Battle With a Shark, The Mirror, Saturday, March 8, 1823

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Battle With a Shark, The Mirror, Saturday, March 8, 1823.

Captain John Beams, commander of the York merchant ship, had arrived at Barbadoes from England. Having disembarked the last part of his lading, the sailors who had been employed in the dirty work, ventured into the sea to wash themselves. They had not been there long, before a person on board espied a large shark making towards them, upon which they swam back, and all reached the boat but one. Him the monster overtook, almost within reach of the oars, and grasping him by the small of the back, his devouring jaws soon cut him asunder, and as soon swallowed the lower part of the body; the remaining part was taken up and carried on board, where his comrade was.

His friendship with the deceased had been long distinguished by a reciprocal discharge of such endearing offices as implied a union and sympathy of souls. When he saw the severed trunk of his friend, it was with a horror and emotion too great for words to paint. During this affecting scene, the unsatiable shark was seen traversing the bloody surface in search of the remainder of his prey. The rest of the crew thought themselves happy in being on board; he alone unhappy that he was not within reach of the destroyer. Fired at the sight, and vowing that he would make the devourer disgorge his friend, or be swallowed himself in the same grave, he plunged into the deep, armed with a large pointed knife.

The shark no sooner saw him, than he made furiously towards him; both were equally eager the one of his prey, the other of revenge. The moment the shark opened his rapacious jaws, his adversary dexterously diving, and grasping him with his left hand below the upper tins, successfully employed his knife in his right, and giving him repeated stabs in the belly, the enraged shark, after many unavailing efforts, finding himself overmatched in his own element, endeavoured to disengage himself, sometimes plunging to the; bottom—then mad with pain, rearing his uncouth form, now stained with his own streaming blood above the foaming waves.— The crews of the surrounding vessels saw the unequal combat, uncertain from which of the combatants the streams of blood issued; till at length, the shark, weakened by loss of blood, made towards the shore, and with him his conqueror, who flushed with an assurance of victory, pushed his foe with redoubled ardour, and by the help of an ebbing tide, dragged him on shore, ripped up his belly, and united and buried the severed body of his friend in one hospitable grave.


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