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.





;