Page:Paine--Lost ships and lonely seas.djvu/126

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faced the open ocean, and a bottle tied to it which contained this message:


On the N. W. side of this island are the remaining part of the crew and passengers of the Blenden Hall, wrecked 23rd July, 1821. Should this fall into the hands of the humane, we trust, by the assistance of God, they will do all in their power to relieve us, and the prayers of many unfortunate sufferers will always be for them.

Alexander Greig, Commander.


This was a month after the shipwreck. Another month passed, and the ship's cook, Joseph Nibbs, a colored man, had begun to build a clumsy little cockle-shell which he called a punt. For tools he managed to find a hand-saw, a chisel, a bolt for a hammer, and a heavy iron hinge ground sharp on the rocks for an ax. It seems extraordinary that this enterprise should have been left to a sea-cook, what with the carpenter and all the officers who should have taken the initiative. At any rate, this handy Joseph Nibbs pegged his boat together and went fishing in it. This appears to have shamed the others into activity, and the carpenter set about building a larger boat. It was the heroic cook, however, who decided to risk the voyage to Tristan in his little floating coffin, and his farewell speech was reported as follows: