Page:Paine--Lost ships and lonely seas.djvu/86

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boat, sixty men had been left behind because there was not even a foothold for them upon the raft. The boat managed to stow all but seventeen of them, who were very drunk by this time and preferred to stand by the ship and the spirit-room. The fear of death had ceased to trouble them.

For the moment let us shift the scene to survey the fate of these seventeen poor wretches who were abandoned on board of the Medusa. The five boats reached the African coast and most of their company lived to find Sénégal. The governor bethought himself that a large amount of specie had been left in the wreck, and he sent a little vessel off; but lack of provisions and bad weather drove her twice back to port, so that fifty-two days, more than seven weeks, had passed before the Medusa was sighted, her upper works still above water.

Three of the seventeen men were found alive, "but they lived in separate corners of the hulk and never met but to run at each other with drawn knives." Several others had sailed off on a tiny raft which was cast up on the coast of the Sahara, but the men were drowned. A lone sailor drifted away on a hencoop as the craft of his choice, and foundered in sight of the frigate. All the rest had died of too little food and too much rum, after the provisions