Page:Paine--Lost ships and lonely seas.djvu/356

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nothing like the exactitude of the sextant, and most charts were incorrect. There were, of course, no lighthouses on the dangerous New England coast.

Captain Deane groped along with sounding lead and log-line and said his prayers, no doubt, until the Nottingham Galley struck on Boon Island in a dark night and almost instantly went to pieces. The crew got ashore after a bitter struggle, and "being assembled together, they with joyful hearts returned their most humble and sincere thanks to Divine Providence for their miraculous deliverance from so imminent a danger."

They were within sight of the mainland, as daylight disclosed, and the captain identified the nearest shore as Cape Neddick, while vessels could be seen passing in and out of Portsmouth Harbor. It was Christmas week, and the little island was blanketed in snow. The only shelter from the freezing winds was a tent which was made of a torn sail, and there was no fire to warm them. "They fought to procure this blessing by a variety of means," related Captain Deane, "such as flint, steel, and gunpowder, and afterwards by a drill of very swift motion, but all the materials in their possession naturally susceptible of fire being, on this occasion, thoroughly water-soaked, after eight or ten days' unsuccessful labor they gave over the fruitless attempt."