, nor those who afterward were taken from

the raft, gave themselves any concern about their less fortunate brethren in the wreck. It does not appear, from the narrative of M. Correard, that they would have been thought of, but for the governor, Schmaltz, wishing to save the specie and provisions which were on board. To secure these articles a. schooner was fitted out, commanded by a lieutenant, and manned by some negro traders and a few passengers. She set sail from Senegal on the 26th of July; that is, seven days after the party saved from the raft had been landed, and seventeen from the time the governor and captain had reached Senegal; but, having provisions for only eight days on board, she was obliged, when that stock was exhausted, to return without having got sight of the frigate ; she was afterward furnished with a sufficiency for twenty-five days, but, being ill-found, she returned into port a second time, after having been fifteen days at

A delay of ten days now occurred, when she made a third attempt, with a new set of sails, and reached the Medusa fifty-two days after it had been abandoned. From the time which had elapsed, it was confidently believed that all who had been left on board the frigate would be dead; what, therefore, was the astonishment of those in the schooner, to find that three of the miserable beings had outlived all


« ForrigeFortsæt »