Page:Colymbia (1873).djvu/21

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15
A VOYAGE AND ITS END.

suddenly the truth flashed upon me, and the awful catastrophe of the previous day rushed into my mind.

I was all alone on the wide still sea; not a breath of wind was there, not a ripple on the surface of the ocean, but only a long swell that rocked the boat lazily up and down—the remains of yesterday's storm.

As the sun rose the heat became intolerable, and I formed my sail into a sort of canopy to protect me from his scorching rays. The dreadful silence of the calm was more intolerable than the hissing and roaring of the tempest. The roar of the wind and the rush of the waters prevent one feeling absolutely solitary. The noise is a voice, though a rough one, and one cannot feel quite alone with such rude voices all around. But the silence of the calm is intolerably oppressive. I tried to dispel it by shouting, by striking the boat with one of the preserved meat tins, by whistling, by singing; but when I ceased the silence seemed to be worse than before.

I threw myself down in the stern of the boat, and for a while a feeling of apathy kept me still; but soon the thoughts of home, of my parents and friends, of the companions of my voyage, came over me, and I could remain quiet no longer.

I looked into the dark blue water and felt a longing to spring overboard; but better thoughts prevailed, and I made a firm resolve to do nothing to cut short the life which had been so wonderfully preserved.

I calculated how long my provisions would last me, and felt almost certain that before they were exhausted some ship would rescue me from my fearful situation.

Three days passed in this way. The dead calm was not constant. Now and then a light breeze would spring up, producing a slight ripple on the surface of