in force, we took in all but the small jib and the large topsail, both
fully reefed. Then minutes later we were at the full mercy of the seas,
and riding before the gale.
passengers up on deck began to lose courage and demanded to be allowed
to go below. Even if they had not made this request, the order would
undoubtedly have been issued, for in bad weather nothing annoys the
sailors so much as the passengers.
of the passengers had gone below when a violent wave from starboard
broke open the hatches. The waves that had been anticipating just this
calamity came in through this opening, and in less than ten minutes two
feet of water poured in below decks. The trunks now began to
float—invariably an ominous sign—for the top of the hatch had been
entirely carried off by the force of the water.
hatch was covered over. Then the pumps were started. This time the
passengers did not wait for orders to go up on deck. When they felt the
water around their knees, when they saw the trunks, valises, and boxes
begin to dance, they scrambled up the ladders, leaving the hatches even
more quickly than they had been engulfed.
captain called all hands to man the pumps. The situation was critical
and every man aboard responded with every ounce of his strength to the
task. Everyone seemed to feel that his neighbour was too weak to work,
and insisted on taking a turn. The women were somewhat frightened at
first, but when they found they were not drowned they came back
laughing through the water to encourage us. Night, an intensely black
night, was passed in the same way, that is, hanging between life and
death, probably a little nearer death than life. Day finally broke, and
with the dawn an east wind returned.
having been repaired, our ship tranquilly resumed her course and by
travelling at ten knots made up what time had been lost during the
night. Upon rounding the cape we sighted a three-master; however she
was too far away for us to be able to recognize either her build or her
flag. At length we passed out into the Pacific Ocean which was
recognized from afar by its waves. From now on fine weather and
favourable winds lasted until we arrived at Valparaiso.