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last wave went over them; the fierce encounter, between those whom danger had made fiends, for some frail hope; a bench, a chair; the death.grasp as they sunk and died together; all this, and all the mass of thoughts which flashes on and lights up the excited soul at such a time, and which none can conceive who has not lived through similar scenes, filled my distracted mind, as though it were a many-sided glass, and on the instant mirrored all things there.

I hastened to the other side of the saloon, to avoid both sight and hearing. The wail grew less and less distinct; a few moments more, and the last echo died upon the air.

Now came those fearful cries which tell of the imminent deadly breach. The pumps ! the pumps ! throw overboard the freight !' - and with good will were they responded to. Bales, boxes, packages, and engine-wood were soon on their winding way to the Atlantic. Thus passed some thirty minutes : the boat was gradually sinking, and the cabins were half-filled with water; when Captain A again threw out the lead, and passed the welcome word that we were safe, the water being there but deep enough to come up to the upper deck. He lowered our only boat at once, and sent some trusty hands to seek the wretches we had left behind.

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All now were safe ; and it was curious to look in the deserted cabin, half-filled up with water, and see the sofas, chairs, and tables, with lighted candles still upon them, floating quietly about, while on the upper deck the engineers and sailors, ladies, emigrants and gentlemen, sat side by side upon the single seat which ran all round the promenade.

Return we for a moment to the evening before. "The Fat Gentleman,' of mirthful memory, affected by the mirth and beef and ale of previous hours, soon fell asleep; and feeling restless during the night, turned over on the other side ; when, what was his surprise to feel cold water in his berth! Starting from his bed, he saw that the cabin was filled with water as high up as his berth; the furniture was floating round, with lighted candles upon the tables, and no human being near. He sprang up, puzzled and frightened ; jumped from his narrow couch, and fast as his unwieldy limbs would carry him, waddled through the water to the cabin stairs, thence to the deck, and onward to the prome. nade stair-case.

The crew and passengers were conversing quietly over the past event, (for although the boat was gradually going down, it was in shallow water, and they knew that all was safe,) when lo! as if coming through the deck planks, a bald head was seen, like Gilpin's, without hat or wig, and with a face ludicrously distorted with fear and wonder, followed by a massive pair of shoulders, and a huge round body, with a single garment clinging to its sides; and lastly, a pair of naked feet were planted on the deck. It was the 'Fat Gentleman,' who running over the deck as fast as he could move, cried out, “Oh! captain! captain! Where's

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the captain ? Captain! the boat 's a-sinkin’! Having passed through the rows of ladies, sailors, gentlemen, and servants, he found the captain, who calmed his fears, and suggested that he had got up too hurriedly to pay a due attention to his toilet ; but it was now too late to "call spirits from the vasty deep,' for his boots, pantaloons and coat were in the cabin, where the expertest diver could not reach them. One however lent him a pair of stockings, another a pair of drawers, which reached some two-thirds round his fair proportions, and another lent him a shawl and handkerchief, of which he made an extempore coat and hat; and so remained upon the cold wet deck: but notwithstanding all this, his fun soon came again, and he succeeded in making some few forget that their fellows were drowning a few miles away.

Our steamer by this time was well down in the lake, the lower deck being even with it; the wheels went slowly round, as she dragged her slow length along; the engine heaved and groaned as if it were a dying thing. In a few moments more the water reached the boilers, putting out the fires; and we struck the bottom of the lake with two feet of water on the lower deck, the shore some two miles off, but still invisible in the darkness.

We had still considerable excitement, but of a different character, except with two old ladies and an Irish laborer, who could not divest themselves of their fears, but walked hurriedly about, exclaiming to each one they met: “We're sinking! we shall be drowned! You are deceiving us; we're going down! Oh dear! oh dear!' As for the others, they sat or stood in groups, telling the story over again; but those who attracted most attention were the five who had left the other steamer and saved themselves in a large boat which would have held fifty persons. Seeing one of them with a thin face, a pair of light red whiskers, between which a pipe was hanging down, while frequent puffs of smoke rose from between his bloodless lips, I spoke to him:

'I believe you, Sir, are from the other steamer ?' · Yes.'

• You had a very large batteau; was it not possible to have saved more of those unfortunate people ?'

Necessity, Sir, necessity; they might have jumped in and sunk us all. The first law of nature, Sir, self-preservation.'

Might? True; but were you conscious at the moment what you did, or had the excitement made you desperate ?'

• No; we knew what we were at; but do n't you think they will be saved ? I left four children and my wife behind !

I looked to see if he was serious; but the same dull stolidity was in his face.

· Four children and your wife! And you left them there to drown, while you were in an almost empty boat!'

• The others cut the ropes in two; but do n't you think they will be saved ?'

I hope so; yes, they had more boats, and many things to float on; they may be saved; all, possibly. • . Well, if they're lost, it can't be helped ; but say — the boat, that

will be raised ? the things on board will all be saved ? he asked, eagerly.

There's little doubt of that; but why ?'

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• I had some admiralty papers on board i

some papers of importance, which must be saved, whatever happens, cried he, with earnestness, striking the palm of his hand with his clenched fist.

A chill ran through me like that which follows the touch of ice : · Four children and my wife — I hope they 'll not be drowned; but the admiralty papers must be saved !

How those two words come back upon the memory, even now, like some old startling dream, in the saloon or solitude, in the counting-house or town! The merchant parts with peace, years, health, honor too perhaps, and gains a fortune. The belle leaves hope and love, and all that makes the day-star of a woman's life, for an old husband and an equipage. The politician breaks, link by link, the chain which bound him fast to truth, to honor, to heaven, for fame and place; and so on, ad infinitum. How often, as I watch their progress, step by step, a still small voice whispers my soul : Their admiralty papers must be saved !'

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OEAPTER IV.

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THE “ reign of terror' was of short duration. After we had left the cabin, it being full of water, down the steamer went like a sinking stone. A large batteau, which had been taken as freight, and lay upon the deck, was filled with human beings, who remained in it until the wreck sunk from under them, and then rowed safely ashore. The small boats belonging to the steamer were filled beyond their capacity, and sank immediately, leaving their freight of human bodies struggling in the waves. The crowd upon the deck were going down without a hope ; their boats all gone; the sky above them dark; the waters darker underneath; and oh! how darkest was that unknown eternity to which fate seemed hurrying them! Despair was in every heart. This mental suffering is the bitterness of death, compared with which the merely physical pain of dying is but light. Some rushed to the upper deck, and climbed up the chain and up the machinery to the walkingbeam; others threw themselves into the lake, and clung to such planks or boxes as they could secure. The boat went down, down; and as that awful death-wail rose toward heaven, they gazed with fixed looks of despair upon their watery grave.

A sudden check; 'oh, God! she does not sink! The joyful cry was true. She had sunk on a rock, or shallow place in the lake, and the promenade-deck was still some few inches above the water. The events of this chapter occupied but about ten minutes of time, and yet many souls had already winged their flight on high, and many persons were still struggling in the waves, or clinging to such drifting things as they could reach, and in the current were floating away, away - to death, some of them. Two gentle beings, who had gone abroad with an invalid father, and closely tended him until it pleased the Almighty to take him from their care, had his body placed in an air-tight casing, and were returning to their desolate home. At the first cry of danger,

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they rushed to it as to a guardian angel ; and so it proved to one of them, for it saved her life. The other clung to it until her strength gradually ebbed away ; her delicate fingers relaxed their hold; and she fell gently back into her vast grave, with the dark clouds for a pall cover her water-coffin, and her soul ascended unto the mercy seat.

The cries of those upon the promenade-deck ceased, as the steamer struck the bottom. But hark ! deep stifled groans are heard below, as if from babes and women; and once more the scene is one of wild excitement. The mate fortunately had a hatchet in the upper works, and blow soon followed blow over the places whence the anguished voices came; a little opening was soon made, when · Hold !' cried a looker. on, as he snatched the falling axe. A tiny arm was seen protruding through the aperture, and the next blow would probably have severed it. Gently and fast they cut; and from the places whence voices came, rescued from death eight beings, whose necks were in the water while their heads were pressed against the ceiling.

One heroine, who had two children in her charge, and was attending them to their parents and distant home, held them up, at peril of her life, against the ceiling of the cabin, until they were cut out and saved. She was afterward upon the boat which took us from the wreck; and it was pleasant to look upon her open brow, and dark and firm yet mild eyes. Nurse, or whatever they may call that woman, she bore the stamp of Nature's own nobility ;' and the children too seemed to carry some of her own spirit in their clear, frank and open countenances. Never may their parents forget their preserver!

The boat from the other steamer now arrived, its crew having picked up several persons, who were clinging to planks, and nearly dead. They also recovered a lifeless body, which proved to be the eldest son of the owner of the admiralty papers.' Poor fellow ! the body lay before us soulless and cold. The Holy FATHER, He who notices the sparrow's fall, had taken up the soul to himself, from one who knew not, cared not for, the highest trust we have on earth - the training of a child for heaven. And thus ended that Hour on Lake St. Peter.

Long and wearily the hours rolled on. Gradually a dull morning broke upon us, amid storm and rain, and the washing of cold waves over the disabled steamers, which were now visible, lying low upon the surface of the lake, some three miles apart. As the day wore away, boats came to our assistance; and we were soon going our ways, with the day-star of hope still beckoning us on. But how changed the scene from the moon-lit one of the previous evening! Some were parentless, some childless. Sorrow had come upon them as a thief in the night. Most of them were gloomy and silent, from the reaction of intense excitment; and long hours passed in the open air, unprotected from the frowning clouds. A few recklessly joked of the past, a lesser few, with joyful countenances thanked the High and Mighty One who had saved them in their hour of peril; and from these the notes of a hymn of praise arose, dying away in the distance over the waves, as we left the huge grave of our friends behind us.

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AWFUL the mysteries of Reason are,

When all its powers, with high Religion crowned,

Harmoniously, like solemn music, sound.
Its loss more awful, more mysterious far:
Then, in the glorious concert, grates the jar

Of horrid discords. Fiends beleaguer round

The citadels of thought and will. Then drowned,
In billows of black cloud, is Faith's bright star;
Weird phantoms throng round in the dire eclipse ;
Unreal deaths, fires, terrors haunt the air ;

Prayer bounds back blighted; e'en God's Word divine
Lies, when reëchved from the Devil's lips !
Fool ! boastest thou thy reason? Is it thine ?
Go to the mad-house cells; learn wisdom there ?

9

J. 2. R.

VOL. XXV.

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