Peter Trawl - The Adventures of a Whaler
by W. H. G. Kingston
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I had now to abandon all hopes of the ship putting back, but there was still a possibility of getting on board a homeward-bound vessel.

Two days after the gale had ceased, while I was below, I heard the cry of "Sail, ho!" from the man at the masthead.

I hurried on deck. We had the wind abeam, and so had she—a soldier's wind as it is called. We should meet the approaching vessel before long and pass each other, with not a cable's length between us.

I watched her eagerly. We drew closer and closer to each other. When we got nearly abreast I went up to the first mate and asked him what she was.

"She's from the Brazils, bound for Liverpool," he answered.

Just then I saw the captain come on deck. Forgetting what he was I rushed up to him.

"Oh, Captain Hawkins, will you put Jim and me on board her?" I exclaimed. "You don't know how much I want to get home; it won't delay you ten minutes to put us on board."

"Ten minutes of this fine breeze lost for the sake of a boy like you," he answered, with a scornful laugh. "I expended more than ten in heaving to to pick you up, and that was as much as you are worth. Go forward, you young monkey, and give me no more of your impudence."

Undaunted by his heartless answer, I again and again implored that he would put me on board the Liverpool ship, but he stood looking contemptuously at me without uttering a word, till Jim, seeing that I was making no way, coming up, hat in hand, exclaimed—

"If you'll put Peter here on board yonder ship, sir, that he may go home to his young sister and friends, I'll stay here and work for you, and be your slave for as many years as you may want me. Do, sir—do let poor Peter go!"

"Off with you for'ard," thundered the captain, with a fierce oath. "How dare you speak to me? Away, both of you! Somebody has been putting you up to this, I know." And he glanced angrily at Dr Cockle and the mate.

"If you mean me, Captain Hawkins, I know that the lad has very good reasons for wishing to return home, but I did not advise him or Jim Pulley to speak to you. I certainly wish that you would put Peter Trawl on board that homeward-bound ship."

"You may wish what you like, but I am not going to allow what I choose to do to be found fault with by you or any other man on board this ship!" cried the captain, turning on his heel. "So look out for yourself," he added, glancing half over his shoulder.

The ordinary salutes were exchanged, and the two vessels stood on their course.

My heart felt as if it would burst with indignation and sorrow. Had the wind been light, I might, perhaps, have been able to put a letter on board, even although the captain would not have let me go.

Esdale tried to comfort me, and advised me to have one written ready to send should another opportunity occur.

The first land we made soon after this was Madeira. Except the coast of Norway, I had seen no foreign country, and as we passed it within a quarter of a mile, it struck me as very beautiful and fertile.

The wind being light we tarred down the rigging, and a few days afterwards, when we were about eight hundred miles from the land, one morning, on coming on deck, I noticed that the shrouds and every freshly-tarred rope looked as red as if they had been just painted. I asked the doctor, who allowed me to speak to him in a familiar way, what had caused this, and he told me that it was the red sand blown off the coast of Africa, and that it was a common occurrence in these latitudes.

We passed in sight of the Cape de Verde islands, one of which, called Fogo, seemed of a prodigious height. The first place we touched at was the island of Brava, into which the captain put to obtain fresh provisions.

"Now is my time," I thought. "If I can go on shore here, I shall be able to get back by the next homeward-bound vessel which calls at the place."

Jim proposed that we should smuggle ourselves on board some shore-boat, but to this I would not agree.

"We will go with the captain's leave," I answered, "and he surely will not refuse it now that he has no excuse for doing so."

I therefore went up to him as soon as he came on deck.

"Captain Hawkins," I said, in as firm a voice as I could command, "again I ask you will you allow Jim Pulley and me to leave your ship and wait on shore until we can get a passage home?"

"Peter Trawl, if that's your name, I shall do no such thing," he answered. "If I find you attempting to go on shore I shall put you in irons."

I knew from previous experience that there was no use in expostulating. When I told the doctor, he could scarcely conceal his indignation.

"I feel inclined to help you, my lad, at every risk," he said, "but we must be cautious. Wait until the evening, and then we will see what can be done."

I thanked him heartily, and promised to follow his advice. Jim was ready for anything.

The doctor said he would go on shore and then send off a boat which would wait under the starboard bow, and that we must manage to slip into her as soon as it was dark.

The captain in the meantime had landed, but returned very shortly with four tall negroes, whom he had engaged to pull the 'midship oars in the whale-boats. They are, I should say, first-rate oarsmen, and have a gentle disposition, ready to obey, and are happy under all circumstances. Besides the negroes, two boats loaded with fresh provisions came alongside.

These were soon hoisted on board, when the captain ordered a gun to be fired and Blue Peter to be hoisted, a signal to all those on shore to return immediately.

Dr Cockle and the third mate, with the cooper, whom the captain thought he could trust, had landed.

Presently the captain ordered another and then another gun to be fired to hasten them, and then to my bitter disappointment he directed Mr Griffiths to loosen sails and heave up the anchor.

According to Esdale's advice I had begun a letter to Mary, but had not had time to finish it. Hoping that I should not be missed by the captain, I ran below to add a few lines and then to close it, under the belief that I should be able to send it off by a shore-boat. I had to get out Esdale's ink-bottle and pen, which he had before lent me; the pen would not write, so I had to search for his penknife, and to try and mend it as well as I could, but having little experience in the art, this took me some time. I at last got the letter closed with a wafer, and directed to the care of Mr Gray, when I sprang with it on deck. Just then the eye of the captain fell on me.

"Come aft here, youngster," he shouted. "Where have you been away from your duty?"

I had the letter in my hand.

"I wanted to get this ready to send on shore, sir," I answered, holding it up.

"No excuse for leaving your station. Take that!" he cried, as he gave me a blow on the side of the head with his half-clenched fist, which brought me to the deck, and nearly stunned me. When I recovered myself the first person I saw was Dr Cockle, who, looking at me compassionately, said, "Come below, Peter, and I'll try to put your head to rights, for you seem to be much hurt. How did it happen?"

"I can't tell you now, sir, for I much want to send this letter off by a shore-boat," I answered.

As I spoke I observed that the crew were hoisting away and sheeting home the sails. I ran to the side and jumped on to the main chains. The only remaining boat was just shoving off. I shouted to the people in her to come and take my letter; but they did not understand me, or did not care to remain alongside, as the ship was rapidly gathering way; another stroke of their oars and they were at a distance from the ship. I waved and shouted to them to come back, but they did not heed me, and just then I heard the captain calling to me in an angry tone to attend to my duty. I was obliged to obey, expecting another cuff harder than the last; but when he saw me begin to pull and haul with the rest he said no more. Perhaps he observed the blood streaming from my head. The sails were now sheeted home, the yards trimmed, and the Intrepid stood away from the land.

Another opportunity of making my escape was lost.



Jim was always saying, "Cheer up, Peter, cheer up!" but it was a very hard matter to be cheery when I thought of the cruel way in which I had been treated, and the sorrow my sister must be feeling at my supposed loss. I tried, as advised, to keep up my spirits, and did my best to obey the orders I received.

Jim observed that it was all the same to him. His friends would not grieve much over his loss, and, as far as he was concerned, he would as soon be chasing whales in the Pacific as working a wherry in Portsmouth Harbour.

As we approached the line I found that the men were making preparations for going through the ceremony which was performed on board most vessels in those days. One of the boat-steerers, Sam Ringold, who stood six feet four in his shoes, and was proportionably broad, was chosen to act the part of Neptune, and the cooper's mate, who was as wide as he was high, that of his wife. The armourer took the part of the barber, and the carpenter's mate, who was lank and tall, the doctor.

Three of the ordinary seamen, the smallest fellows on board, were their attendants. All the chests were searched for the required dresses, and some curtains belonging to the cabin found their way forward to form a petticoat for Mrs Neptune. Some gold paper and pasteboard were manufactured into crowns, and some fishes' tails were ingeniously formed for the attendants. I discovered the preparations going forward, but was charged not to let Horner, or Esdale, or Jim know anything about them. I was more favoured than the rest of my messmates by the men, who seemed to have taken a liking to me; whether it was because they had heard how I had assisted to save the Good Intent, or thought that I was ill-treated by the captain, I do not know, but so it was. No one ever abused me, or gave me the taste of a rope's-end.

We had been sailing on with light winds when one morning, after the decks had been washed down and the other duties of the ship performed, having run on for a short distance, we lay almost becalmed with the sea as smooth as a mill-pond. The captain and his mates were seen to be taking an observation, and soon afterwards it became known that we were just crossing the line.

"I've often heard about it, but I can't say I see any line," said Jim.

"Nor can I!" cried Horner, who was looking out eagerly.

Presently a gruff voice was heard, hailing from forward.

"What ship is that, shutting out the light from my palace window?"

"The Intrepid" answered Captain Hawkins, who with the mates and doctor were standing aft.

"Then go ahead, will you, or I'll indict you for a nuisance," cried the voice, the remark producing a general laugh.

"I can't think of standing on until I have had the pleasure of a visit from Daddy Neptune," said the captain.

"Ay, ay! Glad to hear that. Then I'll come aboard in a jiffy with my royal missus and some of our precious young family; and maybe, captain, you'll have something to give them, for they're very fond of any hot potions which may come in their way."

"Be smart about it, then, Daddy, for I see a breeze springing up, and I may have to run you out of sight before you and your precious family have had time to take a sip apiece," cried the captain, who seemed to be in far better humour than usual.

All this time Jim and Horner were standing with me abaft the main hatchway, with their eyes staring and their mouths agape, wondering what was going to happen.

Presently, over the bows, appeared the strangest group I had ever set eyes on.

First there came Daddy Neptune with a glittering crown, a beard of oakum reaching to his middle, a girdle of rope yarn round his waist, a cloak covered with strange devices, and a huge trident in his hand.

His wife wore a crown like that of her husband, with ringlets of the same material as his beard, a huge sash of some gaily-coloured stuff, and a cloak formed out of a blanket. The barber had in his hand a pot containing lather, a big bowl tucked under one arm, with a razor a yard long and a shaving brush of huge size under the other; while the children or attendant imps—for it was hard to say what they were— waddled about in green clothing, looking like sea monsters, behind them.

"Well, I have heard of strange things, but these chaps are stranger than ever I saw," cried Jim. "Where do they come from?"

"From the bottom of the sea, I suppose," said Horner, who evidently did not admire their looks as they advanced aft.

The captain, after a little palavering, ordered the steward to bring up some grog and serve it out to them. Then retiring a short way forward, Neptune commanded all who had not before visited his dominions to come and pay their respects to him.

We all did so, not feeling very comfortable as to what was to follow, when his attendants got hold of Jim and me. Horner tried to escape, but was quickly captured and brought back.

No one interfered with Esdale, who had, I found, crossed Neptune's hand with a crown-piece; which, of course, none of us were able to do. A huge tub of water had been placed in front of his majesty. The barber now came forward and insisted on shaving all those who were for the first time crossing the line. Three of the ordinary seamen were novices like us.

The barber first lathered our chins with some abominable mixture from his pot, and then, scraping it off with his razor, finally ducked our heads into the tub. Horner, when undergoing the operation, had the brush several times thrust into his mouth, and his whole face and head daubed over. When he opened his mouth to expostulate, in again went the brush. As he kicked and screamed and spluttered, he was treated worse and worse.

Jim, taking a lesson from me, kept his mouth shut. I was let off even more easily than he was. Once Horner got loose, but instead of wisely remaining on deck and holding his tongue, he ran up the rigging and began abusing Daddy Neptune and his gang, whereupon he was again captured and compelled to undergo the same operation as before.

Blacky the cook next brought out his fiddle, and Neptune and his party— indeed, the whole crew—began dancing round and round, singing and shouting every now and then as an interlude, catching hold of the "green hands" and pitching them into the tub, chase being always made after those who attempted to escape.

The grog circulated so rapidly among the crew that they would all soon have been intoxicated had not the captain, in a thundering voice, ordered them to knock off and bring their tomfoolery to an end.

They obeyed. Neptune and his followers dived below, and presently returned like stout seamen as they were.

The order was given to brace the yards sharp up, and, with an easterly wind, we stood on our course.

The next land we made was a solitary islet. Near it stood a remarkable rock called the "Ninepin," detached from the land. The doctor told me that it is eighteen hundred feet in height. It had the appearance of a monument standing out of the ocean. There are no inhabitants on the island, nor any good landing-place, but fresh water is to be obtained there, as well as pigs and vegetables.

We soon after this began to fall in with stormy weather. We found our ship, which had remarkably sharp ends, very wet, and as we were now approaching the land of storms in the dead of winter, with the days scarcely more than seven hours long, the greatest caution was deemed necessary. The royal masts were sent down and replaced by stump topgallant masts. The flying jib-boom was sent in and the studding-sail booms were also sent down. All the boats except one were got in, the hatches were battened down, and everything was done to make the ship light aloft.

We were nearly off the River Plate when there were indications of an approaching gale. The hitherto blue sky was overcast, and the scud flew rapidly along, as if impelled by a hurricane.

"You youngsters will have to look out for yourselves before long," said Tom Ringold, the boat-steerer, who had acted the part of Neptune. "We shall be having old Harry Cane aboard here, and he's a precious deal more difficult to tackle than Daddy Neptune, who paid us a visit on the line."

"Oh, dear! Oh, dear! I wonder what we shall do?" cried Horner, who did not exactly understand what was going to happen.

"Why, hold on to the weather-rigging, if you haven't to be pulling and hauling, and duck your head if you see a sea coming," answered Jim, who understood the joke about Harry Cane.

In a short time the captain ordered the topsails to be reefed and the mainsail to be stowed and all the lighter sails handed. Jim and I were sent aloft to the fore-topgallant sailyard to furl the sail. We were laying out when, to my horror, I saw Jim disappear. I nearly fell from the yard myself, from thinking that he would be dashed to pieces, and that I should lose my staunchest friend.

"Jim! Jim! Oh, save him! Save him!" I shouted out, not knowing what I was saying, or considering how useless it was to shout.

"Here I am all right, Peter," cried Jim, and his voice seemed to come not far from me.

What was my joy to discover that he had been caught in the belly of the sail, and there he lay as if he had been in a hammock, the reef tackle having been hauled out just at the time he fell. He quickly scrambled on to the yard again, resuming his duty as if nothing particular had occurred. We having finished our work came down. Scarcely was this done when the gale struck us, taking us right aback. The cabin dead-lights not being properly secured, the cabin was nearly filled with water. The carpenter and his mates hurried aft to close them, and we youngsters were sent below to help him, and put things to rights.

When this was done down came the rain in such torrents that it seemed as if it would swamp the ship, while as she fell off into the trough of the sea, she began to roll in a way which threatened every instant to shake the masts out of her. It seemed wonderful that they stood. Had the rigging not been well set up they must have gone. The only accident I have to mention was that one of our remaining pigs was killed, but this did not grieve the crew, for as we had no salt on board, and the meat would not keep, the portion not required for the cabin was served out to us.

Another, and what might have proved a far more serious matter, occurred. Tom Ringold was steering, when a sea striking the rudder with tremendous force knocked him over the wheel, carrying away several of the brass spokes as it flew round, and sent him against the bulwarks. For a moment everyone thought he was killed, but he picked himself up, and although he could not use his arm for two or three days, at the end of that time he was able to do his duty as well as ever.

That storm soon came to an end, but the old hands told us that we might look out for others, and so the captain seemed to think, for although he was anxious to get round Cape Horn we were always under snug canvas at night, and during the day a bright look-out was kept, lest one of those sudden squalls called Pamperos might come off the land and whip the masts out of the ship, or lay her on her beam-ends, as frequently happens when the hands are not ready to shorten sail. We, however, got to the southward of the Falkland Islands without accident.

My poor friend and messmate Esdale severely felt the cold which we now began to experience. He came on deck to attend to his duty, but a hacking cough and increasing weakness made him very unfit for it. The doctor at last insisted on his remaining below, although Esdale declared that he would rather be on deck and try to do his best.

"But I insist on your remaining in your bunk until we round Cape Horn and reach a warmer latitude," said Dr Cockle. "I will see the captain, and tell him plainly that he will be answerable for your death, should he insist on your doing duty any longer."

Esdale still pleaded, but the doctor was peremptory.

"It is his only chance," he said to me; "I cannot promise that he will live. He will, however, certainly die if he is exposed to this biting wind and constant rain. I intend to tell the captain, but you, Trawl, go and stay with him whenever you can; it will cheer him up, poor fellow, to have someone to talk to, and that dull Horner cannot speak two words of sense."

Before the doctor had time to do as he proposed, Captain Hawkins, missing Esdale from the deck, ordered me to tell him to come up.

This I determined not to do, for it was blowing hard at the time from the south-west and the wind would have chilled him through in a minute. I, however, went below, and after remaining a little time, I returned, and said—

"Esdale is very ill, sir, and is not fit to come on deck."

"How do you know that, youngster?" asked the captain, in an angry tone.

"Dr Cockle has seen him and says so," I answered boldly.

"Tell him to come up, or I'll send a couple of hands to bring him neck and crop," thundered the captain.

I was as determined as before not to tell Esdale, knowing that he would come if sent for.

"Go below and bring up that lazy young rascal," shouted the captain to Tom Ringold and another man standing near him.

I immediately dived below to persuade Tom to let Esdale remain in his bunk.

"It will be his death if he is exposed to this weather," I said.

"I am not the fellow to kill a shipmate if I can help it," answered Tom. "Tell him to stay and I'll take the consequences."

When Tom returned on deck, the captain enquired in a fierce voice why he had not carried out his orders.

"Because he is too ill to be moved, Captain Hawkins," answered Tom, promptly.

The captain, uttering an oath, and taking a coil of rope in his hand, was just about to go below when Doctor Cockle came on deck, and guessing, from the few words he heard, what was the captain's intention, came up to him and said—

"It would kill the lad to bring him up, and as he is my patient, I have told him to stay below."

"Am I to be thwarted and insulted on board my own ship?" cried the captain. "Whether he is ill or well, up he comes."

And going down to the half-deck, he asked Esdale why he had not obeyed his orders.

Esdale, of course, had not received them, and said so, beginning at the same time to dress. Before, however, he could finish putting on his clothes the captain seized him by the arm and dragged him up. Scarcely, however, had he reached the deck when the poor fellow fainted right away. Tom, on seeing this, lifted him in his arms and carried him down again.

"I warn you, Captain Hawkins, that you will cause the death of the lad if you compel him to be on deck in this weather," said the doctor firmly, as he turned to follow Tom and Esdale.

The captain, making no remark, walked aft, and did not again interfere.

Whether that sudden exposure to the cold had any serious effect I do not know, but Esdale after this got worse and worse. Whenever I could I went and sat by his side, when he used to talk to me of the happy land for which he was bound. He did not seem even to wish to live, and yet he was as cheerful as anyone on board. The doctor and first mate used also to come and talk to him, and he spoke to them as he did to me, and urged them to put their trust where he was putting his. I believe that his exhortations had a beneficial influence on them, as they had on me. When I said how I hoped that he would get better after we were round the Cape, he answered—

"I shall never see the Horn, Peter; I am as sure of that as I can be of anything."

Two days after this land was sighted on the starboard bow. It proved to be Staten Island; but scarcely were we to the south of it when we encountered a furious gale blowing from the westward.

For two days; by keeping close hauled, the captain endeavoured to gain ground to the westward, resolved, as he declared, "to thrash the ship round the Cape." On the third day, however, while I was on deck, a tremendous sea came rolling up.

"Look out! Hold on for your lives, lads!" shouted the first mate.

Every one clung to whatever was nearest to him. One poor fellow was to leeward. There was no avoiding the sea, which, like a mountain topped with foam, struck the bows. The ship plunged into it, and for a few seconds I thought would never rise again. On swept the roaring torrent, deluging the deck; and had not the hatches been battened down, would have half filled her.

A loud, crashing sound followed, and when the water had passed over us nearly all the lee bulwarks were gone, and with them our shipmate who had been standing a minute before as full of life as any of us. He was not again seen, and must have gone down at once.

The captain was compelled at last to heave the ship to, and there we lay, now rising to the top of a sea, now sinking into the trough, with walls of water, half as high as the main-top, round us. The seas in the German Ocean and Bay of Biscay were nothing to be compared to those we encountered off the Horn, though, perhaps, equally dangerous.

As soon as I went below, I hurried to the side of Esdale. He asked what had happened. I told him.

"Some one was carried overboard?" he inquired.

"Yes," I said. "Poor Jack Norris," wondering how he knew it.

"And I shall soon follow him," he replied.

His words proved true. That very night, as I came off my watch and was about to turn in, I heard my messmate utter my name in a low voice. I went to him.

"I'm going," he whispered. "Good-bye, Peter; you'll remember what I have said to you?"

I promised him I would, and told him I must run and call the doctor.

"No, stay," he said. "He can do me no good. Tell him I thank him for his kindness. Good-bye, Peter."

The next instant his hand relaxed its hold of mine, and stooping down over him I found he had ceased to breathe.

So died one of the most amiable and excellent young men I have ever met. The next morning he was sewn up in canvas, with a shot at his feet, and brought on deck. The captain stood aft watching the proceedings. Whether he felt he had hastened Esdale's death I know not; but his countenance was stern and gloomy as night. The boldest seaman on board would not have dared just then to speak to him. Hail and sleet were driving in our faces; a furious gale threatening to carry our only sail out of the bolt-ropes was blowing; the mountain seas raged round us; there was scarce time for a prayer, none for form or ceremony. A foaming billow came thundering against the bows; over the deck it swept. We clung for our lives to ropes, stanchions, and ring-bolts. When it had passed we found that it had borne our young shipmate to his ocean grave.



For well-nigh six weeks we were endeavouring to get round Cape Horn, when the weather moderated, making way to the westward, but again being driven back often over more ground than we had gained.

The captain was constantly on deck, exhibiting on all occasions his splendid seamanship. He was ever on the look-out to take advantage of the least change of wind which would enable us to lay our course. Day and night were alike to him; he seemed indifferent to the piercing wind and tremendous storms of sleet and hail we encountered. Twice we sighted Cape Horn, but each time, before many hours had passed, were again to the eastward of it. The captain thought he could endure anything, and certainly did not expose others more than he did himself. We saw numerous sea birds—albatrosses, Cape pigeons, stormy-petrels (or Mother Carey's chickens, as they are called), and many more. The albatross appeared to me a truly noble bird when on the wing; no matter how rough the weather or how heavy the sea, he sat on the water perfectly at ease, seeming to defy the very elements.

One of the mates having got a strong line with a large hook at the end of it, a piece of meat as bait, and a cork to float it, let it drop astern. In an instant a huge albatross pounced down on the tempting bait, and was hooked. It required two men, however, to draw him on board over the taffrail. Even when brought on deck he attacked everyone who came near him. The doctor advised us to stand clear of his wings and beak, but Horner thoughtlessly held out his hat, when the bird, seizing hold of it, bit the crown clean out in a moment. Not until he had had several blows on the head with a handspike did he drop dead. He measured seventeen feet from tip to tip of the wings. The feathers under his wings and breast were as white as snow, and as they glanced in the sunlight, shone like silver.

In contrast with the albatross was the stormy-petrel, a black bird scarcely larger than a sparrow, and, of course, web-footed. Vast numbers flew about the ship, but they were more difficult to catch than the albatrosses.

Again we sighted Cape Horn, standing out solitary and grand into the Southern Ocean. The wind had moderated and become more in our favour, although the vast billows rolled on like moving mountains of water. Now the ship forced her way to the summit of one, the next instant to glide down rapidly into the vale below, performing the same course again and again.

At length even the billows subsided, and we began to look forward to having fine weather. About noon one day the look-out from the masthead shouted—

"There she spouts! There she spouts!"

A school of whales was in sight.

"Lower two boats," cried the captain.

No sooner was the order given than their crews, hurrying aft, jumped into them, and very few minutes were sufficient to place all their gear in readiness and to lower them into the water.

The captain himself went in one as harpooner, the second mate in the other. I should have liked to go, but I knew that it was useless to ask leave of the captain.

Away the boats pulled at a rapid rate to windward, the direction in which the whales had been seen, and that we might keep as near them as possible the ship was hauled close up. They were soon not discernible from the deck, and on they went increasing their distance till even the look-out from the masthead could no longer distinguish them. Still the first mate had carefully noted the direction they had taken, and seemed to have no doubt about picking them up. The weather, however, which had been fine all day, now gave signs of changing, and in a short time the wind began to blow in strong gusts, creating a nasty sea, but still it was not worse than whale-boats have often to encounter.

Whether or not they had succeeded in striking a fish we could not tell, for the days were very short, and evening drew on.

Fresh look-outs were sent to each of the mastheads, and we waited with anxiety for their reports. They soon hailed that they could see neither of the boats. At length, the darkness increasing, they were called down, and lanterns were got ready to show the position of the ship.

"Shouldn't be surprised if we were to lose our skipper and the boats' crews," said Horner to me. "I've heard that such accidents have happened before now."

"I hope not," I answered, "for although our captain is a severe man, it would be dreadful to have him and the other poor fellows lost out in this stormy ocean, with no land for hundreds of miles where they could find food and shelter, even were they to reach it."

While we were speaking a heavy squall struck the ship, and the remaining hands were ordered aloft to take two reefs in the topsails. Jim and I were on the fore-yardarm. We had just finished our task, when Jim declared that he saw a light away to windward.

On coming on deck we told Mr Griffiths. He at once ordered a gun to be fired as a signal. A blue light was then burnt, the glare of which, as it fell on our figures, gave us all so ghastly an appearance that Horner, who had never seen one before, cried out, "What has come over you fellows? Is anything dreadful going to happen?"

As the firework died out we looked in the direction Jim had seen the light, and in a little time we caught sight of it from the deck. The men on this gave a hearty cheer to show their satisfaction. Now the light disappeared, now it came in sight again, as the boat rose on the summit of a sea.

The ship was hove-to. Presently a faint hail was heard. We answered it with a shout from our united voices. At length one boat could be distinguished. Where was the other?

The captain's voice assured us that he was in the first. He was soon on deck, and the boat was hoisted up. He looked pale and haggard, and much annoyed at not having killed a whale. The other boat he said was not far off.

We kept hove-to for her, fearing that if she did not soon appear she might be swamped before she could be hoisted in, for as the wind and sea were now rapidly rising every moment was of importance. At length she came alongside, but it was with the greatest difficulty that the men got out of her. They looked thoroughly worn out with their long pull. We had scarcely made sail again and were standing on our course when the gale came down on us, more furiously than before, blowing right in our teeth. It was now evident that had a whale been killed we should have been compelled to abandon it.

In spite of his fatigue the captain remained on deck, swearing fearfully at his ill-luck. Those who had been away with the boats were allowed to turn in, but the rest of us were kept on deck, for at any moment all our strength might be required.

Suddenly, while I was aft, the captain uttered a loud cry, or shriek it seemed to me.

"What's the matter, sir?" asked the mate.

"I cannot see!" groaned the captain. "Where am I? What has happened?"

The mate went to him and took his arm. "It may be but for a moment," he said.

There had been no lightning; nothing, as far as we could discover, to produce blindness. Still the captain refused to leave the deck, declaring that it would pass over. The doctor, who had turned in, was called up, and came to him.

The increasing gale compelled the mate to attend to the duties of the ship. The doctor summoned me to assist in leading the captain below. I took his arm; he was trembling like an aspen. We led him to his berth, and assisted him to undress.

"Shall I be better in the morning, think you, doctor?" he asked, in an agitated tone.

"I cannot say, Captain Hawkins. I believe that this blindness has come on in consequence of your having overtaxed your physical powers. In course of time, with rest and a warmer climate, I trust that you will recover your sight."

"Oh that it may be so!" cried the captain, as he laid his head on the pillow.

We had a heavier gale that night than we had before encountered. The seas again and again washed over the deck. It seemed wonderful that more of the men did not knock up.

The first mate looked thin and haggard, and so did most of the other officers and men. The bulwarks on both sides had been carried away, two of the boats had been injured, and the ship had suffered various other damages.

Still we kept at it; the wind shifted; Cape Horn was actually weathered, and at length a joyous cheer burst from the throats of the crew as the ship's head was directed to the north-west. It was some days, however, before we felt any sensible change of climate, but after that it grew warmer and warmer, for we were now fairly in the Pacific.

The captain was disappointed in his expectations of recovering his sight. He came daily on deck and stood turning his head round in every direction, and I observed a painful expression on his countenance.

"I'll tell you what, Peter, I've a notion how the captain came to lose his sight," said Horner to me in a confidential tone. "It's a punishment to him for the way he treated Esdale, and you, and Jim."

"We have no right to think that," I answered; "even if he had treated me ten times worse than he has done, I should not wish him to suffer what must be to a man of his nature so terrible a misfortune."

"Well, then, I suppose I must keep my opinion to myself," answered Horner.

In a few days we reached the island of Juan Fernandez, and hove-to off it that the boats might go in close to the shore to catch some fish. Mr Griffiths gave Jim and me leave to go in one of them. We were provided with hooks and lines. The water was so clear that we could see the fish take the bait, which they did so ravenously, that in a short time we had as many rock cod and other fish as we required. We afterwards landed and brought off a quantity of wild mint, which grows in profusion over the island. We made it into tea, which we enjoyed very much after drinking pea-coffee so long.

While we were collecting the mint we saw a number of goats bounding among the rocks, some standing still and looking down on us. They were descendants of those which inhabited the island in the days of Alexander Selkirk, who was taken off by Dampier during his last voyage to the Pacific.

At first we thought that there were no inhabitants, but just as we were shoving off we heard a shout, and a white man and negro were seen rushing down towards us, shouting and gesticulating furiously.

They were both dressed in skins, with high fur caps, and had long sticks in their hands to help themselves as they ran.

"Why, I do believe that must be Robinson Crusoe and his man Friday," cried Horner, at which all hands laughed.

"He got home long ago, or he never could have written his history, stupid," said the mate, "but whoever they are we'll wait for them."

Still Horner had not got his first idea out of his head. He had not read much, but he had read Robinson Crusoe, and believed in it as a veracious history.

The strangers soon reached the boat.

"Now, I say, ain't you Robinson Crusoe?" cried Horner, as the white man got up to the boat.

"No, my name is Miles Soper, and I know nothing of the chap you speak of," answered the stranger.

"I say, mister," he continued, turning to the mate, "will you take us poor fellows off? We were cast ashore some six months ago or more, and are the only people out of our ship, which went down off there, who saved their lives, as far as I can tell. Sam Cole here and I came ashore on a bit of a raft, and we have had a hard time of it since then."

"Why, as to that, my man, if you're willing to enter and serve aboard our ship, I daresay the captain will take you, but he doesn't want idlers."

"Beggars can't be choosers," answered Miles Soper. "If you are willing to take us we shall be glad to go, and both Sam and I are able seamen."

"Well, jump in, my lads," said the mate; "but haven't you anything at the place where you have lived so long to bring away?"

"No, we've nothing but the clothes we stand up in, except it may be a few wooden bowls and such like things," answered the stranger, who looked hard at the mate as he spoke, probably suspecting that we might pull off, and that he and his chum might be left behind. Both the men seemed in tolerably good condition. They told us that they had had abundance of goat's flesh and vegetables, as well as fruit, but that they had got tired of the life, and had had a quarrel with four mongrel Spaniards, who lived on another part of the island, whom they thought might some day try to murder them.

They both asked to take an oar, and, by the way they pulled, they showed that they were likely to be useful hands. When we got on board the Intrepid, Mr Griffiths spoke very kindly to them, and as they at once said that they would be glad to enter, their names were put down as belonging to the crew.

I took a liking from the first to Miles Soper, though he was perfectly uneducated, and could neither read nor write. Sam also seemed an honest merry fellow. He and the other Africans soon became friends.

The crew had been employed on the passage, whenever the weather permitted, in preparing what is called the "cutting-in gear," which consists of the various tackles and ropes for securing the whales alongside when caught and taking off the blubber. Then there was the gear of the various boats, and it would astonish anyone to see the enormous number of articles stowed away in a whale-boat when she starts after a whale.

Everything was now got ready, as we were in expectation every day of falling in with whales, and the men were on the look-out from the mastheads from dawn until dark, in the hopes of seeing them. I longed to see a whale caught, for as yet the voyage had been profitless, and every one was out of spirits. The captain, who still remained perfectly blind, notwithstanding the assurances of Dr Cockle that he would recover, was so especially. He seemed like a heartbroken man; his countenance gloomy, as if troubled with melancholy thoughts, and his whole manner and appearance were changed. It was sad to see him come on deck and stand, sometimes for an hour together, turning his face round, as if he were picturing to himself the sparkling ocean, the blue sky overhead, and the busy scene which the deck of his ship presented.

I observed that Mr Griffiths never gave an order if he could help it while the blind captain was on deck. The health of the latter, however, by degrees improved, the colour returned to his cheeks, and his voice, when he spoke, again had the ring in it which I had from the first remarked.

Day after day, however, we sailed on without seeing a whale. At length one day, soon after noon, the first mate having just taken an observation, and the captain being in his cabin, we were cheered by the cry from the masthead of—

"There she spouts! There she spouts!"

The loud tramping of the men on deck roused those below, who quickly sprang up, eager to engage in the expected chase.

Among the first who appeared was the captain, who ran up the companion-ladder with as much agility as he had ever displayed.

"Where away—where away?" he asked.

The men pointed to windward, and to our surprise the captain turned his eyes in the same direction.

"Lower three boats," he shouted. "I'll go in one of them."

Presently I saw a low, bush-like spout of white mist rise from the surface of the sea, not two miles off.

"There she spouts! There she spouts!" shouted the captain, showing that he saw too.

With wonderful rapidity, as everything was prepared, the boats were lowered. The doctor had come on deck.

"Where are you going, Captain Hawkins?" he asked, in an astonished tone.

"In chase of those whales out there," answered the captain; "for, doctor, I can see them as well as you do."

Of this there could be no doubt. Several at that instant appeared at various distances.

The excitement of the moment had given the required stimulus to the captain's nerves, and he was restored to sight.

I remembered the fruitless chase off Cape Horn, when the captain and those with him so nearly lost their lives, but this promised to be successful. The captain's boat took the lead. His aim was to get up to one of the monsters of the deep just as it returned to the surface for breathing, as it would be some time before it could go down again, and before that interval many a harpoon and lance might be plunged into its body.

The captain soon took the lead; the men pulled as if their lives depended on it. Before they were half a mile away a whale rose just ahead of the captain's boat. Springing into the bows, he stood, harpoon in hand, ready to strike.

Presently he was close up to the monster; the weapon flew from his grasp, followed by three lances hurled in rapid succession. The whale, feeling the pain, darted off. Another boat came up, and a second harpoon was made fast, while several more lances were plunged into its side.

Presently its enormous flukes rose in the air.

"He has sounded! He has sounded!" cried those on board.

The whale had dived, and the lines coiled away in the tubs ran rapidly out. The monster, however, had not finished its breathing, and soon after a second line had been secured to the first it came again to the surface. The boats pulled rapidly towards it, and the harpooners plied it with their lances. Presently we saw them pull away as if for their lives. The whale rose nearly out of the water, and began turning round and lashing the surface with its flukes, each blow being sufficient to destroy any boat and her crew within its reach.

"The monster is in its flurry," I heard the doctor say. "It is ours to a certainty."

He was right. After lashing the water into a mass of blood-tinged foam, it lay perfectly still.

Those on board raised a shout as they saw a little flag fixed on the body.

The boats now made chase after another whale, which gave them more trouble than the first; but they attacked it bravely, now pulling up and hurling harpoons and lances into it, and now pulling away to avoid being attacked in return.

Presently we saw one boat again dash forward, almost the next instant its fragments rose in the air, and the crew were scattered far and wide around. Which boat it was we could not tell. Some fancied it was the captain's, others that it was the second mate's.

"He regained his sight to-day," said an old Orkneyman. "It's a question whether it wasn't that he might have a last look on his fellow-creatures and the mighty sea."



The moment the accident was perceived Mr Griffiths ordered the only remaining boat away, and jumped into her, for the carpenter had not yet finished the two building to replace those lost off Cape Horn. I asked to go.

"No! You stay on board and help to work the ship up to us," he answered.

I accordingly went to the helm, as I steered better than most of those remaining on board, while the doctor and steward lent a hand to the rest in pulling and hauling, as we had continually to go about; but the wind was light, and it was not very hard work. I kept an eye constantly towards the boats, and soon saw a whift planted on the back of the last whale attacked, which showed that it was dead.

Our anxiety was relieved when, instead of returning, they made chase after another whale. It proved that although the boat had been destroyed, the men had escaped with their lives.

"I do believe we shan't have the skipper aboard again," observed Horner.

"I hope so," I said.

"Ahem!" was his answer, as he walked away.

At length, shortening sail, we ran up alongside the first whale that had been killed. The men descended to its back with ropes round their waists to hook on the tackles to its head and flukes. We had then to wait until the boats towed the other whale up to the opposite side. We eagerly watched their proceedings.

The third whale was attacked. After sounding twice and carrying out, apparently, three, if not four lines, we saw it suddenly come to the surface and leap completely out of the water. This is called breaching. It then began rolling round and round, endeavouring in its agony to get rid of the weapon sticking in it. The boats for some time kept at a distance. Then once more they approached, again to pull off as the whale commenced lashing the water with its huge flukes.

"It's in its flurry," observed the doctor, who was looking through his telescope, which he handed to me.

At last we saw the three boats approaching, towing the whale by the nose. The wind having fallen, and having a whale alongside, we were unable to near them to save them their long pull. On they came, towing the monster at the rate of a mile and a half an hour. It was thus upwards of that period of time before they got alongside.

The first man handed up was Miles Soper—or Robinson Crusoe, as we called him—whose leg had been broken by the second whale attack. He had willingly endured the suffering, lying at the bottom of the boat, rather than give up the chase. No one else had been injured, though all had run a great risk of being drowned; but a whaler's crew know that such may be their fate at any moment. The doctor at once took the man under his charge. No time was lost in hooking on the other whale, and commencing the operation of "cutting-in." This I may briefly describe as taking off the blubber with large spades, the handles of which are twenty feet long. The whale is turned round and round by means of tackles brought to the windlass, the blanket-piece, or blubber covering, being thus gradually stripped off till it reaches the tail, which is hove on board with the last piece. The blubber is lowered down the main hatchway and cut up into small pieces, called "horse pieces." These are afterwards piled up on deck to be minced into thin slices for boiling in the pots. The operation of "cutting-in" is a very dangerous one when there is any sea on to make the ship roll. The first and second mates stand on stages lowered over the side, cutting the blubber from the whale as the crew heave it round with the windlass. The four boat-steerers are on the gang-ways attending to the guys and tackles, the captain superintending the whole process, while the carpenter grinds the spades.

All round the sea swarms with sharks attracted by the oil and blubber. When not otherwise employed, Tom and I and Horner attacked them with the spades and killed great numbers. We worked away until night, but did not finish even then, as it takes twelve hours to strip the blubber off a large whale. We commenced again at daylight, and it was dark before we began to cut into the second whale. We had still a third to operate on, but as each was worth nearly a thousand pounds, no one complained.

Fortunately the weather remained fine, and we got the blubber of the third whale on board by the end of the next day. We had also boiled the spermaceti oil out of the head, with small buckets at the ends of long poles. This is the most valuable production of the whale, and is used for making candles.

For night work the ship's company was divided into two watches, from six to one, and from one to six. The instant the last piece of blubber was on board, the carcasses were cast loose to be devoured by fish and fowl.

We began the operation of trying-out, as boiling the blubber is called, by first putting some wood under the try-pots. As soon as the blubber was boiled, the scraps which rose to the surface were skimmed off with a large ladle, and after being thrown into a pot with holes in the bottom to drain off the oil remaining in them, were used as fuel for boiling the remainder of the blubber.

The appearance our decks presented, with huge fires blazing away under our pots, and the men with the ladles skimming off the scraps, or baling out the oil into the coolers, was strange and weird in the extreme. Had I been suddenly introduced among them, I should not have recognised them as my shipmates, begrimed as they were with smoke and oil. I was, however, much in the same condition. Dr Cockle had become accustomed to it, but I cannot fancy that it was very pleasant to him.

The doctor told me that he should be glad, whenever I could, if I would go below and talk to poor Miles Soper.

I willingly did so. He was suffering occasionally great pain, but in the intervals it cheered him to have some one to speak to. I found that he was even more ready to talk than listen, and I accordingly got him to tell me about himself. He happened to ask my name. I told him.

"Peter Trawl!" he exclaimed. "Trawl! That's curious. I remember a chap of your name aboard the Lapwing brig-of-war."

I at once was deeply interested.

"He must have been my brother Jack," I exclaimed. "Do tell me what has become of him, for I heard he was lost out in the Indian seas."

"That's just where he and I were nearly lost. We were coming home when a boat was sent away, and we, with six more men and an officer, went in her, to visit an island on some business or other, I forget what, and I didn't know it's name.

"There are wild sorts of chaps out in those parts, who go pirating in their proas, as they call them. While we were just shoving off, a dozen or more of these proas came round us. We knew if the pirates got hold of us we should all be knocked on the head, so we began blazing away to keep them at a distance. We kept on at it till we hadn't a charge left for our muskets. Two of our men were killed, and our officer badly wounded. The pirates then came nearer and fired their gingalls into us. Just then one of their proas caught fire, and sent up such clouds of smoke that for some time, as we were near her, we could not be seen.

"'Now, lads,' said the officer, 'those among you who are not wounded try and swim to shore. It's your only chance. The rest of us must die like men.'

"Our oars, you see, were shattered, and by this time all hands except Jack and me were more or less hurt. We followed our brave officer's advice, and leaping overboard reached the beach before we were seen by the pirates. Some gingalls were fired at us, but we got away among the bushes, and ran as hard as our legs could carry us in shore. We did not know where we were going, or what sort of people we should meet. Whether the pirates landed or not we did not stop to learn, but as we ran for three or four hours there was not much chance of being overtaken.

"We saw at last a river before us, and as it was too broad to cross, and we were afraid, should we attempt to swim over, that we might be picked off by one of those big scaly beasts they call crocodiles, we kept down along the bank, as we knew that it must lead us to the opposite side of the island to where we had landed.

"'Cheer up,' said Jack to me. 'Maybe our ship will come round there and take us off. Our fellows are sure to be searching round the coast on the chance of finding us.'

"'I hope you're right, Jack,' said I, 'for it will be a bad job for us if we can't get away, as how we are to find food is more than I can tell, and it's very clear we can't live without it.'

"There were plenty of trees growing on the bank, though not so thickly but that we could manage to make our way between them.

"Says Jack to me, 'If those cut-throat fellows come after us, we must climb up one of these and hide ourselves among the branches.'

"'I don't think they will take the trouble to follow us so far,' I answered. 'But it's a good idea of yours, and it will give us a chance of saving our lives.'

"We of course could not run as fast as we had been going in the open country. Sometimes we came across fallen trees, over which we had to climb, and at others we had to go round thick bushes which we could not get through. Still, what stopped us would stop our enemies. On and on we went, till just as we got out of a wood we saw before us a village of curious-looking houses, built on stout piles, many of them right in the water.

"'Hadn't we better go back?' I said to Jack; 'the people who live there may be the same sort of cut-throats as those we have got away from. They'll be for knocking us on the head when they see us.'

"Jack agreed with me that it would be better to stay in the wood till it was dark, and we might then make our way clear of the village down to the sea. We were just going back, when a woman came out on a sort of verandah in front of the house nearest to us, and we knew by the way she was looking that we were seen. Then she turned round and called to another woman, who also came out.

"'Come,' said Jack, 'we had better go on boldly and ask those dark-skinned ladies to give us their protection. They are sure to do that if we look humble enough, and show them that we want to be friends, for to my mind women are alike all the world over.'

"So we moved on, kissing our hands, and then holding them up clasped before us. The women did not run away, or seem a bit frightened; and as we got nearer one of them came down the ladder and held out both her hands, which we took and put on our heads. She then beckoned us up the steps, and made signs to us to sit down on mats inside the house. As we were both very hungry by this time, we pointed to our mouths to show that we wanted something to eat and drink. The younger girl went to another part of the house and brought back some fish and yams, and a bowl with some liquor in it. There was not much to be said for the taste, but we were too thirsty after our long run to be particular. We tried to make the women understand that there were enemies coming after us, and that we wanted to hide away, so when we had finished our meal they beckoned us to come into another room, and, placing some mats on the ground, they told us that we might sleep there safely—at least, that's what we made out.

"Night came on, and Jack and I, agreeing that we had got into good quarters, went to sleep. There was no bell striking, and no bo'sun's mate to rouse us up, and so we slept on till it was broad daylight. We got up and looked out from the verandah, or platform, which went round the house, when we saw three men talking together. As soon as they caught sight of us they came towards the house, and one of them mounted the ladder. He looked at us with surprise, and seemed to be asking who we were. We told him as well as we could by signs that we had come across from the other side of the island, and wanted to get off to our ship, which would soon be round to take us aboard. This did not seem to satisfy him. Presently in came the women, and they had a talk about the matter, but what they said we could not make out. The first man then called the other two, and after more palavering they began to look savage, and gave us to understand that we were to be their slaves, and work for them.

"'Well,' says Jack to me, 'all we've got to do is to grin and bear it. Maybe, as we are near the sea, we shall have a chance of making our escape.'

"This was one comfort; so we nodded, as much as to say we were ready to do what they bid us, for, you see, we were in their power and couldn't help ourselves. After we had gone into the house and sat down, waiting to see what would next happen, the women—bless them for their kindness!—brought us some more food for breakfast, and a capital one we made. Bad as was our lot, yet it was better than being knocked on the head or having our throats cut. A number of people now came out of their houses, and there was great rejoicing among them to think that they had got two white men as slaves. We found that we had plenty of work to do to cut wood and fetch water, and to hoe in their fields, which were some way from the village, or to go out fishing with them.

"This we liked better than anything else. If it had not been for the women our lot would have been worse, for they took care to give us food every day, which I don't think the men would have troubled themselves about doing, for they were regular savages.

"Day after day went by; we were getting accustomed to our life, and as yet had had no chance of escaping. A precious sharp look-out was at all times kept over us, and I don't think even the women would have wished us to go, for we had to do a good deal of the work which would have otherwise fallen to their lot. Though we were, as I was saying, used to the life we led, we both wanted to get away.

"I've an old father down in Dorsetshire, and there's a bright young girl who lives with him whom I would give something to see again; and Jack sighed to go home, as he said, to see his father and mother, and a young brother and sister. He used to talk much to me about you all, and it seemed to me as if I knew you long before we ever met.

"We found that we were much farther from the sea than we had at first supposed, for although we went a good way down the river we never reached its mouth.

"The people in the village didn't lead quiet lives, for they were always on the watch, fearing that they might be attacked by enemies. At night they made fast their boats under their houses, and had their goods all ready for a start into the woods, while they had men on the look-out night and day to give notice should any strange vessels come up the river.

"Jack and I agreed that if any enemies should come in the night we might have a good chance of escaping, but from what we had seen of the fellows who had attacked our boat we had no wish to fall into the hands of such characters. We thought that we might manage to slip into a boat and pull up the river and hide ourselves until the pirates had gone away.

"You must know that we did not wish any ill to our masters, for though we were their slaves we had taken a liking to them, as they did not ill-treat us, and gave us a good deal of time to ourselves.

"Weeks and months went by. We began to think that no enemy would come, and that we must try to get off by some other means than that we had first thought of. At last we saw the men sharpening their long knives and polishing their spears, and new painting their shields.

"'Depend upon it there's something in the wind,' said Jack to me. 'They are going on a war expedition.'

"'No doubt about the matter,' I said, 'and they'll want us to go with them.'

"'Then we must take care not to go,' said Jack. 'I for one won't be for killing men, women, and children, as these fellows are likely to do. We must pretend to be sick, or that we do not understand what they want of us, and get off somehow or other.'

"Whether or not it was talking about being sick I don't know, but the very next night I was struck down with fever. Our masters saw that I was not shamming. The women also stood our friends, and declared that I was not fit to get up and work, while Jack was allowed to stay at home and nurse me. I was very bad, and I believe he thought that I should die.

"If he had been my own mother's son he couldn't have looked after me better than he did; night and day he was always by my side, ready to give me what I wanted. One day I heard a loud shouting and singing, and Jack, who had gone out, came back and said that the men had all started with their spears and shields. They had wanted to make him go, but the women said he must stop behind, though he had a hard matter to escape from the men. I was already getting better, and this news made me feel better still.

"'It will be a bad return to run off with one of their boats,' said Jack, 'but there seems no help for it, and it may be our only chance, for the men will be back again in a day or two.'

"That very night, while Jack and I were sitting up talking, we heard shrieks and cries in the distance; and presently, looking out, Jack said he saw the houses lower down the river burning.

"Then depend upon it the pirates have taken the place, I said.

"'No doubt about it,' exclaimed Jack, 'and now is our chance. If we could defend the poor women and children we would, but we cannot do that. They'll know where to fly to, and so, I hope, escape.'

"Suddenly I felt my strength come back, and I was able to follow Jack down the ladder, at the bottom of which the boat was kept moored. To cut the painter by which she was made fast didn't take us a moment, and springing into her we paddled across the stream. As we looked down the river we could see all the houses in a blaze, and here and there people running off into the woods, while we made out half a score or more of the dark proas stealing up along the shore."

Just as Miles Soper had got thus far in his history I was summoned on deck, and eager as I was to hear how he and Jack had fared, I was obliged to attend to my duty.



"I've heard news of my brother Jack!" I exclaimed, as I met Jim directly after I sprang on deck.

"What! Is he alive?" asked Jim.

"Miles Soper, who was his shipmate, thinks so," I answered. "At all events, he wasn't killed when we thought he was."

"Then, Peter, we'll find him if we search the world round!" cried Jim, giving me a warm grip of the hand. "I am glad; that I am!"

It takes a whole day to "try out"—that is, to boil down the blubber of each whale. I found that the cooper and his mate had just finished filling up the casks from the coolers, and I was wanted, with others, to assist in rolling them aft.

Here they were chocked and lashed and left to cool for several days before they were in a condition to be stowed away in the hold. In the meantime we had to get up all the empty casks on deck so that we might lay the ground-tier with the full casks. As the casks were piled up, one upon another, the ship was in consequence almost topheavy, and I saw the captain and Mr Griffiths frequently casting glances round the horizon, to watch for an indication of any change in the weather, for should a sudden squall strike the ship she might, while in this condition, be sent over in an instant. Every possible exertion was therefore made to get the task accomplished, and all hands were employed. Anxious as I was to hear what had become of my brother, I consequently had no opportunity for a long time of listening to a continuance of Miles Soper's narrative. I should have said that though the oil casks were stowed away empty and filled by means of the hose from the deck, the greatest care was required in bedding them, as they might have to remain three years or more in the hold. The blubber from the three whales was at length tryed out and secured in the casks, and the decks being washed down, the ship once more resumed her ordinary appearance, we meantime continuing our course northward. The first moment I was at liberty I went down to see Miles Soper. He said that he felt much better, though still unable to do duty.

"And what about Jack?" I asked; "you and he were just pulling away across the river at night to escape from the Dyack pirates."

"Yes; I have been thinking much about it since I told you. I would not have to go through that time again for a good deal if I could help it. We could hear the shrieks and cries of the old men, women, and children as the cruel pirates caught them and cut off their heads, and we could see the flames burst out from the houses all along the banks of the river. We were afraid that the light would be thrown upon our boat, so that we dare not venture down the river, but pulled up along the southern bank close under the bushes. We thought that we were safe, at all events, till daylight, when we caught sight of two boats coming out from among the pirate fleet and steering up stream. I gave up all for lost, as I knew that they would whip our heads off in a moment should they come up with us.

"'Don't give in!' cried Jack; 'perhaps it isn't us that they're after.'

"We ceased pulling lest the light should fall on our oar-blades, for we should have had no chance if they had made chase.

"'Let's paddle in under these bushes,' whispered Jack; 'they're very thick, and we can lie hid here, while maybe they'll pass us.'

"We did as he proposed. As the boughs overhung the water and almost touched it with their ends, we hoped that the pirates would not discover us. We could just look out across the river, and saw the boats still coming towards us. We both lay down in the bottom of our boat and remained as quiet as mice, scarcely daring to look up above the gunwale for fear of being seen. We could hear the voices of the pirates and the splash of their oars as they drew nearer. If they had before seen us they might have observed the spot where we had disappeared, and I expected every moment to have my head whipped off my shoulders. Just putting my eyes above the gunwale, I saw the two boats, broadside on, pulling along. They hadn't found us out. On and on they went, right up the stream. They must have thought that we were still ahead. We, of course, didn't dare to move, hoping that they would give up the chase and go back again.

"'We must not be too sure that they won't look for us when they do come back,' said Jack. 'Howsomdever, there's no use crying out till we're caught. I'll tell you what; the best thing we can do is to get on shore and make our way inland; then, though they may find the boat, they won't catch us.' I agreed; so, shoving the boat farther in till we reached the bank, we sprang on shore, and having secured her by the painter, set off directly away from the river. As it was very dark, we had to grope our way amongst the trees and bushes, though the glare in the sky from the burning houses enabled us to steer a right course. We half expected that a snake or a wild beast might pounce down upon us, and we had no arms to defend ourselves. But anything was better than to be caught by the pirates. At last, when our clothes were torn nearly off our backs, we reached some open ground, and set off running till we got to a wood on the opposite side. 'Now,' says Jack, 'we won't go farther, but hide here till the morning; then maybe, if we can climb to the top of a tree, we shall be able to catch sight of the river and find out what the pirates are doing.' I thought his idea a good one, so we sat down on the ground and waited. We could hear no sounds, so we concluded that all the poor people had been killed. We hoped, however, that the warriors might come back and beat the pirates off. Not that we wished to fall into the power of our old masters again, for they would have kept us prisoners if they didn't lake it into their heads to kill us.

"At last the light returned, and seeing a tall tree near: Jack and I climbed up to the top. Jack went first. 'Hurrah!' he shouted; 'there go the pirates down the river, pulling away with all their oars out!' Sure enough I saw them also. 'But I say, Jack, perhaps the warriors have come back and put them to flight; if so, we must take care not to be caught by them.' I said, 'I can see where the village stood, but I don't see any people moving about.' 'It's a long way, to be sure, so we must be careful,' answered Jack. We soon got down the tree and returned to our boat. The pirates hadn't discovered her, so we got on board, and cautiously shoved out to the edge of the bushes, stopping just inside them. We then took a look-out, but could discover no one moving on the opposite shore, so we pulled across to the village. It was a fearful sight we saw there. Bodies of old men, women, and children were scattered about, but the heads were gone.

"We were in a hurry, you may be sure, to get away, but, says Jack, 'It won't do to put to sea without food or water.' So we hunted about, and found in the bushes several baskets which the poor people had been trying to carry off with food of all sorts, and some calabashes, which we quickly filled at the spring where we were accustomed to get water. We hurried with them back to the boat, and once more shoved off. We then paddled away down the river. The current was running out, so that we made good way, and were soon out of sight of the burnt village. Our craft was not very well suited for a voyage, but anything was better than stopping to be killed on shore. We pulled on until nearly noon before we came in sight of the mouth of the river. There was no bar, and the sea was smooth, so we resolved to pull out at once, in the hope of being picked up by some passing vessel. We were still not certain even now that our masters would not make chase after us, so we didn't stop a moment, except just to look round, but pulled right away to sea. Just as we got outside we caught sight of the pirate fleet under sail, standing to the nor'ard. We therefore pulled south, not that there was much chance of their coming back, but we thought that if we went in their wake we should not fall in with any merchant vessel, for at any rate if they should have met one they would to a certainty have robbed and scuttled her.

"We supposed that there were other islands away to the westward, but then they might be inhabited by the same cut-throat sort of fellows as those from whom we had escaped, and we didn't want to fall into their hands. Our chief hope was to be picked up by some passing vessel or other, perhaps by our own ship, but Jack said he thought she would not have remained at the station, and would have long ago given up searching for us. It was hot work paddling away all day, and we would have given much for a sail, but the boat was not fitted for one, and she was not fitted either for a heavy sea—not that there was much chance of that getting up at such time of the year. We had plenty of food and water, so we kept up our spirits. Where we were going to neither of us could tell; all we knew was that we were our own masters. We were queer characters to look at, with our clothes all torn to shreds, our hair long, and our faces as brown as berries. No one would have taken us for Englishmen, but we had English tongues and English hearts, and we made up our minds to stick at it and not be downcast. We wanted to get away as far as we could from the shore, for fear any of the natives might come after us—not that there was much chance of that. We paddled and paddled till our arms ached, and we were well-nigh roasted with the hot sun. We were thankful when night came on, and we were able to rest and take some food.

"We had agreed to keep watch and watch, but it was of no use trying to keep awake, so we both lay down in the bottom of the boat and went fast asleep. When we awoke it was broad daylight, and presently up came the sun and beat down on our heads as hot as the day before. There we were floating on the sea with the water calm as a mill-pond, and not a sail in sight. There was no chance either of a vessel coming near us while the calm continued. We took our breakfasts, however, and talked of what we should do. Far away to the east we could see the blue outline of the island we had left, but what part to steer for we could not make up our minds. There was only one thing we determined—come what might, not to go back and be made slaves of. It seemed useless to be paddling away and yet not to know where we were going to; but we still hoped that we might fall in with some merchant vessel, it mattered not of what country, though we wished she might be English, and so we might find our way home.

"'Come, let's be moving,' said Jack, at last. 'I've heard say that there are Dutch and Spanish settlements out in these parts, and maybe we shall fall in with one of them, and both the mynheers and dons are good sort of people, and will treat us kindly.'

"So we took to our paddles and made our way to the westward. All day we paddled on, but no land appeared in sight, and now and then we stopped to take some food and a drink of water, but it was tiring work. We were thankful when night came at last. We didn't sleep so long, and were at our paddles before daybreak, for we knew by the stars how to steer.

"Next day we did just the same, and the next after that.

"'I say, Miles,' said Jack, 'we must soon manage to come to land or we shall be starving. We have not got food nor water for more than one day longer, and without them we shall not be able to hold out.'

"That was very true; still neither of us thought of giving in. A light breeze from the eastward had sprung up, so that we made good way, but there was no land to be seen ahead. We didn't talk much, for we had said all we could say about our prospects, and they were bad enough. But they became worse when we had drunk up all the water and eaten every bit of food we had in the boat. I had heard of people going three or four days without eating, but the want of water was the worst. We would have given a heap of gold if we had had it for a cupful. The wind now shifted to the southward, and blew much stronger than before, knocking up a sea which threatened every moment to swamp our boat, which was not fitted for rough water. We now began to think that it was all up with us, and that all we could do was just to keep the boat's head to the seas to prevent her from capsizing.

"At last Jack sang out, 'A sail! A sail to the southward!'

"There she was, coming up before the wind. A strange-looking, outlandish craft she seemed as she drew nearer.

"'I wonder whether she's one of those Dyack or Malay pirates,' I said. 'If so, we may as well let the boat turn over.'

"'No, no; let us trust God, and hope for the best,' said Jack. 'Cheer up, Miles! She's sent for our relief.'

"I was not so sure of that, for it was easy to see from her outlandish rig that she was one of the craft of those seas. Presently, as she got near us, she lowered her sails and came close up. Ropes were hove to us, and hands were stretched out over the side to haul us on board, for we had scarcely strength enough left to help ourselves. They tried to secure the boat, but she drifted off and was swamped. We just saw that the people were Chinamen, pig-eyed, with turned-up noses and yellow skins. We both fainted away. They brought us some water, and in a short time we got better. They then carried us into a small cabin aft out of the hot sun. Presently they brought us some food—rice, and some stuff minced with it. We were not particular, for we were desperately hungry.

"We now found that the people who had picked us up were honest traders bound northward with a cargo of sea-slugs, birds'-nests, and other things from these seas. We tried to talk to them, but could not manage it, as none of them understood English, and we couldn't speak their lingo. But as soon as we got stronger we made ourselves useful, pulling and hauling, and doing whatever came to hand. Where we were going to we could not make out, but we hoped that it was to some place at which the English ships touched, and that we might get home some day. As Jack said, we had reason to be thankful that we had been picked up, for the weather came on very bad, and our boat could not have lived through it. The Chinamen kept a bright look-out, and seemed terribly afraid of the pirates. We tried to make them understand that we had seen the fleet sail to nor'ard a short time before, and we ourselves didn't like the thoughts of falling in with them. We told them also that we would fight to the death sooner than yield. They understood us, and seemed to think that we were very fine fellows. We had been sailing on for three or four days, and we began to hope that we were free of the pirates, when just as we passed a headland we caught sight of a number of craft coming out from under it. On seeing them the Chinamen looked very much frightened, hoisted all sail, and brought their arms on deck. We watched the strangers, who, it was very clear, were making chase after us. We should have a hard fight for it, even if we should manage to get off. Presently, however, we saw their sails flapping against their masts as they came under the headland, whilst we still had a breeze and went away dancing merrily over the water. I never felt so pleased in my life, and the Chinamen seemed highly delighted, chattering and jabbering away like so many monkeys. It was pleasant to see the pirates' sails sink below the horizon, and pleasanter still to lose sight of them altogether.

"We ran on day after day. The breeze held fair and we by degrees got accustomed to our new friends, and could make ourselves understood in a fashion. We sometimes were sailing between islands, and sometimes on the open sea. Whereabouts we were we had no idea, though we supposed that we were approaching the Chinamen's country.

"We had been a fortnight or more on board when dark clouds rose up from the south-west, and it came on to blow very hard. The sails were lowered and we ran before the gale. I saw by the looks of the crew that they didn't like it, nor did we, for it seemed as if at any moment the clumsy craft might be capsized. We, however, pumped and baled, and tried to keep her clear of water. It all seemed, however, of no use, for the seas washed into her and she was leaking terribly.

"We had been driven a long way out of our course. We did our best to cheer up our shipmates, and set them the example by working harder than any of them.

"At last the gale ceased, and we once more made sail, but, do all we could, the water gained on us and the crew began to heave the cargo overboard to keep the junk afloat. The boats had been washed away, and we knew that if she went down we should all be drowned. Jack and I talked of what we could do to save our lives, but we agreed that we should have to share the fate of the rest. It seemed to us that the craft would not swim another night, when we made out a sail to the westward.

"The Chinamen by this time were so knocked up that they were scarcely able to exert themselves. Jack and I sprang here and there, now pumping, now baling, now trying to make our companions do the same. It seemed to us that they would let the craft go down in sight of help. The stranger we judged by the cut of her sails to be a whaler. The junk was settling lower and lower in the water. Jack found a flag, an odd-looking piece of stuff it was. He ran it up half-mast high as a signal of distress. The stranger came on slowly, for the wind was light. It seemed even now that she would not be in time to save us. At last she got near enough to see our condition, and hove-to. Four boats were lowered, which came pulling towards us.

"By this time the water was almost up to the lower deck. Jack and I stood ready to spring on board the first boat which came up. The brave crew came on, and were in time to haul the greater number of the Chinamen on board before the junk sunk beneath their feet. Several went down in her, too much knocked up to exert themselves. With us and those saved, the boats returned on board. We found that we had been picked up by the Helen, whaler. She had been cruising off the coast of Japan, and was going to Macao for fresh provisions. As she was short of hands Jack and I at once entered on board her. Having landed the unfortunate Chinamen and taken in the stores we wanted, we stood away into the Pacific. We found ourselves among a somewhat rough lot, but we were better off than we had been as slaves, though Jack and I agreed that we would much rather serve on board a man-o'-war. We had been cruising for some time, and had caught and stowed away about a dozen whales or more, when one night there was a cry of 'Breakers ahead!'

"The captain, who was on deck in a moment, gave the order to put up the helm and veer ship, but before she could be got round she struck heavily. We sounded round her and found the water deep on the starboard side. But all our efforts proving useless, the order was given to lower the boats. We had five fit for service, and they were got safely into the water. Jack went in one of them, I in another. We were ordered to keep off at a safe distance from the ship till daylight. When morning broke we found that the ship was a complete wreck, and that there was no chance of saving her. The captain then ordered the boats to come alongside one at a time and embark the rest of the crew, with such provisions as could be collected. We now saw land away to the nor'ard, and, having left the ship, pulled towards it. Our great want was water, and to obtain it the captain divided us into two parties to look into any bays we might discover and try and find a spring. I was in the second mate's boat. We were just pulling into a bay, when a dozen canoes full of black savages, with bows and spears, darted out and made chase after us, so we pulled away out to sea. What had become of the other boats we could not tell. Your brother Jack had gone in the captain's, and that was the last I saw of him."

"Do you think they could have escaped from the savages?" I asked, anxiously.

"I have no reason to suppose they didn't, just as we managed to escape," answered Miles, "but we didn't catch sight of them again. We had sails in our boat, and plenty of provisions, and the mate told us he intended to steer for the Sandwich Islands, the nearest civilised place he knew of, but that it was a long way off, and we should be a long time about it. He might have been right, but we were still many days' sail from it when we ran short of provisions and drank up all our water. I believe that we should have died if we hadn't fallen in with another whaler, which picked us up. I entered on board her, as did some of the men, but the mate and others preferred landing at Honolulu. I served on board her for some time. We had gone southward, having got a full ship, when we struck on a coral reef. Though we did all we could to keep her afloat, she went down with all hands, except the black and me, and we managed to get ashore on Robinson Crusoe's Island, from which you took us off."

"But can't you give me any idea as to what has become of Jack?" I again asked.

"Not more than I have told you," answered Miles; "but my idea is that some if not all the boats got off, though in what direction they steered I've no notion."

I was prevented from talking more on the subject just then by being summoned on deck, and when I told Jim he repeated what he had before said—

"We'll find him, Peter. We'll find him."



I told Dr Cockle all I had heard about my brother Jack from Miles Soper. He seemed greatly interested, and said that he sincerely hoped we might find Jack or hear of him, though he confessed that it was very much like looking for a needle in a bundle of hay. Jim and I talked of little else. We neither of us any longer thought of going home, but I got a letter ready to send, by the first ship bound for England, to my sister Mary, and another to Mr Troil, telling them that I had got tidings of Jack, and much as I wished to get back, should stay out in those seas till I found him.

My great wish now was to fall in with other whalers, that I might make inquiries about my brother. The captain—though, I suppose, Dr Cockle and Mr Griffiths told him what I had heard—seemed to take no interest in the matter, nor did he show me any more attention than before.

We had left Juan Fernandez more than a month, when a cry came from the masthead of "Land ho!" It proved to be Chatham Island, one of the Galapagos, a group of volcanic islands almost under the line, some hundred miles away from the coast of Peru. We brought up in a fine bay, but the shore as far as we could see looked black and barren. There were, however, thick, low bushes of a peculiar kind, covering the ground at some distance from the beach. As Dr Cockle was going on shore with one of the mates and a party of the men, he to botanise and they to obtain fresh provisions, I went up to the captain and asked leave to accompany him.

"I understand you have made up your mind not to run away," he observed, in his usual sarcastic tone.

"Yes, sir," I answered; "I'm content to remain on board your ship, though I know that I would until lately have done anything to get back to England."

"Take care you don't change your mind," he said, in the same tone as before. "If the doctor will be answerable for you, you can go."

I told the doctor what the captain said.

"I know that I can trust you. Peter, and I'll tell the captain that I'll undertake to bring you back," he answered.

I was glad to find that Jim was to form one of the party. Horner also got leave to go. Though he and I were on good terms, I can't say I looked upon him as a friend, but I was well pleased that he should have a run on shore, as I hoped that it would put him in good humour, for of late he had become one of the most constant grumblers on board. I even now recollect the pleasure I felt on thus once more treading the firm ground, as, except for the short time I had landed on Juan Fernandez, I hadn't set foot on shore since I left Shetland. The rest of the seamen seemed greatly to enjoy their freedom.

As soon as we had secured the boat we all set off together, running over the rough black ground, startling a number of strange-looking creatures like lizards, some of which slid off into the water, others hid themselves in holes and crevices of the rocks.

Jim and I, however, went back to join the doctor, as we knew that he would want us to carry anything he might chance to pick up. The mate, after the men had had a good run, called them to him, and we proceeded more leisurely. The shrubs we had seen we found to be prickly pears. We had gone some distance when we caught sight of some enormous creatures like tortoises. The doctor called them terrapins. They had been feeding on the prickly pears, and were now leisurely making their way towards the hills which rose in the distance. We were all suffering from thirst, and the sun beat down on our heads with a great heat. We had in vain been looking for water.

"I'd give anything for a mugful!" cried Jim.

"So would I," "And I!" echoed several more of the men.

"You needn't have long to wait if you can catch those creatures," said the doctor. "They'll yield as much cool water as we want."

We all set off running after the terrapins, which, as they didn't move fast, we soon overtook. As we got close to them they drew their heads into their shells, and remained quiet.

Horner had become unusually lively, and on seeing the creatures stop jumped on the back of one of them, when immediately on it went carrying him along with it. At first he thought it very good fun, and began snapping his fingers and pretending to dance, but whilst he was looking round at us the terrapin carried him against a prickly pear-bush, and over he went sprawling on the ground, to the great amusement of the men.

"Oh, save me! Save me!" he shouted out, scarcely knowing what had happened, and believing that the creatures were going to turn upon him and run their bills into his body.

Jim and I helped him up, and found that he was bleeding from a cut hand and a wound inflicted in his side by the point of one of the leaves. The doctor, however, on arriving at the spot, examined his hurts and comforted him by the assurance that there was not much the matter, and that if he didn't think about it he could go on as well as the rest of us.

We soon again overtook the terrapins, when the men who were armed with spears ran them in under the creatures' necks and quickly killed them. We turned them over, and under the doctor's directions, found, as he said we should, plenty of perfectly cool water in their insides. It was fresh as if just out of the spring. Leaving the terrapins to carry back with us on our return, we pushed on in the hope of falling in with some more. We were not disappointed. We in a short time killed four, as many as we could manage to carry on board the boat, and sufficient to give us fresh meat for several days. I was in hopes of meeting with inhabitants, as I wanted, wherever I went, to make inquiries for Jack, not knowing where I might find him. As Miles had come to the east, I thought he might have found his way in the same direction. None of the islands are, however, inhabited, and only one of them, Charles Island, has a spring of water, though people might otherwise exist in them for years. We saw a vast number of birds, which were very tame, but not a single four-legged creature besides the terrapins and lizards. We had to make several trips to carry the meat to the boat. As we shoved off we saw the sea literally swarming with fish, and the next morning the captain sent in two boats, which, in a short time, caught as many as we could eat.

In the evening we sailed and cruised in the neighbourhood of the islands, during which time we added the oil of four whales to our cargo. We also met several other whalers, from all of whom I made inquiries for Jack, but none of the people I spoke to had even heard of the wreck of the Helen, and could give me no information. At length the crew began to grumble at being kept so long at sea, and we sailed for Tumbez, on the mainland, where we took in wood and water.

When this task was accomplished the captain gave leave to half of the crew to go ashore, and to remain away three days. On their return the other half had liberty granted them for the same time.

I accompanied the doctor. We went up the river some distance, and then landing walked to a town surrounded by sand, far from having a pleasant look. With the assistance of the doctor, I made inquiries for Jack, thinking that if he belonged to a whaler he might have visited the place; but I could gain no intelligence of him. The night before we sailed it was my middle watch, and when it was over I tumbled into my bunk.

I had been asleep for some time when I was awakened by hearing Horner's voice, exclaiming, "You are here, then? Rouse up and come on deck. The captain is in a great taking. He has found that a boat is missing and some of the hands, and he declares that you have gone with them."

Slipping into my clothes, I hurried on deck. It was just daylight; the captain was standing aft, looking in a fearful rage, while the second mate was forward, shouting to the men to come up and show themselves.

"Do you want me, sir?" I asked.

"So you and Jim Pulley have not taken yourselves off?" he exclaimed.

"No, sir; we never thought of doing so, and I gave you my word that I wouldn't desert."

He made no reply, but ordered Mr Griffiths to call over the names of the men. Four were found missing.

"Take a boat and six men, well armed, and see you bring the rascals back, alive or dead!" he exclaimed, turning to the mate.

In a couple of minutes the boat was in the water and the men were ready, and Mr Griffiths pulled away.

He was absent for some hours. At last we saw his boat coming back, but without the runaways. On reaching the deck Mr Griffiths reported that he had gone up the river and examined the coast on either side of it, but could find no traces of the boat or men.

As soon as Captain Hawkins had abandoned all hopes of recovering the runaways he ordered Mr Griffiths to go again on shore to try and pick up some fresh hands in their place, and I was sent to look after the boat. On either side of the river as we pulled up it we saw numbers of alligators sunning themselves on the sandy banks. As we got near them they plunged into the water, and at first I thought they were about to attack the boat.

As we got higher up, the river narrowed and the trees bent over our heads. In the branches we could see numbers of monkeys leaping from bough to bough and chattering at us. At last, after going six miles, we reached a landing-place, near which was an orange-grove coming close down to the water. Mr Griffiths, taking two men with him, ordered the rest of us to remain in the boat, and on no account to quit her. Scarcely, however, was he out of sight than the men declared that they must have some oranges. When I reminded them of the orders I had received they laughed at me, and one of them, springing ashore, ran off to the grove. He soon again appeared, with a handkerchief in his hands full of oranges, and sucking one as he came along. He was followed by an old gentleman, whom I at once guessed to be the owner of the orange-grove, and who came on till he reached the boat. He then stopped and said something in his native language, which none of us understood. When he found this he made signs to us that we had no business to take his oranges without leave. I tried to explain by pointing to the men's mouths that they were very thirsty, and that I couldn't prevent the sailor from taking the fruit. Whether it was from my manner or looks I can't say, but the old gentleman appeared to be pleased, and going back to an orange-tree picked off a quantity of the fruit, which he brought to me in his own handkerchief, patting me on the back at the same time, as if he was satisfied with my explanations.

While sucking away at the oranges the men were kept quiet. All the time the monkeys chattered away at us from the neighbouring trees, and an ugly alligator would now and then poke his snout out of the water to have a look at us, but the shouts we raised made him swim off. At last Mr Griffiths appeared with four fresh hands, each man carrying a bundle containing all his worldly possessions. As soon as they stepped into the boat we shoved off, and gave way down the river. I was surprised to find all the men talk in a way far superior to that of common sailors, and soon found that they had deserted from American whalers, and had been, before they came to sea, in good positions, which they had lost by misconduct. The moment we got on board, though it was now late in the evening, the captain ordered the anchor to be hove up, and as the wind was off shore, we stood out to sea.

We proceeded at once to our old cruising ground in the neighbourhood of the Galapagos. While we were on our way the new hands seemed perfectly contented, having little or nothing to do. I, of course, inquired of them if they had heard of anyone who had escaped from the Helen, but they could give me no information. To my surprise, I found that, though they had entered in different names, three of them were brothers, and the fourth an old friend. One of the brothers appeared to be a quiet, well-disposed man. As far as I could make out, he had come to sea to look after the others, and to try and keep them out of mischief, though he didn't appear to have been very successful, as time after time they had got into all sorts of scrapes, and it was a wonder that they had escaped with their lives. On reaching the old ground we fell in with a number of whales, and had very hard work, for scarcely had we stowed away the oil of one than we were in chase of another. The new hands grumbled, and so did some of the others. Of course they couldn't complain of our success in catching whales, that brought them the work to do. The mates knew of their grumbling, but took no notice of it. At last, one morning, when I came on deck, I found a letter lying on the companion-hatch, addressed to Captain Hawkins. I, of course, took it to him.

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