The Project Gutenberg EBook of Mark Seaworth, by William H.G. Kingston

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with
almost no restrictions whatsoever.  You may copy it, give it away or
re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included
with this eBook or online at

Title: Mark Seaworth

Author: William H.G. Kingston

Release Date: May 15, 2007 [EBook #21477]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


Produced by Nick Hodson of London, England

William H.G. Kingston

"Mark Seaworth"

Chapter One.

Mark Seaworth.

Picture a wide expanse of ocean, smooth as a polished mirror, and shining like molten silver; a sky of intense blue, without a cloud or speck, forming a vast arch resting on the water; no land or rock in sight; the boundless sea on every side; the sun travelling slowly and majestically along the arch, and casting his burning rays upon the glittering plain below.

Let us pause and contemplate that scene. What grandeur and sublimity there is in it! What a magnificent edifice does it seem! When compared with it, how utterly insignificant and contemptible do all the works of man’s hands appear! Then watch the sun sink with rays of glory in the west; the bright rich tinge glowing for a time, and gradually fading away before the obscurity of night; the stars coming forth and shining with a splendour unknown in northern climes; and then the moon, a mass of liquid flame, rising out of the dark sea, and casting across it a broad path of the silvery light. Watch the tranquil luminary glide also through her destined course, till once more the sun rushes upward from his ocean-bed in a sheet of fire, and claims supremacy over the world. This is one of the many grand and wonderful objects beheld by those who sail across the ocean, and amply does it repay for a long voyage those who have taste to appreciate its beauties.

Now let us return to the scene as I first described it, and, by looking closer into the picture, we shall observe a boat floating in its very centre. There are no masts or sails, nor are there any oars moving. The boat lies motionless like a log on the water. She is a large boat, a ship’s launch; her gunwale seems battered in as if she had undergone some hard usage. Above it nothing is seen moving; and, at the first glance, it would seem that there are no human beings on board. On looking down into the boat, however, we discover several persons, but whether dead or alive it is difficult to say, they are so quiet and so silent. Towards the bow are the forms of two men. They are on their backs—one is at the bottom of the boat, the other stretched along the thwarts, in uneasy postures. Their eyes are open and glaring unmoved at the bright sun; their lips are parted, black, and dry; the hand of death has, alas! at all events, fallen on them; nothing living could present such an aspect. By their dress and their complexion they seem to be British seamen. There is a small breaker or keg in the boat, but the hung is out—it is empty. There is also a bag, containing some hard ship-biscuit; it is still half full, but there is no other provision.

In the after part of the boat there is a sort of awning, formed of a shawl stretched across the gunwale, with a mat on the top of it, so as to form a thick shade. Near it, with her back leaning against the side of the boat, sits a dark-skinned woman. She has a turban on her head, and massive gold ear-rings in her ears, and bracelets round her arms, and anklets of gold round her legs, and her loose dress is of gay-coloured striped cotton of delicate texture. She is alive, but faint and weak; and, by her dim eye and short-coming breath, death seems to be approaching with stealthy strides to claim her as his own. Still, the soul is struggling to triumph over the weakness of the flesh. With an anxious gaze she looks beneath the awning, for there is something there which claims her constant solicitude. She turns her gaze towards the forms of the two seamen—she does not seem to know that they are dead. A faint cry comes from under the awning. Again she looks towards the bow of the boat; she sees that her companions in misery are not watching her. She now stealthily draws from beneath the folds of her dress, where she has carefully concealed it, a bottle of water. Did she, then, while the seamen slept, steal the water from the cask to preserve the existence of those committed to her fostering charge, and far more precious to her, in her sight, than her own life? There can be no doubt she did so. She discovers that she is not observed. There is a small tin pannikin near her, and several pieces of biscuit. She crumbles the biscuit, as well as she can with her weak fingers, into the pannikin, and then pours upon them a few drops of the precious fluid. She looks at the water with longing eyes, but will not expend even one drop to cool her parched lips. She mixes the biscuit till it is completely softened, and then casting another furtive glance towards the bow, unconscious that the dead only are there, she carefully lifts up the awning. A low weak voice utters the word “Aya;” it is that of a child, some three or four years old perhaps; at the same time there is a plaintive cry from a younger infant. A smile irradiates the countenance of the Indian woman, for she knows that her charges are still alive. She leans forward, though her strength is barely sufficient to enable her to move, and puts the food into the mouths of the two children. The eldest, a boy, swallows it eagerly; for though somewhat pale, his strength seems but little impaired. The infant is a girl: she takes the mixture, so little suited to her tender years, but without appetite; and it would appear that in a very short time her career, just begun on earth, will be brought to a speedy close.

When the food is consumed, the nurse sinks back to her former position. She tries to swallow a piece of the biscuit, but her parched lips and throat refuse to receive the dry morsel, and the water she will not touch. Again the children cry for food, and once more she goes through the operation of preparing it for them as before; but her movements are slower, and she now has scarcely strength to carry the food to the mouths of the little ones.

The day passes away, the night goes by, the morning comes, and still the calm continues. The children awake and cry out for food. The nurse turns her languid eyes towards them, but her strength has almost gone; she even forgets for an instant the meaning of that cry. There is a struggle going on within her. At last her loving, faithful, and enduring spirit overcomes for a time the weakness of her body; she prepares the mess, and feeds the children. She gazes sorrowfully at the bottle—the last drop of water is consumed. She leans back, her bosom heaves faintly; the effort has been more than her failing strength would bear. She turns her eyes towards them; they are the last objects of any earthly thing she is destined to behold. A dimness comes stealing over them. Her thoughts are no longer under control, her arms fall by her side, her head droops on her chest, she has no strength to raise it. In a few hours more the faithful nurse will have ceased to breathe, and those young children will be left alone with the dead on the wild waste of waters.

But, reader, do not for one moment suppose that therefore they are doomed to perish. There is One above, the eternal, all-powerful God of goodness and love, who is watching over those helpless infants. His arm can stretch to the uttermost parts of the earth, and over the great waters: even now it is put forth to shield them, though we see it not. Even without a human hand to administer their food, in that open boat on the wide sea, over which a storm might presently rage, while billows may rise, threatening to overwhelm them, far away from land or living beings but themselves, those children are as secure, if so God wills it, as those who are sleeping on beds of down within palace walls; because, remember, reader, that He is all-powerful, and He is everywhere. Trust in Him; never despond; pray to Him for help at all times—in times of peace and prosperity, in times of danger and difficulty; and oh! believe that most assuredly He will help and protect you in the way He knows is best for your eternal happiness.

This is the lesson I would teach; for this is the lesson I have learned by means of all the difficulties and dangers I have undergone during the scenes of wild and extraordinary adventure which I have encountered in my course through life. Often and often, had I not been convinced of this great truth, I should have yielded to despair; and the longer I have lived, and the more dangers I have passed through, the more firmly convinced have I become of it. Often have I felt my own utter helplessness—the impossibility that the strength of man could avail me—when standing, it seemed, on the very brink of destruction; and in a way beyond all calculation, I have found myself rescued and placed in safety. It was for this reason that I have drawn the picture which I have exhibited to you. Ungrateful indeed should I be, and negligent of my bounden duty, did I not do my utmost to teach the lesson I have learned from the merciful protection so often afforded me; for know that I was one of those helpless infants! and the picture before us shows the first scene in my life of which I have any record; and this is the moral I would inculcate—“That God is everywhere.”

Chapter Two.

A large ship was floating on the ocean. I use the term floating, for she could scarcely be said to be doing anything else, as she did not seem to be moving in the slightest degree through the water. Some straw and chips of wood, which had been thrown overboard, continued hour after hour alongside. She was, however, moving; but it was round and round, though very slowly indeed, as a glance at the compass would have shown. The sea was as smooth as glass, for there was not a breath of air to ruffle it; there was, in fact, a perfect calm.

The ship was a first-class Indiaman, on her outward voyage to the far-famed land of the East; and she belonged to that body of merchant princes, the East India Company. In appearance she was not altogether unlike a frigate with her long tier of guns, her lofty masts, her wide spread of canvas, and her numerous crew; but her decks were far more encumbered than those of a man-of-war, and her hold was full of rich merchandise, and the baggage of the numerous passengers who occupied her cabins. Her sails, for the present, however, were of no use; so, having nothing else to do, for the sole purpose, it would seem, of annoying the most sensitive portion of the human beings on board, they continued, with most persevering diligence, flapping against the masts, while the ship rolled lazily from side to side. The decks presented the appearance of a little world shut out from the rest of mankind; for all grades, and all professions and trades, were to be found on board. On the high poop deck, under an awning spread over it to shelter them from the burning rays of the sun, were collected the aristocratical portion of the community. There were there to be found ladies and gentlemen, the sedate matron, and the blooming girl just reaching womanhood, the young wife and the joyous child; there were lawyers and soldiers, sailors and merchants, clergymen and doctors, some of them holding high rank in their respective professions. The captain, of course, was king, and his mates were his ministers; but, like the rest, he was bound by laws which he dared not infringe, even had he desired to have done so.

On the deck below were seen craftsmen of all sorts, occupied in their respective callings. Carpenters hard at work with plane and saw; blacksmiths with bellows and anvil; tailors and cobblers, barbers and washerwomen, painters and armourers, rope-makers and butchers, and several others, besides the seamen engaged in the multifarious duties in which officers know well how to employ them. Among the crew were seen representatives of each quarter of the Old World. There were Malays and other Asiatics, and the dark-skinned sons of Africa, mingled among the hardy seamen of Britain, each speaking a different jargon, but all taught by strict discipline to act in unison.

Besides the human beings, there were cattle and sheep destined for the butcher’s knife—cows to afford milk to the lady passengers, the invalids, and the children—even horses were on board, valuable racers or chargers, belonging to some of the military officers; there were several head of sheep penned up in the long-boat; and there were pigsties full of grunting occupants, who seemed to be more happy and to have made themselves far more at home than any of their four-footed fellow-voyagers. Ranging at liberty were several dogs of high and low degree, from the colonel’s thorough-bred greyhound to the cook’s cur, a very turnspit in appearance; nor must I forget Quacko, the monkey, the merriest and most active of two-legged or four-legged beings on board. It might have puzzled many to determine to which he belonged, as he was seen dressed in a blue jacket and white trousers, sitting up on the break of the forecastle, his usual playground in fine weather, cracking nuts, or peeling an orange like a human being, while his tongue was chattering away, as if he had a vast amount of information to communicate.

Then there were poultry of every description: ducks and geese, and turkeys and cocks and hens, quacking, and cackling, and gobbling, and crowing in concert: indeed, to shut one’s eyes, it was difficult not to suppose that one was in a well-stocked farm-yard; but on opening them again, one found one’s self surrounded by objects of a very different character to what one would there have seen. Instead of the trees, there were the tall masts, the rigging, and sails above one’s head, the bulwarks instead of the walls of the barns, the black and white seamen with thick beards instead of the ploughmen and milk-maids, and the wide glittering ocean instead of the muddy horse-pond.

This was the scene on the upper deck: below, it was stranger still. There were two decks, one beneath the other, both with occupants; there were cooks at the galley fire, whose complexion no soot could make blacker, and servants in white dresses and embroidered shawls, running backwards and forwards with their masters’ tiffins, as luncheons are called in India.

There were numerous cabins, many occupied by persons whose sole employment was to kill time, forgetting how soon time would kill them in return, and they would have to sum up the account of how they had spent their days on earth.

In the lower deck there were soldiers with their wives and children, and seamen, some sleeping out their watch below, and others mending their clothes, while a few were reading—a very few, I fear, such books as were calculated to afford them much instruction. Below, again, in the dark recesses of the hold, there were seamen with lanterns getting up stores and provisions of various sorts. In one place were seen three men—it was the gunner and his two mates. They had carefully-closed lanterns and list shoes on their feet. They were visiting the magazine, to see that the powder was dry. They were from habit careful, but custom had made them thoughtless of danger; yet one spark from the lantern would in a moment have sent every one of the many hundred living beings on board that ship into eternity. The flannel bags containing the powder were removed to be carried up on deck to dry, the door was carefully closed and locked, and the gunner and his mates went about their other avocations.

From long habit, people are apt to forget the dangers which surround them, though they are far greater than those in which the passengers of the good ship Governor Harcourt were placed at the moment the magazine was opened; and I am very certain that not one of them contemplated the possibility of being blown up, without an instant warning, into the air.

I have indulged in a somewhat long description of this little world in miniature, although I was not one of its inhabitants; but it was a scene not without interest, and I have had many opportunities of judging of the correctness of the picture which was given me by a friend then on board the Governor Harcourt. We will now return to the more refined groups sitting and lying about listlessly on the poop deck.

As among the party were several people who exercised a considerable influence over my career, a description of them is necessary. The person of most consideration, on account of his wealth and position, as well as his high character, was a gentleman verging upon sixty years of age. In stature and figure he was not what would be called dignified; but there was that in the expression of his countenance which made persons of discernment who studied his features feel inclined to love and respect him. The broad forehead, the full mild eye, and the well-set mouth, told of intellect, kindness, and firmness.

The careless and indifferent might have called him the stout old gentleman with yellow cheeks. I mean people—and there are many such in the world—who are unable to perceive the noble and good qualities in a man, and only look at his outward form and figure. If they hear a person called a great man, like Lord Nelson or the Duke of Wellington, they call him great also; but many would not be able to point out the real heroic qualities of these heroes. I cannot now stop to describe in what real heroic qualities consist, further than to assure my young friends that the great men I have instanced are not properly called heroes simply because they were commanders-in-chief when great battles have been gained. Napoleon gained many victories; but I cannot allow that he can justly be called a hero. My object is to show you the importance of not judging of people by their outward appearance; and also, when you hear men spoken of as great men, to ask you to consider well in what their greatness consists. But to return to my kind and generous benefactor,—for so he afterwards proved to me,—Sir Charles Plowden. In outward form to the common eye he was not a hero, but to those who knew him he was truly great, good, and noble. He was high in the civil service of the Honourable East India Company, all the best years of his life having been passed in the East.

A book was in his hand, at which his eye every now and then glanced; but he appeared to look at it rather for the sake of finding matter for thought, than for the object of getting rapidly through its contents.

At a little distance from him sat a lady, busily employed in working with her needle. She was young and if not decidedly pretty, very interesting in appearance. Though she was looking at her work, from the expression of her countenance it might be perceived that she was listening attentively to a gentleman seated by her side, who was reading to her in that clear low voice, with that perfect distinctness of enunciation, which is so pleasant to the ear. A stranger might have guessed, from the tone of tenderness, yet of perfect confidence, in which he occasionally spoke to her, and the glance of affection which she gave him in return, that they were husband and wife; nor would he have been mistaken.

They were Captain and Mrs Clayton, who were returning to India after their first visit to England since their marriage. His appearance and manners were very gentlemanly and pleasing, and he was a man much esteemed by a large circle of acquaintance. They had now been married about eight years, and had no children. Mrs Clayton had gone out to India at the age of seventeen with her father, a colonel in the army, and soon after her arrival she was won and wed by Captain Clayton, so that she was still a very young woman.

Sometimes, when she saw a happy mother nursing her child, she would secretly sigh that she was not so blessed; but, I am glad to say, she did not on that account indulge in the custom of bestowing any portion of her care and attention on puppy dogs and cats, as I have seen some ladies, both single and married, do in a most disagreeable manner. I, of course, desire to see people kind to dumb animals; but I do not like to see little beasts petted and kissed, and treated in every way like human beings, with far more care and attention bestowed on them than are given to thousands of the children in the back streets and alleys of our crowded towns. I trust that you, my young friends, will remember this when you have money or food to bestow; and, instead of throwing it away in purchasing or feeding useless pets, that you will give it to instruct, to clothe and feed those who are born into the world to know God, to perform their duty to Him, and to enjoy eternal life. Dreadful is it to contemplate that so many live and die without that knowledge, who might, had their fellow-men exerted themselves, have enjoyed all the blessings afforded by the gospel dispensation.

But I must go back to my history. Captain and Mrs Clayton were accompanied by a young lady, a distant relative, left without any other friends to protect and support her. She was a laughing, blue-eyed girl, and was now seated with several other young ladies of about the same age on a circle of cushions on the deck, shouts of merriment rising every now and then from the happy group. There were several other people who had been in India before—military and civil officers of the Company, merchants, lawyers, and clergymen; but I need not more particularly describe them.

Ellen Barrow, Mrs Clayton’s charge, was not only sweetly pretty, but good and amiable in every respect. I do not know that she had what is called a regular feature in her face; but her sunny smile, and an expression which gave sure indication of a good disposition, made those who saw her think her far more beautiful than many ladies whose countenances were in other respects faultless. I praise her from having known her well, and all the excellencies of her character, as they were in after-years more fully developed. At present her most intimate friends would probably have said little more about her than that she was a nice, pretty-looking, happy girl.

There was another person on board, of whom I must by no means omit to speak, and that is Captain Willis. He was a very gentlemanly man, both in appearance and manners, as indeed he was by birth; nor had the rough school in which he was educated left a trace behind.

He was the son of a merchant of excellent family connections and his mother was, I believe, a lady of rank. When he was about the age of fourteen, both his parents died, leaving him perfectly penniless, for his father had just before that event failed and lost all his property. He had had, fortunately, the opportunity of obtaining an excellent education, and he had profited by it and this gave him an independence of feeling—which he could not otherwise justly have enjoyed. He was also a lad of honest spirit; his relations had quarrelled with his parents, and treated them, he considered, unjustly; so that his heart rebelled at the idea of soliciting charity from them, and he at once resolved to fight his own way in the world.

He had always had a strong predilection for a sea life, and he was on the point of going into the Royal Navy when his father’s misfortunes commenced.

His thoughts consequently at once reverted to the sea; and the day after his father’s funeral, he set out with a sad heart, and yet with the buoyant hope of youth cheering him on in spite of his grief, to take counsel of an old friend, the master of a merchantman, who had been much indebted to his father.

Captain Styles was a rough-mannered but a good man, and a thoroughly practical sailor. He at once offered every aid in his power; but Edward Willis, thanking him, assured him that he only came for advice.

“Do you want to become a seaman in whom your owners and passengers will place perfect confidence, and who will be able, if man can do it, to navigate your ship through narrow channels and among shoals, and clear off a lee-shore if you are ever caught on one; or do you wish just to know how to navigate a ship from London to Calcutta and back, with the aid of a pilot when you get into shallow waters, and to look after the ladies in fine weather, and let your first officer take care of the ship in bad?”

“I wish to become a thorough seaman,” replied Edward Willis.

“Then, my lad, you must first go to the school where you will learn the trade,” said Captain Styles. “I have an old friend, the master of a Newcastle collier. He is an honest man, kind-hearted, and a first-rate seaman. In six months with him you will learn more than in six years in a big ship. If you were younger, it would be different; for it is rough work, mind you. He is always at sea, running up and down the coast: sometimes to the north, and at other times round the South Foreland, and right down channel. Indeed, to my mind there is not a finer school to make a man a seaman in a short time. It’s the royal road to a knowledge of the sea, though I grant it, as I said before, a very rough one.”

Willis replied that he was not afraid of hard work, and would follow his advice. Accordingly he went to sea in a collier for three years; then he shipped on board a vessel trading to the Baltic, and next made a voyage to Baffin’s Bay, in a whaler; after which he joined an Indiaman. Here, after what he had gone through, the work appeared comparatively easy. He now perfected himself in the higher branches of navigation, and from this time rose rapidly from junior mate to first officer, and finally, in a few years, to the command of a first-class Indiaman, where he was in a fair way of realising a handsome independence. Captain Willis’s ship was always a favourite; and as soon almost as she was announced to sail, her cabins were engaged. I should advise those who go to sea at the age Captain Willis did, to follow his example; though for a very young boy, the school, I grant, is somewhat too rough a one.

Chapter Three.

Captain Willis was walking the deck, with his spy-glass in his hand, while every now and then he stopped anxiously to scan the horizon in every direction, in the hopes of discerning the well-known signs of the long-wished-for breeze.

“Well, Captain Willis, when is the wind coming?” asked one of the young ladies of the merry group I have described, as he passed them in his walk. “We have agreed that you sailors are very idle people, not to make your ship move faster. You do it on purpose, we are sure, to enjoy our society.”

“The temptation would be great, ladies, I own,” said the captain, bowing. “But, I assure you, it depends as much upon yourselves as upon me and my officers; and, I think, if you were all to set to work and whistle with a right good-will, you might soon bring the wind down upon us.”

“Oh then we will all try,” exclaimed the merry girls in chorus. “We see you want to get rid of us as soon as you can.” Thereon they all began to try and whistle, and some succeeded very well, though the chorus was not very harmonious.

I suspect the worthy captain had long before perceived the undoubted signs of wind on the water, for there was a quizzical look in his eye as he spoke; and each turn he made he encouraged them to proceed, and to whistle louder and louder, assuring them it was certain to have a good effect.

Not many minutes had passed, during which the young ladies had tried to whistle till their mouths ached, when the voice of Captain Willis was heard ordering the crew to trim sails. With alacrity they flew to their posts at the joyful sound; and those who but a minute before were so silent and inert, were now all life and animation.

Still the ocean appeared as smooth and shining as before; but in the distance, away to the north-east, there was a line of dark-blue, which seemed to be gradually extending itself on either hand, and to be slowly advancing in the direction where the ship lay. The glassy surface of the water was every now and then slightly ruffled by gentle, scarcely perceptible breaths of wind, such as are called by seamen “cats’-paws,” from their having, I suppose, no more effect in disturbing the water than would the paw of a cat. They came and went continually. Some of the more lofty and lighter sails of the ship bulged out for an instant, and then again flapped against the masts, and all was calm as before.

“If you please, young ladies, I must trouble you to whistle a little longer,” said Captain Willis, with one of his most polite bows, and a merry smile lurking in his eye. “You see the good service you have already done; but the wind seems coy, and requires a longer wooing.”

They all laughed very much, and declared that they could not whistle any more; but still they all essayed again; and sweet Ellen Barrow screwed her pretty mouth up till her lips looked, indeed, like two ripe cherries; and Captain Willis aiding them with his clear whistle, the wind was not long in answering the summons. The spokes of the wheel were seen once more to revolve in the hands of the helmsman, the sails bulged out more regularly, and if they fell back, they quickly again filled till every one drew steadily, and the huge ship moved slowly through the ocean on her proper course. It was pleasant to the passengers to hear the rippling sound of the water against the sides of the ship, and to see it bubbling up so briskly under her bows; and still more pleasant was it to feel the fresh air fanning the cheeks, and to know that it was wafting them on to their yet far distant bourne. The fresh air had a reviving effect on every one, and many who had sat silent and melancholy began to move about, and to laugh and talk with the rest of their companions.

About an hour after the breeze had sprung up, the captain was observed to turn his glass several times to a point on the starboard bow. He then handed it to his first officer.

“What do you make out of that, Mr Naylor?” he asked.

The answer was not heard.

“So I think it is,” replied the captain. “Keep her two more points to the eastward of her course—steady so.”

Immediately the head of the ship was turned towards a little spot which appeared upon the water, a long way off. The report that there was something to be seen called every one to the side of the ship, and all eyes were fixed on that small speck on the waste of waters. There were many speculations as to what it was. Some said that it was a dead whale, others a smaller fish; a few insisted that it was the hull of a vessel, and there was one party of opinion that it was the top of a rock in the ocean, and were congratulating themselves that they had met with it in daylight and fine weather.

“But what do you think it is, Captain Willis?” asked Ellen Barrow.

“Why, young lady, I think it is a boat; but I am not surprised that so many people, not accustomed to look at objects on the water, where there is nothing to compare them with, should be mistaken. Those who fancy that it is a whale or the hull of a vessel think it is much farther off than it really is, while those who suppose it to be a small fish, believe it to be much nearer than it really is. It is only by comparing things together that we can estimate them properly.”

The breeze, although sufficient to fill the sails, was still very light, so that the ship moved but slowly through the water,—at the rate, perhaps, of a mile and a half or two miles in the hour, or, as sailors would say, two knots an hour. She was, therefore, a long time approaching the object. At last, Captain Willis, who had constantly kept his telescope turned towards it, pronounced it, without doubt, to be a boat.

“There appears to be no one in her, however,” he observed; “at least, I see no one’s head above the gunwale.”

“How strange that a boat should be out there all alone!” exclaimed Ellen Barrow.

“Oh no; she has got adrift from a vessel, or has been driven off from some coast or other,” answered Captain Willis.

“There looks to me, sir, as if there were some people in the boat, though they don’t appear to be moving,” sung out the third officer from aloft.

“Mr Simpson, man the starboard quarter-boat, and lower her as we come up with the boat. We must have her alongside, and overhaul her, at all events.”

“Ay, ay, sir,” replied the mate; and soon afterwards the boat’s crew were seen coming aft to lower her into the water.

Numerous were the conjectures as to who could be in the boat, and where she could have come from; but of course no one could answer the question. The ship glided on slowly, for the wind was still very light. When she got a short distance only from the boat, the captain ordered the sails to be clewed up, and the gig to be lowered. Mr Simpson went away in her, and was soon alongside. He was seen to throw up his hands, as an expression of horror, as he looked into the boat. She was then made fast to the stern of the gig, and rapidly towed up to the ship.

“Be quick there on deck, and bring a chair,” he exclaimed. “Here’s a poor creature much in want of the doctor’s help, if she’s not gone too far for it already.”

The side of the ship on which the boat appeared was crowded with the passengers, eager to see what it contained. The sight which met their eyes was indeed a sad one. In the fore part were two men lying on their backs with their faces upwards, and, from their ghastly expression, it was seen that they were both dead. There was another person, a dark-skinned woman, who, it appeared, the mate considered still living. A chair was speedily slung, and the mate having secured her into it, she was hoisted on deck.

The doctor was in waiting, and having placed her on a mattress on deck, he knelt down at her side to discover if any spark of life yet remained in her emaciated frame. He felt her pulse, and then calling for a glass of wine and water, he moistened her lips, and poured a few drops down her throat. It had the effect of instantly reviving her; she opened her eyes, and uttering a few strange words, she attempted to rise as if to search for something she expected to find near. For an instant she looked wildly around; but the effort was more than nature could bear, and, with a deep sigh, she sank again and expired. While some of the passengers had been witnessing this melancholy scene, others were engaged in watching the proceedings of the mate. Directly he had placed the poor black woman in the chair, he turned to examine the after part of the boat, over which an awning was carefully spread. Lifting it up, he uttered an exclamation of surprise and pleasure. Carefully placed on a bed formed on the stern-sheets, were two children—a little boy, some three or four years old, or perhaps five, and an infant which could scarcely for as many months have seen the light. The little fellow had been fast asleep. The voice of the mate awoke him, and looking up and seeing strange faces surrounding him, he began to cry.

“That’s a good sign, at all events,” cried the mate. “The baby does not seem much the worse either; send down the chair again, and we’ll have them on deck in a trice.” The chair was lowered, and placing himself in it, with the two children in his arms, he was hoisted up on deck. Scarcely had he reached it, than all the ladies hurried forward to catch a glimpse of the children, many of them almost quarrelling who should take charge of them.

“Stay, ladies,” said Captain Willis, good-naturedly. “The children by right belong to me; and I must let the doctor see to them before anybody else begins nursing them.”

In the meantime, however, Mrs Clayton had taken the infant out of the mate’s arms, while the little boy was snatched away by Ellen Barrow and the rest of the young ladies, who kept fondling him among them, and showing that they would do their best to spoil him before the voyage was over.

Mr Hawkins, the surgeon, finding that his services were of no avail to the rest of those who had been in the boat, now appeared, and examined the baby as it lay in Mrs Clayton’s arms.

“It seems to have been wonderfully sustained,” he observed. “I can discover nothing the matter with it; and with some of the food our goat can supply, I have no doubt in a few days it will have perfectly recovered. Let me relieve you of the child, madam, and give it to one of the women-servants to nurse.”

But Mrs Clayton showed no inclination to give up her charge. There were feelings rising in her bosom whose exquisite delight a fond mother, as she presses her first-born to her breast, can well appreciate. The lady gave an imploring look at her husband, which he well understood.

“Do as you wish, dearest,” he whispered.

She returned him a glance full of grateful thanks.

“Captain Willis,” she said, in a voice agitated with the fear that her request might be denied, “I will, if you will allow me, take charge of the poor deserted one, till its proper guardians can be found; and I daresay we shall be able to learn from the little boy who they are.”

“To no one would I more gladly commit the infant than to you, madam,” returned the captain. “And pray, consider her your property till claimed by others with greater right to her.”

So it was settled; and Mrs Clayton did indeed prove an affectionate mother to the little foundling. Captain Willis, however, was much disappointed in not being able to obtain the information he expected from the elder child. The little fellow could speak very rapidly, but it was in a language neither he nor any of the young ladies could understand, though he seemed to comprehend what was said to him in English. They tried him with a variety of names to endeavour to discover the one belonging to him; but to none of them did he pay any attention.

On a sudden he began to cry to go to his Aya; but as he was kept out of sight of the dead body, and petted by the young ladies, who tried every means to please him, he was soon again pacified. He was then taken into the cabin, where two or three of the married ladies, who had children of their own, set to work to wash him and dress him in clean clothes. He kicked about in the tub of water, and seemed highly delighted, as if it was a luxury to which he was accustomed, while he also appeared fully to appreciate the advantage of clean clothes. He was rather thin, as if he had lived for a length of time on a short allowance of food; but when some broth, which had been got ready for him, was placed before him, he did not eat ravenously as if he had been long without food altogether. Indeed, I may as well here remark, that the mate had discovered a small piece of biscuit, softened by water, by his side when he took the children out of the boat, proving that the faithful nurse had given him the last morsel of food in her possession rather than eat it herself, in the hope of preserving his life. When he had swallowed the broth, he fell fast asleep in the arms of the lady who was holding him. The little fellow’s perfect confidence in those surrounding him, while it won their hearts, showed that he had always been accustomed to kind treatment.

Mrs Clayton had also brought her little charge below, and was nursing it with the most tender care. It seemed, indeed, but a fragile little blossom; and it appeared surprising that it should thus have escaped from the hardships to which it had been exposed.

Meanwhile, on deck, Captain Willis and his officers, and some of the gentlemen passengers, were making every possible examination of the boat and the dead bodies, to endeavour to discover some clue by which they might be able to trace to what ship they had belonged, or whence they had come. There was, unfortunately, little on their bodies to identify them. One of the men had fastened round his neck by a lanyard a knife, on the handle of which was roughly carved the initials J.S., and on his arm was discovered, marked by gunpowder, among a variety of other figures, the name of James Smith,—one, however, borne by so many people, that it could scarcely be said to serve as a distinguishing appellation. Sir Charles Plowden, notwithstanding, who was taking a great interest in and superintending the investigation, made a note of it in his pocket-book, and took charge of the knife.

There was no name on the boat, nor were there any oars in her, which have generally the name of the ship marked on them. The boat was pronounced not to be of English build; and the carpenter, after a long examination, declared it to be his opinion, that it might possibly be built by some Englishman, in a foreign place, and with foreign assistants, and with more than one sort of wood, with which he was not well acquainted. The canvas, which had served as the awning over the children, was certainly English, and the seams at the joins were exactly similar to the work of an English sail-maker. The nails used in the boat were English; but then, as the carpenter observed, English nails were sent into all parts of the world.

The complexion of the other seaman was very dark; a crucifix was found round his neck, and he had on a light-blue jacket, and his other garments were not of English make, so that there could be no doubt that he was a foreigner. In his pocket was a purse, containing several gold doubloons and other coins, showing how utterly valueless on some occasions is the money for which men risk so much. How gladly would the poor wretch have given the whole of it for a crust of bread and a drop of water! There was also a little silver box in his pocket, containing the relic of a saint, equally inefficacious to preserve him, although an inscription on a piece of paper in it stated, that it would preserve the fortunate possessor from all dangers, either by sea or land.

In the Englishman’s pocket there was an empty tobacco-box; but there was no paper or writing of any sort, to assist in identifying them.

The clothes of the nurse were not marked, nor was there found about her anything to aid the investigation; but on those of the children were found, nearly washed out, however, letters which were evidently the initials of their names. On those of the little boy were M.S., and on those of the baby E.S., which, with the strong resemblance in features, left little doubt that they were brother and sister.

Sir Charles, with an exactness which should be imitated under similar circumstances, noted down every particular—the appearance of the dead bodies, their height and size. He directed, also, that the clothes should be washed and carefully kept. The measurement of the boat was also made, and parts of her plankings and all the things she contained were taken out of her. She was herself too large to hoist in on deck.

The only thing remarkable about the children was, that round the neck of each was a gold chain and a locket containing light auburn hair; but there was no other inscription than the initials E.S.

Sir Charles desired that he might also take charge of these memorials. “If the children continue to wear them, they may be lost,” he observed. “They may be valuable, as aiding to discover their friends, and should be carefully preserved.” Indeed he neglected no means by which the important object could be obtained, of discovering, at a future period, the family of the little foundlings.

While these matters were being arranged, the wind had dropped again completely, and the sky had assumed a dull leaden hue, and a thick haze to the eastward rose up and looked like a line of high land. The boat was meantime left hanging astern, while the gig was again hoisted up on the quarter.

Sailors have a strong aversion to having dead bodies on board; and as there was no object to be attained by keeping those of the unfortunate persons who had been discovered in the boat, preparations were made to bury them that evening in the deep ocean. I will not now stop to describe the ceremony. They were sewn up in a clean canvas, with a shot fastened in at the feet, and a clergyman who was among the passengers, performed the funeral service. They were then launched overboard, and sunk for ever from the sight of men.

Scarcely had they reached the water than a low moaning sound was heard in the rigging, and the sails flapped heavily against the mast. Captain Willis cast a hurried glance to windward.

“Clew up—haul up—let fly everything—away aloft there—furl topgallant sails, close reef the topsails—be smart, my lads,” he exclaimed in those sharp tones which showed that there was no time for delay. The attentive men flew to their proper posts—some to the tacks and sheets, the bunt-lines and clew-lines, others swarmed aloft like bees on the yards, and with vigorous arms hauled out the earings and secured the sails with the gaskets. They did their work manfully, for they well knew there was no time to lose.

Scarcely, indeed, was all along made snug, and they were coming down again, than the threatening blast struck the ship.

“Hold on for your lives, hold on!” exclaimed the captain. “Port the helm, port!”

Away she flew before the gale, upright and unharmed. In an instant, it seemed, the sea, before so calm and bright, became covered with a mass of foam, and then waves rose rapidly, one towering above the other, in quick succession. Two men were stationed at the helm, to keep the ship before the wind, as she ran on under close-reefed fore-topsail.

So engaged had Captain Willis and his officers been in getting the ship into proper order to encounter the gale, that they entirely forgot the boat towing astern. Fortunately no sea had yet risen high enough to drive her against the ship, or serious damage might have been effected. At last Sir Charles observed her, and called the attention of the first officer to her. In an instant his knife was out, and without waiting to consult the captain, he was cutting away at the tow rope. He was not a moment too soon, for some heavy black seas were seen rolling up like mountains astern. The last strands of the rope parted with a sharp snap, the boat was seen to rise to the top of a wave, and the next rolled her over and over, and she disappeared beneath the waters.

“Alas!” exclaimed Sir Charles, “sad would have been the fate of the poor children, had we not providentially come up in time to save them.”

Reader, I was one of those poor children, thus providentially rescued from destruction; the other was my sister. Truly I have a right to say, God equally rules the calm or the tempest—equally in the one and the other does He watch over his creatures.

God is everywhere.

Chapter Four.

The events I have described in the preceding chapters were afterwards told me by my friends, and I have faithfully given them in the words of the narrators. Of course the commencement of my narrative is somewhat conjectural; but there can be no doubt, from the circumstances I have mentioned, that the main features were perfectly true. The storm blew furiously all that night, and the ship ran on before it; but as day dawned its rage appeared expended, and by noon the waves subsided, and the wind gently as before filled the broad fields of canvas spread to receive it. I slept through it all, for the close air of the cabins, after having been exposed for so many days in the open boat, made me drowsy. I have a faint recollection of opening my eyes in the morning, and finding the sun shining in through the port, and the sweet face of Ellen Barrow hanging over me. When she saw me look up and smile, (for even then I thought such a face ought to be beloved, and must be kind and good, and I felt that I did love her), she covered me with kisses, and, forlorn little foundling though I was, I felt very happy. I have no distinct recollection of anything which happened in the boat; but I remember, as if it were yesterday, that lovely countenance, with the sun just tingeing her auburn locks as my waking eyes first fell on it; and though I do not suppose that I had ever heard of an angel, I had some indefinite sort of notion that she was one; at all events, that she was a being in whom I might place implicit confidence, and who would watch over me, and guard me from danger. I put out my little arms and threw them round her neck, and returned her kisses with right good-will.

Dear Mrs Clayton had faithfully fulfilled her promise of carefully nursing my little sister, by holding her half the night in her arms, during the raging of the storm, fearful that any harm should come to her new-found treasure; and it was only when the sea subsided, and the ship was more steady, that she would consent to place her in a little cot which had been slung by her side. In the afternoon all the passengers were again collected together on deck. We, of course, afforded the subject of general conversation and curiosity. Speculations of all sorts were offered as to who we could be—where we could have come from, and how it happened that we were in an open boat in the condition in which we were found. I was asked all sorts of questions; but to none of them could I return a satisfactory answer. I had some indistinct idea of having been on board another ship, and of there being a great disturbance, and of my crying very much through fear; and I suspect that I must have cried myself to sleep, and remained so when I was put into the boat. Ellen Barrow had taken me under her especial protection, though everybody, more or less, tried to pet me, and I was very happy. Scarcely four-and-twenty hours had passed, it must be remembered, since, without food or human aid, we floated on the open ocean, the dying and the dead our only companions; and now we were on board a well-found ship, and surrounded by kind friends, all vying with each other to do us service. Sir Charles every now and then, as I passed him, patted me on the head; and as I looked up I liked the expression of his countenance, so I stopped and smiled, and frequently ran back to him. In this manner we shortly became great friends.

“I wonder what their names can be!” exclaimed Mrs Clayton, as those most interested in us were still sitting together in earnest consultation. “The boy’s initials are M.S., and the little girl’s E.S., that is certain. If we cannot discover their real names, we must give them some ourselves.”

“Oh, let them be pretty ones, by all means!” cried Ellen Barrow. “I must not let my pet be called by an ugly name. Let me consider—it must not be romantic either, like invented names found in novels.”

“I should advise you to choose the surname first for both the children, and then settle the respective Christian names,” remarked the judge.

“Will you help us, Sir Charles?” asked Miss Barrow.

“No, my dear young lady—I propose that our committee abide by your choice, if I am allowed to have a word to say about the Christian name—so on your shoulders must rest the responsibility,” was Sir Charles’s answer.

“It must begin with S, that is certain,” said Ellen Barrow, speaking as she thought on. “Something to do with the sea: Seagrave—I don’t like that; Seaton—it might do. What do you think of Seaworth, Sir Charles? It is a pretty name and appropriate—Seaworth—I like Seaworth.”

“So do I; and I compliment you on the selection,” said the judge. “Let the surname of the children be Seaworth from henceforth, till the real name is discovered; and now for a Christian name for the boy. It must begin with M. I do not like long names, and I have a fancy for one in particular—I must beg that he be called Mark. I had a friend of that name, who died early. Do you object to it, Miss Ellen?”

“I had not thought of it, certainly,” said Ellen Barrow. “I was going to propose Marmaduke; but let me try how it sounds in combination with Seaworth—Mark Seaworth—Mark Seaworth. A very nice name; I like it, and I am sure I shall like it very much in a short time.” So, thanks to Sir Charles and Ellen Barrow, I was called Mark Seaworth.

Mrs Clayton now claimed the right of naming her little charge. It was a matter, however, of still longer consideration. Emily, and Eliza, and Elizabeth, and a number of others beginning with E were thought of, but none seemed to please.

“Give her the name of her mother, then,” said Sir Charles.

“How do you know it?” exclaimed several voices.

“The mother of us all,” replied the judge, smiling.

“Oh dear, yes! Let her be called Eva rather,” exclaimed Mrs Clayton, delighted. “It is a sweetly pretty name, and not often used.”

“I meant simply Eve; but Eva is an improvement on my idea,” said Sir Charles.

“Eva, Eva,” was pronounced in chorus by all the party; and by that name my little sister was afterwards christened. Thus this important matter was finally arranged.

Several days passed away without the occurrence of anything worthy of note, that I have heard of. My little sister slowly gained strength and health under the careful nursing of Mrs Clayton.

One fine day, sweet Ellen Barrow was, as usual, romping with me about the deck—now running after me—now catching hold of me to fondle me, and then letting me go for the sake of again chasing me; and though I struggled and screamed when she overtook me, I cannot say that I was either alarmed, or that I disliked the treatment I received. Sir Charles was calmly watching us all the time, with a smile on his countenance. At last the young lady, weary with her exertions, threw herself into a seat, while I came and nestled by her side. After looking at us for a few minutes he came nearer to her.

“My dear young lady,” he said, “will you answer me a question?”

“A hundred, Sir Charles,” she answered, “if you are kind enough to ask them; for I do not think you will prove a censorious father confessor.”

“Well, then, as you give me leave, I may venture to ask you more than one,” said Sir Charles. “In the first place, tell me what you propose doing with that little boy when you get ashore.”

“Doing with him, Sir Charles? Why, I daresay Captain and Mrs Clayton will assist me in taking charge of him,” replied Ellen Barrow, with a puzzled expression. “But I do not think, I own, that I had thought at all about the future.”

“I thought not, my dear Miss Barrow,” said Sir Charles, smiling. “The young seldom think of the future; but we old people are taught by many a severe lesson the importance of preparing for it. Now, as Captain and Mrs Clayton can scarcely wish to have the responsibility of taking charge of both your little pet and his sister, and as he has no claim on any here on board in particular, I have resolved to constitute myself his guardian till his natural protectors can be found. Captain Willis, who has a sort of legal right over him, consents to my wish; so I intend to take him with me when we land. Pray, therefore, make the most of him now you have him; but do not fix your heart on him entirely, for though I hope you may often see him, I cannot let you have him altogether.”

“What! Sir Charles, do you really intend to adopt the dear little fellow?” exclaimed Miss Barrow with animation. “He will, indeed, be fortunate; but I should be very, very sorry if I thought that I was not to see him again,” she added, while a tear stood in her bright eye, and, turning round she gave me a hug and a kiss, which I thought very good of her.

“Till his rightful guardians are found, I propose to take entire charge of him,” said Sir Charles. “I will do my best to fulfil the important duty I have undertaken; it is not a light one, I own. It is not only to train up the boy to perform well his allotted task in this world, to fear God, to act honourably towards his neighbour, to overcome difficulties, and to secure a good place in the rank of fame and fortune among his fellow-men, but to prepare an immortal soul for eternity.”

Well, indeed, did that good man fulfil his self-imposed duty and utterly beyond all return are the benefits I received from him.

Alas! that so few who have the charge of youth should think of their deep responsibilities as he did. How many private tutors I have met with, who think they have done their duty when they have taught their pupils the sufficient knowledge of Latin and Greek, and mathematics to enable them to enter the universities, without a thought beyond—without pointing out to them, clearly and unmistakably, whatever may be their station in life, that they must have responsibilities, and that they should so act in everything they do here, that they may be ever prepared for entering the life which is to endure for ever! I know that, let the tutor be ever so anxious to perform his duty, let the pupil be ever so ready to listen, times will come when good intentions and precepts may be forgotten; but such failings off should not damp the energies of either, but with sorrow for their derelictions, and earnest prayer for strength from above, they should rise to new exertions, and each year will afford to the tutor greater encouragement, as he sees in the lives of his pupils the fruit of his instruction.

What I wish you to remember is this, that every one of you—the poorest and humblest as well as the richest—may do a great deal of good to your fellow-creatures, if you will but try to find out the way; and also that you cannot devote yourself to amusement, as so many do, without committing a very grave fault, by neglecting the duties of which I have spoken; while I am very certain that you would lose an unfailing source of happiness, for which no other gratification can afford any recompense.

I beg you to think very deeply of what I have said; and now I will go on with my narrative.

Sir Charles at once set to work with my education, and Ellen Barrow was, under his directions, my instructress. I do not remember that I was much troubled with the sight of books; but she drew a number of pictures of various objects, and made me repeat their names, and then she cut out the alphabet in cardboard, by which means I very soon knew my letters. If I was sick she never attempted to teach me, so that all the means offered me of gaining knowledge were pleasurable, and I thus took at once a strong liking to learning, which has never deserted me. Before the termination of the voyage. I could express myself in English, so as to be understood as well as are most children of my age; and as Sir Charles would not allow me to be taught nonsense, I put a right signification upon the words I used.

One morning, at daybreak, a cry was heard from the mast-head of “Land ahead!” and so true had been the observations of Captain Willis, that a few hours afterwards, with a fine breeze, we were entering Table Bay, at the Cape of Good Hope.

The Cape of Good Hope colony is, as most of my young readers are well aware, now an English settlement. It once belonged to the Dutch; but we took it from them during the last war, when they sided with the republican French. It is most celebrated for its sheep pastures; but it also produces wine, and corn, and oil, and affords ample room for the establishment of numbers of our countrymen, who cannot find employment at home. The climate is very healthy; but there are very strong winds, and sometimes droughts which destroy the labours of the husbandman.

However, people who settle there become much attached to the country; and those fond of chasing wild beasts may gratify their tastes to the full in the interior; but they must remember that they cannot, at the same time, attend properly to their farming operations, which must, of necessity, be carried on in more settled districts. It is on many accounts a very valuable colony to Great Britain, and, among others, because it is on the high road to her extensive possessions in Australasia and that in its harbours the numerous shipping which sail thither may find shelter in time of war, and at all times may replenish their water and provisions. It affords a home to thousands of our countrymen, and it supplies the raw material, wool, to our manufacturers; and its inhabitants, by using a large quantity of British manufactures, afford employment to thousands of persons at home, who would otherwise of necessity be idle. By my calculations, every three or four Englishmen who go to one of our southern colonies, and are prosperous, afford employment to one person of those remaining at home; and we thus see how immediately the mother country is benefited by an extensive colonisation. Those very emigrants, or those who have taken their places, had they remained, it must be borne in mind, might have been idle and paupers; while the money which is now circulating, usefully affording employment to others, would have been employed in supporting them in idleness. However, the subject is irrelevant to my history: I mention it because I want to draw the attention of my young friends to the value of our colonial possessions, that when they become men, they may do their utmost to increase the prosperity of the colonies, being assured that they cannot turn their attention to a more patriotic subject.

We remained several days in Table Bay; during which time most of the passengers lived on shore, and some even ventured a considerable way into the interior. Cape Town extends along the shores of the bay at the foot of the far-famed Table Mountain, towards which the ground gradually rises from the waters. The streets are straight, regularly constructed, and run at right angles to each other. They are lined with elm and oak trees, which in summer afford a grateful shade.

There is a clean nice look about the place, which reminds one of an English town. I visited it many years after the time of which I am now speaking, for which reason I am able to describe it. The squares are well laid out, and the public edifices are numerous and substantial. The private houses are built chiefly of red brick or stone, with a terrace before the door shaded by trees. Here not only the Dutch, but the English, as was once the custom in the old country in days long gone by, delight to sit and work in the shade, when the sun is hot, or in the evening to enjoy the fresh breeze from the open sea.

There are upwards of 25,000 inhabitants, half of whom are white, the majority being Dutch or of Dutch descent.

Cape Town is strongly fortified. The entrance to the bay is commanded by a battery called the Mouillé. There is a castle to the left of the town, and several other forts and batteries. The colony is divided into two provinces—the Western Province, of which Cape Town is the capital; and the Eastern Province, of which Graham’s Town is the capital. Each province is divided into districts, many of which retain the old Dutch names; indeed, nearly all the places in the long settled parts are called by the appellations given them by the early possessors of the colony.

There are no navigable rivers; and as the country is wild and mountainous, the means of communication are not easy. To the east, about five hundred miles from the frontier, is the new settlement of Natal, which, from its beautiful climate, and many excellent qualities, promises some day to become a very valuable possession.

Having got our stores on board, the Blue Peter was hoisted, our passengers again collected in their accustomed places, full of all the things they had seen and heard, and once more we were ploughing the ocean towards the mouth of the wealth-bearing Hoogly.

Chapter Five.

Our voyage was most propitious, and, without any event worthy of notice, we approached the mouth of the Hoogly, on the shore of which stands Calcutta, the magnificent city whither we were bound. While still some way off the land the pilot came on board to take charge of the ship; and now, from the heavy responsibility which had so long weighed on the shoulders of Captain Willis, he was in part relieved, as the pilot became answerable for the safety of the ship. While we slowly glide up the placid stream, one of the mouths of the far-famed Ganges, the sacred river of the Hindoos, I will give a short description of it.

The Ganges is 1,500 miles long, and as far as 500 miles from the sea the channel is thirty feet deep, when, during the dry season, the river is at its lowest, while so great even there is its width, that it appears like an inland sea. At 200 miles from the ocean the Ganges separates into two branches; the south-east retaining the name of the Ganges, and the west assuming the appellation of the Hoogly; the delta, or triangular space between the two, being called the Sunderbunds.

Among the eternal snows of the lofty mountains of the Himalaya, 20,000 feet above the level of the sea, in latitude 30 degrees north, is found the source of this superb stream. It is said to issue out of the precipitous side of a lofty mountain, from beneath an arch 300 feet high, composed of deep frozen layers of snow, surrounded by icicles of gigantic magnitude. Such was, the mighty stream on which the good ship the Governor Harcourt was now floating.

On its eastern bank stands Calcutta, the City of Palaces as it is often called. My earliest recollections were of the clusters of columns, the long colonnades, and lofty gateways of its magnificent mansions. The residences are, for the most part, either entirely detached from each other, or connected only by long ranges of terraces, surmounted, like the flat roofs of the houses, with balustrades. The greater number of the mansions have pillared verandahs, extending the whole way up, sometimes to the height of three stories, besides a large portico in front, the whole having a very picturesque appearance, especially when intermingled with forest trees and flowering shrubs. The houses are built of brick, covered with cement, which looks like stone and as even the more ordinary buildings are spread over a considerable extent of ground, they have a very imposing effect, unlike any inhabited by persons of the same rank in England. But close even to the palaces of the most wealthy are to be seen wretched mud huts; and rows of native hovels, constructed of mats, thatch, and bamboos, often rest against their outer walls, while there are avenues opening from the principal streets, intersected in all directions by native bazaars, filled with unsightly articles of every description.

Sir Charles Plowden lived in a very large house, and though his own habits were very simple, the custom of the country required him to have a large retinue of domestics. Thus I was brought up in almost barbaric splendour, with a number of persons whose only business was to attend upon my wishes. My kind guardian, whenever his public duties permitted, had me with him, and himself superintended my education, which prevented the ill effects of the indulgence I was allowed. A sitting-room in India is very unlike one in England. The sofas, chairs, and tables are placed at a foot distance from the wall, on account of the reptiles which would otherwise find their way on to them. All the walls are pierced with doors, through which are seen, like ghosts, the servants, clad in flowing white garments, gliding about with noiseless feet in all directions. None of the inferior domestics keep themselves, as in England, in the background—the water-carrier alone confines his perambulations to the back staircases; all the others, down to the scullions, make their appearance in the state apartments whenever they please; and in Bengal even the lower orders of palanquin-bearers, who wear but little clothing, will walk into a room without ceremony, and endeavour to make themselves useful by dusting the furniture, setting it in order; at the same time, any of the upper servants would deem it highly disrespectful to their masters to appear without their turbans, or their other usual clothing.

The punkah, a necessary appendage of every house, is worthy of description. It is formed of a wooden framework, a foot and a half or two feet broad, hung in the centre of the room, and extending nearly its whole length. This frame is covered with painted canvas or fluted silk, finished round the edges with gilt mouldings. It is suspended from the ceiling by ropes, covered with scarlet cloth, very tastefully disposed, and hangs within seven feet of the ground. A rope is fastened to the centre, and the whole apparatus waves to and fro, creating, if pulled vigorously, a strong current of air, and rendering the surrounding atmosphere endurable, when the heat would, without it, be very disagreeable.

Captain Clayton was stationed up the country, where Mrs Clayton took my little sister, and Ellen Barrow accompanied them. I was very sorry to part from all my kind friends, as well as my little sister, and often used to ask when they were coming back again. I missed my sweet playmate, Ellen Barrow, very much; for among all my obsequious attendants, no one could romp with me as she did, or amuse me half so much. I loved her dearly, and had I never again seen her, I think I should never have forgotten her countenance.

I must be very brief with this part of my history, as the adventures I afterwards met with will, I doubt not, prove more interesting to my readers.

I must, however, while I am talking of India, recommend my young friends to make themselves well acquainted with the geographical position of the most important places in it. I have often, since coming to England, been asked if I knew Mr So-and-so of India, as if India was a town or an English county. A glance at the map will show the immense extent of the British possessions in the East. They are divided into three Presidencies, or Sub-governments—those of Bengal, Madras and Bombay. Connected with these are a great number of subsidiary and protected states. Some of the nominal rulers of these are tributary to the Company, others receive stipends from them; while a great many have British residents or envoys stationed at their courts, who advise them how to govern, and many have, besides, British troops, to keep them in order and their enemies in awe.

The vast extent of country between the Ganges and the Indus, with the Himalaya mountains on the north, may be considered as almost entirely British; at all events, British troops are stationed in all directions, and British travellers may move north and south, and east and west, without let or hindrance. Thus it may be seen, that it is very possible for people to reside all their lives in India and not to meet; at the same time, as the British move about a great deal, especially the military, who, in time of war, are brought much in contact, they certainly meet oftener, and hear more of each other than would be expected.

I feel assured that the rule of the British has proved a blessing to the people of India. Had it not done so, we should not, I think, have been allowed to keep possession of the country. At the same time, we might have proved a far greater blessing than we have been; for had we set a better example in religion and morality, I cannot but suppose that the divine truths of Christianity would have made greater progress among the inhabitants than they have. Very many of my readers may have their future fortunes cast in that land of wonders, and let me entreat them to remember the immense responsibility which rests on their shoulders. According to the example they set, so may the benighted natives be brought to perceive the beauty and excellence of true religion, or they may remain in their present darkness. Let me ask you a question: Who will be answerable for the ignorance and crimes of the poor natives—they who have never had the light presented to them, or you who might, by your example and precept, have offered it to them and would not?

In saying this, I at the same time advise you to respect the prejudices and customs of the people. You can never win people over to the truth by insulting their superstition, however gross. I only urge you to be, in your own lives, a bright example.

I now return to my history.

Several years of the time of my childhood passed away very happily. Sir Charles was placed as ruler over a large Province in the interior, and he took me with him. His residence was situated on some lofty hills, which were cool even in hot weather, so that I grew up strong and healthy. Some British troops were sent to the same place, under the command of Captain, now Major Clayton, and thus I was once more united to my kind friends and young sister. Ellen Barrow was so no longer; she had become Mrs Northcote; but was the same kind, lively creature as when I first remembered her. Major and Mrs Clayton had no children of their own; and they therefore loved my little sister even as if she had been their infant.

I must not omit to mention an occurrence which happened about this time, and is well worthy of note. My friends were residing in a sort of fort, situated on the hills, with a high wall surrounding the habitable portion. In the hot weather the windows are left entirely open, or are simply closed with a sort of venetian blind. The crib in which my sister slept was placed in a large apartment outside Major and Mrs Clayton’s chamber, while beyond it were the sleeping-places of the nurses and other household domestics. It was used in the day-time as a sitting-room, and against the wall was a large and handsome mirror, and from the ceiling hung a lamp, which shed a soft and subdued light upon it. I am thus particular in describing the scene from the circumstances which follow. It was an hour or more past midnight, when Major Clayton was awakened, and from, to him, some unaccountable reason, he could not again compose himself to sleep. While he lay awake, he fancied that he heard a slight noise in the adjoining room, and throwing on his dressing-gown, he rose to discover what could have caused it. Think of his horror and amazement to see, in the centre of the apartment, as if about to spring on the cradle where the infant slept, a royal Bengal tiger of vast size! In a moment it might have seized the child, and before any human aid could have availed, it might have carried her away into the wild jungle. He stood almost paralysed, not knowing how to act. Had he moved to get his pistols from the next room, he might only have hastened the catastrophe he feared. He looked again; the fierce animal was lashing its tail and grinding its teeth with rage. Before its eyes, reflected in the mirror, was its own image, which it had beheld when just about to spring on its prey. It now stood, every moment its fury increasing, fancying that another of its species was there to contest the prize it had come to bear away. The major watched it with breathless anxiety; he was about to rush to the crib, at the risk of his life, to carry off the child, when the tiger sprung forward. Alas! It is too late, and the savage beast will destroy it; but no, the tiger expects to join combat with its rival, and with a loud crash the mirror is dashed into a thousand fragments. The animal, frightened by the unexpected event and the wounds it received, without an attempt to commit further injury, turned round and leaped out of the open window by which it had entered. A few springs carried it to the outer wall, which, though of great height, it surmounted, and before pursuit could be made it escaped. The noise aroused the whole household, who came rushing into the apartment from all sides, while Mrs Clayton clasped the still sleeping child in her arms, to assure herself that it was unharmed. Surely this was one of those evident inter-positions of Providence which occur to most of us, but are seldom acknowledged in a proper spirit of gratitude. It is another of the many signal proofs I have had to convince me that God is everywhere. This escape of their darling endeared little Eva still more, if possible, to her kind guardians. I ought to have said that both they and Sir Charles had taken every measure in their power to discover our relations and friends, but that hitherto they had totally failed in the search. Most certainly they would have made the discovery with deep regret had it tended to deprive them of us; but still this sense of right prompted them to spare no expense or trouble for that object. Sir Charles drew up a circular, addressed to the consuls, Lloyd’s agents, and others, at all the ports from which the ship could have sailed to have carried us to the neighbourhood of where we were found; but though several were missing, and were supposed to have been lost about that time, there were no proofs forthcoming that we had been on board one of them. Now and then our friends fancied that they had found the clue to our identity; but either the children inquired after were subsequently discovered, or it was proved that we could not possibly be them. Thus year after year passed away, and I was entirely dependent on Sir Charles, while my sister was in every respect the adopted child of Major and Mrs Clayton. Little Eva, from a sickly infant, had become a very beautiful child; but at the time of which I am speaking she was remarkably small for her age, so that she looked even younger than she really was. I, on the contrary, was rather taller and stouter than most boys of my age. My excellent guardian had taken great pains, not only to cultivate my mind, but also to give me a variety of manly accomplishments; and I could ride, shoot, and fence, sufficiently well to elicit a considerable amount of applause from all who saw me. At a very early age, mounted on an elephant, I used to accompany parties of officers on their expeditions against the tigers and wild boars of the jungle. One day I was thus engaged, when the elephant I was on, being some way from the rest, a tiger flew out and fastened on his trunk. In vain the mighty beast tried to shake off his savage assailant. He then endeavoured to kneel upon him and so to crush him; and I fully expected to be thrown over his head. My gun was, however, ready. I caught a sight of the tiger’s eye; and, firing, sent a ball directly into it. In an instant his claws relaxed, and he fell to the ground dead. I gained great applause for the deed, and for the coolness I displayed; but I don’t see how, having a gun in my hand, I could have acted otherwise than I did.

Chapter Six.

I must pass rapidly over the next few years of my life, though they were not uneventful. One day Sir Charles called me to him, and, taking my hand, he said kindly, “I have been considering, Mark, that it will be necessary to send you home in order to complete your education, which cannot be done out here to my satisfaction.”

“Home!” I asked. “Where is that, papa? This is the only home I know.”

“In England, my boy; that is my home, where I hope to return to end my days; and it should be your home also. I wish you to be brought up to think, and feel, and act as an Englishman, and that you can only do by mixing on equal terms with other English boys of your own age. In fact, you are too much of a man already; and I wish you to be rubbed back into boyhood again.”

In reply, I tried to persuade him that I would endeavour to become in every respect what he wished, if he would allow me to remain with him; for I sincerely grieved at the thought of being separated from so kind a guardian; at the same time, I own that I could not help looking with very great satisfaction at the prospect of a visit to a land so full of wonders as I expected to find England. People are apt to think the country they have not seen much more wonderful than the one where they are residing. Before people travelled, as they do now, the most absurd stories of distant countries were reported and believed even by sensible men. It was supposed that races of men existed, some with their heads under their arms, others with three eyes, and that others, again, were of gigantic stature; indeed, the tales of the Arabian Nights appeared scarcely in any way to be exaggerations.

We were, at the time of which I speak, some way up the country; and as Sir Charles was about to proceed to Calcutta, I had the advantage of travelling in his society. An English gentleman is obliged to perform a journey in India in a very different way to what he would in England. A family of moderate size has a hundred or more attendants, with numbers of elephants, and bullocks, and horses, and, in some districts, camels. It is a curious sight to see a party starting on the first morning of a journey; the palanquins, and hackeries, and carriages, and long strings of animals, varying in size from the mighty elephant to the little pony, defile out from among the houses of the town. As there are no inns or other buildings to afford shelter, it is necessary to carry tents, and cooking apparatus, and furniture and provisions; then all the upper servants have their attendants, and the guards theirs, in addition to the drivers of the animals; so, as may be supposed, a very few officers will require a whole army of followers. The more weighty articles are packed in hackeries, which are the small carts of the country, drawn by bullocks. Females, chiefly of the lower ranks, are conveyed in a similar rough vehicle, covered over at the top. Trunks are also slung across the backs of bullocks. Tents are carried by camels or elephants; and lighter articles, liable to fracture, are borne on the heads or over the shoulders of men. China and cooking apparatus are carried in large baskets hung on poles by four men, like a palanquin. The meter walks along with his dogs in a leash; the shepherd drives his sheep before him; and ducks and hens journey in baskets. There are spare horses led by grooms, and watermen and water-carriers march alongside their bullocks. Among the miscellaneous concourse appears the head-servant, or khansamah, mounted generally on some steed discarded by his master, while his inferiors either walk on foot, or get a lift in a hackery, or on the back of a camel; but all trudge along with cheerfulness, and alacrity.

Palanquins are sometimes like small four-post beds, with richly ornamented curtains, and supported by a long horizontal pole, borne by four men. Children are conveyed in a palanquin carriage, a curtained vehicle on wheels, not unlike the cage of a wild beast. The nurse sits on the floor with the baby on her knees, while the rest of the children may be seen looking through the bars which keep them in. It is drawn by bullocks; and as it moves floundering along over the heavy roads, it threatens to upset at every jolt.

It is surprising to see the rapid manner in which the multifarious materials, which compose the temporary city, are reduced to order. The spot so lately a silent desert is peopled, as if by magic, by crowds of human beings, and animals of every description. The ground on every side is strewed with packages, chests, and cloth bundles; while the men, moving about with violent gesticulations and loud exclamations, employ themselves in their well-known and allotted tasks. By degrees graceful forms arise, and richly-tinted pavilions, with gilded summits, glitter in the sunbeams, while gaudy banners flutter in the air. Long lines of canvas sheets appear, and spacious enclosures formed of kanauts secure the utmost privacy to the dwellers of the populous camp; while the elephants, who have trodden out the ground, and smoothed it for the chief’s or master’s tent, retire to their bivouac. Not only comfort, but even elegance is imparted to these temporary abodes, fitted up with such rapidity in the midst of the wildest jungle. Gay-coloured shawls form the roof and sides, rich carpets the floor, and soft couches run round the walls of the tented apartment.

Palanquins and carriages begin to arrive: the ladies find their toilet-tables laid out; baths are ready for the gentlemen; the khidmutghars are preparing breakfast, and the hookabadhars are getting the chillums in readiness; while the elephants, camels, bullocks, horses, and the other animals, as well as their drivers, and the tent-pitchers, coolies, and all those who have been employed in fatiguing offices, are buried in profound repose.

Day after day the same scene takes place, varied sometimes by a tiger or a wild boar hunt, when one is passing through a part of the country, where they are to be found.

The dinner in camp is usually as well supplied with the products of the larder as the repast served up in a settled establishment. Several very excellent dishes have been invented, which are peculiarly adapted to the cooking apparatus suited to the jungle.

Immediately after the dinner the khidmutghars, cooks, and mussaulchees pack up the utensils belonging to their department, and set forward with the tent, which is to be to-morrow’s dwelling, leaving the bearers to attend at tea, their objection to doing duty at table extending only to repasts composed of animal food.

During our long journey, we were compelled to halt several times for a day or two, to refresh the weary frames of the men and cattle, toiling under the burthen of the camp equipage. The camp on those days used to present even a more busy scene than usual. The dobies were employed in washing and ironing their master’s clothes, while the other servants and camp-followers were mending, making, and repairing garments, saddles, and harness, and tackle of all descriptions.

Part of our journey was performed by water down the Ganges, on hoard a budgerow. The name of this boat is a native corruption of the word barge. It is somewhat in appearance like an overgrown gondola—very picturesque, and not altogether inelegant. The interior is fitted up with sleeping apartments and a sitting-room, with an enclosed verandah in front, which serves to keep off the sun; the cabin is on all sides surrounded by venetians, which serve to keep off his burning rays by day, and to let in the air at night. On a small deck, left free at the bows, the boatmen stand, urging on the boat with long sweeps; while the roof of the cabin, or upper deck, as it might be called, is the chief resort of the servants and the rest of the crew. The helmsman is posted on a high platform at the stern, guiding the boat with a huge rudder; and the goleer, stationed at the bow, ascertains with a long pole the depth of the water. When the wind is fair, two large square sails are hoisted; and as the vessel draws but little water, they send her rapidly along. A baggage boat is always in attendance on a budgerow; she also carries the provisions and the servants, and the cooking apparatus. Besides these two boats, a smaller one, called a dinghee, is used to communicate between the two, or to send messages on shore. When the wind is contrary, or when there is none, and the banks of the river will allow it, the boats are towed along by sixteen or more men, dragging at a rope fastened to the mast-head.

I remember being particularly struck with the number and beauty of the lotus, floating on the waters of the Ganges, as also with other flowers, of scarlet, yellow, and white hues; while numberless others, of every tint, garnished either bank of the stream.

A remarkable feature of the Ganges is the fine Ghauts, or landing-places, one of which is to be found leading from the water even to the smallest village. They consist of five flights of steps, either of stone or chunam highly polished; and have, besides being most useful, a very handsome appearance. On either side are stone balustrades, and sometimes beautiful temples, mosques, or pagodas, according to the creed of the founders. At every time of the day, on the Ghauts, may be seen groups of bathers; while graceful female forms are continually passing and re-passing, loaded with water-pots, which are balanced with the nicest precision on their heads.

As we proceed down the river an infinite variety of scenes meets our sight—now overhanging cliffs, crowned by some beautiful Oriental edifice; then green woods and fields, with quiet villages seen among them; next a herd of buffaloes wallowing in the mud, their horns and the tips of their noses alone out of the water, or, perhaps, their keepers are about to drive them across the stream, for though fierce in appearance, they are as tame as oxen. The herdsmen mount on the necks of the strongest, and thus fearlessly stem the current, almost completely immersed in the water. We saw wide pastures covered with innumerable herds; forests, with their eternal shade; and indigo plantations, in charge of Europeans. Sometimes a gigantic elephant was observed under the shade of a tree, fanning off the flies with a branch of palm; others were pacing along, decked in gaudy trappings, and hearing their masters in howdahs through the fields or plantations.

The most elegant and picturesque buildings are the temples and habitations of the Brahmins, in situations remote from the busy haunts of men. Here the mistaken devotees of a barbarous faith spend their time in weaving garlands for their altars, or to deck the rafts which they commit to the holy stream.

Innumerable varieties of birds are seen, some flying in flocks, and others stalking along the reedy shore.

After leaving these wild and picturesque scenes behind, one comes suddenly upon one of the beautiful modern towns, built by the British, on the banks of the river, filled with superb palaces, well suited for the habitations of princes, though but the residences of the civil servants of the East India Company.

During the day the heat in the cabin is often very great; but as the sun declines, the temperature agreeably decreases. As the crew will not work at night, it is necessary, as it grows dark, to moor the budgerow to the shore. The moment this is done, a very active and animated scene commences; the domestics, whose services are not required on board, and all the crew, immediately disembark; fires are kindled for the various messes; those who are anxious for quiet and seclusion, light up their fagots at a considerable distance from the boat.

At length we arrived at Calcutta, where Sir Charles, to his great satisfaction, found Captain Willis, who was on the point of sailing for England in his old ship, the Governor Harcourt. I was, accordingly, forthwith committed to his charge, and consigned to the care of a brother of my kind guardian, the Reverend Mr Plowden. I parted from Sir Charles with much sorrow, which, I believe, was fully shared with him.

We were detained some days by contrary winds in the Hoogly; so that, by the time we got clear of the mouth of the river, we were tolerably well acquainted with each other. I made myself perfectly at home, and gained the friendship of all the passengers. I had none of that false shame or bashfulness about me which makes so many English boys appear to disadvantage among strangers, and prevents them from gaining the regard of their acquaintance, though I had perfect respect for my elders, and due deference for the opinions of those who, from their age and experience, I felt ought to know the world better than I could myself. I must not forget to mention that we came in sight of the far-famed temple of Juggernaut, on the coast of Orissa, in the district of Cuttack. The dark and frowning pagoda, rising abruptly from a ridge of sand, forms a conspicuous object from the sea, its huge shapeless mass not unlike some ill-proportioned giant, affording a gloomy type of the hideous superstitions of the land. This huge pagoda, half pyramid and half tower, is built of coarse red granite, brought from the southern parts of Cuttack, and covered with a rough coating of chunam.

The tower containing the idols, which is two hundred feet high, and serves as a land-mark to the mariner, stands in the centre of a quadrangle, enclosed by a high stone wall, extending 650 feet on each side, and surrounded by minor edifices of nondescript shapes. The magnitude of these buildings forms their sole claim to admiration; they are profusely decorated with sculpture, but of so rude a description as to afford no satisfaction to the beholder. The great temple of Juggernaut was erected in the twelfth century. The idols are of huge size and hideous shape. Krishna, the chief, in intended as a mystic representation of the supreme power; for the Hindoos assert that they worship only one God, and that the thousands of other images to which they pay homage are merely attributes of a deity pervading the whole of nature. Every one of the idols particularly venerated by the numerous tribes and sects of Hindostan, obtains a shrine within the precincts of the temple; so that all castes may unite in celebrating the great festival with one accord. The installation of the mighty idol upon his car, and his journey to a country residence, about a mile and a half distant only, though it occupies three days, is performed with numberless extraordinary ceremonies by his devotees. The car is a sort of platform, forty-three feet in height, and thirty-five feet square, moving upon sixteen wheels, each six feet and a half in diameter.

Though the ponderous wheels of Juggernaut no longer go crushing over the bodies of prostrate victims, the assembled crowd rush to the car with almost appalling fury and excitement. Pilgrims, however, come in vast numbers from all parts of the country to the temple, and thousands die from famine and exhaustion on the arid road across the sands which surround it. That the vile and dark superstitions I have been describing may disappear before the pure light of Christianity, should be the prayer of all believers; but we must remember, also, that the personal exertions and example of those who are called into that wonderful land are also required to effect that great object, and that they can in no way be excused if they neglect that duty.

This was the last glimpse we had of India. We did not even sight the Cape of Good Hope; and Saint Helena was the first land we made. We remained there two days, and everybody went to see the grave of Napoleon. I remember after dinner, on the day we again sailed, that there was a long discussion as to the right England had to keep him a prisoner. It was the opinion of all the older and most sensible men, that as he had been the greatest curse to Europe, and a constant source of annoyance and expense to our country, we were only performing our duty in taking the most effectual means to prevent him from committing any further mischief. In less civilised times, he would probably have been deprived of life by one of the many means once resorted to for that purpose.

The remainder of our voyage was as prosperous as the commencement, and we arrived safely in the Thames about four months after leaving Calcutta. As there was not a human being I knew in England, I was in no hurry to leave the ship; and I therefore waited till Captain Willis could accompany me to call on Mr Plowden. On first landing, and when driving through the streets, I was completely bewildered by the noise, and bustle, and apparent confusion going on around me. I wondered how the people could thread their way along the pavement, and more how they could venture to cross the road while carriages were dashing by at a rate so furious that I thought they must be constantly running into each other. After proceeding some miles to the west-end of London, we reached Mr Plowden’s house. He received me very kindly; and after some conversation, he inquired whether I should like to go to school, or to live with a private tutor by myself. I replied, “To school, by all means,” as I wished to see life, and to make friends. To school, therefore, it was settled I should go.

Chapter Seven.

Mr Plowden selected for me a large school near London; it was considered a first-rate one. There were a good many sons of noblemen and men of landed property, as also of officers of the East India Company’s service, of West India proprietors, and of merchants. It was a little world in itself, influenced, however, by the opinions of the greater planet within which it revolved. The boys took rank according to that of their parents, except that a few, either from their talents, their independent spirits, or from their sycophantish qualifications, had become the more intimate associates of those generally considered their superiors.

The proprietor was considered an excellent school-master. I do not say he was a bad one, though he was not capable of teaching much himself. He, however, paid liberally for good ushers, and thus his pupils were tolerably well instructed in Greek and Latin; but as the junior master was appointed to teach geography, history, and other branches of useful science, of which he had a very superficial knowledge, they gained but little information on those subjects. It struck me, also, that they were not sufficiently instructed in their future duties and responsibilities in life. It was not sufficiently impressed on those destined to become landed proprietors, that they should consider themselves in the light of stewards over their estates, and guardians and advisers of their tenantry; and that it was as much, if not more, their duty to study hard to fit themselves for the station of life to which they were called, as it was that of those boys who had to fight their way through the world.

Though I was not older than many of the boys, I had far greater experience and knowledge of mankind than they had; and I accordingly made observations on many things which escaped their notice. Little attention was paid to the moral cultivation of the boys, and still less to their physical development.

Gymnastic exercises were not thought of; and, except cricket, they had no manly games to strengthen their muscles and improve their forms. There was a dancing-master; but as he had the art of making a toil of a pleasure, few of the boys learned. A drill-sergeant came once a week, but few seemed to benefit by his lessons. However, as every care was taken to fill the heads of the boys with as large an amount of Greek and Latin as they would hold, the school was considered a very good one; indeed, as they were tolerably well fed, and not flogged over much, and as the bedrooms were clean and airy, and as a respectable matron presided over the establishment, no complaints were made, and parents and friends were pleased with all they saw.

It must be understood that I think Greek and Latin very important branches of a gentleman’s education but, at the same time, there are many other things which should on no account be neglected, and which are so too often.

The knowledge I possessed was of too varied a kind to enable me to take my place in any class; and I therefore sometimes did duty with one and sometimes with another, generally getting to the top in a very short time. Of mathematics, history, and modern languages I knew more than the oldest boys, while some of the younger ones surpassed me in making verses, and in Latin and Greek. In consequence of my accomplishments and information, I was a general favourite with most of my companions, whom I used to teach to fence, to knot, and splice, which I learned on my voyage home, and to some I imparted a few words of Hindustanee.

I also entered into all their amusements; and as I had a great dislike to anything like bullying, I would never allow those I could master to ill-treat the weaker ones, and I, on more than one occasion, stood up against a boy much stronger than myself, to defend a little fellow he was going to thrash. We fought, and though he got the best of it, he suffered so severely that he never again attempt to interfere with me. I thus gained all the advantage a victory could have given me. I was not unhappy at the school; but I found the life rather irksome after the freedom I had been accustomed to enjoy, and I studied as hard as I was able, to emancipate myself from it.

Although I had many friends, I had few intimates—indeed, to no one did I confide the story of my being discovered at sea in a boat with my sister; and I was supposed to be the nephew of Sir Charles Plowden. Among the boys I liked best, was one called Walter Blount. He was almost friendless, though his birth was good; and he had fortune sufficient to enable him to be sent to this school, with the intention of his proceeding afterwards to Oxford or Cambridge. He was a fine-spirited lad. He was nearly two years younger than I was, and accordingly looked up to me as his superior. I first gained his friendship by saving him from a thrashing which Hardman, the greatest bully in the school, was about to give him.

“If you touch him you will have to fight us both,” I exclaimed; “and I alone am not afraid of you.”

The bully doubled his fists, and looked very fierce, but stalked away without striking a blow. I got Blount out of several scrapes; once he had been letting off fireworks in a part of the garden not seen from the house, and being disturbed by the report that one of the ushers was coming, he thrust a handful of touchpaper, part of which was ignited, into his pocket. I luckily met him as he was passing the washing-room, and turning him as he was smoking away, I tore out his burning pockets, and plunged them into the water. We afterwards had to cut away the burnt lining, and to sew up his pockets, so that what had happened might not be discovered.

Another time, he, with a dozen or more other boys, had planned an expedition into the master’s garden at night to get fruit. He did not join it, I am sure, for the object of obtaining the fruit, but merely for the sake of the excitement. Another boy, who had been asked to join, told me of it directly after the party had set out. I immediately dressed and followed in their track, determined to bring them back before they had committed the robbery. I, however, only fell in with Blount, who had been separated from the rest; and, with some difficulty, I induced him to return. We had got back to our rooms, when one of the ushers discovered the whole party. The master was called up, and, with birch in hand, went round the room, and inflicted summary punishment on all offenders. The next morning they were called up by name, their crime announced, and severe tasks being inflicted, they were all sent to Coventry for a fortnight. As the whole punishment was very disagreeable and irksome, Blount was very much obliged to me for having saved him from it.

The winter holidays I spent with Mr Plowden in London, and in the summer he took me on a tour through a considerable portion of England, Scotland, and Ireland. I thus became acquainted with what I was taught to consider my native land, and was able to compare other countries with it. I own that, although I have always felt proud of the name of an Englishman, and of what Englishmen have done, yet there are many things in which the people of other nations are their superiors. Some of the faults of the English, as they appeared to me, were a want of unostentatious hospitality, a due respect to parents and superiors in age, and a churlishness of behaviour to those of the same rank, with an unwarrantable suspicion of their motives, and an inclination to criticise and find fault with their behaviour and appearance.

My summer holidays I enjoyed very much; but I was not fond of London; though, I believe, had I made a point of visiting all the spots of interest contained within it, and of gaining information about their history, I might have passed my time more profitably than I did. In those days there were fewer sights, so called, than at present; and the great lion was Exeter Change, truly a den of wild beasts. It was, indeed, painful to see animals deprived, not only of liberty, but of fresh air. I, who had faced the royal Bengal tiger and the fierce lion in their native wilds, could not help feeling some amount of contempt for the exhibition.

When I got back to school, I was welcomed by all the boys, especially by Blount and by John Prior, one of the oldest and most steady of them. He was, indeed, more particularly my friend and my constant companion. He was the son of a merchant connected with India, and reputed to be of great wealth. Of his father he said little, but his constant theme was his mother, who must have been a very excellent person. He averred that he had gained from her all the good in his composition; and certainly, judging from what I saw of him, she might well be content with the result of her prayers to Heaven for his improvement in virtue, and her own watchful and constant exertions. I do not mean to say that any one is perfect; but certainly John Prior was, in the true sense of the word, one of the best fellows I ever met. He gave me much of that advice and instruction which I have ever since found so important. He knew the great aim of life; he saw things in their true light, and taught me to see them also; he called things by their proper names; and while he could make ample allowance for the faults of others, he never attempted to extenuate his own errors; nor did he mistake vice for virtue, or the semblance of virtue for the reality. From the companionship of such a person I could not fail to reap much benefit. I did not enjoy it long. We afterwards met under very different circumstances in a far-off region, which he at that time did not dream of visiting. I had many other friends; I mention Prior and Blount because they will appear again in my narrative. I was pursuing my usual course of study, when one day I was summoned into the study. Mr Liston held an open letter in his hand.

“This is from your uncle, I mean Mr Plowden,” he began: “Sir Charles is ill, and wishes to have you with him. You are to return to India immediately, unless you desire the contrary.”

The first feeling this announcement created was somewhat selfish, I am afraid, or rather I did not realise the fact of my kind guardian’s illness; and my heart leaped at the thought of returning to India, with which country all my pleasantest recollections were associated.

“I wish to go, sir, as soon as I can,” I replied.

“You do not appear to regret leaving your school-fellows, and your other friends here,” observed Mr Liston, who naturally wished that all his boys should be fond of his school; and as he was making his fortune by means of it, had taught himself to believe that they must regard it with the same eyes of affection that he did.

“Yes, sir, I am though. I am sorry to leave many of the fellows; but you know Sir Charles is my oldest friend. Does he say that he is very ill, sir?”

“No; he talks of his declining strength, and of his wish to have some one about him in whom he can thoroughly confide,” said Mr Liston, fixing his eyes on me, as if he would read every thought passing in my mind.

“I long to be with him,” I answered quickly. “And, sir, if you knew what a kind and indulgent friend he has been to me, you would not be surprised.”

“Well, well, I hope that you will find him in better health than he now is,” said Mr Liston, in a kinder tone than usual. “Mr Plowden has also written to say that your old friend, Captain Willis, is on the point of sailing, and that a cabin in his ship will be secured for you. Now go and wish your friends good-bye, for you have no time to lose, as you must go up to London this afternoon to get your outfit.”

On being thus dismissed, I hurried off into the playground.

“I am very, very sorry that you are going, Seaworth,” said Prior, leaning on my shoulder as we walked up and down apart from the rest. “Do remember all the things I have often talked to you about. The more I think of them the more I feel their importance, and so will you, I am sure, if you continue to think; but you are going to join in the active busy world, with men of all shades of religion, and some without religion and thought—I mean serious thought; and reflection and earnest prayer may be forgotten.”

As I never knew my mother, it seemed as if God had sent me this friend to afford me the inestimable precepts which he had received through his parent. Soon afterwards Blount came up, and wringing my hand, burst into tears.

“I wish that I was going with you,” he exclaimed. “I would follow you everywhere. I can’t stay behind you, that is very certain—you’ll see.”

The other boys now crowded round us, and in a thick mass we continued walking up and down, talking of the wonders I was to see, and all expressing regret at my going. Thus the play-hours flew quickly away. I did not remark it at the time, but I now distinctly recollect that there was a subdued tone among all the boys; there was no wrangling or loud shouting; and a few of the little fellows, whom I had at times befriended and aided, were in tears. It was very gratifying to me; and it showed me what a little exertion of power in a right cause will effect. Whether as schoolboys or in manhood, we shall do well to remember this. We talk of being repaid for good actions: now I think that the very feeling which results from doing good, more than amply repays us for the trouble to which we may have been put. The remaining result is a gift Heaven kindly bestows as an incentive to virtue, but in no way gained by us.

I was allowed to pack up my books during school hours. The greater number, however, with some trifles I possessed, I distributed among my friends, as parting tokens. When I went round to wish the ushers good-bye, they shook my hand warmly, and wished me happiness and prosperity; and as I passed up the schoolroom to the door, there was a general shout of “Good-bye, Seaworth; good-bye, old fellow. We’ll not forget you.” The tears rose to my eyes, and I could say nothing in return.

Prior, Blount, and a few others accompanied me to the coach; and by them I sent back my last remembrances to all the rest. In less than an hour I stepped into a hackney coach at the White Horse Cellar, Piccadilly, and was rumbling away to Mr Plowden’s house.

Chapter Eight.

Once more I was on the deck of the Governor Harcourt, her bows turned towards the south, ploughing up the waters of the Atlantic. It was the last voyage Captain Willis intended to make, as he had now realised a handsome competency, and hoped to be able to retire and enjoy it with his family in the country of his birth. We had very different people going out to those who were on board on our homeward voyage—or rather, they were the same sort of people at a different period of their lives. There were a few civil and military officers, and ladies, who had before been to India; but the greater number were young men just emancipated from school or college—griffins, as they are called—who knew nothing of the world or its ways, though they fancied that they knew a great deal, the most ignorant generally appearing the most conceited. There was also a number of young ladies, going out to their relations and friends in India. As Captain Willis was well-known for the excellent care he took of his lady passengers, they had been committed to his especial charge.

For some time nothing of importance occurred, nor did we see any land to distract our attention from the varying line of sky and sea. At last, one morning, at an early hour, when Captain Willis said we were near the island of Madeira, the cry of “Land ahead!” was raised, and in a short time we were passing between that beautiful place and a group of rocks called the Desertas. They are about ten miles from the mainland, and extend for almost fifteen miles from north-west to south-east. Some of the seamen told me that they are called the Desertas, because they have deserted from the mainland to stick out in the ocean by themselves; but the true origin of their name is, that they are desert or barren rocks.

The island, when first seen, looked dusky and gloomy; but, as the sun rose, his rays dispersed the mist, and the mountains, and hills, and valleys, and orange groves, and picturesque shore, and the plantations, and neat white villas and small villages, burst forth in all their beauty. As we rounded the southern side, the town of Funchal, the capital, opened to our view, backed by an amphitheatre of hills, covered with the variegated tints of a luxuriant vegetation, the whole forming a lovely scene which we longed to visit.

As we did not require fresh provisions, Captain Willis wished to proceed. Madeira belongs to Portugal, and is inhabited by Portuguese. Their costume is different, and they are generally inferior to the inhabitants of the parent state.

I have heard people say that they cannot find amusement on board ship. I can reply that I have found abundant matter of interest for many a long voyage, both under the sea and on the sea. I remember, on one calm day, when the ship was scarcely moving through the water, a boat was lowered to enable us to capture some of the Physalia, or Portuguese men-of-war, which were seen in unusual numbers gliding over the surface of the deep. Several of the passengers, among whom were three of the cadets, formed the party intent on scientific discovery. One, whose name was Jellico, but who was more generally called by his companions Jellybag, was among them.

Some of my readers may wonder what is meant by a “Portuguese man-of-war,” and think that, notwithstanding the daring of British seamen, we were bound on rather a hazardous expedition, in attempting to attack one in a jolly-boat. The truth is, that it is the name given to a beautiful molluscous animal, which by means of a sort of sail, the wind blows along as if it were a real boat. It consists of a bladder, tinted with various hues, and this keeps it afloat; while long tentaculae, of a deep purple colour, extend beneath, some of them several feet in length, with which it captures its prey. This animal must not be confounded with the Nautilus, from which it is totally different, though one is often mistaken for the other.

Our friend Jellybag did not exactly know what he was to see, but he expected to find something uncommon. We had not rowed many strokes before one of the Physalia was observed floating by, its back ornamented with a fringe tinted with light-blue, delicate sea-green, and crimson.

“I’ll have it,” exclaimed Jellybag, leaning over the bows and grasping hold of it, regardless of the injury he was inflicting.

Scarcely had he got it on board, then he flung it down at the bottom of the boat, with a loud cry, exclaiming, “The horrid beast has stung me, as if it were a great nettle!” So it was, for it had thrown round his fingers its long tentaculae, discharging, at the same time, an acrid fluid from them, which caused the pain he felt. We all laughed at him at first very much; but he suffered so considerably during the day from the effects of the sting, that the more humane really pitied him, in spite of the ridiculous complaints he made.

“Catch me taking hold of strange fish again in these outlandish places,” he observed, as he twisted his arm about with pain. “If a little thing like that hurts one so much, I should think a whale or a dolphin would be enough to poison a whole regiment.” By the next day, however, he had recovered, and only felt a slight sensation of numbness, which in two days completely left him.

The next land we saw was the lofty mountain of Saint Antonio, on the island of Saint Jago. The summit was covered with clouds, which rolled away as the sun rose, and we coasted along the somewhat barren shores. In the afternoon we anchored off Porto Praya, the capital. It is a small town, without any buildings worthy of notice. As we looked over the side of the ship, we were amused by the way the fishermen caught their prey. There were several boats fishing. They first sprinkled something which looked like crumbs of bread on the water, and this seemed to attract the fish in large shoals to the surface. The fishermen then swept among them a long stick, to which a number of short lines and hooks were attached; the fish eagerly seizing the bait, several were caught at each cast. The women in each boat were busily engaged, as they were on board, in cleansing and salting them.

We landed next day, and enjoyed a pretty view from the town, looking down on the harbour; but my impression of the island is, that, with the exception of a few cultivated spots, it is a very barren, uninteresting place. We visited, however, the plantation of the sugar-cane; and among a variety of tropical trees, such as the guava, tamarind, plantain, and custard-apple, there was a species of the monkey-bread tree, which struck us as very curious. This tree was about sixty feet high and forty feet in circumference; the bark was smooth, and of a greyish colour, and the boughs were entirely destitute of leaves. This fruit hung thickly at the end of twisted, spongy stalks, from one to two feet long. The fruit is of an oval form, about six inches in length, and three or four inches in diameter; and the outer shell being broken, it contains a farinaceous substance, enveloping dark brown seeds of an agreeable acidulated taste.

On entering the tropics, we used to watch the flights of the flying-fish, several of which, at different times, were caught leaping through our ports, or into the boats towing astern in calm weather. We saw some bonitoes in chase of a large shoal. The flying-fish made an audible rustling noise as they arose before their pursuers, who, in eager chase, often sprang several yards out of the water. Besides their finny enemies, the former had to encounter in their flight armies of boobies, gannets, and other tropical birds, which hovered over them, and secured many of them before our eyes. Notwithstanding this, I do not suppose that flying-fish are more unhappy or more persecuted than their less agile brethren; and while they live they probably have a keener enjoyment of existence. I believe that, in the minutest details of creation, the all-beneficent God metes out to all living beings the advantages and disadvantages of existence for some great end, which it is not His will to disclose to man.

One of the most beautiful subjects of interest is the phosphorescent light seen at night on the ocean, as the ship ploughs her way through the waters. Some of the passengers tried to persuade Jellybag that it was caused by the ends of cigars, and the ashes of tobacco-pipes, thrown overboard from a fleet ahead. It no doubt arises from the quantity of dead animal matter with which the sea water is loaded. The wake of the ship appeared one broad sheet of phosphoric matter, so brilliant as to cast a dull pale light over the stern; the foaming surges, as they gracefully curled on each side of the bow, look like rolling masses of liquid phosphorus; whilst in the distance, even to the horizon, it seemed an ocean of fire, the far-off waves giving out a light of inconceivable beauty and brilliancy.

Albicores, bonitoes, and dolphins followed the ship for several days in succession; and one albicore, which had a mark on his back, from which we knew it, followed us from 3 degrees north latitude to 10 degrees south latitude, a distance of eight hundred and forty miles. An immense whale rose close to us one day, like an island emerging from the deep. Farther south Cape petrels appeared; and still farther, large numbers of the powerful albatross came gliding round us on their wide-spreading wings.

The Cape of Storms was rounded without a storm; and once more the Governor Harcourt entered the Hoogly. It appeared to me as if a lifetime had passed away since I was last at Calcutta, though scarcely two years had elapsed since I left it.

My first inquiries, on the pilot’s coming on board, were for Sir Charles. With breathless anxiety I listened for his answer.

“Sir Charles—Oh ay—Sir Charles Plowden, you mean, sir. I haven’t heard of his death; so I suppose he is still alive, though he is very sickly, I know. But perhaps you are his son, sir, and I am speaking carelessly.”

“No, I am not his son, my friend, but I love him as if I were,” I replied. “And I earnestly wish that you could recollect when you last heard of him.”

The pilot stopped to consider for some minutes. “Now I come to think of it, sir, I do remember but last night hearing that Sir Charles was going on much as usual; but I did not mark at the time what Sir Charles was spoken of,” was the vague answer, with which I was obliged to be satisfied.

The wind falling to a dead calm, it was necessary to bring the ship to an anchor. To save time, therefore, as I was very eager to be on shore, I, with some of the other passengers, hired a country boat, in which we proceeded up to Calcutta. On landing, some in palanquins, others in carriages, or on horseback, proceeded to their various destinations. Hotels were not so common in those days as at present; so that people went at once to the houses of those to whom they had introductions, who aided them in establishing themselves in their quarters.

I threw myself on a horse, and galloped, in spite of the hot sun, as fast as he could go, to the house, or rather to the palace, where Sir Charles resided. There was more than the usual Oriental stillness about the building as I entered. A few servants were flitting about noiselessly among the pillars of the vast hall, and through the open doors of the chambers leading from it. Others were reposing on mats in the shade. Although I had grown considerably, I was soon recognised. The words, “The young sahib has returned! the young sahib has returned!” were soon echoed among them; and those who had known me, hurried forward to meet me. Their kind looks and expressions cheered my heart, which was heavy with fear as to the information I was about to receive.

From my inquiries I learned that Sir Charles was still alive, though the medical man entertained but slight hopes of his recovery. He had frequently asked for me, and had desired that as soon as I arrived I should be conducted into his presence. In another minute I was by the bedside of my benefactor. By the pale light which was admitted into the room, I could perceive the alteration which sickness had wrought on his countenance; and I, too truly, feared that the hand of death had already stamped its mark upon it.

My name was mentioned; he recognised me instantly, and stretched out his hand affectionately to press mine. Tears started into my eyes, and my heart swelled with the pain I tried to conceal, lest it should distress him.

“I am glad you are come in time, my dear boy,” he said in a weak voice. “I have much to speak of, and my hours are numbered. I would recommend you to these kind friends, for you will want comfort and aid, though they would give it unasked.”

At these words I looked up, and for the first time perceived that some other persons were in the room—a gentleman and a lady. The first I did not know; but I soon, to my infinite satisfaction, recognised in the other my old and charming playmate—once Ellen Barrow, now Mrs Northcote—not less charming, but more matronly than before. She and her husband shook hands most kindly with me; but we had no time for conversation before I was again summoned to the bedside of Sir Charles. His looks showed that he wished to speak on some matter of importance; but his voice was so low that it was scarcely audible. He beckoned me to lean forward to listen to him.

“My dear Mark,” he whispered, “I am the only person in the world you know of on whom you have any claim; and let it be a consolation to you, that I think you have amply repaid me for my care of you. Remember my last words: Fear God, and trust to his goodness: never forget Him. Be honest, and show charity to your fellow-men; be kind to those below you, and thoughtful of their welfare, and you will obtain contentment and competency—a mind at peace, if not wealth. What would now be to me all the honours I have gained without peace of mind—a trust in God’s mercy through our Saviour’s merits? Never repine at what He orders; be prepared for reverses, and pray for fortitude to bear them. Your friends will tell you what has happened, and you will have need of all the fortitude you possess. I cannot tell you the sad history; but remember that God, who careth for the young birds, will not neglect you if you trust in Him. To Him, in faith, I commit my soul. He is merciful, my boy—He is everywhere—”

Sir Charles was silent—his hand, which had held mine, relaxed—his spirit had fled, and I was alone in the world. I could scarcely believe what had happened; but the medical man in attendance assured us of the reality of the sad event, and Mrs Northcote was led weeping from the room.

I had lost more than a father, and, as far as I knew, I, who had been brought up to enjoy all the luxuries wealth can afford, was not only penniless, but without any friends on whom I had claim beyond what their charity might induce them to afford me. I did not think of this at the time, all my feelings were engrossed with grief at the death of my benefactor. Very soon, however, my real position was suggested to me. Even to the Northcotes Sir Charles had never spoken of any provision he had made for me. He had, they thought, intended to tell them, when my coming interrupted him, and before he could finish what he wished to say, death overtook him.

Chapter Nine.

I was too much absorbed by grief at the death of Sir Charles to ask Captain and Mrs Northcote any questions during that day as to the misfortune to which he had alluded; but during the night the matter several times occurred to me, and next morning I could no longer restrain the curiosity I naturally felt to learn the truth. I ought to say that Sir Charles had some time before begged them to come and stay with him; and when he became dangerously ill, they had remained to nurse him. Captain Northcote had gone out to make arrangements about the funeral, and I therefore asked Mrs Northcote to give me the information I required. Tears came into her eyes as she spoke.

“It must be told, so that it is better now than later,” she observed. “You have heard that Major Clayton was unwell, and that a voyage was recommended to him. At that time an uncle of his, a merchant, residing at Macao, was seized with a severe illness. His uncle having sent for him, he resolved to take a voyage to that place, in the hopes of being of use to his relative, and at the same time of benefiting his own health. We saw him as he was on the point of embarking, when he appeared so much debilitated that I even then feared that he could not recover. Poor Mrs Clayton, too, could not bear the thought of parting from your sweet little sister, who, it was resolved, should accompany them. They sailed in an English ship, which was to touch at Singapore, and from thence to proceed direct to Macao. The voyage did Major Clayton some good; and in a letter I received from his wife, at the former place, she said that she entertained great hopes of his recovery. However, I regret to say that, by the accounts received by the next ship which sailed from Macao after their arrival, my worst forebodings were fulfilled—Major Clayton had gradually sunk, and a few days after his uncle had breathed his last, he also died, leaving his poor wife and your little sister to return home without any relative, or any friend on whom they had claims, to protect them.”

“What!” I exclaimed, bursting into tears I could not restrain, “is Major Clayton dead? Then do tell me where are dear Mrs Clayton and my own darling little Eva. I will fly to them immediately.”

Mrs Northcote shook her head, and looked more grave than before, as she replied, “You must, indeed, be prepared for a very sad history. I cannot tell you where your sister and your friend are. You shall hear. On the death of her husband, it was natural to suppose that Mrs Clayton would wish to return to England; but it was absolutely necessary that she should first visit India, where her property had been left, with arrangements made only for a short absence. No ship was, however, sailing direct to Calcutta at that time; and as she was anxious to leave Macao at once, she secured accommodation on board a small fast-sailing brig, bound to Singapore, whence she hoped to find the means of reaching India. A few days only, therefore, after her husband’s death, she sailed, carrying with her a considerable amount of property, which had been left to him by his uncle, and which was now his. Thus much we have heard from the merchants at Macao; but I regret to say, that no accounts have been received of the arrival of the brig at Singapore, and serious fears are entertained that some misfortune has happened to her. Either she has been wrecked, or has been run away with by her crew, or has been attacked and carried off or destroyed by pirates. The latter conjecture is but too probable, as, from her small size, those marauders of the sea are likely, if they have fallen in with her, to have been tempted to capture her.”

“I must go and find them,” I exclaimed, jumping up as if I would start off immediately. “It is too dreadful to think of, to suppose that those dear ones should be in the power of such ruffians. But why do you talk of their being carried off by pirates? Is it not just as likely that the brig may have been wrecked?”

“I wish that I could say so; for then we might hope to discover them on one of the thousand islands of that thickly-studded sea,” was her answer. “At first we hoped that such might prove the case, and we half expected to hear of the arrival of our friends on some Chinese junk or Malay prahu at Singapore; but accounts were afterwards received by two ships, stating that a brig, exactly answering her description, was seen steering for the Billiton passage, on the western coast of Borneo; so that either her crew must have turned pirates, or she must have been in the hands of the Malays, if the vessel seen was the one supposed. Of that, however, we can be in no way certain; indeed, the whole circumstance remains wrapped in the most painful mystery.”

“I must solve it, or perish in the attempt,” I exclaimed, jumping up, and walking about the room in a state of agitation more easily conceived than described. “I must find them—I will find them—nothing shall stop me in the search. I must consider how I can accomplish the undertaking.”

“You will have many, many difficulties to undergo; I fear they will be insuperable,” observed Mrs Northcote. She said this not to deter me, but because she was considering how I could possibly perform the work. “You will, in the first place, require large funds to carry out the search efficiently. The first difficulty will be to provide them; for, though we would most gladly aid you, I regret to say that Captain Northcote has not the means to do so to any extent; and we have great fears that Sir Charles has left no provision for you.”

I stopped in my walk, and meditated on what my friend had said. My thoughts immediately flew to a subject which I had not before considered. How was I to exist in the future? I had been brought up in luxury, with a supply of everything that I required, and I had literally never thought of the future. I had a vague idea that Sir Charles would find me a post in the civil or military service of the East India Company, but I never supposed, as my friends appear to have done, that he would have left me any fortune. That he had not done so, under any other circumstances, would not have caused me any disappointment. Now that money was of so great importance to me, I keenly felt the want of it.

“I will go, then, as a seaman before the mast,” I cried energetically. “I will work my passage from place to place; I will go in every sort of craft, from the Chinese junk to the Malay prahu and sampan. I will wander through every portion of the Indian seas till I discover those dear ones, or gain tidings of their fate.”

“I do not see how you can accomplish the work; but consult with Captain Northcote. If there is a way, he will advise you,” said the lady.

“There must be a way,” I replied vehemently. “I will consult with him how I am to begin the work; but not whether it is to be performed—on that I am determined.”

“I pray Heaven that you may succeed,” said Mrs Northcote. “I feel as anxious as you do for your success; but I dread to see you risk your life on an almost hopeless undertaking in those strange lands, among lawless and bloodthirsty people, who would not for a moment hesitate to destroy you.”

“I fear no danger or difficulty,” I replied. “I remember Sir Charles’s last words, ‘God is everywhere.’ In a just cause He will protect me.”

Such was the spirit and such the feeling with which I resolved to set out on my undertaking; and God did protect me. When Captain Northcote returned, I discussed the matter in every point with him. He pointed out to me that I should lose the chance of employment in the Company’s service; that, after wandering about, as I must do, I should be unfit for any steady employment, and that I should be without funds to enable me to commence any profession should the Company not afford me an opening. He soon, however, saw that it would be useless to attempt to dissuade me, and he then most generously told me that he would place at my disposal all the means he could possibly spare, and that he would endeavour to interest other friends who might enable me to prosecute the search.

After the funeral of my kind benefactor had taken place, search was made for his will. It was discovered without difficulty, when it appeared that the bulk of his property was left to his relatives in England. But on looking over his papers a codicil was found, by which the sum of ten thousand pounds was bequeathed to me, and five thousand to my sister, should she survive, naming us as the children found in a boat at sea by the ship Governor Harcourt, and named Mark and Eva Seaworth; while a further sum of two thousand pounds was left to me to be expressly expended in searching, as he named it, for his dear friend Mrs Clayton, and her young charge Eva Seaworth. I was much affected by this unexpected mark of his regard. I found also that a writership would, from his application, be given me on my return; and I ought to say that any surplus from the two thousand pounds was to be expended in prosecuting inquiries respecting my birth, whenever I should return to England, should I continue to feel any anxiety on the subject; though he advised me not to waste my energies in an inquiry which would probably prove unavailing. The first difficulty was thus got over. My friends offered no further opposition to my plan, and I immediately set about making active preparations for my departure.

Singapore was my first destination; from thence I intended to sail north or south as I found most advisable; and to one of the most reputable merchants there I transferred a considerable sum of money to meet the expenses which I expected to incur. I found a fast-sailing schooner on the point of starting, and at once engaged a passage on board her. Wishing the Northcotes good-bye, and many other friends who warmly sympathised with me, I was the very next morning on board the schooner, and dropping down the Hoogly. Having now commenced the more interesting portion of my adventures, I must be more minute than I have hitherto been in my descriptions. While the schooner, the Nelly, is gliding down towards Diamond Harbour, I will describe her and her officers. She measured about one hundred and sixty tons, was low, with great breadth of beam, and very sharp bows, and a clean run aft. Her master, Captain Griffin, was a young man, not more than twenty-four or twenty-five, perhaps; strongly though slightly built, with a profusion of light crispy curling hair, and a complexion which would have been fair had it not been thoroughly tanned by the sun. He had polished manners, great primness, and was a thorough seaman. He had once been in the Royal Navy; but had left the service for some reason, which he did not explain to me, and was now engaged in the opium trade, or, in other words, he smuggled opium into China. At first I was much pleased with him; but when I came to be more thoroughly acquainted with him, I found that I could not approve of the principles which guided him, or many of the acts he committed without compunction. I have, however, seldom met any one who, at first sight, was more likely to win confidence and regard. I have frequently met people like him; and I consider them much more dangerous companions than men with inferior manners and education. His first officer was a dark, large-whiskered, tall man, with an expression of countenance not in any way prepossessing—he was called Mr Laffan. He was a bold seaman, and not without education. The second mate was a young man of very active and enterprising disposition, and who, I think, was formed for better things than to serve in an opium smuggler. There was an important officer on board who was called the gunner, though his duties were similar to those of a boatswain; he was of Portuguese descent, a native of Macao, though as dark as an Indian. He was especially placed over the Lascars, of whom we had twelve on board. The rest of the crew were Europeans, or of European parentage—mostly English—all picked men, and of tried courage: such qualities were necessary, for, in the prosecution of their lawless trade, they often had to fight their way through the Chinese junks sent to capture them. We were some time getting down the river, for the wind was too light to enable us to stem the tide, and we therefore had to anchor during each flood. It consequently took us five days before we got down to Diamond Harbour. Weighing at daylight the next morning, we got a little below the Silvertree, where we anchored. The next day we passed Kedgeree, and anchored in Saugur Roads; furled sails, and veered to forty fathoms. On the following day we passed the Torch, the floating light vessel, which is moored in the eastern channel of the tail of the Saugur sand, for the purpose of guiding vessels up the river during both monsoons. When we once more got into blue water, I felt that I had really commenced my undertaking. I am not going to copy out my log, and I must run quickly over the incidents of my voyage. In standing through the straits of Malacca, we sighted the beautiful island of Paulo Penang, or Prince of Wales’ Island, a British possession, on the coast of Tenasserim, a part of the Malay Peninsula. It is hilly and well wooded, and is considered very healthy. It is inhabited by a few British, and people from all parts of India, China, and the neighbouring islands. Nothing of importance occurred on our passage to Singapore. I found cruising in a clipper schooner very different work to sailing on board a steady-going old Indiaman; and had a constant source of amusement in the accounts of the wild adventures in which the master and his officers had been engaged, and their numberless narrow escapes from Chinese custom-house junks, Malay pirates, New Guinea cannibals, storms, rocks, fire and water.

I was surprised, when anchoring in Singapore Roads, to find myself before so large and handsome a town, remembering, as I did, how short a time had passed since its foundation by Sir Stamford Raffles. It stands on the banks of a salt-water creek, which has been dignified by the name of the Singapore River; one side contains the warehouses, offices, stores, etcetera, of the merchants and shopkeepers, with fine and extensive wharves; and on the same side are the native streets and bazaars. Opposite to it is an extensive plain, adorned by numerous elegant mansions; and beyond is the Kampong Glam and Malay town, with the residence of the Sultan of Jahore and his followers. From this chief the British Government purchased the island, with an agreement to pay him an annual stipend.

Beyond them, again, is an undulating country, backed by thickly-timbered hills, which add much to the beauty of the landscape. It may truly be called a town of palaces from the handsome appearance of its colonnaded buildings, and, still more justly, a city of all nations; for here are to be found representatives of every people under the sun engaged in commercial pursuits. The costumes of Europe, Arabia, Persia, all parts of India, China, Siam, and all the islands of the Archipelago, may be seen in the streets together, while their flags wave above the residences of their consuls, or at the mast-heads of the barks which crowd the harbour. Even at the time of which I speak, there were upwards of twenty thousand inhabitants, while in no place are so many flourishing merchants to be found. A few years ago this place was a mere swamp, with a few huts on it, inhabited by barbarians. It will be asked, What has worked this change? I reply, Commerce. Its position on a great highway of trade—a strong government, and protection to all comers, and perfect freedom to well-doers. Besides those attracted by trade, numbers take refuge here from all parts of the Archipelago, from the tyranny and misrule of their chiefs; and were other ports established by the English, they would, from similar causes, be peopled with equal rapidity.

The river near where we lay presented an animated scene, from the arrival and departure of native boats, with fruit, vegetables, and live stock, as well as from the numbers of neat sampans plying for hire, or attending upon the commanders of vessels; while at anchor were numbers of the Cochin-Chinese, Siamese, and Chinese junks, as well as the Bugis and other prahus from all the far-surrounding islands.

I went on shore as soon as we dropped our anchor, to endeavour to obtain information regarding the object of my search. I saw several merchants to whom I had letters, and they were all very anxious to aid me; but I could learn nothing, and therefore resolved to proceed to Macao, and to commence my inquiries from thence.

Once more at sea, away we flew over the light curling waves, thrown up by the fresh but favouring breeze. In ten days we came in sight of the Ladrone Islands, off Macao, at the entrance of the Tigris river, on which Canton is situated. The captain and crew were now on the alert to guard against surprise from any of their enemies, either from the pirates who take shelter among the islands I have named, or from the Chinese revenue cruisers—not that the latter are much feared. We ran into the harbour of Cap-sing-moon, and went alongside a large opium-receiving ship, into which we were to discharge our cargo. From this ship it would, I learned, be conveyed up to Canton in Chinese smuggling boats. These boats are well manned and armed; and if they cannot get away from the mandarin boats, the crews will often fight very desperately.

I, in the meantime, proceeded to Macao. This ancient colony of the Portuguese in China has a very picturesque appearance from the sea, and has received its name from the supposed resemblance of the peninsula on which it stands to a mallet, of which macao is the Portuguese name. The streets are narrow, dirty, and ill-paved, but the houses of the merchants are large and commodious. Besides the Portuguese and Chinese, there are a large number of English and also American residents. Of course I had but little time or inclination for visiting the objects which usually interest strangers. I managed, however, to take a glance at the Cave of Camoens, the poet of Portugal, where it is said he composed his immortal Lusiad. It is rather a pile of granite rocks than a cave; and the garden in which it is situated is full of shrubs and magnificent trees—a romantic spot, fit for a poet’s meditations.

After many inquiries, I found that the vessel in which my friends left Macao had been consigned to a Mr Reuben Noakes, an American merchant; and to him I accordingly went, in the hopes of gaining some information to guide me. His counting-house had not an attractive appearance; nor did I like the expression of countenance of two clerks who were busily writing in an outer room. When I asked for Mr Noakes, one of them pointed with the feather of his pen to a door before me, but did not get up. I accordingly knocked at the door, and was told to come in.

“Well, stranger, what’s your business?” was the question asked me by the occupant of the room, a tall lank man, with a cadaverous countenance. He was lolling back in an easy chair, with a cigar in his mouth, a jug and tumbler, containing some potent mixture, by his side, and account books and papers before him.

Wishing to be as concise as he was in his questions, I asked, without attempting to look for a chair, (he did not offer me one):—

“Were you the consignee of the Emu brig, which sailed from here last year, and has not since been heard of?”

“Well, if I was, and what then?” said he.

“I wish to know full particulars about her,” I replied.

“By what authority do you ask me?” he said, looking suspiciously from under his eyebrows.

“I had friends on board her, and wish to know what has become of them,” I answered.

“Oh, you do, do you? Well, I wish, stranger, I could tell you; good morning.”

I soon saw the sort of man with whom I had to deal.

“Now, to be frank with you, Mr Noakes, I have not come all the way from Calcutta to Macao to be put off with such an answer as you have given me,” I said, looking him full in the face. “I have determined to learn what has become of my friends; and if I find them I shall find the brig, or learn what has become of her; and at all events I will take care that you are not the loser.”

“I see that you are a young man of sense,” he remarked, looking up at me with one eye. “What is it you want to know about the Emu? But I guess, you smoke now?”

“No, I do not touch tobacco,” I answered. “But I wish to know if a Mrs Clayton, a little girl, and servant embarked on board her.”

“I’d have sold you a chest of fine cheroots, if you did,” he observed. “Yes, those people embarked on board her; and what then?”

“I wish to know who was her commander; what sort of a man he was; and what sort of a crew he had,” I replied.

“Oh, well, then, her master was one Stephen Spinks. He wasn’t a bad seaman, seeing he was raised for the shore; but he had a first-rate hand for a mate, an old salt, who knew a trick or two, I calculate; and had a crew of five whites—Yankees, Britishers, and Portuguese—and ten Lascars; so the brig wasn’t badly manned at all events. She sailed for a trading voyage, to touch wherever Spinks thought he could pick up a cargo, or do a bit of barter. There never was a better hand at that work than Spinks.”

When Mr Noakes had got thus far, it seemed to have occurred to him that it would be but civil to ask me to sit down; and by degrees he became more communicative than I at first expected. From the information I gained from him, and from other merchants of whom I made inquiries, I learned that Captain Stephen Spinks was a very respectable man in appearance and manner; and that Mrs Clayton, having met him, was induced to take a passage in his brig, just on the point of sailing. There were, however, some suspicious circumstances connected with the history of his first mate: stories were told of ships, on board which he served, being insured to large amounts and cast away; of his captain being found dead in his cabin; of a ship having caught fire from an inexplicable cause, and of bags of dollars unaccountably disappearing.

“I would not have allowed the fellow to have put foot on board any ship in which I was interested,” said Mr Randall, a merchant to whom I had a letter. “He was bad enough to corrupt a whole crew. Who knows what sort of fellows he had with him? Captain Spinks might have been very respectable, though not much of a seaman, and so may be Mr Noakes, though I know little about him, except that he can drive a hard bargain, and likes to get things done cheap. This made him engage that suspicious fellow, Kidd, who was ready to sail without wages—Richard Kidd was his name—an ominous one rather; and when I saw poor Mrs Clayton and your little sister on board, I so disliked the looks of the crew that I was much inclined to persuade her to wait for another ship.”

This account gave a fresh colouring to the matter. If Kidd was the character described, he might probably have run away with the Emu for the sake of the dollars on board, and have carried her into a Dutch or Spanish settlement, where he could have sold her.

This also gave a wider range to the field of my search. Had she been captured by pirates, I should have looked for my friends in their haunts in the Sooloo Archipelago, and on the coast of Borneo; now I should have to search from Java, among all the islands to the east, up to Luzon, in the north. I was resolved to leave no spot unvisited; and the circumstance of a brig like the Emu having been seen to the west of Borneo determined me on visiting the Dutch settlement first. I have not attempted to describe my feelings all this time. I felt that I was engaged in a sacred duty, and I was rather calm and braced up for the work than in any way excited. I held my object, distant though it might be, clearly in view, and nothing could turn me away from it. I do not think I could have persevered as I did had I been influenced by what is called enthusiasm or excitement.

Chapter Ten.

Having resolved to undertake a work, the first point to be considered is how it is to be performed. I therefore immediately made every inquiry in my power, and found a Dutch brig sailing direct for Batavia. My intention, on arriving there, was to prosecute my inquiries for the Emu, and then to continue my voyage to the eastward, on board any craft I could find.

When I paid my last visit to Mr Noakes, he winked his eye at me with a most knowing look, observing, “I guess you’ve got some little trading spec in hand, or you wouldn’t be running your nose into those outlandish places. Well, good-bye, young one, you’re a ’cute lad; and I hope you’ll turn a cent or so before you get home.”

The worldly trader could not believe that my sole object was to look for my sweet little sister. Wishing farewell to all my friends, I went on board the Cowlitz, Captain Van Deck. Both he and his crew spoke English; indeed, besides the Dutch, there were Englishmen or Americans, with the usual number of Malays to do the hard work.

The captain had his wife on board—his frow, as he called her; and Mrs Van Deck appeared to take no inconsiderable part in the government of the ship. She had her husband’s niece with her, a very pretty girl, whom she used to make attend on her like a servant; and there were two lady passengers, a mother and daughter, also Dutch, going to their family. So, as may be supposed, we had plenty of ladies to make tea in the cabin. Unfortunately none would agree whose duty it was to perform that office; and though Miss Van Deck, the captain’s niece, was ready enough to do it, her aunt would not let her; and so we ran a great risk of going without it altogether, till the captain volunteered in order to keep concord within the bulkhead. As the disputes were carried on in Dutch, I could only partly understand what was said; but the gestures of the speakers made me fully comprehend the whole matter; especially as the worthy master used to relieve his feelings with a running commentary in English, and sundry winks of the eye next to me, and shrugs of the shoulder, expressive of his resignation to his fate.

“My good frow is a very excellent woman,” he used to say. “We all have our tempers, and she has hers. It might be better—we none of us are perfect. I took her for better and for worse, and so—”

He never finished the sentence, but shrugged his shoulders; and if he was smoking, which he generally was when he spoke on this delicate subject, he blew out a double quantity of vapour. His was true philosophy: he was very fond of saying, “What we cannot cure, we must endure, and hope for better times.”

Although Captain Van Deck was a philosopher, he was not much of a seaman, nor was his personal courage of first-rate order. He was only perfectly confident when he had a coast he knew well on his weather beam; and then he was rather apt to boast of his knowledge of seamanship and navigation. Fortunately the first mate of the Cowlitz was a better seaman than the master, or she would not have been able to find her way from one port to another even as well as she did.

The second mate was an Englishman of a respectable family. He had run away to sea because he did not like learning or the discipline of school; but he acknowledged to me that he had more to learn, and was kept much more strictly, on board ship than on shore. His former ship had been cast away on the coast of Java; when, finding the Cowlitz, he had joined her, and had since remained in her.

I liked Adam Fairburn very much. He had certainly been wild, careless, and indifferent to religion; but adversity had sobered him, and allowed his thoughts to dwell on holy and high objects. The many misfortunes he had met with, he assured me, were, he felt, sent by a kind Providence for his benefit. Far from repining, he received them gratefully. I found his advice and counsel of great assistance; indeed, he was the only person on board whom I could truly consider as a companion.

I need not describe the rest of the crew; but there was a little personage on board who must not be forgotten. He went by the name of Ungka; and though he did not speak, as one looked at his intelligent countenance, and watched his expressive gestures, one could scarcely help believing that he could do so, if he was not afraid of being compelled to work. Ungka was in fact a baboon from the wilds of Sumatra. He had been caught young by a Malay lad, who sold him to Captain Van Deck. He was about two feet and a half high, and the span of his arms was four feet. His face was perfectly free from hair, except at the sides, where it grew like whiskers. It also rather projected over his forehead, but he had very little beard. His coat was jet black, as was the skin of his face. His hands and fingers were long, narrow, and tapering; and both feet and hands had great prehensile power, as he used to prove by the fearless way in which he swung himself from rope to rope. He used to walk about the deck with great steadiness, let the ship roll ever so much, though with rather a waddling gait, and with a quick step, sometimes with his arms hung down, but at others over his head, ready to seize a rope, and to swing himself up the rigging. His eyes were very close together, of a hazel colour, and with eye-lashes only on the upper lid. He had a nose, but a very little one; his mouth was large, and his ears small; but what he seemed most to pride himself in, was having no tail, or even the rudiment of one.

One of his chief amusements used to be attacking two other monkeys who had longer tails. He would watch his opportunity, and, catching hold of little Jacko’s tail, would haul him up the rigging after him at a great rate. Ungka would all the time keep the most perfect gravity of countenance, while poor little Jacko grinned, chattered, and twisted about in a vain endeavour to escape. The tormentor, at last, tired of what was very great fun to him and the spectators, but not at all so to the little monkey, would suddenly let him go, to the great risk of cracking his skull on deck. Ungka, having nothing which his brethren could seize in return, very well knew that they could not retaliate. At last they grew too wary for him, and then he set himself to work in the rather hopeless task of endeavouring to straighten the crisply curling tail of a Chinese pig, which was among our live stock. He always came to dinner, and sat in a chair with all due propriety, unless he saw something very tempting before him, when he could not always refrain from jumping across the table and seizing it. He was, however, well aware that he was acting wrongly; and one day, moved by the angry look of the captain, he went back and put the tempting fruit in the dish from which he had taken it. He had as great an objection to being made the subject of ridicule as have most human beings; and if any one laughed at his ludicrous actions at dinner, he would utter a hollow barking noise, looking up at them with a most serious expression till they had ceased, when he would quietly resume his dinner. He and I got on very well; but he was most attached to little Maria Van Deck, his constant playmate, as also to a young Malay, who brought him on board. He seemed to consider the captain a person worthy of confidence, and he would let no one else take him in their arms. He certainly had a great antipathy to the captain’s frow and the lady passengers. His general sleeping-place was in the main-top; but if the weather looked threatening, he would come down and take up his berth on a rug in my cabin. So much for poor little Ungka.

We had been some days at sea, delayed by light baffling winds. The captain began to grow impatient; his wife scolded him more than ever; and the lady passengers began to inquire when they were likely to see their homes, while I began to regret that I had not taken some more rapid means of conveyance. It now first occurred to me that it would have been better had I secured a small vessel to myself, so that I might at once sail in any direction I might deem advisable.

I was one evening walking the deck with the second mate, Adam Fairburn, when he stopped, and I saw him look earnestly ahead. He immediately took a telescope to watch the object which had attracted his attention.

“What is that you see?” I asked.

“Why it may be the curl of some wave, or a low shore, with some scattered trees on it, or a fleet of prahus; or it may be only fancy, for this uncertain light deceives one,” he replied. “However, I’ll go aloft and take a better look before I tell the master, and frighten him and the ladies out of their wits.”

Saying this he sprung into the rigging and ascended to the fore-topgallant mast-head. When he came down, I asked him what he had seen.

“A fleet of Malay craft, of some sort or other, there is no doubt of it,” he answered. “They may be honest traders; but they may be Illanon pirates from Sooloo, on the coast of Borneo, bound on some plundering expedition. The rascals often venture into the China seas, and sometimes right up the strait of Malacca, though they like best to skulk about their own coasts, and steal out on any craft passing that way. If there is a good breeze we need not fear them; but they are fellows not to be trifled with. I must tell the master.”

Captain Van Deck was seen hurrying from his cabin and ascending to the mast-head. His countenance on his return showed what he thought about the matter; and summoning his mates, he held earnest consultation with them. Fairburn was for standing boldly on and running past them in the night, keeping a look-out, to give them a warm reception should they come near us; but the Dutchman thought that the safest plan would be to keep altogether out of their way. As they were steering about south-west, our course was altered to south-east. We soon, however, perceived that we were seen and watched, for some of their prahus shortly tacked and stood in a direction to cut us off—so thought Captain Van Deck. On this his trepidation became excessive, not a little increased by the alarm expressed by his better half. He saw that the safest plan was to keep well to windward of the enemy; so he ordered the yards to be braced sharp up, and we stood away on a north-east course.

The breeze was fresh, and we might hope before morning, even should the prahus attempt to follow us, to run them out of sight; so Captain Van Deck lighted his pipe and betook himself to a bottle of his favourite schiedam. None of the officers were disposed, nor was I, as may be surmised, to turn in during the night, for the Sooloo pirates were not fellows to be trifled with. In those days they plundered every craft; and if they did not destroy their prisoners, they sold them into captivity, whence there was no hope of redemption. Since then, thanks to the enlightened plans of Sir James Brooke, aided by the British ships of war in those seas, their depredations have been somewhat lessened; but much must be done before their destructive power is completely destroyed, and the surrounding people can enjoy to the full the blessings of unrestricted commerce. The night was sufficiently light to enable us to see a considerable distance. Our captain walked the deck with an uneasy step, his night-glass constantly to his eye, and he declared that he could distinguish in the far distance the suspicious prahus, as they were endeavouring to beat up to capture us. The more he looked the more alarmed and agitated he became, till at last he appeared to lose all command over himself. With a groan he rushed down to console himself with a glass of his favourite schiedam. Taking the telescope which he had left on deck, I looked towards the spot where the Malay vessels were last seen. I looked for some time, but could make nothing out on the dark horizon. I then handed the glass to Fairburn.

“I begin to doubt whether the prahus are there at all,” I observed. “I trust they are conjured up by the skipper’s fears.”

His answer was a low laugh; but he, notwithstanding, swept the telescope carefully round the southern horizon.

“Whether the skipper’s fears conjured them up or not, I don’t know; but there they are, sure enough,” he quietly remarked, turning my hand in the proper direction. His practical eye had discovered what I had neglected, and as I now looked I saw what appeared a number of black spots floating on the water.

“If the wind holds good we may laugh at them,” he remarked; “but if it should chance to fall calm, the rascals would very soon be up with us.”

“But could we not fight?” I asked. “We have boarding-nettings, and plenty of hands, and muskets, and two guns; surely we might beat them off.”

“From what I have seen of the captain, he is not a fighting man,” answered Fairburn. “I trust the breeze will hold; but if not, we shall run a very great chance of having our throats cut by those fellows, if they do not think we shall make good slaves to their friends in Borneo.”

“You surely are not serious,” I remarked. “The captain would not yield without a struggle for life and liberty. But if he will not fight, we certainly have a right to make him; and I have no doubt the men will be ready enough to second us.”

Fairburn shook his head. “I fear not,” he said. “But here he comes again, with some Dutch courage in him, I suspect.”

The captain paced the deck all night in great anxiety; and I certainly do not think he could have used better means than he did to get away from the enemy. We knew that they must have been in force, and that they felt sure of being able to overcome a vessel of our size, which they were well able to distinguish to be only a merchantman. I cannot say that I felt afraid of the result, though I did not shut my eyes to it; but my hope of escaping was the strongest feeling.

The breeze rather freshened than fell as the morning came on; and as the brig had every stitch of canvas she could carry set on her, she went through the water far more rapidly than was her custom. The night was bright and clear, the stars shone forth from the sky with a brilliancy unknown in the northern latitudes, and ever and anon flashes of light burst from the ocean, and, as the ship ploughed her onward way, she left a golden thread in her wake. I could scarcely persuade myself that we were in any danger, or that we were no longer pursuing our voyage in the direction we wished to go.

The ladies remained below, trembling with fear; for the captain, for the sake of having some one more alarmed than himself, had taken care to tell them that a whole fleet of pirates were rowing as fast as they could after us. Little Maria Van Deck was the only one who behaved heroically. When I went below, I found her in the cabin, offering up prayers to Him who had power to protect us. I watched her as she knelt, the lights from the cabin-lamp falling on her upturned childish countenance. She was too much absorbed to observe me. At length she rose from her knees. She smiled when I spoke to her, and thanked her for setting so good an example.

“Oh, I have no fear,” she answered; “God is good, and will not allow us to be injured.”

Reminded of my duty by the little girl, I also knelt and prayed earnestly for our safety. Returning on deck, I waited till the rising sun should show us the position of our enemies, or assure us that we were beyond their reach. The first mate went aloft with the glass in his hand directly the first faint streak of day appeared in the sky, to look-out for the prahus the moment the rays of the sun, striking on their sails, should enable him to see them. The captain, meantime, paced the deck in a state of no little agitation. We all watched anxiously for the mate’s report, as the coming sun gradually lighted up the whole sky with a glow of brightness. Each instant it grew more intense, till all near objects could be clearly distinguished, but still the mate gave no announcement from his lofty perch. Had not the matter been too serious for laughter, I could have laughed heartily at the poor master’s ludicrous expression of countenance, so full was it of fear, doubt, and anxiety, as he turned up his eyes to the mast-head, to watch for any signal which might relieve his mind. The mate kept his glass sweeping round the southern horizon, till at last he seemed satisfied.

“Nothing in sight in any quarter,” he shouted from aloft.

“What! are you sure—nothing?” exclaimed the master, scarcely believing his senses. “Then we shall not this time have to dig yams for the blackamoors.” And he gave a grunt of satisfaction, so loud that I thought he had exploded, while he sank down on a gun, overcome by his feelings. He now became much braver than he had been all the night, and talked boldly of how we would have treated the pirates if they had dared to attack us. We, however, still continued standing to the northward. At last Fairburn, to whom he had been addressing himself, lost patience.

“Well, sir,” he exclaimed, “if we keep away, and make all sail after them, there is little doubt we shall fall in with them before long.”

This silenced the captain for the time; but he again broke out when he found himself in the cabin with the ladies, till he made them believe that he was a very brave man, except his wife, who knew him too well to be so deceived. All day we continued standing away from where the captain thought the pirates might be, and it was not till night that he was persuaded again to stand on his proper course.

I did not repine at the increased length of the voyage as much as might be expected; for my time was busily employed in studying the geography of the Archipelago, the productions of the islands, the habits and manners of the people, and more particularly the Malay language, which I knew, in order to obtain my object, it would be important for me to speak well. With so powerful a stimulus, aided by a Malay seaman on board, I acquired a fair knowledge of it with great rapidity. I also studied Dutch, which I knew I should also find useful.

Chapter Eleven.

The Cowlitz was once more on her course, with the wind nearly right aft. I guessed, however, from the observations I saw the captain attempting to take, and his more frequent attention to the chart, that he was somewhat out of his reckoning. That part of the China seas is tolerably free from shoals and reefs; but still there are some about midway between Cochin China and the islands of Luzon, Palawan, and Borneo, in the neighbourhood of which, after our flight from the pirates, we must clearly have been.

The navigation among coral reefs is very dangerous; because, as they rise like mountains of various heights from the depths of the ocean, and frequently do not appear above the surface, a ship may be among them, and having passed over some, may too late discover her danger, without the power of extricating herself. In fine weather, with a clear sky, they may, from the different colour of the water over them, be perceived at a distance; but at night, or with thick weather, their neighbourhood is only known by the noise of the sea dashing over them, or by the white crests of the breakers rising either ahead, upon either beam of the ship.

We continued running on all that night, without taking more than the usual precaution of keeping a look-out ahead. Towards the end of the morning watch, I came on deck to enjoy the freshness of the air, when, as I was looking over the side, I observed that the water, broad on the starboard bow, was of an unusually dark colour. I watched it attentively, when, turning round, and looking over the larboard quarter, I there perceived a similar appearance. I felt certain that it could arise but from one cause—either a sand-bank or a coral reef; for there was not a cloud in the sky to cast a shadow on the water. I called the attention of Fairburn to it, as he fortunately just then came on deck to relieve the first mate. He instantly sprang aloft; and, after taking a hurried glance all around, he ordered the cabin boy to call the captain, directing two men to station themselves at each fore-yard arm. The captain’s face exhibited no little consternation when he saw the position in which we were placed; but we could now do nothing except stand on, and keep our eyes about us.

“This is the consequence of not keeping a careful reckoning,” said Fairburn, as I stood beside him. “The poor master, afraid of a fancied danger, has managed to run us into a real one. However, if the weather holds good, I think we may yet do well.”

“I trust so,” I said. “I should think there can be little danger while we can see the reef as clearly as we now do.”

“Oh, you know, there is nothing a sailor hates so much as reefs and shoals,” he replied; “and with good reason. We may see the larger reefs, but there are some come up almost like the point of a needle, and if there is a ripple on the water, I defy the sharpest eye to make them out.” He was all this time looking sharply ahead, and urging the men stationed aloft to do the same.

We had frequently to alter our course to avoid the reefs which appeared ahead; and at last we seemed to be almost surrounded by them, as we threaded our course through a narrow channel, where we certainly had no business to be. Everybody was on deck looking out; for even the ladies were acquainted with our position, though the master took care to tell them that it was not his fault we had got into it. However, the sky was so bright, and the sea so calm and sparkling, that, as we glided slowly and calmly on, it was difficult to believe the real state of the case. In time, we even got accustomed to it; and when the steward came to summon us to breakfast, we went into the cuddy with our usual appetites not in the slightest degree blunted.

On my return, I went forward to look for Fairburn. “I think we must be pretty well clear by this time,” he observed. “The reefs off that island there, do not extend to any great distance.” He pointed, as he spoke, to a low little island which I had not before observed. It had a few trees on it, which seemed growing out of the water, and were clearly of recent growth. “It does not do, however, to be too certain in a hurry. Keep a sharp look-out there, my men,” he continued, hailing the people on the fore-yard. Scarcely had he spoken, when the breeze having freshened somewhat, and the brig going rapidly through the water, a tremendous blow was felt forward, which almost threw us from our feet, and her way was instantly stopped. The masts groaned and rocked as if they would have fallen, and the sails bulging out, fixed the vessel only faster on the pinnacle on which she had struck. Instantly, loud cries rose from many of the crew, the master pulled his hair, and puffed out four times more smoke than usual from the meerschaum he had in his mouth, while the ladies shrieked and cried with terror. Captain Van Deck did not seem to know what to do himself, or to order his crew to do; but Fairburn rushed here and there, calling the people together, and soon got the sails clewed up.

“What is to be done?” I asked.

“We must carry a kedge out astern, and try and haul her off; and if we succeed we must get a thrummed sail under her bows, and then pump out the water which will have got into her, for it will not do to stick here always.”

He had scarcely spoken, when the Dutch carpenter came from below with a face full of consternation.

“The ship will never move from this except to go to the bottom,” he exclaimed, as he heard the order given to get the kedge out. “We had better think of lowering the boat and saving our lives, for the water is rushing in like a cataract, and it will very soon be up to the decks.”

This was indeed disastrous information, and I soon found it to be too true, by going myself below to see the state of affairs. I quickly beat a retreat again on deck, where the ladies and all hands were now assembled. I must do the master the justice to say, that now the danger had actually occurred, he behaved far better than I could have expected. He certainly took things very phlegmatically. Calling the crew aft, he slowly made them a speech, telling them, that as there was no chance of the ship’s carrying them on farther, they must now take to the boats, and that he hoped they would all behave well. He then ordered the boats to be lowered, and the gangway ladder to be rigged, to enable the ladies to descend with ease. We had three boats—the long-boat, the jolly-boat, and a skiff. It was arranged that the captain should go in the long-boat, the first mate in the jolly-boat, and the second mate, whom I volunteered to accompany, in the skiff, which, though small, was a very seaworthy boat; and I preferred trusting myself to his seamanship. The captain and mates then chose the crew in the same way as is customary in forming a watch—namely, one officer selects a man, and then the next, and so on till the crew are disposed of. The ladies were, of course, taken into the long-boat, in which there were in all fourteen people, and eight in each of the other boats; and it was agreed that we should keep close together, that we might afford assistance to each other in case of necessity. Before embarking, we had to arrange a very important business, the selection of the articles we should take with us. Fairburn hurried on the people, and urged me to do the same, whispering in my ear, that any moment the vessel might slip off the reef, and that we might be engulfed before we were ready. The first thing we did was to get the ladies into the long-boat; and fortunately it was so calm that there was no difficulty in so doing, except that Mrs Van Deck insisted on not being parted from her husband.

“Wait a minute, my dear frow,” he shouted to her in return. “I must not desert my people till I have seen them in safety.”

We all agreed that no private property should be taken; but only the necessary water and provisions, clothing to shelter us from the weather, arms to defend ourselves, and charts and instruments to guide our course. Some time was required to select the articles, and during it I observed that several of the seamen were missing. I mentioned it to Fairburn.

“The fools!” he exclaimed. “They cannot resist the seaman’s curse—even at this moment they have gone to put an enemy into their mouths to steal away their wits. Come and help me, we must put a stop to it.”

Saying this, he rushed below, seizing an axe, in which I imitated him. Five of the men had broached a cask of rum, and were drinking from it as rapidly as they could, while two others were about to join them. Fairburn, on seeing this, instantly stove in the cask with his axe before they could prevent him, which they attempted to do; and there being three others near at hand, we destroyed them likewise.

“Madmen!” exclaimed the mate, “you would throw away your own lives, and risk those of your shipmates for the sake of a moment’s beastly enjoyment. On deck now, and attend to your duty. I will brain the first man who lingers.”

This determined conduct had the desired effect. The men had not drunk enough to become intoxicated, and his resolute manner at once awed them into obedience. Like sulky dogs driven away from a bone, they ascended on deck. Among the articles selected for the long-boat were three casks of water, some biscuits, salt beef, pork, hams, and cheese, tea and sugar, four jars of Hollands, some cooking utensils, a lantern, candles, tinder-box, and matches, a keg of gunpowder, some muskets and cutlasses, a chronometer, sextants, quadrants, a compass and necessary books of navigation; a topgallant studding-sail, boom, and fore-royal were also thrown into her for a mast and sail; a little canvas, tarpauling, and some deal boards were not forgotten; and the carpenter was enjoined to take such of his tools as might prove useful. One boat and the jolly-boat had their barrels likewise filled with water, and each of us was provided with our proportion of the same articles, except that we had fewer arms or blankets; and indeed so small was our stowage room, that we had to depend on the long-boat for some of our provisions. While all these preparations were going forward, my sensations were far from pleasant; for I could not help feeling that any moment the ship might slide off into deep water, and carry us all down with her. The captain thought differently, and nothing would hurry him. At length her stern perceptibly sunk, and this was the signal for a general rush towards the boats.

“Stay!” exclaimed the captain; “I tell you she will not go yet; and have I not a right to know? There is plenty of time to get quietly into the boats; you will be tired enough of them before you get out of them again. We must see that we have left nothing we may want behind.”

Fairburn volunteered for this duty, and one by one the men were told off into the other boats. They then examined everything that was in the boats; a few trifling articles were suggested as likely to prove useful; we searched for them, and then took our places in the skiff. As we pulled round under the bows, we could see, through the clear water, the immense hole which the coral had made through the stout planking; at the same time so securely hooked did she appear, that I doubt whether she could have sunk unless the coral point on which she hung had broken off, or the sea had knocked her to pieces.

In the hurry of getting into the boats at the last moment everybody had forgotten poor Ungka, who was seen leaning over the bows looking most imploringly and mournfully at us. Little Maria was the first to draw our attention to him.

“Oh! Ungka, poor Ungka! we must not go without him,” she exclaimed.

Her appeal was not to be resisted. We in the skiff, pulled back, and Ungka, seizing a rope which hung from the bowsprit, lowered himself into the boat, as we pulled under him. The other three monkeys, seeing where he had gone, attempted to follow his example. One was in so great a hurry that he fell into the water, but we picked him out; the other two reached us without wetting their jackets. Ungka looked at them very seriously, and seemed to think that they ought to have been left behind. At Maria’s solicitation, we sent Ungka into the long-boat, and while we were alongside the others leaped in after him. But to more serious matters. A short hour ago we were sailing securely on with a good ship under us—now we were homeless wanderers on the wide ocean, at a time of the year when storms might be expected, and in the neighbourhood of coasts inhabited by piratical tribes, who would show us but little mercy if we fell into their hands.

After pulling some little distance from the ship, we lay on our oars, of one accord, to give her a last parting glance, and we then all came close together to consult what course we should steer. The nearest port where we should find civilised people was the Spanish settlement of Manilla, in Luzon; but that was nearly to windward, and if we failed to make it we might be driven on some shore where we might find no means of escape. The next place was Singapore, which, though much farther off than Manilla, was to leeward, and from thence the Dutch people were certain of finding an easy means of return to Batavia.

Some of the crew wished to pull to the little island we had passed, in order to refit the boats, and by raising the gunwales, better to prepare them for encountering any rough seas; but Captain Van Deck did not think this necessary, and was, besides, unwilling to lose the advantage of the favourable breeze which was now blowing, and the smooth water which would render our voyage easy. We lost sight of the Cowlitz just as the sun sunk in the western wave. We were now gliding calmly over the starlit sea—the beautiful firmament above us shining with a splendour peculiar to the torrid zone. The boats sailed well, and kept company easily together.

“This is one of the vicissitudes to which a seaman is exposed, Mr Seaworth,” observed Adam Fairburn, as I sat by his side. “I have been so knocked about, and have met with so many, that to me it does not seem strange; but it must so to you.”

“Not so much as you may suppose,” I answered. “I have read so constantly of shipwrecks and disasters at sea, that I am scarcely surprised to find myself an actor in one of them. How soon shall we reach Singapore, do you think?”

“It may take us eight or ten days, or less if the wind holds fair; but even that seems a long time to sit in an open boat, and yet people have passed as many weeks, with a scarcity of food, and have been preserved.”

“I have no fear of the future, even did not the present calm weather almost preclude the sensation of fear; for I have been taught that God is everywhere, and has power to preserve us if He so will it.” I said this in answer to Fairburn’s remark.

“Do you know,” he observed, “that when I am at sea especially, as now, in an open boat, or in a small craft, or during the raging of a storm, that I always feel more clearly that I am in the hands of the Almighty, or perhaps, I might say, a sense of man’s perfect helplessness. We are too apt to forget this when roving on shore, in the full enjoyment of high health and spirits; yet, if we consider how small an injury is sufficient to make the strongest man as feeble as an infant, we should cease to boast of any strength which is in us.”

Such was the style of our conversation, as we sat side by side hour by hour, in the boat. I gave Fairburn an outline of my history, and he in return related to me his own adventures, which were romantic in the extreme; indeed, since he came to sea, not a week had passed away without affording him matters worthy of note.

We had run on some hours, when, as the skiff was in the wake of the long-boat, we observed that the people in her were, by their movements, in a great state of alarm. Some were hard at work baling, while the ladies were turning round as if imploring our help. We instantly got out our oars, and pulled up to her as fast as we could. We found that she was leaking very much, from having been long out of the water, and that it required the constant labours of the crew to keep her free. As the jolly-boat and skiff were already as full as was safe for them, we could do nothing to assist our consort, though we would have run every risk rather than see them perish, yet it was utterly impossible to take them on board with the slightest hope of saving our lives, should any bad weather come on. While we were almost in despair what to do, one of the men, whose duty it was to keep a look-out, declared that he saw land ahead. We all turned our eyes in the same direction, and there, sure enough, was a grove of trees just rising out of the water. This raised our spirits, and enabled the crew of the long-boat to renew their exertions. We ran on, when by degrees the stems of the trees appeared, and we saw before us a small but thickly-wooded island. The breeze had freshened up, and though the sea was tolerably smooth, a heavy surf was breaking along the whole northern coast. To the eastward, a reef extended a considerable way; so we stood more to the west, and hauled round the island, in the hopes of finding a spot on which we could land. After sailing along for a mile, we observed a yellow sand beach in a little bay, free from rocks, where the boats might be hauled up free from danger. We joyfully entered it, and scarcely had our keels touched the shore, than the crews leapt out, rejoicing at the feeling that they were at liberty, even although it was on a desert island. A tent was first made with our boats’ sails, by the aid of boughs, for the ladies, and we then set to work to repair the long-boat. The carpenter pronounced some of the planks so rotten and worm-eaten, as to make it surprising that she had not at once gone to the bottom, and he was afraid of doing anything to them lest he should make matters worse. Our only means, therefore, of stopping the leaks, was to nail some canvas we fortunately had with us over the bottom of the boat; having first carefully inserted some oakum between the planks, and rubbed them over with tallow.

Everybody was busily employed: some were drying the bread, which had got wet by being carelessly thrown into the bottom of the boat; others were gathering oysters, of which a large number were found; and the largest number were scouring the island in search of water, lest our present stock should fall short; while little Maria Van Deck was amusing herself by taking care of poor Ungka, who appeared fully to comprehend the nature of our disaster. A chain had been fastened to him to prevent his escaping when we landed, though he seemed to have no inclination to leave his human companions; but no sooner did the other little fellows find themselves on shore, than off they set towards the nearest trees, and leaped and frolicked about in the full enjoyment of unrestrained liberty. Off they went, springing up from bough to bough; and when any one approached, they redoubled their exertions, showing clearly that they did not intend again to trust themselves to the dangers of the deep.

To make the boats more seaworthy, we formed bulwarks of canvas all the way round them, and converted the fore-royal into a lug and a jib for the long-boat. We then again launched them; and as they floated securely in the little bay, we rejoiced to find that none of them leaked sufficiently to cause uneasiness.

Our work being over, we assembled to take our last meal on shore; and, as we sat round the fire we had lighted to dress our provisions, we looked more like a picnic party than a set of shipwrecked people. The ladies had recovered their spirits, and Mrs Van Deck presided at the feast with becoming dignity. The captain then made the people a speech. He told them that they had behaved very well, and that he hoped they would continue to do so; and drawing the boats to shore, we finished loading them, and stepping in, once more continued our voyage.

Chapter Twelve.

The breeze held favourable, though lighter than we required it; and the setting sun gave every indication, as we thought, of a continuance of the fine weather. The long-boat led the way, and the other two boats were stationed on either quarter; and, as the stars shone brightly, we had no difficulty in steering our course, while we should have been able to distinguish any coral reefs which might have appeared. We thus ran on all night, at the rate of from three to four knots an hour. Two people kept watch at a time, while the rest slept—one steered while the other looked out. I relieved Fairburn at the helm; for I had now gained so much practical experience in seamanship, that he had more confidence in me than in the crew, some of whom were careless about keeping the proper course. The boatswain had the first watch, Fairburn had the middle, and I was to take the morning one. The first passed away as I have described. Soon after Fairburn took the helm, I awoke, and felt very little inclination to go to sleep again; indeed the very snoring of the boatswain, who was a Dutchman of the stoutest build, and my near proximity to him, contributed much to drive sleep from my eyelids.

“I have been thinking, Fairburn,” said I, “that I will no longer trust to the chance means of getting about from place to place but, as soon as we reach a port, I propose to look-out for some small fast-sailing craft, which I shall arm well for self-defence, and then I shall be independent. What do you think of my plan?”

“I like it much,” he replied. “You must get a good hand as a master, who knows these seas; or do you propose to go master yourself?”

“I am not so conceited with my seamanship as to trust entirely to myself,” I answered. “The idea has occurred to me, that you might like to go as master, and I am sure you would make a good one.”

“Nothing I should like better in the world,” he exclaimed in a tone of delight. “I assure you that I am most grateful to you for thinking of me. The life I have often had to lead under inferiors, often tyrannical, rude, and uneducated, has been very irksome, and has at times nearly driven me to desperation; but with you I shall have all the pleasures of a roving life, without any of the drawbacks I so much hate.”

“Well, then, it is settled, Fairburn,” I said, equally pleased with him. “We will not lose an instant, when we get into port, in looking after a vessel, and picking up a good crew.” So we went on, hour after hour, talking on the subject till the watch was worn out, and daylight began to appear.

“We must get into port first, however, on the old principle of catching a hare before cooking it,” he remarked, laughing.

A hail from the long-boat interrupted us. We were some little way astern, and we saw her lower her sail, the jolly-boat doing the same. We stood on till we got up to her.

“Down with your canvas—down!” exclaimed the captain vehemently—“Don’t you see that ahead?”

We had been quietly following the long-boat, and had not looked beyond her. We now did so, and by the uncertain light of the coming dawn, we could see the dark sails of several large prahus standing directly across our course from the eastward. Had we been a little farther advanced, we should have been directly under their stems. If they were pirates, our position was perilous in the extreme. The captain proposed that we should instantly put about, and pull away from them to the northward and east; but then it was argued that the moment the sun got up the flashing of our oar-blades in the water would inevitably betray us, and that our best mode of proceeding was to be perfectly quiet, so that they might pass without perceiving us. The last proposal was carried, Fairburn, whose opinion was always of weight, voting for it. The oars were accordingly laid in, and we all crouched down at the bottom of the boats, no one’s head being allowed to appear above the gunwales. We hoped thus, if the Malays should see the boats, that they would fancy they were without occupants, and would not think it worth their while to go out of their way to examine them. The canvas of the bulwark, at the bow, was lifted a little to enable one person to look through, in order to watch the proceedings of the prahus. Our preparations were made before it was quite light; and now came the most trying time, when the sun, as he rose from the water, should first shed his rays across its surface. That is the period when seamen of every nation are more particularly accustomed to take a steady scrutinising glance round the horizon, to see what ships or land may be in sight. We could observe the sails of the prahus gliding by to the westward like silent phantoms in the cold pale light of the morning. We were to the eastward of the greater part of the fleet, and we began to hope that all might pass us, when Fairburn and I simultaneously perceived three others, more to the north than the rest, and directly to the eastward of us. Being thus more to windward than the rest, they came down rapidly towards us.

“What shall we do now?” I asked of Fairburn. “If we stay where we are, they will scarcely miss us. If we pull on, we shall be directly to leeward of them, and they will certainly see us, and we cannot escape them.”

“To own the truth, I do not see that we have a chance of escape,” he whispered. “In attempting to pull away out of their course to the northward, we shall certainly be observed. We must make up our minds to the worst.”

“What do you think that will be?” I asked.

“If they grant us our lives—abject slavery,” he answered, with a groan. “If we could fight first, I should not so much mind; but to be picked up by those rascals without a struggle, as a worm is picked up by a bird, is very trying.”

“But don’t you think we might master one of the prahus, and escape in her?” I asked.

“A brave thought; but one, I am afraid, our captain is not a man to execute,” was his reply. “I am thinking about the poor women. We may one of these days find means of escaping out of the hands of these villains; but they never can.”

“Indeed I can feel for them,” I said, thinking of the fate of my own sister.

“Well, we will try if we can stir the captain up to adopt your plan,” he exclaimed, after a minute’s silence. “We have arms enough, and we will throw ourselves altogether on board the first vessel which comes up. If we take her by surprise, we shall have a greater chance of success.”

“I will back you up,” I said. “I am sure all hands here will join us.”

“Yes, yes,” said the men; “we will fight before we yield.”

And to show that they were in earnest, they set to work to examine the arms we had in the boat. We then hailed Captain Van Deck, and told him what we proposed doing.

“It would be madness,” he answered. “We should not have a chance of success, and we should all be knocked on the head and thrown into the sea together.”

“Fight! fight! Who is talking about fighting?” shrieked Mrs Van Deck. “We can’t fight, and we won’t fight. We will ask the pirates, or whatever the black gentlemen may be, to be civil; and I am sure that they are more likely to be so if we are submissive, than if we were to try and turn them out of their vessels, which we could not do.”

I must own, now I come to reflect calmly on the subject, that there was some wisdom in Mrs Van Deck’s observations. As a rule, it is folly to threaten unless we can perform, or to fight unless one has a fair chance of success. Our chance of success was certainly very small; but still I could not help thinking we should have some, especially if we could get on board one of the afterward vessels; and anything was better than the slavery to which we should be doomed.

On came the prahus. The southern division had not seen us, and had already got to the westward of us; but the northern line was approaching, and would pass most dangerously near where we were—perhaps a little to the south. We almost held our breaths with anxiety. A slight change of wind might make them alter their course rather more away from us; but that was scarcely to be expected. Our glasses now showed us clearly what sort of vessels were in our neighbourhood, and made every shadow of doubt as to their character vanish completely. Their threatening and ominous aspect was increased, from their dark sails appearing against the glowing mass of light, which covered the whole eastern part of the sky from the zenith, growing still more intense towards the horizon, whence we expected the sun every instant to appear. The vessels we now saw were of considerable size, capable of carrying some hundred and fifty men or more. The lower part was built of solid wood-planks and timbers, like the vessels of European nations, but the upper works and decks were chiefly of bamboo, ingeniously fastened together. The bows were very sharp, the beam was great, and in length they exceeded ninety feet. The after part had a cabin or poop deck; and a raised deck, or platform, ran right fore and aft, for the purpose of affording standing room to the fighting men, of whom Fairburn told me we should find some forty or fifty on board. The platform was narrower than the beam, except forward, where it expanded to the full width, and where there was a strong bulkhead, with a port in it, through which a long brass gun was run. A sort of gallery extended all round the sides, like the nettings of a ship, in which sat the rowers, who were slaves, and not expected to fight unless in extreme cases. The vessel had from forty to fifty oars in two tiers, with two men to each oar. They had two triangle or sheer masts; these sheers were composed of two long poles. The heels of the two foremost were fitted in a pair of bits in the deck, through which ran a piece of horizontal timber, on which they worked; so that they could be raised or depressed at pleasure. The after pole was shorter than the others, and served as a prop to them. When the pirates intend to board an enemy, they allow this mast to fall over the bows, and it serves them as a ladder to climb on to her decks. They were steered in a curious way, by two broad-bladed oars running through the counter at either quarter. A broad platform extended over the counter, low down abaft the raised poop. Besides the long gun I have described, the larger vessels had a similar one run through the bulkhead of the cabin aft, besides numerous large swivels, four or more on a side, of various calibre, mounted in solid uprights, secured about the sides and upper works. On the stanchions supporting the platform were hung long matchlocks, fire-arms of various sorts, with spears and swords. These swivel guns are called lelahs, and are generally of brass. The klewang is a sort of hanger, or short sword. Their most formidable and favourite weapon is the kriss—a short dagger of a serpentine form. Each vessel had a square red flag at its foremast head, and a long pennant aft. The Illanon pirates wear a large sword, with a handle to be grasped by two hands. They dress, when going into battle, with chain, and sometimes plate armour, which gives them a very romantic appearance. The chain armour is made of wire, and though it will resist the thrust of a kriss, it will not turn a musket bail.

I never in my life passed a more anxious time. “See, they are keeping away,” exclaimed Fairburn, who had been attentively watching the pirates. “They will pass nearly a mile from us, and we may escape.”

Scarcely had he uttered the words, than the sun rose with full radiance from the water, shedding a mass of glittering light across the surface, lighting up the sails and hulls of the southern division, and, as we felt conscious, making us far more conspicuous than before to the approaching enemy. For a few minutes we had hopes that we had escaped observation; but the uncertainty did not long continue. The whole line of prahus were seen to haul their wind, and to stand directly for us. As they approached, we could see the warriors clustering on the platforms, brandishing their spears and matchlocks, while the lelahs were pointed at us. All hope of successful resistance was now gone. They evidently mistrusted us, and perhaps expected that we were the boats of some man-of-war sent to intercept them. Even Fairburn acknowledged that the slightest show of resistance would now seal our fate.

“We must give up our idea of an independent cruise round these seas,” I remarked to him. “My sweet little sister!—I think of her captivity the most, if captive she is.”

“Never despair,” he answered. “Depend on it, all turns out the best in the end; and what we most try to avoid is often the very thing to bring us what we require.”

“I will try to adopt your philosophy,” I replied. “But are the pirates going to fire on us, or give us their stems?”

“We will escape the latter treatment, at all events,” he exclaimed. “Out oars, my men, and pull boldly up to them, as if we were glad to see them—it is our last chance. The people in the other boats will follow our example.”

We fortunately had a Malay with us; and we told him to sing out that we were friends that were shipwrecked, and would pay those well who placed us in safety. This arrangement was made as we pulled towards the headmost prahu. It had the effect of stopping the pirates from firing, though the warriors still kept their hostile attitudes. While we were advancing, the long-boat and jolly-boat kept back, which further convinced the Malays that we had no hostile intention. The breeze being fortunately light, we easily pulled up under the counter, on to which we hooked, when Fairburn and I, followed by the Malay interpreter, climbed up on board. No one attempted to injure or stop us; but a man, whom we recognised as the chief or captain by the respect the rest paid him, beckoned us towards him. We had instructed the interpreter what to say, and he told the story well. He informed the chief, who was keenly eyeing us all the time, that our vessel had sunk, with all our property on board; that we had been some days at sea trying to reach a port where we could find some of our countrymen, and that we would pay him well if he took us there. He looked incredulous, and told our Malay that he doubted our friends paying so much for us as he could pay himself by selling us, which he intended to do. At a signal from him, the pirates, who were closely pressing us round with sharp krisses in their hands, their bright eyes glittering maliciously, seized us by the arms, which they securely bound with ropes, so that we were completely at the mercy of any one who might choose to run his weapon into our breasts. We felt, indeed, that they were only prevented from doing so by recollecting our marketable value.

Meantime the long-boat and jolly-boat were each taken possession of by different prahus, the former being very nearly run down by two of the pirate vessels, in their eagerness to get hold of her, she being considered the most valuable prize, from having the women and the largest number of people in board. What the Malays did to our companions in misfortune I cannot say. We heard loud shrieks and cries when they were first captured; but I suspect they arose from Mrs Van Deck and her female friends, at sight of the ferocious-looking beings among whom they found themselves. We saw no more of them; for the pirates, dropping our boats astern, made sail to join the remainder of the fleet.

Chapter Thirteen.

When the chief had done questioning us, we were taken below, and placed under the platform I have described, with a guard to watch us, though there was no possibility of our escaping. The Malay was, however, kept on deck, for the purpose, we concluded, of being further interrogated. No further attention was paid to us, and the pirates seemed to consider that we were totally beneath their notice. Towards the evening a little boiled maize was handed us by our guards, as they were aware that without food we should soon become of no value to them. For the same reason, they gave us a little dirty water to drink; and so thirsty were we, that, foul as it was, we were grateful for it, though we remembered that it was a piece of unnecessary cruelty, as we had provisions and an abundance of water in our own boats.

My greatest consolation was in the society of Fairburn, for we were allowed to sit down on the deck close together, and to converse without interruption—not that at first we could bring ourselves to talk much, for our spirits were too depressed at our change of fortune. The rest of the crew were in still worse spirits, and sat brooding over their fate in total silence.

“Well, Fairburn,” I at last exclaimed, with a sigh, “our prospects seem bad enough now, at all events.”

“Oh, they might have been worse,” he answered, smiling in spite of our situation. “You know the gentlemen might have cut our throats, or made us walk the plank, or stripped us of our clothes, or lashed us to different parts of the vessel apart from each other, or they might have amused themselves by beating us, or we might have been sent to work at the oars. Then, perhaps, our Malay is persuading the chief that he will make more of us by ransoming us, and, as we are still alive, we may find a chance of escaping. Oh, depend upon it, things might be much worse than they are; and we should be grateful.”

“I like your philosophy; but it is difficult to follow,” I observed.

“No, not at all,” he replied. “Only get accustomed to believe that everything is ordered for the best, and you will find it very easy. We cannot tell what misfortunes we may have escaped by the adventure which has befallen us. We should always compare our present state with what it might have been under still more adverse circumstances, not with what we wish it to have been.”

“Then you mean to say, that if we had remained in the boats, some greater misfortune might have happened to us?” said I.

“Exactly so,” he answered. “The boats might have sprung leaks, and have gone down, or might have run on some coral bank in the night, and have been lost; or a storm might have arisen and overwhelmed them, or some other casualties might have occurred. My firm belief is that God is everywhere, he orders everything for the best. We cannot too often repeat this for we may even forget the greatest truths at times when they are most needed. If we could but always remember this one, we should be saved the guilt of much impious repining and despondency.”

“True; true; I was almost forgetting this,” I exclaimed. “Thanks, Fairburn, for reminding me.”

I can assure my young friends that the perfect confidence I felt in God’s kind providence enabled me to bear up wonderfully against the misfortunes which had overtaken me; and I am sure that, in similar cases, if they put their trust in God, He will equally support them.

While we had been speaking I had observed a young Malay lad pass constantly, and put his head in to look at us. There appeared to be a look of peculiar intelligence on his countenance, and as if he wished to draw our attention to himself. When he came again, I pointed him out to Fairburn, whose back had been towards him. He looked at him attentively. The lad, however, did not attempt to speak; and when he saw that no one was observing him, he put his finger to his lips, the universal sign all over the world of imposing silence.

“What can he mean?” I asked of Fairburn, when the lad had again disappeared.

“I think I recollect his features—I must have met him somewhere,” he said. “Oh! now I know. He must be a lad whose life I once saved from a party of savages on the coast of New Guinea. He belonged to a small trading vessel from Ceram, or one of the neighbouring islands, which are accustomed to visit that coast to barter fire-arms, calico, and ironwork, for slaves, nutmegs, trepang, tortoise-shell, and edible birds’ nests. She had been driven out of her course by a gale, and found herself on a part of the coast with which no one on board was acquainted. Before she could make good her retreat, she was perceived by some of the inhabitants. The inhabitants of New Guinea are called Papuans. They are negroes, with very ugly features, and are composed of two races—the hill and the coast Papuans; the latter being very fierce and barbarous, and keeping the former in subjection. The people of whom I am now particularly speaking are said to be cannibals. They possess a number of small vessels, which they send out on piratical excursions to a very considerable distance from their homes. Their mode of warfare is rude in the extreme, their weapons consisting only of bows, arrows, and spears. They are said to devour the prisoners they make during these excursions. They may do so sometimes but I think it more probable that they preserve their lives to sell them as slaves. Well, as soon as the strange prahu was seen, a number of these war-boats put out of a harbour, the entrance of which was concealed by trees, and, before she could escape, surrounded her. The Malays fought bravely, but they were not prepared for war, and after several of their number were killed they were overpowered. I, at that time, was serving on board a whaler, which had put into a bay near where this took place. I was away in one of the hosts, when, rounding a point, I saw what was going forward. The Papuans, having rifled the vessel, and taken all the people out of her, set her on fire, and were making the best of their way to the shore. Having heard of the barbarities they practise, and my boat’s crew being well armed, and having a gun in the bows of the boat, I determined to rescue some of the victims. My men gave way with a will, and we dashed after the pirates. They had had experience of the effects of our fire-arms and when they saw us in chase they suspected our intentions, and did their utmost to reach the shore. All escaped except two. We sent a shot through the bows of the first, and the people on board, finding her sinking, leaped into the water, and endeavoured to escape by swimming; the other we ran alongside. The crew fought very bravely. We saw three prisoners among them. Before we could prevent them, they cut the throats of two of the unhappy men. One of their chiefs was going to treat the third, a young lad, in the same way, when I shot the rascal dead. The rest of the people then jumped overboard and swam on shore.

“If there were any prisoners on board the vessel which sunk, they must have gone down in her, for we could find none, and they would certainly have swam towards us had their hands been free. It afterwards struck me that I had no right to interfere as I did. I certainly caused of great loss of life, and the preservation of the lad was the only result. However, I had no time for consideration, and could not help it; indeed, I should probably act exactly in the same way if I were placed in a similar situation again. The lad was very grateful, and became very much attached to me. I took him on board the whaler, and he very soon got into our ways; but as we were bound to the southward, I was afraid the cold would kill him, accustomed as he was to a torrid zone, so put him on board a vessel we fell in with, sailing to Borneo, to which country I understood he belonged. I managed to explain to him, with some difficulty, my reasons for parting with him. When he comprehended them, he appeared very grateful, and shed many tears as he went over the side. I certainly never expected to see him again.”

“If, as I think, you did rightly, by attempting to save the lives of some fellow-creatures, from the hands of cannibals, you see you are likely to benefit by the deed; for I have no doubt that this young lad will do his best to be of service to us. He tries to show us his good wishes,” I said.

“I am sure he will. I know that I intended to do right when I saved his life,” remarked Fairburn.

He then continued, after a long silence: “I wonder how it is God allows cannibals and suchlike savages to exist. Does he punish them as he would us if we committed the like acts, do you think?”

“I have been taught to think that we ought not to attempt to account for many of the divine ordinances, otherwise than by believing that they are a part of one great and beneficent system. As God is just, we cannot suppose that he would consider ignorant savages equally guilty with educated men, who know and disobey his laws. I have an idea that savages exist to employ the energies of Christian men in converting them to the truth, and civilising them. We have the poor to feed and clothe, the ignorant to educate, the turbulent to discipline: why should we not believe that, situated as Great Britain is, with more extensive influence than any other nation on the earth, she has the duty committed to her of civilising the numberless savage tribes with whom her commerce brings her in contact?”

Night came on, and we began to suffer from the pangs of hunger, but more especially from thirst, and our barbarous captors turned a deaf ear to all our petitions for a little water. At last, hopeless of relief, we stretched ourselves on the deck, in the expectation of recruiting our strength by sleep. We, at all events, were better off than the slaves in the hold of a slave-vessel, for they have not room to stretch their legs, or to rest their weary backs. I had managed to fall asleep, when I was awoke by a voice saying, “Eh; glad me see massa. Want drink?” I guessed it was that of Hassan, the young Malay. I awoke Fairburn, who sat up. The lad took his hand, and kissed it over and over again, but was afraid of speaking. He then showed us that he had brought us a jug of water, that we afterwards found he had taken from our own stock in the boat. He also brought a pannikin to drink from. We passed it round to our companions, and when we had exhausted our supply, he took away the jar with the same caution and silence as before. Here, against all probability, was a friend who might be useful to us now, and ultimately might serve us greatly.

Somewhere towards the evening of the next day we found, by the noises around us, that we were in the middle of the fleet, which had formed one compact mass. Gongs were struck as signals, arms were clashed, and the chiefs were continually calling to each other, as if holding consultation as to some important proceeding. Some time after dark, we could feel, from the perfect calmness, and the want of that heaving motion which is nearly always experienced at sea, that we had entered a deep bay, or a gulf, or the mouth of some large river. We glided noiselessly on for some time, the only sound heard being that of the oars as they dipped into the water, till the anchors were let go and the vessels remained stationary.

I asked Fairburn what he thought of the proceedings of our captors.

“I think, from the silent way in which they go on, that they must be on one of their kidnapping expeditions,” he answered. “At first I thought they were approaching their homes, and they might be Bornean pirates from the west coast; but I have now no doubt that they are Illanons from Sooloo. They more nearly answer the descriptions I have had of the latter; but, as you know, my cruising has been more to the south and to the eastward, so that I have not fallen in with them.”

All night long we lay in perfect silence. I contrived to get my head out a little way from under the platform, at the risk of a blow from a kriss; but I wanted fresh air, and to see what sort of a place we had brought up at. Of fresh air I got but little, though I discovered that we were in a small bay, closely surrounded by lofty trees, which completely concealed us, except from any one passing directly in front of it. We were evidently in ambush for some purpose or other, probably for the object at which Fairburn surmised.

We were visited during the night by young Hassan, he brought us water and food. Fairburn tried to learn from him where we were, and what was going to happen but, putting his finger to his mouth, he intimated that he was afraid of speaking, and hurried off. We remained, unable to sleep, in anxious expectation of daylight. At early dawn every one was astir, though cautious as before of making any noise. The anchors were got up, and the warps which had secured the vessels to the trees were cast off, and we glided out of the bay.

The pirates were so engaged in the work they were about, that they did not watch us as narrowly as before, and we were, therefore, able to creep out from under the platform, and, by climbing up the stanchions, to look about us. We were pulling up a broad stream, bounded on either side by dark forests, the trees of which grew down to the very edge, their boughs overhanging the stream, while their shadows were reflected with peculiar distinctness in it. Behind arose ranges of lofty mountains, whose summits were lost in the gloom of that early hour. The trees were alive with monkeys and squirrels; and birds of gaudy plumage flitted about in every direction on the wing, apparently to take a look at the strangers. Alligators were enjoying their morning swim, and, disturbed by our approach, they plunged under the water to escape from our keels. Here and there in the forest were open patches, where ruined huts showed that villages had been once destroyed by some incursion like the present, or by the attacks of hostile tribes of the Dyaks, eager to fill their head-houses with the heads of the conquered.

At last, rounding a point, we came suddenly on a large Dyak village. Treachery had been at work. The boom, which should have been across the river to prevent surprise, was not secured, and was easily driven aside and passed. Just at that moment the rays of the rising sun first struck the topmost peaks of the surrounding mountains, casting on them a pink hue, and making the scene below appear of a yet darker tinge. The town consisted of some thirty or more large houses raised on piles, and each capable of holding several families, perhaps altogether amounting to two hundred people. On either side of the town, on slight eminences, were two forts surrounded by a strong stockade—the upper part surmounted by a sort of chevaux de frise of split bamboos. The whole town was also surrounded by a stockade. On the walls of the fort were several lelahs, or brass swivel guns, of native manufacture. Outside the stockade were groves of cocoa-nut trees, and patches of open ground for the cultivation of rice, yams, and sago. The inhabitants were still apparently buried in profound repose, unsuspicious of coming evil. No one was stirring—not a sound was heard.

We dashed on at a rapid rate; and I had scarce time to observe the scene I have described. The Malays ran the sharp bows of their shallow prahus on to the shore—the triangle masts were instantly lowered, and formed bridges on to the banks, and, in some places, to the very walls of the forts. Before the alarm was given they were swarming with savage warriors, who, kriss and assegai in hand, rushed into the town, and clambered into the forts and houses. Those who resisted were slaughtered without mercy—the young people and children were bound with cords, and were given over to a band who followed the warriors on purpose to take charge of the prisoners. When they had secured as many prisoners as their vessels could carry, they no longer gave quarter to any they met, but wantonly destroyed them. The remainder of the inhabitants escaped to the woods, where the Malays could not follow them.

While the battle was raging at its height, the attention of the Malays on board was so completely drawn from us, that it struck me we might be able to make our way along the mast on to the shore, and then concealing ourselves in the woods, wait till the expedition had sailed. I thought that we might then get away to Singapore in a Dyak vessel, or a Chinese trader, many of which I had heard visited the coast. Fairburn, however, was of opinion that the attempt would be worse than futile. In the first place, we would be inevitably seen by the Malays, and should be very likely fired at and killed; or, if brought back alive, treated with far greater harshness than before. The Dyaks too, he pointed out, were worse savages than the Malays; and, irritated by their defeat, they would not stop to consider whether we were the cause of it, but for the sake of our heads alone, would murder us without compunction. All hope, therefore, of escape was for the present abandoned.

The pirates then set fire to the houses, which being built of bamboo, and thatched with palm-leaves, burnt like tinder. Having accomplished their work of destruction to their entire satisfaction, with little loss to themselves, they shoved their prahus into the stream, and proceeded as fast as they could towards the sea. The captives, on being brought on board, were placed under the platform close to us, very much to our additional inconvenience.

In appearance they were far from an attractive race. They were of a copper colour, with small eyes, black and piercing, mouths large, thick lips, and teeth filed into points, and blackened by their custom of chewing the betel-nut. The noses of some of the men were almost aquiline; but generally they were rather inclined to be flat. Their heads were well formed, and might be almost called intellectual; their hair was slightly shaven in front, and all thrown to the back of the head. They were of the middle height, very strongly and well built, and with limbs admirably proportioned. They were most remarkable for the number of rings they wore in their ears, those of higher rank having no less than fifteen, which weighed the lobe down almost to the shoulders. Their dress consisted of a cloth round the waist, which hung down in front, and some had on a sort of skin waistcoat, and a cloak over the shoulders.

The women had petticoats of native cloth fastened above the hips. Their hair was fine and black, and fell down in profusion behind their backs. Some of them, indeed, might be called pretty. The greater number of these people had a frank and pleasing expression of countenance and we since have good reason to know that they can be easily civilised. Their arms were brought on board as trophies. They consisted of the blow-pipe, (the sumpitan); it is about eight feet long, and from it they eject small arrows, poisoned with the juice of the upas, chiefly for killing birds. They had also long sharp knives called parangs, spears, and shields, in addition to the fire-arms, which they procure where they can find them.

Reaching the mouth of the river without interruption, we stood out to sea.

Chapter Fourteen.

The prahus were now so deeply laden that the Illanons were anxious to return as fast as possible to their own country. They kept a good offing from the shore to avoid molestation from any of their brethren, who might be tempted, by guessing the nature of their freight, to sally out and pick off any stragglers. The truth is, that the whole of this magnificent archipelago was given up to anarchy and predatory warfare, the strong on all points preying on the weak; they in their turn, as they became enfeebled by their own victories, succumbing to other tribes, who had in the meantime risen to power, while even their commerce was combined with a system of slave-dealing and plunder. The following morning there was a dead calm. I never felt the heat so great. The sun shone down with intense fury, and seemed to pierce through the bamboo covering above our heads. The very atmosphere was stagnant. Had it not been for the supply of water with which Hassan had furnished us during the night, we should have died of thirst; as it was, we suffered much. From the feeling of the atmosphere, Fairburn prognosticated that we were about to be visited by a storm of unusual severity. The pirates seemed to think the same, for they lowered their sails, which were indeed useless; and putting the heads of the vessels seaward, endeavoured to obtain a good offing from the land.

From this we judged that we were off a part of the coast where they had been accustomed to commit depredations, and that they were afraid, should they be shipwrecked, that the inhabitants would retaliate by destroying them. There could be no doubt that such was the case, because otherwise they would have pulled towards the shore, in the hopes of being in time to take shelter in one of the numerous bays and creeks with which it is indented.

“Such is the consequence of evil-doing,” said Fairburn, moralising, as we came to this conclusion. “Honest men can go where they like, and have no enemies to fear; rogues have the door shut in their faces in all directions, and have reason to fear that all men are their enemies.”

The poor slaves tugged at the oars till their strength almost gave way. At last two dropped from fatigue and died. At all events, they were without ceremony thrown overboard. Several of the Malays then advanced towards us; they looked at Fairburn and me, and seeing by our dress and appearance that we were officers, and might prove more valuable to them in some other way, they passed us by, and selected two of the Dutch seamen to fill the places of the wretches who had died.

The Dutchmen, though they could not help comprehending what they were expected to do, showed a strong determination not to set about the work, till the sharp point of the glittering knives held at their breasts warned them that it would be wiser to obey. Uttering a groan of pain, the poor fellows went to their laborious occupation. Unaccustomed to such severe toil, with a burning sun overhead, they feared that a few days would terminate their existence. An ominous silence pervaded the ocean; so calm lay the vessels that neither the bulkheads nor masts were heard to creak. The heat grew, if possible, still more oppressive. Then came on a sudden and slow upheaving of the deep, followed quickly by a loud rushing noise. A mass of boiling froth flew sweeping over the hitherto tranquil sea. The vessels, as it struck their broadsides, heeled over to it; some righted as they were turned by the oars and flew before it; several, we had reason to believe, went over to rise no more. Every moment the sea got up higher, and the wind blew more furiously. Onward we flew, the oars now perfectly useless, the men at the rudders scarcely able to move them so as to guide the course of the vessel. Where we went we could not tell. Clouds chased each other over the hitherto serene sky, and a thick driving rain, a complete cataract of water, descended, shrouding the coast from our sight. The seas leaped to a terrific height in our wake, and following us, almost dashed over our stern; but the tightly built vessel rose over them, and onward again we went uninjured. The tempest had raged for three or four hours, and showed no signs of abating. We climbed up, as we had done before, to look-out. The whole sea was a mass of tossing waves and foam, and far as the eye could pierce through the gloom, not another prahu was in sight. The tempest had scattered far and wide the barks of the fierce warriors as the summer breeze would the light chaff. The working of the vessel, as she was tossed up and down by the waves, caused her to leak most alarmingly, and all hands were set to work to bale her out. In this we of course very willingly joined, for our lives depended on her being kept afloat; and it besides enabled us to stretch our limbs and look about us. Everything capable of holding water was made use of, and the calabashes, kettles, buckets, and pans were passed along from hand to hand from the hold to the side of the vessel and back again with the greatest rapidity. We kept the water under, but that was all; and it seemed most questionable whether we should be able in this condition to get back to Sooloo. Along the whole coast there was not a place where we could venture to enter to repair damages, for although the Malays might not kill their fellow-religionists they would not hesitate to confiscate their vessel and to sell them as slaves. While we were employed as I have described, Fairburn observed to me.

“You were saying, Mr Seaworth, that everything is for the best. Suppose now we had been caught in our boats by this storm, how do you fancy the skiff would have weathered it?”

“But badly, I suspect,” I replied.

“So I have been thinking. We could not possibly have reached Singapore; and though we might have been picked up by some vessel, the chances are that we should not; and so, what we thought our greatest misfortune, may, after all, have proved the means of our preservation.”

“The very idea which has been passing in my mind,” I replied. “I wonder, though, what has become of Captain Van Deck and his wife, and poor little Maria, and the rest of the party in the long-boat.”

“He who rules the waves will have preserved them, if He has thought fit so to do,” observed Fairburn. “Remember, we have only our own selves to account for. If we are preserved, it is not because of our own merits, but by his inscrutable will, for some end we know not of. If they are lost, it is not because they are worse than we, but because He knows that it is better that so it should be.”

The pirates seeing us talking, and fancying that we did not work as hard as we might, gave us a hint to be silent, by showing us the point of a spear, and we were obliged to bale away harder than ever. While we were at work, the clouds opened, the sky in the horizon cleared slightly, and there were evident signs of the gale breaking. In a little time more the gale lessened, and the sea no longer ran so perilously high as before. Still we were in much danger, for the leaks rather increased than lessened, and it required the utmost exertions of all hands to keep the vessel free of water. We hoped, however, when it grew calm, that the leaks would close, and that we might be able to pursue our voyage.

In this condition the night overtook us. Whether we should keep afloat till daylight, none of us could say. It was one of the most weary nights I ever spent; for we were allowed no cessation from our toil. We now felt that we were slaves indeed. Our masters looked on, and some slept while we worked. Daylight found us still labouring. The pirates looked out anxiously to discover some of their consorts. Two were in sight in the far distance, but they beheld another spectacle, which filled them with alarm, while it made our hearts bound with hope. It was a square-rigged vessel, her topsails just visible above the horizon and from the squareness of her yards, and the whiteness of her canvas, we trusted that she was a man-of-war. The Illanons, who are well accustomed to discern the various classes of vessels, and to know their armaments, that they may avoid catching a Tartar, were of our opinion. The stranger was to windward, so that they would have had but small chance of escaping, even by attempting to pull up in that direction. By keeping before the wind, when their oars would less avail them, their chance of escape was still smaller. We watched the proceedings of the stranger with intense interest. The other two prahus were nearer to her than we were, and thus she would certainly make sail after them before she attempted to follow us; and, in the meantime, it was possible that, by keeping on a wind, the prahu we were on board might escape. The brig might also perceive some others of the fleet more to windward, which we could see, and might go after them. If so, the possibility of her escaping was very much increased, and we might still be doomed to a long if not an endless slavery.

It was with the greatest difficulty that we could keep to our baling, so intense became our anxiety to watch the proceedings of the stranger; and more than once I felt the sharp point of a lance against my ribs, reminding me of the task imposed on me. We saw by her movement that the brig had very soon discovered the other two prahus, for as fast as she could she was making sail, and standing after them. They endeavoured to escape, and to our great joy, ran after us, thus increasing the probability of our being captured. The brig however came up very rapidly with the other prahus; and, as soon as she got near enough, she opened her fire on them,—a foretaste of what we were to expect, for pirates deserve no mercy, and they were not likely to receive any at her hands. They were brave, or, at all events, desperate men, and returned her fire with their big stem gun and lelahs, though the latter were not likely to do much harm. Her guns were well and rapidly worked. The foremost mast of one of the prahus was shot away, and the others fared still worse. Several shots seemed to have struck her, still she held on. We saw her rise to the top of a wave, then down she glided into the trough of the sea. We looked for her in vain. It was her last plunge; and with her crew of savage warriors and helpless slaves, she sunk to rise no more. The brig did not heave-to in order to save any of the wretches, but ran close to the vessel she had crippled. Before she ran alongside, she opened her entire broadside on the pirate, so as to still more effectually prevent her escaping. The chiefs fought fiercely, like men who know that their fate is sealed, and are determined to sell their lives dearly. They discharged their lelahs in quick succession; they kept up till the last a hot fire from their long gun, and sent showers of arrows from their bows. When they got to still closer quarters, their spears came into play; and as the Europeans leaped down on their decks to take possession, many were severely wounded by the spears and krisses thrust through the bamboo planking. Then, when the Malays saw that they could do no further injury to their conquerors, they fired their vessel in several places, in the hopes of destroying them at the same time with themselves.

The Dutchmen were brave fellows, and in spite of the risk they ran, they managed to save some of those they found on board, before they cast loose from the burning prahu. The brig then made sail after us. Long before she came up to us, the Malay vessel, with her crew of savage desperadoes, had followed her consort to the bottom of the ocean. Dreadful as was their fate, they had, from their numerous atrocities, so richly deserved it, that no one could pity them. We next had to look-out for ourselves. The same sanguinary scene that we had witnessed at a distance was now to be enacted on board our vessel. As we kept right ahead of the brig, her bow chasers only could reach us, and with those she plied us as rapidly as they could be loaded, the shot flying over and around us, and one striking us on the counter, and killing two men who were working the lelahs placed there. The pirates in return were not idle. The long gun was worked vigorously, though not with much effect; but the lelahs and matchlocks kept up a galling fire on the brig, while the bows and arrows were kept ready to come into play as soon as she could get near enough to feel their effect.

I will not acknowledge exactly to have felt fear; but I experienced a very disagreeable sensation as the shot of our friends came flying around us, and some of the equally unfortunate Dyaks, and one or two Malays were struck down close to us. The feeling would have been still worse, had we not been so eagerly engaged in watching the brig, with the expectation of being released, and hoping to escape unhurt. At last a shot struck the head of our mainmast, and down came the sail, the foremast very soon followed, the after part being struck, and with the sail it swung over the bows. As the musketry of the Dutchmen came rattling among us, they sent forth the most frightful shrieks and yells in return, gnashing their teeth and clashing their weapons together, as they waited to meet their assailants hand to hand. The Dutch captain, knowing that there were prisoners on board, instead of firing away till the prahus sunk, as from the character of the Malays, he would have been justified in doing, ran alongside, shouting out that he would afford quarter to those who sought it. The fierce Malays answered him with loud cries of derision and shrieks of despair, and continued discharging their weapons with greater fury than before. We now discovered, that what we at first thought a great misfortune, namely, the leaky condition of the vessel, was in reality the means of preserving our lives. Had it not been for that, we should have remained bound and helpless; but in order to allow us to work at baling out, the pirates had set us free. Although the slaves are not usually expected to fight, yet in the present desperate state of affairs, arms were put into their hands, and they were told that if they did not defend themselves they would all be slaughtered. Men often fight blindly, scarcely knowing for what, and such was the case with these unfortunate wretches. I speak of the slaves who had before been on the prahus to work the oars. Many of the poor Dyaks still remained bound, though at the last moment their countrymen endeavoured to relieve them. No sooner did the sides of the two vessels touch, than the Malays, with that mad fury which sometimes possess their race, endeavoured to climb up the sides of the brig, careless of their own lives, and only seeking to destroy their enemies, well knowing that they had not a chance of success. They were repulsed with musketry, boarding pikes, and pistols; still on they rushed, the death of some only increasing the madness of others. Fairburn and I, with the Dutchmen, hung back, endeavouring to shelter ourselves from the shot on the opposite side of the platform, till we could find an opportunity to get on board. The Dyaks shrunk down appalled at the unearthly din, unaccustomed as they were to so rapid a discharge of fire-arms. But a fresh enemy was now assailing the devoted vessel of the pirates. No one attending to baling her out, the water was rapidly gaining on her; its ingress being expedited by the shot-holes lately made. Loaded as she was with booty, with living men and dead bodies, as the water rose she sunk lower and lower. Many of the wounded were drowned where they lay. Several of the Dyaks, not yet released, shared the same fate. We had time to cut the thongs which bound the limbs of a few, when we saw that not another moment was to be lost. We had worked our way forward as the pirates were clustering more thickly at the stern. The bow of the prahu swung for a few seconds toward that of the brig, the mast becoming entangled in the fore chain-plates; we seized the opportunity, and crying out in Dutch and English that we were friends, which indeed our dress showed, we ran along it, and leaped into the fore-chains.

A few pistols were fired and pikes thrust at us before the seamen discovered that we were not pirates and a wounded Malay thrust his pike into the back of one poor fellow as he was about to spring forward. A few of the Dyaks followed our example, and we endeavoured to preserve their lives, but no sooner did the Malays perceive what had happened than they attempted to reach the brig in the same way. With terrific shrieks they rushed on, but they were too late—the sea had already reached the deck of the prahu. The Dutchmen cut off the grapnels, and with a sudden lurch, down she went, carrying with her the still shrieking and threatening warriors. I shall never forger the dreadful expression of countenance of those almost demon-like beings, as, brandishing their arms with furious gesticulations, their feet still clinging to the platform on which they so often had fought and conquered in many an action, the water closed over their heads. How great was the contrast which a few short minutes had wrought! But lately we were surrounded by them, and had every prospect of sharing their fate, and now we were among civilised men eager to succour us. Truly we had to thank Heaven who had so mercifully preserved us.

As I lay that night in a hammock, slung in the cabin of the kind Dutch officer who commanded the brig, I heard a voice whisper softly in my ear,—“God is great—God is everywhere.”

Chapter Fifteen.

As I was climbing into the chains of the brig, I caught sight, through the smoke of the pistols flashing round us, of a Malay closely following me. I thought that he was about to run his kriss into me, and I was about to strike him on the head with a sword I had seized to defend myself, when I observed that it was young Hassan, who had all the time been watching our movements with the intention of aiding us. The rush of seamen and the Dyaks threw him off the spar, and he was precipitated into the sea, between the two vessels.

“Poor! poor fellow! I could have done much to save his life,” I exclaimed to myself. “But it is not a moment for regret.”

Scarcely a minute after, the prahu sunk, ingulfing all with her. Fairburn and I, with those who had been preserved, were going aft to the captain, when I caught sight of a marine levelling his musket at the head of a man floating in the water.

“There still lies one of those rascally Malays,” he said in Dutch. “I will put an end to his misery.”

Without a moment’s thought I sprang towards him, and threw up his weapon. I thought I recognised the features. I was right. It was the faithful Hassan. He was almost exhausted, and looked as if he could not reach the side of the vessel. Instantly Fairburn threw off his jacket, and plunged overboard, while I cast a rope towards him. He swam out with powerful strokes towards the poor fellow, and grasped him just as he was on the point of sinking. As the brig had only been drifting to leeward, they were at no great distance. I again hove the rope towards them. Fairburn seized it, and, lifting the light form of the Malay lad under his left arm, he hauled himself on board.

In a short time Hassan recovered. He told us, that knowing the prahu must sink, he had struck out away from her; and, though he was drawn a short distance down in the vortex she made, he soon again reached the surface, and then swam towards the brig, trusting that we should see him, and would endeavour to save him. He was the only survivor of the Malays. Two of the Dutchmen belonging to the skiff and the Malay interpreter were missing. Twelve of the Dyaks also escaped, though several of them were wounded, who were immediately placed in the surgeon’s hands. The poor fellows looked very grateful, and, although they certainly never before had heard of the healing art, they seemed fully to comprehend that what he was doing was for their benefit.

When we got aft, we had an account to hear, which naturally very much shocked us; however, I will narrate it as things occurred. We found that the vessel we were on board was the Dutch colonial brig Swalen commanded by Lieutenant Cloete. The commander was on the quarter-deck with several of his officers, and, as we were led up to him by a midshipman, he received me and Fairburn with the greatest kindness, shaking us by the hand, and congratulating us on our providential escape. He at once saw that we were weak from the want of food, and the danger and excitement we had undergone.

“I would at once ask you into my cabin to refresh and rest yourselves, gentlemen,” he said; “but it is at present occupied by some of your late companions in misfortune.”

“What! have any escaped? Indeed we rejoice to hear it,” we both exclaimed.

“Some few have; but many have been lost,” answered the commander gravely. “It was a hard necessity; but I know the nature of the Malays well, and had we not fired on them they would not have yielded.” While he was speaking, a boy came out of the cabin, and went up to him. “Oh, they wish to see you; and I fear the poor master’s time is short. We will go below, gentlemen.” Saying this, the commander led the way into his own cabin.

It was, indeed, a sad sight which met our view. On the table in the centre lay Captain Van Deck, resting in the arms of the surgeon. The sheet which was wrapped round him was covered with blood. A round shot had torn open his side, and he had a wound from a kriss in his chest, and another in his neck, either of which, from their ghastly look, appeared sufficient to be mortal. His wife stood by his side holding his hand; and she seemed truly overwhelmed with genuine sorrow. She, very likely, was even then recollecting all the trouble and vexation she had caused him, by giving way to her temper. On a sofa lay a slight figure—it was that of little Maria. I started, with horror, for I thought I saw a corpse, she looked so pale; her eyes also were closed, and she did not stir. I scarcely dared ask for information. My attention was drawn to the dying master.

“I have begged to see you, gentlemen, for my moments are numbered,” he said, gasping as he spoke. “I crave your forgiveness, if, through my carelessness and neglect of my duties, I have brought you into the danger and misery you have suffered. I know you, Fairburn, held my seamanship light.”

We stopped him, and begged him not to think of the subject.

“Well, I will go on to a more important one, then,” he continued. “We have been shipmates for some time, and that makes us brethren. I commit my wife and that dear child, if she recovers, to your charge, to see them safe with their kindred in Java. And you, my poor frow, will be kind to sweet little Maria. I would not mention it, but to say that the kindness you show to her will more than compensate for any little want of it you have at times displayed towards me.”

He hesitated as he spoke, as if he did not like to call up old grievances.

Mrs Van Deck again burst into tears; and we who knew how very uncomfortable a life she had at times led him, could not help feeling that he was in a truly Christian and forgiving state of mind. Had he and she always been in that state of mind—had, perhaps, even a few words of mutual explanation taken place—undoubtedly their unhappiness would have been avoided. We promised the dying man that we would attend his wishes. He heard us, but his strength was exhausted; his wound welled forth afresh, and, before the surgeon could apply a restorative, his spirit had flown to its eternal rest. I will not describe the grief of the widow. Grief had worked a most beneficial effect on her, and she appeared a totally, different person to what she had before been.

The surgeon now turned the whole of his attention to little Maria. She had been wounded in the side by a splinter; but, though she was weak from the loss of blood, he assured me that he did not apprehend any danger. She was, though, suffering much from pain, which she bore most meekly.

When I first entered the cabin, I thought I had observed an object moving in the corner, but I took no notice of it. I had sat down by the little girl’s side, and, having taken one of her hands in mine, I was endeavouring to soothe her for the loss of her uncle, of which she was aware, when I felt my other hand, which hung by my side, seized hold of by a cold paw. I turned round, and what should I see but little Ungka, looking up towards me with a face as expressive of grief as that of any human being! He seemed fully aware of what had occurred. He then put his hands to his head, and chattered and rolled about in a way which, in spite of his gravity, was so highly ludicrous, that at any other time I should have burst into fits of laughter. When he had come on board, no one knew; for when he first made his appearance following the captain, the seamen thought he was some little Malay imp, and had thrust him back again, so that he also had a very narrow escape for his life. I suspected that he had caught hold of the end of a rope hanging over the side of the vessel, and had clambered up it when the fight was done.

It was with great sorrow we heard that the two lady passengers, of whom I have spoken, and nearly all the Dutch crew, were missing, and there was every probability they had been destroyed in the burning wreck. The crew of the jolly-boat had been taken on board one of the other prahus; but what their fate was, no one knew. Thus out of the crew and passengers of the ill-fated Cowlitz, only six people had escaped. We, who were among the number, had therefore reason to be grateful to Heaven for the mercy shown us.

The brig cruised about in the neighbourhood for two days, in the hopes of falling in with others of the piratical squadron. She, however, did not succeed in discovering any more.

I will pass over the events of the next few days. The north-east monsoon showing signs of beginning to blow in earnest, the commander of the brig was anxious to return to port, and accordingly with much reluctance gave up the search. Little Maria was slowly recovering. The widow bore her grief meekly and resignedly, and showed that she was a thoroughly altered woman. Wounds in that burning clime are more dangerous than in colder latitudes; thus three of the wounded had died. One was a little boy, the child of a Dyak woman. He had been badly wounded in the shoulder while resting in her arms. The child sank gradually, nor could the surgeon’s skill avail to arrest the progress of death. The poor mother used to watch him with supplicating looks as he dressed the wound, as if he alone had the power to save her boy: and when he died, she reproached him, with unmistakable gestures, for not preserving him to her. Savage as she was—accustomed to scenes of bloodshed and murder from her youth—the feelings of a mother were strong within her, and she would not be comforted. Captain Cloete was very anxious to land the Dyaks in their native country, and he consulted Fairburn as to the possibility of discovering it. We had, it must be remembered, been left below both on entering and leaving the river, so that we could only give a very rough guess at its position. Fairburn, however, of course, expressed his anxiety to be of service; and by consulting the chart, and considering attentively the courses we had steered, and calculating the distance we had afterwards been driven by the gale, we came to the conclusion that the poor wretches must have been taken from the Balowi river, on the north-west coast of Borneo. For the mouth of that river we accordingly shaped our course. It would have been barbarous to have landed the poor wretches at any other spot than their own country; for they would either have been made slaves of by the Malays, or killed by the other Dyaks for the sake of their heads. It is a curious fancy the Dyaks of Borneo entertain, of collecting as many dried heads as they can obtain, either to wear as trophies of their prowess, or to hang up in their head-houses.

We were treated with the greatest kindness by the captain and his officers, who seemed to vie with each other in doing us service. They all spoke some English, and most very well, so that we had no difficulty in carrying on conversation with them. When they heard my story especially, they seemed to sympathise warmly with me, and express themselves anxious to assist me by every means in their power. I, meantime, was not idle, and employed every spare moment in learning the Malay language, as also in attaining some knowledge of that of Java, as well as of others of the numerous dialects spoken in the Indian Archipelago. I felt that my success might depend on my speaking fluently the languages of the countries I should visit and consequently that I must exert myself to the utmost. To those acquainted only with their own tongue, it may appear impossible that I could gain knowledge sufficient to be of any material use; but it must be remembered that I was already accustomed to the Hindostanee, and other dialects of India, and that, therefore, with the stimulus I had, the acquisition of others was comparatively easy, considering the natural aptitude I possessed of learning foreign languages. Thus, notwithstanding my anxiety, the time flew rapidly by.

Four days after we had so providentially escaped from the Sooloo pirates, we sighted Cape Sink, on the north-west coast of Borneo, some way to the southward of which was the river whence the Dyaks had been captured. As we ran along the coast at a respectful distance, for fear of some sunken rocks and shoals which we believed to be off it, Fairburn and I were looking out, with our glasses, for the mouth, which we hoped to be able to make out. The rescued natives were on deck; and we fully expected that they would be able to recognise the approach of their native stream. We looked at them as they watched the shore with surprised and somewhat puzzled looks; but still they gave no signs to lead us to suppose that they were aware they were approaching their own country. We found, however, that their puzzled looks arose from their supposing that they were already many hundred miles away from their own country, and from their finding themselves, as they supposed, on a coast so very similar to it. As we ran along the coast, the mouth of a broad river opened before us, and, with the lead going to ascertain the depth of water we stood in towards it. On drawing near, it seemed to widen still more; and our captain being anxious to explore it, the wind also being fair, we crossed the bar, which had a considerable depth over it. The river, at the mouth, was nearly four miles wide, but it narrowed shortly to about a mile. Still the Dyaks showed no sign of satisfaction, and both Fairburn and I began to suspect that we had entered the wrong river; we continued, however, our course. As yet we had seen no signs of human beings; but just as we rounded a point, we came suddenly on a canoe, with three men fishing in her. They were so paralysed with the astonishment our appearance caused, that at first they forgot even to attempt to escape. Our boats were ready manned to lower into the water at a moment’s notice; so in an instant two of them were in the water in chase of the strangers. This somewhat restored the Dyaks to their senses; and seizing their paddles, they plied them strenuously in the hope of escaping from the formidable prahu, which the brig must have appeared to them. Seeing, however, that the boats rapidly gained upon them, they ceased rowing, and two of them seizing their sumpitans, or blow-pipes, shot several poisoned arrows at the Dutchmen. Fortunately no one was hit by them; and the officer in care of them bethinking himself of displaying a white handkerchief, this universal token of peace was understood, and all hostile demonstration ceased. The Dyaks, on this, seemed to banish all their alarm, and were at once on perfectly good terms with the boats’ crews. They quickly understood that they were required to pilot the brig up the river, and willingly came on board. Captain Cloete, who was well accustomed to deal with savages, explained to a fine young man, who seemed to be the chief, and the most intelligent of the party, the depth of water his vessel drew; that he must avoid all rocks and sand-banks, and that he wished to sail up about three times as far as we had already gone. The other Dyaks had hitherto been kept out of sight. They were now brought on deck; but when the fishermen saw them, instead of rushing into each other’s arms, they appeared much more ready to attempt cutting off each other’s heads; and the alarm of both parties was very evident, for they both fancied that there was some treachery to be practised against them. The captain, however, who at once understood their feelings, quickly managed to dispel their fears, first by producing the white handkerchief, and then by bringing both parties close to each other, and making them shake hands. It must be owned that they did not do so with much good grace, and they reminded me strongly of two dogs who have just been gnawing away at each other’s throats, being brought together to make friends by their peaceably inclined masters. At last, being convinced that our intentions were good, they began to talk to each other, the fishermen asking the prisoners whence they had come, and the latter giving them an account of their adventures. The result of the conversation raised the Dutch in the estimation of our new acquaintance, who learned to appreciate their power, and wished to serve those who trusted them.

We asked the young fisherman his name; and he made us understand that it was Kalong. His eyes sparkled with animation whenever any one addressed him; and with wonderful rapidity he seemed to comprehend our signs, and was never at a loss to answer us. To show us the course of the river, he knelt down on the deck, and, taking the end of a rope, he twisted it about to show the various reaches in it; then seizing a handful of chips of wood from the carpenter’s bench, he quickly formed one to indicate the brig, with two strips stuck perpendicularly into it to serve as masts. Holding this rough model in his hand, he tossed it about off one end of the rope, to show that there was the sea where we had been tossed about in the storm, and then he made it move slowly up the rope, to show how the brig had glided calmly up the river till she reached the spot where we then were. He next stuck several chips together, evidently to show that they were intended to represent a Dyak habitation, and these he placed further up the rope; and then touching himself and the other men, showed that he lived there. The rest of the rope he twisted about, and placed other houses alongside it, till he shook his head, showing that he knew nothing further of the country. We had now a very good chart before us of the river we were in, which Captain Cloete had forthwith copied on paper, to the infinite delight of the designer.

His success seemed to sharpen his wits; and taking another bit of rope which was given to him, he knelt down some way from the first, and twisted it about to form a river. He also placed some houses on it, and rushing up to the Dyaks, he touched them all severally, to show that they were to represent their habitations; and then taking several small chips in his hand, he moved them up rapidly towards the houses, several of which he knocked over. We thus understood that our Dyaks had come from a river to the north of the one we were in.

Captain Cloete, however, did not like to lose so favourable an opportunity of visiting on amicable terms these singular people, and therefore resolved to anchor off the village for the night, and to carry out charges to their native place on the following day. The wind continuing fair, though light, we slowly glided up the stream, the flood-tide aiding us. The scenery, as we advanced, improved considerably, the trees being of fine height, and mountains appearing in the distance. We had as yet observed no signs of cultivation, nor did the country appear to be inhabited. We saw, however, a great variety of animals. As I was watching the shore, I observed something move on a sand-ridge. I pointed it out to Kalong. He laughed, and opened his mouth very wide, as if he would eat me. The action was significant; and Fairburn, who had been turning his glass in that direction, exclaimed, “Why, that is a crocodile; and a big fellow, too, in truth.” The monster seemed arousing himself from sleep, and slowly crawled out of the slimy bed in which he had been reposing. Several shots were fired at him, but the balls glanced off harmlessly from his scaly sides. I afterwards saw some captured by a very simple method.

The breeze freshened, and we ran rapidly on, carefully, of course, sounding all the time. Kalong, our pilot, was in great delight, till he saw one of the officers going to fire at a crocodile, when he rushed up to him, and entreated him not to do so. Willing to please him, the officer desisted, and the monster escaped a slight tickling on the back. The reason was soon apparent; for, rounding a high and thickly-wooded point, we found ourselves in a little bay, on the shore of which was a large village, while close to us, under the shade of the lofty palm-trees which overhung the water, numerous groups of women and children were disporting in the refreshing stream. When we first intruded into this sylvan retreat, their consternation was so great that they scarcely knew where to run to screen themselves from our view; then setting up a loud and simultaneous shriek, they fled, dragging the young ones with them, some towards the village, and others into the wood. At the same moment we heard the tom-tom beat to arms, and observed the warriors putting on their wooden and woollen armour, and seeking their spears and sumpitans. Kalong had now sufficiently enjoyed the fright he intended to give his countrymen, and making his appearance in the rigging, he waved a white cloth to assure them that we came as friends. As soon as he was recognised, loud shouts proclaimed the satisfaction of those on shore, and a number of canoes were seen putting off towards us.

I must now stop to describe the wild and extraordinary scene before us, with which I was afterwards doomed to become so familiar. I have spoken of a village, but I should rather have said the castle; for the habitation of the numerous tribe assembled on the shore consisted chiefly of one large building, several hundred feet long, and standing on the summit of stout piles, not less than forty feet in height. At this great distance from the ground a bamboo platform had been constructed to serve as the floor of the house, which itself was not more than six feet high. The side-walls were also of bamboo, and the roof was made from the leaves of the nibong and other palms. It rose to the height of the surrounding trees, standing as it did on a high mound of earth thrown up artificially some little way from the banks of the river. It was intended to serve as a fortification; and also, I suspect, that airy style of building must much conduce to preserve the health of the people. Several rope ladders led from the ground to this singular residence. We received the chief, and a number of the principal people and their followers, on board. They had little clothing besides the waistcloth, made of bark from a tree; and large rings in their ears, and were very far from being prepossessing in their appearance. Captain Cloete, keeping on his guard against treachery, should such be attempted, allowed them to inspect everything on board the brig. They seemed pleased with all they saw, and behaved very well, but in no way showed surprise. We found, to our no little satisfaction, that some of them understood the Malay language, and that Hassan was able to converse with them. Soon after we made the discovery, Fairburn and I were standing with Hassan, surrounded by several, of whom we were making inquiries. Among other questions, Fairburn asked if they were not surprised at seeing so large a vessel off their village.

“They say no,” replied Hassan; “for not many moons ago there was another vessel off here nearly as big, only she had not so many chiefs with fine dresses, or so many people in her. But then there were women in her; and one little girl just like the one here,” meaning Maria.

On this I pricked up my ears, and my heart beat quick with anxiety. I entreated Hassan to make further enquiries.

“They say that the vessel was rigged like this; she was a brig.” He continued, after speaking with them for some time: “She came in here for wood and water. She was not a war ship, but the people went about armed. They were very disorderly; and some of them behaving ill to the people on shore, were very nearly cut off, and barely escaped with their lives to their boat. She then set sail, and going down the river was no more seen.”

This account made me feel that it was more than probable that the brig was no other than the Emu, and that she had been run away with by her crew. Another dreadful idea instantly forced itself on my imagination. If the brig in question was the Emu, had she really sailed, or had the Dyaks, as they might have been tempted to do, cut her off? I begged Hassan to make every inquiry, and to cross-question the people to ascertain the truth of their story. I was inclined to believe it, as they had so frankly spoken about the brig; whereas, had they destroyed her, it would have been a subject they would have avoided. At all events, we observed no European arms or clothes in their possession; and Hassan assured us that he had every reason to think that they did not deceive us. In this unexpected way I discovered that the vessel I was in search of was not wrecked, and that there was every probability of my friends being alive. All other interests were now absorbed in this great one, and I never ceased making inquiries about the brig of all I met. I, notwithstanding, went on shore with a party of officers, to visit the strange residence before us. It struck me that the idea of Jack and the Bean Stalk might have originated from it. Having climbed up the ladder, we were ushered into the chief’s room, which was in the centre, behind it being arranged that of the women. There was but little furniture besides mats and cushions; and the only ornaments, if they could be so called, were a number of dried human heads hanging from the ceiling. I shuddered as I looked at them at first; but I own that I soon got accustomed to them. They were the heads of the enemies of the tribe taken in war, and were prized as much as the North American Indian does the scalps of his foes. No objection was made to our visiting the apartments of the women. They were clothed in long loose garments, of native cloth, suspended from the waist, their shoulders being bare. They were small, but well shaped. Their hair, which was long and dark, was twisted up at the back of the head; the front locks being plaited and drawn off the forehead. Their skins were of a light brown colour, smooth and glossy. They wore ear-rings of some mixed metal, of a size very disproportionate to their small figures, and very far from becoming. Their countenances, if not pretty, were highly good-humoured and pleasant. The younger women were diligently employed in pounding rice in mortars of large dimensions. There were groups of children playing in the verandah, who at first were very shy of us; but as we made them little presents of beads, and other trifles, their confidence was quickly established, and wherever we went they followed, laughing heartily, and dancing round us. At length, our curiosity being satisfied, we descended from the bird-like nest, and returned on board the brig.

Chapter Sixteen.

The information I had received, vague as it may appear, seemed to me of the greatest importance. I felt almost certain that this brig which had visited the river could be no other than the Emu; and the account of the behaviour of the crew tended to confirm my suspicions that she had been run away with by the mate, Richard Kidd, for the purpose of turning pirate on the high seas. I dreamed of it all night or rather lay awake the greater part of the time, thinking of the subject till I was almost in a fever. I pictured to myself my sweet little Eva in the power of the ruffians, probably employed as their slave, to tend them in their cabin at their meals, and forced to listen to their horrid conversation, while I trembled still more for the fate of poor Mrs Clayton, if she survived the grief, and terror, and anxiety to which she must have been exposed. I talked the subject over with Fairburn, who agreed with me that the brig was probably the Emu, while he, at the same time, did his best to relieve my anxiety respecting the fate of her passengers.

“You know, Seaworth,” he observed, “even the most abandoned wretches have generally some feelings of humanity about them. No one would be bad enough to injure your little sister; and, situated as these men are, they would very probably treat Mrs Clayton with respect, that, should they be captured, they may have some plea for claiming mercy at the hands of the law.”

“I trust it may be so,” I replied. But I remembered that when once men begin to break the law, the restraints which prevent them from committing the worst of crimes are easily broken down.

The Dyaks were swarming out of their hive at early dawn to bid us farewell, as with the first of the ebb we weighed anchor to drop down the river. Our new friend, Kalong, returned on board to act as pilot; and in spite of his knowing no other than the Dyak tongue, we were able to trust perfectly to his guidance. Fortunately the wind had shifted, and now blew so as to favour us in our descent; and in a short time we reached the mouth of the river. Here we thought our pilot would leave us; but he intimated that he was perfectly ready to accompany us up the river, where our passengers had their homes, if we would bring him and his companions back to where we then were. To this plan Captain Cloete at once gladly acceded; for he did not suspect that Kalong’s chief object was to spy out the condition of the people whose habitations we might pass, that, should his tribe wish to get a few heads, he might be the better able to lead them to the attack. Such, however, Hassan told us he had no doubt was his intention.

“Those not good people,” he said, looking very grave. “Too fond of taking heads; always taking heads. Kalong not bad; but still he like heads now and then.”

The truth is, that a great number of the Dyaks are as much addicted to piracy as the Malays, and are in some respects even more cruel.

The satisfaction of our unfortunate passengers was very great, and their gratitude knew no bounds, when they discovered that they were to be conveyed back to their native place. The river had a bar across it; but as the brig drew but little water, she was able to get over without difficulty, and, the sea breeze setting in, we ran up the stream. Our great risk was that of getting on a shoal; but, thanks to Kalong’s pilotage, we avoided all dangers in our way, and at last dropped anchor opposite a spot where a village had once stood. Fairburn and I recognised it as the one attacked by the Sooloo pirates. Tears started to the eyes of the poor people as they witnessed the desolation which had been wrought among their late habitations. Where, a few days before, they and their families had dwelt in peace and contentment, all was now silent and deserted. Not a human being was seen; their houses were charred heaps, and their paddy fields and sago plantations lay trampled under foot. We could pity them, but we could do but little else. We were compelled to land them, as we could not take them with us, and time was too precious to enable us to stay to assist them. Our kind captain did his utmost to make amends to them for their losses, by supplying them with food and clothing, and tools, which they use very dexterously, to rebuild their habitations. He pointed out to them, that, for greater security, it would be wiser in them if they erected it farther inland, out of the reach of the attacks of the sea-pirates. The boats were then lowered, and they were carried on shore. At first their grief at seeing the state of their homes overpowered every other feeling; but soon recollecting that they had escaped from slavery, they did their best to express their gratitude to those who had rescued them, and forthwith began to make preparations for erecting a shelter for themselves, till they could build a house like the one destroyed.

A number of the Dutch officers and men, and Fairburn and I, were on the shore, shaking hands with all round, preparatory to quitting them finally, when we observed a Dyak stealthily approaching from among the trees which closely surrounded us. He looked cautiously on every side—his sumpitan, with a poisoned arrow ready to discharge, was in one hand, while a spear and shield, prepared for defence or attack, was in the other—he then advanced a few steps farther and halted. Rings were in his ears and round his legs; a cloth bound his waist; and a sort of jacket without arms covered his body, serving the purpose of armour against the darts of his enemies. He was followed closely by others, dressed in the same manner. One by one they came out of the wood, till upwards of fifty warriors stood before us prepared for battle. We scarcely knew at first whether they came as friends or foes, but when the Dyaks we had landed saw them, they rushed towards them with loud shouts, throwing themselves into each other’s arms. Never was there before such shaking of hands, or so much said in so short a time. It was also highly favourable to the Dutch; for the warriors, throwing aside their arms, came forward in a body, and by signs tried to express their gratitude to the preservers of their friends.

I was inclined to form a very favourable opinion of the amiable qualities of these people, from what I then saw of them. We found that the newcomers were the remnant of the tribe who had escaped from the attack of the Sooloo pirates; and that the women and children belonging to them were concealed some distance in the interior. We again weighed; and Kalong being equally successful in his pilotage, though we had to make several tacks, we got clear out from the mouth of the river.

There are a number of fine rivers on the north-west coast of Borneo, their banks being inhabited by Malays, with tribes of Dyaks held in a state of vassalage, as well as by independent Dyaks, the greater number of whom, at this time, were addicted to piracy at sea, as well as to plunder and rapine on shore; indeed, the whole coast presented one scene of constant warfare. Nearly every tribe possessed war prahus, in which they would sally forth to attack any trader from China, Celebes, or any of the neighbouring islands, which might unfortunately get becalmed near their coasts.

We now stood back to land Kalong and his crew, according to the promise made to him. As we neared the mouth of the river, he was seen walking the deck in a state of great agitation; and when the brig was hove-to, and his canoe was lowered into the water, it considerably increased. At last its cause was explained. Taking his companions by the shoulders, he shook their hands warmly, speaking with them earnestly at the same time, while he made them get into the canoe. He then walked up to the captain, and by signs, which were not to be mistaken, signified his wish to remain on board, for the purpose of seeing more of the world. Captain Cloete was at first unwilling to accede to it; but Fairburn and I, thinking that he might be useful on board the vessel I proposed to purchase, interfered in his favour, and requested that he might be allowed to accompany us. His was an extraordinary case, for the Dyaks are, in general, not at all addicted to quitting their country. He seemed fully to understand at whose request his wish had been granted; and in consequence, at once attached himself to me and Fairburn.

We now stood away to the westward, sighting Cape Ape, the north-western point of Borneo, and then steered south for Java, through the Billiton passage. We were bound for Sourabaya, a large Dutch town towards the east end of Java, opposite the island of Madura. I should have very much liked to have touched at Singapore, as it was important for me to arrange my money matters. Without ready cash I could not hope to do anything. I had, however, fortunately secured a considerable amount of gold and some bills about my person, when I escaped from the wreck; and the pirates had not searched me. Fairburn had in his pockets all his worldly wealth, which he insisted should be at my service; and Captain Cloete kindly assured me, that he would be answerable for any sum I might require till my remittances could arrive, so that I might not be delayed in fitting out my vessel. I was never tired of discussing with Fairburn our plans for the future, as also every possible fate which could have befallen the Emu.

A strong breeze carried us quickly along; and one morning, when I came on deck, I found that we were standing through the Straits of Madura, the shore of that island exhibiting a belt of the richest tropical vegetation, white cliffs and lofty rocks appearing here and there above it, while the Java coast seemed very low, and bordered by extensive mangrove swamps. As we approached the anchorage, we saw rows of fishing-stakes projecting half way across the straits, and many boats and prahus, and a considerable number of square-rigged vessels, some of them being Dutch men-of-war. Over the mangrove bushes appeared in the distance a tower or two, a few flag-staffs, and here and there the roofs of some of the most lofty houses. The brig had come to the port to which she belonged, where she had been fitted out; and soon after she dropped her anchor, she was surrounded by the anxious friends of the officers and crew, eager to ascertain that all were well.

I have not spoken for some time past of the widow Van Deck and little Maria. The latter had, from the attention bestowed on her by the kind surgeon of the brig, completely recovered from her hurts, though her nervous system had received a shock which it would, I saw, take long to get over. The widow was well, and continued to prove the same reformed person she had at first given promise of being, showing the use of adversity in improving the character of some people. She devoted herself to her niece, and never seemed tired of watching over her, and indulging her in all the little whims to which, during her illness, she gave way.

Just before the brig came to an anchor, she called me to her, and said, “I hope, Mr Seaworth, you and Mr Fairburn will be able to fulfil my poor husband’s request, and see me and Maria safe with my relations. I have no claim on Captain Cloete and his officers, and, as you know, I have no money; but I am very certain my friends will repay you all you expend on my account, and will do their best to show their gratitude to you besides. They were angry with me for marrying Captain Van Deck; but my misfortunes will have softened their hearts, and now he is gone they will forgive me.”

I replied, that I would certainly do all she wished; at the same time showing her the very great importance it was to me to incur no longer delay than could be helped in getting the vessel I proposed purchasing ready for sea, and in prosecuting my enquiries about the Emu.

“My first object in life is to recover my sister,” I observed. “I can undertake nothing which in any way interferes with that, but in every other respect my time and my purse are at your service; nor will I fail to fulfil my promise to your late husband.” This answer contented her, for she saw its justice.

A number of flat-bottomed boats came alongside to convey us on shore. They have a broad seat and an awning for passengers, and are propelled by two men with paddles in the bows, and steered by another in the stern. Fairburn and I engaged one of these to convey the widow and Maria on shore. Captain Cloete very kindly pressed me to take up my residence at the house of a relative of his in the town; but, thanking him warmly, I answered that I would prefer being at the hotel, which I understood existed there, with Fairburn, that we might have perfect freedom of movement; at the same time, I assured him that I should be most grateful to him for all the introductions he could give me to his friends.

We pulled to the mouth of a canal, up which we were tracked by two boys, with a rope made fast to the mast-head, between two piers for a mile and a quarter; and then landing at a dock where some Chinese junks, and a number of country boats, laden with rice and other commodities, and several schooners were lying, we proceeded up a narrow street to the hotel, which we found kept much after the fashion of the smaller ones I have since met with in France. There was a table d’hôte, at which a number of people residing in the house and elsewhere, dined. The widow said she would wish to avoid the noise and bustle of so public a place; so we procured lodgings for her near at hand. My first care was to make arrangements to get supplied with money. I inquired who were the principal English merchants in the place; and resolved at once to go frankly to the first I could meet with, to state my case, and to ask his assistance. While I went about this business, I begged Fairburn to go and make inquiries as to our chance of finding a vessel to suit our purpose.

“We must do away with all ceremony, Fairburn,” I observed. “I have from this day engaged you regularly in my service; and I am sure you will enter it with zeal. Therefore, remember all you do is at my expense, and I expect you to counsel me whenever you think fit. I do not forget that I am but a boy, and have seen but little of the world; and I feel very certain that I shall always follow your advice.”

These remarks gratified Fairburn very much. He saw that I was likely to act sensibly, and that I confided in him thoroughly. It is difficult to speak of myself, and not to appear to my readers boastful and egotistical. At the same time, I must remark, that had I not been guided by great judgment, procuring information from everybody I met, and weighing it well before acting on it, I should very soon have brought my career to an end.

I took with me from the hotel a young Javanese lad as guide to the counting-house of an English gentleman, whom I will call Mr Scott, and who, I heard, was one of the principal merchants of the place. He conducted me to a large wooden bridge thrown across the river, leading to the Chinese quarter; and just above the bridge, shaded by a row of fine tamarind trees, were a number of large houses and stores, among which was the one I was in search of.

With some little hesitation I went into the office, and requested to see Mr Scott. A young Englishman, or rather a Scotchman, instantly got down from his stool, and, giving me a chair, requested me to be seated, while he went to inform his principal. I had not a minute to wait before he returned, and begged me to walk into Mr Scott’s private room. The merchant rose when I entered, and his eye rapidly running over me as if he would read my character at a glance, he put out his hand and led me to a seat.

“You landed, I think, this morning, from a brig-of-war commanded by Captain Cloete,” he began. “I have the pleasure, I conclude, of welcoming you for the first time to Java.”

I could not help, while he was speaking, contrasting his behaviour with that of Mr Reuben Noakes, the merchant whom I met at Macao.

“Yes, sir,” I replied. “I have never been in this part of the world before; nor have I any friends to whom I am privileged to apply for the assistance I require. The truth is, I am almost without funds: nor can I get any for some time, and therefore I procured a list of the British merchants of Sourabaya, and pitched upon you as the first to whom I should make an application for aid.”

He said nothing to this; and I went on and gave him a short account of my history, of the adventures which had occurred to me, and of the search in which I was engaged. When I had finished, he laughed heartily, but with no little satisfaction at my having selected him to make my first attack on.

“I hope that I shall not disappoint you, Mr Seaworth, in the good opinion you have formed of me,” he replied. “I acknowledge, with the same frankness with which you have spoken to me, that I believe every word you have said, and I will do all I can to assist you. I assure you I already feel much interested in your cause.”

This kind answer at once set me at my ease; for I felt that I had a friend raised up to help me at a time I most required assistance. Without it, I might have been delayed many months, till I could get a remittance from Singapore. He, at the same time, at once put me in the way of having the money I might require forwarded to me in the shape of bills of exchange. Our business being concluded, he invited me to accompany him to his country house, for which he was on the point of setting out. I excused myself for that day, as I was anxious to hear what success Fairburn had had in his inquiries, and also to arrange how I could best fulfil my promise with the widow Van Deck.

When I got back to the hotel, I awaited some time for Fairburn. At last he came.

“What news?” I exclaimed. “Have you found a vessel to suit me?”

“I have seen a small schooner,” he replied. “She looks like a fine sea boat, and I am told is thoroughly sound; but her rigging and fittings are on shore, and it will take some time to get her ready for sea.”

“I wish we could have got a craft all ready for sea,” I observed. But if you find this one you speak of likely to answer our purpose, I will buy her at once; and I will leave you, Fairburn, to hurry on the workmen about her, so that we may not lose a moment more than is necessary:

The next morning Fairburn again went out to make further inquiries about the schooner; and his report was so favourable, that I resolved to apply at once to Mr Scott to enable me to purchase her. He told me that the people with whom I should have to deal would treat me honestly; and, taking my acceptance, he generously advanced me money to pay for her. I thus, in an unexpectedly short space of time, became the owner of a vessel exactly suited to my purpose.

I must not forget Hassan and Kalong, or a personage of no little importance in his own estimation, our friend Ungka, for the board and lodging of whom I made arrangements till the schooner was ready to receive them; as the two first had volunteered to accompany me, and as the last had said nothing, we took his silence for his consent. Though Captain Cloete might have claimed him, he had kindly looked upon him as belonging still to the widow Van Deck and little Maria, and they had made him over to me.

I accompanied Fairburn to look at the schooner. She was lying in a basin near the dockyard; and, at first sight, from her want of paint, and her dismantled state, I was much disappointed in her, and could not help showing that I was so to my friend.

“She is better than she looks,” he replied. “Wait a week or so, and you will think very differently of her. Many a gay-looking bark may have rotten timbers. Now I have narrowly examined hers, with an honest ship’s carpenter, and I find them all thoroughly sound.”

I felt the truth of his remarks, and was satisfied. She measured about a hundred and fifty tons, and gave promise of being both a good sea boat, and a fast sailer. I shall have to speak by and by of her armament and interior arrangements. She was built by the Spanish in Manilla; but being bought by some Americans, was employed as an opium smuggler, and captured by the Dutch. She was sold by the Government to some merchants who failed, and from whose creditors I bought her, not two years after she was launched. She was thus as strong as if new, and proved not unworthy of the good opinion formed of her by Fairburn.

Chapter Seventeen.

Java is one of the oldest possessions of the Dutch in the East. It was captured from them by the English during the late war, and held by us from 1812 to 1816, during which time it was placed under the government of the justly celebrated Sir Stamford Raffles, a truly philanthropic and enlightened man. Java, from what I saw and heard of it, is one of the most fertile islands in the world; and Sir Stamford, with every argument he could employ, urged the British Government, both for the sake of the natives, and for Great Britain herself, not again to abandon it to the Dutch. His advice was not attended to; and a country which would have proved of equal value to any of our possessions, was totally excluded from commercial intercourse with us. It runs east and west, being in length about seven hundred miles, and varying in width from thirty to a hundred miles.

Batavia is the capital of the west end, and the largest town in the island; while Sourabaya is next in size, and may be looked upon as the capital of the east. A glance at the map will show its shape and position better than can any description of mine. A small part of Java still belongs to some of the native princes; the rest is governed under a very despotic system by the Dutch. The natives are said to look back with affection to the English rule under Sir Stamford Raffles, and often express a wish that the country again belonged to Great Britain. In the centre of the south side of the island is a tract of country nominally ruled by two native princes, with the high-sounding titles of Emperor or Sunan of Surakerta, and the Sultan of Yugyakerta. Madura is also divided between the Sultan of Bankalang and the Panambehan of Sumanap. But these princes, potent as from their titles they may be supposed to be, are completely under the influence of Dutch viceroys, or residents as they are called; and I doubt if even they can have the satisfaction of cutting off the heads of any of their subjects without leave. The remainder of the island is divided into about twenty districts, each of which is called a Residency, from being governed by an officer called a Resident. His residency is again divided into districts, over each of which is placed a native chief, called a Regent, and a European officer, called an Assistant-Resident, who has under him other Europeans, called Controllers. Each Resident has under him officers, called Widono or Demang, whose deputies are called Bukkel; while every village, or Kampong as it is called, has its little chief, styled Kapella Kampong, or head of the village.

In this way, like an army, the whole population is arranged under a series of officers, the inferiors being answerable to those above them for the conduct of those whom they govern. The people live in communities, every man being obliged to belong to and reside in one particular kampong, which is fenced in, is governed by its kapella or head man, has its constable or police officer, and is guarded at night by one or two sentinels, armed with spears, stationed at the gate. All the land is the property of the government; no native, whatever his rank, being allowed to have land of his own.

The Dutch have not, as far as I could learn, attempted to convert the Javanese to Christianity, nor do they take any interest in educating them in any way. Their policy seems simply so to govern them that their productions may be increased, and, consequently, as large an amount as possible of revenue raised. Their rule being paramount, they have left the natives in their original condition, to enjoy their own manners and customs, and to be governed by their own chiefs in almost the same despotic manner as formerly. The Javanese are Mohammedans, but are not strict in their religious duties; and their priests can often only just manage to read the Koran, while their mosques are distinguished only from their houses by having a roof with a double gable at each end. The native population amounts to nearly nine millions.

The Javanese are a very docile, amiable, and intelligent people; they are faithful and honest servants, and are brave and trustworthy in danger, when they can trust to their leaders. Domestic slavery still exists, though the slave trade is prohibited. No European or native can acquire property in land, nor can any foreigner reside in the country without leave of the governor, or acquire the right of citizenship in it till after a residence of ten years. The governor has the power of banishing any troublesome subject from the island: all political discussion in society seems carefully avoided, and the freedom of the press is strictly prohibited. They do not now tax the people to such an intolerable degree as formerly, when they created an outbreak of the whole population, which was not put down till after much fighting in 1830. To prevent a similar occurrence, they have erected a chain of strong fortresses about fifty miles apart, from one end of the island to the other.

As I dare say some of my young readers will one of these days become governors of provinces, or hold other offices in our possessions abroad, I wish to impress strongly on their minds that the only just or lawful way of governing a people—the only sure way, indeed, of maintaining authority over them—is to improve, to the utmost of our power, their religious, their moral and physical condition. Of course there may be prejudices to be overcome, and bad spirits to be dealt with; but let a people, however savage their natures, once understand that we are anxious to do them all the good in our power, they will from that time submit to our rule, and gladly avail themselves of all the advantages we offer.

We may point with heartfelt satisfaction to the manner in which Sir James Brooke has brought peace and prosperity among the savage tribes of Sarawak, in Borneo, and how, having by a few necessary examples shown the power of Great Britain, the influence of his name is now sufficient to repress piracy in those seas where it once reigned predominant, and to encourage the honest and industrious in perseverance and well-doing. But I must return to my own adventures. I will, however, first give a list of the Dutch possessions in the East, many of which I visited. My creed is, that God rules the world; that He bestows his permanent blessing only on those who do his work; and that his work is to spread the truths of his religion, by our precept and example, among all those of our fellow-creatures over whom we have influence, and to improve their moral and physical condition. I believe also what is the case with individuals is the case with nations; and that, to prove this, we have prominent examples before our eyes. See what has become of the mighty empire Spain once possessed round the circle of the globe; remark how utterly unable France is to colonise, notwithstanding all her efforts to establish her influence in various parts of the world. The Dutch possessions in the East Indies consist of:

1. Part of the island of Sumatra.

2. Almost the whole of Java.

3. The islands of Banca and Billiton.

4. The islands of Bintang and Linga.

5. Large parts of the northern portion of the island of Borneo, which have been recently incorporated into one or two regular residencies, and assimilated to their Javanese possessions.

6. The Macassar government, including parts of the islands of Celebes and Sumbawa.

7. The Molucca Islands, and some detached outlying posts on several other islands.

8. The south-west half of Timor, and the neighbouring small islands.

9. To these may be added the recent conquests in the island of Bali.

The above rapid sketch will enable my readers to judge of the amount of influence which the Dutch have the power of exerting in those regions; how great a blessing they might prove to thousands and thousands of their fellow-creatures, if they acted in accordance with the divine precepts of Christianity, and as civilised and enlightened men should act. Surely, if they do not, their kingdom will be taken from them and given to another.

The evening of our arrival, Fairburn and I drove out to see the city and its environs, in a sort of calèche, drawn by two ponies, and driven by a Javanese boy, in a round japanned hat, like a china punch-bowl. The roads are lined on either side with fine avenues of trees arching overhead. We passed numerous villages, or kampongs as they are called, and many country houses, of good size, lighted up with lamps. In front of most of them were parties of ladies and gentlemen drinking coffee or wine, or smoking, or chatting, or playing at cards. We met several carriages with ladies in them in full dress, passed over numerous wooden bridges, and were much struck with the brilliant fire-flies which were flitting about among the trees. On re-entering the town, we passed large arched gateways leading to particular quarters, and remarked in that inhabited by the Chinese, the grotesque-looking houses, lit up with large paper-lanterns, of gaudy colours, and Chinese inscriptions or monsters on them, and the long rows of Chinese characters up and down the door-posts, or over the windows. After the quiet of the sea, our senses were confused by the strange cries, and the Babel of languages which resounded in our ears from the crowds of people who swarmed along the streets in every variety of Eastern dress. There was the half-naked coolie; the well-clothed Citinese, in a loose white coat, like a dressing-gown; the Arab merchant, in his flowing robes; and the Javanese gentleman, in smart jacket and trousers, sash and sarong, or petticoat, a curious penthouse-like hat or shade, and a strange-handled kriss stuck in his girdle. We could scarcely help laughing, when in our drive we met our corpulent Chinese gentleman, in a white dressing-gown-looking affair, smooth head, and a long pigtail, weighing down one side of a very English-looking little pony gig, driven by a smart Javanese boy, with the usual china punch-bowl worn by postilions, on his head. The Chinese flock here, as they do everywhere in the East, where money is to be made, in spite of all obstacles; and numbers of coolies, or porters, are to be found ready to carry anything or to go anywhere. The lower class of Chinese frequently act as pedlars; and we met several of them with two wicker cases slung on a bamboo yoke, selling drapery, or fruit, and other eatables; sometimes with a portable stove to cook them, or keep them hot.

On the following day I stopped one of these pedlars, who had, besides his cutlery, a display of ordinary jewels and female ornaments to sell. I was induced to do so, as I wished to purchase some trifle to give to little Maria as a parting gift. While I was looking over his stores, my eye fell on a brooch which was evidently of English workmanship. It struck me that it would answer my purpose by serving to fasten my young friend’s shawl, so I took it up to examine it more carefully. As I held it in my hand, I could not help fancying that I had seen it before. The idea grew stronger as I dwelt on it—my memory rushed back in an instant to the days of my childhood, and scenes long forgotten rose up before my eyes—my feelings grew intense—my heart beat quick—I gasped for breath. Yes, I was certain that very brooch which I held in my hand I had remembered since my infancy. Often had I gazed at it with delight. It was a cameo of exquisite workmanship, representing the three Graces, and had belonged to my kind friend, Mrs Clayton. I used to call one of the figures Mrs Clayton, another Ellen Barrow, and the third I said must be my mother. The pedlar’s eyes opened wider than any Chinese eyes were opened before, as he gazed at me with astonishment. He began to think that the jewel was some charm which had bewitched me, or that I was going into a fit. He, of course, could not guess the cause of my agitation; and I recovered my presence of mind in sufficient time to avoid telling him. I found that he set but slight value on the ornament, and infinitely preferred to it some glittering stores with gay tints. I looked over the remainder of his stores, keeping my eye constantly on the brooch to see that he did not remove it; but I did not find anything else which I could recognise. I then bought a bracelet for Maria, and a ring of trifling value, and next asked him carelessly for how much he would sell the brooch in case I wished to buy it. My coolness made him lower the price from what, when he first discovered the curiosity with which I regarded it, he intended to ask. He demanded a very moderate sum, which I paid him, and calmly put the jewel in my pocket. Had our conversation been carried on in a language I spoke fluently, I should certainly have betrayed the secret of my agitation by some hasty exclamation; but having to stop and consider the meaning of each word before I used it, gave me time to grow calm. The time had now come for me to put the inquiries I longed to make.

“By-the-bye, my friend, that jewel looks as if it were made in a country I have visited. How did you obtain it?” I asked with an unconcerned manner.

He looked at me with his keen eyes, as he replied, “I bought it with others to stock my cases.”

“Were there many others of the same description?” I inquired.

“Why do you ask?” he said, eyeing me sharply.

“Because it is an unusual ornament to see in this part of the world,” I replied.

“Yes, I bought a few other things, rings and other ornaments, and some European cutlery and arms, made in the land you come from,” he answered. “Your countrymen are very great in arms, and knives, and bales of cotton goods; and if we had not these dreadful taxes, we should purchase a large quantity from them.”

“That is very true,” I remarked. “But as you were saying, you have not had the jewels many months; tell me, how did you procure them?”

“I bought them in the way of trade,” he answered briefly.

“I suppose so; but when, and from whom, I am curious to know,” I asked. He was determined not to give me the information I required in a hurry.

“What makes you wish to know?” he said.

My patience was sorely tried; and I began to fear that he had some reasons for not telling me. I tried, however to disguise my feelings.

“People take fancies into their heads sometimes,” I said. “Now, I have taken a fancy to trace where that same brooch, which I have just bought of you, came from; and as I always repay those who gratify my whims, I do not think you will be the loser if you tell me.”

“My answer is, that I bought it in the fair way of trade, and I can say no more,” he replied, preparing, with an obstinate look, to put his bamboo yoke over his shoulder, and to walk away.

“Then you will lose a good customer for your folly,” I observed, feeling now that the more anxiety I displayed the less likely he would be to give me a true answer.

“However, if you think better of it, come to me to-morrow at my hotel, and perhaps I may be disposed to make some more purchases of you. But, my friend, remember a wise merchant takes a good offer when it is made to him.”

“You have not made me an offer,” he observed.

“What! do you expect to be paid simply for giving me a bit of information which cost you nothing, and cannot benefit you to keep?” I said, laughing. “However, as you value it so highly, I will give you the price of the brooch if you enable me in any way to trace where it came from.” The fellow, cunning as he was, was for a moment outwitted, and did not suspect the trembling anxiety with which I waited for his account.

“Well, then, you must know that two months ago I sailed from hence in a trading schooner to visit the island of Timor, where I wished to transact some mercantile business with the Portuguese. I can sometimes drive a bargain with them when I fail with the Dutch, who are very keen—too keen to please me. Have you ever been to Timor?”

“No,” I answered, with some little impatience; “no; but go on with your story.”

“I thought not,” he continued, with provoking slowness. “Timor is a large island, and a fine island, but not so large or so fine as Java. The Dutch have possessions in some part of it, as well as the Portuguese, and a good many of my countrymen are found there. It produces, too, a clever race of little horses—very clever little horses.”

“But what has that to do with the brooch?” I exclaimed, foolishly losing all my patience. “Go on with your story without further delay.” The fellow saw by the expression of my countenance that I was really anxious about the matter; and hoping, probably, to get better paid for his information another day, he pretended to remember that he had his goods to sell, and shouldering his bamboo, with his cases hanging at either end of it, off he marched, uttering aloud his cries to attract customers. I called him back; I felt inclined to rush after him—to seize him—to force the information from him; but he would not listen, and he was soon lost among the motley crowd I have described. I felt almost sure that he would come back the next day but in the meantime I was left in a state of the most cruel anxiety. Here was the best clue I had yet met with almost within my grasp, to guide me in my search for Eva and Mrs Clayton, and I was not allowed to reach it. The time had arrived for me to join Mr Scott, who had invited me to accompany him to his country house, about three miles from the town. The road led us past numerous kampongs and country houses, all the way being under lofty trees, which were made to arch overhead, and to afford a most grateful shade.

On our way, I mentioned my meeting with the pedlar.

“Should you know him again?” he asked.

“Among a hundred others,” I replied.

“Oh, then, there will be little difficulty in making him tell the truth,” he observed, with a smile. “If he does not do so of his own accord, I will get the resident to interfere, and he has wonderful methods of making a dumb Chinaman open his mouth. We will see about it the first thing to-morrow; for I agree with you, that the fellow’s information may be of great value.”

So it was arranged, and my mind was somewhat tranquillised. My new friend’s residence was like most country houses built by the Dutch in the island—long and low, and consisting only of one storey. In the centre was the chief room, of good size, opening both in front and behind, by two large door-ways, into spacious verandahs, as large as the room itself, and supported by pillars. In each of the wings were three good bedrooms. It stood in an enclosure of about an acre, with coach-house, stables, and servants’ houses and offices. The floors were formed of tiles, and in the principal room a cane matting was used. As it grew dusk, several people came in, some in carriages, and some on foot, and we had a good deal of amusing conversation, while cigars were smoked, and coffee, wine, and liqueurs were handed round. The Javanese were described as an excellent and faithful race of people, patient, good-tempered, faithful, and very handy and ingenious. A man who is a carpenter one day, will turn a blacksmith next, or from a farmer will speedily become a sailor; and a gentleman told me of a servant who, after having lived with him many years, begged to be allowed to go to sea, giving as his only reason, that he was tired of seeing the same faces every day. I partook of a curious fruit, of which the natives are very fond, called the Durinan. It required some resolution to overcome my repugnance to the scent, which is most powerful. The flavour is very peculiar; and I can best describe it as like rich custard and boiled onions mixed together.

There are about 60,000 inhabitants in Sourabaya. The lower orders of Javanese are a broadly built race of people, seldom above the middle height. The men, when actively employed, have on generally no other garment than a tight cloth round the loins; but at other times they wear a sarong, which is a long piece of coloured cotton wrapped round the waist, and hanging down to the knee. They sometimes add a jacket of cloth or cotton. The women seem to delight most in garments of a dark-blue colour, in shape something like a gown and petticoat; but the neck and shoulders are frequently left bare, and the sarong or gown is wrapped tightly under the armpits and across the bosom.

Both men and women wear their hair long, and turned up with a large comb, so that at a distance it is difficult to distinguish one from the other. The latter have no covering for the head, but the men wear conical hats, made of split bamboo.

A Javanese gentleman usually wears a handkerchief round his head, a smart green or purple velvet or cloth jacket with gold buttons, a shirt with gold studs, loose trousers and sometimes boots, and a sarong or sash, in the latter of which is always carried a kriss ornamented with gold and diamonds. The Chinese, as elsewhere, are a plump, clean, and good-tempered-looking people; they, as well as other people from the neighbouring countries, are under charge of a captain or headman, who is answerable for their good conduct. The Dutch troops, dressed in light-blue and yellow uniforms, and mustering upwards of two thousand infantry, besides artillery and cavalry, consist of Javanese, Madurese, and Bugis, with Negroes and Europeans, frequently Dutch convicts who, to escape punishment at home, have volunteered to serve in the army in Java. What can one think of the character of an army composed of such men? and how much more calculated must they be to injure and demoralise than to protect the people, and to maintain order, which is the only legitimate object of a military body! I hope that my readers are not tired with my long account of the Javanese. The next morning I returned to the town with Mr Scott, and immediately set out in search of the pedlar. I was not long in finding him, for he was hovering about the hotel in hopes of having another deal with me. He did not suspect that I had friends who could apply to the authorities to make him give me the information I required. I had my young Javanese guide watching, who instantly ran off to call Mr Scott, while I held the pedlar in close conversation. On Mr Scott’s appearance, the impudent look of the man instantly changed to one of submissive respect.

“I thought you were a wise man, Chin Fi,” began my friend, who appeared to know him. “Here is a gentleman offers you a handsome reward for a bit of trifling information, and you refuse to give it him; how is this?”

“Though the information is trifling, the young gentleman seemed very eager to get it,” answered Chin Fi, recovering himself. “But I am a reasonable man, and was about to give it when he interrupted me yesterday.”

“Continue your story, then,” said Mr Scott, aware, however, that he was not speaking the truth. “You were in the island of Timor when you procured the brooch in question.”

“I observed that I went to the island of Timor; but I did not say that I got the brooch there,” answered Chin Fi.

“Come, come, you are taking up our time uselessly. Where did you get it then?” exclaimed Mr Scott. “I must take other means of learning if you longer delay.” And he looked in the direction of the Resident’s house.

The Chinese guessed his intentions, and observed, “Well, if the gentleman will give me the price he offered, I will afford him all the information I possess. Knowledge is of value; and I am a poor man, and cannot give it without a return.”

On his saying this, I took out the proposed sum and put it into Mr Scott’s hands, who gave it him, saying, “Now remember, Chin Fi, if you wish to prosper, tell all you know about the matter.”

“I will,” said the pedlar, finding that he would gain nothing by further delay. “You must know that while I was in Timor, I was engaged in purchasing such merchandise as I thought would suit the taste of the people of this country. To obtain a passage back, I went to the Dutch settlement of Coupang. One day, having just transacted some affairs with a merchant, I was walking along the quay by the water’s side, when I observed a young Javanese lad following me. I happened to have remarked him while I was speaking to the merchant. He continued following me till I got into a narrow lane, where no one else happened to be; and he then came up to me, and said he had something to sell if I was inclined to buy. I asked him to show me his goods, and he pulled out a handkerchief from his breast, with some rings, a gold chain, and two brooches, one of which I sold yesterday to this gentleman. I purchased them of him, and asked him if he had any more. He said that he could not tell me; and I then inquired how he procured them. He answered it was a matter about which I had nothing to do, and being of his opinion I questioned him no further; but as I wished to have more dealings with him, I resolved to try and find out where he went. When he parted from me he took the way to the quay; and as from his dress and the look of his hands I suspected that he belonged to one of the vessels in the harbour, I went and hid myself in a spot where I could watch every part of the landing-place.

“I had waited about a couple of hours, when a boat came on shore from a European brig, lying outside all the other vessels, and presently two Englishmen or Americans, with two or three Malays, came down in company with the young Javanese lad, who was staggering under a heavy load of yams, shaddocks, bananas, cocoa-nuts, and other fruit and vegetables. It is odd, I thought, that this boy who has so much money at his command, should be made to do the work of a slave. I suspected that there was something irregular, and that the lad had either stolen the jewels or was selling them for some one else. I made inquiries about the brig, and found that she was an American, and had put in for water and provisions; but for her name, I can neither remember it, nor pronounce it, probably, if I did. I expected next day to find that the brig had gone, and to hear no more about the matter; but there she still was, and who should I meet but the Javanese lad walking by himself in a disconsolate manner near the quay? I beckoned him to me, and asked him if he had any more jewels to sell; but he answered, No; and that he wished he had not sold those, as it had done no good.”

“I inquired what he meant; but for some time he would not answer, till I persuaded him that I was his friend, and that I by chance knew some of his relatives. He then told me that the jewels had belonged to an English lady, who was kept on board the brig against her will, and that she had employed him to sell them, in the hopes of being able to bribe some one to help her to escape, or to carry intelligence of her position to the authorities of any port at which the brig might touch. The lad, who seemed in many respects very simple-minded and honest, said that he wanted to get away, but dared not—that he had not originally belonged to the brig, but was taken out of another vessel, and made to work on board her, his chief employment lately being to attend on the lady in the cabin.”

While he was speaking, several seamen came out of an arrack shop some way off. He caught sight of them and hurried off to the quay. They all jumped into the boat, and pulled away for the brig as fast as their oars could send her through the water. Instantly the vessel’s sails were loosed, her anchor was weighed, and she stood out to sea. Soon afterwards, a Dutch ship of war came in, and a boat from the shore going out to meet her, without dropping her anchor she made sail in the direction the brig had taken.

“Did she overtake the brig?” I inquired eagerly.

“I do not know,” replied the pedlar. “I came away before the man-of-war’s return, and had not again thought of the circumstances till your inquiries recalled them to my memory.”

Believing that the Chinese had given me a faithful account, I further rewarded him, and dismissed him, highly satisfied with the transaction. It must not be supposed that he used the words I have written, for I have given a very free translation of his story, which was in very flowery language, and occupied much more time than mine will to read. I cross-questioned him also about Eva; but he had heard nothing of a little girl, nor had he suspected that the brig was a pirate.

Mr Scott, however, agreed with me that there was every probability of her having been the Emu, and that my first point of inquiry should be at Timor, while I also should endeavour to fall in with the man-of-war which had chased her. It was suggested that I might most likely hear of the man-of-war at Batavia, and that I should endeavour to touch there. Oh, how I longed to have my schooner ready for the enterprise!

Chapter Eighteen.

Mr Scott accompanied me to the house of the Resident, that I might state my case; and on our way we met Captain Cloete, who volunteered to join us. The Resident received me most kindly, and promised to do all in his power to facilitate my object. He said that strict enquiries should be made on board all vessels coming to the port, whether a brig answering the description of the Emu had been met with; and he also engaged that the same inquiries should be made in Batavia and throughout all the ports belonging to the Dutch.

I was much indebted to the influence of my friends, and the warm interest they took in me, and for the alacrity displayed by the Resident; but I felt that this was no reason why I should in any way relax in my own exertions. The schooner could not be got ready for sea in less than three weeks, in spite of all Fairburn’s exertions; and I considered how I could best employ the time to forward my object. It must not be supposed that I had forgotten the widow Van Deck and little Maria. Fairburn and I had still our duty to perform, in seeing them placed in safety with their friends; but as his presence was essential in attending to the fitting out of the vessel, I resolved to undertake the office of their conductor, having already engaged to pay their expenses. They were both now sufficiently recovered to undertake the journey up the country, to a place where an uncle of the widow resided, as Assistant Resident.

I was, however, very unwilling to leave Sourabaya in the chance of obtaining any further news of the Emu, and had hopes of being able to send to their relations to induce some one to come down and receive them, when the point was decided for me. The heat and excitement of the town was already telling on me, and Mr Scott made me consult a medical man, who urged me at once to go up to the highlands of the interior, to regain my strength before I went to sea.

The widow Van Deck expressed herself much satisfied with the arrangement, and very grateful for the care taken of her, while little Maria seemed highly delighted at finding that I was to accompany them on the journey. Captain Cloete’s first lieutenant, Mr Jeekel, also arranged to join the party, of which I was very glad, as he was a very well informed man, and a most amusing companion. We engaged a carriage, with two inside seats for the widow and Maria, and two outside for Mr Jeekel and me. Mr Scott kindly urged me to take care of myself and get well. Fairburn promised to get on with the schooner’s outfitting; and just as we were starting, Captain Cloete came and put a sum of money into the hands of the widow.

“There,” he said, “sailors should always help each other; so I and a few other friends have collected that little sum to defray the expenses of your journey; so that you need not feel yourself a burden to your young friend here, while you will have something in your purse when you present yourself to your relatives.”

The tears came into the widow’s eyes as she received this unexpected kindness, and her feelings almost checked her expressions of thanks.

The evening before our departure, as I was sitting with the widow and little Maria, the former observed—“You may be surprised, Mr Seaworth, at my thinking it necessary to give you so much trouble about my return to my relations; but I must confess to you that I offended them very much by marrying Captain Van Deck, whom they looked upon as my inferior in rank, and I am full of doubts as to my reception. Had he been alive, I should not have ventured to return; but now that he is in his grave, I trust that their anger may be softened. I have no one else to depend on. I cannot obtain my own livelihood; but they would not, I trust, allow a relation to beg in the streets. If they will once receive me, I hope, by my conduct, to gain their affection, which before I married I did not, through my own fault, possess; and I therefore do not in any way complain of their treatment of me. I have had, I assure you, a great struggle with the rebellious spirit within me; but I have conquered, and am happier even than I ever expected to be.” In reply, I assured her that I thought her relations would, after she had spent a little time with them, rejoice at her return; for in the frame of mind to which she had brought herself, I felt sure she would very soon gain their regard; and I thought that little Maria could not fail of attaching to herself every one who knew her.

I have not space to afford a full account of our journey. Indeed, I cannot do more than give the general result of my observations. We had passports, without which we could not have proceeded; and we were obliged to obtain leave from each Resident to pass through his district. We had four good little horses; and for many miles proceeded along the plain, on a fine broad hard road, raised two or three feet above the level of the country. The post houses are about six miles apart, and at each of them there is a large wooden shed, stretching completely across the road, to shelter the horses and travellers from the sun while the horses are changed. The country, as we proceeded, became very rich and highly cultivated; and between the groves of cocoa-nuts and areca palms, and other trees, which bordered the road, we got glimpses of a fine range of mountains, which increased its interest. The crops were sugar-cane, and maize and rice. The rice-fields are divided into many small plats or pans, about ten yards square, with ridges of earth eighteen inches high, for the purpose of retaining the water, which is kept two or three inches deep over the roots of the grain, till it is just ready to ripen. A number of little sheds stood in the fields, with a boy or girl stationed in each, who kept moving a collection of strings, radiating in every direction, with feathers attached to them, for the purpose of keeping off the flights of those beautiful little birds, called Java sparrows, hovering above. From these plots the rice, or paddy, as it is called, is transplanted into the fields, each plant being set separately. How our English farmers would stare at the idea of transplanting some hundred acres of wheat! Yet these savages, as they would call them, set them this worthy example of industry. We passed a market crowded with people. There were long sheds, in some of which were exposed European articles, such as cutlery and drapery; in others, drugs or salt-fish, or fruit and confectionery; while at some open stalls the visitors were regaling themselves with coffee, boiled rice, hot meat, potatoes, fruit, and sweetmeats. We stopped at a large town on the coast, called Probolingo, where there was an excellent hotel. There was also a square in it, with a mosque on one side, the house of the Resident on another, a range of barracks on the third, and a good market-place, where I saw piles of magnificent melons, for which the neighbourhood is celebrated. It is a place of some trade; and we were told that there were in the storehouses coffee and sugar sufficient to load twenty large ships. Broad roads, bordered by fine trees, with native villages, and large European houses, surround the town.

As we continued our journey on the following day, we began to meet with coffee plantations, which are neatly fenced in, and consist of some twenty acres each. They are pleasant-looking spots, as the shrubs are planted in rows, with tall trees between each row to shelter them from the sun. Sometimes, too, we came upon a species of Banian tree, a noble, wide-spreading tree, with drooping branches, under which might be seen a waggon laden with paddy, and a group of people with their oxen resting by its side. I remarked that coffee was carried in large hampers on the backs of ponies. We used to lunch sometimes at the bamboo provision stalls, under the shade of tall trees near the kampongs, where we found hot tea and coffee, sweet potatoes, rice cakes, and a kind of cold rice pudding.

The Javanese delight in a sort of summer-house, which is called a pondap; it is built to the height of sixteen feet or so on stout pillars, with a raised floor, and covered with a thatch made of the leaves of the palm. It is open at the sides, except a railing of netting three feet high, and sometimes blinds of split cane are rolled up under the eaves, and can be let down to exclude the sun or rain.

I must describe a “passangerang,” or guest-house, at several of which we stopped for the night. It was a large bamboo-house, standing on a raised terrace of brick, and with a broad verandah running all round it. There was a centre hall to serve as the grand saloon, and several well-furnished bedrooms on either side. The view was very beautiful. The ground on every side undulated agreeably: on one side it sloped down to a shining lake, bordered by a thick belt of wood, with a silvery brook escaping from a narrow ravine, foaming and leaping into it; while beyond arose the stately cone of the burning mountain of the Lamongan, some four thousand feet in height, a wreath of white smoke curling from its summit, from its base a green slope stretched off to the right, whence, some twenty miles distant, shot up still more majestically the lofty cone of the Semiru, a peak higher than that of Teneriffe; then, again, another irregular ridge ran away to the north, among which is the volcano of the Bromo. On another side could be seen the sea gleaming in the far distant horizon, while over all the country near was a lovely variety of cultivated fields, and patches of wood, and slopes of the alang-alang, a long green grass with a very broad leaf, and here and there a native kampong half concealed by its groves of fruit-trees. Everything, both in form and colour, looked beautiful as it glittered in the hot sunshine, while a fresh breeze from the south tempered the heat, and reminded me of a summer day in England. A table was spread in the verandah with a snow white tablecloth, and all the conveniences of glass, plate, and cutlery, and covered with dishes of poultry, and meats, and rice, and curries, pilaus, and soups, all well cooked, with attendants doing their best to please us.

Little Maria was enchanted—she had seen nothing in her life before like it; and all the sickness and perils she had gone through were forgotten. Lieutenant Jeekel and I were much pleased also; and had I not had my important enterprise in view, I should have liked to have spent many days there. As we strolled out in the evening at dusk, we found two men following us with spears; and when we inquired the reason of their attendance, they said that they came to defend us from tigers. We laughed at this, but they assured us that tigers were very abundant, and that they often carried off men to eat them, and sometimes even came into the houses when hard pressed by hunger. No one will venture out at night without torches to keep them at a distance. We afterwards found that their fears were not exaggerated, for a man from a village close to us going out to work before daybreak was carried off by a tiger from between two companions, who in vain endeavoured to save him. After this we took care not to expose ourselves to the chance of forming a supper for a tiger. The next evening I was nearly stepping on a snake, the bite of which is said to be certain death. I mention these circumstances merely to show that, fertile as is the country and magnificent the scenery, it has its drawbacks. While we were in the high country, it rained generally from two till four o’clock, and then the weather became as fine as ever. It always rained in earnest, and never have I seen more downright heavy pours. The inhabitants of the mountains are far superior in stature and independence of manners to those of the plains. Their houses are, however, inferior in many respects; they are built of planks roughly split from trees with a wedge, while their posts are formed of the camarina equally roughly squared. The roof is composed of reeds or shingles. The interior consists of but one room, with a square fireplace of brick at one end, and seats round it; the bed-places of the family are on either side; and overhead are racks to hold spears and agricultural instruments, the whole blackened with the constant smoke, which has no other outlet besides the door and window. The houses of the peasantry on the plains are composed almost entirely of bamboo; the posts and beams of the stoutest pieces of that plant, and the walls of split bamboo woven into mats, the roof being covered with leaves of the hissah palm.

We were now approaching the end of our journey, and the widow began to be very nervous as to the reception she was likely to meet with from her relations. The lieutenant, especially, tried to keep up her spirits; and it appeared to me, whatever the arguments he used, that he succeeded very well.

I am afraid that, in my descriptions, I have not done full justice to the beauty of the scenery, the high state of cultivation of the country, the excessive politeness of the people—I might almost call it slavish, were not the natural impulses of the Javanese so kind—the luxurious provisions, the comfort of the passangerangs or guest-houses, the purity of the air, and the deliciousness of the climate of the hills. We did not encounter a beggar of any description, and we saw no people in a state of what could be called poverty; so, although the Dutch rule most despotically, this system apparently tends to secure the creature comforts of the lower orders. But, as I have already observed, it does no more—it regards these frail bodies, but totally neglects their immortal souls.

One day we turned off from the high road, and took a path apparently but little used, as it was a complete carpet of short green turf, which led us across a gently undulating champaign country; passing now through patches of beautiful forest, now through open rice-fields or small plains of alang-alang. Here and there was a rocky isolated hill crowned with clumps of noble trees, while sparkling brooks and rills seemed to cool the air, while they refreshed our sight, their murmuring sound reaching constantly our ears. Many of the rills were artificial, leading from one rice field to another. The industrious inhabitants were guiding their ploughs or otherwise in their fields, while here and there a grove of fruit-trees, with cocoa-nuts, areca palms, and clusters of bamboos rising among them, showed the situation of the villages. Nearly surrounding this beautiful country swept a semicircle of magnificent mountains of the most picturesque description, one out-topping the other, while in the far distance the stately Semiru raised his lofty cone into the blue sky.

As we had now arrived close to the residence of the widow’s relations, we thought it advisable to forward a letter, which the lieutenant undertook to write, giving an outline of what had occurred, and announcing our arrival. The letter was composed, but we were not quite satisfied with it; and at last our worthy friend volunteered to ride forward himself to prepare the way, suggesting that his rank, and his acquaintance with a large number of people, might have some little influence in softening matters. We in the meantime remained at the passangerang awaiting his return. Two hours passed away and he did not appear, and the widow began to be anxious; a third had elapsed, and no Lieutenant Jeekel was to be seen.

“My uncle and his family are away, or he may be dead, or he will not listen to our friend,” sighed the widow.

We were sitting in a sort of raised summer-house, in the shape of a tower, built of bamboo. From our elevated perch we commanded a view of the road.

“No, I feel that I am discarded for ever, and must be content to live on the charity of strangers,” continued the widow, soliloquising. “For myself I care not; but for you, my sweet child, it is a hard lot.”

“Do not vex yourself about me, my dear aunt,” answered little Maria. “But ah! see, who is that coming along the road?”

We all looked out of the balcony, and observed two horsemen, with long spears glittering in the sun, advancing slowly towards us. A little beyond them was a larger party, one of whom was evidently a chief with his officers, from the turbans on their heads, their blue cloth jackets, and rich shawls round their waists, with highly ornamented krisses stuck in them; the blue and red cloth over their saddles, and the silver trappings to their horses. Two Europeans were with them: one we soon recognised as the lieutenant; the other, a middle-aged, gentlemanly-looking man, was a stranger to me; but the widow, as she watched him, exclaimed—

“It is—yes, it must be my uncle!”

The Javanese seemed to pay him great respect. He threw himself from his horse, which one of them held, and with the lieutenant ascended the stairs. On entering the room he hurried up to the widow, and to her no little surprise gave her a warm embrace.

“Well, my dear niece, I am glad to hear from your friend here, that you placed reliance on the affection of your relatives,” he began, as he handed her to a chair in an affectionate manner. “Let the past be forgotten; and now let me ask you to make me known to the young gentleman who has acted so generously to you. Mr Seaworth, I understand.”

Whereupon I shook hands, and made a suitable answer; and then little Maria was introduced, and we were all in a few minutes on the best terms possible. I thought Mr Jeekel’s eye twinkled, but he said nothing; and I was somewhat surprised, after all the difficulties we expected to experience, at the facility with which the reconciliation had been accomplished. But the cause was soon explained.

“I conclude, my dear niece,” said her uncle to her on a sudden, “you have received due notice of the good fortune which has befallen you.”

“No!” answered the widow, surprised, as well she might. “I have been prepared only for misfortunes. What do you mean?”

“Allow me then to congratulate you sincerely,” he replied. “I have great satisfaction in being the first to announce to you that your great-uncle, M. Deikman, who died a year ago, has left you heiress to all his property, amounting to twenty thousand rupees a year; and you may at once take possession of it.”

I will not stop to describe the contentment of the widow at her change of fortune, the joy of little Maria, and the satisfaction of the lieutenant. I spent four days at the house of her uncle, who was very attentive to me; and I need scarcely say that, when the time for my departure arrived, I was very sorry to leave her with the prospect of never again seeing her; and still more so my young friend Maria. I am happy to say that prosperity did not appear to have made the widow forget the good resolutions she had formed in adversity. She insisted on repaying me the money I had spent on her account; and I had reason afterwards to know that she was not ungrateful. It was arranged that Lieutenant Jeekel was to accompany me, and that we were to travel on horseback, by which mode we should be able to diverge oftener from the high road, and to see more of the country than we had been able to do coming. Little Maria cried very much as I wished her good-bye.

“You are going away, and I shall never—never—see you again, my dear, dear Mr Seaworth!” she exclaimed, as she held my hands, and looked up affectionately into my face. “Now, promise me, if you succeed in finding your dear little Eva—and I am sure you will find her—that you will come back and show her to me. I so long to see her, and to love her, and to tell her how kind you have been to me. I will pray every night and morning that she may be restored to you, and that she may live to reward you for all your trouble in looking after her. You will promise then, my dear Mr Seaworth; I know you will.”

“Indeed, I should be very sorry if I thought I was not to see you again,” I replied, completely won by her artless manner. “If I possibly can—if I am so blessed as to find my sister—I will come and introduce her to you.”

With this answer the little girl was satisfied. At length we started. I had a very pleasant journey, and collected a great deal of information as to the manners and customs of the Javanese. We saw several tigers, and deer, and wild hogs, and monkeys innumerable, and snakes and other reptiles; but had no adventure worth recording, and reached Sourabaya in safety.

Chapter Nineteen.

We entered Sourabaya in the evening, when the streets were still crowded with the mixed population of the town, in their varied and picturesque dresses, each speaking their own language, or uttering the various cries of their respective trades. I directly rode to the hotel in the hopes of finding Fairburn there, as I was eager to learn how he was progressing with the schooner. He had not returned; and I was setting off to the docks when I met him coming in.

“How do you get on?” I exclaimed, as soon as I saw him. “Are we likely soon to be able to start?”

“We have gone ahead more rapidly than I expected,” he answered. “What by good wages and encouragement, and constant supervision, the carpenters and riggers have got on so well, that I expect she will be ready for sea in a few days. The more I see of the little craft, the more I like her; for she is a beauty, I can assure you, and will sail well too.”

“I am delighted to hear it, and thank you for all your exertions in my cause,” I answered. “I long to be fairly under weigh. But have you gained any more information about the Emu?”

“Nothing of importance,” he answered. “A Dutch merchantman came in here a few days ago, and she reports that some months since, on her outward voyage, she was chased by a strange brig, which showed no colours; but, by carrying all sail, she got away from her. If that was the Emu, it shows that she has taken regularly to piracy, and that we must be prepared to encounter her.”

To this I agreed; but the thought that my sister and Mrs Clayton were among wretches who were pursuing such a course made me feel very wretched. The next morning I accompanied Fairburn down to the vessel. I was indeed surprised with the appearance she presented. Indeed, she required little more than to get her sails bent and her stores on board to be ready for sea. She mounted four carronades, and one long brass gun amidships, besides numerous swivels on her bulwarks, to enable her to contend in every way with any piratical prahus we might encounter. Besides these, her arm-chests contained a good supply of muskets, pistols, and cutlasses.

“I have engaged also the best part of our crew,” said Fairburn. “They are all staunch fellows, or I am much mistaken. It is important that we should be well manned. There are eight Englishmen, four Dutchmen, two Americans, and six Javanese. The last are fine fellows, and, well treated, will labour hard; and if well led, and they can see that they may trust to their officers, they will prove as brave as any men in the world. See how they all go about their work. If I was a stranger to them, I should say they were the men to trust to. They have found out already that I chose all good men, and that there are no skulkers among them.”

We were standing on the quay at the time, and as he spoke he pointed to the schooner where all hands were actively employed in various avocations, setting up the rigging, bending sails, and hoisting in stores.

“And what sort or officers have you engaged?” I asked.

“Two; and both good. One is a Dutchman, and the other is English. I had some difficulty in arranging the papers, and in getting permission to carry arms but, thanks to the assistance of Mr Scott and the kindness of the Resident, the affair has been settled. I cannot however, go as master of the schooner.”

“You not master!” I exclaimed. “Who, then, is to be?”

“The Dutchman, M. Van Graoul. He is a very good fellow in spite of his name,” he answered, laughing. “The fact is, he is nominally captain, and is answerable for our good behaviour—that we will not turn pirates, or commit any other little irregularities. I am to have charge of the vessel, and he is to obey me in all things lawful; indeed, he is to act as my mate except on certain occasions, when we are to change places. The arrangement is perfectly understood between us, and is not at all unusual.”

I replied that I was satisfied if he was, and thought that the arrangement would not inconvenience him.

“You are aware, also, that you must sail under the Dutch flag,” he continued. “It is better known than the English in these seas, and so far that is an advantage; but I daresay you would rather, as I should when it comes to fighting, have our own glorious standard waving over our heads.”

I agreed with him there also; but I found that I was much indebted to the Dutch authorities, as so very strict is the government in all matters of the sort, that it was only in consequence of the peculiar circumstances of the case that I was allowed to fit out the vessel at all, many regulations being relaxed in my favour. I forgot to say that the schooner was called the Fraulein, which is the Dutch, or rather German, of young lady; and I thought the name pretty and appropriate. Behold me, then, the owner of the schooner Fraulein, Captain Van Graoul, just ready for sea, and as complete a little man-of-war as ever floated. I was going to call her a yacht; but she was fitted more for fighting than pleasure, except that there was one cabin which, with a confidence I scarcely had a right to, I had had prepared for Eva and Mrs Clayton.

Our papers were all in order, and we had cleared out regularly. I had taken leave of the Resident and other authorities, and thanked Mr Scott to the utmost of my power for his liberality and confidence in me; and I had wished all the other friends I had formed good-bye, except Lieutenant Jeekel, who told me he intended to come and see the last of me on board. I felt that I had at length commenced my enterprise; my hopes rose with the occasion. There was an elasticity in my spirits, a buoyancy in my step, which I had never before experienced, as I walked the deck of the Fraulein, as she lay in the roads just before getting under weigh.

“There is a loaded boat coming off, and I think I see Lieutenant Jeekel in her,” said Captain Van Graoul, who had been looking through his glass towards the shore.

He was right; in a short time my friends came alongside in a boat laden with provisions and fruits, and luxuries of every kind and description which the country could produce. While I was welcoming him on board, the things were being handed up on deck.

“Oh, you must not thank me for anything there,” he exclaimed, with a smile, as he saw me looking at what was going forward. “I have but performed a commission for a friend of ours, who charged me to see it executed, or not to venture into her presence again.”

“Oh, I understand,” I replied, laughing significantly. “Pray, whenever you are tempted back to her neighbourhood, express my gratitude, and assure her and Maria that I will not forget them, or the last mark of their kindness.”

I suspected that it would not be long before my message was delivered, if the lieutenant could get leave from his ship, which was then refitting. He gave me also a satisfactory piece of intelligence, to the effect, that as soon as his brig was ready for sea, she was to be sent to cruise in search of the Emu, should her piratical career not yet have terminated.

I was very unwilling to have to go so far out of my way as Batavia; for I felt certain that my search should be carried on among the wilder and less frequented islands lying to the east of Java, where the pirates would have little fear of being surprised. At the same time, I might obtain important information at Batavia; and I knew the necessity of beginning my search systematically.

Everybody on board was in high spirits, and they all having had the object of the cruise explained to them, seemed to enter into it with a zeal and alacrity which was highly gratifying to me. We had a complete little Babel, as far as a variety of tongues are concerned, in the Fraulein; but, thanks to Fairburn’s admirable arrangements, aided by Van Graoul, perfect harmony instead of discord was produced.

I have not yet described Van Graoul. He was a stout man with a placid, good-humoured expression of countenance, and was content, provided he could enjoy his well-loved pipe, and an occasional glass of schiedam, to let the world take its way without complaining. He wore light-blue trousers, with enormous side-pockets, into which his hands were always thrust; a nankeen jacket, and a wide-brimmed straw hat, with a bright yellow handkerchief round his neck. He was a very good seaman in most respects; and was so perfectly cool in danger, that it was difficult to believe he was aware of the state of affairs. He did not, however, make a good master, as he was subject to fits of absence, when he was apt to forget the object of his voyage. The junior mate was a young Englishman, of the name of Barlow, a very steady, trustworthy person. Then, there was a boatswain, a gunner, a carpenter, and other petty officers; and I must not forget to mention Hassan, the young Malay, and Kalong the Dyak, who considered themselves our immediate attendants, while Ungka was a favourite with all.

As it was impossible to say where the Emu might be, we were constantly on the look-out for any vessel answering her description. It was agreed that if we did fall in with her, we must endeavour to take her by surprise, or to capture her by boarding, as, were we to fire at her, our round shot might injure those we were in search of. We had a very short passage to Batavia, and anchored in the roadstead. The town being built on a swamp, and planted with trees, was entirely concealed from our view. I immediately went on shore, my boat being tracked up the river against a strong current.

I was struck by the immense number of alligators which infest the river. They are held sacred by the Javanese, who will not destroy them; and it is said that they treat their brown skins with equal respect, but have no compunction about eating a white man. They live upon the number of dead animals and offal which come floating down the river. They are useful as acting the part of scavengers to the stream they inhabit. The streets of Batavia run for the most part in a north or south direction, are kept in neat order, regularly watered, and planted with rows of trees in the Dutch style. Formerly canals intersected the streets in all directions, rendering the city the most pestilential place within the tropics; but by the orders of Sir Stamford Raffles, while the English had possession of the island, they were all filled up, except the Grand Canal and its tributaries. The city is still far from healthy, and no one who can help it remains there; the government officers and merchants all going out to their country houses in the afternoon. My stay in Batavia was so short, that I had not time to make many remarks about the place. In consequence of the recommendations I had received from Sourabaya, the Resident forwarded my views in every way, giving me passes to facilitate my search throughout all the Dutch settlements I might visit.

Fairburn and Van Graoul were in the meantime making inquiries among the masters of all the trading vessels in the harbour, whether they had seen or heard of a vessel which might prove to be the Emu. They, however, could only obtain rumours of her, and no one was met who had actually been attacked by her. For some time past it appeared that she had not even been heard of; and the opinion was, either that her career had by some means or other been brought to a close, or that she had altogether quitted those seas and gone to commit her depredations in another quarter of the globe. This last idea was the most distressing, because, if such was the case, I could not tell for what length of time my search might be prolonged. As, however, Timor was the last place she had been known to touch at, I determined to proceed there, and thence to steer a course as circumstances might direct.

We were once more at sea. It is very delightful to sail over the ocean when the breeze is fresh, and sufficiently strong to send the vessel skimming along over the water, and yet not sufficiently so to throw up waves on the surface. Many such days I remember, and many nights, when the moon, in tranquil majesty was traversing the pure dark-blue sky, her light shed in a broad stream of silver across the purple expanse on which the vessel floated, a mere dot it seemed in the infinity of space. Had I been free from anxiety, the life I spent on board the Fraulein would have been most delightful; but my mind was always dwelling on Eva, and thinking how she was situated; and my anxiety to rescue her prevented me from enjoying the present.

We had been two weeks at sea, having experienced chiefly calms and light winds, when one morning at daybreak, while on the right of the island of Lombok, the lofty cone of its volcano rising blue and distinct against the sky, a square-rigged vessel was descried in the north-east quarter. She was apparently standing on a bowline to the southward, so that, by continuing our course, we should just contrive to get near enough to speak her. There was considerable excitement on board, for we had not spoken any vessel since we were out. She might give us some information respecting the Emu; or it was just possible that she might be the Emu herself. We stood on till we made her to be a low black brig, with a somewhat rakish appearance. This answered the description of the Emu. We had now to consider how to approach the stranger without exciting her suspicions. We first hoisted the Dutch ensign, and out flew, in return from her peak, the stars and stripes of the United States.

“He is not afraid of showing his colours,” said Van Graoul, looking at the brig through his glass. “But ah! see there! He does not like our look. He has put his helm up, and away he goes before the wind.”

So it was. The stranger altered her course, and away she stood to the eastward, pretty briskly setting her studding-sails and royals; by which we calculated that she had a good many hands on board. This behaviour of the stranger increased our suspicions of her character; and we accordingly made all sail in chase. We were now to try the speed of the little Fraulein. The breeze freshened, and away she flew over the water; but the brig was much larger, and soon showed us that she had a fast pair of heels. Do all we could, indeed, we could only continue to hold our own with her. Sometimes we even fancied that she was distancing us, and then after an hour had passed, we did not appear to have sunk her hull in the water.

“Oh that we could but come up with her!” I exclaimed. “My sweet little Eva, we would soon liberate you from the power of these ruffians.”

Van Graoul had his eyes upon the brig, as he said quite calmly, as if he had been thinking over the matter, “Has it not struck you, Mr Seaworth, that yonder stranger may have as bad an opinion of us as we have of her; and that seeing a piccarooning little craft, no offence to the Fraulein, standing towards her, she thought the safest thing she could do would be to keep out of our way?”

This was one mode of accounting for the flight of the stranger; still I did not like the idea of giving up the chase. Van Graoul’s notion might be correct; but yet it was possible that she was, after all, the Emu. At last the sun went down; but the night was so clear that we could still see the chase, and most perseveringly we followed her. The morning dawned, and there she was just ahead of us; and so well defined did every spar and sail appear in the clear atmosphere, that I could scarce persuade myself that she was far beyond the range of our guns. She had, indeed, rather increased than diminished her distance from us. At the same rate, unless the breeze failed her, and favoured us, she must finally escape from us. Approaching the evening, some low wooded land appeared ahead, towards which she was steering.

“What can she intend to do now?” I asked of Fairburn.

“She intends to run between a number of low coral islands, which form the land you see ahead, and so expects to escape us,” he answered. “The navigation is very difficult, and very dangerous for a stranger; but Van Graoul knows them well, and if she goes in we can follow.”

“By all means, let us follow them,” I exclaimed. “Everything makes me think that must be the Emu.”

“I wish that I could be certain,” said Fairburn. “We have a longer cruise before us.”

I asked Van Graoul the name of the islets scattered about in a long line before us.

“They are called the Pater Nosters, because strangers are apt to say their Pater Nosters when they happen to find themselves among them in bad weather,” he answered.

The day was clear and the sea smooth; but I could suppose that in thick weather they must be very dangerous. The brig stood boldly on, with all sail set; and as we saw her, she seemed about to run directly on shore. Our glasses were continually fixed on her. One moment she was before us—the next she had disappeared. An exclamation of surprise escaped from many of the crew.

“Hello! where’s the stranger?” cried one.

“Why, if she don’t beat the Flying Dutchman!” exclaimed another.

“I thought no good of her when I saw her up-helm and run away from us as she did,” said a third, a Yankee, who was one of the oracles of the crew.

Van Graoul laughed. “We shall soon get a sight of her again,” he said; “she will get becalmed among the trees, or will find the wind baffling, when we, with our fore and aft sails shall have the advantage.”

The breeze still held, and my heart beat quick at the thoughts of what was going to occur. At last we approached the land, or rather the islands. They stretched away for miles before us on either side, for we appeared to be near the centre of the group. The highest were not more than five or six feet out of the water; but the greater number were only two or three feet, and some were scarcely as many inches above it, and it seemed extraordinary that the waves should not wash completely over them. That they did not do so, even in rough weather, was evident from the thick groves of cocoa-nut, palm, and other tropical trees, which grew on them, while a bright sand, on which were strewed numberless beautiful shells, fringed their borders.

Van Graoul now showed some of his good qualities. Hands were stationed at the bowsprit end, each fore-yard arm, and the mast-head, to keep a bright look-out for the coral ridges, which had not yet shown themselves above water, while he stood forward where he could be seen by the helmsman, ready to direct him in the devious course we were about to pursue. I had had too recent a lesson of the dangers of coral reefs not to feel anxious as I found myself again among them. Coral islands have always struck me as one of the most interesting curiosities of nature. A minute marine insect builds up from the bottom of the sea the solid foundation. The waves break the summit into sand. The birds of the air come and rest there, and bring seeds, which in time spring up and decay, till a soil is formed to give nourishment to more lofty trees, such as we now saw before us. We shot in between a narrow opening with the water of the deepest blue on either side. All hands were at their stations. Fairburn acted as quarter-master, ready to repeat our pilot’s signals. It was a nervous time: now we seemed rushing on against a bank of trees, and directly we turned to the right hand or to the left, through another opening, the termination of which was completely hidden from our sight; and had I not felt confidence in Van Graoul, I should have fancied that we were running into a blind passage, without another outlet. On looking out astern, I found that we had completely lost sight of the sea, and thus were on every side surrounded by trees and reefs. A stranger would, indeed, have found no little difficulty in getting out of the place, had he ever by any wonderful chance managed to get into it. Still on we flew.

“Now,” exclaimed Van Graoul triumphantly, “we shall see directly; and if I mistake not, we shall not be far astern of her.”

Soon after he spoke we shot past a thickly-wooded point, and emerged into open, lake-like expanse. I saw his countenance fall. The stranger was nowhere to be seen.

Chapter Twenty.

Everybody on board experienced a feeling of blank disappointment, as in vain we looked in the hopes of seeing the royals of the brig appearing above the trees. Either Van Graoul had miscalculated her distance from us, or she had taken some other passage; or, as Dick Harper the Yankee seaman observed, she was in truth the Flying Dutchman. At all events it appeared that we had run into a most dangerous position, to very little purpose. Should the brig be the pirate, and still be concealed somewhere in the neighbourhood—if we brought up, she might at night attack us with her boats; and though we might beat them off, we might not escape loss, and at the same time be as far from our object as ever. We had no time for deliberation—our course must now be ahead, so we stood across the lake-like expanse I have spoken of, where as much caution as before was necessary; for it was full of reefs, and in another quarter of an hour we were again threading the labyrinth-like canals from which we had before emerged. Every instant I hoped to come upon the chase, but still as we sailed on she eluded us.

His attention was too much occupied to allow me to keep him in conversation and I saw he was as much vexed as I was at the escape of the stranger. Little Ungka seemed the most surprised of any one at finding himself among trees; but he showed no disposition to quit his friends on board the schooner, even for the sake of being lord of all he surveyed. For two hours we stood on; sometimes the channels between the islands widened, and here we crossed broad sounds, but did not attempt to go down any of them, as their entrances, Van Graoul said, were full of dangerous shoals. We glided on; and I began to think that we were never to be clear of this wooded labyrinth; for, curious and beautiful as it might be under other circumstances, I wanted once more to have a clear sight around me.

“Starboard!” cried Fairburn, as our pilot waved his hand on one side, and the head of the schooner deviated to the left.


“Port it is,” repeated the helmsman, and her head turned towards a channel to the right. The wind now came on her quarter, now on her beam, according to the turnings of the channels; and I was afraid, sometimes, that it would come ahead. It, however, never baffled us; and at length, at the end of a broader passage than usual, the unbroken line of the horizon appeared before us. The seamen welcomed it almost with a shout, for few like this sort of navigation. I proposed to Van Graoul that we should anchor before we emerged altogether from among the islands, so as to explore them more carefully in the boats, in case the brig should be still hid among them. Fairburn approved of my idea; and shortening sail immediately, we brought up in a little bay among the trees, by which the vessel was completely hid. Fairburn and the second mate, Barlow, volunteered for this service; and urged me so strongly to remain on board with Van Graoul that I consented.

Fairburn first pulled out to sea, so that he might take a look all round; but coming back, he reported that there was no appearance anywhere of a sail to the southward; so that, if the stranger had gone through the group, she must have passed out somewhere to the northward. While the boats were away we sent a hand to watch from the highest tree at the farthest point of land to the south, if any vessel made her appearance from among the islands. Hour after hour passed away, and the boats did not return. The sun went down, and darkness came on; and at last I began to grow anxious about them. Van Graoul lighted his pipe, and sat on the deck, puffing away with more energy than usual.

“There is no fear,” he remarked. “I did not expect them before morning; and if the brig is where I advised Fairburn to look for her, there is better chance of finding her in the dark than in the daylight without their being discovered.”

Of course I could not turn in. Van Graoul and I held each other in conversation, while we kept a bright look-out on every side. It was the morning watch, when I heard a hail—it seemed like the voice of a stranger; it came nearer; there was another hail, and to my great satisfaction Fairburn and Barlow pulled alongside. They had seen nothing of the brig; and we were all very much puzzled to know what had become of her. The next morning we weighed, and stood out to sea. Never was a brighter look-out kept for a prize than we kept for the reappearance of the stranger; but to little purpose, beyond convincing ourselves that there was no probability of her appearing. For two days we cruised in the neighbourhood of the islands, clear of the reefs, and at length once more stood on our course.

There was much discussion on board as to what the stranger was—where she had come from—where she was going—and why, if she was honest, she ran away from us. The general notion among the crew was that she was something strange and supernatural.

“If not the Flying Dutchman, which could scarcely be the case seeing the latitude we are in,” said Dick Harper with oracular authority, “she’s near akin to the chap, that you may depend on, for no other would have been for to go for to play us such a trick as he has been doing; and for that matter, messmates, look ye here—he may be the Dutchman himself; for if he can cruise about as they say he does, I don’t see no reason why he shouldn’t take it into his head just to come down into these parts to have a look at some of his kindred, instead of knocking eternally off and about the Cape, which no longer belongs to them, d’ye see. To my mind, it’s just as well we had nothing to do with the fellow; he’d have played us some scurvy trick, depend on’t.”

This most philosophical explanation seemed to satisfy the ship’s company; and as the officers had no better one to offer, except that the stranger had got into the open sea again by some passage unknown to them, they said nothing on the subject.

It served as a matter of discussion for a long time afterwards. We made but little progress, for the wind was light, and often it fell almost calm, while the weather became very hot and sultry.

One morning, when I came on deck, I found that we were lying becalmed. The sea was as smooth as glass, but it could not be called level; for ever and anon there came a slow rising swell, which made the little craft rock from side to side, and the sails flap with a loud irregular sound against the masts, as if they were angry at having nothing to do, and wished to remind the wind to fulfil its duty. The sun shone out of the sky, without a cloud to temper its heat, and its rays made one side of the ocean shine like molten gold. Every one was suffering more or less from the lassitude produced by excessive heat; the pitch was bubbling up from the seams of the deck; a strong, hot, burning smell pervaded the vessel; the chickens in the hencoops hung their heads and forgot to cackle; the ducks refused to quack, and sat with their bills open, gasping for breath; the pig lay down, as if about to yield up the ghost; and even Ungka, who generally revelled in a fine hot sun, and selected the warmest place on board, now looked out for a shady spot, and sat with his paws over his head to keep it cool. The bulkheads groaned, the booms creaked against the masts, every particle of grease being speedily absorbed; while, if the hand touched a piece of metal, it felt as if heated by the fire. Two of the youngsters of the crew were actually amusing themselves by frying a slice of meat on a bit of tin exposed to the sun. As one looked along the deck, one could see the heat-mist playing over every object on which the eye rested. If it is hot thus early in the day, what will it become by noon, we thought, unless a breeze spring up to cool us? However, no breeze did spring up, and hotter and hotter it grew, if possible, till Dick Harper declared we should all be roasted, and become a fat morsel for one of the big sea-serpents which were known to frequent those seas. We got an awning spread, and breakfasted on deck, for below it was insupportable; and though we none of us starved ourselves, we were unable to do the ample justice we generally did to the viands. Van Graoul lighted his pipe, and leaning back in his chair, watched the smoke, with calm composure, ascending in a perpendicular column above his nose. Fairburn kept his eye carefully ranging round the horizon, to look out for any signs of coming wind; for we could not but suspect that this calm was the forerunner of a hurricane, or a gale of wind of some sort. I tried to read; but I found that reading was impossible. It was even difficult to carry on a conversation with any degree of briskness. Hour after hour slowly passed away, and there was no change in the weather, when a sound struck our ears which suddenly aroused us all from our apathy.

“A gun!” exclaimed Fairburn; “and a heavy one too—”

“There’s another—and another,” we repeated in chorus.

“De pirates of Sooloo or Borneo attacking some merchant vessel,” observed Van Graoul.

“Can it be the Emu engaged with a man-of-war, by any possibility?” I asked, my thoughts always naturally recurring to her.

“There are too many guns, and the firing is too brisk for that,” remarked Fairburn. “More likely some Dutch men-of-war, or perhaps some of the Company’s cruisers engaged with a fleet of prahus.”

“Where do you make out the firing to come from?” I asked, rather puzzled myself to say from what direction the sounds proceeded.

“From the southward,” he answered. “Some of the sounds seem so loud, that if it were night, I should say we ought to see the flashes; but that arises, I expect, from the peculiar state of the atmosphere.”

“I wish we had a breeze, to be able to get up to see what it is all about,” I exclaimed.

“It is one great puzzle,” observed Van Graoul sagaciously, as he re-lit his pipe, and puffed away as before.

Again all was quiet for the space of an hour; and we, of course, fancied that the engagement had been concluded, and that we should have no chance of helping our friends. The general opinion was, that a large force of Malay pirates had been attacked by some European ships of war. While we were discussing the matter, we were again startled by a louder report than ever, followed by several others in rapid succession.

“Did you not fancy that you felt the vessel shake under our feet?” I asked; for, soon after the loudest report, I thought the schooner was lifted up and let down suddenly, in a very unusual way.

“Yes; if I did not know that we were in deep water, I should have thought she had struck on a shoal,” replied Van Graoul.

“Are you certain that we are in deep water?” asked Fairburn with emphasis. “We’ll see what the lead says.”

Van Graoul smiled. “I am not offended, Fairburn, though some might be; but you’ll find I’m right.”

“I hope so,” replied Fairburn; “but a current might be drifting us faster than we expected.” The lead was hove, deep water was found all round. “I cannot make it out,” exclaimed Fairburn.

“Nor I,” said Van Graoul, as he puffed away with his pipe. “Some ship blown up; or perhaps a score of prahus.”

Again the sound of firing was heard rolling away in the distance.

“It must be off Sourabaya, or Lombok, or perhaps as far away as Bali,” remarked Fairburn, listening attentively. “Sometimes I fancy it comes from the eastward, and may be away at Combobo, or Floris. Over a calm sea sounds travel a great distance.”

“I cannot help thinking that there must be some engagement on shore between the Dutch troops and the natives of some of those islands. They now and then are fond of making a disturbance,” said Barlow, the second mate.

“No, no; there was no chance of anything of the sort,” answered Van Graoul. “That firing, if firing it is, comes from the sea, I tell you.”

The evening was now approaching, and still the mystery was not solved. At distant intervals, we continued to hear the sound of firing; but when darkness came on, we could nowhere see the flashes of the guns, as we expected. A light breeze at length sprung up from the eastward; but it was still hot and oppressive, and it in no way refreshed us. Anxious to discover, if possible, the cause of the firing, we trimmed sails and stood to the southward; but with the light air there was blowing we made but little way. The night appeared very long. I turned in for a couple of hours, but the heat soon again drove me on deck. When daylight appeared, we were on the look-out, almost expecting to see some of the vessels which had been engaged the previous day; but as the sun arose there was nothing in sight but the deep blue silent sea on three sides, and to the south the lofty hills of a large island, and at one end the peaks of a mountain towering over the rest. There was, instead of the bright, pure, clear atmosphere which generally exists at that hour, a very peculiar lurid glare, which, as the sun rolled upwards in his course, increased in intensity, till the sky became of almost a copper hue. Fairburn had gone aloft with his glass, to satisfy himself more fully as to there being anything in sight from the point where the firing had proceeded. He now returned on deck.

“I cannot make it out,” he remarked. “After all, I am not so certain that it was firing we heard. Away to the southward, there is a dense black cloud which seems rising rapidly, as if it would cover all the sky.”

We looked in the direction he indicated; and there, even while he was speaking, we observed the approach of a cloud, or rather I should call it a dense mist, so completely without break of any sort did it occupy the whole horizon. It looked like an opaque mass of some substance, borne onward by some invisible power towards us. Van Graoul, whose equanimity nothing extraordinary could disturb, likened it to the wall of China painted black, and taking a cruise to the southward.

“Is there any wind in it, do you think?” asked Fairburn. “It does not seem to ruffle the surface.”

“No wind, I think,” said Van Graoul; “but better shorten sail; the canvas does no good.”

Such also was Fairburn’s opinion, and accordingly the schooner was made snug to meet the hurricane should it arrive.

The crew were clustering in groups on deck watching the strange appearance, and in suppressed voices asking each other what it could mean. The more nervous already began to give way to fear; and the bravest were not altogether free from apprehension that some awful catastrophe was about to occur. The Javanese declared that it portended great convulsions in their country, and perhaps the overthrow of the ruling powers. Some of the more credulous of the seamen began to connect it, in some way or other, with the sudden disappearance of the strange brig.

“I knowed it would be so,” muttered Dick Harper. “I never yet heard of any one coming across those fly-away, never-find-me sort of chaps we met t’other day, but what was sure to get into mischief afore long.”

These, and similar observations, according to the temper and the natural prejudices of the speakers, by degrees spread an undefined apprehension of evil among all the crew; and fellows who, I believe, would have faced any known danger, and struggled manfully with death to the last, were now full of fear, and ready to be startled at the sound of a gun, or even the flap of a sail. On came the dark mass, as it approached assuming a dusky red appearance, which much increased its terrors. In a short time it covered the whole sky, and a darkness deeper than night came on. There was only one clear space, just like a gleam of light, seen at the end of a cavern, and that was away to the eastward, whence the light wind then blowing came; and even that was growing narrower and narrower. The darkness increased; the hearts of all of us, I believe, sunk; the light in the east, our last ray of hope, which till now had tended somewhat to cheer our spirits, totally disappeared, and we all began to feel that death, in some horrible, undefined shape, might speedily be our lot. It was dark before, as dark as night, but still we might have made out a vessel at the distance of a quarter of a mile; now we could scarcely see the length of the schooner. We were, when the darkness began, to the best of our knowledge, some distance from any land, or reefs, or shoals, and we trusted that no current might be carrying us towards any dangers, for we were utterly unable to protect ourselves against them.

The vessel’s head was now put about, that we might stand off, the sail being reduced so as to leave sufficient only to give her steerage way, that, should any heavy wind overtake us, we might be prepared to receive it. Our light was utterly unavailing, for darker and darker still grew the atmosphere, till, without exaggeration, we were unable to see our hands held up before our faces; and it was through our voices alone that we were able to recognise each other.

“Is there a chance of any wind?” I asked of Fairburn, near whom I was standing. I thought how awful a storm would be in such darkness.

“It is possible, I think,” he replied. “At the same time, I fear no storm with this little craft.”

We were still in doubt as to the cause of the awful phenomenon which was taking place, when, as I happened to touch the companion hatch, I found that it was gritty, as if covered with dust, while our lips and eyes informed us that a shower of light subtle ashes was falling—the deck being soon covered with a thick coating of them.

“What do you now think causes the darkness?” demanded Fairburn of Van Graoul; for we were all three standing together round the companion hatch.

“One burning mountain. It is Tomboro, in Sumbawa; the land we saw in the morning away to the south,” he replied in his usual calm tone. “I thought so some time ago; but I said nothing, because I was not certain.”

“A burning mountain!” I exclaimed. “Could ashes have caused the intense darkness which hangs over us?”

“Oh yes; but we shall have something worse before long,” he observed coolly. “Ah, I thought so, here it comes.”

Even while he was speaking, a loud rushing noise was heard—the sea seemed to be bubbling and foaming up around us, and in an instant the schooner heeled over to her bulwarks, and appeared to be driving furiously onward over the water, as if she was about to go over never to rise again. Fairburn seized his speaking-trumpet, and shouted forth his orders to the crew. The helm was put up; the after-sail was taken off the vessel, and the jib shown for an instant.

“She pays off! she pays off!” was shouted by the crew, as her head was felt to turn away from the wind, and she once more rose on an even keel. Then on she flew, like a sea-bird before the furious blast, through the darkness.

“Where are we driving to?” we asked ourselves. “While we had abundance of sea-room we were safe. Now, who can say what will be our fate?”

Fairburn ordered a lamp for the binnacle; a sickly light was thrown on the compass. He rushed below. A glance at the chart showed that we were then driving towards the western end of Sumbawa. Van Graoul and I followed him.

“Can we weather it and get into Allass Straits?” I asked, as I pointed to the chart.

The Dutchman shook his head. “There are rocks and islands off there which we cannot see; we may slip through them by chance, but we must not reckon on it,” he answered.

We returned on deck. The wind blew more furiously than ever, the darkness also seemed increased. We stood prepared for our fate. We had done all that men could do. Then I remembered the last words of my kind guardian, “Never despair, for God is everywhere.” I repeated it to my companions. It gave us courage and confidence, for we felt that we were in His hands. From mouth to mouth it was passed with reverence along the decks; and even the rough seamen, unaccustomed to pray, felt its force and truth. On, on we drove, the water dashed and foamed around us, the wind howled through the rigging. For an instant there was a lull, then down again came the blast upon us. The compass told that it had again shifted, and was now blowing from the north. If it held so, it would shorten the time before the catastrophe must occur. Every moment the sea became more agitated, and the broken waves leaped up and washed over our decks, as if we were running through a troubled race.

“How far-off are we from the shore, think you?” I asked of Fairburn, in as calm a voice as I could command.

“Still some distance,” he replied vaguely. “The wind may shift before we reach it.”

I cannot hope to convey a distinct idea of the inky blackness of the atmosphere, the howling of the whirlwinds, and the roaring of the waves, as, utterly unable to help ourselves, we drove furiously onward. In a few hours, or in a few minutes even, where should we be? Again, before we could answer the question, the wind changed, with redoubled force it seemed. It came off the land, whirling us round before it. Its force seemed to drive back the waves to their proper level. On a sudden, without a moment’s warning, the topsail gave a flap against the mast, the schooner rocked to and fro in the yet troubled sea, and then all was still, and the schooner floated calmly, as in a sheltered harbour, on the water.

“This is wonderful. What is going to occur next?” I exclaimed.

“Perhaps the wind is just taking a rest,” observed Van Graoul.

We waited in expectation of again feeling the fury of the blast, and anxiously looked at the compass to see from what quarter it came. While our eyes were trying to pierce the darkness, as if we could discover the coming danger, a bright light burst on them from the south. Never was a spectacle of a like nature, more awful yet more magnificent, beheld. The darkness for an instant cleared away, and we saw, but a few miles distant it seemed, a lofty mountain. From its broad summit there burst forth three distinct columns of flame. They thus rose to an enormous height, and then, their summits uniting in one, they seemed to contend with each other, twisting and intertwining together, till their crests broke into a mass of fiery foam, and expanded over the heavens. Now and then a still larger quantity of flame would burst forth, and darting upwards for many thousand feet, would fall in burning streams to the earth. Other streams also burst forth and flowed down the sides of the mountain, till the whole side towards us seemed one mass of liquid fire.

Although we were some miles distant, the light from the burning mountain cast a lurid glare on the hull and rigging of the schooner; and as we looked at each other, our faces shone as if formed of some red-hot metal rather than of flesh, while the whole expanse of sea between us and the land seemed a mass of molten copper. An artist would have delighted to paint the wondering countenances of the seamen, some still full of doubts and fears; the various attitudes in which they stood transfixed; the many tints of their skins, from the dark hues of the Javanese and Malays, in their picturesque costume, to the fair colour of the Europeans, in the ordinary dress in which English and American seamen delight, now blended into one line.

All this time the loud reports continued to be heard; but knowing their cause, they no longer appeared to us like those of cannon. Almost as suddenly as the awful spectacle had been exhibited to our eyes, it was once more obscured by the dense masses of cinders, and even of stone, which filled the sky and fell around us.

The wind returned, as before, from the east; and, to avoid the fiery shower, we stood away to the northward. It was in vain to hope to escape it altogether. The stones which fell decreased in size, but the ashes came as thick as before, and the explosions continued at intervals. To what had at first appeared so terrific, we had now got accustomed, and the fears even of the most superstitious of the seamen subsided; but still the Javanese were not to be dissuaded from the belief that some wonderful change was to take place in the affairs of their country. We put an awning over the deck to shelter ourselves somewhat from the ashes; but the finer portion drove under it, and filled every crevice, while we kept the people constantly employed in shovelling them overboard. Thus hours passed on, till we began to think that we should never again see the bright light of the sun.

Chapter Twenty One.

For a whole night longer we lay exposed to the shower of ashes; and though we were standing away from their source, they in no perceptible way diminished in density. At length, at the hour the sun should appear once more in the east, a light gleamed forth, the ashes grew less dense, and daylight once more gladdened our eyes. On examining the ashes, they had the appearance of calcined pumice-stone, nearly of the colour of wood ashes. In many places on the deck they lay a foot thick. They were perfectly tasteless, and had no smell of sulphur, though there was a slight burnt odour from them. We now stood back towards Sumbawa, as, with the wind from the eastward, it was the only course we could steer. As we approached it, we saw right ahead a shoal several miles in length, with several black rocks on it.

Van Graoul was puzzled in the extreme. “I never heard of that shoal before,” he observed; and, on examining the chart, none was marked down.

The lead gave us no bottom where we then were. The shoal, we agreed, must have been thrown up by the earthquake. We stood on till we were within half a mile of it, and then Fairburn lowered a boat and went to examine it. He pulled on till the boat, instead of grounding as we expected, went into the midst of it. It proved to be a complete mass of pumice-stone floating on the sea, some inches in depth, with great numbers of trees and logs, which had the appearance of having been burnt and shivered by lightning. We passed several similar floating islands; and on one occasion got so completely surrounded by a mass of ashes, that we had no little difficulty in forcing our way through it, fearful every instant of encountering some log which might injure the vessel. At last the Tomboro mountain hove in sight. We passed it about six miles off. The summit was not visible, being enveloped in clouds of smoke and ashes. The sides were, in several places, still smoking, evidently from the lava which had flowed down them not yet having cooled; and one large stream was discernible from the smoke arising from it, and which had reached all the way from the summit to the sea. Beating along the coast, we entered a bay where there was good anchorage, and on going on shore we heard sad accounts of the ruin the irruption had caused. The whirlwind had destroyed whole villages, rooted up trees, and thrown the vessels and prahus at anchor in the harbour on the shore, aided by the sea, which rose at the same time; while the ashes had ruined the crops, and the stones, and rocks, and streams of lava had killed many thousands of the inhabitants. Afterwards I learned that the explosions had been heard at Sumatra, 970 miles from Tomboro, and that the ashes had fallen thickly near Macasa, 217 miles from the mountain. The unfortunate inhabitants of the island suffered afterwards greatly from famine, their yearly supply of food being totally lost.

The wind coming more from the northward, we shaped our course for Dilli, in Timor, on the chance of there hearing of the Emu. We kept a constant look-out night and day for her, but not a sail hove in sight. In five days we reached Dilli, which is a Portuguese settlement on the north-west coast of Timor. A Portuguese naval officer boarded us in the outer roads, and piloted us through a narrow channel to the inner roads. It is a wretched-looking place; and the houses, small, dirty, and ruinous, were scattered without any order or symmetry in all directions. Van Graoul, who could speak Portuguese, landed with me, as I wished to pay my respects to the Governor. On each side of the town were two half-ruinous forts, on which were mounted some old iron guns of small calibre. The sentinels were but a quarter clothed, and certainly not in uniform, for not two were alike. The only point in which most agreed, was in being destitute of shoes. Some had one shoe and a boot, others had sandals, and others wore wisps of straw wrapped round their feet, but the greater number stood on their bare soles. Many were without jackets, some had no trousers, a sort of kilt serving the purpose, made of every variety of material. Military hats or caps were a rarity. Some left their bare heads exposed to the sun; others covered them with handkerchiefs, straw hats, or mere turbans of straw; while the greatest number of their muskets had no locks, the only serviceable arms which all possessed being a long knife or dagger, stuck in a belt by their sides.

The Governor was taking his siesta when we arrived, and we had to walk up and down in the sun, in front of his dwelling, a miserable tumble-down cottage, for two hours, before any one ventured to arouse him. At length we were admitted into his presence. We found him sitting in a room without a matting; a few chairs and benches forming its only furniture. He was rubbing his eyes as we entered, as if not yet awake, and in a sleepy tone he inquired our business. What Van Graoul told him I do not know; but his manner instantly became very polite, and bowing towards me, he motioned me to be seated. Van Graoul, who acted as interpreter, said he would be happy to do anything I wished; that if the Emu came into the harbour, he should have the satisfaction of blowing her to pieces; that he had heard of her depredations, but that no Portuguese cruisers had met with her, or her fate would have been sealed; that he would supply me with cattle and provisions, or anything from his stores; and that if I happened to have a fancy to purchase any slaves, he should be happy to do a little business in that way also. I found afterwards that the Governor and all the government officers trafficked in slaves, and that some fitted out vessels to run to the Australian coasts, or to those of New Guinea, to pick up a supply for their market.

In addition to the slave trade, a commerce is carried on in wax and sandal-wood, which the natives are forced to deliver up at a small and almost nominal price. The Governor and his officials allow no one else but themselves to embark in trade, greatly to the disgust of the natives and Chinese, who expressed a strong wish to be freed from the yoke of such a people. This information was received from Van Graoul, who was a Dutchman, it must be remembered, and certainly prejudiced against the Portuguese. We parted, however, on excellent terms. I sent the Governor a box of cigars; and he in return sent us off some sheep and shaddocks.

We now steered for the Dutch settlement of Coupang, to the south of Timor. As we sailed along the coast, we observed a number of ridges of lofty mountains, some of which appeared to be a great distance in the interior. The country behind Coupang rises to the height of five hundred feet, the higher hills being covered with woods, the lower with cocoa-nut trees. On a cliff above the town is the fort of Concordia, and near it a brook, just deep enough to float small prahus for a few yards. East of it is the town, which consists of two principal streets, running parallel with the beach for about a quarter of a mile, with two small irregular streets crossing them. The houses near the sea are simply small shops, belonging to Chinese. Behind the town is an open space of grass, shaded by fine tamarind trees, with the Governor’s house on one side; and some roads run up thence to some good houses belonging to Europeans, and to some clusters of huts inhabited by Malays. While we were there, the stream was always occupied by people either bathing or washing their clothes. I remember also a valley full of cocoa-nut trees, bamboos, bananas, and tamarinds; but beyond, the country had somewhat of an arid appearance. The current coin of the country was of copper, called a doit, the value of one sixth of a penny. By my notes, I see that I entered a schoolhouse, where a very intelligent man was instructing a large number of Malay children in the Christian religion, and in useful knowledge, with, I understood, most satisfactory success. The native Timorese are a frizzle-haired race, who live in rude huts, roofed with palm-leaves, attend but little to agriculture, and are addicted to cutting off the heads of their enemies in battle, and carrying them away as trophies like the Dyaks of Borneo.

The Governor received me very politely; and, from the inquiries he enabled me to make, I felt very certain that the Emu had visited the place at the time described by the Chinese pedlar Chin Fi. What had afterwards become of her no one knew. There were rumours, however, that a suspicious sail had been seen in the neighbourhood of the Serwatty and Tenimber Islands, while others spoke of the Arru Islands, and the western coast of New Guinea. For want of better information to guide us, we resolved accordingly to cruise among them, and to prosecute our inquiries of the inhabitants. A large part of the population of the Serwatty and Tenimber Islands have, through the instrumentality of the Dutch missionaries, become Christians.

The first place we touched at was the island of Kessa, at an anchorage not far from the chief village, called Mama. As the people are much addicted to trade with all the neighbouring islands, I was in hopes that we might here possibly gain the information I required. We were much amused with the costume in which the people assembled to attend church the day we were there. Some wore old-fashioned coats with wide sleeves and broad skirts; others garments of the same description, but of a more modern cut; while the remainder were clad in long black kaligas, or loose coats, the usual dress of native Christians. The costume of those who were clad in the old-fashioned coats, was completed by short breeches, shoes with enormous buckles, and three-cornered hats. Many of the women wore old Dutch chintz gowns, or jackets, the costume of the remainder being the native sarong and kabya. The heads of the women were adorned with ornaments of gold and precious stones; but the men wore their long hair simply confined with a tortoise-shell comb. They appeared a very simple-minded, amiable people. I was much struck by the course of instruction adopted at the schools, where all the children under ten years of age assembled to learn the rudiments of Christianity, and reading and writing. Yet these people, we in England should call savages. Can we boast that the children of our poor are so well cared for?

We could here gain no intelligence of the Emu, so we again sailed. At another island we touched at, called Lette, we found one portion of the aborigines converted to Christianity; and the remainder, who were still heathens, serving them willingly as persons of a superior order. The people are tall and well formed, with light brown complexions, pointed noses, high foreheads, hair black, though rendered yellow by rubbing in a composition of lime. It is confined by a bamboo comb. The men wear no other clothing than a piece of cloth made from the bark of a tree wrapped round the waist. The women, in addition, wear a sort of kabya, or short gown, open in front. They worship a wooden idol in human shape, placed on a square heap of stones, under a large tree in the centre of the village. We were visited by a number of chiefs, who came in lightly constructed prahus, with high stems and sterns, and awnings of palm-leaves raised over them. One of their chiefs was clad after the fashion of the seventeenth century. He wore a large wig, a three-cornered hat, short breeches, with large knee-buckles, and a coat with wide sleeves, ruffles, and spacious skirts, while on his feet he had high shoes with heavy silver buckles. He was evidently perfectly satisfied that he was in the fashion. During a stroll I took into the interior, I observed a number of bees’ nests hanging from the branches of the high trees, some of which were more than two feet in circumference. The wax and honey are collected with very little difficulty; and the bees, when driven from their nests, generally build another on the same tree.

It will be impossible for me to mention a tenth part of the curious sights we saw, or the number of places we visited. For several weeks we were engaged in running from island to island, among the numerous groups which are to be found between Java and the coast of New Guinea. At length we reached the Arru Islands, and entered the port of Dobbo, which is a place of considerable trade with the neighbouring countries, and much frequented by the Bugis and Macassars of Celebes.

These islands export a considerable quantity of trepang, tortoise-shell, edible birds’ nests, and pearls. The trepang is a sort of sea-slug, which is dried and used by the Chinese to make soup. The edible birds’ nests are of a glutinous nature, and with but little taste, and are used for thickening soup. They are considered a great delicacy. The chief food of the people is the pith of the sago tree. The chief man among them is called Orang Kaya. Their prahus are seventy feet long; their greatest beam not being more than ten feet, and they sit very low on the water. The mass of the people are heathens; but some have been converted to Mahommedanism, and many to Christianity, the good effects of which are visible in their conduct.

I invited a number of the chiefs to come on board, and had a feast prepared for them, as Van Graoul considered that it would be the very best way to gain their friendship, and to obtain the information I required. We had a table spread on deck, and an awning stretched over it. Fairburn sat at one end, and I at the other; and Van Graoul was placed at the centre, to act as interpreter for us both. They ate prodigiously, and each man drank enough arrack to intoxicate any three Europeans, without appearing to feel the slightest ill effects from the spirit. All of us made speeches, which were, without doubt, very complimentary; and when words failed us we supplied their places with signs and gesticulations, which did infinitely better, as they were far more generally understood. At the conclusion of a toast I ordered the guns to be fired to give it due effect, when so surprised were our guests with the unexpected sound, that up they jumped as if electrified: some went overboard, not knowing what was to follow; others hid themselves under the table, and the rest tried to find their way below. They were, however, in no way offended, when they discovered that no one was hurt. The clothes of those who had been in the water were speedily dried, and perfect harmony was restored.

We lay here for some days, in order to refresh the crew, and to supply ourselves with wood, water, and fresh provisions. I will not say that I began to despair of falling in with the Emu; but I was much disappointed in not finding her. I had now been many months engaged in the search, and was still as far as ever, I supposed, from the success I wished for. We expected the last of our stores on board during the day, and should immediately have sailed, when one morning a vessel was observed in the offing, standing towards the island. We were curious to know what she could be, and were watching her approach. Van Graoul made her out to be a brig; and as she drew near, we saw that she was a small, low black vessel, with the American ensign flying at her peak. My heart beat with an extraordinary sensation of doubt and fear, as I saw her.

“Fairburn,” I exclaimed, touching his shoulder, “what do you think of that craft? Does she not answer the description of the Emu?”

“Indeed she does,” he answered; “but she may not be the Emu; and if she is, your friends may not be on board her.”

“We will speedily learn,” I exclaimed. “Let us get under weigh, and go out and meet her.”

“Wait a bit,” observed Van Graoul. “Her people do not know who we are. Let her come in and drop her anchor; and when her people go on shore to amuse themselves, then we will go on board and see who they have got below.”

I at once saw the wisdom of this advice, and acceded to it.

There was a fine breeze, and the stranger came boldly on with all sails set. We, being close under the shore, and our hull being hidden by a spit of land, could see her without being ourselves discovered. There were two harbours where we lay, an outer and an inner one; and we were in hopes that she would come into the inner one and be entrapped. To our great satisfaction, an Arrapara pilot went out to meet her; and we knew he would conduct her into the inner harbour. It was a beautiful sight watching her as she skimmed along the surface, looking larger and larger as she approached.

“What do you think of her now? She must be the Emu!” I exclaimed.

“She may be,” said Van Graoul; “but stop till we get her within range of our guns.”

She came quite close. With our glasses we could even distinguish the people on board. Some of our crew declared that she was the very brig which had so strangely escaped from us among the Pater Nosters. On she came under full sail. We were in hopes that she would come directly into the harbour, when just as she approached it her helm was put down, her yards braced up, her foresail backed to the mast; and while she lay to, a boat, which was lowered and manned, was seen to pull towards the shore.

“Ah, she does not like to come where she may meet honest people,” observed Van Graoul. “That looks suspicious.”

The boat was a large gig, pulled by six oars. She came in, we thought, to reconnoitre.

“Now, what do you think of seizing the boat, and holding the people as hostages till they deliver up the ladies?” exclaimed Fairburn. “If she is honest, we shall run the risk of being accused of committing an act of piracy; but if she is the Emu, our object may thus easily be obtained.”

“By all means; let us seize her. I would run every risk,” I answered.

“Yes; we will catch her, if we can,” answered Van Graoul.

Our boats were accordingly lowered and commanded. Fairburn commanded one, and Barlow another, and I took a third, with the intention of endeavouring to cut her off, and capture her without bloodshed. We lay in wait, eager for the word to shove off and go in chase. If we found that we were mistaken, there would be no harm done. The people in the boat would be a little astonished, and angry perhaps at being taken for pirates; but the importance of the object was worth the risk, and must serve as our excuse. We got a spring also on our cable, and every preparation was made to get under weigh in an instant, and to make sail in chase, should the brig appear to have taken the alarm. Van Graoul remained on board in command; and a hand was stationed aloft to watch the progress of the boat. Our intention was, not to seize her till the last moment before her people landed, or while half were in the boat and the others actually stepping on shore. On she came—those in her evidently either confident in their innocence, or unconscious of an enemy being near them. The hull of the schooner lay concealed from any one in the outer part of the harbour. Even were she seen, appearing to be quietly at anchor, with no one on her decks, she might, we hoped, fail to excite suspicion. As the boat advanced, we slipped round on the opposite side of the schooner to conceal ourselves from her sight. Her crew bent manfully to their oars. In a short time longer we hoped she would be in our power. The plan arranged was, that Fairburn and Barlow were to pull directly for her, while I was to proceed down towards the mouth of the harbour to intercept her, should she attempt to pull back before they reached her. At first, we hoped that her people would not suspect that we had any intention of interfering with them. She now had got so far up, that Van Graoul could see her from the deck; and he, with his glass in his hand, was the only person that appeared.

“She comes on bravely,” he exclaimed. “Pull away, my lads. Ah, you pull well! We shall soon know what you are made of.” He was silent for a moment. “Ah! she has ceased pulling!” he cried. “They are suspicious of something. Ah, they are pulling round! It is the Emu’s boat. Off they go again to the vessel. After her; and you may give way, my lads, in earnest.”

There was no necessity for another order; we shoved off in a moment, and the men bending to their oars, away we all three went in chase. At first, the stranger’s boat was pulling leisurely enough; but when we were discovered, her crew gave way with all their strength, as if their lives depended on it. This alone would have convinced us that the brig was the Emu; they probably suspecting the schooner to belong to the Dutch navy. As we dashed out, we now saw to our chagrin, that the pirate’s boat, for so I will call her, was ahead of us; that is, she was nearer towards the mouth of the harbour by the time we got into the fairway, while the brig, which had tacked, had now stood over to the opposite side to which we were. This gave her a great advantage. We cheered on our men, and they indeed gave way with a will. I never had felt so excited. My great object seemed near of attainment, should Eva and Mrs Clayton be on board the brig, and should we succeed in capturing the boat. Every nerve was strained to the utmost. I was influenced by the most powerful of feelings, and my crew zealously entered into them. The pirates were working for their liberties and their lives. The water flew hissing from the bows of the boat, and leaped in spray from the blades of our oars as they clove the surface.

“Give way, my lads! give way!” was the cry we all uttered. “Give way; we are gaining on them. Huzza! huzza!”

It was, however, a question whether we were really gaining on them. Our excitement made us fancy we were. We were armed all this time, it must be remembered; but we could not venture to fire on the boat, for although we had no doubt that the brig in the offing was the Emu, and that she belonged to her, we had not the proof the law requires. The moment Van Graoul saw the pirate’s boat turn tail, he slipped his cable, and, making sail, stood after us. We had thus two chances. If the boat got on board the brig before we could overtake her, we might still follow in the schooner with a prospect of success. The boat held her own. It became a matter of great doubt whether we should overtake her. An oar might break, or one of her crew might give in. If we could have fired, we should probably have stopped her, by wounding one or more people. As it was, we had our speed alone to depend on. “Give way! give way, my lads!” I heard Fairburn and Barlow shouting. “Huzza! we are gaining on them! huzza! huzza!”

Chapter Twenty Two.

The stranger brig seeing her boat pursued, tacked again and stood towards the shore. As she drew near the mouth of the harbour, she must also have observed the Fraulein running out after us; and this must have given her an idea of how matters were going on. The people in the boat, in the meantime, either from seeing help so near at hand, or from growing weary, relaxed their efforts, and we were now evidently coming up with her. There seemed, indeed, a good chance of our reaching her before she got alongside the brig. Had we before had any doubt of the character of the stranger, he soon left us none; for, seeing his boat hard pressed, by keeping away for an instant he brought his broadside to bear, and let fly four guns at us.

“Is that your game!” exclaimed Fairburn. “We know you then, my fine fellow.” Standing up for an instant, he levelled a musket at the boat, and fired. The shot struck her, but we could not see if any one was wounded; and the shot had the effect of exciting the people to fresh exertions.

They found that we were in earnest, and were not likely to be stopped in our object by fear of consequences. They once more drew ahead of us, and in three or four minutes we had the mortification of seeing them run alongside the brig, and leap on her deck, her way being scarcely stopped. The falls were hooked on, and the boat was hoisted up.

We darted on. “A few more strokes and we shall be on board!” I shouted to my men. Fairburn and Barlow in like planner urged on their people. The brig had not yet again quite fetched away. An ominous silence was kept on her decks. The heads only of those who had hoisted in the boat were seen, and they and her crew disappeared as soon as the work was done, and the yards were braced up. A solitary figure stood at the helm. He was almost motionless, except that his bands moved the spokes of the wheel, and his eyes were turned aloft looking at the sails as they filled with the breeze.

Fairburn had again loaded his musket. He had observed the helmsman. He lifted up his piece and fired. I expected to see the brig fly up into the wind; but when the smoke cleared away, there stood the silent helmsman at his post, in the same attitude as before, and apparently uninjured.

“Give way, my lads, and we shall be on board her!” we shouted. A few strokes more, and our wish would have been accomplished; but just as I on the starboard side, and Fairburn on the port, were hooking on to the main-chains, a strong puff of wind filled the sail, the boat-hooks dropped in the water, and the black brig shot away from between us, while I fancied that I heard a shout of derisive laughter issuing from her decks. I fully expected that she would have revenged herself by firing at us, but not another shot was discharged. Silently and calmly she glided on, like a spirit of evil on the water. The helmsman stood at his post; but as yet no one else had appeared. Every instant the breeze freshened, and she rapidly flew away from us.

We now turned our attention to the schooner, which Van Graoul was endeavouring to bring up to us; but although there was a strong wind outside the harbour, she as yet felt but little of it. This, of course, gave the Emu, if Emu she was, a great start. It was, indeed, trying to me to see the mysterious vessel once more elude my grasp, at the very moment when I hoped to learn the fate of those so dear to me.

“We will pull back into the harbour, so as to get on board where there is no wind, and not to stop her way when once she feels it,” cried Fairburn; and we acted on his judicious advice.

Shortly after we had hoisted in our boats, the Fraulein got clear of the harbour, and bending over to the breeze, which now with full force filled her sails, she flew like an arrow after the chase. The stranger had by this time got about two miles ahead; a distance, however, which, with the fast-sailing qualities of the Fraulein, might easily be passed over. It were vain to attempt a description of my feelings as I walked the deck, while in pursuit of the pirate.

“We must overtake her,” I exclaimed. “She cannot again escape us.”

“Don’t be too sure,” observed Van Graoul. “She has slipped away from us before, and may do so again.”

She was then standing on a bowline to the northward, away from the land. We did not fire, for our shot would not have reached her; and thus silently, but with eager haste, we pursued our course. All hands were on deck, watching her anxiously; the crew standing together in knots, and discussing the strangeness of her appearance. The greater number were assembled and Dick Harper, their favourite oracle. He shook his head very wisely when asked his opinion.

“Do you see, shipmates,” he observed, “she got away once from us when we thought we had hold of her; so there’s no reason why she shouldn’t slip out of our sight again. To my mind, there’s no depending on those sort of chaps.”

The answer was a careful one; and it was by making such that he had gained so much credit among his shipmates, for he was never proved to be wrong; and when he predicted what afterwards occurred, he always took care that the fact should be well-known on all sides.

My feelings, as I watched the stranger, were, of course, far more intense than those of my officers or crew; and so eagerly did I watch, that I fancied I could note every inch we gained or lost in the chase, as the wind alternately favoured one or the other of us. Of one thing I felt very certain, that since we had had a fair start we had materially gained upon her. Fairburn was of the same opinion.

Van Graoul only shook his head, and said, “Wait a bit; better never to be sure.”

Still on we flew—the water bubbling and hissing under the bows of the schooner as she clove her way through. Though the wind was strong, there was, at the same time, little sea. The two miles had now been decreased to one and a half, by Fairburn’s and my computation; and we hoped soon to be able to get a shot at the chase to bring down some of her spars.

“Yes,” said Van Graoul, when he heard us expressing that hope; “if we can bring down some of her spars, remember she can bring down some of ours, so that we are not the nearer on that account.”

The Dutchman took care that we should never become over sanguine in our expectations.

The steward brought me my dinner on deck. I ate it standing; for I was far too anxious to go below, or to remove my eyes from the chase.

The afternoon was drawing on; but we had still two hours or more of daylight, and we had reason to expect before that to come up with her at the rate we were then going.

“We are coming up with her hand over hand,” I heard Barlow observe to Fairburn.

“I think so too; but what do you make of that dark line away there to windward?” was the response. “I see that we must be quick about it.”

The remark drew my attention to the point indicated, and there I saw what looked like a long thin black cloud, hanging just above the water on the verge of the horizon.

Just at that moment Van Graoul went up to Fairburn. “I think we may have a chance of winging her, if we fire steadily,” he said.

“We’ll try it, at all events. But I hope that it will not calm the breeze,” said Fairburn, issuing orders to get the long gun ready.

The gun was pointed so as to clear the rigging. Fairburn himself looked along the sight, and the vessel being kept away, as it bore on the schooner, he fired.

The shot was well aimed. It certainly reached the brig, and must have gone beyond her; but whether she was struck or not we could not tell, for on she sailed as before. Again the gun was loaded. We expected that she would have returned the fire; but she appeared perfectly unconscious of our presence.

“Aim high, Fairburn; aim high,” I exclaimed with an agitated voice, thinking of those who might be on board. The gun was elevated accordingly, and the shot flew between the rigging of the brig, going through her fore-topsail, but doing apparently no further damage. As we had to keep away when we fired, we somewhat lost ground: so Van Graoul proposed that we should get somewhat nearer before we tried another shot; and to this Fairburn agreed.

Fairburn, it must be remembered, was the fighting captain. On we went, every instant gaining on the chase. We felt sure now of overtaking her, and prepared ourselves for the fierce contest which we knew must ensue before the pirates would yield. The arm-chests were opened, pistols were loaded and primed, muskets got ready, and cutlasses buckled on. Each man armed himself for the combat, and got ready in his own fashion.

So eager were we in our preparations, and in watching the chase, that we had paid but little attention to the dark low cloud I before spoke of. It now appeared much increased in depth, and rapidly advanced towards us.

“There is wind in that,” exclaimed Fairburn. “Stand by to clew up and haul down everything, my lads; but we must hold on as long as we can, and try and get another shot at the enemy before the squall catches us.”

Each man flew to his station at the halyards and clew-lines, while the crew of the long gun got ready to fire. There was now no time to spare. As fast as it could be loaded it was discharged. A loud huzza arose from the people. The main-topsail yard of the brig was shot away.

“Another such shot, and she will be ours,” I exclaimed.

Onward came the dark cloud. The pirates seemed to think it time to stop us; and, luffing up, they let fly their broadside at us. We returned it with a will. Just then down came the squall; the dark cloud appeared ahead; and the brig, seeming to rush into it, was speedily lost to sight, to the last moment firing and receiving our fire in return.

What became of her we could not tell; and with dread I contemplated what might be her fate. The squall struck us with terrific force. The gallant crew were staunch: while some let fly the halyards and tacks and sheets, others brailed up and hauled down the canvas; but the blast triumphed over all our strength and skill. Over went the schooner, till she lay helplessly on her beam-ends. It was a scene of confusion and horror difficult to describe; the stoutest trembled, and thought their last hour was come. I saw Fairburn rush to the mainmast—a glittering axe was in his hand.

“What! must we cut away our masts?” I exclaimed, feeling how helpless we should be left.

“There is no remedy for it, I fear,” he answered; and the axe hung gleaming in his hands.

“Hold! hold!” shouted Van Graoul. “There is a lull; up with the helm.”

The order was obeyed.

“She rights! she rights!” was the joyful exclamation from all hands.

Once again the schooner was on an even keel, and flying before the blast, through the thick obscurity which surrounded her. But where was the chase? No one could tell. The squall soon subsided; when it did so, we hauled our wind, but the thick mist continued, and although we might have been close to the stranger, we could not have seen her.

Dick Harper shook his head most sagaciously, and with no little inward satisfaction. “I knowed it would be so,” he said. “For how, do ye see, messmates, could it be otherwise?”

At length next morning, as the sun rose high in the sky, the mist cleared off; and with eagerness I hurried aloft to learn if the chase was anywhere to be seen. But as I looked round the horizon, the line where the sea and sky met was unbroken; not a sail was in sight, and, disappointed and dispirited, I returned on deck.

Chapter Twenty Three.

I find that I am getting on so slowly with my narrative, and have so many adventures to tell, that omitting a number of events of less interest to my readers, I must sketch rapidly the history of several months which passed after the last escape of the Emu.

In vain we searched for her for several days, but not a trace of her could we find; not a spar nor a plank to show that she had gone down when she disappeared from our sight in the squall. We were then, it must be remembered, in the neighbourhood of the Arru Islands. We cruised along the coast of New Guinea, off which we thought the Emu might be prowling. It was curious, that though we were out of sight of land, on several occasions a number of birds, towards the evening, came on board to roost. They appeared to be land birds. The colours of some were very beautiful, and in many we could trace a resemblance to our small ducks, magpies, and larks. We also encountered daily a vast number of a species of whale, which collected round the schooner, and watching her as if they thought her some strange fish. One day they had collected in more than usual numbers, and while I watched them swimming round and round the vessel, their huge backs now and then appearing above the water, I could not help thinking that they were holding a consultation together in contemplation of an attack on us. Sometimes they would swim directly at the vessel, and then diving under her, appear at the other side. I got my rifle, intending to have a shot at one of them; though I must own that I think it very wrong to kill animals without an object, when they can be of no use to any one, merely for the sake of trying one’s dexterity as a marksman on them.

“You had better not,” observed Van Graoul, when he saw what I was about to do. “They may take it ill, and revenge themselves.” I thought he was joking, as he was, in part, and so, loading my rifle, I fired at a huge fellow, whose back appeared at a little distance off. Whether the ball entered his skin or glanced off, I could not tell; for he sunk immediately, and I was preparing for another shot, when he, or one of his fellows, rose on the opposite side. There he remained, spouting for a minute or so, and then down he dived, and directly afterwards we felt a blow on the keel, which almost shook the masts out of the vessel, and sent some of the people sprawling on deck. The crew jumped about with dismay, thinking the schooner was sinking, and Ungka rushed to Hassan and hugged him round the neck, as if he was resolved to be drowned with him.

“I told you so,” said Van Graoul. “They are not fellows to be played with.”

No real damage was done; nor did the whales renew the attack. I suspect the fellow hurt his back too much to try the same trick again.

No tidings of the Emu were to be gained; and weary of looking for her in that direction, we stood to the westward, towards the island of Celebes, to the south of Ceram. We had had a fine breeze all the day; but as the evening drew on, it fell considerably; and when the sun sunk beneath the water, it became perfectly calm. The night was hot, and I remained long on deck in earnest conversation with Fairburn. He was endeavouring to console and encourage me; for I own that at times I almost began to despair of the success of my undertaking. There was a moon in the heavens in the early part of the night; but that also set, and I was thinking of turning in, when I observed a bright light in the sky to the westward, and on watching it attentively, it appeared as if it arose from some large fire close down to the water. Fairburn remarked it also.

“Can it be a burning mountain?” I asked; “or do you think the natives of any island thereabouts have been creating a blaze for their amusement?”

“There is no burning mountain or any island in that direction,” he answered. “See, it rises higher and higher, till the ruddy glare extends over the whole sky! It can be but from one cause.”

“What is that?” I asked.

“A ship on fire,” he replied. “I have witnessed such a sight before, and have no doubt about it.”

“Unhappy people!” I exclaimed; “we must try and help them.”

“I fear that with this calm we shall be unable to get near them in time to be of any use,” said Fairburn. “If a breeze were to spring up, we may save those who may take to their boats or secure themselves on rafts.”

For a long time we watched the burning vessel, for such we were persuaded was before us; and earnestly we prayed for a breeze to carry us to the rescue of our fellow-beings, whoever they might be. We calculated that the ship was about nine or ten miles off, so that, with a good wind, we might hope to get up to her in rather more than an hour. At length a breeze fanned our cheeks, our sails filled, and we began to move rapidly through the dark and silent sea. As we drew near the fire, we saw that we were not mistaken in our conjectures; for before us appeared a large brig, with her masts still standing, but flames were blazing up around them, running along the yards and burning the canvas and rigging, while the whole hull seemed a mass of fire, fore and aft. As we were looking, first one mast tottered, and was followed directly by the other, and, amid an outburst of sparks, they fell hissing into the sea. The flames then seemed to triumph still more furiously than before. We looked in vain for any boats, or planks, or rafts, on which any of the crew might be floating. The whole sea around was lighted up; but the flames shone alone on the dancing waves. We were yet some way off; we therefore sailed on with the intention of getting as close as we could without danger to ourselves, to render any aid in our power. We passed the time in discussing what the vessel could be, and by what means she could have caught fire.

“With the extraordinary carelessness seamen too often are guilty of, it is surprising that ships do not oftener catch fire than is the case,” said Fairburn. “Such is the fate of many of those which are never again heard of. Probably the destruction of this vessel arises from the same cause.”

“Is it not often the custom of pirates, after they have robbed a vessel, to set her on fire to avoid discovery?” I asked casually. I scarcely know why I put the question, except that my thoughts were naturally running on the Emu.

“Oh yes, it may be so,” said Van Graoul, who heard the observation; “but still I don’t think it.”

“What do you say? Suppose it is the Emu herself,” remarked Barlow thoughtlessly.

“Heaven forbid!” I ejaculated. “Remember who I fancy is on board.”

“Oh sir, I do not mean to say that I have any reason to suppose that yonder vessel is the Emu,” he replied, seeing the pain the idea gave me. “She looks a much larger craft, and higher out of the water.”

When we got close to the burning wreck, we hove-to to windward, and had our boats ready to lower in case we should perceive any living beings either on board or in the water. We soon saw, however, that on the deck of the brig there was not a spot on which a person could stand free from the raging flames. I also attentively examined her, as did Fairburn; and to my infinite relief we were persuaded that she was altogether a totally different vessel from the Emu, for she was much longer and higher out of the water,—indeed, a large merchantman; and from her build we judged her to be Spanish. As I was examining the vessel, I observed, through the flames which were surrounding them, that the boats were still hanging to the davits. The circumstance was extraordinary, and we could only account for it, by supposing that the fire had burst forth so suddenly that the crew had not time to lower them, or that some other means of escape had been afforded them. We had not long to consider the point, and to arrive at the conclusion, before the flames had completely consumed the deck and sides, rendered peculiarly combustible by the heat of the climate; and, after raging for a few minutes with renewed fury, the hull sunk gradually from our sight, and the fiery furnace was quenched by the waves as they leaped triumphantly over it. Though we had seen no living beings, we still could not but suppose that some of the passengers or crew must have escaped, and were at no great distance. I was very unwilling, therefore, to leave the spot till we had ascertained the fact; and I resolved accordingly to remain hove-to till the morning. We fired a gun at intervals to attract the attention of any of the people; but hour after hour passed away, and no answer was made. The sun at last arose. A few charred planks and spars were floating near us, showing that we had kept one position during the night; but we could see no boat or raft. Look-outs were sent aloft to scan the ocean around.

They had not been long at their posts, during which time the daylight had been increasing, before one hailed the deck to report a sail right away to windward.

“What is she, do you think?” asked Fairburn.

“A square-rigged craft; her topgallant sails just show above the water,” was the answer.

Directly after, the other look-out hailed, to say that he saw a speck, or some similar object, floating to leeward. Our glasses were turned towards it; and Fairburn, mounting to the crosstrees, reported that he saw a human figure hanging to it. Nothing else appearing, we instantly bore down to the spot. As we approached it, we observed that there indeed was a man attached to a hen-coop; but whether he was dead or alive it was difficult to say, as he did not move or make any sign. A boat was instantly lowered, and Fairburn jumping into it, the man was soon brought on board.

“He has still life in him, I think,” said Fairburn, as he placed him on deck; “but I suspect he has met with some foul usage. See what a gash he has got across the temple; and here is a bullet-hole through his arm, or I am much mistaken.”

I had not yet looked at the countenance of the wounded man. We got a mattress, and carefully carried him down into the cabin, where he was placed under the skylight on a sofa, so as to obtain sufficient air. I saw at once, by his appearance and dress, which was what any landsman might wear on board ship, that he was not a seaman; and I suspected, moreover, that he was a gentleman; not of course that, whatever his rank, we should have made any difference in our treatment of him. We had him stripped and wrapped in blankets, and then well rubbed; and we soon had the satisfaction of seeing the livid appearance of his skin wear off, and after several deep respirations, his features lost their sharp contraction, and his lips began to move, and he opened his eyes. He then looked steadfastly at me, and a smile of satisfaction played round his mouth, while he made a strong effort to speak. As he did so, I felt almost certain that I recognised the well-known countenance of my old school-fellow, John Prior. The idea had before flashed across my mind; but I had failed to see any likeness between my friend and the half-drowned stranger who was brought on board. I now, however, had little doubt on the subject.

“Prior, old fellow,” I exclaimed, “I know it is you. But don’t speak or agitate yourself; you shall tell me everything by and by when you get well, which you soon will, I know.”

I took his hand as I spoke, and by the warm pressure he gave me in return, I felt very certain that I was not mistaken. The discovery, as may be supposed, did not lessen my zeal in the recovery of the wounded man.

Van Graoul, who had a very fair knowledge of surgery, and a sufficient modesty not to attempt more than his skill would warrant, after a careful examination of the wounds, pronounced them not dangerous; and making up a dose from the medicine chest, Prior swallowed it, and soon afterwards had gained sufficient strength to speak and sit up. Van Graoul had charged me to let him say only a few words, to give me any information which may be on his mind, and then to urge him to go to rest. The first word he uttered was my name.

“It is all very strange, indeed,” he said. “But it is indeed a satisfaction to be with you, Seaworth, though I cannot tell how it has all occurred.”

I told him how we had been attracted to the spot by the burning vessel, and picked him out of the water, urging him not to say more than was necessary at the moment.

“Ah, now I remember,” he answered. “We were attacked by a pirate—a treacherous, cowardly pirate. They took us by surprise. We fought, however; but most of the crew were killed; some were carried off, I believe. I was knocked down below after being wounded, and supposed to be dead or dying. I was left to be burnt by the miscreants. I was only stunned, and soon recovering, I gained the deck just as they left it. The idea of being burned to death was too horrid to be endured. The boats were all destroyed, there was no time to make a raft; so, casting loose a hen-coop, I lowered it into the water, and lashed myself to it, trusting that Providence would find some means of preserving me; or, at all events, that I might thus enjoy a longer time to offer up my prayers to Heaven, and to prepare for death. It was an awful time, Seaworth; but I did not feel unhappy. I never possessed greater reliance in God’s mercy. I trusted that, if He did not think fit to preserve my life, He would, through the merits of our Saviour, lead me to a glorious immortality in the next. I had no fear, strange as it may seem, I assure you.”

“I should have said that of you, Prior, believe me,” I replied. “But I must not let you talk more now. I have one question first to ask before I impose silence. What sort of a craft was the vessel which attacked you?”

“A low black brig; and her crew seemed of all nations,” he replied.

“I thought so,” I exclaimed. “It was the Emu, and she it is which is still in sight.”

I instantly sent for Fairburn,—for he had left me with my friend alone,—and told him my suspicions. He had entertained the same opinion; and I found that, with all sail set, we were once wore again in chase of the mysterious craft which had so often escaped us.

Arranging Prior in a comfortable posture, I watched him till he fell asleep, his placid countenance, notwithstanding the dangers he had been in, showing a mind at rest and nerves unshaken. I found, on going on deck, that we had already risen the sails of the stranger above the horizon from the deck; and as we had the whole day before us, with a fair breeze, there was every probability of coming up with her. Should we overtake her, we had now, with Prior as a witness, stronger proofs than ever of her misdeeds. She had, however, so often escaped us, that I must own even I was not very sanguine of the result, and the crew, guided by the opinion of Dick Harper, were still less so. All the forenoon the chase continued. We were gaining on her certainly, but at the same time we were a long way from her; and early in the afternoon, the land appeared to the north-west, towards which she had altered her course.

When Van Graoul saw this, he shook his head. “So I did think,” he remarked. “That craft is not to be caught so easily. If what is said of her is true, there is a worse fate for her in store than we have prepared for her.”

Though the remark was made without reflection, I believe, I could not help thinking that there was much truth in it. Vengeance, far greater and more sure than the hand of man could inflict, would assuredly overtake the evil-doers.

The land we were approaching was of moderate height, thickly covered with trees, broken into headlands and promontories, and with numerous clusters of islands, and reefs, and rocks off it. Van Graoul knew it well, so that we boldly approached it. It became a question with us whether the pirates, seeing themselves so hard pressed, contemplated running the brig on shore, or whether they purposed taking up a position in one of the inlets of the coast, where they could defend themselves without risk of loss, should we attack them.

We, as before, outsailed them, proving that the Fraulein was the fastest vessel of the two; and yet no one on board but believed that the Emu would again escape us. She stood boldly in towards the shore, evidently well acquainted with it. We followed, with the lead going; there was, however, a good depth of water. When she had got within a quarter of a mile of the coast, she ran along it, and we kept after her. A headland, running a long way into the sea, appeared before us; she rounded it, and was concealed from our sight by the trees which covered it to the very edge of the water. We stood on, expecting again to see her, when we also had got round it. We had almost reached it, when, by standing too close in, we got becalmed, and for half an hour made but little progress. This we knew would, of course, give the Emu a great advantage. At last, however, the breeze again filled our sails, and we were able to get round the point. As we did so, we saw the brig a long way ahead, now standing somewhat off the land. We continued the chase, and quickly made up for the distance we had lost. This day was, however, far spent, and it was already growing dusk before we approached her. My heart beat quick with the expectation of what was to occur. When we got her within range of our long gun, we began to fire at her rigging, more effectually to prevent her escaping. To our surprise, instead of returning the fire, or standing away from us, she rounded to and backed her main-top-sail till we ran alongside.

“There is something odd here,” remarked Van Graoul; “I cannot make it out.”

“Nor I,” said Fairburn. “There is some treachery, I fear.”

“What brig is that?” I asked, through the speaking-trumpet.

“The Neversink, John Jenkins, master, from Boston, with a cargo of notions,” was the answer.

“Lower a boat, and come on board, then,” I hailed.

There was apparently some little demur; but soon a boat was lowered, and with four hands in her, and a man in the stern-sheets, she came alongside. The man, without hesitation, stepped on board, followed by three others. By the light of a lantern, held to show him the way, he seemed a decent, respectable sort of a person, dressed in the usual costume of a merchant skipper, with a swallow-tailed coat, and a straw hat.

“Well, I calculate I have made a mistake,” he exclaimed, squirting out a stream of tobacco juice, when he found himself confronted by Fairburn, Van Graoul, and me. “I thought I was on board a Dutch man-of-war schooner; but you won’t be hard upon a poor fellow, now, will you, gentleman? The cargo is all mine, and it’s worth but little to you; and if you take it, or anything happens to me, I shall leave my disconsolate wife and small family destitute—I shall indeed.” And Captain Jenkins began to cry and wring his hands.

“Why, pardon me if you don’t like the term, but I took you for pirates, gentlemen—pirates and robbers.”

“Dat is a good joke,” said Van Graoul; “why, we thought you were de same. And I am not quite certain that he is not,” he whispered in my ear.

He had, in the meantime, got a boat ready; and Barlow, with four hands, pulled on board the brig. While he was away, we kept Captain Jenkins in conversation, nor did he seem in any degree disconcerted at the departure of the boat, which he must have observed. When Barlow returned, he reported that the brig, though about the size and build of what we supposed the Emu to be, was, to all appearance, an honest merchantman, without anything suspicious about her. The captain said that he had come to trade with the natives in those parts; that he had just got out of harbour, and he had seen no vessel during the day till he had observed us rounding the point. His story was so plausible that we were compelled to believe him: and after he had taken a good supper with us, washed down by a bottle of wine, he returned on board, declaring that we were first-rate fellows, whether we were pirates or not. The next morning we commenced a strict scrutiny of the coast in search of the Emu; and for several days we followed it up, but in vain, and once more I was obliged to confess that I was as far from success as ever.

Chapter Twenty Four.

Resolved never to abandon the pursuit in which I was engaged, although so often disappointed at the very moment that I thought success secure, I continued cruising in every direction, among the numberless rich and beautiful islands of the Eastern Archipelago. My friend Prior was for a considerable time confined to the cabin. His wounds, and long immersion in the water, had caused him to suffer much, and during many days he appeared to be hovering between life and death. When he was sufficiently recovered to speak without risk, he told me that his father having lost the greater part of his fortune, he had resolved to enter on a mercantile career, in the hopes of redeeming it; with that object he had come out to the East, and having been sent, by the house in which he was engaged, to Manilla, he took his passage in a Spanish merchantman. One day they observed a dark low brig hovering near them; but her appearance did not cause much alarm, as she was small and seemed unarmed. The first watch was nearly over, and it had become almost calm, when they were startled by seeing a vessel with long sweeps gliding up towards them. Those on deck instantly flew to their arms to defend themselves; but before the watch below and the passengers in the cabin could be aroused from their sleep, or made aware of their danger, the brig was alongside. Her character was soon made known to them. A band of fierce pirates rushed on board, and with their cutlasses and pistols cut down and shot every one they met, whether armed or not. Prior, and some of the other passengers, and a few of the crew, fought till they were overpowered by numbers, and were all cut down and disabled. How he had escaped I already knew. He supposed that the pirates, after rifling the ship and murdering the crew, had set her on fire to escape detection, or, perhaps, from a mere wantonness in cruelty. He said that he was very certain that he should be able to recognise the leader and several of his followers. Prior was unchanged from what he had been as a boy,—wise beyond his years, yet full of life and spirits, and possessing a vast fund of information; he was a most delightful companion.

It now having become absolutely necessary to refit the schooner, as well as to refresh the crew, and to get fresh stores of provisions, we entered the harbour of Amboyna, the residence of the Dutch Governor of the Moluccas. Amboyna is an island to the south of Ceram, over the whole of which the Dutch maintain their sway. The island produces cloves and other spices in abundance; the climate is tolerably healthy, and there are a good many Dutch residents. The Governor treated me and my companions with the greatest attention, appearing most anxious to forward my views by every means in his power. The sago tree grows here to a large size, eighteen inches in diameter. The pith forms the chief food of the inhabitants; and it is calculated that one tree will subsist a family for a month or six weeks. The tree being felled is secured in a horizontal position, when an opening being cut in the upper surface, the pith is scooped out as required.

I never lost an opportunity of questioning people of all sorts, to learn the movements of the Emu; and from a Bugis trader belonging to Celebes, I heard that some time before, a vessel answering her description had been seen to the north of that island; and also, as some piracies had been committed in the neighbourhood of the Philippine Islands, I suspected that she had gone to cruise among the Spanish settlements in the northern part of the Archipelago.

On leaving Amboyna, we accordingly shaped our course in that direction. Some months had now passed away since Prior had been my companion. His presence supported me much; and whenever I began to despond, he raised my spirits and encouraged me to persevere. He reminded me that often when, from want of trust in Providence, we fancy ourselves furthest from the consummation of our just hopes, God has arranged, by some inscrutable means, to bring about their fulfilment.

“He has given you health, and strength, and courage, and means, to follow up the pursuit thus far,” Prior used to observe. “Why, then, fancy that success is never to occur.”

Although now recovered sufficiently to find his way to Manilla, he refused to quit me till I had succeeded in my enterprise. The last shore we had seen was that of Jilolo, after passing through the Molucca passage, when one forenoon, we not expecting to fall in with any land, the look-out hailed that an island was in sight on the starboard bow. As we drew near, we found that though small, it was of considerable elevation, and apparently surrounded with coral reefs. We were about to pass it at some distance, when Fairburn, who had been examining it with his glass, said that he saw something which looked like a flag flying at the highest point. It instantly occurred to us that it must be a signal of distress, made by some shipwrecked seamen, probably; and we therefore steered nearer to the island, to examine it more minutely.

We were now convinced that we were right in our conjectures, when, on getting close in, we saw that it was a piece of striped linen—a shirt, apparently—fastened to two spars lashed together, and stuck in a heap of stones. The rock, which seemed about a couple of miles in circumference, was surrounded by coral reefs, outside of which we hove the schooner to. A boat was then lowered, in which Prior, Fairburn and I, with a crew of four hands, pulled towards the shore.

We had some little difficulty in finding our way through the reefs; but a passage at last being discovered, we landed on a soft sandy beach. We met with a spring of fresh water, and there were cocoa-nut trees, and several other tropical fruits growing in the lower part of the island; but the summit of the hill was totally bare of vegetation. As yet we had seen no signs of inhabitants; but we were curious to discover what other traces they had left behind them besides the flag-staff, or to view their remains should death have overtaken them here.

We wandered round the base of the rock, which seemed the cone of some extinct volcano, before we could find the means of ascent, so steep and rugged were its sides. At last we found a winding pathway, evidently trodden by the foot of man, by which we could easily get to the top. We followed each other in single file, Fairburn leading, having our arms in our hands; for, though there was little chance of our requiring them on this occasion, we made a point of always being prepared in case of a surprise, so many having lost their lives among the treacherous natives of those regions from neglecting this precaution. The summit of the rock was broken into a number of separate peaks, there being very little even ground. The largest space was that on which the flag-staff was erected. To this spot the pathway led up, showing that it had been the most frequently visited by the occupants of the island. There were other less defined pathways leading in different directions about the hill. Prior called our attention to the fact that they were all very narrow; from which he argued that one person alone had formed them; and from the principal one being so much trod, that he had for a long time resided on the island.

A heap of stones had been raised up to a considerable height, into which the flag-staff had been fixed; they were all small, such as one man could lift, and were mostly broken off from the surrounding cliffs. The flag-staff was formed of a boat’s spreet and an oar lashed together. From the splintered butt-end of a spar, we judged that the flag-staff had been blown down, and broken off. By the way the piece of coloured cotton had been fastened together, it showed that great care had been taken to make it form as large a surface as possible. There was, however, nothing to prove how long a time had passed since the person who erected the flag-staff had gone away; and supposing that it might have been many weeks before, somewhat disappointed, we proposed to return on board the schooner. We were on the point of descending the rock, when Fairburn, who had been hunting about, picked up the fragment of a cocoa-nut.

“See!” he exclaimed, holding it up; “the fruit is perfectly fresh, and the shell cannot have been broken many hours; so, probably, there is some one still on the island.”

“Perhaps, sir, it is some savage; and he is hiding from us,” remarked one of the men.

“No, no,” said Fairburn; “a savage would not have planted that flag-staff.”

While we were still standing discussing the point, Fairburn had followed up one of the slightly-marked tracks across the rocks, of which I have spoken. He had got some way off, when for a minute he disappeared behind a point of rock. He then again came in sight, and beckoned us to follow him. We scrambled along over the broken rocks, till we reached the spot where we had last seen him; but he was gone. For an instant a feeling of dread came over me, for I fancied that he had fallen over a precipice, which appeared on one side. Just then I heard his voice, as if addressing another person. The amazement was great, when, turning the angle of the rock, I found myself in front of a shallow cavern, and saw him bending over the body of a man reclining on a bed of leaves in the further part of it. He beckoned me to enter. I did so, and approached the spot.

“Here is a poor fellow in the last stage of a violent fever,” he said. “He is very weak; but perhaps food and care may bring him round. He spoke to me just now rationally enough; but, see, he off again.”

The sick man looked like an Englishman or an American; and Fairburn said that he had spoken English perfectly. He was dressed in a jacket made of dark-blue silk, his shirt was of the finest linen, and he had a rich sash round his waist; but the cut of his shoes was that of an ordinary seaman. A fine plaited straw hat lay by his side; and his hair, which was thick and curling, was already considerably grizzled.

“He has been shipwrecked, and is probably the only survivor of the crew,” I remarked. “We must try and get him on board without delay.”

While I was making these remarks, it occurred to me that a draught of cold water might revive him; and remembering the spring we had passed, I set off to procure some in a bamboo drinking-cup we had in the boat. Meeting Prior, he turned back with me, and having observed some limes, he gathered some to squeeze into the water. We quickly returned, one of the men carrying a small breaker of water. On entering the cavern with the draught, I was glad to find that the sick man had again returned to consciousness. I put the cup to his lips, and as soon as he had tasted its contents, he drank them eagerly off, and then showed by signs that he wished for more. Prior had been engaged in squeezing more limes. He now approached nearer with them. I saw him start when he saw the stranger, and look earnestly at him; but he did not say a word, and kneeling down by his side, Prior gave him the refreshing draught he had prepared. It instantly had the effect of reviving the sick man, who looked up, and their eyes met. The latter, after staring with an amazed and inquiring look, let his head again drop, and appeared to be endeavouring to conceal his countenance with his hands, while Prior, taking me by the shoulder, led me out of the cavern. When we had got beyond hearing he stopped.

“Seaworth,” he said, “who do you think is the man who lies there, on the point of death it would appear? Prepare yourself to hear, for you cannot guess. He is no other than the leader of the pirates who attacked my ship—the person who wounded me—the man of whom you are in search—the captain of the Emu. I recognised him at once; for we fought hand to hand, and there are some countenances which are impressed in a few moments on the memory. He, I suspect, for the same reason remembered me; for I believe I pressed him hard, and had not one of his companions come to his assistance, I should have taken his life. I tell you this at once, that you may be prepared how to act. He may have it in his power to communicate important information; but if we are not cautious in our proceedings, he may refuse to say anything.”

I was so astonished at what I had heard, that I could scarcely collect my thoughts sufficiently to answer.

“What would you advise me to do?” I asked. “He may tell me of Eva but, alas! where can she be?”

“Trust that Providence has protected her,” he answered solemnly. “But go and speak to him calmly and soothingly. There is, I fear, but little time to lose ere he will be called to his account.”

Following Prior’s advice, I entered the cavern, and knelt down by the side of the sick man. He seemed resolved not to utter a word, and had returned no answers to the questions as to how he felt himself, which Fairburn, who was still ignorant as to who he was, was putting to him. It struck me that he might be more inclined to speak to one person alone; I therefore requested Fairburn to quit the cabin, and to prepare some more lime-juice and water. I then turned to the pirate.

“I have to beg you to listen to me,” I began, speaking in a calm, low voice. “In an extraordinary manner I have learned who you are; but though I believe you have inflicted the greatest injury on me, my religion has taught me to forgive my enemies. I therefore, from my heart, most sincerely, as far as I have the power, forgive you; nor will I in any way seek to revenge myself on you. I will now tell you who I am. My name is Mark Seaworth, and I am the brother of a little girl whom you have long had in your power. I therefore entreat you, as the best amends you can make me, to tell me where she is, and to afford me the means of recovering her and the lady who was with her.”

“I did not know such a feeling existed in this dark world,” he muttered, rather to himself than as if answering me. “He forgives me without exacting any promise. Alas! he knows not what he has to forgive.”

“I forgive you from my heart, as I hope for forgiveness for my transgressions, when I stand in the presence of God; and I will pray that He too will forgive you for yours, even though you had inflicted a thousand injuries on me.”

“This is very wonderful—very wonderful indeed,” muttered the sick man. “I never heard of such a thing.”

“It is the religion Christ came into the world to teach mankind,” I answered. “He sets us the example, by promising forgiveness to the greatest of sinners who believe in Him, and who put their faith in Him, even at the tenth hour, like the thief on the cross. He tells us also to pray for our enemies; then, surely, I am but following his commands when I forgive you. I would say more of these things to you—I would entreat you to believe in that merciful Saviour, and to pray to Him for forgiveness; but I am a brother; I earnestly long to discover my lost sister, and I must first beg you to tell me all you know of her.”

“Sir, you have strangely moved me,” said the pirate, in a hoarse voice, turning his countenance towards me. “I own that I am the man you suppose, the pirate, Richard Kidd, as great a wretch as one who, years ago, bore that name. You tell me that you forgive me; but if you knew the injury I have inflicted on you for years back, I doubt that you could do so.”

“For years back!” I answered, in astonishment. “I do not understand you; yet I say, whatever the injury, I am bound to forgive you, and with God’s assistance I do so. But my sister? Tell me of my sister.”

“Then, sir, you are such a Christian as I remember, when a boy, I was told men should be; but you are the first I ever met. You would learn what has become of the little girl, Eva Seaworth, as she was called. Alas! I cannot tell you. The only good action I ever in my life attempted has been frustrated. I had preserved your little sister from all injury, and intended to have restored her to her friends in safety, when I lost her.”

“Explain, explain,” I cried in a tone of agony. “Do not you know where she is?”

“Indeed I do not,” was the answer. It struck a chill into my heart; and a stranger coming in would have found it difficult to say which of the two was the dying man.

“Can you give me no clue—can you not conjecture where she is?” I at length asked.

“Indeed I cannot, sir,” he answered. “I have no reason to suppose her dead; but I am utterly unable to tell you where she now is.”

“What! my sweet little sister! you deserted her!—wretch!” I cried, scarcely knowing what I said, and wringing my hands with the bitterness of heart. The next moment I regretted the exclamation.

“You wrong me there,” said the pirate. “I deeply mourn for her loss, as you will understand shortly. But my time is short. I have resolved to give you some important information I possess respecting you; and as your companions may be useful, as witnesses of what I say, call them back. I will endeavour to make what little recompense I can for some of what I may look on as the smallest of my many crimes; and then I will get you to talk to me about that religion I have so long neglected. I must give you something of my history; for, strange as you may deem it, it is much mixed up with yours.”

“What!” I exclaimed, interrupting him, with astonishment, “your history mixed up with mine! Can you give an account of who I am?”

“Indeed I can, sir; and may put you in the way of regaining rights of which you have long been deprived. But hasten, summon your friends; you have no time, I feel, to lose.”

I rushed out, with my heart throbbing, and full of amazement, to call Prior and Fairburn. Before I returned, and before he could impart the information so important to me, the pirate might have breathed his last; yet my sad disappointment regarding the uncertainty of my sister’s fate prevented me feeling the satisfaction I should otherwise have experienced at thus being on the point of gaining the information I had all my life so eagerly desired. My friends speedily followed me, as much astonished as I was; and kneeling round the dying man, while Prior took out his tablet to make notes if required, we listened to the following strange story, which, with many interruptions, he narrated to us.

Chapter Twenty Five.

“I was born and bred in the State of New York. My father I never knew. My mother was kind and good; but she yielded to the dictates of her heart rather than to those of her judgment. She over-indulged me; she neglected to root out the bad seeds Satan is always striving to sow in the heart of man; and they grew up and flourished till they brought me to what I now am. I was of a roving, unsettled disposition. I required excitement. I believe that I might, with care, have been led into the right way, but that care was wanting. I was fond of excitement; when I could not obtain it in reality, I sought it in fiction, and therefore eagerly devoured all books which could satisfy my craving; but never did I look into one which would confer any real benefit upon me.

“The adventures of robbers and pirates delighted me most, and the history of a man, whose name I by chance bore, had a fatal influence on my destiny. I thought him a hero, and fancied it would be a grand thing to become like him.

“It did not occur to me, that the stories about him were mostly false; that the book was a fiction, dressed up to please the vicious palate of the uneducated public, and that the man himself was a miserable wretch, little better than a brute, who dared not think of the past or contemplate the future. What he was I am too well able to tell, from knowing what I myself now am. I was well educated; but my knowledge was ignorance. I soon grew weary of the trammels of home, and fancying that I should have greater licence afloat, with a vague notion that I would imitate some of the heroes of my imagination, I, without even wishing my mother farewell, ran away to sea. I had no difficulty in finding a ship; and if Satan himself had wished to choose one for me, he would not have fixed on a craft where I could more certainly have learned to follow his ways. The master set an example of wickedness, in which the crew willingly followed; and thus I grew up among the scenes of the grossest vice. It was not long before I engaged in transactions considered criminal by the laws. My companions and I succeeded so well without detection, that the rascally merchants, who had employed us, engaged us on several occasions for a similar object. At last our practices were suspected; and I was warned not to return to my native place. I accordingly took a berth on board a ship bound for India. Arrived there, I deserted, and joined an opium clipper. I soon got tired of that life, for there was some little danger at times, the excitement was but trifling, and the discipline was stricter than I liked. I got back, at length, to India, where there was much fighting going forward with the native princes; and European recruits being wanted, I enlisted, pretending I was an Englishman.

“I gained some credit for bravery, though, being discovered on a pillaging expedition, I narrowly escaped a severe punishment. I went by the name of ‘the sailor’ in the regiment to which I belonged; and having, while in liquor, described some of my adventures, my character was pretty well-known, not only to my comrades, but to some of my officers, as it appeared. It was not long before my conduct brought me into trouble. I escaped narrowly with my life, and was turned out of my regiment without a farthing in my pocket. I was wandering about the streets of Calcutta, considering what I should next do, when one evening, as it was growing dark, I observed a person watching me. He followed me to a secluded place, and when no one was in sight, he came up, and, addressing me by name, told me if I wanted a job which would put money in my pocket, to come to a certain house in two hours’ time, binding me by an oath not to mention the circumstance to any one. I went at the time agreed on, and was shown by a servant into a room, where, soon afterwards, I was joined by a young officer, whom I knew to be a gambler and a man of ruined fortune. I therefore guessed that he wanted me to perform some desperate piece of work or other for him. ‘Well, what is it you want of me?’ I asked, in rather a sulky mood, for somehow or other I did not like the gentleman; and, bad as I was, I felt rather degraded in being employed by him; but yet my fortunes were too low to allow me to be nice in what I undertook. He looked rather astonished at my manner; but recovering himself, he said, ‘I want you to manage a very delicate affair for me, Kidd; and if you do so, I intend to pay you well.’ ‘What do you call well?’ I asked calmly. ‘Why, I propose giving you two hundred pounds down, and fifty pounds a year for your life, if you remain faithful,’ he answered. ‘You must swear to me that you will not betray me, and that no threats or bribes shall move you.’ I took the oath he prescribed. He then said, ‘You must know that there are two children, now in the East, who are about to be sent home to their friends in England. Both their parents are dead, and they stand between my father and a large property. If they come of age, it will be theirs, and while they live he cannot enjoy it. Now, understand, I do not want you to murder the children; we must have nothing of that sort on our consciences; but you must manage to get hold of them, and bear them away where they shall be no more heard of. I leave you to form the plan, and to carry it out, only let me know the result. Will you undertake the work?’ I told him that I would. ‘Well, then,’ he continued, ‘the children are now in the Mauritius; their names are Marmaduke and Ellen Seaton. You will have time to reach them before they sail; and you must contrive to get a berth on board the ship they go by. It is whispered that you have contrived to cast away a ship or so, when you were well paid for it. Perhaps the same turn may serve you now.’

“The plan was soon arranged. The directions for finding out the children were given me, and, putting fifty pounds into my hands for my expenses, he told me to start off at once, and to come back to him when the matter was settled. I reached the Mauritius without difficulty, and found that the children, under charge of an Indian nurse, were to proceed by the Penguin, a small free-trader, touching there on her homeward voyage. In aid of my plan, the second mate had died, so I applied for and obtained the berth; besides which I fell in with two seamen who had been with me before, when a ship I sailed in was lost by my means. I opened my project to them, and they promised to assist me. The nurse was devotedly attached to the children and by nursing them, and being attentive to her, I soon won her confidence. I found, however, much more difficulty than I expected in my attempt to wreck the vessel. The captain was a good navigator, and very attentive to his duty, as was the first mate; so that when, during my watch on deck at night, I got the ship steered a wrong course, in the hopes of edging her in on the African coast, I was very soon detected. I laid the blame on the helmsman, one of my accomplices, who stoutly asserted that he had been steering a proper course. I again tried to effect my object; but the captain had, it appeared, a compass above his head, in his own cabin, and being awake, discovered the attempt.

“I made every plausible excuse I could think of, but I felt that I was suspected, and dared not venture to play the same trick again. I had, however, another resource, which, dangerous as it was, I determined to risk. You may well start with horror. It was nothing less than to set the ship on fire. I then intended with my comrades to carry off the nurse and children to the coast of Africa, and to dispose of them to some of the African chiefs a little way in the interior, where no white man was ever likely to fall in with them. One night, the wind being from the westward, I managed to set fire to a quantity of combustible matter among the cargo. I waited till the alarm was given, and then, hurrying to the Indian nurse and the children, told her that, if she would trust to me, I would save her. My men had been prepared, and instantly lowered a boat, in which she and her charges were placed with two of my accomplices. I had a chart, with a few nautical instruments, my money, and some provisions, all ready; having thrown a keg of water and a few biscuits into the boat, I hurried forward to my cabin to get them. The flames had burned much faster than I expected, and while I was in my cabin, just about to return aft to the boat, they had reached, it appeared, the magazine. Suddenly a dreadful noise was heard; I felt myself lifted off my feet, and then I lost all consciousness of what was occurring. At length I found myself clinging to a mass of floating wreck, and in almost total darkness. I could discover no boat near me. I hailed; but no one answered. Oh, the horrors of that night! It is impossible to picture them. A laughing fiend kept whispering in my ear that I had caused all this havoc, that I had destroyed the lives of so many of my fellow-creatures, and that I should not miss my reward. Daylight came, and I was alone on the wild waters. A shattered portion of the mainmast and main-top buoyed me up, and a bag of biscuits I had had on my arm still hung there. I ate mechanically. The sun came out with fiery heat and scorched my unprotected head, and I had no water to quench my burning thirst. Thus for three days I lay drifting, I knew not where, expecting every moment to be my last, and a prey to my own bitter recollections. Then conscience for a time usurped its sway; and I believe, had I fallen into good hands I might have repented; but it was not to be so. A vessel at length hove in sight. I had just strength left to wave my hand to show that I was alive. I was taken on board; not that feelings of compassion dwelt in the bosoms of her crew, but they saw my white skin, and thought that I might be useful in navigating their evil-employed craft, for fever had thinned their numbers. She was a slaver, and had some four hundred human beings groaning in chains beneath her confined decks.

“I speedily recovered, and assuming a bold, independent manner, I soon gained considerable influence over the crew, who were composed of Spaniards, Portuguese, Mulattoes, and desperadoes from every country in Europe. My companions found me so useful that they would not part with me, so I sailed in the vessel for the next voyage. She was a large brig, well armed. Slaving alone was too tame for us. If we fell in with a merchantman, we plundered her; and instead of going on the coast for slaves, we lay in wait for the smaller vessels returning home, when we used to take the slaves out of them, sometimes paying them in goods, and sometimes, if we were not afraid of detection, refusing them any recompense, and threatening to sink them if they dared to complain. For two years I remained in the slave brig without being able to leave her. I had no dislike to the work, and our gains were very large; but I was anxious to get back to India to secure the reward which had been promised me. It may seem strange that I should be eager after a sum which was paltry, compared to what I was now making; but I did not like to lose what I considered my right, gained, too, with so much risk and crime.

“Fortune did not always favour us. We were captured by an English ship of war; and clear evidence of our guilt being brought forward, I, with several of the officers and crew, was sentenced to be hung at Sierra Leone. The sum of my iniquities was not yet full. Two of my companions, confined with me, formed a plan for escaping; and, as my knowledge of English would be useful, they invited me to join them.

“We succeeded; and after going through incredible hardships and dangers, in travelling down the coast, under which one of our number sunk, the survivor and I got on board a slaver, and reached the Brazils. I was here very nearly recognised by the master of a Brazilian craft we had plundered; so, with my Spanish comrade, I worked my way to India. When I arrived, I made inquiries for the officer who had employed me, and was to pay me my reward. He was dead; and I found that I had lost the fruits of my crime.

“The children, I felt convinced, had been lost in the burning ship; and with the proof of her destruction, I contemplated going to England, and claiming the price agreed on for this work from the officer’s father, who, I doubted not, was enjoying the fortune which should have been theirs. Each time, however, that I attempted to go, I was prevented; once I had actually got part of the way, when I was wrecked at the Cape of Good Hope; and all the time I had my misgivings about going. First, that I might be recognised by those who knew me as a pirate; and then, after all, that the old gentleman would refuse to acknowledge my claims. A poor rogue, I knew, would have but little chance with a rich one. He had not tempted me to commit the crime, and might probably defy scrutiny. I speak of myself as poor; for, not withstanding all the sums I had possessed, not a dollar remained. Ill-gotten wealth speedily disappears, and leaves only a curse behind. Years passed away, when, at the port of Macao, in China, I took a berth as first mate on board the American brig Emu, trading in the Indian Seas.

“A lady, who was reputed to have great wealth with her, and a little girl, whom I supposed to be her child, came on board as passengers to Singapore. Two of the crew were my former comrades. I sounded the rest, and found that they had no scruples about joining me in any project I might propose. The prospect of possessing the lady’s dollars was too tempting to be resisted. The master, we feared, would not join us. To make sure, he was shot, and thrown overboard; and I took the command. I have perpetrated so many crimes, that I can speak of murder as of a common occurrence.”

“But what became of my sister and Mrs Clayton?” I exclaimed as the pirate had got thus far in his narrative.

“I took them from the first under my charge,” he answered. “I treated the lady with care; because I hoped that if I were captured, she might intercede for me, and assist in preserving my life. It was not for some time that I discovered who the little girl was. I had won her confidence; for in her presence I always felt myself a better man, and more than once I had resolved to repent, and obeying my mother’s earnest prayers, to return home to lead a virtuous life; but my evil passions had got too strong a hold of me, and my good resolutions were speedily broken.

“One day little Eva told me that she had been picked up in a boat at sea; and she afterwards showed me a gold chain and locket which had been found round her neck. I remembered it perfectly; and when she told me that she had a brother, and I considered that the initials of the names were the same, I had not the slightest doubt that I had discovered the children who were supposed to have been lost at sea. It at once occurred to me that I might turn the circumstance to my own advantage; and I resolved to return to England, and to put her in the way of regaining her rights. I knew that there was a great risk, but the romance and adventure pleased me; and when I told her that I had the means of serving you and her, she vowed that she would never consent to see me punished for anything that had occurred, and that she was certain that you also, and Sir Charles Plowden, would protect me.

“When I proposed to go to England, my crew would not hear of it. They had been disappointed in their share of Mrs Clayton’s property; and they declared that they must have the ship full of booty before they would go into harbour, and that if I would not consent I should share the fate of the master.

“We were tolerably successful, and for a long time no ship of war appeared inclined to molest us; at length your schooner appeared, and on two or three occasions nearly came up with us. I should have fought you, and might have beaten you off; but when, after some time, I learned who you were, which information I gained by going in disguise to some of the Dutch settlements where you had touched, I was anxious to avoid you. I had a notion that if I attempted further to injure you, the attempt would recoil on my own head. During this time your young sister was tolerably contented on board. I did my best to amuse her, for I truly was fond of the child, and she little knew how bad we were.

“Mrs Clayton, however, suffered much, and her health and strength soon gave way. She prayed me to set her and Eva on shore; but I dared not do so, lest they might betray me; and I had my own reasons, which I have told you, for keeping the little girl with me. At last the poor lady sunk beneath her sorrows. Even my fierce crew pitied her; and, when too late, they would have set her on shore. She died, and we buried her at sea. I thought I should have lost the poor little girl also, her grief was so great. I did my best to comfort her, and she somewhat recovered her spirits.

“There is an uninhabited island in these seas, not far from this, where we used to go to take in wood and water, and to refit the vessel when necessary. Some months ago we went there, and having safely moored the schooner in a snug harbour, carried some of her guns on shore, with the intention, on the following day, of conveying all her stores, for the purpose of heaving her down to give her a thorough overhaul. We erected tents and huts, and all the crew went to live on shore. Eva remained on board, to be more out of harm’s way; for on such occasions they were apt to get drunk, and quarrel, and sometimes to discharge their fire-arms at each other. Our movements, it appeared, had been watched by the scouts of a pirate fleet of Malays. While the greater part of the people were sleeping on shore, not suspecting danger, a number of armed prahus pulled into the harbour, and, undiscovered, they got alongside the brig. Before any alarm was given, most of the fellows who remained on board were krissed, and the lighter and most valuable portion of our cargo was carried off. Two or three of our men managed to jump overboard and to swim on shore, unperceived by the Malays. Fortunately, we had our boats with us, and instantly manning them, we pulled off to the brig. We had everything to fight for; for if we lost her, we were undone. We succeeded in surprising our enemies before they had time to cut the cables, or to set her on fire. Some we cut down, others we drove back to their vessels, and others into the water. So fierce was our attack, that they must have fancied that we mustered many more men than we actually did; and casting off their prahus, they swept them out of the harbour. Not a living being was found on board; the bodies of the men were still there, but your little sister, my good angel, was gone. I almost went mad when I made the discovery. I hoped, at first, that she might have concealed herself in the vessel, but I searched for her in vain. Nothing that could have occurred could have so moved me. I vowed that I would search for her in every direction, and would kill every Malay I met till I found her. After this I grew worse than ever, and more fierce and cruel. Even my own people were afraid of me.

“We had lost so many men, that it was necessary to be careful till we had recruited ourselves. We at last attacked a large Spanish brig. Some of her crew volunteered to join us; the rest shared the fate of many of our victims. We set her on fire and left her. We found an immense booty on board her; and it was necessary to repair to our island to share it. The people quarrelled with me about the division. I was also anxious to cruise among the Sooloo Islands, and to visit other places to which I thought little Eva might have been carried. To this they were opposed, instigated by the new hands. I grew furious, and blew out the brains of one of the ringleaders. It silenced them for the moment; but that night I found myself bound hand and foot, and that the brig was under weigh. After being at sea about a week, I was landed on this rock. I had no means of judging whereabouts it was. I was put on shore at night, and the brig made sail again at night. They left me neither arms, ammunition, nor food. At first I thought I should die; but I found ample means of existence, and I resolved to live to be revenged on those who had thus ill-used me. I felt all the time like a caged hyena, and used to walk about the island, thinking how I could escape. With some spars washed on shore I made the flag-staff you saw; but I could take no other measures, for I had no tools to construct a boat or even a raft. At last fever overtook me, and reduced me to the condition in which I now am.

“Such is a short outline of my history; but I have more to say to you. Some papers, to prove the claims of the children, kept in a tin case, were entrusted to the faithful nurse, who had charge of them. I got these papers from her, and they were in my pocket when I set the ship on fire, and I have ever since preserved them, thinking they might be of some use to me. I now return them, as they are of great importance to you.”

The dying pirate ceased his strange narrative. Prior and Fairburn at once got him to give the names and addresses of people, and several dates, and other particulars, which were afterwards of the greatest importance to me. I was so overcome and astonished at what I had heard, that I should have neglected to have done so. I eagerly received the case, for I longed to learn who I was, which I supposed the papers in it would inform me; but my desire to attend to the dying man would not then allow me to look at them.

He might have done me much injury, but he had been kind to Eva; and on that account I almost forgot that he was a pirate, and looked upon him as a friend. Had he been even my enemy, at that moment I would not have deserted him. The tin case I entrusted to Prior, and begged him to give it me when we returned on board; and I then sat myself down by the side of the pirate. He intimated that he could talk, and listen to me better alone.

“I shall not keep you long, sir,” he observed. “As the sun sets, my spirit too will take its flight. Alas, to what region must it be bound! Oh, who would commit sin, if they remembered what anguish they were preparing for themselves at their last moments!”

Thinking that some medicine might be of use to him, I proposed carrying him on board but he entreated to be left where he was.

“I am not afraid that you would betray me,” he said, with a ghastly smile; “I wish that the gibbet could make atonement for my sins, or that the gold I have robbed could buy masses for my soul, as the cunning priests of Rome tell their dupes it would do, but it is of no use. I shall not live to see another day; and if I can be saved, it must be through the unspeakable mercy of the great Saviour of whom you are telling me.”

Still believing that he might live longer than he supposed, I begged my friends to return on board, as it wanted still two hours to sunset, and to bring some food and medicine, while I remained with the unhappy man. As there could be no risk in my being left alone, from the island being uninhabited, they yielded to my request, and immediately set off down the hill to rejoin the boat.

It was a lovely evening. The cavern wherein I sat, by the side of the dying pirate, looked towards the west. Above our head and round us were the dark rocks; below, a mass of the rich and varied foliage of the tropics, between which was seen a strip of yellow sand and a line of coral reefs; and beyond, the calm blue sea, on which the sun was shining in full radiance from the unclouded sky. At a little distance off was my little schooner, with her sails idly flapping against the masts, now lying perfectly becalmed. There I sat, and humbly strove to show the dying pirate the way to seek forgiveness of his God.

Chapter Twenty Six.

As I sat in the cavern by the side of the dying pirate, his voice grew fainter and fainter, and his strength was evidently ebbing fast away. I observed that while he was speaking, his hand grasped a letter, well worn and crumpled.

“Ah that I had followed her advice, that I had listened to her entreaties, I should not have been brought to this pass!” he muttered to himself.

The letter was from his mother. For many years he had preserved it, and at his last moments it was not forgotten. I promised to write to her, and to tell her that he had died repentant. It is not, I hope, presumptuous in me to suppose, that it might have been owing to his kindness to Eva, to his one redeeming virtue, that he was allowed thus to die with one who could speak to him on matters of religion; or, perchance, a mother’s earnest prayers might have been heard at the throne of grace. So earnestly was I talking, that I did not observe the change which had come over the heavens. Suddenly, to my surprise and horror, the pirate sat bolt upright—his hair stood on end—his eyeballs rolled terrifically—his hand pointed towards the ocean.

“I knew it! I knew it! They come! they come!” he exclaimed, in a hollow voice, trembling with fear. “Such as I could not die like other men. Oh! mercy! mercy!”

Dark rolling clouds in fantastic forms came rushing over the sky. His voice was drowned in the loud roar of the tempest as it swept over the rocks. One shriek of agony alone was heard joining with the wailing of the fierce blast, and the wretched being by my side fell back upon his rude couch a livid corpse.

It was long ere I could erase from my memory the agonised expression of his countenance, as I beheld it when I attempted to draw the lids over his starting eyeballs. The storm was as furious as it was sudden. Thunder in rattling peals rolled through the sky; vivid lightning darted from the clouds; and rain in deluges came down, and drove me for shelter to the farthermost corner of the cavern. I could just distinguish my schooner through the sheet of water which was falling before me. The squall struck her; she heeled over to it, and for an instant I feared she would never have risen again but answering her helm she paid off, and away she flew before the gale. When I looked again, she had run far out of sight, under bare poles. My position was very disagreeable; but as there were food and water in the island, it might have been much worse. My chief concern was for Prior, Fairburn, and the boat’s crew. There had been plenty of time for them to get on board; but I questioned whether they had remained there, or endeavoured to return on shore before the gale came on. It suddenly occurred to me that they might have made the attempt, and that the boat might have been wrecked. No sooner did I think this, than, in spite of the rain, I started up and rushed down the rock towards the place where we had landed. I looked around on every side. There was no sign of the boat; but the wild waves were lashing the rocks with relentless fury, throwing up masses of foam to the topmost branches of the loftiest trees. To satisfy myself more thoroughly, I walked completely round the island; no boat, nor even a fragment, was to be seen; and at length I endeavoured to find the path to the cavern. I had some difficulty in discovering it, as it was now growing rapidly dark, the obscurity being increased by the dark masses of cloud floating in the sky. I fortunately found some plantains, which I plucked, as also a cocoa-nut; and with these in my hand I retraced my way back to the cavern. I would have selected any place to rest in rather than the one where the dead pirate lay; but I knew of no other where I could obtain shelter, and I did not like to turn the body out to be exposed to the tempest. He had collected a store of wood, and as I had my rifle with me, I easily kindled a fire. I was anxious to have a fire to dry my clothes, which were thoroughly drenched by the rain and exposure to the spray. This operation being performed, I began to feel the pangs of hunger; but as I had had but little practical experience of cookery, I was rather puzzled to know how to dress my plantains. I tried one under the ashes, but I burnt it to a cinder, and was obliged to stay my appetite by munching a piece of cocoa-nut, while I was making a fresh attempt.

I had a knife in my pocket, and by means of it I formed a toasting-fork out of a thin branch of a shrub, with which I more carefully roasted another plantain, very much to my satisfaction. It would doubtless have been better dressed in a more scientific way; but I was too hungry to be particular. The cocoa-nut served me as dessert; and the spring and some limes afforded me a most delicious and cooling draught. When my hunger was appeased, the strangeness of the scene, and the recollection of my own somewhat critical position, presented themselves to me with greater force than before. Unless, however, some accident had happened to the schooner, I felt very sure that she would return as soon as possible to my rescue.

The present, therefore, most oppressed me. I had no superstition; but yet I was not altogether free from a natural repugnance to being left with the dead pirate during the darkness of the night, while the storm was raging so furiously around. To sleep, I found, was impossible; so I sat up by the side of my fire, husbanding the wood with the greatest care, lest it should not last me till morning. Now and then a blast more furious than ordinary would come and almost sweep the fire out of the cavern.

In the intervals of the rain, while the lightning illuminated the dark abyss below my feet, I looked out to see if a glimpse could be caught of the schooner, as I pictured her trying to beat up to my rescue; but had I considered, I should have known that it would have been impossible for her so to do.

I had thrown a cloak I found over the body of the pirate, which I had drawn to the side of the cavern farthest from me; and as the flames cast their fitful light on it, I fancied that I saw the limbs moving. I watched—I was certain that they moved again.

“Can it be possible that he is not dead?” I thought. “Perhaps he is in a swoon, brought on by agitation and excessive weakness.” Taking a brand from the fire, I approached the body, and lifted the cloak from his face. The features remained fixed and rigid as before. The stamp of death was there. My fancy had deceived me. Replacing the cloak, I returned to my seat by the fire. Never has a night appeared so long. At last my fuel was almost exhausted, and my watch told me that it wanted some time to sunrise. The storm had in no degree abated. I had scraped the leaves together, which had formed the pirate’s bed, and I kept adding a few at a time to the fire. Whether the smoke they caused had any effect on me, I know not; but by degrees forgetfulness stole over me, and I sunk into a sound slumber. When I awoke, the storm had passed away, and the sun was shining brightly on the blue waters beneath me. Arousing myself completely, I offered up my morning prayers to Heaven, and then hurried out to take a survey around the island, in the hopes of discovering the Fraulein in the distance. I first looked to the south. She was not to be seen. I then climbed to the highest point, where the flag-staff was placed, when what was my surprise and no little dismay to see below me a fleet of prahus, which, from their size and the appearance of those on board them, I knew must belong to one of the neighbouring piratical communities! The cause of their presence was explained, when I observed that several of them had been driven on shore on the weather side of the island, the remainder having taken shelter to leeward of it. The wind which had blown the Fraulein off the coast, had, to my misfortune, blown them on it. I consoled myself with the hope that they might soon take their departure, and that I should have simply to undergo the inconvenience of lying hid in the cavern, and was about to hurry away from my conspicuous situation, when, to my dismay, I saw, from the gestures of some of those on the shore below, that I was perceived. Still I thought that I might reach the cavern before any of them could get up the hill, and that, should they possibly not take much trouble in searching for me, I might still escape discovery. I therefore hurriedly descended to it, and sat myself down in the most retired part to wait events. My rifle was by my side. I loaded it, and considered whether I should try and defend the post, should they appear to be hostile. I seldom missed my aim; and I felt that I could keep a number at bay, if I posted myself at the angle of the rock, where I could command a pathway, up which not more than one person at a time could proceed.

There was, however, unfortunately no spot whence I could watch them to judge of their disposition without being perceived. I therefore must be the aggressor against people who might not desire to injure me. At all events, I must sacrifice a good many lives, and should probably be overpowered in the end. Of course I could have no scruple about defending my life or my liberty; but I could not tell that the strangers wished to deprive me of either one or the other. While I was still undecided, I heard the voices of the Malays, shouting to each other as they climbed the hill in search of me.

As I had so easily discovered the cavern, so probably would they. “Come,” I thought, “I will not be taken like a rat in a hole, crouching up here in the corner. They will think that I am afraid and despise me. That must not be.” So, starting with my rifle carefully loaded, I went to the angle, whence I could observe them. As I stood listening, I judged by the sound of their voices that they were drawing near, and had probably already discovered the pathway to my place of concealment. Stepping out, therefore, with my rifle grasped in my left hand, ready to fire if necessary, I presented myself full in front of them. There were some twenty or thirty fellows; and savage-looking warriors they appeared, with head-dresses of feathers, and skins of wild animals on their shoulders, while they held their krisses in their hands ready to strike. I saw, from their active movements as they sprang up the rocks, that I should not have the slightest chance with them if we came to blows, and yet they did not seem like people with whom there was much chance of keeping on peaceable terms, if one happened to be the weakest party. I fortunately had a white handkerchief in my pocket; and on the instant I thought I would try what effect exhibiting a flag of truce would have. As soon as they saw the rifle, they stopped and held a consultation, evidently well knowing its powers of mischief. Probably they supposed that there might be several others behind it ready to pick them off as they advanced. When, however, they saw me holding out the handkerchief in my right hand, they suspected that I was not inclined for war, and their confidence immediately returning, they once more advanced towards me. I again presented my rifle and they halted. Their leader suspected that he should have a bullet sent through him, so he kept back the rest, who, not anticipating such a reception for themselves, were more induced to push on.

My readers will believe that I had good reason for my apprehensions, when I describe the fierce group winding up the pathway and scattered about the more distant rocks before me, where they had climbed when the front ranks came to a halt. Some I judged by their dress and features to be Malays; others were evidently Dyaks, or some of the native tribes of Borneo. The leader was a Malay apparently. He had on his head a turban of gay-coloured cloth, richly embroidered, twisted round a helmet of ancient form; his breast was guarded by a coat of plate armour, and the scabbard of his sword hung to a gold band across his shoulders. On his back he wore a scarlet coat, while a shawl, also embroidered, was fastened loosely round his waist, below which again appeared a sort of kilt, and loose trousers. His sword was ready in one hand and a spear in the other, so that he promised to be a formidable opponent at close quarters. But behind him came another, whose appearance was far more terrific, and whom I guessed was of the Dyak race, probably a chief among them.

Strange as it may seem, I was well able to observe him. On his head he wore a sort of crown or cap, of large size, made of monkey’s skins, trimmed with feathers, and surmounted by two very long feathers of the Argus pheasant, hanging out on either side. From each of his ears were pendant two large rings of tin or lead, which weighed the lobes almost down to his shoulders, while the upper part of the ear had a tiger’s tooth passed through it. He had on a long jacket of scarlet cloth, trimmed with yellow, and thickly padded to serve as armour; and a cloak of tiger’s skin thrown over his shoulders, with the head of the animal hanging behind. A thick cloth girded his loins, and hung down before and behind like the tail of a coat, while into it was stuck his parang or broad-pointed sword. A spear was grasped in his left arm, which bore a long shield made of hard wood, and curved round, barely of width to cover the body at once; and in his right was his sumpitan or tube to blow out poisoned arrows, one of which he had ready to discharge at me, his followers imitating his very disagreeable example. His legs and feet were entirely bare. The handle of his sword, as also his quiver, were profusely ornamented with tufts of hair, which added to the wildness of his general appearance; indeed, altogether my assailants were as savage a band of warriors as a single man would wish to encounter.

As yet they were too far-off to send their arrows at me: at the same time, there was little chance of my rifle missing one of them; but then, had I fired, before I could again have loaded, the rest would have rushed on, and cut me down. I therefore, as my only resource, resolved to try what would be the effect of showing confidence in them. Accordingly I placed my rifle against the rock, and waving my handkerchief, advanced towards them. I own that my heart was beating tolerably quickly all the time, but I tried to look as brave as a lion. When they saw that I had laid aside my weapon, for which I had reason to suspect they thought me a great simpleton, their own courage returned, and then rushing forward, I was soon surrounded by their motley band, each man amusing himself, very much to his satisfaction though very little to mine, by thrusting the point of his sword or spear-head at me, to try whether I could bear the prick without flinching. As it would not now have done to have shown any signs of fear, I took no notice of their insults, and looked around with an air as unconcerned as I could assume.

I fear that I did not act my part sufficiently well to command their respect, for the chief seized my handkerchief, and putting it into his belt, proved that he had no respect for flags of truce; another got hold of my rifle, and, on examining the lock, pulled the trigger, and very nearly shot one of his companions. One then took off my jacket, and one appropriated my hat, not withstanding my significant entreaties to be allowed to retain it; indeed, I soon found that I had little chance of being treated with any ceremony.

Some had gone into the cavern, where they discovered the dead body of the pirate. Immediately they stripped it of its clothes, and hurled it over the precipice, to become a prey to the fowls of the air; so that I was unable, as I wished, to have bestowed burial on one who, miscreant as he might have been called, had, at all events, been the protector of my little sister.

When, on further examination, they found nothing else to carry off, they dragged me down to the shore, off which several of their prahus were lying at anchor. The rest of the people were busily engaged in collecting everything that was valuable from the wrecks of those which had been driven on shore; and I very soon found that, though they might spare my life, I was to be treated, not only as a prisoner, but as a slave; for a fellow having collected a load, without ceremony placed it on my back, and, giving me a poke with his spear, made a sign to me to carry it to a canoe floating close to the beach. The rest laughed, and seemed to think it a good joke. I tried hard to keep up my temper and courage; so, as soon as I had deposited the load in the canoe, I came back, and assiduously began to collect another, which in like manner I carried to the canoe. When, however, I had collected a third, rather heavier than the rest, seeing a fellow passing me without one, I very quietly placed it on his back, and giving him a shove, pointed to the canoe, as his countryman had done when he put the load on me. This seemed to tickle the fancies of the rest, and they all laughed immoderately, except the one on whom I had played the trick, and he immediately threw the burden down. On this I pretended to fancy that he was too weak to carry it, and making signs as if I commiserated him, I took it up and bore it off to the boat. By this sort of behaviour I believe that I gained considerably the good opinion of my captors, if I did not by it save my life. Had I been weak or obstinate, they might have killed me, as of no use to them; but from my willingness to work, they judged that I should make a useful slave, and valued me accordingly. Having collected all they wanted from the wrecks, and laid in a store of fruit and water, they began to go on board the prahus. I resolved to make an attempt to preserve my liberty, and putting out my hand, tried to shake hands with them and to bid them farewell, as if I expected to remain on the island. Alas! I speedily discovered that they had no intention to let me off. I endeavoured to explain that I had friends who would return and look for me, and would be grievously disappointed at not finding me. They probably did not understand my explanations; at all events they totally disregarded them, and the spears which were pointed at me convinced me that I had no resource but to step into the canoe towards which I was thus unpleasantly conducted.

We were soon on board one of the prahus, which, I learned, belonged to the chief who had captured me, and I was given to understand that I was his especial property. My rifle was given to the leader of the expedition, as a more valuable perquisite. I am not quite certain whether my jacket or I ranked next in consideration. I suspect that we were considered of about equal value. The prahu on which I was on board differed but little from those which composed the fleet by which it had been my chance before to be captured. The chief cabin extended farther forward, and was less substantially built; and the whole vessel was longer, and much more decorated with paint and carving. I was placed under the fighting deck among a quantity of booty, of which I found they had been pillaging some of the neighbouring islands. Fortunately there were plenty of slaves to work the oars, so that I was saved from a task which would have knocked me up completely. The wind being contrary, the oars were got out, and we pulled away to the northward. At first we proceeded at a moderate speed, but I then observed some little commotion on board, and the officers went round with thongs in their hands to urge the slaves to fresh exertions. As we cleared the island, and I managed to creep up so as to get a look astern, I discovered the cause. In the far distance was my own little craft, the Fraulein, beating up under all sail towards the island. I was certain it was she, and it was a satisfaction to know that she had escaped shipwreck in the gale; but it was indeed doubly tantalising to me to see my friends so near and unable to help me. What a change had a few short hours wrought in my circumstances! Yesterday I was on board my own vessel, with every one anxious to serve me; now I was a slave, surrounded by savages, who, without provocation, might any moment put an end to my existence. I remembered, however, the advice I have so often repeated. I resolved to keep up my spirits, and to make every exertion to escape, trusting that He who had hitherto been my Guardian would think fit still to preserve me. I watched the Fraulein anxiously; she had not yet reached the island to discover that I was no longer on it.

We had almost sunk the island when I saw her topgallant-sails come abreast of it. For some time they remained stationary, and then I saw her evidently standing after us. She pursued us under all sail, but we were pulling into the wind’s eye, and had the advantage of her. At length the shades of evening shut her out from my view.

Chapter Twenty Seven.

Overcome with fatigue, wretched as I was, I fell fast asleep, surrounded by my savage companions, and was allowed to remain undisturbed all the night. When the morning dawned, we were running under sail, with the northern coast of Celebes on our larboard hand. I looked out for my dear little Fraulein, in the anxious hope that she might be following; but, alas! she was nowhere in sight; and with a sinking heart I felt that I was about to be carried into hopeless slavery. I did not doubt that my friends would search for me everywhere; but if I was transported into the interior of the country, I knew too well how almost impossible it would be for them to discover me.

The high land of the northern coast of Celebes remained in sight for some days, as we pursued our course to the westward; but the pirate fleet did not attempt to make any descent on it; indeed, their prahus had already as much cargo on board as they could well carry. One day we stood close in, and I observed ranges of lofty blue mountains, with rocks and precipices, and waterfalls, and groves of trees, and green fields, forming altogether a most enchanting and tempting prospect. We, however, stood off again; and whatever was the intention of the pirates, either to rob or to obtain water, it was frustrated. The inhabitants of Celebes are called Bugis. They are very enterprising and industrious, and are the chief traders in the Archipelago. They are said not to be altogether averse to a little piracy, when they can commit it without fear of opposition or detection. They are, at all events, far more civilised than any of the surrounding people, and they are in proportion deceitful and treacherous. As Celebes belongs to the Dutch, and they have a settlement on the north-eastern point, that of Mindanao, I was in hopes that some Dutch ship of war might encounter the fleet and rescue me from the hands of my captors; but day after day passed away, and no such good fortune, as I should then have called it, befell me. I had reason, afterwards, to be thankful for all that occurred to me. But I must not anticipate. Losing sight of the coast of Celebes, we crossed the Straits of Malacca, and sighted the lower shores of Borneo. The land was low and thickly fringed with mangrove trees of large growth but behind their dark foliage I observed blue mountain ranges rising in the distance, which gave the scenery a more inviting appearance. We soon entered the mouth of a broad river, up which we sailed in martial array—tom-toms beating, pipes sounding, men shouting and brandishing their weapons, and flags waving. I was at first doubtful whether they were preparing for war, or celebrating their victories on their return home. I found, at last, that all this noise and fuss was their mode of rejoicing and congratulating themselves on their success. At first I was inclined to think their custom very barbarous and ridiculous, till I remembered that we in England do precisely the same thing in our own way, only, as we are a more powerful people, we make more noise at a victory. We fire off much bigger guns, and more of them; we wave a greater number of larger flags; we light up our houses, which are much higher, with lamps; and our mob, who are more numerous, shout with hoarser voices. Indeed, when I came minutely to compare the habits and customs of barbarous people with ours, I found that there was a much greater similarity than I was at first inclined to suspect.

As we sailed on, the scenery much improved. Fine green fields, or meadow land, formed the banks, varied with gently sloping hills and knolls, or more rugged elevations, covered to their summits with the richest and most varied foliage. We passed two or three places where I observed the ruins of huts and stockades, and also that the fruit-trees were cut down. On these occasions the warriors flourished their swords more vehemently than ever, and seemed to threaten some invisible enemy, when I thought it advisable to keep out of their way, lest they should take me for a real one, and hew me to pieces. Higher up, considerable patches of cultivated ground appeared, and, scattered thickly along the banks, were to be seen the picturesque cottages, or rather huts, of the inhabitants. I afterwards learned that they were of the Sagai race—a tribe of the Dyaks—some of whom manned the prahu on which I was. As we proceeded, canoes assembled from each village to greet us, and others were seen coming down the river in large numbers for the same complimentary object. I was now placed on the most conspicuous part of the fighting deck, either as a trophy of war, or an object of curiosity to the assembled multitude, I could not tell which; but I was not flattered by the distinction, which was at all events excessively disagreeable.

At length we reached a town of some size, surrounded by a stockade, with a fort, mounting a number of old guns on one side. The town, I found, was inhabited chiefly by Malays, who live on friendly terms with the Sagais. The houses, unlike those of the Dyaks of the north coast, were built of one storey on the ground, chiefly of bamboo, neatly thatched and floored. The fleet having anchored before the town, and fired a salute, the admiral and his chief officers landed with me in their train, and marched towards the palace of the sultan, as the ruler of each petty state is called. We had not advanced far, when the victorious leader was met by a procession, with the prime minister in state, coming to do him honour. First marched a Malay, with a staff and a large flag waving above his head; then came two spearmen with their shields; and next the minister, another man holding above his head a canopy of state, a huge flat-topped umbrella, of scarlet silk, fringed with gold. Next followed a band of musicians, two with drums, and two with pipes; and last, a large body of spearmen, all habited in scarlet cloth.

The minister wore a silk handkerchief wound round his head, the end sticking out at the top, a silk vest, a richly embroidered coat, broad trousers with a deep fringe, and a handsome shawl round his waist, into which was stuck his sword and kriss, the end of which made his coat stick out very much behind. Such, indeed is the general dress of the Malays in those regions. After saluting the admiral, he turned round, and heading our line of march, we proceeded to the palace.

We found the sultan seated on his throne in a large room of bamboo, open on three sides, that behind him having a scarlet cloth curtain hanging before it. We all drew up in front of the throne, and a great many speeches were made by those present, very complimentary, I doubt not, to each other, and very much the contrary to their enemies; and then I was brought forward and examined, and turned round and round, till they were tired of looking at me. As they were aware that I did not understand a word of their language, or they of mine, they did not ask me any questions, which saved me a great deal of trouble. I was at last sent back to my original captor, whose property I evidently was. He kept me for three days in the town, where I was visited by an immense number of the inhabitants, who evidently considered me a curiosity, just as we in England would look on a Dyak if we had him to exhibit. He did not understand the art of a showman, so he did not attempt to make anything by me; but now, considering that it was time for me to commence gaining my own livelihood, and bringing him some profit into the bargain, he intimated to me that I was to accompany him into the interior on the following day. My master’s name was Kaka, and he was, I believe, considered a great warrior and a first-rate navigator; at least, I know the Malay admiral put great confidence in him.

Early in the morning we set out, Kaka and some friends being on horseback, while I was compelled to trudge forward on foot, with a bundle, moreover, on my back. The scenery as we advanced was very beautiful, and the luxuriance and variety of the vegetation most magnificent. I was surprised at the immense number of cultivated trees, shrubs, and plants which surrounded the native villages. There were large groves of broad-leaved plantains and graceful cocoa-nut trees, the slender tapering betel-nut palm and elegant palmyras; while the showy-looking papaw, and here and there a rhambutan tree, or a dark-leaved guava, contrasted with the golden fruit of the shaddock, and the delicious mangustan and the curious-tasted durian were to be found in numbers among them.

I observed extensive groves of bamboo at the back of some of the houses, and pine-apple plantations luxuriating in the dark damp shady nooks. Then there are large fields of the most vivid hues; the bird’s-eye pepper and tumeric are found growing like common weeds; while the piper betel, the leaf of which is chewed with ripe or green pieces of the areca-nut, is a most graceful plant, especially when loaded with its long spikes of fruit. Sometimes it runs like a creeper along the ground, and at others it climbs the stems of the palmyra and areca palms in little patches, which are carefully guarded by rough paling. Great attention is paid to the irritation of these spots, to insure a good flavour in the leaves.

The cultivation of these various productions of the earth was certainly very rude; but wherever I went I observed a greater approach to the arts of civilisation than I expected, but more especially I was struck with the immense resources of the country, the extreme fertility which Providence has so bountifully bestowed on it, and the great reciprocal advantages which the inhabitants would reap by a free commercial intercourse with civilised countries.

When I became better acquainted with the people, I felt convinced that, notwithstanding their many barbarous and cruel customs, they possessed dispositions which, if properly cultivated by the introduction of the true spirit and tenets of Christianity, and a firm and judicious government, would form them into prosperous and happy communities. They appeared to me, when I saw them unexcited by war, to be of a very mild character, and most anxious to act rightly and honestly, according to their notions, towards each other. Of course, I judged them by their own standard of right and wrong, as I conceive the only fair way to form a just estimate of the character of a people is to calculate the advantages they possess. Alas! I fear that, were the behaviour of Englishmen thus to be judged, their characters would often sink very very much below the standard at which, in our conceit, we are too proud of rating them.

We travelled on for several days into the interior. I tried to keep up my spirits and an appearance of indifference, as I knew that thus I should have a much better chance of being well treated by the natives, than if I had appeared sick or out of humour. I trudged on, singing when I could manage to screw my voice up to the proper pitch, sometimes chewing a piece of cocoa-nut, and at others whittling away, as the Americans call it, at a stick, which I had cut from the forest. I tried hard to make some of the inferior Sagais carry my load, by placing it on their shoulders; but, though they took the trick in good part, the man to whom I had given it passed it on to another, and very soon it was returned to me. Most of them, indeed, had loads of their own to carry. At last we arrived at the chief’s residence. It was a neatly built cottage of bamboo, thatched with palm-leaves, and surrounded by a number of smaller cottages, the habitations of his relations and followers, the whole encircled by a palisade and trenches to serve as a fortification. I was at once introduced to the chief’s wife, and made to understand that I was to obey her orders. She wore a large loose garment of native cloth, called a sarong, wrapped round her waist and descending some way down her legs, but not sufficiently long to impede her walking. She was really very good-looking, though rather stout; but her beauty was not increased by the enormous rings of tin which she carried in her ears. She seemed good-natured, and I determined to do my best to please her. She first set me to light the fire. To produce ignition, in the first place, she gave me a stick with a pointed end, which she showed me how to insert into a hole in a board, which led to a groove in the lower side, and by turning the stick round rapidly between the palms, the flame burst forth. She next gave me a quantity of rice or padi to pound for family consumption; and then putting a basket into my hand, made of straw so closely woven that it held water, she intimated that it was to get her from a rivulet a supply of that necessary article.

I was next employed in collecting the fruit of a species of bassia, or what I should call a butter tree. This she boiled down, and then poured the liquid into bamboo cases. When it had cooled it was taken out, and was of the colour and consistence of cheese. The larger quantity was intended for exportation; but she also, taking some strips of cotton, dipped them into the mass, and produced some apologies for candles. The flame was not bright; but the vegetable tallow has the advantage of remaining concrete, or hard, under the greatest tropical heat, white that produced from animal fat becomes too soft for the purpose. When she had no household work to give me, I was sent out with a number of other slaves, both black and brown, to cut wood for firing or building purposes, and to collect aromatic barks, such as the clove bark and the cinnamon. I never refused to perform any work she gave me, and went about it with so cheerful a countenance that I gained her approbation and confidence. I own that all the time my heart was very heavy, and that I was endeavouring to discover some means by which I might have a chance of escaping. At the great distance I was from the coast, I knew that to escape would be very difficult; but I notwithstanding resolved never to despair. Others had been rescued from equally hopeless situations; why should not I? though I could not see the means by which it was to be accomplished. My place of captivity was in the neighbourhood of a fine river, abounding with fish; and after a little time I was sent out to assist my master and his companions in catching them. Sometimes we used the root of a shrub found in the forests, which, being steeped in water, the juice was poured into the pools where the fish lay. This completely stupefied them, and made them float to the surface, where the natives dexterously transfixed them with their spears. They have, however, another and a very amusing way of catching them in the stream, which I think might be imitated to advantage in England. A number of model ducks are made of light wood, to imitate the real bird, and to their feet hangs a line with a hook and some tempting baits. These were set floating in the current, and watched at a little distance by a man in a canoe. Sometimes the ducks would swim tail first, contrary to the practice of all live ducks; but the fish, I supposed, did not observe the eccentricity, for they bit just as readily at the bait below. As soon as the fisherman perceived that a duck began to bob and dive, he paddled forward and secured the living prize beneath. I soon grew expert at this sort of fishing, which was very amusing; and as I set to work to manufacture the ducks, I sometimes had five or six dozen floating around me, and it was very exciting pulling here and there, when, by their movements, I saw they had made a capture.

Near the village, on the banks of the stream, were several podado trees, which are of a light-green foliage, and extremely elegant. They are the abode of fire-flies; and at night it was most beautiful to watch the thousands of those brilliant insects flitting about among their branches. Sometimes I have seen both banks of the river completely lit up as if by a display of fireworks.

I was rapidly gaining a knowledge of the language of my captors, which I diligently studied for the purpose of aiding my escape, and I thus was able to gain a great deal more about the people than I could otherwise have done. I have already slightly described their dress. It varied very much, each man seeming to follow his own taste. Some wore enormously large helmets of skins stretched out on canes, and ornamented with a variety of feathers; and when they wore skin cloaks, the head of the animal usually hung down behind, and had a very grotesque appearance. They wear corselets of leather, stuffed, and some large pearl-oyster shells, to serve as armour. Their sumpitans are most exactly bored, and look like Turkish tobacco-pipes. The inner end of the sumpit, or arrow, is run through a piece of pith fitting exactly to the tube, so that there is little friction as they are blown out of the tube by the mouth. The barb is dipped in a mixture, of which the chief ingredient is the sap of the upas tree; and, to increase its virulence, lime-juice is sometimes added. The poison, by its exposure to the air, loses its noxious qualities.

By-the-bye, I discovered that the deadly qualities of the upas tree are very much exaggerated. I climbed into the branches of one, and drank water from a stream passing near its roots, without suffering the slightest inconvenience; at the same time, perhaps, under some circumstances, it may be more hurtful.

The chief articles exported by my captors were bees’ wax and camphor, honey, vegetable tallow, areca-nuts, trepang dawma, sharks’ fins, tortoise-shell, edible birds’ nests, and pearls. These are only a very small portion of the articles they might export under other circumstances.

The edible bird’s nests are formed by a species of swallow, which builds them in the caves on the coast. They adhere in numbers to the rocks, very like watch-pockets to the head of a bed. They are either white, or red, or black, and are formed chiefly of agal-agal a marine cellular plant. The Chinese lanterns are made of netted thread, smeared over with the gum produced by boiling down this same plant, which, when dry, forms a firm pellucid and elastic substitute for horn.

The collecting of these nests, from the positions they occupy, is as dangerous as the samphire-gathering described by Shakespeare. I must return to my description of the people. The members of each tribe are usually divided into their fighting men, those who manufacture arms, and those who cultivate the ground and make ornaments for the women. Although addicted to warfare, they still cultivate the ground; they treat their women better than do most savages, always the mark of a superior grade in civilisation; they do not torture prisoners as do the North American Indians, although they cut off the heads of those they kill.

They believe in one God, and fancy that heaven is situated at the top of Kina Balow, their highest mountain, and that the pass is defended by a savage dog. It is curious that the North American Indians and the Greeks of old had a similar notion.

In their warfare they are as fierce and remorseless as the Red Indian, and, without the fair warning which he gives to his enemies, they attack them in the dead of night, and slay all they meet. I heard of a race of people who inhabited the woods in the interior, who go about entirely without clothing; they sleep under the overhanging branches of trees, make a fire to keep off the wild beasts and snakes, and, cover themselves with a piece of bark. When the children can take care of themselves, they quit their parents to pursue the same course. The Dyaks hunt them, and shoot their children in the trees with sumpits as they would monkeys. I had heard of these wild people; and one day in the woods, with another slave, we observed what I was convinced was one of them, standing before me with a huge stick in his hands; but instead of being without clothing, he had a well-made coat of skin on his shoulders. We were both unarmed; and as my companion instantly ran away, I was afraid that he might retaliate on me the injuries he had so often received. He looked at me fiercely for a minute, and then brandishing his stick, advanced towards me. I saw that I was not likely to escape by running, and fully expected to have my brains knocked out. Luckily a branch of a tree lay near me; I seized it, and rushed towards my antagonist. To my surprise he instantly threw down his stick, and began to climb a tree near him. I was now the assailant; and as my courage increased, his oozed out, and he climbed from branch to branch in an endeavour to make his escape. On nearer examination, what I took to be a coat was his natural skin; and I discovered that instead of a wild man, an enormous ourang-outang was before me. As I had no wish to molest him, I began to retreat; but as I did so, he came down from his tree and followed me. On this I turned again, when he instantly stopped, and as I advanced he began to climb.

I suspected, from this manoeuvre, that he intended me some treachery, and, coming to an open space, I set off and ran as hard as I could. He followed for some distance, when, growing tired of walking, he gave up the chase, and returned to his wood. I suspect that the wild people spoken of are no other than baboons. I advanced further in the good graces of my mistress by taking notice of her children, and by making them swings, and a variety of toys suited to their tastes, so that she was induced to indulge me more than the other slaves. I, however, still had to toil hard, and my master was as severe as at first. One day I had gone with a number of other slaves to collect cinnamon in a direction I had not before visited, when, as I was passing a cottage on my return homeward, I heard the sounds of a female voice singing a low and soft melody. The notes thrilled through my heart. They were not the sounds of a native woman’s voice. I let my load drop at the risk of feeling my master’s lash on my back, that I might stop and listen. How eagerly did I drink in these notes! I heard the words, too; yes—I could not be mistaken—they were English. Oh, what sensations did they create! I had an indistinct notion that I had heard them before in the days of my infancy. It was a gentle, plaintive air. Now I should never forget it. I longed to see who was the singer; but she was concealed inside the cottage, and I feared to enter; I dared not even delay longer to listen, for the lash of my master was about to descend on my shoulders. What wild fancies rushed into my brain! “Can it be Eva? Can she be so near me? I dare not think it,” I kept repeating to myself, as I was urged on with my load. All night long I lay awake, that sweet voice sounding in my ear, while I meditated how I could discover the mystery.

Chapter Twenty Eight.

Several days passed away, and my constant and numerous occupations prevented me from returning to the neighbourhood of the cottage from whence the strains of music I had heard proceeded. Every effort I made was prevented. Alas! I felt too truly that I was a slave. Those who have once tasted the bitterness of slavery will know how to compassionate their fellow-creatures, whatever the hue of their skin, reduced to a like condition. Surely the heart of the white and black man is the same: yet such is the fate of thousands and thousands of human beings, not only of the sons of Africa, but of the inhabitants of these magnificent islands I am describing. To what nobler purpose could the power and influence of Great Britain be turned, than by putting a stop to such atrocities, and by bringing the blessings of Christianity and civilisation among a people so capable of benefiting by them?

But to return to my history. The natives of Borneo have a very just conception of the rights of property; they look upon certain lands and fruit-trees, or on other trees and shrubs useful to them, as also on their lakes and rivers for fishing purposes, as belonging to certain tribes or individuals; and any aggression thereon is the cause of quarrels and warfare. I had heard the people talking of an expedition some of them had made into the territory of a distant tribe, when they had cut down some cocoa-nut and palm-trees, and committed other mischief; but they spoke of their enemies as a weak and pusillanimous race, who were unable or unwilling to retaliate, and I thought no more of the matter. When sent into the woods to gather bark or gums, or the heads of the cabbage-palm, or to catch fish on the river or neighbouring lake, I used to be interested by the vast number of birds and insects—the beauty of the plumage of the one, and the brilliancy of the tints of the other.

I must not omit to mention the cabbage-palm. This tree is surrounded, at each girdle of growth, by a cincture of sharp thorns, which are more numerous and needle-shaped as we approach the leaves. The head contains, like all other palms, a soft spike, about the hardness of the core of the cabbage. This, when boiled, resembles the asparagus, or kale, and, uncooked, it makes an excellent salad. The interior of the tree is full of useless pithy matter. It is therefore split into four or more parts, the softer portion being cut away, and leaving only the outer rind of older wood, which is necessarily hard. These narrow, slightly-curved slabs form the principal flooring of the houses in Borneo, as well as the posts and rafters. In England it is constantly used for umbrella-sticks. The most interesting birds were the pigeons, with feathers of the richest metallic hues. The plaintive cooings of their notes as they issued from the solitude of the sombre woods, were mournful but soothing to my ear. Their air is full of softness, and their eyes of gentleness; the very turn of the neck and the carriage of the head are full of grace; every motion is elegant, and their forms of the most beautiful proportions. A kingfisher of considerable size, and splendid colouring, frequents the banks of the streams. A grey heron perches on the lower boughs of the trees, and fishes in the ponds. A small-winged woodpecker, and a large red-headed species, climb up and down the trees in sequestered places, and a thrush with a yellow beak and black head utters a sweet note among the bamboo groves and thickets; while owls, falcons, eagles and other birds of prey abound.

I was one day sent to fish in a lake in the direction of the cottage whence the music had proceeded which had so agitated me. Into the lake ran a clear rivulet, which passed, I thought likely, near the cottage. I was in a small canoe by myself, and, fortunately finding the fish abounding near the mouth of the rivulet, I separated myself from my companions, and, observing that I was not watched, I pulled a little way up it. My progress was soon stopped; but trees concealing me from view, I hauled up the canoe on the bank, and jumped on shore.

I listened to discover if any one was near; but no sound reaching my ear, I crept cautiously along the banks of the stream, looking between the trees for any sign of a habitation. After going some way, I came to a field of maize, and soon after, at the end of a forest glade, I beheld a cottage. I could not tell if it was the one for which I was in search, but I hoped it might be; and concealing myself among the bushes and behind the trunks of trees, I advanced towards it. I had got a very little way, however, before a female figure appeared from behind the cottage, with a basket on her head. She stopped an instant, as if to discover if any one was near, and then she came quickly along towards the very spot where I lay concealed. Oh, how my heart beat with emotion! Her quick and elastic step told me she was young,—as would her slight and small figure. Her dress, I saw, was not that of a native woman; for though her head was bare, a loose vest covered her neck and shoulders, and a gown came down to her feet. Soon, too, I saw that her skin was fair; that her hair, which hung in rich luxuriance over her shoulders, was light, and that her eyes were blue; and as she drew still nearer, I knew her features. I could not be mistaken in them; for although grown from infancy almost to womanhood, still they were those of my own sweet dear little sister Eva.

I was afraid of frightening her if I appeared suddenly, and still more so should any one be observing her; so I waited, my heart throbbing all the time, till she had reached the stream and filled her bucket with water. She then sat down on the bank, and seemed to be meditating over her sad fate. Then she began to sing the same plaintive air I had before heard. I echoed it, and repeated the words, increasing them in distinctness. At first she seemed to think that her imagination had been deceiving her; then she started up and advanced rapidly, with outstretched arms and eager look, towards where I lay concealed. I could no longer contain myself, but sprang up and rushed towards her. She instantly stopped, and uttering a faint cry, was about to fly from me—

“Eva, my own Eva! it is your brother Mark.”

She instantly recognised my voice, and flying forward she threw herself into my arms, and sobbed as if her heart would break. I held her thus without being able to utter a word.

“Mark, my brother Mark! I can scarcely believe this; and yet my heart told me all along that you would come and search for me; that you would not believe that I was dead; that you would never rest till you found me;—and I have not been deceived.”

“Indeed I would not, Eva, for we are all in all to each other,” I replied.

There was a sheltered nook, where no one at a distance off could see us. I led her there, and we sat down; and, our hands clasped together, I told her all that I had done to discover her.

“And you see, Eva,” I added, “what I at first thought the greatest misfortune that could have happened to me, has proved the blessing I could most have desired, as it has enabled me at last to discover you.”

“But we are slaves,” said Eva, sighing deeply.

“Yes, dear Eva; but we are together,” I answered in a cheerful voice. “Together, too, we will escape. I am certain of it. I know not how it will be accomplished; but I have no doubt about the matter. I was certain I should discover you; and you see I have done so in a way I little expected.”

“You are in spirits, Mark, at having discovered me, and so I ought to be also,” she replied; “but do you know that I cannot shake off the feeling that some heavy calamity is about to happen, even greater than has yet befallen?”

“Do not let such an idea oppress you,” I answered. “God never lets us foresee the future, though we may predict what is likely to happen, by close observation of past and present events. You have been exposed to so many dangers and horrors, that it is not surprising that your spirits should be low.”

“Indeed I have,” said Eva. “Not long ago a large war party came back, bringing with them thirty human heads, which they carried round the village with the most terrific shouts, and then, after baking them, hung them up in their head-house; when, for a whole month afterwards, they attended nightly singing and shouting at them. I have been every day expecting their enemies to retaliate; but they have not done so, and I hope have forgiven the outrage.”

“Such scenes were sufficient, indeed, to make you low-spirited,” I said; “but I want to know all about yourself—all your adventures, and how you came here.”

On this, she rapidly ran over all that had occurred to her from the time she went on board the Emu. She told me, that when off the coast of Borneo, the master had been shot by some of the crew and thrown overboard, and that Kidd was then elected captain; that the brig entered a river in Borneo, where the people were very nearly cut off by the natives; but that they escaped and proceeded southward, when they commenced attacking vessels of all sorts indiscriminately.

At first they only plundered them of the lighter and more valuable portion of their cargoes, but at length the crews were frequently murdered, and the vessels sunk or burned. Mrs Clayton had, from the first, discovered the sort of persons into whose hands she had fallen; and it so preyed on her spirits that she sank rapidly under it. The crew had been disappointed at the amount of the dollars she had brought on board; and had it not been for Kidd, who told them that they could realise much more by her ransom some time or other, they would have treated her with but little ceremony. Sometimes they received volunteers out of the vessels they destroyed. Among those whose lives were spared was a young lad from Java, and he was kept to serve them in the cabin. He was very honest and faithful; and Mrs Clayton had employed him to try and sell a few jewels she had secreted, to bribe some of the crew to assist in her escape. They took the bribe, but she remained a prisoner. Kidd had shown some interest in Eva from the first, and this much increased on his observing a locket which she wore round her neck. She had never been deprived of it. He did not tell her the reason of this, but promised her that he would do so some day. He was ever afterwards very kind in his manner. When he looked fierce or unhappy, she used to sing to him and calm his spirits, till she not only lost all dread of him, but began to like and to compassionate him. He was always very wretched, and sometimes she used to hear him shriek out at night in his cabin, as if someone were murdering him; and she never saw him smile or laugh. Poor Mrs Clayton grew worse and worse; and when she died, she thought her heart would break, and she almost wished to die also. Her misery decreased, though she was very melancholy. Kidd did his utmost to arouse her, and promised her that she should some day have her rights, and go on shore, and live in a fine house, with plenty of people to attend on her, and a carriage to to move about in. Soon after this the schooner appeared, and was taken for a Dutch man-of-war, and the pirates thus found it necessary to be more cautious in their proceedings. When chased for the first time, they had run for the Pater Nosters, because they were a group with which Kidd was well acquainted; and immediately on entering, they had hauled in through a very intricate channel to the north, where, by warping rapidly on, they had got sufficiently onward to be concealed by the trees from our view. On the second occasion, chance, aided by skill, had helped them. They had been just outside the strongest part of the squall, and by shortening sail in time, they were able to make it again, and to get away before we had recovered from it. On the third time, they had run into a deep but narrow inlet, surrounded by high rocks and overhanging trees, where they lay concealed while we passed, or, had we attempted to enter, they might have thrown down fragments of the cliff from above, and crushed us. At last they were compelled to go into harbour, both to refit and to divide their booty. Here, while off their guard and carousing on shore, the brig was attacked, and she was seized. The assailants were Illanons from Sooloo, the boldest pirates of the Archipelago. She thought she should have died through fear when they rushed into the cabin. They carried her off with other booty; but as she was so small, and did not look able to do much work, they sold her to her present master for three cakes of vegetable tallow. She had got so accustomed to the life on board the brig, and had been so kindly treated by Kidd, that, though anxious to return to her friends and civilised life, she had learned to regard him with confidence, and almost with affection, and would gladly have returned. She was always kept below during all their attacks on vessels, so that she was not witness to the atrocities they committed. Her present master was an old chief, who had given up fighting, and she was employed to attend on his wife, who was much younger. The work she had to perform was not very hard, nor did it appear to injure her health; but still she was a slave, and as such she was treated; and till she saw me she was very miserable, unable even to form a conjecture of her future fate, and hopeless of escape. Such was her narrative. Much of it I had before heard from the pirate. She was much grieved when I told her of his death; but I assured her that his punishment had been great, and that I believed his repentance had been sincere. At length we remembered that it was time to separate.

We agreed to meet, if possible, at the same spot on the following day; and as it was the fishing season, I should have a good excuse for pulling across the lake. At last I was obliged to urge her to return; and after watching her till she reached the cottage, I hurried down the stream to the spot where I had left my canoe. I launched it, and paddled back to the part of the lake where I had quitted my companions. They had disappeared, and, by the lowness of the sun, I guessed that they must have returned home. It was a lovely evening, and the scene was one of the most perfect quiet and repose. The water of the lake was as smooth as glass, and over it sported thousands of the most brilliant-tinted dragon-flies, while birds of the brightest hues flitted in and out among the trees. In some spots were to be seen padi fields, looking beautifully green, and extensive bamboo groves, above which appeared the towering palm and plantain. There were also the cocoa-nut, the betel, the sago, and the gno or gomati: these are the four most useful palms to the natives. The pith of the sago furnishes food; and when that is extracted, the outer part serves for the floors of cottages. The leaf of the sago palm is also the best for roofing. From the gno is extracted fibre for manufacturing rope, and the toddy which forms their common beverage.

Scarcely had I left the canoe than it became dark. I took the precaution to mark the way I advanced, that I might at all events retrace my steps to sleep in the canoe. I was obliged to advance cautiously, and to consider every step I took, so as not to lose the pathway. I had marked the direction by the stars, as I left the canoe, and they assisted to guide me. I at length sat down to rest, believing myself some way from the village. I believe that I must have fallen asleep,—but how long I slept I know not,—when I was aroused by the most unearthly shrieks and yells imaginable. I was on a rising ground. I looked around to discover whence it could come, when I saw bright flames bursting forth close below me from some buildings which I recognised as the village or kampong to which I belonged. Among the burning cottages were some hundreds of warriors in their wildest war costume, their skin dresses, the bright-coloured feathers waving in their head dress, adding to the ferocity of their savage features, as with their short swords in their hands, shining with the light of the flames, they were cutting and hewing to pieces every person whom the fire drove from the shelter of their walls. A complete panic seemed to have seized the inhabitants—little or no resistance was offered—scarcely a warrior drew his sword in defence of his family. The fierce assailants seized their victims by the hair, and, with a stroke of their sharp parangs, added a fresh head to the horrid trophies of their prowess. Men, women, and children were indiscriminately slaughtered. My master and his whole family were destroyed. The bitterest revenge, not plunder, was the object of the assailants. Those who had lately been boasting of their own unprovoked attack on these very enemies, were now justly the sufferers. When the warriors had finished their work of blood, they hurried on to other villages, which bodies of their tribe had already attacked.

Prompted by a wish to save some who might have escaped death, I ran down into the village, but not a human being did I find alive. As I passed among the burning huts, their light fell on the blade of a sword. I seized it, feeling it might be useful, and stuck it in my girdle. Anxious to discover in which direction the warriors had gone, I returned to the hill. Flames rising up in every direction marked their progress. A horror came over me; for I observed that the fires were advancing in the direction where Eva lived. I marked the point on the lake where I had left the canoe, and then dashed down the hill towards it. I appeared to know the way by instinct. I had no fear of losing it. I rushed on, and finding the canoe, leaped into it. Just then shrieks and cries reached my ears coming across the tranquil water of the lake. I seized the paddles, and urged on the canoe faster than I had ever before made her go. A supernatural strength seemed to be given me. A village near the lake was already attacked. The flames cast their ruddy hue on the water. The dismayed population were offering but little or no opposition; and what could be expected of the aged inhabitants of the cottage where Eva lived?

I reached the mouth of the stream, and leaped on shore. As hurrying on, careless of concealment, I looked up a glade of the forest, my heart sunk with horror; for at that instant a bright flame burst from the roof of the cottage. The savages had already discovered it; nor was it to be exempt from their vengeance.

“Alas!” I exclaimed. “Why, when once I found you did I ever leave you, my sweet sister?”

I rushed on. Again I heard the savage warriors’ dreadful whoops and yells, as they went about their work of destruction. The flames now burnt fiercely forth from the cottage, and by their light I saw a party of savages in front of the building, flourishing their swords over a kneeling group; while, at a little distance, an old man with grey hairs—he seemed also a warrior by his dress—was struggling desperately with an overwhelming body of assailants. He had already wounded several; but had evidently himself received many deep gashes in return, for I could see the blood dropping round him on the ground. Just then a cut disabled his sword arm, and with savage yells they threw themselves on him, and in an instant his head was fastened to their leader’s girdle.

I could not help seeing this scene as I hurried on; but it was the group close to the cottage which attracted all my attention. The figure nearest to me was my sister Eva. A savage held her by her long hair, and with his sword lifted above her head, seemed but to wait the issue of the combat with the old chief to sever it from the body. I flew forward. My agonising fear was, that when he saw me coming he would complete his barbarous intention before he attempted to defend himself. I dared not shriek out; indeed my voice refused my feelings utterance. He was still gazing on the old warrior’s gallant resistance, and did not observe my approach. Eva had prepared herself for death. She opened her eyes and beheld me. At that moment a blow from my weapon sent the sword of the Dyak into the air, while a wound on his left arm made him release his grasp, and springing up she threw herself into my arms.

“Eva, dearest, I am come to die with you,” I whispered, holding her light form in my left arm, while with my sword I kept them at bay, as I saw the infuriated savages with brandished weapons close around us.

Chapter Twenty Nine.

I fully believed that our last moments had arrived, and it was, I felt, a satisfaction to die with Eva; yet I endeavoured to retreat to prolong our lives, if I could not preserve them. My strength was fast failing me; the weapons of the savages were flashing in my eyes; every instant I expected to be disabled by a wound. I am convinced my dauntless bravery somewhat awed these wild natives, for, with that young girl to protect, no sensation of fear entered my bosom. At last they seemed ashamed at allowing one man, a mere stripling too, so to daunt them, and with loud yells and shrieks they threw themselves on me.

At that instant, when every hope of life had fallen, another warrior, he seemed, uttering still more unearthly cries than his companions, and dressed in a still more fantastic manner, rushed into the circle. At his appearance the rest drew back, and, as he stepped into the ring, I thought he was about to perform the part of executioner. Instead, however, of cutting off my head, after addressing a few words in the Dyak language to his savage followers, to my intense astonishment he exclaimed, in unmistakable English:

“It’s all right, my fine fellow; neither you nor that little girl shall have a hair of your heads hurt while I have got a finger to wag in your defence.”

On hearing these words, Eva lifted up her head, and crying out, “He is an Englishman! he is an Englishman! Oh! Mark, you are saved!” burst into tears.

“Don’t be crying so, my dear young lady,” said the pretended chief. “I promise you that both he and you are safe enough for the present; my pretty boys here won’t hurt any of those whom I say are my friends.”

“Indeed, sir, whoever you are, I am most grateful for your succour,” I observed. “You have saved this dear young girl’s life as well as my own.”

“Oh, but Mark came just in time to save mine,” interrupted Eva.

“Mark! Is that your name? I had a friend once of that name, but you are not a bit like him,” exclaimed the stranger.

“The name I have always borne is that of Mark Seaworth,” I answered, remembering that I had good reason to suppose that it was not my real one.

“Mark Seaworth! The very same; I ought to have known you at once; and I am delighted to find you, old fellow. I am, by Jerico, Seaworth!” exclaimed the stranger, grasping me by the arm, and wringing it till he almost dislocated my shoulder in the warmth of his feelings.

“I also am indeed delighted to meet an old friend,” I returned; “but, for the life of me, in your present costume I cannot recall your features.”

“Ah! I quite forgot; this rather uncommon rig for an English gentleman must somewhat have puzzled you,” he answered, laughing. “Well, then, you remember Blount, at old Liston’s. I am the same, I can assure you, Seaworth; rather transmogrified as to my outward man, I own.” The voice and turn of expression instantly recalled my old friend Walter Blount to my recollection, and I returned his grasp with as hearty a shake as he had given me.

We had, however, as he observed, very little time for explanations, as it was necessary to beat a retreat before the allies of the tribe his friends had attacked were aroused and able to follow them. The warriors were now collecting from all parts, their work of vengeance being accomplished; and under the escort of Blount, who assisted me in supporting Eva, we proceeded towards the north in company with the advanced body. As we skirted the borders of the lake we found a canoe sufficiently large to contain three persons. As it would save Eva much fatigue, I proposed to Blount to take it and to pull to the end of the lake, where we might again place ourselves under the escort of the warriors. As we were paddling swiftly along, he gave me a brief outline of his history, after I had told him how I came to be in the position in which I was.

“You know, Seaworth, I was always a very wild fellow, and you used to get me out of numbers of scrapes,” he begun. “Well, at last I became tired of school, and I did nothing but bother my friends to send me to sea. I used to write round to every friend and relation I possessed, once a fortnight at least—to the more influential ones oftener; till, either to save their pockets the expense of postage, or because they saw that my heart was set on the life, they all met and consulted together, and agreed that I should be sent on board an Indiaman, where I should be more likely to make a fortune than in the Royal Navy, and should have no occasion to repeat the trick I had played them when I wanted my promotion. So I was fitted out with the proper number of shirts and socks, and sent on board the Hooghly.

“I made two voyages, but did not find life in an Indiaman anything like what I expected; so I left her, and hearing of a brig which had a roving commission to go wherever there was any trade to be done, I offered to join her. I especially liked the notion of the excitement and variety, and, as she was short of hands, my services were accepted on condition that I shipped as junior mate. I found that I had more work and less pay than any one on board; but I learned seamanship and practised navigation, which was considered an equivalent for my services.

“We touched at a great many places in these seas, disposing of some of our cargo, and collecting the produce of the country in return, when we managed to run the brig on a shoal off this coast, which was not correctly laid down on our chart. There was a very heavy sea, and the vessel struck violently, so that it was the opinion of most onboard that she would go to pieces. The master, who was of this opinion, and others, took to the boats, but were swamped, as I was afraid they would be. I stuck to the wreck, as, knowing her to be thoroughly built, I had an idea that she would stick together.

“I was in the after part of the vessel, but the rest of the people who remained were forward, and the sea, making a clean breach over the wreck, swept them all away. I with difficulty held on; and when the sea went down, and the morning returned, I discovered that I was the only person left alive. I found some cold meat and biscuits and plenty of spirits in the cabin, and a keg of water jammed into the companion hatch, so there was little fear of my starving for some time to come. When the sun rose, I saw the land a few miles off, and in the afternoon of the same day perceived a number of canoes coming off to the wreck. I knew that the people hereabouts do not make much ceremony about cutting off a fellow’s head; so, determining that they should not have mine without plenty of trouble, I bound all the handkerchiefs I could find round my throat, till I appeared to have no more neck than a whale. As I was hunting about the cabin, I came upon the captain’s medicine chest. I knew the properties and effects of some of the drugs, and besides them was a little book in the drawers to help me.

“‘Come,’ said I to myself, ‘savages are apt to treat medical men with rather more respect than often do civilised people. I will pretend to be a doctor, and they will probably not attempt to hurt me.’

“As a precaution, I put on all the coats I could find, and buttoned them over to serve as armour, and stuck a brace of pistols in my pockets, to shoot a couple of them if they came to close quarters. However, when the canoes first came up, the savages, seeing me on board walking the deck with as much dignity as the officer of the watch, began blowing their sumpits at me till I was stuck all over like a porcupine. Luckily none hit my face, and seeing me take the matter so unconcernedly, they ceased blowing, to discover what I was made of. I thereon pulled out the arrows, and going to the side of the vessel, with a polite bow presented them to my assailants, at the same time, by significant gestures, inviting them on board. My conduct seemed to tickle their fancy amazingly; and when they climbed up the sides, instead of showing any fear, or attempting to resist them, I appeared delighted to see them, and in a minute we were perfectly good friends. I now led some of them into the cabin, and gave them everything which first came to hand, knowing very well that they would take it if I did not; besides, as I could scarcely consider the things my own, I could afford to be generous. With my aid, they soon loaded the canoes so full that they could carry no more; and then jumping into the principal one, which seemed to belong to a chief, I sat myself down beside him, and began talking away as if I was an old friend, and delighted to see him. By the by, he could not understand a word I said: but I made up for the want of meaning in the sounds by a profusion of signs. I found that they belonged to a tribe inhabiting a spot at the head of a long river, and that they were just about to return thither. I now tried to make them comprehend that if any of them were ill, I could cure them by means of a box which I carried under my arm. They, of course, thought that it was filled with charms, but had not the less respect for me on that account. I was delighted with the beauty of the scenery we passed going up the river, and the well-selected site of their village. When we arrived there, they gave me a house to myself, and would have allowed me to choose a wife had I been so disposed; but I declined the honour. I at once set to work to gain the good opinion of the ladies, and for this object divided my somewhat cumbrous neckcloth among them, while I doctored them and their children on every opportunity. My coats I divided among the men, except one suit which I kept for myself. I thought that I should still more ingratiate myself with them, if I dressed as they did; and as I was always somewhat of a dandy, I went to the extreme of Dyak fashion, except in the matter of putting those big rings in my ears, and chewing betel-nut; in fact I now take the lead in dress, and am looked upon as the very pink of perfection. I have learned their language, and adapted myself to their ways; but I have begun to get rather tired of this sort of life, and have been lately considering how I can best take my departure, and in what direction I shall steer my course.”

“I hope that you will accompany us my dear fellow, and return again to civilised life,” I observed. “But how could you encourage those people in the savage work in which they were engaged?”

“I am not surprised at the question, Seaworth,” he replied, gravely; “but you must not think so ill of me as to suppose that I encouraged them in murdering their countrymen. In the first place, you must understand that they had been previously attacked by this tribe, who carried off a number of heads, burnt their cottages, and cut down their fruit-trees. They believe retaliation to be justifiable,—so do civilised nations; and I knew that it would be hopeless to preach forbearance to them: so I accompanied them to doctor up any who were hurt, and to try and save the lives of their prisoners.”

“I am sure that we ought not to find fault with Mr Blount, for he saved our lives, at all events,” interposed Eva.

I agreed with her, and assured Blount, that under the circumstances he had described, he might, I thought, even have assisted his friends in punishing their enemies, not in a revengeful spirit, but as the only means of preventing a similar attack, and for preserving peace. We had now arrived at the end of the lake; and landing, we left the canoe to its fate. The war party had not arrived, and with some anxiety we waited for them, fearing that they might have gone by some other route; for Blount asserted that they had not yet passed that way. The moon had just risen in the sky, and was shedding a silvery light across the lake, by which we were enabled to see to the other extremity. We watched, fearing that some of the warriors of the enemy might have collected and set out in pursuit, and Blount began to regret having parted from his friends. My young sister was sadly worn and fatigued by the terror she had undergone, and was unable to proceed on foot; so Blount and I employed our time in manufacturing a sort of litter, on which she might be carried on the journey. She seemed much grieved at the death of the old chief and his wife, who had treated her kindly, and won her easily-gained affections. Blount and I were just completing our work when Eva called to us. She was seated on a rock close to the lake.

“I have been listening, and I am certain I hear the splash of paddles on the water,” she said; “and see, are not these some black spots just under the moonbeams at the other end of the lake?”

We, too, were soon certainly convinced that she was right. “I see how matters stand,” said Blount; “a war party have collected and embarked, to cross the lake and lie in ambush for my friends on their retreat. They have been so quick about it that there can only be a few of them, but they would do some mischief. It is fortunate that we came across the water. We must now try to find our friends to give them warning.”

I agreed with him; and placing Eva on the litter to carry her between us, in spite of her assurance that she could walk very well, we were about to set forward, when Blount recollected that the canoe would betray us. It had fortunately not drifted away from the shore; so hauling it up, we hid it among the bushes, and trusted that our pursuers would not land at that very spot. We proceeded in a direction so as to intersect the line of march of the Dyaks, Blount carefully listening for their approach.

“We must not go farther,” he observed, “or they may pass us;” so we put down our light burden, and sat down by her side. The moonbeams here and there struggled through the thick foliage of the trees, but in most places it was very dark; and we could only depend on our sense of hearing, though the moon enabled us to steer our course. Near us was an open glade, and, for a minute perhaps, neither had been looking towards it, when by chance turning our heads, it appeared as if by magic filled with human beings. The moon lighted up the spot, and her beams fell on their savage features, their fantastic dresses of skins and feathers, or gaily-coloured clothes, and the bloody trophies which so many bore at their waists, as they crept onward with the stealthy step habitual to them on such expeditions. Eva trembled, for she could not tell whether they were friends or foes; but Blount recognised them, and jumping up, presented himself before them. They seemed delighted to meet him. They told him that they had fallen in with another village of their enemies, and that they had stopped to destroy it. Short work as they had made of it, the delay would have cost them dear, had we not observed the enemy crossing the lake, and been able to give them notice of the circumstance. The party were led, it appeared, by a young chief over whom Blount had some influence, and, to prevent further bloodshed, he strongly advised him not to molest the ambush, but to turn off on one side to avoid them. This advice was not palatable to the young warrior, and he insisted on his right to kill those who had come to kill him. We proceeded, therefore, in the original direction. Several of the Dyaks at once volunteered to carry Eva on her litter, and Blount and I walked by her side as her bodyguard. I observed that considerable precautions were taken in the advance. The main body kept in close order, while an advanced guard was sent forward to feel the way, and skirmishers were thrown out on either side to guard the flanks from attack. Scouts also were sent ahead, stealthily picking their way amongst the most sheltered paths, in order to discover the ambush. We had not proceeded far, when two of the scouts came in, and reported that a body of the enemy lay in ambush among some rocks at the entrance of a ravine leading up from the lake. On hearing this, the young chief divided his force into three bodies. He was to lead one to the hill above the ambush; a second was to proceed over the hills on the opposite side of the ravine, to get ahead of the enemy; while a third was to block up the entrance, so as to prevent their escape in that direction. Eva accompanied the second body, which I thought was less likely to be engaged. The dispositions were quickly made, and we had scarcely descended again into the ravine after evading the ambush, than the loud war-shrieks, disturbing the calm serenity of the night, told us that the work of death was going on. A few unfortunate wretches fled up the ravine, and were immediately killed by our party, while the main body and those at the entrance of the ravine destroyed the rest; so that of the whole ambush, who, intending to surprise us, were themselves surprised, not one escaped. Indeed, the tribe itself was very nearly annihilated by that night foray. There was no time to cut down the fruit-trees, or to destroy the fields of maize and rice, as is usually done on like occasions. We marched on all night and some part of the morning before a halt was called, so unwilling were the Dyaks to stop till they were out of the reach of the allies of those they had attacked. At last they lay down to sleep in the shade of some wide-spreading trees. I observed that each man remained with his sword in one hand and his sumpitan, with a dart in it, ready to discharge, in the other; and every now and then one of them would lift up his head and look about him, so accustomed are they to be on the watch, and so uncertain when they may be attacked.

In the afternoon we again resumed our march. At sunset we again halted for repose; but as soon as the moon arose, we were once more on foot. Each man was provided with a number of short spears, which Blount informed me, were for the purpose of sticking into the ground behind them when hotly pursued, so that their enemies get checked, and often severely wounded. The only food provided for the army was a sticky sort of rice, boiled in bamboos, each person carrying sufficient for himself in a small basket at his back. No fires were lighted, lest their light might betray our position to any lurking enemies. So rapidly did we march, and so little sleep or rest did any of us enjoy, that I was almost knocked up; and Eva would have been unable to proceed, had she not been borne on a litter. I ought to have said that each warrior who had killed one or more of the enemy, carried their heads hung by a line round his neck, keeping it there even at night while he slept, and caressing it in the most affectionate manner. Poor little Eva! It was a sad sight for her; and I kept her as much out of the way of the heroes of the party as I could. Some of them had three or four heads dangling round their necks, as they walked onward with proud steps, exulting in their prowess. They felt certain, too, of gaining the smiles of the most lovely damsels of their tribe; for the Dyak women are great admirers of bravery.

At length we arrived at the village of the conquerors, when, as they had no muskets to fire or cannons to discharge, they set up the most terrific yells I ever heard, to announce their arrival and victory. The shouts were answered by the people of the village, who rushed out to meet them and welcome them with every demonstration of joy. Blount instantly set to work to have a cottage prepared for Eva and me. A very neat one was provided, situated on a sloping bank above a running stream, and backed by a grove of palm-trees. It was built partly of the wood of the Nibong palm, and partly of bamboo, and was thatched with palm-leaves. It was indeed a very light and pretty structure, and perfectly clean. The furniture consisted simply of a quantity of beautifully-made mats, to answer the purpose of tables and chairs, carpets, beds, and bedding, while gourds of many sizes, and pieces of bamboo, supplied us with our cooking and mess utensils. Eva surveyed our abode with unfeigned delight.

“We might be perfectly happy here, I am sure, all the days of our lives,” she exclaimed. “Don’t you think so, my dear Mark?”

“Indeed, Eva, I do not,” I answered. “We are glad at length to be at rest; but we should very soon get tired of the companionship of savages, and I have a notion that man is not born to vegetate; he should be up and doing. It is a question every man should ask himself constantly: What have I done lately to benefit my fellow-creatures? Have I played my part as an educated intellectual man in advancing the moral and social condition of my less-favoured fellow-men? or have I merely considered how I can best amuse myself, without a thought for their welfare? O Eva, I used, even as a boy, to be so disgusted when in England, and also in India, I saw men so capable of better things, employing their time in shooting, fishing, and hunting, or in the most frivolous pursuits, worthy only of uneducated savages, who must so occupy themselves to live, and all the time not in the slightest degree aware that they were actually sinning—that they were hiding their talents—that they were useless beings—that they might better not have been born.”

“Oh, but then, my dear Mark, we may do a great deal of good here, I am sure,” exclaimed Eva, interrupting me. “We may civilise these fierce savages—we may teach them Christianity—we may show them how much happier they may be by living peaceably, than by going to war, and cutting off each other’s heads.”

“Ah, Eva, that indeed would be a noble occupation,” I answered, enthusiastically. “And worthy of all honour would be the man who would devote himself to so great and glorious a cause.”

Chapter Thirty.

When we arrived at the village, I observed that the warriors did not bring in the heads with them, but deposited them at some little distance outside the stockade. The truth was, I found, that the entrance of such trophies was considered far too important to take place without the observance of due ceremony. A temporary shed had been erected for them, under which they were hung up and carefully watched by a party of young men, habited in their finest costume.

The next morning there was a loud beating of gongs in the kampong, or village, and shouting and shrieking from the whole population, as the warriors were seen approaching, each carrying his bloody trophy before him, and dancing and singing at the same time. As they entered the kampong, they were met by the women, who crowded round the heads, and put ciri and betel-nut in the gaping mouths. In this way they were carried round from house to house, and then hung up in a large open shed to dry for several days. Here the heads were watched by young boys of from six to ten years old, who, for the whole time the process of drying occupied—from seven to ten days—were never allowed to step out of the hall, or neglect their sacred trust. This was the commencement of their initiation in the endurance of hardships, that they also might become warriors. Night after night the men used to meet in front of the hall, dancing and singing, and beating their gongs. They used to address their heads, taunting them, telling them that they were their slaves, and that they must send the rest of their tribe to be treated in the same manner. These very men, however, savage as they were, treated us with great kindness, and seemed anxious to do all they could to please us. Blount spent the greater part of every day with us, and gave me much information about the country. I told him that I was very anxious to obtain tidings of my schooner, and the friends on board her, and equally so to get away.

“So, my dear fellow, am I,” he answered, making a long face; “but the truth is, my friends here are so fond of us they will not let us go. I have tried on several occasions to escape; but they always gave me a strong hint to stop.”

“How was that?” I asked.

“Why, they shut me up, and would not let me out till I promised to be good.”

“Then you really think we are prisoners here!” I exclaimed.

“Indeed I do,” he answered. “I did not mention it before, because there is a good deal in the fancy of the thing. When you thought that you were waiting for a vessel to carry you off, you were content; now that you discover that you are likely to be detained by force, you grow indignant.”

“It will never do to remain here,” I said. “We must forthwith find some means of escaping.”

“I have been considering the same subject very seriously, I can assure you,” said Blount in a cheerful voice. “In the meantime let us make ourselves as comfortable as we can—I always do; I never heard of any man gaining anything by fretting.”

My friend’s reasoning was so sound that I could not but agree with him. We found the chiefs and the people very civil, and the women seemed very much inclined to be kind to Eva.

“Come,” said Blount, one evening as we sat talking in the cottage; “there is to be a dance at the house of the chief in honour of the victory. It is worth seeing, and will amuse you and your sister, if she is prepared for a little shrieking and brandishing of swords.”

We both agreed, and following him, walked to the house of the chief, at the farther end of the kampong. We entered a large room, with seats arranged round it, and lighted up with dama torches. We had places reserved near the chief; and the room soon began to fill, till it was crowded with eager spectators. There were musicians ready, who played on the tom-tom, or drum, and the gong, which they beat either slow or fast, according to the measure of the dance.

The people were dressed, it must be remembered, in their gayest costume—in scarlet jackets, in coats of shell armour, with cloaks of skin, and caps of feathers, or turbans of gay-coloured native cloth, their spears being in their hands, and their swords, with ornamented handles, by their sides. The dancers, however, outshone them all in the gayness of their costume.

The first dance performed was called the Mancha, or sword dance. Two swords were placed on a mat in the centre of the room. The music began to play very slowly, and two men advanced from opposite sides in time, now bending the body, now turning round to watch and listen, now lifting one leg, now the other, then the arms, in grotesque but not ungraceful attitudes. One then moved to the right, the other to the left, and thus they moved round and round the room, till at last they approached, and each seized a sword. As they did so, the music began to play a brisker measure; the warriors passed and repassed each other, now cutting, now crossing swords, retiring and advancing, one kneeling as though to defend himself from the assaults of his adversary, at times stealthily waiting for an advantage, and quickly availing himself of it.

The measure throughout was admirably kept, and the frequent turns were simultaneously made by both dancers, accompanied by the same eccentric gestures. At each successful pass, the screams of delight uttered by the spectators, and their shouts of applause, rang through the room, exciting the performers to fresh exertions; the noise increased by the loud clang of the musical instruments, as the musicians, excited by the scene, beat time with great vehemence.

At length, wearied out, the first two dancers retired, and were succeeded by a single man, with a spear poised high above his head. He, as had the others, stepped forward slowly, turning round and round, now advancing, now retiring, now brandishing it furiously, now pretending to hurl his weapon at his enemies. This dance is called the Talambong.

The next set of dancers used shields in addition to their swords, and went through very similar movements. These dances, I understood, are very similar to those performed by the South Sea Islanders, and I suspect that they differ but little from those practised in the present day in the Shetland Islands and Norway, at the other side of the globe.

Although we were obliged to consider ourselves as prisoners, we were not treated as slaves; indeed the chief sent a little black girl from the coast of New Guinea, to attend on Eva. The child proved not only useful, but a source of great interest to her. She had been captured at a very early age, with her mother, and a brother and sister, by the piratical prahus of a neighbouring tribe; and those to whose share she fell, sold her to her present owner for some bees’ wax and a few bundles of rattans. Her figure was short, and her features very flat; but she was so intelligent and lively that she was a general favourite. We called her “Little Nutmeg,” the name she bore sounding exactly like that word; and she answered at once to it. Eva used to try and teach her English; and the child was so anxious to learn the language, that she rapidly gained a knowledge of it.

The people among whom we found ourselves, although they spent much of their time in amusing themselves, when necessary were very industrious. They cultivated a considerable quantity of rice, which not only formed their chief support, but which they were enabled to export. The rice is very white, and of excellent flavour. They first clear a spot of the jungle, and irrigate it well; and as soon as they consider its primitive richness is exhausted, they commence on fresh ground. Their mode of grinding the rice clear of the husk is simple. The trunk of a tree is sawn through, and two circular pieces of wood are selected, fitting to each other; the upper portion is hollow, the lower solid; small notches are cut where those two pieces fit, and handles are attached to the upper part, which being filled with padi, and kept turning round, the husk is detached, and escapes by the notches. The Dyaks understand thoroughly the manufacture of iron. The forge is composed of the hollow trunks of two trees, placed side by side; the fire is of charcoal; the pipes of the bellows are of bamboo, led through a clay bank; and the bellows are two pistons, with suckers made of cock’s feathers, and which a man pumps from the top of a tree. We found no want of provisions in the country; and wild hogs especially abounded. There were a few cattle, and plenty of fowls. I could not understand why the natives were so anxious to detain us, till Blount explained, that they valued us, because they fancied that we should be able to counsel them in time of peace how to become rich, and to assist them in time of war.

“The fact is,” he added, laughing, “when I interposed, and saved your life and your sister’s, I was obliged to say all I could in your favour; so I told my friends that you were a very wonderful personage, and that you knew more than a whole army of wise men: if they kept you, they would be certain to conquer all their enemies; but if they killed you, that your friends would be certain to come and revenge your death.”

“An honour truly I am glad to have avoided,” I answered. “As I, however, have entered into no engagement to devote to them my services, I shall feel myself at liberty to escape as soon as I can.”

“So, indeed, shall I,” he said. “We are, however, a long way from the coast; and unless we can persuade our hosts to aid our departure, our escape will be almost impossible.”

“Such wonderful things have happened to us, that I shall never despair,” observed Eva, whose spirits were returning rapidly, as she recovered from the effects of her terror and fatigue.

I need scarcely say that this was the subject on which we most frequently conversed, but still we could strike out no plan which promised any prospect of success. I proposed appealing to the chief, and promising to make him handsome presents, if he would get us all conveyed to Singapore, or put on board the Fraulein; but when Blount spoke to him on the subject, he replied most politely, that our society was far more valuable than any present we could make him. Partly to amuse myself, and partly to throw my captors off their guard, I used to practise the various accomplishments I had learned when I was a slave. The pleasantest was that of fishing from a canoe, by both spearing the fish, and catching them with the wooden ducks. If I could make an excuse to take Eva and Blount with me, we might be able to pull down the river, and get a long start, before we were suspected and pursued. Two months thus passed away; and had our stay been voluntary, I should have been far from unhappy, as I had a sister and an old friend as companions. The climate was delightful, and the natural productions most interesting, and the scenery beautiful, while I had a comfortable house as a residence, and a sufficiency of wholesome food.

The tribe were not satisfied with their late victory, and soon again prepared for another war excursion, insisting that Blount and I should accompany them. Hoping to find some means of escaping, we did not refuse; and nearly five hundred men were collected from the neighbouring kampongs, to form the invading army. All were clothed in their most terror-inspiring attire, with as great a proportion of feathers and skins as could be mustered. Their arms consisted of sumpitans, spears and swords, daggers, with shields and padded jackets for their defensive armour, while each man carried his provisions in a basket on his back. This time they proposed attacking a tribe some way to the north, with whom they had a long-standing quarrel.

Eva was very unhappy at the thought of our departure; but there appeared to be no help for it, though never did two more reluctant heroes set out on a warlike expedition than did Blount and I. We had proceeded two days’ journey, when, on the afternoon, as we were marching alongside the chief, at the head of his forces, through a wood, our ears were saluted with the sound of a bird singing on our left. The chief instantly called a halt, and I observed a little red-breasted bird hopping merrily from branch to branch.

“Ah, that is the papow!” exclaimed Blount. “They think it a sacred bird, and that its appearing on the left hand is a signal for them not to proceed to-day. Had it appeared on the right, they would have thought the omen good, and have proceeded; and when it sings in front, they fancy the enemy is near, and that it summons them to certain victory.”

While we were encamped at night, I remember hearing the short note of an insect like a cricket, coming, apparently, from the south. The next morning, at daybreak, every man was on foot; and, with dejected countenances, they commenced their homeward march. I found from Blount that the insect which gave forth the note was called the Kunding, and the omen was considered of such ill augury, that the expedition was given up entirely, not a little to our satisfaction.

Eva was much surprised at seeing our return, and very much delighted, for she had expected to have been left alone for many days, dreading the dangers to which we might be exposed, and with only Little Nutmeg as her companion, and an occasional visit from the women of the kampong, I judged, from the circumstance I have mentioned, that the people were very superstitious; indeed I have invariably found that the smaller the knowledge of religion possessed by a people, the greater and more absurd is their superstition. These people, after they have sown a field with grain, should any dead animal be found on it, will not use the crop. If anything has been stolen, in order to discover the thief, they make up a little ciri, and turning to the quarter they suspect, they throw it forward, and call out for an insect they believe will inform them. If the insect respond from that direction, the theft is charged to the tribe so pointed out; but if it does not answer, they try another quarter. I did not hear that marriages are ever forced as they are in civilised countries; but, on the contrary, the young people are left to choose those they like best. Generally the lady will not accept a lover till he has brought her the head of a man as a proof of his bravery. If the young would-be husband cannot get the head of an enemy, he is sometimes tempted, if he is very much in love, to kill the first person of any tribe not his own whom he meets, which is, of course, considered so high a compliment to the lady, that she rarely after that refuses him. The man then makes presents to the parents of the bride, and gives a feast to his tribe, which lasts several days. A curious ceremony is observed on these occasions. A mixture is made of saffron, a little gold dust, and fowl’s blood, which is smeared over the chest, forehead, and hands. The gentleman and lady each must take a fowl, and passing it seven times across the chest, kill it. A small string of beads being attached to the right wrist of either party, the ceremony is complete. They believe that there is a good spirit called Tupa, who resides in the clouds; but they do not pray or sacrifice to him. They bury their dead with various articles he possesses, such as his spear, clothes, rice ciri betel, and the first head he gained in his youth. Some tribes burn their dead with their valuables. I must observe that the customs of the various tribes differ considerably. They believe that the spirits of the dead go to Labyan, a region under the earth, but not a place of punishment. From the accounts I have given, it will be seen that the aboriginal inhabitants of Borneo are a very singular people; and I hope that my readers will make themselves further acquainted with their habits and customs.

I now continue my history. As Eva had nothing to do, and no books to amuse her, she found the time, when I was absent, hang very heavily on her hands. The village was situated at the source of a river, which was navigable, for canoes, a very short distance from it. Near the river was a forest where I used to spend much of my time with Blount in search of game. He had an old fowling-piece which he had saved from the wreck, and he was able to purchase gunpowder from the Bugi traders who came to the mouth of the river. I was one day in the forest, Blount being at some distance from me, when I was startled by hearing a rustling in the leaves near me. I turned, holding a spear I always carried ready for defence, besides a thick club, expecting to see some wild animal. The leaves parted, and sure enough there appeared the face of a monkey grinning among them.

“What are you prying here for, old gentleman?” I exclaimed, expecting to see him run away; but instead of that, what was my surprise to find that he sat observing me with the greatest gravity and attention, his body still hidden by the leaves!

As soon as I spoke, he began to chatter in return, and springing out of his cover, he ran and jumped towards me. He was a little dark fellow, without a tail, just like Ungka. I could scarcely believe that I was awake, when the monkey, springing forward, jumped up into my arms, and threw his round my neck. I could not be mistaken, wonderful as it seemed,—it was no other than Ungka himself. How he had come there was a question I could not get answered; for though he chattered a great deal with delight, I could gain no information from him. I was in hopes, however, that his presence betokened that other more communicative friends were not far-off. I hunted about in every direction with Ungka by my side, but no traces of any one could I find; and Blount coming up soon afterwards, and several natives appearing, prevented me from pursuing the search.

Ungka, intelligent as he looked, did nothing to assist me, and at last I was obliged to return home, carrying him, as he insisted on it, in my arms. The people were very much astonished to see a monkey so speedily tamed; but Blount accounted for the circumstance, by telling them that I knew the language of monkeys in all its dialects; and if they wished it, that I would teach them. Eva was highly pleased at seeing Ungka, and he seemed to fancy she was little Maria Van Deck, for he instantly ran up to her, and they very soon became great friends. We were all in high spirits, for we could not account for the appearance of Ungka in any other way than by supposing that the Fraulein was on the coast, and that he had by some means escaped from her. How he had got so far into the country was a mystery, for I could scarcely suppose that the animal’s instinct would have enabled him to find me out.

At our evening meal, he sat himself down by my side with the greatest gravity, as he used to do on board the schooner, and appeared to be perfectly at home, eating whatever was given him. His manners had become so refined from associating with gentlemen, that he never attempted to seize anything till it was offered him, though he cast a wistful eye at some nuts and fruit, and seemed much pleased when they were placed before him. His appearance, of course, gave us ample subject for conversation, and he every now and then would look up with a glance of the most extraordinary intelligence, and would chatter away for some minutes without cessation, till Eva declared that she could not help fancying he was giving us a full explanation of all we wanted to know. Little Nutmeg stood by, her large white eyes rolling round with astonishment, and of course entirely believing that the story Blount had told of my understanding the monkey’s language was perfectly true. She accordingly reported through the village that the monkey and I had been carrying on a most animated conversation for the whole evening; and I do not know which gained most credit,—he for being able to speak, or I for understanding him. Some of the natives came in to hear him; and as he happened at the time to have perched himself on the top of a roll of matting, as we were all lying down, I was the most elevated of the party, and Eva declared that it looked as if he was some pigmy chief, holding a divan, and that we were his attendants and counsellors. He most certainly seemed fully to feel his importance. When our guests had retired, he jumped down from his throne, and coiled himself away to sleep in a basket, which stood in the corner of the room. Eva and her little attendant retired into an inner chamber devoted to her use, and Blount and I continued talking over the subject which most occupied her thoughts. We should have talked on, without arriving at any just conclusion, till the return of daylight, had we not been startled by hearing the bamboo window-shutter forced open, and by seeing a head protruding itself into the room, followed by a pair of shoulders and a body.

Chapter Thirty One.

Blount and I were, as may be supposed, not a little astonished at the apparition which appeared at the window, and we both instinctively seized the implements nearest at hand, to defend ourselves, should he have come with any hostile intent. Just then the torch, which burned in the centre of the room, flared up, and, as much to my satisfaction as to my surprise, I recognised the features of Kalong the Dyak. He had on but scanty clothing, and he looked travel-worn and weary. Before speaking, he carefully closed the shutters, and then, rushing forward, he took my hand and covered it with kisses. Though Blount was a stranger to him, seeing that he was a white man, he was not alarmed.

“Kalong, is it you, indeed!” I exclaimed. “How, my friend, have you been able to discover me?”

“It is a long story, Massa; and to tell the truth, I cannot say much till I have eaten something; for we have had a weary journey, and have for many days past been looking about for you. It was necessary to be cautious; for, had we been discovered, we should certainly have lost our heads.”

“When you speak of we, Kalong, do you mean yourself and Ungka?” I asked.

“Oh no, Massa; I mean Hassan also. He is near, but watching the canoe; and when I have eaten, I must take some food to him. You and the other massa must then follow for, we have no time to lose.”

“What do you mean by no time to lose?” I again asked.

“Oh Massa, give me some food, and then I will tell you all!” cried the poor fellow.

I saw that he was famishing, so I restrained my curiosity till I had placed some rice and pork and Indian corn bread before him. When he had eaten a good meal, and stowed away a quantity more in a basket he carried at his back he signified that he was prepared to give me the information I required. I nodded my head, and he spoke to the following effect:—

“You know, Massa, when squall come on, schooner almost capsize, then drive a long way to leeward; next morning come back to the rock, and when not find Massa there, sail after the prahus. At night lose sight of them; look everywhere; no find them; then come back to the rock. There I and Hassan look at the wrecks on the shore; and Ungka, too, Massa; and we know, from build and many things scattered about, where they come from; so we go and tell Massa Fairburn that we go and look for you. He say we get killed, lose him head. We say we no mind that, we find you, or we no come back. He then say he go with ship’s company and big guns, and fight, and make people give you up. We say, No good. People cut off your head if they see the big guns, and then what good look for you? We say, No, no; let schooner not come near the coast; but we go in some other vessel, and no say what we come for. We at last go on shore in Celebes—that is, Hassan, Ungka, and I; wait some time, then find a Bugis trader going to Borneo; so we no tell what we want, but go on board. We sometimes say that Ungka very wise monkey; the son of sultan of the monkeys; and that we go about with him to show him the world. This make many people think we great men, so they no cut off our heads to hang round him necks. We go from kampong to kampong to find Massa, but no see him. At last we hear that one tribe, long way off, come to a kampong near Gunnung Taboor, and carry away many people, and that one white man among them. Then we learn when him come, and what him like, and we say, That is Massa. Then we know where to find Massa if him head still on shoulders; so we walk long way, and we take canoe at one river, and we pull up river every night, and in day we go to sleep, till we come here. Then we see Massa in wood, and Ungka run away and jump in him arms. So we say, All right now; Massa alive and well; we get back to schooner some day, and be very jolly. But, Massa, me have one more thing to say. When we at Gunnung Taboor, we hear that the people there very angry at the people here do so much harm, and they say, We go there some night, and cut off all him heads; so we make all haste, lest they cut off Massa’s head too. Now, Massa, we go back to poor Hassan; him very hungry; and Massa, be ready to start to-morrow night.”

I fear that I have ill succeeded in giving an idea of Kalong’s mode of expressing himself. In an artless way he exhibited his affection for me, and described the dangers and hardships he and Hassan had endured to discover me. Having described where the canoe was to be found, and arranged that as soon as the inhabitants of the kampong had gone to sleep on the following evening, we should start, he took his departure. Once more I was full of hope, for I felt that though many difficulties were to be encountered, our deliverance was at hand. Eva had been awakened by the sound of the stranger’s voice, and we communicated the joyful intelligence to her; and, as may be supposed, she was but little inclined again to go to sleep, so she came in and joined our council-board. Blount was anxious to warn the people of the intended attack, and so was I; for although they had kept us prisoners, they had treated us with humanity and kindness in other respects. Our difficulty was to do so without betraying our friends, till at last Blount suggested that the people might be made to suppose that our knowledge was derived from Ungka, who would, of course, in consequence, gain immense credit among them. It was settled, therefore, that on the following morning the people should be called together, and informed of the danger threatening them.

“Now come, it is time to try and take some sleep, for we shall get but little rest to-morrow night,” I exclaimed as I arose, and opening the window-shutters, looked out on the calm night-scene before me. The air was hushed; the only sounds were the rippling of the stream over its rocky bed below the cottage, and the chirrup of some insects in the neighbouring wood. The stars shone brightly forth from the intense blue sky, their light just glancing on the mimic waves of the rivulet, while the tall trees and wild rocks on either side were thrown into the darkest shade.

Scarcely had I spoken, when the silence was interrupted by wild shrieks and cries. We all full well knew the meaning of those sounds. The ruthless enemy had surprised the village, and burning to avenge their late defeat, would spare no one they encountered.

“We must fly!” I exclaimed.

“I am prepared,” said Eva calmly, though her cheek grew pale at the recollection of the dreadful scenes she had before witnessed.

To collect some provisions in baskets was the work of a minute. We aroused Ungka, who seemed perfectly to comprehend the state of the case, and perched himself on my left shoulder, while, supporting Eva on my right arm, I sallied forth, followed by Blount, who took charge of Little Nutmeg. Our great fear was lest the enemy should have surrounded the village, in which case our retreat would have been cut off. The stream I have spoken of ran down to the river, and we now followed a path which led along its banks. Not a moment was to be lost. The wild shouts of the enemy seemed to come nearer every instant; but as yet we did not hear them in front of us. Eva behaved with great courage; she did not tremble, or even utter an exclamation of fear, but exerted all her strength to proceed. For an instant I looked back. Part of the village was already on fire, but the enemy had not yet reached our cottage. My fear was, that when they did so, we should be pursued. At length, by the turnings of the stream, we lost sight of it, and the noise of the dreadful tumult sounded fainter in our ears. Still we pushed on without stopping; we had to force our way through a thick wood, and then to cross a broad open space, where I was much afraid, should the enemy be watching for us, of being seen; but there was no help for it, so we dashed on. Fortunately both Blount and I had so frequently wandered in that direction, that we had a tolerably correct idea of the way we were to go; but still we found a great difference between passing through a wood in broad daylight, and traversing it in darkness. Our chief guide was a star which we could see through the tops of the trees, and which Blount had fixed on as we were setting out. We found it of much service when we lost the sound of the stream, by which we otherwise directed our course. The cries of the enemy were in our rear; we rushed across the open space. I looked anxiously over my shoulder. I saw no one, and we in safety reached the shelter of the wood. At length the broader channel of the river appeared below us. Our next difficulty was to find the canoe; but we judged that Hassan and Kalong, hearing the tumult in the village, and well knowing its cause, would be on the watch for us. We had got thus far, when the sound of voices, as if from people in pursuit, met our ears. My hope was that they could not tell the exact way we had taken. We all drew close together, in the shade of some thick trees, where we were perfectly concealed, while Blount offered to go out by himself to search for the canoe.

He was on the point of leaving our cover, when we heard the sound of footsteps approaching, and directly afterwards we saw the figure of a man cautiously making his way among the trees. He might be an enemy, the precursor of others; but our fears on that score were soon set at rest by finding Ungka leap off my shoulder, and, running towards him, jump into his arms.

“Ah! Massa not far-off,” said a voice, which I recognised as that of Hassan the Malay. We soon made ourselves known to him, to his great delight. He told us that the canoe was close at hand, but that Kalong had become alarmed at hearing the signal of the attack, and, at the risk of his life, had gone back to look for us. Grateful as I was to the faithful creature, the delay was very vexatious. Of course, however, we had no remedy but to wait for him. In the meantime we launched the canoe, and placed Eva and Nutmeg in the centre, with our provisions. Ungka jumped in after them. Blount and I were to use the two middle paddles, Hassan was to steer, and Kalong was to use the bow paddle. The rest got in, and I held on the painter, to be in readiness to shove off the moment he returned.

Several minutes thus passed, during which time our ears were assailed by the dreadful sounds of the conflict. They grew louder and louder, as if the pursued and the pursuing were approaching us. I began at length to fear that Kalong, in his anxiety to serve me, had ventured too far, and had been cut off by the enemy. Every moment was increasing our risk of discovery. The time might have been so advantageously employed in paddling down the river, and, for Eva’s sake, I was doubly anxious to be off. I was almost despairing of his return, when the long feathery leaves of the shrubs near me were pushed aside, and, breathing with haste, Kalong appeared. In an instant he perceived how matters stood, and, making a sign to me to take my seat in the canoe, he stepped in after me, and, seizing a paddle, shoved her head off from the bank. He then began to ply it most energetically, and Blount and I followed his example, while Hassan steered her down the stream.

There had been no time to lose, for the scouts of a number of people on the bank showed that he had been hotly pursued. He did not stop to explain what had happened; and for half an hour or more we paddled on in perfect silence, keeping always in the centre of the stream. By degrees the shrieks and cries of the combatants grew fainter on our ears, till they ceased altogether.

Kalong then for a moment ceased paddling, and drew a deep breath, which seemed much to relieve his heart. He then explained briefly, that he had gone up to our cottage, and that, finding it already sacked, and seeing nothing of us, he was about to return, when he was seen, and pursued by the attacking party. He dashed on, and was just in time to reach the canoe and escape them.

“And now, Massa, pull away again, or some of them black fellows follow and kill us,” he exclaimed, suiting the action to the word. All night long we paddled on, and to such good purpose, that we entirely distanced any enemies who might have been following us. Whenever a village appeared; we crossed over to the other side of the stream, and as the night was dark, and we kept perfect silence, we were unobserved. Sometimes, for miles together, there were no signs of human habitations, the dark forest clothing either bank of the stream, so that we were able to converse without fear of betraying ourselves.

Hassan then told us that he hoped we might reach the sea in two days, by paddling on during all the hours of darkness, and remaining concealed while it was light.

“And what do you propose doing when we get to the sea?” I asked.

“Then, Massa,” said Kalong, “we will pull away from the land, and trust to Providence, you sometime tell me about—we fall in with the schooner, or some other craft—or we go over to coast of Celebes. No good to trust to people about here. As Massa say, if we do all we can, Providence do all the rest.”

Kalong, I found, had not forgotten the instruction I had attempted to bestow on him while on board the Fraulein.

Blount and I agreed, that although the canoe was small, we had seen many, less fit for the work, living in a very heavy sea, when properly handled, and that it would be better to risk the passage to Celebes than to trust to the tender mercies of the Malays or Dyaks of the coast.

Dawn beginning to appear, we ran the canoe into a small bay, completely shut in by trees, where, by a little management, we might remain concealed without fear of discovery.

Having secured the canoe, we cut down a quantity of boughs, which we fastened round her, so that a person passing quite close would not have suspected that several human beings lay hid behind them, though we, looking through the branches, enjoyed a view across and down the stream for some distance. We had, as I said, brought a supply of provisions. These we husbanded carefully; and Kalong said that he hoped to be able to get some cocoa-nuts and other fruit from some of the gardens we might pass at night. I did not like the idea of robbing the poor people, but we had no means of paying for the fruit; and, under the circumstances, we were justified in taking it. Having made our arrangements, we lay down to sleep, one at a time remaining on foot to keep watch, with the rifle loaded ready for use. The after part of the canoe was appropriated to Eva and her attendant. Blount and I stretched ourselves in the bow; while Hassan, Kalong, and Ungka climbed up into a neighbouring tree, by the leaves of which they were perfectly concealed, at the same time that they obtained a wider look-out than we could below. I had slept, I suppose, about four hours, when I was awakened by the howling of a dog, and, looking through the boughs, I observed a small canoe on the opposite side of the river, with four men in her, busily employed about something or other. While I was watching their proceedings, Kalong slid down the tree and came near me.

“See, Massa,” he said, “have some fun soon.”

I now observed that the people had erected a sort of stage, and on the top of it they had secured an unhappy dog, whose voice had first awakened me. Near the stage was a long stick, hanging over the water, and loosely attached to it was a thick rope, with a dead monkey at one end and a rattan at the other. Kalong explained that a strong piece of stick was placed alongside the monkey, with the end of the rope secured to the middle of it. The canoe shortly paddled away down the stream, greatly to our satisfaction; for we were afraid she might have come near us, when the consequences might have been disagreeable. The poor dog howled for some time, and the dead monkey floated on the surface of the water, till our attention was attracted by an object coming down the stream towards us. As it approached, we perceived the long snout and black scaly back of a huge crocodile. The monster eyed us, as we thought, with a malicious look, as if he contemplated attacking us, and, from his appearance, we judged that he would have made one hearty meal of us all, and perhaps swallowed up the canoe into the bargain. To prepare for him, I grasped Blount’s rifle, with the intention of shooting him through the eye, should he begin to molest us; but, of course, I would only have fired in a case of extreme necessity. Either he had not noticed us, or he thought he would first swallow the monkey, which was all ready for him, and then come back and have a nibble at us; so, to our satisfaction, away he swam across the river. He first rubbed his nose against the monkey to smell it, and then began sucking away very leisurely, thus to enjoy the morsel to the utmost. When he had got it down, he swam on a little, and that gave a jerk to the rope, which pulled the stick across his inside, so that by no possibility could it come out again. This seemed to inconvenience him excessively, for he plunged under the water, and then swam across from one side of the river to the other, the rattan at the end of the rope always showing his whereabouts. As he swam about, he approached disagreeably near to us, and we were not a little afraid that a whisk of his tail might stave in our canoe. Fortunately, he again turned, and he did not seem to wish to eat, the stick in his inside having probably spoiled his appetite. At last, when he found it was impossible to get free from this inconvenient ornament in the water, he scrambled on shore, where he lay hid among the reeds, not far from the spot where he had swallowed the bait, the rattan, which remained in the water, pointing out his position. In about an hour the canoe returned, accompanied by three others, with an equal number of men in each. They first got hold of the rattan, and then, landing, they gently drew him forth from his hiding-place. He offered no resistance, merely wagging his tail backwards and forwards, and I could scarcely persuade myself that he was a monster capable of eating a man at a meal. The Dyaks first made a strong lashing fast round his mouth, to prevent him from biting, and then secured his legs over his back, so that he was perfectly helpless. After haranguing him for some time, though what they said I could not tell, they dragged him again into the water, and towed him off at the stern of their canoes in triumph.

Kalong declared that they were carrying him away to worship him. This I could scarcely believe; but I have heard that they look upon the crocodile as the sultan, or rajah, of animals.

Fortunately, the people in the canoes were so much occupied that they did not observe us. No other adventure occurred; and as soon as it was dark, we issued forth from our leafy hiding-place, and paddled away down the stream. We passed a village where a number of torches were burning, and people were singing and beating their tom-toms, Kalong asserted, in honour of the captured crocodile. We were yet some way from the sea, when towards the morning we again sought a place of concealment. All day we rested, preparing for the work of the morrow. We endeavoured to fit our frail canoe, better to encounter the waves, by fastening strips of bark round her sides, and by decking over the bow and after part with the same material. We also filled a number of gourds we had collected with water; and Kalong foraged with considerable success in every direction for provisions, so that we had little fear of suffering from hunger, unless we should be kept out longer than we expected. At night we again proceeded, and I shall never forget the refreshing smell of the sea air as we first inhaled it on approaching the mouth of the river. It renewed our strength and courage; and when the morning broke, we were dancing on the ocean waves—the land was astern—no sail was in sight, and we felt at length that once more we were free.

Chapter Thirty Two.

For two days we had been at sea, steering to the southward of east, for the purpose of making the coast of Celebes should we not fall in with the Fraulein, or some Bugis trader, which might carry us to Singapore. The water providentially continued smooth, and the wind was light and favourable; but as we had no sail, that was of little service to us, and we made, therefore, but slow progress. We had all begun to suffer much from fatigue, so we agreed that two should row while the other two stretched themselves at the bottom of the canoe to rest. Kalong and I took one watch, while Hassan and Blount took the other, Eva and Nutmeg acting as look-outs. Eva was very anxious to take a paddle to assist; but her strength was not great, and I feared it would only uselessly exhaust her; but Little Nutmeg did not wait for permission, and as soon as Blount laid down his paddle she seized it, and showed that she could make use of it to very good effect. Kalong and I were paddling, and Eva was scanning the horizon in every direction, in the hopes of seeing the Fraulein, when she cried out:—

“Look there—look there, brother Mark! I see either an island or a huge whale, or the hull of a ship; but I cannot make out exactly what it is.”

I looked in the direction she pointed at to leeward, and a little on our larboard bow, and though I kept my eyes fixed on the spot attentively, I was unable to determine what the object was. We could not tell why we had not before seen it; but we supposed this was owing to the different direction in which the rays of the sun struck it. It was stationary, for as we paddled on we neared it.

“Me know what it is,” said Kalong. “Chinese junk without masts.”

We found he was right; and as we drew near, a very curious appearance she presented. Her masts were gone, though she seemed in every other respect to be uninjured; but not a living person could we discover on board. She was a merchant vessel, and might have measured some two hundred tons. Her head and stern rose considerably above the waist. At the after part were a succession of poop decks, one above another, narrowing towards the top, so that the highest was very small. It sloped very much from the stern, and on it was a windlass used to lift the huge rudder. On either side of the next deck were two cabins, with a roof in front of them made of bits of mother-of-pearl instead of glass. What is called the nettings ran from aft round the greater part of the vessel. The beams of the deck projected beyond the sides, and each butt-end was ornamented with an ugly face carved and painted. Every face was different, and ugly as the others. Some were of beasts, and some like human beings, and others of monsters which have no existence. The bow was perfectly flat, the stem scarcely coming out of the water. There was a topgallant forecastle, and on it rested two enormous anchors made of wood of a heavy nature, which sinks like metal. Above the forecastle was a narrow gallery, with a flight of steps leading to it. On the top of the bulwarks were arranged a row of jingalls, or swivel guns of very rough manufacture, and a number of shields made of straw, which, though they might ward off a spear, would be treated with little ceremony by a bullet. In the racks against the forecastle were a number of spears, and an instrument with a spear in the centre, and a sort of half-moon, the points turning out, which serves to thrust as well as to ward off a blow. In the centre of the poop, right aft, was a little shrine, in which sat ensconced a very ugly-looking deity, surpassing the other on deck in size and ugliness. The rudder was one of the things most remarkable about the vessel. It was in shape like that of a common barge; it was hung so that it could be raised or let down by means of the windlass, as required; and it was secured below by two ropes, which led along the keel forward, and being brought on to the forecastle, were hove tight by means of another windlass placed there. The crew slept in cabins under the forecastle; their caboose, or cooking-house, was on one side of the deck. There was a stove of brick, and some large pots for boiling. On one side was a tank for water, and above it lockers for stowing provisions and mess utensils.

We ran alongside and got on board. Blount suggested that the people might all have died of plague; and for a moment he persuaded me from moving from the spot where I stood; but as we saw no dead person, we soon got over our fears on that score.

A flight of steps led into the main cabin, which was completely open at one end, so that a sea coming on board would have swamped her. On going below, and examining the lockers, we discovered a store of provisions, and, what was of the greatest consequence, an abundance of good water in the tank. We had little doubt how she came to have no crew on board, for the hold had been completely ransacked, the work, evidently, of pirates, who had doubtlessly carried them off as slaves. She had, we concluded, come thus far south to collect a cargo of edible birds’ nests, trepang, and other articles, for the Chinese market.

It is extraordinary how far away from land these unwieldy craft will venture, and how they contrive to live in a heavy sea, which one would suppose would inevitably swamp them. The Malays had cut away her masts, probably to employ in some of their own craft.

“Now we are here, let us try and make ourselves comfortable,” exclaimed Blount, walking about the deck. “Let us have a good dinner, a sound sleep, and let us stretch our legs, and then we will consider what is next to be done.”

His suggestion was so good, that it was adopted. Hassan was a fair cook, and he made a very nutritious basin of soup with some of the birds’ nests we found on board. We had all gone through so many adventures that it scarcely appeared strange to find ourselves floating about on the Indian Ocean in a Chinese junk. It was so much more pleasant, indeed, than being cramped up in a canoe, that we felt no inclination to leave her; and no one seemed more delighted than Ungka, who scrambled about and poked his nose into every hole and corner. However, at a cabinet council which I called, consisting of the whole of our party, including Ungka, who, though he said nothing, looked very wise, it was resolved, that although it might be very pleasant living on board the junk, yet as she had no sails, and did not move, we might never get to the end of our voyage, we should, after a night’s rest, again take to our canoe, and endeavour to reach the coast of Celebes. Before night we hauled up the canoe on deck, and endeavoured rather better to fit her for sea, by heightening and strengthening her sides, and by nailing matting over the bow and stern.

The main cabin was devoted to Eva and Nutmeg. Blount and I took up our berths in the two little cabins on the highest part of the poop, and Hassan and Kalong went forward. We divided ourselves into four watches. It was prudent to have one person awake, in case anything should happen; at the same time, that one was sufficient. The night came on, and we retired to our respective sleeping-places. Each of us was to watch for about four hours. Blount took the first watch, Kalong took the next, and I was called about midnight.

The reader will recollect how, in the early part of my history, Eva and I, when infants, were rescued from the shattered boat, just before the storm which overwhelmed it came on. As I walked the deck, I was thinking of the account I had heard of that circumstance, and of the many extraordinary events of my life, when I had been so providentially preserved from the dangers which threatened me. “Yes, indeed,” I uttered aloud, “God has been merciful to me. He truly is everywhere.” A deep whispering voice seemed to come across the dark ocean—“And will protect to the end those who trust in Him,” were the words I fancied I heard. While I kept my watch, the wind began to rise in fitful gusts, and the uneasy rolling of the unwieldy junk showed that the sea was getting up. Thick gathering clouds obscured the sky; and the waves, like huge monsters from the deep, began to leap up on every side. I watched for some time, not liking to disturb the rest of the party unnecessarily. At last the junk gave a roll more violent than before, and nearly threw me off my legs. “Hillo! what’s the matter now, shipmates?” I heard Blount exclaiming, as he merged from his lofty berth, roused up by the jerk.

“Why, Seaworth, we must get her before the wind, or we shall have the seas tumbling on board us without leave.”

Accordingly we turned up the hands, except Eva and her attendant, whom I begged to remain quietly below. The stump of the foremast remained, and to it we lashed some spars we found on deck, and with a quantity of matting we discovered below, we manufactured a sail, which we managed to set. The helm was then put up, and to our great satisfaction the junk paid off before the wind. It was now daylight; a heavy gale was blowing, and the sea was running very high. As the sun rose, a break in the sky, through which he appeared, showed us the direction in which we were going; for we had no compass, and we found that our course was somewhat to the northward of east, which we calculated would carry us free of the coast of Celebes. The question then was, where should we be blown to? I believe none of us had any fears about the matter. How could we, when we had been so signally preserved? for we felt, had we remained in the canoe, in all probability we should have been engulfed by the waves. Every moment they rose higher and higher, and as the junk was rolled and pitched by them in her onward course, they seemed to follow after, as if eager to overwhelm her. We had to hold on to keep the deck, though, notwithstanding the way she tumbled about, no seas actually came on board the vessel. Eva took her post in front of one of the cabins on the raised deck, and there she sat like a true heroine, watching the raging ocean without a feeling approaching to fear.

“It may appear extraordinary, my dear Mark,” she said, smiling, when I went up to her; “but having you with me, and being once more at liberty, I feel far happier than I have ever done in my life.”

We sighted the land on the starboard hand, which we judged was that of Celebes; but we could not have hauled in for it, had not even the risk of shipwreck been too great to allow us to do so.

The whole day we ran on; the night at length came without any change in the weather, except that the wind shifted rather to the west, which compelled us to steer a more easterly course; for it must be understood that, with any regard for our safety, we could only keep directly before the wind. The tempest increased; and it was truly awful, as we felt that without chart or compass we were steering in almost total darkness through an unknown sea. We kept a look-out ahead, but to little purpose; while the tempest raged, we could do nothing but fly on before it. As I strained my eyes to try and pierce the obscurity, I fancied that I could see objects on either side of us, and sometimes land ahead; but still on we went, and I suspected that my imagination had deceived me. Eva had retired at dark to the cabin. Blount was at the helm, assisted by Hassan. We were almost worn out by steering, for the exertion was very great. I went aft to relieve him.

“Don’t you feel rather a different motion in the craft?” he said. “It may be fancy; but I cannot help thinking that she does not go along as lively as before. Take the helm, and I will go and see if my suspicions are correct.”

Saying this, he left me, and I took his place. In about five minutes he returned.

“Seaworth,” he said, “you must be prepared for bad news; it is as I suspected. The junk, with all this straining, has sprung a leak, and her hold is already half full of water. She may swim for some time longer; but I doubt if we shall ever again see the daylight.”

This was indeed sad news.

“We will do our best,” I answered. “We have the canoe, and we must make a raft.”

“Neither would be of any use in this sea,” he observed.

As he gave me the information, I instantly thought of Eva; and before forming any plan, I rushed below to bring her on deck, so that, should the junk sink, she might have a chance of escaping. I found her sleeping on a sofa in the cabin, in spite of the rolling of the vessel, while the little black girl lay on a mat below her. My sweet sister looked so calm and happy, as the light from the lantern, which hung from above, fell on her countenance, that I could scarcely bring myself to awake her to a consciousness of the danger which threatened her. At last I knelt down by her side and kissed her cheek to arouse her. She smiled, and looking up, asked me if I was come to take her on shore.

“I was dreaming, dear Mark, that we had arrived at a green and beautiful country, and that you told me it was England, and that all our dangers were over.”

I by degrees informed her of the true state of the case.

“You are with me, dear Mark, and all will be well,” she answered, as, supporting her in my arms, and followed by Nutmeg, I carried her to the upper cabin. Having deposited her there, I rushed back to learn what progress the water had made. It had already reached the floor of the cabin, and I fancied that I could even see it rising during the few minutes I stood there. At first I thought we might keep the vessel afloat by bailing. As two of us only could be spared for the work, I soon saw how futile such an attempt must prove. With a sad heart I returned on deck. I told Blount the state of affairs, and we agreed that our only chance of being preserved was to form a raft, and to lash ourselves to it, so that, when the junk went down, we might have something to keep us afloat. Not a moment was to be lost; so he and Hassan, as the most expert, set to work, while Kalong and I went to the helm. Neither of us could be spared, for, as it was, we had the greatest difficulty in steering. A couple of hatchets had been discovered, and with these they cut away all the planking most easily got at, and lashed it to a few spars remaining on deck. I could now feel the difference perceptibly in the motion of the junk; and as she sank lower in the water, I feared that the waves would leap over the decks, and thus more speedily bring on the catastrophe we expected. The time appeared very long, though Blount and Hassan worked as hard as they could.

I was hoping that the raft was finished, when Blount sprang up the ladder to me. “We have not a moment to lose,” he exclaimed; “the water is almost awash with the deck, and the junk cannot swim a minute longer.”

“Take the helm, then, while I bring out my sister,” I answered. Eva was prepared, and I was about to descend with her to the deck, where we expected to find the yet unfinished raft, when a huge wave, rising alongside, swept over the vessel, and I saw a large object carried away on its crest.

“There goes the raft!” cried Blount, with almost a shriek of despair. Another huge wave followed, and the whole centre of the junk seemed to be under water.

“She is sinking!—she is sinking!” burst from the lips of all; “Heaven have mercy on us!”

I clasped Eva in my arms, and fully expected that our last moment had arrived.

Chapter Thirty Three.

At the very moment that I had given up all hope of preservation, as if to confirm our worst anticipations, a huge wave came rolling up alongside. The junk rushed onward—a tremendous blow was felt—again she lifted, and was dashed forward—the rudder was knocked away, and the jury-mast fell overboard. Instantly the junk broached to. On a sudden, almost as rapidly as I take to tell it, the violent motion ceased, and a grating sound was heard, as if she had run upon a sandy beach. The seas struck her, but their force was evidently broken by some reef outside, though it continued too dark to enable us to discover where we were. The junk held together; and as the cabin on the poop for the present seemed a place of safety, we agreed to remain there till the return of day. The light at length came; and as I looked out from the cabin door, I found that we were in a small bay, with a sandy shore, and rich tropical vegetation beyond it, while what was my surprise to see directly outside of us, fast stuck on a reef of rocks, another vessel severely shattered by the waves!

My exclamation of surprise called the rest of the party from the cabins. No sooner did Eva see the vessel, than, pressing my arm, she observed, with a voice full of agitation:

“That vessel, Mark, is the Emu! I am certain of it; and if the dreadful men who form the crew are here, it were better that the sea had engulfed us.”

I could say nothing, for I could not help entering into her fears. It was high water when we were driven on shore; and as the tide had now fallen, we found that we could without difficulty lower ourselves on to the sand. In case the pirates should be wandering about the island, (for we concluded we had been driven on one), Blount offered to go and explore, and to try to enter into terms with them, while Hassan and Kalong remained with me to guard Eva. In about an hour he returned, and reported that he had seen no human beings.

“The pirates can no longer do us or any one else harm,” he remarked. “As I wandered along the shore, I found the remains of several men washed up on the beach, and who, by their clothes, I have no doubt were the crew of the Emu.”

The information that there were probably no savage inhabitants, or any pirates alive, to injure us, were satisfactory, though we could not help feeling a horror at the fate of those cut off in the midst of their career of crime. We had now to consider what was to be done. The junk, after having been forced over the reef, had, what seamen call, fetched headway again, and had been driven stem first up a gulf or narrow bay, one side of which completely protected her from the sea, so that she lay as secure as in a dock. As the sun rose, the gale also abated; and I considered that there would be no danger in leaving Eva and the little black girl on board, while the rest of us went farther to explore the country. We had found an abundance of provisions in the junk, so that we had no fear of starving, even should fruits not be discovered in the island, to support us till we could get away. How to get away was the question. The obvious means was by building a boat; but we could find no tools, and we were obliged to confess that our skill was inadequate to the work. Hassan and Kalong, however, asserted that they would be able, in time, to construct a large canoe. Our first excursion was to the wreck, which we found we could reach by wading at low tide along the top of the reef. On further examination, not a doubt remained on our minds that she was the Emu; and Eva, when she saw her, confirmed our opinion by recognising some of the cabin furniture, which had been washed out of her. We now set out to explore the woods. We had not got far when I came upon the body of a man, or rather a skeleton, covered with clothes. A few paces on was another; and not far-off we found a rude hut, with a blackened spot, where a fire had been lit before it. In the hut were two more bodies, and we afterwards found several more, but there was neither food nor water near them. There could be no doubt that they were the remnant of the pirate crew, whom at length retributive justice had overtaken. The rest were probably drowned and washed out to sea. How the catastrophe had occurred, the shattered wreck and those ghastly remains could alone tell us. At midnight, perhaps, during the raging of a storm, amid thunder and lightning, without hope of succour, the blood-stained pirates had met their just doom. We dragged them to a hole we found near at hand, and covered them up with stones and bushes, so that Eva should not be shocked by seeing them.

The island was a very large one; and after marching some miles into the interior, we came upon some cocoa-nut trees and plantains, among which were some sago trees, from which we collected an abundant supply of food. On our return along the coast, we found a high hill, on the top of which we proposed to erect a flag-staff; and discovering a spring of water near it, as also the means of building a hut, we resolved to take up our quarters there, in the hopes of being seen by any passing ship. Close to it, also, Kalong found a tree, which he and Hassan pronounced well adapted to serve as the foundation of a canoe. It must be remembered that we had no tools of any sort, except some clasp-knives, and some boarding-spikes found in the junk; but they proposed forming their hatchets and all their instruments out of flint stones and shells. “Give us time,” they answered, “and we will do it,” when Blount and I expressed a doubt of their success.

Having made the arrangements, we hastened back to the junk. We found Eva standing on the highest part of the poop, and waving a handkerchief, while she pointed eagerly seaward. I soon climbed up and joined her; and there I beheld what was indeed sufficient to make my heart beat quick with hope. About a mile off, having just rounded a headland, appeared my own schooner, the Fraulein. The rocks before had concealed her from our sight. Kalong and Hassan immediately recognised her, and so, they declared, did Ungka, who seemed to share our agitation and excitement. Such occurrences are difficult to describe. Our chief aim was to attract her attention. To do this, our first thought was to make a fire; so cutting away some dry wood from the junk, we formed a pile of it on the rocks. We trusted that the smoke or the junk herself would be observed. At first we thought she was standing away; then, to our delight, we saw her shorten sail, and running closer inshore, she dropped her anchor, and a boat was lowered. It pulled towards us; Fairburn and Prior were in it. We rushed down to the rocks to meet them. I need scarcely describe the rest. In another half hour I was on board my own vessel, with my sweet sister in safety, and all the work which at one time appeared so hopeless accomplished. There lay the pirate vessel a wreck on the rocks, and near her the tombs of those who had worked us so much mischief. Fairburn told me that they had run under the lee of the island during the gale, and were about to return to the coast of Borneo to watch for me. We bade an affectionate farewell to the junk, which had proved to us an ark of safety, and we carried away a number of relics of her. My crew received us with loud cheers, and not the least welcome, after all his adventures, was, I suspect, Ungka the ape, who quickly made himself at home.

“Where shall we steer for?” asked Fairburn.

“For Java,” I replied. “I must not forget my promise to the widow Van Deck and little Maria.”

I must now bring my adventures to a close. We reached Sourabaya in safety, and were heartily welcomed, not by the widow Van Deck, but by the wife of Lieutenant Jeekel, for she had made the honest officer happy by marrying him. As they were anxious to go to Europe, I offered them a passage as far as Calcutta in the Fraulein, and little Maria accompanied them. I need not say that she and Eva became very great friends.

I can scarcely describe the pleasure my return with Eva afforded our kind friends the Northcotes, or the sensation our romantic history created wherever it was known. Every assistance was given me to prove my identity, and with a variety of documents I sailed for England. I was very sorry to part with some of my friends, who could not accompany me. I presented the Fraulein to Fairburn, and Blount sailed with him, carrying Prior to Manilla. They all ultimately, by energy and perseverance, made themselves independent. When I reached England, I put my affair into the hands of a clever lawyer, and I found that I had few difficulties to contend with. All those who had been instrumental in the abduction of my sister and me were dead. A few days only before our arrival, the papers had announced the death of a Sir Reginald Seaton, without any claimant to his title or estates. He had once been blessed with a large family, but one after the other they had been laid in their graves, and he alone had been left a solitary and decrepit old man. Thus Heaven had proved the avenger of crime, and prevented the guilty ones from enjoying the profits of their guilt. The papers I possessed clearly proved that I was the rightful heir; and as there was no one to oppose my claim, I was, without much difficulty, allowed to take possession of the property. I did so with gratitude, but without any undue exuberance of spirits; for I felt all the heavy responsibilities which I at the same time took upon myself, and I humbly prayed Heaven to enable me to fulfil them faithfully.

I had the very great satisfaction of assembling at my house, within two years of the time I speak of, not only my Dutch friends, including that honest fellow Van Graoul, who had the command of a fine ship; but Fairburn, Prior, and Blount, as also Hassan and Kalong, who were undergoing a course of instruction to aid them in civilising their countrymen on their return home, were also of the party; while Ungka, now the most refined of travelled apes, had his usual seat by my side.

I must now wish my readers farewell. I hope that they will ever firmly believe, as I have been taught to do by the occurrences of my life, that in whatever peril we may be placed, God is at hand to protect us, and that whatever apparent misfortunes may occur to us, He orders them for our ultimate and permanent benefit. If I have succeeded in inculcating these important truths, I shall be satisfied that the adventures of Mark Seaworth have not been written in vain.

The End.

End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of Mark Seaworth, by William H.G. Kingston


***** This file should be named 21477-h.htm or *****
This and all associated files of various formats will be found in:

Produced by Nick Hodson of London, England

Updated editions will replace the previous one--the old editions
will be renamed.

Creating the works from public domain print editions means that no
one owns a United States copyright in these works, so the Foundation
(and you!) can copy and distribute it in the United States without
permission and without paying copyright royalties.  Special rules,
set forth in the General Terms of Use part of this license, apply to
copying and distributing Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works to
protect the PROJECT GUTENBERG-tm concept and trademark.  Project
Gutenberg is a registered trademark, and may not be used if you
charge for the eBooks, unless you receive specific permission.  If you
do not charge anything for copies of this eBook, complying with the
rules is very easy.  You may use this eBook for nearly any purpose
such as creation of derivative works, reports, performances and
research.  They may be modified and printed and given away--you may do
practically ANYTHING with public domain eBooks.  Redistribution is
subject to the trademark license, especially commercial



To protect the Project Gutenberg-tm mission of promoting the free
distribution of electronic works, by using or distributing this work
(or any other work associated in any way with the phrase "Project
Gutenberg"), you agree to comply with all the terms of the Full Project
Gutenberg-tm License (available with this file or online at

Section 1.  General Terms of Use and Redistributing Project Gutenberg-tm
electronic works

1.A.  By reading or using any part of this Project Gutenberg-tm
electronic work, you indicate that you have read, understand, agree to
and accept all the terms of this license and intellectual property
(trademark/copyright) agreement.  If you do not agree to abide by all
the terms of this agreement, you must cease using and return or destroy
all copies of Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works in your possession.
If you paid a fee for obtaining a copy of or access to a Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic work and you do not agree to be bound by the
terms of this agreement, you may obtain a refund from the person or
entity to whom you paid the fee as set forth in paragraph 1.E.8.

1.B.  "Project Gutenberg" is a registered trademark.  It may only be
used on or associated in any way with an electronic work by people who
agree to be bound by the terms of this agreement.  There are a few
things that you can do with most Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works
even without complying with the full terms of this agreement.  See
paragraph 1.C below.  There are a lot of things you can do with Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic works if you follow the terms of this agreement
and help preserve free future access to Project Gutenberg-tm electronic
works.  See paragraph 1.E below.

1.C.  The Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation ("the Foundation"
or PGLAF), owns a compilation copyright in the collection of Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic works.  Nearly all the individual works in the
collection are in the public domain in the United States.  If an
individual work is in the public domain in the United States and you are
located in the United States, we do not claim a right to prevent you from
copying, distributing, performing, displaying or creating derivative
works based on the work as long as all references to Project Gutenberg
are removed.  Of course, we hope that you will support the Project
Gutenberg-tm mission of promoting free access to electronic works by
freely sharing Project Gutenberg-tm works in compliance with the terms of
this agreement for keeping the Project Gutenberg-tm name associated with
the work.  You can easily comply with the terms of this agreement by
keeping this work in the same format with its attached full Project
Gutenberg-tm License when you share it without charge with others.

1.D.  The copyright laws of the place where you are located also govern
what you can do with this work.  Copyright laws in most countries are in
a constant state of change.  If you are outside the United States, check
the laws of your country in addition to the terms of this agreement
before downloading, copying, displaying, performing, distributing or
creating derivative works based on this work or any other Project
Gutenberg-tm work.  The Foundation makes no representations concerning
the copyright status of any work in any country outside the United

1.E.  Unless you have removed all references to Project Gutenberg:

1.E.1.  The following sentence, with active links to, or other immediate
access to, the full Project Gutenberg-tm License must appear prominently
whenever any copy of a Project Gutenberg-tm work (any work on which the
phrase "Project Gutenberg" appears, or with which the phrase "Project
Gutenberg" is associated) is accessed, displayed, performed, viewed,
copied or distributed:

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with
almost no restrictions whatsoever.  You may copy it, give it away or
re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included
with this eBook or online at

1.E.2.  If an individual Project Gutenberg-tm electronic work is derived
from the public domain (does not contain a notice indicating that it is
posted with permission of the copyright holder), the work can be copied
and distributed to anyone in the United States without paying any fees
or charges.  If you are redistributing or providing access to a work
with the phrase "Project Gutenberg" associated with or appearing on the
work, you must comply either with the requirements of paragraphs 1.E.1
through 1.E.7 or obtain permission for the use of the work and the
Project Gutenberg-tm trademark as set forth in paragraphs 1.E.8 or

1.E.3.  If an individual Project Gutenberg-tm electronic work is posted
with the permission of the copyright holder, your use and distribution
must comply with both paragraphs 1.E.1 through 1.E.7 and any additional
terms imposed by the copyright holder.  Additional terms will be linked
to the Project Gutenberg-tm License for all works posted with the
permission of the copyright holder found at the beginning of this work.

1.E.4.  Do not unlink or detach or remove the full Project Gutenberg-tm
License terms from this work, or any files containing a part of this
work or any other work associated with Project Gutenberg-tm.

1.E.5.  Do not copy, display, perform, distribute or redistribute this
electronic work, or any part of this electronic work, without
prominently displaying the sentence set forth in paragraph 1.E.1 with
active links or immediate access to the full terms of the Project
Gutenberg-tm License.

1.E.6.  You may convert to and distribute this work in any binary,
compressed, marked up, nonproprietary or proprietary form, including any
word processing or hypertext form.  However, if you provide access to or
distribute copies of a Project Gutenberg-tm work in a format other than
"Plain Vanilla ASCII" or other format used in the official version
posted on the official Project Gutenberg-tm web site (,
you must, at no additional cost, fee or expense to the user, provide a
copy, a means of exporting a copy, or a means of obtaining a copy upon
request, of the work in its original "Plain Vanilla ASCII" or other
form.  Any alternate format must include the full Project Gutenberg-tm
License as specified in paragraph 1.E.1.

1.E.7.  Do not charge a fee for access to, viewing, displaying,
performing, copying or distributing any Project Gutenberg-tm works
unless you comply with paragraph 1.E.8 or 1.E.9.

1.E.8.  You may charge a reasonable fee for copies of or providing
access to or distributing Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works provided

- You pay a royalty fee of 20% of the gross profits you derive from
     the use of Project Gutenberg-tm works calculated using the method
     you already use to calculate your applicable taxes.  The fee is
     owed to the owner of the Project Gutenberg-tm trademark, but he
     has agreed to donate royalties under this paragraph to the
     Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation.  Royalty payments
     must be paid within 60 days following each date on which you
     prepare (or are legally required to prepare) your periodic tax
     returns.  Royalty payments should be clearly marked as such and
     sent to the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation at the
     address specified in Section 4, "Information about donations to
     the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation."

- You provide a full refund of any money paid by a user who notifies
     you in writing (or by e-mail) within 30 days of receipt that s/he
     does not agree to the terms of the full Project Gutenberg-tm
     License.  You must require such a user to return or
     destroy all copies of the works possessed in a physical medium
     and discontinue all use of and all access to other copies of
     Project Gutenberg-tm works.

- You provide, in accordance with paragraph 1.F.3, a full refund of any
     money paid for a work or a replacement copy, if a defect in the
     electronic work is discovered and reported to you within 90 days
     of receipt of the work.

- You comply with all other terms of this agreement for free
     distribution of Project Gutenberg-tm works.

1.E.9.  If you wish to charge a fee or distribute a Project Gutenberg-tm
electronic work or group of works on different terms than are set
forth in this agreement, you must obtain permission in writing from
both the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation and Michael
Hart, the owner of the Project Gutenberg-tm trademark.  Contact the
Foundation as set forth in Section 3 below.


1.F.1.  Project Gutenberg volunteers and employees expend considerable
effort to identify, do copyright research on, transcribe and proofread
public domain works in creating the Project Gutenberg-tm
collection.  Despite these efforts, Project Gutenberg-tm electronic
works, and the medium on which they may be stored, may contain
"Defects," such as, but not limited to, incomplete, inaccurate or
corrupt data, transcription errors, a copyright or other intellectual
property infringement, a defective or damaged disk or other medium, a
computer virus, or computer codes that damage or cannot be read by
your equipment.

of Replacement or Refund" described in paragraph 1.F.3, the Project
Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation, the owner of the Project
Gutenberg-tm trademark, and any other party distributing a Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic work under this agreement, disclaim all
liability to you for damages, costs and expenses, including legal

defect in this electronic work within 90 days of receiving it, you can
receive a refund of the money (if any) you paid for it by sending a
written explanation to the person you received the work from.  If you
received the work on a physical medium, you must return the medium with
your written explanation.  The person or entity that provided you with
the defective work may elect to provide a replacement copy in lieu of a
refund.  If you received the work electronically, the person or entity
providing it to you may choose to give you a second opportunity to
receive the work electronically in lieu of a refund.  If the second copy
is also defective, you may demand a refund in writing without further
opportunities to fix the problem.

1.F.4.  Except for the limited right of replacement or refund set forth
in paragraph 1.F.3, this work is provided to you 'AS-IS' WITH NO OTHER

1.F.5.  Some states do not allow disclaimers of certain implied
warranties or the exclusion or limitation of certain types of damages.
If any disclaimer or limitation set forth in this agreement violates the
law of the state applicable to this agreement, the agreement shall be
interpreted to make the maximum disclaimer or limitation permitted by
the applicable state law.  The invalidity or unenforceability of any
provision of this agreement shall not void the remaining provisions.

1.F.6.  INDEMNITY - You agree to indemnify and hold the Foundation, the
trademark owner, any agent or employee of the Foundation, anyone
providing copies of Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works in accordance
with this agreement, and any volunteers associated with the production,
promotion and distribution of Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works,
harmless from all liability, costs and expenses, including legal fees,
that arise directly or indirectly from any of the following which you do
or cause to occur: (a) distribution of this or any Project Gutenberg-tm
work, (b) alteration, modification, or additions or deletions to any
Project Gutenberg-tm work, and (c) any Defect you cause.

Section  2.  Information about the Mission of Project Gutenberg-tm

Project Gutenberg-tm is synonymous with the free distribution of
electronic works in formats readable by the widest variety of computers
including obsolete, old, middle-aged and new computers.  It exists
because of the efforts of hundreds of volunteers and donations from
people in all walks of life.

Volunteers and financial support to provide volunteers with the
assistance they need, is critical to reaching Project Gutenberg-tm's
goals and ensuring that the Project Gutenberg-tm collection will
remain freely available for generations to come.  In 2001, the Project
Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation was created to provide a secure
and permanent future for Project Gutenberg-tm and future generations.
To learn more about the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation
and how your efforts and donations can help, see Sections 3 and 4
and the Foundation web page at

Section 3.  Information about the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive

The Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation is a non profit
501(c)(3) educational corporation organized under the laws of the
state of Mississippi and granted tax exempt status by the Internal
Revenue Service.  The Foundation's EIN or federal tax identification
number is 64-6221541.  Its 501(c)(3) letter is posted at  Contributions to the Project Gutenberg
Literary Archive Foundation are tax deductible to the full extent
permitted by U.S. federal laws and your state's laws.

The Foundation's principal office is located at 4557 Melan Dr. S.
Fairbanks, AK, 99712., but its volunteers and employees are scattered
throughout numerous locations.  Its business office is located at
809 North 1500 West, Salt Lake City, UT 84116, (801) 596-1887, email  Email contact links and up to date contact
information can be found at the Foundation's web site and official
page at

For additional contact information:
     Dr. Gregory B. Newby
     Chief Executive and Director

Section 4.  Information about Donations to the Project Gutenberg
Literary Archive Foundation

Project Gutenberg-tm depends upon and cannot survive without wide
spread public support and donations to carry out its mission of
increasing the number of public domain and licensed works that can be
freely distributed in machine readable form accessible by the widest
array of equipment including outdated equipment.  Many small donations
($1 to $5,000) are particularly important to maintaining tax exempt
status with the IRS.

The Foundation is committed to complying with the laws regulating
charities and charitable donations in all 50 states of the United
States.  Compliance requirements are not uniform and it takes a
considerable effort, much paperwork and many fees to meet and keep up
with these requirements.  We do not solicit donations in locations
where we have not received written confirmation of compliance.  To
SEND DONATIONS or determine the status of compliance for any
particular state visit

While we cannot and do not solicit contributions from states where we
have not met the solicitation requirements, we know of no prohibition
against accepting unsolicited donations from donors in such states who
approach us with offers to donate.

International donations are gratefully accepted, but we cannot make
any statements concerning tax treatment of donations received from
outside the United States.  U.S. laws alone swamp our small staff.

Please check the Project Gutenberg Web pages for current donation
methods and addresses.  Donations are accepted in a number of other
ways including checks, online payments and credit card donations.
To donate, please visit:

Section 5.  General Information About Project Gutenberg-tm electronic

Professor Michael S. Hart is the originator of the Project Gutenberg-tm
concept of a library of electronic works that could be freely shared
with anyone.  For thirty years, he produced and distributed Project
Gutenberg-tm eBooks with only a loose network of volunteer support.

Project Gutenberg-tm eBooks are often created from several printed
editions, all of which are confirmed as Public Domain in the U.S.
unless a copyright notice is included.  Thus, we do not necessarily
keep eBooks in compliance with any particular paper edition.

Most people start at our Web site which has the main PG search facility:

This Web site includes information about Project Gutenberg-tm,
including how to make donations to the Project Gutenberg Literary
Archive Foundation, how to help produce our new eBooks, and how to
subscribe to our email newsletter to hear about new eBooks.