XXII. Grace Darling
Off the coast of Northumberland, in the north-east
of England, are the Farne Islands, a number of dangerous rocks,
on which there are lighthouses.1 The keeper 2 of one of these was
Mr Darling, with whom lived his daughter Grace.
Towards the morning of the 6th of September 1838, Grace was awaked
by cries of distress; and at daybreak 3 she saw the remains of
a wreck on Longstone Island, the outermost 4 of the rocks.
Grace awaked her father with the words: "There is a wreck
on Longstone Island. Let us get into the boat and go to the rescue
b of anyone who may still be alive on the vessel." The tide,
however, was rising,6 and the sea and wind were wild ; her father
Grace went to the window and looked again at the wreck. She was
sure she could see something moving on the vessel, as though s
living beings were still there. Seizing the oars,9 she placed herself
in the boat, which she was well able to manage. Her father could
not let her go alone, and they rowed 9 off together in a very heavy
sea.10 As they came nearer, it gave them fresh courage to see that
nine persons 11 were still holding on to the ship After many vaiu
attempts,12 the father succeeded in landing 13 on the rock and
making his, way to 14 the wreck. Meanwhile 15 Grace rowed about
among the great waves, skilfully managing her little boat ; had
she been less skilful,1e it would have been dashed to pieces against
One by one,17 with the greatest care, the nine who still lived
were placed in the boat and carried to the lighthouse. There Grace
made them as comfortable as she could and looked after them for
two whole days before the storm became less violent and it was
possible to send a boat to the mainland. One of the saved was a
Mrs Dawson, whose two children, eleven and eight years old, had
been killed by the waves while she held them in her arms, and who
had suffered so much herself, that it was long before she could
leave her bed.
The vessel was the "Forfarshire," 18 a large steamer
19 sailing between Hull and Dundee. Her boilers 19 had begun to
leak,20 so that her engiaes 21 were useless.22 When the storm arose,23
the ship was unmanageable 24 without her steam,19 and was driven
helplessly 25 upon the Farne Islands. The only boat had been lowered
26 by eight of the sailors, who were rowing off, when one gentleman
rushed on deck, seized a rope, and swun-1, himself in after them.
These nine were picked up by a vessel and saved. Of the others,
the whole number had either been drowned in their cabins or washed
off the wreck, except four of the crew and five passengers 27 whom
Grace Darling's courage had rescued.5 It was not known how many
lives were lost ; more than forty had certainly gone on board at
Do you wonder that the name of Grace Darling has become famous
in England ?
1 Where the coast is dangerous, a lighthouse is built, as a warning
to ships at night. It is high and has a very powerful light,
which can be seen from a great distance. 2 v. to keep.
3 Or: at dawn, the beginning of day; opp, dusk, when it grows
dark, after the sun has set, when night begins to fall.4
Farthest away from the coast; cp, foremost (XX. 24), southernmost
(XVII. 55). 5 She wanted to save them from death, to rescue them.
6 The tide rises and falls twice in twenty-four hours. 7 He was
not sure what he ought to do. 8 Or: as if. 9 She sat in the boat
holding one oar in each hand ; with these she rowed. lo There
were great waves. 11 0r : human beings. Cp. personal pronoun.
12 Or: after trying in vain many times, after failing aaain and
again. 130r: managed to land. 14 Or: reaching. 15 Or: while he
did so. 16 Or: if she had been less skilful, if she had shown
less skill. 17 Or : one after the other. 18 The na4ne of a county
in Scotland. 19 Not a sailing-vessel, but a steamship (one in
which steam is used). It has boilers, which are filled with water
; when the water is heated (s. heat, a. hot), it becomes steam.
20 They did not hold the water, but had holes (leaks, cp. XVIII.
4) through which it flowed out. 21 A steamer has engines (of
metal); the men who look after these are called engineers. 22
Or: of no use ; opp. useful. Cp. careless, fearless, powerless,
worthless. 23 Or : began. To arise ; cp. to rise. 24 Could not
be managed ; opp. manageable. The sailors could do nothing with
the ship. 25 Without help
with no one to give assistance ; opp. helpful. 26 Or : let down.
The boat was lowered from the deck to the water. 27 People who
had intended to go by boat to Dundee; the other people on board
were the captain and the crew.