Page:Devonshire Characters and Strange Events.djvu/404
provisions consist of salt pork, bread, coffee, and molasses; on this scanty fare, with the shelter of their boat only turned upside down, and tussicked up, they sometimes remain a fortnight at a time, each day undergoing excessive labour in searching for and killing seals, and very often without meeting with an adequate reward after all their privations. Added to this, when a gale renders it necessary for their vessel to drive to sea, each hour she is absent, the mind is harassed with fears for her safety, and of the consequences that would result to themselves if thus left on such a desolate spot, surrounded by a vast ocean, and where years might pass without a vessel ever coming near them."
The largest of the islands is about twenty-five miles in circumference, and lies about thirty miles distant from one of the small ones, and about twelve miles from the other. The other two islands lie about twenty miles to the eastward of the three first.
On 5 February a sealing party, consisting of eight, was landed on the easternmost island, and the remaining seven proceeded with the vessel to the other island. Those in the vessel consisted of the master, Captain Veale, of Dartmouth, and his brother, Jarvis Veale, Goodridge, Parnel, Hooper, Baker, and a Hanoverian named Newbee. The vessel visited the sealing party every seven days, took on board the skins collected, and supplied them with a fresh stock of provisions; that done it returned to the other island, where the crew also employed themselves in collecting seal-skins.
The last visit made to the easternmost island was on 10 March, and the next visit would have been on the 18th had not a gale come on, on the 17th, that compelled the captain to stand off, and gain the offing."We accordingly slipped our cable and stood to