Page:Paine--Lost ships and lonely seas.djvu/119

This page needs to be proofread.

vowed that a friend of hers had been eaten alive by pirates. Nightfall closed down, however, before the brig could overtake the Blenden Hall, which surged before the wind with studding-sails spread.

Captain Greig was in some doubt as to his reckoning, because of thick weather, when the ship had entered the lonely expanse of the South Atlantic, and he therefore steered for a sight of Tristan da Cunha in order to make certain of his position. He proceeded cautiously, but soon after breakfast, on July 23, 1820, breakers were descried close at hand. The wind died, and the ship was drifting. Anchors were let go, but the water was too deep to find holding-ground, and a dense fog obscured the sea. The ship struck in breakers so violent that the decks were swept, the boats smashed, and the houses filled with water. The masts were promptly cut away, but the Blenden Hall was rapidly pounding to death with a broken back. All hands rushed forward and crowded upon the forecastle just before the rest of the ship was wrenched asunder and floated away.

Two seamen had been killed by falling spars, but all the rest of the ship's company, eighty souls of them, were alive and praying for rescue. After several hours of misery, a few sailors managed to knock a raft together and so reached the shore,