Grace Darling's Daring Deed
Who has not heard of Grace Darling and her plucky rescue of survivors from the wrecked steamship Forfarshire? Thanks to flowery Victorian journalism, and the British bent for fanfare, Grace's single and simple deed earned immortality. As her biographer, Jessica Mitford, puts it, "Grace Darling can be precisely and anachronistically described as the first media heroine."
At dawn on September 7, 1838, Grace and her father, William Darling, the keeper of Longstone Lighthouse off England's Northumberland Coast, awoke to the howl of wind and crash of sea about their home. Spume filled the air as they looked out on the North Sea morning, yet Grace's keen eyes spotted a ship aground on Big Harcar Rock, almost a mile away. A look through the telescope revealed survivors clinging to the wreck. Grace, 22-years-old and anxious for excitement, beseeched her father to attempt a rescue.
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