After we had passed muster, we passed over a kind of bridge or gangway from the “Manhattan” into a little steamer that had come down the river to fetch us. How glad we were to leave the good old ship, and bound into the arms of another that promised to take us ashore in a very few minutes! It was a glorious time! We had come to regard the “Manhattan” as a prison-house, from which we had long desired to take our leave, if we only could. But now that the parting hour had come, how changed our feelings! As the little boat sailed away, we felt sorry to leave her, and commenced to call her by pet names. “Good-by dear ‘Manhattan,’ many thanks to you for carrying us so safely across the deep wide sea,” cried many of us; while others gave the customary three cheers and waved their hats. Though we left her empty behind—no friends, and no acquaintances remaining there, still we continued to wave our handkerchiefs at her so long as we could see her, and have ever since remembered her as the noblest of all the ships that was in harbor that day. Her, colors seemed the brightest, and a hundred happy passengers separated that hour that will never cease to sing her praises. Permit me, kind reader, to add one line more, and in that line make mention of
Life-Boat, No. 5.
You may not be able to understand it, or to appreciate how a small party of our passengers came to regard her as almost a sacred thing, but there are a few that know the spell, and who will ever bless the page that tells the tale! Thither we went when the winds blew harder and the waves rolled higher, when our heads became heavier and our steps unsteady! She hung at or near the center of the ship, where there was the least rocking or swinging of all places in the whole vessel. During day-time we lay down beneath her shade, and at night, we would sit by her side relating to each other our feelings and experiences, &c. When sea-sickness had left our company, we agreed upon that place as our general rendezvous by day and by night, for the remainder of the voyage. There we spent our days and there we met every night! If our sleep was interrupted by a storm at the midnight hour, thither would we go for relief! A thousand recollections gather around that boat, and bind our hearts together there, as with so many cords; because our hearts meet there in fond remembrance, therefore will we never forget the place.
I had bid adieu to all my acquaintances before leaving the steamer, and consequently went ashore quite by myself. I did not experience that piercing thrill through my system as I had expected to, on touching the firm earth again; for we had seen the shore so long before we could land, that all its novelty had disappeared.