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Page 17 - The Wreck of the Ariadne

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1973/1/1 (2206 reads)

The Wreck of the Ariadne, October 7, 1896 by Lillian Crewe Walsh When Jimmy opened the porch door he let in a flurry of snow and a cold blast of air. "Never did I see sich a starmy month for this time of year in all my born days," he said as he stamped his feet on the floor. "Over two inches of snow down and blowin a livin gale right in from the Easterd." "Bad all right," said Dad. "Charles Payne and I went down and hauled the dories up a bit higher, and I brought up the net we got torn up last storm and spread it out on the kitchen loft to dry. We may be able to mend it tomorrow. It won't be a day out fishing, that's for sure." "No, Skipper," said Jimmy, "it won't be a day out that's certain. There's a terrible sea heavin in and the wind is enough to clip yer." He stopped for a moment. "Do you know. Skipper, a feller from the Cove told me that there's a ship off Phillip Hatchers' point • seemed to be makin poor headway. Spose it be one of those foreign vessels on the way to Sydney or Halifax?" "That could be," Dad said. "It's kind of late for sailin craft to be round our shores." Dad seemed uneasy that night and Jimmy did not sing any of the old songs such as "It was the twelfth of March my Boys" or "From Bristol we set sail." Mother said it was bedtime a bit earlier than usual, but snuggled in a warm bed we forgot the raging storm. We did not know that Dad and Jimmy went to the point to try to get a glimpse of the ship, and that they had not gone to bed when Reuben Payne came down from South Point to tell them a ship was ashore farther up near Green Cove. The scram box, as Jimmy always called the lunch box, was filled and Dad gmd Jimmy and almost all the men went to the scene of the wreck. It was dark when they came back, wet, cold and tired. The ARIADNE was a total wreck and heavy seas hindered them from searching for the bodies; but next day the wind had gone down and three men were found and brought down to a warehouse at the shore • and next day two more were recovered. I do not remember if the ARIADNE carried more than five men, but I do know that was all that was found. The fishermen from New Haven • the place re? ferred to as the Cove • helped the men of Neil's Harbour to make the caskets. The kindly merchant gave material to cover them. Little pillows covered with white were pro? vided and bits of green spruce boughs were placed on the covers in the form of a cross. It helped take the bare look off the caskets that contained the men of Norway. Our clergyman was the Rev. Robert Atkinson Smith. I remember the school was closed the day of the funeral and the little homes of Neil's Harbour had the blinds down as a to? ken for the strangers that would be laid to rest so far from their own dear shores. John Payne had lit a fire in the little church and the door in the end used only for funerals was opened. The minister looked tired as he waited to see the pro? cession coming over the hill and when he went to meet them we stood up in the little church. "I am the resurrection and the life," saith the Lord, "He that believeth on me, though he were dead yet shall he live." The burial service had begun. The Captain's casket came first, then the others were placed two on each side. The little minister spoke of the dangers of the The grave of the men of the Ariadne marked "Unknown Sailors," under a spruce tree in the cemetery at St. Andrew's. sea. Perhaps because we were children of seafaring men, and well aware of such dan? gers, the sermon made a lasting impression on us and we were not ashamed of the tears that ran unchecked down our cheeks when he CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE Cape Breton's Magazine/17
Cape Breton's Magazine
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