An Acadian Adventure

Article Title
An Acadian Adventure
Lynn C. Doyle
Page Number
Article Type
Article Contents
AN ACADIAN ADVENTURE. BY LYNN C. DOYLE. (Continued.) My wandering thoughts were suddenly recalled by the discovery that I had unconsciously laid bare the smooth surface of a rock into which were cut the following grotesque and rudely fashioned hieroglyphics: This inscription evidently conveyed some significance. Listlessness and indifference vanished and were succeeded by intense interest and animation. My energies were now bent upon a solution of the characters. The arrow undoubtedly indicated direction; the inscription following, unquestionably denoted distance. After pondering long and earnestly, during which time many solutions presented themselves, I finally arrived at the following translation: ¾ FURLONG, which deduction appeared the most reasonable of any that I had been able to formulate. The next step was to learn if this interpretation was correct. Starting from the rock in the direction indicated by the arrow, I walked down the beach toward the water. Having paced the distance as I interpreted the characters, I found myself beside a large and peculiarly shaped rock. To the casual observer it would not have been distinguished from hundreds of others in the immediate vicinity, but the more closely I examined it, the more convinced I became that it owed neither its contour nor its location to nature, but had been fashioned and placed there by the hand of man. That portion of the rock not imbedded in the sand, although thickly covered with seaweed, presented the outlines of a cube; the side nearest the shore was entirely hidden by sand and rocks deposited by the action of the tide. That nearest the water showed an exposed surface of at least six square feet. Impelled by curiosity, I placed my shoulder against the exposed surface and with little effort moved it several inches. Further attempts to move the stone proved that the tendency was to tumble seaward, but the sand at the rear and base would not permit. To me, the removal of this impediment was quite a task. I scanned the hilltops in the hope of procuring the assistance of my absent comrades, but they were nowhere in sight. Repeated haloos elicited no response. I must then proceed with my investigations alone. Attacking the sand and rock with a piece of driftwood, I soon had the greater portion removed. With a sudden push seaward the stone rolled from its bed disclosing an opening in the beach sufficiently large to easily admit of entrance. Peering into the hole all I could discern was inky blackness. My curiosity now was thoroughly aroused and without heeding the consequences I crept cautiously in. As I proceeded, lighting my way with matches, the passage with a gradual descent became larger and I could soon stand erect. Now the way led up a perceptible ascent corresponding to the grade of the beach above. Eager to learn what lay at the end of this subterranean passage, I lighted matches in rapid succession and hurried along. The floor of the tunnel was slippery, being formed of slimy rocks and ledges covered with seaweed. A frequent twinge of my old tormentor recalled the fact that the atmosphere was cold and damp, but such trifles were now not to be heeded. On the roof and sides of the passage appeared a shiny, white deposit similar to plaster, but upon closer examination I found it hard and flaky exhibiting all the properties of mica. As I proceeded this formation became more prominent; the constituents of strata appeared impervious to the action of the salt water, and only at infrequent intervals were places of discoloration visible, and these spots I attributed to the presence of a foreign deposit. Considering the possibility of an exit at the termination of the passage, I pressed eagerly forward not realizing the lapse of time, bent only on discovery. Suddenly coming upon a wall which prevented any further advance my fingers nervously sought another match. What was my chagrin to find the supply exhausted? Dark and lonesome as were the surroundings, I made a brief and cursory examination of the wall, relying solely upon the sense of touch; and after satisfying myself that no exit was to be found in that direction, I proceeded to retrace my steps. This was far more difficult than effecting an entrance. Hampered by the absence of a light my progress was slow and painful. Stumbling over those loose and slippery rocks in Stygian darkness was not a pleasant experience. Having reached a slight bend in the passage which I recalled was located near the entrance, upon slipping off a stone, I found my feet immersed in water. Instantly the situation flashed across my brain, — the tide had risen, — I was imprisoned in the tunnel. Hastily retreating a short distance I leaned against the rocky wall and listened. Yes, the eddying of the waters was painfully distinct; the lapping of the tiny waves, now advancing, now receding, echoed through the passage. A stouter heart, a stronger nerve than mine would have throbbed and weakened when the vivid realization of my awful predicament presented itself. I knew the upper end of the tunnel to be far above low water, but with a rise of sixty feet of tide the waters would surely reach the extreme limits, and choke the passage before the ebb. Horrified at the thought of what then must follow I continued my retreat groping blindly for some avenue of escape. My investigations were rewarded only with cut and bleeding hands. Despair now took possession of me, and I threw myself upon a shelving rock at the base of the wall which had previously barred my passage, and awaited the approach of the cruel tide. The misery endured for the following four or five hours is difficult to describe. My thoughts came in a chaotic deluge — no natural or logical order characterized that mad rush. My brain appeared on fire. To be cut off in the prime of life, and in such a manner, filled me with a horror which language fails to express. My wife and little ones, who would care for them? Self control gave way. I wept, I shouted, but no response came save the reverberation of an agonized wail -- the wail of a lost soul. A repetition of that awful sound would have driven me mad. Now, a numbness seized me; the senses appeared deadened; the horror of the situation for the time disappeared, but these moments were followed by others in which the mental tension was increased a thousand fold. Would my reason depart before the end? I prayed God it would. Oh! the tantalizing slowness with which the waters rose. Would they never reach me? Thus the time dragged, the minutes, ages, the hours, eternity.