Page:Paine--Lost ships and lonely seas.djvu/40

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of the still was rubbed into the fish. It was a bitter condiment, but it helped to preserve them against spoiling.

The season of spring advanced until the derelict Polly had been four months afloat and wandering, and the end of the voyage was a long way off. The minds and bodies of the castaways had adjusted themselves to the intolerable situation. The most amazing aspect of the experience is that these men remained sane. They must have maintained a certain order and routine of distilling water, of catching fish, of keeping track of the indistinguishable procession of the days and weeks. Captain Cazneau's recollection was quite clear when he came to write down his account of what had happened. The one notable omission is the death of another sailor, name unknown, which must have occurred after April. The only seaman who survived to keep the skipper company was Samuel Badger.

By way of making the best of it, these two indomitable seafarers continued to work on their rough deck-house, "which by constant improvement had become much more commodious." A few bundles of hewn shingles were discovered in the hold, and a keg of nails was found lodged in a corner of the forecastle. The shelter was finally made tight and weather-proof, but, alas! there was