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fast wedged as in a dry-dock, and with the exception of an occasional shock, as a heavier wave than ordinary raised us bodily from our cradle, to let us fall again with a violence that made the decks crack and open, and seemed to threaten that the vessel would go to pieces under us — each heave being like the dying, convulsive gasp of a strong man, — the ship remained stationary, and held together till daylight broke upon us, during which time, more than three hours, and which seemed more than three times that period, we remained huddled together on deck, screening ourselves under the bulwarks as best we could against the seas which every now and then swept the deck, and the rain which beat heavily upon
But, although drenched to the skin, there was not a single complaint of cold amongst us: the extreme peril to our lives seemed to render us insensible to all bodily inconvenience whatever.
With the blessed light of day our hearts revived again within us. The darkness had necessitated us to remain perfectly inactive, the most trying state by far in the time of danger. Now, as the dawning light gave us, little by little, a full view of our position, we began to set our wits to work to devise schemes for our rescue.
We had gone ashore on the coast of Cornwall, a little to the westward of Mount's Bay. A reef of dark rocks, in a horse-shoe shape, the concave side presented seaward, surrounded us on three sides. We had fortunately taken the very centre of the reef, and thus placed ourselves nearest to the shore, whilst we were less exposed to the raging of the sea, which still rolled with fury upon the rocks. At a distance of rather better than a quarter of a mile, a narrow shingly beach presented itself, a steep cliff rising immediately behind it.
The water between the reef and the shore boiled and foamed, as the waves, breaking on the rocks, poured in spume and froth amidst it; but we had reason to hope it was tolerably free from rocks, and that, should the gale abate, boats might be readily launched and reach the inner side of the reef, across which we might scramble with no great difficulty.
Day had hardly broken when the beach began to be alive with people, amongst whom the men of the coast-guard muffled in their Flushing jackets, and with their black hats, were distinctly visible ; but all were inactive, for as yet there seemed to be no means of rendering us aid.
There was no human habitation near. The
cliff was nearly perpendicular, and sixty or eighty feet high ; and, at the distance of about a mile and a quarter apart, two promontories jutted into the sea, so as to prevent the transit of carriage or boat along the beach; and no boat was to be seen on it; but the gale was far too violent as yet, the surf on the beach too heavy, to have admitted of launching a boat had one been at hand.
If to the over-confidence of Captain Robertson we owed, in some measure, our present misfortune, it must be admitted that no person could have exerted himself more manfully than he did in the gale; and now, calm and collected, his whole soul seemed bent on planning the means of our deliverance.
It was clear that so long as the “ Intrepid' held together, we could do no better than stick by her well-tried and friendly hull, our shelter amidst so many storms and tempests during the three preceding months.
Captain Robertson pointed out to us that on the galė moderating-and it had now raged some eight or ten hours with great fury -- there would be but little difficulty in achieving our rescue, and that in the mean time, whilst two planks of the ship held together, our safety lay in staying by her. The advice was good; but it has been truly remarked,
" That good but rarely comes from good advice;"
and thus in this instance it happened that only such as were predisposed to act upon it benefited by it.
B-, of Her Majesty's -th, was a remarkably fine, powerful young man, who prided himself upon his skill in all athletic exercises. He was a first-rate swimmer, fearless and determined to a fault, and against all advice and remonstrance he resolved to trust himself to the
A young seaman, third mate of the vessel, thinkipg it shame to be outdone by a soldier, volunteered to share his danger; and L-- of the B. N. I., thinking the honour of “ John Company” at stake, determined to make a third in the daring adventure.
As the object to be accomplished by these young men was to establish a communication between the ship and shore, a small line was given to them, which B-knotted round his body for greater security. The jib-boom of the “ Intrepid ” was still standing, and, as the vessel had forced herself up upon the reef, overhung the inner part of it, upon which there was at times some six or eight feet water, aithough every now and then the receding waves left it well nigh bare.
To swing himself from the boom-end by a rope, and, watching the moment when the rock was well covered with water, to let go his hold, drop quietly into the sea, and strike boldly for the shore, was a task easily performed by one so strong and active as B-Davidson, the mate, quickly followed him, and the two were seen swimming stoutly almost side by side.
Poor L-though a good swimmer and a brave and active man, was little versed in gymnastics. He swung himself from the boom, but sliding down the rope with too much velocity, fell upon the rocks when left almost bare by the receding wave. He uttered a low moan of pain, and slipped off the reef into deep water, disappearing beneath its surface.
He rose again presently, but only for a moment. beat the waters wildly for a brief space, and then he disappeared for ever from our sight.
B- and the mate swam bravely about half way to land, and then it was apparent that something was wrong; they had got amongst hidden rocks. Then was heard
A solitary shriek, the bubbling cry,