The Adventures of a Forty-niner eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 121 pages of information about The Adventures of a Forty-niner.
danger they were in.  It seems to me that I hear now the oaths of the captain of the other vessel rising above the sounds of the terrific hurricane as he was ordering his men, for they, too, were in danger if they collided with us.  Of course, he was on the bare poles.  As he came on us the eighth time they hoisted their jib sail.  As the wind struck it, it seemed to lift their vessel out of the water, and, thank God, we were freed from it.  It was forty-five years ago, and, as I write, it all lives before me as visible as if it were yesterday.  The captain of the other vessel had seen our light, and, supposing we were in the right channel, had followed us.  We had escaped what seemed almost certain death, but were not out of danger.  Our new good chain was attached to our bad chain, and the captain had let out all our chain to free us from the other vessel, so we were actually hanging by our bad chain in the open roadstead, not in the protection of a harbor, and liable to drag our anchor or break our chain and be wrecked; but we could do nothing more than submit to our fate.  I thought I would get into my berth and try and get to sleep, and, if I found myself alive in the morning, we might be saved.  I did sleep, and when I awoke it was daylight.  The gale was subsiding.  We had dragged our anchor.  The bow of our brig was very sharp; the banks were soft mud, and we had struck it with such force that we were wedged in.  The tide was low and we were almost out of water.  We fortunately had struck the land with our bow, and that was what saved us.  If we had struck with the side of the vessel we would have been wrecked.  So, ever since we had been freed from the other vessel, we had been in safety and did not know it.  We waited for the tide to rise and then got our kedge anchor out and pulled the vessel out off the bank as the tide rose.  The sea was very rough, but the gale had subsided, and by 11 o’clock we were entering the mouth of the San Joaquin river in safety.  It was forty miles up the river to Stockton.  The river was in a valley of Tullieries.  The land seemed to be in the course of formation.  There was but one tree between the mouth and Stockton, a willow, called the Lone Tree.  The only place on its banks where the soil had formed solid enough to produce one, surrounded by hills at that season of the year, covered with beautiful wild flowers.  The scenery was magnificent.  As the river curved we could see the white sails of other vessels.  They looked as if they were in a field.  You could not see the water at a little distance, the river being narrow.  We could almost jump from our deck to the banks.  We felt in perfect safety.  Contrasting that with the night before in that terrible hurricane and in the death struggles for our lives, it produced a supreme feeling of ethereal ideal happiness that this earth seemed almost a Paradise.  The captain informed me that there was one place on the river where we might have to anchor.  It was
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The Adventures of a Forty-niner from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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