Page:Paine--Lost ships and lonely seas.djvu/366

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LOST SHIPS AND LONELY SEAS

babbling of other things, and his wits were still all astray. During the business of the death-sentence, which had been conducted with such extraordinary dignity, the men had remained sober, keeping clear of the brandy-keg, but now they proposed to celebrate. Captain Harrison succeeded in dissuading all excepting the mate, who filled a can and sat down by himself to liquor up. And so they were making a decent finish of it, although their nerves were tortured beyond endurance, when the breeze died out, and the other ship lay becalmed two or three miles away. They remembered the dreadful disappointment of Christmas day, when another ship had deserted them after steering close enough to hail the sloop.

This blessed stranger, however, lowered a boat, and the oars flashed on the shining sea until the rescuers were alongside the Peggy.

 
As the captain was incapable of moving, they lifted him out of the cabin and, lowering him into the boat with ropes, he was followed by his people, among whom was David Flat, still raving. Just when putting off, it was discovered that the mate was missing. He was immediately summoned and, after his can of liquor, had no more than ability to crawl to the gunwale, having forgot everything that had happened. The unfortunate drunken wretch having been got down, the saviors rowed away to their own ship, which they reached in about an hour.