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very look of them had cheered the men, and
comforted and upheld the women. Not one
living creature in the boat, with any sense
about him, but had felt the good influence of
that brave man in one way or another. Not
one but had heard him, over and over again,
give the credit to others which was due only
to himself; praising this man for patience,
and thanking that man for help, when the
patience and the help had really and truly,
as to the best part of both, come only from
him. All this, and much more, I heard
pouring confusedly from the men’s lips while
they crouched down, sobbing and crying
over their commander, and wrapping the
jacket as warmly and tenderly as they could
over his cold feet. It went to my heart to
check them; but I knew that if this lamenting
spirit spread any further, all chance of
keeping alight any last sparks of hope and
resolution among the boat’s company would
be lost for ever. Accordingly I sent them to
their places, spoke a few encouraging words
to the men forward, promising to serve out,
when the morning came, as much as I dared
of any eatable thing left in the lockers;
called to Rames, in my old boat, to keep
as near us as he safely could; drew the
garments and coverings of the two poor
suffering women more closely about them;
and, with a secret prayer to be directed
for the best in bearing the awful
responsibility now laid on my shoulders, took my
Captain’s vacant place at the helm of the
Long-boat.

This, as well as I can tell it, is the full and
true account of how I came to be placed in
charge of the lost passengers and crew of The
Golden Mary, on the morning of the twenty-
seventh day after the ship struck the Iceberg,
and foundered at sea.

Before I go on to relate what happened
after the two boats were under my command,
I will stop a little here, for the purpose of adding
some pages of writing to the present
narrative, without which it would not be, in my
humble estimation, complete. I allude to
some little record of the means by which
before famine and suffering dulled our
ears and silenced our tongueswe shortened
the weary hours, and helped each other to
forget, for a while, the dangers that
encompassed us. The stories to which Captain
Ravender has referred, as having been
related by the people in his boat, were matched
by other stories, related by the people in
my boat; and, in both cases, as I well know,
the good effect of our following, in this
matter, the example of Bligh and his men,
when they were adrift like us, was of unspeakable
importance in keeping up our spirits,
and, by consequence, in giving us the courage
which was necessary, under Providence, to
the preservation of our lives. I shall therefore
ask permission, before proceeding to the
account of our Deliverance, to reproduce in this
place three or four of the most noteworthy of
the stories which circulated among us. Some,
I give from my remembrance; some, which I
did not hear, from the remembrance of others.

THE BEGUILEMENT IN THE BOATS [THE ARMOURER'S STORY].

I come from Ashbrooke. (It was
the Armourer who spun this yarn.) Dear
me! how many years back is that? Twenty
years ago it must be nowlong before I ever
thought of going to seabefore I let
rambling notions get into my head when I
used to walk up the street singing, and
thinking of the time when I should come to
have a forge of my own.

It was a pretty sight to look down
Ashbrooke, especially on a fine summer’s day,
when the sun was out. Why, I’ve been told
painters would come from miles off, purposely
to put it down on paper, and you’d see them
at turnings of the road, and under trees
working away like bees. And no wonder;
for I have seen pictures enough in my day,
but none to go near that. I’ve often wished
I could handle a brush like some of those
peoplejust enough, you know, to make a
little picture of it for myself, to bring about
with me, and hang up over my hammock.
For that matter, I am looking at it this
moment, standing, as it might be, at the
corner of the road, looking down the slope.
There was the old church, just here on the
right, with a slanting roof running to the
ground, almost. You might walk round it
for a month and not see a bare stone, the
moss grew so thick all over it. It was very
pleasant of Sundays, standing by and seeing
the village folk trooping out of the porch,
and hearing the organ-music playing away
inside! Then, going down the hill, a little
further on, you met queer, old-fashioned
houses, with great shingle roofs. Beyond
that, again, was a puzzling bit of building,
like the half of a church-window, standing up
quite stiff by itself. They used to say there
had once been an abbey or nunnery in these
parts, full of clergymen and clergywomen, in
the old papist times, of course; and there
were little bits of it sticking up all over
the place. Then more old houses (How
the moss did grow, to be sure!), until you
passed by the Joyful Heart Inn, where
every traveller pulled up to refresh himself
and his nag. Many is the pleasant hour
I’ve spent in the Joyful Heart, sitting in
the cool porch with the ivy hanging down
overhead, or by the great fireplace in the
sanded kitchen.

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