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feet in such a tempest, or withstand the sheets of rain that swept with the gale around them. Every man had an idea and proclaimed it, but he failed to impress any other that his was the best, and no one appeared by his position to hold any authority over the rest; there were present the fatal wants of purpose and leadership. As the danger increased, one rushed about with an axe, another with a rope, a third with an oar, and so with many more, all equally at sea as to what was best to be done ; while the women now called upon them to get out the boats, and then, as they looked at the foaming breakers more than a mile off, and then turned again towards those dear to them, who were to face the crested monsters, they were silenced for a time. The children were sensible of the perils of the scene, but between the gusts they momentarily forgot them in the admiration of the seahorses, as they called the breakers, rising one behind the other in a long array invading the shore ; ready, as their mothers screamed to them when they ventured too near the terrible cavalry, to carry them away with them. One stout youth at length seated himself on a coble, bent, it seemed, on devoting himself to destruction ; for, as the other men warned him, no boat could live in such
; a sea.
"What is to be done, then ?” he asked, " are we to see them go down before our eyes ?” There was no reply, and the silence was expressive, for it was every moment more likely that the brig must founder, or be dashed upon the rocks which bound the shore for a long way except at this spot, to which, if the vessel could, by any means left her, direct her course, or by chance succeed in making, though the ship was doomed, life might be spared. It now seemed as if a desperate attempt was made on board to effect this, but, just as it was observed, a vivid filash of lightning, so instantaneously followed by the loud crash of thunder that all knew the danger to be imminent, blinded them for a moment, and when they recovered their sight, they saw that the vessel had indeed struck the rocks, and so far from the beach, that it was vain to expect they could assist the crew, through the dire boiling and tossing sea that raged between them. Some of the men, irritated at the thought that even by risk of their own lives they could do nothing to help the crew, except in so far as their appearance there might encourage them, roughly told the women, who were now venting their sorrow in loud exclamations of distress, to get out of the way. To this command they paid no heed ; and the young man before alluded to was casting off his jacket in a reckless kind of way, as if preparing to swim to the aid of the shipwrecked. His idea and the ejaculations of the women were alike useless, as it became apparent that the tremendous sea was now making a complete breach over the brig, sweeping her decks and leaping halfway up her rigging, as if madly intent upon finishing its prey, while the wind howled like the spirit of the storm king, rejoicing in his dreadful victory. The crew were seen to take refuge in the rigging, but they had scarcely effected this, when three of them were swept off by one mighty wave into the roaring abyss of waters, never to emerge thence. Two others, however, still appeared clinging there to the nearly forlorn hope, as the small vessel, after repeatedly striking the rocks, and being buffeted on every side by the breakers, seemed to be breaking up. But was it possible that even in this hour of fearful elemental strife man himself strove also against man, either from dire selfishness, or, as might almost seem, from the folly of the act, madness ? To the excited spectators on the beach, the doomed pair at sea appeared to be contending who should first push the other from the frantic hold he maintained of the slippery cordage; the struggle could not endure a minute, for while the one hand of each grasped the rigging, the other-employed in forcing that of his antagonist from his holdwas certain in a few moments to relax or be thrust from its grasp, and the owners of both be plunged into eternity. The eyes of the observers did not deceive them; the case was so ; even in this hour, man fought with man. But in order to know how this came to be, we must take the reader on board the now sinking ship, where the younger of the combatants, naked to the middle, with a handkerchief tied round his waist binding a pair of canvass trousers to his limbs, had just succeeded in opposing the last mortal effort of his enemy to whirl him into the deep, exclaiming, “ Down with you, you Jonah !" when he himself realised the fate he intended for the other, and was engulphed like the three who had gone
before him. The survivor was no other than our former acquaintance, William Rigg, thus seemingly soon about to end his nautical career, in circumstances so familiar to the worn seafaring man, that when death stares him in the face on the angry breast of his own element, he usually meets it with carelessness if not bravery. But such was not the case here ; as the sailor dropt from the shrouds, with the words we have related upon his lips, the lad, as he tried with his freed hand to grasp the cords, inwardly echoed the denunciation as applicable to himself, and Ainging a wild momentary gaze upon the high black rocks that bound the shore, he thought they looked like the walls of another world, within which the ship's bell, that was swinging and sounding still on deck, tolled to him to enter.
“Oh, that weary bell !” ejaculated a woman on shore at this moment; "its unlucky sound makes me think of the dead !”
“And me of judgment,” was the reflection of the last survivor of the ship, as he still adhered to his doubtful security.
“It will soon be all over," observed an old man who had sought shelter beneath a crag, unable longer to withstand the tempest on the exposed beach ; "the Lord have mercy on him!”
With a horror of death, or a fear of the future to come, far exceeding that of the perished, William Rigg, with superhuman tenacity, yet clung to the rigging ; but his hold was every moment becoming weaker, every moment the strain upon his efforts greater. That fatal sign of life in its mortal throe, the review of our past career laid bare in one single glance, was now before him ; he heard the sound of neither bell, nor wave, nor wind, nor the loud shouts of the people on the beach, meant to cheer him ; he saw neither sea nor land, nothing but the short and dreadful panorama ; felt nothing but that he was about to drown, when, with face upraised, he uttered a piercing cry to Heaven of “ Tibby, forgive me !" and sank down, down, into the trough of the sea.
The Jonah was given unto the waters; but there was no safety for the ship, any more than her crew. The next instant she struck heavily once more, and for the last time; the mainmast fell over, and the hull breaking up, there quickly appeared, alone, the mass of separated timbers which had composed her, wildly reeling amidst the breakers. But while the people on shore bent their distracted gaze upon the wreck, clearing their eyes ever and anon for the purpose from the blinding clouds of spray, a huge billow rushed in upon the beach, bearing with it the last survivor, who, overlooked by the majority, was suddenly descried by the youth who had throughout so ardently desired to assist the unfortunate crew. He seemed to be still alive, and, with a Herculean effort, the young man threw a line towards him with a ringing cheer, in which he was now seconded by all present, whose wondering looks were fixed upon the despairing attempt; while some of them, exerting themselves anew, with greater zeal than judgment, tried to push a line through the seething surf, when a plank or oar was more likely to avail.
“ He has got it!" cried the sender, clapping his hands for joy.
No! that hairbreadth of fate which so often lies between life and death, forbade the union of the swimmer and the rope, and, with a wild wail of grief from the women, the concourse beheld the doomed lad swept again out of their sight. There was still a moment of consciousness in the drowning sailor; but the picture arrayed before him was changed. He saw the green fields of the place of his birth, and, as it were, the shade or apparition of her who had cherished him there. Again he appealed to her for forgiveness, and then the conquering waves shut him out from being.
“ Back, for your lives!” roared several male voices, at their utmost pitch, as a wave, higher and huger than any that had yet broke upon the beach, came on with a noise exceeding the thunder that rolled over their heads, and rushed so far up towards where they had collected, as scarcely to leave an inch of standing room.
“God save us! there he is yet !" ejaculated the old man, from his
place of comparative security. “That lad must be saint or devil, to be
", preserved this way!”
And, sure enough, on the crest of the tremendous wave, there was William Rigg-or what now seemed only his body, for he gave no sign of life; while a fisherman held out his boat-hook to an inanimate corpse, and the brave youth by his side, at the risk of his life, dashed into the wave, and, seizing the castaway by the hair of the head, dragged the body to the beach, where it lay, maimed and livid-a human wreck, from which the soul that had held it together seemed to have departed.
But his preserver from the waves still watched over William Rigg, insisting that he was not dead ; with the aid of another man, he bore him to the nearest cabin, and after all the rest of the onlookers declared that further efforts were useless, he continued to employ such simple means as were at hand, aided by the whole exertion of his strength, to bring back the flame which the others declared had gone out for ever. He succeeded, and though Rigg for several days was unable to do much for himself, he experienced every kindness in the power of the poor people among whom he was flung on shore, and when at length he considered himself strong enough to undertake the journey to Glasgow, they gave him such articles of apparel as he stood most in need of; so that he might be ready to avail himself of whatever chance first occurred of quitting the island. He, on his part, was very grateful for the kindness shown to a stranger, and one who had not a single coin wherewith to repay such hospitality. He became a sworn friend of the brave youth who had rescued him, it may truly be said, from death, and promised, when he reached his home or otherwise, for he was observed to hesitate as he pronounced the words, that he would transmit to them at least the value of the humble clothes they now lent him, whatever more. His intention, he added, in the meantime, was to go to Glasgow, in order to fulfil the request of one of his mates who, just before he was lost, had besought him to tell his wife there, that his last thoughts were hers, and that by applying to a certain rich relative of her husband's, hitherto unknown to her, she would, in all probability, receive that assistance when he was gone, denied to them when alive, from causes which he did not explain. He feared, he said, to intrust such a message to a letter, which might miscarry or be misunderstood, and the simple inhabitants of Arran never inquired why he did not rather proceed to his home to relieve the minds of his own relatives, and so they watched on for the wished-for opportunity of leaving. It came sooner than they expected; a vessel from Ireland was seen making signals to the shore, and shortly after a boat left her side with a single seaman on board; he made for the shore, and, after he had shoved the boat as well up the beach as his unaided strength could manage, jumped out and asked the men who stood ready to meet him, whether there was any one among them who could assist in taking on the vessel to Greenock, as an accident had disabled two of the crew. The hand, as he called him, would be well paid. All eyes turned to William Rigg, who gladly accepted the proposal ; but the other, looking in his face for a moment, seemed to hesitate, as if he doubted the strength of one who still retained the appearance of emaciation and exhaustion. The doubt was quickly observed by the acute islanders, several of whom, hereupon, more kindly than truthfully, asserted that the lad was quite strong, though he looked a little weakly; that there was indeed no other hand to be had ; and, to clench the matter, they added, sailors should help sailors, he had just been shipwrecked. One or all of these reasons appeared to weigh with the mariner, for, bidding William get ready, he turned about and began to move the boat with his boat-hook. Brief but hearty shaking of hands from the men, tears and blessings from the women, and shrill farewells from the children, greeted the departure of the rescued sailor lad from Arran, while, as he leapt on board the boat, he waved his hat tolerably heartily, and with a cheer bade them good luck till they met again.
The week following there was held at Glasgow a large fair or market, to which came trooping into the city, crowds of people from the surrounding country on errands of either business or pleasure, with the usual accompaniments of a fair, strolling musicians, mountebanks, caravans of wild beasts, and a shifting number of persons, who were not only strangers to Glasgow, but to the country. As the old cobbler remarked, of whom we have not heard for nearly three quarters of a year, “ It was a loose time,” and, in the earlier part of the day, he had experienced in his person and goods the truth of his saying. Expecting to sell largely on such an occasion, he had displayed every article he had upon his board during the morning, not forgetting the pair of heavy shoes already mentioned, which he now dragged from their hiding-place, where they had lain ever since we last heard of them, and with an exclamation which sounded rather like an oath, set them with their soles uppermost : having thus completed his arrangements outside, he retired within his den, aware that he would get little work done that day with his awl, on the one hand because there would be a deal of conversation entered upon, and on the other because he felt that he must watch more carefully than usual against theft. He had disposed of a few pairs of shoes, the last of them seemingly to his