The Hesperian / (Lincoln, Neb.) 1885-1899, December 22, 1892, Page 3, Image 3

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A. Niortat of FoS'
takkn fkom tiik mahogany tuuk.
if- f
Wo have boon out about a week. It was
Thursday, tho third, I think, of Soptcmbor,
and ft queer day it was from tho first. You
know, probably, how seldom it is that dense
sen-fog is mot with in deep soundings. Well,
that day, in mid ocean, tho fog was as heavy
as any I over saw on tho banks of New
foundland. There was not n cloud. Tho
disk of tho sun rose red and dull in tho
morning, and so it remained all day, except
when sliredsof thicker mistuould blot it for
tho moment from sight. Thero was not a
breath of wind, and tho sea was quiet, oxcopt
for tho long, glassy swell from tho east.
Tho air was warm, and so heavy that it
seemed hard to breathe. Now and then,
however, when tho swift heel of tho ship as
sho rolled brought us close to tho surfaco of
tho rising wave, wo would catch u gust of
coolness from its dusky slope. The water
seemed permeated with a keen unnatural
cold. Tho negro firemen, hot from their
work, drew it up by tho bucketful and dashed
it over their shining bodies, but tho others
shrunk from it, saying that it smelt of sul
phur, and indeed thero was about it a strango
repellent odor. It was dull, too, in color,
almost black, and tho greenish bubbles of
tho broken swell rose heavily as through
8omo foul, oily scum.
At noon tho captain took an observation
"-such as ho might in the constant wavering
of the wide mist-wreaths that streamed fan-
Sllc' lod-colored, over sea and sky. Ho
j8 standing on tho bridge, and I joined
"m thero. Ho 81li( nothing, however, but
!ent 8ullony helow to figure out our posi-,IOn-
Ho seemed to feol none of the gloomy
jponcoof tho weather; ijideed,ho paid not
10 "lightest heed to it, except that, as ho
Wont below. 1, fi,i ' .... ' .!.
a11 was sun :.,. .!.- ri. L.. .....,..i.
., , a "5'wiiou mo giuo tn nc migni uu
8 enng bobiiul tho ever-increasing swell.
10 first mate was confined to his berth
by an injury to his legthe result of a fall
in a hatchway and I was left in full charge
of the ship. The captain did not reappear
on deck till it was nearly night. Then I
wont up to him and asked him for instruc
tions. "We arc in hit. 31.5 north, long. 0. G
west, " he answered. "You will see that
our course is held sou'west by south. Keep
a careful watch on tho weather, and put a
man on the bow-dock for look-out. Tho fog
may bo thicker to-night."
Then, with a shrug of his shoulders, ho
walked aft. The strango souse of restless
anticipation that oppressed tho others seemed
to leave him untouched. Yet he was tho
only man on board who was indifferent, ex
cept the stolid negro firemen, and oven on
their faces, when they cair.o on deck, I
could see a growing expression of anxiety,
and tho constant glancing of tho whites of
their eyes showed a nervous unrest that
steadily increased as the strange day settled
into a murky and horrible twilight.
The crew crowded together on the for
ward hatch, trying to pierce the leaden vol
umes of sullen cload ahead, or glancing
fearfully at tho blood-red mist behind,
through which tho huge sun burned like a
misshapen ball of infernal fire.
I went down and stood by them. As tho
darkness deepened tho mist scorned to take
actual form, and to settle in fine oily ashes
on hands and face, and tho cold reek from
tho sea came dank and clammy as tho touch
of a corpse. As the red ball of tho sun
faded completely from sight, thero came a
sense of loneliness, of desertion, of aband
onment to the unknown powers and perils
of the darkness. Hardly a loud word was
spoken. Men whispered anxiously, and
trod softly, as if fearing to break the spoil
of the unnatural sea-silenco.
Even the captain seemed to begin to feel
; I
f !