Husbands expected to follow their wives and join them either in New York or by transfer in mid-ocean from steamer to steamer. Many passengers relate that they were told by officers that the ship was a lifeboat and could not go down; one lady affirms that the captain told her the Titanic could not sink for two or three days; no doubt this was immediately after the collision.
"I was getting so hungry and thirsty out there in mid-ocean with my hero, waiting for a sail to turn up, that I really needed my dinner. Jiminy! it must be awful to have anything happen to you on the ocean," he continued absent-mindedly; "you must feel so awfully far away from every one and so helpless."
As I approached nearer, cultivated fields appeared, "and oh, how green the corn!" Only those who have seen the Azores from the deck of a vessel realize the beauty of the mid-ocean picture. At 4:30 P.M. I cast anchor at Fayal, exactly eighteen days from Cape Sable.
"No child now, no child now," he muttered again, as though his dispair cried out to God. He was feeling like a man wrecked in mid-ocean. A spar came floating towards him. It was all he could lay hold of from the foundering ship, in which he had sailed, and sung, and laughed, and slept. He had thought to save his life by it, but another man was clinging to it, and he had to drop it and go down.
Every ship's master wished naturally to be in the fur-carrying trade, and in one of Dana's instances, two vessels encounter in mid-ocean, and exchange the usual parley as to their respective ports of departure and destination. The final demand comes through the trumpet, "What cargo?" and the captain so challenged yields to temptation and roars back "Furs!"
Total abstinence is no doubt admirable, but how are you to get them to be totally abstinent? When a man is drowning in mid-ocean the one thing that is needful, no doubt, is that he should plant his feet firmly on terra firma. But how is he to get there? It is just what he cannot do. And so it is with the drunkards.
Captain Staunton had, when quite a lad, been compelled, with the rest of the ship's company of which he was then a junior and very unimportant member, to abandon the ship and take to the boats in mid-ocean; and he then learnt a lesson which he never forgot, and formed ideas with respect to the fitting of boats which his nautical friends had been wont to rather sneer at and stigmatise as "queer."
We all went out to the apple-trees early in the morning. As usual, Sir Wemyss was dressed for the part. Why is it, I wonder, that the British always find themselves dressed for the occasion? I believe, if an Englishman were wrecked in mid-ocean, with only a hat-box for baggage, that out of that box he could produce bathing-trunks in which to drown properly.
Pickard's business called him to London, where he resided with his family two years, so that the child's fifth birthday was duly celebrated in mid-ocean on the homeward voyage. In a letter of Mrs. Pickard, written during this London residence, she says, "Mr. Pickard is even more anxious than I to go home. Mary is the only contented one. She is happy all the time."
It was the first time that I had ever beheld such a sight, and I am not ashamed to confess that the sensation it produced in me was, for a short time, something very nearly akin to terror, so dreadful a portent did it seem to be, and so profoundly impressed was I with our utter helplessness away out there in mid-ocean, in that small, frail boat, with no friendly shelter at hand, and nothing to protect us from the gathering fury of the elements nothing, that is to say, but the hand of God; and I say it with shame I thought far too little of Him in those days.
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