Page:Paine--Lost ships and lonely seas.djvu/383

This page needs to be proofread.

ble for the boats. The crew was to be informed that the sick and disabled were to be removed, and that all the merchant vessels would be ordered to send boats for this purpose. Confidentially, however, the officers were instructed to fetch ample stores of bread, beef, pork, and flour to the quarterdeck and to arrange for distributing the crew among the boats that were to be called away from the other ships. Such boats of the Ramillies as had not been smashed by the storm were to be ready to launch, and every officer would be held responsible for the men in his own division. As soon as the invalids were safely out of the ship, the whole crew would be embarked in an orderly and deliberate manner.

Accordingly at dawn, the signal was made for the boats of the merchantmen, but nobody suspected what was to follow until the bread was entirely removed and the sick gone. About six o'clock the rest of the crew were permitted to go off, and between nine and ten, there being nothing farther to direct or regulate, the admiral himself, after shaking hands with every officer, and leaving his barge for their better accommodation and transport, quitted forever the Ramillies which had then nine feet of water in her hold. He went into a small leaky boat, loaded with bread, out of which both himself and the surgeon who accompanied him had to bale the water all the way. He was in his boots, with his surtout over his uniform, and his countenance as calm and composed as ever. He had, at going off left behind all his stock, wines, furni-