Sea Stories

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.

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Next: A Struggle With A Devil-fish

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