« AnteriorContinuar »
GAIL FOR HOME-PASS THE "GOLDEN GATE,"-SAD CONDITION OF THE PASSENGERS
GRAVES AT THE BASE OF THE SNOWY MOUNTAINS—LAND RECEDES-LUXURIES ON BOARD -A DEATH AND BURIAL-ANOTHER DEATH-WHALES AND PORPOISES ver suS SERPENTS OF FIRE—THUNDER STORM-DEATH OF DOCTOR REED-THREE DEAD BODIES FOUND ON BOARD-THE SCURVY-FIVE OF THE PASSENGERS INSANE-EVILS OF THE CREDIT SYSTEM-A CULTIVATED MIND DERANGED——YEMORY LOST-ITS CAUSE—THE VICTIM UPON THE VERGE OF DEATI-HARPOONING PORPOI SES--EXCITING SPORT.
I HAD designed to leave San Francisco for home in the steamer of the 1st December, and had purchased my ticket with that view; but the steamer, being a foreign bottom, was unable to clear for another port in California, and having but small capacity for coal, I feared detention, and was induced to sell my ticket, and take passage in the ship Edward Everett, which was to sail on the 28th November, and which, I felt confident, would reach Panama in advance of the steamer. We were notified to be on board at 9 A.M; and when Mr. Fairchild and myself reached the shore with our baggage, we saw the ship two miles out just preparing to swing from her moorings. We engaged two hardy "tars," and were soon pulling off for her; we threaded our way through the shipping, and were doing our utmost as we saw the anchor of the Everett already up, her foresail aback, and she “turning on her heel,” preparatory to standing out to sea. We boarded her as she was under way. We passed the clippership Architect, which was just weighing anchor for Valparaiso; the captains saluted each other through their trumpets, and we passed on through the Golden Gate, with a fair breeze, assisted by the unerring ebb tide. The passengers, eighty in number, were all on deck to take a last look at the receding landscape.
It had been but a few short days since they first beheld this scene—since they first entered through this “Gate,” into the land of promise. They now look upon the same narrow passage, the same bold rocky coast, they had looked for with so much anxiety, and greeted with so much enthusiasm. But how dif. ferent the feelings now! what a change! They were then accompanied by a brother or a friend, with high hopes and vigorous constitutions, looking forward with brilliant anticipations. But now the brother and friend are sleeping quietly at the base of yonder snow-capped mountain, and they are bearing the sad intelligence to the bereaved parents, brothers, and sisters. Instead of the vigorous constitutions, they are obliged to cling to the riging for support, while they gaze for the last time upon the scene. With many it is the last time they are to view such a scene; their eyes are about to close upon the earth forever, to sleep beneath the bosom of the ocean. Many have not only sacrificed health, but are destitute of means, and are now reeling about the ship, endeavoring to earn their passage by their labor.
Our ship seemed a hospital; three-fourths of all the passengers were invalids, some of them helpless. We drifted away before the wind, the mountains gradually disappearing from the horizon; one had lingered long, but as we descended from the crest of a mountain wave, we bid it also, a last farewell. We spent the afternoon in adjusting our baggage, and the night in sleep; the morning dawned brightly-we were still under a full press of canvas, with a fair wind. All on board had taken passage under the impression that the accommodations were superior, for which they had paid extra. We consequently felt that we were well provided for, and fairly embarked on our voyage home. As usual the first day at sea, but little attention was paid to the cook, the passengers remaining cozily ensconced in their berths.
The 30th was ushered in with a fine breeze, and we were standing on our course. At noon we found the table supplied with hard bread (sea-biscuit) and salt beef, dainties that our stomachs did not relish ; the same table was kept standing for supper. Captain Smith was interrogated in reference to his supply of provisions, for which we had paid him extra ; he replied that he was abundantly supplied with the above, which, if we chose, we could have served up every day during the voyage; when too late, we learned that the delicacies for the sick, with which he had by public notice proclaimed his ship
DEATH AND BURIAL AT SEA.
abundantly supplied, were “non est.” He had not even a pound of fruit on board; the invalids felt this privation most sensibly many of whom had come on board without supplies, having been led to believe by advertisements, that the ship had been furnished with a direct view to the comforts of those returning in ill-health. From the fare with which our table was supplied, it was impossible for a weak stomach to extract sufficient nutri. ment to sustain life. This was soon manifest, as those who were destitute immediately commenced to decline, and were soon confined to their berths. We could plainly see that the lives of some were fast ebbing away.
On the 6th December, in lat, 22° 50', North, it was announced that G. W. Ray, of Maine, was dead. He died at 10 A.M; the gang-plank was placed, one end extending over the side of the ship, supported by the rail, the other supported by a cask, over this was thrown a piece of canvas, upon which was placed the corpse. A rope was tied around the body; thence, passing down was tied around the ancles, and to the end was attached a canvas bag, filled with sand. The body was then sewed up in the canvas, over which was thrown the ensign of California. The passengers now surround the corpse, with heads uncovered. A prayer is read by the captain, the ensign is removed, and at the word one end of the plank is raised, and the body passes gently into its grave. We are under a full press of canvas with an eight knot breeze; the last bubble rises to the surface, and the wind passes mournfully through the shrouds, as if sighing his last requiem.
At 8 P.M., of the same day, another death was announced. Deceased, Mr. Cook, was a young man from Sag Harbor, where he left a wife and child. One hour after the announcement of his death, he was consigned to the grave, that had so recently opened to receive his unfortunate companion. He was buried in Lat. 20° 50', N.
We were surrounded during the day (7th) by whales and porpoises, and during the evening, as they would pass through the “luminous animalculæ,” they would present the appearance of enormous serpents of fire. On the 8th we were visited by a terrific thunder storm, accompanied by heavy winds. We run under close-reefed topsails; and when the storm clears up we