The Survivors of the Chancellor/Chapter LVII
JANUARY 27 continued. -- Curtis, no doubt, was right. The discharge from the mouth of the Amazon is enormously large, but we had probably drifted into the only spot in the Atlantic where we could find fresh water so far from land. Yet land undoubtedly was there, and the breeze was carrying us onward slowly but surely to our deliverance.
Miss Herbey's voice was heard pouring out fervent praise to Heaven, and we were all glad to unite our thanksgivings with hers. Then the whole of us (with the exception of Andre and his father, who remained by themselves together at the stern) clustered in a group, and kept our expectant gaze upon the horizon.
We had not long to wait. Before an hour had passed, Curtis leaped in ecstasy and raised the joyous shout of "Land ahoy!"
. . . . .
My journal has come to a close.
I have only to relate, as briefly as possible, the circumstances that finally brought us to our destination.
A few hours after we first sighted land the raft was off Cape Magoari, on the island of Marajo, and was observed by some fishermen, who, with kind-hearted alacrity picked us up and tended us most carefully. They conveyed us to Para, where we became the objects of unbounded sympathy.
The raft was brought to land in latitude 0 deg. 12' north, so that since we abandoned the Chancellor we had drifted at least fifteen degrees to the southwest. Except for the influence of the Gulf Stream we must have been carried far, far to the south, and in that case we should never have reached the mouth of the Amazon, and must inevitably have been lost.
Of the thirty-two souls -- nine passengers and twenty-three seamen -- who left Charleston on board the ship, only five passengers and six seamen remain. Eleven of us alone survive.
An official account of our rescue was drawn up by the Brazilian authorities. Those who signed were Miss Herbey, J. R. Kazallon, M. Letourneur, Andre Letourneur, Mr. Falsten, the boatswain, Dowlas, Burke, Flaypole, Sandon, and last, though not least,
"Robert Curtis, Captain."
At Para we soon found facilities for continuing our homeward route. A vessel took us to Cayenne, where we secured a passage on board one of the steamers of the French Transatlantic Aspinwall line, the Ville de St. Nazaire, which conveyed us to Europe.
After all the dangers and privations which we have undergone together, it is scarcely necessary to say that there has arisen between the surviving passengers of the Chancellor a bond of friendship too indissoluble, I believe, for either time or circumstance to destroy; Curtis must ever remain the honored and valued friend of those whose welfare he consulted so faithfully in their misfortunes; his conduct was beyond all praise.
When we were fairly on our homeward way, Miss Herbey by chance intimated to us her intention of retiring from the world and devoting the remainder of her life to the care of the sick and suffering.
"Then why not come and look after my son?" said M. Letourneur, adding, "he is an invalid, and he requires, as he deserves, the best of nursing."
Miss Herbey, after some deliberation, consented to become a member of their family, and finds in M. Letourneur a father, and in Andre a brother. A brother, I say; but may we not hope that she may be united by a dearer and a closer tie, and that the noble-hearted girl may experience the happiness that she so richly deserves?