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A Victorian Scrapbook

A Scrapbook of Newspaper Articles Compiled by George Burgess (1829-1905)

Victorian Culture and Life

An Affecting Incident

Which took place some time ago in a town in England...

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Transcript from original newspaper article: -


An Affecting IncidentAn Affecting Incident.... Six little children got into a boat on the beach, and a mischievous one shoved it off. The boat drifted away to the sea before the children were missing. Terrible was the agony of the mothers when they knew it. A number of men went off in all directions, every boat was on the lookout until far in the night. Daylight returned, and still there were no tidings from the helpless children; the day wore away, and still nothing was heard from them – they were either lost in the wide expanse of the ocean, or buried within its unfathomable depths. A Plymouth fisherman, fishing early next morning, discovered some thing floating in the distance. He bore down to it, and discovered it to be a boat, and in the bottom six children, all huddled together like a next of birds, fast asleep – God having mercifully given them that blessed solace after a day of terror and despair. He took them aboard, and feasted them with bread and cheese, and gladdened their despairing little hearts with the promise of taking them home. Between three and four in the afternoon, the fisherman was seen in the offing, the boat astern. All eyes were turned eagerly towards him. The best spy-glass in town was rubbed again and again, and at last they could fairly see that it was the identical boat. The news flew through the town – the mothers came frantic to the beach, for there were no children discerned in the boat; none to be seen in the sloop. Intense was the agony of the suspense, and all alike shared it with the parents. At last the boat came in, and the word went round – “They are all safe;” and many a stout hearted man burst into tears, women shrieked for joy, and became almost frantic with their insupportable happiness. It was, indeed, a memorable day; and a prayer, eloquent for its rough sincerity, was offered up to Almighty God, who, in His infinite mercy, had spared these innocent children from the perils and terrors of the sea during that fearful night. Five of these children were under five years of age, and the sixth but nine years old.


“There is a voice which sorrow hears,
When heaviest weighs life’s galling chains;
Tis heaven that whispers `Dry thy tears,’
The pure in heart shall meet again!”