The Frozen Deep – 1857 – A Drama
The Frozen Deep is an 1856 play, originally staged as an amateur theatrical, written by Wilkie Collins under the substantial guidance of Charles Dickens.
Dickens’s hand was prominent – Charles acted in the play for several performances, he added a preface, he altered lines, and he attended to most of the props and sets. The principal edition of the play is entitled ‘Under the Management of Charles Dickens’.
The play was born from the conflict between Dickens and John Rae’s report on the fate of the Franklin expedition. In May 1845, the ‘Franklin expedition’ left England in search of the Northwest Passage. It was last seen in July 1845, the members of the expedition were lost without trace.
In October 1854, John Rae issued reports based on Eskimo or Inuit eyewitnesses. They had seen 40 ‘white men’ and later 35 corpses. Rae described the fate of the Franklin expedition in a confidential report to the Admiralty suggesting that ‘our wretched countrymen had been driven to the last resource – cannibalism’. This caused much distress and anger. Dickens wrote to discredit the Inuit evidence, he attacked the Inuit character, writing: ‘We believe every savage in his heart covetous, treacherous, and cruel.’
The Frozen Deep, was an allegorical play about a missing Arctic expedition. Its first performance was at Tavistock House at a dress rehearsal on 5 Jan 1857. Semi-public performances followed on 6, 8, 12 and 14 Jan 1857.
Aldersley, Mr Francis (Frank)
Burnham, Miss Clara
Crayford, First Lieutenant William
Crayford, Mrs Lucy
FIRST SCENE. THE BALL-ROOM
At an English sea-port, the Mayor and Corporation are holding a grand ball to celebrate the deaprture of an Arctic expedition.
The attention centred on two woam Mrs Crayford, wife of First Lieutenant Crayford of the Wanderer, and Miss Clara Burnham, a young pale and delicate girl, an orphan. Clara is Mrs Crayford’s dearest friend and will stay with her during the expedition. Clara is dancing with the Lieutenant and Mrs Crayford wih Captain Helding, the Commanding Officer of the Wanderer.
The Captain asks Mrs Crayford about Clara, he suggests she is rather serious, was she in delicate health? She interests me indescribably. If I was only twenty years younger…’
She confirms ‘It is a mystery to the doctors themselves. Some of the mischief is due, in my humble opinion, to the manner in which she has been brought up. Clara’s early years were spent in a lonely old house in the Highlands of Scotland. The ignorant people about her were the people who did the mischief which I have just been speaking of. They filled her mind with the superstitions which are still respected as truths in the wild North – especially the superstition called the Second Sight!’ She describes her as a ‘sensitive young creature = a girl with a naturally imaginative temperament leading a lonely, neglected life’.
‘Am I to understand that she positively falls into a trance, and sees people in distant countries, and foretells events to come? That is the Second Sight, is it not?’ She confirms that is what she does. ‘Have ever seen her in a state of trance with your own eyes?’
‘My sister and I both saw her in the trance, little more than a month since. She is only here tonight to please me; and she is only dancing to please my husband. As a rule, she shuns all society. Miss Burnham’s early associations dispose her to attach a superstitious importance to the malady – the hysterical malady as some doctors would call it – which she suffers.’
The Captain changes the subject and talks of the Atalanta which was was expected back from the West Coast of Africa, Miss Burnham throws the quadrille into disarray by making an error and she grabs her partner’s arm and says ‘The heat! Take me away – take me into the air!’ The Lieutenant takes her off to the cool conservatory.
The Captain and Mrs Crayford left the quadrille too. The Captain joked ‘Is this the trance coming on? Will the Second Sight oblige me by seeing the shortest way to the North-West Passage, before we leave England?
Mrs Crayford got her husband to leave her with Clara, who asked Lucy Crayford to not tell anyone else. Lucy asked does that include my husband? She replied particularly him.
She reveals that she had heard Captain Helding mention the Atalanta and she knew someone aboard. She explained that her father had moved south to Kent and lived next door to a fine country-seat, and the son of the owner was a Richard Wardour.
They were rather thown together, her father was ill, and there was no lady to confide in. Richard had assumed that their future was agreed, Then one day he had come to her house. ‘I am going to the African coast. If I live, I shall come back promoted; and we both know what will happen then. He kissed me. I was half frightened, half angry. Before I could compose myself to say a word, he was out in the garden again, then he was gone!’
She wrote to him saying that he was deceiving himself, and that she could never marry him. But now wondered if her letter had reached him. She had asked for an answer to the letter, but had received none. Richard Wardour is returning to England – Richard Wardour will claim me as his wife!
Mrs Crayford thought for a while then asked, ‘My dear, have you told me all?’ But a young man presented himself for his dance with Clara, She introduced him as Mr Francis Aldersley of the Arctic Expedition. She said he came for the company of Sea-mew, not Lucy’s husbands’s ship.
Lucy looked at them both and thought this was the sequel to Clara’s story, this gentleman would confuse the situation with Richard Wardour.
Lucy drew Clara aside and said, ‘One word, my dear, before you return to the ball-room. It may sound conceited – after the little you have told me; but I think I understand your position now better than you do yourself. Do you want to hear my opinion?’ Clara said she did, she wanted her advice.
She replied, ‘You have no choice but to come to an explanation with Mr Wardour as soon as he returns. Second, my advice: If you wish to make the explanation easy to both sides, take care that you make it in the character of a free woman’. She looked pointedly at Francis Aldersley as she pronounced the last three words.
Clara went back to the ballroom with Francis. But she has too much on her mind and complains of fatigue. Francis takes her back to the conservatory and she tries to dismiss him by suggesting she should not keep him from the ball.
She is constrained by Mrs Crayford’s warning. Francis asks her ‘Don’t send me away without hope! Think of the long, lonely time in the dark North! Make it a happy time for me.’
He asks if she loves him, she nestles up to him and they have their first kiss. He says, ‘You have made me happy, my angel. Now, when I come back, I come back to make you my wife.’ She cautions ‘No-one is to know we are engaged until I permit you to mention it’.
She sends him off to find Mrs Crayford and send Lucy to her. He does this happily, as she has pledged herself to be his partner for life!
While looking for Mrs Crayford, Francis sees a shabby sea-faring man with the air of a gentleman. It was Richard Wardour, who eventually arrived at the conservatory
He explains, ‘We only reached our moorings two hours since. They told me you were at the ball. Wish me joy, Clara! I am promoted. I have come back to make you my wife.;
She asked ‘Did you get my letter?’ He did not. He is bothered by her demeanor and asks, ‘What does it mean?’ ‘It means, Mr. Wardour, that you have been mistaken from the first.’
She adds, ‘You have been too hasty and too confident about yourself and about me. You have entirely misunderstood me. I am grieved to distress you, but for your sake I must speak plainly. I am your friend always, Mr. Wardour. I can never be your wife.’
He asks ‘Is it some other man?’ She replies, ‘You have no right to ask me that.’ He demanded, ‘Clara Burnham! I insist on the truth. Are you false to me?’
He challenges her, ‘You have engaged yourself to another man!’ His deep voice dropped suddenly to a low and quiet tone as he spoke the parting words, ‘Say no more, Miss Burnham—you have said enough. I am answered; I am dismissed. The man who has robbed me of you shall rue the day when you and he first met.’
One of the attendants at the ball asked Mrs Crayford, ‘I beg your pardon, ma’am. Do you happen to have a smelling-bottle about you? There is a young lady in the conservatory who is taken faint.
THE LANDING STAGE
It is the day of the deaprture of the expedition.
Lucy goes to see Clara in her room and finds her worrying about Francis meeting Richard. Lucy says, ‘They are total strangers to each other’. She has decided to go to the landing stage, she fears that in the bustle Richard will discover Frank.
Frank seeks out Clara to say his farewell. The two ladies followed him to be sure he boarded the boat. When he had done so Lucy said that Clara should never be foolish enough to believe in presentiments again.
But the Captain advises the Lieutenant of a new volunteer, it is Richard Wardour.
On hearing this Clara says, ‘My foreboding has come true! The two will meet – the man who is to marry me and the man whose heart I have broken!’ Lucy says that they haven’t met yet and points out that they are on separate boats.
SECOND SCENE. THE HUT OF THE SEA-MEW
Two years have passed since the voyagers sailed from their native shores. The enterprise has failed – the Arctic expedition is lost and ice-locked in the Polar wastes. The good ships Wanderer and Sea-mew, entombed in ice, will never ride the buoyant waters again. Stripped of their lighter timbers, both vessels have been used for the construction of huts, erected on the nearest land.
The largest of the two buildings which now shelter the lost men is occupied by the surviving officers and crew of the Sea-mew. No wind whistles outside the lonely dwelling – no cry of bird or beast is heard. Indoors, and out of doors, the awful silence of the polar desert reigns, for the moment, undisturbed.
The commander of the ship, Captain Ebsworth, was dangerously ill. The first lieutenant was dead. An officer of the Wanderer filled their places for the time, with Captain Helding’s permission. That officer was Lieutenant Crayford.
Crayford relieves Bateson and then goes to wake up the cook, John Want.Want is asked to grind the bones further to make bone soup, he grumbles and opines that they will last a week or ten days.
A sailor appeared with a message from Captain Ebsworth, saying he was worse than ever with his freezing pains, asking to see Crayford. He tells the sailor to rouse the doctor.
Want mumbles that suppose the doctor was frozen. He remembers that he was once an apprentice at a pastry-cook’s—he talked of the gallons of turtle-soup that this hand has stirred up in a jolly hot kitchen.
Want grumbles why did he ever go to sea. Francis Alderley wakes and asks who that is grumbling. Frank asks him why he did. He replies ‘I’m not certain, Mr Frank. Sometimes I think it was natural perversity; sometimes it was false pride at getting over sea-sickness; sometimes I think it was reading Robinson Crusoe.’
The cook asks Frank if he has anything in his berth of value, Alderley says no. Want said he had told Bateson to bring an axe and chop it up for firewood. When Frank asked what he would do then, Want said there would be beds to spare soon.
Frank leaps out of bed and says this would be because the exploring party was to start soon. He volunteers to Crayford to be a memeber of the party. But Crayford says he is not long from his sickbed and should not go.
Crayford recalls Frank playing backgammon and asks for the dice in order to cast lots. Then, he says, no-one can complain about deciding who goes. Frank says he knows one who will, the ‘Bear of the Expedition’, Richard Wardour.
Crayford admonishes him for the comment. Franks says ‘He has got his nickname because he is the most unpopular man in his ship. Nobody likes him’. Crayford says he was Wardour’s companion on the Wanderer, and that underneath his outward defects beats a generous heart. Suspend your comments until you know him better.
The Wanderer‘s crew were heard hailing them from outside, they were arriving for the expedition to be selected.
Frank approaches Wardour, heeding Crayford’s comments. and says, ‘We may congratulate each other on the chance of leaving this horrible place’. Wardour retorted ‘You may think it horrible, I like it,’ Frank asks why and Wardour says, ‘Because there are no women here’.
Captain Helding announces, ‘Brother officers and men of the Wanderer and Sea-mew, it is my duty to tell you, very briefly, the reasons which have decided Captain Ebsworth and myself on dispatching an exploring party in search of help’.
‘Without dwelling on all the hardships we have suffered, the loss of the ships, the death of some of our companions, it is my duty to remind you that this, the last place in which we have taken refuge, is far beyond the track of any previous expedition, and that consequently our chance of being discovered by any rescuing parties is a chance of the most uncertain kind. You all agree with me, gentlemen, so far?’
He explains the winter is not far off, game is getting scarcer, and explains that a detachment of the able-bodied officers and men among us should set forth this very day. They will try to reach the nearest inhabited settlements to obtain provisions, They had already agreed the direction to be taken, it was therefore left to select the party.
The Captain explained why volunteering was not an acceptable approach and said it would be done by drawing lots. The Captain was invited to throw first,. It was agreed that under six stayed and over six would go. Captain Helding threw seven, go. Crayford threw three, stay.
Wardour refused to throw, and laid them back in the box. Crayford inspected them and declared six, neither under nor over, and suggested he should throw again. He refuses to get up and asks Frank to throw for him. He throws a five, he stays. Then Frank threw an eight for himself, he goes.
The casting of lots proceeded until all were decided as Stay or Go. The men left the hut, leaving Wardour and Crayford together.
Crayford asks Wardour to explain his indifference. Wardour recounts their first night on the Wanderer, when Crayford had found him on deck crying. He stated that ‘the only hopeless wretchedness in this world is the wretchedness that women cause’.
‘I left England to win a high place in my profession.I staked my life in the fever-swamps of Africa, to gain the promotion that I only desired for her sake, and gained it. I came back to give her all, and to ask nothing in return, but to rest my weary heart in the sunshine of her smile. And her own lips, the lips I had kissed at parting, told me that another man had robbed me of her. I have yet to discover him. The treachery has been kept secret.’
He explained he was biding his time, Crayford asked what time. He said ‘The time when I and that man shall meet face to face’.
Crayford commented, ‘Since we first met, I have believed in your better nature, against all outward appearance. I have believed in you, firmly, truly, as your brother might. You are putting that belief to a hard test. Put away these thoughts from your heart!’
Wardour replied, ‘You are kinder to me than I deserve. We’ll change the subject, and never go back to it again. Let’s do something, work’.
At that moment Bateson arrived with an axe to cut up Frank’s berth. Wardour seized the axe and agreed to do it.
Wardour took to the task with vigour. A large piece of wood needed a second blow, but he paused when he saw the letters C L A. He cut another plank and saw F A, another piece had C B carved into it. He finally realised ‘Clara Burnham’.
He couldn’t continue his task, he put the axe away in a corner, realising he had found the man.
Just then Crayford arrived back in the hut, with Frank Aldersley behind him.
They were both startled by the apparent change in Wardour.
Wardour became overtly friendly to Frank. When they questioned him as to what was wrong he said ‘We men of Kent are made of tough material’.
Wardour quizzed Frank as to what part of Kent he came from, whether he knew the Willerbys of Yew Grange. Frank said no, but he knew friends of theirs the Burnhams.
They are interrupted when a quartermaster arrived looking for Captain Helding. He explained there had been an accident on the ice involving one of the officers. Crayford directed the man to Captain Helding.
Wardour said to Frank, ‘So you knew the Burnhams? What became of Clara when her father died?’
Frank was angered, ‘Clara! What authorizes you to speak of Miss Burnham in that familiar manner?’ Wardour replied, ‘What right have you to ask?’ Despite the agreed secrecy Frank said. ‘The right of being engaged to marry her.’
‘Impossible to dispute such a right as yours, Perhaps you will excuse me when you know that I am one of Miss Burnham’s old friends. My father and her father were neighbours. We have always met like brother and sister…’
Frank stopped him and apologised for his anger. Wardour asked, ‘Is she very fond of you?’, Frank laughed and said, ‘Come to our wedding, and judge for yourself.’
Crayford had watched the interplay and understood what was going on, he thought thank God the dice had separated them.
The Captain enetred and said to Crayford that his second lieutenant had been injured on the ice, he had been selected as part of the party, which was now one short. Wardour volunteered to take his place. When Crayford tried to argue it, Wardour insisted that the vacancy was from Wanderer, and it was only right that it be filled with someone from that ship.
Crayford tried another tack and tried to urge Frank to realise he was not yet fully fit, that he should stand down. Frank insisted he was picked and would go. Besides he declared, Wardour would help him if he became fatigued.
Wardour agreed, ‘Come! where no human footsteps have ever trodden, and where no human trace is ever left.’ Crayford had no proof to take to the Captain, so was helpless to interfere.
The word of command was given; the door was thrown open; the hut emptied rapidly. Over the merciless white snow under the merciless black sky – the exploring party began to move.
Crayford approached Frank and said, ‘While you can stand, keep with the main body, Frank!’ Wardour, the last to leave, said to Crayford, ‘While he can stand, he keeps with Me.’
THIRD SCENE. THE ICEBERG
The black outline of a boat just shows itself, hauled up on the berg. In an ice-cavern behind the boat the last red embers of a dying fire flicker from time to time over the figures of two men.
One is seated, resting his back against the side of the cavern. The other lies prostrate, with his head on his comrade’s knee. The first of these men is awake, and thinking. The second reclines, with his still white face turned up to the sky – sleeping or dead?
Days and days since, these two have fallen behind on the march of the expedition of relief. Days and days since, these two have been given up by their weary and failing companions as doomed and lost. He who sits thinking is Richard Wardour. He who lies sleeping or dead is Frank Aldersley.
Frank is alive and dreaming, he is in England again, at the ball, whispering to Clara the confession of his love. Wardour waits, waits and thinks.
FOURTH SCENE. THE GARDEN
The spring has come. In a villa on the westward shore of the Isle of Wight, the glass doors which lead from the drawing-room to the garden are yet open. A lady sits by the lamp, reading. From time to time she looks out into the garden, and sees the white-robed figure of a young girl pacing slowly to and fro on the lawn. Sorrow and suspense have set their mark on the lady, she looks worn and aged.
Mrs Lucy Crayford calls out to Clara, ‘It is past twelve! Remember what the doctor told you. You ought to have been in bed an hour ago.’ Clara asked for another half an hour.
Lucy plays the piano. Then realises that Clara is in a catalepsy, she waits for signs that she has emerged from it.
Clara calls out ‘Frank. Don’t drop behind, don’t trust Richard Wardour. While you can stand, keep with the other men, Frank!’ She sees him on the iceberg at the mercy of her bitterest enemy. ‘Wake, Frank, wake! You are drifting to your death!’ She faints.
Lucy considers the doctor’s pronouncements of her friend’s condition but ponders, ‘Is Clara present, in the spirit, with our loved and lost ones in the lonely North? Can mortal vision see the dead and living in the solitudes of the Frozen Deep?’
The two women were in the garden, Lucy was pondering the previous night.
Clara reads aloud a newspaper account of the Arctic Expedition. ‘The following intelligence, from St. Johns, Newfoundland, has reached us for publication. The whaling-vessel ‘Blythewood’ is reported to have met with the surviving officers and men of the Expedition in Davis Strait. Many are stated to be dead, and some are supposed to be missing. The list of the saved, as collected by the people of the whaler, is not vouched for as being absolutely correct, the circumstances having been adverse to investigation. The vessel was pressed for time; and the members of the Expedition, all more or less suffering from exhaustion, were not in a position to give the necessary assistance to inquiry. Further particulars may be looked for by the next mail.’
A list of the survivors followed, beginning with the officers in the order of their rank. They both read the list together. The first name was Captain Helding; the second was Lieutenant Crayford. Lucy’s joy overpowered her, she said ‘Is Frank’s name there too?’
Frank’s name was not among them. On a second list, headed ‘Dead or Missing’, the first two names that appeared were Francis Aldersley and Richard Wardour.
Clara said, ‘I was prepared for it. I saw them in the spirit last night. Richard Wardour has discovered the truth; and Frank has paid the penalty with his life’,
Lucy replied, ‘Look at the newspaper again. See! They tell you plainly that their information is not to be depended on, they warn you to wait for further particulars.’
Lucy urges Clara not to rely on her Second Sight, and wait for further news.
The doctor arrives in the drawing-room and congratulates Mrs Crayford on the news, but acknowledges Clara’s news too. He asks if Miss Burnham gives Frank the benefit of the doubt?
Lucy tells the doctor what has happened. He examines her and gives his opinion that marriage would make a healthy and a happy woman of her, but while she is convinced of Frank’s demise this will affect her mind and body. He receommends a complete change.
The doctor has heard that a ship is to be sent to collect the survivors and suggests she and Clara use any influence they have with the Admiralty to be on that boat. He thinks this can resolve Clara’s anxiety.
A week later the Amazon sets sail with Lucy and Clara aboard.
FIFTH SCENE. THE BOAT-HOUSE
The Amazon has had its rendezvous with the survivors off the coast of Newfoundland. John Want is sat on a chest when he is told that Lieutenant Crayford is looking for him.
Want says, ‘If I had only known, before I was rescued, that I was to be brought to this place, I believe I should have preferred staying at the North Pole. Another man might object to perpetual Newfoundland fogs, perpetual Newfoundland cod-fish, and perpetual Newfoundland dogs. We had some very nice bears at the North Pole. Never mind! it’s all one to me – I don’t grumble’.
Crayford arrives and says, ‘Take that box down to the boat directly. You croaking vagabond! You would have grumbled in the Garden of Eden’.
Crayford asks ‘ Where are the ladies?’ A seaman says Mrs Crayford is just behind, and that Miss Crawford is among the passengers, that she had asked after the Lieutenant. He says to tell her his location.
He was worried about Clara, she had dispassionately quizzed the officers and men about Frank and Richard. She had suggested foul play and this had distressed the men. But a tempest had raged for two days and so he had avoided any further discussion, until now.
His wife arrives and confirms his fears, ‘She is just as resolute as ever to insist on your telling her of the circumstances under which Frank is missing.’ She had been firmly persuaded, that they would come together when the Expedition left England.’
She told him of Clara’s vision, and the Lieutenant recognised it, ‘I warned him myself, almost in those very words, the last time I saw him!’
Lucy advised him not to tell her as she will take this as proof of her dream, not just a horrible coincidence.
Clara arrived, she took Crayford aside, ‘There is no storm now, and there are no duties to be done on board the ship, don’t shrink on that account from giving me pain. Will you promise not to deceive me about Frank?’
Crayford is evasive, and welcomes the arrival of Steventon to distract her. But she asks both he and Steventon, how come they had drawn lots to stay and they had survived, Wardour too had drawn to stay but he was not here, Why?
She cornered Steventon who admitted Wardour had replaced an injured man onto the relief party. She pressed on and asked how they became parted from the rest. Crayford replied as he and Steventon were not with that party, they could not answer.
She pressed Crayford again and he relented and told her that Frank’s strength failed him. He fell behind the rest from fatigue. She asked them both if the main party had waited for Frank. Steventon replied, ‘You are speaking cruelly and unjustly of, as brave a set of fellows as ever lived! The strongest man among them set the example; he volunteered to stay by Frank, and to bring him on in the track of the exploring party’.
‘What made Richard Wardour so ready to risk his life for Frank’s sake?; she said to Crayford, ‘Carry your memory back to the days when you were all living in the huts. Were Frank and Wardour friends at that time? Did you never hear any angry words pass between them?’
Clara was recalling what Wardour had said at the ball, ‘A time may come when I shall forgive you. But the man who has robbed me of you shall rue the day when you and he first met.’ She thought, Oh, Frank! Frank! does Richard still live, with your blood on his conscience, and my image in his heart?’
Feigning fear of something she takes Crayford into another room. Lucy asks Steventon what could possibly have bothered Clara. But then a figure appears at the door.
The man was dressed in miseraable clothes, there was a look of madness about him. He says he is a starving man. He says he came from the sea, a wreck. One of the sailors confirmed that a strange boat had hit shore nearby.
They gave him some grog, he drank half and saved the rest.
He said he could not shake the noise of the sea, but approached Mrs Crayford and inspected her, he said, ‘No, that’s not her face. No! not found yet.’
Mrs Crayford aked him who he sought. He said, ‘Young, with a fair, sad face – with kind, tender eyes – with a soft, clear voice. Young and loving and merciful. I keep her face in my mind, though I can keep nothing else. I must wander, wander, wander, restless, sleepless, homeless – till I find her!
Crayford comes into the room and recognises Wardour, ‘Alive, to answer for Frank!’
Clara enters. Wardour leaves and came back carrying a man, Wardour calls, ‘Saved, Clara, Saved for you!’ It was Frank.
Mrs Clayford say to Clara, ‘Which of us is right? I who believed in the mercy of God? Or you who believed a dream?’
Clara clasped Frank in ecstacy. Wardour said, ‘I may rest now, I may sleep at last. The task is done. The struggle is over.’ He collapsed and his friend Crayford caught him.
Wardour said, ‘ I have made her happy! I may lay down my weary head now. Oh, look at them! They have forgotten me already.’ He was dying in Crayford’s arms.
Wardour stated, ‘Never let Frank know it. There was a time when the fiend within me hungered for his life. I had my hands on the boat. I heard the voice of the Tempter speaking to me: ‘Launch it, and leave him to die!’ I waited with my hands on the boat, and my eyes on the place where he slept. ‘Leave him! leave him!’ the voice whispered. ‘Love him!’ the lad’s voice answered, moaning and murmuring in his sleep. ‘Love him, Clara, for helping me!’ I heard the morning wind come up in the silence over the great deep. ‘Love him, Clara, for helping me!’
Frank hears him and takes Clara to him, ‘Ah! poor Frank. I didn’t forget you, Frank, when I came here to beg. I remembered you lying down outside in the shadow of the boats. I saved you your share of the food and drink. Too weak to get at it now! A little rest, Frank! I shall soon be strong enough to carry you down to the ship.’
Frank was distraught, ‘I should never have been here but for him! He has given all his strength to my weakness; and now, see how strong I am, and how weak he is! Clara, held by his arm all over the ice and snow. He kept watch when I was senseless in the open boat. His hand dragged me out of the waves when we were wrecked. Speak to him, Clara! Speak to him!’
Clara said, ‘Richard, have you forgotten me?’ He replied, ‘Forgotten you? Should I have been strong enough to save him, if I could have forgotten you? My sister, Clara! Kiss me, sister, kiss me before I die!’ She kissed his forehead,
Crayford said, ‘The loss is ours. The gain is his. He has won the greatest of all conquests, the conquest of himself.’
A distant report of a gun, signalled their return to England.