Summer Reading: The Easton’s Honeymoon (6)

The horrible thought of helplessly falling into the cruel sea led the men to unbuckle and abandone their gold dust-stuffed belts. The women who had hid bags of gold in their staterooms now threw the $20 gold pieces on the floor. Captain Badger of San Francisco–he of the very heavy, gold-stuffed carpet bag–discarded it in Captain Herndon’s stateroom.

The gold had lost its value and become a burden.

The most anyone could carry were two of the precious $20 gold pieces.

Tens of thousands of dollars of gold were strewn on the deck–and nobody wanted it. Surviving came first.

Despair reigned aboard the Central America. The most useful thing the crew could do to save all was to shoot off flares with the hope that some passing vessel would come to their aid.

On Saturday morning, their fear and despair was lifted when someone pointed to the old brig, the SS Marine, and shouted: “A sail! A sal!”

She, too, was a victim of the storm, disabled and short of provisions, but her Captain Burt was prepared to help as much as he could. That meant rescuing women and children only.

From a steamer trunk Ansel Easton took out a coat, put $900 and valuable papers into the pockets and rolled it into a bundle. He assisted Addie to the deck just as the second boatload was completed.

“With my husband’s kiss upon my lips,” said Addie, “and breathing a prayer for his safety, I found myself swinging from the deck.”

The newlywed was dropped into the bottom of the rescue boat and the world grew dark as the Central America faded from view.

Addie Easton’s heart ached, and she wondered if she would ever see Ansel again.

And what about the Central America and her precious cargo of gold?

(Next Part 7)