“I cared not for myself. My chief concern was for my dear wife and her father. We kept our state-room for a long time, but at length deemed it prudent to leave it. As we did so, we heard an awful crash, and many a shriek and hurried prayer. I myself began to fear, as the mast and flying rigging went by us; but Evelina, even in such an hour, had words to cheer us all. She seemed, indeed, more of heaven than earth; and I cared not for my fate, provided we both met the same.
“The captain ordered the boats to be got in readiness, and it was quickly done. Soon another crash, and another mast fell, bearing to the raging abyss of waters another company of helpless men, women and children.
“I clasped my wife in my arms, and, amid the wreck and frantic crowd of passengers, sprang to a boat. I placed Evelina in it, and was just about to assist her father to the same boat, when a large wave dashed over the ship and bore me alone over the wide waters. I remembered no more until I opened my eyes, and the sun was shining brightly all around me, and a young man was bathing my head, and brushing back my wet hair, while some were standing by expressing great joy.
“I soon became conscious of my situation, and I asked for Evelina. What a sadness filled my soul when I was told she was not there,—that they had not heard of any such person! Human language is weak with which to express the sorrow I then felt. Through all my varied life I had had nothing that so crushed my spirit, and filled it with a sense of loneliness which it is impossible to describe. I ascertained that I was on board of a vessel bound to Boston; that I, was found holding on a raft, almost insensible when found, and quite so a few moments afterwards. For a long time no one expected that I would recover my consciousness, but the constant efforts of the passengers and crew were finally crowned with success, and I opened my eyes.
“I gave all the information I could respecting the fate of the vessel, but thoughts of my wife, and surmisings as to her fate and that of her father, often choked my utterance, and my words gave way for my tears.
“The next morning I was delirious, with a fever. My anxiety for my wife, and the exposure I had suffered, brought my body and mind into a very critical state. For several days I talked wildly. At the close of the fifth, I became sane in mind. I was yet quite ill. That night the ship entered Boston harbor. It anchored in the stream, and the next morning it hauled up to a wharf.”
“I was a perfect stranger. The captain was attentive to my wants, and made me as comfortable as he could. You will remember how neat and quiet all appeared when, with my friend Jenks, you called on me. All of the passengers took an interest in my welfare, and made up a purse for me; but they could not remain long with me. They had been long absent from home, and were desirous of seeing their families and friends, or else they had business in this or some other place. One of them introduced my friend Jenks to me; and, O, sir, he has been, indeed, a good friend to one having so few claims on his attention. He told me one night of you, and, agreeable to his promise, he brought you to the cabin of the vessel. The rest you know.”