Page:Paine--Lost ships and lonely seas.djvu/230

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LOST SHIPS AND LONELY SEAS

to be a wonderfully capable leader. Those old wooden war-ships were so many pest-houses, as a rule, in which sailors sickened and died by scores during prolonged periods of sea duty. The quarters in which the men were crowded were wet and foul and unventilated in rough weather, and the diet of salt meat bred the disease of scurvy. The journal of this voyage says:

 

After ninety-six days' navigation we had not one case of illness on board. The health of the crew had remained unimpaired by change of climate, rain, and fog; but our provisions were of first-class quality; I neglected none of the precautions which experience and prudence suggested to me; and above all, we kept up our spirits by encouraging dancing every evening among the crew whenever the weather permitted.

 

Around Cape Horn and to the Sandwich Islands, which Captain Cook had discovered only a few years earlier, the lonely frigates steered their wandering course, and then northward to the Alaskan coast of America. While exploring a bay among the glaciers two boats were swamped and lost in the breakers, and the shipmates of the drowned officers and men built a monument of stone with this epitaph carved upon it:

 

At this entrance of this port, twenty-one brave sailors perished.
Whoever you may be, mingle your tears with ours.