A -A Wl'rT Tl'd i iU LUN'IT .L o
irl~o :~9`~4~._:SW .: -'~'
ISLAND HO ME;
CHRISTOPHER ROMAUNT, ESQ.
And conjured up
My boyhood's earliest dreams of isles that lie
In farthest depths of o.ean ; girt with all
Of natural wealth and splendor-jewelled isles,
Boundless in urniimtginable spoils,
That earth is stranger to."
GOULD AND LINCOLN,
59 WASHINGTON STREET.
__ __ __ _
Entered according to Act of Congres, in the year 1S51, by
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of Ma-sachusctts.
STEREOTYPED BY THOMAS B. SMITH,
21G WILLIAM STREET, N. Y.
GEORGE C. RAND, PRINTER, BOSTON.
Now York, Nov. 1851.
TO MY FRIEND,
"143n 1iUn I ,"
AUTHOR OF "CRUMBS FROM THE LAND O'CAZES."
Mr DEAn "KNox,"
Long ago, when to both of us, the future seemed in-
finitely wider, and richer in pleasant possibilities than it
now does, I promised,-or threatened,-that I would one
day "write a book," and dedicate it to you.
Whether in the humble capacity of Editor" of the work
of another, I have properly any business to dedicate" it
at all, is a question which I am not sufficiently familiar
with the code of literary etiquette to decide : but I will
venture in the present instance to "take the responsibili-
ty," even at the risk of being called to account for it by
"the islanders" should they eventually twrn up."
Permit me, therefore, as a slight memento of the many
pleasant associations of "auld lang syne" in which we have
shared, and as the only fulfilment of a boyish pledge, that
it will probably ever be in my power to offer, affection-
ately to inscribe to you, this little volume.
n t nts.
THE TROPICAL ISLAND.
Climbing for" glory"-Max in a cocoa-palm-A tropical scene-How
people are "cast away"-Johnny's views of Desert-Island life, 19
The fugitive-A hazardous attempt-A race with the mutineers-The
wounded rower-The coral ledge, 2I
"One more effort !"-A brief warning-The struggle and its results-
The strange sail-Darkness-The open sea,. 38
A night of gloom-Morton's narrative-Frazer and the mutineers-
Visionary terrors-The first morning-An alarming discovery, 47
The last doubt resolved-Out of sight of land-Slender resources-
What's to be done?-A "holiday adventure!"-A guess at our po-
The second watch-A narrow escape-An evil omen-The spectre fish
-The sky and the ocoan-A breakfast lost-The commencement of
Threatening indications-A welcome peril-The Albacore and their
prey-A strange repast-A tropical thunder-storm, 81
TOKENS OF LAND.
Sunset on the Southern Ocean-The perfect sphere-" Must we per-
ish?"-The mysterious sound-The distant conflagration, 78
A bitter disappointment-The little sufferer-Fever and delirium-The
midnight bath-A strange peril, 98
Sea-creatures-A mournful change-The Cachelot and his assailants-
The combat-New acquaintances, 108
The little islander-A stupendous spectacle-The whirling pillars-We
lose our new friends, 124
OUR ISLAND HOME.
The "aveia"-The illusion of the golden haze-The barrier reef-A
wall of breakers-A struggle for life-The islet of cocoa-palms, 131
THE EXPLORING EXPEDITION.
The evils of inaction-Arthur's remedy-Eiulo-Exhilarating influ-
ences-Pearl-shell beach-The feathered colony-An invasion re-
The noon-day halt-A charming resting-place-Johnny instructs us
how desert-islanders are wont to make a flre-Heathen skill versus
civilization and the story-books, 166
Exemplary birds-A "desperate engagement"-Johnny discovers "an
oyster-tree"-Vagrants, or kings?-A night in the woods--A sleeping
A desert island breakfast-Coming out strong under discouraging
circumstances-Romance and reality-Consoling precedents-The
Prince and Princess, 191
THE PROGRESS OF DISCOVERY.
A voice in the woods-" Vive Napoleon !"-How desert-islanders "do
their washing"-Arthur "calculates our longitude"-Rogerogee-
The wild Frenchman's" hat, .200
A dull chapter-But necessary-Future acquaintances-Wakatta and
Atollo-Tho siesta disturbed-A gentle hint-Max as an architect, 218
THE CORAL REEF.
An expedition by water-An affectionate pair-Johnny and the Chama
-An ambuscade for land-crabs-Amateur pearl-diving-A shark
blockade-Culinary genius, .234
An evening at Palm islet-Story-telling-Browne on the knightly
character"-Rok6a-A voyage to the Cannibal island of Angatan, 249
TIE CANNIBAL VILLAGE.
The Miro grove-The Marae-The old priest-Mowno at home-A
happy savage-Cannibal young ladies-Olla and her friends-A can-
nibal dinner, 64
"Lai-evi"-A flowery warfare-The Cannibals appreciate music and
eloquence-But take offence at the new theology, .49
The Priest's spies, and Olla's stratagem-Rok6a's expedition-The
hasty departure-The pursuit-The Priest's ambush, .299
Dawn on the Lagoon-Johnny's plan of making a fortune-The Sea-
Attorney"-The Shark Exterminator"-Max "carries the war into
Africa"-Our house begun--Mermaid's Cove, 3..2
THE CABIN BY THE LAKE.
Our hole completed-Echo-vale and Lake Laicotmo-A Democrat in
the woods-Harry Clay and General Jackson-Johnny's wild
Frenchman" discovered at last, 336
Preparations for the rainy season-Our ho'ise put to the test-Going
into winter-quarters-Laying in supplics-Monsieur Paul-Max bar-
ed-The Patriarch of thle Lake, 351
WINTER EVENINGS AT IIOME.
Our in-door resources-Amuscments anl occupations-Chess and
'oencing-The rival slory-tellr.--Tio ou:ht Sea Lyceumn," 360
THE SEPIAR NATION.
Our seclusion invwded-Sprinig in the tropic--The excursion-The
islet in the stream--The grovel-troo-Lost cmpanlio;is, 371
TIIE SEAR Cl.
The charm fading-H-ome, sweet homrn u.-Wo seek the miasing ones-
A startling di3covery-The fout-;;rms:l andto th trail-The canoe upon
the shore, 393
The two parties of natives-The pursuers and pursued-We are dis -
covered-The consultation and decision-An exciting moment-
Fencing lessons put in practice-The principles of the broad-sword
exercise misapplied ... 395
RECONNOITERING BY NIGHT.
The return to the islet-Perplexity and doubt-Morton's determination
-The search renewed-The captives-Atollo and the Tewans, 410
THE SINGLE COMBAT.
Preparations for an attack-The islet fortified--A demand and refusal
-Tlhe battle of Bunian islet-A timely reinforcement-The two cham-
An invitation to Tewa-Max's flattering opinion of Wakatta-Induce-
ments to colonize-Preparations to depart-The manuscript and the
THE history of this little book, so far as it is
known to me, is briefly as follows.
Last fall, during a visit to my old friend,
Captain Nathaniel Tarbox, at the country resi-
dence on the shores of Long Island Sound, to
which, as a sort of sailor's snug harbor," he
has retired, after some thirty-five years of a
sea-faring life, Master Decatur, my friend's
only son, one day exhibited to me a miniature
ship, which he said his father had picked up
at sea, on his last voyage. He also casually
mentioned the circumstance of a roll of manu-
script having been found in the little vessel.
Upon my evincing some interest in the mat-
ter, and making inquiry for the manuscript,
it was, after diligent research, discovered in a
box of old papers in the garret. It consisted
of a number of loose sheets of fine French let-
ter-paper, several of which were badly torn,
and others soiled and discolored. A faded
green ribbon, with which they had been fas-
tened together, was broken, and they had be-
come entirely disarranged. The manuscript
was not paged, nor the sheets numbered; and
the work of ascertaining and restoring their
proper order, required both time and patience
for its accomplishment.
In the course of this task, I discovered that
some leaves of the first part of the manuscript
were missing, and the only information which
I could glean respecting their probable fate,
favored the opinion that they had either been
put in requisition as kite tail, or served some
other equally inglorious purpose.
Upon endeavoring to ascertain the particu-
lars of the time and place of the discovery of
the little waif, I found that the log-book of the
voyage on which it had been picked up was
lost, and that the captain had no very certain
or definite recollection as to the circumstances
most essential to be known.
According to his best impression, it was about
the middle of June, 1841, and while sailing
somewhere in the neighborhood of the Kings-
mill Islands, that the little ship had been dis-
covered. He was, at the time, upon a trading
voyage, and engaged in endeavoring to pro-
cure among the islands a cargo of sandalwood
and bfche de mer, for the Canton market.
Upon opening the hatches of the tiny ship,
which were carefully secured, and rendered
water-proof by a thick coating of some resinous
gum, a roll of paper was found to constitute
her entire cargo. On examination, it proved
to be a closely-written manuscript, in a crab-
bed, and indeed, almost illegible hand, well
calculated to discourage any very extended
investigation of its contents; at all events, the
curiosity of Master Decatur and his friends
had not been sufficiently powerful to overcome
the difficulty, and when the facts first came to
my knowledge, as above related, not one of
them could give me any account of the sub-
ject matter of the manuscript. It contained,
as I found, what purported to be a "narrative
EDITOR S PREFACE.
of the adventures" of six lads, who, after get-
ting, strangely enough, adrift in a small boat,
and being several days at sea, in imminent
danger of starvation, finally, in the nick of
time, happened upon a desert island," where,
after the fashion of Robinson Crusoe and other
shipwrecked worthies, they appear to have led
quite a romantic and holiday sort of life.
The narrative purports to have been written
by one of the youthful adventurers, for the
amusement of himself and companions, from
the materials furnished by a rude and meagre
journal, kept during the early period of their
residence on the island, upon fragments of the
leaves of some tropical tree, adapted to that
It would seem that the "islanders," pleased,
perhaps, with the notion of becoming the
heroes of a tale, but probably rather in the
spirit of sportive mimicry, than of serious am-
bition, determined to cut up their narrative
into chapters, stick a fragment of rhyme at the
commencement of each, after the most ap-
proved fashion, and, repudiating altogether
the modest form of a journal, to give it the
garb and aspect of a regular desert island
When finally reduced to its present shape,
it was, in accordance with the romantic sug-
gestion of one of the young Crusoes, securely
deposited in the hold of the little craft, which
was then launched forth upon the deep, to con-
vey to the world the story of the islanders.
Such appears to have been their intention with
regard to it, from the latter part of the manu-
script itself; and its subsequent discovery un-
der the circumstances stated, proves that the
design was put into execution.
At the termination of my visit, upon request-
ing permission to take the manuscript home
with me to examine at my leisure, the captain
at once relinquished all his right to it in my
favor, expressing some surprise that I should
take such an interest in the matter.
I subsequently read the narrative, in six win-
ter evening sittings, to my children and a few
of their playmates. They were all greatly de-
lighted with it, and by their enthusiasm on
the subject, diffused among their juvenile ac-
quaintance so vehement a curiosity concerning
" the new desert island story," that I at length
determined to publish it, as well for the grati-
fication of the young people, as for the purpose
of advertising the relatives and friends of the
castaways, if any such should still survive, of
the strange and deplorable fate that has befal-
len them;* in order, as several of the little
folks have suggested, that suitable measures
may be taken to secure their restoration to
their homes and country, and the government
perhaps be induced to fit out an exploring ex-
Upon a loose half-sheet of the manuscript, I have found the
following memorandum of the names and former places of
residence of these unfortunate young persons, probably de-
signed for the information of their friends. Having received no
answer to the letters of inquiry which I thought it my duty to
forward to these addresses (such of them, at least, as are vis-
ited by the mail), I publish the memorandum, in the hope that
it may thus reach the eyes of the interested parties:-
JOHN BBowNE, of Glasgow, Scotland;
ARTHUR HAMILTON, of Papieti, Tahiti;
WILLIAM MonToN, of Hillsdale, New York;
MAx ADELER, of Hardscrabble, Columbia county, New Yori;
RICHARD ARCHER, of Norwich, Connecticut;
JoHNNY LIVINGSTON, of Milford, Mass.
EIULO, Prince of Tewa, X South Sea;
petition, for the discovery of the island, and
the relief of the young exiles.
The style and general character of the narra-
tive are, in the main, such as one might reason-
ably expect; its supposed author, and the cir-
cunstances under which it purports to have
been written, being taken into consideration.
I say purports, because it has been suggested
in some quarters that the whole thing might be
nothing more than a harmless hoax, perpetra-
ted by some scribbling middy, who, after
writing the story as an agreeable pastime for
his vacant hours, had set it adrift in the man-
ner in which it was found, as the most eligible
mode of disposing of it-of which supposition I
have only to remark that it is entirely gratui-
tous, and unsupported by a particle of proof.
The very faults of the narrative confirm its
genuineness, by their consistency with its sup-
posed origin and authorship. It is unequal,
and evidently the work of an unpractised
hand; a boyish tone of feeling and a boyish
sentimentality often characterize it. There is
also a great superfluity of detail ; the sayings, as
well as the doings of the young adventurers are
frequently recorded with a tedious minuteness.
This disposition to dwell upon minute, to at-
tach importance to things comparatively trivial,
is a characteristic of the youthful mind, and
marks that period of freshness, joyousness, and
inexperience, when everything is new, and pos-
sesses the power to surprise and to interest.
But as the faults to which I have alluded,
and others which it would be easy to enumer-
ate, escaped the criticism of the juvenile au-
ditory to which the story was first submitted,
and as some of those faults, and in particular
the prolixity and fulness of detail, of which I
have spoken, seemed, in their estimation, to
add to its interest, I have been unwilling to
take any liberties with it; and have finally
concluded to send the manuscript to the printer
in all its original integrity.
NEW YOBR, Nov. 1, 1851.
t Z arnyiral S0slan .
MAX IN A COCOA-PALM-JOHNNY'S VIEWS OF DESERT-ISLAND LITZ.
"0 give us some bright little isle of our own,
In the blue summer ocean, far off and alone."
As we wandered along the shore (taking
care to keep in sight of Mr. Frazer, under whose con-
voy, in virtue of his double-barrelled fowling-piece, we
considered ourselves), we came to a low and narrow
point, running out a little way into the sea, the extrem-
ity of which was adorned by a stately group of cocoanut-
The spot seemed ill adapted to support vegetation of
so magnificent a growth, and nothing less hardy than
the cocoa-palm could have derived nourishment from
such a soil. Several of these fine trees stood almost at
the water's edge, springing from a bed of sand, mingled
with black basaltic pebbles, and coarse fragments of
shells and coral, where their roots were washed by every
rising tide: yet their appearance was thrifty and flour.
THE ISLAND HOME.
fishing, and they were thickly covered with close-packed
bunches of tassel-like, straw-colored blossoms, and loaded
with fruit in various stages of growth.
Johnny cast a wistful glance at the compact clusters
of nuts, nestling beneath the graceful tufts of long
leaves that crowned each straight and tapering trunk;
but he had so recently learned from experience, the
hopelessness of undertaking to climb a cocoanut-tree,
that he was not at present disposed to renew the at-
tempt. Max, however, who greatly valued himself
upon his agility, and professed to be able to do anything
that could be done, in the way of climbing, manifested
an intention to hazard his reputation by making the
doubtful experiment. After looking carefully around,
he selected for the attempt, a young tree near the shore,
growing at a considerable inclination from the perpen-
dicular; and clasping it firmly, he slowly commenced
climbing, or rather creeping, along the slanting trunk,
while Johnny watched the operation from below, with
an interest as intense as if the fate of empires depended
upon the result.
Max, who evidently considered his character at stake,
and who climbed for glory," rather than for cocoanuts,
proceeded with caution and perseverance. Once he
partly lost his hold, and swung round to the under side
of the trunk, but by a resolute and vigorous effort he
promptly recovered his position, and finally succeeded in
establishing himself quite comfortably among the enor-
THE TROPICAL ISLAND.
mous leaves that drooped from the top of the tree. Here
he seemed disposed to rest for a while, after his arduous
and triumphant exertions, and he sat, looking compla-
cently down upon us from his elevated position, without
making any attempt to secure the fruit which hung
within his reach in abundant clusters.
"Hurrah for Harry Clay !" cried Johnny, capering
about, and clapping his hands with glee, as soon as this
much desired consummation was attained, "Now, Max,
pitch down the nuts!"
"Hurrah for Harry Clay, indeed !" growled Max,
puffing and panting from his recent efforts ; "it seems to
me that it would be much more proper and becoming
under the circumstances, to hurrah for Max Adeler.
Harry Clay couldn't begin to climb this tree, and I doubt
if he can help you to these cocoanuts."
"Johnny was but shouting his favorite war-cry, in
celebration of your success," said Arthur; "though he
huzzaed for Harry Clay, his exultation was called forth
by your triumph; therefore, hasten to let him participate
in its fruits."
He rejoices in the victory," answered Max, "only
because he anticipates a share in the spoils. But do you
suppose that I climbed this tree, animated by the vulgar
desire of sucking cocoanuts ? No; I wished to show
you how difficulties apparently insurmountable vanish
before skill and perseverance."
After having teased Johnny sufficiently, and enjoyed
THE ISLAND HOME.
the impatience caused by the tantalizing deliberation of
his own movements, Max detached two entire clusters
of nuts from the tree, which furnished us an abundant
Selecting a pleasant spot beside the beach, we sat
down to discuss the cocoanuts at our leisure, which occu-
pied us some little time. Upon looking round after we
had finished, we discovered that our convoy had disap-
peared, and Johnny, whose imagination was continually
haunted by visionary savages and cannibals, manifested
considerable uneasiness upon finding that we were alone.
As the sun was already low in the west, and we sup-
posed that the party engaged in getting wood had, in
all probability, finished their work, we concluded to re-
turn, and to wait for Mr. Frazer, and the rest of the
shore party at the boats, if we should not find them al-
As we skirted the border of the grove, on our return,
Johnny every now and then cast an uneasy glance to-
wards its darkening recesses, as though expecting to see
some wild animal, or a yelling troop of tattooed islanders
rush out upon us. The forest commenced about two
hundred yards from the beach, from which there was a
gradual ascent, and was composed of a greater variety
of trees than I had observed on the other islands of a
similar size at which we had previously landed. Arthur
called our attention to a singular and picturesque group
of Tournefortias, in the midst of which, like a patriarch
THE TROPICAL ISLAND.
surrounded by his family, stood one of uncommon size,
and covered with a species of fern, which gave it a strik-
ing and remarkable appearance. The group covered a
little knoll, that crowned a piece of rising ground, ad-
vanced a short distance beyond the edge of the forest.
It was a favorable spot for a survey of the scene around
us. The sun, now hastening to his setting, was tinging
all the western ocean with a rich vermilion glow. The
smooth white beach before us, upon which the long-roll-
ing waves broke in even succession, retired in a graceful
curve to the right, and was broken on the left by the
wooded point already mentioned.
As you looked inland, the undulating surface of the
island, rising gradually from the shore, and covered with
the wild and luxuriant vegetation of the tropics, de-
lighted the eye by its beauty and variety. The noble
Bread-fruit tree-its arching branches clothed with its
peculiarly rich and glossy foliage ; the elegantly shaped
Casuarina, the luxuriant Pandanus, and the Palms, with
their stately trunks, and green crests of nodding leaves,
imparted to the scene a character of oriental beauty.
Why do they call so lovely a spot as this a desert
island, I wonder ?" exclaimed Johnny, after gazing around
him a few moments in silence.
Did you ever hear of a desert island that wasn't a
lovely spot ?" answered Max. Why, your regular desert
island should combine the richest productions of the
temperate, torrid, and frigid zones-a choice selection
THE ISLAND HOME.
of the fruits, flowers, vegetables, and animals of Europe,
Asia, and Africa. This would by no means come up to
the average standard. I doubt if you could find upon
it so much as a goat or a poll-parrot, much less an
'6nager,' a buffalo, or a boa constrictor, some of which
at least are indispensable to a desert island of any re-
"Why, then, do they call such delightful places des-
ert islands ?" repeated Johnny. "I always thought a
desert was a barren wilderness, where there was nothing
to be seen but sand, and rocks, and Arabs."
"I believe they are more properly called desolate
islands," said Arthur; "and that seems proper enough;
for even this island with all its beauty, is supposed to
be uninhabited, and it would be a very lonely and deso-
late home. Would you like to live here, Johnny, like
Robinson Crusoe, or the Swiss family ?"
"Not all alone, like Robinson Crusoe. 0 no! that
would be horrible; but I think we might all of us to-
gether live here beautifully a little while, if we had
plenty of provisions, and plenty of arms to defend our-
selves against the savages; and then of course we
should want a house to live in, too."
"Nonsense," said Max, what should we want of pro-
visions ?-the sea is full of fish, and the forest of birds;
the trees are loaded with fruit; there are oysters and
other shell-fish in the bays, and no doubt there are vari-
ous roots, good for food, to be had by digging for them.
THE TROPICAL ISLAND.
As to a house, we might sleep very comfortably in such
weather as this, under these Tournefortias, and never so
much as think of taking cold; or we could soon build a
serviceable hut, which would be proof against sun and
rain, of the trunks and boughs of trees, with a thatch
of palm-leaves for a roof. Then in regard to arms, of
course if it should be our fate to set up for desert island-
ers, we should be well supplied in that line. I never
heard of any one, from Robinson Crusoe down, being
cast away on a desert island, without a good store of
guns, pistols, cutlasses, &c. &c. Such a thing would
be contrary to all precedent, and is not for a moment to
be dreamed of."
"But we haven't any arms," said Johnny, "except
those old rusty cutlasses that Spot put into the yawl,
and if we should be cast away, or left here for instance,
where should we get them from ?"
0, but we're not cast away yet," replied Max.
"This is the way the thing always happens. When
people are cast away, it is in a ship, of course."
Why, yes; I suppose so," said Johnny, rather doubt-
"Well-the ship is always abundantly supplied with
everything necessary to a desert island life; she is
driven ashore; the castaways-the future desert island-
ers-by dint of wonderful good fortune, get safely to
land; the rest of course are all drowned, and so disposed
of: then, in due time, the ship goes to pieces, and
THE ISLAND HOME.
everything needful is washed ashore and secured by the
islanders-that's the regular course of things-isn't it,
'" Yes, I believe it is, according to the story-books,
which are the standard source of information on the
"Or sometimes," pursued Max, "the ship gets com-
fortably wedged in between two convenient rocks (which
seem to have been designed for that special purpose),
so that the castaways can go out to it on a raft, or float
of some kind, and carry off everything they want-and
singularly enough, although the vessel is always on the
point of going to pieces, that catastrophe never takes
place, until everything which can be of any use is
Do you suppose, Arthur," inquired Johnny, that
there are many uninhabited islands, that have never
been discovered ?"
There are believed to be a great many of them,"
answered Arthur, "and it is supposed that new ones are
constantly being formed by the labors of the coral in-
sect. A bare ledge of coral first appears, just at the
surface; it arrests floating substances, weeds, trees, &c.;
soon the sea birds begin to resort there; by the decay
of vegetable and animal matter a thin soil gradually
covers the foundation of coral; a cocoanut is drifted
upon it by the winds, or the currents of the sea; it takes
root, springs up; its fruit ripens and falls, and in a
THE TROPICAL ISLAND.
few years the whole new-formed island is covered with
"Mr. Frazer says he has no doubt that these seas
swarm with such islands, and that many of them have
never been discovered," said Max; besides, here's poetry
"0 many are the beauteous isles,
Unseen by human eye,
That sleeping 'mid the Ocean smiles,
In happy silence lie.
The ship may pass them in the night,
Nor the sailors know what lovely sight
Is sleeping on the main ;"
but this poetical testimony will make Arthur doubt the
"Not exactly," answered Arthur, though I am free
to admit, that without Mr. Frazer's opinion to back it,
your poetical testimony would not go very far with me."
"Hark! There go Mr. Frazer's two barrels," cried
Max, as two reports in quick succession were heard,
coming apparently from the grove, in the direction of
the spring; "he has probably come across a couple of
'rare specimens,' to be added to his stuffed collection."
THE MUTINEERS-THE RACE FOR LIFE-THE CORAL LEDGO.
"Now bend the straining rowers to their oars;
Fast the light shallops leave the lessening shores,
No rival crews in emulous sport contend,
But life and death upon the event depend."
THE next moment, we were startled by a quick, fierce
shout, followed immediately by a long, piercing, and
distressful cry, proceeding from the same quarter from
which the reports of firearms had been heard; and be-
fore we had time to conjecture the cause or meaning of
these frightful sounds, Morton bounded like a deer from
the grove, about a hundred yards from the spot where
we were standing, and ran swiftly towards us, crying
out-" To the boats for your lives to the boats!"
Our first thought was, that the party at the spring
had been attacked and massacred by the natives. Ar-
thur seized Johnny by one hand, and motioned to me to
take the other, which I did, and without stopping to de-
mand any explanations, we started at a rapid pace, in the
direction of the yawl, Max taking the lead,-Arthur
and myself dragging Johnny between us coming next,
and Morton a few paces behind us, bringing up the rear.
It took but a few moments to enable us to reach the
spot where the yawl lay, hauled up, upon the beach.
There was no one in her, or in sight, except Browne,
who was comfortably stretched out near the boat sound
asleep, with an open book lying beside him.
Morton aroused the sleeper by a violent shake. Now,
then," cried he, "let us get the boat into the water; the
tide is down, and the yawl is heavy; we shall want all
the strength we can muster."
By a united effort we got the yawl to the edge of the
Browne, though not yet thoroughly awake, could not
but observe our pale faces and excited appearance, and
gazing from one to another in a bewildered manner, he
asked what was the matter; but no one made any an-
swer. Morton lifted Johnny into the boat, and asked
the rest of us to get in, except Arthur, saying that they
two would push her through the surf.
Hold!" cried Arthur, "let us not be too fast; some
of the others may escape the savages, and they will
naturally run this way-we must not leave them to be
There are no savages in the case," answered Morton,
"and there is no time to be lost the men have killed
the first officer, and Mr. Frazer, too, I fear; and they
THE ISLAND HOME.
will take the ship and commit more murders, unless we
can get there before them, to warn those on board."
This was more horrible than anything that we had
anticipated; but we had no time to dwell upon it: the
sound of oars rattling in the row-locks, was heard from
beyond the point.
"There are the mutineers!" cried Morton; "but I
think that we have the advantage of them; they must
pull round yonder point, which will make at least a
quarter of a mile's difference in the distance to the ship."
There is no use in trying to get to the ship before
them," said Max, "the long-boat pulls eight oars, and
there are men enough to fill her."
There is use in trying; it would be shameful not to
try; if they pull most oars, ours is the lightest boat,"
answered Morton, with vehemence.
"It is out of the question," said Browne; "see, is
there any hope that we can succeed ?" and he pointed
to the bow of the long-boat, just appearing from behind
0, but this is not right! Browne! Max! in the
name of all that is honorable, let us make the attempt,"
urged Morton, laying a hand in an imploring manner on
the arm of each. Shall we let them take the ship and
murder our friends, without an effort to warn them of
their danger? You, Arthur, are for making the at-
tempt, I know-this delay is wrong: the time is pre-
"Yes, let us try it," said Arthur, glancing rapidly
from the long-boat to the ship, "if we fail, no harm is
done, except that we incur the anger of the mutineers.
I, for one, am willing to take the risk."
Max sprang into the boat and seized an oar without
You know well that I am willing to share any dun-
ger with the rest, and that it was not the danger that
made me hesitate," said Browne, laying his hand on
Morton's shoulder, and looking earnestly into his face;
and then, in his usual deliberate manner, he followed
Morton Arthur, and myself now pushed the boat
into the surf, and sprang in. At Arthur's request, I
took the rudder; he and Morton seized the two remain-
ing oars, and the four commenced pulling with a degree
of coolness and vigor that would not have disgraced older
and more practised oarsmen. As I saw the manner in
which they bent to their work, and the progress we
were making, I began to think our chance of reaching
the ship before the crew of the long-boat by no means
Morton, in spite of his slender figure and youthful
appearance, which his fresh, ruddy complexion, blue
eyes, and brown, curling locks rendered almost effemi-
nate, possessed extraordinary strength, and indomitable
Browne, though his rather heavy frame and breadth
THE ISLAND HOME.
of shoulders gave him the appearance of greater strength
than he actually possessed, was undoubtedly capable,
when aroused, of more powerful temporary exertion
than any other of our number; though in point of ac-
tivity and endurance, he would scarcely equal Morton
or Arthur. Max, too, was vigorous and active, and
when stimulated by danger or emulation, was capable
of powerful effort. Arthur, though of slight and deli-
cate frame, was compact and well knit, and his coolness,
judgment, and resolution, enabled him to dispose of his
strength to the best advantage. All were animated by
that high and generous spirit which is of greater value
in an emergency than any amount of mere physical
strength; a spirit which often stimulates the feeble to
efforts as surprising to him who puts them forth, as to
those who witness them.
Browne had the bow-oar, and putting his whole force
into every stroke, was pulling like a giant. Morton,
who was on the same side, handled his oar with less
excitement and effort, but with greater precision and
equal efficiency. It was plain that these two were pull.
ing Max and Arthur round, and turning the boat from
her course; and as I had not yet succeeded in shipping
the rudder, which was rendered difficult by the rising
and falling of the boat, and the sudden impulse she re-
ceived from every stroke, I requested Browne and Mor-
ton to pull more gently. Jnst as I had succeeded in
getting the rudder hung, the crew of the long-boat
seemed to have first observed us. They had cleared
the point to the southward, and we were, perhaps, a
hundred yards nearer the long point, beyond which we
could see the masts of the ship, and on doubling which
we should be almost within hail of her. The latter
point was probably a little more than half a mile distant
:from us, and towards the head of it, both boats were
,steering. The long-boat was pulling eight oars, and
iLuerson, the Englishman, who had had the difficulty
with the first officer at the Kingsmill Islands, was at the
helm. As soon as he observed us, he appeared to
speak to the crew of his boat, and they commenced
pulling with greater vigor than before. He then
"Holloa, lads! where's Frazer? Are you going to
leave him on the island ?"
We pulled on in silence.
"He is looking for you, now, somewhere along shore;
ie left us, just below the point, to find you; you had
better pull back and bring him off."
S"All a trick," said Morton; "don't waste any breath
bith them;" and we bent to the oars with new energy.
"The young scamps meanto give the alarm," I could
hear Luerson mutter with an oath, as he surveyed, for
k moment the interval between the two boats, and then
the distance to the point.
"There's no use of mincing matters, my lads," he
tried, standing up in the stern; "we have knocked the
THE ISLAND HOME.
first officer on the head, and served some of those who
didn't approve of the proceeding in the same way; and
now we are going to take the ship."
We know it, and intend to prevent you," cried Mor-
ton, panting with the violence of his exertions.
"Unship your oars till we pass you, and you shall
not be hurt," pursued Luerson in the same breath;
"pull another stroke at them, and I will serve you like
your friend, Frazer, and he lies at the spring with his
throat slit !"
The ruffian's design, in this savage threat, was doubt-
less to terrify us into submission; or, at least, so to ap-
pal and agitate us, as to make our exertions more con-
fused and feeble. In this last calculation he may have
been partially correct, for the threat was fearful, and
the danger imminent; the harsh, deep tones of his
voice, with the ferocious determination of his manner,
sent a thrill of horror to every heart. More than this,
he could not effect; there was not a craven spirit among
Steadily!" said Arthur, in a low, collected tone;
"less than five minutes will bring us within hail of the
But the minutes seemed hours, amid such tremen-
dous exertions, and such intense anxiety. The sweat
streamed from the faces of the rowers; they gasped and
panted for breath; the swollen veins stood out on their
Perhaps," cried Luerson, after a pause, "perhaps
there is some one in that boat who desires to save his
life; whoever drops his oar shall not be harmed; the
A scornful laugh from Morton was the only answer
to this tempting offer.
Luerson now stooped for a moment, and seemed to
be groping for something in the bottom of the boat.
When he rose, it was with a musket, or fowling-piece in
his hands, which he cocked, and, coming forward to the
bow, levelled towards us.
Once more," he cried, and once for all, drop your
oars, or I fire among you."
"I don't believe it is loaded," said Arthur, "or he
would have used it sooner."
"I think it is Frazer's gun," said Morton, "and he
fired both barrels before they murdered him; there has
been no time to re-load it."
The event showed the truth of these suspicions; for
upon seeing that his threat produced no effect, Luerson
resumed his seat in the bows, the helm having been
given to one of the men not at the oars.
We were now close upon the point, and as I glanced
from our pursuers to the ship, I began to breathe more
freely. They had gained upon us; but it was inch by
inch, and the goal was now at hand. The long-boat,
though pulling eight oars, and those of greater length
than ours, was a clumsier boat than the yawl, and at pre-
THE ISLAND HOME.
sent heavily loaded; we had almost held our own with
them thus far.
But now Luerson sprang up once more in the bow of
the long-boat, and presented towards us the weapon
with which he had a moment before threatened us; and
this time it was no idle menace. A puff of smoke rose
from the muzzle of the piece, and just as the sharp re-
port reached our ears, Browne uttered a quick exclama-
tion of pain, and let fall his oar.
For a moment all was confusion and alarm; but
Browne, who had seized his oar again almost instantly,
declared that he was not hurt; that the ball had merely
razed the skin of his arm; and he attempted to re-com-
mence rowing; before, however, he had pulled half-a-
dozen strokes, his right hand was covered with the
blood which streamed down his arm.
I now insisted on taking his oar; and he took my
place at the helm.
While this change was being effected, our pursuers
gained upon us perceptibly. Every moment was pre-
cious. Luerson urged his men to greater efforts; the
turning point of the struggle was now at hand, and the
excitement became terrible.
"Steer close in; it will save something in distance,"
gasped Morton, almost choking for breath.
"Not too close," panted Arthur; "don't get us
There is no danger of that," answered Morton, it
is deep, off the point."
Almost as he spoke a sharp, grating sound was heard
beneath the bottom of the boat, and our progress was
arrested with a suddenness that threw Max and myself
from our seats. We were upon a ledge of coral, which
at a time of less excitement we could scarcely have failed
to have observed and avoided, from the manner in which
the sea broke upon it.
A shout of mingled exultation and derision, as they
witnessed this disaster, greeted us from the long-boat,
which was ploughing through the water, but a little
way behind us, and some twenty yards further out from
"It is all up," said Morton, bitterly, dropping his oar.
"Back water! Her stern still swings free," cried Ar-
thur, "the next swell will lift her clear."
We got as far aft as possible, to lighten the bows ; a
huge wave broke npon the ledge, and drenched us with
spray, but the yawl still grated upon the coral.
Luerson probably deemed himself secure of a more
convenient opportunity, at no distant period, to wreak
his vengeance upon us: at any rate there was no time
for it now ; he merely menaced us with his clenched fist,
as they swept by. Almost at the same moment a great
sea came rolling smoothly in, and as our oars dipped to.
back water, we floated free; then a few vigorous strokes
carried us to a safe distance from the treacherous shoal.
A FINAL ZFFORT-A BRIEF WARNING-THE STRANGZ SAIL.
HERMANN. Brother, though we should fail, the attempt were noble.
AKAND. We'll make the essay: here is my hand upon it.
"ONE more effort!" cried Arthur, as the mutineers
disappeared behind the point, "we are not yet too late
to give them a warning, though it will be but a short
Again we bent to the oars, and in a moment we too
had doubled the point, and were in the wake of the long-
boat. The ship lay directly before us, and within long
"Now, comrades, let us shout together, and try to
make them understand their danger," said Browne,
standing up in the stern.
A dozen strokes more," said Arthur, and we can
do it with more certain success."
Luerson merely glanced back at us, as he once more
heard the dash of our oars; but he took no farther no-
tice of us: the crisis was too close at hand.
On board the ship all seemed quiet. Some of the
men were gathered together on the starboard bow,
apparently engaged in fishing; they did not seem to no-
tice the approach of the boats.
"Now, then!" cried Arthur, at length, unshipping
his oar, and springing to his feet, "one united effort to
attract their attention-all together-now, then !" and
we sent up a cry that echoed wildly across the water,
and startled the idlers congregated at the bows, who
came running to the side of the vessel nearest us.
"We have got their attention; now hail them," said
Arthur, turning to Browne, who had a deep, powerful
voice, tell them not to let the long-boat board them."
Browne put his hands to his mouth, and in tones that
could have been distinctly heard twice the distance,
"Look out for the long-boat-don't let them board
you-the men have killed the first officer, and want to
take the ship !" From the stir and confusion that fol-
lowed, it was clear that the warning was understood.
But the mutineers were now scarcely twenty yards
from the vessel, towards which they were ploughing
their way with unabated speed. The next moment
they were under her bows; just as their oars flew into
the air, we could hear a deep voice from the deck, stern-
ly ordering them to "keep off," and I thought that I
could distinguish Captain Erskine, standing near the
THE ISLAND HOME.
The mutineers gave no heed to the order; several of
them sprang into the chains, and Luerson among the
rest. A fierce, though unequal struggle at once com-
menced. The captain, armed with a weapon which he
wielded in both hands, and which I took to be a cap-
stan-bar, struck right and left among the boarders, as
they attempted to gain the deck, and one, at least, of
them fell back with a heavy plunge into the water.
But the captain seemed to be almost unsupported; and
the mutineers had nearly all reached the deck, and were
pressing upon him.
Oh, but this is a cruel sight r' said Browne, turning
away with a shudder. Comrades, can we do nothing
Morton, who had been groping beneath the sail in the
bottom of the boat, now dragged forth the cutlasses
which Spot had insisted on placing there when we went
"Here are arms!" he exclaimed, "we are not such
boys, but that we can take a part in what is going on-
let us pull to the ship !"
What say you 2" cried Arthur, glancing inquiringly
from one to another, we can't perhaps do much, but
shall we sit here and see Mr. Erskine murdered, without
trying to help him ?"
"Friends, let us to the ship!" cried Browne, with deep
emotion, I am ready."
"And I!" gasped Max, pale with excitement, "we
can but be killed."
Can we hope to turn the scale of this unequal strife?
shall we do more than arrive at the scene of conflict in
time to experience the vengeance of the victorious muti-
neers ?-such were the thoughts that flew hurriedly
through my mind. I was entirely unaccustomed to
scenes of violence and bloodshed, and my head swam,
and my heart sickened, as I gazed at the confused con-
flict raging on the vessel's deck, and heard the shouts
and cries of the combatants. Yet I felt an inward recoil
against the baseness of sitting an idle spectator of such a
struggle. A glance at the lion-hearted Erskine still
maintaining the unequal fight, was an appeal to every
noble and generous feeling: it nerved me for the at-
tempt, and though I trembled as I grasped an oar, it
was with excitement, and eagerness, not with fear.
The yawl had hardly received the first impulse in the
direction of the ship, when the report of firearms was
"Merciful heavens!" cried Morton, "the captain is
down! that fiend Luerson has shot him !"
The figure which I had taken for that of Mr. Erskine,
was no longer to be distinguished among the comba-
tants; some person was now dragged to the side of the
ship towards us, and thrown overboard; he sunk after a
feeble struggle; a triumphant shout followed, and then
two men were seen running up the rigging.
TIE ISLAND HOME.
There goes poor Spot, up to the foretop," said Max,
pointing to one of the figures in the rigging, h can
only gain time at the best; but it can't be that they'll
kill him in cold blood."
i" Luerson is just the man to do it," answered Morton,
' the faithful fellow has stood by the captain, and that
\ ill seal his fate-look it is as I said," and I could see
some one pointing what was doubtless Mr. Frazer's
fowling-piece, at the figure in the foretop. A parley
seemed to follow; as the result of which, the fugitive
came down and surrendered himself. The struggle
now appeared to be over, and quiet was once more re-
So rapidly had these events passed, and so stunning
was their effect, that it was some moments before we
could collect our thoughts, or fully realize our situation;
and we sat, silent and bewildered, gazing toward the
Max was the first to break silence; "And now, what's
to be done ?" he said, as to going aboard, that is of
course out of the question: the ship is no longer our
"I don't know what we can do," said Morton, "except
to pull ashore, and stand the chance of being taken oft
by some vessel, before we starve."
"Here is something better," cried Max eagerly, point
ing out to sea; and looking in the direction indicated,
we saw a large ship with all her sails set, steering di-
rectly for us, or so nearly so, as to make it apparent that
if she held on her present course, she must pass very
near to us. Had we not been entirely engrossed by
what was taking place immediately around us, we could
not have failed to have seen her sooner, as she must
have been in sight a considerable time.
They have already seen her, on board," said Morton,
" and that accounts for their great hurry in getting up
anchor; they don't feel like being neighborly just now,
with strange vessels."
In fact, there was every indication on board of our
own ship, of haste, and eagerness to be gone. While
some of the men were at the capstan, getting up the
anchor, others were busy in the rigging, and sail after
sail was rapidly spread to the breeze, so that by the time
the anchor was at the bows, the ship began to move
slowly through t4e water.
"They don't seem to consider us of much account
anyway," said Max, "they are going without so much as
"They may know more of the stranger than we do,"
said Arthur, they have glasses on board; if she should
be an American man-of-war, their hurry is easily ex-
I can't help believing that they see or suspect more,
in regard to her than appears to us," said Morton, or
they would not fail to make an attempt to recover the
THE ISLAND HOME.
"It is rapidly getting dark," said Arthur, "and I
think we had better put up the sail, and steer for the
Right," said Morton, "for she may possibly tack be-
fore she sees us."
Morton and myself proceeded to step the mast, and
rig the sail; meantime Arthur got Browne's coat off,
and examined and bandaged the wound on his arm,
which had been bleeding all the while profusely; he
pronounced it to be but a trifling hurt. A breeze from
the south-east had sprung up at sunset, and we now had
a free wind to fill our sail, as we steered directly out to
sea, to meet the stranger, which was still at too great a
distance to make it probable that we had been seen by
It was with a feeling of anxiety and uneasiness, that I
saw the faint twilight fading away, wit the suddenness
usual in those latitudes, and the darkness gathering
rapidly round us. Already the east was wrapped in
gloom, and only a faint streak of light along the western
horizon marked the spot where the sun had so recently
How suddenly the night has come upon us," said
Arthur, who had been peering through the dusk, to-
ward the approaching vessel, in anxious silence ; "0, for
twenty minutes more of daylight! I fear that she is
This announcement filled us all with dismay, and
every eye was strained towards her with intense and
Meantime, the breeze had freshened somewhat, and
we now had rather more of it than we desired, as our
little boat was but poorly fitted to navigate the open
ocean in rough weather. Johnny began to manifest some
alarnn, as we were tossed like a chip from wave to wave,
and occasionally deluged with spray, by a sea bursting
with a rude shock over our bow. I had not even in the
violent storm of the preceding week, experienced such a
sense of insecurity, such a feeling of helplessness, as
now, when the actual danger was comparatively slight.
The waves seemed tenfold larger and more threatening
than when viewed from the deck of a large vessel. As
we sunk into the trough of the sea, our horizon was con-
tracted to the breadth of half-a-dozen yards, and we en-
tirely lost sight of the land, and of both ships.
But it was evident that we were moving through the
water with considerable velocity, and there was encour-
agement in that, for we felt confident that if the stranger
should hold on her present course but a little longer, we
should be on board of her before our safety would be
seriously endangered by the increasing breeze.
If, however, she were really tacking, our situation
would indeed be critical. A very few moments put a
period to our suspense by confirming Arthur's opinion,
and our worst fears; the stranger had altered her course;
her yards were braced round, and she was standing fur-
46 THE ISLAND HOME.
their out to sea. Still, however, there would have been
a possibility of reaching her, but for the failure of light,
for she had not so far changed her course, but that she
would have to pass a point, which we could probably
gain before her. But now, it was with difficulty, and
only by means of the cloud of canvass she carried, that
we could distinguish her through the momently deepen-
ing gloom; and with sinking hearts we relinquished the
last hopes connected with her. Soon she entirely van-
ished from our sight, and when we gazed anxiously
around the narrow horizon that now bounded our vision,
we could nowhere distinguish the land.
& UIqBJT OF GLOOM-MORTON'S NARRATIVE-VISIONARY TEBROBU-
AN ALARMING DISCOVERY.
"O'er the deep! o'er the deep!
Where the whale, and the shark, and the sword-fish sleep."
EVEN in open day, the distance of a few miles would
be sufficient to sink the low shores of the island; and
now that night had so suddenly overtaken us, it might
be quite near, without our being able to distinguish it.
We were even uncertain, and divided in opinion, as to
the direction in which it lay--so completely were we be-
wildered. The night was one of deep and utter gloom.
There was no moon; and not a single star shed its feeble
light over the wilderness of agitated waters, upon which
our little boat was tossing. Heavy, low-hanging clouds
covered the sky; but soon, even these could no longer
be distinguished; a cold, damp mist, dense, and almost
palpable to the touch, crept over the ocean, and envel-
oped us so closely, that it was impossible to see clearly
from one end of the yawl to the other.
The wind, however, instead of freshening, as we had
THE ISLAND HOME.
feared, died gradually away. For this, we had reason to
be thankful; for though our situation that night seemed
dismal enough, yet how much more fearful would it
have been, if the rage of the elements, and danger of
immediate destruction, had been added to the other cir-
cumstances of terror by which we were surrounded!
As it was, however, the sea having gone down, we
supposed ourselves to be in no great or pressing peril.
Though miserably uncomfortable, and somewhat agitated
and anxious, we yet confidently expected that the light
of morning would show us the land again.
The terrible and exciting scenes through which we
had so recently passed, had completely exhausted us,
and we were too much overwhelmed by the suddenness
of our calamity, and the novel situation in which we
now found ourselves, to be greatly disposed to talk.
Johnny sobbed himself asleep in Arthur's arms; and
even Max's usual spirits seemed now to have quite for-
saken him. After the mast had been unstepped, arid
such preparations as our circumstances permitted were
made, for passing the night comfortably, Morton related
all that he knew of what had taken place on shore, pre-
vious to the alarm which he had given.
I repeat the narrative as nearly as possible in his own
words, not perhaps altogether as he related it on that
night, for the circumstances were not then favorable to a
full and orderly account, but partly as I afterwards, in
various conversations, gathered the particulars from him.
"You recollect," said he, "that we separated at the
boats; Mr. Frazer and the rest of you, going along the
shore towards the point, leaving Browne declaiming By-
ron's address to the Ocean, from the top of a coral
block, with myself and the breakers for an audience.
Shortly afterwards I strolled off towards the interior,
and left Browne lying on the sand, with his pocket
Shakspeare, where we found him, when we reached the
boats. I kept on inland until the forest became so dense,
and was so overgrown with tangled vines and creeping
plants, that I could penetrate no farther in that direction.
In endeavoring to return, I got bewildered, and at length
fairly lost, having no clear notion as to the direction of
the beach. The groves were so thick and dark as to
shut out the light almost entirely; and I could not get a
glimpse of the sun so as to fix the points of the com-
pass. At last I came to an opening, large enough to
let in the light and show which way the shadows fell.
Knowing that we had landed on the west side of the
island, I could now select my course without hesitation.
It was getting late in the afternoon, and I walked as fast
as the nature of the ground would allow, until I unex-
pectedly found myself at the edge of the grove, east of
the spring where the men were at work filling the
breakers. The moment I came in sight of them, I per-
ceived that something unusual was taking place. The
first officer and Lucrson were standing opposite each
other, and the men pausing from their work, were look-
THE ISLAND HOME.
ing on. As I inferred, Mr. Nichol had givefi some order
which Luerson had refused to obey. Both looked excited,
but no words passed between them after I reached the
place. There was a pause of nearly a minute, when
Mr. Nichol advanced as if to lay hands on Luerson, and
the latter struck him a blow with his cooper's mallet,
which he held in his hand, and knocked him down.
Before he had time to rise, Atoi, the Sandwich Islander,
sprang upon him, and stabbed him twice with his belt-
knife. All this passed so rapidly that no one had a
chance to interfere-"
"Hark!" said Browne, interrupting the narration,
"what noise is that ? It sounds like the breaking of the
surf upon the shore."
But the rest of us could distinguish no sound except
the washing of the waves against the boat. The eye
was of no assistance in deciding whether we were near
the shore or not, as it was impossible to penetrate the
murky darkness, a yard in any direction.
"We must be vigilant," said Arthur, "the land can-
not be far off, and we may be drifted upon it before
After listening for some moments in anxious silence,
we became satisfied that Browne had been mistaken, and
"Just as Atoi sprang upon Mr. Nichol and stabbed
him, Mr. Knight, who was the first to recover his pres-
ence of mind, seized the murderer, and wrenched the
knife from his hand, at the same time calling on the
men to secure Luerson; but no one stirred to do so. A
part seemed confused and undecided; while others ap-
peared to me, to have been fully prepared for what had
taken place. One man stepped forward near Luerson,
and declared in a brutal and excited manner, that
' Nichol was a bloody tyrant, and had got what he de-
served, and that no man could blame Luerson for taking
his revenge, after being treated as he had been.' For a
moment all was clamor and confusion; then Luerson
approached Mr. Knight in a threatening manner, and
bade him loose Atoi, instead of which, he held his pris-
oner firmly with one hand, and warning Luerson off
with the other, called on the men to stand by their offi-
cers. Just at this moment, Mr. Frazer, with his gun on
his shoulder, came out of the grove from the side toward
the shore, and to him Mr. Knight eagerly appealed for
assistance in securing the murderers of Mr. Nichol.
Pointing from the bleeding corpse at his feet, to Luer-
son, he said, 'There is the ringleader-shoot him
through the head at once, and that will finish the mat-
ter-otherwise we shall all be murdered-fire, I will
answer for the act!'
Frazer seemed to comprehend the situation of things
at a glance. With great presence of mind, he stepped
back a pace, and bringing his gun to his shoulder, called
on Luerson to throw down his weapon and surrender
himself, declaring that he would shoot the first man who
TIE ISLAND HOME.
lifted a hand to assist him. Iis manner was such as to
leave no doubt of his sincerity, or his resolution. The
men had no firearms, and were staggered by the sud-
denness of the thing; they stood hesitating and undeci-
ded. Mr. Knight seized this as a favorable moment, and
advanced upon Luerson, with the intention of securing
him, and the Islander was thus left free. At this mo-
ment I observed the man who had denounced Mr.
Nichol, and justified Luerson, stealing round behind
Frazer. I called out to him at the top of my voice to
warn him; but he did not seem to hear. I looked for
something which might serve me for a weapon; but
there was nothing, not so much as a broken bough within
reach, and in another instant the whole thing was over.
As Knight grappled with Luerson, he dropped the knife
which he had wrested from Atoi, his intention evidently
being to secure, and not to kill him.
Atoi immediately leaped forward and seized the knife,
and had his arm already raised to stab Mr. Knight in
the back, when Frazer shot him dead. At almost the
same instant, Luerson struck Mr. Knight a tremendous
blow on the head with his mallet, which felled him to
the earth, stunned and lifeless. lie next rushed upon
Frazer, who had fairly covered him with the muzzle of
his piece, and would inevitably have shot him, but just
as he pulled the trigger, the man whom I had seen
creeping round behind him, sprang upon him and de-
ranged his aim; two or three of the others, who had
stood looking on, taking no part in the affair, now inter-
posed, and by their assistance Frazer was overpowered
and secured. Whether they murdered him or not, as
Luerson afterwards declared, I do not know. As soon as
the struggle was over, the man who had seconded Luer-
son so actively throughout (the tall, dark man who
goes by the name of 'the Boatswain,'), shouted out,
'Now, then, for the ship!'
"' Yes, for the ship !' cried Luerson, though this has
not come about just as was arranged, and has been hur-
ried on sooner than we expected, it is as well so as any-
way, and must be followed up. There's no one aboard
but the captain and four or five men and boys, all
told: the landsmen are all ashore, scattered over the
island. We can take her without risk-and then for a
merry life at the islands !'
This revealed the designs of the mutineers, and I de-
termined to anticipate them if possible. As I started for
the beach I was observed, and they hailed me; but
without paying any attention to their shouts, I ran as
fast at least, as I ever ran before, until I came out of the
forest, near where you were standing."
From the words of Luerson which Morton had heard,
it was clear that the mutiny had not been a sudden and
unpremeditated act; and we had no doubt that it had
grown out of the difficulties at the Kingsmills, between
him and the unfortunate Mr. Nichol.
It was quite late before we felt any disposition to
THE ISLAND HOME.
sleep; but notwithstanding the excitement, and the dis-
comforts of our situation, we began at length to expe-
rience the effects of the fatigue and anxiety which we
had undergone, and bestowing ourselves as conveniently
as possible about the boat, which furnished but slender
accommodations for such a number, we bade each other
the accustomed good night," and one by one dropped
Knowing that we could not be far from land, and
aware of our liability to be drifted ashore during the
night, it had been decided to maintain a watch. Arthur,
Morton, and I, had agreed to divide the time between
us, as accurately as possible, and to relieve one another
in turn. The first watch fell to Arthur, the last to me,
and after exacting a promise from Morton, that he would
not fail to awaken me when it was fairly my turn, I laid
down upon the ceiling planks, close against the side of
the boat, between which, and Browne, who was next me,
there was barely room to squeeze myself.
It was a dreary night. The air was damp, and even
chilly. The weltering of the waves upon the outside of
the thin plank against which my head was pressed, made
a dismal kind of music, and suggested vividly how frail
was the only barrier that separated us from the wide,
dark waste of waters, below and around.
The heavy, dirge-like swell of the ocean, though
soothing, in the regularity and monotony of its sluggish
motion, sounded inexpressibly mournful.
The gloom of the night, and the tragic scenes of the
day, seemed to give character to my dreams, for they
were dark and hideous, and so terribly vivid, that I sev-
eral times awoke strangely agitated.
At one time I saw Luerson, with a countenance of
supernatural malignity, and the expression of a fiend,
murdering poor Frazer. At another, our boat seemed
drawn by some irresistible, but unseen power, to the
verge of a yawning abyss, and began to descend between
green-glancing walls of water, to vast depths where un-
described sea-monsters, never seen upon the surface,
glided about in an obscurity that increased their hideous-
ness. Suddenly the feeble light that streamed down into
the gulf, through the green translucent sea, seemed to be
cut off; the liquid walls closed above our heads; and we
were whirled away, with the sound of rushing waters,
and in utter darkness.
All this was vague and confused, and consisted of the
usual stuff that dreams are made of." What followed
was wonderfully vivid and real: everything was as dis-
tinct as a picture, and it has left an indelible impression
upon my mind; there was something about it, far more
awful than all the half-defined shapes and images of ter-
ror that preceded it.
I seemed to be all alone, in our little boat, in the
midst of the sea. It was night-and what a night!
not a breath of wind rippled the glassy waters. There
was no moon, but the sky was cloudless, and the stars
THE ISLAND HOME.
were out, in solemn and mysterious beauty. Everything
seemed preternaturally still, and I felt oppressed by a
strange sense of loneliness; I looked round in vain for
some familiar object, the sight of which might afford
me relief. But far, far as the eye could reach, to the
last verge of the horizon, where the gleaming sapphire
vault closed down upon the sea, stretched one wide, des-
olate, unbroken expanse. I seemed to be isolated and
cut off from all living things;
"Alone-alone, all, all alone I
Alone on a wide, wide sea;
So lonely 'twas, that God Himself
Scarce seemed there to be ;"
and there was something in this feeling, and in the uni-
versal, death-like silence, that was unutterably awful. I
tried to pray-to think of God as present even there-
to think of Him as "Our Father"-as caring for, and
loving his creatures-and thus to escape the desolating
sense of loneliness that oppressed me. But it was in
vain; I could not pray: there was something in the
scene that mocked at faith, and seemed in harmony
with the dreary creed of the atheist. The horrible idea
of a godless universe forced itself upon me, and bade
me relinquish, as a fond illusion, the belief in a Heavenly
Father, whose Providence is over all, and who notes
even the fall of a sparrow. Language cannot express
the desolation of that thought.
Then the scene changed once more. We were again
on board the ship, and in the power of the enraged mu-
tincers, about to suffer whatever their vengeance might
impel them to inflict. Poor Spot was swinging, a livid
corpse, at one of the yard-arms. Browne was bound to
the main-mast, while Luerson and his fiendish crew
were exhausting their ingenuity in torturing him. The
peculiar expression of his mild, open countenance, dis-
torted by pain, went to my heart, and the sound of that
familiar and friendly voice, now hoarse and broken, and
quivering with agony, thrilled me with horror. As he
besought his tormentors to kill him at once, I thought
that I kneeled to Luerson, and seconded the entreaty-
the greatest favor that could be hoped from him. The
rest of us were doomed to walk the plank. Morton
was stern and silent; Max pale and sorrowful; his arm
was round my neck, and he murmured that life was
sweet, and that it was a hard and terrible thing to die-
to die so! Arthur, calm and collected, cheered and en-
couraged us; and his face seemed like the face of an
angel, as he spoke sweetly and solemnly, of the good-
ness and the love of God, and bade us put our whole trust
and hope in Christ our Saviour. His earnest words and
serene look, soothed and strengthened us; we also became
calm and almost resigned. There was no abject fear, no
useless cries, or supplications to our foes for mercy; but
the solemn sense of the awfulness of death, was mingled
with a sweet and sustaining faith in God, and Christ,
THE ISLAND HOME.
and Immortality. Hand in hand, like brothers, we were
preparing to take the fearful plunge-when I started
Even the recollection of our real situation was insuffi-
cient to impair the deep sense of relief which I experi-
enced. My first impulse was to thank God that these
were but dreams; and if I had obeyed the next, I
should have embraced heartily, each of my slumbering
companions, for in the first confusion of thought and feel-
ing, my emotions were very much what they would nat-
urally have been, had the scenes of visionary terror, in
which we seemed to have just participated together,
Morton was at his post, and I spoke to him, scarcely
knowing or caring what I said. All I wanted, was to
hear his voice, to revive the sense of companionship, and
so escape the painful impressions which even yet clung
He said that he had just commenced his watch, Arthur
having called him but a few moments before. The night
was still lowering and overcast, but there was less wind
and sea than when I first laid down. I proposed to re-
lieve him at once, but he felt no greater inclination to
sleep than myself, and we watched together until morn-
ing. The two or three hours immediately before dawn
seemed terribly long. Just as the first gray light ap-
peared in the east, Arthur joined us. A dense volume
of vapor which rested upon the water, and contributed
to the obscurity in which we were enveloped, now gath-
ered slowly into masses, and floated upward as the day
advanced, gradually clearing the prospect; and we kept
looking out for the island, in the momentary expectation
of seeing it loom up before us through the mist. But
when, as the light increased, and the fog rolled away, the
boundaries of our vision rapidly enlarged, and still no
land could be seen, we. began to feel seriously alarmed.
A short period of intense and painful anxiety followed;
during which we continued alternately gazing, and wait-
ing for more light, and again straining our aching eyes
in every direction, and still in vain.
At last it became evident that we had in some manner
drifted completely away from the island. The appalling
conviction could no longer be resisted. There we were,
lost and helpless on the open ocean, in our chip of a
boat, without provisions for a single day, or to speak
more definitely, without a morsel of bread or a drop of
OUT OF BIGHT OF LAND-SLENTDER i :SO0CIIS-WHAT TO
BjE DONIE ?
"How rapidly, how rapidly, we ride along the sea!
The morning is all sunshine, the wind is blowing free;
The billows are all sparkling, and bounding in the light,
Like creatures in whose sunny veins, the blood is running bright."
MORTON alone, still refused to relinquish the hope that
by broad-day light, we should yet be able to make out
the island. He persisted in pronouncing it wholly in-
credible that we had made during the night, a distance
sufficient to sink the land, which was but three or four
miles off, at the utmost, when we were overtaken by
darkness; he could not understand, he said, how such a
thing was possible.
Arthur accounted for it, by supposing that we had got
into the track of one of the ocean currents that exist in
those seas, especially among the islands, many of which
run at the rate of from two to three miles an hour.
This seemed the more probable, from the fact that we
were to the west of the island, when we lost sight of
it, and that the great equatorial current, which traverses
the Pacific and Indian oceans, has a prevailing westerly
course, though among the more extensive groups and
clusters of islands, it is so often deflected hither and
thither, by the obstacles which it encounters, or turned
upon itself, in eddies and counter-currents, that no certain
calculations can be made respecting it. Morton, however,
did not consider this supposition sufficient to explain the
"I should judge," said he, "that in a clear day, such
an island might be seen fifteen or twenty miles, and we
cannot have drifted so great a distance."
"It might perhaps be seen," said Arthur, "as far as
that, from the mast-head of a ship, or even from her
deck, but not from a small boat hardly raised above the
surface of the water. At our present level, eight or ten
miles would be enough to sink it completely."
At length, when it was broad-day, and from the ap-
pearance of the eastern sky, the sun was just about to
rise, Morton stepped the mast and climbed to the top, in
the hope that from that additional elevation, slight as it
was, he might catch a glimpse of land. There was by
this time light enough, as he admitted, to see anything
that could be seen at all, and after making a deliberate
survey of our whole horizon, lie was fully convinced that
we had drifted completely away from the island. "I
give it up," he said as he slid down the mast," we are at
sea, beyond all question."
THE ISLAND HOME.
Presently Max awoke. He cast a quick, surprised look
around, and at first seemed greatly shocked. He speedily
recovered himself, however, and after another, and closer
scrutiny of the horizon, thought that he detected an appear-
ance like that of land in the south. For a moment there
was again the flutter of excited hope, as every eye was
turned eagerly in that direction ; but it soon subsided. A
brief examination satisfied us all, that what we saw, was
but a low bank of clouds lying against the sky.
"This really begins to look serious," said Max, what
are we to do ?"
It strikes me," replied Morton, that we are pretty
much relieved from the necessity of considering that
question; our only part for the present seems to be a
"I can't fully persuade myself that this is real," said
Max, it half seems like an ugly dream, from which we
should awake by-and-bye, and draw a long breath at
the relief of finding it no more than a dream."
"We are miserably provisioned for a sea-voyage,"
said Morton, "but I believe the breaker is half full of
water; without that, we should indeed be badly off."
There is not a drop in it," said Arthur, shaking his
head, and he lifted the breaker and shook it lightly-it
was quite empty.
He now proceeded to force open the locker, in the
hope of finding there something that might be service-
able to us; but its entire contents consisted of a coil of
fine rope, some pieces of rope-yarn, an empty quart-
bottle, and an old and battered hatchet-head.
Meanwhile, Browne, without a trace of anxiety upon
his upturned countenance, and Johnny, who was nestled
close beside him, continued to sleep soundly, in happy
unconsciousness of our alarming situation.
Nothing ever interferes with the soundness of
Browne's sleep, or the vigor of his appetite," said Max,
contemplating his placid slumbers with admiration. I
should be puzzled to decide whether sleeping, eating, or
dramatic recitation, is his forte; it certainly lies between
"Poor fellow!" said Morton, "from present appear-
ances, and the state of our supplies, he will have to take
it all out in sleeping, for some time to come, as it is to
be presumed he'll hardly feel like spouting."
"One would think that what happened yesterday, and
the condition of things as we left them last night, would
be enough to disturb one's nerves somewhat; yet you
see how little it affects him-and I now predict that the
first thing he will say on opening his eyes, will be about
the means of breaking his long fast."
"I don't understand how you can go on in that strain,
Max," said Arthur, looking up in a surprised manner,
and shaking his head disapprovingly.
Why, I was merely endeavoring to do my share to-
wards keeping our spirits up; but I suppose any spirits
got up' under the present circumstances, must be some-
THE ISLAND HOME.
what forced, and as my motives don't seem to be prop-
erly appreciated, I will renounce the unprofitable at-
The sun rose in a clear sky, and gave promise of a
hot day. There was, however, a cool and refreshing
breeze that scattered the spray from the foaming ridges
of the waves, and occasionally showered us, not unpleas-
antly, with the fine liquid particles. A sea breaking over
our bow, dashed a bucket-full of water into Browne's
face, and abruptly disturbed his slumbers.
"Good morning, comrades !" said he, sitting up, and
looking about him with a perplexed and bewildered air.
"But, how is this ? Ah! I recollect it all now. So then,
we are really out of sight of land ?"
"There is no longer any doubt of that," said Arthur,
"and it is now time for us to decide what we shall do
-our chance of falling in with a ship will be quite as
good, and that of reaching land will of course be much
better, if instead of drifting like a log upon the water,
we put up our sail, and steer in almost any direction;
though I think there is a choice."
"Of course there is a choice," said Morton; "the
island cannot be at any great distance; and the probabil-
ity of our being able to find it again is so much greater,
than that of making any other land, that we ought to
steer in the direction in which we have good reason to
think it lies-that is, to the east."
The wind for the last twelve hours has been pretty
S THE CONSULTATION.
nearly south," observed Arthur, "and has probably had
some effect upon our position; we had better, therefore,
steer a little south of east, which with this breeze will be
To this all assented, and the sail was hoisted, and the
boat's head put in the direction agreed upon, each of us,
except Johnny, sailing and steering her in turn. There
was quite as much wind as our little craft could sail
with to advantage, and without danger. As it filled her
bit of canvass, she careered before it, leaping and plung-
ing from wave to wave, in a manner that sometimes
seemed perilous. The bright sky above us, the blue sea
gleaming in the light of morning, over which we sped;
the dry, clear atmosphere (now that the sun was up, and
the mist dissipated), the fresh breeze, without which we
must have suffered intensely from the heat; together
with our rapid and bounding motion, had an exhilarat-
ing effect, in spite of the gloomy anticipations that sug-
"After all," said Max, "why need we take such a dis-
mal view of the matter ? We have a fine staunch little
boat, a good breeze, and islands all around us. Besides
we are in the very track of the b6che de mer, and sandal-
wood traders. It would be strange indeed, if we should
fail to meet some of them soon. In fact, if it were not
for thinking of poor Frazer, and of the horrible events of
yesterday (which to be sure, are enough to make one
sad), I should be disposed to look upon the whole affair,
THE ISLAND HOME.
as a sort of holiday adventure-something to tell of
when we get home, and to talk over pleasantly together
twenty years hence."
If we had a breaker of water, and a keg of biscuit,"
said Morton, and could then be assured of fair weather
for a week, I might be able to take that view of it; as it
is, I confess, that to me, it has anything but the aspect
of a holiday adventure."
When Johnny awoke, Arthur endeavored to soothe
his alarm, by explaining to him that we had strong
hopes of being able to reach the island again, and men-
tioning the various circumstances which rendered such a
hope reasonable. The little fellow did not, however,
seem to be as much troubled as might have been ex-
pected. He either reposed implicit confidence in the
resources, or the fortunes, of his companions, or else, did
not at all realize the perils to which we were exposed.
But this could not last long.
That which I knew Arthur had been painfully antici-
pating, came at last. Johnny, who had been asking
Morton a multitude of questions as to the events of the
previous day, suddenly said that he was very thirsty, and
asked in the most unsuspecting manner, for a drink of
water. When he learned that the breaker was empty,
and that we had not so much as a drop of water with us,
some notion of our actual situation seemed to dawn upon
him, and he became all at once, grave and silent.
Hour after hour dragged slowly on, until the sun was
in the zenith, with no change for the better in our af
fairs. It was now clear, that we must give up the hope
of reaching the island which we had left, for it was cer-
tain that we had sailed farther since morning, than the
boat could possibly have been drifted during the night,
by the wind or the current, or both combined. Our cal-
culations at the outset must therefore have been erro-
neous, and we had not been sailing in the right direction.
If so, it was too late to correct the mistake; we could
not regain our starting-point, in order to steer from it
another course. We now held a second consultation.
Although we had but a general notion of our geo-
graphical position, we knew that we were in the neigh-
borhood of scattered groups of low coral islands. From
the Kingsmills we were to have sailed directly for Can-
ton, and Max, Morton, and myself, would before now, in
all probability, have commenced our employment in the
American factory there, but for Captain Erskine's sud-
den resolution to take the responsibility of returning to
the Samoan Group, with the double object of rescuing
the crew of the wrecked barque, and completing his
cargo, which, according to the information received from
the master of the whaler, there would be no difficulty in
doing. From Upolu, we had steered a north-westerly
course, and it was on the fourth or fifth day after leaving
it, that we had reached the island where the mutiny took
place, and which Mr. Erskine claimed as a discovery of
his own. Its latitude and longitude had of course been
68 THE ISLAND HOME.
calculated, but none of us learned the result, or at any
rate remembered it. We knew only, that we were at no
great distance from the Kingsmills, and probably to the
south-west of them.
Arthur was confident from conversations had with Mr.
Frazer, and from the impressions left on his mind by his
last examination of the charts, that an extensive cluster
of low islands, scattered over several degrees of latitude,
lay just to the south-east of us.
It was accordingly determined to continue our present
course as long as the wind should permit, which there
was reason to fear might be but a short time, as easterly
winds are the prevailing ones within the tropics, as near
the line as we supposed ourselves to be.
TEE SECOND WATCH-AN EVIL OMEN-TH WHITE SHRAt-
A BREAKFAST LOST.
"Al in a hot and copper sky
The bloody sun at noon
Right up above the mast did stand,
No bigger than the moon."
DURING the remainder of the day the wind continued
fair, and we held on our course, steering by the sun, and
keeping a vigilant lookout in every direction. But the
night set in, and we had yet seen no appearance of land,
no speck in the distance which could be mistaken for a
sail, not even a wandering sea-bird or a school of flying-
fish-nothing to break the dead monotony of the briny
waste we were traversing. As I sat at the helm, taking
my turn in sailing the boat, and watched the sun go
down, and saw the darkness gathering over the sea, a
feeling nearly akin to despair took possession of me. In
vain I strove to take an encouraging and hopeful view
of our circumstances. The time within which relief
must come in order to be effectual, was so short, that I
THE ISLAND HOME.
could not help feeling that the probabilities were strongly
against us. I could not shut my eyes to the fact, that
dangers, imminent and real, such as we had read and
talked of, without ever half realizing, or dreaming that
they would one day fall to our own lot, now pressed
upon us, and threatened us close at hand. I knew that
those fearful tales of shipwreck and starvation, were only
too true-that men, lost at sea like ourselves, had pined
day after day, without a morsel of food, or a drop of
water, until they had escaped in stupor or delirium, all
consciousness of suffering. And worse even than this-
too horrible to be thought or spoken of-I knew some-
thing of the dreadful and disgusting expedients to pro-
long life, which have sometimes been resorted to by fam-
ishing wretches. I had read how the pangs of hunger,
and the still fiercer torments of thirst, had seemed to
work a dire change even in kind and generous natures,
making men wolfish, so that they slew and fed upon
each other. Now, all that was most revolting and in-
human, in what I had heard or read of such things, rose
vividly before me, and I shuddered at the growing prob-
ability that experiences like these might be reserved for
us. Why not for us," I thought, "as well as for the
many others, the records of whose terrible fate I have
perused with scarcely more emotion than would be ex-
cited by a tale of imaginary suffering; and the still
greater number whose story has never been recorded.
We have already been conducted many steps on this
fearful path, and no laws of nature will be stayed, no or-
dinary rules of God's dealing violated, on our behalf.
No inevitable necessity requires the complexion of our
future, to correspond and harmonize with that of our past
lives. This feeling, which seems to assure me that such
things cannot happen to us, is but one of the cheats and
illusions of a shrinking and self-pitying spirit. All the
memories that cluster about a happy childhood, all the
sweet associations of home and kindred, afford no guar-
anty against the new and bitter experiences which seem
about to open upon us."
Such were the thoughts that began to disquiet my
own mind. As to my companions, Morton seemed less
anxious and excited than any of the others. During the
evening he speculated in a cool, matter-of-fact manner,
upon our chances of reaching an island, or meeting a
ship, before being reduced to the last extremity. He
spoke of the number of traders that frequent the islands,
for tortoise-shell, mother-of-pearl, sandal-wood, beche de
mer, &c.; the whalers that come in pursuit of the
cachelot, or sperm whale; the vessels that resort there
for fruit, or supplies of wood and water; the vast num-
ber of islands scattered through these seas; from all
which he finally concluded, that the chances were largely
in our favor. If, however, we should fail of immediate
relief in this shape, he thought it probable that we should
have opportunities of catching fish, or sea-birds, and so
prolonging life for many days. He talked the whole
THE ISLAND HOME.
matter over in such a calm, sober, unexcited manner,
furnishing facts and reasons for every opinion, that I felt
some confidence in his conclusions.
Browne, though quite composed and self-possessed,
had, from the moment when he discovered that we were
out of sight of land, taken the most serious view of our
situation. He seemed to have made up his mind for the
worst, and was abstracted, and indisposed to converse.
I knew that the anxiety which Arthur evinced, was not
mainly on his own account. It did not withdraw his
attention from what was passing, or diminish his interest
in it. Far from being gloomy or abstracted, he was ac-
tive and watchful, and spoke with heartiness and cheer-
fulness. His mental disquietude only appeared, in a
certain softness and tremor of his voice; especially when
speaking to Johnny, who, as the night drew on, asked
him over and over again, at short intervals, "Don't you
think, Arthur, that we shall certainly find land to-mor-
row ?" This was truly distressing.
As to Max, his feelings rose and fell capriciously, and
without any apparent cause; he was sanguine or de-
pressed, not from a consideration of all our circum-
stances, and a favorable or unfavorable conclusion drawn
therefrom; but according as this view or that, for the
moment, impressed his mind. He rendered no reasons
for his hopes or his fears. At one moment you would
judge from his manner and conversation that we were
indeed out upon some "holiday excursion," with no so-
rious danger impending over us; the next, without any-
thing to account for the change, he would appear misera-
bly depressed and wretched.
Soon after sunset the moon rose-pale and dim at
first, but shining out with a clearer and brighter ra-
diance, as the darkness increased. The wind held
steadily from the same quarter, and it was determined
to continue through the night, the arrangement for tak-
ing charge of the sailing of the boat, in turn. Browne
and Max insisted on sharing between themselves the
watch for the entire night, saying, that they had taken
no part in that of the one previous, and that it would be
useless to divide the twelve hours of darkness into more
than two watches. This was finally agreed upon, the
wind being so moderate that the same person could steer
the yawl and manage the sail without difficulty.
Before lying down, I requested Max, who took the first
turn, to awake me at the same time with Browne, a part
of whose watch I intended to share. I fell asleep, look-
ing up at the moon, and the light clouds sailing across
the sky, and listening to the motion of the water beneath
the boat. At first I slumbered lightly, without losing a
sort of dreamy consciousness, so that I heard Max hum-
ming over to himself fragments of tunes, and odd verses
of old songs, and even knew when he shifted his position
in the stern, from one side to the other. At length I
must have fallen into a deep sleep: I do not know how
long it had lasted (it seemed to me but a short time),
THE ISLAND HOME.
when I was aroused by an exclamation, from Max, as I at
first supposed; but on sitting up I saw that Browne was
at the helm, while Max was sleeping at my side. On
perceiving that I was awake, Browne, from whom the
exclamation had proceeded, pointed to something in the
water, just astern. Following the direction of his finger
with my eye, I saw, just beneath the surface, a large
ghastly-looking white shark, gliding stealthily along, and
apparently following the boat. Browne said that he had
first noticed it about half an hour before, since which
time it had steadily followed us, occasionally making a
leisurely circuit round the boat, and then dropping astern
again. A moment ago, having fallen into a doze at the
helm, and awaking with a start, he found himself leaning
over the gunwale, and the shark, just at his elbow.
This had startled him, and caused the sudden exclama-
tion by which I had been aroused. I shuddered at his
narrow escape, and I acknowledge that the sight of this
hideous and formidable creature, stealing along in our
wake, and manifesting an intention to keep us company,
caused me some uneasy sensations. He swam with his
dorsal fin almost at the surface, and his broad nose
scarcely three foet from the rudder. His color rendered
him distinctly visible.
What a spectre of a fish it is," said Browne, with
his pallid, corpse-like skin, and noiseless motion ; he has
no resemblance to any of the rest of his kind, that I have
ever seen. You know what the sailors would say, if
they should see him dogging us in this way; Old Cross-
trees, or Spot, would shake their heads ominously, and set
us down as a doomed company."
"Aside from any such superstitious notions, he is an
unpleasant and dangerous neighbor, and we must be cir-
cumspect while he is prowling about."
"It certainly won't do to doze at the helm," resumed
Browne, I consider that I have just now had a really
narrow escape. I was leaning quite over the gunwale; a
lurch of the boat would have thrown me overboard, and
then there would have been no chance for me."
There would not, in fact, have been the shadow of a
Even as it was," resumed he, if this hideous-look-
ing monster had been as active and vigilant as some of
his tribe, it would have fared badly with me. I have
heard of their seizing persons standing on the shore,
where the water was deep enough to let them swim close
in; and Spot tells of a messmate of his, on one of his
voyages in a whaler, who was carried off, while standing
entirely out of water, on the carcass of a whale, which
he was assisting in cutting up, as it lay alongside the
ship. The shark threw himself upon the carcass, five or
six yards from where the man was busy; worked him-
self slowly along the slippery surface, until within reach
of his victim; knocked him off into the water, and then
sliding off himself, seized and devoured him."
Picking my way carefully among the sleepers, who
THE ISLAND HOME.
covered the bottom of the yawl, I sat down beside
Browne in the stern, intending to share the remainder of
his watch. It was now long past midnight; fragments
of light clouds were scattered over the sky, frequently
obscuring the moon; and the few stars that were visible,
twinkled faintly with a cold and distant light. The
;Southern Cross, by far the most brilliant constellation of
that hemisphere, was conspicuous among the clusters of
feebler luminaries. Well has it been called "the glory
of the southern skies." Near the zenith, and second only
to the Cross, in brilliancy, appeared the Northern Crown,
consisting of seven large stars, so disposed as to form the
outline of two thirds of an oval. Of the familiar constel-
lations of the northern hemisphere, scarcely one was vis-
ible, except Orion, and the Pleiades.
At length the moon descended behind a bank of
silvery clouds, piled up along the horizon. The partial
obscurity that ensued, only added to the grandeur of the
midnight scene, as we sat gazing silently abroad upon
the confused mass of swelling waters, stretching away
into the gloom. But if the scene was grand, it was also
desolate; we two, were perhaps the only human beings,
for many hundreds of miles, who looked forth upon it.
Our companions were wrapped in unconsciousness, and
their deep and regular breathing, attested the soundness
of their slumbers. As the light failed more and more,
and the shadows deepened, the sea began to assume a
beautiful and striking appearance, gleaming in places
with a bluish, lambent light, and exhibiting, where the
water was most agitated, large luminous patches. Thin
waves of flame curled over our bow, and whenever a sea
broke upon it, it seemed as though the boat was plung-
ing through surges of fire. A long brilliant line, thickly
strewn on each side, with little globules, of the color of
burning coals, marked our wake.
But the shark, which still followed close behind our
keel, presented by far the most singular and striking
spectacle. Hie seemed to be surrounded by a luminous
medium; and his nose, his dorsal and side fins, and his
tail, each had attached to them slender jets of phosphoric
fire. Towards morning this brilliant appearance began
to fade, and soon vanished altogether. By this time I
found it difficult to keep my eyes open longer, and
leaving Browne to finish his watch alone, I resumed my
place on the ceiling planks, and in spite of the hardness
of my bed, which caused every bone in my body to ache,
soon slept soundly. When I again awoke, it was long
after sunrise, and we were lying completely becalmed.
A school of large fish were pursuing their gambols at a
short distance, and Browne was rowing cautiously toward
them, while Arthur and Morton stood prepared to attack
them with their cutlasses as soon as we should get within
striking distance. We had got almost among them, and
were just beginning to congratulate ourselves upon their
apparent indifference to our approach, when they all at
once scattered in every direction, with manifest signs of
TIIE ISLAND HO11Ei.
terror. The cause of this sudden movement was not
long concealed; a brace of sharks rose in their very
midst; one was visible but for a moment, as he rolled
over to seize his prey; the other, less successful in se-
curing a victim, shot past us, like an arrow, in pursuit of
a large division of the fugitives. Soon after, both of
them were seen playing around the boat. They belonged
to the species known as the tiger shark, and bore no
resemblance to our ghastly visitor of the preceding even-
ing. By the consternation which their sudden ap-
pearance had produced among the lesser fishes, they had
in all probability robbed us of our breakfast. Morton
with his characteristic enterprise, suggested an attack
upon one of them by way of reprisals; but before any
measures for that purpose could be taken, they disap-
peared, leaving us with no other resource than to await
our fate with such patience and resignation as we could
command. The wind having entirely failed, there was
nothing that we could do to change our situation-abso-
lutely nothing. This forced inaction, with no occupation
for mind or body, no object of effort, contributed to en-
hance whatever was painful in our condition, by leaving
us to brood over it. The dead calm which had fallen upon
the sea, seemed all that was necessary to complete our
misery. We were all stiff and sore, from the exceed-
ingly uncomfortable sleeping accommodations of the last
two nights; but this was a comparatively trifling evil.
Johnny had a severe cold, and his eyes were inflamed
and bloodshot; he exhibited also strong symptoms of
fever. He was nevertheless silent and uncomplaining,
and came and sat down quietly by the side of Arthur in
As the day advanced, the heat became dreadful. We
had not suffered much from it the day before, on account
of the fresh breeze which had prevailed; but now, not a
breath of air was stirring, and the glassy sea reflected
back upon us the scorching rays of the sun, with in-
creased intensity. Towards noon it exceeded anything I
had ever experienced. The whole arch of the heavens
glowed with a hot and coppery glare. It seemed as
though instead of one sun, there were ten thousand, cov-
ering all the sky, and blending their rays into a broad
canopy of fire. The air was like that of an oven: the
water had no coolness, no refreshing quality; it was tepid
and stagnant: no living thing was to be seen near the
surface, for life could not be sustained there; and the
fishes, great and small, kept themselves in the cooler
depths, far below. Almost stifled by the heat, we began
to experience the first real and extreme suffering that
most of us had ever known. At Arthur's suggestion,
v;e disengaged the now useless sail from the mast, and
ontrived a kind of awning, by fastening two of the oars
upright in the boat, with the mast extending between
them, throwing the sail over the latter, and securing the
ends to the gunwales. This, although it could not pro-
tect us from the sultry and suffocating air, warded off the
80 THE ISLAND HOME.
blistering beams of the sun, and during the greater part
of the day, we lay crouched beneath it, a miserable com-
pany; one or another of us crawling out occasionally, to
take a survey. Towards the close of the afternoon, my
sufferings from thirst grew absolutely intolerable, and
amounted to torment. My blood became fevered; my
brain seemed on fire; my shrunk and shrivelled tongue,
was like a dry stick in my mouth. The countenances of
my companions, their blood-shot eyes, and cracked and
swollen lips, showed what they were undergoing. Johnny
lay in the bottom of the boat, with his eyes shut, endur-
ing all, with as much fortitude as the rest of us, except
that now and then, a half suppressed moan escaped him.
It was quite clear, that relief, in order to be of any
avail, must be speedy.
A WiCOME PERIL-THIE ALBACORE AND THEIR PREY-
A TROrICAL THUNDEIR-STORM.
"Eternal Providence, exceeding thought,
Where none appears, can make itself a way."
WHILE lying crouched under the sail almost gasping
for breath, near the middle, as I suppose, of that terrible
afternoon, 1 all at once became sensible of a perceptible
cooling of the atmosphere, and a sudden decrease of
light. Looking out to discover the cause of this change,
I perceived that the sky was overcast, and that a light,
unsteady breeze from the north-west had sprung up.
Knowing that within the tropics, and near the line, winds
from that quarter frequently precede a storm, and that
great extremes of heat are often succeeded by violent
gales, I observed with apprehension dark masses of
clouds gathering in the north. It would not require a
tempest, to insure our destruction; for our little craft could
not live a moment, even in such a gale as would be at-
tended by no danger to a staunch ship with plenty of
THE ISLAND HOME.
The temperature had fallen many degrees, though the
wind was still moderate and unsteady, ranging from west
to north-east. The sun was completely obscured, so that
the awning was no longer needed, and we pulled it down
in order the more fully to enjoy the breeze, and the de-
licious coolness of the darkened atmosphere, to the grate-
fulness of which, not even our awakening apprehensions
could render us insensible.
While observing the strange appearance of the sky,
and the preparations for a storm which seemed to be
going on in the north and west, Morton espied a troop
of flying-fish a hundred yards or so to windward. Flut-
tering feebly a short distance in the air, they would drop
into the sea, soon emerging, however, for a fresh flight;
thus, alternately swimming and flying, they were steadily
approaching; and from their rapid and confused motions,
it was evident that they were hard pressed by some of
the numerous and greedy persecutors of their helpless
race; from whom they were struggling to escape. Pres-
ently a glittering Albacore shot from the water, close in
the track of the fugitives, descending again in the grace-
ful curve peculiar to his active and beautiful, but rapa-
cious tribe. Another and another followed, their golden
scales flashing in the light, as they leaped clear of the
water, sometimes two or three together. We hastily
made ready to attack both pursuers and pursued, the in-
stant they should come within reach. The course of the
chase brought them directly towards us, until the hunted
fishes fell in a glittering shower, so near, that I feared
they might pass under the boat before rising again; but
they came to the surface close beside us, and as they flut-
tered into the air, we knocked down six or seven of them,
and caught a number more, that dropped into the boat.
Morton and %lax, ambitious of larger game, devoted their
attention to the Albacore, and slashed and thrust furi-
ously, at such as came within reach of their cutlasses;
which many of them did. Some darted under the boat,
instead of sheering round it; and one enormous fellow,
miscalculating in his haste our draught of water, must
have scraped all the fins off his back against the keel, as
he performed this manoeuvre; for the shock of the contact,
caused the yawl to tremble from stem to stern. But
such was the marvellous celerity of their movements, that
though they came within easy striking distance, all the
hostile demonstrations of Max and Morton proved futile.
The flying-fish which had been taken, were divided
and apportioned with scrupulous exactness, and devoured
with very little ceremony. The only dressing, or prepa-
ration bestowed upon them, consisted simply in stripping
off the long shining pectoral fins, or wings (they serve as
both), without paying much attention to such trifling
matters as scales, bones, and the lesser fins. Max, in-
deed, began to nibble rather fastidiously at first, at this
raw food, which a minute before had been so full of life
and activity; but his appetite improved as he proceeded,
and he at last so far got the better of his scruples, as to
TIE ISLAND HOME.
leave nothing of his share except the tails, and very little
even of those. Hunger, in fact, made this repast, which
would have been revolting under ordinary circumstances,
not only acceptable, but positively delicious.
Meantime the dark mass of clouds in the north had
extended itself, and drawn nearer to us. Another tem-
pest seemed to be gathering in the west, while in tlih,
south, a violent thunder-storm appeared to be actually
raging: the lightning in that quarter was vivid and al-
most incessant, but we could hear no thunder, the storm
being still at a considerable distance.
Immediately around us, all was yet comparatively
calm, but the heavy clouds, gathering on three sides,
seemed gradually converging towards a common centre;
a short, abrupt, cross sea began to form, and the water
assumed a glistening inky hue. There was something
peculiar and striking in the appearance of the clouds
surrounding us; they seemed to rest upon the surface of
the ocean, and towered upward like a dark wall to the
skies. Their upper extremities were torn and irregular,
and long narrow fragment.i like giant arms, streamed out
from the main body, and extended over us, as if beckon-
ing each other to a nearer approach, and threatening to
unite their gloomy array overhead, and shut out the
light of day. As they drew nearer to one another, the
lightning began to dart from cloud to cloud, while the
most terrific peals of thunder that I have ever heard, rolled
and reverberated on every side. We appeared to be
surrounded by storms, some of which were very near, for
the deep crash of the thunder, followed close upon the
vivid lightning that flashed in the south and west. Still
the narrow space of sky directly overhead was clear, and
the war of elements which was raging all around, did not
extend to our immediate neighborhood. Against the
dark sides of the cloudy pavilion that encompassed us,
the sharp, zigzag lines of lightning, as they ran from the
sky to the ocean, shone out with a blinding glare. A
single half-hour had sufficed to change everything about
us. The brazen, burning sky, was transformed into a
cold, clear expanse, of a bluish black. The sea, no longer
stagnant and glassy, was fretted by short inky waves,
with creamy crests, that gave it altogether a new aspect.
The air was now fresh and cool, and the wind rising and
falling fitfully, at one moment scarcely lifted our hair or
stirred our garments, and the next, tore off the entire
crests of waves, and scattered them over us in a shower
of spray. For nearly an hour we remained apprehensive
that the wind might increase to a gale. At the end of
about that time, it came gradually round to the south-
east, growing steady, but by no means violent, and the
storms moved off in a westerly direction. One heavy
cloud, as it slowly passed over toward that quarter, dis-
charged a grateful shower of rain. We hastily spread
the sail and some of our garments, to gather the precious
drops. The shower lasted only a few minutes, but dur-
ing that time it rained briskly. I never shall forget my
86 THE ISLAND HOME.
sensations as I stood with face upturned, while the big
drops, more delicious than ambrosia, came pelting down.
It was far better and more strengthening than food, or
any medicine or cordial could have been, and seemed to
infuse fresh life into us all. When it was over, we wrung
out from the saturated canvass, and from our clothing,
water enough to mitigate for the time, though by no
means to satisfy, the raging thirst from which we had
suffered so intensely.
Arthur had at first taken out of the locker the large
bottle which had been found there, in the hope of being
able to hoard up a small supply for the future; but
there was not a drop of surplus for such a purpose, and
he was obliged to put it back again empty as before.
unltns nf Xan.
THE C O'rTRIE OF TTEp SP~iERE-THE MYSTERIOUS SOUND-
"Thou glorious sea! before me gleaming,
Oft wilt thou float in sunset pride,
And often shall I hear in dreaming,
Thy resonance at evening tide!"
AT sunset, every trace of the storms by which we had
been so recently encompassed had vanished: the sky,
except along the western horizon, was without a cloud :
not a breath of wind ruffled the sea, and we lay once
more completely becalmed.
This was our third night at sea; though to me, at
least, it seemed that many days had passed since the
mutiny and the immediately succeeding occurrences. It
is a night which I shall not soon forget; the impression
of its almost unearthly beauty is still fresh and vivid,
and haunts me like a vision of fairy-land. At this mo-
ment, if I but close my eyes, the whole scene rises be-
fore me with the distinctness of a picture; though one
would naturally suppose that persons situated as we
THE ISLAND HOME.
then were, could scarcely have been in a state of mind
congenial to the reception of such impressions.
The transition from early twilight to the darkness of
night, was beautiful beyond description. The array of
clouds in the west just after sunset; their forms, arrange-
ment, and colors; with the manner in which they blend-
ed and melted into one another, composed a spectacle,
of the magnificence of which, neither language nor the
art of the painter can convey any adequate idea. Along
the edge of the horizon stretched a broad tract of the
deepest crimson, reflecting far upon the waters, a light
that gave them the appearance of an ocean of blood.
Above this was a band of vivid flame color: then one of
a clear translucent green, perfectly peculiar, unlike that
of any leaf or gem, and of surpassing delicacy and
beauty. This gradually melted, through many fine
gradations, into a sea of liquid amber, so soft and golden,
that the first large stars of evening, floating in its trans-
parent depths, could scarcely be distinguished, as they
twinkled mildly, amid the flood of kindred radiance. A
narrow streak of pearly blue bounded this amber sea
with its islands of light, and divided it from the deeper
blue of the wide vault above. During the earlier part
of this glorious display, the eastern sky, as if in rivalry
of the splendor of the opposite quarter of the heavens,
was spanned by two concentric rainbows, describing
complete semicircles, with their bases resting upon the
sea. In the smaller and interior bow, all the colors
TOKENS OF LAND.
were beautifully distinct; in the outer and larger one,
they were less brilliant, and arranged in an order the re-
verse of that which is usual, the violet being the lowest,
instead of the red. The rainbows vanished with the
sun, and soon afterwards the fiery glow in the west
began to fade. But the scene only changed its charac-
ter, without losing any of its beauty. So smooth was
the sea on that night, that the whole dome of the sky,
with every sailing cloudflake, and every star, was per-
fectly reflected in it. Until the moon rose, the line
where the sky joined the ocean was indistinctly defined,
and the two were so blended together, that we actually
seemed suspended in the centre of a vast sphere; the
heavens, instead of terminating at the horizon, extend-
ed, spangled with stars, on every side-below as well as
above and around. The illusion was wonderfully per-
fect: you almost held your breath as you glanced down-
ward, and could hardly refrain from starting nervously,
so strong and bewildering was the appearance of hang-
ing poised in empty space.
Johnny, who had been sitting for a long time with his
hands supporting his head, and his elbows resting upon
Arthur's knee, gazing out upon the ocean, suddenly
looked up into his face, and said-
Arthur, I want you to tell me truly-do you still
believe that we shall be saved-do you hope so now, as
you did yesterday, or do you think that we must
THE ISLAND HOME.
"Do you suppose that I would try to deceive you,
Johnny," said Arthur, that you ask me so earnestly to
tell you truly ?"
No, but I feared you would not, perhaps, tell me the
worst, thinking that I could not bear it: and I suspected
to-night, that you spoke more cheerfully than you felt,
on my account. But I am not afraid, dear Arthur, to
know the truth; and do not hide it from me! I will
try to bear patiently, with you and with the rest, what-
ever comes upon us."
"I would not deceive you about such a matter, Johnny.
I should not think it right, though you are so young.
But I can know nothing certainly. We are in the hands
of God. I have told you all the reasons we have to
hope; we have the same reasons still. Only a few hours
ago, the sea supplied us with food and the clouds with
drink: why may we not hope for future supplies accord-
ing to our need ? I think we yet have more reason to
hope than to despair."
"Did you ever know, or hear of such a thing," in-
quired Johnny after a pause, as a company of boys, like
us, starving at sea ?"
I do not remember that I have, under circumstances
at all similar to ours," answered Arthur.
"It is too dreadful to believe! Is not God, our Father
in heaven? lie will not surely let us perish so misera-
"Yes, Johnny," said Arthur gently but earnestly,
TOKENS OF LAND.
"God is our heavenly Father; but we must not make
our belief in his love and goodness, a ground of confidence
that any suffering, however terrible, shall not befall us.
The young suffer and die, as well as the old; the good
as well as the bad. Not only the strong martyrs, who tri-
umphed while they were tortured, but feeble old men, and
little children, have been torn in pieces by wild beasts, or
burned alive, or cast down precipices. And these things,
that seem so very hard to us, God has permitted. Yet'
he is good, and loves and cares for us as a father. This
we must believe, and hold fast to,.in spite of everything
that in our ignorance may seem to contradict it. If we
feel as we ought, and as by his grace we may, we shall
be able to trust all to him, with sweet resignation."
But is it not very hard, dear Arthur, to be left to die
so ?-and God can save us so easily, if he will."
Arthur was deeply affected: the tears filled his eyes
as he took Johnny upon his knee, and tried to explain to
him how wrong and selfish it would be, to make our be-
lief in the goodness of God, depend upon our rescue and
preservation.. It was a difficult task, perhaps an untimely
one, as Max hinted. But Johnny gradually sobbed away
his excitement, and became soothed and calm.
"Well," said he after a while, drawing a long breath,
and wiping away his tears," I know one thing: whatever
may happen, we will be kind and true to one another to
the last, and never think of such inhuman things as I
THE ISLAND HOME.
have read of shipwrecked people doing, when nearly dead
with hunger, though we all starve together."
Come to me, Johnny," cried Browne with a faltering
voice, "I must kiss you for those words. Yes, we will
perish, if we must, like brothers, not sullenly, as if none
had ever suffered evil before us. Weak and gentle spirits
have borne without repining, sufferings as great as threaten
us. Often has my mother told me the story of sweet
Margery Wilson, drowned in the Solway water, in the
days of the bloody Claverhouse, because she met with
her friends and kinded to worship God after their man-
ner-and never could I listen to it without tears. Ah,
what a spirit was there! She was but eighteen, and she
could have saved her life by saying a few words. Life
was as sweet to her as it is to us: she too had a home
and friends and kindred, whom it must have been hard
for the poor young thing to leave so suddenly and aw-
fully. And yet she refused to speak those words-she
chose to die rather. They took her out upon the sand
where the tide was rising fast, and bound her to a stake.
Soon the water came up to her face. She saw it go over
the head of a poor old woman, whom they had tied
farther out than herself. She saw her death struggles;
she heard her gasp for breath, as she choked and stran-
gled in the yellow waves. Ah! she must have had
courage from the Lord, or that sight would have made
her young heart fail. Once more, and for the last time,
the king's officer asked her to make the promise never to
TOKENS OF LAND.
attend a conventicle again. He urged it, for he pitied
her youth and innocence. Her friends and neighbors
begged her to save her life. '0 speak, dear Margaret!'
they cried,' and make the promise; it can't be wrong.
Do it for our sakes, dear Margaret, and they will let you
go!' But she would not save her life by doing what she
had been taught to think was wrong; and while the
swirling waves of the Solway were rising fast around her,
she prayed to God, and kept singing fragments of psalms,
till the water choked her voice-and so she perished.
But, 0 friends, to know that such things have been; that
spirits gentle and brave as this have lived, makes it
easier to suffer courageously."
"Horrible!" exclaimed Max, "I seem to see, all that
you have so graphically told. But how stern and cruel
the teachers who would sacrifice human life rather than
abate their own sullen obstinacy, even in trifles-who
could encourage this innocent but misguided girl, in her
refusal to save her life by the harmless promise to attend
a church instead of a conventicle."
Just as Browne was commencing an eager and indig-
nant reply to Max's rash reflections upon the strictness
of covenanting teachings, we were suddenly startled by
a deep and solemn sound, which seemed to come from
a distance. While we listened intently, it was several
times repeated at short intervals of about fifteen seconds,
each time more distinctly than before. It resembled
somewhat, the deepest tones of a powerful organ, heard
THE ISLAND HOME.
for an instant, and then abruptly stopped. Nothing
was to be seen in the direction from which it seemed to
proceed, but the sea glittering in the moonlight. Is it
to be wondered at, if we listened with feelings tinged
with superstitious awe, to that strange sound, heard
under such circumstances, and at such an hour?
Johnny nestled closer to Arthur's side, and I thought
that the faces of my companions grew visibly pale.
Even Arthur looked perplexed and disturbed.
"What can that be?" said Morton, after a few
minutes of almost breathless silence, during which we
had listened in vain for its repetition.
It is certainly very strange," said Arthur. I never
heard anything at sea, at all like it, but once, and it is
impossible that this can be what I then heard-but
hark!" And again the same deep pealing sound was
repeated several times, at shorter intervals, but more
faintly than before; after continuing for a few minutes
it ceased again.
What was the sound which you speak of, as resem-
bling this ?" asked Morton, when all was silent once
It was the cry of a kind of penguin, found at the
Falkland Islands; when heard on shore it is harsh and
loud; but a short distance at sea, and in the night it
has a pealing, solemn sound, like that which we have
"It must come from land in the neighborhood," said
TOKENS OF LAND.
Morton, "we can probably hear farther on such a night
as this than we can distinguish land."
"Yes, sounds on the water, in calm still nights, when
there is no wind, can be heard at great distances," said
Arthur; "it is said that the 'All's well!' of the British
sentinel at Gibraltar, is sometimes heard across the
strait, on the African shore, a distance of thirteen miles.
I have seen at the Society Islands, native drums made
of large hollow logs which might perhaps at a distance,
sound like what we heard a moment ago. A Wesleyan
missionary there, once told me of a great drum that he
saw at the Tonga Islands, called the 'Tonga Toki,'
which sounded like an immense gong, and could be
heard from seven to ten miles."
Why, I thought that this sounded like a gong,"
said Johnny, perhaps we are near some island now;
but what could they be drumming for so late in the
"There would be nothing very unusual about that,"
said Arthur. The Areoi Societies, which are a kind of
native Freemasons, and are extended over most of the
larger inhabited islands in this part of the Pacific, some-
times hold their great celebrations, like the pow-wows,
and war-dances, of our American Indians, in the night-
time. At the Fejee Islands they have a strange cere-
mony called Tambo Nalanga,' which they celebrate at
night, with the beating of drums, the blowing of conchs,
and a number of savage and cruel rites. Something or
THE ISLAND HOME.
other of the same kind is observed at most of the
islands, though under different names, and with slight
While speculating in this way, and endeavoring to
account for the noise which had startled us so much, we
all at once became aware of an increasing light in the
south, the 'Cross,' now half-way between the horizon
and the zenith, enabling us to fix the points of the com-
pass. As we gazed in that direction, the sky became
strongly illuminated by a red glare, and an immense
column of flame and smoke was seen shooting up in the
distance. Nothing but the expanse of the ocean, splen-
didly illuminated, and glowing like a sea of fire, could
be discerned by this light. Whether it was caused by a
burning ship, at such a distance that nothing but the
light of her conflagration was visible, or by a fire on
some distant island, we could not determine. It was in
the same quarter from which the sound had seemed to
Arthur was now of the opinion that we were in the
neighborhood of an inhabited island or group, and that
the light proceeded from the burning biche-de-mei house
of some successful trader, who had set fire to it (as is
their custom at the end of a prosperous season), to pre-
vent it from falling into the hands of others in the same
We all grasped eagerly at this idea, for the probabil-
ity that we were not only in the neighborhood of land,
TOKENS OF LAND. 97
but of a place where we should meet with Europeans,
and have an opportunity of getting home, or perhaps to
the places of our respective destination, was full of en-
couragement. In a very short time the conflagration
was over, and a dark column of smoke, which marked
the spot where it had raged, was lifted slowly into the
air. We heard no more of the mysterious sound. None
of the explanations suggested were so perfectly satisfac-
tory, as to remove entirely the unpleasant impression
which it had produced. Before lying down in our ac-
customed places, we made our usual arrangements as to
the watch, unnecessary as it seemed, during the calm.
BUFFERING AND DELIRIUM-THE MIDNIGIIT BATH-
A STRANGE PESIL.
"Water, water, everywhere,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, everywhere-
But not a drop to drink."
SEVERAL times in the course of the night, I was
awakened by confused noises, like the blowing of por-
poises, or the spouting of whales; but the sky had be-
come overcast, and it had grown so dark, that on getting
up and looking about, I could see nothing of the crea-
tures producing these sounds. My slumbers were broken
and uneasy, and in the morning I found myself suffer-
ing from a dull, heavy pain in the head, accompanied by
a slight nausea, and a general feeling of languor and
weakness. Even to get upon my feet required some-
thing of an effort, which I made, impelled rather by a
dim, confused sense of duty, than by any spontaneous
impulse or inclination: had I consulted inclination alone,
I believe I should have remained passive, and let things
take their course.
The occurrences of the last night had given rise to
some faint expectation that by daylight we should dis-
cover land in sight to the southward, where we had seen
the great light. But nothing was visible in that or any
other quarter. Possessed by some hope of this kind,
Arthur had been up, searching the horizon since the first
streak of day in the east. He showed me a large green
branch which he had picked up as it floated near us.
By the elegantly scolloped leaves, of a dark and glossy
green, it was easily recognized as a branch of the
bread-fruit tree; and from their bright, fresh color, and
the whiteness of the wood, where it had joined the
trunk, it must have been torn off quite recently. The
calm still continued. Immense schools of black-fish, or
porpoises, or some similar species, could be seen about
half a mile distant, passing westward, in an apparently
endless line. The temporary beneficial effect of yester-
day's scanty supply of food and drink, had passed away
entirely, and all seemed to feel in a greater or less de-
gree, the bodily pain and weakness, and the lassitude
and indisposition to any kind of effort, by which I was
affected. To such an extent was this the case, that
when Arthur proposed that we should row towards the
school of fish in sight, and try to take some of them,
the strongest disinclination to make any such attempt was
evinced, and it was only after much argument and per-