The Hesperian / (Lincoln, Neb.) 1885-1899, December 22, 1892, Page 3, Image 3
THE HESPERIAN 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 r t K K & te ; I I; il ;iH f !