Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine >> Chapter XVI / Spirit-Whisperings. - Reminiscence >> Page 351

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Page 351

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription MYSTERIOUS VOICES. 351
length, by dint of patience rather than wind, we reached that
latitude in which the Pulaski had blown up four days before.
We must have been very nearly over the very spot, as we dis-
covered by calculation afterward. Of course we were wholly in
ignorance of the terrible catastrophe.
That evening, one of the gentlemen of the Carolina family I
have mentioned, came to me, and said that he had heard cries
of distress and moanings, as of some persons upon the water. I
immediately set watches about the vessel, examined as well as
I might myself, but could neither hear nor see any object be-
yond the ship. He again heard the noises, and again I watched
and examined. He was excited necessarily, and I greatly anx-
ious. With the first dawn of morning I was up in the rigging,
and sweeping the seas with my glass. Nothing was to be seen.
We had no special fears, no apprehensions. There seemed no
reason for apprehension. None of us thought of the Pulaski.
She was a good seaboat, and, saving the presentiment of the
one passenger, who did not again speak of the scruples he had
expressed on shore, there were not only no apprehensions en-
tertained of the steamer's safety, but our passengers, many of
them, were all the while regretting that they had not gone in
her. We never heard of her fate, or suspected it, till we took
our pilot off Sandy Hook. Now, what do you say of the warn-
ing cries which were heard by the one gentlemen, whose kins-
men in the Pulaski were all lost. Four days before, they were
perishing, without help, in that very spot of sea. The presenti-
ments of the one passenger, before we started, the signs mani-
fested to another after the terrible event, are surely somewhat
curious, as occurring in the case of this single ship. I think
that I am as little liable to superstitious fears and fancies as any-
body present, and yet, these things., with a thousand others in
my sea experience, have satisfied me to believe with Hamlet,
that
" ` There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Than are dreamed of in our philosophy.'"
Once open the way for the supernatural, and it is surprising
what a body of testimony you can procure. Most people are
sensitive to ridicule on this subject, and will rarely deliver the
secrets of their prison-house to other ears, unless the cue has