Page:Paine--Lost ships and lonely seas.djvu/332

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perienced such hardships will wonder how people can be so inhuman as to witness their fellow creatures starving before their faces without affording them succor, but hunger is void of all compassion.

They actually sailed through the Strait of Magellan and reached the Atlantic after two months of suffering during which twenty men died of famine and disease. Landing wherever possible, they found seal and fish or traded with wandering Indians for dogs and wild geese to eat. Of the survivors no more than fifteen were able to stand or to crawl about the boat. A happier fate was granted them when they coasted along the wilderness of the Argentine and found thousands of wild horses, which kept them plentifully supplied with meat. At length they came to the Rio Grande and the town of Montevideo, and thirty of them were alive, or half the number that had made the voyage in the long-boat.

Among those who died almost within sight of rescue was Thomas MacLean, the cook, a patriarch of eighty-two years, presumably one of those soldier pensioners who had been snatched from his well-earned repose at Chelsea Hospital. This is one of the most extraordinary facts of the whole story, that this tough old veteran of a red-coat, his age past four score, should have lived all those