Uncle John's first shipwreck, or, The loss of the brig 'Nellie'

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Title:
Uncle John's first shipwreck, or, The loss of the brig 'Nellie'
Uncontrolled:
The loss of the brig 'Nellie.'
Physical Description:
iv, 124, <4> p. : ill. ; 17 cm.
Language:
English
Creator:
Bruce, Charles
William P. Nimmo & Co ( Publisher )
Morrison and Gibb ( Printer )
Publisher:
William P. Nimmo & Co.
Place of Publication:
Edinburgh
Manufacturer:
Morrison and Gibb
Publication Date:

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Shipwrecks -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
Adventure and adventurers -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
Juvenile literature -- Australia   ( lcsh )
Juvenile literature -- 1880   ( rbgenr )
Publishers' catalogues -- 1880   ( rbgenr )
Bldn -- 1880
Genre:
Juvenile literature   ( rbgenr )
Publishers' catalogues   ( rbgenr )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage:
Scotland -- Edinburgh

Notes

Statement of Responsibility:
by Charles Bruce.
General Note:
Includes publisher's catalog.
Funding:
Preservation and Access for American and British Children's Literature, 1870-1889 (NEH PA-50860-00).

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
Baldwin Library of Historical Children's Literature in the Department of Special Collections and Area Studies, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
Rights Management:
All rights reserved, Board of Trustees of the University of Florida.
Resource Identifier:
aleph - 001615410
oclc - 23898114
notis - AHN9845
System ID:
UF00023469:00001

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UNCLE JOHN'S FIRST SHIPWRECK;OK,Ube Loss of te 33rig 'Nellie.'BY CHARLES BRUCE,Author of 'Lame Felix,' 'Noble Mottoes,' 'How Frank began to Climb,''The Book of Noble Englishwomen,' etc.WILLIAM P. NIMMO &amp; CO.,EDINBURGH.i880.j


MORRISON AND GIBB, EDINBURGH,PRINTERS TO HER MAJESTY'S STATIONERY OFFICE


CONTENTS.CHAPTER I.PAGETHE BRIG 'NELLIE' AND HER CREW,. ICHAPTER II.THE STORM, 10CHAPTER III.THE WRECK,. 21CHAPTER IV.THE FIRST DAY ON THE RAFT,..... 36CHAPTER V.NO WATER I 43CHAPTER VI.DEATH OF LITTLE FLORRIE, 59'It'1.-1:: &gt;x^


iv CONTENTS.CHAPTER VII.PAGETHE ISLAND AND THE BOAT, 76CHAPTER VIII.ADVENTURES ON LAND, .87CHAPTER IX.ATTACKED BY NATIVES, 105CHAPTER X.SAFE AT LAST I. 1I5


UNCLE JOHN'S FIRST SIIPWRECK.CHAPTER I.THE BRIG 'NELLIE' AND HER CREW.-S HOSE of my young readers who study geo-graphy will know that Tasmania was oncecalled Van Diemen's Land, and was dis-covered in the year 1644 by a Dutch navigatornamed Tasman, who supposed it to be part of themainland of Australia,-then called New Holland,-and that it was not for more than one hundred yearsafter, two Englishmen, Bass and Flinders, by sailingright round it found it to be an island, nearly as largeas Ireland, separated from the mainland by a broadchannel, one hundred and twenty miles across at itsnarrowest part. They will also know that HobartTown is the capital of the colony, and was foundedA


2 UNCLE JOHN'S FIRST SHIPWRECK.by a body of convicts in the year I804, and thattwelve years after free emigrants began to settle there.Hobart Town is now a thriving place, with a largepopulation and a very considerable trade; but fiftyyears ago it was in its infancy, presenting quite adifferent appearance to what it does in the days ofits prosperity; while of all Australia only portionsof New South Wales were colonized.It was when Hobart Town was in its infancy thatthe brig Nellie, with crew and passengers, numberingtwenty-two souls in all, sailed from the harbour ofHobart Town bound for the Cape of Good Hope.Among the crew was my uncle, John Grey, then alad of sixteen years. A year before he had run awayfrom his home in England, with the avowed determin-ation of seeing something more of the world thanwas to be seen in the old country. During thisvoyage he suffered his first shipwreck, the particularsof which I am now about to tell, thinking you willfind them full of interest and variety, for there werecircumstances attending it which made a lastingimjfession upon Uncle John's mind; for although hesuffered shipwreck more than once or twice after-wards, this first one stood out in stronger relief in hismemory than any of the others.


THE BRIG 'NELLIE' AND HER CRE W. 3On a beautiful March day, with a favourable wind,the Nellie sailed from port. Beneath the eyes of thecaptain and his mates, the crew were busy trimmingthe sails, coiling down ropes, and carrying the pas-sengers' luggage down below to be stowed safelyaway; the passengers were gathered at the side ofthe vessel nearest the shore, taking a farewell look ofthe land where each had sojourned for some time.Among the number were two ladies, the elder havinga little girl, not quite two years old, in her arms.This was Mrs. Weston, who was going to join herhusband at the Cape; the younger lady, whose namewas French, was sailing under her protection to meether parents at the same distant place. They bothhad pleasing faces; while the younger was even verypretty looking, with sparkling eyes, and dimpledcheeks, and lips where a continual smile seemed tohover. The four male passengers were rough-lookingcolonial men, whom it is not necessary to describe,as they have little or nothing to do with my story;they were dressed in rough clothes, and each stoodsmoking a short pipe.On shore, gangs of convicts, chained two by two,were seen hard at work making roads, and, doubtless,as they saw the Nellie sailing away, wished they them-


4 UNCLE JOHN'S FIRST SHIPWRECK.selves were on board taking a last farewell of the landof their captivity.' It seems strange,' said John Grey to an intelligent-looking sailor working at his side, 'that a finecountry like this we are leaving should be colonizedalmost solely by the worst people Old England cansend out.''Yes; I have often wondered why the Governmentdon't try and make it a home for the poor anddeserving. With a slice of land and a little moneyto set them going, men who are wanting bread inEngland would soon be thriving here. I suppose,however, when the country is better known, morefree people will flock to it, and one day it will be aflourishing place.'Just at that moment Mrs. Weston, with her littlegirl still in her arms, left the side of the vessel; butwhile making her way across the deck, with theintention of going below to her cabin, the ship gavea sudden lurch, sending her flying in an oppositedirection. She would doubtless have received a veryugly fall, and the child as well, had not John Grey,seeing her danger, dropped the rope he was coiling,rushed forward, and held her up in his strong armsuntil she regained her footing.


THE BRIG 'NELLIE' AND HER CREWV. 5' You have not got your sea legs yet, ma'am,' saidJohn with a smile.' No, I am afraid not,' replied Mrs. Weston; 'thankyou very much for saving me from a nasty fall.''Oh, it is nothing, ma'am; the little girl is nothurt, I hope?''I think not,' said the mother, looking anxiouslyat her little one; but seeing no indications of alarmin the child's face, she said to it, Florrie, darling,thank the brave lad for saving you.' The little onecrowed and clutched at John's hair.'May I kiss it instead, ma'am ? I have a littlesister at home in England just about her size.'' Yes, by all means,' replied Mrs. Weston, holdingFlorrie out to him. John kissed her on her softlittle cheek, and then turned away to resume hiscoiling, thinking in his heart he would keep awatchful eye on both mother and child wheneverthey appeared on deck, and as far as possible pre-vent them from falling into danger.All on board were strangers to John with butone exception; this was the black cook, namedSnowy, who in spite of having knocked about theworld for fifty years, both as slave and sailor, hadyet a kind heart beating in his bosom, and having


6 UNCLE JOHN'S FIRST SHIPWRECK.met the friendless lad on shore in a somewhatforlorn condition, had been very kind to him, andfinally induced him to enter as one of the crew of theNellie. The old black, from the door of his caboose,had witnessed the scene between the lad and thelittle girl, and chuckling to himself he murmured:'Me know him good boy, got good heart; oh,trust dis blackie for dat same; he berry good boyto kiss de chile, me no forget,' and with a fewmore chuckles he turned again to his occupationof preparing the men's dinner.Sailors do not remain long in the same ship to-gether without a friendly feeling arising for eachother among them, and John had not been onboard many days before he found a congenialmessmate or two, and was on friendly terms withmany; indeed, his frank, open countenance andhonest smile soon won him friends. But therewere two or three of the crew, as there are inmost ships, who were disagreeable and quarrel-some, fond of grumbling at most things and mostpeople; these men and John were not on thefriendliest terms. Being only a lad, they held himin some contempt, and ordered him about as theythought proper, and never hesitated to cuff his/


THE BRIG 'NELLIE' AND HER CRRE W 7ears or bestow upon him a kick, did they feel soinclined. He tried as far as possible to avoid them,but as this could not always be done, he boretheir ill-treatment as best he could.In spite, however, of making such rapid stridesin the goodwill of some of his shipmates, Johnretained the first place in his heart for his oldfriend Snowy, and in his leisure moments, espe-cially in the evenings, he would visit him in hiscaboose and have many a pleasant chat, when hisblack friend would spin him long yarns, and atthe same time puff away at a short pipe with aremarkably keen relish.The captain and his mates, although rather toofond of using hard words and rough language, wereon the whole as good-natured as most of theirclass; true, they were apt to fly into a passion atevery little trivial thing that went wrong, and thenrate the hands soundly, but this the men expected;while perhaps the captain and his officers, on theirpart, thought it was just as well the crew shouldknow that an explosion was imminent, did theyscamp or neglect their necessary duties, and occa-sionally freshen their memories by the applicationof a rope's end to their backs.


8 UNCLE JOHN'S FIRST SHIPWRECK.On the whole, John came to the conclusion thathe was far better off on board the Nellie than hewould be knocking about on shore.There fell to John's share a pleasure that amplycompensated him for any hard word or harderkick he might receive from the evil disposedamong the crew. Ever since the day he savedMrs. Weston from falling, she had a kind wordand smile for him, while with Florrie he becamequite a favourite; she crowed and laughed at hisapproach, and would permit him to carry her aboutthe deck, while others she would not even allow totouch her. Her pretty little face and loving littleways always reminded him of his far-away sister;he would have loved her and have become herslave even had not this been the case, for Johnhad a tender if a somewhat wild heart. I thinkthis mother and child between them helped to keephim straight in those days; for when a lad cutshimself adrift from the safe anchorage of home,and associates with those older and rougher thanhimself, he is apt to get off the right track unlesssofter influences come into play; and the clasp oflittle childish fingers are often of more use in thisway than the grasp of a strong map's .,


TIIE BRIG 'NELLIE' AND HER CRE WI. 9The child became quite a little beam of sun-light to the crew; they watched her little goldenhead go bobbing along the deck as she trotted byher mother's side holding by one of her fingers,or contrived to toddle along alone, and many ahand was eagerly stretched out to save her whenin danger of falling.The negro had also contrived to make friends withthe little maiden. Accompanied by her mother, shewould make her way to the caboose, and peeping inat the door, would announce her presence by a loudcrow, to the huge delight of Snowy, whose largemouth would expand into a grin of formidabledimensions, while he never failed to exclaim-' Ho I ho Missie Florrie know ole black man;' andthen to the mother, Dat ar' a most 'markable chile.'Meanwhile the brig sailed on, proving herself to bea good sea-boat, cutting her way through the waterwith such speed as to bring a smile of gratified prideto the weather-beaten face of the captain, as he calcu-lated how many days it would take her to run to theCape. There is an old proverb which says, Do notcry Halloo' till you are out of the wood. I am afraidthis did not occur to the captain's mind, or anyother of a like meaning.


CHAPTER II.THE STORM.HE weather continued fair for several days,and as the vessel sped on her course, thepassengers were frequently on deck, en-joying the breeze and the ever-varying scenery ofthe coast, with its high promontories and steep rocks.Now and again glimpses of the country were obtainedthrough some ravine which led from the coast inland,and many were the expressions of admiration suchviews elicited; but in no single instance was aninhabitant seen, either native or colonial; the landin its beauty and fertility seemed to be quietly waitingfor man to make it his home.But this state of peace and tranquillity was notfated to be of long duration. It was the captain'sintention, if the wind held favourable when enteringBass' Straits, to steer to the westward of King's10


THE STORM.IIIsland, so as to make what is called the southernpassage. Careful navigation is required in makingthe passage of the Straits, as they abound with smallislets, shoals, and coral reefs, which, did any shipstrike upon either or any, would speedily ensure herdestruction; it is also subject to violent westerlywinds.The Nellie had made but little way in her passageof the Straits when the wind began to freshen;ominous clouds gathered in the sky, and the wavesbegan to rise. Soon it blew a violent gale, andalthough the sails were speedily reduced, the shipbounded furiously through the water; the sea, dashingviolently against the bows, and at times leaping uponthe deck, threatened to sweep everything from it.John Grey had never experienced so fierce a galebefore; what with the howling of the wind, the creak-ing of the masts and cordage, the flapping of the sails,the noise of'the sea, and the hoarse voices of thecaptain and his mates as they shouted their orders,he gave the vessel up for lost. When his thoughtsturned from what he considered the critical conditionof the ship, it was only that they might revert withpainful solicitude to the probable fate in store forFlorrie and her mother.


12 UNCLE JOHN'S FIRST SHIP WRE CI:Now he was fully to learn the truth of the sayingyoung lads are so apt to disregard, namely, thata sailor's life is not all ease and sunshine; quiteother than this he found it during the nine daysthe storm continued. Drenched from head to footby the waves, which constantly broke on board,he found no opportunity for changing his wet gar-ments for dry, but was compelled to do his duty,feeling most miserably damp and cold. The caboosefire could not be lighted to cook the men's meals,and he, with the rest, was compelled to satisfy hishunger as best he could by nibbling hard biscuitand eating raw pork, a most unsatisfactory way offilling an empty stomach, as those well know whohave tried it.These evils, bad as they appear, are too frequentin a sailor's lot to be murmured at, and could beborne with tolerable patience, but the worst he hadto contend with was want of rest and sleep. Afterhours spent in the performance of difficult and harass-ing duties on deck, he would seek his hammock be-low, when, no sooner had he turned in 'all standing,'and was dropping off to sleep, than the thumping ofa hand-spike on the deck, and the hoarse cry of 'Allhands shorten sail!' would necessitate his springing


TEE STORM. 13up and hurrying on deck to take his place with therest. And the same thing would occur half-a-dozentimes during his watch below; for whenever a lullappeared in the violence of the storm, fresh sail wasmade on the ship, but as the lulls were of short dura-tion, and after each one the storm seemed to gatherfresh strength, it was again reduced.'How do you think this will end, Snowy?' saidJohn to his black friend, who, during the storm, wascompelled to do duty as a seaman.'How I tink it will end, is it?' replied the black;'dis ere chile can't tell nohow. De ole ship bestout, she may weather it; but de wind blow here andde wind blow dere, and de ship where am it? If shestrike on one leetle rock it be all up wid her, de fishwill nibble nibble ole black man's body.'This did not seem a very encouraging outlook, soJohn remained silent for a little time, but presentlysaid:' I am sorry for Mrs. Weston and Florrie, and MissFrench; what will become of them ?'' Yes, dat ar thought makes ole black man's heartheavy.'' If the worst come to the worst, Snowy, we mustnot give in without a struggle; and whatever we do,


14 UNCLE JOHN'S FIRST SHIPWRECK.we must try our hardest to save them; I can't bearthe thought of little Florrie being drowned.''Should de ship strike, you stick by Snowy, andtogether we will take care of de ladies,' said thenegro, placing his hand on his shoulder.' But should such be her fate, there is sure to bea rush for the boats, and as there are only two, theweakest among us will stand very little' chance ofescape.''Den we make a raft and escape on dat.''A raft how can one live in such a sea?'' De ship 'ab not struck yet; wait till time come forto act.''Well, Snowy, whatever we do we do together,but our principal care must be the ladies and thelittle one.''Trust dis ar' chile for dat.'Meanwhile, during the storm the passengers hadconfined themselves to their respective cabins, toosick and terrified even to dream of making an ap-pearance on deck; expecting every moment theship would founder, they fully concluded that theyshould founder with her. Mrs. Weston pressed herlittle one to her bosom and kissed her passionately,,while her tears wetted her face as she pictured to


THE STORM. 15herself the horrors of her too probable fate. Attimes, Miss French tried to suggest to her companiona more hopeful state of things, but she even wouldgive up in despair as the storm seemed to increase,and devote herself to reading a little prayer-bookshe usually carried in her pocket.This state of things continued for no less thannine days. The men, worn out with their exertionsand want of rest, were ready to drop at their postswith fatigue. But at the close of the ninth day ofthe storm a more hopeful prospect dawned; theclouds broke, and the wind began sensibly to abate.By the morning of the tenth, the storm had entirelyspent itself, the wind lessened to a pleasant breeze,the waves subsided, and the sun added its cheeringbeams to enliven the scene. The caboose fire wasagain lighted, and the men once more enabled tohave warm food and hot grog; and once again thepassengers made their appearance on deck, lookingsomewhat pale from their long confinement andanxiety, but otherwise none the worse for whatthey had undergone. Little Florrie soon recoveredher spirits, and one of the first visits she madewas to Snowy in the caboose, who, seeing hergolden head at the door, did not fail to utter his1


i6 UNCLE JOHN'S FIRST SHIPWRECK.usual exclamations, Ho ho Missie Florrie knowde ole black man!' and, 'Dat ar' a most 'markablechile!'Not alone for himself, but for the sake of hiscabin friends also, John was glad at the return offine weather. During the worst of the late stormhe had found more than one opportunity of payinga visit to the cabin, to say something hopeful to itsinmates, and secure for them several of their articlesof luggage and furniture, which the violent motionof the ship had cast loose. Now the ladies hadmany a kind word and smile for their young chain-pion, as they called him, in reward for his thought-ful attention during their period of distress andanxiety.Seeing everything so bright and cheering, thewaves gently curling round the bows of the ship, feel-ing the soft breeze fanning their cheeks, seeing theactivity of the sailors in repairing the damages ofthe storm, they forgot their past terror, and thinkingall danger over, were very happy and even merry.But there is often greater danger when all is appa-rently safe than even when destruction seems immi-nent every minute, and the truth of this they werevery speedily to realize.


THE STORM.17During the prevalence of the storm the ship hadbeen beaten back upon her course, and it occurredto the captain that he did not exactly know herposition or whither he was steering. He thereforedeemed it prudent under the circumstances to takean observation, and ascertain the exact whereaboutsof his vessel. He took his instruments on deck,and after a little time discovered she had beenblown several degrees from her proper course, andhad not made so much way as even before the galebegan. The weather being fine and moderate, allsail was instantly set, and her head put in the rightdirection; and ordering a sharp look-out to be keptto avoid any chance reef in the neighbourhood, hedescended to his cabin.'This is a little more cheering,' said John to asailor two or three years older than himself, whosename was Felton, and to whom he had addressedhis remarks as the vessel was leaving harbour.Felton was a fine, intelligent-looking young man,and one who appeared to have received a far superioreducation to the run of sailors in that day, amongwhom, indeed, it was difficult to find any who hadreceived even the rudiments of the simplest educa-tion. He seemed also well conversant with books,B


r8 UNCLE JOHN'S FIRST SHIPWRECK.and having a retentive memory, the information hehad gathered from them was ever ready either foruse or reference. John Grey had been greatly at-tracted towards him during the short time he hadbeen on board, and sought every opportunity ofcultivating his acquaintance and making him hisfriend. Felton on his part willingly responded tothe advances made, and though usually very quietand reserved with the other men, was ever readyto join in conversation with, or do a good turnfor John.'He be a true man,' said the old negro to hisyoung friend on one occasion when John was speak-ing of Felton; 'make friends wid him as soon aspossible, dat's old Snowy's advice.'Felton also cherished a kindly feeling for oldSnowy; sometimes with John he would pay him avisit in his caboose, and listen to his stories of slavelife and adventure, and if near at hand, would alwaysendeavour to protect the negro from the varioustricks the more evil-disposed portion of the crewwere ready to practise upon him. All this madeSnowy regard him with very friendly eyes. Feltonfound himself no loser by cultivating his humblecompanion's friendship; he found the negro enter-


7TIE STORM.19tained many very shrewd opinions about things ingeneral, and that during the course of his life he hadcarried about with him whithersoever he went a pairof very observant eyes, and what they had noted wasstored in a very retentive memory. He was alsovery handy with his fingers, and with a knife andpiece of wood could, and did, manufacture manyvery clever playthings for Florrie.To John's mind things were in a very pleasantcondition on board the Nellie, and for his part hedid not care how long the voyage lasted: he hadmade several good friends, most of his other ship-mates treated him kindly, the captain and his matesdid not bully him more than the others, the weatherwas fine, and the ship making good way, running atleast at the rate of six or seven knots an hour.This being the case, he could not understand whythe captain should be in such a restless condition,coming constantly on deck both night and day, andwhy he should be continually ordering a sharp look-out to be kept. But the captain knew, if John didnot, that the ship had been blown so far out of hercourse as to be in the neighbourhood of many verydangerous reefs, on one of which, if not discerned intime, the ship might strike and the lives of all be lost.


20 UNCLE JOHN'S FIRST SHIPWRECK.All seemed secure, however, when, two nights afterthe storm, John, relieved from his watch on deck,turned gladly into his hammock to seek a few hours'sleep. He had already dozed off into that delightfulstate of half unconsciousness, the prelude of soundsleep, when he was aroused by hearing the look-outon deck shout, 'Breakers ahead !' He heard therush of the captain up the companion ladder, and hisanswering cry of 'Where away?' but before he clearlyunderstood what it all meant, he was thoroughlyawakened by feeling the keel of the ship gratingupon some hard substance, and then receiving soviolent a Shock that he was literally thrown out of hishammock.


CHAPTER III.THE WRECK.HOUGH a little bewildered by this sum-mary ejection from his hammock, Johncontrived to regain his feet, and pro.ceeded to dress himself with all despatch. A secondshock, not so violent as the first, was nearly upset-ting him again. He heard cries of distress and menshouting that the ship had struck. Those of thecrew who with himself had turned into their ham-mocks had rushed on deck, some half-dressed, beforehim, so that he was the last of the hands to makehis appearance.Such a scene of confusion, as in the imperfect lightthe deck presented when he first gained it, he hadnever before witnessed, and certainly never forgot.The captain was shouting orders his men were toobewildered to execute, some of whom were rushing21


22 UNCLE JOHN'S FIRST SHIPIWRE CI.about crying all was lost, while others stood as ifbereft of all life and motion. The masts swayed toand fro, and threatened every instant to give way andtumble overboard, while the noise of the surf beatingagainst the sides of the vessel was almost deafeningin its roar. That some terrible disaster had happenedJohn needed no one to inform him; the scene enact-ing before his eyes was sufficient evidence withoutwords of explanation, but its nature and extent hecould not at that moment realize.Making his way with difficulty to where he sawFelton and Snowy standing, he inquired of themwhat had occurred.'The ship has struck on a rock or coral reef,replied Felton, whose face looked pale in the dimlight.'But is there no hope of her floating off?' saidJohn.' Hark how her timbers are rending, and then ask,'said Felton.The grating of the keel on the cruel rocks could bedistinctly heard above the noise and confusion thatreigned around.'Besides,' continued Felton, 'no ship can live insuch a surf.'


Y7TE WRECK. 23'De Nellie nebber sail more,' said the negro em-phatically, confirming Felton's opinion.' What is to be done?' John next inquired.'Wait, a few minutes will soon decide,' was theanswer.By dint of great exertion on the part of the captainand mates, something like order was at length restoredamong the frightened crew. To ascertain the extentof damage the ship had received was his first care;upon examination the result was even more disastrousthan was at first imagined. The well was soundedand three feet of water found; the pumps were im-mediately rigged, and hands stationed to work them.But when it was found that the violence of the shock,when the ship first struck, had unshipped her rudderand bilged in her quarters, and that each succeedingwave which broke against her carried her farther onthe reef, where the angry surf threatened her totaland instant destruction, the captain knew there wasno hope of saving his vessel; and so he told his men,adding, that if they would still obey his commandsand execute his orders, all might be saved.His last words were addressed to unheeding ears-the men only took in the alarming fact that there wasno hope for the ship; the blind, unreasoning instinct


24 UNCLE JOHN'S FIRST SHIPWRECK.of self-preservation made them deaf to anythingfurther. Half crazed with terror and wholly bewil-dered,* there was a general rush to the boats. Thecaptain and one of his mates, while endeavouring topreserve something like order, were unceremoniouslyknocked down, and a huge wave making a cleanbreach over the vessel before they could regain theirfeet, washed them overboard; with a shrill, piercingcry both were swallowed up in the darkness. Felton,who had witnessed this catastrophe, rushed to theside over which they had disappeared to heave thema rope; but both had evidently instantly sunk, forthough he peered anxiously down into the angrywaters, he caught no glimpse of either.The fate of the captain and his mate for a momentarrested the movements of the crew; but only for amoment, for Joe Blight, one of the most ill-naturedand discontented of the crew, and the man who hadsystematically ill treated John, at that particularinstant cried out:' Everybody for himself, lads; quick with theboats; the old ship's timbers won't hold long together,and if we stay here we shall be food for fishes in notime.'There were but two boats, and these none of the


THE WRE CK.25largest; did any accident happen to either so as torender it useless, it would be almost impossible all onboard could be saved. It therefore needed that greatcare should be shown in lowering them into the water,and the excited condition of the men rendered thisdoubtful. There were too many hands engaged inthe work, they impeded each other, consequently thetask proceeded more slowly than it otherwise wouldhave done. This Joe Blight-who did not want forsense-at length perceived; he now took the lead,the authority of the second mate being disregarded,and while he desired some to continue their work oflowering the boats, he ordered others to go belowand bring up what provisions and water they couldlay hands on.An eight-gallon keg of water was obtained, togetherwith a smaller one of wine, a quantity of biscuit, abarrel of beef and another of pork; these articles,with a spare sail and sextant, were hastily placed inthe boats. The men then began to crowd in, whenBlight shouted:'Steady, mates, you can't all get in at once; let uslower them first and then jump in.'At that, John, who had been assisting with Feltonand Snowy, cried, 'Give first place to the ladies.'


26 UNCLE JOHN'S FIRST SHIPtW RECK.'Ladies! ay, ay,' replied Blight; 'let's get theboats in the water, then lower them down.'Blight with three men entered one boat, and thesecond mate with two more of the crew the other, soas to steady them during their descent. But nosooner had the boats touched the water, than themen, passengers and crew, began to flock in, andwith the exception of Felton and Snowy, who re-mained on board waiting for John and the ladies tomake their appearance, and one poor fellow who inhis haste missed the boat he was trying to enter andfell into the water, and being unable to swim wasquickly drowned, all had gained the boats.'Now, then,' shouted Blight, 'make haste there, wecan't hold on much longer; the boats will be dashedto pieces against the sides of the ship.'' Hold on,' cried Felton, in an agony of apprehen-sion; don't go without the ladies.''Yes, massa Blight, hold on !' echoed Snowy.'Make haste-there's not a moment to lose,' wasthe answer back.Felton sprang towards the companion ladder toassist John with his precious charges; the blackturned his head for a moment to ascertain if theywere coming; but when he again turned towards the


THE WRECK.27boats they were nowhere to be seen The tacklehung loosely from the davits, the boats had disap-peared in the darkness. In vain the negro shouted;no answering cry came back. He rubbed his eyes tomake sure they had not played him false. No; theyhad vanished as completely as though they had neverbeen.Meantime John had hurried to the cabin. He hadalready paid its inmates several visits during the con-fusion on deck, telling them to be of good cheer; now,feeling no time was to be lost, he burst open the doorwith very little ceremony. He found Mrs. Westonwith Florrie asleep in her arms, and Miss Frenchkneeling as in the act of prayer.'Quick, Miss French,' he cried, 'hurry on deck olwe shall be too late; give me the child, Mrs.Weston '' No, I will carry it.' She was afraid to trust it outof her arms.John hastily snatched up a couple of shawls and abag, which he thought contained biscuits, but whichafterwards proved to be shells that Florrie playedwith, and followed them from the cabin. Just asthey mounted the ladder they were seized by Felton,who, at the risk of capsizing them, hurried them across


28 UNCLE JOHN'S FiRST' SHIPWRECE.the wet and slippery deck without uttering a word ofexplanation.'Now then, Snowy, bear a hand.''No good, Massa Felton, boats gone !''Gone !' cried Felton, rushing to the side followedby John, who had echoed his cry.Alas it was too true; not a vestige of the boatswas to be seen. Whether the men had purposelycast themselves loose and left the women to their fate,or whether the violent tossing of the boats had brokenthem adrift, those left behind were unable to say.Nothing, however, was more certain than that theboats were gone.For a few moments after realizing their terriblesituation, John and his companions gave way to de-spair; and well they might, alone, with two helplesswomen, on the deck of a vessel they expected everyinstant would go to pieces, and they themselves beswallowed up in the waves of the angry sea, whicheven now sprang on board as if eager for their ex-pected prey; no visible means of escape. Truly theymight well despair; their condition was not an envi-able one.But the feeling was transitory; hope never entirelydies out of the human bosom. In the worst of cir-


THE WRECK.29cumstances that voice makes itself heard, and givesmen the courage to do and dare when both seemuseless.Snowy was the first to recover himself; he had metwith too many desperate adventures during the courseof his varied existence to be easily cast down. Feltonand John soon followed his example, and a consulta-tion was held as to the best course to pursue andwhat means to adopt to preserve life.'Me tink, Massa Feelton, we might make a raft;me don't tink the ole ship go a pieces yet; she livetill daylight anyhow, den we see war we ar'.''That is our only h$pe, and we had best set aboutit at once,' said Felton; 'if the ship goes to pieces,the raft may float us to the mainland, which can't beso very far.'This being decided, the sooner they commencedthe better-time was too precious to be wasted in idlediscussion; actions, not words, were needed.Their first care, however, was to make Mrs. Westonand Miss French as comfortable as circumstanceswould allow. The two unfortunate ladies had re-mained quite silent since brought on deck; the horrorof their situation seemed to have partially stunnedthem. John and his friends led them to the lee of


30 UNCLE JOHN'S FIRST SHIPWRECIA.the starboard bulwarks, where they would be in ameasure protected from the waves which continuallybroke on board; there they made them sit down.John covered them with the two shawls he hadbrought from the cabin. Strange to say, Florrie stillslept.' You will be a little protected here,' said John toMrs. Weston as he wrapped the shawl carefully roundher, and in such a manner as to shield the face of thechild.'We will not desert you,' said Felton to MissFrench, 'but do all we can to save you. Havepatience and courage.'' Yes, we save you; de chile is like one good angel,she bring good fortune,' said the black.Mrs. Weston and her friend could only press grate-fully the hands of those who they felt had lost theirbest chance of quitting a doomed ship in caring forthem, and to whom they were now alone obliged tolook for help. No, not to them alone; they both knewthere was a Providence that overruled all their lives,and unless it was His will they would not be lost;but humanly speaking, their only helpers were twomen and a young lad.'Now, Snowy, you must take the lead in this


v i THE WRECKv. 31undertaking; I gather you have helped in the courseof your life to make more than one raft.''Yes, I know leetle about de raft,' and withoutmore words the negro accepted the responsibility ofhead worker.There was no lack of material for the constructionof a raft; the deck was strewn with loose spars, andboards rent from the larboard bulwarks by the forceof the waves, hen-coops, and a sheep-pen-in thelatter a solitary prisoner was even now bleating-werenot wanting should other material fail. Under thenegro's superintendence, as many of these articles aswere considered necessary were collected, togetherwith three empty casks, which Felton brought upfrom below.By the time this was done daylight dawned, andthe unfortunate men were enabled to see with greaterclearness the hopeless condition in which the shipwas placed. She had evidently struck on the edgeof an extensive coral reef which seemed to extendfor miles, and upon which, far as the eye could reach,the surf broke violently. The eyes of John and hiscompanions in misfortune were directed towards theopen water, each hoping against hope that the boatshad rowed a little distance from the ship till morning,


32 UNCLE JOHN'S FIRST SHIPWRECK.so as to return to rescue those left behind. But noboat could be seen; they had evidently left the shipand those on board to their fate. All hands returnedwith fresh vigour to the task of constructing the raft;their only helpers were to be themselves, and itbehoved them to lose no time, as from the conditionof the vessel they were fearful she would break amid-ships or fall totally to pieces.Obeying the negro's directions, Felton, as I havesaid, brought three empty casks on deck; to these thelongest spars they could find were firmly lashedlengthwise, Snowy even giving an extra turn ortwo to the ropes, quietly observing, 'Many a raftgo to pieces not tied tight.' Other and shorterspars were lashed as firmly crosswise, and thefurther to strengthen it, more were placed at theangle.'Why do you use the casks?' inquired John.'De raft float better, and it be higher out of dewater; de waves no wash over,' replied Snowy.Planks were now lashed to the spars, so that theraft might be more comfortable, the easier to sit or lieupon; a step was placed in the centre, in which a sparcould be shipped so that sail might be hoisted. Twoor three spare sails were collected, the oars of one of


THE WRECK.33the boats which had been left behind; then Snowydeclared the raft was ready.'We launch it over de starn, where de water ismore quiet,' said the black, 'and den you handme de provisions and de ladies down.'It was not a great height from the deck of thevessel to the surface of the sea. The ship hadevidently broken her back on the cruel reef, andthe stern part was gradually sinking lower and lowerinto the water.Some little exertion of strength was required tolaunch their frail refuge, and it was necessary tobe as expeditious as possible, as every minute theyexpected the ship to sink under them. At length,after one or two slight mishaps, the raft floated,and Snowy, jumping down upon it, declared it swamlike a duck.'Now hand dis chile de provisions,' said theblack, after securing the raft by a rope to the vesselto prevent it floating away.A very scanty supply of food and water washanded down by Felton and John; they had beenunable to obtain as much as they desired, the waterhaving risen too high. One small keg of water, astone bottle of wine, a bag of biscuits, and a fewc


34 UNCLE JOHN'S FIRST SHIP WRECA.pieces of pork and beef which had been found inthe copper ready for the men's dinner, these wereall that could be obtained.John and Felton now proceeded to lower Mrs.Weston and her friend. This they did with thegreatest care and tenderness. While their frail refugewas in process of construction, the two forlorn womenhad not uttered a word; indeed, worn out with fatigueand anxiety, and faint from hunger, they had bothfallen asleep, from which they were awakened to beconducted to the raft. Little Florrie was now cryingfor food; her mother hushed her by the promise thatshe should soon have some.'Directly we are on the raft you shall all havesome, for you must want it sadly,' said John, as hehelped to conduct them across the deck.Snowy held out his arms to receive the child, whomFelton first lowered to him; Mrs. Weston then fol-lowed, and directly she gained her place again tookher, as though unwilling to relinquish her a momentlonger than necessary. Miss French came third,taking her seat next to her friend at the head of theraft, which had been made as comfortable as circum-stances would permit for their reception. Felton thenswung himself down, and taking one of the oars in


THE WRECK.35his hand, stood ready to push off as soon as Johntook his place.But before leaving the vessel he paid another visitto the ladies' cabin, to see if anything had been leftbehind which might prove of service to them. Hetook two blankets from Mrs. Weston's berth, and a tinmug and basin which were lying on the floor, andwhich he thought would come in useful. As he wasleaving he saw Miss French's little prayer-book, whichhe picked up and put in his pocket; while doing sohe spied a large tin canister, which upon examinationproved to contain biscuits of a finer quality than thoseeaten by sailors. Having secured these prizes he ranhastily on deck, and throwing them to Felton, speedilydescended to the raft; cutting the rope which secureait to the ship, he seized an oar, and together witnFelton pushed off from the vessel, which was aowrapidly breaking up.


CHAPTER IV.FIRST DAY ON THE RAFT.HEN the raft had been pushed clear ofthe wreck, John took charge of thetiller-an oar shipped for that purpose-while Felton and Snowy rowed some distance to beout of the power of the surf; a consultation wasthen held as to the proper course to steer. Allagreed in believing they could not be more than onehundred miles from land, and as the weather wasfavourable, a moderate breeze blowing, and thewater smooth, hopes were entertained of reaching itin two or three days, especially if the wind held as itthen did. Unfortunately they had no compass, andmust trust to the sun by day and the stars by nightto guide their frail bark aright.' Our first object,' said Felton, 'must be to gain36


* RST DA Y ON THE RAFT. 37the land, after which we can coast along the shoretill we reach a settlement.''Dat am true, Massa Feelton,' said the black; letus get de coast first.''Which is the nearest settlement from here?'inquired John.'I scarcely know,' Felton replied; 'but judgingthe distance the Nellie was blown from her course,it must be Moreton Bay, but of that I am not sure.We can't, however, be wrong if we first attempt tomake the coast; most likely we shall there be able toobtain what we so greatly need, provisions.''Then what course shall we steer ?''W.S.W.,' replied Felton.'Now dat settled,' said'the negro, 'lend a hand,Feelton, and we ship a mast and hoist de sail.''Yes, and then pipe all hands for breakfast,' saidJohn; 'the ladies must be famished, and littleFlorrie is crying her pretty eyes out for food.''You must not mind us,' said Mrs. Weston;'under God we owe our lives to you, and we willeat when you eat, and not before or oftener.'.' We have only done our duty, ma'am,' said John;'and as to eating, we must talk about that presently.'A spare spar, which had been placed on the raft


38 UNCLE JOHN'S FIRST SHIPWRECK.for that purpose, was now shipped, and a sail hoisted;it was then perceived that the raft began slowly tomove through the water. After watching it for a fewseconds, Felton declared it was going at the rate oftwo and a half knots an hour; 'and if the weatherholds good,' he continued, in two or three days weshall see land.'Snowy now took his place at the rudder, whileJohn and Felton proceeded to get breakfast. Therewas not much variety as to food; biscuits and rawmeat were their staple articles. Two of the biscuitswere handed to each of the adults, while a few ofthe finer ones, brought from the cabin, were brokenin the basin and soaked with water for Florrie, whoneeded something very much. The tin mug, threeparts filled with water and the rest wine, was givento the ladies. They had found their biscuits veryhard, and, from their throats being parched withthirst, difficult to swallow, but by dipping them inthe wine and water they were made much morepalatable. The three men contented themselveswith a less quantity of water than they had givento their unfortunate companions, but took the samenumber of biscuits, and in addition a slice each ofraw pork. No persuasions could induce the ladies to


IRST' DAY ON THE RAFT.39touch the meat, and even John felt a qualm or twobefore he ventured to put a piece in his mouth; theother two, however, were not so fastidious, but ate itwith a keen relish.'I don't advise you to eat much of this,' saidFelton; 'it will create thirst, and we have none toomuch water.'All were greatly refreshed with their simple meal,it seemed to impart fresh courage and hope; Florrie.no longer cried, but was crawling about the.raft andtrying to reach the water she could see between theplanks with her hand; watchful eyes were upon herthat she might not tumble overboard. Mrs. Westonand her friend performed a hasty toilet as best theycould under the circumstances; and while the blacksteered, Felton and John took stock of their pro-visions, to ascertain how much they would have toeconomize to make it last.They soon came to the end of their task, and iftheir faces might be taken as an index of the result,it was not very encouraging. Indeed, they wereworse off than they anticipated: of water, they hadnot more than two gallons, and of wine, somewhatless than a pint; forty biscuits were counted be-sides those in the tin, which they decided should


40 UNCLE JOHN'S FIRST SHIPWRECK.be for the sole use of the child; these, with one pieceof pork and two small pieces of beef, were their wholestock They went aft to communicate the result toSnowy.'Dat is very little,' said the black.'Yes,' said Felton; 'if we share out as much everymeal as we did at breakfast, it won't last two days.'' No,' said John, 'we must economize; but whateverwe ourselves suffer, the ladies must not go short, andespecially little Florrie.''Bless de chile,' said the negro firmly, she hab allmine 'fore she wants.''This is what I propose,' said Felton; 'we mustplace ourselves on short allowance. The ladies shallhave three biscuits a day,-one for breakfast, one fordinner, and one for supper, and each time a littlewine and water; we must content ourselves with onebiscuit a day each, and one-third the quantity ofwater. If we are men, our first care, as John says,must be the poor ladies-they are not accustomed torough it as we are; and as for the child, why, I takeit we are each willing to want before she should.''Yes, dat's right,' said the negro, nodding his headwith approval. John said the same.'What we have most to dread,' continued Felton,


FIRST DA Y ON THE RAFT.41after his friends had expressed their approval of hisplan, 'is want of water; with this hot sun beatingdown upon us, and the salt meat, our throats willoften feel parched.'' I have heard,' said John, 'that it is a good planto dip our clothes in the sea and wear them wet; itkeeps the body cool, and some of the moisturemanages to filtrate through the skin.'' Yes, so I have heard,' said Felton; 'there can beno harm in trying.'Snowy, however, urged them on no account todrink any salt water, let their thirst be never so in-tolerable, for though it might give them momentaryrelief, thirst returned worse than ever, and its effectswere often to produce madness.The consultation over, they separated,-Felton tosecure the water-keg from being washed off, andJohn to ascertain if he could do anything to makethe ladies more comfortable. Snowy continued atthe rudder.'I am afraid you find the heat almost unbearable,'said John to the,two ladies.'It is excessively warm,' replied Mrs. Weston;'but I suppose it cannot be helped, and that wemust bear it.'


42 UNCLE JOHN'S FIRST SHIPWRECK.'I think if you were to seat yourselves in theshadow of the sail, you would find it more pleasant;let me arrange your seats.'Taking the two blankets, John folded them so asto make a soft kind of cushion, and placed it in theshadow-if such it could be called-of the sail; histwo friends-for so he regarded them-then seatedthemselves, and found some slight alleviation fromthe scorching beams of the sun.The ladies thanked him for his kind attention,when he said, I don't know but that we might makeyou still more comfortable by rigging up a littleawning; I will see if it cannot be done.''You think too much of us and too little of your-self, John,' said Mrs. Weston.'We are more used to this kind of thing, and moreable to endure it; we all three desire to do ouruttermost to save you fromn unnecessary fatigue andmisery.' So saying he turned to Snowy.'That lad has an honest face,' murmured MissFrench to her friend.'Yes, and a kind heart,' replied Mrs. Weston.'Our condition is as bad as it well can be,' she con-tinued, but I think it would have been worse had wegone away in the boats; we have the three best men.'


FIRST DAY ON TEE RAFT.43This short conversation was carried on in whispers,for the raft being small, what was said in one partcould be heard all over it.The raft had made such slow progress that thewreck was still in sight, and all were surprised to seeits timbers hold together so long; but while Feltonand John were rigging a little screen for the use ofthe unfortunate ladies, Snowy suddenly exclaimed:'Dat um last of de ole chip !' and turning quicklyin the direction in which she lay, they saw hergradually fall to pieces and disappear from their sight.'Would it not be as well to pull back,' said John,'and see if there are any provisions floating about?'Snowy was consulted, and gave it as his opinionthat they couldn't do better, the time lost would beamply compensated by the provisions gained. Theraft was accordingly steered in the direction wherethe Nellie had broken up, the sail lowered, and Johnand Felton rowing. But when they reached thescene of the wreck, they found they might havespared themselves their labour, for they were onlyrewarded by finding a small tin sauce-pan and a fewplanks of wood; their greatest prize was a small axe,which stuck in one of the planks. These articles werehauled upon the raft and secured, and once again they


44 UNCLE JOHN'S FIRST SHIPWRECK.hoisted sail and steered in the direction where theyhoped to discover land.At noon a biscuit was given to each of the ladies,which was eaten as before, namely, by moistening itin the small portion of wine and water given them atthe same time. Little Florrie, who had made her-self very happy and contented all the morning, hadher portion pounded and soaked in water. As onthe previous occasion, neither Mrs. Weston nor MissFrench could be induced to touch the raw pork orbeef, A slice of beef, with one-third of a biscuit each,fell to the share of the men, according to the planthey had agreed upon in the earlier part of the day.Mrs. Weston, who observed their actions narrowly,noticed that neither of them touched a drop of water.Mother-like, she reserved most of hers for her littledaughter; still, if the men went without, she thoughtit was no more than just that she herself should; sheknew very well why they refrained from drinking.After their slight repast, Snowy and his two friendssluiced each other with water; dipping the tin sauce-pan in the waves, they poured the water over thehead and shoulders. This was so refreshing that itwas repeated several times during the heat of theday. John, however, was fain to confess to himself


FIRST DA Y ON THE RAFT.45that a good long draught of pure water would beinfinitely preferable, but as that was a luxury quiteunattainable, he was compelled to rest satisfied withits substitute. As the day wore on, his thirst in-creased, growing more and more intolerable; he felthe would have given all he possessed, little enough,to be allowed to quench it. Often and often heturned longing eyes towards the little keg that con-tained their all; but when his eyes turned towardsthe poor women and Flprrie, he tried his best tostifle his longings, and kept his looks averted fromthe tempting sight.He now took his turn at the tiller while Felton andSnowy took a spell at the oars; the breeze was notstrong, and they wanted to make as much way aspossible. The exertion of rowing, with the rays ofthe sun beating down upon them, was toilsome work;but not a murmur escaped the two brave men, thoughthey found themselves frequently compelled to re-linquish their task, while they wiped the moisturefrom their faces.When the day drew to a close another meal waseaten as before; this time, however, John and hiscomrades wetted their lips with a little water, whichMrs. Weston perceiving, made no scruples, after


46 UNCLE JOHN'S FIRST SHIPWRECK.Florrie had satisfied her thirst, in drinking her ownallotted portion. Arrangements were then made forthe night. It was resolved that watch and watchshould be kept throughout the darkness. John wasto take the first, Felton the second, and Snowy thethird. All were to be called should a change in theweather occur.When it began to grow dark, Florrie, who hadamused herself by crawling about the raft during theday, crept to her mother's knee and said she wantedto go 'by by.' Mrs. Weston wrapped her in hershawl, and bade her go to sleep in her arms; butbefore doing so the little creature said she must sayher prayers. As the three men heard her lisp herlittle evening prayer, they each bowed their head,and in their hearts felt as if no danger could over-take them while so precious a little soul was intheir midst.When her child had settled for the night, Mrs.Weston, addressing John and his friends, askedwhether they would not join with her and MissFrench in offering up a petition to Almighty God topreserve them throughout the coming night. It wasthen John remembered the prayer-book he hadpicked up from the floor of the cabin, which till


FIRST DA Y ON THE RAFT. 47now he had quite forgotten. He presented it toMrs. Weston, and asked her to conduct the littleservice; accepting the tiny volume, she opened at thatpart containing prayers to be used while at sea, andduring a storm. As her sweet low voice repeated thebeautiful words, they all knelt, even Snowy at thetiller, and earnestly echoed them in their hearts.John then commenced his first watch, while the restsettled themselves to obtain a little sleep.Thus the first day on the raft closed.


CHAPTER V.NO WATER!OON all on the raft, save John, were buriedin deep sleep, forgetting for a time thedangers of their position, their anxietiesand privations.' sleep it is a blessed thing,Beloved from pole to pole I'While their frail refuge moved slowly through thewater, John stood silently at his post. He gazed upat the glorious stars, which in the southern hemisphereappear so large and brilliant. Never had they affectedhim so much as now; he thought of Him who madethem, and trusted that in His mercy He would bringthem safely out of their trouble. Then his thoughtsreverted to his far away home,-that home he hadleft so secretly, and where kind parents and sisters48


NO WATER!49were perhaps even now thinking of him and mourn-ing his absence; he wondered whether he shouldever again see it, and be able, as many a time hehad resolved to do, to ask pardon of those he hadso deeply grieved by his thoughtless conduct. Gradu-ally the silence,-only broken by the gentle rippleof the water round the raft,-the soft breeze, and theloneliness of the scene produced so soothing an effectupon his senses that he found himself nodding.The fatigues and anxieties of the day had beenv many and trying in their character; he was young, andrihis frame unable to resist their wearying influence.During the day the excitement of work and his novelposition had borne him up; now, however, their effectsbegan to tell, and he longed for sleep even more thanwater. But it would never do to be found sleepingat his post, so when he found a feeling of drowsinessstealing over him, he gave himself a good shake tothoroughly arouse himself. This he succeeded indoing, but only for a time; again the drowsinessbegan to overpower him, his eyes closed, and henearly fell forward. As he brought himself up with ashock, he thought he heard voices at that portion ofthe raft where the ladies were sleeping. He listened,being now thoroughly awake, and made out the voiceD


50 UNCLE JOHN'S FIRST SHIPWRECK.of little Florrie asking for water. He could not catchMrs. Weston's murmured reply, but heard her sooth-ing the little one to sleep again. In his own mind,he determined to reserve his own portion of theprecious fluid for the use of the golden-haired littlecreature.I have said John had a tender heart, and ittouched it sorely that Florrie should suffer. Heknew very well that her tender frame would neverbe able to endure the privations which he and hiscompanions must suffer before they reached land, with- lout yielding to them. These thoughts occupied himN--during the remainder of his watch; when, as nearly :as he could judge, it was over, he roused Felton totake his place, while he himself thankfully lay down,and in a few minutes was sound asleep.About midnight the breeze freshened, causing aripple on the sea, but not sufficient to render itnecessary to call the rest. The raft went throughthe water at a slightly increased speed. The casksto which the framework of the raft was lashed raisedit so high out of the water, that there was no fear ofthe waves washing over it unless a storm arose.No incident varied the monotony of Felton'swatch, and when it was over he stirred the negro


NO WATER!51with his foot. Snowy had been snoring loudly thewhole of the night, but no sooner did his comradetouch him than he awoke.'Dat you, Feelton ?' he whispered, rubbing his eyes.'Yes; it is time for you to take your turn at thehelm.' Soon Felton was once more asleep. Thusthe night wore away..tH, When morning dawned the sleepers awoke, andevery eye but the child's turned its gaze to the seaand scanned the distant horizon. Nothing, however,appeared in sight,-no sail and no land, nothingt;.but o!~e wide waste of waters, which the rising sunl'lumined. Each turned away in bitter disappoint-'ment phey had hoped land of some descriptionwould have greeted them by its appearance, and thereaction was hard to bear.The two women felt the disappointment most.Theirs was a hard lot,-cut off from those comfortsof life to which they. were accustomed, away fromfriends, tossed about on a frail raft at the mercyof the winds and waves, and weak from fatigue andinsufficient food. They felt inclined to give up indespair, and for a moment buried their faces intheir hands and wept.'You must not be down-hearted, ma'am," said


52 UNCLE JOHN'S FIRST SHIPWRECi.John, who had been silently watching them; 'it istoo soon to expect to see land, we must be somedistance from it yet; but if the weather holds good,we trust to make it ere long.'' It is foolish to cry,' replied Miss French, brushingaway her tears and looking up; 'but I did so hopewe should see land. I had even dreamed we werethere while sleeping.''Yes,' said Mrs. Weston; 'we must not provecowards, but bear what it is our lot to bear bravely,as true women.''Dat is de right spirit, mum,' said the negro, whohad heard the conversation; 'de Lord will deliverus in good time.'Before their scanty breakfast was served out, Mrs.Weston, as on the previous evening, read the prayers;indeed Snowy and his mates had requested her todo so. There was something quieting in the beautifulwords; and as they reverently knelt, listening andjoining in the offered petitions, they one and all feltthey were beneath the eye of One who never slumbersnor sleeps.When prayers were over breakfast was servedout, the biscuits first. Felton handed round theseveral portions, then taking the tin mug, went to


NO WATER /53draw the water. Here a startling discovery awaitedhim. When he lifted the keg, he thought it con-siderably lighter than yesterday, and felt certainthat most of its precious contents was gone. Buthow? was the question. His confidence in hisfriends was too great to allow of the suspicion thatone or both had paid a surreptitious visit to it duringthe night; neither could he believe the ladies woulddo it. Examining it closely, he found one side of itwet. There he saw it must have oozed out; the kegwas leaky Doubtless the action of the sun duringthe previous day had shrunken the wood and madeit so, and all night long the precious water had beengrowing gradually less and less. He shook the keg;there could not be more than half a pint remaining.The cry of dismay which escaped his lips, as thetruth of his conclusions flashed upon his mind, drewJohn to his side. He had been crumbling Florrie'sbiscuit, and still held the basin in his hand. Hisdismay was even greater than Felton's. He hadnoticed with considerable apprehension that the childappeared less lively this morning than on the previousday; there were dark circles round her eyes, and hercheeks looked thin; as yet she had not moved fromher mother's lap,-a most unusual thing, as on-ship-


54 UNCLE JOHN'S FIRST SHIPWRECK.board there was no keeping her in one place for amoment.' What shall we do ?' was John's first exclamation.'Trust in Providence,' said Felton after a pause.' Yes, but the child she must have water, or she'lldie,' replied John.'Well, wet her biscuit this once, and let her besatisfied; before long we hope to reach land; it isthe only chance.'John did as Felton suggested, and as the last droptrickled into the basin he almost groaned, he felt sounmanned by the cruel accident that deprived themof that which alone could keep life and strength inany of the party. The sad news had to be communi.cated to the women, who were patiently waiting tomoisten their dry biscuit, before attempting to eat it.'You must tell them, John, I have not the heartto do it,' said Felton as he made his way to Snowy,who, when he learned the disaster that had befallenthem, lifted up his hands with horror.'A great misfortune has befallen us,' said John toMrs. Weston as he handed her Florrie's breakfast;' all our water is gone.'' Gone!' echoed Mrs. Weston, scarcely believingwhat she heard.


NO WATER !55'Yes; the sun must have shrunken the wood so thatthe water oozed out; this is the last I have here.'' Oh, my darling, what shall I do ?' cried the mother,clasping her little one to her bosom.John looked on with tears in his eyes, unable tosay a word.'Orrie want water,' murmured the little creature.'Here is some for Florrie,' said John, putting thebasin to her lips. The child drank all it contained,leaving only the biscuit untouched.'More !' she cried.'Florrie eat the biscuit now, water all gone,' saidJohn soothingly.'Me can't,' she replied. But when a little piecdhad been placed in her mouth, it did not need muchinducement to make her swallow the restThe two women were obliged to rest content withthe little wine that remained, but it did not satisfytheir thirst as water would have done. The men atetheir hard biscuit and beef as best they could; theyhad nothing with which to wash it down, and eachpiece they attempted to swallow stuck in theirthroats, and it required some little effort to induce itto pass.The negro's eyes looked sorrowfully upon her


56 UNCLE JOHN'S FIRST SHIPWRECK.whom he called 'dat little angel;' and when Johntook his turn at the helm, while Felton examined thelashing which held their frail raft together, he openedhis clasp-knife and tried to amuse her by cutting outdroll figures from a piece of wood. This interestedthe child for a little time, then she began to cry forwater again; and he took her in his great musculararms, and crooned some of his negro songs to her,-songs he had learnt while a slave on a plantation inSouth America,-till she dropped off to sleep, and hermother laid her in her lap. The dear little cheekslooked so pale and thin, they were quite pitiful to see.At noon she awoke, and her first cry was forwater; her little lips looked so dry and parched, theytold even more than her wailing cry how much sheneeded it. This darling child had made a warm nestfor herself in the affections of each present, and oneand all would have willingly given his or her heart'sblood to procure what she so sorely needed, but itcould not be done. John tilted the empty cask andmanaged to drain out about three drops; these heheld to her lips; they only seemed to make her worse.'Morel' she wailed, and the cry made John pullhis hair in his agony at thinking how helpless theyall were.


NO WA TER I57Indeed, they all suffered more or less from thesame cause,-intolerable thirst; but being older, theywere enabled the better to endure and conceal theirsufferings, yet each saw the others fruitlessly attempt-ing to moisten their dry lips with their tongue. Howearnestly they prayed for rain, and how constantlythey looked up to the blue sky above, if, haply, theymight discern a rain-cloud !If they found it difficult to swallow their earlymorning biscuit, they found it much more so nowwhen the noon one was served out. Mrs. Westontried to moisten a piece with her lips to give to herchild, but was obliged to give up the attempt indespair. The scanty portion of food each receivedremained uneaten; the parched throat could not bemade to swallow.All this time the raft was slowly moving throughthe water, now urged more swiftly forward by two ofthem using the oars; but this was only occasionally,the heat of the sun and their weakened conditionrendering a long spell at rowing impossible. Howanxiously they scanned the horizon for signs of land;and every time their intent gaze saw nothing but seaand sky, sky and sea. Truly their condition was likethat the poet has so well described:


58 UNCLE JOHN'S FIRS' SHIPWRECK.'Water, water everywhere,Nor any drop to drink.'In the afternoon, Snowy tore up his coarse shirt intonarrow strips, which he joined together, making a longrope; at one end he tied a piece of salt beef for abait, and throwing it into the water, let it trail a littleway behind the raft, in hopes some fish might betempted to seize it. But though he patiently waited,and his experiment was anxiously watched by theothers, no fish was tempted to swallow it; theywere not so easily beguiled, and Snowy was obligedto pull his line in again.Once more night came down upon these lonelyvoyagers on the great deep. How fervently theevening prayer, this time read by Miss French, wasechoed by them all, in tones not loud but deep Thestars came out and, looked down upon them, butthere was no pity in their light.


CHAPTER VI.DEATH OF LITTLE FLORRIE.HE night passed away without any incidentoccurringworthy ofnotice. Snowy, Felton,and John each took their separate turn atthe helm. Anxiety and weariness made it difficultat times for them to refrain from falling asleep attheir post. The two women lay quite still, for a fewhours forgetting their miseries in the blessedness ofsleep. Florrie never moved throughout the night,and once, when John bent silently over her, hesaw by the light of the stars a smile upon her face;he thought she must be dreaming of somethingpleasant, and with a murmured blessing he turnedaway, that he might not disturb her.Morning again dawned, the sun lighting up thewaves of the sea and shining down upon the frailraft and its desolate crew. As soon as there was


60 UNCLE JOHN'S FIRST SHIPWRECK.sufficient light, the men turned their gaze once moreover the sea, to ascertain if land or sail was in sight,but their search was unrewarded; as on the previousmorning, they saw nothing but the heaving waters.Hope almost died out of their hearts; they .lookedinto each other's eyes, and saw there only the lightof despair. Miss French, who had been eagerlywatching them, seeing their gesture of dismay,uttered a wailing cry and bowed her head to herknees. Mrs. Weston, who had been bending overher little daughter, hearing the cry, raised her headto ascertain the cause; no words of explanationwere needed, she comprehended the state of affairsat a glance.'No land!' she whispered to John. Her voicesounded strangely unreal.John sorrowfully shook his head; he could notbring himself to reply in words.'We are doomed to a horrible death,' wailed MissFrench, swaying herself to and fro.' Hush I dear,' said Mrs. Weston. We must notentirely despair. We can hold out a little longer;perhaps before the day closes land may appear, or,better still, a passing ship receive us on board. Letus still hope.'


DEATH OF LITTLE FL ORRIE. 6'You see, ma'am,' said Felton, 'we are very lowin the water, and cannot see far; we may be evennearer land than we think,-at any moment it may riseto our sight; and then, as you say, a passing shipmay bear down upon us; so do not lose heart.''How is de leetle chile dis mornin', ma'am?'inquired Snowy, when Felton had finished.'I scarcely know,' replied Mrs. Weston; she doesnot appear to suffer much just now, but her dearlittle cheeks are very thin.'They were thin indeed, and so pale, and her littlelips looked dry and cracked. The three men gazedsorrowfully upon her as her mother softly kissed herforehead. At that moment the eyes of the darlingchild opened, and she smiled up at the faces bendingover her. Her smile was even more pitiful to seethan her face in repose. She tried to speak, but herswollen tongue and parched mouth and throatrefused their office; only an unintelligible murmurwas heard. She seemed restless, and would notlie still in her mother's lap, but crawled for a littlewhile round about her on the raft till she came incontact with the axe, to which she put her lips,sucking it as though she felt the coldness refreshingto her hot little mouth.


62 UNCLE JOHN'S FIRST SHIPWRECK.How sad it is to see those we love suffer, and yetbe unable to relieve them The men who stood theregazing at little Florrie felt keenly their helplessness,their inability to relieve for one single moment theirlittle favourite's misery. In their powerlessness theyturned for help to the one great source of all strengthand tenderness, and if ever men prayed ferventlyfor succour, it was the negro and his two friends.But God sometimes answers prayer in a manner sodifferent to what we expected, that we are unable tocomprehend His ways.The little prayer-book came again into requisition.And perhaps never did the sun shine upon so earnesta little company. Their powers of speech were soweakened that it was only in whispers their petitionswere spoken; but how earnestly the words wereuttered, and howthe eyes of each wandered to littleFlorrie as they repeated after Mrs. Weston the words:' Look down, we beseech Thee, and hear us, callingout of the depths of misery, and out of the jaws ofthis death, which is ready-now to swallow us up:save, Lord, or else we perish.' Such words have aterrible meaning when spoken by people in such direstraits as our unfortunate adventurers.When prayers were over, Felton mechanically


DEATH OF LITTLE FLORRIE.63served out the biscuits, but they remained uneaten.Water was the great want; and swollen tongue,cracked lips, and parched throat told how dire wasthe necessity.After a time poor little Florrie crawled back to hermother; the cold iron of the axe, though cool to herhot lips, gave no relief to her intolerable thirst. Shecould not articulate a word now, only moaned like adumb child; and hearing the moan of the little sufferer,the men clenched their hands in their impotent help-lessness. Mrs. Weston gathered her daughter to herbosom, and rocked her to and fro, but she could nothush her to sleep or still the heart-rending moans.The little blue eyes, growing so dim now, were fixedwistfully upon hers, as if saying, Mother, why don'tyou help me ?' And reading their meaning thus, thepoor mother answered in a hoarse whisper, 'Mydarling, I can't,' and passionately kissed the thinwee face.'This is hard to bear,' groaned John, hiding hisface against old Snowy.*' De Lord knows it be,' whispered the black, hidinghis own eyes.'Death,' murmured Felton, 'would be more mercifulthan such suffering.'


64 UNCLE JOHN'S FIRST SHIPWRECK.'No! no cried John hoarsely; 'we can't let herdie.'' My poor lad,' replied Felton, 'I would give mylife to save the little one; but to see her suffer andbe unable to relieve her is too much to bear.'The old negro groaned with sympathy.'Oh if a shower of rain would but fall,' said John.'There is no sign of rain,' replied Felton, lookingup in the sky.'What is it you are looking at so earnestly?' in-quired John of Snowy, whose gaze was fixed intentlyon one particular spot on the horizon.Felton cast his eyes in the same direction, saying,after a few minutes' pause, It looks like surf.''Yes, dat am surf,' echoed the negro.'Surf !' cried John; then there must be land !''More likely a cpral reef,' said Felton. We hadbetter not say a word to the ladies, or we shall raisehopes doomed never to be realized; let us make sureof what it is first.''I tink, Feelton, we steer in dat ar' direction; ifcoral reef, dere also san'bank, and if san'bank, wefin' bird's egg,' said the negro.In this Felton concurred; the sail was accordinglyshifted so as the better to catch the breeze then blow-


DEATH OF LITTLE FLORRIE.ing, and the black steered the raft to where his sharpeyes had caught a glimpse of foamy surf. Johnclimbed the spar with some little difficulty, whichanswered the purpose of a mast, to get a better view.He distinctly made out a long unbroken line of whitesurf, but could see no land. He communicated thisintelligence to his companions, and Felton remarked,'It is as I thought, a coral reef.' The hope whichfor a moment had buoyed up their hearts died ou'again.They nevertheless thought it prudent to steer to-wards the reef, as the negro said in all probabilitysandbanks would there be found; and if not sofortunate as to discover water upon them, there wassome chance of finding a few eggs of the booby bird,and even these would be considered God-sends.Neither Mrs. Weston nor Miss French were madeacquainted with the fact that they were steering to-wards a coral reef, where they expected to obtainsomething to alleviate the pangs of the terrible thirstconsuming them. The fear of the probable disappoint-ment that awaited them withheld them from inform-ing the two unfortunate ladies, they thought it wouldbe so cruel to raise hopes never to be realized; theircompassion for the unfortunate sufferers was too great


66 UNCLE JOHN'S FIRST SHIPWRECK.to permit of this. How earnestly they wished theirfrail refuge would move quicker through the water!and to aid it onward, Felton and Snowy took a spellat the oars, while John held the tiller; but theirweakness was so great that their utmost efforts barelysufficed to increase the speed.All day they stood towards the reef, with darlingFlorrie growing worse and worse. Her dear face wasso sad a sight, that the men turned away their-eyesfrom seeing it; and all day her mother bent over herwith an agonized heart. Her face was as sad to lookupon as the child's. Once Miss French attemptedto take it from her arms to relieve her, but themother would not part from her treasure; she clungto it so despairingly that her friend was obliged torelinquish her efforts, and could only sit by her sideand watch the faint flame of life that wavered to andfro in' the little body. Sometimes Florrie openedher eyes, and looked up into her mother's face witha look of recognition; she would even attempt a smile,but it usually ended with the eyes again closing, andthe laboured heaving of the little bosom.' Give me water, or my child will die !' cried Mrs.Weston once in her agony of sorrow; and when theyheard it, the men covered their faces with their thin


DEA TN OF LITTLE FLORRIE. 67hands, and would have wept; but although theirhearts were full of tears, their eyes refused to shedthem. The agony of that moment was past allexpression; those who lived through it never forgot itto their dying day, and could never recall it withouta shudder.That little golden-haired darling dying; the mother'ssorrow; their own impotent helplessness,-how itall recurred to them again and again in after years !In waking day, in dreams of the night; in silence,in the bustle of active life; in happiness and in misery,that picture of the mother and her child never fadedfrom their memories.It was night, and too dark to distinguish the cha-racter of the reef when they neared it. They werecompelled to lower the sail and use the oars to pre-vent the raft from drifting into the power of the surf,which would soon have hurled it to destruction.'We must keep off and on till daybreak,' saidFelton, 'or we shall suffer a second shipwreck.'How anxious they were for the darkness to passaway, that they might discover if land was near; butwith the dawn of morning their hopes of gainingland vanished. They found themselves among arange of reefs, consisting of sunken rocks and low


68 UNCLE JOHN'S FIRST SHIPIWRECK.sandbanks, extending in all directions except fromthe eastward.'The water is smooth inside,' remarked Felton,'and if we can find an opening in the reef, we maybe able to land on one of the sandbanks.''We must coast along until we discover one,' saidJohn.The sail was again hoisted by Snowy, who stoodby ready to lower it should danger present itself.' I see a break yonder,' cried John, pointing somedistance ahead.' Dat be wide enough, me tink, for de raft,' saidSnowy, examining it critically.'At all events we will try it,' said Felton; 'youtake the tiller, John, while I con the raft.'John did as he was desired, and Felton, makinghis way to the head of the raft, narrowly examinedthe channel into which it was steered. It was withgreat difficulty, and several very narrow escapes fromdestruction, that the passage was at length made.'Thank God,' said Felton reverently, 'we havebeen saved almost,-by a miracle; now steer the raftto the largest of the sandbanks, I see a few stuntedbushes on it; I pray we may find water, but I doubtit.'


PDEATH OF LITTLE FLORRIE.69In a little while the raft grounded on a sandbanknot more than a mile in circumference; and the threemen, weak and scarcely able to crawl, landed.Their first care was to secure the raft, to prevent itdrifting away; then, while Snowy and Felton wentaway in search of water, John assisted the ladies tothe sand. It was only by earnest entreaty that hecould persuade them to leave their refuge; indeed,Mrs. Weston was so absorbed in her child that shepaid no heed to what was said, so that John wasobliged to address himself to Miss French, andsecure her aid in inducing the poor mother to land.The lad wanted to carry the little girl, but she wouldnot part with her; and while he supported as best hecould Miss French's tottering footsteps, Mrs. Westonfound strength to step on shore unaided. There shesat herself down, careless of what was going onaround, only anxious about her darling.The negro and Felton soon returned. They wereunsuccessful in their search for water, but had founda few booby eggs, and even knocked down a coupleof the birds. Though consumed with thirst, the firstthought of these brave men was for little Florrie.They broke an egg in the basin, and bleeding one ofthe birds, beat the two together; it then made a


70 UiVCLE JOHN'S FIRST SHIP IRECK.liquid, not like water, certainly, but it would surelyalleviate the dreadful thirst, and snatch the childback from the gates of death.The poor little face was quite thin, the cheeksshrunken, and the dear lips dry and black. Howtenderly, while the mother raised her head, did theburly negro endeavour to force a little of the liquidinto the child's mouth, and how anxiously the others.watched his efforts. How long he persisted in hisattempts none of them ever knew, but it seemed forhours, so great was their agony of suspense. At lasthe desisted, and gravely shaking his head, said in awhisper-'Me berry much feared she nebber drink more.''No! no!' cried Mrs. Weston, 'my darling is notdead; feel, her dear little bosom is warm, and herheart throbs.'John gently placed his hand on the dear littlecreature's bosom: he felt but a faint, feeble flutter.She was evidently dying fast. At that momentFlorrie opened her eyes, and looking up at theanxious faces bending over her, tried to speak; butalthough her lips moved slightly, no sound camefrom them; then a faint smile passed over her face,quickly followed by an awful shadow; the little eyesi "


DEATH OF LITTLE FLORRIE.7Idarkened into the darkness of death. A feeble gasp,and darling Florrie was dead. The mother saw allwas over, and in mute anguish bowed her head; andwhile her friend endeavoured to comfort her, thethree men turned with one consent away, unable towitness the grief they could not alleviate.After a time John returned to the bereaved mother,to try and induce her to partake of some of the egg.He gave the basin into Miss French's hand, telling herthat herself and Mrs. Weston must try to swallow itscontents, however unpalatable it might taste, or theywould perish. He then returned to his comrades,whom he found preparing to kindle a fire. Snowy wasusing the axe to cut up one of the loose planks fromthe raft, while Felton with steel and flint, which hehad carried in his pocket all along, was setting fire tosome tinder prepared from a remnant of the negro'sshirt. After a few vain efforts the fire began to blaze;the saucepan then came into requisition. The eggswere broken and the blood of the remaining birdsmixed with them; the birds themselves, plucked andcut up, were placed on the fire, a few pieces onlybeing put in the saucepan with some biscuit. Aftera little delay the whole was ready for eating. Thewants of the two ladies were first supplied, They had*^I?^%.T..LAO


72 UNCLE JOHN'S FIRST SHIPWRECK.drunk the previous mixture. The meal over, eachone felt considerably better. True, their food hadtasted rather fishy and somewhat rank, but it hadsucceeded a little in alleviating their thirst, which, tosay the least, was something gained.By this time the sun was high up in the sky, andits heat began to feel unpleasant, and Snowy suggestedthat with the aid of the oars and sail a little tentmight be erected to screen the ladies. This taskthey immediately set about performing, for they haddetermined to remain on the sandbank till the follow-ing morning, by which time they would have collectedmore eggs, and perhaps secured a few additionalboobies, which with care might last them till theysucceeded in gaining the mainland.The tent was soon erected, being very simple inconstruction,-in fact, consisting of nothing more thanthe oars and the mast placed upright in the sand, andthe sail thrown over them; but it answered the pur-pose of a shelter, and that was everything. The menthen turned to another task which they knew it wasnecessary to accomplish, yet they set about it withvery heavy and aching hearts,-it was to dig a gravefor their dead little favourite. The spot selectedwas near a few stunted bushes. Here, with their


DEATH OF LITTLE FLORRIE.73hands, they hollowed out a tolerably deep hole, then,at the expense of a little additional labour, succeededin shaping it into something like the resemblance ofa grave. Before their task was completed, day hadnearly closed.In the meantime, Mrs. Weston and her friend hadbeen preparing the little body for its last earthlyhabitation. They first of all wrapped it carefullyin one of the shawls my readers will remember theyhad with them on the raft, leaving the face onlyexposed; a blanket was then cut up, and this alsowas folded round it. Miss French then beckoned tothe men to come and take a last farewell of Florrie.They gathered round the door of the rough tent, andgazed sorrowfully upon the dear little face, so quietnow, so still and calm, so peaceful in its wonderfulrepose. These men were weak from suffering andprivation, yet they would gladly have gone throughagain and yet again the last few days' experience,could they have restored once more to life their littlefavourite; but this could not be. As each thoughtthis was the last time they should ever see her, theycried, and were not ashamed of their tears.'I thank you,' said Mrs. Weston in a scarcelyarticulate voice, 'for the love you bore my dead


IL74 UNCLE JOHN'S FIRST SHIPWRECC.child, and for the kind tenderness with which youalways treated her; I thought you would like to haveone farewell glance at her darling face before I hid itaway for ever.'' Thank you, ma'am,' said Felton, speaking for hiscomrades; 'we loved your little girl, and would havedied for her. May we give her a parting kiss ?'Mrs. Weston signed her assent, and kneeling, eachreverently touched the little white brow with his lips.It was a solemn and touching spectacle the burialof little Florrie. The mother would permit none butherself to lay the little body, oh! so precious, in itslonely grave. And the words of the burial service,as they were read by John, sounded very impressiveand affecting. When all was over, the dark nightcame down upon them, and the stars for the firsttime rested their light upon little Florrie's grave.All night long, by the light of the fire, John workedaway at a rude tablet, to be placed at the head of thegrave. With the axe he shaped a board into theform of a cross, and then burnt into it the name ofthe child, her age, the date of her death and itscause, and at the bottom these words:' She is not dead, but sleepeth.'


DEATH OF LITTLE FLORRIE. 75When on the following day the raft left the sand-bank, it seemed so sad to leave ,the little grave behind,it looked so lonely there, surrounded by the watersof the sea, so far away from human life. The poormother kept her face towards it as long as the rudetablet at its head could be seen. The hearts of thatlittle company were very sad as gradually the sand-bank disappeared from view, sinking as it were intothe great ocean itself


*1CHAPTER VII.THE ISLAND AND THE BOAT.EFORE the raft left the sandbank, Snowyand Felton found a few more eggs, andknocked down an additional booby brtwo; the latter were cooked, but the former takenwith them raw, to be used as a substitute for water,of which precious fluid, as we have seen, their tem-porary refuge did not yield one drop.Our three heroes were somewhat strengthened andrefreshed by the more generous diet of which theyhad partaken, and two of them, to increase the speedof the raft, took a spell at the oars, and worked with awill, albeit with saddened hearts. Though their eyeslooked hopefully forward, their thoughts as constantlyturned backwards to the little grave they were leavingbehind.Land was confidently expected to be seen ere76


THE ISLAND AND TIiE BOAT. 77night, when they hoped that the sharpest of theirsufferings would be relieved, and they were constantlyon the look-out for signs which would infallibly provetheir conjectures right. These hopes John com-municated to Miss French, who sat with her armround her friend, whispering what words of con-solation she could find to say to the grief-strickenmother.'I shall not be sorry,' said Miss French in reply;'the sooner we gain land the better; I am veryweary of this life.''So are we all,' thought John.But the day passed, and night came, and still landwas not in sight, and the weary band of voyagerswere compelled to buoy up their courage with thehope that surely morning would bring the longed-forsight. And, surely enough, when the sun rose, allhands were aroused by the welcome shout fromFelton of Land, ho 'Looking in the direction to which he eagerlypointed, there distinctly rose the high mountains ofNew South Wales. To paint the joy which showeditself on each face would be a vain task. My readersmust try and picture to themselves how great it was.Between them and the mainland were a number of


78 UNCLE JOIN'S FIRST SHIPWRECI.small islands, and it was quickly decided to make forthe nearest 'of these. We may find water there,' saidFelton, as he urged them to adopt this plan.Yet, in their exhausted state, it took some time toreach it; and to add to their difficulties, when withintwo or three miles it fell a dead calm, and they werecompelled to row the rest of the way.On landing, the island proved to be barren andsandy, slightly covered with furze and grass, but withoutanything in the shape of food or water to relieve theirhunger and thirst. This made them regret they hadnot continued their course to the mainland, insteadof wasting valuable time in making for so barren aspot; but as it still continued calm, they resolved to \stay there for the remainder of the day. Securingthe raft in the little sandy bay where it had grounded,Snowy started off to make a more thorough survey ofthe island, with the hope that he might yet be suc-cessful in finding something to eat. Felton andJohn turned, after having first landed the ladies, todigging'a well in the sand, above high-water mark,in the hope of finding fresh water.'I have read,' said Felton, of shipwrecked sailorsbeing successful in making such experiments, and wemay as well have a trial as sit still and do nothing.'


THE ISLAND AND THE BOAT 79John readily consented to the proposition, andboth set to work with a will, using for the purposenow their hands, and now a piece of board hewedinto the shape of a shovel by the aid of the axe.For some time they worked away in silence, withno good result; but just as they were about to giveup in despair, to their great joy they saw water begin-ning to percolate through, and when sufficient hadaccumulated at the botton of the hole, John dippedin his hand and tasted it. To his inexpressible dis-appointment, he found it to be so brackish as to betotally unfit for drinking.'We must dig another,' said Felton, after imitatingJohn's example by conveying some of the water tohis lips; 'farther from the shore it may be morepure.'Just as they were beginning to their second well,they saw the negro returning, apparently with some-thing in his hands. He had evidently joyful news tocommunicate, and was hurrying along as fast as hisweakened condition would permit. The two menrelinquished their fruitless labour and hurried to meethim. They were not near enough to hear what he wassaying, although they saw he was shouting to them.This made them quicken their footsteps. A nearer


8o UNCLE JOHN'S FIRST SHIPWRECK.approach showed the faithful fellow was laden withrock oysters, while their ears were assailed withthe delightful cry of Water!'As he came up to them he pantingly cried, Herebe somethin' to eat; but get de keg,-dere is water.'No second word was needed. Felton got the emptykeg and the tin mug, and returned with the negro toget a supply of the precious fluid, of which all stoodin such sore need; while John picked up the oystersSnowy had thrown down in his excitement, and wentto the ladies to tell them the glad tidings.'Thank God,' cried Mrs. Weston; 'I don't thinkI could have held out much longer.'' Let me open one of the oysters,' said John, takingout his clasp-knife.'I don't think I can swallow one till I have hadsome water, my throat is too parched.'' Here it comes, dear,' cried Miss French, clappingher hands in her gladness.These brave men had not stopped to relieve theirown thirst, their first thought was for the two unfor-tunate women; so, filling the keg, .they had hastenedtheir return, laden with the precious freight. Neverwas a draught of water received so thankfully, or sokeenly enjoyed, as that drunk by John and his friends,


THE ISLAND AND THE BOAT 8Ithe intense sigh of pleasure that each gave whentheir thirst had been satisfied being in itself a con-clusive proof.The negro in his survey of the island had noticeda rock that jutted out into the sea, and making hisway to it, he had there found plenty of rock oysters;and while gathering a load of these, his attentionwas attracted by a bird standing on a loftier heightof the rock, climbing up to which he discovered ina cavity an abundance of pure, fresh water. Atthe welcome sight he could scarcely refrain fromdancing for joy, but the thought of his comnpanions in misfortune soon quieted him; so takinga quantity of the oysters with him, he returnedto tell of his good fortune; with what result wehave seen.' Now,' said Felton, when each had drunken hisand her fill of water, 'we will have stewed oysters fordinner. John, get some dry grass and build the firewhile I open the oysters; Snowy will cook them-knows how better than I do.'' Yes,' said the negro, with a grin, dis chile cookone dinner fit for king.' And when it was ready andpartaken of, they all declared the old negro had madegood his word, and had given them a dinner fit for aF


82 UNCLE JOHN'S FIRST SHIPWRECK.king. The keen relish which hunger gives perhapsgave force to their verdict.Satisfied as they had not been for days past, hungerand thirst both relieved, when their meal was endedthey sat lazily on the sand, not caring to move. Ithad been agreed before dinner to remain on theisland for the night, to recruit their strength some-what before making the attempt to gain the main-land; and having plenty of time in which to renewtheir supplies of oysters and water, they felt theymight indulge themselves in a little rest; and this theyproceeded to do in such various ways as inclinationprompted. Felton went to sleep, the negro stretchedhimself at full length upon the sand, while John sattalking to the ladies, who were mending their dresses,which in the course of their adventures had becomesadly dilapidated. All at once Snowy gave a shoutand started to his feet, frightening his companions,who thought he must have been stung by asnake.'Why, what is it, Snowy?' inquired Felton, whomhe had awoke.'Me forget,' cried the black, stamping his greatfoot on the sand, 'dis chile see boat by de rockwhere am oysters.'


THE ISLAND AND THE BOAT. 83'A boat1' cried Felton, now thoroughly awake.Whose?''Dat am what I not know; but dere no one in,and it be half full o' san'.'' We must go and examine it,' said Felton, rising tohis feet; 'if it proves to be sound, it will be moreserviceable to us than the raft.'Without more words Felton and John set off,guided by Snowy. When they arrived at the spotwhere the boat was lying, they found it was a snuglittle bay on the lee side of what they called OysterRock. Upon examination they found the boat musthave been lying there for some little time, whichcaused them to give up their first theory in account-ing for its appearance, namely, that it was one of thetwo boats which had so cruelly deserted them on thenight of the wreck. Each gave it as his opinionthat it had never belonged to the Nellie, but musthave either drifted there from some other wreck,or been purposely left by its crew, who themselveswere received on board a passing vessel. Thesand was cleared out, but nothing was discoveredbeneath, save only a worn ancle-shoe and a brokenoar. Felton carefully examined its timbers, and find-ing them sound, declared it was capable of con,


84 UNCLE JOHN'S FIRST SHIPWRECKveying them to the mainland. He, with the aid ofhis, two friends, launched it, and seeing that, with theexception of a trifling leakage, it was water-tight,.pronounced it a prize.'It will do, Snowy,' he said; 'what little waterit makes can easily be kept under by baling. Thetiller is a little damaged, but that we can easilyremedy; and with the mast from the raft we shall beable to make sail, and our speed will be far morerapid than it has hitherto been.'In all this his friends agreeing, it was resolved torow round to where the raft was lying, and removeinto the boat all their valuables; John, therefore, ranback for the oars, and when he returned they all threeembarked in their prize.Mrs. Weston and her friend were exceedingly sur-prised to see their protectors rowing to the landing.place in a boat, and could scarcely credit their eyes,and for a moment thought they were playing themfalse; but when the men shouted to them they nolonger remained incredulous, but hastened downto the beach to meet them on landing. They weresoon in possession of the particulars of the goodfortune that had befallen them, and most heartilycongratulated Snowy and his comrades.


THE ISLAND AND THE BOAT 85The articles were soon transferred from the raftto the boat, the tiller repaired in the best waypossible with their limited resources, and the sparespar erected and the sail hoisted. The boat wasthen drawn up on the beach for the night, and aftera supper of stewed oysters washed down with water,the little company gathered together for prayers, andthen lay down to sleep.On the following morning they were early astir, andafter partaking of a similar meal to their two previousones, they bade farewell to the raft and embarked onboard the boat. They first of all rowed round toOyster Rock and got a fresh supply of oysters andwater, after which they hoisted their little sail andstood boldly for the mainland.'What island is that?' said Miss French to John.'I don't know, Miss,' was John's reply.'I think we may safely call it Providence Island,'remarked Mrs. Weston, 'for thither God provi-dentially led-us, and there we found water, food, andthis boat.''Me tink dat berry good name, mum,' said thenegro, grinning approval.'Yes,' continued Mrs. Weston; 'God has beenmerciful, in spite of His having taken my'- She


86 UNCLE JOHN'S FIRST SHIPWRECK.could proceed no farther; her thoughts were backagain to her little Florrie, lying there in her dark gravein the midst of the heaving waters.The rfen looked at each other; they well knew ofwhat she was thinking; their thoughts, too, wanderedfrequently back to the memorable spot where theyhad seen the last of their little favourite, and wherethey had laid her to rest. Yes; Florrie's Island,' asthey called it, became as it were a landmark in theirmemories, which no after event was ever likely toremove.


CHAPTER VIII.ADVENTURES ON LAND.HE near approach to land considerablyraised the spirits of our voyagers; theyhad no longer any fear of dying eithelby thirst or hunger, or even suffering so cruelly asduring the early part of their adventurous voyage;their good fortune, too, in finding the boat in whichthey were now sailing added to the general feelingof joy which began to pervade each bosom. It wasfound to make even less water than Felton hadsupposed it would, therefore very little baling wasrequired. Strong hopes were entertained of reachingland before night. The two ladies found the boatfar more comfortable than the raft.Snowy held the tiller, steering the boat according toFelton's directions, who with John stood at the bows,


88 -UNCLE JOHN'S FIRST SHIPWRECK.keeping a sharp look-out for sunken rocks, that theymight not suffer a second shipwreck.'Who first discovered this country?' inquired Johnof his companion.'It seems doubtful who was the first Europeandiscoverer,' replied Felton. 'The Dutch claim thehonour, and certainly the first really authenticaccounts we have show that the northern andwestern sides were visited by them as early as theyear I6I6, if not in 1605; they made extensiveexplorations of the coast in the following century, andthen called the country New Holland. Dutch navi-gators appear to have had a passion for calling anynewly discovered country after their own belovedland.'' When did the first Englishman land?''Somewhere about i688; it was the celebratedbuccaneer, Dampier.'. 'But if I remember rightly,' said John, 'Cookvisited it, did he not?''Yes, but not till nearly one hundred years afterDampier; then he surveyed the greater part of theeastern coast.''When, then, was the first settlement made?''When we lost our American Colonies, it was


AD VENTURES ON LAND.89fixed upon for a penal settlement, and the first batchof convicts landed in 1788, under the command ofCaptain Philip, who proclaimed the colony NewSouth Wales.''I suppose, considering how few the coast settle-ments are, but little of the interior has been explored?''Next to nothing. It has, however, commenced;a passage across the Blue Mountains was made abouta dozen years since. But we have little to do withthe interior; we must be thankful if we can reach thecoast and effect a safe landing.''There is no fear but what we shall accomplishthat now,' said John.'Well, I hope so; yet the coast is almost one con-tinuous line of high rocks, and unless we can findsome little inlet or bay we may find it difficult to land.'' Oh, I trust not,' rejoined John earnestly; afterso much suffering, to be in sight of land and thennot able to gain it will indeed be a disappointment.'' We must hope for the best, John; the same Pro-vidence which has watched over us hitherto will notnow desert us. But should we be able to land, eventhen our difficulties will not be over; we shall still be. far from the nearest settlement, which we can onlyhope to gain by coasting along.'


go UNCLE JOHN'S FIRST SHIPWRECK.' At any rate we shall be able to procure some moresolid food than rock oysters.'' Even in this you must not be too sanguine, forthere is no country in which animal life is so scarceas in this. Birds we might be able to procure inabundance, had we guns wherewith to shoot them;but as they are not quite so stupid as boobies, westand but a poor chance of being able to knock anyon the head.''Why, Felton,' said John a little crossly, you arequite a Job's comforter.''No, not that; but it is as well to know what arethe difficulties before us, that we may be prepared tomeet them with a stout heart, and by the help of Godovercome them.'It was not till past noon that the boat approachedthe shore, upon which all eyes were eagerly fixed. Aline of high rocks met their view, against which thesurf beat so violently that great care was necessary toprevent the boat from being drawn within its power,where it would soon have been dashed to pieces.After running along the coast for some distance, alitti sandy cove was discovered between two highrocks; into this the boat was steered, and in a littlewhile all hands landed. They felt as they stepped onI


ADVENTURES ON LAND.91shore that now their worst perils were over; so muchpreferable did their situation appear to be, even ona comparatively barren coast, to the anxieties andsufferings felt and endured when tossed about uponthe ocean.As soon as the boat was secured, all hands set towork. Snowy took the hatchet and proceeded to cuta quantity of fuel for a fire, which the ladies insistedupon carrying down to the spot which had beenfixed upon for their camping place. They declaredthey had been idle long enough, and that it was timefor them to take their share of the general toil. Johnwent off in search of water, but was cautioned not towander too far for fear of losing himself, and aboveall, to be on his guard against the natives. Feltontook another direction to hunt for food.John penetrated some distance into the densebush without observing any signs of water. He wascareful, however, to take particular notice of theobjects which he passed, so that they might serve asguides on his way back. Once he thought he saw theform of a man or animal gliding behind the trunks ofthe trees; he stopped to examine more closely, butseeing nothing move, he concluded he must have beenmistaken. When he had gone, as far as he could


92 UNCLE JOHN'S FIRST SHIPWRECR.judge, about a mile from the encampment, to his greatjoy he discovered a rivulet of clear water. From thecourse which it seemed to take, he judged it must flowmuch nearer to where they had landed than the spotwhere he then stood. He went down on his handsand knees and took a long, refreshing draught.As he was about to return to his companions, hewas startled by hearing a kind of savage howl; he lis-tened,-it was repeated again. He knew from Feltonthat the country contained no very dangerous animal,and therefore concluded it must be the howl of a wilddog. A little way ahead he saw an opening, fromwhich direction the howl apparently came; making hisway to it, he saw a sight that filled him with pleasure.It was a dingo, or native dog, which had succeededin running down an emu (the ostrich of Australia),and was now feeding upon one of its legs. To rushforward with a loud shout and drive the dog awaywas the work of a minute; he then threw the birdover his shoulder and hastened back with his bootyto his friends, where his appearance was hailed withdelight.Felton had not yet returned, but the active blackhad kindled a fire, and succeeded in erecting a kindof bower with branches of trees, and a sail thrown


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122 UNCLE JOHN'S FIRST SIIIPWIZFREC replied John; 'I, too, shall never forget the time we have passed together. As for Florrie, she will remain in my memory till death.' When Miss French thanked him for all his kind protecting care, saying she should never be able to repay it, he asked her to allow him to keep the little prayer-book as a memento. 'I will never part from it,' he said, as he shook her hand for the last time. Snowy and Felton came in for their share of praise and good wishes, and they finally parted with the hope that one day they should meet again. Thus I have given you the story of my Uncle John's first shipwreck. He often told it to myself and his other nephews and nieces; and again and again, when he would turn to other stories of his adventurous career, we would plead for a repetition of the wreck of the brig Nellie and the story of little Florrie. The two boats which had so treacherously left my uncle and his companions on the deck of the doomed vessel were never again heard of, and it was conjectured that all on board had perished.



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14 UNCLE JOHN'S FIRST SHIPWRECK. we must try our hardest to save them; I can't bear the thought of little Florrie being drowned.' 'Should de ship strike, you stick by Snowy, and together we will take care of de ladies,' said the negro, placing his hand on his shoulder. But should such be her fate, there is sure to be a rush for the boats, and as there are only two, the weakest among us will stand very little' chance of escape.' Den we make a raft and escape on dat.' A raft how can one live in such a sea?' De ship 'ab not struck yet; wait till time come for to act.' 'Well, Snowy, whatever we do we do together, but our principal care must be the ladies and the little one.' 'Trust dis ar' chile for dat.' Meanwhile, during the storm the passengers had confined themselves to their respective cabins, too sick and terrified even to dream of making an appearance on deck; expecting every moment the ship would founder, they fully concluded that they should founder with her. Mrs. Weston pressed her little one to her bosom and kissed her passionately,: while her tears wetted her face as she pictured to



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62 UNCLE JOHN'S FIRST SHIPWRECK. How sad it is to see those we love suffer, and yet be unable to relieve them The men who stood there gazing at little Florrie felt keenly their helplessness, their inability to relieve for one single moment their little favourite's misery. In their powerlessness they turned for help to the one great source of all strength and tenderness, and if ever men prayed fervently for succour, it was the negro and his two friends. But God sometimes answers prayer in a manner so different to what we expected, that we are unable to comprehend His ways. The little prayer-book came again into requisition. And perhaps never did the sun shine upon so earnest a little company. Their powers of speech were so weakened that it was only in whispers their petitions were spoken; but how earnestly the words were uttered, and howthe eyes of each wandered to little Florrie as they repeated after Mrs. Weston the words: Look down, we beseech Thee, and hear us, calling out of the depths of misery, and out of the jaws of this death, which is ready-now to swallow us up: save, Lord, or else we perish.' Such words have a terrible meaning when spoken by people in such dire straits as our unfortunate adventurers. When prayers were over, Felton mechanically



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THE STORM. 15 herself the horrors of her too probable fate. At times, Miss French tried to suggest to her companion a more hopeful state of things, but she even would give up in despair as the storm seemed to increase, and devote herself to reading a little prayer-book she usually carried in her pocket. This state of things continued for no less than nine days. The men, worn out with their exertions and want of rest, were ready to drop at their posts with fatigue. But at the close of the ninth day of the storm a more hopeful prospect dawned; the clouds broke, and the wind began sensibly to abate. By the morning of the tenth, the storm had entirely spent itself, the wind lessened to a pleasant breeze, the waves subsided, and the sun added its cheering beams to enliven the scene. The caboose fire was again lighted, and the men once more enabled to have warm food and hot grog; and once again the passengers made their appearance on deck, looking somewhat pale from their long confinement and anxiety, but otherwise none the worse for what they had undergone. Little Florrie soon recovered her spirits, and one of the first visits she made was to Snowy in the caboose, who, seeing her golden head at the door, did not fail to utter his



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58 UNCLE JOHN'S FIRS' SHIPWRECK. 'Water, water everywhere, Nor any drop to drink.' In the afternoon, Snowy tore up his coarse shirt into narrow strips, which e joined together, making a long rope; at one end he tied a piece of salt beef for a bait, and throwing it into the water, let it trail a little way behind the raft, in hopes some fish might be tempted to seize it. But though he patiently waited, and his experiment was anxiously watched by the others, no fish was tempted to swallow it; they were not so easily beguiled, and Snowy was obliged to pull his line in again. Once more night came down upon these lonely voyagers on the great deep. How fervently the evening prayer, this time read by Miss French, was echoed by them all, in tones not loud but deep The stars came out and, looked down upon them, but there was no pity in their light.



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William P. Nimmo & Co., Edinburgh. N IMMO'S SUNDAY-SCHOOL REWARD BOOKS. IN PACKETS. PENNY BOOKS. Twelve Books in Packet. In demy 18mo, 16 pp., Illustrated. Coloured Wrapper with beautiful design. Price Is. each Packet. PACKET I,, Twelve kinds. PACKET IV., Twelve kinds. I *I., , V ., ,, I, III., ,, A VI., ,, TWOPENNY BOOKS. Six Books in Packet. In demy 18mo, 32 pp., Illustrated. Coloured Wrapper with beautiful design. Price Is. each Packet. PACKET I., Six kinds. PACKET IV., Six kinds. ,, III.,, ,, ,, VI., ,, The above SUNDAY-SCHOOL REWARD PACKETS also kept in Volumes, demy 18mo, cloth extra, price Is. each, or in gilt back and edges, price Is. 6d. each, under the following titles: 1. George and his Penny, by Mrs. SHERWOOD; and other Tales. 2. The Young Apprentice, by JANE TAYLOR; and other Tales. 3. Faithful unto Death, by CHARLES BRUCE; and other Tales. 4. My Little Teachers, and other Tales. 5. Brave and True, and other Tales. 6. Emily's Temptation, and other Tales. 7. The Negro Servant, by Rev. LEGH RICHMOND; and other Tales. 8. The Orange Girl of St. Giles, and other Tales. 9. The Orange Grove, by Mrs. SHERWOOD; and other Tales. 10. Little Nat, and other Tales. 11. Learning by Experience, and dther Tales. 12. The Orphan's Friend, by JAMES F. COBB; and other Tales. *** The above Series of SUNDAY-SCHOOL REWARD BOOKS comprises somee of the best selected Tales, written specially for Youth, by Mrs. SHERWOOD, JANE TAYLOR, RICHARD ROWE, JAMES F. COBB, F.R.G.S., CHARLES BRUCE, and other popular and sWell-known Authors. The moral teaching in each, though given in the form of a Story, is sound, healthy, and unmistakable, while they are all written in a way which cannot fail to prove interesting and attractive to the very youngest class of readers. *-4



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12 UNCLE JOHN'S FIRST SHIP WVRE CK: Now he was fully to learn the truth of the saying young lads are so apt to disregard, namely, that a sailor's life is not all ease and sunshine; quite other than this he found it during the nine days the storm continued. Drenched from head to foot by the waves, which constantly broke on board, he found no opportunity for changing his wet garments for dry, but was compelled to do his duty, feeling most miserably damp and cold. The caboose fire could not be lighted to cook the men's meals, and he, with the rest, was compelled to satisfy his hunger as best he could by nibbling hard biscuit and eating raw pork, a most unsatisfactory way of filling an empty stomach, as those well know who have tried it. These evils, bad as they appear, are too frequent in a sailor's lot to be murmured at, and could be borne with tolerable patience, but the worst he had to contend with was want of rest and sleep. After hours spent in the performance of difficult and harassing duties on deck, he would seek his hammock below, when, no sooner had he turned in 'all standing,' and was dropping off to sleep, than the thumping of a hand-spike on the deck, and the hoarse cry of 'All hands shorten sail!' would necessitate his springing



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THE STORM. 17 During the prevalence of the storm the ship had been beaten back upon her course, and it occurred to the captain that he did not exactly know her position or whither he was steering. He therefore deemed it prudent under the circumstances to take an observation, and ascertain the exact whereabouts of his vessel. He took his instruments on deck, and after a little time discovered she had been blown several degrees from her proper course, and had not made so much way as even before the gale began. The weather being fine and moderate, all sail was instantly set, and her head put in the right direction; and ordering a sharp look-out to be kept to avoid any chance reef in the neighbourhood, he descended to his cabin. 'This is a little more cheering,' said John to a sailor two or three years older than himself, whose name was Felton, and to whom he had addressed his remarks as the vessel was leaving harbour. Felton was a fine, intelligent-looking young man, and one who appeared to have received a far superior education to the run of sailors in that day, among whom, indeed, it was difficult to find any who had received even the rudiments of the simplest education. He seemed also well conversant with books, B



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46 UNCLE JOHN'S FIRST SHIPWRECK. Florrie had satisfied her thirst, in drinking her own allotted portion. Arrangements were then made for the night. It was resolved that watch and watch should be kept throughout the darkness. John was to take the first, Felton the second, and Snowy the third. All were to be called should a change in the weather occur. When it began to grow dark, Florrie, who had amused herself by crawling about the raft during the day, crept to her mother's knee and said she wanted to go 'by by.' Mrs. Weston wrapped her in her shawl, and bade her go to sleep in her arms; but before doing so the little creature said she must say her prayers. As the three men heard her lisp her little evening prayer, they each bowed their head, and in their hearts felt as if no danger could overtake them while so precious a little soul was in their midst. When her child had settled for the night, Mrs. Weston, addressing John and his friends, asked whether they would not join with her and Miss French in offering up a petition to Almighty God to preserve them throughout the coming night. It was then John remembered the prayer-book he had picked up from the floor of the cabin, which till



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THE BRIG 'ELLIE' AND HER CREWV. 5 You have not got your sea legs yet, ma'am,' said John with a smile. No, I am afraid not,' replied Mrs. Weston; 'thank you very much for saving me from a nasty fall.' 'Oh, it is nothing, ma'am; the little girl is not hurt, I hope?' 'I think not,' said the mother, looking anxiously at her little one; but seeing no indications of alarm in the child's face, she said to it, Florrie, darling, thank the brave lad for saving you.' The little one crowed and clutched at John's hair. 'May I kiss it instead, ma'am ? I have a little sister at home in England just about her size.' 'Yes, by all means,' replied Mrs. Weston, holding Florrie out to him. John kissed her on her soft little cheek, and then turned away to resume his coiling, thinking in his heart he would keep a watchful eye on both mother and child whenever they appeared on deck, and as far as possible prevent them from falling into danger. All on board were strangers to John with but one exception; this was the black cook, named Snowy, who in spite of having knocked about the world for fifty years, both as slave and sailor, had yet a kind heart beating in his bosom, and having



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UNCLE JOHN'S FIRST SIIPWRECK. CHAPTER I. THE BRIG 'NELLIE' AND HER CREW. .^^-.-HOSE of my young readers who study geo* 71J graphy will know that Tasmania was once ..:j, called Van Diemen's Land, and was discovered in the year 1644 by a Dutch navigator named Tasman, who supposed it to be part of the mainland of Australia,-then called New Holland,and that it was not for more than one hundred years after, two Englishmen, Bass and Flinders, by sailing right round it found it to be an island, nearly as large as Ireland, separated from the mainland by a broad channel, one hundred and twenty miles across at its narrowest part. They will also know that Hobart Town is the capital of the colony, and was founded A



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THE RAFT. 123 THE RAFT. ALL shrouded by the blackening fog, Sea-borne without a sail; The prayers upon our quivering lips Bursting in one loud wail; Two living days, two deathless nights, We swept before the gale! The giant billows scared us not, Despair had palsied fear: Time was annulled; hope was so far, Eternity so near. The earth slipped from us silently, As an old forgotten year. No room was there for one sweet thought In all that boundless space; In memory's eyes, so fixed, so stem, Our souls could find no grace; The sins of all our lives rose up, And mocked us to the face. Grim forms, torn frantic from their hold, The cruel waters waft; Till one dread cry along the sea Rolls echoing fore and aft:' God who shall be the last to stand Alone upon the raft ?' It came: the sickening horror grew, Like shapes that thrill our sleep.



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THE STORMA 11I Island, so as to make what is called the southern passage. Careful navigation is required in making the passage of the Straits, as they abound with small islets, shoals, and coral reefs, which, did any ship strike upon either or any, would speedily ensure her destruction; it is also subject to violent westerly winds. The Nellie had made but little way in her passage of the Straits when the wind began to freshen; ominous clouds gathered in the sky, and the waves began to rise. Soon it blew a violent gale, and although the sails were speedily reduced, the ship bounded furiously through the water; the sea, dashing violently against the bows, and at times leaping upon the deck, threatened to sweep everything from it. John Grey had never experienced so fierce a gale before; what with the howling of the wind, the creaking of the masts and cordage, the flapping of the sails, the noise of'the sea, and the hoarse voices of the captain and his mates as they shouted their orders, he gave the vessel up for lost. When his thoughts turned from what he considered the critical condition of the ship, it was only that they might revert with painful solicitude to the probable fate in store for Florrie and her mother.



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26 UNCLE JOHN'S FIRST SHIPWVRECK]~. 'Ladies! ay, ay,' replied Blight; 'let's get the boats in the water, then lower them down.' Blight with three men entered one boat, and the second mate with two more of the crew the other, so as to steady them during their descent. But no sooner had the boats touched the water, than the men, passengers and crew, began to flock in, and with the exception of Felton and Snowy, who remained on board waiting for John and the ladies to make their appearance, and one poor fellow who in his haste missed the boat he was trying to enter and fell into the water, and being unable to swim was quickly drowned, all had gained the boats. Now, then,' shouted Blight, 'make haste there, we can't hold on much longer; the boats will be dashed to pieces against the sides of the ship.' 'Hold on,' cried Felton, in an agony of appreher.sion; 'don't go without the ladies.' 'Yes, massa Blight, hold on !' echoed Snowy. 'Make haste-there's not a moment to lose,' was the answer back. Felton sprang towards the companion ladder to assist John with his precious charges; the black turned his head for a moment to ascertain if they were coming; but when he again turned towards the



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DEATH OF LITTLE FLORRIE. 65 ing, and the black steered the raft to where his sharp eyes had caught a glimpse of foamy surf. John climbed the spar with some little difficulty, which answered the purpose of a mast, to get a better view. He distinctly made out a long unbroken line of white surf, but could see no land. He communicated this intelligence to his companions, and Felton remarked, 'It is as I thought, a coral reef.' The hope which for a moment had buoyed up their hearts died ou' again. They nevertheless thought it prudent to steer towards the reef, as the negro said in all probability sandbanks would there be found; and if not so fortunate as to discover water upon them, there was some chance of finding a few eggs of the booby bird, and even these would be considered God-sends. Neither Mrs. Weston nor Miss French were made acquainted with the fact that they were steering towards a coral reef, where they expected to obtain something to alleviate the pangs of the terrible thirst consuming them. The fear of the probable disappointment that awaited them withheld them from informing the two unfortunate ladies, they thought it would be so cruel to raise hopes never to be realized; their compassion for the unfortunate sufferers was too great £



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18 UNCLE JOHN'S FIRST SHIPWRECK. and having a retentive memory, the information he had gathered from them was ever ready either for use or reference. John Grey had been greatly attracted towards him during the short time he had been on board, and sought every opportunity of cultivating his acquaintance and n'',:,l;r: him his friend. Felton on his part willingly responded to the advances made, and though usually very quiet and reserved with the other men, was ever ready to join in conversation with, or do a good turn for John. 'He be a true man,' said the old negro to his young friend on one occasion when John was speaking of Felton; 'make friends wid him as soon as possible, dat's old Snowy's advice.' Felton also cherished a kindly feeling for old Snowy; sometimes with John he would pay him a visit in his caboose, and listen to his stories of slave life and adventure, and if near at hand, would always endeavour to protect the negro from the various tricks the more evil-disposed portion of the crew were ready to practise upon him. All this made Snowy regard him with very friendly eyes. Felton found himself no loser by cultivating his humble companion's friendship; he found the negro enter-



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FIRST DA Y ON THE RAFT. 41 after his friends had expressed their approval of his plan, 'is want of water; with this hot sun beating down upon us, and the salt meat, our throats will often feel parched.' I have heard,' said John, 'that it is a good plan to dip our clothes in the sea and wear them wet; it keeps the body cool, and some of the moisture manages to filtrate through the skin.' Yes, so I have heard,' said Felton; 'there can be no harm in trying.' Snowy, however, urged them on no account to drink any salt water, let their thirst be never so intolerable, for though it might give them momentary relief, thirst returned worse than ever, and its effects were often to produce madness. The consultation over, they separated,-Felton to secure the water-keg from being washed off, and John to ascertain if he could do anything to make the ladies more comfortable. Snowy continued at the rudder. 'I am afraid you find the heat almost unbearable,' said John to the,two ladies. 'It is excessively warm,' replied Mrs. Weston; 'but I suppose it cannot be helped, and that we must bear it.'



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1DEATH OF LITTLE FLORRIE. 69 In a little while the raft grounded on a sandbank not more than a mile in circumference; and the three men, weak and scarcely able to crawl, landed. Their first care was to secure the raft, to prevent it drifting away; then, while Snowy and Felton went away in search of water, John assisted the ladies to the sand. It was only by earnest entreaty that he could persuade them to leave their refuge; indeed, Mrs. Weston was so absorbed in her child that she paid no heed to what was said, so that John was obliged to address himself to Miss French, and secure her aid in inducing the poor mother to land. The lad wanted to carry the little girl, but she would not part with her; and while he supported as best he could Miss French's tottering footsteps, Mrs. Weston found strength to step on shore unaided. There she sat herself down, careless of what was going on around, only anxious about her darling. The negro and Felton soon returned. They were unsuccessful in their search for water, but had found a few booby eggs, and even knocked down a couple of the birds. Though consumed with thirst, the first thought of these brave men was for little Florrie. They broke an egg in the basin, and bleeding one of the birds, beat the two together; it then made a ' .,



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THE BRIG 'NELLIE' AND HER CRE EW 7 ears or bestow upon him a kick, did they feel so inclined. He tried as far as possible to avoid them, but as this could not always be done, he bore their ill-treatment as best he could. In spite, however, of making such rapid strides in the goodwill of some of his shipmates, John retained the first place in his heart for his old friend Snowy, and in his leisure moments, especially in the evenings, he would visit him in his caboose and have many a pleasant chat, when his black friend would spin him long yarns, and at the same time puff away at a short pipe with a remarkably keen relish. The captain and his mates, although rather too fond of using hard words and rough language, were on the whole as good-natured as most of their class; true, they were apt to fly into a passion at every little trivial thing that went wrong, and then rate the hands soundly, but this the men expected; while perhaps the captain and his officers, on their part, thought it was just as well the crew should know that an explosion was imminent, did they scamp or neglect their necessary duties, and occasionally freshen their memories by the application of a rope's end to their backs.



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iv CONTENTS. CHAPTER VII. PAGE THE ISLAND AND THE BOAT, 76 CHAPTER VIII. ADVENTURES ON LAND, 87 CHAPTER IX. ATTACKED BY NATIVES, 105 CHAPTER X. SAFE AT LAST. . . 115



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Io8 UNCLE JOHN'S FIRST SIIIPWVRECK. number. Should their intentions be hostile, they would prove a formidable enemy. Most of the men were armed with spears, and a wooden implement called a waddy was carried by many of the younger men. Felton and the black deemed it both necessary and politic to try and preserve friendly relations with these invaders; but as neither understood the other's language, the conversation had to be carried on by signs, which it is possible were often misinterpreted. Those of the natives who carried the waddy began to amuse themselves by beating them against the trees, to a kind of song or dance, while others brandished their spears, and all began to exhibit symptoms of a nature indicative of anything but peaceful intentions. The women were all sent away, much to Felton's alarm, who took it to be a sure sign of the commencement of hostilities. He looked anxiously for the appearance of John and the two ladies, so that they might instantly embark and escape the impending danger; but as yet he saw no signs of their approach. He and Snowy, keeping close together, presently found themselves surrounded by enemies, who began to examine Felton's person, looking at his legs and



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THE WRECK. 29 cumstances that voice makes itself heard, and gives men the courage to do and dare when both seem useless. Snowy was the first to recover himself; he had met with too many desperate adventures during the course of his varied existence to be easily cast down. Felton and John soon followed his example, and a consultation was held as to the best course to pursue and what means to adopt to preserve life. 'Me tink, Massa Feelton, we might make a raft; me don't tink the ole ship go a pieces yet; she live till daylight anyhow, den we see war we ar'.' 'That is our only hMpe, and we had best set about it at once,' said Felton; 'if the ship goes to pieces, the raft may float us to the mainland, which can't be so very far.' This being decided, the sooner they commenced the better-time was too precious to be wasted in idle discussion; actions, not words, were needed. Their first care, however, was to make Mrs. Weston and Miss French as comfortable as circumstances would allow. The two unfortunate ladies had remained quite silent since brought on deck; the horror of their situation seemed to have partially stunned them. John and his friends led them to the lee of



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2 UNCLE JOHN'S FIRST SHIPWRECK. by a body of convicts in the year I804, and that twelve years after free emigrants began to settle there. Hobart Town is now a thriving place, with a large population and a very considerable trade; but fifty years ago it was in its infancy, presenting quite a different appearance to what it does in the days of its prosperity; while of all Australia only portions of New South Wales were colonized. It was when Hobart Town was in its infancy that the brig Nellie, with crew and passengers, numbering twenty-two souls in all, sailed from the harbour of Hobart Town bound for the Cape of Good Hope. Among the crew was my uncle, John Grey, then a lad of sixteen years. A year before he had run away from his home in England, with the avowed determination of seeing something more of the world than was to be seen in the old country. During this voyage he suffered his first shipwreck, the particulars of which I am now about to tell, thinking you will find them full of interest and variety, for there were circumstances attending it which made a lasting impression upon Uncle John's mind; for although he suffered shipwreck more than once or twice afterwards, this first one stood out in stronger relief in his memory than any of the others.



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THE BRIG 'NELLIE' AND HER CRE W. 3 On a beautiful March day, with a favourable wind, the Nellie sailed from port. Beneath the eyes of the captain and his mates, the crew were busy trimming the sails, coiling down ropes, and carrying the passengers' luggage down below to be stowed safely away; the passengers were gathered at the side of the vessel nearest the shore, taking a farewell look of the land where each had sojourned for some time. Among the number were two ladies, the elder having I a little girl, not quite two years old, in her arms. This was Mrs. Weston, who was going to join her husband at the Cape; the younger lady, whose name was French, was sailing under her protection to meet her parents at the same distant place. They both had pleasing faces; while the younger was even very pretty looking, with sparkling eyes, and dimpled cheeks, and lips where a continual smile seemed to hover. The four male passengers were rough-looking colonial men, whom it is not necessary to describe, as they have little or nothing to do with my story; they were dressed in rough clothes, and each stood smoking a short pipe. On shore, gangs of convicts, chained two by two, were seen hard at work making roads, and, doubtless, as they saw the Nellie sailing away, wished they them-



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30 UNCLE JOHN'S FIRST SHIPWRECAk the starboard bulwarks, where they would be in a measure protected from the waves which continually broke on board; there they made them sit down. John covered them with the two shawls he had brought from the cabin. Strange to say, Florrie still slept. You will be a little protected here,' said John to Mrs. Weston as he wrapped the shawl carefully round her, and in such a manner as to shield the face of the child. 'We will not desert you,' said Felton to Miss French, 'but do all we can to save you. Have patience and courage.' Yes, we save you; de chile is like one good angel, she bring good fortune,' said the black. Mrs. Weston and her friend could only press gratefully the hands of those who they felt had lost their best chance of quitting a doomed ship in caring for them, and to whom they were now alone obliged to look for help. No, not to them alone; they both knew there was a Providence that overruled all their lives, and unless it was His will they would not be lost; but humanly speaking, their only helpers were two men and a young lad. 'Now, Snowy, you must take the lead in this



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DEATH OF LITTLE FL ORRIE. 6 I 'You see, ma'am,' said Felton, 'we are very low in the water, and cannot see far; we may be even nearer land than we think,-at any moment it may rise to our sight; and then, as you say, a passing ship may bear down upon us; so do not lose heart.' 'How is de leetle chile dis morning ma'am?' inquired Snowy, when Felton had finished. 'I scarcely know,' replied Mrs. Weston; 'she does not appear to suffer much just now, but her dear little cheeks are very thin.' They were thin indeed, and so pale, and her little lips looked dry and cracked. The three men gazed sorrowfully upon her as her mother softly kissed her forehead. At that moment the eyes of the darling child opened, and she smiled up at the faces bending over her. Her smile was even more pitiful to see than her face in repose. She tried to speak, but her swollen tongue and parched mouth and throat refused their office; only an unintelligible murmur was heard. She seemed restless, and would not lie still in her mother's lap, but crawled for a little while round about her on the raft till she came in contact with the axe, to which she put her lips, sucking it as though she felt the coldness refreshing to her hot little mouth.



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38 UNCLE JOHN'S FIRST SHIPWRECK. for that purpose, was now shipped, and a sail hoisted; it was then perceived that the raft began slowly to move through the water. After watching it for a few seconds, Felton declared it was going at the rate of two and a half knots an hour; 'and if the weather holds good,' he continued, in two or three days we shall see land.' Snowy now took his place at the rudder, while John and Felton proceeded to get breakfast. There was not much variety as to food; biscuits and raw meat were their staple articles. Two of the biscuits were handed to each of the adults, while a few of the finer ones, brought from the cabin, were broken in the basin and soaked with water for Florrie, who needed something very much. The tin mug, three parts filled with water and the rest wine, was given to the ladies. They had found their biscuits very hard, and, from their throats being parched with thirst, difficult to swallow, but by dipping them in the wine and water they were made much more palatable. The three men contented themselves with a less quantity of water than they had given to their unfortunate companions, but took the same number of biscuits, and in addition a slice each of raw pork. No persuasions could induce the ladies to



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AD VENTURES ON LAND. 97 existence. After making sure that it was dead, they examined the prey of the snake, and to their great joy found it to be a small kangaroo. It was quite flattened from the pressure of the reptile. 'This, at any rate, will make a meal for us,' said Felton, turning it over. 'I thought kangaroos were larger than this,' said John. 'There are several species,' replied Felton; one as large as a man, and the smallest about the size of a hare. This appears to be one of the intermediate variety.' 'This snake is far larger than any I anticipated seeing,' remarked John, giving it a poke with his club; 'and yet how beautifully it is marked! Do you know what kind it is?' 'No; but I fancy it must be the diamond snake. I know no other kind so large. The natives eat it.' 'Well, let them,' said John, with a look of disgust; 'I must be very hungry before I tackle a slice.' The kangaroo so fortunately rescued from the snake was the only success which attended their expedition. When skinned and boiled it was found delicious eating. John remarked that the snake must have squeezed it tender. G



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72 UNCLE JOHN'S FIRST SHIPWRECK. drunk the previous mixture. The meal over, each one felt considerably better. True, their food had tasted rather fishy and somewhat rank, but it had succeeded a little in alleviating their thirst, which, to say the least, was something gained. By this time the sun was high up in the sky, and its heat began to feel unpleasant, and Snowy suggested that with the aid of the oars and sail a little tent might be erected to screen the ladies. This task they immediately set about performing, for they had determined to remain on the sandbank till the following morning, by which time they would have collected more eggs, and perhaps secured a few additional boobies, which with care might last them till they succeeded in gaining the mainland. The tent was soon erected, being very simple in construction,-in fact, consisting of nothing more than the oars and the mast placed upright in the sand, and the sail thrown over them; but it answered the purpose of a shelter, and that was everything. The men then turned to another task which they knew it was necessary to accomplish, yet they set about it with very heavy and aching hearts,-it was to dig a grave for their dead little favourite. The spot selected was near a few stunted bushes. Here, with their



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CHAPTER VIII. ADVENTURES ON LAND. HE near approach to land considerably raised the spirits of our voyagers; they had no longer any fear of dying either by thirst or hunger, or even suffering so cruelly as during the early part of their adventurous voyage; their good fortune, too, in finding the boat in which they were now sailing added to the general feeling of joy which began to pervade each bosom. It was found to make even less water than Felton had supposed it would, therefore very little baling was required. Strong hopes were entertained of reaching land before night. The two ladies found the boat far more comfortable than the raft. Snowy held the tiller, steering the boat according to Felton's directions, who with John stood at the bows,



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104 UNCLE JOHN'S FIRST SHIPWRECK. And when at length it was served up, he received quite an ovation of praise for the success of his cookery. John declared he had never tasted a dish so much to his taste as kangaroo-tail soup, and only wished it was his fortunate lot to have some of it every day. When dinner was over, Felton suggested the advisability of cutting up the remainder of the meat and drying it over the fire for consumption on their voyage. There was every prospect, he said, of fine weather returning, and it would not do to waste time on a barren spot, when they might be getting nearer to their destination. As no one contradicted this, and indeed were of the same opinion, all hands set to work at once, the ladies doing their share of the task with the rest. Before night closed, the kangaroo, with the exception of the skin, was cut into slices, dried over the fire, and safely packed away in the boat ready for the voyage.



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/ ~^' -u C/^). ^/fc^^/^^^71^^4~~~., !//^ / .-. ?1~~~1 Jir *'~~~~~~~~ ."



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88 -UNCLE JOHN'S FIRST SHIPWRECK. keeping a sharp look-out for sunken rocks, that they might not suffer a second shipwreck. Who first discovered this country?' inquired John of his companion. 'It seems doubtful who was the first European discoverer,' replied Felton. 'The Dutch claim the honour, and certainly the first really authentic accounts we have show that the northern and western sides were visited by them as early as the year I6I6, if not in 1605; they made extensive explorations of the coast in the following century, and then called the country New Holland. Dutch navigators appear to have had a passion for calling any newly discovered country after their own beloved land.' When did the first Englishman land?' 'Somewhere about I688; it was the celebrated buccaneer, Dampier.' 'But if I remember rightly,' said John, 'Cook visited it, did he not?' 'Yes, but not till nearly one hundred years after Dampier; then he surveyed the greater part of the eastern coast.' 'When, then, was the first settlement made?' 'When we lost our American Colonies, it was



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go UNCLE JOHN'S FIRST SHIPWRECK. At any rate we shall be able to procure some more solid food than rock oysters.' 'Even in this you must not be too sanguine, for there is no country in which animal life is so scarce as in this. Birds we might be able to procure in abundance, had we guns wherewith to shoot them; but as they are not quite so stupid as boobies, we stand but a poor chance of being able to knock any on the head.' 'Why, Felton,' said John a little crossly, you are quite a Job's comforter.' 'No, not that; but it is as well to know what are the difficulties before us, that we may be prepared to meet them with a stout heart, and by the help of God overcome them.' It was not till past noon that the boat approached the shore, upon which all eyes were eagerly fixed. A line of high rocks met their view, against which the surf beat so violently that great care was necessary to prevent the boat from being drawn within its power,where it would soon have been dashed to pieces. After running along the coast for some distance, a little sandy cove was discovered between two high rocks; into this the boat was steered, and in a little while all hands landed. They felt as they stepped on



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8o UNCLE JOHN'S FIRST SHIPWRECK. approach showed the faithful fellow was laden with rock oysters, while their ears were assailed with the delightful cry of Water!' As he came up to them he pantingly cried, Here be something' to eat; but get de keg,-dere is water.' No second word was needed. Felton got the empty keg and the tin mug, and returned with the negro to get a supply of the precious fluid, of which all stood in such sore need; while John picked up the oysters Snowy had thrown down in his excitement, and went to the ladies to tell them the glad tidings. 'Thank God,' cried Mrs. Weston; 'I don't think I could have held out much longer.' Let me open one of the oysters,' said John, taking out his clasp-knife. 'I don't think I can swallow one till I have had some water, my throat is too parched.' Here it comes, dear,' cried Miss French, clapping her hands in her gladness. These brave men had not stopped to relieve their own thirst, their first thought was for the two unfortunate women; so, filling the keg, .they had hastened their return, laden with the precious freight. Never was a draught of water received so thankfully, or so keenly enjoyed, as that drunk by John and his friends,



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120 UNCLE JOHN'S FIRST SHIPWRECI. The approach of the boat had been watched by two or three persons on shore, and when it touched the land, they found a corporal and two private soldiers ready to assist them. Cape Look-out was at that time merely an outpost to the settlement thirty miles up the Brisbane river, at which were stationed a corporal and four privates. The forlorn and emaciated appearance of our weary voyagers created a great sensation among these five men, who showed them many marks of sympathy and compassion. They had them safely conveyed to the settlement, where their regiment was stationed, from the captain of which and his family they received every attention their helpless condition required. A week's rest, good and plentiful food, above all, freedom from overpowering anxiety, in a great measure gave them back their strength. A Government schooner was at this time sailing for Sydney, in which berths were taken for them; and loaded with many tangible expressions of good-will, in the shape of clothes and money, and with hearty fares wells uttered on each side, our little company again trusted themselves to the ocean. In a few days .l they reached Sydney in safety. Here, as at Moreton



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40 UNCLE JOHN'S FIRST SHIPWRECK. be for the sole use of the child; these, with one piece of pork and two small pieces of beef, were their whole stock They went aft to communicate the result to Snowy. 'Dat is very little,' said the black. 'Yes,' said Felton; 'if we share out as much every meal as we did at breakfast, it won't last two days.' No,' said John, 'we must economize; but whatever we ourselves suffer, the ladies must not go short, and especially little Florrie.' 'Bless de chile,' said the negro firmly, she hab all mine 'fore she wants.' 'This is what I propose,' said Felton; 'we must place ourselves on short allowance. The ladies shall have three biscuits a day,-one for breakfast, one for dinner, and one for supper, and each time a little wine and water; we must content ourselves with one biscuit a day each, and one-third the quantity of water. If we are men, our first care, as John says, must be the poor ladies-they are not accustomed to rough it as we are; and as for the child, why, I take it we are each willing to want before she should.' 'Yes, dat's right,' said the negro, nodding his head with approval. John said the same. 'What we have most to dread,' continued Felton,



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TfIE STORM. 19 trained many very shrewd opinions about things in general, and that during the course of his life he had carried about with him whithersoever he went a pair of very observant eyes, and what they had noted was stored in a very retentive memory. He was also very handy with his fingers, and with a knife and piece of wood could, and did, manufacture many very clever playthings for Florrie. To John's mind things were in a very pleasant condition on board the Nellie, and for his part he did not care how long the voyage lasted: he had made several good friends, most of his other shipmates treated him kindly, the captain and his mates did not bully him more than the others, the weather was fine, and the ship making good way, running at least at the rate of six or seven knots an hour. This being the case, he could not understand why the captain should be in such a restless condition, coming constantly on deck both night and day, and why he should be continually ordering a sharp lookout to be kept. But the captain knew, if John did not, that the ship had been blown so far out of her course as to be in the neighbourhood of many very dangerous reefs, on one of which, if not discerned in time, the ship might strike and the lives of all be lost.



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NO WATER! 51 with his foot. Snowy had been snoring loudly the whole of the night, but no sooner did his comrade touch him than he awoke. 'Dat you, Feelton ?' he whispered, rubbing his eyes. 'Yes; it is time for you to take your turn at the helm.' Soon Felton was once more asleep. Thus the night wore away. if. When morning dawned the sleepers awoke, and every eye but the child's turned its gaze to the sea and scanned the distant horizon. Nothing, however, appeared in sight,-no sail and no land, nothing but one wide waste of waters, which the rising sun illumined. Each turned away in bitter disappointment; they had hoped land of some description would have greeted them by its appearance, and the reaction was hard to bear. The two women felt the disappointment most. Theirs was a hard lot,-cut off from those comforts of life to which they. were accustomed, away from friends, tossed about on a frail raft at the mercy of the winds and waves, and weak from fatigue and insufficient food. They felt inclined to give up in despair, and for a moment buried their faces in their hands and wept. 'You must not be down-hearted, ma'am," said



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SAFE AT LAST! 121 Bay, they experienced nothing but kindness and sympathy. It was at Sydney the three sailors parted from Mrs. Weston and her friend. They had engaged themselves to the captain of a vessel about to sail for Old England. After their many dangers, the hearts of two at least turned with longing desire to their early home; and Snowy would not sever himself from their companionship, but determined to follow and share their fortunes. They went up in a body to the house where Mrs. Weston was staying to say good-bye. The ladies were sorry to part from their 'brave protectors,' as they called them; and it is my impression, the men were no less sorry to part from those who had patiently endured in their company so many hardships. But in this world there are nothing but meetings and partings, and the brave heart strengthens itself to meet them. 'I am sorry to part from you, John, very sorry,' said Mrs Weston, with a tremor in her voice; Florrie loved you, and when I think of my darling I shall think of you too.' And she warmly pressed his hand. 'Thank you, Mrs. Weston, for your kind words,'





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AD VENTURES ON LAND. "95 the sorrel were boiled together, and made a very acceptable meal. On the following morning, to their great consterna. tion they saw that the wind had changed during the night, and was blowing quite a storm. It was impossible to continue their voyage, so they decided to remain where they were for the present, and make themselves as comfortable as circumstances would allow. A tent was erected in a sheltered spot with the boat's sail and the blanket, for it was found necessary to have some protection from the weather, more especially as it began to rain, and soon so violently that all were glad to huddle under cover. But when it ceased, the three men, leaving the ladies behind them, went away in search of food. Snowy gathered oysters, while Felton and John, the first armed with the axe, the other with a club, entered the bush, hoping that something eatable would reward their search. I am afraid I shall not be so fortunate this time,' said John, 'as to find a half-eaten emu.' 'No,' replied Felton; 'such things don't usually happen a second time; but I hope we may find something.' They had proceeded some distance without dis



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NO WATER! 55 'Yes; the sun must have shrunken the wood so that the water oozed out; this is the last I have here.' Oh, my darling, what shall I do ?' cried the mother, clasping her little one to her bosom. John looked on with tears in his eyes, unable to say a word. 'Orrie want water,' murmured the little creature. 'Here is some for Florrie,' said John, putting the basin to her lips. The child drank all it contained, leaving only the biscuit untouched. 'More !' she cried. 'Florrie eat the biscuit now, water all gone,' said John soothingly. 'Me can't,' she replied. But when a little piecd had been placed in her mouth, it did not need much inducement to make her swallow the rest The two women were obliged to rest content with the little wine that remained, but it did not satisfy their thirst as water would have done. The men ate their hard biscuit and beef as best they could; they had nothing with which to wash it down, and each piece they attempted to swallow stuck in their throats, and it required some little effort to induce it to pass. The negro's eyes looked sorrowfully upon her



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CHAPTER IV. FIRST DAY ON THE RAFT. \^~ HEN the raft had been pushed clear of the wreck, John took charge of the tiller-an oar shipped for that purposewhile Felton and Snowy rowed some distance to be out of the power of the surf; a consultation was then held as to the proper course to steer. All agreed in believing they could not be more than one hundred miles from land, and as the weather was favourable, a moderate breeze blowing, and the water smooth, hopes were entertained of reaching it in two or three days, especially if the wind held as it then did. Unfortunately they had no compass, and must trust to the sun by day and the stars by night to guide their frail bark aright. Our first object,' said Felton, 'must be to gain 36



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FIRST DA Y ON THE RAFT. 45 that a good long draught of pure water would be infinitely preferable, but as that was a luxury quite unattainable, he was compelled to rest satisfied with its substitute. As the day wore on, his thirst increased, growing more and more intolerable; he felt he would have given all he possessed, little enough, to be allowed to quench it. Often and often he turned longing eyes towards the little keg that contained their all; but when his eyes turned towards the poor women and Flprrie, he tried his best to stifle his longings, and kept his looks averted from the tempting sight. Hle now took his turn at the tiller while Felton and Snowy took a spell at the oars; the breeze was not strong, and they wanted to make as much way as possible. The exertion of rowing, with the rays of the sun beating down upon them, was toilsome work; but not a murmur escaped the two brave men, though they found themselves frequently compelled to relinquish their task, while they wiped the moisture from their faces. When the day drew to a close another meal was eaten as before; this time, however, John and his comrades wetted their lips with a little water, which Mrs. Weston perceiving, made no scruples, after



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42 UNCLE JOHN'S FIRST SHIPWRECK. 'I think if you were to seat yourselves in the shadow of the sail, you would find it more pleasant; let me arrange your seats.' Taking the two blankets, John folded them so as to make a soft kind of cushion, and placed it in the shadow-if such it could be called-of the sail; his two friends-for so he regarded them-then seated themselves, and found some slight alleviation from the scorching beams of the sun. The ladies thanked him for his kind attention, when he said, I don't know but that we might make you still more comfortable by rigging up a little awning; I will see if it cannot be done.' 'You think too much of us and too little of yourself, John,' said Mrs. Weston. 'We are more used to this kind of thing, and more able to endure it; we all three desire to do our uttermost to save you from unnecessary fatigue and misery.' So saying he turned to Snowy. 'That lad has an honest face,' murmured Miss French to her friend. 'Yes, and a kind heart,' replied Mrs. Weston. 'Our condition is as bad as it well can be,' she continued, but I think it would have been worse had we gone away in the boats; we have the three best men.'



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II2 UNCLE JOIIN'S FIRST SHIPWRECK. boat had caused John to overbalance himself and tc fall prone into the water. Recovering from his sudden immersion, he found himself struggling with some dozen of the enemy, who like himself had received an involuntary bath. When he regained his feet, he found the boat some little distance from the shore, with many of the natives up to their waist in the water hurling their spears at it, shouting and gesticulating like madmen. How was he to rejoin his friends unseen by the enemy? was his first thought. He never for a moment dreamed they would leave him to perish; his great wish, however, was so to escape as not to bring them again into danger. Up to the present time, the natives on shore were so intently watching their companions in the water, that his presence among them had been undiscovered. Seeing this, John silently and secretly made his way into the bush, with the determination to conceal himself until night, until the savages had made off. This he successfully accomplished without being observed, and hiding himself as best he could, listened for some time to the shouts and yells of the enemy. He could hear them rushing along the beach, and occasionally plunging into the water, as though



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ioo UNCLE JOHN'S FIRST SHIPWRECK. had marked the previous day as one likely to be the retreat of the opossum. Here they both halted, the negro examining it with a critical eye, debating in his own mind how he was to climb it. While thus examining and considering, they were startled by hearing something pass swiftly through the brushwood. Hastily turning in the same direction to ascertain the nature of the creature, they saw an immense kangaroo trying to escape from a pack of dingoes. The creature was taking prodigious leaps, clearing the low brushwood at the rate of fifteen to twenty feet at a bound. Just as it appeared in sight, after two or three leaps, it planted itself against the trunk of a tree and prepared to give battle to its pursuers. They had evidently been some time engaged in the chase, for their tongues lolled from their jaws, and they exhibited unmistakable signs of weariness. Seated on his haunches, the hunted animal presented a formidable front to his antagonists, the long sharp claws of his fore feet looked very dangerous. Seeing their intended victim turn to bay, some of the dingoes squatted down in front, too tired with their long run to rush in to the attack; others, more fresh, which had joined in the pursuit on the way, hesitated not



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i6 UNCLE JOHN'S FIRST SHIPWRECK. usual exclamations, Ho ho Missie Florrie know de ole black man!' and, 'Dat ar' a most 'markable chile!' Not alone for himself, but for the sake of his cabin friends also, John was glad at the return of fine weather. During the worst of the late storm he had found more than one opportunity of paying a visit to the cabin, to say something hopeful to its inmates, and secure for them several of their articles of luggage and furniture, which the violent motion of the ship had cast loose. Now the ladies had many a kind word and smile for their young champion, as they called him, in reward for his thoughtful attention during their period of distress and anxiety. Seeing everything so bright and cheering, the waves gently curling round the bows of the ship, feeling the soft breeze fanning their cheeks, seeing the activity of the sailors in repairing the damages of the storm, they forgot their past terror, and thinking all danger over, were very happy and even merry. But there is often greater danger when all is apparently safe than even when destruction seems imminent every minute, and the truth of this they were very speedily to realize.



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IHTE WRECK. 23 'De Nellie nebber sail more,' said the negro emphatically, confirming Felton's opinion. 'What is to be done?' John next inquired. 'Wait, a few minutes will soon decide,' was the answer. By dint of great exertion on the part of the captain and mates, something like order was at length restored among the frightened crew. To ascertain the extent of damage the ship had received was his first care; upon examination the result was even more disastrous than was at first imagined. The well was sounded and three feet of water found; the pumps were immediately rigged, and hands stationed to work them. But when it was found that the violence of the shock, when the ship first struck, had unshipped her rudder and bilged in her quarters, and that each succeeding wave which broke against her carried her farther on the reef, where the angry surf threatened her total and instant destruction, the captain knew there was no hope of saving his vessel; and so he told his men, adding, that if they would still obey his commands and execute his orders, all might be saved. His last words were addressed to unheeding earsthe men only took in the alarming fact that there was no hope for the ship; the blind, unreasoning instinct



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THE WRECK. 33 the boats which had been left behind; then Snowy declared the raft was ready. 'We launch it over de starn, where de water is more quiet,' said the black, 'and den you hand me de provisions and de ladies down.' It was not a great height from the deck of the vessel to the surface of the sea. The ship had evidently broken her back on the cruel reef, and the stern part was gradually sinking lower and lower into the water. Some little exertion of strength was required to launch their frail refuge, and it was necessary to be as expeditious as possible, as every minute they expected the ship to sink under them. At length, after one or two slight mishaps, the raft floated, and Snowy, jumping down upon it, declared it swam like a duck. 'Now hand dis chile de provisions,' said the black, after securing the raft by a rope to the vessel to prevent it floating away. A very scanty supply of food and water was handed down by Felton and John; they had been unable to obtain as much as they desired, the water having risen too high. One small keg of water, a stone bottle of wine, a bag of biscuits, and a few c



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74 UNCLE JOHN'S FIRST SHIPWRECK. child, and for the kind tenderness with which you always treated her; I thought you would like to have one farewell glance at her darling face before I hid it away for ever.' Thank you, ma'am,' said Felton, speaking for his comrades; 'we loved your little girl, and would have died for her. May we give her a parting kiss ?' Mrs. Weston signed her assent, and kneeling, each reverently touched the little white brow with his lips. It was a solemn and touching spectacle the burial of little Florrie. The mother would permit none but herself to lay the little body, oh! so precious, in its lonely grave. And the words of the burial service, as they were read by John, sounded very impressive and affecting. When all was over, the dark night came down upon them, and the stars for the first time rested their light upon little Florrie's grave. All night long, by the light of the fire, John worked away at a rude tablet, to be placed at the head of the grave. With the axe he shaped a board into the form of a cross, and then burnt into it the name of the child, her age, the date of her death and its cause, and at the bottom these words: Se is not dead, but sleepdeh.' **



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32 UNCLE JOHN'S FIRST SHIPWRECK. so as to return to rescue those left behind. But no boat could be seen; they had evidently left the ship and those on board to their fate. All hands returned with fresh vigour to the task of constructing the raft; their only helpers were to be themselves, and it behoved them to lose no time, as from the condition of the vessel they were fearful she would break amidships or fall totally to pieces. Obeying the negro's directions, Felton, as I have said, brought three empty casks on deck; to these the longest spars they could find were firmly lashed lengthwise, Snowy even giving an extra turn or two to the ropes, quietly observing, 'Many a raft go to pieces not tied tight.' Other and shorter spars were lashed as firmly crosswise, and the further to strengthen it, more were placed at the angle. 'Why do you use the casks?' inquired John. 'De raft float better, and it be higher out of de water; de waves no wash over,' replied Snowy. Planks were now lashed to the spars, so that the raft might be more comfortable, the easier to sit or lie upon; a step was placed in the centre, in which a spar could be shipped so that sail might be hoisted. Two or three spare sails were collected, the oars of one of



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TEE STORM. 13 up and hurrying on deck to take his place with the rest. And the same thing would occur half-a-dozen times during his watch below; for whenever a lull appeared in the violence of the storm, fresh sail was made on the ship, but as the lulls were of short duration, and after each one the storm seemed to gather fresh strength, it was again reduced. 'How do you think this will end, Snowy?' said John to his black friend, who, during the storm, was compelled to do duty as a seaman. 'How I tink it will end, is it?' replied the black; 'dis ere chile can't tell nohow. De ole ship be stout, she may weather it; but de wind blow here and de wind blow dere, and de ship where am it? If she strike on one leetle rock it be all up wid her, de fish will nibble nibble ole black man's body.' This did not seem a very encouraging outlook, so John remained silent for a little time, but presently said: I am sorry for Mrs. Weston and Florrie, and Miss French; what will become of them ?' 'Yes, dat ar thought makes ole black man's heart heavy.' If the worst come to the worst, Snowy, we must not give in without a struggle; and whatever we do,



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68 UNCLE JOHN'S FIRST SHIPIWRECK. sandbanks, extending in all directions except from the eastward. 'The water is smooth inside,' remarked Felton, 'and if we can find an opening in the reef, we may be able to land on one of the sandbanks.' 'We must coast along until we discover one,' said John. The sail was again hoisted by Snowy, who stood by ready to lower it should danger present itself. I see a break yonder,' cried John, pointing some distance ahead. 'Dat be wide enough, me tink, for de raft,' said Snowy, examining it critically. 'At all events we will try it,' said Felton; 'you take the tiller, John, while I con the raft.' John did as he was desired, and Felton, making his way to the head of the raft, narrowly examined the channel into which it was steered. It was with great difficulty, and several very narrow escapes from destruction, that the passage was at length made. 'Thank God,' said Felton reverently, 'we have been saved almost:by a miracle; now steer the raft to the largest of the sandbanks, I see a few stunted bushes on it; I pray we may find water, but I doubt it.'



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66 UNCLE JOHN'S FIRST SHIPWRECK. to permit of this. How earnestly they wished their frail refuge would move quicker through the water! and to aid it onward, Felton and Snowy took a spell at the oars, while John held the tiller; but their weakness was so great that their utmost efforts barely sufficed to increase the speed. All day they stood towards the reef, with darling Florrie growing worse and worse. Her dear face was so sad a sight, that the men turned away their-eyes from seeing it; and all day her mother bent over her with an agonized heart. Her face was as sad to look upon as the child's. Once Miss French attempted to take it from her arms to relieve her, but the mother would not part from her treasure; she clung to it so despairingly that her friend was obliged to relinquish her efforts, and could only sit by her side and watch the faint flame of life that wavered to and fro in' the little body. Sometimes Florrie opened her eyes, and looked up into her mother's face with a look of recognition; she would even attempt a smile, but it usually ended with the eyes again closing, and the laboured heaving of the little bosom. Give me water, or my child will die !' cried Mrs. Weston once in her agony of sorrow; and when they heard it, the men covered their faces with their thin



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A TTA CKED BY NATIVES. I1 savages were attempting to lay hands upon it; the consequence being, that instead of seizing the boat, a number of them, much to their surprise, plunged head foremost into the water. Seeing all safe, Felton and the black, keeping their assailants at bay, waded into the water, and when a sufficient distance from the shore, abandoned their enemies and swam for the boat, which they speedily gained, and being helped in by the terrified women, at once seized the oars and began to pull away with considerable vigour from so dangerous a neighbourhood. They had made but few strokes, when Mrs. Weston startled them by exclaiming, Where is John ?' 'Isn't he here?' cried Felton, looking round. In their hurry and excitement they had forgotten him. We must not leave him to perish,' said Miss French. 'Never!' exclaimed Felton. 'Our best plan will be to row slowly on. The savages will make for yonder point, and endeavour to cut us off before we can round it; let them once disappear,in the wood, we will make a dash for the shore and carry John off before they have time to return. The impetus with which he had shoved off the



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DEA TN OF LITTLE FLORRIE. 67 hands, and would have wept; but although their hearts were full of tears, their eyes refused to shed them. The agony of that moment was past all expression; those who lived through it never forgot it to their dying day, and could never recall it without a shudder. That little golden-haired darling dying; the mother's sorrow; their own impotent helplessness,-how it all recurred to them again and again in after years In waking day, in dreams of the night; in silence, in the bustle of active life; in happiness and in misery, that picture of the mother and her child never faded from their memories. It was night, and too dark to distinguish the character of the reef when they neared it. They were compelled to lower the sail and use the oars to prevent the raft from drifting into the power of the surf, which would soon have hurled it to destruction. 'We must keep off and on till daybreak,' said Felton, 'or we shall suffer a second shipwreck.' How anxious they were for the darkness to pass away, that they might discover if land was near; but with the dawn of morning their hopes of gaining land vanished. They found themselves among a range of reefs, consisting of sunken rocks and low





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98 UNCLE JOHN'S FIRST SHIPWRECK. 'I have heard,' said Felton, that the tail of the large kangaroo makes delicious soup.' 'Yes, you am right,' replied Snowy with a grin; 'de soup am one good.' 'I can endorse Snowy's testimony,' said Miss French, 'for I have partaken of some and found it delightful There is only one danger attending it,' she added with a smile; 'if you are not careful, the chances are you will get your lips so glued together as to be unable to separate them.' 'I will risk that, if ever I get the chance of tasting it,' said John; but I suppose that is an experience I am not likely to pass through just yet.' But in this John was mistaken, for it was an experience he realized much sooner than either he or his companions anticipated. And this is how it came to pass. On the day succeeding that in which Felton and John had snatched its prey from the snake, the weather still proved too unfavourable to continue their voyage along the coast; and it held thus for six days, during which time they remained encamped at this spot. Every day two of the men hunted for provisions with varying success, one always remaining near the ladies in case they should receive a visit



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44 UNCLE JOHN'S FIRST SHIPWRECK. hoisted sail and steered in the direction where they hoped to discover land. At noon a biscuit was given to each of the ladies, which was eaten as before, namely, by moistening it in the small portion of wine and water given them at the same time. Little Florrie, who had made herself very happy and contented all the morning, had her portion pounded and soaked in water. As on the previous occasion, neither Mrs. Weston nor Miss French could be induced to touch the raw pork or beef, A slice of beef, with one-third of a biscuit each, fell to the share of the men, according to the plan they had agreed upon in the earlier part of the day. Mrs. Weston, who observed their actions narrowly, noticed that neither of them touched a drop of water. Mother-like, she reserved most of hers for her little daughter; still, if the men went without, she thought it was no more than just that she herself should; she knew very well why they refrained from drinking. After their slight repast, Snowy and his two friends sluiced each other with water; dipping the tin saucepan in the waves, they poured the water over the head and shoulders. This was so refreshing that it was repeated several times during the heat of the day. John, however, was fain to confess to himself



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34 UNCLE JOHN'S FIRST SHIPWRECK. pieces of pork and beef which had been found in the copper ready for the men's dinner, these were all that could be obtained. John and Felton now proceeded to lower Mrs. Weston and her friend. This they did with the greatest care and tenderness. While their frail refuge was in process of construction, the two forlorn women had not uttered a word; indeed, worn out with fatigue and anxiety, and faint from hunger, they had both fallen asleep, from which they were awakened to be conducted to the raft. Little Florrie was now crying for food; her mother hushed her by the promise that she should soon have some. 'Directly we are on the raft you shall all have some, for you must want it sadly,' said John, as he helped to conduct them across the deck. Snowy held out his arms to receive the child, whom Felton first lowered to him; Mrs. Weston then followed, and directly she gained her place again took her, as though unwilling to relinquish her a moment longer than necessary. Miss French came third, taking her seat next to her friend at the head of the raft, which had been made as comfortable as circumstances would permit for their reception. Felton then swung himself down, and taking one of the oars in



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ATTACKED BY NATIVES. II 3 they had not yet lost all hopes of capturing their intended victims. At one time, some of them so closely approached his place of concealment that he apprehended being discovered every moment. But lying still and scarcely daring to breathe, the danger passed away as the natives rushed on, following the boat in its course. Gradually all sounds ceased; the air, which a little before had been rent by loud and savage yells, was no longer disturbed by discordant sounds; only the sighing of the wind through the trees, and the gentle splash of the water on the beach, broke the silence. When fully assured that no enemy was at hand, he peeped out from his concealment to ascertain the exact position of the boat; to his surprise he saw it making for the shore. He at once divined the intention of his friends, and breaking from his cover, rushed down to the beach as fast as his wounded limb would permit, and succeeded in gaining it at the very moment the boat touched the shore. He was speedily hauled on board, and once more our adventurers steered for the open sea. Their motions, however, had been seen by the sharp-eyed natives, who came rushing back, shouting with redoubled vigour, but only again to have their H



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Ixr8 UACLE JOHN'S FIRST SHIPWRECK. 'Why,' commenced Felton, 'we had discovered water, and filled the keg, and were returning, when we walked slap into their camp. Snowy tripped over one of the fellows and fell, pitching the keg right into the stomach of another. How that fellow did yell, to be sure; you would have thought the keg had nearly killed him. Of course the whole camp was aroused. We regained our feet and took to our heels as quickly as we could. Two or three of the more active came up to us, then we had to fight; and having nothing but our fists, we had to depend upon them, with what result you know, for here we are without a scratch.' 'I hope,' said Mrs. Weston, 'this is the last time you will incur danger from such a source.' 'I trust so too, ma'am; but we may as well die as want water, when it is within reach. By the bye, Snowy, did you bring off the keg?' Yes; not do to leave dat behind. John and his companions were now nearing the close ,of their dangerous voyage. The privations and perils each had gone through had told upon them with considerable effect They looked worn, wasted, and haggard; their cheeks were sunken, and their clothes torn; their strength, too, had con-



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THE WRECK. 25 largest; did any accident happen to either so as to render it useless, it would be almost impossible all on board could be saved. It therefore needed that great care should be shown in lowering them into the water, and the excited condition of the men rendered this doubtful. There were too many hands engaged in the work, they impeded each other, consequently the task proceeded more slowly than it otherwise would have done. This Joe Blight-who did not want for sense-at length perceived; he now took the lead, the authority of the second mate being disregarded, and while he desired some to continue their work of lowering the boats, he ordered others to go below and bring up what provisions and water they could lay hands on. An eight-gallon keg of water was obtained, together with a smaller one of wine, a quantity of biscuit, a barrel of beef and another of pork; these articles, with a spare sail and sextant, were hastily placed in the boats. The men then began to crowd in, when Blight shouted: 'Steady, mates, you can't all get in at once; let us lower them first and then jump in.' At that, John, who had been assisting with Felton and Snowy, cried, 'Give first place to the ladies.'



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CONTENTS. CHAPTER I. PAGE THE BRIG 'NELLIE AND HER CREW,.. I CHAPTER II. THE STORM, 10 CHAPTER III. THE WRECK, 21 CHAPTER IV. THE FIRST DAY ON THE RAFT, ... 36 CHAPTER V. NO WATER I 43 CHAPTER VI. DEATH OF LITTLE FLORRIE, 59 %



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NO WATER! 49 were perhaps even now thinking of him and mourning his absence; he wondered whether he should ever again see it, and be able, as many a time he had resolved to do, to ask pardon of those he had so deeply grieved by his thoughtless conduct. Gradually the silence,-only broken by the gentle ripple of the water round the raft,-the soft breeze, and the loneliness of the scene produced so soothing an effect upon his senses that he found himself nodding. The fatigues and anxieties of the day had been v many and trying in their character; he was young, and f' his frame unable to resist their wearying influence. During the day the excitement of work and his novel position had borne him up; now, however, their effects began to tell, and he longed for sleep even more than water. But it would never do to be found sleeping at his post, so when he found a feeling of drowsiness stealing over him, he gave himself a good shake to thoroughly arouse himself. This he succeeded in doing, but only for a time; again the drowsiness began to overpower him, his eyes closed, and he nearly fell forward. As he brought himself up with a shock, he thought he heard voices at that portion of the raft where the ladies were sleeping. He listened, being now thoroughly awake, and made out the voice D



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56 UNCLE JOHN'S FIRST SHIPWRECK. whom he called 'dat little angel;' and when John took his turn at the helm, while Felton examined the lashing which held their frail raft together, he opened his clasp-knife and tried to amuse her by cutting out droll figures from a piece of wood. This interested the child for a little time, then she began to cry for water again; and he took her in his great muscular arms, and crooned some of his negro songs to her,songs he had learnt while a slave on a plantation in South America,-till she dropped off to sleep, and her mother laid her in her lap. The dear little cheeks looked so pale and thin, they were quite pitiful to see. At noon she awoke, and her first cry was for water; her little lips looked so dry and parched, they told even more than her wailing cry how much she needed it. This darling child had made a warm nest for herself in the affections of each present, and one and all would have willingly given his or her heart's blood to procure what she so sorely needed, but it could not be done. John tilted the empty cask and managed to drain out about three drops; these he held to her lips; they only seemed to make her worse. 'Morel' she wailed, and the cry made John pull his hair in his agony at thinking how helpless they all were.



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DEATH OF LITTLE FLORRIE. 73 hands, they hollowed out a tolerably deep hole, then, at the expense of a little additional labour, succeeded in shaping it into something like the resemblance of a grave. Before their task was completed, day had nearly closed. In the meantime, Mrs. Weston and her friend had been preparing the little body for its last earthly habitation. They first of all wrapped it carefully in one of the shawls my readers will remember they had with them on the raft, leaving the face only exposed; a blanket was then cut up, and this also was folded round it. Miss French then beckoned to the men to come and take a last farewell of Florrie. They gathered round the door of the rough tent, and gazed sorrowfully upon the dear little face, so quiet now, so still and calm, so peaceful in its wonderful repose. These men were weak from suffering and privation, yet they would gladly have gone through again and yet again the last few days' experience, could they have restored once more to life their little favourite; but this could not be. As each thought this was the last time they should ever see her, they cried, and were not ashamed of their tears. 'I thank you,' said Mrs. Weston in a scarcely articulate voice, 'for the love you bore my dead



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UNCLE JOHN'S FIRST SHIPWRECK; OK, Ube Loss of tle 3Brig 'Nellie.' BY CHARLES BRUCE, Author of 'Lame Felix,' 'Noble Mottoes,' 'How Frank began to Climb,' 'The Book of Noble Englishwomen,' etc. WILLIAM P. NIMMO & CO., EDINBURGH. 188o.



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24 UNCLE JOHN'S FIRST SHIPWRECK. of self-preservation made them deaf to anything further. Half crazed with terror and wholly bewildered,* there was a general rush to the boats. The captain and one of his mates, while endeavouring to preserve something like order, were unceremoniously knocked down, and a huge wave making a clean breach over the vessel before they could regain their feet, washed them overboard; with a shrill, piercing cry both were swallowed up in the darkness. Felton, who had witnessed this catastrophe, rushed to the side over which they had disappeared to heave them a rope; but both had evidently instantly sunk, for though he peered anxiously down into the angry waters, he caught no glimpse of either. The fate of the captain and his mate for a moment arrested the movements of the crew; but only for a moment, for Joe Blight, one of the most ill-natured and discontented of the crew, and the man who had systematically ill treated John, at that particular instant cried out: Everybody for himself, lads; quick with the boats; the old ship's timbers won't hold long together, and if we stay here we shall be food for fishes in no time.' There were but two boats, and these none of the



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CHAPTER VII. THE ISLAND AND THE BOAT. EFORE the raft left the sandbank, Snowy and Felton found a few more eggs, and c knocked down an additional booby br two; the latter were cooked, but the former taken with them raw, to be used as a substitute for water, of which precious fluid, as we have seen, their temporary refuge did not yield one drop. Our three heroes were somewhat strengthened and refreshed by the more generous diet of which they had partaken, and two of them, to increase the speed of the raft, took a spell at the oars, and worked with a will, albeit with saddened hearts. Though their eyes looked hopefully forward, their thoughts as constantly turned backwards to the little grave they were leaving behind. Land was confidently expected to be seen ere 76



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8 UNCLE JOHN'S FIRST SHIPWRECK. On the whole, John came to the conclusion that he was far better off on board the Nellie than he would be knocking about on shore. There fell to John's share a pleasure that amply compensated him for any hard word or harder kick he might receive from the evil disposed among the crew. Ever since the day he saved Mrs. Weston from falling, she had a kind word and smile for him, while with Florrie he became quite a favourite; she crowed and laughed at his approach, and would permit him to carry her about the deck, while others she would not even allow to touch her. Her pretty little face and loving little ways always reminded him of his far-away sister; he would have loved her and have become her slave even had not this been the case, for John .had a tender if a somewhat wild heart. I think this mother and child between them helped to keep him straight in those days; for when a lad cuts himself adrift from the safe anchorage of home, and associates with those older and rougher than himself, he is apt to get off the right track unless softer influences come into play; and the clasp of little childish fingers are often of more use in this way than the grasp of a strong nun' hl ad.



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92 UNCLE JOHN'S FIRST SHIPWRECR. judge, about a mile from the encampment, to his great joy he discovered a rivulet of clear water. From the course which it seemed to take, he judged it must flow much nearer to where they had landed than the spot where he then stood. He went down on his hands and knees and took a long, refreshing draught. As he was about to return to his companions, he was startled by hearing a kind of savage howl; he listened,-it was repeated again. He knew from Felton that the country contained no very dangerous animal, and therefore concluded it must be the howl of a wild dog. A little way ahead he saw an opening, from which direction the howl apparently came; making his way to it, he saw a sight that filled him with pleasure. It was a dingo, or native dog, which had succeeded in running down an emu (the ostrich of Australia), and was now feeding upon one of its legs. To rush forward with a loud shout and drive the dog away was the work of a minute; he then threw the bird over his shoulder and hastened back with his booty to his friends, where his appearance was hailed with delight. Felton had not yet returned, but the active black had kindled a fire, and succeeded in erecting a kind of bower with branches of trees, and a sail thrown



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94 UNCLE JOHN'S FIRST SHIPWRECK. guard against a possible surprise by the natives, and also that the fire might not go out. Up till the present time our adventurers had been very fortunate in having favourable weather; had it been rainy or tempestuous, their situation would have been far more uncomfortable than it had hitherto been, and the danger greater. The weather was still fair when on the following morning they embarked in their boat and commenced their voyage to Moreton Bay. For several days they continued their course with no incident worthy of record occurring, till, having exhausted all their provisions and water, they again found it necessary to land and lay in a fresh stock. When this step was determined upon, they were in a fine bay, and near an opening which had the appearance of the mouth of a river. Lowering their sail, they rowed upwards for some distance, when they found it suddenly expand into a kind of lake, and was in' fact merely an inner bay. Here they landed and soon discovered water, but with regard to food were not quite so fortunate as on the previous occasion; only a quantity of sorrel was found, till one of them, wandering at low water along the shores of the inner bay, procured a number of small oysters, which with



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ii6 UNCLE JOHN'S FIRST SHIPWRE C. entreated them to land. But their previous experience had made them cautious, and instead of responding to these friendly overtures, they stood farther from shore. When night came down they steered for land again, and seeing no signs of any natives being near, Felton and Snowy landed in search of water, taking with them the keg. John was still too much of a cripple to be of any service on shore, he was therefore left in charge of the boat and the ladies. 'Be on the look out, John,' said Felton as he took his leave; 'we may be nearer the enemy than we guess.' 'Yes, dem nasty brown tings not far off,' said the black, who cherished a supreme contempt for the Australian savage. After the two men had disappeared, John and the ladies talked together in whispers about many things,-the possibility of their ultimate escape, the stars looking down upon them, absent friends, and finally, of little Florrie in her lonely grave. This last topic soon made them silent. At the mention of her child, Mrs. Weston could not refrain from tears, and her companions felt they had touched upon a sacred topic. 9;



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CHAPTER V. NO WATER! OON all on the raft, save John, were buried in deep sleep, forgetting for a time the dangers of their position, their anxieties and privations. 'O sleep it is a blessed thing, Beloved from pole to pole I' While their frail refuge moved slowly through the water, John stood silently at his post. He gazed up at the glorious stars, which in the southern hemisphere appear so large and brilliant. Never had they affected him so much as now; he thought of Him who made them, and trusted that in His mercy He would bring them safely out of their trouble. Then his thoughts reverted to his far away home,-that home he had left so secretly, and where kind parents and sisters 48



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SAFE A T AST! 17 All at once the silence was broken by loud cries and the crashing of branches, and it became evident to those in the boat that their companions had been attacked. John rose to his feet and peered anxiously in the direction from whence the cries proceeded, but for a time could discern nothing of the strife. The cries still continued, and were evidently drawing nearer; presently Felton and the black burst into view, with a whole troop of yelling and screeching natives at their heels. 'This way !' shouted John as his friends hove in sight. In a very short space of time the hunted men regained the boat, and although panting for breath, immediately seized the oars and commenced pulling from land. Not one moment too soon, for as the boat began to stir, some of the foremost of their pursuers, who had followed them into the water, laid hands upon the gunwale to detain it. A few judiciously distributed raps over the knuckles from John soon made them relinquish their hold, and the boat glided safely away. 'How did you manage to fall in with them?' inquired John, when, having pulled themselves out of danger, Felton and the black rested on their oars to recover breath. I



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-' THE WRECK. 31 undertaking; I gather you have helped in the course of your life to make more than one raft.' 'Yes, I know leetle about de raft,' and without more words the negro accepted the responsibility of head worker. There was no lack of material for the construction of a raft; the deck was strewn with loose spars, and boards rent from the larboard bulwarks by the force of the waves, hen-coops, and a sheep-pen-in the latter a solitary prisoner was even now bleating-were not wanting should other material fail. Under the negro's superintendence, as many of these articles as were considered necessary were collected, together with three empty casks, which Felton brought up from below. By the time this was done daylight dawned, and the unfortunate men were enabled to see with greater clearness the hopeless condition in which the ship was placed. She had evidently struck on the edge of an extensive coral reef which seemed to extend for miles, and upon which, far as the eye could reach, the surf broke violently. The eyes of John and his companions in misfortune were directed towards the open water, each hoping against hope that the boats had rowed a little distance from the ship till morning,



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THE BRIG 'NELLIE' AND HER CRE W. 9 The child became quite a little beam of sunlight to the crew; they watched her little golden head go bobbing along the deck as she trotted by her mother's side holding by one of her fingers, or contrived to toddle along alone, and many a hand was eagerly stretched out to save her when in danger of falling. The negro had also contrived to make friends with the little maiden. Accompanied by her mother, she would make her way to the caboose, and peeping in at the door, would announce her presence by a loud crow, to the huge delight of Snowy, whose large mouth would expand into a grin of formidable dimensions, while he never failed to exclaim'Ho I ho Missie Florrie know ole black man;' and then to the mother, Dat ar' a most 'markable chile.' Meanwhile the brig sailed on, proving herself to be a good sea-boat, cutting her way through the water with such speed as to bring a smile of gratified pride to the weather-beaten face of the captain, as he calculated how many days it would take her to run to the Cape. There is an old proverb which says, Do not cry 1alloo' till you are out of the wood. I am afraid this did not occur to the captain's mind, or any other of a like meaning.



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28 UNCLE JOHN'S FiRST' SHIPWRECE. the wet and slippery deck without uttering a word of explanation. 'Now then, Snowy, bear a hand.' 'No good, Massa Felton, boats gone !' 'Gone !' cried Felton, rushing to the side followed by John, who had echoed his cry. Alas it was too true; not a vestige of the boats was to be seen. Whether the men had purposely cast themselves loose and left the women to their fate, or whether the violent tossing of the boats had broken them adrift, those left behind were unable to say. Nothing, however, was more certain than that the boats were gone. For a few moments after realizing their terrible situation, John and his companions gave way to despair; and well they might, alone, with two helpless women, on the deck of a vessel they expected every instant would go to pieces, and they themselves be swallowed up in the waves of the angry sea, which even now sprang on board as if eager for their expected prey; no visible means of escape. Truly they might well despair; their condition was not an enviable one. But the feeling was transitory; hope never entirely dies out of the human bosom. In the worst of cir-



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AD VENTURES ON LAND. 91 shore that now their worst perils were over; so much preferable did their situation appear to be, even on a comparatively barren coast, to the anxieties and sufferings felt and endured when tossed about upon the ocean. As soon as the boat was secured, all hands set to work. Snowy took the hatchet and proceeded to cut a quantity of fuel for a fire, which the ladies insisted upon carrying down to the spot which had been fixed upon for their camping place. They declared they had been idle long enough, and that it was time for them to take their share of the general toil. John went off in search of water, but was cautioned not to wander too far for fear of losing himself, and above all, to be on his guard against the natives. Felton took another direction to hunt for food. John penetrated some distance into the dense bush without observing any signs of water. He was careful, however, to take particular notice of the objects which he passed, so that they might serve as guides on his way back. Once he thought he saw the form of a man or animal gliding behind the trunks of the trees; he stopped to examine more closely, but seeing nothing move, he concluded he must have been mistaken. When he had gone, as far as he could



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THE ISLAND AND THE BOAT 85 The articles were soon transferred from the raft to the boat, the tiller repaired in the best way possible with their limited resources, and the spare spar erected and the sail hoisted. The boat was then drawn up on the beach for the night, and after a supper of stewed oysters washed down with water, the little company gathered together for prayers, and then lay down to sleep. On the following morning they were early astir, and after partaking of a similar meal to their two previous ones, they bade farewell to the raft and embarked on board the boat. They first of all rowed round to Oyster Rock and got a fresh supply of oysters and water, after which they hoisted their little sail and stood boldly for the mainland. 'What island is that?' said Miss French to John. 'I don't know, Miss,' was John's reply. I think we may safely call it Providence Island,' remarked Mrs. Weston, 'for thither God providentially led-us, and there we found water, food, and this boat.' 'Me tink dat berry good name, mum,' said the negro, grinning approval. 'Yes,' continued Mrs. Weston; 'God has been merciful, in spite of His having taken my'She



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ATTACKED BY NATIVES. I10 colour who did not belong to them; but when Felton and John came up, they conferred with each other for a minute or two, then one turned and fled into the bush. 'I am afraid he has gone for his companions,' said Felton; 'we had better be prepared. They seem friendly, but we must not trust them too far.' 'No,' said John; but where are the ladies?' 'Dey in de bush !' replied the negro, pointing to the spot where they had entered. 'Off, and find them, John !' said Felton. 'Bring them down to the boat as quickly as possible; we mustn't linger here a moment longer than is absolutely necessary.' While John hurried away to accomplish his mission, Felton and Snowy armed themselves as best they could-one with the axe, and the other with the bludgeon that had done such execution the day before on the kangaroo. The native who remained viewed all these preparations with a little uneasiness, and once or twice seemed to meditate flight. His fears, however, vanished when he saw his comrade returning, accompanied by a large band of his fellowcountrymen, women, children, and dogs; others followed, until they had increased to a considerable



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54 UNCLE JOHN'S FIRST SHIPWRECK. board there was no keeping her in one place for a moment. What shall we do ?' was John's first exclamation. 'Trust in Providence,' said Felton after a pause. 'Yes, but the child she must have water, or she'll die,' replied John. 'Well, wet her biscuit this once, and let her be satisfied; before long we hope to reach land; it is the only chance.' John did as Felton suggested, and as the last drop trickled into the basin he almost groaned, he felt so unmanned by the cruel accident that deprived them of that which alone could keep life and strength in any of the party. The sad news had to be communi. cated to the women, who were patiently waiting to moisten their dry biscuit, before attempting to eat it. 'You must tell them, John, I have not the heart to do it,' said Felton as he made his way to Snowy, who, when he learned the disaster that had befallen them, lifted up his hands with horror. 'A great misfortune has befallen us,' said John to Mrs. Weston as he handed her Florrie's breakfast; 'all our water is gone.' Gone!' echoed Mrs. Weston, scarcely believing what she heard.



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THIE WRECK. 35 his hand, stood ready to push off as soon as John took his place. But before leaving the vessel he paid another visit to the ladies' cabin, to see if anything had been left behind which might prove of service to them. He took two blankets from Mrs. Weston's berth, and a tin mug and basin which were lying on the floor, and which he thought would come in useful. As he was leaving he saw Miss French's little prayer-book, which he picked up and put in his pocket; while doing so he spied a large tin canister, which upon examination proved to contain biscuits of a finer quality than those eaten by sailors. Having secured these prizes he ran hastily on deck, and throwing them to Felton, speedily descended to the raft; cutting the rope which secure it to the ship, he seized an oar, and together witn Felton pushed off from the vessel, which was aow rapidly breaking up.



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ADVENTURES ON LAND. 11o a moment, but darting at the kangaroo, endeavoured to seize him by the throat and bring him to the ground. Some of these received their death-wound, being ripped up with an ease and celerity perfectly marvellous. Again and again did the wild dogs rush to the assault, only each time to be repulsed, while at every attack others were added to those already writhing on the ground mortally wounded. The noble animal, however, was growing weary with the fray, and it soon became evident to the silent spectators that his end could not be far distant. At first, surprise and interest had kept the negro and John inactive; but now, seeing their opportunity of effectually availing themselves of the chances of chase and war to increase the supply of their larder, they commenced to act. The negro threw down his axe, and snatching John's club, crept silently forward, and, before the animal could fully realize the presence of his new foe, gave him a tremendous blow on the nose. Down dropped the kangaroo as if shot, and before he could recover himself, a second blow on the head quieted him for ever. When Snowy attacked the kangaroo, John picked up the axpe, and rushing in among the dingoes, commenced dealing blows right and left, and so liberally that they



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NO WATER! 53 draw the water. Here a startling discovery awaited him. When he lifted the keg, he thought it considerably lighter than yesterday, and felt certain that most of its precious contents was gone. But how? was the question. His confidence in his friends was too great to allow of the suspicion that one or both had paid a surreptitious visit to it during the night; neither could he believe the ladies would do it. Examining it closely, he found one side of It wet. There he saw it must have oozed out; the keg was leaky Doubtless the action of the sun during the previous day had shrunken the wood and made it so, and all night long the precious water had been growing gradually less and less. He shook the keg; there could not be more than half a pint remaining. The cry of dismay which escaped his lips, as the truth of his conclusions flashed upon his mind, drew John to his side. He had been crumbling Florrie's biscuit, and still held the basin in his hand. His dismay was even greater than Felton's. He had noticed with considerable apprehension that the child appeared less lively this morning than on the previous day; there were dark circles round her eyes, and her cheeks looked thin; as yet she had not moved from her mother's lap,-a most unusual thing, as on-ship-



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I, W 'l* $RST DAY ON THE RAFT. 37 the land, after which we can coast along the shore till we reach a settlement.' 'Dat am true, Massa Feelton,' said the black; let us get de coast first.' 'Which is the nearest settlement from here?' inquired John. 'I scarcely know,' Felton replied; 'but judging the distance the Nellie was blown from her course, it must be Moreton Bay, but of that I am not sure. We can't, however, be wrong if we first attempt to make the coast; most likely we shall there be able to obtain what we so greatly need, provisions.' 'Then what course shall we steer ?' 'W.S.W.,' replied Felton. 'Now dat settled,' said'the negro, 'lend a hand, Feelton, and we ship a mast and hoist de sail.' 'Yes, and then pipe all hands for breakfast,' said John; 'the ladies must be famished, and little Florrie is crying her pretty eyes out for food.' 'You must not mind us,' said Mrs. Weston; 'under God we owe our lives to you, and we will eat when you eat, and not before or oftener.' We have only done our duty, ma'am,' said John; 'and as to eating, we must talk about that presently.' A spare spar, which had been placed on the raft ': *'**



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THE ISLAND AND TIiE BOAT. 77 night, when they hoped that the sharpest of their sufferings would be relieved, and they were constantly on the look-out for signs which would infallibly prove their conjectures right. These hopes John communicated to Miss French, who sat with her arm round her friend, whispering what words of consolation she could find to say to the grief-stricken mother. 'I shall not be sorry,' said Miss French in reply; 'the sooner we gain land the better; I am very weary of this life.' So are we all,' thought John. But the day passed, and night came, and still land was not in sight, and the weary band of voyagers were compelled to buoy up their courage with the hope that surely morning would bring the longed-for sight. And, surely enough, when the sun rose, all hands were aroused by the welcome shout from Felton of Land, ho Looking in the direction to which he eagerly pointed, there distinctly rose the high mountains of New South Wales. To paint the joy which showed itself on each face would be a vain task. My readers must try and picture to themselves how great it was. Between them and the mainland were a number of



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io6 UNCLE JOHN'S FIRST SHIPWRECK. frequently come across traces of their presence on that part of the coast. The two now approaching made many friendly signs. They were not by any means pleasant looking fellows; in colour they were a kind of sooty brown, with long coarse black hair, flat noses, and wide nostrils, while their lips were thick and protruding like those of a true negro. With the exception of a thin strip of cloth of native manufacture round their loins, they were entirely destitute of clothing. Their appearance was not welcome, for they were known to be treacherous, and frequently perpetrated acts of great cruelty upon the whites in the remoter settlements. At the moment of their approach, John and his companions were somewhat scattered. Mrs. Weston and her friend had just previously disappeared in the bush searching for wild lettuce; Felton was some distance from the boat, picking sorrel to take with them on their voyage; the negro was looking about their place of encampment to see that nothing was left behind; John, as I have said, was in the boat. No sooner was Snowy aware of the presence of the visitors, than he hastened to meet them, imitating their friendly gestures. They looked at the negro for some minutes, apparently surprised to see one of his



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AD VENTURES ON LAND. 89 fixed upon for a penal settlement, and the first batch of convicts landed in 1788, under the command of Captain Philip, who proclaimed the colony New, South Wales.' 'I suppose, considering how few the coast settlements are, but little of the interior has been explored?' 'Next to nothing. It has, however, commenced; a passage across the Blue Mountains was made about a dozen years since. But we have little to do with the interior; we must be thankful if we can reach the coast and effect a safe landing.' 'There is no fear but what we shall accomplish that now,' said John. 'Well, I hope so; yet the coast is almost one continuous line of high rocks, and unless we can find some little inlet or bay we may find it difficult to land.' Oh, I trust not,' rejoined John earnestly; after so much suffering, to be in sight of land and then not able to gain it will indeed be a disappointment.' 'We must hope for the best, John; the same Providence which has watched over us hitherto will not now desert us. But should we be able to land, even then our difficulties will not be over; we shall still be far from the nearest settlement, which we can only hope to gain by coasting along.'



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78 UNCLE JOIN'S FIRST SHIPWRECI:. small islands, and it was quickly decided to make for the nearest 'of these. We may find water there,' said Felton, as he urged them to adopt this plan. Yet, in their exhausted state, it took some time to reach it; and to add to their difficulties, when within two or three miles it fell a dead calm, and they were compelled to row the rest of the way. On landing, the island proved to be barren and sandy, slightly covered with furze and grass, but without anything in the shape of food or water to relieve their hunger and thirst. This made them regret they had not continued their course to the mainland, instead of wasting valuable time in making for so barren a spot; but as it still continued calm, they resolved to stay there for the remainder of the day. Securing the raft in the little sandy bay where it had grounded, Snowy started off to make a more thorough survey of the island, with the hope that he might yet be successful in finding something to eat. Felton and John turned, after having first landed the ladies, to digging'a well in the sand, above high-water mark, in the hope of finding fresh water. 'I have read,' said Felton, of shipwrecked sailors being successful in making such experiments, and we may as well have a trial as sit still and do nothing.'



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THE ISLAND AND THE BOAT. 83 'A boat' cried Felton, now thoroughly awake. Whose?' 'Dat am what I not know; but dere no one in, and it be half full o' san'.' We must go and examine it,' said Felton, rising to his feet; 'if it proves to be sound, it will be more serviceable to us than the raft.' Without more words Felton and John set off, guided by Snowy. When they arrived at the spot where the boat was lying, they found it was a snug little bay on the lee side of what they called Oyster Rock. Upon examination they found the boat must have been lying there for some little time, which caused them to give up their first theory in accounting for its appearance, namely, that it was one of the two boats which had so cruelly deserted them on the night of the wreck. Each gave it as his opinion that it had never belonged to the Nellie, but must have either drifted there from some other wreck, or been purposely left by its crew, who themselves were received on board a passing vessel. The sand was cleared out, but nothing was discovered beneath, save only a worn ancle-shoe and a broken oar. Felton carefully examined its timbers, and finding them sound, declared it was capable of con,



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AD VENTURES ON LAND. 93 over the top, as a shelter for the ladies. He now took the emu and began to skin it, after which he cut it into slices, and soon had a plentiful supply broiling on the fire. While all this was being done, John had taken the keg and filled it with water at the rivulet. When Felton returned, he brought with him a quantity of wild lettuce, but no animal food. In the course of his wanderings he had come upon signs of natives, which upon inspection proved to be of recent date, so it behoved them to be careful, as they were not certain how they should be treated were they to fall into their hands. The green food proved a most welcome addition to their evening's meal, while the flesh of the emu was a delicacy only to be thoroughly relished by those who for days have been in a state of semi-starvation. This meal our adventurers ate at the spot where they landed, as they intended to remain there for the night, and to commence their voyage along the coast on the following day. When supper was ended, prayers were read (as they were every night and morning during all their wanderings), and then preparations were made for the night. It was determined that a watch should be kept till morning, to



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96 UNCLE JOHN'S FIRST SHIPWRECK. covering anything that would serve as food, save only a large number of gaily feathered birds, which it was impossible to catch, when John touched Felton on the arm and pointed to something on his right rolling over and over in the grass. 'What do you call that?' was his inquiry. 'I can't rightly say,' replied Felton; 'something alive, surely.' 'No doubt about that,' said John. 'Why, it must be a-but no-yes, it is, though! Come along!' shouted Felton, darting forward with uplifted axe. 'What is it?' cried John, following. 'A large snake killing some animal !' 'Be careful, Felton, or you'll run into danger.' 'All right; if I can but give it a blow with my axe it is ours.' The snake, however, had seen their approach, and uncoiling itself from the animal it had enfolded in its embrace, reared its head threateningly. It would not do to come to close quarters, so taking a steady aim, Felton hurled his axe at it, and so truly that he knocked it on the head; and before it could recover from the effects of the blow, John rushed in, and with a few additional blows from his club put an end to its



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DEATH OF LITTLE FLORRIE. 71 darkened into the darkness of death. A feeble gasp, and darling Florrie was dead. The mother saw all was over, and in mute anguish bowed her head; and while her friend endeavoured to comfort her, the three men turned with one consent away, unable to witness the grief they could not alleviate. After a time John returned to the bereaved mother, to try and induce her to partake of some of the egg. He gave the basin into Miss French's hand, telling her that herself and Mrs. Weston must try to swallow its contents, however unpalatable it might taste, or they would perish. He then returned to his comrades, whom he found preparing to kindle a fire. Snowy was using the axe to cut up one of the loose planks from the raft, while Felton with steel and flint, which he had carried in his pocket all along, was setting fire to some tinder prepared from a remnant of the negro's shirt. After a few vain efforts the fire began to blaze; the saucepan then came into requisition. The eggs were broken and the blood of the remaining birds mixed with them; the birds themselves, plucked and cut up, were placed on the fire, a few pieces only being put in the saucepan with some biscuit. After a little delay the whole was ready for eating. The wants of the two ladies were first supplied, They had ;r****~



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DEATH OF LITTLE FLORRIE. 63 served out the biscuits, but they remained uneaten. Water was the great want; and swollen tongue, cracked lips, and parched throat told how dire was the necessity. After a time poor little Florrie crawled back to her mother; the cold iron of the axe, though cool to her hot lips, gave no relief to her intolerable thirst. She could not articulate a word now, only moaned like a dumb child; and hearing the moan of the little sufferer, the men clenched their hands in their impotent helplessness. Mrs. Weston gathered her daughter to her bosom, and rocked her to and fro, but she could not hush her to sleep or still the heart-rending moans. The little blue eyes, growing so dim now, were fixed wistfully upon hers, as if saying, Mother, why don't you help me ?' And reading their meaning thus, the poor mother answered in a hoarse whisper, 'My darling, I can't,' and passionately kissed the thin wee face. 'This is hard to bear,' groaned John, hiding his face against old Snowy. *' De Lord knows it be,' whispered the black, hiding his own eyes. 'Death,' murmured Felton, 'would be more merciful than such suffering.'



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I14 UNCLE JOHN'S FIRST SHIPWRECK. hopes blighted; and before they could return upon their footsteps, the dreaded point was rounded, and the boat with its crew for ever beyond their reach. 'Thank God, you are safe,' was Mrs. Weston's exclamation as John entered the boat. 'You are not wounded, are you?' inquired Miss French, as she heard his stifled cry of pain. 'Only a flesh wound in the leg,' was John's answer. 'Let me bind it up,' said Mrs. Weston. This was speedily done.



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FIRST' DAY ON THE RAFT. 39 touch the meat, and even John felt a qualm or two before he ventured to put a piece in his mouth; the other two, however, were not so fastidious, but ate it with a keen relish. 'I don't advise you to eat much of this,' said Felton; 'it will create thirst, and we have none too much water.' All were greatly refreshed with their simple meal, it seemed to impart fresh courage and hope; Florrie .no longer cried, but was crawling about the.raft and trying to reach the water she could see between the planks with her hand; watchful eyes were upon her that she might not tumble overboard. Mrs. Weston and her friend performed a hasty toilet as best they could under the circumstances; and while the black steered, Felton and John took stock of their provisions, to ascertain how much they would have to economize to make it last. They soon came to the end of their task, and if their faces might be taken as an index of the result, it was not very encouraging. Indeed, they were worse off than they anticipated: of water, they had not more than two gallons, and of wine, somewhat less than a pint; forty biscuits were counted besides those in the tin, which they decided should



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AD VENTURES ON LAND. 99 from the natives. One morning during their enforced sojourn, Snowy and John, armed with axe and club, started on the usual errand. The black had hopes of killing an opossum, having remarked a hollow tree, in which these animals make their home, some little distance from the camp. -. They set forth in good spirits, for although their dangers and privations had been many and severe, their hitherto miraculous preservation led them to believe that they should ultimately succeed in reaching a haven of safety. Even Mrs. Weston, in spite of the recent loss of little Florrie, of whom she continually thought, at times brightened and was cheerful. Neither of the little company looked as they did when leaving Hobart Town; their perils and suffering had told upon them severely; their faces were pale and thin; their strength sadly reduced; while their clothes were so torn that even a beggar would have rejected them with scorn. Still their continued preservation at times made them cheerful. To repeat myself, the two set forth in good spirits, confident that if anything eatable crossed their path, they would not readily let it escape. They journeyed for some time without anything disturbing the monotony of their walk, and finally reached the tree Snowy



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60 UNCLE JOHN'S FIRST SHIPWRECK. sufficient light, the men turned their gaze once more over the sea, to ascertain if land or sail was in sight, but their search was unrewarded; as on the previous morning, they saw nothing but the heaving waters. Hope almost died out of their hearts; they .looked into each other's eyes, and saw there only the light of despair. Miss French, who had been eagerly watching them, seeing their gesture of dismay, uttered a wailing cry and bowed her head to her knees. Mrs. Weston, who had been bending over her little daughter, hearing the cry, raised her head to ascertain the cause; no words of explanation were needed, she comprehended the state of affairs at a glance. 'No land!' she whispered to John. Her voice sounded strangely unreal. John sorrowfully shook his head; he could not bring himself to reply in words. 'We are doomed to a horrible death,' wailed Miss French, swaying herself to and fro. 'Hush I dear,' said Mrs. Weston. 'We must not entirely despair. We can hold out a little longer; perhaps before the day closes land may appear, or, better still, a passing ship receive us on board. Let us still hope.'



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102 UNCLE JOHN'S FIRST SHIPWRECK. were compelled to slink off, doubtless very unwillingly, leaving these new opponents masters of the field. No doubt it was very aggravating to the dingoes to be thus deprived of what they might justly consider their lawful prey. To have chased and hunted it for many weary miles; to have left several of their companions dead upon the field of battle; and at the very moment they were anticipating an end of the conflict, to have the prize snatched, as it were, from their very jaws, to say the least must have been very disappointing: so indeed they appeared to think, for they gave vent to their feelings in quite a chorus of melancholy howls. But their despoilers wasted no unnecessary thoughts upon what they might think or feel; on the contrary, they testified their joy at the piece of good fortune which had befallen them by sundry exclamations of delight. 'Ho, ho !' laughed Snowy; 'tail soup now! dis chile de man to make 'um.' What a fine fellow he is,' said John, feeling the animal's sides; 'how fat I Feel here, Snowy. And what a tail! my!' he continued, shaking the appendage in question. The negro signified his approval of the parts to which his attention was especially directed by so



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THE ISLAND AND THE BOAT 79 John readily consented to the proposition, and both set to work with a will, using for the purpose now their hands, and now a piece of board hewed into the shape of a shovel by the aid of the axe. For some time they worked away in silence, with no good result; but just as they were about to give up in despair, to their great joy they saw water beginning to percolate through, and when sufficient had accumulated at the botton of the hole, John dipped in his hand and tasted it. To his inexpressible disappointment, he found it to be so brackish as to be totally unfit for drinking. 'We must dig another,' said Felton, after imitating John's example by conveying some of the water to his lips; 'farther from the shore it may be more pure.' Just as they were beginning to their second well, they saw the negro returning, apparently with something in his hands. He had evidently joyful news to communicate, and was hurrying along as fast as his weakened condition would permit. The two men relinquished their fruitless labour and hurried to meet him. They were not near enough to hear what he was saying, although they saw he was shouting to them. This made them quicken their footsteps. A nearer



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ro UNCLE JOHN'S FIRST SRIPWRECA. arm to conquer. A spear thrust into his leg and a blow on the head from a waddy almost paralysed his movements; he felt he could not maintain the unequal combat much longer, and was nearly sinking from exhaustion, when Felton and Snowy, who had hurried after the enemy, now thrust themselves in the centre of the throng, and dealing blows right and left, speedily cleared a passage to the side of their unfortunate companions. 'Make for the boat, John,' shouted Felton; 'put the ladies in, we'll try and keep these fellows at bay.' It was with extreme difficulty that they contrived to move towards the beach. Their enemies pressed them on all sides, and it was only the formidable club of the negro and Felton's axe that finally enabled them to gain the boat. Fortunately the boat had remained undisturbed by the natives. In their desire to make the little company prisoners, they had overlooked it. Now, however, seeing their expected prey escaping, they made a rush for it, and endeavoured to seize and haul it farther up the beach. John was too quick for them; the ladies had hurriedly stepped in and taken their seats, when, giving it a violent push, he sent it some distance from the shore, just at the moment the



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NO WATER! 57 Indeed, they all suffered more or less from the same cause,-intolerable thirst; but being older, they were enabled the better to endure and conceal their sufferings, yet each saw the others fruitlessly attempting to moisten their dry lips with their tongue. How earnestly they prayed for rain, and how constantly they looked up to the blue sky above, if, haply, they might discern a rain-cloud If they found it difficult to swallow their early morning biscuit, they found it much more so now when the noon one was served out. Mrs. Weston tried to moisten a piece with her lips to give to her child, but was obliged to give up the attempt in despair. The scanty portion of food each received remained uneaten; the parched throat could not be made to swallow. All this time the raft was slowly moving through the water, now urged more swiftly forward by two of them using the oars; but this was only occasionally, the heat of the sun and their weakened condition rendering a long spell at rowing impossible. How anxiously they scanned the horizon for signs of land; and every time their intent gaze saw nothing but sea and sky, sky and sea. Truly their condition was like that the poet has so well described:



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124 UNCLE JOHN'S EIRSI SHIPWRECK. As dropped each corse, these eyes beheld The ravening fishes leap: Of seventy souls, one only left To brave the angry deep With streaming hair, the dead, stone-eyed, Peered where the raft was riven; And through the chinks white faces glared, Defying fate and Heaven, Till seemed the planks whereto I clung By the snaked Furies driven. I nothing recked of shows or signs, Of mist that came and parted; Nor rush of winds, nor chase of waves, Nor birds my presence started; No voice brought more through my lost world Bread to the hungry hearted. Cast prone on the redeeming deck, Sunk low in shivering sleep, By the meek tears down dropping warm, I felt the angels weep, And saw at last, with eyes of soul, God moving on the deep ~~~~~~D~~~~~~~~~~~SJPI~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~i



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64 UNCLE JOHN'S FIRST SHIPWRECK. 'No! no cried John hoarsely; 'we can't let her die.' My poor lad,' replied Felton, 'I would give my life to save the little one; but to see her suffer and be unable to relieve her is too much to bear.' The old negro groaned with sympathy. 'Oh if a shower of rain would but fall,' said John. 'There is no sign of rain,' replied Felton, looking up in the sky. 'What is it you are looking at so earnestly?' inquired John of Snowy, whose gaze was fixed intently on one particular spot on the horizon. Felton cast his eyes in the same direction, saying, after a few minutes' pause, It looks like surf.' 'Yes, dat am surf,' echoed the negro. 'Surf !' cried John; then there must be land !' 'More likely a cpral reef,' said Felton. We had better not say a word to the ladies, or we shall raise hopes doomed never to be realized; let us make sure of what it is first.' I tink, Feelton, we steer in dat ar' direction; if coral reef, dere also san'bank, and if san'bank, we fin' bird's egg,' said the negro. In this Felton concurred; the sail was accordingly shifted so as the better to catch the breeze then blow-



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22 UNCLE JOHN'S FIRST SHIPIVRECCi. about crying all was lost, while others stood as if bereft of all life and motion. The masts swayed to and fro, and threatened every instant to give way and tumble overboard, while the noise of the surf beating against the sides of the vessel was almost deafening in its roar. That some terrible disaster had happened John needed no one to inform him; the scene enacting before his eyes was sufficient evidence without words of explanation, but its nature and extent he could not at that moment realize. Making his way with difficulty to where he saw Felton and Snowy standing, he inquired of them what had occurred. 'The ship has struck on a rock or coral reef, replied Felton, whose face looked pale in the dim light. 'But is there no hope of her floating off?' said John. Hark how her timbers are rending, and then ask,' said Felton. The grating of the keel on the cruel rocks could be distinctly heard above the noise and confusion that reigned around. 'Besides,' continued Felton, 'no ship can live in such a surf.'



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4 UNCLE JOHN'S FIRST SHIPWRECK. selves were on board taking a last farewell of the land of their captivity. 'It seems strange,' said John Grey to an intelligentlooking sailor working at his side, 'that a fine country like this we are leaving should be colonized almost solely by the worst people Old England can send out.' Yes; I have often wondered why the Government don't try and make it a home for the poor and deserving. With a slice of land and a little money to set them going, men who are wanting bread in England would soon be thriving here. I suppose, however, when the country is better known, more free people will flock to it, and one day it will be a flourishing place.' Just at that moment Mrs. Weston, with her little girl still in her arms, left the side of the vessel; but while making her way across the deck, with the intention of going below to her cabin, the ship gave a sudden lurch, sending her flying in an opposite direction. She would doubtless have received a very ugly fall, and the child as well, had not John Grey, seeing her danger, dropped the rope he was coiling, rushed forward, and held her up in his strong arms until she regained her footing.



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82 UNCLE JOHN'S FIRST SHIPWRECK.E king. The keen relish which hunger gives perhaps gave force to their verdict. Satisfied as they had not been for days past, hunger and thirst both relieved, when their meal was ended they sat lazily on the sand, not caring to move. It had been agreed before dinner to remain on the island for the night, to recruit their strength somewhat before making the attempt to gain the mainland; and having plenty of time in which to renew their supplies of oysters and water, they felt they might indulge themselves in a little rest; and this they proceeded to do in such various ways as inclination prompted. Felton went to sleep, the negro stretched himself at full length upon the sand, while John sat talking to the ladies, who were mending their dresses, which in the course of their adventures had become sadly dilapidated. All at once Snowy gave a shout and started to his feet, frightening his companions, who thought he must have been stung by a snake. 'Why, what is it, Snowy?' inquired Felton, whom he had awoke. 'Me forget,' cried the black, stamping his great foot on the sand, 'dis chile see boat by de rock where am oysters.'



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CHAPTER II. THE STORM. HE weather continued fair for several days, and as the vessel sped on her course, the passengers were frequently on deck, enjoying the breeze and the ever-varying scenery of the coast, with its high promontories and steep rocks. Now and again glimpses of the country were obtained through some ravine which led from the coast inland, and many were the expressions of admiration such views elicited; but in no single instance was an inhabitant seen, either native or colonial; the land in its beauty and fertility seemed to be quietly waiting for man to make it his home. But this state of peace and tranquillity was not fated to be of long duration. It was the captain's intention, if the wind held favourable when entering Bass' Straits, to steer to the westward of King's 10



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84 UNCLE JOHN'S FIRST SHIPWRECK veying them to the mainland. He, with the aid of his, two friends, launched it, and seeing that, with the exception of a trifling leakage, it was water-tight,. pronounced it a prize. 'It will do, Snowy,' he said; 'what little water it makes can easily be kept under by baling. The tiller is a little damaged, but that we can easily remedy; and with the mast from the raft we shall be able to make sail, and our speed will be far more rapid than it has hitherto been.' In all this his friends agreeing, it was resolved to row round to where the raft was lying, and remove into the boat all their valuables; John, therefore, ran back for the oars, and when he returned they all three embarked in their prize. Mrs. Weston and her friend were exceedingly surprised to see their protectors rowing to the landing. place in a boat, and could scarcely credit their eyes, and for a moment thought they were playing them false; but when the men shouted to them they no longer remained incredulous, but hastened down to the beach to meet them on landing. They were soon in possession of the particulars of the good fortune that had befallen them, and most heartily congratulated Snowy and his comrades.



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CHAPTER VI. DEATH OF LITTLE FLORRIE. HE night passed away without any incident -¢ occurringworthy ofnotice. Snowy, Felton, : and John each took their separate turn at the helm. Anxiety and weariness made it difficult at times for them to refrain from falling asleep at their post. The two women lay quite still, for a few hours forgetting their miseries in the blessedness of sleep. Florrie never moved throughout the night, and once, when John bent silently over her, he saw by the light of the stars a smile upon her face; he thought she must be dreaming of something pleasant, and with a murmured blessing he turned away, that he might not disturb her. Morning again dawned, the sun lighting up the waves of the sea and shining down upon the frail raft and its desolate crew. As soon as there was 59





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70 UNCLE JOHN'S FIRST SHIPWVRE CK liquid, not like water, certainly, but it would surely alleviate the dreadful thirst, and snatch the child back from the gates of death. The poor little face was quite thin, the cheeks shrunken, and the dear lips dry and black. How tenderly, while the mother raised her head, did the burly negro endeavour to force a little of the liquid into the child's mouth, and how anxiously the others .watched his efforts. How long he persisted in his attempts none of them ever knew, but it seemed for hours, so great was their agony of suspense. At last he desisted, and gravely shaking his head, said in a whisper'Me berry much feared she nebber drink more.' 'No! no!' cried Mrs. Weston, 'my darling is not dead; feel, her dear little bosom is warm, and her heart throbs.' John gently placed his hand on the dear little creature's bosom: he felt but a faint, feeble flutter. She was evidently dying fast. At that moment Florrie opened her eyes, and looking up at the anxious faces bending over her, tried to speak; but although her lips moved slightly, no sound came from them; then a faint smile passed over her face, quickly followed by an awful shadow; the little eyes et%'



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CHAPTER III. THE WRECK. g HOUGH a little bewildered by this sum? mary ejection from his hammock, John contrived to regain his feet, and pro. ceeded to dress himself with all despatch. A second shock, not so violent as the first, was nearly upsetting him again. He heard cries of distress and men shouting that the ship had struck. Those of the crew who with himself had turned into their hammocks had rushed on deck, some half-dressed, before him, so that he was the last of the hands to make his appearance. Such a scene of confusion, as in the imperfect light the deck presented when he first gained it, he had never before witnessed, and certainly never forgot. The captain was shouting orders his men were too bewildered to execute, some of whom were rushing 21



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CHAPTER X. SAFE AT LAST! OR two days our adventurers continued J their voyage along the coast, without any incident worthy-of record occurring. During that time the weather continued favourable, and the boat made good way, to the great delight of its occupants, who ardently longed to be once more among their own countrymen. On the third day after leaving the bay where they had been attacked by the natives, and which they named Native Bay, their water running short, they attempted to land to procure more; but as they neared the shore they saw crowds of natives watching their approach, and therefore deemed it advisable to stand off again. Upon which many of. the savages made them friendly signs, and held out their hands filled with fruit, and by various ways 115



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DEATH OF LITTLE FLORRIE. 75 When on the following day the raft left the sandbank, it seemed so sad to leave ,the little grave behind, it looked so lonely there, surrounded by the waters of the sea, so far away from human life. The poor mother kept her face towards it as long as the rude tablet at its head could be seen. The hearts of that little company were very sad as gradually the sandbank disappeared from view, sinking as it were into the great ocean itself



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CHAPTER IX. ATTACKED BY NATIVES. ^ ITH the return of day, preparations were made to resume their hazardous voyage. X The wind had now veered round to a favourable point; the sea had gone down, the waves gently breaking upon the shore; while the sun shone brightly and warmly. The tent was struck and the sail again secured to the mast; all articles that had been used on shore were conveyed to the boat. John was in the act of packing them carefully away, when, chancing to look across to the opposite side of the little bay, he was surprised to see two natives advancing towards their place of encampment. He shouted to attract the attention of his companions. This was the first time natives had been seen by them, although during their wanderings they had 105





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AD VENTURES ON LAND. I03 formidable a laugh, that the dingoes, which had not retreated far, actually started to their feet, as if anticipating another onslaught. 'What a thump you gave him on the head, Snow; why, you've knocked his brains out.' 'When Snow hit one blow dat enough,' said the black gravely, as he examined the proofs of his prowess. Now, then, up with him, Snow, and let us march back.' 'One leetle minute,' replied the negro; and taking his clasp-knife, he first cut the animal's throat, and then opened it from head to tail. After throwing the offal to the yet lingering dingoes, with John's assistance he hoisted the body across his brawny shoulders, and the two set off to return with their spoil to their companions. To describe how heartily the negro went to work to make kangaroo soup for dinner is next to impossible. He threw his whole heart and all his energies into the task, as though his very life depended upon the success of his experiment. Miss French offered her services as assistant cook on the occasion, but this Snowy refused, saying: 'Dis chile knows; let dis chile alone for dat.'



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86 UNCLE JOHN'S FIRST SHIPWRECK. could proceed no farther; her thoughts were back again to her little Florrie, lying there in her dark grave in the midst of the heaving waters. The rfen looked at each other; they well knew of what she was thinking; their thoughts, too, wandered frequently back to the memorable spot where they had seen the last of their little favourite, and where they had laid her to rest. Yes; Florrie's Island,' as they called it, became as it were a landmark in their memories, which no after event was ever likely to remove.



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6 UNCLE JOHN'S FIRST SHIPWRECK. met the friendless lad on shore in a somewhat forlorn condition, had been very kind to him, and finally induced him to enter as one of the crew of the Nellie. The old black, from the door of his caboose, had witnessed the scene between the lad and the little girl, and chuckling to himself he murmured: 'Me know him good boy, got good heart; oh, trust dis blackie for dat same; he berry good boy to kiss de chile, me no forget,' and with a few more chuckles he turned again to his occupation of preparing the men's dinner. Sailors do not remain long in the same ship together without a friendly feeling arising for each other among them, and John had not been on board many days before he found a congenial messmate or two, and was on friendly terms with many; indeed, his frank, open countenance and honest smile soon won him friends. But there were two or three of the crew, as there are in most ships, who were disagreeable and quarrelsome, fond of grumbling at most things and most people; these men and John were not on the friendliest terms. Being only a lad, they held him in some contempt, and ordered him about as they thought proper, and never hesitated to cuff his



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52 UNCLE JOHN'S FIRST SHIPWRECi. John, who had been silently watching them; 'it is too soon to expect to see land, we must be some distance from it yet; but if the weather holds good, we trust to make it ere long.' It is foolish to cry,' replied Miss French, brushing away her tears and looking up; 'but I did so hope we should see land. I had even dreamed we were there while sleeping.' 'Yes,' said Mrs. Weston; 'we must not prove cowards, but bear what it is our lot to bear bravely, as true women.' 'Dat is de right spirit, mum,' said the negro, who had heard the conversation; 'de Lord will deliver us in good time.' Before their scanty breakfast was served out, Mrs. Weston, as on the previous evening, read the prayers; indeed Snowy and his mates had requested her to do so. There was something quieting in the beautiful words; and as they reverently knelt, listening and joining in the offered petitions, they one and all felt they were beneath the eye of One who never slumbers nor sleeps. When prayers were over breakfast was served out, the biscuits first. Felton handed round the several portions, then taking the tin mug, went to



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FIRST DAY ON THE RAFT 43 This short conversation was carried on in whispers, for the raft being small, what was said in one part could be heard all over it. The raft had made such slow progress that the wreck was still in sight, and all were surprised to see its timbers hold together so long; but while Felton and John were rigging a little screen for the use of the unfortunate ladies, Snowy suddenly exclaimed: 'Dat um last of de ole chip !' and turning quickly in the direction in which she lay, they saw her gradually fall to pieces and disappear from their sight. 'Would it not be as well to pull back,' said John, 'and see if there are any provisions floating about?' Snowy was consulted, and gave it as his opinion that they couldn't do better, the time lost would be amply compensated by the provisions gained. The raft was accordingly steered in the direction where the Nellie had broken up, the sail lowered, and John and Felton rowing. But when they reached the scene of the wreck, they found they might have spared themselves their labour, for they were only rewarded by finding a small tin sauce-pan and a few planks of wood; their greatest prize was a small axe, which stuck in one of the planks. These articles were hauled upon the raft and secured, and once again they S



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ATTACKED BY NATIVES. 109 arms, apparently to ascertain whether he was the same colour all over; and having satisfied their curiosity in this, they immediately proceeded to more threatening demonstrations. One man endeavoured to seize his axe; but receiving a not very gentle rap on the fingers, and an injunction to keep his hands to himself, began to flourish his spear, and made as though he would thrust him through with it. Another of the savages made a snatch at a gay-coloured handkerchief Snowy wore round his waist. 'Dat mine, you thief !' cried the indignant negro; and by a dexterous movement he tripped his assailant up, and he fell headlong in the midst of his comrades, who greeted his downfall with yells of rage. Just at this moment, when affairs were approaching a climax, and the lives of Felton and the black seemed in jeopardy, a shout was raised by the natives, who rushed off to surround John and the two ladies, who had that minute emerged from the bush and were quietly stealing down to the boat. Beyond measure terrified, the two women could only cling to John for protection, as the natives, seizing them by the arm, endeavoured to drag them away. Their youthful companion was not backward with his blows, but the assailants were too many for a single [: '____________________________________



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20 UNCLE JOHN'S FIRST SHIPWRECK. All seemed secure, however, when, two nights after the storm, John, relieved from his watch on deck, turned gladly into his hammock to seek a few hours' sleep. He had already dozed off into that delightful state of half unconsciousness, the prelude of sound sleep, when he was aroused by hearing the look-out on deck shout, 'Breakers ahead !' He heard the rush of the captain up the companion ladder, and his answering cry of Where away?' but before he clearly understood what it all meant, he was thoroughly awakened by feeling the keel of the ship grating upon some hard substance, and then receiving so violent a Shock that he was literally thrown out of his hammock.



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THE WRECK. 27 boats they were nowhere to be seen The tackle hung loosely from the davits, the boats had disappeared in the darkness. In vain the negro shouted; no answering cry came back. He rubbed his eyes to make sure they had not played him false. No; they had vanished as completely as though they had never been. Meantime John had hurried to the cabin. He had already paid its inmates several visits during the confusion on deck, telling them to be of good cheer; now, feeling no time was to be lost, he burst open the door with very little ceremony. He found Mrs. Weston with Florrie asleep in her arms, and Miss French kneeling as in the act of prayer. 'Quick, Miss French,' he cried, 'hurry on deck ol we shall be too late; give me the child, Mrs. Weston ' No, I will carry it.' She was afraid to trust it out of her arms. John hastily snatched up a couple of shawls and a bag, which he thought contained biscuits, but which afterwards proved to be shells that Florrie played with, and followed them from the cabin. Just as they mounted the ladder they were seized by Felton, who, at the risk of capsizing them, hurried them across



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FIRST DA Y ON THE RAFT. 47 now he had quite forgotten. He presented it to Mrs. Weston, and asked her to conduct the little service; accepting the tiny volume, she opened at that part containing prayers to be used while at sea, and during a storm. As her sweet low voice repeated the beautiful words, they all knelt, even Snowy at the tiller, and earnestly echoed them in their hearts. John then commenced his first watch, while the rest settled themselves to obtain a little sleep. Thus the first day on the raft closed.



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SAFE AT LAST! II9 siderably diminished. But the two unfortunate ladies looked far worse than their friends, and were considerably weaker. Imagine, then, their joy, at daylight one morning, when three remarkable mountains, called the Glasshouses, and known to be near Moreton Bay, were discovered. Their delight was almost too great for words. Mrs. Weston and her friend could only bow their heads, and with clasped hands murmur grateful prayers to the Providence who had brought them thus far safely. 'At last! at last!' cried John excitedly, waving the remnant of his cap; 'at last we are safe!' Felton and the black were no less excited; they shook hands, and together raised a shout which they fully intended being long and loud, but were astonished to find how little noise they made. 'Rather than shout,' said Mrs. Weston, 'return thanks to God.' Ma'am,' said John,' is not our gladness the utterance of grateful hearts ?' Two or three hours after, an opening was discerned into which the boat was steered; this proved to be the entrance of the bay, rowing up which they finally landed at Cape Look-out, then called Amity Point.



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50 UNCLE JOHN'S FIRST SHIPWRECK. of little Florrie asking for water. He could not catch Mrs. Weston's murmured reply, but heard her soothing the little one to sleep again. In his own mind, he determined to reserve his own portion of the precious fluid for the use of the golden-haired little creature. I have said John had a tender heart, and it touched it sorely that Florrie should suffer. He knew very well that her tender frame would never be able to endure the privations which he and his companions must suffer before they reached land, without yielding to them. These thoughts occupied him during the remainder of his watch; when, as nearly as he could judge, it was over, he roused Felton to take his place, while he himself thankfully lay down, and in a few minutes was sound asleep. About midnight the breeze freshened, causing a ripple on the sea, but not sufficient to render it necessary to call the rest. The raft went through the water at a slightly increased speed. The casks to which the framework of the raft was lashed raised it so high out of the water, that there was no fear of the waves washing over it unless a storm arose. No incident varied the monotony of Felton's watch, and when it was over he stirred the negro



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THE ISLAND AND THE BOAT 8I the intense sigh of pleasure that each gave when their thirst had been satisfied being in itself a conclusive proof. The negro in his survey of the island had noticed a rock that jutted out into the sea, and making his way to it, he had there found plenty of rock oysters; and while gathering a load of these, his attention was attracted by a bird standing on a loftier height of the rock, climbing up to which he discovered in a cavity an abundance of pure, fresh water. At the welcome sight he could scarcely refrain from dancing for joy, but the thought of his comn panions in misfortune soon quieted him; so taking a quantity of the oysters with him, he returned to tell of his good fortune; with what result we have seen. 'Now,' said Felton, when each had drunken his and her fill of water, 'we will have stewed oysters for dinner. John, get some dry grass and build the fire while I open the oysters; Snowy will cook themknows how better than I do.' Yes,' said the negro, with a grin, dis chile cook one dinner fit for king.' And when it was ready and partaken of, they all declared the old negro had made good his word, and had given them a dinner fit for a F