Page:Paine--Lost ships and lonely seas.djvu/65

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THE SCHOONER EXERTION

ume of Rev. Mr. Coleman's sermons). "It is the only thing of yours that is in my possession. I dare not attempt anything more. Never mind, I may see you again before I die."

There were eleven prisoners in all, without arms, and to sustain life only a ten-gallon keg of water, part of a barrel of flour, one ham, and a little salt fish, not forgetting the precious volume of Mr. Coleman's sermons. They were carried to a tiny key, or islet, no more than a shoal of white sand an acre in extent and barely lifted above high tide, forty miles off the Cuban coast and well out of the track of vessels. No wonder that Captain Lincoln was moved to ejaculate:

 

"Look at us now, my friends, left benighted on a little spot of sand in the midst of the ocean, with every appearance of a violent thunder tempest and a boisterous night. Judge of my feelings and the circumstances which our band of sufferers now witnessed. Perhaps you can, and have pitied us. I assure you we were very wretched, and to depict the scene is beyond my power."

 

They found a fragment of a thatched hut built by turtle fishermen, but now whipped bare by the winds, and it served as a slight shelter from the burning sun. Fire they kindled by means of a piece of cotton-wick yarn and a flint and steel. They dug holes for fresh water, but it was too salty