Page:Paine--Lost ships and lonely seas.djvu/352

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men-of-war, arrived at London on the 5th of July following; three only of the eight men left on the coast of Patagonia, Samuel Cooper, John Andrews, and myself, being so happy as once more to see their native country.

The Wager had sailed on her fatal voyage on September 18, 1740, and had been lost in May of 1741. These three survivors had therefore spent more than five years in the endeavor to reach home. By devious ways three parties of the Wager's people had finally extricated themselves from the toils of misfortune. Midshipman Byron and Captain Cheap, and a few of those who had lived through the cruise in the long-boat, and these three men who had been marooned. Left unfinished were those other tragic stories, shrouded behind the curtain of fate, the four marines and their farewell huzza, the crew of the barge who basely abandoned their companions, and the eleven people who requested to be set ashore in Patagonia sooner than endure the horrors of the long-boat. The wreck of the Wager is a yarn of many strands, an epic of salt water, and still memorable, although the ship was lost almost two hundred years ago.