Page:Paine--Lost ships and lonely seas.djvu/391

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As evening approached, the ship seemed little more than suspended in the water. There was no certainty that she would swim from one minute to another; and the love of life, now began to level all distinctions. It was impossible, indeed, for any man to deceive himself with the hopes of being saved on a raft on such a sea besides, it was probable that the ship in sinking would carry everything down with her in a vortex.

It was near five o'clock, when coming from my cabin, I observed a number of people gazing very anxiously over the side; and looking myself, I saw that several men had forced the pinnace and that more were attempting to get in. I had thoughts of securing this boat before she might be sunk by numbers; there appeared not a moment for consideration; to remain and perish with the ship's company to whom I could no longer be of any use, or seize the opportunity, which seemed the only one of escaping and leave the people with whom, on a variety of occasions I had been so well satisfied that I thought I could give my life to preserve them. This was, indeed, a painful conflict and of which, I believe, no man could form a just idea who had not been placed in a similar situation.

The love of life prevailed. I called to Mr. Rainey, the master, the only officer on deck, and desired him to follow me and we immediately descended into the boat by the after part of the chains. But it was not without great difficulty that we got her clear of the ship, twice the number that she could carry pushing in, and many leaping into the water. Mr. Baylis, a young gentleman of fifteen years of age, leaped from the chains after the boat had got off, and was taken in.


Yes, the love of life had prevailed with Captain