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The Earliest Days Of Water-travelling

Once upon a time there were no ships. Men did not kn...

Preservation Of Nine Men In A Small Boat Surrounded By Islands Of Ice
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The Loss Of The Ramillies In The Atlantic Ocean
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Reuben James Able Seaman
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Toilers Of The Sea






Victor Hugo's "Toilers of the Sea" is a story of the Channel Islands
between England and France. Gilliatt, the hero, was a seaman of
extraordinary skill and physical strength, a solitary fellow who used
to cruise about alone in his sloop, dreaming of Deruchette, the
prettiest maid of Guernsey. Deruchette was the niece of Mess
Lethierry, an old sailor who was fast growing rich from the income of
his steamboat, the Durande, which plied between Guernsey and the
French coast. One foggy night the Durande was wrecked on the Douvres,
dangerous rocks in the open sea, five leagues out from Guernsey, and
her skipper, Sieux Clubin was drowned. The Durande, however, did not
sink, but hung suspended between the two great rocks; and her valuable
machinery was safe so long as the wreck should hold together.
Deruchette promised to marry any brave man who would rescue the
engines of her uncle's boat; and for so great a prize Gilliatt
resolved to undertake the dangerous and almost hopeless task. He
sailed out to the Douvres, and for two months lived among the barren
rocks, suffering every kind of peril and privation while working on
the wreck of the Durande. At last, after superhuman efforts, he
succeeded in loading the machinery upon his sloop, and was about to
return triumphantly and claim his reward, when a fearful tempest burst
upon him, and forced him to terrible exertions in order to save
himself and his completed work from being dashed to pieces in the
caverns of the Douvres. Successful at last, but utterly exhausted by
the struggle, Gilliatt sank upon the deck of his sloop and fell into a
heavy sleep. The famous story of his adventure with the devil-fish
begins at this juncture.





Next: A Struggle With A Devil-fish

Previous: The Tempest



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