Page:Paine--Lost ships and lonely seas.djvu/268

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
228
LOST SHIPS AND LONELY SEAS

darkness just before the stormy day began to break; but the crew held on until they were able to see the cruel ledges and the mountainous coast which was only a few hundred feet away. Lieutenant Archer was ready to undertake the perilous task of trying to swim ashore with a line, but after he had kicked off his coat and shoes he said to himself:

 

This won't do, for me to be the first man out of the ship, and the senior lieutenant at that. We may get to England again and people may think I paid a great deal of attention to myself and not much to anybody else. No, that won't do; instead of being the first, I 'll see every man, sick and well, out of her before me.

 

Two sailors managed to fetch the shore, and a hawser was rigged by means of which all of the survivors succeeded in reaching the beach. True to his word. Archer was the last man to quit the wreck. Sir Hyde Parker was a man of more emotion than one might infer, and the scene is appealing as the lieutenant describes it.

 

The captain came to me, and taking me by the hand was so affected that he was scarcely able to speak. "Archer, I am happy beyond expression, to see you on shore but look at our poor Phoenix." I turned about but could not say a single word; my mind had been too intensely occupied before; but everything now rushed upon me at once, so that I could not contain myself, and I indulged for a full quarter of an hour in tears.