Spring and Charles Sumner were here yesterday, but left soon. Mr. Oakes and wife tell me (all the survivors came, or were brought, directly to their house) that the ship struck at ten minutes after four A. M., and all hands, being mostly in their night clothes, made haste to the forecastle, the water coming in at once.
There they remained; the passengers in the forecastle, the crew above it, doing what they could. Every wave lifted the forecastle roof and washed over those within. The first man got ashore at nine; many from nine to noon. At flood tide, about half past three o’clock, when the ship broke up entirely, they came out of the forecastle, and Margaret sat with her back to the foremast, with her hands on her knees, her husband and child already drowned. A great wave came and washed her aft. The steward had just before taken her child and started for shore. Both were drowned.
The broken desk, in a bag, containing no very valuable papers; a large black leather trunk, with an upper and under compartment, the upper holding books and papers; a carpet-bag, probably Ossoli’s, and one of his shoes (?) are all the Ossoli effects known to have been found. Four bodies remain to be found: the two Ossolis, Horace Sumner, and a sailor. I have visited the child’s grave. Its body will probably be taken away to-day. The wreck is to be sold at auction, excepting the hull, to-day.
The mortar would not go off. Mrs. Hasty, the captain’s wife, told Mrs. Gakes that she and Margaret divided their money, and tied up the halves in handkerchiefs around their persons; that Margaret took sixty or seventy dollars. Mrs. Hasty, who can tell all about Margaret up to eleven o’clock on Friday, is said to be going to Portland, New England, to-day. She and Mrs. Fuller must, and probably will, come together. The cook, the last to leave, and the steward (?) will know the rest. I shall try to see them. In the mean while I shall do what I can to recover property and obtain particulars hereabouts. William H. Channing — did I write it? — has come with me. Arthur Fuller has this moment reached the house. He reached the beach last night. We got here yesterday noon. A good part of the wreck still holds together where she struck, and something may come ashore with her fragments. The last body was found on Tuesday, three miles west. Mrs. Oakes dried the papers which were in the trunk, and she says they appeared to be of various kinds. “Would they cover that table?” (a small round one). “They would if spread out. Some were tied up. There were twenty or thirty books in the same half of the trunk.
Another smaller trunk, empty, came ashore, but there was no mark on it.” She speaks of Paulina as if she might have been a sort of nurse to the child I expect to go to Patchogue, whence the pilferers must have chiefly come, and advertise, etc.
Yours, H. D. THOREAU
Late in 1855, when Emerson’s English Traits, long delayed, was soon to appear, and when the author was setting forth for his annual lecture tour in the Northwest, he wrote to Thoreau requesting him to take charge of the last proof sheets of the volume.
XIV.EMERSON TO THOREAU.
AMERICAN HOUSE, BOSTON, December 26, 1855.
DEAR HENRY, — It is so easy, at distance, or when going to a distance, to ask a great favor which one would haggle at near by. I have been ridiculously hindered, and my book is not out, and I must go westward.