A SUDDEN CYCLONE
The weather has made a decided change. It is very hot again, and the wind is aft, which makes us feel it all the more. I am glad that I do not come through this fire-breath in summer.
8 p.m.aThere is a great deal of lightning to-night and it is very cloudy. 10.30 p.m.aWe are experiencing something both very grand and very awful. With scarcely a moment of warning a terrific storm has burst upon us. Great gusts of roaring wind, each gust bearing vast quantities of sand, have suddenly hurled themselves at us with tremendous force, while the rain descending in torrential sheets and the wind blowing from the opposite quarter is lashing the sea in its rage and roaring as though even menacing nature itself. And all the time the whole heavens are lighted up with what forms an almost continuous and prolonged sheet of fire, when it would be nearly as true to say that there were occasional dashes of darkness amid the fire as that there were continual flashes of lightning amid the blackened clouds. As yet I have seen no one, but as the tearing and raging wind gives a momentary lull I hear the voices of officers shouting their orders, while, to add to the awe-inspiring situation, the siren is being constantly blown, to warn, I suppose, other ships of our propinquity and approach. How any could get out of our way would surely be a puzzle! The peals of thunder, though deafening, have been few, unless, indeed, the hurricane itself, like the roar of artillery, has succeeded in drowning them for me. The steadiness of the ship is astonishing.