Page 30 - Wrecked on the Cheticamp Coast, 1823
ISSUE : Issue 26
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1980/8/1
feet?" They always answered, "0 no;" but I was soon led to conclude differently. As they were taking the poultices off one night, they tore all the skin and toe nails off together; then, by painful ex? perience, I soon found I should lose my feet, the right foot being slewed athwart. The master of the house went to one Ubier Aucoin, where Webster, the cook, resided, and he informed me on his return that they were going to cut Webster's legs off in a short time. He sent me word by the master that I was to keep up my spirits. In a few days after this he visited him again, and found that Webster had received the sacra? ment at the hands of the' priest. Finding there was no means of saving him but by cutting his leg off, and having neither doctor nor surgeon, they engaged the most skilful person they had in the place, who, with a common joiner's saw and a large knife, took his leg off, but it not bleed? ing, he died shortly after. They had him decently buried by the priest in their own church yard. Shortly after this, the priest came to visit me, and brought me a Prayer Book, half English and half French, and ex? pressed a wish for me to turn Catholic, which I told him I could not conscientious? ly do, wishing to abide by the religion in which I was brought up....He said to me, "You are very ill indeed, I am of an opin? ion that you will not get better." I an? swered, "Well, sir, the Lord is sufficient for all things,, and he can restore me if it be his good will and pleasure so to do." In a day or two after, the mate of the Com? merce came in to see me, and gave me half a dollar, which I gave to the master of the house to take care of for me, and which he did, for my tobacco pouch and this money I never saw after. While I was at this house, two men came to enquire if I was willing that the boat should be sold; they said they would give five pounds for her, and a Peter O'Quin was to pay us, or let us have any thing we were in want of out of his stores instead of money. This proposal was agreed to, as I thought these things would be serviceable some time, should we get better; but in this I was much deceived, as I never received a far? thing's worth of any thing for my share of it.... At this house I remained about a fortnight; the person who lived in it had a large family and was very poor, and of course was not able to keep me long. My living here was chiefly a little barley soup and tea, but I scarcely ever tasted bread. The master of the house was very kind; he served me every meal, as I was unable to assist myself. On Sunday the 21st December, to the best of my recollection, as he gave me my breakfast, he told me I was about to be removed to another person's house who had more meat than he had, and of course could provide better for me, and he said the priest thought I should live better there. In a little time, Wm. Budrow came with the priest's horse and carryall; I was put therein, my right foot nearly mor? tified off and my left one in a bad put- rified state, and then covered with blan? kets . We soon got to my new lodgings. I was immediately put into a bed,' laid on the floor close to the fire; this bed had more room in it, and was much softer and more comfortable than the crib which I had at the other house. My new master gave me some refreshment, the best which he had. The women here were always willing to do all they could for me. When his son began to dress my feet, they were in a sad put? rid state, so much so, that he soon grew tired of dressing them and my hands. At his house the steward of the Assistance lodged for the winter. This man...came regularly to dress my feet and hands every night, which gave me great comfort. One night I said, "John," (that was his chris? tian name) "I think my right foot is near? ly off." In the morning, Charles Budrow cut it off and buried it in the garden. After this time, two books kept me engaged at intervals in reading for several months, when I got able to sit up in bed; they were the "Common Prayer" and Bunyan's "Pil? grim's Progress," and were a great comfort to me, as they seemed to ease my pains and sufferings, and made the time pass on sweeter than it would have done otherwise. A short time after this, there came to this house one Mr. Duffice, and another gentleman, from Brasdor, and Mr. Mickanin (justice of the peace), from Margree; they came to the sale of the ship Commerce, and lodged at this house two or three days.... (Mr. Mickanin) asked me if I was agreeable for the wreck of the ship, which still re? mained on the shore, to be sold. I told him, if it would fetch any small matter that would do us good, I had no objection. He accordingly gave notice at four o'clock, and at six it was sold. Three Frenchmen came to the sale, but there being only two bidders, Mr. Mickanin bought it in himself for two guineas, and told me Peter O'Quin was either to pay the money, or let us have any thing we wanted to the amount. At this house several Frenchmen used to come to spend an hour or two on Sunday be? tween the times of service, and by this means I frequently got to know how my ship? mates came on. They told me Taylor had had his foot cut off. I enquired whether it was removed with a knife. They replied, "Yes, with a pen-knife." One of these per? sons informed me John Simpson was in a very bad state; he had lost one of his feet, and he was very fearful he should soon lose the other. The old man and his wife always left me alone the most part of the Sunday, and the steward of the Assis? tance , who lived at the son's house, at the next door, always came in to bear me company. One night, as the steward was dressing my legs, he said, "This foot is very nigh off." I said, "Yes, it is; if you will give me the razor I will cut it off." I cut two or three of the leaders, (30)
Cape Breton's Magazine