Page:Devonshire Characters and Strange Events.djvu/414

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
344
DEVONSHIRE CHARACTERS

burrows in the ground, and were very easily caught. These birds are so ravenous, that after we had killed a Sea-Elephant, they would, in a few hours, completely carry off every particle of flesh we did not make use of, leaving the bones clean as possible. Their young became very good eating in March."

Although this party knew that the other party of sealers had been left on the larger island, they did not venture to cross to it, as the seas were very rough, and winds were almost always contrary. However, this party on the western island, in December, 1821, finding the seals very scarce, and other provisions scanty, determined on visiting the eastern island, but without the least expectation of finding any remnants of the vessel, much less of meeting any of their comrades, whom they supposed to be all drowned.

They arrived on the 13th December, and entered the same cove where was the residence of those who had escaped the wreck. The joy of all hands on meeting is better conceived than described. The new arrivals had brought with them their kettle, frying-pan, and other implements; and also the discovery they had made that the cabbage growing on the islands if boiled for three or four hours lost its bitterness. This now proved to be a rich delicacy after such long deprivation of vegetable diet.

As the chance of any vessel coming to the Crozets became apparently less and less, the whole party now resolved to attempt to construct a vessel in which to make their escape. Those on the western isle had found there remains of wooden huts, and some beams and planks had been dug up on the eastern isle. It was found that the means of subsistence on that island where the whole party was now settled would not suffice for all. It was accordingly resolved