By H. G. Wells
“In the Dingey of the ‘Lady Vain'”
(The Story written by Edward Prendick.)
I DO not propose to add anything to what has already been written concerning the loss of the “Lady Vain.” As everyone knows, she collided with a derelict when ten days out from Callao. The long-boat, with seven of the crew, was picked up eighteen days after by H. M. gunboat “Myrtle,” and the story of their terrible privations has become quite as well known as the far more horrible “Medusa” case. But I have to add to the published story of the “Lady Vain” another, possibly as horrible and far stranger. It has hitherto been supposed that the four men who were in the dingey perished, but this is incorrect. I have the best of evidence for this assertion: I was one of the four men.
But in the first place I must state that there never were four men in the dingey, — the number was three. Constans, who was “seen by the captain to jump into the gig,” Daily News, March 17, 1887. luckily for us and unluckily for himself did not reach us. He came down out of the tangle of ropes under the stays of the smashed bowsprit, some small rope caught his heel as he let go, and he hung for a moment head downward, and then fell and struck a block or spar floating in the water. We pulled towards him, but he never came up.
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