Page:Paine--Lost ships and lonely seas.djvu/357

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The only food washed ashore from the wreck consisted of three cheeses and some beef bones, which they shared without quarreling, and in fact, the spirit of these poor mariners was singularly unselfish and manly throughout. By vote it was agreed that Captain Deane should hold the same authority as he exercised on board ship. They felt certain of rescue, because they were within sight of port, and the captain encouraged them


with hopes of being discovered by fishing shallops or other vessels passing that way, although all the while he was conscious to himself that rarely anything of this kind happened at that unseasonable time of the year; however, he thought it good policy to put the best face on the matter and take this advantage of their ignorance and credulity; since he already too plainly observed their great dejection and frequent relapses into an utter distrust of Divine Providence.


A boat was built after infinite labor, by men who had nothing whatever to eat, and the surf beat it to fragments as soon as it was launched. In this hour of inexpressible disappointment they stood and watched three small sailing vessels pass the island at a distance of a few miles, and they could not kindle a smoke to make a signal. As a last hope, a raft was tied together of two bits of spar only twelve feet long, with a deck of plank four feet wide, a mere