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THE FRIGATE MEDUSA

distributed as a precious alleviation, and there was rejoicing over a little bottle of tooth-wash containing cinnamon and aromatics. A drop of it on the tongue produced an agreeable feeling,

 

and for a short time removed the thirst which destroyed us. Thus we sought with avidity an empty vial which one of us possessed and in which had once been some essence of roses. Every one, as he got hold of it, respired with delight the odor it exhaled, which imparted to his senses the most soothing impressions. Emaciated by privations, the slightest comfort was to us a supreme happiness.

 

On the ninth day they saw a butterfly of a species familiar to the gardens of France, and it fluttered to rest upon the mast. It was a harbinger of land and an omen of deliverance in their wistful sight. Other butterflies visited them, but the winds and currents failed to set them in close to the coast, and there was never a glimpse of a sail. They existed in quietude, with no more brawls or mutinies, until sixteen days had passed since the wreck of the Medusa. Then a captain of infantry, scanning the sea with aching eyes, saw the distant gleam of canvas.

Soon they were able to perceive that it was a brig, and they took it to be the Argus of their own squadron, which they had been hoping would be sent in