Thursday, 23 August 2012

The wreck of the "Blanchefleur"

" 'This little fan and these tarnished slipper-buckles,'  the Abbe now said, giving his host a mournful smile, 'come, monsieur, out of that great Indiaman, the Blanchefleur.   A total loss, an utter wreck, my son, Mary save us.  The fine ship, the pride of the owners, officers and hands, has been broken among surges and rocks.  The coast of Africa, a savage place. ... Christ's pity! -- it's there the Blanchefleur struck and foundered.'

'Thomas Pidgeon knows all, ah me! that may now ever be known of the loss of the Blanchefleur.  He was a servant in that fatal ship, and, monsieur, you shall hear from his own lips a story of disaster, extraordinary peril, and tears.'

The young steward ceased, and looked, with a kind of questioning in the eyes, at the priest.  Lucy made a small movement, compassionate and woeful.  Stanyhurst  watched a candle burning out, with little jumps of flame, in its socket.  The priest gazed steadily, with a smile  kind and quiet, at the sailor.  No one spoke until Thomas Pidgeon again went on with the story.  And now, and through the remainder of the sailor's words, a low rumble, far or near, seemed, gradually to fill the chamber from without, to arise and enter and resound about the walls, and echo in the air; a noise distinct from and blending with, the constant dropping of rain.  Early industry was awake, and all the wheels of London beginning to revolve once more.

'Everything ended',  the young steward said;  'it all ended like now I must tell'. "

All Night at Mr. Stanyhurst's   Hugh Edwards
with an Introduction by Ian Fleming in 1963

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