Imágenes de páginas

day in it. A third house, which was our storehouse, about twenty-nine paces off from this, for fear of firing. This house was only a rough tree, fastened aloft with rafters laid from it to the ground, and cover'd over with our new suit of sails. On the inside we had laid small trees, and cover'd them over with boughs, and so stored our bread and fish in it, about two foot from the ground, the better to preserve them; other things lay more carelessly.

Long before Christmas our Mansion House was cover'd thick over with snow,

almost to the


roof of it. And so likewise was our second house.; but our storehouse all over, by reason we made no fire in it. Thus we seemed to live in a heat, and wilderness of snow; forth of our doors we could not go, but upon


in which we made us paths middle deep in some places, and in one special place, the length of ten steps. To do this, we must shovel away the snow first, and then by treading, make it something hard under foot: The snow in this path was a full yard thick under us. And this was our best gallery for the sick men, and for mine own ordinary walking And both houses and walks we daily accommodated more and more, and made fitter for

our uses.

“ The 27th we got our boat ashore, and fetched up some of our provisions from the beach-side into the storehouse; and so by degrees did we with the rest of our provisions, with extremity of cold and labour, making way with shovels thro' the deep snow; even from the sea-side unto our storehouse. And thus concluded we the old

January and February passed in their ordinary occupations, the cold not in the least decreasing. 6 We made three differences of the cold, all according to the places—in our house, in the woods, and in the open air upon the ice, in our going to the ship. For

year, 1631.”

the snow,

the last, it would be sometimes so extreme that it was not indurable; no cloaths were proof against it, no motion could resist it; it would moreover so freeze the hair on our eyelids that we could not see; and I verily believe that it would have stifled a man in a very few hours."

You were in a wood, (may some men say unto us,) and therefore you might make fire enough to keep you from the cold. It is true we were in a wood, and under a south-bank too, or otherwise we had all starved. But I must tell you withal, how difficult it was to have wood in a wood .. the three that were appointed to look for crooked timber, stalked and waded, sometimes on all fours, through

and when they saw a tree likely to fit the mould, they must first heave away the snow, and then see if it would fit the mould; 'if not, they must seek further. If it did fit the mould, then they must make a fire to it, to thaw it, otherwise it could not be cut; then cut it down and fit it to the length of the mould, and then with other help get it home, a mile thorow the snow.

“ Now for our firing. We could not burn green wood, it would so smoke that it was not indurable; yea,

the men had rather starve without in the cold than sit by it. As for the dry wood, that also was bad enough in that kind; for it was full of turpentine, and would send forth such a thick smoke, that would make abundance of soot, which made us all look as if we had been free of the Company of Chimney-Sweepers. Our clothes were quite burnt in pieces about us, and for the most part we were all without shoes. But to our fuellers again. They must first (as the former) go up and down in the snow till they saw a standing dry tree; for that the snow covered


that fallen. Then they must hack it down with their pieces of hatchets, and then others must carry it home thorow the snow. The boys with cutlasses must cut boughs for the carpenter; for every piece of timber that he did work, must be first thawed in the fire, and he must have a fire by him, or he could not work. And this was our continual labour throughout the forementioned cold, besides our tending of the sick, and other necessary imployments."


But notwithstanding these were severe privations for such emaciated beings as they had become, a more dreadful enemy

any they


yet encountered presented itself, in the shape of scurvy-exhibiting the usual symptoms of weakness, swelled legs, sore mouths, black turgid gums, the flesh of which had to be cut away every day; the teeth loose in the jaw, &c., rendering two-thirds of the company powerless.

March passed in nearly the same manner; but towards the middle of April they began to overhaul the ship, to see what could be made of her. During May and June they were engaged in digging out the ice with which she was filled ; in which they suffered great hindrance from the death of the carpenter. A most singular event happened at this time: the body of the gunner, who had never recovered from the amputation of his leg, and which had been committed to the deep some six months before, was discovered hard frozen in the ice, and when dug out, was as free from noisomeness as when first committed to the sea; only that his flesh would slip up and down upon his bones like a glove upon a man's hand.

The 16th of June was “wondrous hot, with some lightning and thunder, so that our men did

into the ponds ashore to swim and cool themselves; yet was the water very cold still. There had lately appeared divers sorts of flies, as butter-flies, butcher's-flies, horse-flies, and such an infinite abundance of bloodthirsty muscatoes, that we were now more tormented with them than ever we were with the cold weather."


On the evening of the 22nd, having again fitted the ship and made her as staunch as their means would permit, she was with infinite trouble hove off, and towed into deep water.

While the crew were engaged in setting the rigging in order and conveying the stores on board, James, with a companion, went to the summit of an eminence to light a fire as a signal, and to see if it would be answered by any natives in the vicinity. His companion forgetfully set fire to some bushes to windward, which, spreading rapidly, caught the tree up which James had climbed the better to observe, and he narrowly escaped being burnt alive. The fire still continued to spread over the island, and raged furiously for two days, so that James gave orders that everything should be taken on board the vessel, and these orders were scarcely carried out, before the sentinel, who had been posted to watch the devastating flames, came running in to tell them “that the fire did follow him hard at his heels, like a train of powder.” They, therefore, laid hand on everything that still remained, and hastened on board the ship, from which they beheld the fire seize upon their dwellings and raze them to the ground in a moment.

On the 1st July, the boat pulled ashore for the last time. After reading prayers and dining, the whole of the company gathered together to take the last view of their dead companions. “And now the sun was set, and the Boat came ashore for us; whereupon we assembled ourselves together, and went up to take the last view of our Dead, and to look into their Tombs, and other things.' With mournful feelings, they then slowly pulled on board, and next morning, cheerfully hoisting sail, departed, “beseeching God to continue his mercies to them, and rendering him thanks for having thus restored them.”

“ Now to avoid telling the same thing twenty times, we were continually, till the 22nd, so pestered and tormented with ice, that it would seem incredible to relate it. Sometimes we were so blinded with Fog, that we could not see about us; and being now become wilful in our endeavours, we should so strike against the Ice, that the fore-part of the Ship would crack again, and make our Cook and others to run up all amazed, and think the Ship had been beaten all to pieces. Indeed we did hourly strike such unavoidable blows, that we did leave the Hatches open; and twenty times in a day the men would run down into the Hold, to see if she were bulged.” In this manner they reached Cape Henrietta Maria on the 22nd, where they went on shore, with their dogs, to endeavour to kill some deer, but they tired their dogs and wearied themselves to no purpose. The same evening they again set sail, and again we have the same catalogue of disasters until the 22nd August, when they made land to the westward of Carey's Swans' Nest; and on the 24th, Nottingham Island. On the 26th, matters becoming worse,

James called a consultation of his officers, who gave him a written opinion :-“Our Advice is, That you repair homeward from this present 26th, and that for these Reasons."

“Wherefore (with a sorrowful heart, God knows) I consented that the helm should be borne up, and a Course shaped for England. Well hoping, that his Majesty would graciously censure of my Endeavours, and pardon my Return. And although we have not discovered populous Kingdoms, and taken special notice of their Magnificence, Power and Policies; brought samples home of their Riches and Commodities; pried into the mysteries of their Trades and

2 These reasons, which amount to seven, chiefly relate to the advanced season of the year, and the shattered state of the ship and her crew.


« AnteriorContinuar »