Page:Paine--Lost ships and lonely seas.djvu/91

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bloodshed. The scenes were thus depicted by the pen of M. Savigny:

The day had been beautiful and no one seemed to doubt that the boats would appear in the course of it, to relieve us from our perilous state; but the evening approached and none was seen. From that moment a spirit of sedition spread from man to man, and manifested itself by the must furious shouts. Night came on, the heavens were obscured by thick clouds, the wind rose and with it the sea. The waves broke over us every moment, numbers were carried into the sea, particularly at the ends of the raft, and the crowding towards the centre of it was so great that several poor people were smothered by the pressure of their comrades who were unable to keep their legs.

Firmly persuaded that they were all on the point of being drowned, both soldiers and sailors resolved to soothe their last moments by drinking until they lost their reason. Excited by the fumes acting on empty stomachs and heads already disordered by danger, they now became deaf to the voice of reason and boldly declared their intention to murder their officers and then cut the ropes which bound the raft together. One of them, seizing an axe, actually began the dreadful work. This was the signal for revolt. The officers rushed forward to quell the tumult and the mutineer with the axe was the first to fall, his head split by a sabre.

The passengers joined the officers but the mutineers were still the greater number. Luckily they were but badly armed, or the few bayonets and sabres of the opposite party could not have kept them at bay. One fellow, detected in secretly cutting the ropes, was immediately flung overboard. Others destroyed the shrouds and