Page:Paine--Lost ships and lonely seas.djvu/120

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which had disclosed itself as frightfully forbidding and desolate. The ship had been wrecked among the reefs of Inaccessible Island, one of the Tristan da Cunha group. By a sort of miracle the bow of the ship finally detached itself from among the rocks and washed toward the tiny strip of beach. Clinging to the stout timbers of the forecastle, all the survivors were safely delivered from the terrors of the sea.

Through the first night they could only shiver in the rain and wonder what fate had befallen them. At dawn they began to explore the island, which appeared to be no more than a gigantic rock, black and savage, which towered into the clouds. Fresh water was found, but hunger menaced them. The first bit of flotsam from the wreck was a case of "Hibbert's Celebrated Bottled Porter," which was a beverage with a kick to it, and for the moment life looked not quite so dismal. On the beach were huge sea-lions, creatures twenty feet in length, but there was no way to slay and use them for food. Many sea-birds were killed with clubs and eaten raw, which postponed famine for the time.

And now there floated ashore bales of red broadcloth, which was promptly cut up for clothing. It was grotesque to see the sailors and passengers parading in gorgeous tunics and robes of crimson,