“Toward three o’clock in the afternoon of Friday we were practically clear of the sand, but at eleven o’clock that night we ran into a second bank of it, though not as bad as the first. We made some experiments, and found the stuff was superior to emery dust. It cut deeper and quicker, and only about half as much was required to do the work. We made up our minds we would keep what came on board, as it was better than the emery dust and much cheaper, so we gathered it up.
“That night there were more of the same electric phenomena toward Martinique, but it was not until we got into St. Lucia, where we saw the Roddam, that we learned of the terrible disaster at St. Pierre, and then we knew that our sand was lava dust.”
The volcanic ash which fell on the decks of the Horace was ground as fine as rifle powder, and was much finer than that which covered the decks of the Etona.
Returning to the stories told by officers of the Roraima, of which a number have been given, it seems desirable to add here the narrative of Ellery S. Scott, the mate of the ruined ship, since it gives a vivid and striking account of his personal experience of the frightful disaster, with many details of interest not related by others.
“We got to St. Pierre in the Roraima,” began Mr. Scott, “at 6.30 o’clock on Thursday morning. That’s the morning the mountain and the town and the ships were all sent to hell in a minute.
“All hands had had breakfast. I was standing on the fo’c’s’l head trying to make out the marks on the pipes of a ship ’way out and heading for St. Lucia. I wasn’t looking at the mountain at all. But I guess the captain was, for he was on the bridge, and the last time I heard him speak was when he shouted, ‘Heave up, Mr. Scott; heave up.’ I gave the order to the men, and I think some of them did jump to get the anchor up, but nobody knows what really happened for the next fifteen minutes. I turned around toward the captain and then I saw the mountain.
“Did you ever see the tide come into the Bay of Fundy. It doesn’t sneak in a little at a time as it does ’round here. It rolls in in waves. That’s the way the cloud of fire and mud and white-hot stones rolled down from that volcano over the town and over the ships. It was on us in almost no time, but I saw it and in the same glance I saw our captain bracing himself to meet it on the bridge. He was facing the fire cloud with both hands gripped hard to the bridge rail, his legs apart and his knees braced back stiff. I’ve seen him brace himself that same way many a time in a tough sea with the spray going mast-head high and green water pouring along the decks.
“I saw the captain, I say, at the same instant I saw that ruin coming down on us. I don’t know why, but that last glimpse of poor Muggah on his bridge will stay with me just as long as I remember St. Pierre and that will be long enough.