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TAR-BUCKET AND PIPE-CLAY
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THE CAPTAIN CLINGING TO A PORTION OF THE STANDING
The Life ana Adventures of Nicholas Brodribb
MIDDY AND MARINE
MAJOR J. PERCY GROVES, R.G.A.
(LATE XXVIITH INNISKILLINGS)
FROM CADET TO CAPTAIN, A SOLDIER BORN' 'REEFER AND RIFLEMAN'
'ANCHOR AND LAUREL,' 'ON SERVICE,' 'WITH THE GREEN JACKETS'
GRIFFITH FARRAN BROWNE & CO. LIMITED,
35 BOW STREET, COVENT GARDEN,
The Rights of Translation and Reproduction are Reserved.
I. Introduces our Hero, and gives some Account of his
II. Relates how Mr. Jacob Brodribb took a Walk in the
Country, and how he fell in with a Party of French
III. Shows how the French landed in Jersey, and how our
Hero's Father paid the Debt to Nature, 16
IV. Relates how young Nicholas Brodribb made his first
Start in Life, 22
V. Gives some Account of the Voyage of the Marathon
to Table Bay; introduces a Gentleman of the
Name of Pennefeather, and relates how he and our
Hero spent a Night 'up in the Clouds,' 28
VI. A Night on Table Mountain-The Major's Story: 'A
Fight with Bruin,' 33
VII. The Marathon proceeds on her Voyage-The Gale-
A Terrible Disaster, 42
VIII. After the Storm-A Ship in Distress-' Sunk beneath
the Waves 1' 46
IX. The Rescue-Raoul Giraud-A Sad Story, 50
X. Relates how the Marathon struck upon a Rock, and
how Nicholas and his Friends escaped from the
XI. Wreck of the Marathon- Twenty-one out of Two
Hundred !-The Desert Isle, 6o
XII. Relates the further Adventures and Experiences of our
Hero and the other Survivors of the Marathon-A
Sailor's Epitaph, 69
XIII. A Lucky Find-Pat Murphy makes a Proposal, 76
XIV. The Building of the Boat-Hard Times-A Narrow
XV. Relates how the Carpenter paid his Debt to Nature, and
how Major Pennefeather and his Friends quelled an
Attempt to Mutiny, 91
XVI. Introduces William Ashcroft, A.B., and relates how he
confided the Story of his Life to our Hero, 96
XVII. Relates how Nicholas Brodribb, and Others of the
Shipwrecked Company, proceeded on a Voyage of
XVIII. Gives some Account of the Dinghy's Voyage, and shows
how it ended, 113
XIX. Relates the further Adventures of Mr. Ashcroft, Raoul
Giraud, and our Hero, 120
XX. A Friend in Need, 130
XXI. The Kraal-Our Friends prepare to return to the Island
-Sail ho 34
XXII. Accounts for the Unexpected Circumstance related at
the end of Chapter XXI., 140
XXIII. Homeward Bound !-A Strange Sail-Preparations for
the Fight, 151
XXIV. Describes the Action between the Rattlesnake and Le
Cerf, and shows how a certain Bullet found its
XXV. Tells how the Corvette Le Cerf was captured, 166
XXVI. After the Action-A Scene of Horror-Arrival of the
Rattlesnake and Prize at Plymouth, 170
XXVII. Nicholas Brodribb dons the Red Jacket-The Major's
XXVIII. Tells how Nicholas Brodribb visited his Father's Native
Village, and of the Adventure he met with on the
XXIX. Tells who was the Young Lady whom our Hero had the
Good Fortune to rescue, 183
XXX. Shows how Nicholas was welcomed by his Father's
Relatives, and how Major Pennefeather's Presenti-
ment was fulfilled, 189
XXXI. Nicholas joins the Crescent, and sails for Guernsey-
Shows how Captain Sir James Saumarez saved his
Squadron from being captured by the French, 193
XXXII. Nicholas is appointed to the Hussar Frigate-Service in
the Mediterranean, 197
XXXIII. Relates how Captain Reynolds and his Officers paid a
Visit to the Chateau Noirmont, and how they were
surprised by the French Dragoons, 201
XXXIV. Relates how Captain Reynolds and his Party retired from
the Chfteau Noirmont, and how Old Soundings'
captured three French Soldiers, 206
XXXV. The Last of this 'Eventful History,' 216
TAR-BUCKET AND PIPE-CLAY.
Introduces our Hero, and gives some Account of his
N one of the ponderous registers of the parish
'church of Saint Peter's Port, in the beautiful
island of Guernsey, there is an almost illegible
entry testifying- to the important fact that on the 9th
day of September, in the year of grace 1778, an infant,
baptized Nicholas, first saw the light; and it is further
set forth that the said Nicholas was the offspring of
Jacob Brodribb and Amilie Judith, his wife.
Jacob Brodribb was a Hertfordshire man, a native
of F-n, a village near to Rickmansworth, where his
family had dwelt for many generations.
The Brodribbs had from time immemorial been
humble 'sons of the soil,'-honest, though ignorant
peasants, ever ready and thankful to do a fair day's
Tar-bucket and Piie-clay.
work for a fair day's pay,-but the parents of Jacob
Brodribb, being thrifty folk and in constant employ,
were able to allow their sons to attend an endowed
school, established in the village by a former rector,
instead of sending them out to earn their living at an
early age, and thus gave them a far better education
than the children of an agricultural labourer usually
received in those fine old days when the Georges ruled
over Great Britain and Ireland.
Jacob Brodribb, who was the 'Benjamin' of the
family, showing greater aptitude for learning than his
brethren, was kept at his books until he attained his
sixteenth year, when Squire Oldacre, of F- n Manor,
put him into his land-steward's office.
With the steward, Jacob remained five years, and he
would in all probability have succeeded to his lucrative
and respectable situation, had not an irrepressible desire
to see the world driven him one fine morning to Rick-
mansworth fair; where, falling in with that prince of
recruiters, the redoubtable but mendacious Sergeant
Kite, he was persuaded to accept the 'King's shilling,'
and engage to serve His Most Gracious Majesty as a
trooper in the I7th Regiment of Light Dragoons.
The 17th were then stationed in Ireland, and to that
country Jacob Brodribb was shipped off before he was
many days older, in company with a score of young
men of all sorts and conditions, whom poverty or some
other pressing necessity had forced to seek the 'bubble
reputation even at the cannon's mouth.'
Jacob Broadribb. 9
There was great consternation amongst the good folk
of F- n when it became known that 'old Nick Brod-
ribb's Jacob' had 'gone for a sojer;' and the village
Solomons shook their grey heads and declared that
the boy must be daft; but, for all their talk, young
Brodribb had no reason to regret the step he had taken,
for being a proper-built, well-conducted lad, and far
better educated than the majority of his comrades, he
received a corporal's stripes as soon as he had passed
After that, his promotion was very rapid, and when,
in the spring of 1775, the 17th Light Dragoons were
sent across the Atlantic to take part in that most
lamentable struggle between England and her North
American colonies, Jacob found himself quarter-master
of the D troop, commanded by Captain Oliver de
The regiment disembarked at Boston towards the
end of May, 1775, and on the 17th of the following
June, Quarter-Master Jacob Brodribb received a severe
wound during the attack on the Americans' position at
Bunker's Hill; when a dismounted party of the 17th
Light Dragoons, under Captain de Lancey, proceeded
with a reinforcement sent out from Boston to support
the troops engaged.
This misfortune terminated Jacob's career in the
gallant 17th, for the authorities, judging that a one-
armed dragoon would not be very effective in the field,
sent him home. His services were, however, not for-
ro Tar-bucket and Pihe-clay.
gotten, and shortly after his arrival in England he was
gazetted ensign of an Independent Company of Invalids
stationed in the island of Guernsey.
In the autumn of 1777, Ensign Jacob Brodribb was
married to Mademoiselle Am6lie Judith, daughter of
Monsieur Pierre Le Noury, a small shipowner of Saint
Peter's Port, and their union was blessed with one child
-the boy Nicholas, whose birth is recorded at the
commencement of the chapter, and whom we now beg
leave to present to our readers as the hero of this
'strange and eventful history.
Of Master Nicholas's infancy we know nothing-no
doubt he was afflicted, in a greater or lesser degree, with
the numerous ailments peculiar to the very earliest days
of the human existence; it may likewise be fairly
assumed that he gave his mother about the same
amount of pleasure, trouble, and anxiety as the general
run of infants give their miothers-so we will pass on
to his early childhood, when the poor little fellow
experienced a misfortune; one of the greatest that a
child can experience; he lost both his parents within
Nicholas was between two and thlee years of age
when this melancholy event occurred. Madame Brod-
ribb had been ailing for some weeks, and, as her malady
completely puzzled the entire faculty of Sarnia, her
husband proposed that he should take her to Jersey to
consult a certain physician, residing at Saint Heliers,
Death of Madame Brodribb.
who was held in no small repute by the Channel
The doctors in attendance on the poor woman making
no objection to his suggestion, Mr. Brodribb applied for
leave of absence, and on the 29th December, 1780, he,
his wife, and child sailed from Saint Peter's Port in old
Pierre Le Noury's sloop, L'Intrefide. They arrived at
Saint Heliers the same evening, and Madame Brodribb
was carried ashore to the house of a friend. On the
following morning Doctor P-n was called in. He
shook his head gravely the moment he saw the patient,
who was greatly exhausted and scarcely conscious.
'It is too late, monsieur,' he whispered to the anxious
husband. 'I can do nothing for your wife, beyond,
perhaps, prolonging her life for a few days.'
'Do you mean that my Amelie is dying?' asked Mr.
'I do, monsieur,' was the sad reply. 'It is my opinion
that the poor lady will not last another week.'
Unhappily the worthy physician's opinion proved, only
too correct, for on the morning of the 5th January, 1781,
Madame Brodribb breathed her last.
Relates how Mr. Jacob Brodribb took a Walk in the
Country, and how he fell in with a Party of French
ACOB BRODRIBB'S grief at the death of his
beloved wife was extreme. For several hours,
in spite of the entreaties and remonstrances
of his father-in-law and friends, he refused to quit the
room in which she died, but he sat by the bedside,
completely stupefied by the sorrow that had befallen
him-unexpectedly, because he had never fully realized
the gravity of her illness. Towards evening Dr. P-n
happened to look in, and, being appealed to by Madame
Godefroy, the mistress of the house, he went up-stairs,
and kindly but firmly insisted that the bereaved husband
should leave the death-chamber.
'Remember that you are a soldier, monsieur,' said the
doctor, 'and endeavour to control your grief. It is
wrong-more than that, it is cowardly-to give way
'You are right, doctor,' murmured Mr. Brodribb, rising
The Doctor's Advice.
from his seat. 'I acknowledge that your reproof is
deserved.' And, casting one last look at the lifeless
form of his wife, he followed Dr. P- n from the room.
'Come home with me, monsieur,' said the kind-
hearted physician, as they passed down-stairs ; 'or, better
still, take a walk into the country. It is quite dark
now, and the fresh air will benefit you. You might
walk as far as the Grouville Redoubt, and by the time
you return, I shall have finished my evening rounds,
and will be at home to receive you.'
'Mais, M'sieur P- n !' exclaimed Madame Gode-
froy, who was not a little scandalised by the doctor's
proposition, 'what will our neighbours think if'-
'Madame, I care not what people think!' he inter-
rupted. 'I consider the living before the dead. It
cannot harm. the poor lady who has gone to her rest
that her widower should pass the evening with me
instead of brooding over his sorrow by himself; it is
good for him that he should do so, therefore I say to
him, "Come! "'
Though by no means convinced by Dr. P- n's
sensible argument, Madame Godefroy made no further
objections to Jacob Brodribb accompanying him; so
the two men passed out of the house into the road.
'Now, my friend,' said the doctor, as soon as they
were alone, 'take my advice, and walk until you are
thoroughly fatigued. You will then, I trust, obtain a few
hours' sleep, of which you stand greatly in need. You
know your way, I think?'
Tar-bucket and Pzie-clay.
'Yes, doctor,' rejoined Jacob; 'this is not my first
visit to Saint Heliers, and I am pretty well acquainted
with the neighbourhood.'
'Bon! I shall be at home in a couple of hours;
until then, au revoir !'
Grouville was little more than three miles from Saint
Heliers, but, being determined to follow the doctor's
advice, and, so to speak, walk himself to sleep, Mr-
Brodribb took a somewhat circuitous route, and thus
it was close upon eleven o'clock before he came within
sight of the redoubt commanding Grouville Bay.
He now thought it high time to return to Saint Heliers,
and he was debating which way he should take, when
he heard the measured tramp of marching men coming
from the direction of the redoubt, which was not more
than three hundred yards from the spot where he stood.
'The patrol, I suppose,' he muttered, drawing close
to .the hedge, in order to avoid being seen, for in his
state of mind he did not care to meet anybody.
'Judging by the sound, I should say they must be un-
usually strong to-night, thirty or forty files at least.'
A few minutes later, a company of soldiers marched
down the road leading to the redoubt, and passed close
to Jacob Brodribb, who, to his intense surprise and
alarm, saw that they did not belong to any British
regiment, nor to the Jersey militia, but that they were
French grenadiers, completely armed and accoutred,
and evidently 'on the war-path.'
'They must have landed in the bay, and surprised
The Guard at Grouville surprised. 15
the guard at Grouville,' he said to himself, crouching
down right under the hedge, lest the Frenchmen should
catch sight of him. 'Well, there'll be warm work for all
of us who wear King George's livery, and many a fine
fellow may never see another sun rise. Who knows but
that I and my poor Am6lie may be reunited before
But these thoughts did not keep Jacob Brodribb from
what was now his bounden duty, and, as soon as the
Frenchmen were well out of hearing, he crept from
beneath the hedge, looked cautiously around to make
sure that the coast was clear, and then set off at a
rapid pace for 'Le Mont Patibulaire,' where he knew
that some companies of the 78th Highlanders were
While Ensign Brodribb is hastening to give the alarm
to the Highlanders, we will relate how it came to pass
that a company of French grenadiers should be making
a midnight march along the roads of Jersey, and, to do
that satisfactorily, we must needs borrow a chapter from
the history of the island.
Shows how the French landed in Jersey, and how our
Hero's Father paid the Debt to Nature.
HE importance of the Channel Islands as naval
stations has ever been appreciated by the
rulers of' La Belle France,' and, since the days
when Philip Augustus wrested the province of Normandy
from the English crown, many attempts have they made
to bring Jersey and Guernsey under their sovereignty-
attempts which the sturdy islanders have always success-
The last of these petty invasions was undertaken by a
hot-headed, ambitious Frenchman, Monsieur le Baron de
Rullecourt, who, on the 5th of January, 1781, not only
effected a landing in Jersey at the head of a small body
of troops, but actually gained temporary possession of
the town of Saint Heliers before he met with any serious
The force with which Monsieur de Rullecourt set out
on this hazardous expedition, consisted of some two
thousand volunteers from the regiment of the Chevalier
de Luxemburg and from other infantry corps stationed
De Rullecourt's Expedition. 17
in the neighbourhood of Granville on the coast of Nor-
mandy. Having collected a sufficient number of vessels
in which to transport his small army, the impetuous
baron embarked his troops, and put to sea, regardless of
the state of the weather, and the immediate consequence
of his ill-advised haste was the dispersion of his flotilla
ten of the vessels, with nearly half his force on board,
being driven back to France, whilst he, with the
remainder, was forced to seek shelter at Chausey-a
small island, or rather cluster df islands, situated between
the coast of Normandy and Jersey.
Undeterred by this misfortune, and without waiting for
his scattered ships to rejoin him, De Rullecourt seized the
first opportunity of fair weather to pass over to Jersey;
and, thanks to the skilful piloting of a treacherous Jersey-
man who had taken refuge in France to avoid arrest, he
succeeded in clearing all the dangerous rocks and currents.
Steering through the rocks of La Roque Platte, the
French flotilla came to an anchor in Grouville Bay, and
De Rullecourt landed his troops in the dark, at a spot
called Banc du Violet, some three miles from Saint
Heliers. The coast was, however, so dangerous, that a
privateer and four other craft went on the rocks, and a
number of men, sailors and soldiers, were drowned.
The redoubt commanding Grouville Bay was held, as
we have already seen, by a guard of the Jersey militia,
but, the sentries not being on the alert, the guard was
surprised by a party of French grenadiers; thus De
Rullecourt gained a footing in the island without any of
Tar-bucket and Pipe-clay.
the inhabitants being the wiser, with the exception of
the captured militiamen and Mr. Jacob Brodribb.
Leaving a small garrison in the Grouville Redoubt, De
Rullecourt marched to Saint Heliers, and was in posses-
sion of the town before the townsfolk had risen from
their beds; so at daybreak, they found, to their horror,
a hostile force drawn up in the market-place, and they
themselves prisoners of war. Fortunately, however, two
English officers, Captains Aylward and Mulcaster,
escaped from their quarters to Elizabeth Castle, and
gave the alarm to its garrison.
Havingestablished hisheadquarters in the Court House,
Generalde Rullecourt caused Major Corbet, the lieutenant-
governor of Jersey, Major Hogge, the fort major, and
Messieurs Durell and La Cloche, the king's procureur and
constable of Saint Heliers, to be brought before him; and
to them he presented his terms of capitulation, demanding
their signatureswith all the arrogance ofaconqueringhero.
The terms were, that the island of Jersey should be
surrendered to the crown of France, and that the British
garrison should at once lay down their arms; and to
induce the lieutenant-governor's immediate acceptance
of these terms,-for on their immediate acceptance all
his hopes of a permanent victory depended,-General de
Rullecourt declared that he had already disembarked
five thousand veteran troops, and that, if he met with
any resistance, he would destroy Saint Heliers, and put
the inhabitants to the sword. After much remonstrance
Sand hesitation, Majors Corbet and Hogge signed the
The Taking of Saint Heliers.
capitulation, but Procureur Durell and Constable La
Cloche resolutely refused to do so, even when threatened
with immediate death.
De Rullecourt now flattered, himself that all his diffi-
culties were surmounted, and he proceeded to summon
Elizabeth Castle under the terms of the capitulation; but
Aylward and Mulcaster had now got the garrison under
arms, and were prepared to resist, vi et armis, so they
peremptorily refused to pay the slightest regard to the
capitulation, or to any orders issued by the lieutenant-
governor so long as he remained a prisoner of war.
Furious at being thus thwarted,-Baron de Rullecourt
ordered an immediate attack to be made on the castle;
but the assaulting party met with such a warm reception
from the intrepid garrison that they quickly went to the
right-about, and doubled back to the town to seek
shelter from the storm of bullets that came rattling and
whistling about their ears.
Whilst all this was taking place in Saint Heliers, Mr.
Jacob Brodribb reached the camp of the 78th High-
landers, and informed their commanding officer of the
landing of the French. The alarm had already spread
to other parts of the island; the militia assembled at
their different rendezvous, and marched in a body on
the town, the greater number joining the 78th at Le
Mont Patibulaire; the 83rd and 95th Regiments of the
line also got under arms: and in a short space of time a
very respectable force was brought together, of which
Major Pierson, of the 95th, assumed command.
Tar-bucket and Pipe-clay.
Pierson, who was a young officer of great promise,
formed his force on the heights near Saint Heliers, and
occupied a hill which had been overlooked by the
Presently there arrived two French officers, accom-
panied by the unfortunate lieutenant-governor, to
summon Pierson to surrender; but the gallant major
replied that if within twenty minutes General de Rulle-
court and his troops had not laid down their arms, he
should most certainly attack them.
Major Pierson was punctual to his word, and made a
very masterly disposition of his forces; forming them
into columns of attack, of which the two principal ones
were each preceded by a howitzer.
The assaults were then made in all accessible places
with such impetuosity, that, notwithstanding the advan-
tage the Frenchmen derived from the possession of the
streets and houses, they were driven rapidly in upon
their centre, and soon were compelled to make their last
stand in the market-place. Here a sharp and almost
hand-to-hand fight ensued, in which our friend Jacob
Brodribb took a prominent part, using his one arm with
such good effect that more than one of De Rullecourt's
veterans fell beneath his blows.
When De Rullecourt saw that the fight was going
against him, and that his men were wavering on all
sides, he called two of his grenadiers, and bade them
bring forth the luckless lieutenant-governor, swearing
that he should share his fate.
Death of Major Pierson.
His orders were immediately obeyed ; the lieutenant-
governor, who, to do him justice, bore himself under
these trying circumstances with coolness and dignified
courage, was led out of the Court House and placed in a
position where he was exposed to the fire of his own men,
De Rullecourt standing behind him holding his arm.
Seeing Major Corbet's perilous position, Jacob Brod-
ribb rushed forward to his rescue, followed by two or
three of the 78th Highlanders, and a militia officer-
Captain Hemery, of the Saint Heliers Artillery Regiment.
The Frenchmen parted before their impetuous charge,
and Jacob was on the point of seizing the French
general, when a grenadier made a thrust at him, and
drove his bayonet deep into his chest. Jacob staggered
blindly forward, and, uttering a wild cry, fell to the
ground, dragging his assailant with him. Almost at the
same moment, De Rullecourt was hit by a musket ball,
which broke his jaw-bone, and he fell back in the hands
of Major Corbet, who thereupon half carried, half led him
into the Court House. But the Baron's hour had come,
and in a few moments he expired in the arms of his pri-
soner, thus falling a victim to his own 'vaulting ambition.'
By this time the French, unable to resist the impetuous
onslaught of the regulars and militia, gave way on all sides,
and the officer who had obtained command surrendered
to Major Corbet; but, ere the firing could be stopped, one
more life was sacrificed, for the gallant Pierson was shot
through the heart at the very moment of victory I
Relates how young Nicholas Brodribb made his first Start
E have narrated in the previous chapters how
it came to pass that our hero was left an
orphan at a very early period- of his .exist-
ence; we must now use the bookmaker's time-honoured
privilege, and, taking a flying leap over the hoary head
of Father Time, request the reader to accept the fact
that the world has waxen some ten years older since
Ensign Jacob Brodribb met with a soldier's death in the
market-place of Saint Heliers.
Immediately after his parent's funeral, Nicholas was
taken back to Guernsey, and during those ten years,
over which we have so lightly skipped, he remained
under the care of his maternal grandsire, Monsieur Le
Noury, who treated him with unvarying kindness, and
gave him the best instruction that the educational
resources of Saint Peter's Port would admit of. Thus,
Nicko-as he was usually called-throve apace, and at
the age of thirteen was a proper-built, sturdy youngster;
Nick's Early Life. 23
full of life and energy, and unmistakably possessed of
the same adventurous spirit that impelled Jacob Brod-
ribb to 'go for a soldier,' rather than settle down to an
uneventful existence in a Hertfordshire village.
That Nicholas had also inherited his father's courage
was proved to all the good folk of Guernsey by the
Amongst Nicholas's schoolmates was an English boy,
Jackson by name, a distant connection of the lieutenant-
governor of the island. Between our hero and Harry
Jackson a close friendship existed; they were kindred
spirits, and, out of school-hours, were seldom apart.
One fine morning, shortly after Nicholas had celebrated
his thirteenth birthday, young Jackson proposed a trip
over to Herm, in a small sailing-boat, which Monsieur
Le Noury had lately presented to his grandson; who,
even at that early age, could manage a boat with no mean
It was a holiday, and, the weather being propitious,
Nicko readily assented to his friend's proposal; so,
having secured a small basket of provisions, the two
lads raced down to the Salerie Battery, where the
Dragoon-as Nicko called his cockle-shell-was lying,
and got her afloat.
Herm was reached without mishap, and, after they had
wandered about the tiny island for some time, Harry
Jackson said he would have a bathe. To this Nicholas
objected, because the currents rendered bathing a
dangerous amusement, particularly at that hour of the
Tar-bucket and Pipe-clay.
day; but his companion would not be turned from his
purpose, and, throwing off his clothes, plunged into the
sea. Now Jackson was not a very strong swimmer, and
he unfortunately overrated his skill and endurance; so
presently Nicko, who was anxiously watching him,
noticed that he had begun to show symptoms of distress,
he being then between fifty and a hundred yards out.
'Come back, Harry!' he shouted at the top of his
voice; 'the current runs very strong, and you'll be
But Master Harry was obstinate, and, instead of
swimming straight ashore, he must needs make for a
point some two hundred yards from the spot where
Nicholas stood. Before Harry had swum twenty strokes,
he got into a strong current, against which he could
make no way, and he presently found himself in
imminent danger of being swept out to sea; whereupon
he did what he should have done at first-struck out
direct for the shore. By dint of great exertion, he
succeeded in getting clear of the current, but then his
strength failed him, and, feeling himself sinking, he
uttered a despairing cry for help.
Happily for the drowning boy, help was already nigh
at hand, for the moment our hero perceived his friend's
danger, he threw off coat and shoes, and swam boldly
out to his assistance; reaching him just as the water
was closing over his head.
By this time Harry Jackson was under the influence
of the unreasoning terror that so often seizes upon a
A Gallant Act.
drowning person, and he made a desperate clutch at
Nicholas, who, however, with great presence of mind
eluded his grasp, and then, swimming round him, caught
him by the hair, and with no slight difficulty managed
to tow him into shallow water.
'Nicko!' exclaimed young Jackson, when they were
once more on terra firma' you've saved my life I'll
never forget you!' And, wringing his friend's hand, he
burst into tears.
Jackson was as good as his word, for he reported our
hero's gallant conduct to the lieutenant-governor, who
Tar-bucket and Pipe-clay.
immediately sent for him, and, hearing that his one
ambition was to be a soldier, promised to interest him-
self on his behalf. The result was, that the military
authorities put down Nicholas's name for a commission,
which, however, he was not to receive until he attained
the age of sixteen.
Now, it unfortunately happened that, not many
months after the boys' adventure at Herm, Monsieur Le
Noury sustained a heavy pecuniary loss, owing to the
foundering, with all hands, of a vessel of which he was
owner, when making the passage between Weymouth
and Guernsey; and this sudden calamity so preyed
upon the old man's mind, that he took to his bed, and
died within a week.
When his affairs came to be wound up, it was found
that he had left comparatively little property, for, after
all debts and other claims were paid, there remained
only some five hundred guineas to be divided between
eleven persons. Under these circumstances, Mr. Jack-
son, Harry's father, who had lately returned from
Calcutta, where he held an appointment under 'John
Company,' advised Nicholas not to wait for the promised
commission, but to at once enter some profession, in
which he might have a chance of earning a decent com-
petency, and he offered to obtain for the boy a midship-
man's berth on board one of the Honourable Company's
'You will then have a fair start in the world,' said Mr.
Jackson, 'with every prospect of future promotion. If,
A Start in Life. 27
after a year or two, you do not like the life, you can give
it up, and accept the commission in the army which has
been promised you. Only remember, my boy, honour
and glory are very fine things in their way, but rupees
are better. It's not of much account to wear a laced
jacket, if it covers an empty stomach!'
With considerable reluctance, for his heart was set
upon following in his father's footsteps, Nicholas Brod-
ribb accepted this offer, and on the 19th day of April,
1792, he bade farewell to his friends and home, and
sailed for England, to join the Marathon East India-
man; which vessel was commanded by Captain Edmund
Lucas, to whose care he had been specially recommended
by Mr. Jackson.
Gives some Account of the Voyage of the 'Marathon' to
Table Bay; introduces a Gentleman of the Name of
Pennefeather, and relates how he and our Hero spent
a Night' up in the Clouds.'
F all the splendid ships in the Honourable East
India Company's service towardsthe end of the
last century, there were few finer or of higher
repute than the Marathon, of 800 tons burden. She had
made two long voyages with safety and success,and was,in
the spring of '92, chosen by the directors to make a third.
According to custom, the Marathon completed her
lading and received her passengers on board at Graves-
end, and on the 8th May, 1792, she sailed through the
Downs in company with three other East Indiamen,
the Clive, Rajah, and Bombay Castle. The four ships
cleared the Channel on the sixth day after their
departure, when Captain Lucas, finding that the
Marathon had the heels of her consorts, and wishing
to take advantage of her superior sailing qualities, stood
on alone, and soon lost sight of them.
The Marathon,' East Indiaman.
By this time our hero had pretty well shaken down
into his place as junior 'guinea-pig'-the name by
which the Company's middies were generally known-
of the Indiaman. His freedom from the terrible
mal-de-mer,-that appalling sickness which would
'take it out' of Old Neptune himself if he once
had a bout of it,-and the fact that he was not alto-
gether ignorant of things nautical, told greatly in his
favour, and gave him a certain standing amongst his
messmates, such as a 'green hand' does not usually
attain. Then, too, when Nicholas joined the ship,
Captain Lucas had received him with marked kind-
ness, complimenting him on his gallantry in saving
Harry Jackson's life; so altogether the boy may be
said to have commenced his career under very favour-
With weather somewhat variable, the Marathon made
good progress, until the I6th June, when she met with
a heavy gale, which, however, only served to prove how
well she could behave, and how ably she was commanded.
The gale blew itself out in a couple of days, and a fair
wind set in, which continued until the 21st, when the
Marathon anchored in Table Bay, after a smart run of
less than seven weeks' duration.
Nicholas Brodribb was now well up in his various
duties, and the second officer, Mr. Thomas Garland, to
whose watch he belonged, reported very favourably of
his energy and attention; so when, on their arrival at
Cape Town, one of the passengers, Major Pennefeather,
Tar-bucket and Pipe-clay.
invited Nicholas to accompany him ashore, he had no
difficulty in obtaining leave.
Major Jordan Pennefeather was an officer of the
'Marine Corps, who, having been 'lent' by the Imperial
Government to 'John Company,' was proceeding to
Bombay to superintend the training of a number of
sepoys as marines. He had taken a great fancy to
our hero, and during the voyage imparted to him much
useful knowledge, and furthermore taught him how to
play single-stick, and use a small sword, he himself
being an accomplished swordsman, having been in-
structed by a French officer-a prisoner of war.
As the Marathon was to remain in Table Bay for
several days, Major Pennefeather and some of his
fellow-passengers determined to live on shore during
her detention, and Nicholas was invited to be their
guest as long as he could be spared from his duties.
On the third day after their arrival, the major and
three other gentlemen proposed to ascend the far-famed
Table Mountain, and Nicholas accompanied them. It
was late when the party set out, and scarcely had they
ascended half-way, when their guide, seeing that the
clouds were beginning to roll down from the summit of
the mountain, refused to go on; alleging that they would
soon be enveloped in a thick mist, so it would not only
be dangerous to proceed, but, even if they succeeded
in gaining the top, they could see nothing, as the mist
must inevitably confine their view to a very few yards.
Notwithstanding the guide's remonstrances, Major
Up in the Clouds.' 31
Pennefeather and his companions persisted in continuing
the ascent, and they told the guide that he could go
back if he pleased, but that their motto was Excelsior !'
So on the party went, and the farther they proceeded,
the more difficult and dangerous became 'the track;
until at last they were 'brought up all standing,' it
being impossible for them to ascend any higher.
'We have lost the path, I fear,' said Major Penne-
feather, looking doubtfully at his panting companions.
'We were fools not to take the guide's advice,'
rejoined a short, stout gentleman, who had found the
climbing rather too much for him, but was too proud
to give in. 'I'm soaked to the skin, and the mist is
thickening, so that in a short time we shall not be able
to see a yard before us.'
''Pon my honour, you're right,' said the major. 'We
were fools--great fools! However, my dear doctor,
experientia docet, and the next time'-
Ugh !' grunted the doctor, interrupting him. Next
time indeed! If ever I attempt to ascend Table
Mountain again, may I be'-
'Dosed with your own physic,' interposed Major
Pennefeather, finishing the sentence for him. 'But
there, doctor,' he added, slapping the little gentleman's
shoulder, 'don't get testy. All we've got to do is to
right-about-face and go home.'
'Oh, that's all, is it?' was the rejoinder. 'Then the
sooner we're off the better, or we shall probably spend
the night here.'
Tar-bucket and Pzie-clay.
So the party began to retrace their steps.
The dense mist having rendered the way extremely
slippery, they found it even more difficult and tedious
to descend than it had been to ascend. They could
only see some two or three yards around them, and
having passed several dreadful-looking precipices, they
proceeded with the utmost caution, and were frequently
obliged to turn about and descend backwards, laying
hold of the scrub and bushes to save themselves from
going down headlong.
Thus they went on for some considerable time, feeling
every foot of their way; until at length they found
themselves in a wood, or rather thicket.
'Lost our path again, sir,' said Nicholas, who was
next to his friend the major. 'I don't remember this
'Neither do I, my boy,' replied Major Pennefeather,
in an undertone. 'I'm afraid we shall have to pass the
night on the mountain side. It is very dangerous
travelling under present circumstances.'
Such appeared to be the opinion of his companions,
for they all came to a halt together, and, after a brief
consultation, reluctantly came to the conclusion that
it would be sheer madness to proceed any farther; and
so they decided to bivouac in the thicket until the
A Night on Table Mountain-The Major's Story:
'A Fight with Bruin.'
AVING made up their minds to remain where
they were until daybreak, Major Penne-
feather and his companions looked about for
a suitable place to bivouac for the night, and they
presently hit upon a spot beneath two trees, the branches
of which entwined, and so formed a sort of natural
'We must have a fire, major,' said young Nicholas,
who looked on the whole affair as an excellent joke.
'There's plenty of brushwood about, and if it's not too
damp, we shall have a rare blaze.'
'Pray how are you going to light your fire, young
man?' asked Doctor Somers, who did not by any
means see the joke, and was not in the best of humours.
'I don't suppose any one has a tinder-box or flint and
steel with them.'
'I have a brace of pocket pistols, and four or five
charges,' said the major; 'so you may make your mind
34 Tar-bucket and Pipe-clay.
easy on that score. As Master Nicko says, we'll have
a rare blaze in a few minutes. Come, doctor,' he added
cheerfully, as the little medico flopped himself down at
the foot of a tree, and gave vent to a dismal groan,
'we might be worse off, you know.'
'Curried snoek, a larded capon, a real mutton ham,
and etceteras,' murmured Doctor Somers, with a long-
drawn sigh. 'To think that I should have missed them
'Missed what?' inquired Major Pennefeather, pausing
in his task of converting a piece of brown paper into
touch-paper by rubbing it well with gunpowder.
'Why, my supper, to be sure,' rejoined the doctor
dolefully. 'I was engaged to sup with old MacDougal
at eight this evening, and now, instead of enjoying an
A roar of laughter interrupted Doctor Somers' lament,
in which, after a comical effort to appear annoyed, he
joined; for he was really a good-natured, light-hearted
little man, only rather too fond of the luxuries of life,
more especially of the 'pleasures of the table.'
They now, one and all, set to work to collect brush-
wood to build up a fire, which was not only necessary
for their comfort, but for their safety, as in those days
there were many wild beasts to be met with on the
mountains in the vicinity of Cape Town.
'How about lighting it?' said one of the party, an
Irish gentleman, O'Connor by name.
That's easily done,' rejoined the major, drawing the
A Nig/t on Table Mountain. 35
charge from one of his pistols. 'Nicholas, give me the
moss you have gathered. Pick out the driest, my
Nicko handed his friend 'a quantity of moss, which
the latter rolled up into a ball.
'Now the touch-paper,' said Major Pennefeather.
'That's right!' He then fired the paper by the priming
of the pistol, fro'n which he had drawn the charge, and,
placing it in the middle of the ball of moss, made a
bellows of his lips, and blew it into a flame. They then
set a light to the brushwood in three or four places at
once, and very soon had a bright fire.
Very good !' exclaimed Doctor Somers approvingly,
as he squatted down and began to warm his hands.
'The next question is-have we anything in the shape
of food or drink ?'
'There are some biscuits and cold meat and a small
flask of wine in my haversack,' replied Major Penne-
'Enough to go round?' was the worthy doctor's
'Well, that depends upon what you call enough,
rejoined the other, with a smile. 'We shan't feast
doctor; but I think we shall have sufficient to enable
us to hold out until breakfast time.'
'Umph !' grunted the doctor. 'Suppose you produce
your supplies, my gallant warrior, and let us judge
'Willingly,' rejoined Major Pennefeather, emptying.
Tar-bucket and Pipe-clay.
his haversack of its contents. '.Remember, we share
and share alike.'
So the biscuits, meat, and wine were fairly portioned
out, and our friends made a sufficient, if not a hearty
'This'll not be the first time you've spent a night in
the open ?' observed Mr. O'Connor to the major, when,
having satisfied their hunger, they drew closer to the
fire and prepared to make themselves as comfortable as
possible until morning.
No indeed,' was the reply. 'Since I was a boy no
bigger than our young friend Nicholas here, I have led
an adventurous life, and seen many strange sights.'
'And passed through many dangers,' put in Doctor
Somers, as he lighted his pipe. 'Come, Pennefeather,'
he went on, puffing out a volume of smoke, 'suppose
you spin us a yarn.'
'Hark to the doctor!' cried O'Connor, slapping the
little medico on the back. 'Shure now, isn't a yarn the
right thing under the circumstances ?'
'Well,' said the major, after a moment's consideration,
'I'll relate an adventure that befell me some ten or
twelve years ago, while I was on a visit to a relative in
Russian Lithuania. It is a story of a bear-hunt, and'-
'Therefore will bear telling,' interrupted Doctor
Somers, with a chuckle.
'And will, I think, interest you,' the major went on,
casting a withering look at the wretched punster. 'I
must tell you,' pursued he 'that my father's only sister
The Major's Story.
is married to a Russian.merchant, Serge Stransky; and
when, on the reduction of the Marine Corps after the
Peace of '83, I was placed on the half-pay list, I applied
for and obtained leave to pay my aunt a long-promised
'At that time Monsieur Stransky resided at Mozyr,
a small town in Minsk, a province or government of
Russian Lithuania. Minsk is a level, well-wooded
district, watered by the Dnieper and its tributary the
Pripet, and in its vast forests bears, elk, wild oxen, and
many other wild animals abound. Monsieur Stransky
and his son Ivan-a young man some three or four
years my junior-were both of them ardent disciples of
Nimrod. The house was crowded with trophies of the
chase; bears' heads decorated the walls; bear-skins
covered the floors, chairs, and couches; in fact, bear-
hunting was my uncle's hobby, and many and wonderful
were the tales he could have told of his encounters with
"grim Bruin." Ivan was a "chip of the old block," and
longed to emulate his father's deeds.
'Now Monsieur Stransky had in his employ an old
Finn, who had been noted in his own country as a most
successful bear-hunter. Stremidoff-for that was the
old fellow's name-was an excellent servant; honest,
sober, and fairly clean in his person and habits; but he
had one serious fault in the eyes of my uncle and cousin
-he was given to boast that, whereas the Russian bear-
hunters were wont to attack Bruin with dogs and guns,
his countrymen would set forth for the chase armed only
38 Tar-bucket and Pize-clay.
with a spear, and, forcing their quarry from his lair, would
engage him, so to speak, in a hand-to hand combat.
'He used to show a spear with which he declared he
had slain at least a score of bears, and he so worked
upon the imagination of my youthful cousin Ivan, that
the latter had resolved, at the first opportunity, to have
a tussle with Bruin d la Finnois.
Ivan broached the subject to me very shortly after
my arrival at Mozyr, and I agreed to accompany him
and Stremidoff to the forest of Grodek, which was not
more than a couple of miles from the house, and receive
a lesson in the use of the bear-spear.
We had some little difficulty in obtaining my uncle's
consent to this expedition, but he at length gave the
required permission, on condition that Stremidoff carried
a gun, which, however, was only to be used in case of
'Early next morning we three started for the forest,
leaving the dogs at home. Stremidoff was armed with
a gun, Ivan and I with spears which had been specially
sharpened for the occasion; we also had long-bladed
hunting-knives stuck in our belts.
On reaching the village of Grodek, we learned that a
fine she-bear with cubs had been seen in the neighbour-
hood, and was supposed to have her den near a place
called "Blue Spring."
'Thither we bent our steps, and very soon perceived
traces that convinced my companions we were on the
right track. But now, to our great astonishment and
The Major's Story.
annoyance, old Stremidoff showed symptoms of trepida-
tion, and tried hard to persuade Ivan to abandon the
Ivan was very indignant, and upbraided his servant in
no measured terms, and they were engaged in hot argu-
ment, when suddenly a noise in our rear attracted my
attention, and, looking round, I perceived an enormous
bear playing with her cub not twenty feet from the spot
where we stood.
Stremidoff caught sight of the huge brute at the same
moment, and, pushing Ivan aside, he levelled his gun,
pulled the trigger, and shot the cub dead. In my own
mind I have not the slightest doubt that the poor old
Finn really aimed at the mother, with the intention of
shooting her, so as to prevent Ivan and me attacking her
with our spears; but, unhappily, his hand was not as
steady, nor his eye as keen as of yore, and thus he killed
the cub instead, which was just the most unfortunate
thing he could have done, as it raised the old she-bear
to a pitch of ungovernable fury.
'Ivan was nearest to her when she charged, and was
knocked down by her rush. I then brought my weapon
to the charge, and attempted to deliver point; but the
maddened brute, rearing herself on her hind legs, gave
me a fearful blow with her paw, knocking the spear from
my hand, and sending me head over heels. Before I
could regain my feet, the bear charged down upon
Stremidoff, and dashed him violently to the ground;
then she turned upon me again, and I found myself upon
Tar-bucket and Pile-clay.
my back, with the animal bestriding me! I made sure
that my last hour was come, and, offering up a prayer
for pardon, had resigned myself to my fate, when to my
amazement the bear reared up again, and stood on the
defensive. The next instant four large dogs sprang upon
her, and strove to drag her down.
'I was badly bruised and half stunned, but managed
to seize my spear, and, staggering to my knees, thrust
the keen point into the bear's side. She now tried to
escape, but the dogs had fastened upon her, and would
not be shaken off; whilst I pressed home the spear with
all my strength, driving it deeper and deeper into her
body, until at length the huge creature sank down ex-
hausted. I remember nothing more of the struggle,
because I fainted away.
When I came to myself, the bear lay stiff and stark
at my feet, and one of the dogs was stretched dead beside
her; the other three were crouching near my cousin's
prostrate body, and I was not a little amazed when I
recognized them as his own hounds.
I struggled up and went up to Ivan; he was alive,
but insensible. I then looked at Stremidoff, and found
the poor old man quite dead; his white locks crimsoned
with the blood that had flowed from an awful wound in
'With the greatest difficulty I managed to crawl back
to Grodek, from whence I despatched a couple of peasants
with a cart, to bring in Ivan, and poor old Stremidoffs
corpse. I was then driven back to Mozyr, and for six
7 he Major's Story.
weeks lay ill of a brain fever; whilst Ivan, though he
ultimately recovered, was brought very near to death's
door, and it was more than a year before he recovered
from the effects of that terrible encounter.'
'But how came the dogs on the scene?' inquired
Nicholas, when the major had finished his 'yarn.'
'Why, my uncle had them loosed shortly after we
started on our foolhardy expedition, and they, following
in our track, arrived just in time to save me from the
fangs of Madame Bruin.'
'Bedad, sir,' said Mr. O'Connor, 'that's a sort of ad-
venture I'd rather hear of than meet with! What say
you, doctor darlint?'
But the little doctor had fallen asleep, and replied to
his friend's question with a loud and prolonged snore;
which reminded the rest of the party that it was getting
late, and that they too might just as well have a few
hours' rest. So, having replenished the fire, they stretched
themselves on the ground, and were very soon in the
'Land of Nod.'
By dawn of day our friends were astir. The thick
clouds having dispersed, they could see the vessels lying
at anchor in Table Bay, so were able to shape their
homeward course, and they arrived safe and sound, but
very damp, at the house where they were staying, just
as breakfast was served-much to the joy of Dr. Somers,
who now made up for the loss of his supper.
The Marathon' proceeds on her Voyage-The Gale-
A Terrible Disaster.
RESH water and provisions having been re-
ceived on board, the Marathon, on the 5th
July, once again stretched her snowy canvas
to the breeze, and with 'a fair wind and a flowing sheet'
proceeded on her voyage.
On the second morning after her departure from Table
Bay, she encountered a stiffish gale, and Captain Lucas,
-who was a very careful officer,-anticipating still
dirtier weather, gave orders that the necessary prepara-
tions should be made to meet it. Accordingly the top-
gallant yards were sent down on deck, and all the small
sails and lumber removed out of the tops; and a try-sail
was brought aft and bent, and the gaff lowered. The
Marathon was then steering due east, between latitudes
35* and 36.
Gradually, but surely, the gale increased in violence,
the seas rising higher and higher, whilst the dark storm-
laden clouds coursed rapidly across the skies, and the
wind howled and whistled ominously through the rigging,
until by sundown it blew almost a hurricane. Top-sail
after top-sail had been furled, and the Marathon now
flew through the water under reefed fore-sail and storm-
staysail; whilst it was with the greatest difficulty that
three men at the wheel could keep the helm, such was
the terrific force of the blows which the ship received
from the heavy seas on her quarter.
Night came, and with it a darkness that could almost
be felt. Towards twelve o'clock the wind shifted a
little, and produced a still wilder commotion. Wave
after wave raged after the flying vessel, threatening to
engulf her, but, like a bird on the wing, she lifted gallantly
to the swell, and rushed down the steep abyss, tracking
her path with brilliancy and light.
There was not one seaman in the ship took advantage
of his watch below to sleep that night; the storm was
At length day dawned, and with it came another shift'
of the wind, but the gale raged with unabated fury. The
wind being now dead against her, the Marathon was
hove-to under a close-reefed main-topsail, and orders
were given to furl the fore-sail.
A score of the smartest sailors in the ship sprang
aloft to execute the command. Already were they out
upon the yard gathering up the folds of the heavy canvas,
when a tremendous sea struck the vessel on the bows
and broke with appalling violence on the deck. There
was a crash, mingled with one wild, tumultuous yell, and
44 Tar-bucket and Pipe-clay.
when the spray had cleared it was found that the fore-
mast had gone by the board, and every one of the brave
fellows on the foreyard were engulfed in the raging sea!
A few remained entangled in the rigging, but man after
man they were washed away.
The gale continued all that day and throughout the
night, but at daybreak on the following morning the
wind abated and the sea went down. Preparations were
now made for repairing damages, and it was with much
satisfaction that Captain Lucas heard the carpenter's
report, that the ship herself had suffered no serious
'I was afraid she might have strained herself and
sprung a leak,' said the captain to Major Pennefeather,
who had come on deck and was standing with him beside
'Yes, indeed,' rejoined the major. 'I fully expected
to hear that we had started a timber or two, for it seemed
to me that the finest vessel afloat could not long have
withstood such shocks as she received yesterday. By
the way, Captain Lucas, I hope no harm has befallen my
young friend Nicholas ?'
'No, major,' was the reply. 'The boy was here just
now, but I sent him below to get something to eat, for
he looked quite worn out. He is a fine lad, sir, and
will make a prime seaman one of these days.'
'If he doesn't turn soldier,' laughed Major Penne-
feather. 'You know, I think his heart is with us, and
he'd prefer pipe-clay" to the "tar-bucket."'
Tke Gale. 45
'Well, there's no accounting for tastes !' retorted the
captain. 'Anyhow, the boy will do credit to whatever
profession he may finally choose; of that I'm certain !'
Orders were now given to get up a jury-foremast, and
all hands were soon busily engaged. Sailors are rarely
discouraged, and-if well commanded by officers in
whom they can put faith-will work until they drop.
The loss of so many of their shipmates, the wrecked
state of the vessel, and the fact that for more than forty-
eight hours they had been on duty, almost without
cessation, did not prevent the crew of the Marathon from
exerting themselves to the utmost, and by evening the
ship was once, more under sail.
*'_CI L B
After the Storm-A Ship in Distress-
'Sunk beneath the Waves!'
HE evening was closing in; those of the ship's
company who were on 'watch below' were
looking forward to a good 'caulk' after their
exertions, and the passengers to a quiet night's rest,
free from the terrors and miseries of a storm at sea,
when the heavy report of a distant gun came booming
over the waters. Another and another followed in rapid
succession; a lengthened pause, then a fourth and fifth
were heard by those on board the Marathon.
'Signals of distress!' exclaimed Captain Lucas, who
had just sat down to a late meal, the first he had taken
below since the commencement of the gale. 'Excuse
me, ladies and gentlemen;' and, rising from his seat,
he quitted the cabin.
'Can you see anything of her, Mr. Hartley?' said he
to his chief officer on reaching the deck.
'No, sir,' was the reply. 'I've sent young Brodribb to
the maintop-masthead; he has sharp eyes, and will
A Ship in Distress.
make her out if she's in sight. Hark! There's another
'Masthead there!' hailed the captain, placing his
hands to his mouth. 'Do you see her?'
'I thought I saw a flash, sir,' replied Nicholas, at the
top of his voice.
'About two points on the starboard bow,' shouted
'That's just about where the sound comes from, sir,'
said Mr. Hartley. 'But I doubt whether the boy saw
'Well, we'll stand towards her,' returned the captain.
So the Marathon's course was altered, and she steered
for the quarter from whence the signals proceeded. As
she approached nearer and nearer to the object of her
search, the reports of the guns became more and more
distinct, and ere long the flashes were unmistakably
visible-first from the masthead, then from the deck;
and towards midnight a dismasted vessel, rolling like a
log upon the water, could be distinguished with the aid
of a night-glass.
Captain Lucas now ordered guns to be fired and
lights burned, so as to intimate to the distressed mariners
that help was nigh at hand, and at the same time the
boats were made ready to proceed to the rescue if
necessary. Officers and men gazed anxiously at the
spot where the horizon was broken by the dark outline
of the stranger, and many of the older hands expressed
-Tar-bucket and Pipe-clay.
their doubts as to whether the Marathon would reach
her in time to save the hapless crew.
'I fear we shall be too late,' said Mr. Hartley, as he
examined her through his glass. 'They have ceased
firing, and do not in any way acknowledge our signals.'
'Is she a big ship, sir?' inquired Nicholas, who was
standing beside him.
'About the same tonnage as ourselves, I should
imagine,' replied Hartley, lowering his glass.
'A transport, very likely,' observed Captain Lucas.
'There was a Dutchman, with troops for Batavia, left
Table Bay the day before we did, and I should not be
'Halloa!' broke in Nicholas, who had taken Mr.
Hartley's glass to have a look at the stranger. 'I beg
your pardon, sir, for interrupting you,' he added, recol-
lecting himself; 'but I-I don't see the ship any longer.
She has-yes, sir, she has disappeared !'
'Disappeared!' cried the captain ; 'impossible!
Here, give me the glass, lad !'
'She's gone She's gone 1' now cried several of the
officers and men who had been watching her attentively.
'Yes,' said Captain Lucas mournfully, 'she has gone!
And I fear that her crew must have perished with her.'
Alas, it was only too true!
The gallant ship that had endured the fill fury of the
tempest, battling bravely with wind and wave, sank when
its wrath was spent; and nearly every soul on board
went down in her. The storm, no doubt, had shaken
'-Sunk beneath the Waves!'
her stout frame, and started many a timber; so that
from the first her crew must have known that it was
well-nigh hopeless that they could be saved. Yet it
seemed hard that they should have perished when help
was so near at hand !
'It is possible that some of her crew have escaped in
the boats,' said Captain Lucas presently. 'If so, we
are pretty certain to fall in with them. Keep a sharp
look-out, Mr. Hartley, and burn blue lights, and fire a
gun at intervals.'
Ay, ay, sir,' replied the chief officer. 'We're to hold
on the same course, I presume?'
'Yes,' rejoined the Captain, as he turned to go down
the companion-hatch, 'and at daybreak, or as soon as
we come across any of the wreckage, we can send away
a couple of our boats. We inust stand by so long as
there is any chance of saving life.'
The Rescue-Raoul Giraud-A Sad Story.
\BOUT an hour before daylight, the Marathon
fell in with a quantity of wreckage, which
Captain Lucas felt certain must be the re-
mains of the ill-fated vessel he was in search of; he
therefore hove to, and at sunrise ordered three boats-
the starboard and larboard quarter-boats, and the whale
boat-to be piped away. Nicholas, to his great delight,
was placed in charge of the 'whaler.'
During the morning the boats rowed about in all
directions, but no appearance of a human being could
be seen. A large launch, floating bottom uppermost,
was discovered, and the name La Chevrette, painted on
her stern, went to show that the lost ship was probably
a Frenchman, and not the Dutch transport, as Captain
Lucas had supposed.
Towards noon, Nicholas, whose boat was, at the time
the farthest away from the Marathon, caught sight of a
mass of wreckage about a mile distant, which had some-
thing of the appearance of a hastily constructed raft.
'Look.yonder, Murphy,' he cried to an Irish sailor,
who was perched up in the bow of the whaler, armed
with a long boat-hook. 'What's that ? '
Murphy stepped on to the bow thwart, and took a
long look in the direction indicated by his youthful
'There's something bobbing about, sure enough,' he
'Isn't it a raft?' asked Nicholas anxiously. 'I wish
I'd brought my glass with me !' he added. 'I'm almost
'By the powers!' interrupted Murphy, 'I b'lave you're
right, Misther Brodribb. Come, bhoys, just send her
along, and we'll make sart'n shure! If there's not some
poor crayture holding on them spars yondher, may
I never see swate Ballycloran agen-and that's a big
'Give way, lads!' shouted Nicholas, seizing the yoke-
lines. 'Give way!'
The whaler's crew needed no second bidding. They
did give way with a will, and in a few minutes brought
the boat alongside of the wreckage that had attracted
our hero's attention. Some spars had been hastily
lashed together, and on the raft thus formed lay a young
woman, with an infant tied round her body by a broad
sash; and beside her was stretched the apparently life-
less.form of a lad, attired in the uniform of an enseigne
de vaisseau'-as the French style their middies.
Murphy jumped on to the raft, and proceeded to
Tar-bucket and Pipe-clay.
examine the girl, and to sever the rope that bound
The poor crayture's dead, sorr,' he presently called
out; and so is the babby.'
'Are ye sure of that, Pat?' asked one of the crew.
'Maybe she's only insensible.'
'Sart'n,' was the reply; 'they're both of 'em quite
stiff and cowld. Here, mate, lend us a hand to get the
poor things into the boat.'
'Will you take them in, sir?' said the other sailor,
looking doubtfully at Nicholas; 'or shall we leave 'em on
the raft, and tow it to the ship?'
Oh, take 'em into the boat, Brown,' replied Nicholas,
'and let us get back as quickly as possible. There's
a chance that the girl may still have a spark of life
left in her; if so, the doctor may be able to bring her
In the meanwhile, Murphy had taken a look at the
midshipman, and, to his surprise, found that there were
some indications of life remaining in him.
'Bedad!' he joyfully exclaimed, 'this young chap's
not dead, anyhow. Come, bear a hand, Bill Brown,' he
added, raising the senseless middy in his arms.
'Where'll we put him, sir?' asked the man Brown,
appealing to Nicholas.
Here, in the stern-sheets,' replied our hero, spreading
a cloak at the bottom of the boat. 'Gently with the
poor fellow, my lads! They then laid the middy down,
and the mother and child beside him, covering them
over with jackets; and, pushing off from the raft, pulled
back to the Marathon with all possible speed.
When Nicholas reached the Indiaman, the two quarter-
boats had already returned, without having discovered
any survivors of the ill-fated La Chevrette.
On examining the young woman and her infant, the
surgeon of the Marathon declared that they had been
dead some hours,-the cause of death being, no doubt,
exhaustion and exposure,-so their remains were sewn
up in a hammock and reverently committed to the
deep, Captain Lucas reading a portion of the burial
service over them.
The midshipman, however, still breathed, and the
surgeon, assisted by Dr. Somers, used every means to
restore him. For some time their efforts were un-
successful; indeed, more than once the surgeon declared.
that the vital spark had fled; but Dr. Somers would
not give up so long as the slightest hope remained, and
at length his patience and skill met with their reward.
The patient began to show signs of reviving, and in
another twelve hours he had regained consciousness,
though it was a couple of days before the doctor would
allow him to be questioned.
The rescued middy was a tall, handsome lad of six-
teen. His name, he informed Captain Lucas, was Raoul
Giraud, and his father had commanded La Chevrette, a
French store-ship. That vessel was on her voyage to
the Isle of France when she met with the storm that
wrecked her. She might have weathered it, had it not
54 Tar-bucket and Pipe-clay.
been for the misconduct of the greater number of her
crew; who, refusing to work at the pumps, broke into
the spirit-room, and drank themselves into a state of
insensibility. The officers of the ship and the few
sailors who stuck to their duty, assisted by a party of
soldiers,-artillerymen and sappers on their passage to
the Isle of France,-did their utmost to keep her afloat;
working, spell about, until they were completely
exhausted, and could work no longer. The leaks then
gained slowly but surely upon them; the vessel showed
evident signs that she was settling down, and at last
officers and men gave themselves up to despair, and
allowed her to sink beneath their feet.
Shortly before La Chevrette went down, and when all
hope of saving her was abandoned, the officer com-
manding the troops on board-a young commandant of
artillery, Lacroix by name-came to Captain Giraud
and Raoul, who were sitting apart from the rest, and
besought them to devise some means of saving his wife
The ship's boats having all been either washed away
or damaged beyond repair,-though an attempt had been
made to patch up the launch,-Captain Giraud suggested
that they should form a light raft of spars, upon which
they might lash Madame Lacroix and her infant. He
was, however, too exhausted to render any assistance,
and Major Lacroix and Raoul set about the task by
themselves. There was no time to be lost, and only a
very frail structure could be put together, so that it was
Raoul Giraud. 55
but a forlorn hope; still the unhappy father had the
satisfaction of doing something for those he loved.
When the ship sank, the raft floated away with its
helpless burden, and, strange to say, did not capsize.
Raoul Giraud, after struggling some minutes in the
agitated waters, clinging to portions of the wreck,
managed to reach the raft, and, finding that it would
support his weight, scrambled on to it. He thus saved
his life, but poor Madame Lacroix and her child died
before morning, and so left him the sole survivor of the
Relates how the Marathon' struck upon a Rock; and
how Nicholas and his Friends escaped from the
FTER her search for the survivors of the ship
S La Chevrette, which ended, as we have seen,
in the rescue of Raoul Giraud, the Marathon
continued her voyage, steering E.N.E. Between the
young Frenchman and Nicholas an intimacy soon sprang
up; owing, probably, to the fact that the latter could
speak French well; and they were nearly always to-
gether. Major Pennefeather, too, took a liking for
Raoul, who was a quiet, gentlemanly youth, and very
intelligent, and he invited him to make use of his state-
room whenever he wished to be alone.
On the evening of the 19th July, Nicholas,-whose
watch it was below,-Major Pennefeather, and Raoul
Giraud, were all seated in the major's stateroom,
looking through some portfolios of sketches. The
sky was somewhat cloudy, and there was a heavy
sea running, and during dinner in the cabin Captain
Wreck of the Maraton.' 57
Lucas had appeared uneasy and preoccupied; a cir-
cumstance that Major Pennefeather now mentioned to
'Yes,' rejoined our hero, 'the skipper has not been
himself for the last two or three days. I don't think he
has ever quite recovered the fatigue he underwent during
the gale. He's not a strong man, you know, sir.'
So your surgeon was telling me,' said Major Penne-
feather. 'He had a sunstroke a year or two ago, I
believe. By the way, the captain and Mr. Hartley had
a slight difference of opinion this morning as to the
course we're taking.'
'Yes, major,' answered Nicholas; 'but I'd wager a
guinea that the skipper is right. He knows what'-
What might be Captain Lucas's particular knowledge,
our hero did not then inform his friends; for, ere he
could finish his sentence, there came a terrible shock,
that pitched him off his seat into the major's arms.
'Merciful Heaven!' exclaimed Major Pennefeather,
as a second shock, more severe than the first, quickly
followed; 'the ship must have struck! On deck, lads,
for your lives!'
Filled with consternation, they hurried on deck, and
then the extent of the calamity was only too plain.
The Marathon had indeed struck heavily on a sunken
rock, and already her jury-foremast had gone by the
board; the mainmast soon followed, crushing to death
several of the watch in its fall. The utmost terror and
confusion prevailed ; for several of the passengers had
Tar-bucket and Pipe-clay,
rushed up on deck, and more than one was dashed over-
board by the violence of the sea rolling over them; and
it was painfully evident that the ship-her timbers
strained and weakened by the shock she had received
during the storm-was breaking to pieces at every stroke
of the surge.
Crawling over to the larboard side of the deck, which
lay highest out of the water, Nicholas found the captain,
clinging to a portion of the standing rigging. His leg
was broken, and he appeared quite dazed. Presently
they were joined by Major Pennefeather, young Giraud
and Mr. Spicer, the second officer.
'It's all up with us, I fear,' said the latter despondently.
'Nonsense, man!' retorted Major Pennefeather; 'while
there's life, there's hope.'
'There'll be precious little life left in us by the
morning,' growled the other, who appeared to have
been drinking. 'What say you, sir ?' he shouted at
But Captain Lucas made no reply, and shortly after-
wards a sea broke over and parted them, and Nicholas
saw no more of the poor skipper, who, together with Mr.
Spicer, was swept away and drowned.
Nicholas'now managed, by dint of great exertion, to
reach the quarter-deck, the rest of the ship being com-
pletely under water, and pretty well shattered to pieces.
In this perilous situation, expecting every moment
must be his last, our hero remained for some time; and
he had almost resigned himself to his fate, when he heard
The Escape. 59
the welcome cry of 'Land!' At the same instant, a sea
dashed over him with so much force that it not only tore
him from his hold, but actually stunned him. The effect
of the blow was such that he lay insensible until after
daybreak, and on recovering he found himself fixed to a
plank by a long nail that had been driven into the fleshy
part of his shoulder. The agony he now suffered from
this painful wound was intense, and, to add to his misery,
he was so benumbed by the cold that he could barely
move hand or foot.
He at length, however, managed to stagger to his feet,
and looking around him, he saw that several of the crew
and passengers had got upon some rocks close to the
ship; and, to his great delight, he recognized amongst
them Major Pennefeather and Raoul Giraud. He called
to them as loud as' he could, and presently the major,
Raoul, and Pat Murphy came to his assistance, and
between them they succeeded in getting him safely to
Wreck of the 'Marathon '-Twenty-one out of Two
Hundred !-The Desert Isle.
HE Marathon had struck upon a reef within
pistol shot of a low-lying, barren islet, situate
--according to the last reckoning taken-
between 320 and 330 south latitude, and distant some
six or seven hundred miles from the Cape of Good
To this islet there had escaped from the wreck twenty-
one persons, namely: of the crew-Hartley and Gar-
land, chief and second officers; Nicholas Brodribb,
midshipman; George Bacon, carpenter; and seven
foremast hands, including Patrick Murphy. Of the
passengers-Major Pennefeather; Doctor Somers, his
wife, and two other ladies; Raoul Giraud; and four
private soldiers of the Company's Bengal European
These were the only survivors of two hundred souls
who were on board the Marathon when she struck; for
so sudden was the disaster that no attempt was made to
The Desert Isle.
lower the boats, and it was next door to a miracle that
any of her crew or passengers should have reached the
shore in safety.
By an unanimous vote, Major Pennefeather was
elected leader of the little band of castaways, with
Mr. Hartley as his second in command; and one and
all solemnly promised to obey him as their chief, pro
tem., and to maintain a strict discipline-which, as the
major took care to point out, was even more necessary
under their present distressing circumstances than when
they were safe and sound on board the Marathon.
Now, Major Pennefeather felt a very natural sorrow
for the loss of Captain Lucas and so many others with
whom he had been on more or less intimate terms;
and, moreover, he was not a little despondent about the
present condition of himself and fellow-sufferers, for-
albeit he was deeply thankful that they had been
mercifully preserved from the sudden and violent death
that had overtaken their shipmates-he could not be
blind to .the unpleasant fact that they were in imminent
danger of enduring the pangs of hunger and thirst, and
ultimately perishing from sheer exhaustion on the
barren rock upon which they had been cast. Neverthe-
less, being anxious to keep his companions from dwell-
ing too much on the misery and peril of their position,
he assumed a cheerful demeanour, urging them to make
the very best they could of a bad job.
'Consider, my friends,' said he, after his little oration
anent the necessity of discipline, fretfulness and des-
62 Tar-bucket and Pipe-clay.
pondency never did good to any one! Let us face our
difficulties like men and Christians, and bear in mind
that Heaven helps those who help themselves." If we
'I ask your honour's pardon, here broke in Patrick
Murphy; 'but, talking' of helping' oursilves-there's a bit
of a cask rowling about, sorr, in the surf beyant there;
and I'm thinking' wouldd be well to lay should of it.'
'An excellent idea, Mr. Murphy,' rejoined the major,
laughing. 'I see you're a practical man, and believe in
deeds rather than words!'
'Well, your honour,' answered the Irishman, with an
expression half bashful, half comical, 'shure 'tis not for
the likes of me to be making remarks; but 'tis yersilf
knows, sorr, that words won't put victuals into your
mouth barrin' ye're a lawyer; for isn't talking' and
arguin' their livin', and a mighty foine livin', too, by
the same token!--whilst, if we set to work at wanst,
maybe 'tis a bit of a male we'll be able to pick up,
only just for the looking' for 't.'
'Murphy's quite right, major,' put in Mr. Hartley.
'The poor old bark is breaking up fast, and no doubt
many things that we shall find 'use for will be washed
'Then the sooner we secure them the better,' returned
the major; 'so let us lose no time about it.'
All hands then set to work t6 search for those neces-
saries without which their island would have afforded
them but a short respite from destruction (with the
The Morning's Work.
exception of Nicholas and three others, who were so
severely bruised and knocked about that Doctor Somers
declared them to be unfit for any physical exertion);
and when, after a couple of hours' incessant labour,
Major Pennefeather proposed a 'spell ho !' it was found
that the following articles had been saved from the
wreck :-A cask of fresh water; another of beer; a
barrel of flour (damaged); a box of wax candles; a
case of brandy; several pieces of salt pork; a small box
containing three or four gun-flints, a broken file, a flask
of gunpowder; and two ship's cutlasses.
'Not a bad morning's work,' said Mr. Hartley, as he
surveyed the miscellaneous collection. 'By the way,'
he added, looking round, 'has any one seen Mr. Giraud
and Pat Murphy?'
'They went off together after we got the cask of
water ashore,' answered Bacon, the carpenter. 'I've
not seen 'em since then, sir.'
'No more haven't I,' chimed in one of the sailors.
'I aspectss they've gone to have a look round th' island.'
'They can't be very far off, I reckon,' said the
'Give them a shout, lads,' suggested Major Penne-
feather. 'Now!-all together.' And presently, in
answer to their united call, there came a loud 'whoo-
oop.!' followed by a shrill hold.
'That's Pat's shout, I'll lay a crown!' exclaimed the
'And the young Frenchman's squeak,' said a sailor,
Tar-bucket and PRpe-clay.
'Ay, and here they comes. But what a rum noise
they're making! '
As the man spoke, a great grunting and squealing
was heard, such as never could have proceeded from
human throats, and the next moment Raoul Giraud and
Pat Murphy came scrambling over the rocks, driving
before them three fine pigs which had succeeded in
swimming ashore without performing the proverbial
porcine aquatic feat of 'cutting their own throats.'
A loud cheer greeted the arrival of this most welcome
addition to the island larder, and amidst much laughter
and confusion the pigs were secured.
'The poor fellows are brightening up a bit, major,'
said Mr. Hartley, as they made their way back to the
spot where they had left the ladies and Doctor Somers
and his patients.
'Yes, and I'm thankful for it,' was the rejoinder.
'We must do our best to keep up their courage. But
tell me, Hartley,' the major went on, 'how came the
ship to run ashore?'
Mr. Hartley shrugged his shoulders, and after a pause
he answered, I don't like to cast a reflection upon the
memory of a dead shipmate, but poor Frank Spicer
was officer of the watch, and I fear he'-
'Was not exactly in a condition to keep it,' said Major
Pennefeather, with a meaning look. 'I thought as much.
Well, the poor fellow has paid dearly for his fault!'
That there was not a proper look-out kept, is only
too certain,' chimed in Mr. Garland, the second officer.
Nick's Injuries. 65
'At the same time, I must tell you that this island is
not laid down in any of the Admiralty charts.'
'That's a question, Garland,' said his brother officer.
'For my part, I was doubtful about our course, and I
spoke to the skipper yesterday morning.'
'And where do you suppose we are, Hartley?' in-
quired Major Pennefeather.
'Well, as near as I can judge, I should say we're
between two and three hundred miles east of Algoa
'Then, if we had a boat sufficiently large to take us
all, we might reach the mainland ?'
'We might,' was the dubious reply. 'But we haven't
a boat, major.'
'Not at present,' answered Major Pennefeather.
' Ha! here are our friends. Well, doctor, how goes it
with your patients ?'
'Oh, they're all right,' replied Dr. Somers. 'Your
young friend Nick has an ugly wound, to be sure; but
he's a healthy lad, and 'twill soon heal. Now tell me-
what luck have you had ?'
'The best of luck, my dear fellow,' said the major
gaily. 'Ladies, we shall be able to serve you with a
late breakfast as soon as we can light a fire.'
With the aid of the gun-flints and powder, a fire was
soon made, and a meal of broiled salt pork prepared, of
which all hands partook heartily-for though it was
long past noon, none of the party had as yet broken
their fast. Their hunger satisfied, Major Pennefeather
66 Tar-bucket and Pipe-clay.
proposed that some of their number should explore the
island, whilst the remainder continued to collect such
articles as might be washed ashore.
This was agreed to, and accordingly the major, Raoul
Giraud, and Pat Murphy set forth to spy out the land,
and select a suitable site for an encampment.
The island was even smaller than they had expected,
for it measured barely two miles in circumference, and,
save for a few stunted bushes and scanty patches of
coarse grass, was destitute of vegetation.
'Shure a travelling tinker's jackass couldn't pick up a
livin' here!' was Pat Murphy's observation, when from
the summit of a low hillock they surveyed the desolate
scene. 'It's a mighty poor place, bedad !'
But better than the bottom of the sea, Pat,' rejoined
Major Pennefeather. 'Let us be thankful that Provi-
dence has given us a chance for our lives, and not cut
us off in'-
Thrue for ye, sorr,' interrupted Murphy, with a touch
of his forelock. 'It's ye'silf's right; and indade, for the
matter of that, I am thankful. Shure loife is swate,
and I'd rather live in this little island than die in the
best room in Dublin Castle !'
'A very sententious remark, my good fellow,' was the
major's laughing rejoinder. 'I don't think we could do
better,' he went on, 'than fix our camp here, for it seems
to be the highest spot in the island, and, if not sheltered
from the winds, we shall at any rate be out of reach of
the waves should a gale spring up.'
Exploring the Island.
It's purty nigh to our landing-place too, sorr,' said
Patrick Murphy; 'and that's another good rayson for
choosing it, because we'll not be having to rowl or carry
the casks and other things so terrible far. Arrah, now,
but 'tis an iligant spot, when ye come to take stock of
it!' he added, looking round him with a well-feigned air
of satisfaction. 'A thrifle bare and cowld, and a tree or
two, or maybe a patch of praties, would make it more
home-loike, but still we might be a dale worse off; and,
as your honour was pleased to remark, we must larn to
be contint, and take things as they're sint us.'
'That's the way to look at it, Murphy,' answered
Major Pennefeather. 'What say you, Monsieur
But poor Raoul only shrugged his shoulders and
shook his head dolefully, for at that moment his
thoughts were far away in 'La Belle France,' and he
could not help making a mental comparison between his
home in Brittany and the barren rock upon which Fate
had cast him-scarcely to the advantage of the rock!
'Well,' said the major, with a compassionate glance
at the young Frenchman, 'we'd best retrace our steps,
for it is getting late, and there's but little twilight in
So they returned to their friends, and made a report
of what they had seen-or perhaps it would be nearer
the truth to say, of what they had not seen I The few
hours that remained of daylight were spent in removing
all their possessions from the shore to the summit of the
68 Tar-bucket and Pipe-clay.
hillock ; a task that they had hardly accomplished when
darkness set in. A large fire was then built up and
lighted, a couple of tents-a small one for the three
ladies, and a larger one for the rest of the party-were
quickly constructed of canvas, light spars, and cordage,
which Mr. Hartley and the carpenter had procured from
the wreck. By ten o'clock the 'camp' was ready, and
after a very frugal meal they all assembled to prayers,
when Major Pennefeather offered up a hearty thanks-
giving for their merciful preservation. Then all hands
retired to rest, except the 'watch,' who sat up to keep a
look-out and replenish the fire.
-- ~-= ~----
=- --=- -c-,_ ~i~-- -
Relates the further Adventures and Experiences of our
Hero, and the other Survivors of the Marathon'-
A Sailors Epitaph.
HE injury to Nicholas Brodribb's shoulder
proved to be more serious than Doctor
Somers had imagined. Nicholas was certainly
blessed with an excellent constitution, and could stand
a good deal of knocking about; but the exposure he
suffered on the night of the loss of the Marathon was
rather more than he could endure; on the third evening
after the wreck, fever set in, and for some thirty-six
hours he was in considerable danger.
The doctor and his wife, assisted by the other ladies,
-Mrs. Brydges and Miss Falcon,-nursed the poor lad
with the greatest tenderness, and in the end their care
and attention gained the day. The fever left him, and
he rapidly picked up strength, but a week elapsed before
he was able to take part in the daily work, which Major
Pennefeather and Mr. Hartley insisted should be shared
by all hands alike.
Tar-bucket and Piie-clay.
This work consisted of:-firstly, the securing of any
provisions and useful articles, including timber and spars,
that might be washed ashore from the wreck; secondly,
the erection of wooden and canvas huts to take the place
of the makeshift tents, which afforded very poor shelter
from wind and weather; thirdly, the construction of a
boat of sufficient size to transport the entire party to the
The work that the party got through, and the
principal articles they saved from the wreck, during
the week that Nicholas was kept' on the sick list,' may
be thus briefly chronicled.
The Marathon, our readers will remember, was lost on
the night of Tuesday the 20th of July.
On Wednesday, the 21st, the articles enumerated in the
previous chapter, together with two more casks of fresh
water and a quantity of timber, spars, canvas, etc., were se-
cured ; the island was explored ; and a temporary camp
was formed on the spot selected by Major Pennefather.
On Thursday, the 22nd, it blew heavily from the
north-east, from sunrise to sunset, and very little was
done beyond collecting some more timber, and drying
and stacking it for firewood. They spent a very
miserable day, and their spirits sank to zero. During
the evening Doctor Somers reported that Nicholas was
in a dangerous condition, and his report did not tend to
enliven them, for the boy was a great favourite.
On the following day (23rd) they met with better
luck, for they secured three butts of water; a cask of
Stores savedfrom the Wreck.
flour; a small cask of rum; and the Marathon's dinghy,
which had been thrown up by the tide in a somewhat
shattered condition. While sitting round the fire that
evening, Bacon, the carpenter, happened to observe that
if he only had a few tools, he might be able to repair the
dinghy, so that it could be used for fishing. It was
then suggested by one of the party, that if they only had
tools and materials they might build a boat, large
enough and strong enough to convey them all to the
nearest port. The mere idea of the possibility of escap-
ing from the island was eagerly discussed by the sailors,
and though Major Pennefeather and the ship's officers
did not in their hearts believe that anything would come
of the suggestion, they would not discourage the others
by throwing cold water on it.
On Saturday, the 24th, all hands were astir by day-
break; for, as a prodigious surf had been rolling in
during the night, they had reason to expect that the
shore would be strewn with wreckage, and so they
determined to work 'double tides.' Nor were they
doomed. to disappointment, for by nightfall they had
added to their stores another butt of fresh water; a
cask of salt beef; five bags of biscuit (damaged) ; several
empty casks and barrels; a large quantity of planking
and other timber; and last, but by no means least in
importance, a seaman's chest containing, besides cloth-
ing, the following articles:--a small axe, a hammer,
chisel, two files and a gimlet; a brace of pistols, with
powder-flask, bullet-mould, and a small screw-driver in
Tar-bucket and Pipe-clay.
an oak case; a clasp-knife; and four fishing lines, with
hooks, leads, etc., complete. Great was their joy at the
finding of the chest,-which was recognized as having
belonged to the captain's steward,-and that night it was
decided that the dinghy should be repaired, and a couple
of huts erected in lieu of the tents.
Sunday was voted a day of rest, and Major Penne-
feather read the morning service, the same as if they had
been on board ship. In the afternoon, while strolling
about at low tide, Raoul Giraud picked up a musket and
bayonet, and a shovel; and other articles, of more or
less use, were found by different members of the party.
On Monday (26) they all went to work again with
renewed vigour, but they now divided their labours;
Mr. Garland, Bacon, and the four soldiers seeing to
the erection of the huts, whilst the rest of the party
-Doctor Somers excepted-continued their search
amongst the rocks and along the shore. Doctor
Somers and the three ladies took charge of the com-
missariat department; issued provisions, and attended
to the preparing of breakfast, dinner, and supper.
On Tuesday, the labours of the search party were
rewarded by the discovery of a capacious iron cooking-
pot-of which they stood greatly in need; a tin-lined
case containing a portion of the captain's private sea-
stock, consisting of tea, coffee, cocoa, biscuits, pickles
and various condiments; a double-barrelled fowling-
piece belonging to Major Pennefeather; and two casks
of tar and another of oil.
Nick's Recovery. 73
That same evening, too, the carpenter reported that
the huts were ready for occupation, and Doctor Somers
took his young patient Nicholas off the sick-list. Two
very important events, which Mr. Hartley did not fail
to chronicle in the log-book !
SThe huts were constructed of planks and spars, roofed
in with canvas, and they were pronounced to be a grand
improvement on the tents.
On the following day there was a discovery of a
painful nature, such as greatly marred the satisfaction'
the castaways felt at the success of their exertions to
Tar-buckel and Pize-day.
render their situation on the desert island more tolerable,
and was moreover a sad reminder of the catastrophe of
which they were the sole survivors. Whilst searching
amongst the rocks on the north side of the island, Mr.
Hartley and two of the sailors came upon the body of
Captain Lucas, sadly bruised and disfigured, but not
beyond recognition. The remains of the kind-hearted
old man were reverently carried to the huts, and a grave
having been dug, they were laid in their last resting-
place; Mr. Hartley reading the burial service over them.
A number of stones and pieces of rock were then piled
upon the grave, and a cross was put up by the carpenter,
upon which were inscribed the deceased's name and
age, and the date of the loss of the Marathon.
'The skipper was a little man, that's sart'n,' observed
one of the sailors, as he turned away from the grave,
'but he was a gen'leman every inch o' him, and had a
heart as big as a seventy-four.'
Three days after the recovery and burial of Captain
Lucas's body, a heavy gale sprang up, and when it abated,
every vestige of the Marathon had disappeared. Strange
to say, after she went to pieces, very little of the wreckage
came ashore, and our friends now felt that they must no
longer count upon increasing their store of provisions,
etc., from that source.
Nevertheless, Major Pennefeather- and Mr. Hartley
insisted on the daily search being continued, for, as they
very wisely remarked, something useful might be picked
Breaking up of the Wreck.
up, and, anyhow, it was just as well for every one to be
They had now collected a very considerable quantity
of timber, planking, spars, etc., of which the best was
set aside as material out of which the projected boat
might be constructed, and the remainder was stacked
to be used for fuel and other purposes. But unfortu-
nately the carpenter could not commence operations,
owing to his want of proper tools, nails, etc; so that it
appeared more than probable that the laying of the
keel would have to be postponed until the 'Eve of
Saint Tibb'-that mythical festival which is said to fall
neither before nor after Christmas !
A Lucky Find-Pat Murphy makes a Proposal.
EG your pardon, Misther Brodribb, sorr, but
is't truth that the young Frinch gintleman
picked up a pair of would bellows on the beach
yesterday ?' asked Pat Murphy of our hero, one morn-
ing some three or four weeks after the events described
in the previous chapter.
'I believe so,' replied Nicholas, who was busily
engaged repairing his only jacket, or rather what re-
mained of it, with a bit of canvas; for Nick had been
long enough at sea to have learnt how to use a needle-
after a fashion, that is to say! 'I wasn't with him at
the time, but I heard him telling Doctor Somers about
'And d'ye happen to know what he did with thim
same bellows ?' was Pat's next question.
'Indeed I do not,' answered Nick. 'Why do you
'Becase, sorr, hearing' tell of thim bellows set me
Pat Murphy's Proposal. 77
'Set you thinkin !' repeated Nicholas, staring at-the
'Yes, sorr-'-set me thinking.
'What about, pray?'
'About the time before I took to the say, your
honour when I lived at me own home in would
Then I suppose it was your job to light the fire ?'
'Well, sir, I did that same purty often,' rejoined
Murphy good-humouredly; 'but that's not exactly
what I was thinking' of. It's this way, your honour-I
used to work at a forge.'
'And if it hadn't been for a bit of a ruction I had
with -Mickey Doyle, the praste's own man, sorr,' con-
tinued Murphy, 'why, I might have been a master-
smith at this moment, with a roarin' trade and as nate
a little house as ye'd find in all Galway.'
And what was the ruction between Mr. Doyle and
yourself about ?' asked Nicholas, for the Irishman's
talk always amused him, and he enjoyed drawing him
'Shure didn't the big bla'g'ard try to make mischief
twixtt me and Norah Blake said Pat wrathfully.
'And thin, your honour, we met one foine morning' in
Ballymacragg market, and he got jeerin' at me; and
at last, sorr, I lost me temper, and I just touched
Masther Mickey over the head with a bit of a twig I'd
78 Tar-bucket and Pipe-clay.
got in me hand, and down he tumbled just as if he'd
'It must have been a pretty big twig, Pat!' laughed
'Well, sorr, maybe it was,' admitted Murphy, with a
grin. 'After that, your honour,' he went on, 'I'd no
pace at all, at all! Father Ryan was down upon me;
Misther Blake-Norah's father-was down upon me,
and Norah hersilf gave me the cowld shoulder; so I
jist left me home and went off to Galway to look for
work, and there I got picked up by a pressgang.'
'And you've been at sea ever since ?'
'I have, sorr, worse luck !' answered Murphy. 'I was
five years on board of a man-o'-war, and this is my third
voyage in an Indiaman. But ye're dhrivin' thim blessed
bellows out of me head,' he added. 'Where did ye say
that young Mossoo put thim ?'
'I said I didn't know,' returned Nicholas. 'But here
comes Monsieur Giraud, so you can ask him. Hold,
Raoul, mon cher!' he called out, as the Frenchman
came up with Doctor Somers and Miss Falcon. 'This
good fellow wants to know what you did with the
bellows you picked up yesterday.'
Comment ?' said young Giraud, not quite understand-
'What did you do with those old bellows ?' repeated
'Oh, the bellows!' chimed in Miss Falcon. Why,
M'sieur Giraud gave them to me, and they're in our
Pat and the Bellows.
hut. I thought I might be able to mend them, but
they're past that, I'm afraid.'
'Beg your pardon, -miss,' said Murphy, with a tug at
his forelock and a scrape of his leg; 'might I make so
bould as to ask to see thim?'
'Certainly, Mr. Murphy. I will fetch them in a
minute.' And off ran the young lady, and presently she
returned with a very large and very much dilapidated
pair of bellows.
Whe-ew-ew !' whistled Pat, when he saw their con-
dition. 'There's mighty little blow lift in thim, I'm
thinking But,' he added, after a closer examination, '
do b'lave I could patch thim up 'Twould be a great
job if I could !'
'We have done very well without them,' observed
'True for ye, doctor darlint,' retorted Pat; 'but-
maybe we'll do a dale better wid them Listhen now
whilst I tell ye, sorr.'
'Go ahead, my good man,' said the doctor, shrugging
his shoulders; only don't be too long-winded over it.'
'You'll observe,' Murphy resumed, 'that as I was jest
tellin' Misther Brodribb, I'm by trade a blacksmith.'
Umph !' grunted the doctor; 'pity you didn't stick
to your trade. 'Twould have been better for you, my
'Indade, and ye may say that, sorry! But though I
didn't stick to it, shure I've not forgotten it, and maybe
wouldd be a good thing if I took't up again!' And
80 Tar-bucket and Piie-clay.
Patrick Murphy looked round at his companions with an
air of triumph. 'What d'ye think of that, doctorr'
he continued, after a pause. 'If I can only mend these
would bellows, what's to prevint us building' a bit of a
forge; and wanst we've a forge, what's to prevint me
making' all the tools and other things that Mr. Bacon
'Do you mean this, Patrick Murphy?' gasped the
doctor, almost breathless with astonishment.
'Why wouldn't I mane it, sorr? Shure it's aisy
enough,' replied the other. 'I'm purty sart'n we can
mend the bellows, and the forge we can build without
much trouble. We've plenty of would iron knockin'
about, and there's the ring and nut of a bower-anchor
as'll sarve me for an anvil at a pinch. I'm a good smith,
sorr,-though I say it as shouldn't,-and I can turn out
all that we're likely to want for building' the boat we've
been talking' about so long. Now, Docthor Somers,' he
concluded, 'what d'ye say to that ?'
'Say I' exclaimed the doctor, wringing the honest
fellow's hand. 'Why, I say this, Patrick Murphy! If
you succeed in what you propose, you'll be the means
under Providence, of saving our lives ; and if you fail-
well, I'm sure it will not be your fault 1'
'Thank ye, sorr,' said Murphy quietly, the tears
welling up into his eyes. 'I'll do my best for ye all.'
The Building of the Boat-Hard Times-
A Narrow Escape.
ATRICK MURPHY had not exaggerated his
skill as a smith. Under his superintendence
i a small forge was erected; the bellows were
repaired; and then Pat set manfully to work to furnish
the carpenter with such tools as he declared to be
indispensable, and also with a supply of nails and other
ironwork required in the construction of a boat-the iron
being easily obtained in sufficient quantity, by burning
it out of portions of the wreck.
Hard, indeed, did the honest 'smith' labour, and to such
good purpose, that on Thursday, 21st August, the tools,
nails, etc., were ready for use, and on the following morning
the keel of the boat was laid, amidst general rejoicing.
Mr. Hartley, Mr. Garland, and the carpenter had de-
signed the boat between them. Shewas to measure thirty-
six feet over all, with a thirty-two feet keel, and twelve feet
beam, half-decked, and rigged sliding-gunter fashion.
Though the carpenter and the three men who had
Tar-bucket and Pipe-clay.
volunteered to assist him-they having more or less
knowledge of boat-building-laboured with indefatigable
diligence, the work proceeded very slowly; for the tools,
not being made of very good material, were constantly
getting out of order and often breaking, so Patrick
Murphy had his time pretty well occupied, repairing
sharpening, and replacing them.
Still, if slow, the progress made was sure, until the 5th
September, when the carpenter fell sick. Doctor Somers
looked very grave and shook his head; he had no
medicines whatever, and scarcely knew how to treat his
'If poor Bacon had only broken his leg or his arm, or
injured himself so as to require a little surgical skill, I
shouldn't have minded so much,' the doctor lamented to
Major Pennefeather, after he had examined his patient;
'but I confess that I hardly know what is the matter with
the man, and if I did know, I've no remedies to give him.'
'It's a precious bad job,' observed Mr. Hartley dole-
fully. 'Just as we were getting on so well with the
boat, too !'
'Can't Murphy and Harris go on with the building ?'
asked Doctor Somers.
'No,' rejoined the chief officer; 'they do very well
with Bacon looking after them, but they're not up to the
work sufficiently to be able to go on without him.'
"This sickness doth infect the very life-blood of our
enterprise!"' quoted Major Pennefeather, with a lame
attempt at cheerfulness. 'You must do your best for
The Car}penter falls sick.
the poor fellow, Somers,' he added, 'both for his sake and
'You needn't tell me that, man,' was the doctor's
testy reply. 'I always do my best!'
Great, indeed, was the dismay amongst the party
when the gravity of Bacon's illness became known.
Their lives may be said to have been dependent on his
skill, and now that he was placed hors de combat, with
but slight chance of recovery, their hopes of escaping
from the island went down to zero. The stores saved
from the wreck were running short,-albeit great economy
had been exercised,-and Major Pennefeather, after con-
sulting with the doctor and Mr. Hartley, felt compelled
to reduce the daily allowance of food and water by one-
His decision was received with dissatisfaction by three
or four of the sailors and soldiers, but the majority of the
party expressed their readiness to abide by it, and the
murmurings of the malcontents were quickly hushed.
To eke out their store of provisions they now had
recourse to various expedients. The northern and most
rocky side of the island was much frequented by gannets,
and these birds were not very difficult to knock over
with sticks or stones. Their flesh, however, had a rank,
fishy taste, and not even Dr. Somers' culinary skill (he
was by no means a bad cook) could make it palatable,
but under their present circumstances, the castaways
were only too thankful to add to their daily meal
without drawing upon their stores; so a 'hunting-party'
84 Tar-bucket and Pipe-clay.
was instituted, and a day rarely passed without a number
of the sea-fowl being slain, cooked, and devoured. They
also on one occasion killed a seal, and cooked a portion of
it for dinner, but those who partook of it were seized with
violent sickness, and the experiment was not repeated.
Fishing was another means they possessed of pro-
curing food, though not in very large quantities They
had several lines, and soon after the carpenter was taken
ill, Mr. Hartley and Murphy constructed a 'catamaran'
or raft, just large enough to carry two persons, and this
was taken out every day when the weather permitted.
One day, Mr. Garland and Nicholas Brodribb, when
out on the raft, had a very narrow escape of being driven
out to sea. It was on the 19th September, and they had
been fishing with more than ordinary success since the
early morning, when towards four o'clock the wind
suddenly freshened from the westward; they were then
about half-a-mile to the east of the island.
'We must be off, Nick!' exclaimed Mr. Garland,
hauling in his line. 'Up with the anchor!'
The 'anchor'-a somewhat curious-looking arrange-
ment, the handiwork of Patrick Murphy-was quickly
weighed, and, seizing their paddles, they made for the
shore. But they soon found that, instead of making way,
they could scarcely hold their own against the wind, and,
after plying their paddles with all their might and main
for twenty minutes or more, they saw to their dismay
that they were drifting away from the shore.
'Nick,' gasped Mr. Garland, nearly exhausted by his
An Awkward Situation.
exertions, 'what's to be done ? We're just going leeward
like a haystack!'
'Suppose we cast anchor again, sir?' suggested our hero.
'It will drag to a certainty,' was the reply.
'Anyhow, we shan't drift faster than we're doing at
present,' rejoined Nicholas, 'so over it goes !' and, suiting
the action to the word, he dropped the anchor overboard.
'Now, Mr. Garland,' he cried, seizing his paddle again,
'pull like fury !'
Redoubling their exertions, they paddled away for
dear life, and, with the help of the anchor, succeeded in
checking the drifting of the raft.
In the meanwhile, their friends on the island, seeing
their peril, were trying to devise some means of assisting
them, and, after several plans had been suggested, briefly
discussed, and rejected, one of the sailors suddenly be-
thought him of the dinghy, which was then laid up near
the huts, awaiting repair.
'If we could only get her afloat,' said he, 'we might
pull off to the raft and either tow it ashore or else bring
back Mr. Garland and Mr. Brodribb in the boat, and let
the raft go adrift.'
Tare an' ages, man!' interrupted Patrick Murphy,
who was in a state of anxious excitement owing to the
perilous position of his young favourite, 'Misther Nick,'
and would have swum out to his assistance had not his
companions restrained him; 'what's the use of talking
like that ? How would we be getting' the dinghy afloat,
86 Tar-bucket and Pipe-clay.
4vhen she just leaks like a sieve? Better let me swim
out to thim, your honour,' he added, appealing to Major
Pennefeather; 'shure I'd do't in no time.'
'Supposing you did, Murphy,' replied the major
kindly, 'what use would you be ? The raft couldn't bear
another passenger, you know. We should only have to
report the loss of three good friends instead of two!'
No, Pat, it won't do,' put in Mr. Hartley, laying his
hand on the man's shoulder. We can't spare you.'
'The dinghy leaks a goodish bit, true enough, gentle-
men,' said the sailor Harris,-he who had been the
carpenter's chief assistant in building the boat,-' but
give me twenty minutes, and I'll undertake to patch her
up and make her tight enough for this job. Mr. Bacon
had a turn at her at odd times afore he went sick, and
she's not so bad as Pat Murphy thinks.'
Mr. Hartley looked at the major. 'Shall we try it ?'
said he doubtfully.
'It appears to be the sole chance we have of saving
them,' answered Major Pennefeather.
So, assuming from this reply that his project was
approved of, Harris started off to the huts, followed by
Patrick Murphy, and in a very few minutes they were
both hard at work patching up the dinghy.
In less than half an hour the dinghy was ready to put
off, and the question now arose, 'Who was to go in her ?'
-or we should rather say, 'Who was not to go in her ?'
for every man present was anxious to venture out to the
assistance of Mr. Garland and Nick; but Mr. Hartley,
Who is to go ?
well aware that it was a service of no little danger, ex-
pressed his intention of going himself. Now the worthy'
chief officer was a gentleman of stalwart proportions,
and, even after a month's 'low diet,' he weighed an
honest fourteen stone; whilst, in her present crazy con-
dition, the less weight the dinghy carried the more likely
was she to accomplish her perilous trip in safety, so his
decision was received with dismay by his companions.
'I humbly beg your honour's pardon,' said Patrick
Murphy, after an awkward pause; 'but don't ye think
now, sorr, that ye'd better let me go ?'
'Why.?' asked Mr. Hartley, who had already begun
to divest himself of coat and vest.
'Becase, your honour-becase, sorr,' stammered Pat,
fidgeting with his cap, for he knew that Mr. Hartley was
rather 'touchy' about his size,-' because, Misther Hartley,
-no offence meant, sorr!-ye're just a trifle-the least
bit in the world, ye know-but still a trifle heavier than
I am, sorr, and'-
'The less weight the dinghy has in her the better,'
interposed Major Pennefeather. 'That is what you
mean-eh, Murphy ?'
'Shure your honour's just hit it !' was the Irishman's
You see, gentlemen,' Harris struck in, 'though we've
done our best to make the boat water-tight, still there's
no doubt she'll make a goodish drop of water, so I'm
afeard two o' us '11 have to go in her-one to pull, t'other
to keep her afloat by baling; and, in course, it stands to
Tar-bucket and Pipe-clay.
reason, we'd best send the lightest weights among us.
They'll be Pat Murphy and th' young French gen'leman,
I'm thinking. '
'I understand, Harris,' answered Mr. Hartley; add-
ing,' Why couldn't Murphy have explained that at once,
instead of beating about the bush?'
'You're willing to go, Raoul?' asked Major Penne-
feather, turning to the Frenchman.
Mais certainment, m'sieur,' replied Raoul, who was
just beginning to understand a little English.
The dinghy was then launched without further parley,
and Murphy and young Giraud jumped into her.
'Hilloa!' exclaimed Mr. Garland, when he saw the
dinghy put off from the shore. What are they up to, I
'Coming off to our assistance, I suppose, sir,' said
Nicholas. 'But what they're- why, sir, I do believe
it's the old dinghy.'
'It is indeed,' rejoined his companion. 'How they'll
keep her afloat is more than I can imagine. That fine
fellow Patrick Murphy is pulling her, and there appears
to be somebody else stooping down in the stern-sheets.
Can you see who it is ?'
I think it's Raoul Giraud, sir,' replied Nicholas, after a
good look. 'Yes-I'm sure it is. He's baling out the boat.'
'Heaven protect them!' ejaculated Mr. Garland.
'They're risking their lives to save ours. But keep
paddling, Nick my son, or we shall have the anchor
dragging, and we mustn't let those gallant fellows pull a
yard further than we can help.'
The wind being in his favour, Patrick Murphy soon
reached the raft, but, quick as they were, the dinghy
would have been half full of water if Raoul had stopped
baling. Mr. Garland and Nicholas were by this time
pretty well exhausted with their exertions in keeping the
raft from drifting; for though the anchor 'still held, it
certainly would have dragged had they not relieved the
strain upon it by paddling.
Thank you, Pat!' cried Mr. Garland, when the dinghy
came alongside; 'and you, too, Monsieur Giraud. We
shall owe you our lives if we get safe back to the shore.'
Arrah, not at all, sorr! retorted Murphy; 'shure 'tis
a plisure to be of service to you and Misther Nick.
Now, sorr,' he went on, shall we tow you ashore, or will
ye come into the boat ? '
Mr. Garland looked doubtfully at the dinghy. 'I'm
afraid,' said he, 'that our extra weight will sink you. It
seemed to be as much as you could manage to keep
afloat without us.'
'Faix! an' ye may say that, Misther Garland,'
answered Pat. 'The young gintleman's nivir stopped
baling for a blessed moment. Ye'd best remain on the
raft, and I'll tow ye back as aisy as nothing. '
'I think that will be the better plan, for the dinghy
would certainly not carry us all in her present condition,'
assented the other. 'We shall have to stick to the
Tar-bucket and Pipe-clay.
paddles, though, Nick,' he added, 'or else this good fellow
can never make head against the wind.'
'I'm ready, sir,' rejoined Nicholas. Shall I haul up
Yes,' answered Mr. Garland. We must use our cable
as a tow-rope.'
The anchor was then hauled up and detached from
the 'cable,' which was passed twice or thrice round the
after thwart of the dinghy, and made fast-the slack of
the rope being carefully coiled down. Murphy bent to
his sculls, Mr. Garland and Nicholas once more plied
their paddles, and the return journey commenced.
It was a desperate hard pull, and the odds were heavy
against their ever reaching the shore.
Patrick Murphy rowed as surely never sailor rowed
before or since. Mr. Garland and our hero paddled and
paddled with all their might and main; whilst Raoul
Giraud never ceased baling for a moment. Slowly-
oh, how slowly !-they approached the island. Their
progress was watched with intense anxiety by their
comrades. They'll never do it!' cried some. 'Yes,
they will!' exclaimed others. Pat will never give in !'
And Pat didn't give in. On he pulled for dear life,
and at length his dogged courage triumphed, and he
brought both dinghy and raft safe to land.
'A near squeak, sir,' said Nicholas, as he and Mr.
Garland scrambled ashore.
'Too near to be pleasant,' retorted the officer. I
don't think you'll catch me on that raft again.'
Relates how the Carpenter paid his Debt to Nature; and
how Major Pennefeather and his Friends quelled an
Attempt to Mutiny.
HREE days after the providential escape of
Mr. Garland and Nicholas Brodribb, Bacon
the carpenter died. From the first, Doctor
Somers had despaired of the poor fellow's recovery, and
had more than once expressed surprise at his lasting so
long; nevertheless the announcement of his death came
quite as a shock to the rest of the party. It must be con-
fessed that they felt the loss of the carpenter more than
they did the loss of the man, for now they had no hope
of the boat that was to carry them back to civilisation
ever being finished, and there were amongst them certain
fellows of the baser sort' who chose to make this trouble
an excuse for open grumbling-grumbling that was, in
fact, next door to mutinous language. These men
began to complain noisily of what they were pleased
to term their miserable situation, and declared that they
would no longer accept such scanty rations.
Tar-bucket and Pipe-clay.
It ain't no manner o' use starvin' ourselves,' said a
sailor, Jackson by name, who had constituted himself
ringleader of the malcontents, and had for some time
past been plotting against Major Pennefeather's author-
ity. 'We'll never get away from this place, so what I
say is-let's go in for a short life and a merry un!'
'Hear! hear!' cried those of his companions who
were of a kindred spirit.
'Them's my sentiments, mates,' continued Jackson,
encouraged by their applause. 'Here we've got prog
and liquor enough to last us a month or more, eatin'
and drinking' as much as we pleases; and I for one 'tend
eatin' and drinking' as much as I pleases for the future I'
'Good again !' exclaimed his friends.
'What I says is,' Jackson went on, waxing bolder,
'why shouldn't us? Why should us knock under to
Major Pennefeather and them two mates?'
'Ay, that's the question!' chimed in- one of the
soldiers, a hangdog-looking rascal from the purlieus
of Westminster. 'Why should us ?'
'We're the strongest party, shipmates,' pursued
Jackson, 'and I'm ready and willing' to'-
'H'sh, mate,' interrupted a sailor, whose bump of
caution was rather more strongly developed than was
the redoubtable Jackson's. Here be Job Harris, and
ye knows he don't agree with us.'
'No, he doesn't-sart'n sure !' exclaimed Harris, who
had overheard the greater part of their conversation.
'Not by no manner o' means, Job Harris don't agree
Serving out a Mutineer.
with you, nor ain't likely to, neither! A precious lot
of rascals you be So ye're the strongest party, be
you?' he added, addressing Jackson, and at the same
time turning up his shirt-sleeves. 'Very good! Now
look ye, Tom Jackson, ye've had your say, now I'm a-
going to have mine; and, first and foremost, I'll just
ask ye a question.'
Ask away, mate,'
with an uneasy laugh.
'D'ye remember the
second night we lay in
Table Bay?' inquired
Harris, drawing closer
to him;' you, like the
coward that ye are,
struck one of the boys
across the mouth- -
you remember that ?
Well, Tom Jackson, I
remember it too; but
to prewent that there
sarcumstance 'scapin' from our memories, why, I'm a-
goin' to take the liberty of givin' ye just such another
thrashin' as I give ye that evening! '
And, without another word, Harris fell upon Jackson,
and pounded him until the wretched man went down
on his marrow-bones and roared for mercy. At first,
Jackson's cronies seemed inclined to interfere in his
Tar-bucket and Pipe-clay.
behalf, but it happened that, at that moment, Major
Pennefeather, the two officers, and Nick, Raoul Giraud,
and Murphy, put in an appearance, so they slunk back,
and left their leader to his fate, thinking, no doubt, that
this was a case where discretion was the better part of
'That'll do, Harris,' at length said Major Pennefeather.
'He's had enough for the present. Which is the other
man you mentioned ?'
'This be he, your honour-Private Sims,' rejoined
Harris, giving Jackson a parting kick, and then collaring
the Westminster recruit. He's been a-grumblin' these
three weeks, and shirkin' work whenever he could.'
'Now, Private Sims, you have been a soldier long
enough to know that discipline must be maintained,'
said the major; 'and that, under all circumstances,
insubordination is severely punished, both in the army
and navy. I therefore take it upon myself-as a major
in His Majesty's Marine Corps, and, consequently, your
superior officer-to order you two dozen lashes. Seize
him up, Harris!'
'What's my crime, if you please, sir?' asked the now
'Insubordinate language, and inciting others to
mutiny,' was the reply.
'But I ain't in the King's service,' expostulated the
terrified wretch. 'I'm a 'Onourable Company's soldier,
I am; and you've no manner o' bis'ness to flog me.'
No,' interposed one of Mr. Sims' comrades, 'you ain't
The Mutiny quelled.
got no right wotsumever to touch 'im, major. You
ain't our commanding officer!'
'That's a point we'll reserve for future discussion,'
coolly replied Major Pennefeather. In the meanwhile,
understand that it is my intention to flog Private Sims;
and as you, Private Williams, have thought fit to ques-
tion my authority, I now order you to administer the
punishment. Silence, sir! Not another word.'
Major Pennefeather's determined attitude completely
cowed the would-be mutineers. Sims suffered himself
to be tied up to a post, and Williams, at the word of
command, administered two dozen lashes on his bare
back, with a rope's end.
'Cast him loose, Murphy,' said the major, when the
punishment had been inflicted; 'and, mark you, my
lads, if I hear any more of this nonsense, it will be the
worse for you!'
The severe punishment inflicted on Jackson and Sims
had the effect of putting a stop to all open grumbling,
but Major Pennefeather and Mr. Hartley thought it
better to be on their guard, so all the arms, ammunition,
and provisions were removed into the ladies' hut, and
one of the 'party of order' was in future detailed every
day and every night to do 'sentry-go' over them.
Thus another month passed away, without anything
happening worthy of record, except that Harris and
Murphy set to and repaired the dinghy, making her
perfectly water-tight and seaworthy; and, after that, she
was used, whenever the weather permitted, for fishing.
Introduces William Ashcroft, A.B., and relates how he
confided the Story of his Life to our Hero.
HERE was a man among those who escaped
to the island when the Marathon was wrecked,
an able seaman, William Ashcroft by name,
who had joined the ship at Cape Town, in the place of
a quarter-master, lost overboard a few days before she
anchored in Table Bay.
During the brief period that he served on board the
Marathon-that is to say, from the day he engaged, until
her loss-though he proved himself to be a thorough
sailor, and one who never shirked work nor danger, Ash-.
croft did not very favourably impress those with whom
he was brought in contact. He was a middle-aged,
melancholy-looking man, of an unusually taciturn and
to all appearance surly disposition; but it was remarked
by Mr. Hartley, and one or two others, that whenever
Ashcroft replied to a question, or had occasion to speak
to any officer or passenger, his language was superior to
that of the ordinary, run of foremast hands.
William Ashcroft. 97
Of William Ashcroft's antecedents very little was
known, beyond the fact that he had been a sailor from
his youth; that he had married a Cape Dutchwoman;
had lived several years in South Africa; and that he
now took to a seafaring life again in consequence of his
wife's death. When Jackson, Sims, and the other dis-
contented spirits showed a disposition to mutiny, Ash-
croft refused to have anything to do with them, but then
he did not side openly with the officers; he simply kept
aloof from both parties, and continued to perform his
share of the daily work, and accepted his daily allowance
of food and drink, without saying a word-good, bad, or
indifferent. It may, therefore, be easily understood that
this strange man was 'boycotted' by the malcontents,
and regarded with a certain amount of suspicion by the
rest of the little community.
Now it chanced one fine day, five or six weeks after
the 'Jackson nmeute,' that it came to William Ashcroft's
turn to go fishing in the dinghy, along with our young
friend Nicholas Brodribb-an arrangement that did not
particularly please Master Nick, who would have pre-
ferred a more sociable companion.
'Pleasant sort of a chap to spend half-a-dozen hours
with!' growled the boy, looking after Ashcroft, as he made
his way down to the beach. He won't talk, and he won't
listen, and as to getting a "yarn" out of him, why, you
might as well try to pump water out of a rock !'
'Of whom are you speaking, Nick?' inquired Dr.
Somers, overhearing his remarks.