Vellenaux eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 259 pages of information about Vellenaux.
bound to the Cape; she had been dismasted in one of those terrific storms which so frequently occur in these latitudes, and was now lying completely water-logged on the bosom of the treacherous ocean.  The day previous to the wreck had been remarkably fine, but as night closed in the wind rose and continued to increase until it blew a perfect hurricane.  In spite of the utmost exertions of the crew the sails were blown clear of the bolt ropes, yards and spars were carried away, when the foremast went by the board and the main topmast fell with a crash into the sea, seventeen of the crew were hurled into the wild waste of waters.  A little before daylight a tremendous sea struck her stern, unshipping the rudder, carrying away the wheel, round-house and lockers, rendering her unmanageable, and she was tossed helplessly like a log upon the mighty billows.  As the day broke the storm somewhat subsided, a scene of wild desolation was realized by those on board the unfortunate vessel, as the flashes of broad sheet lightning, with which the heavy clouds were surcharged, occasionally shot forth.  The scene was startling and terrific, the wild waves were breaking over her and three more of the crew were swept overboard.  As the light increased the sea began gradually to go down, and spars and pieces of wreck were seen floating all around, lifted upon the surging waves, to which some of the unfortunate seamen had clung with the grasp of despair, only to be again thrown into the dark trough of the sea to rise no more.

Although the hurricane had subsided, so much water had been shipped that the pumps had to be kept continually going to prevent the hull from going down:  to this laborious task all had to exert themselves to the utmost, and only by this means could the ship be kept afloat.  The self-styled Mrs. Grenville rendered good service in this hour of peril, she voluntarily took the place of the steward, now called to the pumps, and served out rations of biscuits and spirits to all hands, nor did she forget herself on the occasion.  The danger of her position appeared in no way to appal her, and having to undergo no bodily fatigue beyond her strength, she was very little affected by the disasters and hardships of the past few days.  Such of the officers and crew as had not been swallowed up by the boiling surf were in a very weak and exhausted condition, owing to their great labor at the pumps, when rescued from their perilous position by the boats of the “Great Mogul.”  These particulars were gathered from time to time from some of the crew, but from Mrs. Grenville a more detailed account of the wreck was obtained.  That lady thought it necessary to keep to her cabin for the first week, during which time she had to sketch out a fresh plan of action for the future.

This she soon effected, having received all the required information from the little fat Dutch stewardess concerning the ship, its destination, and the names and positions of the passengers.

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Vellenaux from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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