Home
  By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon


We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

´╗┐Title: In the Eastern Seas
Author: Kingston, William Henry Giles, 1814-1880
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "In the Eastern Seas" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



In the Eastern Seas, by W.H.G. Kingston,

________________________________________________________________________

The book, quite a long one, is concerned with the adventures of a boy,
Walter Heathfield, and of his sister Emily.  They appear on the scene in
chapter one, in rather a dramatic fashion, as they are rescued from a
sinking ship, along with their dying father, moments before the ship
finally vanishes.  On reaching London their relations are traced, but
none appear at all interested in them, except for Uncle Tom, who has but
little money, and who unfortunately dies before the chapter is done, of
a horse-riding accident.

As a result the ship's captain and his family decide to look after them.

The captain has a daughter, Grace, and a kindly wife.  He asks them all
to accompany him on the ship's next voyage, which is to the eastern
seas.  There is a passenger, a Mr Nicholas Hooker, who is a naturalist,
and who of course delivers himself of numerous speeches describing the
animals and plants they see during the trip.

They have numerous adventures, including of course (as you would expect
in a Kingston novel) the loss of the ship.  Walter keeps a journal,
though at times Emily has to write it for him.  When they finally get
back to Old England, the old relative, Lord Heatherly, who had refused
to help them, dies, and it turns out Walter is his heir.  So the
fortunes of Walter and Emily are very much changed.

Quite a good read, or listen.

________________________________________________________________________

IN THE EASTERN SEAS, BY W.H.G. KINGSTON.



CHAPTER ONE.

THE INDIAMAN.

"Well, Thudicumb, I hope by noon we may at last get a glimpse of the
sun," said Captain Davenport to his first officer, as they walked the
deck of the _Bussorah Merchant_, homeward bound from the East Indies,
and at that time rolling on over the long heaving seas of the Atlantic.
The sky was overcast, but ever and anon a gleam of light burst forth
amid the clouds, playing on the foaming crest of a wave.  It was blowing
hard, but had evidently been blowing much harder, of which fact the
condition of the Indiaman gave evidence.  A portion of the starboard
bulwarks were stove in, one of her quarter boats was shattered, and
other slight damages were visible.

"We must be ready for him, sir, at all events," said the first officer,
looking at his watch.  "It is not far off noon now."

"Tell Oliver to bring me my sextant," said the captain, as the mate
descended from the poop into his cabin.

Mr Thudicumb soon returned, bringing his own instrument, and followed
by a boy with the captain's.  Continuing their walk, they looked
anxiously every now and then at the spot in the heavens where they
expected the sun to appear.  They were accompanied by one who seemed to
take as much interest as they did in what was going forward.  When they
turned, he turned; when they looked up at the sky, he looked up also;
balancing himself when the ship rolled as they did, by leaning over to
the opposite direction to which she was heeling.  He, however, could not
have afforded them any assistance in their observation, for though his
eye and the expression of his countenance exhibited much sagacity, he
was of the canine species--a large dog--a magnificent-looking fellow,
who could, the crew declared, for he was a great favourite with them, do
everything but talk--and, they might have added, take a meridional
observation, or a lunar.

Mr Thudicumb again looked at his watch.  "There he is, sir," he
exclaimed at length.

He and the captain stopped in their walk; their sextants were quickly at
their eyes; and there they stood, their feet planted firmly on the
heaving deck, in an attitude long practice alone could have enabled them
to maintain.  A clear space was seen in the sky, increasing rapidly, and
yet not altogether blue, but the vapour which drove across it was not
sufficiently thick to prevent the sun's rays descending upon the sea.

"She has dipped, sir," said the first officer.

"She has," observed the captain.

The sun's elevation was read off on the index, and the instruments were
returned to their cases.  The calculation was very quickly worked out on
a scrap of card.

"Make it noon, Mr Thudicumb," said the captain, as, returning the case
to the young cabin-boy, he directed him to take it below.  While the
captain and his first officer were making their observation, a group of
midshipmen had collected on the deck with their quadrants in their
hands, doing their best to shoot the sun, but their less experienced
eyes could make but little of it in that heavy sea; and when they came
to read off their observations, they were somewhat surprised at the
wonderful difference which existed among them.  Stopping to listen to a
few remarks made to them by the captain, they hurried off the deck to
deposit their quadrants in places of safety.  The dog all the time stood
with his feet firmly planted on the deck, watching the captain, as if he
fully understood what was going on.  Captain Davenport, as he turned,
patted him on the head.  "You are a wise dog, Merlin," he observed; "but
you cannot take an observation yet."  Merlin wagged his tail as if he
had received a compliment, or, at all events, well pleased at the notice
taken of him.

The captain was a tall man of spare figure, his white locks and
weather-beaten countenance making him appear considerably older than his
firm, yet light and active step, seemed to warrant.  His eye, too, was
still full of life and fire, and his voice clear and strong, evidence of
which had been given when he issued his orders in the late gale, and
when, by his promptitude and decision, he had saved the ship, seemingly
on the point of destruction.

Scarcely had eight bells been struck, when the voice of the boatswain
from the forecastle was heard shouting, "A vessel on the lee bow, sir!
A dismasted ship!  It can be nothing else!"

Captain Davenport went forward, followed by Merlin.

"Where away is she, Mr Tarbox?" he asked of the boatswain.

"There, sir, you will catch her over the bumkin-head," answered the
boatswain.  "I saw her again just as you stepped on the forecastle.  She
cannot have gone down in the meantime!"

"I hope not indeed," said the captain, looking out eagerly in the
direction towards which the boatswain pointed.  At last he too caught
sight of a dark object lifted on the top of a sea.  "A dismasted ship;
no doubt about that," he observed.  "We will keep away for her.  There
are probably people on board, and although it would be a difficult
matter to take them off while this sea is running, we may do so if it
goes down, as it has been gradually doing since daylight."

The Indiaman stood on, now rising to the summit of a sea, now gliding
into the valley below, gradually approaching the dark object which had
been discovered.  The boatswain had gone aloft, and quickly returned.

"No doubt about it, Captain Davenport.  She is a big ship--lost her
masts, no doubt, in the gale; and from the way she is rolling, I have a
notion she has no small amount of water in her.  If we had not sighted
her, it is my opinion that those on board would be fathoms down in the
ocean, as she will be before another sun rises."

"We will do what we can to save any people on board her," said Captain
Davenport.  "Get the life-boat ready for lowering, Mr Tarbox."

"Ay, ay, sir; I am ready to go in her," answered the boatswain.

"Perhaps Mr Thudicumb may wish to go, or the second officer; but if
not, Tarbox, I would intrust her to you more readily than to anybody."

The news that a dismasted ship was in sight brought all the passengers
who were below on deck, and numerous glasses were now turned towards
her.  No signs, however, of any one being on board were discovered.  She
was a complete wreck; the masts had gone by the board, the bulwarks were
stove in, the caboose and booms and everything on deck had been swept
clear away.  The Indiaman stood on, passing close to leeward of her.

"She is deserted, sir; little doubt about that," said Mr Thudicumb,
examining the ship.  "The people thought she was going down, and took to
their boats.  Better have stuck to her in such a sea as they must have
had to encounter.  Little chance of any boat living."

"Haul the tacks aboard then, Mr Thudicumb; down with the helm," said
the captain.  "Unless for the sake of rescuing any fellow-creatures, I
would not risk a boat to board her, while the sea runs as high as it now
does."

As he was speaking, Merlin had been eagerly watching the wreck; and now,
stretching out his fore-feet and neck towards her, he uttered a loud
mournful howl or wail, which sounded strangely wild and sad to all who
heard it.

"What is the matter, Merlin?" asked the captain, bending down and
patting the dog's head.

"That dog has got more sense than many human beings," observed the
boatswain.  "Now, I should not be surprised but what he knows there is
somebody on board that craft--dead or dying, may be--just as well as if
he saw them.  If I was our skipper, I would not leave that wreck without
an overhauling."

Just then a human head was seen issuing from the companion-hatch.  It
was that of a young boy.  He sprang on deck and waved a handkerchief
wildly, apparently shouting with all his power, though his voice could
not be heard amidst the roaring of the sea and the lashing of the ropes
as the ship was luffed up close to the wind.  Captain Davenport seized
his speaking-trumpet and shouted, "We will keep by you!  Do not fear!"
Just then another head was seen.  "A young girl!" cried several of those
looking on.  A mere child she seemed at that distance, her light hair
blowing about in the wind.

"Bless them!" said old Tarbox; "I would go to help them if there was
twice the sea there is on."

Preparations were now made for heaving the ship to, but the captain was
anxious to wait, in the hopes of the sea going down still more before
night, when there might be less risk in bringing the people from off the
wreck.  A great risk under similar circumstances is run when those on
board a ship on fire or likely to sink leap hurriedly in too great
numbers into the boat alongside.  In many such instances the boat has
been swamped, and the lives of all in her sacrificed.  Here, such a
danger was not likely to occur, as no crew apparently remained on board.
The question, however, was, whether the wreck would float till the sea
had sufficiently gone down to enable a boat to board her without risk.
As the ship gradually receded from the wreck, the young boy was seen to
lift up his hands imploringly, as if to beg for assistance.  At length
the boatswain came aft and addressed the captain.

"If you will let me have the life-boat, sir, there are six hands ready
to go in her; and I will undertake to board that craft, and bring off
any people we may find alive.  To my mind, from the way she rolls, she
has not got many hours longer to swim; and if she was to go down, those
young people we saw would have to go down in her, and that's what my
eyes would not like to watch."

"No indeed, Tarbox," said the captain.  "Mr Thudicumb, what do you
say?"

"I was going to volunteer, sir," said the first officer; "but though I
yield to no other man on board in the management of a boat, I
acknowledge that Tarbox can handle one in a sea better than any man I
have ever met with; and on that account, and not because I am afraid of
risking my life, I yield to him."

"Thank you, Mr Thudicumb," said the boatswain.  "I should have said the
same thing of you, sir; but you have a wife and children at home, and it
matters little what becomes of old Dick Tarbox."

Once more the ship was brought up as close as she could be to the wreck,
and again being hove to, the life-boat, with the six hands selected by
the boatswain, was carefully lowered.  And now everybody on board
watched her with anxious eyes, as she pulled towards the wreck.  The
young lad saw her coming, and was observed to be bending down as if to
announce the event to some one below.  Again the little girl's head
appeared above the deck, but the lad would not allow her to come up
further, evidently being afraid of her being jerked overboard--an event
but too likely to occur, from the way the ship was rolling.  On pulled
the boat, now sinking down deep into the trough of the sea, which curled
into mountain billows, and seemed about to overwhelm her; now she rose
up high on the crest of a wave.  Many of those who gazed at her held
their breath, scarcely believing that she could possibly live amid the
tumult of waters.  Slowly she proceeded, guided by the well-practised
hand of the old boatswain.  She was close to the wreck.  Now she seemed
to sink far down below the deck, now to rise up, as if the next instant
she would be thrown upon it.  Could any human being ever manage to gain
the wreck from that tossing boat?  Yes, yes! a man stands up in the
boat.  He makes a spring!  He has gained the deck, hauling himself up by
a rope which he has clutched.  He waves off the boat till he is ready to
return to her.

Dick Tarbox was the man.  He was seen to leap down the hatchway.  For
some time he did not appear.  What could have become of him?  "There he
is! there he is!" shouted several voices.  He came, bearing a young girl
in his arms.  The boat again drew near the dismasted ship.  Those who
looked on held their breath, for how could he manage to convey his
burden to the tossing boat?  He stood for a minute or more waiting, but
not irresolute.  His eye was watching the boat.  He was calculating the
rolling of the ship.  He made a signal to one of the men to be ready to
receive the girl.  Then, quick as lightning, he leaped across the deck,
and dropped her--so it seemed--into the man's arms.  The boat again kept
away from the ship, and the boatswain disappeared once more down the
hatchway.

"He will bring the boy this time!"  But no; he came up carrying a far
heavier burden--a man wrapped in a cloak, and apparently unable to help
himself.  Dick shouted to one of the crew to go aboard and help him.
Together they got the sick man into the boat.  The little girl clasped
her hands in her anxiety as she saw him lowered down.  Sorrowfully she
stooped over him, supporting his head in her arms; forgetting,
apparently, where she was, and the fearful danger to which she was still
exposed.  The boy had followed the boatswain, apparently with the
intention of leaping into the boat by himself.  Dick was seen to hold
him back: then he lifted him in his arms, and, waiting for the right
moment, sprang into the boat.

No one on board had watched these proceedings with more apparent
eagerness than Merlin; and as the boat came alongside the ship, he ran
to the gangway to receive those whom she brought.  The little girl was
first lifted up the side, and received by the captain, Merlin instantly
coming up to lick her hands and attract her attention.  She had no
thought, however, for any one round her, but endeavoured to look down
into the boat to watch her companions.  The sick man was next hoisted
up; the boy, till he was safe, refusing to leave the boat.  He then,
aided by Dick Tarbox, hauled himself up on deck.

"We will carry him aft, and take him at once to my cabin," said the
captain.  "He looks very ill."

This was done; the young people keeping by the sick man's side,
anxiously gazing on his countenance, apparently scarcely aware where
they were, and paying no attention to any one else.

"Is he your father, young gentleman?" asked the captain, as the sick man
was placed on the bed.

"Oh yes, yes!" answered the boy.  "But can you do nothing for him?  He
is, I am afraid, very, very ill."

At that moment the surgeon, who had been attending on a patient below,
came up, and entering the cabin, looked at the sick man's countenance
and felt his pulse.  The look he gave the captain was observed by the
little girl: she seemed to understand it.

"Oh do, sir, tell me what is the matter with him!  Will he die?" she
asked, bursting into tears.

"There is no time to be lost," observed the surgeon, hurrying away to
his own cabin without answering the question.

"Our lives are in God's hands, young lady," said the captain, in a kind
tone.  "The doctor will do all he can for your papa; be assured of
that."

The surgeon instantly returned with a restorative; after taking which
the sick man recovered slightly, and was able to utter a few words in a
faint voice.  He recognised his children, and beckoned them to approach.

"I am leaving you, I fear," he whispered; "for I feel as I have never
felt before.  Walter, take care of Emily; never leave her.  Think of
your dear mother and me sometimes."  Then he turned his glance towards
the captain.  "These, sir, will be orphans before many hours have
passed," he said, in a faltering voice.  "You, perhaps, are a father,
and can feel for me.  As a fellow-creature, you can do so.  You have
been the means of preserving the lives of those children; watch over
them, and do what you can for them.  They will tell you about
themselves.  I cannot speak more."

While he was uttering these words, he seemed about to relapse into a
state of insensibility.  His eye was growing dim.  He stretched out his
hands, however, and took those of his children; and thus, almost without
uttering another word, his spirit passed away.

"We will leave your father now," said the surgeon; and made a sign to
the captain, who led the boy and girl out of the cabin.

The boy seemed to understand what had happened; but there was an
anxious, scared, and inquiring expression on the countenance of the
little girl, which showed that even now she was not certain that her
father had been taken from her.

Captain Davenport was a father, and a kind, affectionate one, and knew
how to sympathise with the bereaved children.  He had been in the cabin
but a few minutes when a midshipman entered.

"She is sinking, sir!" he exclaimed.

Captain Davenport hurried on deck.  The boy had caught the words, and
followed him.  Just then Merlin uttered a low, mournful howl.  They were
just in time to see the after-part of the dismasted ship, as, plunging
head first, she went down beneath the foaming billows.

"We were but just in time to save you, my lad," said the captain,
turning to the boy, whose hand Merlin was licking, as if to congratulate
him on his escape.

"Indeed you were, sir," answered the boy; "and we are very, very
grateful to you, and to that brave sailor who carried my father and
Emily out of the ship, and helped me into the boat.  I want to thank him
more particularly, and so would my father; but oh, sir, do you think he
will soon recover out of that fearful swoon?  Or do, do tell me, for I
did not like to ask you before my sister, is he--is he really--dead?"

The boy's voice dropped as he spoke.

"I fear, Walter, that he is dead," answered the captain.  "But we will
do our best to comfort your little sister; and so, I am sure, will you.
You have reason to be thankful that he was permitted thus to die quietly
in bed, and to know that your lives were spared."

"Oh yes, yes!  I know," answered the boy, hiding his face in his hands.

It was some hours before Emily could understand that her father could
never again speak to her or caress her.  Her brother's anxiety to
console her probably prevented him from so poignantly feeling his own
loss.

The captain and all on board treated the young orphans with the greatest
kindness and consideration.  The following day their father's body was
committed to its ocean grave; and Walter and Emily felt that for the
future they must be all in all to each other.

"Yes," thought Walter, as he gazed at his sister's fair and gentle
countenance, "I will watch over her--and die for her, if needs be--to
protect her from harm."



CHAPTER TWO.

THE HISTORY OF WALTER AND EMILY.

The captain and those on board were naturally anxious to know something
about the young orphans, and how it happened that they and their father
had been left alone on board the sinking ship.

"The people would not take poor papa in the boat, and we would not leave
him," said Emily, when the captain first spoke on the subject.

"I should think not," said Walter.  "It was very, very sad to have poor
papa so ill, and no one to help him except us.  The poor captain and the
first officer had been washed overboard; and the surgeon was killed by
the falling of the masts, when papa was hurt at the same time.  He was
ill, though, when we sailed; but he thought the change, and the warm
climate of the country we were going to, would restore him to health.
We had good reason, however, to be thankful we did not go in the boats;
for scarcely had they left the ship, as I was watching them from the
companion-hatch, than I saw the sea break over one of them, and down she
went, the unfortunate people in her struggling for a few instants before
they all sank.  I was in hopes that the other, which was larger, might
escape; but she had got to no great distance when it seemed to me that
she went right into a curling sea.  Whether she went through it and rose
again I could not discover, for I saw no more of her.  It was very
dreadful; but I had to hurry back to papa, for I heard Emily calling me.
I did not tell him what had happened, for I thought it would make him
even, more sad than he was."

The boy, overcome with his feelings, could with difficulty speak, and
was for some minutes silent.  He then continued:--

"The ship was the _Mountaineer_.  We had been three weeks at sea, and
had had frequent calms, when we met with the fearful gale from which she
suffered so much.  Papa was going out as British Consul to --, in the
Brazils; and as mamma died a year ago, and he had no one to leave us
with, he determined, to our great joy, that we should accompany him.
Emily had been at school; but when mamma was ill she came home to stay
with her, and after that papa could not hear the thoughts of again
parting with her.  I had been at Winchester School, and had intended
going into the army; but papa lost his fortune soon after mamma's death,
and told me that I must give up all thoughts of that, as he could not
purchase my commission, and I could not be in the army without money.
The loss of his property tried him very much.  He had to take me away
from school; and he used to say he was afraid we should all die of
starvation.  However, when he got the appointment he was in better
spirits, and Emily and I hoped we should see him once more like
himself."

"But have you no relations or friends, young gentleman?" asked the
captain, in a kind tone.

"I do not know about friends," answered Walter; "but I have some
relations.  Unfortunately, however, my father was not on good terms with
them.  His elder brother--my uncle--had quarrelled with him.  Why, I do
not know.  But when, before we were leaving England, papa desired to be
reconciled to him, he refused; and I know, from what I have heard, that
he would on no account have anything to say to Emily or me."

"But had your mother no relations?" asked Captain Davenport.

"Not many.  She had, I know, a brother, and I think I recollect him when
I was a little boy; but he left England many years ago, and I know has
not for a long time been heard of.  Papa, besides his brother, had some
cousins.  One, I know, is Lord Heatherly; but I never saw him, and I
think papa kept up no communication with him.  We now and then saw his
brother, Mr Tom Heathfield--for the family name is the same as ours.
He is a very good-natured, merry person, and used always to try to make
us laugh when he called.  And our eldest uncle had some sons, but I
never met them; indeed, I am sure their papa would never have let them
come to the house."

"From all accounts, then, the only relation you know anything about is
your father's cousin, Mr Tom Heathfield.  Do you know where he lives?"

Walter thought a moment.  "No," he answered; "somewhere in London, I
know, and I daresay I can find out."

"Well, we must do our best to discover him when we get on shore," said
the captain.

It was evident to him that the young people had not realised their
thoroughly destitute condition.  Whatever property their poor father
might have had must have been lost in the _Mountaineer_.  "However," he
thought to himself, "if the brother's heart cannot be moved to take care
of the orphans, perhaps this Mr Tom Heathfield or Lord Heatherly will
do so.  In the meantime, I must look after them."

The _Bussorah Merchant_ reached the Thames in safety, and went into the
docks to discharge her cargo.

"You must come with me, my young friends, till we can find out your
cousin," said the kind captain.  "My good wife, Mrs Davenport, will be
very glad to see you, as will our little girl Grace.  You must be
content with such fare as we can offer, and you may be sure of a hearty
welcome."

"Thank you, sir," said Walter.  "Emily and I, I am sure, shall be very
happy with you.  Do you live in the West End of London?"

"No," answered the captain, smiling; "I live at Poplar.  It is a
different sort of locality; but I have had a good many losses, and am
not so well off as some masters of ships.  But my life has been
preserved when others have lost theirs, and I retain my health and
strength.  I have a good wife and an affectionate little girl, and I
have therefore reason to be thankful; and so I am."

Captain Davenport, as soon as he was at liberty, accompanied by his
young charges, set off for his home.  It differed, however, greatly from
the sort of house Walter and Emily had been accustomed to live in.  But
it was very neat; with green palings in front, and neatly-painted
shutters, and the whitest of stone steps leading up to the hall door.
The captain had had no time to tell his wife of the guests she might
expect.  After, therefore, the first greetings between them were over,
and he had embraced his little daughter Grace, Mrs Davenport naturally
inquired who the young strangers were.  No sooner had she heard their
history than she gave an affectionate embrace to Emily.

"Yes, indeed, you are welcome here," she said; "and if you are content
with this house, we shall be glad to have you remain in it.  And I am
sure Grace will do her best to make you at home, young lady," she said,
placing the girls' hands in each other's.

The captain, of course, had a great deal to do on his first arrival
after a long absence, and could not, therefore, go in search of Mr Tom
Heathfield, Walter's cousin.  Walter acknowledged that he was not likely
to find him himself, as he had but seldom been in London, and did not
know his way about.  All he could tell was, that he lived somewhere in
the West End, and he thought he belonged to two or three clubs.

"Very likely, young gentleman," said the captain, laughing.  "However,
when I can get hold of one of those books they call Court Guides, I may
be able to find him."

A week passed pleasantly enough away.  Grace was very kind to Emily, and
Walter was never tired of walking about the docks, and watching the
large ships loading and unloading the bales and casks of goods coming
and going to all parts of the world.  It gave him some idea of the vast
amount of commerce of London, when such a stream of merchandise was
coming in and going out all day long.

At length the captain told him that he had some hours to spare, and they
set off together to try and find Mr Heathfield.  They got down at
Charing Cross, where a bookseller allowed them to look over a Court
Guide.

"Yes, that must be my cousin," said Walter, seeing the name.  "I now
remember going there with my father.  Yes, and those are the clubs he
belongs to."

Having put down the address, the captain and Walter at once set off to
find it.  They were not long in getting there.  A woman opened the door.

"Mr Heathfield is not in town; he seldom is at this time," was the
answer.  "He may come up for a day, or he may not; but letters addressed
here will find him."

"But can you tell me where he is?" asked Walter.  "I am a relation of
his."

"As to that, he may be at Newmarket, or some other races.  You know he
is a sporting gentleman, and is likely to be in one place one day and in
another place another.  But he sends for his letters, and, as I have
told you, if you like to write, one will find him."

This was not very satisfactory information.

"I am afraid he is not likely to do much for the poor children," thought
Captain Davenport.  "However, there is nothing like trying."

He then bethought him that he would inquire the address of their uncle,
whose heart might relent when he heard of the death of his brother.  "If
not, I will write to Lord Heatherly himself," said the captain.

The nobleman's address was easily found, and after some trouble the
captain ascertained that of Walter's uncle, and with this information he
returned home.

"You must have patience, my boy," he said.  "If you are not tired of
staying with us, we are not tired of you."

On reaching home, the captain wrote the three letters.  Several days
passed by, and no answer came.  At length two appeared by the same post.
One was from the orphans' uncle, stating that he had children of his
own, and that he had long ceased to have any communication with his
brother.  He must therefore decline interfering in the matter.  The
other contained the words:--"Lord Heatherly presents his compliments to
Mr Davenport, and not having been personally acquainted with the late
Mr Heathfield for many years, must decline in any way interfering with
regard to any children he may have left."

"Oh dear me!" said Mrs Davenport, when she saw the letters.  "If the
poor young orphans are treated in this way by their nearest relative and
by the head of their family, I am afraid we can expect very little from
the only other relation we have heard of."

"Well, my dear wife," said the captain, "if nobody else looks after
them, God intends that we shall.  We must not decline the charge he has
given us, but do the best we can for them."

The following day a private cab was seen passing along the street with a
sporting-looking tiger behind.  The gentleman driving stopped once or
twice, then turning round, brought up at Captain Davenport's door.  Down
jumped the tiger, and out sprang the gentleman.  Walter and Emily were
in the parlour.

"Why, that is cousin Tom!" exclaimed Walter, and he ran out to open the
front door.

Cousin Tom came in, and shook hands with Walter and Emily, and was soon
talking away to Mrs Davenport as if he had known her all his life.

"I am very much obliged to you and to your worthy husband for all you
have done for these young people," he said.  "And my poor cousin Harry,
I little thought he was so soon to be cut off.  However, we must not
talk about those sort of things.  Why, Walter, you are almost a man now.
We must see what we can do for you.  Your uncle Bob will not help you;
I have heard all about that.  We will not talk about him; and as for
Heatherly, there is no help to be got from him.  I am going out of town
to-night, or I would have had you, Walter, come and dine with me and
talk matters over.  However, if your friends will look after you for a
day or two longer, I hope we may settle something.  I have an idea that
my aunt, Lady Di Pierpoint, will take charge of Emily.  I must insist
upon her doing so.  She mixes a good deal in the world, rouges, and is
rather addicted to scandal, it is true; but I say, Emily, you must not
follow her example, and you will get on very well with her.  Look after
her lapdogs, feed her parrots, write her notes for her, and all that
sort of thing.  Well, I think we may consider that settled.--And now, my
good madam, I must wish you and the young people good-bye.  I hope to be
back in a few days with Lady Di's answer.  And as to Walter, I have no
doubt about him.  In the meantime, I will just beg you to take these two
notes, which you will have the kindness to expend as you think best in
getting a proper outfit for the young people--as I have no doubt they
lost everything when the ship went down; and I should wish, if you will
allow me, to repay you for the expense to which you have been put."

"Thank you, sir," said Mrs Davenport.  "We desire no repayment; but I
will gladly expend the money to the advantage of my young friends as you
desire."

"Well, well, do as you like!" exclaimed Mr Tom.  "I am very much
obliged to you in every way.  And now, good-bye, Emily; good-bye,
Walter; and I wish you farewell, madam.  Present my compliments to your
kind husband.  I should have liked to have made his acquaintance.  I
hope to do so another time.  I am deeply indebted to him, for I had a
great regard for poor Harry.  Though he might not have been very wise--
none of us are; and his wife, she was an angel.  Good-bye, good-bye!"

Thus rattling on, Mr Tom Heathfield ran out at the door, and jumped
into his cab; the tiger skipped up behind, and off he drove.

Day after day passed by, and no news came of Mr Tom Heathfield.  The
packet he had left behind contained a couple of ten-pound notes, with a
few words written on the paper surrounding them:--"It is all I have got;
but if Constellation wins, I will send another hundred."

Captain Davenport was now again busily engaged in preparing his ship for
another voyage.  She required but few repairs, so she was likely to be
soon ready.  He had resolved to take his wife and daughter with him; and
Grace was _very_ full of the thoughts of accompanying her father.  Mrs
Davenport had made two or three voyages; but Grace had not been at sea
since she was a very little girl.

"I wish I was going too," said Emily; "how delightful it would be!"

"I am sure I wish that I was going!" exclaimed Walter.  "I have often
thought I should like to be a sailor; and though I once should only have
wished to go into the royal navy, I should now like to go anywhere with
Captain Davenport."

Week after week passed by.  The _Bussorah Merchant_ was ready for sea.
A cabin had been fitted up for Mrs Davenport, and another for Grace.
No news came from Mr Tom Heathfield.  Captain Davenport wrote: he
considered it his duty to do so.  The day before he sailed, his letter
came back in an enclosure, stating that Mr Tom Heathfield had broken
his neck riding a steeple-chase, and that though he had wished to leave
his property to his young cousin, as all would be swallowed up in paying
his debts, there would be none forthcoming.  Walter and Emily felt very
sorry when they heard the sad end of their poor cousin, though Emily
confessed to Grace she was very glad that she had not to go and live
with Lady Di Pierpoint.

"Well, my young friends," said Captain Davenport, "I have no one with
whom I can leave you, and I certainly will not desert you.  If,
therefore, Emily would like to come and be Grace's companion, we shall
be very glad of her company; and, Walter, if you wish to come to sea and
learn to be a sailor, I will undertake to instruct you as if you were my
own son."

Walter was truly glad to accept the kind captain's offer; indeed, it
would be difficult to say what else he could do.

"When we return to England," said Captain Davenport, "we will make more
inquiries about your relations, and if they still persist in refusing to
acknowledge you, you will, at all events, have learned a profession, and
be independent of them.  After all, you will be far better off than had
you been brought up in idleness, and dependent on those who might care
very little for your true interests and welfare."



CHAPTER THREE.

WALTER HEATHFIELD'S JOURNAL.

The _Bussorah Merchant_ was now ready for sea.  Mr Thudicumb was first
mate, as he had been on the previous voyage; Dick Tarbox was boatswain;
young Oliver Farwell was cabin-boy.  Merlin, too, who indeed never left
the ship, was on board, and welcomed my sister and me, whom he
recognised the moment we appeared with signs of the greatest
satisfaction.  The ship was bound out to the coast of China and Japan,
with a prospect of visiting several other interesting places before she
returned home.  I was delighted with the thoughts of all I should see,
and was very glad to find on board several books descriptive of those
regions.  The ship came to an anchor at Gravesend, where several
passengers joined her.  Among them was a gentleman with very broad
shoulders, a broad forehead, and light curling hair covered by a very
broad-brimmed white hat.  His eyes were blue and remarkably keen; he had
a nose somewhat turned up; and a firm mouth, with a pleasing smile,
showing a set of strong white teeth.  He brought with him a number of
cases and boxes; among them gun-cases, and fishing-rods, and cases which
looked as if they enclosed instruments, with numerous other articles not
usually carried by travellers.  His business-like, quiet manner showed
that he was well accustomed to move about the world.  Who he could be I
could not tell.  Soon after he came on board he called Oliver Farwell to
help him arrange his cabin; but as Oliver had other duties to attend to,
I offered my services.

"Yes, my lad, I shall be very much obliged to you," said the gentleman.
"I should have liked to have got these things on board before the ship
left the docks; but there was no time for that; and it is important that
they should be secured before we get into a tumbling sea, from which
they may receive damage."

I observed that Mr Nicholas Hooker was painted on all the cases, and of
course concluded that such was the name of the gentleman.  He had a
number of screws with which he fastened some of the articles to the
bulkheads, and lashed others in a seamanlike fashion.  There were charts
and telescopes; indeed, from the various articles he had with him, I
fancied that perhaps the gentleman was a naval officer.  Still, as I did
not see R.N. at the end of his name, I thought again that he could not
be so.

At length Mr Hooker, having unpacked his books, various instruments,
and other articles, begged that the cases might be stowed away below.
His directions were promptly obeyed, and having surveyed his cabin, he
seemed satisfied that all was in perfect order.

"Now, young gentleman," he said, with a pleasant smile which won my
confidence, "I daresay you would like to know what all these things are
for.  Some are for taking the latitude and longitude, ascertaining the
exact position of places on the earth's surface.  Others are for
measuring the height of mountains, some the temperature of the air and
water, and so on.  Then I have cases for creatures which move in the
water or fly in the air, which walk or crawl on the earth or burrow
beneath it; and I have the means of shooting them or trapping them.
Those I can, I hope to preserve alive; and if not, to be able to exhibit
to my scientific friends, when I return home, the forms of some perfect,
the skins of others, and the skeletons of others.  And now, having told
you thus much, I must leave you to guess what I profess myself to be.
One thing I can tell you, I know very, very little compared to what
there is to be known.  I hope to gain more knowledge but I am very well
aware that, gain all I can, I can but add a very small portion to what
is already known, and a still smaller compared to what is to be
ascertained.  Here comes the captain.  We are old friends, and that
induced me to select this ship for my voyage.  Are you his son?"

"No, sir," I answered; "but he is a very kind friend of mine; and were
it not for him, I know not what would have become of me and my sister."

The _Bussorah Merchant_ had a fine passage down Channel, and taking her
departure from the Land's End, stood across the Bay of Biscay.  Four
days afterwards the captain told us that we were in the latitude of Cape
Finisterre, but no land was to be seen.  Another eight days, with the
wind abeam, carried us into the neighbourhood of the island of Madeira.

"Would not it be as well to have a look at it, sir," I said, "and then
we shall better know where we are."

The captain smiled.  "That is not at all necessary," he answered.  "By
the observations we are able to take with the perfect instruments we
possess, we are able at all times to ascertain our exact position on the
ocean; and we might thus sail round either Cape Horn or the Cape of Good
Hope to New South Wales without once sighting land till we were about to
enter Port Jackson."

"It is very wonderful," I said.  "What puzzles me is how you can find
the longitude.  I know you get the latitude by seeing how high the sun
is above the horizon at noon, and then with the aid of the nautical
almanac you can easily work out the calculation."

"With the aid of the chronometer we can as easily ascertain the
longitude, though the calculation is a little longer," answered Captain
Davenport.  "I can explain it to you more easily.  The chronometer shows
us the exact time at Greenwich.  We know by our nautical almanac that,
at a certain hour on a certain day, the sun will have attained at
Greenwich a certain altitude.  When on that day and that hour we find
that the sun is so many minutes behind hand in attaining that altitude,
we know we must be a certain distance further to the west, as, the world
turning from west to east, the more westerly a place is the longer it
will be before the sun appears there.  If, on the contrary, we find the
sun has gained a fixed altitude some time before it would have gained
that altitude at Greenwich, we know that we must be to the east of
Greenwich, or have met the sun sooner than the people at Greenwich have
done.  Thus, the further we sail east day after day, the sooner we see
the sun; while the further we sail west, the longer the time which
passes before he shines upon us."

"I think I have an idea about it now, sir," I exclaimed; "and I should
be very much obliged if you will show me how to take an observation and
to make use of the books, as well as to work out the calculations.  Why,
may I ask, do you cry Stop, sir, to the second officer or to Mr
Thudicumb, who are watching the chronometer while you are taking an
observation?"

"That they may mark the exact moment shown on the chronometer, while I
mark the sun's elevation as shown on the index of the sextant."

"But then you take observations at night sometimes, sir, looking at the
moon or the stars?"

"We do that to discover the distance which one star appears from another
at a certain hour, or their elevation above the horizon.  The object is
the same as that for which we take an observation of the sun, though the
calculation is rather more intricate."

After this I set to work, and whenever the captain and his mates took an
observation, I took one also, although I was, I must own, at first very
far from correct.  Sometimes my observation was imperfect; at other
times I made mistakes in the calculation.

At length the ship, which had been favoured with a breeze more or less
strong ever since she left England, was becalmed.  Sometimes she got a
little wind which lasted for an hour or two, and then died away; then
light airs came, first from one quarter, then from another, and the crew
were constantly employed in bracing up, or squaring away the yards.

"It is always like this in these Horse Latitudes," said the boatswain as
he walked the forecastle, where I had gone to have a talk with him.

"Why do you call them `Horse Latitudes?'"  I asked, as I listened to his
remarks.

"Why, I have heard say that they were so called by the Yankees, or the
people of _New_ England, before they were separated from Old England.
They used to send out deckloads of horses to the West Indies, and they
were very often kept becalmed so long in these latitudes that their
water grew scarce, and to save the lives of some of the horses they were
obliged to throw the others overboard; so that is how this part of the
ocean came to be called the `Horse Latitudes.'"

I afterwards told Mr Hooker what Tarbox had said.

"A more scientific name would be the Tropic of Cancer," he answered.
"We had a good breeze before we entered it, but often the wind to the
north of where we now are is very variable.  After we have passed this
belt of calm and light airs we shall get into the regions of the
north-east trades, which will carry us along at a fine rate till we get
into the very worst part of the ocean for trying a person's temper,
called the Doldrums.  Remember to ask me more about it when we get
there.  You will remember, then, the Variables are to the north of the
Tropic of Cancer.  The `Horse Latitudes' are on either side of the
Tropic.  Then we get into the north-east trade-winds, which carry us up
to the Doldrums about the Equator; and passing through them with more or
less trial of temper, we get into the south-east trade-winds, which we
shall have to cross with our tacks aboard.  Then we shall probably find
calms about the Tropic of Capricorn; after which, without once sighting
land, we may very likely find a breeze, more or less favourable, but
seldom against us, which will carry us through the Straits of Sunda,
between Java and Sumatra, to the west of the great island of Borneo,
right away to the north, through the China sea, leaving the Philippine
Islands on our right hand, up to Japan.  I will have a talk with you
another day about those East India Islands, for they are very curious,
and are probably less generally known than most parts of the world."

The events occurred very much as Mr Hooker had predicted.  For nearly a
whole week our ship lay with her head sometimes one way, sometimes
another, the sails flapping against the masts.  Then she got a breeze
which carried her a few miles further to the south, and people's spirits
began to rise, soon again to fall when once more the sails would give a
loud flap, and hang down without a particle of wind in them.  At length,
however, they once more bulged out.  The yards were squared away.  The
captain walked the deck with a more elastic step than for the last week
had been the case, and on the ship went hour after hour, the breeze
rather increasing than lessening.

"We are in the north-east trades," observed Mr Hooker.  "Little fear
now, for another two weeks or so we shall have a fine run of it."

Three day after this, a seaman from aloft shouted out, "Land ahead!"

"Ay, ay," answered Mr Thudicumb, who had charge of the deck.  "It is
land that will not hurt us, though;" and he continued to let the ship
run on in the course she had been steering.

Curious to know what had attracted the man's attention, I went aloft,
and there I saw spread out on the surface of the calm ocean, what looked
like a dark field, but little raised, however, above the water.  On
returning on deck, I told the first officer that I really thought there
must be land ahead.

"No, Walter, no fear of that," answered Mr Thudicumb; "we are crossing
the Sargasso Sea.  You will observe that it is merely sea-weed and
drift-wood collected in this spot from all parts of the ocean.  The
currents and winds bring it, but why this place is selected I do not
exactly know.  In a calm it might bother us, but we shall only pass
through a small portion of it, and there is wind enough to send us along
in spite of the obstruction it may offer.  We must get a bucket ready,
for Mr Hooker will be anxious to have some of it up on deck, that he
may examine the creatures who live upon it.  In the Pacific there is a
collection of the same sort, and people who could not otherwise for want
of fuel inhabit some of the islands in that region, are enabled to do so
in consequence of the supply of drift-wood it brings them."

The ship, soon clear of the Sargasso Sea, glided on proudly, with all
sail set below and aloft.  The weather was delightful; the passengers
constantly on deck.  Emily and Grace were very happy together, for
everything was new and interesting.  They had plenty of employment; for
Mrs Davenport, knowing what a sea voyage is, had brought work of all
sorts.  And then they had books; and they were not above running about
the deck, and playing at ball occasionally, and _Les Graces_, and other
games suitable for ship-board.

Thus day after day passed pleasantly by: the sea sparkling, the sky
bright, or occasionally mottled with light clouds.  One morning,
however, when they came on deck expecting to see the blue sky above
their heads, they saw only a thick canopy of clouds.  The sails were
flapping against the masts; the air was oppressive.  There the ship lay,
her head moving now in one direction, now in another.  Those who had
before been full of life and spirits began to complain of lassitude and
weariness.  The seamen no longer moved actively about the decks, but
went sauntering along when called upon to perform any duty.  The heat
grew greater and greater.  The iron about the ship was unpleasant to
touch.  The pitch bubbled in the seams of the deck and stuck to the
feet.  Emily and Grace no longer wished to play at ball, or _Les
Graces_, or any other game.  Even Merlin went disconsolately up and down
the decks, as if he thought something serious was going to happen.  I
felt as I had seldom felt before.

"Are we going to have a storm, sir?"  I asked of the captain.  "I have
read that storms are apt to come on after weather such as we now have."

"I do not expect one," answered Captain Davenport, "though we may
possibly have a squall of a few hours' duration; and I should not be
sorry for it, if it would carry us out of this region.  We are now in
the Doldrums."

"Not a bad name, considering the condition of all us poor mortals on
board," observed Mr Hooker.

"We are now under the cloud ring which encircles this part of the earth.
God has placed these clouds above our heads in this region for a
particular purpose.  You will observe that the thermometer and barometer
stand lower under this cloud ring than they do on either side of it.
The clouds not only promote the precipitation which takes place in this
region, but they also cause the rains to fall on places where they are
most required, shading the surface from which the heating rays of the
sun are to be excluded, and thus giving tone to the atmospherical
circulation of the world and vigour to its vegetation.  You have often,
when the sun is sending his rays with great heat down on the earth, seen
the atmosphere dancing, as it were, and trembling.  This appearance is
caused by the ascending and descending columns of air.  The cloud ring
creates on a greater scale this circulation of the atmosphere; indeed,
the more we examine the phenomena of Nature, the more we shall discover
the hand of a directing Providence, in suiting all things for the
convenience and use of the beings placed by Him on the earth."

Day after day the ship remained in this calm region with a cloudy sky.
People began to feel ill; and some fancied that as they were going
further south the heat would increase, and could scarcely understand
that as they proceeded the atmosphere would again become cold.  Captain
Davenport and the officers were on the watch to make use of every breath
of air which would forward the ship on her course; and at length she
once more got the breeze, and those who had before been complaining of
lassitude and illness suddenly revived and came on deck to enjoy the
renovating and refreshing breeze.  The sky was clear; the sea bright and
sparkling as before.  Cheerful countenances were everywhere visible,
instead of the weary, downcast looks which most of those on board had
worn for the previous ten days.  The only person who never seemed
depressed was Mr Hooker.  When not taking exercise on deck, he always
had a volume in his hand, from which he was constantly making notes into
his pocket-book.

"You see, my young friend," he said to me one day, "I am anxious to
ascertain what others have known, because all that man can aim at is to
increase the stock of knowledge possessed by his fellow-men."

The varied changes of the ocean, and the creatures which appeared
beneath its surface, and occasionally above it, afforded us an unfailing
source of interest.  On a bright morning I was engaged with some work by
the side of the boatswain when I heard Grace cry out--

"Oh, look--look what funny birds!"

"Why, miss, those are not birds, unless they may be called water birds;
those are flying-fish," said Mr Tarbox, who had come with me to the
ship's side.

Others, with Mr Hooker, came also, looking on at the curious sight.
Numbers of fish with wings, or more properly fins, as long as their
bodies, were rising out of the water and darting along for a
considerable distance above the surface, again, however, to fall
helplessly into their native element.  Directly after them, in pursuit,
appeared several large fish--now one of the latter leaped half out of
the water, now another, seldom failing to catch one of the beautiful
creatures in its huge jaws.

"The dolphins are getting a fine banquet," I heard Mr Hooker remark.
"The poor _dactylopteri_ are the sufferers; but they do not fall a prey
to their persecutors without a brave attempt to escape.  See, no sooner
have they wetted their wings than they are out of the water again, and
will lead them a long chase, till the dolphins are wearied out."

We watched the pursuers and pursued till they were lost to sight in the
distance.

The ship once clear of the Doldrums, met the steady trade-wind blowing
from the south-east.  With her tacks aboard, she stood away towards the
South American coast.  When I went on deck at night, I observed a change
in the appearance of the constellations; and now the beautiful one of
the Southern Cross became every day clearer, rising as it were in the
sky.  The magellhenic clouds also came in sight, showing that the ship
was now in the southern hemisphere.  Frequently patches of light were
passed in the water; caused, Mr Hooker told me, by the _pyrosoma_.
They exhibited a beautiful pale silvery light; but when they were taken
out of the water the light disappeared, till any particular part of the
creature was touched, when the light again burst forth at that point,
pervading the whole animal mass.

The _Bussorah Merchant_ did not, however, as many ships do, touch at Rio
de Janeiro; but passing through another belt of calms at the Tropic of
Capricorn, kept away eastward towards the Cape of Good Hope.  One
evening, while I was keeping watch under the first officer--for I was
considered fit to take regular duty on board--the ship running at the
rate of four or five knots an hour through the water, I heard a sound as
if substances were falling upon the deck.  As I went to windward, a
large dark object, wet and cold, struck me on the shoulder, and then
fell down.  I instantly sung out; when the boatswain, who was on deck,
brought a lantern; and there, to the surprise of all of us, a dozen or
more cuttle fish were found, which had sprung over the weather bulwark.

"Well," exclaimed Mr Tarbox, "I never did see such a thing as this
before."

Mr Hooker, however, said that he had heard of it, as the creatures can
spring an immense distance.  "I have known some," he said, "to spring
right over a ship; though, certainly, to look at them, it is difficult
to ascertain their means of rising out of the water."

The island of Tristan da Cunha was sighted, looming in the evening light
like some huge monster rising out of the ocean.  Looking over the sides
the water appeared unusually clear; and I could see, far down, the fish
swimming about by the side of the ship.  Even Mr Hooker, however, did
not succeed in catching any.  The stormy petrel now made its appearance;
and I and Emily and Grace were delighted soon afterwards to see a
magnificent white bird with outstretched wings following the ship.  "An
albatross! an albatross!"  I shouted, for I guessed at once what it was.
Mr Hooker said he wished to catch two or three and prepare them to
send back to England by the _Bussorah Merchant_.  He accordingly made
preparations to catch them.

"I should not like to shoot one though," I remarked.  "You remember what
became of the `Ancient Mariner' who shot an albatross; how his ship
floated all alone on the ocean day after day, and week after week, and
month after month, till all on board had died and he alone remained."

"Oh no; pray don't!" exclaimed Emily, "lest so dreadful a fate should
overtake us."

"It is only a fancy of the poet's, perhaps," I remarked.  "At the same
time I like to try and believe it."

"I hope the same fate does not overtake those who catch the bird with a
bait.  It is his own fault, recollect, if he swallows it," said Mr
Hooker, who had now got a strong line with a hook and a piece of meat on
it, with a float to keep it from sinking.  This he now veered astern.  I
could not help admiring the wondrous power exhibited by the bird as it
glided on without flapping its wings.  Now one was seen to dash down at
a piece of refuse which the cook had thrown overboard, slowly again to
rise and then to follow the ship, apparently without the slightest
exertion.

"That gives me an idea," said Mr Hooker, throwing a large piece of fat
overboard before he let go his baited hook.  Again the albatross darted
down on it; and then, without rising again, swam vigorously after the
baited hook.

"There--he has snapped it up!"  I exclaimed.

Instantly the bird found the obstruction.  When the sailors who had come
aft began to attempt to haul him in, out went his wings, with which he
endeavoured to hold himself back, offering a powerful resistance to the
line.  Although three men were pulling away with might and main, yet the
bird could not be drawn nearer the stern; and, at length, crack went the
line, and off it flew with the hook and the remainder of the line in its
mouth.

"Poor creature!  I am afraid it will die a miserable death, instead of
speedily being put out of its sufferings, as it would have been had it
more wisely come on board," observed Mr Hooker.  "However, we must get
another line and take care there is no flaw in it."

The passengers now amused themselves by throwing bits of meat overboard,
and seeing the albatrosses pounce down and snap up the tempting morsels.
At last Mr Hooker's fresh line was got ready.  No sooner had the bait
reached the water than down pounced a bird upon it, rising immediately
with the hook in his mouth.  This time the sailors, instead of pulling
the line up, had to haul it down, just as a paper kite is hauled down
from the sky; and, at length, by running forward, the huge bird was
brought on deck.  Still it fought bravely with its wings, which it would
have been dangerous for any one to have approached.  At length Mr
Hooker put an end to its sufferings by a blow from a boat's stretcher.
The other albatrosses, in no way disconcerted by the disappearance of
their companion, still followed the ship.  Two more were caught; one
hauled out of the water, the other hauled on deck like the first.

A young gentleman going out to Japan then made his appearance with a gun
in his hand; and in spite of my warnings of what might be our fate
should he kill one, began firing away at the birds.  Even a practised
marksman would not have found it easy to hit one of them, although they
were in no way scared by the report of the gun.  At length, however, a
bullet struck one of them on the head, just as he descended into the
water.  In an instant down pounced his companions, driving their beaks
into the dead body; and in a few minutes, while it still remained in
sight, they had torn it almost to pieces.

"I hope no harm will come of that shot of yours," I said to the young
civilian; "but look out!"

The young gentleman laughed, and said he did not believe in such
nonsense.  Mr Hooker was soon busily employed in skinning his
albatrosses and preparing the skins for stuffing.



CHAPTER FOUR.

I PERFORM A SATISFACTORY EXPLOIT.

Scarcely had the albatross been shot, than the wind, which had hitherto
been moderate, increased considerably, and in a short time we had two
reefs in our topsails.  The weather, however, was in other respects
fine, and away the ship went, careering over the foaming seas like a
high-bred hunter, dashing them aside as she rushed onward on her course.
There was something very exhilarating in the movement.  The air, too,
was bracing, and everybody seemed in high spirits.  As I happened to
pass the caboose, however, I heard Potto Jumbo, the black cook,
grumbling greatly.  Some one had told him that he would have to roast
one of the albatrosses for dinner.  Although generally a very merry,
good-natured fellow, this had made him excessively irate.

"No good ever came from shooting albatross!"  I heard him exclaim.  "Dey
like to live as much as man.  Dey love freedom.  Soar high, high up in
de sky, den swoop down, and fly along de foaming waves.  Ah, if I had
wings like dem, I no peel potatoes and boil soup for ship's company!"

He looked up, as he spoke, towards the magnificent birds which ever and
anon appeared high above the ship's bulwarks, as they darted forward as
if to show at how far greater a rate they could dart through the air
than she could glide over the ocean.

"Ah, you once slave, Potto Jumbo!  Fancy you flying with white wings!
Ha, ha, ha!"

This remark was made by a dark-skinned native of the East, who was
standing at the time near the caboose.  He was the serang of the
Lascars, of whom we had a dozen on board.  Ali Tomba was his name.  He
and Potto Jumbo could not abide each other, so it seemed.  His dark
countenance, with high cheek-bones and fierce eyes, was far from
prepossessing, though his figure was well-formed; his shoulders broad,
with a small waist, and muscular arms and legs, denoting great strength
and activity.  His hands and feet were wonderfully small, considering
the work to which they had been put from his earliest days.  He and his
men wore their Eastern dress, consisting of shirt and jacket, and a sort
of kilt formed from a circular piece of plaid, a scarf worn over the
shoulders, which served as a covering in bad weather, or could be
wrapped round the arm for a shield in battle.  A red cotton
handkerchief, generally well stiffened, was their usual head-dress.
They were remarkably active fellows aloft, and few things which an
English sailor could do they would not venture to undertake.  However,
neither Ali nor his men were favourites on board.  They obeyed the
superior officers readily enough, but I observed that when Mr Tarbox
directed them to do anything, they did it in a sulky way.  Why this was
I could not make out.--Ali stood by, bantering the cook about his
remark.  Potto Jumbo had taken a liking to me.  He had been on board the
ship in her former voyage, and I believe knew my history.  He himself
was deserted--without friends in the world--and this gave him a fellow
feeling, as he considered that his case was similar to mine.  I had an
idea, indeed, that there was more in Potto Jumbo than appeared.  Though
he had a warm and quick temper, he was evidently kind-hearted I judged
it by the way he treated the animals on board.  Merlin, especially, was
a favourite of his, and he took good care that he should never be
without a plentiful dinner.  Even in the way he put the dog's food down
he showed his kind disposition; and while he was mixing up the mess and
Merlin stood by wagging his tail and licking his lips, Potto Jumbo
always cast a kind glance downwards at his four-footed friend, and
generally had a pleasant word to give him into the bargain.

For Oliver Farwell, however, he had a greater regard than for anybody on
board.  I rather think because he more than any one else seemed to
require sympathy and protection.  Though the boy had plenty of spirit,
he seemed scarcely fitted for the rough life on board ship.  The other
boys, when they could do so without being seen by Potto Jumbo, amused
themselves by ridiculing and teasing Oliver.  They seemed to delight in
playing him all sorts of tricks, and very often pretty rough ones too.
I had never spoken much to Oliver, though I observed that whenever Mr
Hooker was describing anything, Oliver, if he could do so without
impropriety, stopped and listened, and seemed to take great interest in
what was said.  When work was over, I often saw him in the pantry
reading.  Not only on Sundays, but every day nearly, it seemed to me, he
read the Bible at odd moments; indeed, a sailor at sea, unless he takes
odd moments for reading, may never read at all.  Oliver had not only his
duties as a cabin-boy to attend to, but as he wished to become a sailor,
and the captain desired that he should become one, he was frequently
employed on deck.

At the moment I am describing, Oliver Farwell had gone forward, and with
several other boys was in the fore-rigging.  What they were about I do
not remember, but, looking up, I saw they were skylarking, and it seemed
as if the others were trying to play Oliver some trick.  Be that as it
may, all of a sudden I saw one of them fall from aloft.  I thought it
was Oliver.  Of course it ought not to have made any difference to me
who it was.  I expected that he would be killed, but he struck the
hammock nettings, and bounded overboard.  I did not stop a moment to
think.  It did not occur to me that it would take a long time to heave
the ship to, and to lower a boat, and with the heavy sea running the
operation would be a difficult and dangerous one, and that it would be
equally difficult to pick anybody out of the water.  I had been noted at
school for being a good swimmer, and had, just before I left, saved the
life of a school-fellow who had got out of his depth, and been carried
out a good way by the current.  I had followed him, dived after he had
sank, and brought him to the surface, and then hauled him on to the bank
of the river where we were bathing.  I remembered this, or perhaps I
should say I did not think about anything but the one idea of saving the
life of a fellow-creature.  I was lightly clad.  Throwing off my jacket,
before Potto Jumbo could cry out, or any one else attempt to stop me, I
was overboard.  I was in the water almost as soon as the cry of "A man
overboard!" was raised.

A glance aloft showed me that it was Oliver Farwell who had fallen.  As
I reached the water I could see him on the top of a wave, just as the
ship's quarter glided past me.  I shouted out to him, and swam forward.
I now found how different it was swimming in smooth water and swimming
in the heavy sea there was running.  At the same time I had been
accustomed to fresh water, which is less buoyant than salt, and thus I
felt myself greatly supported.

The instant the cry of "A man overboard!" was raised, a life-buoy was
let go.  It fell some distance from me.  I doubted whether I should swim
to that and tow it to Oliver, or go to Oliver first and try to get him
up to it.  My fear was that Oliver would sink before I could reach him.
I determined to get hold of Oliver.  I could hear the cries of the
people on board as they watched me, encouraging me in my attempt.  I had
scarcely been in the water ten minutes when I heard a peculiar rushing
sound, and turning round my head saw the long wings of an enormous
albatross passing close above me.  A blow from its beak would have been
fatal.  I looked towards Oliver more anxiously than ever, fearing that,
passing me, it might strike him.  I shouted to him, and told him to
shout too, hoping that the noise might scare off the bird.  Others,
however, came sweeping by.  Again a wing almost touched my head.
Diving, I knew, would have been of no use, for the creature might have
followed me far lower than I could have sunk.  Still I swam on.

I heard another shout, and as I rose to the top of a wave I saw just
astern of the ship a black head and face--it was Potto Jumbo.  Above his
head he waved a long knife.  He intended it as a signal that he was
coming to my assistance.  At the same instant a loud bark came from the
stern of the ship, and I saw Merlin, who appeared one moment at the
taffrail, and the next leaped over into the foaming ocean.  Nearer and
nearer he approached.  I was more anxious for him than for my human
friend, as I was afraid the albatrosses would attack him, and he had no
means of defending himself.  Although I had followed Oliver almost
immediately into the water, it seemed a long time before I could get up
to him.  A curling wave rolled towards him; he was buried beneath it.  I
thought he had sunk for ever.  I darted forward, and caught sight of him
just beneath the surface.  I seized him by the collar of his jacket, and
together we rose to the surface.  He was still conscious.

"Throw yourself on your back!"  I cried.  I helped him to do so.  And
now I struck out for the life-buoy.  A sea providentially threw it
towards us.  Sooner than I could have expected I had hold of it, and had
placed one of the beckets in Oliver's hands.  Not a moment too soon.  I
turned my glance upward for an instant at the bright blue sky, out of
which the hot sun shone on the sparkling waters.  Suddenly a dark shadow
seemed to intervene.  I heard a rushing sound, distinct amid the roar of
the waves, and, to my horror, I saw close above me a huge pair of white
wings, from which projected the head and formidable beak of a bird.  He
was darting towards me.  A blow from that beak might have struck either
of us senseless.  The only means of defence I could think of was my
shoe.  I pulled it from my foot to ward off the blow.  The bird seized
it, and, as if content with his prize, off he flew.  A shout of applause
from Potto Jumbo reached us, and in another minute he and Merlin got up
to the life-buoy.  A sea was on the point of taking off Oliver, but
Merlin seized him by the collar, and dragged him back within my reach.
Satisfied for the moment, he kept swimming round and round us, as if
prepared to render any assistance which might be required.  I was indeed
thankful that he had come, for I could with difficulty help Oliver to
hold on to the life-buoy.  Another, and another bird flew towards us,
but whether frightened at our shouts, or the flourish of Potto Jumbo's
sharp blade, I do not know, but, circling round, they flew off again as
if in search of other prey.

We could now see the ship hove to.  A boat was lowered, but so long was
she before shoving off, so it seemed to me, that we were afraid some
accident had happened.  One idea occurred to me while in the water.
Should I be lost, what would become of Emily?  I thought of the prayer
of the sinking master of the ship in Falconer's "Shipwreck," and I
prayed for her I loved best on earth, as many a seaman undoubtedly has
prayed, when tossing on the foaming waves.  Still I had no fears; I knew
that that prayer would be heard.

"Keep up, Massa Walter!  Keep up!" cried Potto Jumbo, as he helped me to
hold our companion on to the life-buoy, and saw that I indeed required
aid myself.  "Keep up, Massa Walter! boat soon come.  See, see! dere she
is away from the ship!  Hurrah!  Never say die!  See, she comes!  Joe
Tarbox or the first mate in her.  Never fear!  Hurrah, hurrah!"

Thus he continued shouting, for the double purpose of keeping up our
spirits, and of scaring away the albatrosses.  Now, at length, I saw
that the boat was clear of the ship.  On she came.  Now she appeared on
the summit of a foaming sea, now she was hid from view in the trough
below it; then again she came in sight, for when she was sinking we at
the same time were rising in most instances, and could therefore look
over the intervening seas.  Still the time seemed very long.  It
required careful management to get near the life-buoy without striking
us.  To pick up one person was difficult, but to take up three the risk
was far greater.

"You go first!" cried Potto Jumbo, as the boat approached.

"No, no," I said; "let Oliver be taken in.  He is almost drowned as it
is."

We could see the boat's bows almost above us.  It seemed as if the next
instant she would come down like a huge hammer upon our heads.  But Joe
Tarbox knew well what he was about, and turned her head aside, while a
strong arm stretched forth, seized hold of Oliver as Potto Jumbo held
him up, and he was safe on board.  My companion insisted on my going
next.  Again the boat, which had been driven off by the sea, approached
us.

"Quick! quick!" cried Joe.  "Have them both in at once!"

I was nearest my friend, and seizing hold of me he hauled me in over the
quarter, while Potto sprang to the side, and was dragged in by the other
men.  Merlin waited till he saw us both on board, and not till then did
he push for the boat, with his snout lifted up as if asking for
assistance.  Ready hands were stretched out to him, and with their help
he quickly scrambled on board, and made his way aft to the stern-sheets,
where he looked into my face as if to inquire whether I was all right.

"We must have the life-buoy, though," cried Joe; "for another of us may
be falling overboard before long."

As there was no danger of injuring the life-buoy, that was quickly got
on board.  And now commenced our return to the ship.  It required
careful steering to make our way amid those heavy seas, and still more
dangerous was it to get alongside.  Oliver, who was scarcely conscious,
was first hoisted up.  I was very glad of assistance to get up too; for
though I did not feel fatigued, my strength had really almost gone.  No
sooner had I reached the deck than I found myself in Emily's arms.

"Dear, dear Walter!" she exclaimed; "you brave boy; and yet--" and she
burst into tears.

Mrs Davenport and Grace were close behind her.  "You must come below,
Walter--come below and get off your wet things!" they exclaimed.

Merlin followed Potto Jumbo on deck, and, giving himself a thorough
shaking, came aft, wagging his tail, to receive the approving pats of
his friends; while the black cook, casting a look behind him, which
seemed to say that he was indifferent to the compliments which might
have been paid him, made his way forward into the fore-peak to shift his
wet clothes.

I will not repeat the complimentary things which were said to me by the
passengers.  Mr Hooker wrung my hand.

"It was well and bravely done, Walter," he exclaimed.  "I am glad to see
that you have got it in you."

"Oh!  I did not think about it," I answered honestly.  "I once before
picked a fellow out of the water, so I thought I ought to try to do it
again.  I know there are a good many people who cannot swim, and I hoped
that I could do it."

I quickly had my wet things off, and made my appearance again on deck,
not much the worse for my exertions, though perhaps my hand did tremble
a little; and I was not sorry when the captain asked me into the
cuddy-cabin, and gave me a glass of wine.

"I am thankful that you saved that poor boy, Walter," he said, giving me
one of his kind looks.  "I should be deeply grieved to lose him.  He is
the only son of a widowed mother, and her heart would have been broken
had he been lost.  He had shipped on board a vessel bound for the coast
of Africa, when I found him, and persuaded the captain to let him come
aboard my ship; for the crew were a rough lot, and he would have learned
no good among them, while the risk of losing his life on the coast would
have been very great.  His poor mother had seen better days, I found.  I
do not know much of her history, but I know she brought up two
daughters, and gave them a good education, and she had done in the same
way all she could for this boy; but I believe that her means failed her,
and she was then unable to pay for his instruction, so that he only got
what she herself could give him.  The boy's whole heart had been set on
going to sea, little knowing, of course, what he would have to go
through."

Soon after we came on board, it began to blow much harder; and we had
good reason to be thankful that the accident had not happened later in
the day.  I was, after this event, made a good deal of on board.  The
captain observed that I ran a considerable risk of being spoiled.  It
was not fair, indeed, that I should get all the praise, when the black
cook had also behaved in a gallant manner.  Indeed, if it had not been
for him, I suspect that the albatrosses would have finished both Oliver
and me before the boat could have got up to us.

"Very glad you escaped, Massa Walter," said Potto Jumbo, the following
day.  "Dear me!  I jump overboard twice as much sea as dat!" he added,
when I told him how thankful I was to him.  "Me fight shark with one big
knife, and cut him under the t'roat and kill him.  Potto Jumbo one
'phibious animal, so doctor once say to me.  I swim in de water like
porpoise, and climb tree like monkey.  Ah! you see de monkeys when we
get out dere," and Potto Jumbo pointed eastward.  "Ah! dat one fine
country, only little too hot sometimes for lily-white skins;" and Potto
Jumbo grinned from ear to ear, as if congratulating himself that his own
dark covering was impervious to the sun's rays of that or any other
region.

Potto Jumbo's chief friend was an English seaman--Roger Trew by name.
Roger was short and stout, with wonderfully long arms, and of immense
strength; but he never put it forth except in the way of duty, and was
on ordinary occasions as mild and gentle as a lamb.  I believe Potto
Jumbo admired him because he had the power of knocking any man down on
board who might offend him, and yet did not use it.  The captain
considered Trew a good seaman; and so, I know, did Joe Tarbox.  His
figure did not appear well suited for going aloft, and yet no man could
more quickly overhaul the weather earing in a heavy gale than he could.
I have said sufficient about the ship's company for the present.  I do
not mention others, because there was nothing very remarkable about
them.  I had been doing my best to become a seaman ever since I stepped
on board, both by making myself acquainted with every manoeuvre
performed, and learning the arts of knotting and splicing, reefing and
steering, as well as studying navigation.  The captain told me that he
was well pleased with my progress, and this encouraged me to persevere.
My great ambition was to learn a profession, and thus to be independent.
It is what all boys should aim at.  I had originally no particular
taste for the sea; but having chosen it, I was determined to be a
thorough sailor.  How many among my schoolfellows could not make up
their minds what to be, or did not seem to think that it was necessary
to be something or other.  Now my idea was, and is stronger now, that
every person ought to possess some especial knowledge of a profession,
calling, or trade, by the practice of which he can maintain himself.  If
all boys and lads were impressed with this important practical truth,
how many might be saved from ruin, from "going to the dogs," as the
phrase is, simply because they have no honest means of supporting
themselves.  I say this here, because I may otherwise forget to say it
elsewhere, and I am very anxious to impress it on the minds of my
readers.  We had two men on board the _Bussorah Merchant_ who had been
at good schools, and at a university, but had failed to benefit by their
advantages.  They had had money--one, indeed, several hundreds a year--
but they had dissipated the whole of it, and had been wandering about
the streets of London for several months utterly penniless, till they
shipped as seaman before the mast on board a ship bound round Cape Horn.
After knocking about in the Pacific for some years, they had returned
home no richer than when they went out, and were glad immediately to
ship aboard us.  From their appearance and manners I should not have
suspected what they had been, till one day I heard one of them quoting
"Horace" to the other.  He was rather surprised when I capped the verse;
and by degrees, having gained their confidence, they gave me the account
I now repeat, with a great many more circumstances which I do not
consider it necessary to narrate.  Poor fellows, they had been so
thoroughly accustomed to the rough ways of the roughest of seamen, that
I suspect they had lost all taste for a more refined style of life.  So
I say to my young readers, whatever you do, fix upon a profession, and
try to make yourself thoroughly competent to fill it.  Do not rest or
flag till you have done so; and never for a moment suppose that you will
have any permanent enjoyment in an idle life.

We had got nearly half-way across the Indian Ocean, when, one day as I
was aloft, I saw in the far distance an object which looked like a log
of wood, with a tiny white sail appearing above it.  I hailed the deck,
and Mr Thudicumb bringing his glass, came up to look at it.  After some
time it was reported to the captain, and the ship was kept away towards
it.  As we approached, Mr Thudicumb said it appeared to him like a
canoe; but though she seemed to be steering steadily before the wind, no
one could be seen aboard her.



CHAPTER FIVE.

SUSPICIOUS BEHAVIOUR OF THE LASCARS.

Numerous telescopes were turned towards the object I have described.  "I
see a man's head!" cried one.  "Yes; and his shoulders!" exclaimed
another.  "He is leaning back in the stern of the canoe, steering with a
paddle."  He had not discovered us, though, for on he went careering
over the seas as unconcernedly as if he were not some hundreds of miles
away from land.

In a short time we were abreast of the canoe, passing her to leeward.  A
dark-skinned man, lightly clad, sat in the stern steering with an oar.
His sail was a piece of calico spread on a slender yard, the mast being
scarcely thicker than the yard.  Not till we were close to him did he
perceive us.  Lifting up his hands towards the ship, he pointed to his
mouth, making an imploring gesture at the same time.  Apparently he was
trying to speak, but his voice was too weak to be heard.  Still he sat
as before, not attempting to rise and lower the sail; but on went the
light canoe, dancing from wave to wave, now gliding down from the top of
one, quickly to mount to the summit of another.

"I doubt, sir, whether he has got the strength to move," said Mr
Thudicumb to the captain.  "Or he is afraid of his canoe broaching to,
should he attempt to leave the helm."

"We must run on, and heave to for him," said Captain Davenport.  "We can
then lower a boat and pick him up.  It is as you suppose, Thudicumb; I
have no doubt about it."

The poor occupant of the canoe made a gesture of despair as he saw the
ship leaving him astern.  Apparently he did not understand the meaning
of the words addressed to him through the captain's speaking-trumpet.
Still he sat as before, his eyes kept constantly ahead, while with one
arm he directed the course of his canoe.  She flew so fast that we had
to get a considerable distance ahead before we hove to.  A boat was then
lowered, into which Mr Tarbox and six stout hands jumped for the
purpose of intercepting the approaching canoe.  The boat had only just
time to get ready, with her head in the direction towards which the
canoe was sailing, when she was up to her.  We watched her anxiously
from the ship.  She was soon alongside the boat.  Several strong hands
seized her, while the occupant was lifted out and placed in the
stern-sheets of the boat.  Quick as lightning the canoe was passed
astern and secured, and the boat pulled back towards the ship.  With the
heavy sea there was running, it was a difficult matter to get alongside,
and still more so to lift up a helpless person without risk of injury.
By the management of the boatswain, however, helped by those above, the
dark-skinned stranger was soon lifted up on deck.  He was too weak to
speak, but he had still consciousness sufficient to point to his lips.
Soup for the passengers' luncheon was just being brought aft.  A little
was immediately poured down his throat.  It had the effect of reviving
him somewhat, and he uttered a few words, but none of those standing
round were able to comprehend their meaning.  The canoe was safely got
on board and examined.  Not a particle of food was found, but in the
bottom of a small cask there remained about half a pint of water.  The
wood, however, from the sides of the canoe had been scraped off.

"That is what the poor fellow has been living on," observed Tarbox.
"Hard fare, to be sure.  It would not help much to keep an Englishman's
soul in his body; but it is wonderful what these black fellows can live
on."

The canoe was about eighteen feet long, cut out of a single log, worked
very fine, with wash-boards nailed on above.  It seemed surprising that
she could have gone through the heavy sea which had been running for
some days past.  Her owner was carried below, and after a little more
food had been given him, he fell fast asleep.

When he awoke, he appeared to be perfectly recovered, sitting up and
looking round him with an air of astonishment, as if he had not been
aware how he had been brought on board.  I had accompanied the surgeon
to visit him.  He again uttered some of the strange words we had before
heard, but finding no one understood him, he stopped, and appeared to be
collecting his senses.  He then said something which sounded like
French.  It was very bad French, to be sure; but we shortly made out
that he was expressing his thanks to us for having rescued him.

The next day he was up and dressed, and though somewhat weak, perhaps,
apparently as well as anybody on board.  He now came aft, when, in his
broken language, helped out with a word or two of English, he gave us a
strange story.  I cannot pretend to give his account in his own
language--indeed it would not be very clear if I did so, as it was only
after he had been on board some time that we gained all the particulars.
He told us that his name was Macco, that he was born in Madagascar, at
a village in the north of that large island.  With several lads from the
same village he had gone on board a vessel which had carried them to the
Mauritius.  There he had worked as a field-labourer for some time, and
though not a slave, treated very little better than one.  He had learned
something about Christianity, but not much, I am afraid.  He knew that
some of his countrymen had become Christians; but as large numbers of
them had been murdered, he was afraid, should he ever go back to
Madagascar, that he might be treated in the same way, and was therefore
unwilling to acknowledge that he was a Christian.  After a time he had
engaged with several other people from Madagascar, as well as Creoles of
the Mauritius, to accompany a person to the island of Rodrigez, to be
employed under him as fishermen.  They were at once embarked on board a
small colonial vessel, which conveyed them to that island, where they
were hired out to different masters.  It appeared, however, that the
Creoles were very jealous of the Malagasys, and poor Macco found himself
very ill-treated by them.  Frequently they beat him, and often
threatened his life.  Several times he complained of their conduct to
his master; but the man was hard-hearted, and only laughed at his
complaints, telling him to go and thrash the Creoles, and they would
soon cease to torment him.  Poor Macco, however, was a mild-tempered
young man, and probably thought that he would only be treated worse if
he made any such attempt.  At length, to avoid the persecutions to which
he was subjected, he determined to run away from the island, and
endeavour to reach the Mauritius.  He mentioned his determination to one
of his fellow-countrymen, who advised him to put it into execution.  He,
however, had to wait some time before he could carry out his project.
He began, however, at once to store up a supply of food to support
himself during his projected voyage.  At first he contemplated building
a canoe for himself, but as that might raise suspicions of his
intentions, he resolved to take one belonging to his master.  He had
some scruples about stealing it, but at the same time he persuaded
himself that as his master would not redress his grievances, he was
justified in doing so.  He probably was unacquainted with the golden
rule of never doing wrong that good might come of it.  It was a subject,
indeed, on which casuists might differ.  Be that as it may, Macco fixed
on a canoe which he thought would answer his purpose.  His countrymen
assisted him, and he procured a piece of calico to serve as a sail, and
soon cut a mast and spar on which to spread it.  The only food he was
able to provide for supporting existence was eight pounds of uncooked
rice, and a small barrel of water.

One evening as it was growing dark he stole down to the shore, and the
wind being as he thought fair, shoved off the canoe, hoisted a sail, and
with an oar for steering, which he secured to the stern of the canoe,
stood away from the land.  The weather at first was very fine, and he
glided smoothly over the sea, hoping before long to reach either the
Mauritius or Bourbon.  He was unable to restrain his hunger, which the
uncooked rice could have done little to appease, and therefore ate up
nearly a pound a day.  Thus at the end of eight or nine days he had
finished the whole of his provisions.  He had still some water left,
however, and he knew very well that he could go without food for a day,
hoping before the end of it to have land in sight.  He scarcely stirred
from his seat in the stern of the canoe.  When he dropped off to sleep,
the movement of the oar very soon awoke him.  Few Europeans on such fare
would have lived beyond the first ten days.  Macco, however, when his
rice was expended, began to scrape away the wood from the inside of his
canoe.  This, cut up fine, he ate, washing it down with water.  Day
after day passed by, and still no land, no sail appeared.  Often he
slept, steering instinctively, it must have been, before the wind, and
waking up to feel the gnawing of hunger.  This he satisfied with the
scraped wood.  Incredible as it may appear, such was the only food on
which he supported existence for thirteen days.  We had many
opportunities of testing the man's honesty and had no reason to doubt
his veracity.  He was of course little more than skin and bone when he
was brought on board.  He had actually been twenty-two days at sea when
we found him.

Note.  The narrative is true, and is given exactly as described in the
original account.

In the course of a few days he had completely recovered his strength,
and seemed very well satisfied with his lot.  As he was a smart, active
fellow, he was entered as one of the seamen of the _Bussorah Merchant_.
He knew a little English already, and quickly picked up more.  He was
thus well able to understand the orders given him.  He did not appear to
be a favourite with the men.  He was evidently retiring and unsociable.
Perhaps he had been so long subjected to ill-treatment from others, that
he was unwilling to place confidence in those among whom he was cast,
until he had ascertained that they were well-disposed towards him.  I
observed, however, that Ali was constantly speaking to him, but I rather
doubt that their words were very intelligible to each other, as English
was the only common language they possessed.  Ali knew it very
imperfectly, and Macco still less.  More than once I observed Ali's
quick, piercing, fierce eyes fixed on him attentively, as he appeared to
be endeavouring to impress some matter on his mind.  Macco's look all
the time was passive, and he either did not comprehend what was said, or
was uninfluenced by it.

One night, when it was my watch on deck, I had been standing looking out
on the forecastle, when I heard a voice near me say, "When you step aft,
Massa Walter, I got word to whisper in your ear."  It was Potto Jumbo
who spoke.  I had thought that he had been in his bunk asleep.

"What is it?"  I asked.

"I tell presently--not here, though," he answered, gliding away from me,
and going over to the other side of the deck, where he stood, as if
looking up and admiring the stars which glittered above our heads.

As soon as I could leave the forecastle, I went and stood near the
gangway, where the black cook soon joined me.

"I no like what going forward on board, forward there," and he pointed
to the fore-peak.  "Dat Ali Tomba one big rascal.  He go talky talky to
de men, and try to make dem mutinous like hisself."

"But what can he have to complain of?"  I observed; "the crew seem all
well treated."

"Dere it is dat make me angry," said Potto.  "He come to me one day, he
say, `Potto Jumbo, you black slave, you peel potato for white men; dey
make you do what dey like.  Why not strike one blow for freedom?'  I
say, `I free as any man on board.  I come here because I like come here.
I go away when voyage over, and live ashore like one gentleman till
money gone, and den come to sea again.  No man more free dan I.'"

"I think you are right, Potto," I observed, "on that point; but surely
Ali fancies that he has some cause of complaint.  Why does he not speak
out like a man, and say what it is?  Have you any idea?"

"Just dis, Massa Walter," he answered; "in de last ship Ali sailed in,
de captain was one big tyrant.  He flogged de men, he stopped de men's
wages, he feed dem badly, and treat dem worse dan de dogs in de street
without masters.  One day dis Captain Ironfist--dat was his name--go to
flog Ali, but Ali draw his knife and swear he die first or kill de
captain; but de captain knocked him down wid one handspike, and put Ali
in irons, and den flog him, and den put him back in irons; and den
carried him to port, and den put him into prison.  Captain Ironfist
sailed away in another ship, and Ali not find him; so Ali swore dat he
would have his revenge on de next captain he sailed wid.  He no find
opportunity to do harm to Captain Davenport as yet, but he wait like
snake in de grass to spring up and sting him when he can.  Now he and
his men want to go to Calcutta, and dey thought when de ship sailed dat
dey were going dere.  Now dey find dat we go to Japan, dey bery angry,
and all swear dat de ship shall go to Calcutta in spite of de captain.
Dere are some bad Englishmen on board as well as demselves, and dey up
to any mischief, and Ali tink he count on dem.  He tink too he count on
Potto Jumbo, but he make one big mistake.  I no say anything when he
talk to me, but shrug my shoulders, and make one ugly face at him, and
so he tink all right.  He tink too he got Macco, but Potto not so
certain of dat."

"But, surely," I observed, "he and his Lascars would not attempt to take
the ship from the captain and officers, with the larger number of the
white crew, who would certainly side with us?"

"Don't know," said Potto.  "He one daring fellow, and he try anyting;
but if he find he no strong enough, he try to burn de ship or to scuttle
her.  At all events, he try to do some mischief."

"This is, indeed, a serious matter," I observed; "and I am grateful to
you, Potto, for telling me.  At the same time, however, bad as Ali's
intentions may be, I really do not think we have much cause for alarm.
Still, I am sure the captain also will be grateful to you for the
warning you give him; but I am afraid he will be very much annoyed when
he hears of it.  I think I must first tell Mr Thudicumb, and he can
arrange the best way of letting the captain know."

"Dat's it, Massa Walter.  Tell de first officer.  He wise man.  He no
put out by dis or any oder matter.  I now go forward, lest Ali come on
deck, or any of his people, and see me talking to you."

"Do so," I said; "but, Potto, I think you will assist us if you would
pretend to be more ready to listen to what Ali has to say to you, and
you can give me information of his plans."

Potto did not answer immediately.

"I not certain dat Ali speak de truth to me," he answered.  "At first he
did; but he big, cunning rogue, and he suspect dat I no love his plans.
Still, Massa Walter, I do as you wish, dough Potto Jumbo no like to act
spy over any one, even big rascal like Ali.  Potto Jumbo once prince in
his own country, before de enemies of his people came and burnt his
village, and kill his fader, and moder, and broders, and sisters, and
carry off him and all dey did leave alive on board de slave-ship.  Den
de British cruiser take her, and Potto Jumbo enter on board de
man-of-war, and dere became boy to de cook, and now Potto Jumbo is cook
hisself on board de _Bussorah Merchant_.  Dere, Massa Walter, you have
my history.  You see I do not wish to do anything derogatory to my
family and my rank;" and Potto Jumbo drew himself up, as if he was again
the monarch of half-a-dozen bamboo-built cottages, and their unclothed,
dark-skinned inhabitants.  "Now, good-night, Massa Walter, again; I go
forward."

Potto Jumbo glided away to the fore-peak, and I walked aft.  I had,
however, some little time to wait before my watch was over.  I then
hurried into the first mate's cabin.  He was about to leave it to take
charge of the deck.

"Will you let me have a word with you, sir," I said, "before you leave
the cabin.  I have something somewhat unpleasant to communicate, and I
do not like to delay doing so."

"Let me have it out then at once, Walter," he said.  "Nothing like the
present moment; and, for my part, I always like to know the worst, if I
can get at it."

I at once told him in a low voice the information I had received from
Potto Jumbo.  The light of the lamp in his cabin fell on his
weather-beaten countenance, but I saw no change in it.

"Very likely," he observed; "that serang has a hang-dog look, which
shows that he is capable of attempting any atrocity; but I do not think
he will succeed notwithstanding.  I will tell the captain in the
morning, but there is no necessity to do so now.  For his own sake, he
will not set the ship on fire, or scuttle her, at this distance from
land; and as to his hope of overpowering us, or the English part of the
crew, the idea is absurd.  However, I will warn the other officers.  You
go and tell Mr Tarbox I wish to speak to him.  Take care the Lascar
fellows do not see you; and then go back to your berth and turn in."

I made my way to the boatswain's cabin, and, rousing him up, told him
that the first officer wished to see him on a matter of importance.

"I need ask no questions, Walter," he observed.  "Do you know what it is
about?"

"Mr Thudicumb will tell you all about it," I replied; keeping to my
resolution of not speaking to any one else about the matter.

I then went to my berth, and feeling sure that all would be managed
wisely by the first officer, was in less than a couple of minutes fast
asleep.  In my dreams, however, I heard fearful noises.  I fancied I saw
the mutineers rushing aft; but instead of ten Lascars, there were fifty
or one hundred dark-skinned fellows, with sharp krisses in their hands,
threatening destruction to all who opposed them.



CHAPTER SIX.

THE SHIP IN DANGER.

I was awoke by the cry of "All hands, shorten sail."  Slipping on my
clothes, I sprang on deck.  The sea was running high, the ship was
heeling over to a strong breeze.  I flew to the rigging, and my station
in the mizzen-top.  It was daylight.  The crew were swarming up the
rigging, and I could distinguish the Lascars forward among the most
active.  Whatever might have been their intentions for evil, they seemed
as eager as any one in taking in the reefs.  The serang himself lay out
on the weather yard-arm, and I saw him, earing in hand, working away
actively with the rest.  The dream was still vivid on my mind; and I
could not help feeling surprised at seeing him thus engaged, when I had
expected to be struggling in a deadly conflict with him and his
companions.  The ship was soon brought under snug sail, and standing on
her course to the eastward.  The watch below returned to their bunks to
take the remainder of their short night's rest, and I was quickly
asleep.

Again the same dream came back to me.  Once more the Lascars made their
way aft, but this time stealthily.  I fancied I saw Ali leading them
through the gloom of night, whilst the captain was unconscious of their
approach, gazing over the taffrail, as if watching some object astern.
I tried to warn him, but could not make my voice heard.  Ali was close
to him, with his kriss ready to strike, when I heard the watch below
called.

In a moment I was awake.  My dream was at an end.  I dressed as usual
for the morning work of washing down decks, and in another minute was
paddling about with my bare feet on the planks, among idlers
holy-stoning, and topmen dashing buckets of water here and there on
every side, often into the face of some unhappy wight to whom they owed
a grudge.  The wind did not increase, but there was sufficient sea on to
keep many of the passengers below.  Mrs Davenport, however, with Emily
and Grace, came on deck.  They required, however, assistance to move
about, which I and the third mate, and a young civilian going out to
Singapore, had the satisfaction of rendering them.  Emily and Grace sat
watching the high, tossing, foaming seas with delight.

"How grand!" exclaimed Emily.  "I quite envy the huge fish which can
swim about unconcerned in these tumbling waves, or the sea-fowl which
fly over them from ridge to ridge bathing in the spray."

Grace admired the masses of white foam which flew off from the summits
of the seas as they rolled grandly by.  Mr Hooker was the merriest of
the party, and seemed well pleased with the delight the girls exhibited
at the new aspect the ocean had put on.  He only regretted that he could
not read as much as usual, as he was tempted, like them, to remain on
deck and observe it.

I had not forgotten what I had heard from Potto Jumbo about Ali and his
companions.  I observed them on deck going about their duty as quietly
and orderly as any one.  Mr Thudicumb had not again alluded to the
subject, and I could not tell whether or not he had informed the
captain.  I could not, however, help suspecting that Ali had seen Potto
speaking to me, and that he might therefore be acting as he was doing
for the purpose of throwing us off our guard.  I resolved to mention my
suspicion to Mr Thudicumb as soon as I had an opportunity, and in the
meantime to watch Ali, and try to find out what he was about.  I had no
opportunity of speaking, unobserved, to the black cook; for whenever I
went forward either Ali himself, or one of the Lascars, were near the
caboose.  I suspected that they went there purposely.

For three days the gale continued.  At last, one evening Mr Thudicumb
called me into his cabin.

"I have not been asleep, Walter," he said.  "The captain knows all about
the matter.  He does not think that the Lascars will really carry out
their plans, and suspects that Ali was merely attempting to frighten the
black cook.  Still, as a matter of precaution, he has directed all the
officers, as well as most of the gentlemen passengers, to carry arms;
and has warned Mr Tarbox, and three or four of the most trustworthy of
the men, to be on the alert.  However, while the gale blows, there is
little fear that they will attempt anything; but if we were to have a
long calm, their courage would get up, as they would believe that they
could navigate the ship in smooth water, should they be able to gain
possession of her."

That night the sea had gone down, and the weather appeared mending.
While I was on deck, I found Potto Jumbo by my side.

"Well, Potto," I said, "do you think our friends have given up their
kind intentions?"

"No, Massa Walter," he answered.  "Me tink dey cut your t'roat, and my
t'roat, and de captain's t'roat, and de mate's t'roat, and everybody's
t'roat who no side wid dem."

"Then would it not be better to get them all put in irons at once?"  I
observed.  "I wonder the captain does not secure them."

"Dey done nothing," answered Potto.  "Dey good, obedient seamen.  What
for de captain put dem in irons?  I only try and find out, and tink and
guess what dey want to do."

"True," I observed; "then all we can do is to watch till they commit
some overt act, as the lawyers call it."

"I don't know what overt act is," observed my friend; "but I know dat if
dey stick de kriss into me, or de mate, or Massa Tarbox, dey no stop
dere.  When dey begin, I know what dese fellows are."

"Then, what we must do, is to watch them narrowly," I observed.

"Ay, ay, Massa Walter, I got my eyes about me; neber fear of dat.  Dey
tink me go to sleep.  When cunning Lascar talk and plot, and say what he
will do, Potto lies wid one eye just little open, peeping out of de bunk
and awake, and snore all the time like de big animal you call 'nosorous
in my country.  Dey say, `Dat black cook is fast asleep--he no
understand what we say.'--Now, good-night, Massa Walter; me go below and
talk of de tree glass of grog I got, and den lie down, and go off to
sleep and snore.  Ha, ha, ha!  Potto Jumbo no sleep when his friends in
danger, and their enemies plotting."

He said this in his usual low voice, and leaving me, dived below.  By
the next forenoon the sea had almost completely gone down.  The reefs
had been shaken out of the sails, and under our usual canvas we were
making good speed across the ocean.  Passing near the caboose, Potto
Jumbo popped out his head.

"Tell de first mate to be on de watch.  Dey going to do something--
mischief--never fear dat; me know not what dough, dey so quiet; but dey
intend to take away a boat, dat I heard dem say."

Having thus delivered himself, Potto drew his head in within his den.
As soon as I could return aft, I found an opportunity of telling Mr
Thudicumb what Potto had said.

"Not much fear of their getting off," observed the first mate.  "It
would be difficult for the serang and his men to lower a boat without
being discovered.  We must, however, keep a strict watch over him.  He
probably supposes that we are near some land which he hopes to reach.
Still, whatever may be his intentions, we will be even with him."

The sun had set in a glorious glow of red.  The passengers were on deck
enjoying the coolness of evening, though the shades of night quickly
came down over the ocean.  Suddenly there was a startling cry of "Fire,
fire!" and a thin wreath of dark smoke was seen ascending up the
fore-hatchway.

"Strike the fire-bell!" cried the captain.  "No rushing, my men!
Steady!  Mr Thudicumb will lead the way below.  Be ready with the
buckets.--Mr Martin," to the second officer, "rig a pump overboard!
Mr Tarbox, come aft!"

The captain whispered a few words to him.  The men obeyed all the orders
promptly.  A line was formed to pass the buckets as they were filled
down the hold.  The first officer and several men descended.  The
passengers joined the party to pass the buckets.  Among the most active
of the people appeared Ali, and two or three of his men.  I observed,
however, that the remainder kept together on one side of the ship.  The
smoke increased, in spite of the water which was now hove down on the
spot whence it was supposed to proceed.  Faster and faster we passed the
buckets.  Presently there was a cry, and first one man and then another
was hauled up almost suffocated with smoke.  Mr Thudicumb came last: he
could scarcely stand; indeed, he appeared almost senseless.  He quickly
recovered, however, and insisted on again going below, though the other
officers begged to take his place.

"No, no," he shouted.  "Bring wet blankets, wet bedding--anything by
which we may smother the flames!"

Once more he and his companions descended with wet blankets in their
arms.  The seat of the fire was evidently far down.

"We must get at the cargo!" cried Mr Thudicumb, from below, to the
captain, who was standing over the hatchway.

A crane was rigged, and whips rove, and bales and packages hauled up,
several more men jumping below to assist.  I was passing the buckets
when Mr Tarbox came near me.

"Keep an eye on Ali and his people," he said.  "I have a notion this is
their doing.  For all they appear so active, they mean mischief, depend
on it."

Still Ali was working away, now passing along a bucket, now hoisting up
a bale of merchandise.  Presently, however, I saw him slip away and
glide off.  His men, who had apparently been watching him, directly
afterwards also made their way up to the starboard quarter boat; and I
observed that each man carried a package of some sort.  I ran round to
where the boatswain was assisting in hoisting up the cargo; and he and
several men, whom he summoned, instantly sprang aft, where we found Ali
and his companions in the act of lowering the boat.  Two were already in
her.  "Hold fast, you villains!" cried Tarbox, giving a blow to Ali,
which knocked him over.

His companions drew their sharp knives, which they had concealed in
their trousers, and made a rush at the boatswain, who was, however, too
quick for them, and drawing a pistol from his pocket, presented it at
the head of the first; while the men, seizing some boat-stretchers which
had been placed ready for use by the boatswain, laid about them with so
much energy that they quickly knocked over several of the Lascars,
though two or three were wounded in the scuffle.  Ali had again sprung
to his feet, but instead of attempting to attack Mr Tarbox, he only
cried out--

"What do you mean?  I lowered a boat to save the ladies!  Suppose fire
gain on ship, what you do then with them?"

"Oh! is that it, my hearty!" answered Tarbox.  "However, the fire is not
going to gain on the ship, I hope.  Do you tell your men to come out of
the boat quickly, and make fast the falls again, and just you come along
with me."

Saying this, the boatswain made a rush at the Lascar, and quickly passed
a rope behind his arms.  Two other men were seized at the same time,
their knives being taken from them.  They were then dragged into one of
the cabins, and a seaman with a loaded pistol placed as a guard over
them.

"Now, the rest of you go forward!" cried the boatswain to the Lascars;
and, without attempting resistance, they obeyed the order.

Oliver Farwell was sent aft by the captain to assist the seamen in
watching the prisoners, while I again joined the gangs in passing the
buckets.  The smoke continued to ascend as quickly as before; and, as
the cargo was removed, flames burst up, rising through the hatchway.
Again Mr Thudicumb and his companions had to come on deck.

"Never fear, though," he cried out, as soon as he had recovered from the
effects of the smoke.  "We are getting at the seat of the fire!  More
volunteers for below!  Come, lads!"

He had not to make any further appeal.  A dozen fresh hands, led by Mr
Hooker, each carrying sails or blankets or bedding well saturated,
sprang below; and I could not resist the feeling that I could do more
good there than on deck.  Meantime water came rushing down round us,
preventing our clothes from catching fire.  Happily the ship was steady,
or the danger would have been greatly increased.

I shall never forget that scene.  The lurid glare of the fire cast a
ruddy glow over the figures of the men as they gathered round the
crater-like opening which had been made, while dark wreaths of smoke
hung over the deck above us, and curled up towards the hatchway.
Scarcely, however, had a fresh supply of sails and bedding been thrown
over the hole, aided by the streams of water which came rushing into it,
than the flames suddenly subsided.

"Hurrah!" shouted Mr Thudicumb, and the cry was taken up by Mr Hooker
and the rest of us.  "More water! more water!"

Bucket after bucket was handed down and dashed into the opening, and
again hauled up.  We were now left in almost total darkness: not a
glimmer of light remained.  The smoke entirely disappeared, though the
strong smell of it remained.  The first officer called for lanterns, and
they were quickly brought by the boatswain and his mates.  He now
descended into the lower hold, and the blankets and bedding were hoisted
up out of it.

"It is as well we got out these bales," I heard him observe to the
boatswain.  "Here, Tarbox; what do you say to this?"

It was evident on examination that a space had been cleared out under
the cargo, and filled with straw and shavings and other light matter.
This had caused the smoke, though until the bales above it had been
removed the flames were kept down.  When the superincumbent bales were
lifted off, the flames quickly rose up; but the material which fed them
being light, had speedily burned out before they had time to ignite the
surrounding cargo, which, fortunately being very tightly packed, did not
easily catch fire.  A thorough examination having been made, no further
signs of fire could be discovered.  A couple of trusty hands were placed
to watch the hold, and those who were drenched to the skin retired to
put on dry garments.

I soon afterwards met Mr Tarbox, and asked him if he suspected the
cause of the fire.

"Of course I do," he answered.  "Depend upon it, that fellow Ali and his
gang have had a hand in it; but how they managed to get below without
being discovered is more than I can say."

The captain and officers held now a consultation, and the rest of the
Lascars were seized, and the whole of the party put in irons.  I will
not describe the scenes which took place in the cabin after it was known
that the fire had been thoroughly put out, and that we were once more in
safety.  The passengers exhibited their feelings in a variety of ways.
Some wept, others laughed; and many, I am glad to say, knelt down and
returned thanks to Heaven for the protection which had been afforded us.
I kissed my dear sister Emily, and told her how thankful I was that she
was safe; for, indeed, my thoughts had been of her all the time, more
than of anything else.

The next morning Ali and his companions were brought up for trial before
the captain and officers and several passengers.  Suspicions were
evidently strong against them, and yet no one could prove that they had
placed the combustible matter in the hold, or had set it on fire.  Ali
himself declared, with many oaths, that he was innocent of the charges
brought against him; his air, indeed, was that of a much injured person.
As to his attempt to lower a boat, he asserted positively, and his men
corroborated his statement, that the order had been given by the second
officer.  When Martin declared he had issued no such order, Ali shrugged
his shoulders, and could only say that he must have been mistaken, and
that the error arose in consequence of his slight knowledge of English.
When asked how they came to have arms in their hands, they said they had
brought their knives for ordinary use; and in the same way they had
secured some provisions, knowing that should they have to go in the
boats they would be required, as they could not eat the food cooked by
the Christians.

Now, if my kind friend Captain Davenport had a fault, it was that of
being too lenient.  Instead of keeping Ali and his gang in irons, he at
once liberated them, warning them that though suspicions were strongly
against them, he was willing to believe the best.  I do not think either
the officers or passengers were particularly well pleased with his
decision.  I afterwards heard Mr Thudicumb tell the boatswain to keep
as bright a look-out as possible on Ali and the other Lascars.

"I doubt whether that fellow has got any gratitude in his breast; and if
he is determined to do mischief, he will bide his time and do it, depend
on that," he observed.

"Ay, ay, Mr Thudicumb, I have no doubt about it," observed Tarbox.  "I
only wish the captain would have kept them in irons till we get to
Singapore, and would then hand them over to justice.  That fellow Ali
deserves hanging, to my mind, as much as any pirate who has ever swung
in chains, or mutineer who has been run up to the yard-arm.  It was no
fault of his that this fine ship and all on board were not burned or
sent to the bottom."

Ali perhaps knew that he was watched; at all events, his whole conduct
was changed.  No man could behave more respectfully to the officers, or
could more carefully see that those under him did their duty, while he
himself worked away as hard as any one.  He seemed to bear no ill-will
against Tarbox or any of the other men, while he appeared to have
positively a kindly feeling towards Potto Jumbo, and to be especially
patronising to Macco.  Indeed, after this everything went on smoothly
and pleasantly among the men, while perhaps the dangers they had gone
through made the passengers even more sociable and pleasant than before.



CHAPTER SEVEN.

WE ENTER THE EASTERN SEAS.

Land was in sight, stretching out on either hand.  On the port side was
the island of Sumatra; on the starboard, the north end of Java.  The
_Bussorah Merchant_, with a light wind, was standing through the Straits
of Sunda.  Mr Hooker walked the deck, in spite of the heat, rubbing his
hands with pleasure.  He was now approaching the region he had long
desired to examine; and he was pleasing himself with the thoughts of the
wonders of Nature which would be revealed to his sight.  Soon the
straits were passed, and numerous low-lying shores of various islands,
large and small, appeared in sight, covered with the richest vegetation,
which seemed to flourish under the fearful heat which oppressed the
spirits of us poor mortals who had come from so much cooler a region.
It had been hot when passing the tropics: it was hotter still now; for
no clouds overhead tempered the sun's rays.  The pitch, as before, in
the sides and seams of the deck, melted and oozed out.  The tar dropped
from the rigging, and none of us willingly touched any piece of metal
for fear of burning our fingers.  Merlin wisely kept in the shade, and
the young ladies followed his example.  I, however, being now stationed
in the mizzen-top, had to go aloft.  I could not help often wishing, as
I looked down into the clear sea, that I might take a leap overboard,
and dive down into the depths below.

Singapore--that wonderful emporium of the commerce of the East,
established by the sagacious foresight of Sir Stamford Raffles--was now
reached.  It was the first time our anchor had been dropped since we
quitted the Thames.  The only land sighted till Sumatra and Java were
seen, was the small island of Tristan da Cunha.

"You see, my boy, the result of a sound knowledge of navigation,"
observed Mr Hooker to me.  "But the captain has to thank the
astronomers, and the inventors and the manufacturers of his instruments,
or he could not have thus easily found his way half round the world, as
he has done.  You see we depend upon each other; and that is what I want
to impress upon you.  You may not have much scientific knowledge
yourself, but if you have observation, you can accurately note the
various phenomena you meet with, and give your descriptions to those who
will make good use of them.  I had contemplated leaving the ship at
Singapore; but I have made up my mind to go with you to Japan, and then
to return in her to one of the ports in these Eastern islands which
Captain Davenport purposes visiting."

I was very glad to hear of Mr Hooker's determination, for I should have
been very sorry to have lost his society.

The town and island of Singapore exhibit a variety of Eastern races and
different religions and modes of life.  The ruling class are of course
English, but the Chinese are the most numerous, and among them are found
many wealthy merchants, most of the mechanics and labourers, and also
agriculturalists.  The sea-faring population are mostly Malays.  There
are a good many Portuguese, who act as clerks and shop-keepers.  There
are also Arabs and Klings of Western India, who are Mohammedans.  There
are also Parsee merchants, while the grooms and washermen are mostly
Bengalees.  These, with numerous Javanese sailors, as well as traders
from Celebes, Bali, and numerous other islands of the East, make up this
curiously mixed population.  Then in the harbour are found men-of-war,
merchant vessels of numerous European nations, large numbers of Chinese
junks and Malay praus, with hundreds of little fishing and passenger
boats.  Chinese josshouses, Indian temples, Mohammedan mosques, rise up
on either side with Christian churches.  The warehouses are substantial,
the residences of the Europeans large and commodious, contrasting with
the long rows of queer little Malay and Chinese cottages, among which
are found Kling and Chinese bazaars, where everything can be bought,
from a reel of cotton to a sword or razor.  Numberless vendors of
various articles throng the streets with water, fruit, vegetables, soup,
and a sort of jolly made of sea-weed.  Here a man comes running along
with a pole, having a cooking apparatus on one end and a table on the
other, from which he will immediately furnish a meal of shell-fish,
vegetables, and rice at a small cost.

The island of Singapore is covered with a number of small hills, some
nearly 400 feet high, covered to the summits with forest trees.  In
these forests the Chinese settlers are employed in cutting timber.
Tigers are very numerous on the island, as they have but a short
distance to cross over from the Malay peninsula, and frequently
wood-cutters are carried away by them.

I accompanied Mr Hooker several times on shore.  The naturalist was
delighted with the great variety of beetles and other crawling creatures
which he was able to collect.  We were struck by the enormous size of
the trees and the variety of large ferns, as well as the number of
climbing ratan palms.  One day we were walking along, Mr Hooker being
in advance, when I saw him suddenly sink into the ground.  I ran forward
to help my friend, who fortunately having a long pole in his hand, kept
hold of it.

"Quick, quick, Walter!" he shouted.  "Help me out or I shall be
impaled."

Not without difficulty I got hold of his hand, and by main force dragged
him up.  When at length on firm ground, the naturalist, after resting a
moment, pulled away a quantity of brushwood and disclosed a large pit.
On looking into it we found that it was formed with the top narrower
than the bottom, and in the centre was stuck a pointed stake.  A person
falling in, had he escaped impalement, would have found it impossible,
unaided, to get out again.

"This is a tiger-pit," exclaimed Mr Hooker; "and a very effectual way
of catching a tiger should one attempt to cross it.  I really believe
that I have narrowly escaped a fearful death; for see, had I gone
through, I should very probably have fallen on the stake."

After this, as we proceeded, we carefully avoided the spots covered over
by fallen brushwood, lest they should conceal pits of a similar
description.  Still Mr Hooker was too eager a naturalist to give up his
search, and, aided by me, quickly filled his boxes and cases.  Evening
was coming on, and we were thinking of returning, sorry to leave the
cool shade of the trees for the still hot, open ground, when we saw a
creature at no great distance moving through the jungle.

"What can that be?"  I exclaimed.

"A tiger, and it will be as well to put a bullet into my gun in case he
should think fit to follow us.  I am told that seldom a day passes that
an unfortunate Chinaman is not carried away by one of these beasts.  I
am afraid they are too wary, like rats in England, to be caught in
traps, or there would not be so many of them in the island."

As we walked along I could not help looking over my shoulder every now
and then in expectation of seeing the tiger.  Mr Hooker, too, kept his
gun ready for use in case we were pursued.  We left the forest, however,
and took our way over the open, dry ground without again catching sight
of the tiger.

We got back to Singapore and returned on board that night, as the ship
was to sail the following morning.  Emily turned pale when she heard the
account I gave her of the tiger, and all the party were greatly
interested in hearing the account of Mr Hooker's escape from the
tiger-pit.

The ship's course was now directly through the China Sea--a region in
which every variety of weather is encountered, from a dead calm to a
furious typhoon.  The northern end of the Philippine Islands was sighted
on the starboard hand, and afterwards the Bashee Islands to the north of
them.

"There is a large island lies away there on our right hand, called
Formosa," said the captain.  "The inhabitants are Chinese.  They seem
even more cruel and treacherous than the rest of their countrymen.  Not
long ago two vessels were wrecked, and their crews made prisoners.  The
natives marched them off to their capital, somewhere in the middle of
the island, several days' journey from the coast, and there they kept
them prisoners for many months.  Some were Englishmen, others Lascars,
to the number of forty or fifty.  The lives of a few were saved, but
they cut off the heads of all the others, declaring they were those of
barbarians killed in warfare; and it is said that the chief officers who
commanded this massacre gained great credit, and many rewards for their
bravery.  The others were carried away to Nangking, and were there going
to be killed; but the English expedition came out, and were just in time
to save their lives.--I don't like the Chinese," continued the captain.
"They are treacherous, conceited, inhospitable to strangers, grossly
superstitious, heartless, and cruel, though perhaps they may not be said
to be bloodthirsty.  Their streets are dirty in the extreme, and their
houses are not much better.  However, it cannot be denied that they are
very industrious and persevering, and that a Chinaman will make a living
where a man of another nation will starve."

Note.  The English have now a settlement in Formosa.

"Perhaps, when we come to know them better, we may find exceptions to
this description," observed Mr Hooker.  "Probably we shall discover
noble and high-minded men, according to the light that is in them, in
China as elsewhere.  I do not know that all English towns are models of
cleanliness; and certainly, if left to the care of the ordinary
inhabitants, many would be found as bad as those in China."

At length the high land of the south end of Japan hove in sight.  As the
ship stood on towards the harbour of Nagasaki, we were all eagerly
looking out on the beautiful scenery which presented itself.  In many
parts the coast is bold, in other places it rises from the beach in
gentle hills covered with apparently impenetrable forests.  The narrow
entrance to the harbour now appeared, between lofty overhanging hills
covered with rich vegetation.  As Captain Davenport had been there
before, and the wind was fair, we stood boldly on till a pilot appeared,
when sail was shortened to allow him to come on board.  On either side,
wherever the ground would allow it, the land seemed cultivated to the
summit of the highest hills.  Here and there, however, the muzzles of
guns were seen protruding from amidst green shrubs and trees, ready to
destroy any unwelcome intruder.

As the ship advanced the harbour widened out.  On one side appeared the
beautiful little island of Pappenberg, so named by the Dutch, though the
Japanese call it Tacabooco.  Its sides rise directly out of the water in
lofty precipitous cliffs, their summits crowned with dark luxuriant
cedars.  It was to this island that a large number of the Japanese who
had been converted to Christianity by the celebrated Roman Catholic
missionary Xavier were carried when they refused to abjure the religion
they had adopted.  Conducted up to the summits of the cliffs, they were
cast over the edge, bound hand and foot, at low water, meeting certain
death as they reached the rocks below.  Here the mangled remains lay
till the tide coming in carried them off to sea.  In late years many
hundred Christians were treated in a similar manner in Madagascar.  We
looked with sad interest at the spot, having just before read an account
of the massacre.

The ship continued her progress up the inlet or gulf, which is four
miles long, till at length she came to an anchor off the town of
Nagasaki.  On either side were towering cliffs, precipitous peaks with
green and shady groves below, amid which appeared prettily-painted
picturesque cottages, not altogether unlike those of Switzerland.  Many
small bays were passed, in which were moored little boats, kept
scrupulously clean, though unpainted.  The sails consisted of three
stripes of sailcloth or matting, united by a kind of lacework, thus
forming one whole sail for light winds.  By unlacing one portion, the
sail can quickly be reduced in size.  The boatmen, unlike the natives of
the places lately visited, were almost as fair as Europeans.  They wore,
however, scarcely more clothing than their brethren in more southern
regions.  A Japanese boat is moved by a scull in the stern, with which
she is steered when under sail--no oars being used: the passengers
always sit in the fore part.

As soon as the ship dropped her anchor the Japanese officials came on
board, one who spoke a little English acting as interpreter.  They were
dressed in long flowing robes confined at the waist by a band wound
round the body, in which is suspended a case containing a pipe, a
tobacco-pouch, an ink-horn, and a small brush used when they write.
Over this is worn a transparent dark coat with a white mark on the arms
and back.  On grand occasions public officials wear a similar dress of a
light fawn or dove tint.  A person of the rank of a gentleman invariably
wears two swords stuck in his girdle.  On sitting down he removes the
longest, and places it against some piece of furniture at his side; but
he never parts with the smaller one, which is kept sharp, and in
readiness to kill himself should any accusation of a crime, false or
true, be brought against him.  The questions put to the captain having
been satisfactorily answered, we were informed that we might discharge
our cargo.  The officers were then invited down into the cabin to
partake of cake and wine, which they seemed greatly to enjoy.  They
then, bowing politely, took their departure, leaving one of their number
on board, who was to remain while the ship was anchored in the harbour.

Mr Hooker had a friend here, a merchant, who came on board to see him.
Emily and I were introduced; and he invited us, and Grace also, to come
and stay at his house with Mr Hooker, while the ship remained off the
place.  The residence of the merchant was situated on a platform on the
side of a hill surrounded by trees, at a little distance from the town.
The house had broad verandahs, every door sliding backwards and forwards
in grooves, instead of opening and shutting in the ordinary fashion.  In
the garden were quantities of lovely flowers, and it had a pond in the
centre.  The pond was full of wonderfully large gold and silver fish,
which were always ready to exhibit their lovely tints when bits of bread
were thrown in to them.  The girls especially were delighted with the
beauty of the wild flowers in the surrounding woods, many of them such
as would be valued in a garden in England.  Surpassing all others,
however, were the camelia trees, some fully thirty feet high, their
lovely flowers shining out amid their dark-green foliage.  We were told
that the camelia is so called in honour of a Spanish Jesuit--Camel--who
brought it to Europe, where it is known as the Camelia japonica.  From
one kind, the oleifera, a large amount of oil is extracted, used in
Japan for domestic purposes.  The beautiful _lotus_ also is common; the
Japanese using the root when young for food.  When thoroughly boiled, it
is very palatable.  Mr Hooker was well pleased with the cleanliness of
the streets; so superior in that respect to those of China.  They are
nearly all paved in the centre, which is slightly raised, and have
drains running down close to the houses on either side.  Thus all
impurities are carried away, and they soon become dry, even after the
heaviest shower of rain.  Large plantations of tea exist in the
neighbourhood, the leaf being prepared in the Chinese fashion.  The
trade in this article alone has greatly increased since the ports of the
country have been opened.  I give a drawing of a Chinese tea-plantation,
which is very similar to those we saw in Japan.  The house seen in the
sketch is the drying-house.  The tea-plant is produced from seed which
is dropped into holes, several together, four inches deep and four feet
apart, in December.  When the rain comes on, the plants spring up and
form bushes.  In about three years they yield their first crop of
leaves.  In about eight years they are cut down, that fresh shoots may
spring up.  The leaves are gathered singly with great care--in three
gatherings: the first, when they just open; the last, when fully
expanded.  When gathered, they are first partially dried in the sun, and
then placed on flat iron pans above furnaces in the drying-house.  They
require frequent shifting and turning.  When sufficiently dried, they
are removed with a shovel on to a mat or basket to cool, and then to a
table to be rolled.  This process is repeated, and they are then sifted
and sorted.  As far as we could learn, both black and green teas are the
produce of the same plant, but prepared in a somewhat different way.

I was, of course, very eager to learn all I could about the country; but
there seemed so much to learn, and so little time to learn it in, that I
was frequently almost in despair.  The Japanese, although idolaters, and
very unlike Europeans, are evidently a very civilised people.  They have
had for centuries their manners and customs unchanged, and their ideas
are peculiar, according to our notions.  Soon after we arrived, our new
friend had to pay a visit to the Governor of Nagasaki.  The heat was
great; but Mr Hooker begged that we might belong to the party.  The
Japanese, like wise people, except in cases of necessity, do not leave
their cool houses during the heat of the day.  The town appeared
therefore almost deserted.  The main street is broad and clean, the
inhabitants being generally government officials and retainers of the
chiefs, called Daimios.  At about every hundred yards there is a barrier
gate.  These gates are closed every evening, when a light is suspended
from the beam above, or a paper lantern is hung from one of the side
posts.

As China and Japan had become civilised long before the mode of
constructing an arch was discovered, and the inhabitants of neither are
addicted to change, they still retain their original style of building
bridges; and I give a sketch of one we crossed on our way.  It is
similar to those generally found in the country.  Some of their gateways
are very curious; and though they make their bridges with vast slabs of
stone or long wooden rafters, they take the trouble of hewing out of the
rock huge circles, or segments of circles, which are afterwards put
together to form ornamental gateways to their pleasure-grounds.

At length our party arrived before a handsome flight of steps, with two
magnificent camphor-trees on either side.  The gate at the top being
thrown open, we all entered the unpretending yet clean abode of the
governor.  A few inferior officers were sitting or standing about in the
vestibule.  They saluted us with a careless air, and one of them then
announced our arrival, when the vice-governor, or one of the principal
officers, came forward, and shaking hands, led us into another room.
Here the governor himself was seated.  After the proper number of bows
had been made and returned, he requested to know the object of our
visit.  While the merchant was explaining this we had time to look about
the room.  All round it, with the exception of one side, which opened on
the garden, were suspended screens of white grass-cloth, with a design
which looked like a trefoil worked on them.  Over it we caught sight of
several sparkling pairs of eyes--the sex of the owners could not be
doubted.  In the garden was a pond in which water-lilies and other
aquatic plants grew, with the usual ornaments of temples and bridges,
artificial rocks being scattered about, and a considerable amount of
invention displayed in the arrangement.  While speaking of flowers, I
must not forget the magnificent lily of Japan, which, in point of size,
must be similar I should think to those of Palestine pointed out by our
Lord when he said, "Consider the lilies of the field."  But to return to
our visit.

After the official interview was over, tea, pipes, and cake were served,
with a variety of other dishes.  The great man's wife having expressed a
desire to see the strangers, we were introduced to her.  She was a very
handsome person; her hair, jet-black, ornamented with amber and
tortoise-shell combs, with a large quantity of hair on the top mixed
with flowers and ribbons.  Her costume was magnificent--sky-blue crape,
embroidered with gold and silver, and a profusion of flowers.  It was
lined with a bright scarlet silk wadding, which formed a train on the
ground.  Only a part, however, was visible, as the silken belt round the
waist allowed it only very slightly to open.  She wore a very broad
sash, also of black silk, tied behind in an immense knot.  The sleeves
of her dress reached only to the elbow.  She had no other ornaments; and
her feet were encased in white cotton socks.  Alas! however, her skin
was completely covered with rice-powder, damped, so that it might the
better adhere.  Her eyebrows were shaven, as those of all married ladies
are.  Her lips were dyed of a bright red colour, and her teeth were
black and polished as ebony.  Yet we could judge of what she would have
been by her exquisitely-chiselled nose, and black expressive eyes.  We
saw also several of her children, the younger ones dressed in crape of
various colours, the others dressed much as their mother; but their
teeth were beautifully white, their eyebrows unshorn; and very pretty
little creatures they were.  We remained for another repast, which
commenced by the servants bringing in, and placing before each person on
the table, which was eighteen inches high, a handsome gold and black
lacquered cup and saucer, with a pair of chop-sticks.  Some very nice
chicken soup, with vegetables, were in the cup.  After this came a
similar bowl, containing venison, duck, and sweet jelly, all mixed up
together.  We found it very difficult eating with the chop-sticks, and
Emily and Grace could not help looking up every now and then and
laughing at each other as they made the attempt.  We managed better with
some harder things, such as fish.  The last dish contained boiled
chestnuts, peeled.  This was placed in the centre of the table, so that
each person could help himself.

The lady afterwards came to pay a return visit to our friend's wife.
She and her elder children arrived each in a _norimon_.  This is a sort
of litter slung to a bamboo pole, each end of which is carried on a
man's shoulder.  A cushion is placed at the bottom, so as to come up at
one end for the back, at the other for the knees; and the person sits
crouched up in rather an awkward position.  There is a flat covering, on
which the lady's slippers, fan, smoking apparatus, and other articles
are carried.  The bearers have each a pole, on which they can rest the
norimon.

The ladies, I should say, are great smokers, though their pipes are
small and their tobacco of a delicate description.

I need not describe the entertainment our friends gave their guests, as
it was similar in many respects to that of the Japanese, though with
certain English dishes.  Each of their attendants, when they set out on
their return, lighted a paper lantern, which is universally carried
after dusk in all the towns of Japan.

The Japanese appear to be very fond of their children, and very
indulgent.  In our excursions we often stopped and looked into the
cottages, which were invariably neat and clean in the extreme.  I
remember one day hearing youthful voices, and looking in, we saw a
couple of children seated by the side of their father on a cushion on
the floor.  One of them apparently was ill, and the other was pouring
out some physic from a bottle into a bowl to give to it.  The expression
on their countenances amused us.  The little invalid was turning away
his head, unwilling to take the potion; while the other seemed to be
entreating that he might not have too much of it.  It was a family
picture, however, which gave us a very fair idea of the terms on which
parents and their children exist.

Generally speaking, the women of Japan are as fair as many Europeans,
and were it not for their peculiar sandals, which give them an awkward
manner in walking, they would be graceful.  Their hair is bound up into
thick masses at the back of the head, through which a number of gold and
silver or ivory arrows are placed, much in the manner of the peasant
girls in some parts of Germany.  The unmarried women have good eyebrows
and beautiful teeth; but when they marry they blacken their teeth and
shave off their eyebrows, to show their affection for their husbands,
and that they no longer wish to win the admiration of others.  The men
have a curious way of saluting each other, passing their hands down the
knee and leg, when they give a strong inhalation indicative of pleasure;
and it is curious to hear these whistling sounds going on while people
are paying each other compliments.  When women of the same rank meet,
they bend nearly double, and remain in the same position some time in
conversation, occasionally giving a bob for every compliment that is
paid.  When they get up to go away, the same bobbing and bowing goes on
for some time.  When an inferior meets a superior, the former makes a
low bow till the fingers almost touch the ground.  Both sexes, both at
home and abroad, go with the head uncovered, and to protect them from
the sun they use large fans or paper umbrellas.  The military, however,
wear hats.

The Japanese are fond of field-sports, and the nobles go out shooting on
their estates much in the same way that gentlemen in England do on
theirs.  They, as do the Chinese, also hunt game with hawks and falcons.
The birds are trained much as they were in England in former days, when
the gentle craft, as it was called, was fashionable among the nobles and
gentry of the land.  The accompanying drawing, which was given to me to
put into my journal, gives a good idea of the Chinese way of hunting
with the falcon.

The houses we visited were very curious.  They are chiefly of unpainted
wood; even the outsides are formed of sliding panels.  There is
generally an inside lining at a distance of about six feet or so, the
space forming a sort of balcony.  All the rooms are formed in the same
way, with sliding panels.  The windows are composed of oiled paper,
fastened to neat frames with a glue which water cannot melt.  The panels
which divide the chambers are ornamented with paintings of various
animals--tortoises, cranes, butterflies, and wonderfully unreal
monsters.  Mats, about half an inch thick, cover the floors.  In the
centre is a square place for a wood fire, when a _brazero_ is not used.
No chairs or tables are employed in ordinary houses, as the inhabitants
sit on the mats round their trays at dinner or when drinking tea; and at
night, mattresses are spread on the floor, covered with cotton, crape,
or silk.  The day garment is then thrown off, and a wadded dressing-gown
put on for the night.  The Japanese pillow is a little lacquered box
with drawers in it, in which the ladies keep various small articles for
their toilet--paper, hair-arrows, pins, etcetera.  In the top of this
curious box is a concavity with a little cushion wrapped in clean paper,
and on this the back of the head is rested.  Thus their head-dresses are
not tumbled at night.  The inhabitants of the Fiji Islands use a similar
pillow for the same object of preventing their elaborately-dressed hair
from being disarranged.  The Japanese, however, only sleep for a short
period at a time, as they have the custom of having trays with
sweetmeats by their bed-sides, which they eat occasionally; or they take
a few whiffs from their pipes, their tobacco-boxes, with live embers,
and other necessaries for smoking, being always at hand.

They are very cleanly in their habits, bathing-houses being everywhere
found; but it struck us as very odd to see men, women, and children
bathing together.  Sometimes as we passed a house we saw the master or
mistress seated in a tub, up to the neck in water.  The men, except when
they wear gala costume, are very simply dressed: their sandals are of
straw, and they use a plain fan of white paper and bamboo.  They,
however, possess fine dresses, which are kept in their richly-ornamented
lacquered chests.  They live chiefly on fish and rice, with various
vegetables, vermicelli, eggs, sea-weed, while cakes and sweetmeats vary
their diet.  Tea, sugar-water, saki, are their chief beverages.

Their paper is one of the most interesting articles which they
manufacture.  Some, of a thick sort, is made of bamboo and oil.  This is
used for umbrellas, and water-proof coats, coverings for palanquins and
boxes, etcetera.  The finer sort is made from the bark of the
mulberry-tree--the _Morus papyfira_--such as is used in Tahiti and other
South Sea islands.  It is employed instead of a pocket-handkerchief for
blowing the nose, wiping the fingers, and wrapping up articles.  Every
person has a long sleeve pocket filled with it.  Printing is very
general, and all sorts of works are produced.  Books are printed from
wooden blocks on a particularly fine silken paper, on one side only, the
blank sides being gummed together.  The lacquer work is very fine.  They
also manufacture silks, and crapes, and linen, and cotton cloth, which,
though coarse, is very soft.  Many fruits of temperate and tropical
climes are grown.  The lacquer-tree--the _Rhus vernix_--which is used in
the well-known lacquer work, is a handsome tree.  The leaf is something
like that of the beech, but broader.  The lacquer is drawn from its
milky sap and mixed with the oil of the _bignonia_.  The camphor-tree--
the _Laurus camphora_--is another very fine tree, with red and black
berries.  The camphor comes from it in white fragrant drops, which, when
they harden, require but slight purifying to give them the appearance
which the camphor we see in England presents.  Everywhere we met with
the tea-tree or tea-plant.  It is as common in Japan as our privet or
hawthorn.  Japanese money is very thin.  Some of the coins are oblong,
some square, and others round.  The chief circulating coins are of
copper or iron.  The workmen are very skilful: they manufacture cutlery
and sword-blades to perfection.  They show great skill also in gold and
silver work.  Their mirrors are of bronze, the reflecting surface being
of silver, and polished, the back and handle ornamented with various
devices.  Everything, indeed, that a Japanese artisan produces, exhibits
a neatness and elegance which speaks well for the taste of the people.

We had a great deal of fine scenery in the excursions we made.  There
are dense forests, and lofty mountains covered almost to their summits
with trees.  No country has ever been subject to a more absolute
despotism than that which exists in Japan.  There are two emperors--the
_Mikado_, who is the religious chief of the empire, the head of the
Sintoo religion; and the _Tykoon_, or _Siokoon_, who is the temporal
emperor, and the real source of all political power.  His residence is
at Yedo.  He has under him various great princes or chiefs, many of whom
are very powerful.  Then there are noblemen of different ranks, who are
chiefly employed as officers under the crown, or governors of imperial
domains.  Next to them are the Sintoo and Buddhist priests, the latter
of whom are under a vow of celibacy.  The soldiers come after the
priests in rank.  Their dress is very similar to that of civilians, but
they wear the embroidered badge of their respective chiefs.  The fifth
class consist of medical men and literati, as also inferior government
officers.  They are allowed, however, to wear swords and trousers.
Below them again are the merchants, who are despised by the superior
ranks, and are never allowed to wear swords.  Mechanics rank the seventh
class, and the eighth and last is composed of farmers, serfs, and the
servants or feudal retainers.

I might mention many more things concerning Japan, but I should occupy
too much space, and I am anxious to give an account of the adventures we
ultimately encountered.  We had enjoyed our visit so much to this
strange and beautiful country, that we were sorry when the time came for
quitting it, though we were about to visit still stranger and less known
regions.  Bidding our kind friends farewell, we returned on board the
_Bussorah Merchant_.  The next morning, having gone through the usual
formalities, we sailed down the magnificent harbour of Nagasaki and
steered a course for the Philippine Islands.  Nothing of importance
occurred during this part of our voyage.

The next port we touched at was Manilla, the capital of the Philippine
Islands, which belong to Spain.  On approaching the anchorage we passed
the naval arsenal of Caveti, situated in the bay about nine miles south
of the capital.  Having come to an anchor, Mr Hooker invited us to
accompany him on a visit to Caveti.  It cannot boast much of its present
glory, but it contained a curiosity--a Spanish galleon--probably one of
the last in existence, then rotting in the basin.  We gazed with
interest at the high, ornamented, carved stern with its great lanterns,
its bow adorned in the same manner with carved work.  We wondered how
such cumbersome-looking craft could get through with safety the long
voyages they performed.  Returning to the ship in the cool of the
evening, we rowed up to Manilla, which is well situated at the mouth of
the river Pasig.  This river runs down from a number of lakes, one
beyond another, the nearest of which is about three leagues eastward of
the city.  We spent that night on shore at a hotel, and the following
day accompanied Mr Hooker on an expedition to the lakes.  We engaged a
curious canoe paddled by Indians, who sat in the bow and stern, while we
occupied the centre.  Part of this was covered over with mats, supported
on arched bamboos, which sheltered us at night from the dews, and in the
day-time from the sun.  On either side of the river were the country
houses and gardens of the inhabitants.  The river was very muddy and the
scenery not particularly interesting, so that we began to be somewhat
disappointed.  It was growing dark when we approached the entrance to
the lakes.  Sleep then overcame us, but our canoe-men continued paddling
on at a slow pace during the night.

When we awoke in the morning we found ourselves in a scene so totally
different that it seemed almost like enchantment.  The mountains came
sloping down from the sky to the very water's edge, while numberless
picturesque Indian villages, built of the very useful bamboo, lined the
shores.  Earthquakes prevailing in this region, has prevented the people
erecting any lofty edifices, while a bamboo hut will stand any amount of
shaking without being brought to the ground.  By a hurricane, however,
they are easily overthrown.  Over the wide expanse of water, which was
blue and clear like that of the ocean, fish of various sorts were rising
to the surface, as if to look out for the appearance of the glorious sun
over the mountain tops.  As we pulled on, passing lofty headlands, or
winding our way amid groups of islands, fresh expanses of the lake
opened out before us.  On the level spots, cornfields waved with grain,
surrounded by cocoa-nut trees, affording shelter from the noonday sun.
Numerous canoes were passing, with their white sails shining brightly
over the blue expanse.

We landed at the head of the lake, into which other rivers ran, opening
up a communication with the far-off parts of the island.  Advancing, we
passed through some shady lanes, bordered by hedges of bamboo, the
graceful tops of which bent inwards, forming a complete arch overhead.
In a little time we reached a neat village, the houses, with thatched
roofs, looking clean and well-built.  All, however, we learned, "is not
gold that glitters."  We were advised not to proceed much further, as a
body of banditti were said to be lurking in the neighbourhood, composed
of deserters from the army and native Indians, and they would have
considered us a rich prize.  Probably they would have murdered us for
the money we had about our persons, or for our clothes; or they might
have adopted the more civilised plan, followed in Greece and Italy, of
demanding a ransom.

"Oh, but they would not dare to attack Englishmen!" observed Emily.

"I am not so sure of that, young lady," answered Mr Hooker.  "They
would probably make very little distinction between Englishmen and
Spaniards, except, perhaps, that they might demand a higher ransom; and
though it might be very romantic to be carried off among those
mountains, and kept there till Captain Davenport could pay the required
sum, I am afraid that none of us would find it very pleasant.  However,
as `discretion is the best part of valour,' we will keep near our canoe,
and make the best of our way, with the favourable breeze now blowing,
back to the City of Cheroots."

As we afterwards glided over the calm water, we saw some huge objects
resting on a sand-bank.  They looked like logs of wood; but as we came
near, one of them began to move, and presently a huge pair of jaws were
opened, as if the monster--for it was an alligator--was taking a yawn
after his siesta.

The principal inhabitants of the capital are Spaniards or their
descendants.  The officers of the army are also Europeans.  The rank and
file, amounting to about eight thousand men, are natives.  The
aboriginal inhabitants are called Tagals.  They are somewhat idle,
though a good-natured, pleasure-loving race; are nominally Roman
Catholics, but very superstitious and insincere.  Their houses are
formed of bamboo raised on piles, the interior covered by mats, on which
the whole family sleep, with a mosquito curtain over them.  The
ornaments in their houses are generally a figure of the Virgin Mary, a
crucifix, and their favourite game-cock.  The men wear a pair of
trousers of cotton or grass-cloth, with a shirt worn outside them,
generally of striped silk or cotton, embroidered at the bosom.
Cock-fighting is their chief amusement, as it is, indeed, among most of
the people in all parts of the archipelago.  It is a brutal sport, if
sport it can be called.  These people seem to treat their birds better
than they do their wives; and so great is their passion for this
abominable proceeding, that they will cheat and pilfer and commit all
sorts of crimes in order to indulge it.

We visited a manufactory of cheroots, for which Manilla is celebrated.
We were told that four thousand women, and half that number of men, were
employed in this manufactory alone, while in the neighbourhood as many
as nine thousand women and seven thousand men find employment in
producing cigars.  This will give you some idea of the immense amount of
tobacco consumed in various parts of the world, as, of course, only a
comparatively small quantity comes from Manilla.  As we entered the
building, our ears were almost deafened by the noise made by some
hundreds of women seated on the floor, and hammering the tobacco leaves
on a block with a mallet, to polish them for the outside leaf of cigars.
In other rooms they were employed in rolling them up into the proper
shape.  Tobacco is a strict monopoly, and great care is taken, when the
harvest is being gathered, to prevent any being carried off by the
people.  The leaves, when picked, are first placed undercover in heaps
to ferment, then sorted into five classes, according to their size, and
suspended in a current of air to dry.  From the plantations it is sent
under an escort to the factories round Manilla.  It is there wet with
water, or sometimes rum and vinegar, and made up as we first saw it,
into rough cigars, and afterwards rolled into a more perfect form, and
finished by another set of women.  The refuse is made into cigarettes.
Nearly the whole population--men, women, and children--smoke.

We saw the sugar-cane growing.  Coffee also is almost wild, and large
quantities of rice are exported to China.  The cocoa-palm and the
bamboo, as well as cacao, beans, indigo, silk, and cotton are produced.
We were shown a species of banana, called abaca, the finer filaments of
which, mixed with silk, are manufactured into native cloth.  A rougher
sort, called Manilla hemp, is made into rope, which, with the raw
material, is largely exported.  The most curious manufacture we saw,
however, was that from the pine-apple leaf, which produces a fibre so
fine and light, that the weaving operation must be carried on under
water, as the least current of air will break it.  The Tagal girls work
it into handkerchiefs, which they richly embroider.  These are greatly
valued.  A more substantial manufacture is produced from the thicker
fibres, for dress pieces, which are also considered of great value.  We
saw also some beautiful mats made from strips of bamboo, and leaves of
various trees, used for boat-sails, beds, or carpets.  The hats and
cigar-cases of Manilla are also of a beautiful style of manufacture.

Although I might have written a more interesting account of the country,
I prefer giving this brief extract from my journal, that I may have more
space to narrate the numerous adventures through which we afterwards
passed.



CHAPTER EIGHT.

CROSS THE SEA OF CELEBES.

Once more we were free of islands, crossing the wide Celebes Sea.  After
the bracing climate of Japan, we felt the heat considerably.  We had
done so even when there was a breeze; it now fell calm.  I scarcely
before knew what a real calm at sea was.  The ocean was literally as
smooth as a sheet of glass--not the slightest swell was perceptible--not
the faintest cat's-paw played over the water.  Some chips thrown
overboard floated exactly where they had fallen; and hour after hour, as
I looked over the side, there they were.  Even a light vane of feathers
fastened in the mizzen-rigging hung down.  The smoke from the galley
fire curled up in a thin blue wreath towards the sky, gradually growing
thinner and thinner, but still visible to a great height.  Far as the
eye could reach, in the circle in the centre of which we floated, there
was the same shining, unbroken surface; except when here and there some
flying-fish leaped out of the translucent sea, or the fin of some
monster of the deep appeared as he swam near the surface.

It was hot below--hotter even than on deck, where at all events we had
the advantage of the open air.  The smell of the cooking going forward
in the caboose pervaded the ship; and we could easily guess how it would
be under such circumstances when a fever breaks out on board--how
impossible it must be to get rid of the infected atmosphere, unless
perhaps by powerful and general fumigation.  The seams in the deck began
to splutter and hiss, and the pitch stuck to our feet as we walked
about; while any piece of iron we touched seemed almost as hot as if it
had been put in a furnace.  We had a good supply of water on board; but
it seemed, at the rate we drank it, we should soon consume our stock if
this sort of weather continued.

The only person who seemed to enjoy himself thoroughly was Potto Jumbo.
He smiled complacently as he looked about him when he came out of his
sooty den, the hot sun striking down on his uncovered woolly pate,
without having power to injure him.  The Lascars appeared to suffer even
more than the Englishmen from the heat.  Merlin, wise dog, kept in the
shade; but when he had to change his position, he went about with his
mouth open, his tongue hanging out.  A tub of water was placed for him
in a shady spot, where he could go to quench his thirst as he might
fancy--a wise arrangement for him, poor dog, and he did not fail to take
advantage of it.  He was not like some human beings, who turn up their
noses when their friends take trouble to arrange matters for their
convenience.

The English seamen went listlessly about the decks, clothed only in
shirt and duck trousers.  Though the human beings on board were
oppressed with the beat, their caricatures and imitators, the monkeys,
seemed thoroughly to enjoy themselves.  Perhaps they were aware that
nobody would take the trouble to go after them; so they had the rigging
to themselves, and were now climbing and leaping about every part of it,
now and then descending to the end of a rope to try to carry off a
seaman's hat, swinging themselves close to his head.  Now two or three
of them would make their way aft, and come and look down at Mr Hooker,
whom most of them seemed to recognise as their master and owner.  Their
great pleasure, however, appeared to be to try and teaze Merlin.  The
old fellow, whenever they approached, opened his eyes and watched them
with looks of astonishment, in no way offended at the tricks they tried
to play him.  Now one would come down and endeavour to catch hold of his
tail; a second would jump down on his back, but would be off again
before he had time almost to turn his head.  Had he chosen, I am sure he
could have caught one or two of the most daring, and would soon with his
powerful jaws have made an end of them; but he disdained to take offence
at their puny efforts to annoy him, and continued to treat them with the
greatest good humour.

The Lascars were below, or asleep in the shade under the
topgallant-forecastle.  I made my way to the caboose, where Potto Jumbo
was singing merrily, though the heat was sufficient to cook the dinner,
one would suppose, without the aid of the fire.  Macco had been
appointed to attend on him as cook's mate.  The arrangement appeared to
please both parties, for Potto was always good-natured, and Macco
obedient, and apparently anxious to learn his duties.

"Dere, Macco, you go get bucket of water, and scrape dem 'tatoes, and
wash dem well," he said, pointing to the shady side of the ship, or
rather what was then the shady side, for as she was continually moving
round, that was as often shifting; indeed, so directly almost over our
heads was the sun, that there was very little shade at all.  "I want to
tell you someting, Massa Walter," said Potto; "so I send dat black
fellow away."  (Macco was many shades lighter than the cook; still he
always persisted in calling him "dat black fellow.") "I wish de captain
had put Ali and his people on shore at Singapore.  Dey again plot
mischief.  I hear dem talky, talky, when dey no tink I listen, just as
before.  What dey intend to do I do not 'xactly know; but it is
mischief, I know dat.  Dey no set de ship on fire again; but perhaps dey
try to cast her away, or to scuttle her, or some oder ting.  Massa
Walter, dare are many pirate ships out in dese parts; and de last place
we touch at, I know Ali talky wid some black fellows, and me tink he
told dem to follow de ship, and dat he will help to let dem come on
board and take her."

"But why did you not tell Mr Thudicumb or the captain this?"  I said.

"Dey tink I fond of finding mares' nests," he answered.  "De captain
believe Ali when he say before dat he took boat to help ladies; and he
no believe dat he set de ship on fire," was the black's answer.

"Well, Potto, I will tell Mr Thudicumb what you say, as before, and I
am very sure he will attend to your advice.  I think the captain
believed you before more than you supposed; though, had he been
persuaded that Ali had set fire to the ship, he would decidedly have got
him and those who assisted him punished.  He has been somewhat
over-lenient, however; there can be little doubt about that."

"De captain good man, no doubt about dat; too good for dis world, and
for manage such rascal as Ali Tomba and his people."

"Well, Potto," said I, "I believe you, at all events; but if you have
nothing more to say, I must try to find a cooler spot than this.  I am
almost roasted, and feel that I could not stand it many minutes longer."

"No; I have told all I know," said Potto.  "But you just say to Mr
Thudicumb, he be wise man, and keep his weather eye open."

As I began to move off, Potto shouted out,--"Come here, Macco, you black
rascal; be quick wid dem 'tatoes."  They were the sweet potato roots of
which he spoke, by the by.

On going aft, I told Mr Thudicumb what I had heard.  He thought for a
few minutes.

"I suspect, Walter," he observed, "the black is right.  However, twelve
men, let them be ever so cunning, cannot do us much harm, unless they
again attempt to set the ship on fire.  I never doubted that Ali had a
hand in that before, though the captain would not believe it.  At all
events, if I had had my way, I should have got rid of him and his crew
at the first opportunity."

Soon after this the mate was engaged in conversation with the captain.
I saw that my kind friend looked somewhat annoyed.  He had made up his
mind that Ali was honest, and that Potto Jumbo was fanciful, and I
suspect did not like to be compelled to alter his opinion.  He soon
afterwards called me up, and cross-questioned me on the subject.  He had
a good deal to make him anxious.  The navigation of the seas through
which we were sailing is as difficult as that of any part of the world.
Pirates also swarmed in all directions; and though they might not
venture to attack so large a ship as ours while we were under sail, they
might perhaps, should they find her at anchor, and be able to get round
us in sufficient force to give them a prospect of success.  There were
also considerable difficulties in carrying on the trade in the places we
were to visit, as both the Spaniards and Dutch were sure to throw every
impediment in our way, their policy being to monopolise as far as they
could the whole of the trade of these regions.  Several times the
captain went into his cabin to examine the barometer.

"Thudicumb," he said, when he came out, "the glass is falling slowly and
regularly.  Depend upon it, this calm is not going to last.  We will
shorten sail at once.  There is no use in having all this canvas hanging
from the yards; and when the breeze does come, it will come quick and
sharp.  It may be only an ordinary gale, but I rather think it will be
something considerably heavier."

Mr Thudicumb immediately issued the order to the watch on deck to
shorten sail.  Some of the men looked about them with an astonished
glance; but, accustomed to obey orders, they asked no questions, and the
ship was soon under her three topsails, closely reefed, and jib.

"Whatever comes now, we shall be ready for it," observed the captain.

Still the calm continued, and the heat, if anything, was greater than
ever.  The ladies were sitting on deck, keeping as cool as they could
under their sun-shades, when Mr Hooker returned from below, and spread
a map out before them.

"Here, Walter," he said, turning to me, as I was standing near him, "it
being my watch on deck, I am going to give a lecture; you may as well
come and benefit by it.  Here is a chart of the seas through which we
are sailing.  See bow vast is this Malayan Archipelago!  Putting out
Australia, it covers an area far larger than the whole of Europe;
indeed, from east to west it is fully 4000 miles in length, and 3200
miles from north to south.  Look at Borneo: the whole of the British
Isles might be put down inside it, and yet leave a wide extent of
country on every side.  New Guinea is even larger; and Sumatra is fully
equal to Great Britain.  Then we have Java, Luzon, and Celebes, each as
large as Ireland.  I think we could pick out eighteen or more the size
of Jamaica; and a hundred, of which none are smaller and many
considerably larger than the Isle of Wight.  Now, some people hold to
the opinion that all these islands were at one time joined to the
continent of Asia.  I, however, believe that though a portion of them
were, that the eastern part was united to Australia, and appeared above
the surface of the water at a later period, forming a vast Pacific
continent.  We have thus three regions--Borneo, Java, and Sumatra--that
have only a shallow sea separating them from each other and from Asia.
Between Borneo and Celebes there is, however, a deep sea; as there is
between Celebes and numerous islands to the east and south of it,
including Sumbowa, Flores, Timor, Gilolo, Seram, Bouro, and many others
of smaller size.  New Guinea, again, with the Aru Islands, are separated
from Australia by a very shallow sea; and it is remarkable that the
animals found in these three regions differ considerably from each
other.  Many of those found in Australia and New Guinea are different
from those found in Celebes, and the other islands surrounded by deep
water.  They, again, differ from the animals found in Borneo, Java, and
Sumatra, which are mostly identical with those of Asia.

"A striking contrast will also be found in the scenery of the islands of
volcanic and non-volcanic origin.  A volcanic belt passes from the
north, through the Philippine Islands, down to the north end of Celebes.
There is then a break; and again it commences in the island of Gilolo,
passing through Borneo, Seram, and Banda, down to Timor; then through
Flores, sweeping round to Java, where there is an immense number of
volcanoes.  The island of Java contains more volcanoes, active and
quiescent, than any other known district of equal extent.  There exist
forty-five at least, averaging 10,000 feet in height.  Volcanoes, you
must understand, have been raised up by the accumulation of matter
ejected by themselves, consisting of mud, ashes, and lava.  Frequently,
although a mountain has been thrown up by volcanic action, no opening
appears, though probably one will be found in the neighbourhood.  Thus
Java is entirely volcanic.  In most instances volcanoes are found near
the sea, when the materials of the mighty mound have been drawn from the
surrounding surface, and into the hollow below formed by their
abstraction the water has rushed: thus, although the sea might not have
been there previously, a strait or gulf has been produced.  At the very
centre of the great curve of volcanoes I have described, is found the
large island of Borneo; and yet there no sign of recent volcanic action
has been observed, while earthquakes are entirely unknown.  In New
Guinea, also, no sign of volcanic action is known to exist: except at
the east end of Celebes, the whole island is free from volcanoes.  In my
opinion, this volcanic action did not commence till a comparatively late
period, so that it has not succeeded in obliterating altogether the
traces of a more ancient distribution of land and water.

"I must now give you a short description of the contrasts in the
vegetation of this interesting region.  We shall find a great portion of
the islands clothed with a rich forest vegetation almost to the summit
of their highest mountains.  This is the rule with regard to all the
islands on the west.  When we reach Timor, however, we find the
eucalypti, and other trees characteristic of Australia.  In Timor they
seldom reach any great height, being dried up by the hot wind which,
lasting for nearly two-thirds of the year, blows from the northern parts
of that vast island.  In New Guinea, the trade-winds blow from the
Pacific.  New Guinea, however, is freer from their influence, and is
therefore covered by a rich and damp vegetation, the forest trees
growing to a great height and size.

"By examining the zoology of these countries, we find evidence that the
islands we have been speaking about must at one time have formed a part
either of Asia or of a vast southern continent which embraced New Guinea
and Australia.  In Borneo we find the elephant and tapir; and in Sumatra
both these animals, as well as the rhinoceros, and the wild cattle which
are known to inhabit some part or other of Southern Asia: showing that
at one time there must have been land communication with that continent,
as those animals could not possibly have swam over the straits which now
separate them.  A large number of the smaller mammals are common to each
island as well as to the continent.  Birds and insects also found on the
islands exist on the Asiatic continent.  It might be supposed that birds
would easily pass over narrow arms of the sea; but this is not so.  With
the exception of the aquatic tribes, what are called the perching birds
will never cross the sea; and thus it is certain that they, as well as
animals, must have existed on those islands before they were separated
from the continent.  The Philippine Islands possess many of the birds
which are found in Asia; but at the same time there are other
indications which show that they must have been separated from the
continent at an earlier period than the other islands to the west.

"Now I wish you to observe that the numerous islands to the east of
Celebes and Lombok have a strong resemblance to Australia and New
Guinea, as much indeed as the western islands have to Asia.  Australia
is a very remarkable country.  It is, indeed, in several respects,
unlike any other part of the world.  It possesses no tigers or wolves or
bears or hyenas; no elephants, squirrels, or rabbits; nor, indeed, any
mammals, except such as have been introduced almost within the memory of
man, such as horses, sheep, or oxen.  It has, however, what are called
marsupials: kangaroos, opossums, wombats, and the duck-billed platypus.
Instead also of the various birds which exist in other parts of the
world, it has the mound-making brush-turkeys, the cockatoos, and the
brush-tongued lories, as well as honey-suckers, to be found in no other
part of the world.  These peculiarities are discovered in the other
islands I have mentioned, forming the Austro-Malayan division of the
archipelago.  Looking down to the south-east of Java, we shall find the
small island of Bali.  It is divided from the east part of the island of
Lombok by a narrow strait, where the water is very deep, showing, as I
have said, that the separation must have taken place at an early period
of the world's existence.  Now in Bali we find woodpeckers,
fruit-thrushes, barbets, and other Asiatic birds.  Crossing this narrow
strait to Lombok, the birds I have mentioned are no longer to be found;
but instead of them there are brush-turkeys, cockatoos, honey-suckers,
and other Australian birds.  These birds again are not to be found in
Java or any region to the west.  Crossing from Borneo to Celebes, there
is a very great difference in the animals.  In Borneo, a vast number of
various species of monkeys exist, as well as wild cats, deer, otters,
civets, and squirrels.  In Celebes, wild pigs are found, and scarcely
any other terrestrial mammal, besides the prehensile-tailed cuscus.

"Thus, when we pass from the western to the eastern islands, we feel
ourselves almost in a new region, so greatly do the four-footed and
feathered tribes we find in the one differ from those we have left in
the other.  The Aru Islands and others in the neighbourhood agree in
many respects with New Guinea, from which vast island a shallow sea
alone separates them.  Possessing this knowledge, a naturalist would
soon be able to learn whether he had landed on one of the islands of the
Asiatic or Australian portion of the archipelago, judging alone by the
animals he might discover."

Mr Hooker's lecture, of which I have only given a brief outline, was
suddenly interrupted by the voice of the captain shouting, "Up with the
helm!--square away the yards!"  I flew to my station.  Looking astern,
there appeared a long line of white foam, rushing forward over the
hitherto calm surface of the ocean at a rapid rate, while clouds came
rising out of the horizon, and chasing each other across the blue sky,
over which a thick veil of mist seemed suddenly to have been drawn.  In
a few seconds a fierce blast struck the ship, making her heel over to
starboard in a way which seemed as if it was about to take the masts out
of her.  Mrs Davenport clung to the cabin skylight, on which she was
sitting.  It was with difficulty we could save Emily and Grace from
being carried away to leeward; indeed, they both cried out with terror,
so suddenly had the gale broken on us.

Down, down the tall ship lay.  It seemed as if she would never rise.
The watch below rushed up on deck, looks of dismay on the countenances
of many.  The captain shouted to Mr Thudicumb, "Get the axes ready!"
and pointed significantly to the mizzen-mast.  The first officer
repeated the order; and Mr Tarbox was seen coming along, axe in hand,
followed by the carpenter and several of his crew.  There was no time to
be lost, it seemed.  I could not help dreading lest another similar
blast should send the ship over, and the sea, rushing up her decks,
carry her to the bottom.  The rudder had lost its power, being nearly
out of the water, so that no means but the desperate one to which we
were about to have recourse remained for getting the ship before the
wind.  The risk of those on deck being injured by the falling of the
mast was very great.  I made my way up to where my sister, with Mrs
Davenport and Grace, were clinging to the cabin skylight, in order to
conduct them below.  The captain shouted to Mr Hooker, and signed to
him to assist me.  Unless, however, I had been aided by the second mate,
I could scarcely have done so.

As soon as I had seen them into the cabin, I sprang again on deck.  The
sharp sound of the axe as it struck the mizzen-mast was heard at that
moment.  The shrouds on either side were cut, and over the mast fell
into the foaming water.  Still the ship lay as before.  "It must be
done, Thudicumb!" the captain cried, and this time the mate himself
approached the mast, and stood with gleaming axe uplifted, ready to
strike.  The hurricane howled round us.  Every instant the seas
increased in height and fury, the spoon-drift from their summits driving
in showers over our deck.  The sea came rushing up every instant higher
and higher over the lee bulwarks, up almost to the hatchways.  The
captain gave another glance to windward.  Still the rudder did not act.
"Cut!" he shouted, his voice sounding high above the roar of the blast.
Mr Thudicumb's glancing axe descended, while at the same moment the
boatswain cut the weather shrouds; and as the mast fell over, several
brave fellows sprang to leeward to divide those on the lee side.  Still
the ship lay helpless on the foaming water.

One more hope remained--the foremast must go; should the ship then be
unable to rise, our doom must be sealed.  Anxiously we all watched the
captain.  Again he looked to windward, carrying his glance round on
every side.  His hand was raised to his mouth, apparently about to give
the same ominous order as before, when suddenly the ship rose up from
her dangerous position; and now, feeling the power of the helm, away she
flew before the fierce hurricane.  Hour after hour we continued our
course, wherever the wind sent us--chiefly, however, towards the east.
It was impossible, with the fearful sea there was then running, to
attempt to raise jury-masts.  Should land appear ahead, we knew too well
that there was every probability of our being cast on it.  We might
anchor, and with the masts gone, the anchors might possibly hold, but we
could scarcely indulge in that hope--indeed, few on board had any
expectation of escaping shipwreck.

Again and again the captain examined his chart.  It could not, however,
be entirely depended on.  A bright look-out was, of course, kept ahead,
that whatever danger there might be in our course might be discovered as
soon as possible, and such efforts made as good seamanship might dictate
to avoid it.  The time was a very trying one.  I should have been
anxious had I no one I cared for on board, but I dreaded the danger to
which my dear sister Emily might be exposed, and I felt, too, for Mrs
Davenport and Grace.  Men can more easily escape from shipwreck, and if
cast on a desert island are better able to rough it, than females; but
what hope would there be of two young girls escaping with their lives,
should we be cast on shore?  I had not forgotten either the remarks
Potto Jumbo had made about the Lascars.  I could not help fancying that
they all had a more than usually sulky manner.  When ordered to do any
duty, they generally gave a scowling glance towards the officers, and
performed it in a slovenly, indifferent manner.

Darkness came on, and still the wind blew as hard as ever, and the ship
flew on before it.  I had been on deck for many hours, and it was my
watch below, and in spite of the danger we were in, I could scarcely
keep my eyes open.  Even, however, when I laid my head on the pillow, I
knew that any moment I might be awakened by the fearful crashing of the
ship striking on a coral reef, with the sound of our remaining mast
going by the board.  Before going to sleep, however, I went into the
cabin, and entreated the ladies to lie down.  Emily and Grace said they
would, and Mrs Davenport urged them to do so, but I found that she had
no intention herself of sleeping.  She would, I guessed, sit up, and
watch and pray for her young charges.  I, however, was scarcely in my
berth before I was fast asleep, in spite of the loud roaring of the
seas, the wild motion of the ship, and the howling of the wind in the
fore-rigging.



CHAPTER NINE.

THE MOLUCCAS.

Wonderful was the change which I found had taken place when I returned
on deck.  The sun was shining brightly, the wind had fallen to a
moderate breeze.  The sea, though heaving and dancing, sparkling
brightly in the sunbeams, had gone down considerably, but still blew
from the same quarter as before.  The ship was standing to the east.

"We have passed through the Straits of Banca, and are crossing the
Molucca passage," said Mr Thudicumb, of whom I asked whereabouts we
were.  "The captain proposes making for Ternate, which belongs to the
Dutch.  We may hope there to get new masts--at all events, it is the
nearest place which we can reach with the wind as it is at present, and
have any hope of getting the ship put to rights."

All day long we were busily employed in repairing damages as far as we
could.  I had but little time to exchange a word with Emily.  I was
thankful to find, however, that she and Grace had quite recovered their
spirits, though they owned that they had been greatly frightened during
the hurricane.

"Still it is a comfort, Walter, to know that there is One who always
watches over us, and does everything for the best.  If he had thought
fit to allow the ship to founder, I am very sure he would have had good
reason for so doing.  Still, as I know he wishes us to pray for
blessings, I was praying all the time that we might be preserved, and
especially that no accident might happen to you, my dear brother.  Oh,
how I thought of you when you were on deck, and the storm was blowing
and the masts being cut away, knowing the fearful danger to which you
were exposed."

It was soon after sunrise one morning, when, a light mist clearing away,
before us appeared, at some distance from each other, several lofty
conical mountains rising as it were directly out of the sea, while
beyond them was seen a line of blue land, extending north and south as
far as the eye could reach.

"You see that peak ahead, Walter," said Captain Davenport to me.  "That
is the island of Ternate, to which we are bound.  To the right of it is
Tidore.  All those peaks are volcanic; and some of them, I believe,
occasionally throw up flames.  The land we see beyond is the large
island of Gilolo--a strange land, I believe, but very little is known
about it."

A light breeze carried us on over the calm blue sea; when at length,
entering between the two islands I have mentioned, the town of Ternate
appeared in sight, stretching along the shores at the very base of the
mountain.

"This is indeed beautiful!" exclaimed Emily, who just then came on deck,
as she gazed up at the rugged promontories and the lofty volcanic cone
of Tidore on one side, with the high mountain of Ternate on the other,
while numerous other peaks rose on the neighbouring islands, as well as
on the larger island in the distance.  Immediately behind the town
appeared thick groves of forest trees; indeed, vegetation was seen
rising to the very summit of the cone, and it was difficult to believe
that, from that calm and beautiful mountain, occasionally lava, streams
burst forth; and produced destruction on every side.

A large amount of sago, massoi bark, tortoise-shell, tripang, and
paradise birds are brought over from Papua, and shipped at Ternate.  A
tax, however, is placed on the exportation of paradise birds, which is
paid to the Sultan of Tidore, whose predecessors ruled these islands.
The paradise birds are chiefly sent to China, where they are highly
valued.  Above our heads, as we looked up, we saw the lofty summit of
the mountain of Ternate, from whence, amid the luxuriant vegetation
which surrounds its sides, columns of smoke are for ever rising towards
the blue sky above--indeed, the whole island is simply a lofty volcano,
the base of which is beneath the ocean.  Its circumference at the shore
line is about six miles, and its height 5400 feet.  Several severe and
destructive eruptions have taken place at different times.  The last
occurred only a short time before we were there.  The lava poured forth
and flowed down its sides into the sea, loud thunders were heard, smoke
and ashes rose up, and hot stones fell like hail on every side, setting
fire to the dead wood which, after so long a rest, had completely grown
over the ground, and causing it at night to assume the appearance of one
vast mountain of flame.  For fifteen hours the solid ground rolled like
a wave of the sea.  Fort Orange, which had withstood numberless
earthquakes for two centuries and a quarter, was almost overwhelmed.
The people betook themselves to their boats, for the ocean and land
seemed to have exchanged natures; the water being calm, while the land
was heaving and gaping like a stormy sea.

Captain Davenport had been unwell for some time.  He was acquainted with
a wealthy Dutch merchant in the place, who invited him and his wife and
daughter to take up their residence at his country house while the ship
remained in the harbour.  They of course said they could not leave
Emily, who therefore accompanied them.  Mr Hooker also went on shore,
but engaged a house at a little distance from the town, where he could
pursue his researches in natural history more uninterruptedly than in
the town.  He lost no time in sending out hunters in all directions to
procure specimens.  The various specimens which he already possessed
were landed, that he might also re-arrange them.  I paid him one or two
visits, and found him enjoying his existence excessively.  His house had
of course only one floor: the walls for five feet were of stone; the
roof was supported above them on strong squared posts, the interval
being filled in with the leaf-stems of the sago-palm fitted in wooden
framings.  The ceilings were of the same material.  The floor was of
stucco.  There was a centre hall, with three rooms opening off it on one
side and one on the other; while on two other sides were broad
verandahs, serving as cool drawing-rooms, or sleeping-places, perhaps,
in the hotter months.

This island was at one time in possession of the Portuguese, who were
said to have tyrannised over the natives.  They were driven out by the
Dutch, who are themselves accused of not being over careful of the
well-being of the people they conquered.  This island and several in a
line to the south of it are known as the Moluccas, or Spice Islands.  It
was the original country of the clove, and here alone it was cultivated.
Although the early visitors procured nutmegs and mace from the
inhabitants, these were brought over from New Guinea, and the
neighbouring islands, where they grew wild.  The early voyagers made
such enormous profits by their cargoes of spices from these regions,
that they were able to give in exchange, jewels, gold, and the richest
manufactures, which they brought from Europe or India.  When, however,
the Dutch took possession of the country they determined to confine the
production to one or two islands, over which they could keep a strict
watch, in order completely to confine the monopoly to themselves.  They
chose the island of Banda for the cultivation of nutmegs, and fixed on
Amboyna for the production of the clove.  The cultivation of the nutmeg
in Banda has been eminently successful, but that of the clove in Amboyna
has scarcely paid its expenses; the soil and climate of that island not
suiting it as well as the regions where it was first found.  The object
of the Dutch has been to keep the monopoly of the sale of spices in
their own hands, and thus to raise the price.  They have therefore
compelled the native chiefs to destroy the spice trees growing in their
territories wherever they have been able to do so.  To induce them to do
this, they paid to each a fixed subsidy, the chiefs indeed being
therefore somewhat the gainers.  Formerly their sultan kept the trade
solely in his own hands, and he was far more tyrannical than the
Portuguese or Dutch.  When our own circumnavigator Drake visited these
islands, he purchased his cargo from the sultan, not from the native
cultivators.  As I walked about Ternate I felt satisfied that I should
not at all wish to take up my abode there, for in every direction were
seen the ruins of massive stone or brick buildings of every description
which had been overwhelmed by earthquakes; indeed, considering the
frequency of their occurrence, it is surprising that people should be
willing to remain in the island.  I, of course, was not able to see much
of the country, as I was compelled to be on board, the more so as
several of the crew were ill, and had been removed on shore, where the
merchant I spoke of had them kindly looked after.  We had great
difficulty in getting a mast of sufficient size to replace the mainmast
we had lost.  At length, however, we got both our lower masts in, and we
hoped, in the course of a week, should Captain Davenport and the rest of
the crew be sufficiently recovered, to continue our voyage.

One evening when work was over, Mr Thudicumb, with the second mate and
several of the men, went on shore, leaving the ship under charge of the
boatswain, with about a dozen Englishmen and the Lascars.  I, having
been on shore several times, agreed also to remain to assist Mr Tarbox.
The weather had for some time been threatening, but the clouds had
passed away, and the sky again become serene.  That evening the same
appearances occurred.  I should say that at Ternate a number of people
of different nations are collected together.  The most numerous,
probably, are the Chinese, and their curious little boats are seen
skimming about in all directions.  There are traders from all parts of
the East, so that the harbour at times presents a very animated
appearance.  I was on deck with Mr Tarbox, when looking out we saw a
thick mass of clouds come rolling up suddenly on every side of the
mountains.

"I wish Mr Thudicumb and the mate were on board," he said to me; "I
don't like the look of things.  We must veer away more cable and get
another anchor over the bows.  See, the Chinamen begin to think there is
something in it."

As he spoke, a number of Chinese and other boats were seen pulling in
for the land; before, however, they could reach it, a loud roaring sound
was heard, and in an instant the whole ocean seemed torn up by some
mighty power, and a fierce blast broke down upon us.  The vessels in the
harbour were seen endeavouring to secure themselves as well as they
could; but in a few minutes numbers were driven together, grinding and
striking against each other, while they were sent by the fury of the sea
towards the shore.  The boats, tossed like cockle-shells, appeared every
instant as if about to be overwhelmed by the ocean; many were capsized
close to us, but we could render no assistance.  Every instant the sea
rose higher and higher, till we could scarcely see the shore beyond it.
The ship, however, held well to her anchors.  It was fortunate for us we
had no top gear aloft, or the case might have been different.

"I only hope Mr Thudicumb and the rest are safe on shore," I observed
to Dick Tarbox.

"They will not attempt to come off while this gale is blowing."

In a short time, a fearful havoc was made with the various craft in the
harbour.  Around us wrecks strewed the sea in every direction; here and
there poor fellows swimming for their lives, some holding on to pieces
of planks and spars.  Many sank before our eyes.  Boat after boat was
upset.  Some, however, rode over the seas in gallant style, the men on
board pulling bravely.  The fury of the gale increased.  We veered out
more cable.  Night at length coming on, added to the wild horrors of the
scene.  Now, as a vessel drove past us, we could hear the shrieks and
cries of the unhappy crew as they were carried to destruction.  Such, in
spite of the size of our stout ship, might be our fate should the
anchors not hold.

Suddenly the wind dropped; still the sea continued to leap and foam
around us.

"It will be all right, I hope," I said to Mr Tarbox.  "These hurricanes
seldom last long, I fancy."

"Not quite so certain of that, Walter," he observed.  "I don't like the
look of the sky even now."  Once more examining the cables, he walked
with me aft, from whence we could better see the shore.

"Hark! what is that roaring?"  I said.  It seemed as if a blast was
sweeping over the land, hurling down trees and buildings and all
impediments in its course.  "Can it be an earthquake?  Oh! what will
become of my sister and those on shore?"

"No, it is no earthquake," answered the boatswain; "it is the hurricane
shifting its quarter."

As he spoke, the wind struck the ship with redoubled force.  She swung
round before it; still, knowing that our anchors had been holding, and
our cables strong, we had little fear of receiving damage, as the sea,
at all events, with the change of wind, would subside instead of being
increased.  Suddenly, however, a peculiar sound was heard, as of a chain
running out.  The boatswain rushed forward, and I followed him; but we
were only just in time to see the end of the chain cables flying through
the hawse-holes, and away the ship drifted out of the harbour.

"That did not happen by chance," exclaimed Tarbox; "it is the work of
those Lascars.  Quick, lads, for your lives!" shouted the boatswain.
"Range our spare cable!  Get the second bower-anchor from the hold!--Now
you, Ali Tomba, see that your men work," he added, turning to the
serang.

The English seamen worked away energetically; but in the dark it was a
difficult business to get up the heavy anchor and chain cable.  The
Lascars were apparently assisting as zealously as the rest of the crew.
Some accident or other was, however, continually occurring; and before
the anchor could be got up and the cable ranged, the ship was in the
centre of the channel, driving away at a rapid rate out to sea.  At
length the anchor was got ready for letting go.  Scarcely, however, had
it been got over the bows than with a loud splash it fell into the water
free of the chain.

"Ali Tomba, you or your people have played us that trick!" exclaimed the
boatswain.

The serang made no answer, but a cry of mocking laughter was heard from
several quarters.  Roger Trew, lead in hand, flew to the chains.  He
gave one heave.  "No bottom," he cried.  "We cannot bring up even if we
wish!"

I asked the boatswain what he proposed doing.  "We ought to punish those
Lascars, for they have played us that trick," I observed.

"Little use to attempt to do that, Walter," he answered.  "If I was a
navigator I might know more about it, but my only notion is to let the
ship drive.  When the hurricane is over, we must try to do our best to
regain the harbour."

"I am not much of a navigator yet," I observed, "but I will look at the
captain's chart, and see whereabouts we are going.  We shall, at all
events, better know then what to do."

"Ah, there's nothing like learning," observed Tarbox; "I wish I had more
of it.  What a seaman can do I will do, and with your help, Walter, we
may still weather this gale."

I hurried into the cabin, and soon found the chart.  It afforded me but
little satisfaction, however.  We were driving to the southward, but
several islands were in our course.  We might escape them, but if driven
against them, our destruction would be certain.  With sails unbent, and
short-handed as we were, we could scarcely hope to be able to get under
the lee of one of the islands.

"We must try it, though," said Tarbox.  "We have another anchor and
cable, and that will hold us well enough in a moderate breeze with land
to windward, unless these Lascar fellows play us another trick.  I
should like to clap them all in irons at once."

I agreed with him, but as we only mustered twelve men besides ourselves,
and they numbered eleven, it would be no easy matter to do so,
especially as they would probably be prepared for an attack.  I,
however, advised the boatswain to keep all our people together, that in
case the Lascars purposed our destruction, we might not, at all events,
be cut off in detail.  He agreed to the wisdom of this caution, and sent
Roger Trew to get the people together.

Our position was indeed a very fearful one.  The hurricane seemed rather
to increase in strength than to cease.  On, on we drove.  The helm was
put up, and we scudded before it, the dark seas rising on either hand
hissing and foaming, and every moment seeming about to overwhelm us.  I
could not help feeling also great anxiety about those we had left on
shore.  Even should they have escaped injury, I felt how anxious Captain
Davenport would be when he found that the ship had disappeared; and
Emily, too, how great would be her grief at the thought that I was
probably lost.  What the Lascars were about, I could not tell.  Our
people remained aft, while they kept forward.  I have gone through many
trying scenes, but that was decidedly one of the most trying.  We felt
it the more because we were personally safe.  We could walk about and
take our food, but at the same time we were every moment expecting
destruction.  I was soon to be in a far more dangerous position, but
then I was looking out, hoping to be saved.

The morning at length broke.  We saw the Lascars clustered forward.
What they were about to do we could not tell.  Still we drove on.  Land
appeared on either hand in the far distance.  It was evident that we
were between two islands.  The chart showed me that one was Gilolo, and
the other the island of Batchian.  The want of sails prevented our
taking the ship into some sheltered place which we might hope to find on
one side or the other.

"We must either compel the Lascars to assist us in bending sails and
getting the anchor ready, or attack them and drive them overboard," said
the boatswain to me.

"That cannot be done without bloodshed, I fear," I answered, "for they
are armed as well as we are."

Thus the two parties remained watching each other.  Our men were eager
to make a dash forward and attack the Lascars, but the boatswain
restrained them.

"Wait a bit, lads," he said; "maybe they will attack us, and then, if we
beat them, as I am very sure we shall, we shall not have their blood on
our hands.  Depend upon it, if they slipped the cables--and I am very
sure they did--they did not expect the hurricane to continue so long as
it has done.  They wish it over as much as we do; and, like many other
villains, in attempting to work us injury they are likely enough to
bring destruction on their own heads."

Hour after hour passed by, and once more the land seemed to recede from
us, and we were in the open sea.  The wind had slightly gone down, but
still it blew with fearful violence.  Again darkness was stealing over
us.  Our deck presented a strange appearance--a very sad one, in truth.
The small number of human beings there collected, instead of helping
each other, stood prepared for a desperate fight.  Possibly, if it had
not been for the Lascars, we might long since have been anchored in
safety.  I saw by the chart that several small islands, rocks, and
shoals lay ahead.  Should we escape them?  There was the question.
Several times the boatswain, or Roger Trew, or one of the other men, had
ascended the main rigging to look ahead in search of land.  However, so
high did the sea run, that we might be close upon an island, unless it
was a high one, without discovering it.

The increasing darkness now prevented us seeing beyond the bowsprit.
All we could do, therefore, was to steer as we had hitherto done before
the sea, to escape its breaking on board us.  We had scarcely eaten
anything for some hours, when the boatswain advised us to take some
food.  "Whatever happens, we have work before us; and we must keep the
strength in our bodies," he observed.  Fortunately there was a good
supply in the cabin, and half our party went down at a time to sup,
leaving the others on guard on deck.  All hands had just taken a hearty
meal, when, as we were collected together on the quarter-deck, just
below the poop, the sound a seaman most dreads--the roar of breakers--
struck our ears.  We all listened attentively.  There could be no doubt
about it.  It was far deeper and louder than the roaring of the sea
against our sides.  I held my breath; so I suspect did every one round
me.

"What is it, Mr Walter?" asked Oliver, who was standing close to me.

"Some of us will meet with watery graves before many minutes are over,"
said the boatswain, "unless Providence works a miracle to save the
ship."

Scarcely had he spoken when we felt the ship rising to a heavy sea, then
down she came with a crash which made every timber in her quiver and
shake.

"To the main rigging!" cried the boatswain, seizing me by the collar.  I
saw Roger Trew seize Oliver in the same way.  "Quick, quick, lads! or
the next sea will wash you off the deck," cried the boatswain.

We sprang into the shrouds, and climbed up, up, up into the pitchy
darkness.  Scarcely were we off the deck than a huge sea came rolling
up, sweeping everything before it.  The Lascars had done as we had set
them the example, and numbers of dark forms were seen swarming up the
rigging into the fore-top.  Another and another sea followed.  No longer
could we distinguish the deck below us, so completely overwhelmed was it
by the raging waters.  Higher and higher they rose.  The masts swayed
about as if on the point of falling.  Fearful, indeed, was the scene.
The boatswain, getting into the top, helped me up, and I found myself
seated with Oliver by my side.  We could just distinguish the foremast
through the gloom, the sea rising almost to cover the top to which the
Lascars were clinging, curling over them as if to drag them from their
perches.

Perilous as was our position, a cry escaped our men as we saw the
foremast begin to totter.  Another sea came and over it went, carrying
the shrieking wretches clinging to it away in its embrace.  Though good
swimmers, in vain they attempted to reach the mainmast.  The next sea
swept them away to leeward.  Their fate might be ours, however, any
moment.  We all knew that very well.  With what desperate energy did we
cling to that lone mast in the midst of the raging ocean.  As we looked
round our eyes could not pierce the thick gloom, nor ascertain whether
any land was near.  Oliver Farwell was clinging on next to me.  The
other men had secured themselves round the mast, others to the top.  No
one spoke; indeed it seemed to all of us that our last moments had
arrived.  Every instant we expected to be hurled off from our unstable
resting-place, as the seas dashed with redoubled fury against the wreck.
We could hear the vessel breaking up below us, and we all well knew
that in a short time the mast itself must go for want of support.

Scarcely had one roaring wave passed under us than another followed.
Above our heads was a dark, murky sky, below and around the foaming sea.
Even the best manned life-boat could scarcely have lived amid that
foaming mass of water.

"It is very terrible!"  I could not help exclaiming.

"Trust in God," said a voice near me.

Oliver Farwell spoke.

"I do, Oliver, I do," I answered.

"Right, Mr Walter," he said.  "If he thinks fit he can find a way for
us to escape."

"Hold on, lads, even though the mast gives way!" shouted the boatswain.
"The mast will float us, and maybe carry us to some pleasant shore.
Daylight will come in time, and show us whereabouts we are.  Never fear,
lads."

"Ay, ay," answered several voices.  "We will cling to the mast as long
as our fingers can gripe hold of it."

"Hold on, Oliver, hold on!"  I said.  "Don't you feel as if the mast was
going?"

Scarcely had I uttered the words when another sea came rolling up.  It
struck the shattered wreck like a huge hammer.  In an instant it seemed
as if all her timbers had parted.  A cry rose from many of the sturdy
men on the top.  Over bent the mast.  Now it swayed on one side, now on
the other, and then with a crash down it sunk into the boiling ocean.  I
thought that I had been holding on securely, but at that instant a sea
swept by, catching the end to which I clung.  I felt myself torn from my
grasp, and was carried far away off amid the seething waters.



CHAPTER TEN.

A DESERT ISLAND IS REACHED.

As I was washed away from the mainmast a cry from Oliver reached my
ears.  I knew by this that he too had been carried off by the sea.  I
sprang towards him.  "I will save him or perish!"  I thought, "as I did
once before."  He had not been idle since his first accident, and had
done his best to become a swimmer.  He kept up boldly.  I urged him to
try and recover the mast, but when we looked round we could discover it
on neither side.  Now I felt myself carried to the summit of a sea, to
be hurled over again on the other side.  I had little hope of escape,
but still I resolved to struggle to the last.  Oliver swam bravely by my
side, but I knew from the exertions he was making that he could not long
continue them.

"Oh, I am sinking!  I am sinking!" he cried out suddenly.  I caught him
by the collar.  At that instant, as I put out my hand, I felt it grasp a
hard object.  It was a large spar.  I threw myself on it, dragging
Oliver with me.  With great difficulty I hauled him on to it, but so
violent was the agitation of the sea that we could scarcely retain our
hold.  It seemed to me that we were driving onwards, carried perhaps by
some current, but that might have been fancy.  Again and again I looked
out, in the hopes of seeing the mast.  Every instant I feared that
Oliver would again be washed off, but the foaming sea around and the
dark sky above was all I could discern.  I put out my hand, and caught
hold of a rope which was secured to the spar.  The end of this I passed
round Oliver's body, fastening myself with another portion.  Still,
though I kept my head well out of water, the sea was so continually
breaking over us that we were almost drowned, even though clinging to
the spar.  I do not pretend that I thought of much at the moment but my
own safety and that of my companion, but the thoughts of my old friend,
Dick Tarbox, and Roger Trew, as well as indeed of the other men, did
come across my mind.  I felt very sad, for I was afraid that they had
been washed off, and had not been so fortunate as we were, in getting
hold of a spar.  Strange as it may seem, I scarcely for a moment
expected to lose my own life.  In a cold climate I do not think I could
have held on as I did, but the sea was warm, and I did not feel in any
way benumbed.

The previous part of the night had appeared very long; this, however,
seemed far longer.  I often felt very sleepy, but I was afraid, if I
gave way to sleep, that I should lose my hold, and resisted the
influence.  Had I been alone, I felt that I should not have held on,
neither perhaps could Oliver Farwell, but we encouraged each other.  We
did not say much, but not a minute during the whole night passed without
our exchanging a word or two.

At length I began to hope that the sea was going down: indeed, after a
little time it appeared evident that the water was calmer.  It did not
break over our heads so frequently as at first.  I thought with what joy
we should welcome the first streaks of day.  At length, as we rose to
the top of a sea, we caught sight of the sun himself rising above the
horizon.  The clouds had cleared away, the wind had almost completely
fallen.  How gloriously the sun shot upwards in the clear blue sky.
Still the ocean rose and fell considerably.  As we again reached the top
of a billow, I caught sight of an object at no great distance.  At first
I thought it was a rock just above the water, but on looking again, I
saw it was a piece of wreck, and on it was seated a human being.  I
looked again and again, and so did Oliver.  We were certain that we
could not be mistaken.  We shouted at the top of our voices.  We saw the
person look round.  Again we shouted.  He stood up.  He had not
discovered us.  At length I managed to get my knees on the spar, and to
kneel and wave my hand above my head, shouting at the same time.  He now
saw us, and waved his hand in return.  At first I thought he was one of
the Lascars, but now I saw that it was Macco.  The raft on which he
floated afforded far more security than did our spar, but how to reach
it was the question.  In smooth water I might have pushed the spar
before me with the help of Oliver.  Presently we saw Macco slip off the
raft and strike out towards us.  He swam beautifully.  I did not think a
human being could make such rapid way through the water.  In a short
time we saw his dark-skinned face close to us.

"Ah! ah!  Bery glad, Massa Walter.  Bery glad to see you safe."

"What has become of the other poor fellows, Macco?"

"I not know.  Come now, I help you to get on my raft."  Saying this he
swam round, and began pushing the spar before him, one end first, by
which means it was easily driven through the water.  It took us some
time to reach the piece of wreck, which appeared to be part of the
poop-deck.  Getting on it himself, he hauled up Oliver first at my
request, and then assisted me, making fast the spar to one side.  The
deck, under which were some beams, floated well, and supported us
completely.  We were thankful that our lives had been thus far
preserved; but yet here we were, out in mid-ocean as far as we could
see, without land in sight, and with no provisions, not even a drop of
water to support life.  We all too well knew that unless help should
come, our lives had only been preserved to suffer a more lingering death
than the one we had escaped.  One of my first impulses was to stand up
and look round, in the hope of seeing the mast, with some of my
companions clinging to it, but though several pieces of wreck were
visible, nothing of the mast could we discover.  Macco could give very
little account of the way he had escaped.  He had, I found, been in the
top, and a sea striking him had washed him away; but being a good
swimmer, he struggled manfully for life, now floating on his back, now
looking round in the hopes of seeing something to which he might cling.
At last he found himself close to the deck; which, indeed, was on the
point of being thrown over him, when, had he been struck, his fate would
have been sealed.  Darting away from it, however, he escaped the danger,
and then swimming round, succeeded in placing himself upon it.

"I so glad," he exclaimed, "dat I saved my life, because now I try to
help save yours."

Oliver and I thanked him very much, though I said that I could not
exactly see how that was to be.

"A way will be found," observed Oliver, quietly.  "Let us trust in God;
he knows how to bring all things about."

As the sun rose higher in the sky, the heat became very great, striking
down upon our unprotected heads.  Fortunately we had all eaten a good
supper; but after a time we began to feel hungry, and thirst especially
assailed us.  Oh, what would we not have given for a glass of water!  My
companions were inclined to drink the salt water; but I had heard of the
danger of so doing, and urged them to refrain from the dangerous
draught.  Oliver and I had fortunately on our jackets.  These were soon
dried, and covering up our heads with them, we lay down to sleep on the
raft.  In an instant, it seemed to me, my eyes closed, and I forgot all
that had occurred, and the fearful position in which we were still
placed.  I suspect that Macco must have slept too, though when we lay
down he said that he should keep on the watch.  I was still dreaming,
with my head covered up, thinking that I was seated at dinner at my old
school, and that a number of fellows suddenly burst in, shouting out
that it was to be a half-holiday.  The noises grew louder and louder;
and presently a voice shouted close to me.  It sounded strangely like
that of Macco; but how he came to be at school I could not tell.
Throwing the jacket off my head, I started up, and there I saw close to
us a large native prow.  She was full of fierce-looking people, whose
voices I had at first heard.  Macco, who had been asleep, had not till
just before perceived them.  Oliver rose at the same time that I did.

"If they are human beings, they will treat us kindly," he observed,
standing up, and waving his hand.

Macco seemed far from satisfied with their appearance.  "Me no like dem
fellows," he said; "dey cut t'roat--eat! eat!"

"No fear of that," I observed.  "She looks to me like a trading prow,
though her men certainly would suit the deck of a pirate."

However, we had no choice.  It was now perfectly calm, and the prow
rowed up to the raft, the men in her making signs to us to come on
board.  As the vessel's side touched the raft, ropes were thrown to us,
and we soon clambered up on her deck.  The people began to shout to us,
evidently asking us questions; which, of course, we were not able to
answer, not understanding a word that was said.  The vessel was a
strange-looking craft, with large mat-sails, her deck sloping from the
stern down to the bows, which were by far the lowest part.  In the
after-part was a poop-deck; under which there was a sort of cabin, while
a small house of bamboo in front of it formed another cabin.  She was
steered by two rudders, one on either quarter, the tiller ropes coming
in through ports in the sides, and being worked by men who sat on the
deck under the poop.  Her crew were brown-skinned men, in the usual
dress of Malay seamen; that is to say, a pair of trousers fastened round
the waist, a handkerchief encircling the head, and a thin cotton jacket,
which, however, was thrown off when they were at work.  Their captain,
however, wore a handsome costume.  He was seated on a cushion just
before the poop, enjoying the luxury of an evening smoke, a long pipe
with a bowl being in his hand.  We were now taken up before him; and he
again put questions to us, which of course, as before, we were unable to
answer.  At length we heard him shouting out to the men forward.  One of
them came aft, and the chief said a few words to him.  On this he turned
round to us, and said, "Talky Inglis?"  I nodded.  "Where you come
from?" he asked, pretty quickly.  I told him we had been wrecked at no
great distance, and had been floated away from the place.  After I had
put my explanation in several different ways, he seemed to understand
me.  He explained what I had said to the chief, who seemed greatly
delighted, and immediately issued some orders to his men.  They
forthwith got out their sweeps, and began pulling away in the direction,
we supposed, of the wreck.  I was very glad of this, as I thought there
was a possibility, should any of our companions have escaped drowning,
of finding them.

I now told our interpreter that we were very hungry and thirsty.  He
understood me more by the signs I made than the words, I suspect; and,
nodding, made me understand that some food would be brought us.  "But we
are thirsty, thirsty!"  I exclaimed.  Indeed, my parched tongue made me
feel that without a draught of water I could scarcely swallow food.  On
this our interpreter, going into the hold, brought up a thick cane of
bamboo, and pulling a stopper out of the top, showed us, to our great
satisfaction, that it was full of water.  I never enjoyed a more
delicious draught.  I thought of my companions, however, and handed it
to Oliver, who passed it on to Macco, after which I took another pull at
it; and so we continued passing it round, till we had drained the
contents.

We were ready by this time for dinner, and were thankful to see several
dishes brought out of the little building which formed the cook-house on
deck.  The chief signed to us to sit down and fall to.  One was rice; of
that there was no doubt.  Another, too, I soon discovered to be that
most valuable production of the East, the bread-fruit: this was cut in
slices and fried.  The third, however, puzzled me excessively, and its
appearance was far from attractive.  There was, besides, a little saucer
with red pepper.  Oliver and I at once attacked the bread-fruit, when
Macco pointed to the other dish.

"Eat, eat; good!" he said.

"Do you take some of it," I observed, unwilling to begin.

He immediately did so, swallowing a good portion.

"What is it?"  I asked.

"You know; what sailor call `squid,'" he answered.  "Dem very good."

I now guessed that it was octopus, or ink-fish, the favourite food of
the sperm whale.  I would rather have kept to the bread-fruit and rice;
but Oliver was not so particular, and took a little with some red
pepper.  On his pronouncing it very good, I followed his example, and
found it far more palatable than I had expected, and I doubt not very
nutritious.  I remembered having heard that it was dangerous, after a
long fast, to eat much, and I therefore took but little.  Oliver also
was equally abstemious.  Macco, however, laughed at my warning, and very
soon finished off the contents of the dishes.

We hoped, from the hospitable way we were entertained, that we should
continue to be treated equally well.  After we had finished our repast,
Oliver and I felt very sleepy.  The chief seeing this, made signs to us
that we might go into the bamboo house and rest.  It was very clean and
neat; a sort of sofa being on one side, on which there was room for
Oliver and me to lie down, one at one end, and one at the other--with
our legs somewhat drawn up, to be sure, as the whole length was not more
than six feet.  We must have slept there the whole night; for when we
got up we found the sun just rising, while the chief and his crew were
turning their faces towards Mecca--or where they supposed it to be--and
offering up their morning prayers.  By this we knew that they were
Mohammedans: such, indeed, is the religion of a large number of the
people of the archipelago inhabiting the sea-coasts.

We had time to look about us, and examine the strange craft we had got
on board.  She had no masts, but the sails were hoisted on huge
triangles, which could be lowered at pleasure.  Her anchor, too, was of
curious construction: it consisted of a tough, hooked piece of timber,
which served as the fluke or hook, being strengthened by twisted ratans,
which bound it to the shank; while the stock was formed of a large flat
stone, also secured by ratans to the shank.  I observed that all the
crew were armed; and on a small piece of timber in the bows a small
swivel gun was placed, a similar piece being fixed in the after-part of
the vessel.  The cable also was formed of ratan, which, though strong,
could easily, I suspected, be cut by rocks.

We found, on seeing Macco, that the vessel had made but little progress
during the night, having anchored near a reef in order not to pass the
spot where the wreck was supposed to have occurred.  Little notice of us
was taken by the chief or his men: they all seemed eagerly looking out
for the expected wreck.  We also kept our eyes about us in every
direction, earnestly hoping that she might appear; but not a sign of her
was visible.  I thought I saw a sail in the far distance.  I pointed it
out to Oliver.  He was of the same opinion; so was Macco: but whether
the natives saw it or not, we could not tell.

We continued our course, the breeze being light.  After a time the prow
was steered first to the right, then to the left.  Then she made a
traverse to the south as near to the wind as she could lay (which,
by-the-by, was not very near, even with the aid of her oars); but though
several reefs were seen, on one of which probably the ship had struck,
she was nowhere to be discovered.  We saw, however, pieces of timber and
various articles floating about.  At length we caught sight of a long
object in the water.  We steered towards it.  Yes; it was the very mast
to which we had clung!  So it seemed to me, and so Oliver thought.  If
so, what had become of our unfortunate companions?  Shortly afterwards
another mast was seen.  A human form was entangled in the rigging.  We
eagerly looked down on it as we passed.  The dark skin showed that it
was the body of one of the Lascars.  The mast was undoubtedly the
foremast to which they had clung.  A light boat was launched from the
deck of the prow, and three hands went into it to the mast.  I saw that
they were taking off the girdle of the dead man.  As they lifted him up
I distinguished the features--so I thought--of Ali Tomba, who had been
the cause of the destruction of the _Bussorah Merchant_.  Leaving the
body, the men returned with the sash and clothes.  They were examined,
and found to contain a considerable number of coins, at which the
natives gazed with eager eyes.

Their whole conduct now changed towards us.  The chief had seated
himself in his usual place on the deck, when we were dragged up to him,
and he made signs to us to empty our pockets.  Oliver and Macco had, of
course, but a few small coins: I had rather more, but no great sum, in
Dutch money, which Captain Davenport had given me to make some purchases
in the town of Ternate.  I suppose they had treated us with civility at
first, not understanding that our ship was entirely lost, and perhaps
expecting that our countrymen would have punished them had they behaved
ill to us.  The chief seemed very angry at finding we had so little of
value about us.  He now made us a sign that we were to be gone from his
presence.  We sat down in the shade before the house, in the centre of
the deck, where Macco began to bewail our hard fate, observing that he
was sure the natives would kill and eat us.  I endeavoured to comfort
him by saying, that as they were Mohammedans they certainly would not
eat us, though I could not be answerable for their not taking our lives;
and, as far as I could, I endeavoured to persuade him to be prepared for
whatever might happen.

"The great thing, Macco," said Oliver, joining in the conversation, "is
to be sure that He who lives up there,"--(and he pointed to the blue
sky)--"who made this world, and all those stars we see, loves us, his
creatures whom he has placed on the earth; and if we trust him, he will
do everything that is best for us."

"But how I know he does love us?" asked Macco.  "He let many people die;
many be drowned; many be killed with blow up mountain or shake of earth;
many die fever, plague; many kill each other."

"Very true," answered Oliver.  "Sometimes he lets those who love him
best die.  He does not say that he will keep even his friends alive; but
if he takes them out of a bad world and puts them into a good one, does
not that show his love?  Some of those who are killed in the terrible
way you say, are not his friends; but we know he loves us, because he
gave One he loves better than anything else, to die for us, to be
punished instead of us.  We deserve punishment; we all feel that.  He
has told us, too, that he loves us; and if we believe the Bible, we must
believe that.  If man had not sinned, but had always been good and
obedient, we might have reason to doubt God's Word; but we are sure that
man has sinned, and continues sinning, and it was sin which brought all
this suffering on man.  Besides, again, as I said, we must not look upon
death--the mere death of the body--as a punishment.  It may be a great
blessing; it is indeed so to many.  But then, again, Macco, we cannot
pretend to understand all God's dealings with us."

I listened very attentively to these remarks made by Oliver.  A new
light seemed to break on me.  God's love!  God's love!--oh, how little
do we understand that!  It is only a knowledge of that which can enable
us in any way to comprehend his dealings with man.

"You see, Macco," continued Oliver, "that God is just as well as loving.
He punishes those who continue to refuse his offers of mercy.  With
many he tries loving-kindness first.  Sometimes his love makes him
afflict people for the sake of bringing them to him, making them feel
their own helplessness.  The great thing of all, however, is to know for
a certainty that he loves us, and that whatever he does is for the best.
When a man is sure of this, he trusts to God, whatever happens.  I have
a loving mother, who taught me this.  I am very sure it is the most
valuable knowledge she could have given me.  Though we know that we are
sinners, and deserve punishment, yet we also know that when God's Son
became man and died on the cross, being sacrificed for our sins, he took
away the sins of all those who trust to him; and so, instead of being
sinners in God's sight, when we thus trust to him we are made pure and
holy, and fit to go to heaven--nay, sure of going to heaven when we die.
If you believe this, Macco, you will not be afraid even though the
people round us should suddenly jump up and kill us all, and throw us
overboard."

Macco was silent for some time.  At length he looked up, and
said,--"Bless you, Oliver; you tell me great truth.  I no fear to die
now."

I felt indeed grateful to my young companion.  His words had given me a
courage I could scarcely have expected to possess; and though I did not
feel indifferent as to our fate, yet I was prepared, at all events, far
better than I should otherwise have been for whatever might happen.

The native seamen sat round in the bow of the vessel, eating from a huge
dish of rice, with some dried fish of some sort, seasoned with red
pepper.  After they had eaten their fill, they put down the remains of
the dish--into which they had all plunged their unclean fingers--before
us, much in the way they would have put it before a hungry dog, and made
us a sign to eat it if we chose.  At first I could scarcely bring myself
to touch the food; but Macco urged me to do so, and he and Oliver at
length beginning their repast, I could no longer resist the desire to
eat.

I could not make out exactly whether we were on board a trader or a
pirate; perhaps a mixture of both.  If she was a trader, I concluded she
was bound to the coast of New Guinea for tripang, or sea-slug--
considered a great delicacy by the Chinese and other people to the
north; perhaps for pearls to the Aru Islands, or for other productions
of the southern part of the archipelago.  We found, at all events, that
they were steering to the south.  For several days they stood on, not
altering their course.  We were treated in the same manner as we had
been since they had failed to discover the wreck of which we had told
them.  They gave us but scanty food, and allowed us but little water.
The interpreter no longer came near us, while scowling looks were cast
at us from every side.  At length an island appeared on our port-bow,
towards which the prow was steered.  It was thickly wooded, down to the
very water's edge.  A variety of strange-looking shrubs were seen, with
lofty and elegant palms rising above them.  What they were going to do
we could not surmise.  Having got close in, the sails were lowered, and
the anchor let go.  A boat was then launched.  As we were standing
looking towards the shore, the chief touched me on the shoulder, and
made signs that I was to get into the boat.  I knew that resistance
would be useless.  Two men then stepped in.  I also did as I was
ordered.  He then signed to Oliver and Macco to follow; Macco going
forward, and Oliver and I sitting in the stern.  We endeavoured to
ascertain from the chief why we were to be carried to the island; but he
did not answer, making only an impatient gesture to us to be off.
Without wasting further words, we took our seats, and the two men began
to pull away towards the shore.



CHAPTER ELEVEN.

OUR ISLAND.

A ledge of rocks running out from the land formed a small natural
harbour, into which the boat ran, and soon reached the sandy beach.
Here the crew made signs to us to land.  We obeyed, for resistance, of
course, was useless.  I jumped on shore, followed by my two companions,
and scarcely wetting our feet, we reached the dry beach.  The men, then
giving a shove with their oars, pulled away, leaving us on what appeared
to be an uninhabited island.  Why we were thus treated we could not
comprehend.

"I do not see that we have any great reason to complain," observed
Oliver.  "We should have been very thankful had we reached this island
on the raft, and we ought to be very much obliged to those people for
carrying us here.  They might have taken us to some place and sold us
for slaves, or might have creesed us and thrown us overboard."

"You are right, Oliver," I answered; "and we must try to make the best
of it.  I only hope we may find food and water.  Unless they were less
than human, they could scarcely have placed us on an island which they
knew was destitute of water."  We made these remarks as we watched the
boat rowing away toward the prow.  She soon reached the vessel, was
hoisted up, and the prow made sail to the southward.  We now sat down on
the beach, to see what was best to be done.  Macco had his sailor's
knife, fortunately, secured with a lanyard round his neck.  I had a
large clasp-knife in my pocket, which, though, like my clothes, somewhat
the worse for having been wetted with salt water, was still serviceable
and sharp.

The first thing was to survey our island, we agreed, and to try to find
water.  The shore was lined in many places with the curious pandanus, or
screw-palm, which may well be described as a trunk with branches at both
ends; or rather the roots seem to have lifted the trunk into the air and
to have assumed the appearance of branches.  Its woody fruit, about five
inches in diameter, is in the form of a sphere, and is regularly divided
by projections of a diamond shape.

The jungle was so thick that we could penetrate but a very little way
through it, with great difficulty.  Walking along the beach, we reached
a small opening--a miniature gulf, as it were, into which apparently a
stream of water had at some time flowed, though at present the bed was
perfectly dry.  Looking up it, we discovered a high hill some little
distance inland; we agreed that if we could make our way to that, we
might thence have a better view of the surrounding country.  We had not
gone far when we came to a grove of bamboos.  We each of us cut down a
couple: one we pointed to serve as a weapon of defence; and the other we
formed into the shape of a gouge to serve as a spade, with which we
intended to dig for water, should we not find any stream or pool.
Still, from the rich vegetation which appeared on every side, we had
little doubt that water would be found.  Proceeding up the dry
water-course, we approached the hill; but it grew narrower and narrower,
till at length the trees and underwood, with numberless creepers, so
completely blocked up the way, that we could scarcely force a road
through it.  Still, to the top of the hill we had determined to go.
Making use of our knives, we cut away the creepers, sometimes crawling
under the trees, sometimes climbing over the stems which bent across our
course.  Once more we saw the summit of the hill.  It appeared much
higher than we at first supposed it to be.  At length we were rewarded
for our exertions by finding that we were actually ascending the side.
On we went, the underwood becoming less dense as we rose higher and
higher.  We now had little difficulty in making our way, the trees and
shrubs indeed assisting us in climbing the steep sides.  When, however,
we got to the top, we found that what we had supposed to be small shrubs
were, in reality, large trees, covering it so thickly that the view on
every side was shut out.

"I am afraid we have had all our toil for nothing," I observed.

"I am afraid so, too," said Oliver.

"Stay, Massa Walter," observed Macco.  "I climb to top of dis tree, and
den see what I can see."

He pointed to the lofty palm under which we were standing.  Descending a
little way, he cut a quantity of creepers, which he soon twisted into a
strong hoop round the tree and his own body.  He now began, by placing
the hoop a little way above him and leaning back, to climb upwards, and
with wonderful rapidity reached the summit.  We asked him what he saw.

"We on good big island!" he shouted out.  "Plenty of wood; but no see
water.  Dere oder islands."  And then pointing to the south-east, he
cried out,--"Dere more land, long, long away dere!"

"Do you make out any vessel?"  I asked.

"No; only prow go away to de south."

"That must be the coast of New Guinea," I observed to Oliver.  "I only
hope none of the inhabitants may come over to this island, for they are
terrible savages."

"If they come, we must keep out of their way," said Oliver.  "It would
be better to remain here than to be carried off and eaten by them."

Macco, having ended his survey, descended the tree.  I tried to get up
the same way, wishing to take a look round myself; but I found that,
though not a bad climber, I could not manage it.  Seeing no great use in
persisting in the attempt, I gave it up.  We could find no other way
down to the shore, besides the one up which we had come.  Having cleared
away some impediments, we had less difficulty in returning than we had
found in going upwards.  Macco led; indeed, his knowledge of woodcraft
in his native country was of great service to us, for I believe without
him we should very easily have lost our way, even though we had left the
marks of our knives on the creepers as we went up.  As we were pushing
on, my eye caught sight of some trees in a hollow on one side, which I
at once knew to be sago-trees, from the description Mr Hooker had given
me of them.

"See!"  I exclaimed to Oliver, "there is a supply of food sufficient to
last us for months, or years, indeed, if we can manage to manufacture
the sago; and I think we shall have little difficulty in doing that."

I pointed it out to Macco.  He knew them at once.

"Yes, yes!" he said; "dey bery good.  I make food from dem.  Come to
look for water dere."

Following him, we proceeded to the hollow I have mentioned.  The ground
was low and soft, and gave us some hopes of finding water.  We instantly
set to work, digging with our bamboo spades.  We dug and dug in the soft
earth; but though it was somewhat moist, not a thimbleful of water
appeared.  Still we did not despair.  Oliver proposed that we should
look for another spot at a lower level, where we might hope to be more
successful.  We accordingly set to work to force our way through the
jungle towards the shore.  Even with sharp axes we should have found
some difficulty; but it was very heavy work with our knives.  Still, it
had to be done.  Water was the first thing we required.  We had
progressed a hundred yards or less, though it had appeared to us upwards
of a mile, when we heard close to us a peculiar cry, which sounded
something like, "Wawk--wawk--wawk!--Wok--wok--wok!" loud and shrill
above our heads.  On looking up we caught sight of a magnificent bird,
with rich crimson wings, and a long pendant tail like strips of satin.
The head, and back, and shoulders were covered with the richest yellow,
while the throat was of a deep metallic-green.  The end of the side
plumes had white points.  I had little difficulty in recognising the
bird of paradise, and I remembered Mr Hooker speaking of one which he
called the red bird of paradise.  This, I had little doubt, was the bird
before us.  Away he flew, however, followed by a smaller bird of a
sombre brown plumage, which I could scarcely have supposed was his mate,
had I not known that the wives of these gay-plumaged gentlemen are
nearly always robed in Quaker-like simplicity.  As he went, he appeared
to be pecking away at the fruit of various trees over which he passed.
It seemed surprising, too, that his long ribbon-like tail should have
escaped catching in the thick foliage through which he rapidly flew.
We, poor creatures, scrambling through the lower part of the forest, had
a difficulty in making our way, without losing our close-fitting
garments; indeed, as it was, they were sadly torn by the underwood.  We
were rewarded for our exertions, by reaching another hollow in which a
number of the sago-palms grew.

The sago-palm has a creeping root-stem, like a nipa-palm, and Mr Hooker
had told me that when it is nearly fifteen years old it sends up an
immense terminal spike of flowers, after which it dies.  It is not so
tall as the cocoa-nut tree, but is thicker and larger.  The mid-ribs of
its immense leaves are twelve or fifteen feet long, and sometimes the
lower part is as thick as a man's leg.  They are excessively light,
consisting of a firm pith, covered with a hard rind.  They are
frequently used instead of bamboo; entire houses, indeed, are built of
them.  They serve for the roofs of houses, as also for the floors; and
when pegged together, side by side, they form the centre part of the
panels of frame houses.  As they do not shrink, but look clean and nice,
without requiring varnish, they serve better for walls and partitions
than do ordinary boards.  Boxes, also, are made of them; indeed, it
would be difficult to describe the numberless uses to which they are
put.  The trunk, however, is the more valuable part, as the pith of the
interior is the staple food of large numbers of the inhabitants of these
regions.  I will not stop here to describe how the sago is made; but I
will do so shortly.

We again set to work with our bamboo spades, and dug away most
energetically.  Some moisture on the ground encouraged us to proceed,
while the burning thirst from which we were suffering increased our
anxiety for success.  As we dug lower the ground became soft, and more
and more moist, when Macco, putting down his hand, brought it up full of
liquid mud.  "Water come soon," he exclaimed, digging away more
energetically than before.

"Hurrah!"  I shouted.  "A spring! a spring!  We are indeed lucky!"

"Let us rather say that God is merciful," said Oliver, though in so low
a voice that it seemed scarcely as if he intended me to hear him.

"You are right," I answered; "I do feel grateful."  Some bamboos grew a
short way off, and Macco, running to them, soon cut several pieces,
leaving the knots at the ends to serve as bottoms; we thus in a few
minutes were each supplied with a serviceable cup.  By this time the
thick mud had settled down, though the water was far from limpid.  We
each of us eagerly took a draught to quench our thirst.  Thus, then, we
were supplied with the first necessary of life.  By this time we had all
become very hungry; though we felt sure we could manufacture some sago
out of the sago-palms, yet it would be a work of time.  Our chief hope
of obtaining food immediately was on the sea-shore--we might at all
events find shell-fish.  Macco told us he was sure he could manufacture
some fishing-lines and hooks; the latter out of the bones of birds, and
the lines from some of the numerous creepers with which the island
abounded.  While this was being done, however, we should be starved; we
therefore made the best of our way round through the path we had already
made to the shore.  I had often thought the matter over, and I was sure
that many persons had lost their lives from not immediately setting to
work to try and find the means of subsistence.  I had read of two
parties being cast away on the same island at a short distance from each
other: the one perishing; the other, from their energy and perseverance,
existing for many months, and ultimately escaping.

Oliver needed no urging, and Macco especially seemed ready to exert his
faculties in obtaining food.  We looked along the beach, but the water
was up, and no shells with live creatures in them could we find.  There
was no lack of empty shells, however, some of them of great size and
beauty, such as would fetch a high price in England.

"They are of very little use to us," I observed.

Macco heard me.  "Not so sure of dat, Massa Walter," he said, for I
should remark that, having learned his English from Potto Jumbo, he
spoke very much in his way.  "Here dis big shell make good cook-pot;
here clean out dis, make good cup; here plates, and here dis make good
spoon," and he picked up shells of different shapes.

"I wish, however, we could find something to put into them and cook," I
could not help saying.

Soon after, we had reached the beach where we had landed.  We found the
sand soft and fine.  Macco looked about, and then exclaimed, "Ha, ha!
here's somet'ing;" and he began digging away with the bamboo spade.  In
a short time he produced a couple of turtle's eggs: we hunted, and soon
found several more.  "Dese do till tide go down and we find shell-fish,"
he observed.

Though very hungry, I had no fancy for eating turtle's eggs raw.  "We
must try and find the means of lighting a fire," I observed.  "Do you
think, Macco, you could produce a flame with two pieces of wood, as is
done in some countries?"

"Not so sure," he answered; "but if we had flint, I soon find pith to
set on fire."

From the character of the island, which appeared to be entirely
volcanic, I had no hope of finding flints.  Just then it flashed across
me that a few days before I had been using a glass from my telescope as
a burning-glass, and I recollected putting it in my pocket on being
called off suddenly to attend to some duty; I had little hope, however,
of finding it unbroken.  I put my hands into my trowsers pockets, and
then into my jacket pockets, but it was not there; neither was it in my
waistcoat pockets, but there was a hole in one of them, and after
feeling about, I found it had worked its way round into the corner of
the waistcoat by my side.  It had thus escaped being broken, or
discovered by the Malays when they took away our money.  I produced it
with great satisfaction.  Macco ran off immediately, and came back with
some dried pith and a bundle of sticks.  We soon produced a flame and
had a fire burning.  Macco then made a collection of round stones, which
he put on the fire, at the same time filling one of the shells with
water.  "Too much water," he observed, turning some of it out.  He then
transferred the hot stones to the water, which began bubbling and
hissing as if it were boiling.  "Put in the eggs," he observed; "soon
boil dem."  We followed his advice, and in four or five minutes the eggs
were boiled thoroughly, quite as well as if they had been put into a pot
on the fire.  We had now no danger of starving, for the present at all
events; and indeed, if we could manufacture the sago, we might supply
ourselves with food sufficient to last for any length of time.

The tide had, meantime, been going out, and here and there where the
rocks were exposed we caught sight of shell-fish.  I, however, knowing
even in that climate the danger of sleeping entirely exposed to the
night air without a roof over the head, advised my companions at once to
set to work and build a hut.  We accordingly went back to the sago-palm
grove, and cut down as many of the leaves as we could carry.  With these
we returned to the beach, on the highest part of which, just under the
trees, we proposed putting up a temporary hut, till we could get a more
permanent building.  We soon had an edifice erected, something like a
North American Indian wigwam, into which we could all creep and lie
conveniently at full length.  By this time the tide had gone down, and
by crawling along the rocks, Macco was able to capture a number of
shell-fish.  This he did by cutting them off the rock with the bamboo
spear: our only fear was lest they should be poisonous.  We asked him
what he thought about the matter.  "All right," he answered; "dem good
for eat."  He had brought an ample supply for our supper; some were
roasted, but others were boiled as we had done the turtle's eggs.  After
this, commending ourselves to One whom we knew would watch over us, we
lay down in our small hut to sleep.

The sun was just rising out of the horizon when we awoke; the sea was
calm and blue, and the sky was beautifully clear.  Our first discussion
while at breakfast on turtle's eggs, was the best means of manufacturing
the sago.  If we could get a tree cut down, there would not be much
difficulty; but how to fell it with our clasp-knives was the question.

"Perseverance conquers all difficulties," observed Oliver.  "I remember
the story of the mouse letting the lion out of the net by nibbling away
at the meshes.  We can work away at the stem with our knives, and do a
little every day, in the meantime subsisting on the eggs and the
shell-fish."

"Yes, yes," said Macco; "we choose small tree, enough for us to live on
for many days, and we soon have him down."

Before starting, however, the tide being still low, we collected a
further supply of shell-fish.  As we were proceeding along the beach, we
saw, just rising as it were out of the water, a small ridge.  "What can
that be?"  I said, drawing nearer to it.  I saw, as I got close to the
water's edge, that it was a huge bivalve.  As far as I could judge, it
was alive.  I called my companions, and catching hold of it, we dragged
it up, though our united strength could with difficulty accomplish our
object.

"Take care no put hand inside," said Macco, "or he bite bery hard!"

I am certain that I am right when I say that it could not have weighed
much less than a hundredweight.  It would afford us not only one, but
several meals probably, if the creature inside bore any proportion to
his house.  I did not know the name at the time, but I afterwards
learned that it must have been a specimen of the _Tridacna gigas_.  I
have since heard that the shells themselves, without the mollusc, weigh
even more than that; indeed, I afterwards saw some in use of larger
size.  Having captured our prize, however, we found that there was some
chance of our not being able to get at the mollusc inside; for when the
difficulty of opening an ordinary oyster-shell is remembered, the force
required to get at the inside of so large a shell as this would be no
easy task.  It was important, however, to get the creature out at once,
for if it were exposed to the sun, it would, in all probability, not be
fit to eat by the evening.  Macco, ever fertile in resource, ran off,
and soon returned with a supply of bamboos, which he split up into fine
long wedges.  He hunted about on every side till he found a small
opening; into this he instantly inserted the fine point of a piece of
bamboo, and going round the shell, placed another in a similar position.
There was no lack of pieces of coral rock lying about which had been
broken off by the sea, and thrown up on the beach; these served as
hammers.  "Now," he cried out, "strike! strike altogether!"  We did so,
but Oliver's instrument and mine made no impression; Macco's, however,
went right in, and seemed to cut some part of the creature; for directly
afterwards, by using the wedges as levers, we lifted up one of the
valves, and exposed to view a huge mass of blubber-like flesh.  Macco
seemed highly delighted.  "Dat bery good, bery good!" he exclaimed, and
soon cut the whole away from the shell, and held it up to let the water
run out.

"I should be very hungry before I could eat that," I observed.

"Ah, Massa Walter," he answered, "you will be bery hungry if you no eat
dis, and many oder curious t'ings.  De great t'ing is, if good to eat.
If good, no mind looks; better to eat dis dan starve."

With some powerful blows, he separated the two shells, and now begged us
to carry them up to the hut.  "Dey hold water," he observed; "and we
soon have all we want to live well."  Having made up the fire, he cut
three very long bamboo stakes, with which he made a triangle over it, so
high that the flames could not reach the poles to burn them.  From the
centre he hung down the huge mollusc, so that the smoke might circle
round it.  "Dere," he said, "dis now dry, and keep well till we want eat
it."



CHAPTER TWELVE.

OUR LIFE ON THE ISLAND.

The success we had already met with in finding food raised our spirits;
but I knew the risk we should run of losing our health if we could not
obtain vegetables was very great.  I therefore urged my companions to
set to work at once and try to get the sago manufactured.

"Come directly," said Macco, collecting a quantity of half-dried leaves.
These he placed on the fire.  He then covered them up with green twigs,
thereby preventing the flames bursting out, at the same time producing
an abundant smoke.  "Dere, dat do bery well," he observed.  "No creature
come to carry off de fish, and he well dry when we come back."

I cannot say I felt any great confidence in the success of his
experiment; and I thought it of no great importance even should it fail,
as I began to hope that we should have a sufficient supply of food.  We
soon found a palm of moderate dimensions, which we might hope, even with
our knives, to cut down in the course of a day or two by working away
assiduously.  What, however, would take us several days, a sharp axe
would accomplish almost in the course of almost as many minutes.
However, we could all three work at once.

"You take one side, Oliver; Macco, you take another; and I will take a
third," I observed.

"Stay, Massa Walter," he answered; "you no want to break head.  Do dis
first.  You cut here; Oliver cut here; and I go make rope."

Some ratans were growing not far off; he immediately began cutting them
away, and having collected a large supply, twisted them ingeniously into
a rope.  Oliver and I had made apparently but little impression in the
tree by the time he had done so.  Taking the rope, he climbed up as
before, to a considerable height, where he fastened it, and then carried
the other end to another tree at some little distance, so that it might
fall to the ground clear of its companions.

"Now," he said, "do bery well;" and taking out his knife, he began to
work away with great energy.  So dexterously did he ply his instrument,
that he soon had made almost as much impression as we had done, who had
been working so much longer a time.  The ratans I speak of, though
allied to palms, are creepers.  They grow from the ground, climbing up a
tree, and then running along the branches, and descending again, mount
up another tree, or sometimes climb from branch to branch.  They often
encircle a tree, which, in time, is completely destroyed; while they
survive, forming an extraordinary intricate mass of natural cordage on
the ground.  In some places the original trunk had entirely disappeared,
leaving only the ratan.  They greatly ornament the forest as they hang
in graceful festoons from branch to branch, or adorn their summits with
feathery crowns of leaves, their highest points being erect leafy spikes
which rise up above all the other foliage.

Macco had collected several lengths of this curious creeper, each
perhaps of fifty fathoms; and having twisted them together, had formed a
very strong rope.  The natives make their cables of them, as well as the
standing rigging of their masts; indeed, they are used for all sorts of
stout cordage.  While we were working away, looking up, I saw on the
branch of a tree, at no great distance, as if watching our proceedings,
an animal with a small head and very large bright eyes.  He was covered,
apparently, with very thick fur, and, I soon saw, had also a long tail,
which was curled on a branch below him.  As we did not move, he began
eating away in a fearless manner the leaves from a branch which hung
near his snout.  He reminded me somewhat of the opossum, covered with
thick, pure white fur, on which appeared a few black spots of various
shapes.  I pointed him out at length to Macco.  "He good eat," he
whispered.  "I catch him."  Several pieces of small ratan lay near us,
and taking one of them, he formed a noose, with which in his hand he
crept towards the tree.  On considering what the animal could be, I
recollected one called the cuscus, a picture of which I had seen in one
of Mr Hooker's books.  "Yes, I am sure that must be a cuscus.  It is a
marsupial, or pouch-possessing animal, like the kangaroo," I said to
Oliver.  Macco quickly climbed the tree, and reached a branch just above
the cuscus.  Not till then did the creature catch sight of him, and
began moving along the branch, but at a very slow pace.  Macco
immediately climbed down towards us and followed it.  Just, however, as
he was approaching, cuscus let go his hold, hanging down by his tail.
It was a fatal manoeuvre, for Macco's noose was immediately let drop,
and quickly drawn over the head of poor cuscus, who in vain tried to
liberate himself with his claws.  He was now a captive, and Macco,
keeping the noose tight, descended the tree.  Cuscus held on by his long
prehensile tail; but Macco pulled and pulled, and down the animal came
with a flop to the ground.  His claws were so sharp, that it was rather
difficult to take hold of him without the risk of being severely
scratched.  Macco called out to us to bring him one of the bamboo
spears.  With this he transfixed the poor creature to the ground; but
even then it struggled, and not till he had made use of his knife, half
severing the head from the body, did the creature die.  It looked
somewhat, in its white, woolly covering, like a small, fat lamb; but it
had short legs, hand-like feet, with large claws.

"He make bery good dinner for us," observed Macco.  "No fear of our
starving.  Dat good t'ing."

Oliver and I were very glad, and thanked him very much for catching the
creature.  However, I urged him to go back at once, that we might
continue our work on the sago-tree, for I was sure that, though by
eating flesh and fish we might support our lives, we should not retain
our health without bread, or a substitute for it, which the sago would
afford.  From the height of the sun, in addition to the hints of our own
appetites, we guessed that it was already past noon.  We therefore
proposed returning with the cuscus to our hut.  Tying up the legs of our
prize with the ratan, we passed a piece of bamboo through them, and took
our way by the path we had cut to the beach.  Our fire was out, and the
number of flies collected round our mollusc made us doubtful whether we
were not too late to preserve it from destruction.

"Soon drive dem away," said Macco, and bringing fresh fuel, he piled it
up under the triangle.  "I get fire dis time," he said.  "I see man on
board de prow do it de oder day."

Taking a piece of bamboo sharpened like a knife in one hand, he held
another piece in the other, split in two, with the convex part
uppermost, in which he had cut a small notch.  He began passing the
sharp piece slowly over the other, as a fiddler does his bow over his
fiddle--strings, increasing in rapidity, till, in a very short time, the
powder produced by the friction ignited, and fell down upon the ashes.
This he quickly blew up, and even more rapidly than I could have done
with my burning-glass, a flame was produced.  The smoke which ascended
soon sent some of the flies to a distance, while the others fell down
into the fire.  This gave us a hint that we must not leave any of our
food exposed, or that it would very quickly be destroyed.

"Cuscus better for dinner dan dis," he said, for he had heard me name
the creature; and he at once began to draw off the skin; then cutting
some slices off the animal, he soon had them toasting on forked sticks
before the fire.

"I wish I had some salt," I observed, pointing to the large shell in
which we had boiled our eggs.  The water had evaporated, leaving the
sides and stones covered with saline particles.  By scraping this off,
we had an ample supply of salt for our meat.

"It strikes me, Mr Walter," said Oliver, "that we may be able to
manufacture enough salt to preserve the animals we kill, for the time
may come when we may not be able to obtain any, and possibly it might be
a better way of preserving them than by drying them in the smoke."

"In dry, cool weather we might do so," I observed; "but in this hot
climate I doubt whether we could get the salt in with sufficient
rapidity to stop putrefaction.  However, of course, it would assist in
preserving the meat."

"I am afraid you are right, Mr Walter," he answered.  "At all events,
it is satisfactory to know that we can procure salt for our daily use."

"Oliver," I said, "I must ask a favour of you--it is, not to call me Mr
Walter.  A common misfortune has made us brothers, and as a brother, I
am sure, I shall ever look upon you."

"I will do what you wish," said Oliver, "for I owe my life to you; yet,
though I regard you as a brother, I do not feel myself your equal."

"Do not talk of that, my dear fellow," I said.  "We will not bandy
compliments.  I should have been very miserable had I been left on this
island by myself, or even with so honest a fellow as our dark-skinned
friend here; for though we two might have been like Robinson Crusoe and
his man Friday, I have often thought that Crusoe must have passed many
dull and melancholy hours, without a companion with whom he could
exchange ideas on equal terms."

I felt much more at my ease after I had said this to Oliver.  I had long
looked upon him as a very superior lad.  His earnest piety, his courage
and his coolness, had made me greatly respect him.  Had I been told to
choose a companion in the situation in which I was placed, I certainly
should have selected him.  Our meal over, we went back to our sago-tree,
and commenced our work.  We made some progress, but still clasp-knives
were very inadequate tools for the work we had undertaken.  Every now
and then, as we were labouring on silently, we heard the same cry of
Wawk--wawk--wawk!--Wok--wok--wok! and caught sight of magnificent birds
flitting among the higher branches of the trees, but so rapidly did they
move, that we could scarcely distinguish their forms.  We knew them,
however, to be birds of paradise, which Mr Hooker had fully described
to us.  I knew from this that we must be on an island very close to the
shores of New Guinea, as Mr Hooker had told me these birds are only
found in that vast country, or in the surrounding islands.  When
Europeans first arrived at the Moluccas to obtain cloves and nutmegs,
which were then supposed to be rare, and considered of great value, they
saw, in the possession of the natives, dried skins of birds of beautiful
plumage and unusual shape.  On inquiring their name, they were told that
they were God's birds.  As the bodies shown them had neither feet nor
wings, they easily believed the story they heard, that they had fallen
from the sun, and the Portuguese therefore called them birds of the sun.
The Dutch, who came afterwards, gave them the name of birds of
paradise.  One of their early writers declared that no one had ever seen
them alive, that they existed only in the air, invariably keeping their
heads towards the sun, and never reaching earth till they died.  Even as
late as 1760 they were supposed to have no feet, and Linnaeus calls them
footless birds of paradise.  Another account says that they come to some
of the spice islands of the East to eat nutmegs, which so intoxicate
them, that they fall down senseless, and are then killed.  Mr Hooker,
however, assured me that they were found only in New Guinea, and in a
few groups of islands in its immediate neighbourhood.  There is a
considerable number of species of this bird, all of which have a
magnificent plumage.  They are of moderate size, and are allied in their
habits and structure to crows, starlings, and to the Australian
honey-suckers.  I longed to get some of these beautiful birds; but at
present we had too much important work on which our existence might
depend to allow me to make an attempt to obtain them.

We laboured on till the sun nearly reached the horizon, and then hurried
back to our hut.  As may be supposed, as we passed along the shore we
took an anxious look-out in every direction to ascertain if any sail was
in sight; but the distant horizon still remained unbroken, as it had
been since the prow which had brought us to the island had disappeared
across it.

I was still unwilling to attack the mollusc; but Macco, cutting off some
slices, toasted them before the fire, and declared them very good.  I
preferred supping on the remainder of the turtle's eggs, as did Oliver.
He, however, tried a bit of the mollusc, but agreed that, unless more
perfectly cooked, it was likely to prove very indigestible.  Having
finished our repast, we crept into our hut.  I should have said we had
strewn it thickly with leaves to serve as a mattress.  The nights were
warm, and as there was no wind, we required no covering beyond that
afforded us by the roof.  We agreed, however, that as soon as we could
manufacture some sago, we would build a more substantial mansion, in
which we might be able to live should the rains come on.

I cannot describe the incidents of each day; for having no note-book,
they are somewhat mixed up in my memory.  For two days we laboured on at
the tree, and had now begun to make some progress.  I became somewhat
eager at length, and hacked away incautiously with my knife.  In so
doing, I caught it in the wood; and in drawing it out again, snapped the
blade across.  Here was indeed a misfortune.

"O Massa Walter," exclaimed Macco, "dat bad!"

"It is indeed," I said; "for though you and Oliver may in time get
through the trunk with your knives, it will certainly take much longer."

"Not so certain of dat," said Macco.  "An idea strike me.  You take my
knife--don't break it, though--and I come back by-and-by and see what I
can do."

Saying this, he handed me his knife, and with greater caution I
continued my task.

"We must be content to chop out a little at a time," observed Oliver.
"Perseverance will succeed in the end.  It might even be done with a
penknife, if we did not attempt to work too quickly."

Macco, after being absent an hour, returned with several articles in his
hand.  One was a thick flat shell, something like an oyster-shell, only
very much larger.  He had also brought some pieces of wood, with some
fibre to serve as string, and some small sticks of bamboo.  He sat down
near us, and taking the shell, formed with the bamboo a small drilling
machine.  With wonderful rapidity he worked away, drilling first one
hole and then another in the shell, till he had formed a line completely
across it.  He now asked for his knife, and shaped away the wood he had
brought.  Placing two pieces, one on each side of the shell, with
another at the back, he secured the whole together by means of the
fibre, binding it round and round through the holes, till he had formed
a serviceable-looking axe.

"Dere," he said, lifting the weapon.

"Let me have it!"  I exclaimed.  "I will work away gladly with it."

"No, no, Massa Walter," he answered.  "I make de axe, I use it; if you
make it, you use it."

Macco, lifting his newly-made axe, advanced to the tree, and began
chopping away with careful and delicate strokes.  He cut off only very
thin slices at a time, but by degrees he increased the rapidity of his
strokes, and I soon saw would produce far greater effect than we could
do with our knives.  When he stopped, we set to work again.  By the end
of the day, we calculated that we had got through more than half of the
trunk.  It showed, at all events, what perseverance could do; and in
good spirits we returned to the shore.  It was some time before sunset,
but we were anxious to try and find some more turtles' eggs.  In vain,
however, we searched; and thinking that we might possibly find some more
further on, we continued our walk along the shore.  We had gone some
distance without meeting with any success, when, the brushwood appearing
somewhat lighter, we determined to proceed a little way inland.  We had
not gone far when we found a large mound fully six feet high, and, I
daresay, not less than twelve feet across.  What it could be, we could
not at first tell.  It seemed as if a building of some sort had stood
there, and the whole had tumbled down and been broken to atoms.  We had
our bamboo spades with us, so we took it into our heads to dig into the
mound.  It appeared to be composed, on examination, of dead leaves,
stones, earth, and rotten wood, and sticks of all sorts--indeed, every
variety of rubbish.  At first I thought it might possibly be an ant's
nest, as I had read of the curious buildings formed by those creatures.
I had begun on one side; but Oliver went to the very top, and began
digging away.  Macco could not assist us, as he said he had seen nothing
of the sort before.  One thing we were certain of, that the mound was
artificial.

"I am afraid we are only wasting our time," I observed; "and it will be
better to go back to the shore to look for turtles' eggs; and perhaps we
may catch a turtle itself."

I had already begun to walk away, expecting my companions to follow,
when Oliver cried out, "Stay!--stay!--see here!" and he lifted up a
large egg of a light brick-red colour, fully as large as that of a swan.
I hurried back, and now, assisting him to dig, we uncovered a
considerable number--two or three dozen at least.  I now recollected
having heard from Mr Hooker of a bird called the megapodius, which lays
its eggs in large heaps.  It is said that a number of birds make these
mounds together.  For this purpose they are furnished with large feet
and long curved claws, to enable them to scrape up the dirt and rubbish.
This they are supposed to do by labouring together; and they then,
making a hole in the centre, lay their eggs in it and cover them up.
The heat caused by the fermenting leaves is sufficient to hatch the
eggs; and the young birds then work their own way out of the mound, and
run off in a most independent manner into the woods, picking up their
food as they go.  They are quite independent of parental control, and
seem at once to obtain all the knowledge they are ever likely to
possess.  We determined to watch for the birds themselves, when we had
time, to learn more about them.  Of the fact that they thus lay their
eggs, we now had a very pleasant proof.

"Stay," said Macco; "I make baskets to carry de eggs."

Ascending a tall palm-tree, he cat from the top some fan like leaves,
and descending, speedily wove them into three baskets, sufficient to
carry away our prize.  We left, however, a portion to be hatched, not
liking to take the whole--indeed, there were more than we should
probably require while they remained good.  We had not got far with
them, when a dreadful idea struck me.

"Suppose they are nearly hatched," I said; "I am afraid they would be
uneatable!"

Macco understood me, and laughed heartily.  "Oh, dem bery good," he
answered.  "Little bird better dan big, bird."

However, I could not agree with him.  To satisfy myself, I at once broke
one.  Greatly to my delight I found that it was perfectly fresh; and
probably, had we approached the mound more cautiously, we might have
found the parent birds in the neighbourhood, for it was evident that the
eggs could only just have been laid.

As may be supposed, we made a hearty supper.  On examining our larder,
we found that the flesh of the cuscus was still perfectly fresh.  At
first I had some repugnance to eating a new animal.  However, the steaks
which Macco cut from the creature's fat sides looked so tempting that I
did not refuse the portion he offered me, and found it very delicate.
As the eggs were more likely to keep than the flesh of the animal, we
agreed to preserve it for our morning's meal, cooking only one, which we
divided amongst us.  A couple we agreed would be sufficient for a hearty
meal; indeed, one was almost enough to satisfy a moderate appetite.
While we were eating it, we discussed the best plan for keeping our
eggs.

"What do you say to trying to hatch some of them?" said Oliver.  "We may
then have some poultry about us, as I suppose, if we were to begin when
the birds are first hatched, we might tame them, and then, in case of
necessity, we may kill them for food."

There appeared to be no great difficulty in imitating the parents' way
of building.  We therefore constructed a mound, similar in character to
the one we had discovered, and placed half-a-dozen eggs at the same
depth that we had found them.  And, as far as we could recollect, in the
same position.  The others were hung up in the air on the branch of a
tree in baskets, that they might be kept as cool as possible, hoping
thus that they would remain fit for food till they were exhausted.

"What cause we have to be thankful!" said Oliver.  "See tow bountifully
we are supplied with food; and the care thus taken of us by a kind
Providence should make us trust that we may some day be rescued from our
position, and restored to our friends."



CHAPTER THIRTEEN.

THE TREASURES OF OUR ISLAND.

The next morning, as we took our way to the sago wood, our ears were
saluted by the loud cries of some of the birds of paradise; and looking
up, we saw a vast number of them collected on the tops of some lofty
trees in the forest, having immense heads of wide-spreading branches
with scanty foliage, though with large leaves.  Suddenly the birds began
to move about in the most extraordinary manner, stretching out their
necks, raising their beautifully-tinted plumes, and elevating their
wings, which they kept in a continual state of vibration.  Now they flew
from branch to branch backwards and forwards, so that the trees appeared
filled with waving plumes, and every variety of form and colour.  "Why,
they are dancing in the air!" exclaimed Oliver; and truly it seemed as
if they were expressly performing a dance for our entertainment.  The
wings appeared to be raised directly over the back.  The head was
stretched out, bending downwards; and the long hinder feathers were
elevated and expanded, forming two superb golden fans, striped with deep
red at the base, and fading away into the pale brown tint of the body.
Their heads were yellow, their throat emerald-green--though even the
bright tints were scarcely perceptible amid the rich golden glory which
waved above them.  They appeared to be of the size of crows, the bodies
being of a rich coffee brown.  Their long gold and orange feathers,
which form their most conspicuous ornament, spring from the sides
beneath each wing; and I found afterwards, when I examined one of the
birds, that when in repose they are partly concealed by them.

We could scarcely move from the spot, so delighted were we with the
beautiful appearance of these magnificent birds.  Now and then, also,
superb butterflies of gorgeous colours flew by us; while here and there,
as the sunlight penetrated amongst the branches of the trees, we saw,
creeping along the ground or up the stems, numbers of glittering
beetles, of equally beautiful tints.

At length, however, we repaired to our sago-tree.  Macco used his
newly-formed axe with as much judgment as at first; we as before working
away at intervals with our knives.  At length he exclaimed, "Me t'ink
tree fall now.  You go to end of rope and haul, haul.  Take care far
enough off; and I cut, cut."

Macco again shouted; and Oliver and I hauling with all our might, we saw
the lofty tree bending forward.  We ran back even further than was
necessary, and down it came with a crash upon the ground, which echoed
through the forest, and startled several creatures, which went flying or
leaping, it seemed to us, among the branches or over the ground.  One,
however, in a little time came back again, and we saw a curious black
face looking down upon us.  "A monkey or baboon!"  I cried out.  A
chattering cry was the answer, and the black face disappeared among the
branches.

We could do little more towards preparing the sago that evening.  On
passing through a more open part of the forest, our eyes were gladdened
by seeing some large fruit hanging from the top of some palm-trees.
"Cocoa-nut!--cocoa-nut!" cried Macco.  Yes; there was the long-coveted
cocoa-nut; and apparently mature.  Macco, as may be supposed, was very
quickly at the top of the tree, and engaged in throwing down the nuts.

"Stay!"  I cried out; "don't pick more than are necessary, and we may
have them fresh."

We had soon torn off the fibrous covering, and knocked a hole in one of
the eyes.  How deliciously cool and sweet did the juice inside them
taste!

"That is refreshing!" exclaimed Oliver.  "I am glad we have begun on the
sago-tree, or we might have been lazy, and not have taken the trouble to
cut it down."

"Yes, indeed," I answered; "and remember the cocoa-nuts will only last
for a time, whereas the sago will keep as long as we require it."  Here
was another addition to our store of provisions, for which we had truly
cause to be thankful.

Next morning we set to work to cut off the leaves and leaf-stalks, and
we then took off a strip of bark from the upper part of the trunk.  We
now had the pithy matter exposed, which in the upper part is of snowy
whiteness, and of the consistency of a hardish pear, with woody fibres
running through it, a quarter of an inch from each other.  We had seen,
the pith removed by means of a club, with which it is pounded while
still in the trunk.  Our next work, accordingly, was to form a couple of
clubs for the purpose.  It was a difficult matter, however, to cut a
piece of hard wood suitable for our object.  After hunting about for
some time, we could find nothing to suit us.  At last it occurred to me
that we might load the end of a stout piece of bamboo, which might, at
all events, do better than nothing.  We accordingly cut some pieces, and
going to the shore, fixed in the bottom of each a lump of coral rock,
which Macco managed to secure in a neat and at the same time thorough
manner.  With these we commenced operations, and though the process was
slower than it might otherwise have been, we found that we could manage
to beat out a considerable quantity of sago pith.

While Oliver and I were proceeding with this work, Macco who was far
more ingenious than we were, commenced the operation of the washing
machine.  This he formed of the large sheathing bases of the leaves, in
the shape of a trough.  The object is to strain the sago pith.  With the
fibrous covering from the leaf-stalks of the cocoa-nuts he soon twisted
a net-like strainer.  The trough, I should say, is deep in the centre
and very shallow at the end; thus the starch which is dissolved sinks
down to the bottom of the trough, while the water runs away from the
upper part.  Macco made also some baskets out of the sheathing bases of
the leaves, in which we might carry the sago.

We now set out with our materials to our spring.  There was not as much
water as we should have desired, but still it seemed to come bubbling up
in sufficient quantity for our purpose, without fear of exhausting the
supply.  Macco, having formed a number of trestles of pieces of bamboo
sticks, rested the trough between the forks, the straining place being
placed on higher trestles than the strainer in the centre, so that the
water might run down into the trough below.  The strainer was now
stretched across the upper part of the trough, and putting in our sago,
Macco began to pour the water from the shell which he had brought for
the purpose.  We eagerly watched the process.  In a short time a good
deal of thick matter seemed to run off, leaving only refuse in the net.
This refuse we threw aside, and supplied its place with fresh sago.
This we continued doing till our trough was nearly full, and the water
being allowed to run off, we found a fine mass of sago starch with a
slightly red tinge.  We now made this up into thick cylindrical masses,
as we had seen done before, and covered them up with the sago leaves.

Truly thankful for our success, we carried off the sago we had thus
manufactured to our encampment.  We agreed, however, before commencing
any other operation, to turn all the pith we had obtained into sago, as
we might not otherwise have time to manufacture a further supply.  Our
difficulty was to cook it.  We had seen it eaten boiled with water.  It
then forms a thick glutinous mass, and salt is mixed with it to give it
flavour, as it is of a somewhat astringent taste.  We tried boiling some
in one of our shells; but before the sago was sufficiently boiled the
shell caught fire.  We, however, managed to eat it, and mixing it with
salt, found it palatable.  We then determined to try and make some bread
of it.  To do this, however, we had to build an oven.  This, without
difficulty, we formed in the earth.  We then filled it with hot embers.
Having pounded our sago in a shell, we mixed it with water, and made it
into small cakes.  These we placed on stones in the oven.  In our first
experiment we burned up our cakes, as we kept them too long in.  We then
agreed that we would try and make a baking-pan, such as we had seen
formed.  This is a square box made of clay, with several divisions, into
each of which a cake is placed sideways.  The difficulty, however, was
to form this oven; and we agreed that we would try and find some clay
and manufacture one.  At the next attempt we kept the cakes in a much
shorter time, and found them sufficiently palatable.  We were occupied
for more than a week in manufacturing our sago.  It was probably very
inferior to what is made by more experienced persons.  At the same time
it was wholesome, and would be a great addition to the animal food we
were likely to procure.

One evening, as we approached our hut, after our day's work was over, we
heard a noise inside.  We approached noiselessly, with our bamboo spears
ready for use, thinking, probably, that wine animal had got inside.
Just as we were within ten yards of the entrance, out popped a large
black creature, which turned round chattering and grinning at us, and
then bolted off as fast as it could, with a lump of sago in its paws.
"Monkey! monkey!" cried Macco, giving chase with his spear.  The
creature was, however, I saw, a baboon, from having no tail, or an
imperceptible tail if he had one, the part he turned towards us being
bare of hair, and of a ruddy hue.  He was far too nimble, however, even
for Macco to overtake him, and up he sprang into a tree, going
chattering among the branches, dropping the sago, however, in his
flight.  I recognised, as he turned round, the face I had seen watching
us when we were making the sago.

We agreed that we must secure our provisions, or he, having discovered
our store, would perhaps return with many companions to pilfer it.  I
heard afterwards that only one species of baboon is found thus far east,
probably introduced by Malay seamen, who constantly carry baboons and
monkeys on board their vessels.  We agreed, indeed, that it was now time
to begin a hut, in which we could sit more comfortably during the
evening, and which would shelter us from the rains, which I knew were
likely to occur before long.  The rich vegetation which covered the
island would not, I knew, exist, unless frequently watered by heavy
showers.

We agreed to call our house Bamboo Villa.  We first stuck into the
ground a number of stout bamboos, and then secured, at about six feet
from the ground, to the uprights, horizontally, some bamboos almost of
the same thickness.  These formed the beams on which we rested our
floor.  The floor was composed of the mid-ribs of the sago-palm, split
in two, and supported beneath by poles.  The sides were of the same
material.  Our work, the framework of which was of bamboo, was thatched
with the smaller mid-ribs, and with the leaves of the sago-palm foliage,
tied in bundles, side by side.  These, however, being very thick, formed
a covering which kept out the heat of the sun as well as the rain, a
very important consideration in that climate.  A ladder of bamboo
enabled us to reach the door of our house.

In this abode we hoped better to preserve our provisions, and to be free
also from insects or any reptiles which might exist on the island.  We
had frequently caught sight in the distance of creatures moving about
among the thickly-growing trees, but had been unable to tell what they
were.  We had also seen movements amongst the dense mass of leaves which
covered the ground, and had supposed them to be lizards and snakes, or
other crawling things.

As soon as our house was finished we manufactured a sago oven, which we
baked in the sun.  It was, however, of a very fragile nature, and we
feared would not answer very well for our cakes--to use it, indeed, we
were obliged to increase its size.  When all was ready, we prepared some
cakes.  This we did by drying the sago thoroughly in the sun, then
pounding it in a shell into a fine powder.  Keeping some of the powder
to sprinkle the oven with, we made the rest into cakes.  Having got the
oven heated, we put in our baking-pan, with a piece of palm-leaf over
it, and then closed up the hole with stones and earth.  In a short time
we again opened the mouth of the oven, when lo, and behold, our pan had
burst asunder, and though the cakes were pretty well done, pieces of
clay were sticking to them on every side.  It took us some time to pick
them out before the cakes were at all fit to eat; indeed, an epicure
would certainly not have considered them palatable.  What would we not
have given for a good pot in which to boil our water, and a well-made
pan for baking our cakes!

"There is no use wishing for them," exclaimed Oliver; "we must make the
best use of the materials at hand."

We determined not to be defeated, and our next pan was made of clay, and
strengthened with pieces of bamboo in the inside.  We began baking it in
the sun, and then carried it to our oven, which was only slightly
heated.  We then added more fuel, and closed it up.  On opening it we
only let in a little air at a time, and this allowed it to cool slowly.
On taking it out, not a crack was perceptible.  On examining it, when it
was thoroughly cool, we had hopes that it would answer better than its
predecessor.  The next time we made some cakes we pounded some cocoa-nut
with them.  We then heated our oven, and put in our pan full of cakes.
In about five or six minutes we again opened it, and drawing out the
pan, we saw the cakes well cooked, and the pan unbroken.

We had been too busy to go hunting; but we determined, as soon as our
house was completed in every respect, to do so systematically.  We hoped
to have no difficulty in procuring a cuscus occasionally, and as there
were evidently many birds on the island, to trap them or kill them in
some other way.  We talked of forming cross-bows, and we hoped to find
some elastic wood for the purpose.  Still, we had a longing for
vegetables.  We found a delicate-looking plant, which had nothing
suspicious about it, for I knew the appearance of several of the noxious
plants.  On digging down we discovered a root to it.  Macco said he
thought that it was wholesome, and volunteered to try it.  We agreed
that it would be better for one person to do so, and to take only a
little at a time, that, should it have any bad qualities, we might
discover them before serious injury was done to any of us.  We
accordingly boiled some in a shell with some hot stones, and Macco,
taking a little, declared it very good.  Next day he ate rather more of
it, and in a short time took a considerable quantity mixed with some
shell-fish, which we had just before procured.  Its wholesome nature was
now satisfactorily ascertained, and we had thus another article of food
on which we could depend.

Among the many beautiful objects in our way were the groups of bamboos.
Botanically, the bamboo is looked upon as grass, but, practically, it is
a tree, as it sometimes attains the height of seventy or eighty feet.
In many of the places we had visited we found the native huts built of
it.  For this purpose the people split it open, and press it out flat.
To strengthen the walls, other perpendicular and horizontal pieces are
fixed to it.  The masts of small vessels are made of it, as well as
spars, and drinking-cups and vessels of all sorts.  The more savage
tribes still make their weapons of bamboo, as, when slightly burned, a
sharp edge like a knife can be given to it; indeed, the pointed end of a
bamboo makes a formidable spear, which an unarmed man would not wish to
encounter.

I cannot give a full account of our residence on the island.  We were
never without an ample supply of provisions, both vegetable and animal.
A fortnight had passed since we had buried the eggs in the mound, and
had almost forgotten all about them, when, as Oliver and I were seated
in our hut, we heard Macco shouting out, "Come!--see! see!"  We hurried
out, and remarked a curious commotion on the top of the mound we had
thrown up.  Presently, one head popped out from the earth, and then
another, and another, and a curious half-fledged bird emerged, and
pointing its head inland, began to run away towards the wood.  Macco
made chase, and brought it back.  We, in the meantime, seized the
remainder of the little creatures as they emerged from their curious
hatching-ground, and carried them off to the hut.  They seemed very
unwilling to stay there, till we placed some sago flour and other food
before them.  They instantly began pecking it up, as if they had been
long accustomed to feeding.  Nothing seemed to satisfy them, and we were
surprised at the quantity of food they managed to swallow.  I never saw
such independent little creatures.  It was satisfactory to know that we
were not depriving an affectionate hen of her offspring.  As we were
anxious to preserve them, we made a pen of bamboo sticks closely stuck
in the ground, in a circle of about a couple of yards in diameter.  It
took us some time to do this.  As soon as the pen was finished we put
the brush-turkeys--for such we supposed they were--inside it, throwing
in at the same time a supply of food.  The little creatures ran round
and round, but finding they could not get out, began to peck away at the
food.  Supposing that, as they took to the woods, they would require
some shelter, we threw in a quantity of leaves, and small branches, and
twigs.  Under these, when they could eat no more, they went to roost,
apparently very well contented with their quarters.

Well satisfied with our success, we searched for some time, but without
finding another mound; indeed, the birds which made them did not appear
to be very common in the island.  However, we could not make much way
into the interior on account of the thick jungle, though here and there
were a few open glades through which we could pass along with tolerable
ease.  We had reached one of these glades when we saw directly before us
a brown animal jumping along over the ground.  "A kangaroo! a kangaroo!"
exclaimed Oliver.  "It is so like the pictures of one."  We, of course,
made chase, but the kangaroo--for a species of that animal it was--soon
caught sight of us.  Greatly to our surprise, however, when it came to
the end of the glade, instead of forcing its way through the thicket, or
turning round to stand at bay, it began to climb up the nearest tree.
It did not climb very fast, however, and had we been somewhat nearer we
might have struck it with our spears.  By the time we got up it had
climbed above our reach.  I then remembered reading of a tree kangaroo
which is supplied with powerful claws on the fore-feet.  Once up in the
tree, it did not appear to be much frightened at us, and we had time
more particularly to observe it.  It had a hairy tail, much finer than
the ordinary kangaroo, and we observed as it went over the ground that
it had not used it as a support, as the Australian kangaroo does.

Macco proposed climbing the tree to attack it, but we thought it would
be dangerous for him to make the attempt, as the creature might seize
him in its claws, and tear his skin.  He laughed at the notion, and
remarked, "If he do dat, he tumble down.  No, no; you let me alone.  You
go away, I kill kangaroo!"

Saying this, he made a circuit through the thick forest, so as to get
the tree between himself and the branch on which the kangaroo was
sitting.  We, meantime, retired down the glade.  As soon as the animal
saw that we were at a distance, he began tearing away the leaves from a
branch and eating them voraciously.  Macco, hanging the spear about his
neck, climbed up a neighbouring tree, which was united to the one on
which the kangaroo was sitting by a strong band of ratan.  Along this,
finding it secure, he cautiously climbed, till he gained a branch
directly above the kangaroo.  We watched him anxiously, afraid to move
lest we should disturb the animal.  He seemed to be considering whether
his spear was long enough to reach it.  Then we saw him cautiously stoop
down over the branch.  The moment the kangaroo stopped eating, he drew
back and remained still as death.  When the animal again commenced
tearing off the twigs, he cautiously approached.  At length he seemed
satisfied that he was in a good position, and raising his spear, he
darted it down directly on the animal's neck.  It must have pierced the
spine, for the creature instantly dropped off the branch and lay without
moving on the ground.  We ran up as fast as our legs could carry us, but
Macco was on the spot before us, and examining the creature.  He seemed
satisfied that it was perfectly dead.  It had a graceful, mild-looking
head, and, except in the points I have mentioned, was in all respects
like an ordinary kangaroo, though not so large as the animals I had read
of in Australia.  It was indeed a prize to us, for we had not killed a
cuscus for some time, and had been living on shell-fish, sago, and
cocoa-nuts, with now and then a few turtle's eggs.  Fastening the legs
of our prize round a piece of the universally useful bamboo, we bore it
off in triumph to our mansion, and very soon had some delicious steaks
cooking before our fire.



CHAPTER FOURTEEN.

CARRIED OFF BY SAVAGES.

I do not know whether a more than usually substantial supper made us
sleep sounder than we were wont to do, but the sun had already risen
when, the next morning, I started up, hearing as I fancied some strange
noises near us.  My two companions were still asleep on their bamboo
couches on either side of the hut.  The noises seemed to me like human
voices.  Oliver and Macco must have heard them also, for directly
afterwards they also started up, and looked about them with a somewhat
startled expression of countenance.

We sprang to the door of the hut.  On opening it, we saw directly below
it a number of dark-skinned savages, almost destitute of clothing, some
of them having huge black mop heads, while others had simply thick
woolly hair.  From this I knew them at once, as well as from their
strongly-marked, ferocious features, to be Papuans, or inhabitants of
New Guinea.  They seemed as much surprised at seeing us as we were at
seeing them, and shouted out to us in a language we of course could not
understand.  By their signs, however, we knew that they were telling us
to come down to them.  This, from their unprepossessing appearance, we
were not well-disposed to do.  Probably they supposed we possessed
fire-arms, and were therefore unwilling to approach nearer.  They had
just landed, we knew, from seeing two long, low canoes with high stems
and sterns rudely carved and surmounted by plumes of feathers.  A row of
mother-of-pearl shells apparently ornamented each side of the gunwale.
The men were armed with bows and arrows and huge clubs.  Some of them
also had spears in their hands, but we saw no guns among them.  This was
satisfactory.  However, from their numbers we knew too well that they
could easily overpower us, if they had evil intentions.

Again they shouted to us, and we shouted in return, putting out our
hands, and making other signs to show that we desired to be friends.
They only answered by still louder shouts, some of them apparently
laughing at our appearance.  They now began to approach, one party
coming up on one side, one on another, and a third in the centre.  We
still held our post, hoping that they might not come to extremities.  We
thought, too, that perhaps, seeing three people at the door, they might
suppose others were within, and not be aware of how far superior they
were in force to us.  As they advanced they discovered our brush-turkey
pen, and, greatly to our distress, some of them instantly stooped over,
and began to seize the birds, and to fasten them by their legs round
their waists.  Others rushed at the body of the kangaroo, which hung by
the legs to the branch of a tree, and immediately began cutting it up,
each man appropriating a portion.

"I hope they will be content with robbing us, and go away," said Oliver.

"I am afraid not," I answered.  "They will soon find how few we are to
oppose them, and will not be content until they carry off everything we
possess, even if they do not kill us.  They mean mischief, depend on
that."

The savages having searched about, and finding nothing else on which to
lay their hands, approached still nearer our hut.

"If they attack us we will sell our lives dearly," I said to Oliver.

"I am afraid we must do so," he answered.  "I wish to fight for your
sake, though for myself I scarcely think I should do so."

Thinking that possibly, after all, they might go away without further
molesting us, we lifted up our ladder and shut the door.  Scarcely had
we done so, than we felt the house violently shaken, and on looking out
once more I found that a number of men had got hold of the posts on
which it rested, and seemed attempting to shake it down.  They shook,
and shook, and shook; but it was so strongly secured in the ground, that
their united strength could not pull it down.  All the time they were
shouting and crying to each other, every now and then giving way to
hoarse laughter, which occasionally broke into shrieks of merriment.
"Bery good fun for dem, but bad for us," observed Macco, as the violent
shocks made us expect every instant to be hurled to the ground.  At
length they stopped, and there was an ominous silence.  We felt as
people do during the lull of a hurricane, when they know it will come
back with tenfold force.  Presently we heard the savages crying out
louder than ever, and directly afterwards thin wreaths of smoke began to
ascend through the flooring.  They were about, we dreaded, to burn us
out.  Soon the crackling flames ascended.  We had no help for it; so,
throwing open the door, we sprang to the ground.  We were each of us
instantly surrounded by a number of savages.  One black fellow, with a
huge head of frizzled-out hair, and a dark heavy club in his hand,
seized hold of me, and I thought he was about to dash my brains out with
his weapon.  Others, in like manner caught my companions.  I thought my
last moment had come, and expected every instant to see my friends
struck to the ground.  No sooner had we jumped down than they began to
rake out the fire and to pull down the burning portions, though they
were only just in time to save the hut from destruction.  Immediately a
number of them rushed up, and began to bring out our stores of sago and
dried mollusc, our cocoa-nuts, and other articles of food.  They seemed
well pleased with their prize.  These they quickly divided among
themselves.

The big man with a mop head now gave certain orders to several of his
companions, who hurried off into the wood.  They soon returned with some
fine pieces of ratan, with which they immediately bound our arms behind
us, and our legs so close together, that we could with difficulty walk.
This being done, they all sat down and began to consume our provisions,
a large portion of which they quickly devoured.  On seeing water in one
of our shells, they made signs to Macco to ask where we got it from, and
ordered him to lead a party to the spot.  Going to their canoes, they
returned with a number of long jars and small casks, made of the thick
ends of large bamboos.  The savages had apparently touched at our island
for the sake of getting food or water.  Having supplied themselves with
this necessary article, they unceremoniously dragged us on board their
canoes.  Oliver and I were taken to one, and poor Macco to the other.
He looked very disconsolate when he saw that he was to be separated from
us.  I confess I felt very uncomfortable at the thoughts of being in
their power, for I had heard that they were not only fierce and
treacherous, but addicted to cannibalism, if they were not regular
cannibals.  Still Oliver and I agreed that we would endeavour to show no
signs of fear.  They seemed very well satisfied with the provisions with
which our stores had supplied them.  Before shoving off, however, a
party of them again landed, and went to the cocoa-nut grove, of the
produce of which they brought back a quantity.  They now, getting out
their paddles, began to glide away from the island where we had spent so
many weeks.  Looking back at it, we admired the numberless beauties it
possessed--beauties which no change of season in that latitude could
possibly mar.  There was one enemy, however, which might quickly scatter
destruction around.  It was likely to proceed from the conical mountain
in the centre of the island.  Already there appeared to be a white smoke
ascending from the summit.

"Perhaps, after all," said Oliver, "we are taken away in time to be
saved from destruction.  See, our captors are watching the top of the
mountain; they too seem to think that something is likely to happen.
Let us be thankful, then, that we have been removed in time; for had the
mountain burst forth while we were on the island, we could not possibly
have escaped, if the lava or ashes had come down on our side of it."

While he was speaking I was looking towards the mountain.  Instead of
the volumes of smoke which had hitherto been issuing forth, there
spouted out a bright sheet of flame, which, expanding as it rose towards
the sky, spread around like a vast fan, arching over and forming a
canopy of fire above the island.  Thus for an instant it hung suspended,
threatening destruction to the smiling landscape below it.  At the same
moment sounds like the loudest peals of rolling thunder rent the air,
almost deafening us with their roar.  Even our captors, not unaccustomed
to such a spectacle, stood aghast, clutching each other's arms, and
gazing with horror-stricken countenances at the mountain.  "See, see!"
cried Oliver; "how mercifully we have been preserved!"

Indeed we had; for down the mountain's side, half covering it, flowed a
river of burning liquid, setting fire to the trees and shrubs, the
conflagration spreading far and wide, fanned by the breeze among the
easily ignited timber, while from the sky above there rained down dense
showers of glowing stones and hot cinders, till the late green island
became enveloped in flame, amid which the tall palms waved to and fro,
as if struggling to escape from impending destruction.  At the same
time, a shower of fine ashes began to fall on our heads.  Thicker and
thicker they came, obscuring the atmosphere, till we could merely
distinguish the pyramid of fire with its fanlike summit, and the wide
circle of leaping flames which raged around it.  In a short time the
canoe was thickly covered with ashes, which penetrated also through our
clothes, and filled our ears and nostrils, making even breathing
painful.  The savages at length aroused themselves, and seizing their
paddles, began with desperate strokes to urge their canoe away from the
ill-fated island.

"O Walter, let us return thanks to our merciful Father in Heaven, that
what we thought so great a misfortune has been the means of our
preservation," said Oliver; "and never let us mistrust the kind
providence with which he watches over us."

We knelt down in the bottom of the canoe, and I joined Oliver in the
prayer he offered up, the savages looking at us with surprise, unable
probably to comprehend in the remotest degree what we were about.

I should say that some time had been spent after the events I have
briefly described had taken place.  We had got to a distance from the
burning island, and were once more in safety.  Having become very
hungry, we made signs to our captors that we should like to have some
food.  With a careless air they handed us some lumps of our own sago,
and some pieces of cocoa-nut.  We were compelled to take it, uncooked as
it was; for though we showed by signs that we should like to have some
bread made of it, they laughed at our request, and seemed to tell us
that it was good enough for such white-skinned slaves as we were.

These New Guinea men had apparently been on a voyage to the northward,
and were returning to their native land, which lay, we judged, somewhere
to the south.  We ate our hard sago-cake, which we could scarcely have
got down without the aid of the cocoa-nut.  We again made signs that we
should like an entire cocoa-nut, that we might drink the juice.  They
pointed in return to the water alongside, and mockingly, by signs,
intimated that we might drink that.  In vain we entreated that they
would give us some fresh water or a cocoa-nut.  Our distress seemed to
amuse them amazingly; for both, the chief and his men indulged in most
uproarious shouts of laughter, rolling about as if they were thoroughly
tipsy.  At length, however, when they had amused themselves sufficiently
at our expense, one of them threw a cocoa-nut, which hit Oliver on the
head.  He could not help exhibiting some signs of suffering, which made
them again burst into fits of laughter; indeed, they appeared to be the
merriest fellows, though savage in their merriment, that I had ever met
with.  The juice, however, which we got from the cocoa-nut, Oliver
declared, made ample amends for the treatment we had received.

"I do not think they can intend to kill and eat us," he observed, "or
they would feed us better than they are doing.  We must see how we can
best win their good graces.  If we could but do something to prove that
we would be useful to them, we might obtain better treatment."

"Very true," I answered; "I will do my best to help you, if you can
think of anything."

We could distinguish Macco sitting near the stern of the other canoe by
the different shape of his head, as well as by the seaman's woollen
shirt he wore.  He seemed to be sitting quietly, as if listening to the
conversation of those around him.  However, it was not likely that he
could comprehend anything of their language.  Hour after hour the
savages paddled on, till at length we approached some rocky islets,
towards which they steered.  Here they landed, and lighting a fire,
rudely cooked the remainder of our kangaroo.  Not till we petitioned
very hard did they condescend to give us any portion of it.  At length,
however, they made signs that we might cut off what flesh we required,
and we eagerly took advantage of the permission they granted.  At the
same time, finding a bamboo cask of water at hand, we soon drained its
contents, and afterwards felt very much refreshed.  The meal over, they
again took to their canoes, and continued their voyage.  How they could
manage to cook their food on a long voyage, I could not discover.
Oliver suggested that they perhaps lived on those occasions on cold
provisions; indeed, their sago-cakes would provide them with sufficient
food, if they ever did make long voyages, which, however, I suspected
they did not.

At length, however, we got close in with the coast, which we took to be
that of New Guinea.  On either side, as far as the eye could reach, it
was covered with tall forest trees and dense brushwood.  They were
considerably taller than those on our island--some of the most lofty
being draped with festoons of the creeping ratans, which gave them a
peculiarly graceful appearance.  The sands, unlike many of those of the
volcanic islands we had passed, were white and glittering, and the water
of the most transparent nature, so that, looking over the side, we could
see far down into the depths of the ocean.  In the distant interior rose
up ranges of lofty mountains, appearing one beyond another, and
extending, till lost to view by distance, both to the north and south.
Altogether the country appeared magnificent in the extreme.  Under other
circumstances I should have been delighted to visit it; but the idea of
having to live among such fierce-looking savages was terrible,
especially when we could not help thinking that if they did not kill and
eat us, they would at all events make us labour as slaves.

Our captors, instead of landing, continued to proceed towards the south.
As night approached, they ran into a little sandy bay, where, hauling
up their canoes, which, notwithstanding their large size, were very
light, they all assembled on shore.  We were now on that mysterious
coast of New Guinea.  Macco was allowed to come near us.  I asked him
whether he thought we could manage to run away while our captors were
asleep.

"Dey run faster dan we," he answered, "and if dey catchy dey kill, and
if dey kill dey eat.  No, no, Massa Walter; we stay and try and make
friends.  I tell dem big ship come soon and bring cloth, and knives, and
hatchets, and all sorts of good t'ings for dem, if dey no hurt us."

How Macco had contrived to explain this I could not understand, but he
seemed very confident that they had comprehended him.  Some of the
party, armed with bows and arrows, started away into the woods, while
the others collected sticks and lighted a fire.  The hunters soon
returned, bringing with them a tree kangaroo and a cuscus, with several
large bats.  The latter creatures I had seen before, and heard them
called flying-foxes.  They were very ugly, and one of them; which I took
up had a rank, powerful, foxy odour.  One of the natives who saw me
thought I was going to eat it raw, I suppose, for he shouted out, and I
quickly dropped it.  They immediately set to work to skin these
creatures, and cutting them up, roasted them on sticks before the fire.
Some rough sago, which they baked on the embers, was also produced.

We sat apart from them, and they commenced their feast without intending
apparently to give us any.  Macco, however, after waiting a few minutes,
observed, "Dis no do;" and getting up, approached the savage-looking
group.  Pointing to his mouth, he quietly stooped down, and was carrying
off one of the bats.

"No, no," I shouted; "bring us a piece of kangaroo or the other animal."

The savages looked somewhat astonished at his audacity, but yet no one
prevented him.  Throwing down the half-roasted bat, he placed several
pieces of the other meat on leaves, which served them as plates, and
came back to us with them in triumph.  He then returned for some sago.
With this food we made a tolerably hearty meal, and certainly felt our
spirits a little the better for it.  The savages then, again going into
the thicket, brought out a number of bamboos, with some tall ferns, with
which they constructed some rude huts, sufficient to hold all the party.
We, imitating their example, did the same, and commending ourselves to
Him who had hitherto so mercifully watched over us, lay down to sleep.

By dawn the next morning the savages were on foot, and having consumed
the remains of their supper, began to shove off their boats.  Macco
managed to get hold of a little more sago and meat, with which we made a
scanty breakfast.  We were in hopes that they were going to leave us
behind, but they had no such intentions; and as soon as the boats were
in the water, their mop-headed chief made signs to us to go on board--an
order we obeyed with as good a grace as we could command.  The canoes
paddled on the whole of the next day, the coast scenery being very
similar to what we had previously passed.  Towards evening we entered a
large bay completely sheltered from the sea.  On one side of it, towards
which they directed their course, we came in sight of what appeared to
be a village built out on the water.

Their dwellings, if such they were, were curious, dilapidated edifices.
They stood on platforms supported by posts, placed apparently without
any attempt at regularity.  Many of the posts were twisted and crooked,
and looked as if they were tumbling down.  The houses were very low, the
roofs being in the shape of boats turned bottom upwards.  They were
connected with the land by long rude bridges, which seemed as if they
could scarcely support the weight of a person going over them.  As we
drew nearer, we saw that the fronts of these dwellings were ornamented
with rude carving, sometimes of the human figure, such as the grossest
savages alone could wish to exhibit.  Under the roofs of the houses were
hung as decorations rows of human skulls; trophies, we concluded, of
their combats with neighbouring tribes.

The canoes were received with loud shouts from the inhabitants of the
village, who came out on the platforms to welcome them, lowering down
some roughly made ladders to enable them to ascend.  Alongside the
platforms were a number of canoes of various sizes, some capable only of
containing one person, with outriggers to prevent them going over.  Our
captors made a sign to us to follow them, and we now had to stand in a
row and be inspected by their friends.  We were arranged on the
platform, for the houses were far too low to allow of our standing
upright in them.

Fierce as the savages looked, they were most of them remarkably fine
men, tall and athletic.  The women, however, except a few who appeared
to be very young, were most unattractive.  Their features were
strongly-marked, and their dress coarse and disgusting.  It consisted of
stripes of palm-leaves, worn tightly round the body, and reaching to the
knees, and dirty in the extreme.  Their hair, frizzled-out, was tied in
a huge bunch at the back of the head.  We saw them, while they were
talking and looking at us, forking it out with large wooden forks,
having four or five prongs: indeed, an ordinary comb would have been of
little service in such a mass of cranial vegetation.  The women wore
ear-rings and necklaces arranged in a variety of ways.  Some of them had
two necklaces, made of white beads or kangaroo teeth, which looked well
on their dark glossy skins.  The ear-rings were composed of thick silver
or copper wire, in hoops, the ends crossing each other.  Some of them
had the ends of their necklaces attached to their ear-rings, and then
looped up to the chignon behind, which had a very elegant appearance, if
anything could look elegant on such unprepossessing dames.

The men had a far greater number of ornaments than the women, most of
them composed of the teeth of small animals.  They had finger-rings as
well as necklaces and ear-rings, and also bracelets.  Some, too, wore
bands round the arm, just beneath the shoulder, with bunches of
bright-coloured feathers or hair attached to them.  Others, also, wore
anklets and bands, made of shell or brass-wire, below the knee.  All the
chiefs, and those who wished to be exquisites, carried a huge forked
comb, which they continually employed in passing through their hair,
much as I have seen people with large whiskers keep pulling at them when
they had nothing better to do.

We only hoped that our captors had formed a better opinion of us than we
had of them.  They appeared undecided what to do with us.  At last,
however, the chief, whom we called Frizzlepate, made us a sign to enter
one of the houses, and pointed to a little box-like room, into which we
could just manage to creep.  The partition walls of the house were
formed of a sort of thatch, and the only articles of furniture we saw
within were rude wooden plates and basins, with one or two metal
cooking-vessels apparently, and a number of baskets and mats.  Their
weapons were spears, bows, and clubs.  The mats were evidently used for
sleeping on.  They were made of the broad leaves of the pandanus, sewn
together, with their usual neatness, in three layers.  One end is
sewn-up, so that when used for sleeping it forms a kind of sack, serving
at the same time for mattress and coverlid.  We saw them also used in
rainy weather, worn over the head, the sewn-up end being uppermost,
serving thus the purpose of umbrella and greatcoat.  Most of the men
wore in their belts a chopping-knife and axe.  Some of them had besides
smaller knives, and a skin pouch, with a bamboo case, containing
betel-root, tobacco, and lime.  The mats, however, were certainly the
most useful articles in their possession.  They could be folded up in a
very small space for travelling, both as a protection from rain and as
bedding at night: indeed, they were equal in most respects to the
Mackintosh rugs used by our officers in campaigning.

We were expecting to go supperless to our cramped-up bed, when a woman,
with a more pleasing expression of countenance than most of those we had
seen, came to our room with a basket containing some plantains and yams,
with a few cooked fish.  She signed to us to take the contents and give
her back the basket, with which she immediately disappeared.  Anxiety
for the future would have kept us awake, had not our ears been assailed
by the loud chattering and laughter of the natives in the hut in which
we were located, as well as in those around us.  Even in that small hut
there must have been a dozen or twenty people, which was not surprising,
if they were contented with the small space they had awarded us.



CHAPTER FIFTEEN.

OUR ADVENTURES IN NEW GUINEA.

Next morning, at an early hour, the whole community was on foot.  The
men came out, and sat themselves down on their platforms, where they
began to smoke very curious pipes, made of a single piece of wood, with
an upright stalk under the bowl, which either rested on the ground or on
their knees.  The tube was at right angles with this, and the bowl
shaped like a cup on the top of the stalk, a knot of wood at the outer
end of the tube serving to balance it.  The women were seen going along
the beach to the shore, or descending into the small canoes, we
concluded either to fish, or to collect limpets or other molluscs from
the rocks for food.  Not knowing exactly what to do, we got up and were
about to follow them, when a shout from Prince Frizzlepate, as we now
called him (for he seemed to be the chief of this delectable community),
reached our ears.  He made signs to us that we were to take two of the
canoes and go into the bay to fish, as the women were doing.

"Dat bery good," observed Macco.  "Me know how to catch more fish dan
dem."

We found a number of lines, with hooks made of the bones of birds, hung
up in the house.  When we offered to take them, Prince Frizzlepate
nodded his permission.  Macco also borrowed one of their knives, with
which to cut some shell-fish from the rocks to serve as bait.  We had
fortunately not consumed all our sago or fish; and these, hidden in our
pockets, we took with us, for our masters apparently had no intention of
providing us with food.  We quickly got the bait, and, guided by Macco--
he being in one of the canoes, and Oliver and I in the other--we paddled
off to a point near where the women were fishing.  Soon after we let
down our lines, Macco hauled up a fine fish.  He caught double as many
as Oliver and I together.

We naturally talked of the possibility of making our escape in the
canoe; but where to go to was the difficulty.  We saw also that we were
observed from the huts, a large canoe being apparently kept ready to
make chase should we attempt to paddle off.  After a little time, we ate
the provisions we had brought with us, turning our backs towards the
shore as we did so, for fear our masters might observe it.  We were
already beginning to practise some of the arts of slaves.  Having caught
a good supply of fish, we paddled back towards the shore.

"I vote we land on the beach, instead of going back to those dirty
huts," I observed.  And Oliver agreed with me.  Macco, however, seemed
rather doubtful that we should bring down on our heads the displeasure
of our masters.  The women had landed some time before.  Either the men
were sleeping, or they did not think it worth while to call us, and,
reaching the beach, we landed and hauled up our canoes.

Oliver proposed that we should light a fire and cook some of our fish.
A flame was soon produced by Macco, in his usual way, with two pieces of
bamboo; and we soon had our fish cooking before it.  Having finished our
meal, we walked a little way into the country.  We had not gone far when
we observed a small hut, raised from the ground, somewhat like those on
the beach.  Near it, leaning on a bank, we saw a woman who appeared very
like the kind person who had brought us our provisions on the previous
evening.  She was stooping forward, with a small branch in her hand.  On
getting nearer, we saw that she was playing with a little child, who was
seated in a large bivalve shell full of water.  It made a magnificent
bath for the little black fellow, and it was larger even than the shells
we had found on our island, a magnificent, specimen of the _Tridacna
gigas_.  The woman was younger and far pleasanter-looking than most of
the women in the huts.

"Yes, I am sure it is her," said Oliver, when we approached.  She seemed
somewhat startled at seeing us, and instinctively lifted her little boy
out of the bath, and held him, dripping as he was, in her arms.  That
did not signify, however, as she was clothed in very scanty garments.
We stopped short, not further to alarm her; and then, recovering
herself, she signed to us that we might come nearer.  She pointed to the
huts on the beach, and seemed to intimate that we had better go back,
lest the chief should be angry at our wandering about the shore without
his leave.  She then patted us on our heads, which we took to signify
that she wished us well.  Of this, indeed, from her previous kind
conduct, we had no doubt.

"We will give her some of our fish," I said.  "It will show her that we
are grateful to her for her kindness."

Macco, hearing my proposal, ran back to the boat, and returning with
several fine fish, placed them at her feet.  Having done this, we
hurried back to the canoe, and paddled away to the huts.  On climbing up
the ladders, we found that the men had been sleeping, which had been the
reason, probably, we had been allowed so much liberty.  As we were
bringing the fish up to the platform, the chief awoke, and seemed well
pleased with our success, for he nodded his head, and graciously gave
each of us a fish.

For two or three days we were sent out in the same manner, and each time
Macco was successful.  We, however, discussed all sorts of plans for
making our escape; for although we were not especially ill-treated, we
yet could not tell how soon the mood of our savage masters might change.

I was very anxious to see something of the interior.  An opportunity
arrived sooner than I had expected.  Early one morning, the chief awoke
us, and signified that he wanted us to attend him on shore.  It
appeared, that having found us so useful as fishermen, he expected that
we should be equally successful as hunters.  Having put bows and arrows
into our hands, he signified that we should attend him.  About a dozen
men were collected together, armed also with bows and arrows and spears.
On the ground were several baskets, and just as we were beginning to
march, some of the men lifted them up, and, without asking our leave,
strapped them on over our shoulders--an unmistakable hint that they
expected us to carry them.  I, feeling indignant at this proceeding, let
the basket drop; on which the chief, casting an angry glance at me, gave
me a blow across the shoulder with his spear, which made me feel so
faint that I nearly fell to the ground.  My companions wisely took the
hint, and, just as they were about to follow my example, re-secured the
baskets.  I saw that there was no help for it; so, again lifting up
mine, I followed the party as fast as I could.

"You see, Massa Walter," observed Macco, "dem can make us do what dey
like, so no use cry out.  `Grin and bear it,' as Potto Jumbo say to me
bery often."

As we passed through the forest we caught sight of numerous beautiful
birds flying among the trees, and countless numbers of lovely
butterflies flitting to and fro, and beetles crawling over the grass or
climbing the trunks of the trees.  "What would not Mr Hooker give to be
here!"  I could not help exclaiming.

I was going to put my foot on what I thought a large leaf, when I saw it
suddenly rise and spring forward.  A little way on I saw another
creature--for a creature it was--of the same description; and, looking
at it more narrowly, I saw that it was an enormous grasshopper.  The
wing covers, which were fully nine inches across, were of a fine green
colour, looking exactly like one of the large shining leaves which hung
from the trees above.  The thorax was covered by a large triangular
sheath of a horny nature.  Its serrated edges, and a somewhat wavy
hollow surface, with a line down the centre, made it also look very like
a leaf.  At a guess, for I could not measure it, I should say that it
was between two and three inches long.  The body was short, but the legs
were very long and strongly spined.  It did not move very fast, so that
I could examine it easily.  Though only at a very short distance, I
could not have distinguished it from the number of fallen leaves among
which it moved.  Overhead were numbers of cockatoos, parrots, and other
birds of gay plumage, while now and then we caught sight of a
brush-turkey running along rapidly over the ground.  Many of the
butterflies we saw were of magnificent size, and all richly adorned with
the most brilliant colours.

At length the savages stopped under some high trees with wide-spreading
branches, though thinly clothed with leaves.  Several of them then
ascended, carrying with them bows, and a number of arrows with round
weighted heads, while each man also carried a large piece of
roughly-formed matting at his side.  Ascending the trees, they stretched
out the matting across the branches, just above a convenient fork on
which they took their seats.  In a short time, as the sun was tingeing
the lofty tops of the trees, we heard the well-known sound of "Wawk--
wawk--wawk!--Wok--wok--wok!"  Soon afterwards we caught sight of a
flight of the most magnificent birds of paradise assembled on the
branches, and immediately they began the curious dance we had before
seen, spreading out their brilliant feathers, which glittered like
masses of gold thread in the sunlight above our heads.  The hunters
meantime lay hid under their palm-leaf shelter.  Presently, one let fly
an arrow, which stunned a bird, and it fell to the ground.  Another and
another arrow was shot, few failing to bring down a bird.  The lovely
creatures, unconscious of the fate of their companions, continued their
dance, seeming too much interested in themselves to think of the rest.
At length an arrow whizzed by one of the birds, which it failed to
strike.  This seemed to astonish the rest; and, looking about, it
discovered one of the hunters.  Immediately, with loud cries, the whole
rose from the tree, and flew away with rapid wings from the spot.  The
savages then got down the tree to secure their prizes.

Satisfied with their success, they now took out some food, which they
commenced eating.  Macco, as before, in spite of their angry looks,
carried off a small portion for us and himself.  As soon as their meal
was hastily concluded, they began cutting off the wings and feet of the
birds.  When the skin was taken off the body, a stout stick was run
through it, coming out at the mouth.  Round this a number of leaves,
were stuffed, and the skin was then wrapped up in a palm-spathe.  I saw
at once how it was that the legend of their having no wings or feet had
arisen.  The beautiful flowing plumage appeared to great advantage, but
the body, by this process, was greatly reduced and shortened, and gave a
very erroneous idea of the real shape of the bird.  While speaking of
the birds of paradise, I should like to describe the great variety which
exists.  Those I have described are very different from the ordinary
bird of paradise, with which ladies were accustomed to ornament their
hats and bonnets.  That is a very beautiful little bird, but not to be
compared to the Great Paradise bird, or the Red Paradise bird, or the
King Paradise bird, or, indeed, to several others which I saw brought
from various parts of New Guinea, or from the neighbouring islands.  One
of the most curious and beautiful is the Red Paradise bird, which is
said to be only found in the island of Waigiou.  In the same island,
another bird, called the Red Magnificent, is found.

The birds having been prepared for travelling, the savages now roused
themselves, and signified to us that we must continue hunting.  We kept
close to Macco, knowing that he was more likely to be successful than we
were.  We urged him to try and get away from them, that we might be by
ourselves.

"But we get lost; we no find our way back," he answered.

"But I thought you were accustomed to your native forests, and that you
could easily find your way," I observed.

"Dis forest not like my forest," he answered.  "I dere know de signs.
Here bery different.  I live here one year, two year, and den I find my
way about."

"I thought you could find your way by instinct," I said, "through the
forest."

"Macco not know what 'stinct mean," he answered.  "Me know de signs on
de trees, de way de rivers run or de streams run, where de mountains
are, where de sun rise, where de sun set.  Den know de way."

However we managed, while our masters started off in one direction, to
take an opposite one; and before long, as we moved cautiously through
the wood, we caught sight of a cuscus.  Macco was quickly up a tree, and
soon captured the poor beast.  Not long after we came up with a tree
kangaroo, to which we gave chase.  We caught him as we had done the
other on our island, and had now two animals to take to our masters.  We
hung them by their feet over a bamboo, and carried them along in the
direction we believed would lead to the coast.  We had gone some
distance when we began to doubt whether we were going right.  The forest
was far too thick to allow us to get a glimpse of the sea, by which we
might have guided our steps.  At length, fatigued with carrying our
heavy burden, we stopped to rest.  On a piece of fallen timber on which
we sat, I observed some curious flies with slender bodies, and
wonderfully long legs, which raised their bodies high above the surface
on which they stood; but the remarkable thing about them was the large
horns which projected from below their eyes, very nearly as long as the
animals themselves, something in shape like the horns of a stag.  Their
eyes were violet and green, and the bodies and legs yellowish brown, and
their horns black.  We had been silent for some time, each of us
occupied in his own thoughts, when, looking up, we saw a long snouted
animal approaching slowly and rubbing his nose into the soft ground as
he advanced.  "Pig, pig," cried Macco, starting up and giving chase,
spear in hand.  The pig, however, was far too quick for him, more active
considerably than the cuscus or the tree kangaroo, and though Macco ran
fast, piggy, who knew the country, ran faster; and in a short time Macco
returned, somewhat crestfallen at his want of success.  "If we kill
three animals dey tink we great hunters," he exclaimed.  "We look for
another piggy, and try cachy."

We now thought it time to continue our journey.  We had not got far,
however, when we heard shouts behind us, and turning round, we saw a
number of black fellows, their countenances expressive of rage, pursuing
us with clubs uplifted.  To fly through that jungle would have been
folly, so we stopped and faced the savages.  I fully believed from their
gestures that our last moments had arrived.  They were within a dozen
yards of us, and in another moment our brains would have been dashed out
on the ground, when a cry was heard coming from one side, and in an
instant afterwards a young woman burst through the thicket, and threw
herself between us and our enemies.  We recognised her as the kind
person we had seen bathing her baby in the large shell.  She held up a
branch between us and the men, and appeared to be expostulating
earnestly with them.  She used much gesture and spoke with vehemence.
Gradually their countenances somewhat calmed, and their clubs, which had
been raised, slowly descended to the ground.  As they stood leaning on
them she pointed to the animals we had killed.  Macco had been watching
both parties attentively.

"Dey tink we run away.  She say no," he observed.  "We take dem and give
dem to her."

On this we lifted up the kangaroo and cuscus, which we had placed behind
the trunk of a tree, and exhibited them to the savages, laying them
afterwards at the feet of the young female; I cannot say our fair
friend, for she was almost as dark as a sloe berry.  We then lifted them
up again, and inquired of her by signs what we were to do with them.
She told us in the same dumb language that we were to accompany her, and
pointing to the path up which we had come, she bade us go before,
walking herself between us and the men, as if to protect us from them.
We went on and on, and now found from the time we took to reach her hut,
that we must have been going inland instead of towards the village on
the sea-shore.  This naturally made the savages suppose we were
attempting to run away.

On arriving at the hut she again addressed the men, who thereon began to
cut up the animals.

They carried away the whole of the cuscus and part of the kangaroo.  The
other part we supposed she had claimed as her perquisite.  She then made
signs to us that we were to remain.  Who she was we could not tell, but
we concluded that she was a chief's daughter, or, at all events, a
person of great influence and probably of rank among them.  As soon as
the men had gone, she lighted a fire and cooked the remaining part of
the kangaroo, placing a savoury piece before us on some palm-leaves, to
which she added some well-made cakes of sago, far superior in flavour to
those we had manufactured.

She now signified to us that we were to build a hut for ourselves in
which to pass the night, and took us to a spot where we found an
abundance of bamboos, and the large palm leave?  I have before
described.  She seemed much amused at our awkwardness in putting up the
building, and quickly set to work to show us the way, so that in a short
time we had a comfortable little hut for a sleeping place.

"I wish we knew her name!" observed Oliver.  "I have often read of acts
like these, and of the way in which women have saved the lives of people
as, I am sure, she has done ours.  They are the same all the world over.
We have now a proof of it."

We were in hopes that after this we should be employed entirely by the
kind lady, for lady she was in her look and manner, though she had but
few garments and no ornaments.

The next day, however, Prince Frizzlepate made his appearance, and
ordered us to go off fishing.  She nodded to us as much as to tell us
that we had better do so, and accordingly we entered the canoes which we
had used before.  We had even more than our usual success, and returned
with a number of fine fish.  On landing we took up the finest to our
friend.

"I have thought of a name for her," I exclaimed, as we walked along.  "I
remember reading of a Princess Serena of some island in the Pacific, and
I doubt if she could have been more amiable than this lady; so I propose
we call her Princess Serena."

Oliver agreed with me.  Macco only grinned.  Probably he saw nothing
like a princess about her--only a kind-hearted girl, who had taken
compassion on three unfortunate strangers.

We presented our fish in due form to the princess, and she graciously
received them, being indeed highly pleased with the present.  With the
remainder we returned to our masters.  They received the fish as a
matter of course, not deigning in any way to thank us.  Without asking
their leave we slipped back into our canoes, and paddled away towards
the hut of the princess.  The men called after us, but we pretended not
to hear them, and were soon afterwards seated round a fire roasting
several fish we had lately caught.

For several days we were employed in the same manner.  At length,
however, the fish would not bite, or they had left the bay--at all
events, we caught but few.  Each time we returned we were received with
scowling looks by our masters; and it was very evident that though their
disposition towards us had been far from amiable when we first
encountered them, it was now considerably worse.



CHAPTER SIXTEEN.

OUR PERILOUS ESCAPE.

We had returned one evening from an unsuccessful fishing.  When we
reached the hut we found the Princess Serena in an evident state of
agitation.  Looking cautiously around, she made signs to us that some
one was about to kill us, lifting up her hands as if they were holding a
club for the purpose of breaking our heads.  There was no mistaking the
signs.  We inquired of her what we were to do.  She stopped to consider,
first pointing to the canoes.  Then she seemed to advise a different
plan.  Hurrying into her house, she brought us out some bows, and a
considerable supply of arrows.  She then went in, and returned with
three baskets, which she showed us were full of sago, as also some dried
fish.  She then made signs to us to eat as much as we could, putting
some kangaroo meat and sago-cakes before us.

We followed her advice.  As soon as we had finished, going into her hut,
she returned with her child in her arms, wrapped up in a piece of
matting, which was secured round her waist, assisting to support the
little creature.  She then beckoned to us to follow her.  We did so in
Indian file, proceeding along the coast towards the south.  As soon as
we had got well out of sight of the village, she led us along the beach
close to the water, where the tide would obliterate our footmarks.  The
moon soon rose, and gave us ample light to see our way.  It was a lovely
night.  The water rippled brightly on the sand, while the moonbeams
played softly over the calm ocean.  On the other side rose up the dark
forests with their curious tracery of creepers.  Here and there our feet
struck against shells of rare beauty, such as would delight a collector
in England.  Just then, however, we thought of little but making our way
as rapidly as we could from our captors.  I asked Macco if he could make
out where the princess was leading us.

"Not know," he answered.  "S'pose to friends."

"I suspect," observed Oliver, "that, from her appearance, she belongs to
some other tribe, and has been married to the chief of the people who
captured us, and that she is going to take us to her own relations."

This seemed the most probable explanation of her conduct.

"She can scarcely wish to lead us away, and then leave us to our own
devices," said I.  "Perhaps she thinks we are such good hunters that we
should be able to support ourselves."

We travelled on the whole night as rapidly as we could move, close to
the edge of the water, which, rising, soon covered the impress of our
feet.  Just before the sun rose, a thick mist came over the land,
completely hiding all objects, except those in our immediate
neighbourhood.  Still the princess led on.  Daylight at length stole
over the world; but the mist yet hung down upon us as much as ever.  Our
conductress at length stopped.  She was evidently somewhat weary, and
although Macco offered to carry her child, she would not allow it out of
her arms.  She now made signs that we had better rest, putting her head
upon her hands as if to go to sleep.  We were too glad to follow her
advice, for having been on foot the whole of the previous day, we were
completely worn out, and could not have gone many miles further.  In
spite of the exercise we had taken, the damp air made us feel very cold.
She observed that we shivered, and instantly leading the way into the
woods, took us to a place where we could cut a quantity of long leaves--
a sort of fern, apparently, of gigantic size.  With these, she
intimated, we could cover ourselves up while we slept, pointing to a
sheltered place under a bank which had been worn away into a sort of
cavern.

I suppose we had slept some time, though we felt very unwilling to get
up when the princess roused us, and made us understand that we should
take some food, and then proceed on our journey.  We, of course, obeyed
her implicitly, and we proceeded on as we had done during the night.
Several times, when we came to an elevation of any sort, she looked
back, examining the line of coast along which we had come, as if to
ascertain whether we were pursued.  Then, again, she came down with a
look of satisfaction on her countenance, and proceeded on as before.  It
was towards the afternoon when she again stopped, the ground before us
rising, and jutting out into the sea, forming a lofty headland.  She now
led the way inland, and showed us another hollow, signifying by her
gestures that she wished us to occupy it.  As we, however, felt anxious
to explore the country, we continued wandering about.  This seemed to
cause her much annoyance.  First she caught hold of Oliver and led him
back, and then me, and then ran after Macco.  At length, observing that
we did not seem disposed to keep quiet, she came and took me by the
hand, and led me cautiously up towards the top of the height, looking
round on either side, and keeping as much as possible under cover.  On
reaching the summit, she pointed down below, where I saw, in a sheltered
bay, another collection of huts somewhat similar to the one we had left.
This at once accounted for her unwillingness to allow us to wander
about, lest we should be seen by the inhabitants.  I expressed my thanks
to her as well as I could, and at once returned to the cavern.

She now, as before, made us collect a supply of fern leaves, as well as
a number of branches; and we having again taken some food, she covered
us up inside the cavern, fastening the branches in front, so as to
conceal the entrance, she herself going to a little distance, and
sitting down under a bank with her child.  As we had had but little rest
the previous morning, we quickly fell asleep.

The shades of night had again stolen over the world, when we heard the
gentle voice of our conductress calling us; and once more she set out,
we following her in Indian file as before.  We made a circuit,
apparently to avoid the village, and then descended to the sea-shore.
All night long, indeed, we went on.  The journey was almost a repetition
of that of the previous night.  The moon was still shining brightly over
the waters, when Macco uttered an exclamation of surprise, and putting
his hand on my shoulder, cried out,--"O Massa Walter, look dere!"

He pointed seaward, and there, just under the moonbeams, I caught sight
of a white object.  I looked more and more earnestly.  Yes, I was almost
convinced that it was the sail of a vessel.  The shape of her canvas
convinced me that she must be European, and not one of the mat-sail
craft of those seas.  Oliver thought I was right also.  "Yes, yes!"
exclaimed Macco; "no doubt, dat brig!"

Our conductress stopped when she heard our exclamations, and also looked
towards the sea.  The vessel was standing towards the south, the
direction we were going.  I observed that she walked, after this, more
slowly, as if her thoughts were engaged on some matter of importance.

"Oh, if we could but manage to get off to her, or make some signal!"  I
exclaimed.

"I am afraid that will be very difficult," said Oliver.

As may be supposed, our thoughts were occupied after this with all sorts
of plans for getting off to the vessel.  The fog, however, which
constantly comes over the land before sunrise, concealed her entirely
from our sight.  We rested, by the desire of the princess, among some
fallen trees in the forest, she having examined the place first,
apparently to ascertain if there were any snakes, or other creatures, to
hurt us.  We, however, could scarcely go to sleep for thinking of how we
could reach the vessel we had seen.  Still, sleep at length overcame us.

We were awoke by the voice of the princess, evidently in a state of
great agitation.  Pointing to the sea-shore, she led the way there.  She
took us down to the beach of a small bay, in which a canoe was hauled
up.  It was barely sufficient to hold two people, and would certainly
not contain three.

"Jump in, Massa Walter--jump in, Oliver!" exclaimed Macco.  "Shove off;
me find other canoe, and follow."

Though it was broad daylight, the mist still hung over the ocean, and we
could not see to any distance.  The princess urged us by her gestures to
follow the advice which Macco gave us.

"But where is there another canoe?"  I asked, not seeing one near.

"Never mind, Massa Walter," he answered; "shove off--shove off, I say;"
and running the canoe down to the water, he forced us both into it,
putting a paddle into the hand of each.  "Dere, dere, you go off; I come
off in 'noder canoe!  Go, go!  I say, go!"

Hitherto we had been unable to ascertain the cause of the alarm
exhibited by the princess.  At that moment we learned it too well, by
hearing some shouts in the distance.  They became louder and louder, and
as they did so, her agitation increased.  We endeavoured to thank her
for her kindness, but she seemed too anxious to get us off to take any
notice of our gestures.  Trusting that we might discover the brig we had
seen on the previous night, we paddled away with might and main.  My
heart misgave me, though, as to what would become of Macco.  We saw him
still on the beach waving an adieu, till both his form and that of the
princess were almost hidden by the mist.  The shouts increased in
loudness, and just then, glancing over our shoulders, we saw a number of
gigantic looking forms--gigantic they looked through the mist--rushing
down with uplifted clubs towards where our friends were standing.  Life
was sweet to us; we could not help our friends, and we paddled away.  A
shriek reached our ears, but the shadowy forms were no longer visible--
indeed, the whole land was concealed by the mist.  On we paddled for our
lives.  Every instant we expected to be pursued, for though our canoe
was the only one we had seen, we could not help fearing that there must
be others in the neighbourhood, into which the savages would certainly
get, and come in chase of us.  As far as we could judge, we were pulling
directly out to sea.  The shouts had died away.  They had assisted us
somewhat in directing our course through the mist.  We again heard them;
they seemed to be approaching.

"We are pursued," cried Oliver.

"Then we must pull away faster," said I.

Again louder and louder grew the shouts.  Our hopes of escape began to
vanish.

"I am afraid we shall again be made prisoners," I observed to Oliver.

"Don't let us despair," he answered.  "We have been preserved hitherto.
The same Power can still take care of us.  See, see!  What is that?"
Just then, the mist breaking, we saw appearing above it the topgallant
sails of a square-rigged vessel.

"The brig, the brig!"  I shouted.

We paddled on with redoubled vigour.  She was still at a considerable
distance.  Behind us rose the fierce cries of the savages.  The surface
of the water, which had hitherto been calm, now became somewhat
agitated.  The mist rose.  Before us appeared the brig, and turning
round our heads, we saw at almost an equal distance a couple of canoes.
On we dashed, shouting at the same time at the top of our voices.  The
people on board the brig apparently heard us, for a boat was lowered.
The wind was moderate; but still a heavy surf rolled in on the shore.
At that moment the fragile canoe was lifted up by a sea, and then down
she came upon a bed of rocks, almost splitting in two.

"On, on!"  I cried to Oliver, throwing off my jacket; "we must swim for
it!" and seizing him by the arm, I helped him to wade across the reef,
and then plunging into the sea, we swam off towards the boat.  Her crew
perceived our danger, and with sturdy strokes pulled towards us.  A
glance I cast behind showed me that one of the canoes of the savages had
met with the same accident that we had, and several dark heads were seen
floating in the water, and getting fearfully near us.  One of our
pursuers, I saw, held a club in his hand.  Had I been alone, I might
easily have kept ahead of the savages, as we had so much the start of
them; but Oliver not being so good a swimmer as I was, made but slow
progress.  The other canoe, avoiding the reef on which we had struck,
made for an opening in it, and was only a short distance behind the
swimmers.  I looked up.  Oh, how long the boat appeared to be coming!
Still she was coming; and I urged Oliver to persevere.  He redoubled his
efforts.  How grateful I felt when at length the boat reached us.  I
looked up, and there I saw the countenance of Dick Tarbox, of Roger
Trew, and the dark features of Potto Jumbo, expanded by excitement in
the most wonderful manner.  There also were several others of my
shipmates.  Was it a dream, or was it a reality?  For an instant I
thought the whole must be a strange dream.  Still, no, it must be a
reality, I said to myself; and crying out, urged my friends to take
Oliver on board, I meantime treading water alongside.  They lifted him
up, and had just time to stow him in the bottom of the boat, when the
savages were upon us.  One fierce fellow was close to me with uplifted
dagger.  Roger Trew knocked it out of his hand with his oar, which the
savage then seized.  Another savage was coming on with his club raised
in one hand, while with the other he tried to catch the stem of the
boat, when Dick Tarbox came down on his cranium with the blade of an oar
with such force, that the savage sunk beneath the sea.  The others,
meantime, began to let fly their arrows; but Tarbox, settling the other
man who had hold of Roger's oar, in the same way as he had done the
first, and I being taken on board, the boat pulled rapidly towards the
brig.

I still could scarcely believe that I was not dreaming.  "What!"  I
exclaimed, looking up at Tarbox, "are you really alive, or is this all
fancy?  I thought you were all lost when the mast went over."

"It is no fancy, but we are all alive and jolly," answered Tarbox.
"Thank Heaven, Roger Trew and I, and a few others of us, were able to
cling on to the mast.  We thought you had been lost; and thankful I am
to find that we were wrong about you, as you were about us."

However, as may be supposed, there was no time to ask questions or get
answers.  I was satisfied that I was really awake, and had
providentially escaped from the savages.  The brig, for fear of the
reefs, had been unable to get nearer.  Numerous other canoes were seen
coming off from the shore.  The savages appeared determined to recapture
us; and, perhaps, finding that the brig did not fire, hoped to take her
also.  Before, however, they could reach the boat, we were alongside.

I quickly sprang up on deck, and there, with open arms, stood to welcome
me, my dear sister Emily.  Grace and Mr Hooker were behind her.  They
greeted me cordially.  As may be supposed, they had many questions to
ask me, and so had I to ask them.  The brig, I found, had been fitted up
by Mr Hooker and Captain Davenport.  The captain, I was sorry to hear,
was unable to come in her, and Mrs Davenport had remained behind at
Ternate to nurse him.  Mr Thudicumb had come in command, with those of
the crew of the _Bussorah Merchant_ who had been left on shore.

The captain's object was to search for his lost ship.  Mr Hooker had
the same object in view, as also to examine the various islands we were
likely to call at, for the sake of gaining information in natural
history.  Emily had entreated to be allowed to come; and the captain,
after some hesitation, thinking that his daughter's health might be
benefited by the voyage, allowed her to accompany Grace.  An old Dutch
woman, Frau Ursula she was called, who spoke a little English, and to
whom I was presently introduced, came as a sort of nurse, or governante.

The savages meantime were approaching; and Mr Thudicumb and his men
were making preparations for their reception, getting all the arms on
board loaded, including a couple of small brass swivel guns and two
six-pounders, which we carried on our quarters for making signals.  The
land-breeze, however, freshened considerably, just before the leading
canoes got within bow-shot.

"Don't fire, Thudicumb, as long as we can help it," said Mr Hooker.  "I
have no wish to injure these poor savages; and if we can avoid doing so,
it will be much better, both for ourselves and for any who may come
after us.  I believe that many of the murders which have been committed
by the savages, on these and other coasts, have been caused by some
insult or injury, first inflicted by the white men, and they have simply
retaliated, fully believing themselves justified in so doing."

The sails were trimmed, and away we stood from the coast.  I seized a
glass, and tried to examine the shore, in the hope of seeing either our
kind protectress or Macco; but neither were visible, and it seemed too
likely that both had been killed by the savages.  When I had time to
tell Mr Hooker about Macco, he proposed standing back to try and hear
something of him, and to bring him off if he had escaped.  The savages,
finding they could not overtake us, at length pulled back to the shore.

"And now, my good boys," said Mr Hooker, "you may as well rig
yourselves decently.  You have been living so long among savages, that
you are scarcely aware of the uncivilised figure you cut."

I had nearly forgotten my scanty garments in the excitement of what was
taking place.  Mr Hookers shirts were certainly rather large for Oliver
or me; but he insisted on our taking one apiece, as also a pair of
duck-trowsers.  "I have no doubt that Roger Trew, and one of the other
men, will cut a pair for you into proper dimensions by to-morrow," he
said, laughing, as he handed us the garments.  Some spare jackets, which
more nearly fitted us, were found among the men's things; and we were
thus able to appear in the cabin in rather more civilised costume than
we had come off in, and be presented to the Frau.  She was a somewhat
portly dame, with a most good-humoured countenance, her little round
blue eyes appearing to be always laughing, while her mouth was
constantly wreathed in what Mr Hooker used to call full-blown smiles.
She had kind, sympathising feelings, and wept heartily when she heard of
the fate of the Princess Serena, which we described to her.  Emily and
Grace, too, were much moved by it, and very sorry to hear that the
faithful Macco had also too probably lost his life in his anxiety to
save ours.

"I am so glad to see you, Massa Walter," said Potto Jumbo, as he shook
my hand when I went forward to the caboose, in which, in spite of its
small size, he appeared quite as happy as in the large one on board the
_Bussorah Merchant_; "only bery sorry to lose cook-mate.  Poor Macco!
He bery good cook-mate!"

"Yes, indeed; he was a very excellent and sensible fellow," I observed.
"I trust he may have escaped, and that we may get him on board again."

I could not bear the idea of thinking that poor Macco had been murdered.
Potto Jumbo, however, said he had very little hopes on the subject, as
evidently, from the conduct of the savages, they were fierce, revengeful
fellows, and were certain to have wreaked their vengeance on those who
were still in their power.

Next day, we again stood in towards the coast, with a white flag flying,
hoping that the savages might understand it.  No canoes, however, came
off.  In my eagerness to try and recover Macco, I volunteered to go off
in a boat; but to this Mr Thudicumb would not consent.  He said he was
sure that the savages would pursue us; and that the only two boats we
had in the brig were too heavy to give us any chance of escape.  I
scanned the coast with a telescope all day long, on the chance of seeing
some signal from the shore, but none appeared; and at length, with much
sorrow, I gave up all expectation of recovering poor Macco.

The brig then made sail to the southward, to visit the Aru Islands,
which Mr Hooker was desirous of exploring.  Some time passed before I
had an opportunity of asking Dick Tarbox how he and his companions had
escaped.

"Why, you see, Master Walter," he said, "after supper that day, some of
us old hands thought of putting some biscuits and ham in our pockets,
though we did not remember them till we were beginning to get very
peckish.  When the mast fell, we still clung to it, except two poor
fellows, who were washed off much at the time that you were; and as they
have not turned up, I am afraid they must have perished.  The rest of us
clung on for dear life.  As you remember, soon afterwards the sea went
down, and we were able to stand up on the mast and look about us.  It
was now we recollected the food we had stuffed into our pockets, and
lucky it was that we had done so, or we should have been starved: as it
was, we nearly died of thirst.  Still, though we had a hard matter to
get the food down, with our throats so dry, yet we did manage it, and
held on to dear life.  We were, howsomedever, almost giving up, when we
caught sight of a sail coming over the water to us.  She was a native
craft; but whether or not the people on board her might knock us on the
head, we could not tell.  Still, anything was better than staying where
we were.  We had not our choice, though, for the people aboard the prow
caught sight of us, and came up to the mast.  They were pretty
peaceable-looking fellows, though their skins were brown enough.  We
managed to make them understand that our ship had been cast away:
indeed, our mast showed them that; and we were not long in tumbling on
board, and making our salaams to an old chap, who seemed to be their
captain.  He was rather vexed when he could not understand what we said,
or we understand what he said to us.  However, he observed that we might
rig ourselves in mats while our clothes were drying, and had some dishes
of rice and smoked fish put before us.  When the sea went down, they got
out their sweeps, and pulled round where they supposed the ship had
struck, in the hopes of getting something up from her; and there were
some fellows on board who seemed to be well up to diving.  However, they
were not successful; and suddenly they got out their sweeps, and pulled
away to the northward.  A strange sail which appeared some little way
off was, we supposed, the cause of their doing this.  Probably they took
her for a pirate."

"Very likely that was the craft we were on board," I observed.  "It
would have been curious if we had come up with you."

"Well, for your sakes, I am rather glad you did not," said the
boatswain.  "In a little time, our friends, who seemed bound to a
distance, began to think that our room would be pleasanter than our
company.  They had a strange cargo on board,--bales of that
nasty-looking stuff, the sea-slug, and birds' nests, and mother-of-pearl
shell, and I do not know how many other odd things.  Two or three days
afterwards, coming in sight of an island, they quietly made signs to us
to get into a boat; and though we at first talked of showing fight, and
declaring we would do no such thing, yet at last we agreed, seeing we
had no arms to fight with except our fists, that it would be better to
obey.  To make a long story short, we were shoved on shore on a desolate
island; we supposing that we were to find some houses, and people to
look after us, but not a human being or a hut could we discover.  There
was water and there were cocoa-nuts; and as we had our knives, we had a
chance of getting some shell-fish, if we could not find anything else.
Now, as it happened, not one of us had been on a desolate island before;
and there we were, six stout fellows, very little better off than babes
in the wood.  We had short commons, I can tell you, Master Walter.
There were birds enough, and some of them with gay feathers, but we
could not catch them; and there were animals, but they got away from us.
At first we thought we were not going to find any water; but we did
come up to a spring, which bubbled up out of the earth--the only one
that we could discover on the island.  That kept our throats moist.  We
had a hard job to get a light.  We hunted about for tinder out of the
rotten trees; but, then, there was the flint to be found: and no flint
could we fall in with.  You may be sure we hunted in our pockets, and
looked about with our noses on the ground wherever we went.  At last,
what should we see but a bit of a broken tea-cup.  At first I thought it
was a bit of shell.  How it could have come there I do not know, except
it was thrown overboard from some Chinese craft and washed up there.
Well, that bit of china was of more use to us than its weight in gold.
Taking it in my hand, and beginning to strike it against the back of my
knife, what was my joy to see a spark fly from it.  It was but one; but
one little spark was, I knew, enough to kindle a great fire.  Well, we
dried our tinder in the sun, and then began to strike away with the
flint and china.  Roger Trew took it in hand first, and struck and
struck away; but though the sparks came, not one could he make go down
to the tinder.  At last I took it; and didn't I feel pleased when I saw
there was a spark resting on the tinder.  We blew, not too hard, you may
depend on it, and blew and blew, and the spark began to grow larger and
larger, and the whole of the tinder was on fire.  Did not we bring dried
leaves in a hurry!--and, blowing them, up there sprung a flame in no
time.  We soon collected a whole load of sticks, and in a few minutes
there we had a fire blazing away.  We felt inclined to join hands and
dance round it.  We did not, though.  We quickly got our shell-fish, and
began roasting them.  We thought them very good, though they were not
much for keeping body and soul together.  Well, we did prize that piece
of old china, and I kept it carefully in one pocket, with my knife in
the other; and we made up a big fire, almost enough to roast an ox,
though we had nothing but a few cockles to cook by it.  However, the
food, such as it was, put a little more spirit into us, and we set out
to see what sort of a country we had been left on.  It was not very
large; but we saw a number of parrots and parroquets up in the trees,
and many other birds, but we had not much chance of getting them.
Still, we all agreed we would do our best.

"Well, we walked and walked along the shore, and now and then went
inland; but we could not make much way there, on account of the trees.
At last, looking up, I saw some tall palm-trees, and at the top of them
there were some cocoa-nuts.  You may be sure we set to work to get up at
them; but it is pretty hard work climbing a cocoa-nut tree without
ropes, not like swarming up a mast.  However, Roger Trew did haul
himself up; but then, you see, there are not many men who have got arms
like his, and they are better by half than legs for climbing trees.
That is why the monkeys have them so strong, I suppose.  To be sure,
some of them have got tails to help them.  Do you know, I have often
thought what convenient things tails would be to sailors, if they could
catch hold by them as monkeys do.  Howsomedever, Roger got to the top at
last, and then he sent thundering down a dozen cocoa-nuts or more.  Some
of our fellows thought they were to be eaten husk and all, and cried out
they did not think that would do them much good.  At last we got them
broken open, and sucked away at the juice inside, which had begun to
turn almost into milk.  They were more than ripe.  It is said that young
cocoa-nuts have far more juice and are far better than the old ones.
Still, you may be sure, we were very glad to get these at any price; and
having found some trees, we had fair hopes of finding more.  Still,
cocoa-nuts and shell-fish, though they may keep body and soul together,
after a time do little more than that; and we all became thinner and
thinner.  I am not at all sure that we should have lived many weeks
longer, so thin and wretched did we get, when at last a sail appeared in
sight.  Our hearts beat pretty quick when we thought that after all she
might not come near the island.  Oh! how eagerly we watched her.  Now
she seemed to be standing away; now, once more, she tacked, and stood
towards the island.  There was a high rock near, running out into the
sea.  We made our way to it; and one of our people tearing off his
shirt, we made it fast to it, to serve as a signal.  You may be sure we
gave a shout of joy when up went a flag in return, and the brig stood
towards the island.  She was no other than this little _Dugong_, as they
call her, and Mr Thudicumb, and your friend Mr Hooker, come to look
for us.  We were all very glad to see each other; but we felt very sorry
when we thought that you and Oliver had been lost.  And now, I'll tell
you, Master Walter, it was about the happiest moment in my life when I
got hold of you, and helped you into the boat safe from those savages."



CHAPTER SEVENTEEN.

THE ARU ISLANDS VISITED.

Leaving the coast of New Guinea, the _Dugong_ stood across to the Aru
Islands, which Mr Hooker was anxious to visit.  I may as well say that
the dugong is a large fish found in these waters, from ten to twelve
feet in length, of the whale species.  They swim in flocks, often coming
into shallow water.

The natives prize them for food.  We speared one, and got it on board;
and we all agreed, when the fish was cooked, that we had seldom tasted a
more delicate dish.  However, the look of the dugong is not attractive.
Mr Hooker told me that the female dugong is remarkable for the
affection which she has for her young, of which she produces only one at
a time.  If the young dugong is speared, she will never leave it, but is
sure to be taken also.

We approached the Aru Islands from the southward.  The sea between them
and New Guinea is very shallow, considerably under fifty fathoms in many
places.  There are about eighty of them, mostly very low, and forming a
chain about a hundred miles in length, and half that distance in width.
They belong to the Dutch.  The inhabitants are very mixed.  There is a
larger number of Papuans than any other race among the population.  Two
or three native Christian schoolmasters have been sent over from Amboyna
to teach the inhabitants.  We could just see these islands in the far
distance, when we found ourselves approaching a fleet of large native
boats at anchor.  Two or three vessels were also at anchor near them.
With our glasses we could see a number of figures standing up in the
boats, and then suddenly disappearing overboard.  Others were seen
climbing up over the sides.  What they could be about I could not at
first guess.  On pointing them out to Mr Hooker, however, he said at
once that they must be pearl-divers; and as the wind was very light, and
we passed close to them, we had an opportunity of observing their
proceedings.  There appeared to be about a dozen men in each boat, half
of whom were evidently, from their want of dress, the divers, while two
other men we took to be the chief and an assistant.  A large sugar-loaf
stone was let down overboard by a thick rope.  A diver stepped on the
gunwale, holding on by the rope, and apparently placing his toe in a
loop or hole to keep his foot in its place.  On the other foot a net was
fastened.  With this apparatus the diver began to descend.  Before,
however, his head reached the water I saw that he held his nose very
tightly with his hand.  This was, I understood, to prevent the water
getting into his nostrils.  We calculated that about four from each boat
were down at a time, and we judged that each man remained from two to
three minutes below the water.  Up he came again at the end of that
time, apparently very little exhausted, although he must have been
making active exertions to collect the shells.  After he had come to the
top, the net containing the oysters was drawn up, and in that time he
had collected from a hundred to a hundred and fifty.

We watched them with great interest, and were anxious to procure some of
the oysters, but the chiefs would not sell them; indeed, they all belong
to merchants who have rented the fishing for the season.  Some of the
men, we observed, suffered far more than others, and discharged water
from their mouths and ears and nostrils, and some even blood; but,
notwithstanding this, the same men were ready to go down again when
their turn came.  We learned that most of them will make from forty to
fifty plunges in one day, and that a few of the most experienced and
strongest remain down nearly five minutes.  Their greatest danger is
from the ground shark, which lies in wait at the bottom.  However, some
of these men will face even the shark, with knives in their hands, and
come off victorious.  To secure themselves still further, some of the
boats carry conjurers or priests on board, who, by their incantations,
are supposed to preserve them from the attacks of the shark.  Of course,
if a diver is picked off by a shark, the conjurer asserts that he has
not properly obeyed his directions, and thus does not lose his credit.
The saw-fish is another of the diver's foes, more dangerous, because
more difficult to attack than the shark.

The merchants have to keep a very strict look-out on the divers on their
return to the shore, as frequently when the oyster is in the boat, and
left alive undisturbed for some time, it opens its shell.  A pearl may
then easily be discovered, and, by means of a piece of wood, the shell
be prevented from again closing till the diver has an opportunity of
picking out the prize.  Sometimes they will even swallow the pearls to
conceal them.  As soon as the boats arrive on the shore the oysters are
put in holes or pits dug in the ground to the depth of about two feet,
fenced carefully round to guard them from depredation.  Mats are first
spread below them to prevent them touching the earth.  Here the oysters
are left to die and rot.  As soon as they have passed through a state of
putrefaction and become dry, they can be easily opened without the
danger of injuring the pearl, which might be the case if they were
opened when fresh.  The shell is then carefully examined for pearls.
Sometimes one is found in the body of the mollusc itself, but it is
generally in the shell.  We afterwards, on going on shore, had a
specimen of the horrid odour which arises from these pits, but the
people who are accustomed to it do not appear to suffer; indeed, we saw
people groping about on the sands where the oyster pits had existed, and
learned that they were seeking for stray oysters, frequently pearls of
some value being thus discovered.

Emily and Grace, as well as Oliver and I, took great interest in
watching the proceedings I have described.  I asked Mr Hooker how
pearls come to exist.

"Oh, I have read somewhere," exclaimed Emily, "that they are produced by
a kind of dew which falls from heaven into the salt water, where the
oyster swallows it, when it hardens and forms the beautiful white object
we call a pearl."

"A very poetical notion, Miss Emily," observed Mr Hooker; "but in
reality pearls are identical with the substance which we call
mother-of-pearl, which lines the shell of the oyster.  It is, indeed,
the result of disease.  When any substance intrudes into the shell the
animal puts forth a viscous liquor, which agglomerates and hardens till
the pearl is formed.  It is said, indeed, in some places, that the
divers pierce the shells of the oysters, and thus increase the number of
pearls.  It has also been discovered that oysters which have been
pierced by a certain small marine worm have invariably pearls within
them.  The oyster, to defend itself from the worm, covers the hole with
a substance which becomes as hard as the shell, and brilliant as
mother-of-pearl."

A breeze springing up towards evening, we proceeded on our voyage,
followed by the boats, which also shaped a course for the Aru Islands.
In the course of the next day we came in sight of a small rocky island
with high cliffs, off which we espied a couple of Chinese junks at
anchor.  As the island was not much out of our course, we stood towards
it, keeping the lead going for fear of reefs.  The water, however, was
deep close up to the rocks.  The cliffs completely overhung the sea, and
we observed within them numerous hollows and caverns.  On getting
nearer, we saw that several boats belonging to the junks were lying
directly under the cliffs.  As the wind fell, we came to an anchor, for
the sea over which we were now sailing was so shallow, that we could
anchor in calm weather in almost any part of it.

A boat was lowered, and Mr Hooker invited us to accompany him.  As we
passed near the Chinese junk the crew hailed us, and Mr Hooker, who
understood a little Chinese, remarked that they seemed very angry with
us.

"They think, probably, that we have come to search for edible birds'
nests, which they themselves are now collecting," he observed.

"Edible birds' nests?" exclaimed Emily and Grace together.  "Do you mean
to say, Mr Hooker, by that, that there are birds' nests fit to eat?"

"The Chinese not only think them fit to eat, but esteem them great
delicacies," observed Mr Hooker.  "These junks have come all the way
from China to collect them, and if they manage to get back without being
plundered by pirates, or sent to the bottom by storms, they will make an
enormous profit by the voyage."

Mr Hooker hailed the junk in return, and told the men that they need
not be alarmed; that we did not come to interfere with them, but only
prompted by curiosity to see what they were about.  As we got nearer we
saw the entrance to a cavern, into which we pulled.  A far from pleasant
odour issued from it, while ahead there was an inky darkness, which the
keenest eye could not penetrate.  As we proceeded, however, we observed
a bright light coming from the interior, which showed us a boat with a
couple of Chinese in her, one of whom was holding a torch; while another
man, by means of a ladder, was mounting up a narrow ledge of rock on the
side.  Overhead huge bats flitted round us, while on every side the tiny
chirp of innumerable birds was taken up and echoed from seemingly a
thousand voices throughout the cavern.  Above the head of the Chinese
appeared a number of nests, something in the shape of large deep spoons
without handles, split in half longitudinally, smaller than the ordinary
swallow's nest.  They were placed, without any order apparently, on
every spot where a slight projection of the rock afforded a foundation.
The Chinese, like their friends on board the junk, began to abuse us for
coming to interfere with their occupation.  Mr Hooker, however, soon
pacified them, and offered them some money for a few of the nests, that
we might examine them.  This brought them at once into good humour, and
they very readily sold us a dozen or more of the nests, though I thought
the price for birds' nests a very high one.  A number of birds like
swallows were flying in and out of the cavern.  They had the flight of
swallows; indeed, Mr Hooker said they were a species of swallow.  They
were about the size of robins or sparrows; their breasts white, their
wings grey, and their backs and the feathers of their tails shining
black.  On examining the nests which we had purchased, we found that
they were composed of a gelatinous substance something like isinglass.

"This is the substance," Mr Hooker told us, "that the Chinese make into
broth.  They are packed, however, just as they are cut from the rock,
and carried to China.  There they are cleansed from all extraneous
substances, and are then boiled or stewed, every particle of dirt being
thus more completely removed; and then, with a mixture of spices, they
make a transparent, delicate-looking jelly, although, without the
spices, they have little or no flavour."

"But where can they obtain this jelly-like substance?" asked Emily.

"I believe it is produced from a mollusc of some sort, on which the
birds feed.  When they require to build their nests, they disgorge the
gelatinous portion for the purpose; and as this substance possesses the
nutritive qualities of animal matter, I have little doubt that it is
produced from these molluscs," said Mr Hooker.

Not only within the cavern, but on all available and tolerably sheltered
spots outside, we saw a number of the sea-swallows' nests.  We pulled
close under one cliff, where we could distinguish clearly a bird sitting
in its nest--we concluded on its eggs--and looking very much at its
ease.  Another little bird was standing watching its nest.  We supposed
therefore that its young had been hatched; and as they were in an
inaccessible part of the cliff, we hoped they would escape the
Chinaman's grasp.

As we had given a good price for the first nests, the Chinese willingly
sold us another dozen, with which, wishing them a successful
bird's-nesting expedition, we returned on board the _Dugong_.  The
Malays assert that the bird feeds upon insects and other minute
creatures floating on the surface of the sea; and on further examining
the nests, we perceived long filaments resembling very fine vermicelli,
coiled one part over the other, without any regularity, and glued
together by transverse rows of the same material.  Mr Hooker told us
that the trade in birds' nests employs a large amount of capital and
men.  However, the loss of life arising from accidents and exposure is
very great.  It has been asserted that, on an average, two out of every
five men employed in bird's-nesting meet with a violent death.  In China
a "_catty_" or one pound and a quarter English, of the best nests, sells
at about 9 pounds sterling.  Their value depends chiefly upon their
translucent whiteness.  Those which have not been lined or used by the
birds obtain the highest prices.

Frau Ursula made a small dish of a few of the birds' nests, which, when
first put before us, were perfectly tasteless.  When, however, she had
added certain seasoning, it was pronounced as delicate as any food could
be.  The Chinese use them chiefly for thickening their soups and
ragouts.

The sea-swallow is found along the northern coast of Australia, as well
as on the rocks and islands of the sea which we were now navigating.  A
large number of Chinese junks come every year to procure the nests,
which are greatly prized in China.

As we neared the Aru Islands we passed close to a number of boats at
anchor, the people from which were continually jumping overboard,
diving, and returning to the surface with some creatures in their hands.
As on the previous day, the wind was light, and we were able to
accompany Mr Hooker, and pulled off in the boat to see what they were
about.

"What can they be getting?"  I asked.

"The creatures the natives are collecting are the _holothurians_, or
sea-cucumbers," answered the naturalist.  "There are a great many
species of these creatures; but, I believe, those found on banks of
coral sand are the most valued."

Emily and Grace, however, when they saw the creatures, could not help
expressing exclamations of disgust at their appearance.  They were like
gigantic slugs, or long black bags with frills at the top.  Mr Hooker
purchased a basket full of the creatures, which he wished to examine
more at his leisure.

"But of what use can those ugly things be?" asked Emily, as we pulled
back to the vessel.

"Our omnivorous friends the Chinese would be very much surprised at your
asking the question," answered Mr Hooker.  "They look upon them as one
of their most delicate articles of food, though greatly inferior to the
birds' nests we found yesterday.  I see it stated that from Macassar
alone these creatures are shipped to China to the value of 150,000
pounds; and this is only a very small portion of those used, not only by
the Chinese, but the natives of many other parts of the shores of those
seas.  When taken on shore, their intestines are removed, and they are
then boiled in sea-water: in some places with the leaves of the papaw,
and in others with the bark of the mangrove-tree, which gives them a
bright red colour.  After they have been boiled, they are buried in the
ground till the next day, when they are spread out to dry in the sun.
They are now considered fit for shipment to China, to which the larger
number are sent.  In some places, however, they are not buried, but
smoked over the fire on a framework formed of bamboo.  The Chinese make
them into soups, sometimes boiling pieces of sugar-cane with them, which
is said to neutralise their rank flavour."

Sailing round the north end of the group, we approached its capital, or
chief trading settlement, situated off the north-west end.  It is called
Dobbo.  Just as we came off it we sighted a Dutch man-of-war brig, and
stood towards her.  The wind was light, and she had, apparently,
fishing-lines overboard.  Mr Hooker hailed her, and asked her where she
was bound for.  Her commander, who spoke English, replied, "For
Ternate."

"How fortunate!"  I exclaimed.  "We can then write to Captain Davenport,
and tell him of our safety."

The commander at once politely offered to convey a letter.  "He might
however," he observed, "be some little time on the passage, as he was in
search of pirates, whose vessels had lately been heard of in those seas,
and had committed depredations on the islands under protection of the
Dutch."

We all hurried down into the cabin to write our letters, as, of course,
I was anxious to give an account of what had occurred to my kind friend.
Emily wished to write to Mrs Davenport, as did also Grace to her
mother.  As there was not much time, we described our adventures as
briefly as possible.  Mr Hooker had proposed to proceed through the
Java Seas to Singapore; while Captain Davenport had arranged, should he
be able to obtain a vessel, to go there by way of the Sooloo
Archipelago, round the north of Borneo.  On returning on deck we saw a
great commotion on board the brig--all the sailors rushing aft, and
hauling away at a rope overboard.  In a short time the snout of a huge
fish appeared above the water, struggling violently, and it seemed very
likely he would break away.  "A shark! a shark!" cried our men.  I had
scarcely supposed so enormous a creature existed.  He was fully
twenty-six feet long, and looked capable of swallowing not only a man's
leg, but the whole of his body at a gulp.  It made me shudder at the
thought of falling overboard, and I felt thankful that while struggling
in the water no such monster had found me out.  "O Walter! how
terrible!" exclaimed Emily.  The same idea seemed to have crossed her
mind.  One of the officers stood, harpoon in hand, ready to strike the
creature as he was drawn up under the vessel's counter.  A "whip" was
immediately rigged, and the crew hauling away, the shark, in spite of
his struggles, was hoisted up on deck.  Scarcely had he reached it,
however, than we saw the crew scattering right and left; and it looked
as if he had taken the deck from them, so violent were the lashes he
gave with his tail as he floundered up and down, and turned and twisted
on every side.  At length the most daring of the men returned aft, armed
with capstan bars and hatchets; but it was not till after many blows,
and jumping and leaping to get out of the way of the monster's tail,
that he was seen to lie quiet on the deck.

I then went in the boat with our despatches on board the brig.  The
commander received me very politely, and undertook to deliver them.  He
warned us to keep a sharp look-out for pirates, as our brig being only
slightly armed, they were very likely to attack us should we meet them.
He kindly offered me some slices of the shark; but I laughingly declined
the gift, saying that we were going on shore, where we might find plenty
of beef and mutton.  He laughed, however, at that notion, and observed
that we were more likely to find pig and kangaroo, as beef and mutton
were articles unknown in that region.  I bid him and his officers
farewell, and returned to the _Dugong_, I felt greatly relieved at the
thought that Captain Davenport would now hear of our safety, and hoped
before long to meet him and his kind wife at Singapore.  I told Mr
Hooker that I had been offered some of the shark's flesh, but had
declined receiving it.

"Had he presented a Chinese with the fins, he would have been
overwhelmed with gratitude, as they are considered almost as delicate
morsels as the edible birds' nests," said Mr Hooker.  "The creature in
many parts is caught for the sake of his fins alone, which are sent to
China in large quantities, where they are used in the same way that the
birds' nests and tripang are employed, though they rank next to birds'
nests in value.  They are of the same gelatinous consistency, and are
made into soups and ragouts."

Dobbo, being exposed, to the sea-breezes, is healthy, and a good
anchorage is found close to it.  The place presented an animated
appearance, as traders from all parts of the archipelago assemble there.
The buildings they inhabited were not, however, pretentious, being
composed of bamboo and reeds; while many of the traders considered
clothes somewhat superfluous.  On the shore a number of prows were
hauled up and being refitted for sea.  Caulkers were at work on some;
painters on others, who were covering them with a thick white lime
plaster, making them look very clean and bright.  Sailmakers, who
looked, however, more like mat-makers, were at work in some places.  The
tripang--black ugly lumps--was being exposed to the sun to be prepared
for loading.  In another spot people were busy tying up bundles of
mother-of-pearl shell.  Carpenters were engaged in squaring timber for
repairing vessels; while boats from the islands of Goram and Ceram were
unloading their cargoes of sago-cake, with which the traders supply
themselves for their homeward voyage.  We were amused with the vast
number of different cockatoos, lories, and parrots, which were secured
by strings on bamboo perches in front of the numerous reed huts, all
chattering and talking together, as if carrying on some important
consultation; while beautiful metallic-green or white fruit-pigeons were
uttering their pleasing coos in all directions.  These people are
evidently fond of tame creatures, for we saw several beautiful little
kangaroos hopping about, quite as tame and as elegant as fawns.  Young
cassowaries also, striped with black and brown, ran about as tame as
barn-door fowls.  This is a wingless bird, the body of which is about
double the size of that of a large turkey, but its long legs make it
five or six feet in height.  It is covered with long, coarse, black,
hair-like feathers.  The skin of the neck is bare, and is of a bright
blue and red.  Instead of wings it has a group of horny black spines,
like porcupine quills.  The species I have described is found in the
neighbourhood of the island of Ceram.  Mr Hooker told us that it feeds
chiefly on fallen fruits, and on insects or Crustacea.  The female lays
from three to five large eggs of a shagreen-green colour, upon a bed of
leaves.  The male and female sit alternately for about a month upon
them.  The articles we saw exposed for sale in the fair were chiefly
pearl shell and the tripang, known also as the _beche-de-mer_; as also
tortoise-shell, edible birds' nests, pearls, and birds of paradise, or
rather their stuffed skins.  The Malay traders had brought for sale, or
to exchange with these articles, guns, swords, knives, choppers,
tobacco, plates and basins, handkerchiefs, _sarongs_, calicoes, and
arrack in bottles.  Tea, coffee, sugar, and wine, were also to be seen;
and even fancy goods, such as china ornaments, pipes and purses;
umbrellas, razors, and looking-glasses; indeed, it is curious what a
number of articles are found in this out-of-the-way spot, and many of
them costing no more than they did in England.

These articles are exchanged for English calico, crockery, cutlery,
fire-arms, gunpowder, gongs, and elephants' tusks.  They not only buy
muskets, but small brass guns, on which they set a high value.  They
also prize tobacco for chewing.  We always slept on board, and the sound
of the Malays' songs came across the water to a late hour of the night.
The musical instruments we heard were tom-toms, Jews'-harps, and
frequently fiddles.  The Malays are a merry, vivacious people, and fond
of several games.  The most interesting was a game at football, which
was generally played in the evening.  The ball is small, made of ratan,
hollow, elastic, and light.  One of the players dances it for a short
time on his foot, sometimes on his arm or thigh, and then striking it
with the hollow of his foot, sends it flying high into the air.  A
player from the opposite side rushes forward, catches it on his foot in
the same way, and returns it.  The rule appeared to be that the ball
should never be touched by the hand, but that the arms, shoulder, or
knee may be employed.  Far less satisfactory was their custom of
cock-fighting.  Steel spurs are used, as they were formerly in civilised
England; and the spectators, who stand round in a ring, show their
savage character by their fearful yells and leaps as they see their
cocks likely to win or lose.

We saw shells used here for every purpose.  Some of the magnificent
volute shells were employed as baskets; while gigantic helmet shells,
suspended by ratan handles, formed the vessels in which fresh water was
brought from house to house.

I was delighted to find that Mr Hooker had resolved to make an
excursion into the interior of the mainland for the sake of obtaining
some birds of paradise.  As the fatigue might be too great for the young
ladies, they remained on board under charge of Frau Ursula; Oliver and I
only accompanying him, with two native hunters, a trustworthy guide, and
an interpreter who spoke Dutch.  The natives of these islands, I should
say, are Papuans, and in some parts are said to be very savage.  They
are expert archers, and are never seen without their bows and arrows.
They shoot pigs and kangaroos with them, as well as all sorts of birds.
We met some of the natives who came from the south islands, who were
even more savage in appearance and manners than the rest.  They wore a
number of rude ornaments--one of comb, shaped like a horse-shoe, on
their foreheads, the ends resting on the temples.  The end of this
ornament is fastened into a piece of wood, plated in front with tin;
above it waves a plume of feathers of a cock's tail.

In the Aru Islands are found a number of birds of paradise, some,
indeed, of the most beautiful, which I will describe shortly.



CHAPTER EIGHTEEN.

A SEARCH FOR BIRDS OF PARADISE.

I must give a very brief account of our excursion, which we had just
before projected.  A native boat carried us across to the mainland, and
landing, we were amused with the number of sea-shells which we found on
the ground away from the beach.  They were of a variety of shapes and
kinds, which had been taken possession of by those curious creatures,
the hermit crabs, who wander into the forest in search of food.
Sometimes, however, they become food themselves to huge spiders, and we
saw one monster carry away a fair-sized shell, and devour its unhappy
occupant.  We came upon several little parties of hermit crabs, whom,
breaking through their custom, we found assembled round some delicate
morsel; but as soon as they heard us, away they scrambled as fast as
they could crawl.  The spiders were huge spotted monsters, with bodies
two inches long, and legs in proportion.  They form thick glutinous
threads across the path, which are very unpleasant to meet, and really
cost a great deal of trouble to get rid of.  Sometimes, indeed, we ran
our faces directly against one of the monsters, though in most cases the
creature was as glad to get off as we were to get rid of him.  We met
also numerous lizards, of various shades of green, grey, and brown,
every rotten trunk being alive with them, as they ran about seeking for
insects.  Our native hunters had arrows with heads as large as a small
tea-cup, for the purpose of shooting the birds of paradise.

Among the most beautiful vegetable productions are the tree-ferns.  We
were never tired of admiring them, and Mr Hooker said they were
superior in size and beauty to any he had before seen.  There were also
beautiful palms with slender smooth stems, perfectly straight, reaching
to the height of a hundred feet, and surmounted by a crown of gracefully
drooping leaves.

Our men carried sleeping mats for us to wrap ourselves in at night, with
a small kettle for boiling our tea, and a pot for cooking our meat or
soup.  When resting at night we quickly formed an impromptu hut of
boughs.  I could not help wishing that my sister and Grace had been with
us, to admire the beautiful forests and magnificent birds we saw.
Rising in the morning, we witnessed another dance of the birds of
paradise in some trees close to us, and our native hunters shot several
of them.

"It is strange," said Mr Hooker, "that the only inhabitants of this
region, where the most graceful of trees and the most beautiful of birds
in the universe exist, should be inhabited by races utterly incapable of
appreciating them."

"Perhaps, sir, it may be that God has thus arranged it, that civilised
man should be led to the spot to make His name known among those
savages.  Had it not been for these birds of paradise, perhaps these
very islands might not have been heard of."

"Ah, Oliver, I like that idea.  I think you are right," said Mr Hooker,
and he was silent for some minutes.  I too was struck by it.

"Yes, sir," said Oliver, "God has a reason for all His arrangements, and
I think it is allowable for us to conjecture what that reason may be;
but though we cannot find it out, we may be very sure the reason
exists."

We had been walking on through the forest, when one of our hunters made
a sign to us to stop, and he advanced cautiously.  We saw him raise his
bow and let fly an arrow.  Down fell a small bird rather larger than a
thrush, the plumage as we saw it falling being of the most intense
cinnabar red with the softest and most lovely gloss.  Mr Hooker ran
forward in the greatest state of agitation I had ever seen him exhibit,
and kneeling down, gradually lifted up the bird.  Had he discovered a
nugget of gold of the same size, he could not have appeared more
delighted.  The feathers of the head were short and velvety, and shaded
into a rich orange beneath.  From the breast downwards the body was like
the softest white gloss silk, while across the breast a band of deep
metallic-green separated it from the red throat.  Above each eye was a
round spot, also of metallic-green.  The bill was yellow, and the feet
and legs were of a fine cobalt-blue, forming a striking contrast with
the other parts of the body.  On each side of the breast, concealed
under the wings, were tufts of grey feathers, about two inches in
length, terminated by a broad band of deep emerald-green.  These plumes
are raised, as in the other species we saw, into a pair of elegant fans
when the wings are elevated.  Besides these beautiful ornaments, there
were in the middle of the tail two feathers like slender wires, about
five inches long, diverging into a double curve.  The end of these wires
are webbed on the outer side, and covered with a fine metallic-green; so
that the bird appears to have two elegant glittering circles hanging
about five inches from the body, and the same distance apart.

It was some time before our kind friend could recover himself.

"Is it not beautiful? is it not beautiful?" he kept exclaiming as he
held it up, still kneeling on the ground and exhibiting its various
beauties.  "Walter, I tell you that this is the most beautiful of the
eight thousand different kinds of birds which our beneficent Creator has
placed on this earth, to adorn it for the sake of us mortals.  Not one
of them possesses these spiral-tipped tail wires nor these beautiful
breast fans.  Then look at the colours.  What art can in any way
approach them!  This is the King Bird of Paradise--the _Paradisea
Regia_, we naturalists call it.  Well worthy is it of the name."  When
we stopped for the night, our attendants quickly built some leafy sheds,
into which we crept, wrapped up in our mats, after we had partaken of
our supper--consisting of a parrot pie, which we had brought with us,
and also of some sago biscuit, washed down with arrack and water.  Our
guides would have preferred the spirit undiluted, as they are fond of
potent liquors as well as of strong-tasted food.  At early morn, before
the sun rose, we heard the well-known cry of "Wawk--wawk--wawk!--Wok--
wok--wok!" resounding through the forest, and continually changing its
direction.  Looking up, we caught sight of nights of the great bird of
paradise, going to seek their breakfasts on the fruit-bearing trees.
Lories and parroquets soon afterwards flew off from their perches,
uttering shrill cries.  King hunters croaked and barked; and cockatoos,
black and white, screamed loudly through the woods; while numerous
smaller birds, many also of the most lovely plumage, chirruped and
whistled as they saluted the dawn.  Our hunters, one with a gun, the
other with a bow and arrows, started forth while we lighted our fire and
made other preparations for breakfast.  One of them soon came back with
a large black bird having an enormous bill.  Mr Hooker jumped up,
almost letting drop the saucepan which he held in his hand, in his
eagerness at the sight of the bird.

"A superb black cockatoo!" he exclaimed.  "This is indeed a prize."

All thoughts of eating were abandoned, while he expatiated on the beauty
of the bird and its peculiar mode of living.  Compared to its largely
developed head, which was ornamented with a superb crest, its body
appeared weak and small.  It had long slender legs and large wings, its
head being armed with a sharp-pointed hooked bill of prodigious size and
strength.  The plumage was quite black, and had over it the peculiar
powdery white secretion which characterises cockatoos.  The cheeks were
bare, and of an intense blood-red colour.  We had heard its voice the
evening before, which, unlike the harsh scream of the white cockatoo, is
that of a plaintive whistle.  The tongue was a slender fleshy cylinder
of a deep red colour, terminated by a black horny plate, furred across,
and possessing prehensile power.  We afterwards saw several of them,
mostly one at a time, though now and then we caught sight of two or
three together.  They were flying slowly and noiselessly, and our hunter
told us that a very slight wound would kill them.

"See here, Walter and Oliver; observe its powerful beak.  This bird
lives upon the kernel of the kanary-nut.  We passed several of those
lofty trees as we came along.  This bill is evidently formed for the
purpose of eating this kanary-nut, which no other bird can do.
By-the-by, I picked up one.  Here it is.  See! it is so hard that a
heavy hammer alone can crack it."

The outside of the nut Mr Hooker showed us was quite smooth, and of a
somewhat triangular shape.

"However, the birds are hungry, and we will try and catch flight of one
of our black friends taking his breakfast, and see how he manages."

We quickly discussed our breakfast, and immediately afterwards set off
in search of a kanary-tree.  On one of the lower branches we were
fortunate enough to see a black cockatoo perched.  He had just taken one
of the nuts end-ways into his bill, where he kept it firm by the
pressure of the tongue.  He then cut a transverse notch, so Mr Hooker
declared, by the lateral sawing motion of the lower mandible.  He next
took hold of the nut by his foot, and biting off a piece of a
neighbouring leaf, retained it in the deep notch of the upper mandible.
Again seizing the nut, which was prevented from slipping by the elastic
tissue of the leaf, he fixed the edge of the lower mandible in the
notch, and by a powerful nip broke off a piece of the shell.  Once more
taking it in his claws, he inserted the very long and sharp point of his
bill and picked out the kernel, which he seized hold of, morsel by
morsel, with his curiously formed, extensible tongue.  As no other bird
in existence can compete with him in eating these nuts, he has always an
abundance of food.  Mr Hooker called this species the _Microglossum
aterrimum_.

Soon afterwards, a native brought us a king-fisher with an enormously
long tail, such as no other king-fisher possesses.  It was the
racket-tailed king-fisher.  It had been caught sleeping in the hollow of
the rocky banks of a neighbouring stream.  It had a red bill, and Mr
Hooker observed that he doubted whether it lived upon fish, for, from
the earth clinging to its beak, he suspected rather that it preys on
insects and minute shells which it picks up in the forests.  Its shape
was very graceful, the plumage being of a brilliant blue and white.

We caught also another cuscus, which Mr Hooker showed us was of the
marsupial order; that is, having a pouch in which it carries its young,
as does the kangaroo.  There are several other marsupial animals in
these islands, such as are found also in Australia and New Guinea, where
alone they exist, some as small as mice.  Though no mice exist in those
regions, these little animals are about as mischievous--entering into
houses, and eating their way through all sorts of materials, just in the
manner that mice do.  I cannot attempt to describe the numerous other
birds which we shot or caught.  Among them were many of brilliant
plumage--pigeons, little parroquets, and numerous other small birds,
similar to those found in Australia and New Guinea.

We spent three or four days in a native house, at which, at a rental of
a few yards of cloth, some tobacco, and one or two other articles, we
engaged rooms.  It was raised on a platform seven feet high on posts;
the walls were about four feet more, with a high pitched roof.  The
floor was composed of split bamboo, and a part of the sloping roof could
be lifted and propped up, so as to admit light and air.  Our
apartments--for I have dignified them by that name--were divided from
the rest of the house by a thatched partition.  At one end of it was a
cooking-place, with a clay floor, and shells for crockery.  Several
families occupied the other parts of the house, which was very
extensive.  There were generally half-a-dozen or more visitors in
addition to the families.  They led very easy idle lives, only working
when it was absolutely necessary for the sake of obtaining food; and
from morning till night the people were laughing, shouting, and talking
without cessation.  Such screams of laughter, such loud shouts--the
women and children vying with the men--I have never elsewhere heard.
They seemed to live very well, as the men and boys are capital archers,
and never went out without their bows and arrows.  With these they shot
all sorts of birds, and sometimes kangaroos and pigs.  Besides this,
they had a variety of vegetables, although they grew no rice nor the
cocoa-nut tree.  They had plantains, yams, and, above all, the
sugar-cane.  They were continually eating it.  It grows on the black
vegetable soil to a great height and thickness.  At all times of the day
we found the people eating it, generally four or five together, each one
with a yard of cane in one hand, and a knife in the other, and a basket
between their legs.  There they sat paring away at it, chewing, and
throwing the refuse into the basket.

Mr Hooker was highly pleased with the collection of birds and insects
which he had made.  Engaging the services of two more natives to carry
them, we returned to the boat, in which, in the course of a day's sail,
we reached the _Dugong_.



CHAPTER NINETEEN.

VOYAGE CONTINUED.

Sailing from Dobbo, a number of our mop-headed friends accompanied us to
sea in their long canoes--curious, savage-looking boats, the bow and
stern rising up six or seven feet high, decorated with shells and waving
plumes of cassowary's feathers.  They were all talking, laughing, and
shouting at once, and when they at length, after receiving a few
farewell presents, bid us good-bye, we felt as if we had passed out of a
tempest of noise into a calm, so apparently deep was the silence which
reigned round us.  In two days, passing the Key Islands, the inhabitants
of which are very much like those of Aru, we arrived in sight of a lofty
volcano, from the summit of which wreaths of white smoke were even then
ascending.  On approaching more closely, we saw that there were two
other mountains near it, clothed with vegetation to their very summits.
A fair breeze enabled us to enter the land-locked harbour of Banda.  The
water below our keel was so transparent, that we could see, at a depth
of seven or eight fathoms, the smallest objects on the sand, and watch
the living corals at work.  We sailed on through narrow channels, having
on one side lofty cliffs rising out of the sea.

Besides three large islands, there are several others, which form what
are known as the Banda group.  The largest is Lontar, or Great Banda--a
crescent-shaped island, about six miles long and a mile and a half wide.
Within the circle of which this island and two others joined to it form
an arc, lie three more, the highest and most remarkable of which is the
Grunong Api, or the Burning Mountain.  It is an ever active volcano,
about two thousand three hundred feet in height.  We passed close under
its base, and looking up, saw cloud-like masses of steam and sulphureous
acid gas rising from its summit.  On the Lontar shore rose up
perpendicular crags from two to three hundred feet high, but everywhere
covered with the most luxuriant vegetation, the trees and shrubs having
their roots in the crevices, and hanging down in broad sheets of the
brightest green.  As we sailed on we perceived lofty palms rising amid
the matted mass of vegetation, and from their crests hung long feathered
leaves, silently and gracefully oscillating in the light air which
filled our sails.

On the top of one of the heights appeared the dazzling white walls of
Fort Belgica, with another fort below it; and along the shore on every
hand extended the chief village, called Neira, with rows of
wide-spreading trees shading the streets and bordering the bay.
Opposite the village were a number of prows from Ceram--strange-looking
vessels, high at the stem and low at the bow, having, instead of a
single mast, a tall tripod, which can be raised and lowered at pleasure.
There was a number of other craft--Bugis traders, mostly square topsail
schooners, but ill-fitted apparently to contend with the storms which
occasionally rage in those seas.  Among the most beautiful trees was the
_lontar_ or _palmyra_ palm--_Borassus flabelliformis_.  Mr Hooker told
us that its leaves were formerly used as parchment all over the
archipelago before the Chinese introduced paper.  In some places, even
at the present time, it is used for that purpose.  In every direction we
could see spreading out over the island a continuous forest of
nutmeg-trees, shaded by the lofty kanary-trees.  The nutmeg-tree is from
twenty to five-and-twenty feet high, though sometimes its lofty sprays
are fifty feet high.  A foot above the ground the trunk is from eight to
ten inches in diameter.  The fruit before it is quite ripe greatly
resembles a peach.  This, however, is only a fleshy outer rind--
epicarp--which, as it ripens, opens into two equal parts, when within is
seen a spherical polished nut, surrounding an aril, the mace, which is
of a bright yellow colour.  No fruit can then surpass it in beauty.  The
people who pick it use a small basket at the end of a long bamboo, into
which it drops as they hook it off.  The outer part, which we should
call the fruit, being removed, the mace is carefully taken off, and
dried on large shallow bamboo baskets in the sun.  Its bright colour now
changes to a dark yellow.  The black part seen within the vermilion mace
is a shell, and inside this is the nutmeg.  When the mace is removed,
the nuts are spread out on shallow trays of open basket-work in a
drying-room.  A slow fire is made beneath the floor, where the nuts
remain for three months.  By this time the nutmeg has shrunk so much
that it rattles in its shell.  The shell is then broken, and the nutmegs
are sorted and packed in casks for shipment.

We took a stroll with Mr Hooker through the beautiful groves of
nutmeg-trees, which were heavily laden with fruit.  It is picked twice
in the year, though some is obtained throughout the whole year.  A
beautiful carpet of green grass is spread out beneath the trees, while
high above them tower the lofty kanary-trees, which stretch out their
gnarled arms as if to defend their more tender sisters committed to
their charge.  At a distance, indeed, the nutmeg-trees are completely
hidden from view by the kanary-trees.  The roots of these latter are
very curious, looking like enormous snakes with their heads caught in
the trunk of the tree.  As we strolled through the forest, sheltered
from the direct rays of the sun by the thick foliage, we caught distant
views of the blue ocean sparkling in the sunlight, the white surf
breaking in masses of foam on the rocks beneath us, while at a distance
appeared the varied forms of the other islands.

These groves of nutmegs are divided into what are called parks,
belonging to different proprietors, who are known as perkeniers.  By far
the greater proportion of nutmegs used throughout the world are grown on
these small islands, though wild nutmegs are found in New Guinea and in
a few other places.  As the nutmeg is among the most beautiful of
fruits, so are the trees superior to almost any other cultivated plant.
They are well-shaped, and have glossy leaves, bearing small yellowish
flowers.  On examining the fruit, we compared it in size and colour to a
peach, only rather more oval.  It is of a tough fleshy consistency till
it becomes ripe, when, as I have before said, it splits open and shows a
dark brown nut within covered with the crimson mace.  We saw a most
beautiful bird flying among the trees; it was the Banda pigeon, which
feeds upon the nutmeg fruit.  It digests the mace, but casts up the nut
with its seed uninjured.  By this means it has undoubtedly carried the
seed to all parts of the group, and perhaps to other islands in the
neighbourhood.  In one part of Lontar we heard that the mace, instead of
being red, is white--probably owing to some peculiarity of the soil.
The deer and pig are found in the islands, and also a species of cuscus.

A proprietor, to whom Mr Hooker had an introduction, invited us to
climb the burning mountain; but after considering the matter, our friend
declined the honour, from hearing that the ascent was very difficult and
dangerous, and that we should gain very little more knowledge about it
than we should by gazing up at it from the base.

While sleeping on shore, the house we occupied was one night so shaken
that we thought it would fall about our heads; but the inhabitants
seemed to take it as a thing of course, and we heard that nearly every
month an earthquake occurs.  Several most disastrous eruptions of the
mountain have taken place, causing great destruction of life and havoc
among the plantations.

The Portuguese were the first Europeans who took possession of the
Bandas.  They were driven out by the Dutch, who exterminated the
aboriginal inhabitants, and then had to import slaves to cultivate the
plantations.  Since slavery was abolished by Holland, convicts have been
sent there for the purpose; and now, people from various neighbouring
regions have been collected to perform the part of labourers.  The
Bandas are not properly included in the Moluccas.  The cultivation of
the clove-tree is now chiefly confined to Amboyna, and the surrounding
islands, to which we were now bound.

A day's sail took us off Amboyna, the capital of the Moluccas.  It is
one of the oldest European settlements in the East.  The island is
divided into two parts by the sea, a narrow sandy isthmus alone joining
them.  We sailed up the western inlet, the shores of which were lined by
groves of cocoa-nut palm-trees, furnishing food and shade to the natives
who dwell in the rude huts beneath them.  We came to an anchor off the
town of Amboyna.  In few places we visited was the forest vegetation
more luxuriant or beautiful than on this island.  Ferns and palms of
graceful forms were seen everywhere; climbing ratans formed entangled
festoons pendent from every forest tree; while fine crimson lories and
brush-tongued turkeys, also of a bright crimson colour, flew in and out
amidst the foliage, forming a magnificent sight, especially when a flock
of the former settled down on some flowering tree, the nectar from which
the lories delight to suck.  Amboyna is a large city for the East,
containing 14,000 people, about 8000 of whom are Europeans, with half
that number, perhaps, of Chinese and Arabs.  Our great wish was to see a
clove plantation in full bearing.  We found, however, that the
proprietors had discovered that there were more profitable means of
employing their ground and labour, and that cacao plantations were
superseding them.

The two young ladies, with Frau Ursula, were able to accompany us.  Our
road lay through a grove of palm-trees, and wound up a hill, till we
reached the plantations of young cacao-trees.  They were covered with
long red cucumber-like fruit.  The plants had been brought here from
Madagascar, where it was first discovered by the Spaniards.  They are
great consumers of it in various forms.  Chocolate comes from the
Spanish chocolate, which is composed of cacao pounded with Indian corn,
to which honey is sometimes added.  The sugar-cane was also introduced,
as sugar assists in neutralising the bitter qualities of the cacao.  I
need scarcely point out the difference between the cacao--often written
cocoa--plant and fruit, from which the now much used beverage is made,
and the lofty cocoa-nut palms with their well-known nuts full of juice.
In the woods we saw numbers of green parrots, which uttered their shrill
deafening screams as they darted to and fro through the thick foliage.

Proceeding again along the beach, my sister and Grace, feeling thirsty,
asked for a draught of water, but neither stream nor fountain was in
sight.  When one of our attendants heard what was inquired for, "Stop,"
he said, "you shall have it."  Directly afterwards, we saw him climb up
a cocoa-nut palm above our heads, whence he cut off some of the clusters
of large green fruit.  Immediately descending, he struck off the end
with a hatchet, and presented each of us with a goblet of the freshest
and most sparkling water I ever tasted.  We had before only found the
more mature fruit, after the liquid has assumed a milk-like appearance.

A short way on, we saw the hill-side covered with myrtle-like trees, and
found that they were plantations of clove-trees.  The clove-tree belongs
to the order of myrtles.  The trunks of the full-grown trees were about
twelve inches in diameter.  Their topmost branches were from forty to
fifty feet from the ground.  However, we found some very small ones,
fully loaded with fruit.  The clove is the flower bud, and it grows in
clusters at the end of the twigs.  Our guide told us that the annual
yield of a good tree is about four pounds and a half.  When the buds are
young, they are nearly white; when more mature, they change to a light
green, and ultimately to a bright red.  They are then picked by the
hand, or beaten off with bamboos, on cloths spread under the trees.
They are simply dried in the sun for use, when their colour changes from
red to black.  The leaves, the bark, and young twigs, have also a
peculiar aroma.  It grows best on the high hillsides, on a volcanic
soil, or a loose sandy loam.  Curiously enough, although cloves are used
in all parts of the world, the inhabitants of these islands do not eat
them.  They employ them in making models of their prows and bamboo huts,
by running a small wire through them before they are dried.  I remember
seeing a number of these models in the Great Exhibition in England, many
of them of very elaborate construction.  When cloves were first
introduced into England, thirty shillings per pound was paid for them.
They are now cultivated in several other places, and consequently their
value in the Spice Islands has greatly fallen.

As we returned home in the evening, we passed along a pathway lined by
rows of pine-apples, which had, like the cocoa-nut trees, been brought
from Tropical America.  We also saw creatures leaping from branch to
branch.  The servants caught some, when we found them to be flying
dragons; not such as Saint George fought with, but small lizards known
as the _Draco volans_.  They were provided with broad folds in the skin,
along each side of the body, which enabled them not really to fly, but,
as a parachute would do, to sustain them in the air while they leap from
branch to branch.

I was ahead of our party when I heard a loud hammering or tapping, and
creeping near, I saw a cocoa-nut, which had just fallen from a tree, and
an enormous crab working away at it.  I stopped to watch him.  He had
torn off the dry husk which covered the latter with his powerful claws,
just at the point where the three black scars are found marked.  He was
now breaking the shell by hammering with one of his heavy claws.  As
soon as this was done, he began to pick out the rich food, by means of
his pincer-like claws.  Our servants as they came up chased and caught
him, tying up his claws, and saying that we should find it, when cooked,
one of the greatest delicacies in the place.

We stopped for the night at the house of Mr Hooker's friend, a little
outside the town.  Our beds were placed in a verandah, merely covered
with mats at night; our heads only guarded by mosquito curtains, though
we could hear the venomous insects buzzing outside.  As I put my head on
the pillow before going to sleep, the sound of the low cooing of doves
came up out of the forest, while the tree frogs piped out their shrill
notes.

Next day, when pulling along the narrow channel of the beautiful harbour
on our return to the brig, we gazed down over the side with astonishment
at the lovely spectacle the bottom of the sea afforded.  It was thickly
covered with a mass of corals, actiniae, and other productions of the
ocean, of vast dimensions, of every possible form, and of the most
brilliant colours.  In some places the depth, Mr Hooker said, was fifty
feet, and in others twenty, for the bottom was very uneven.  Here
appeared some deep chasm, here a hill rose up, there a valley was seen,
here rocks of every possible shape, the whole covered with a forest of
living vegetables, as I may call them.

"See, see!" cried Emily; "there swims a beautiful fish; there, another;
and there, another.  Some are red; there is a yellow one; there is one
spotted and banded; there is another striped in the most curious manner.
See how leisurely they swim, as if admiring the beauty of their
country!"

"Look there!  What is that floating by us?" exclaimed Grace; "what a
lovely orange mass!"

"See, there is another, of a beautiful rose colour!" said Emily.

The creatures the girls were admiring were medusae, beautifully
transparent, which were floating along near the surface.  We entreated
that the crew might stop rowing, that we might admire them at our
leisure; indeed, we could have gazed at the scene all day long, but I am
very sure, were I to make the attempt, I could not do justice to its
surpassing beauty and interest.  There may be coral beds of equal
beauty, but in few places is the water so transparent as in the harbour
of Amboyna; while, from being sheltered from the violence of storms,
there are probably a larger number of marine productions, shells, and
fishes collected in it, than in almost any other spot.  While we were
still gazing down into the ocean depths, a strange rumbling noise came
over the land.  The trees seemed to rock from side to side, the
buildings shook, the frightened birds flew off from the shore, the land
seemed to rise and fall, and people were seen flying from their houses,
and rushing to their boats; others hurried away into the open country.

"An earthquake!" exclaimed Mr Hooker.  "They are pretty well accustomed
to it, though, and I trust no real damage may be done.  However, should
it be more severe than usual, we will be ready to take off any poor
people who may wish to find refuge at sea."

In a few seconds, however, all was quite quiet.  The people returned on
shore, and some were seen hurrying back to buildings which had been the
most shaken, either to rescue friends who had been left behind, or to
carry off their household furniture, in case another shock should occur,
and bring their houses to the ground.

Leaving this beautiful, though unstable island, we stood away to the
south-west, Mr Hooker purposing to visit a number of islands on our
passage to Macassar, after which he intended standing across to Java, or
perhaps visiting the south of Borneo before proceeding on to Singapore.



CHAPTER TWENTY.

A MODERN CRUSOE'S ISLAND.

Macassar, at the south-west end of Celebes, had been visited; a Dutch
town, very neat and clean, having covered drains down the streets which
carry away all impurities.  On one side along the shore, forming a
straight street a mile in length, are a number of shops, warehouses, and
native bazaars; on the other, two shorter streets form the old Dutch
town, with most of the private houses of the Europeans.  It is enclosed
by gates, with a fort at the southern end.  Round the town extend
rice-fields, in the rainy season presenting a mass of the most vivid
green.  Beyond, are numerous native villages embosomed in fruit-trees.

We were occasionally on shore, and saw many objects of interest, but Mr
Hooker made a long excursion into the interior, of which he gave us an
account on his return.  We caught sight of two of the animals peculiar
to Celebes.  One of them was a curious baboon-like monkey, about the
size of a spaniel, and of a jet-black colour.  It had the projecting
dog-like muzzle and overhanging brows of a baboon, with red callosities,
and a scarcely visible fleshy tail, about an inch long.  A large band of
them visited the garden of the merchant at whose house we were stopping,
and were busily employed in carrying off the fruit, when they were
disturbed by the servants, who rushed out with guns and sticks to drive
them off.

Next day we started with our friend into the neighbouring forest, in
chase of the _babirusa_ or pig-deer.  After a long search, we came up
with one, to which, the dogs gave chase; and it being brought to bay,
was killed.  It resembled a pig in general appearance, but had long
slender legs and curved tusks like horns.  Those of the lower jaw are
very long and sharp, but the upper ones, instead of growing downwards as
those of a boar generally do, curve upwards out of bony sockets through
the skin on each side of the snout till they meet the eyes.  Those of
the creature we killed, which was an old one, were nearly ten inches in
length.  Our Dutch friend stated that they were so formed to guard its
eyes from the thorns and spines which it meets with whilst searching for
fallen fruits among the thickets of ratan and other spiny plants.  Mr
Hooker, however, said he thought they had once been of use to the animal
in digging, but its mode of life having been somewhat changed, they had
grown up into their present curious form.  Instead of digging for food
with its snout as other pigs do, it feeds on fallen fruits from various
trees.  We saw also a number of butterflies, which Mr Hooker said were
peculiar to Celebes.  Besides the babirusa, herds of wild pigs of large
size abound in the northern forests, and numerous jungle-fowl,
hornbills, and great fruit-pigeons.  Buffaloes are generally employed on
the farms, and we drank buffalo milk, which was brought into the house
in bamboo buckets.  It was as thick as cream and in order to keep it
fluid during the day it was diluted with water.

Among the many curious trees we saw, was the sugar-palm, from which the
usual beverage of the country is made--called sagueir.  It is as strong
as ordinary beer.  The sugar makes a very nice sweetmeat, and Mr Hooker
said it put him very much in mind of the North American maple sugar.

We were introduced also to a very curious animal, somewhat smaller than
a Shetland cow, called the sapi-utan.  It has long straight horns, which
are ringed at the base and slope backwards over the neck.  We were told
that it inhabits the mountains, and is never found where deer exist.
There seems a doubt whether it should be classed with the ox, buffalo,
or antelope.  The head is black, with a white mark over each eye, one on
the cheek, and another on the throat.  We saw also a couple of maleos, a
species of brush-turkey, allied to the _megapodi_ or mound-making birds
which we had met with in our island.  They live also in the northern
part of Celebes, and come down to the shore in order to lay their eggs
in the black, hot, volcanic sand.  It is a handsome bird, the plumage
glossy black and rosy white, with a helmeted head, and elevated tail.
Its walk is peculiarly stately.  The sexes are very much alike.  Two or
more birds will come down, and the female deposits a single egg in a
hole which the male assists her in making, about a foot deep in the
sand, and having covered it up, returns to the forest.  At the end of
ten days or so she comes to the same spot and lays another egg.  Each
can lay, it is said, six or eight eggs during the season.  Frequently
two or three hens deposit their eggs in the same hole.  The colour of
the shell is a pale brick-red.  The eggs being thus deposited, the
parents take no further care of their offspring.  The young birds, after
breaking their shell, work their way up through the sand, just as the
young megapodi do, and run off at once to the forest.  A friend of Mr
Hooker's presented him with some, which had been carefully covered up,
and had just arrived.  We took them on board the brig.  The next
morning, when far out of sight of land, we heard a strange noise in the
cabin, and looking in, great was our surprise to see a covey of little
birds flying right across it.  They had been hatched during the night,
and following the instincts of their nature, were making their way, as
they supposed, to their future forest home.  We fed them on little bits
of chopped fruit, and such things as Mr Hooker thought would suit their
appetites.

"But what can induce the parents thus to leave their eggs?" asked Emily.
"I thought it was the nature of creatures to look after their young."

"If it was for their benefit, so it would have been," he answered; "but
I suspect that these large birds, requiring a considerable amount of
food, which consists entirely of fallen fruits, could only find it by
roaming over a wide extent of country.  If, therefore, a large number
came down to this particular beach, which seems the only one fit for
hatching them during the breeding season, they would perish for want of
food.  Providence, therefore, has so arranged that they should return to
the districts where they can find their food; whilst the young ones, not
requiring so much, are able to make their way as their strength will
allow in the same direction."

We had a full-grown stuffed maleo on board.  Its claws were sharp and
straight, and very different from those of the megapodi.  The toes,
however, were strongly webbed at the base; the leg rather long, forming
a powerful instrument for scratching away the loose sand, which those
who have watched them say they throw up in a complete shower when
digging their holes.

We had been standing on for some time to the west, a cast of the lead
showing us that we were in fifty fathoms--the shallow sea which
separates Borneo from Java and Sumatra.  Our compass had never been very
trustworthy.  An injury it had received had still further put it out of
order, while thick cloudy weather had prevented us from taking an
observation.  Mr Hooker had also for some days been unwell.  He had
caught a fever while we were at Macassar, the effects of which he began
to feel directly he came on board, and we were now very anxious about
him.  Several of the men also had been ill for some time before we
reached Macassar.  Two of them died.  I will not stop to describe the
particulars of their funeral.  We felt very sad as we committed them to
their ocean grave.  Mr Hooker, who had studied medicine, was too ill to
visit the rest.  He, however, got Mr Thudicumb and I to describe their
symptoms as far as we were able, and sent the medicine accordingly.  As
soon as he was able to move he insisted upon being carried forward to
see the men, when, somewhat altering his treatment of them, they
appeared to be getting better.

I was on deck one day, and Roger Trew was aloft, when he shouted out,
"Land ahead!"  Not knowing exactly our position, we were glad that it
had been seen during the day.  I ran aloft, and after a time I could
distinguish the land stretching away to the north and south, where it
seemed to terminate.  We therefore concluded that it was an island.
This became a certainty as we stood on, as no land could be
distinguished beyond the two distant points we had discovered.  We were
rather nearest the north end, and Mr Thudicumb determined therefore to
go round it.  It was a land of dense forest, with here and there
mountainous points; high bold capes standing out into the ocean,
affording every possible variety of scenery.

"Why, there must be a fort somewhere thereabouts," observed Mr
Thudicumb, who had been examining it through his glass.  "I see a flag
flying!"

There, sure enough, as we drew nearer, we discovered on the summit of a
bold rock, standing out into the sea, a flagstaff with a large flag
flying from it.  What the flag was, we could not well make out, from its
somewhat battered condition.  As we stood on, a bay opened out, the
headland I have spoken of forming the westernmost point.  Mr Thudicumb
considered that it would afford sufficient shelter to us should we bring
up.  He was anxious to do this, that we might go ashore and ascertain
whether any Europeans were living there.

"Perhaps some people have been cast away," he observed, "and have
hoisted the flag as a signal to any passers-by."

Mr Hooker was still too weak to go ashore without inconvenience.  Mr
Thudicumb therefore ordered Dick Tarbox, myself, Roger Trew, and three
others, to go in the boat, well armed with muskets and pistols, and to
ascertain the state of the case.

"Now, take care," said Mr Thudicumb, "that you are not led into an
ambush.  Some of these islands are the dens of pirates, or savages, who
are no better, and still more treacherous.  Keep a bright look-out on
either side as you advance, and see that you are able to get back to the
boat without any difficulty.  If there is an European there, he is sure
to come down when he sees the boat pull in; so if you find no one at
first, you must be doubly careful not to be caught in a trap."

Emily and Grace stood at the gangway as we pulled off.

"Oh, do take care, Walter, that those horrid savages do not get hold of
you again!" exclaimed Emily.

"Pray, do! pray, do!" added Grace.

"Yes, Mynheer Walter, take care dat de savages don't eat you up; you now
grow so fat and big, you fine large morsel," exclaimed Frau Ursula, who
had no fear whatever of savages or pirates, being in most instances a
very dauntless and fearless person.

I was glad she said this, as it assisted to quell the anxiety of Emily
and Grace.  The brig lay about a quarter of a mile from the beach, Mr
Thudicumb being afraid to stand in nearer because of the reefs, of which
there appeared to be several under water, their dark heads projecting
here and there from the shore.  I waved my cap and held up my musket as
we pulled in, to show them that we were in good spirits, and prepared to
make a bold fight, if it was necessary; though I must say I had no
expectations of meeting either savages or pirates.

The flag, though tattered and patched, looked very like an English
ensign with the jack torn out of it.

"Depend upon it, some Englishman is there," observed Tarbox.  "What
object could any pirates or savages have in flying a flag from that
point?"

We found the shore lined with black volcanic rocks, among which there
was some difficulty in landing.  However, at length we discovered a
place between two ledges, into which we ran the boat.  One of the men
remained to take charge of her, while the rest of us, landing, walked up
the beach.  We soon came to the thick jungle, in which we could find no
opening.  We therefore continued along the shore towards the point where
the flag was flying.  Having gone some way, we found an opening on our
right.  The underwood and branches had evidently been cut away by an
axe, and seemed to lead from the flagstaff rock towards some place in
the interior.  Dick Tarbox leading the way, we advanced along the path,
keeping a look-out among the trunks of the trees on every side, lest any
treacherous enemies might be lurking there.  The ground rose somewhat.
At length we emerged into the open space, where there were signs of rude
cultivation; and further on appeared a cottage raised on poles about
three feet from the ground, very similar to the building we had put up
in our island, but considerably larger.  This, we concluded, must be the
habitation of the people who had erected the flagstaff.  As we got
nearer to it, we were saluted by the loud voices of birds--a number of
the numerous tribes found in these regions.  Such screeching, crying,
cooing, shrieking, and chattering, I had never before heard; while from
wooden cages on every side, or from under small huts of curious
construction, came forth the cries of all sorts of animals.  Still, no
one appeared.  Presently we heard a shot at a little distance, and
discovered a path leading to where it came from.  Tarbox fired as a
signal, being sure, from what we saw in the cottage, that its occupant
was not likely to be evilly disposed towards us.  As we went on, we saw,
coming through the open glade before us, a tall figure, with a gun in
his hand, followed by another carrying a basket, and several birds slung
over his shoulders.

"A veritable Robinson Crusoe!"  I exclaimed.

The figure answered, indeed, in every respect, the description I had
seen of that far-famed adventurer.  There was the pointed, palm-leaf
hat; the rough skin leggings; a belt round the waist, with hunting-knife
and all sorts of things stuck in it; boots of skin; and a gun in his
hand (though, I suspect, Robinson Crusoe must have used a bow and
arrow--at all events, he must have done so when his powder was
expended).  The man behind him, too, was in all respects like his man
Friday; fully as dark-skinned, though perhaps with rather more clothing
than Friday was accustomed to wear, as his dress was similar to that of
the leading figure.

"Hilloa, my friends! where do you come from?" he exclaimed, in a loud,
cheery voice.  "What! have you found me out at last?"

"Why, friend, we saw a flag flying from the point out there, and took it
for granted that somebody or other was here on shore wanting to be taken
off; and if you wish to come with us, we have directions to take you on
board our brig, which lies in the bay out there."

"Yes, indeed, I do; for I have been waiting here long enough almost to
have lost all account of time," answered the tall man.  "I have a pretty
large family, however; and unless your brig is a good-sized one, I doubt
whether you can carry us all."

"What! have you got a wife and children living here?" asked Tarbox.  "We
saw nothing of them as we came along."

"No, no, no!" answered the stranger; "I have no wife; and as for my
children, I cannot say that you would consider them as such.  Probably,
however, you heard the voices of my family as you passed my house."

"Ho, ho! all those birds and beasts, you mean, friend!" said Tarbox.
"Well, as to that, as we have a gentleman on board, the owner of the
brig, who has a fancy that way, I do not think he will refuse to have as
many as the craft will hold.  But it will take some little time, I
suspect, to build houses for them; for I suppose they are not tame
enough to be allowed to run at liberty about the decks?"

"Not exactly," answered the stranger.  "Some of them have rather
quarrelsome dispositions, and they would be apt to fall out with each
other, and perhaps with the crew.  However, a considerable number are
turned into mummies, though they fill somewhat large cages altogether;
and as I have spent so much of my time in collecting them, I have no
intention of leaving them behind.  If you can take them, I will go with
you; but if not, I must get you to send another vessel to bring me off.
The craft which brought me here must either have been lost in a typhoon
or destroyed by pirates, for she did not return at the time appointed;
and after waiting month after month, and year after year, I almost gave
up all hopes of again seeing a civilised man.  I have had visitors, to
be sure, on the island; but I did not like their looks, as I thought
they were more likely to stick their krisses into me than to carry me
away to a civilised place; and therefore I had to keep out of sight.
Still, at last I began to regret not being able to exhibit my treasures
to my fellow-men capable of appreciating them; and so I rigged that
flagstaff you saw, and hoisted a flag as a signal to any passing vessel
to put in here.  However, most craft, I suppose, keep either along
further to the southward, or else to the north of this island; and
though I have seen a few passing in the horizon, none have come near
enough to distinguish my signal."

From the way the stranger spoke, I saw at once that he was a man of
superior education, in spite of his strange costume.

"Perhaps, sir," I said, "you would like to come on board and see the
owner, Mr Hooker.  I am sure he would be delighted to do what he can to
assist you."

"Hooker!" he exclaimed.  "Hooker, did you say, young man?  Of course I
will.  If he is the Hooker I know--and from what you say about him, I
have little doubt about the matter--I shall be delighted to see him; and
I am very sure he will do all he can to assist me.--Stay, however," he
said.  "If you will wait a little while, I will accompany you.  I must,
however, first feed my family, as I may be absent for some time, and
they are not accustomed to go without their provisions."

The noise as we passed the house had been considerable.  As the stranger
approached it, however, the cries with which his feathered and
four-footed friends greeted him were almost deafening.  I might have
added, no-footed friends, for he had huge pythons, and snakes of all
sorts;--tigers, and other wild beasts; and birds, from long-legged
storks down to the smallest of the feathered tribes.  He and his man
Friday were occupied some time in feeding all these numerous creatures,
according to their respective wants.  They all appeared to know him, and
acknowledge him as their master; and he must have employed considerable
time in taming many of them.  I will describe them by-and-by.

At length the operation of feeding them was over, and he expressed
himself ready to accompany us to the boat.  He addressed a few words to
his man, Tanda, he called him, adding, as he walked away,--"Don't fear,
my lad; I am not going to desert you.--He does not understand that, by
the by;" and, turning round again, he spoke to the man in a strange
language.  He put up his hand to look at the brig.  "Well," he said, as
he stepped into the boat, "I scarcely expected ever to see a European
vessel come near this island."

All hands able to appear on deck were collected at the gangway to gaze
at us as we approached.  They certainly did regard our companion with
looks of astonishment as he stepped up the side.

"Mr Hooker is below, sir," I said.  "I will let him know that you are
here."

I ran down into the cabin, eager to give the intelligence to my friend.

"He did not give his name," I answered; "but he said he was an old
friend of yours."

"An old friend of mine out here?  Can it possibly be--and yet I think it
must.  Beg him to come down.  Oh! how I wish I was able to go on shore
and help him to get off his valuables!  Strange! that is strange!"  I
heard him say as I left the cabin.

I found the stranger in conversation with Emily and Grace, with whom he
seemed greatly interested.  He was patting Emily's cheek, and looking
with an inquiring glance into her face, when I appeared.

Mr Hooker endeavoured to rise from his chair when the stranger entered.

"Is it possible?" he exclaimed, holding out both his hands.

"Hooker," exclaimed the stranger, "I know you!"

"And Sedgwick," answered the other, "in your somewhat out-of-the-way
garb, I know you still, my friend--my master in science--my instructor
in knowledge--"

The two friends eagerly shook hands, the stranger sinking down into a
chair, and looking eagerly into Mr Hooker's face.

"You will recover, never fear--you will recover," he exclaimed.  "You
have had a touch of jungle fever; and if you can get on shore for a few
days, and live in the open air, instead of in this confined cabin, you
will quickly pick up your strength.  But, Hooker, I had no idea you were
married.  Are these young people on board your children? and the lady on
deck there, is she your wife?"

"No, no, no," answered Mr Hooker.  "The old Dutchwoman is the young
girls' governante.  And it is extraordinary!  Can you think who those
children are?"

"Had I not seen the girl I might have been puzzled; for I cannot
conjecture what has brought them out here," and he turned round and
looked at me.  "Yes; I recognise his father too.--Is your father out in
these parts?" he asked.

"No, sir," I answered.  "They are both dead."

"Both dead, did you say?  Your mother dead?  For her sake I chiefly
longed to return to England; and she gone, boy!  Do you know who I am?
I am your uncle!  Did you ever hear of your uncle, Tom Sedgwick, the
naturalist?"

"Indeed I have," I answered.  "And I heard that he had gone away, long
ago, to the Eastern Seas, and was supposed to have lost his life."

"That was but natural enough, as I did not appear," answered Mr
Sedgwick.  "But it is very wonderful that you should have come to the
very place where I have been so long living apart from my
fellow-creatures.  And your sister, what is her name?"

I told him.

"And the other little girl, is she a relation? for I have no difficulty
in distinguishing which is my niece."

"No; she is Captain Davenport's daughter," I answered.

"A nice, pretty little girl.  But Emily--I must see Emily again."

I ran to call her.  She came down trembling; for she had often heard our
mother speak of our uncle, and for her sake had longed to see him.  Mr
Sedgwick pressed her fondly in his arms.

"Yes, you are the very image of your mother," he said, looking in her
face again and again.

Thus, for some time, we sat talking of the past, rather than the
present.

"Well, Hooker!" he exclaimed at last, "I wish you were on shore.  We
must see how you are by to-morrow or next day; and, in the meantime, we
must get these young people and their worthy nurse to come to my house
and see my wonders.  I can easily manage to find accommodation for them;
for I built it originally in the expectation of having some companions.
Walter, you will accompany them, as I suppose, Hooker, you can spare
him?"

"I have no doubt my skipper can do without him," answered Mr Hooker;
"though, I can tell you, he is of no little importance on board, as he
acts the part of mate; and a very good seaman he is, too, for his age,
and the time he has been at sea."

I asked Mr Hooker if Oliver could accompany us, as I knew he could be
spared.  "And Merlin too.  The old fellow will like a run on shore; and
you will let him come also," I said, turning to my uncle.

"He looks too wise an animal to quarrel with any of my friends," he
observed; "and I shall be very glad to see him."

Frau Ursula and the young ladies quickly got ready a few things to take
on shore.  Evening was approaching.  However, the old friends had a good
deal to talk about before we shoved off.  In a short time, we were
pretty well at our ease with Mr Sedgwick; and the girls looked forward
with delight to the wonders they hoped to see on the island.

We landed at a rather more convenient spot, which Mr Sedgwick pointed
out.  Roger Trew, who had leave to remain on shore, assisted in carrying
up the beds for the ladies; while Oliver and I took charge of the other
articles they required.  The boat then pulled back to the brig.  The
moment Merlin landed he scampered off along the shore, bounding and
gambolling just like a young dog, so delighted did he appear to be able
to stretch his legs.  He then came up to me, and licking my hand,
followed close at my heels.

"I do not quite like the look of the weather," observed Mr Sedgwick,
glancing back at the sea.  "I wish I had told them on board the brig to
get out another anchor; or it might have been safer, to be sure, to
stand out into the offing.  Stay; there will be no harm in giving them a
caution."

He went back to the beach and hailed; but the boat was already at a
considerable distance, and Tarbox did not appear to hear him.

"Well, I hope it is all right," he observed.  "I have often seen this
weather, and nothing has come of it.  At the same time, it generally
looks like this just before a heavy gale; and this open bay is not a
good place for a vessel to be caught in when it blows hard."



CHAPTER TWENTY ONE.

SEDGWICK ISLAND AND ITS WONDERS.

Our uncle introduced us to his house with evident pride.  He and his man
Tanda had bestowed a great deal of pains on it.  It was constructed
entirely after the Malay fashion--of wood, bamboo, and matting, though
raised higher off the ground than the Malays are accustomed to build
theirs.  The floors were of split bamboo, sufficiently strong to bear a
person's weight, and yet giving a pleasant spring as we passed over
them.  They were kept in their place by long strips of ratan, passed
transversely between them, much in the way of a cane-bottom chair.  Over
these mats were spread--not so neatly made, perhaps, as those employed
by the wealthy Malays, but still very well done.  The walls were made of
the palm-leaves which I have before described, fixed in panels, very
neat and pleasing to the eye, and perfectly weather-tight.  The roof was
high pitched, and had broad overhanging eaves, giving it very much the
appearance of a Swiss cottage.  A broad verandah ran round each side of
the house, the rooms opening into it.  They were divided from each other
by thick mats stretched from the ceiling to the floor, and could be
lifted up at pleasure to allow the air to circulate in every direction.
It would have been impossible to build with the materials at hand an
abode better suited to the purpose.

"Here, Frau, you and your young ladies shall occupy these two
apartments," said my uncle to Frau Ursula, who stood smiling from ear to
ear at the polite way in which he addressed her.  "You shall have
bedsteads brought in directly; and I must leave you to arrange them,
while Tanda and I get supper ready.  The lads here and the sailor will
no doubt assist us."

Roger Trew, who had ascended the ladder with his bundle of bedding,
deposited it in the room my uncle pointed out, and forthwith commenced
unlashing it; and knowing that he would prove a better assistant to the
dame than Oliver and I should, we accompanied my uncle to what he called
his cooking-shed, at the back of the house.  Here he had brought water
from a spring in the forest, and had made a drain towards the sea to
carry off the refuse.  He had a variety of fish, flesh, and fowl in his
larder, which was in a cool place at the back of the house.

I scarcely know what I shall describe first.  The fruit was the most
attractive.  There was the delicious mangostin--of a spherical form.
The outer part is a thick rough covering, and it has a white opaque
centre, an inch or more in diameter.  Each of the four or five parts
into which it is divided, contains a small seed.  The white part is what
is eaten.  It has a slightly sweet taste, and a rich yet delicate and
peculiar flavour, which it is impossible to describe.  Then there was
the rambutan--a globular fruit, an inch and a half in diameter.  The
rind is of a light red, adorned with coarse scattered bristles.  Within,
there is a semi-transparent pulp, of a slightly acid taste.  Next there
was the elliptical shaped mango, containing a small stone of the same
form.  The interior, when the tough outer skin was removed, consisted of
a soft, pulpy, fibrous mass, of a bright yellow.  Another fruit
appeared, in the form of long clusters, about the size of a small bird's
egg.  It was the duku.  The outer coating was thin and leathery, and of
a dull yellow.  In the inside were several long seeds, surrounded by a
transparent pulp, of a sweet and pleasantly acid taste.  The durian,
however, my uncle told us, was among the most esteemed of all the fruits
in that region.  It is spherical in form, six or eight inches in
diameter, and generally covered with many tubercles.  The interior is
divided into several parts.  On breaking the shell, we found in each
division a seed as large as a chestnut, surrounded by a pale yellow
substance, of the consistency of thick cream; but the odour was enough
at first to make me have no wish to eat it.  It seemed to me like putrid
animal matter, and peculiarly strong.

"You do not like the odour, Walter," observed my uncle.  "Nor did I at
first, but I have now become so fond of the fruit, that I prefer it to
any other.  But, after all, these fruits are not to be compared to those
of a tree growing just outside, at the back of my house--the far-famed
bread-fruit tree.  Here, Tanda," and he spoke a few words to him.  "Look
there, do you see it?"

It was a tree upwards of forty feet high, with enormous sharply lobed
leaves, some of which were one foot wide and one and a half long.  The
fruit which Tanda picked was of the form and size of a melon, and
attached by its stem directly to the trunk.

"We must cut some, for it is the chief vegetable I have in season," said
my uncle, cutting it in slices, and handing it to Tanda to fry.  "We
have some molasses to eat with it, produced from the sap of the
gomuti-palm."

Closely allied to it is the Jack-fruit, which resembles the bread-fruit.
This latter, Mr Sedgwick told us, attains the weight of nearly
seventy-five pounds; so that even an Indian coolie can only carry one at
a time.  The part, he showed us, which is generally eaten, is a soft
pulpy substance, enveloping each seed.  The bread-fruit was baked
entirely in the hot embers.  It tasted, I thought, very much like mashed
potatoes and milk.  My uncle said he always compared it to Yorkshire
pudding.  It was a little fibrous, perhaps, towards the centre, though
generally smooth, and somewhat of the consistence of yeast dumplings and
batter pudding.  Tanda fried part of it in slices, and also made a curry
of another part.  We had it also as a vegetable, with a gravy poured
over it, to eat with meat.  Another dish was prepared with sugar and
milk, which we were surprised to see, and a treacly substance procured
from some sugar-canes grown in a plantation near the house.  It made a
most delicious pudding.

"You see, I have become somewhat of an epicure," observed my uncle; "but
indeed it has been one of my sources of amusement to see what delicious
dishes I could make out of the many bounties which Nature has spread
round me."

We had also, for meat, some pork--part of it fresh and part cured--a
joint of venison, and a piece of beef from an animal with which I was
afterwards to become acquainted.

I can scarcely describe the fish; but I know, among other things, there
was one of the enormous crabs which we saw at Amboyna.

Our dinner was spread on a bamboo table, covered with mats, in what my
uncle called his grand hall!  It put me in mind somewhat of an ancient
hall surrounded by trophies of the chase; partly also of a necromancer's
cavern, as from the ceiling hung curious stuffed animals, skulls, bones,
dried plants, and other objects of natural history, in what, I had no
doubt, seemed to the occupant perfect order, but which was somewhat
incomprehensible to us.  When dish after dish was put on the table, Frau
Ursula lifted up her hands with astonishment.

"You do live like a prince, Mr Sedgwick," she observed.  "What kind
fairy sends you all these good things?"

"I won them with my own arm, with the assistance of my faithful man
Tanda here--or, as these young people seem inclined to call him, Friday;
and I hope you will show your gratitude to the kind Providence which
gives them, by doing justice to them."

As dish after dish was brought up, the astonishment of all the party
increased.

"Surely, uncle, you must have some fairy cook to prepare all these good
things," said Emily.

"I confess without the aid of Tanda they could not be produced," he
answered.  "I am greatly helped by him, though occasionally I have given
a hint or a little assistance.  And now let us drink each other's health
in this palm-wine," he said, producing a very nice-looking liquid from a
huge shell.

Our plates, I should have said, were flat shells; while our cups were
made of bamboo, as were our knives and forks.

"I must introduce you to my menagerie to-morrow morning," observed my
uncle.  "There is not time to-night--indeed, some of my pets have
retired to their lairs or gone to roost.  If you hear strange noises at
night, don't be alarmed; as possibly some of them may be inclined to
utter their natural cries during the night."

Our conversation was altogether very lively; as we, of course, had a
great deal to tell our uncle, and were also greatly interested by the
account he gave of his expeditions, and the way in which he had lived on
the island since he had been deserted.  Sometimes he had thought of
building a vessel and making his way to some civilised port; but the
want of proper tools for cutting down large timber, and his ignorance of
nautical affairs, deterred him.

"I thought it was as well to leave well alone," he said.  "I have here
plenty of provisions; and I thought I could study natural history, which
brought me here; and that, some time or other, some vessel would call
and take me away.  Had you, Walter and Emily, not come, however, I
rather think my heart would have failed me even at the last moment, and
I could scarcely have made up my mind to quit my solitary home and the
style of life to which I have become accustomed."

Our conversation was at length interrupted by a loud rattling peal of
thunder, which crashed over our heads as if the whole heavens above them
were rent in two.  A blast swept over the forest, and we could hear the
trees cracking as they bent before the wind.  The house shook to its
very foundation, and Emily and Grace trembled with alarm.

"No, no, my dears; don't fear," exclaimed Frau Ursula.  "This is nothing
to what I have heard in Ternate.  There, one night, all the houses
tumbled down, and the mountain sent up stones and cinders, which came
rattling down on our heads."

"There is another, though!" exclaimed Grace, clinging to the old lady's
arm.

Scarcely had the second crash of thunder passed away, than down came the
rain, pattering on the roof and floor of the verandah.  It seemed as if
a waterspout had broken over us.

"I am thankful that you, my friends, are on shore," observed my uncle;
"but the brig--I feel anxious about her."  He got up, and put on a thick
reed-made coat.  "And here are some more," he observed, giving Oliver
and me one.  "But no, Oliver, you stay with the ladies; and you too,
Walter."

I entreated that I might accompany him.  He gave Roger Trew a similar
covering, which completely sheltered us from the rain; and leaving Tanda
and Oliver in charge of the house, we hurried away towards the shore.
Although the gale had been blowing but a few minutes, already heavy seas
came rolling in and breaking in masses of foam upon the rocks.  We could
see the brig, through the thickening gloom, at her anchors.

"I trust she may hold her ground," said my uncle, as we watched her,
already rising and falling with quick jerks, as the seas rapidly passed
under her.  "What say you?" he said, turning to Roger Trew.  "Do you
think, if she made sail, she could beat out of this bay, for I fear
greatly that with the sea that rolls in here, when there is wind like
this, she will be unable to remain at anchor?"

"I am very sure Mr Thudicumb will do his best to beat out of the bay,"
answered Roger Trew.  "I know that no seaman would like to be caught on
a lee-shore like this in such a gale; and if it lasts long, even though
the anchors do hold, it is likely enough to tear the stem out of her.
The brig is not a bad craft for fine weather sailing, but she is lightly
put together, and I wish that she was under weigh clear of the land, and
then I would not fear for her."

"Oh, my friend, my friend," exclaimed my uncle, "would that you had been
safe on shore!"

Scarcely had he spoken, when a flash of lightning, in a thick zig-zag
stream, darted from the clouds overhead, running along the ground close
to us, followed by the most deafening crash of thunder I ever heard.
For an instant our eyes were blinded.  We could scarcely see each other,
much less observe any object out at sea.  It was a minute or more before
we recovered our sight.

"She is driving--she is driving!" exclaimed Roger Trew.  "They are
trying to make sail on her, but it is too late!  The sea struck her bows
just as she was paying off, and now here she comes bodily in towards the
shore."

We were able, by shading our eyes, once more to look in the direction of
the brig.  Too true were Roger's words, and we saw her helplessly
driving in towards the wild rocks near which we stood.

"Is the water deep, sir?" asked Roger.  "If so, she may drive in close
enough to get the people on shore before she goes to pieces."

"I fear not," answered Mr Sedgwick.  "Reefs run out in all directions,
and though, having no boat, I have been unable to sound round the
island, yet, from the way I have seen the water breaking, I fear that
there are reefs between us and her."

"If we had a boat we might go off and get aboard her before she
strikes," exclaimed Roger.  "Have not you a boat, sir?  You would go,
would you not?  Mr Walter here, I know, would."

"Unhappily I have no boat," answered my uncle, in a tone almost of
despair.  "The crew may, perchance, reach the shore; but my poor friend,
made weak from illness, will have but little chance of escaping with
life."

"We will do our best, sir--we will do our best," answered Roger.  "I
will try and swim off to her when she strikes, and before the sea
scatters her timbers; but it will be a tough job.  I will not hide that
from myself or you, sir."

"Here, Walter," said my uncle, "go and call Tanda, and tell him to bring
as much ratan as he and you can carry.  He is a clever fellow, in some
respects, and his wits may help us."

I was running off, when my uncle cried out--

"Stop, by-the-by, you may frighten the ladies, and he will not know what
you mean.  I will go myself, and you remain and see what you and our
sailor friend here can do in the meantime, should the brig strike."

My uncle hurried off to the house, and Roger and I, watching the brig,
proceeded a short distance along the shore to a point whence a reef of
rocks ran out, towards which it appeared to us that she was driving.
How fearfully sharp and rugged did those rocks seem!  I had thought
little about them before; but now, when I feared that my friends were
going to be hurled against them, I wished they were rounder, and covered
with sea-weed, to which they might cling.  We had each of us, as we left
the house, seized a long bamboo pole.  With this Roger and I made our
way towards the point of a ledge of rock above water.  Merlin, who had
come with us down to the beach, followed close at our heels, seeming
fully to understand the danger of our friends; for, as we stood watching
the brig, he stretched out his head and uttered strangely loud barks,
which seemed to have a tone of melancholy in them.

Nearer and nearer came the brig.  Part of the bay, under the protection
of the headland I spoke of, was rather more sheltered than it was
further on.  This gave us some hopes of the vessel holding together till
the sea had sufficiently moderated to allow Mr Hooker to reach the
shore.  The rain continued pouring in torrents, driving in our faces.
Often we could scarcely see the vessel.  Then again a vivid flash of
lightning, followed by a crash of thunder, showed her to us as she
heeled over to the blast, driving slowly but surely towards the fatal
rocks.  Sometimes with difficulty we could keep our footing on the reef.
I was anxiously looking for the return of my uncle and Tanda.  Perhaps
Tanda might swim to her.  I myself felt greatly inclined to make the
attempt, in spite of the sea rolling in.  Now for an instant the rain
partially ceased, and shading our eyes, we could see the brig still
nearer than before.  Then a huge sea came rolling in.  She rose on its
crest, driven onwards with greater rapidity than before.  Suddenly she
seemed to stop.  The sea washed over her.

"She has struck! she has struck!" cried Roger.

Her masts, however, still stood; but we expected them every instant to
go.

"Poor fellows! poor fellows!" cried Roger.  "Master Walter, I have no
kith nor kin; I will try and get off to them; and if I am lost, you will
tell them that I wished to lend them a hand, but had not the power."

"Stop!"  I said; "here come my uncle and the black man, and they may
have some plan, without your being obliged to risk your life."

"As to that, it is not worth thinking about," answered Roger; "but we
will see what they propose."

In the meantime we endeavoured to ascertain what the people on board the
brig were going to do.  The darkness, however, was so great, that we
could not distinguish anything going forward among them.  There the brig
lay, however, hard and fast; the seas breaking now over one end, now
over the other, but not with such violence as we dreaded.



CHAPTER TWENTY TWO.

WRECK OF THE DUGONG.

The arrival of my uncle with his man, carrying a quantity of the light
ratan rope, gave us some hopes of being able to rescue our friends on
board the brig.

"To be sure, this will float as easily as a cork," exclaimed Roger; "and
I see no reason why I should not tow the end off aboard the brig.  You,
Tanda, pay it out as you see I want it."

Again my uncle warned him of the danger.

"Very true, sir," he answered, fastening the end round his waist; "but,
you see, if we seamen had to stop every time we saw danger, we should
very soon have to go ashore and take to nursing babies.  No, sir; my
notion is that the thing is to be done.  It may fail; but if it
succeeds, why, we may manage to get most of those poor fellows safe on
shore."

While we were speaking, the dog gave another loud howl, as if to make a
signal to those on board; and we fancied it could not fail to be heard
even above the roar of the breakers, although our voices could scarcely
have reached them.  It was heard at all events by the rest of our party;
for directly afterwards the two girls and Oliver were seen coming down
from the house in spite of the pelting rain, covered up in mat cloaks.
The Frau followed behind, entreating them to return.

"Oh, you will be wet; you will be washed away!" she cried out.  "Come
back! come back!  What is the matter?"

"We were afraid something dreadful had occurred," said Emily, as she
reached the inner end of the rocks.

I entreated her and Grace not to come further, lest the seas, which
occasionally washed up, might sweep them away.  Oliver, however,
clambered along to where we were.

"I may be of some use," he said.  "Let me do what I can."

"Well, then, help to pay out this rope, Oliver," said Roger Trew, who
was securing the end round his own waist, having thrown off his jacket
and shoes, retaining only his trowsers, which he fastened round his
waist.  "No time to be lost!" he added.  "You pray for me, Walter.  It
will be a difficult job, but it ought to be done, and so it must!"

Saying this, he plunged in, and bravely buffeting the sea which broke in
showers round us, was in a short time free of the surf.  He was not
alone, however.  Merlin, uttering a loud bark, plunged in directly
afterwards, and soon overtook him, swimming by his side, as if wishing
to afford him support or companionship.  Away they went, we gradually
paying out the light buoyant rope, which floated in a way no ordinary
rope would have done.

"I am afraid," said Mr Sedgwick, "that its strength is scarcely
sufficient to enable those on board to pass over it to the shore."

"No, sir," I said; "but if we can haul in a stouter rope by means of it,
the same end will be accomplished."

In a short time we could no longer distinguish Roger and Merlin; but we
knew by the way the rope continued to be dragged out that they were
still making progress.  Now, however, the rope seemed to stop.  We knew
that it could not yet have reached the vessel.  After a time we felt it
again drawn on.  Again there was a time of great suspense.  It made but
little progress.  Still we felt that it was drawn out, and that was all
that could be said.  How eagerly we looked towards the vessel, and
examined the whole of the intervening space!  Presently we saw an object
floating on the water.  Now it sank, now it appeared on the foaming
crest of a sea which came rushing towards the shore.  "Help! help!"
exclaimed a voice.  "Lend a hand!"

Passing a piece of the remaining rope round my waist, I begged my uncle
and Oliver to hold it, while Tanda paid out the cable, of which but a
small part now only remained.  I rushed forward as the person was borne
onward towards the rock.  Stretching out my hand, I caught him as the
next sea was about to sweep him up into the bay on one side, where he
would have been dashed on the sharp rocks which lined it.  I threw
myself back, my uncle and Oliver hauling in the rope, when I found I had
Roger Trew by the hand.

"I could not do it!" he exclaimed; "but there is another who will
succeed, or I am much mistaken.  Merlin saw how it would be, I have a
notion, from the first; and when I found I must give in or go to the
bottom, I just threw him the bight of the rope.  He seized it in his
mouth, and swam on as well as if he was in smooth water, and I let the
sea bring me back again.  If Merlin does not succeed, I will have
another try at it, though; but I think he will."

While he was speaking a jerk was given, apparently at the other end of
the rope.  Directly afterwards we heard Tanda utter an exclamation of
dismay.

"It is gone!" cried Mr Sedgwick.  "The end is gone!"

"Then I'll have it!" exclaimed Roger, plunging into the water as the end
of the rope glided by at a little distance.

So quick was he that he caught it; and though he was carried to another
point of the rock, a few yards from where we were standing, he was able
once more to climb up and regain a safe position.  With the quickness of
a practised seaman he carried it up to a point, where he made the end
fast in such a way that it was not likely again to slip.

We now all stood anxiously watching to see what would next occur.  We
could do no more, unless we found the end of our rope slackening, as a
sign that another had been fastened to it.  We should then haul away on
it.  The minutes seemed hours as we stood on the shore anxiously looking
out towards the brig.  Bits of timber came floating on shore; now a
piece of a broken spar; now parts of the bulwarks.  We were afraid that
ere long the brig would begin to break up.  Meantime Frau Ursula had
been urging the girls to go back to the house; but they were too deeply
interested in what was taking place to listen to her entreaties.  They
thought not of the pelting rain; they thought not of the driving spray
or furious wind.  Their hearts were with our friends on board--with Mr
Hooker, kind Mr Thudicumb, honest Dick Tarbox, and the faithful Potto
Jumbo.  Presently we saw a round object floating towards us.

"It is a man's head!" cried Oliver.  "Let me go this time."

"No, no," I answered; "I am not at all tired from my other swim, and I
will try and help him."

I was getting ready to plunge in, in spite of Oliver's entreaties, when,
on looking again, a flash of lightning at the moment lighting up the top
of the wave, we saw the head of Merlin as he bravely swam towards us.
We rushed into the water to help him, lest the send of the sea might
have driven him against the rock before he had gained a footing.
Instead of shaking himself, as a dog generally does, as soon as he was
clear of the water, he stood perfectly still.  We then saw that he had
got a bottle round his neck.

"A letter from Hooker; I am sure of it!" said Mr Sedgwick.  "It will
give us important information.  We cannot read it here, however.  Come,
young ladies, I must take you up to the house, and comfort the Frau's
heart.  She is afraid you will catch ague or fever, or cold at all
events; and she has reason for her fears--so come along."

Very unwillingly the two girls left the scene; Emily entreating me, as
she went away, not to run any more risks of being drowned.  Curiously
enough, Merlin, having performed his duty, accompanied Mr Sedgwick and
the girls up to the house.  In a short time Mr Sedgwick returned,
saying, that the note was from Mr Hooker, to the effect that he hoped
the vessel would hold together till the hurricane was over, as she gave
no signs of breaking up, while there was a sufficient space free of
water below, to afford shelter to all who remained on board.  "I am
sorry to say," he added, "that several of the crew have attempted to
swim on shore.  Two of them we saw lost before they had gone many
fathoms from the ship; but we hope the others have arrived safely.  We,
however, will make a hawser fast to the rope you sent us by that noble
creature Merlin, that in case we are mistaken about the brig holding
together, we may have a better prospect of saving our lives."

On hearing this we again went to the end of the point, and found that we
could haul in upon the rope; and by the resistance it made, it was
evident that a hawser had been secured to it.  It was very heavy work;
but at length, by our united efforts, we got the hawser secured to a
point of the rock.  We had now a communication with our poor brig, but
we trembled to think of the danger to which Mr Hooker would be exposed
should he attempt to make use of it in his present weak health.

"A short time ago he would have come along that rope without the
slightest difficulty," observed Oliver; "but now I am afraid that, were
he to make the attempt, he could scarcely resist the strength of the
waves, and would be washed off."

"I am afraid so too, Oliver," said Roger Trew.  "Sooner than he should
do that, I would go out and try to help him ashore."

Attached to the end of the hawser, I should observe, we found a light
rope.  This was evidently sent that we might get another stout one on
shore.  We found on trying it that we were right in our conjecture, and
hauling away as before, we got a second strong rope united to the vessel
and the land.  Mr Sedgwick now wanted us to go back to the house, but
we could not think of leaving the shore till our friends were in safety.
He himself said that he would remain to watch, should any change take
place.  It was an anxious time, for instead of decreasing, the wind was
blowing even harder than before.  It seemed a wonder that the _Dugong_
could stand so much battering.  Still, we could dimly see her through
the gloom, her masts yet standing, though heeling over towards the land.
Every now and then a huge sea swept over the larger portion of the
wreck; and numerous pieces of plank thrown on the rocks showed us that
already her bulwarks at all events were giving way.

"I suspect that Dick Tarbox and the others will not desert Mr Hooker;
and they are afraid of his suffering should he attempt to come ashore,"
I observed to Roger Trew.

"That is it, Master Walter," he answered.  "Depend on it they will not
leave him till they are washed out of the ship.  I should like to go on
board and see how they are getting on."

I urged him, however, not to make the attempt.

"It is far more easy for them to come to us than for you to go on
board," I observed.  "Let us wait patiently; perhaps as the night
advances the gale will abate."

Still the wind blew as hard as ever.  At length, just as Mr Sedgwick
had gone back to the house to look after the girls and Frau Ursula, a
shout reached our ears.  We hurried to the point of the rock, and there
we saw what looked like a huge piece of wreck being driven towards us.

"I am afraid the brig is breaking up," I observed.  "Poor Mr Hooker!
What can we do to help him?"

We tried to pierce the gloom to ascertain who was on the wreck.  By
degrees we saw that, instead of a piece of wreck, it was a small boat.
Those in her were holding on to the hawsers.  Now she rose, now she
fell, as the waves passed under her.  We could scarcely understand how
she could live in that tossing sea, with the weight of several people on
board.  At length she seemed to stop, and turned round broadside to us.

"She must go over," shouted Roger.  "Look out; help them as they come
ashore."

She was at that time near enough for us to see two persons leap
overboard; one, it seemed, holding on to the other.  They approached.
Again a voice shouted "Look out!"  Roger Trew ran to the point of the
rock, holding on to the rope, and stretching over into the sea.  We
could now distinguish the two men.  Nearer and nearer they came.

"Give me your hand, Cooky, give me your hand," cried Roger, stretching
out his arm; and then I saw that Potto Jumbo was working along the
hawser, with Mr Hooker secured by a rope to his back.  The dawn was
just breaking.  The cry of some sea-fowl as they passed sounded
ominously in our ears.  Even then I feared that Potto Jumbo would lose
his hold, or that Mr Hooker, weak from his illness, might be torn away
by the fury of the sea.  I ran forward with another rope, the end of
which Oliver held, and just as Roger caught hold of Potto Jumbo's hand,
and was dragging him up, I grasped him by the arm.  Mr Hooker seemed
almost exhausted, and could not utter a word.  With the help of Oliver
and Tanda we at length got them up on the rock, though not till Potto
Jumbo had severely hurt his legs against the sharp points.

"Heaven be praised, it is done!  You all right soon, Mr Hooker,"
exclaimed Potto Jumbo, as he committed his charge to our hands.

The boat meantime was slowly drifting in, in spite of the efforts of two
men on board to hold her; one indeed appeared to have been hurt, and
able to exert but little strength.  Who they were we could not then see,
but I hoped that my old friend Dick Tarbox had escaped.

"Is the boatswain one of them?"  I asked of Potto Jumbo.

"Yes, massa, yes," answered Potto; "and t'other Mr Thudicumb.  But help
dem, help dem; no mind me.  I take care of Mr Hooker; Mr Thudicumb no
help himself."

It was time indeed for us to exert all our strength, for the boat was
now being driven helplessly towards the rock; and it seemed but too
probable, should she strike it, that those in her would be thrown out,
and very likely swept off by the sea: indeed, they were in a more
dangerous position than had they held on alone to the rope.  There was
on one side of the rock a sort of gulf, which ran up some way towards
the beach.  Should the boat strike the point, she would very likely be
dashed to pieces, but if we could manage to get hold of her as she drove
by on one side, we might, I knew, rescue our friends and save her.  This
thought passed rapidly through my mind.  The rest of our party saw what
was likely to happen as well as I did, and together we eagerly stood
waiting for the boat to reach us.

On she came.  Mr Thudicumb managed to crawl to the helm, while Dick
Tarbox stood in the bows.  Another sea came roaring in.  The boatswain
held a rope in his hand.  I almost shrieked with terror as I saw the
boat, as I thought, coming towards the point; but the mate, moving the
helm, she grazed by it, and the next instant Tarbox hove the rope.  We
caught it, and hauling on together as we ran along, drew the boat's head
for an instant in towards us.  Tarbox leaped out and seized the rope.
Potto, who had placed his burden on a secure part of the rock, joined
us.  The following sea almost filled the boat, but we dragged her bows
in, though as we did so she came with a fearful crash against the rock.
Tarbox then leaping back, seized the mate, and with almost superhuman
strength dragged him out over the side on to the rock, while we hauled
the boat up half out of the water.

"You are safe, Mr Thudicumb, you are safe!" exclaimed Tarbox to the
mate, who scarcely seemed aware of what had happened.

While Oliver, Roger Trew, and Tanda attended to the boat, Potto Jumbo
again lifted up Mr Hooker, and Tarbox and I assisted Mr Thudicumb
along over the ledge towards the shore.

"Are there any others left on board?" asked Roger Trew.  "If there are,
we will pull back and try to bring them on shore."

"No one, no one," answered the boatswain; "all left before we did,
more's the pity.  They would not stop, in spite of all we could say to
them."

We were soon met by Mr Sedgwick, who had returned from the house.  He
cordially welcomed his old friend, moved almost to tears by the
condition in which he saw him.

"Rouse up, Hooker, my dear fellow!" he exclaimed.  "You will soon have a
roof over your head and a dry bed to lie in and willing hands to take
care of you."

We soon got the party up to the house, when Frau Ursula and the girls
began eagerly to busy themselves in arranging the beds for the two sick
men.  Mr Thudicumb had been hurt by the falling of a spar, and our
uncle, who fortunately possessed considerable surgical knowledge, at
once attended to his injuries.

Daylight had now returned, and as the sun rose the gale began to abate.
Mr Hooker and the mate were put to bed in my uncle's room, his own
couch accommodating one, and a mattress composed of mats serving as a
bed for the other.  The rest of the party were now assembled in what my
uncle called his hall.

"And now, my good Frau, you and the young ladies must go to your roost.
As you have been night-birds, you must sleep in the day, and we will
look after these good fellows, who, I daresay, will not be sorry to take
some of the remains of our feast of last night."

"No, indeed, sir, we shall not," said Dick Tarbox; "for the truth is, we
have been far too anxious to think of grub, in the first place; and it
was a hard matter to get at any, in the second."

It was amusing to see the eagerness with which the shipwrecked men set
to work upon the provisions placed before them.

"The sooner you get off those wet clothes of yours the better," observed
my uncle; "and though we are not very rich in garments here, we can
supply you with mat petticoats and a shirt apiece while your things are
drying."

In a few minutes we all appeared dressed in the costume thus furnished,
and certainly we looked more like savages than civilised people as we
sat round the board.

"Now, lads, there is one thing I think we ought to do," said Dick
Tarbox, "and that is, thank Heaven for bringing us ashore in safety, and
giving us such good quarters.  If we had been driven on a coast not far
from here, I suspect we should have found very different treatment.  The
chances are our heads would have been off our shoulders before we had
been many hours in the company of the natives, and very likely, instead
of enjoying a good supper like this--or a breakfast, we ought to call
it--we should have been served up as a feast to the savages."

Our meal over, Tanda brought in a further supply of mats, in which we
all wrapped ourselves, and were very soon fast asleep, I was awoke by
hearing my uncle's voice calling to Tanda, and looking up, I saw that
they were placing another meal on the table.  Our clothes were then
brought to us.

"There, lads," said my uncle, "you are now more fit than you were to
appear before the ladies; and as they are on foot, I will bring them
into the hall.  I am glad also to say both Mr Hooker and the mate are
very much better for their rest, and I hope in a few days they will be
themselves again."

The first few hours we spent on the island appeared to me like a dream.
I had been so tired on the night of the wreck, that scarcely was one
meal over than I was asleep again, and only woke up to see a fresh
repast prepared for us.  As soon as I was somewhat recovered, I hurried
out, with Tarbox and Potto Jumbo, to the shore to see what had become of
the wreck.  I gave a shout of joy when I saw that her masts were still
standing, though she had been driven so high up on the rock that it was
very evident that we should not be able to get her off again.  The boat
still lay where Roger Trew and Oliver had hauled her up.  We hurried
down to examine her.  A hole had been torn in her bottom, rendering her
unfit for use.

"Never fear," said the boatswain, on examining her.  "We may soon repair
this damage and be able to get off to the wreck in her.  I hope we shall
find many things on board of use to us, even though we cannot get the
old barky afloat again."

The next thing to be done, therefore, was to repair the boat.  We
hurried back to the house to see if Mr Sedgwick was able to assist us.
As soon as he heard the nature of the injury, he produced some planks
and nails exactly suited for our purpose.

"I cannot supply you with pitch," he said, "but there are several gums
in the island which will answer the object, and here are copper nails
enough, if you use them with economy."

We of course at once set to work, and quickly patched up the little
boat.  At first I had a vague idea that she might enable us to get off
to some civilised place, but on seeing her once more in the water, I
felt that that would be hopeless, as she could only hold three or four
persons at the utmost in smooth water.

When Emily and Grace heard that we were going off to the vessel, they
entreated us to be cautious.

"I do so dread the sea," said Emily.  "I should be very thankful if I
thought I had not again to cross it."

"But you would not like to live in this island for ever," observed Mr
Sedgwick.  "You will soon be wishing yourself back in the old country,
as I have done, I can assure you, very often."

Oliver and I, with Tarbox and Roger Trew, had arranged to go off in the
boat.  The oars had fortunately been thrown on shore.  Although one of
them was broken, two had been preserved uninjured.  I did my best to
reassure my sister and Grace, and they and the Frau came down to see us
off.  Tarbox and Oliver pulled, while I steered, and away we went over
the now blue sea towards the wreck.

As we drew near we saw the fearful injuries she had received.

A coral rock had forced itself completely through her side; and had she
not been thrown high up on the reef, she must inevitably have sunk, as
the water flowed in and out with the tide.  It was now fortunately low
water, and by getting on to the reef, which appeared above the surface,
having made our boat secure, we were able to scramble on board.
Everything with the exception of the masts had been swept from the deck,
while the hold was still nearly full of water.  In the cabin, however,
we found a variety of useful articles, besides a good supply of
provisions.  All sorts of things, however, had been thrown out of their
places, and lay scattered about the wreck.  Having collected, however,
as many things as we could carry, we were about to return with them to
the boat.

"Stay," said the boatswain, "we have forgotten the arms.  See, here are
four muskets against this bulkhead, and Mr Hooker's fowling-pieces.  If
we could get some ammunition, we should be able to defend ourselves in
case any of the piratical fellows in this neighbourhood should find us
out and pay us a visit."

We were almost giving up the search for ammunition in despair, when we
discovered a couple of tins of powder in one of the lockers, evidently
placed there by Mr Thudicumb for immediate use.  The powder,
fortunately, from having been carefully packed in tins, had escaped
injury.

We now, laden with our prizes, got back to the boat, and without much
difficulty steered clear of the surf to the shore.  We were received on
landing by Frau Ursula and the two girls, who had been standing for a
long time anxiously watching the boat, afraid that some accident had
happened.  They now assisted us in landing our goods, and carrying them
up to the house.

"We must not live idle lives here," said Emily, laughing; "and as we
have no fancy work, we cannot employ our time better than in making
ourselves useful."

I saw the Frau eagerly examining the articles we had brought on shore.

"What! you no think of our clothes?" she exclaimed at length.  "You
leave the frocks, and gowns, and shoes, and all the little girls'
things?  Oh, you thoughtless men!"

We felt ourselves rebuked.

"Well, we must go back at once, Frau," I answered.  "I confess that we
ought to have recollected that you would require clothing, and that
mat-made garments, however suited to the climate, are not so becoming as
those you had on board.  We will go back and fetch them."

"Oh no, no!" exclaimed Grace.  "It is already late, and you have had a
long row to-day--some accident may be happening."

"Not much fear of that, miss," observed Tarbox.  "You shall have your
duds, even though we had twice as far to pull for them.  Just take care
that no one shakes his pipe over those tins there," he observed,
pointing to the cases of powder.  "They might chance to send the house
flying up over the trees, and the unfortunate smoker with it."

We had by this time landed all the articles we had brought on shore.
They were somewhat miscellaneous, but all likely to prove useful.
Besides the fire-arms and ammunition, we had found some cases of
preserved meat and hams, a cask of biscuit, some tins of pepper and salt
and mustard, a case of wine, a cask of pork, a box of cigars, and a
couple of Mr Hooker's cases.  We thought it would do his heart good to
see them; and I knew they were among those he valued most for their
contents.

"That was indeed thoughtful of you," observed Emily, when she saw the
cases.

"It was not I who thought of them," I answered; "it was Oliver.  He said
he thought it would cheer up Mr Hooker to know that some of his things
had been saved; and we must try and get some more on shore if we can."

"Oh yes, yes!" exclaimed both the girls together.  "Bring his treasures
rather than ours.  Many of them, probably, he cannot replace; and we can
dress, I daresay, in mats, or the cloth I have seen made out of the
paper mulberry-tree."

"Well, well, young ladies," said Tarbox.  "We can find room, I daresay,
in the boat for your light things, as well as Mr Hooker's chests; so I
hope, if we can get hold of the things, you will not have to rig up in
any outlandish fashion."

He said this as we were shoving off the boat with our oars; and now,
sitting down, we again pulled out towards the wreck.

"The gentleman on shore says he has lived here for several years," said
Oliver.  "All that time no vessel has called off here.  Now, if we are
to get away, would it not be better if we were to try and build one
large enough for the purpose, so that we may quit the island whenever it
is thought best?"

"You are right, Oliver," said Tarbox.  "If we can get hold of the
carpenter's tools, and ropes and spars enough, with blocks and sails, we
may build a craft out of the wreck, or of the wood we can cut down in
the island.  It does not take so long to dry as it does in Old England."

Roger Trew agreed with Tarbox, and so did I, that we ought to make the
attempt, and thanked Oliver for his suggestion.  We determined,
therefore, at once to secure as much rope and as many blocks as we might
want, as well as sailcloth or sails and spars.

"I have heard talk of a man out in the Pacific Islands who built a
vessel with far less means than we have got," observed Tarbox.  "He was
a missionary gentleman, though he knew well how to work at a forge, as
well as to use his saw and hammer.  To the best of my recollection, he
had only got a file and a saw and an old anchor to begin with.  He first
taught the natives how to assist him, and then set to work to cut down
the trees and to saw them into planks.  He next put up a forge, and made
the bellows, and manufactured nails and pins, and all the work he
wanted."

"Oh yes, I have read of him," said Oliver.  "He was Mr Williams, the
missionary.  He built the vessel, I think, at Raratonga, when he was
left there by himself, without another European to help him.  She was
called the _Messenger of Peace_, and he sailed many thousand miles
afterwards on board her in his missionary voyages.  If Mr Williams--who
had no knowledge of ship-building except such as he obtained from
observation of the vessels he visited--could do so, we, at all events,
ought to be able to build a craft capable of carrying us to Singapore,
even though we may not secure much more from the wreck."

"There is one thing we want, and that is iron," observed Tarbox; "and
rope and blocks, and provisions, too.  It would take us some time to put
such a craft together."

"All I know is," said Oliver, "that Mr Williams had but the iron part
of an anchor, a pick-axe, and a few garden tools, with some iron hoops.
His vessel was from about sixty to seventy tons, and from the time he
cut the keel until she was launched not more than four months had
passed.  Besides the bellows and forge, he made a lathe, and indeed
manufactured everything that was required.  His sails were composed of
fine mats, woven by the natives; and the rope was manufactured from the
hemp which grew on the island.  In the same way he found substitutes for
oakum, pitch, and paint, and everything he required."

"He you speak of must have been a very wonderful man," observed Tarbox.
"I consider that a man who could do what he did is fit to be Prime
Minister.  Why, he would have made the Thames Tunnel, if he had tried."

"Very likely he would," said Oliver; "but God wanted him for His work,
and that was to go out to those islands to the east of us in the
Pacific, and to convert the natives to Christianity."

By this time we had regained the wreck.  Our first search was for the
clothing of the Frau and the young ladies.  We managed to get up a trunk
which contained a portion of them, though the water had got in, and had
greatly spoiled the contents.  We fished about for some time, and then
got up another box, which had suffered in the same way.

"It cannot be helped," observed Tarbox.  "We will not be particular how
the old lady and little girls look; and the clothes will soon dry--
that's one good thing.  The sun is not idle out in these parts."

Our next hunt was for the carpenter's tools.  When I say that half the
deck was under water, it may be supposed that there were very few things
which had escaped soaking.  Fortunately the carpenter had stowed many of
his things away in a locker on the upper side of the vessel.  These we
secured, and then searched for his chest, which we knew contained some
more of the necessary tools.

"Poor fellow! if he had stuck by us instead of attempting to swim on
shore, he would have been here to lend us a hand," observed Tarbox.

Oliver was very busy hunting about.  Of course, we had thrown off our
jackets, and retained only our trowsers.  We did not mind, therefore,
plunging into the water, now and then diving down in the hopes of
getting hold of something.  At length Oliver cried out that he felt the
handle of a chest, which he thought must be the carpenter's.  We soon
got a hook and rope, and hauled it up, when with much satisfaction we
found he was right.  It was somewhat heavy, and we doubted if we should
get it into the boat.  At last Oliver suggested that we should open it,
and carry some of the tools separately, so as to lighten it.  This we
did; and by the time we had got a few coils of rope on board, and some
blocks, our boat was heavily laden.



CHAPTER TWENTY THREE.

OUR FIRST EXCURSION IN THE ISLAND.

On our arrival at the beach, we found that the indefatigable Frau and
her young companions had carried up all the articles to the house.  On
seeing us return, they had again come down, with Potto Jumbo, to help
us.  The Frau, lifting a coil of rope, put it round her neck,
exclaiming, "Ah!  I have one fine necklace--I carry this;" and off she
set, with a bag of biscuit at her back.  The girls each loaded
themselves with blocks and ropes, while we carried up the chests and
heavier articles.

Great was Mr Hooker's delight when he saw his beloved cases arrive.

"What! you have saved these?" he exclaimed, lifting up his hands, and
gazing at them with affection.  "I am indeed indebted to you.  I little
thought any one else appreciated them as I do.  But it shows you are
true lovers of science, that you value such treasures as these--not as
ordinary persons value them, but as men of science look at them--at
their true worth.  Thank you, my friends--thank you;" and he shook us
all warmly by the hand.

I really believe that the restoration of his collections contributed
greatly to his recovery.

The next day we were employed in the same way--in getting on shore as
many of the stores as we could fish up from the wreck.  Mr Sedgwick was
well pleased at the appearance of the case of wine.

"It is just what my patients want," he observed; "and though I can
manufacture palm-wine and arrack, they will not answer the purpose
nearly so well.  Indeed, the arrack is poisonous stuff at the best."

For some days both Mr Hooker and the mate appeared to hang between life
and death.  Our uncle, I saw, was very anxious about them, and seldom
absent from their room.  When he went away, the good Frau took his
place.  When absent, however, he was still engaged in their service, as
he was either concocting medicines or cooking dishes to suit their
taste.

"Potto Jumbo is a very good sea-cook," he observed to me, "but not quite
capable of producing a dish fit for an invalid; and as to my Dyak,
Tanda, his ideas are somewhat limited in that way."

The weather continued fine, and the vessel hung together; but the
boatswain was of opinion that should another gale come on, she would
quickly go to pieces.

"Though we might get some of her timbers and planks, they would be
sorely battered by getting knocked on the rocks," he observed; "and to
my mind it would be better if we could get them ripped off at once.  It
will be a pretty tough job; but it is to be done."

I proposed the matter to Mr Sedgwick, but he rather doubted our
capability of performing the operation.  He could not help us, as he was
required to attend to our friends, while his man had to look after the
plantations and animals, and indeed had ample work.  He thought that
fresh planks from the trees in the forest would be of more use than the
broken ones we might get from the vessel.  We, indeed, were prevented
from returning to her for some days, on account of a strong wind setting
in directly on the shore, which created so much surf that we were unable
to pass through it in our small boat.

Mr Thudicumb was to be our master-builder.  He had more acquaintance
with ship-building than any of us--indeed, probably than all the party
put together; but he was yet too ill even to superintend the
undertaking.  We hoped, however, that in the course of a week or two he
would be sufficiently recovered to set us to work.  At present, indeed,
he could scarcely even give his thoughts to the subject.

I proposed that we should employ the time in exploring the island.  Mr
Sedgwick had never gone to any great distance from the spot where he had
located himself.  He had been unable to do so, as directly he began to
collect his menagerie it was necessary for him to remain to attend to
his animals.  He was also unwilling to go far from the coast, lest, a
vessel passing, he might lose the opportunity of getting on board her.
This had kept him week after week, and month after month, within a few
miles of the shore.  He was now, however, very glad to make the proposed
expedition.

Mr Hooker and the mate were sufficiently recovered to move about the
house and to take short walks in the neighbourhood.  The girls were both
very anxious to go also, but the Frau strongly objected to their doing
so.

"Suppose we meet snakes, or wild beasts, or savages?" she asked.  "Oh
no, no, Frauline Emily and Grace.  You must stop and take care of Mr
Hooker and poor Mr Thudicumb.  What they do without you?"

We were much amused at the Frau's anxiety, because we suspected that she
supposed if they went she would have to go also, and for this she had no
fancy.  She was a very good nurse, and a very good cook; but she took
little interest in beautiful scenery or in natural history.

"We will take very good care of the young ladies if you like to remain
behind," said our uncle.  "We can easily make some litters to carry
them, should they be tired, and we will leave you to assist in
garrisoning our castle."

"Oh, but I not like to lose sight of them," she answered; and indeed she
was afraid that they might meet with some accident, or suffer from the
hardships of the journey.

They, however, pleaded their cause so well, that at length it was
arranged they were to go with us.

"I have read that Lady Raffles accompanied her husband, Sir Stamford, in
many of his excursions through Sumatra and other islands of these seas,
and I do not see why we should be afraid of any of the hardships which
she had to go through," observed Emily.

We now busied ourselves in making preparations for our journey.  Our
party consisted of our uncle as leader, Oliver and I, Dick Tarbox, Roger
Trew, and Potto Jumbo.  Merlin evidently understood that we were going
on an expedition, and wagged his tail and looked up in my face as if to
ask if he might accompany us.  First he went to one, and then to
another, making the same request.

"If you can spare him, Hooker, we will take him," observed my uncle.
"He seems so well trained, that I think he will not range too widely and
disturb our game."

"Speak to him, and he will do whatever you tell him," said Mr Hooker;
and so Merlin was added to our party.

We promised the Frau that should the difficulties we might meet with be
too great for the girls to encounter, we would at once return, and
leaving them, set off again by ourselves.  We each of us earned a
fowling-piece, an axe, and a knife, with flint and steel, and a bag of
sago-cake, prepared as have before described.  We felt very sure that we
could provide ourselves with an ample supply of animal food, as also
vegetables, wherever we might go.  Nature has been lavishly bountiful in
that region in her supply of food for the wants of man; indeed, there
are no parts of the world where a little labour will produce such an
abundance of all the necessaries of life as in most of the islands of
that archipelago.

Several streams ran down from the neighbouring mountains fertilising the
land, and, in the intervals, cocoa-nut trees grew, with fruit now
sufficiently ripe to afford a delicious draught of cool liquid whenever
we might want it.

We rose before daybreak to breakfast, that we might commence our journey
in the cool of the morning.  Our friends collected in the verandah to
wish us good-bye.  Mr Hooker, however, seemed very unhappy at being
unable to accompany us.

"Cheer up, friends," said our uncle.  "We shall be back, probably, in
two or three days; and having stretched our legs, we shall be the better
able to make another excursion, and I hope by that time you will be of
the party."

My uncle led, axe in hand, to clear away any creepers or underwood which
might impede our progress.  The girls, with Oliver and I on either hand,
followed, while the three men, with their guns ready for use, brought up
the rear.  The views were, however, confined, in consequence of the
thickness of the forest and the somewhat level nature of the country;
but in the distance we could see mountains rising, with intervening
hills, which showed us that there was some climbing in prospect.
Nothing could exceed the beauty of the woods, or the great variety of
strange trees and plants which met our sight in every direction.  Among
the most beautiful and curious were the orchids.  One especially
arrested our attention.  It had large yellow clusters of flowers hanging
down from some of the lower branches of the trees, so that it was more
than usually conspicuous.  Our uncle called it the _Vanda Lowii_.  Many
of its strange pendent flower-spikes almost reached the ground.  Each
was about six or eight feet long, with large, handsome flowers three
inches across, varying in colour from orange to red, with deep
purple-red spots.  Some, indeed, were even longer than that; and we
counted on one thirty-six flowers arranged in a spiral way upon a
slender, thread-like stalk.

A shout from one of the men a short distance behind made us stop.

"Why, that is a rum-looking creature!" exclaimed Dick Tarbox.

"Dat?--dat one big frog with wing!" cried Potto Jumbo, with a loud
laugh.

We turned round, and just at the same moment a companion probably of the
first that had been seen seemed to be flying in a slanting direction
from the bough of a high tree into a small pool which we had noticed as
we passed.  Potto sprang forward, and caught it just as it was reaching
the water.  It was a curious-looking creature, certainly.  The back and
limbs were of a dark shining green colour, while the under surface and
inner toes were yellow.  The body was about four inches long, while the
webs of each hind foot, when fully stretched out, covered a surface of
not less than four square inches.  Its toes were peculiarly long, and
fully webbed to their extremity, so that, when expanded, they presented
a surface to the air considerably larger than the whole of the body,
which was also capable of being filled out by wind.

"Ah, this is a real flying-frog!" observed our uncle.

However, it was altogether a very curious creature.  We were anxious to
preserve it to show to Mr Hooker.  It was accordingly consigned to
Roger Trew's bag, our uncle saying that he would preserve it when we
stopped to rest.

The tree-ferns also were very graceful, of various heights and forms,
from eight to fifteen feet high, their tall leaves waving over in the
most picturesque manner.

"We shall soon have a stream to cross," said my uncle, "which I consider
the boundary of my domain.  However, as I have made excursions a short
distance beyond it, I have built a bridge that I might get across
without difficulty.  You must, however, string up your nerves, as,
probably, you have seldom passed over such a structure.  It is exactly
such as I have seen built by the Dyaks in Borneo."

On getting to the banks of the stream it was evident that without a boat
or a bridge we should be unable to cross.  We now, however, saw the
means my uncle had contrived.  The bridge was made entirely of bamboo.
A number of stout pieces crossed each other like the letter X, fixed in
the bank on either side, and rising a few feet above it.  They were then
firmly bound together, as also to a long bamboo of the largest size
which rested on them, and formed the only pathway over which we had to
cross.  Another long bamboo, raised three feet above the other on either
side, formed the hand-rails.  It was, however, supported also by ratans,
which led from some overhanging trees above it, while other bamboos were
stuck into the banks, and leaning outward over the stream, formed
diagonal supports.

"Come, Emily and Grace," said my uncle.  "If you find that I get across
safely, you need have no fear; and I repaired it completely but a few
days ago, little thinking how soon it was to be crossed by any one
else."

When my uncle had got about half-way across the stream, I began to
tremble for his safety.  The bamboo seemed to me to be creaking and
cracking, and every instant I expected it to give way.  However, he
appeared perfectly at his ease, and walking calmly on, soon reached the
other bank in safety.

"Shall I go next, Emily, or will you?"  I asked.

"Oh no, no," said Emily; "Grace and I will go," and bravely she led the
way.

Grace was a little more timid, but followed her closely, and they too
reached the opposite bank.  When the rest of the party came over, they
said they had seen a large bird on the bank of the stream flying near
the decayed trunk of a huge tree.

"Whereabouts is it?" exclaimed my uncle with great eagerness.

"Dere, dere!" said Potto Jumbo, whose eyes in these thick woods were
evidently sharper than those of his companions, who might, however, have
been able to see further than he could on the ocean.

We crept carefully along the bank.  It was a huge bird of dark plumage,
with a vast bill, and a curious sort of cap on its head.  It had
something in its mouth, with which it went to a hole in the tree I have
described.  My uncle, telling us to remain quiet, crept nearer and
fired.  The bird fell with a loud flop into the stream.

"After him!"  I said to Merlin, as the bird was floating down.

Merlin dashed forward, and springing in, approached the bird, who,
however, was only wounded, and began to show battle with his formidable
bill.  Merlin wisely kept out of his reach, for a peck of that bill
would soon have taken out one of his eyes.  The bird, at length,
however, became exhausted, and then Merlin sprang on him, and seizing
him by the neck, quickly dragged him to the shore.

"It is a magnificent hornbill!" exclaimed our uncle--"_Buceros
bicornis_."

Merlin had killed the bird in bringing it on shore, and it now lay
stretched out before us.  My uncle eagerly went forward to the tree, and
looking up about fifteen feet from the ground, we saw a small hole
surrounded by mud.  Directly afterwards, out came the white end of a
beak, which seemed to gape as if expecting to have some food put into
it.  We were silent for an instant, and then heard the harsh croaking of
a bird, which seemed to come from the interior of the tree.  How to get
at it, however, was the question.

"We will soon be up there," said Tarbox.  "I have seen the way the black
fellows get up a tree, and I think we can do the same."

He soon cut down some bamboos, which, cutting into pieces about a foot
and a half in length, he drove into the tree, we all assisting him.  He
then secured some upright bamboos to the pieces which had thus been
stuck in one above another.  As soon as he had stuck them in as high as
he could reach, he mounted on the first, and then put in some more above
his head, and thus in a very short time got up to a level with the hole.

"I have no fancy, though, for having my eyes picked out, which they
might very quickly be if the creature inside has got as big a beak as
the one you killed, sir," he observed.

He accordingly got somewhat higher up.  He then with his axe began to
knock away the mud, and in a short time cleared out a large hole, when
not only the beak but the head of a bird similar to the one which had
been killed was poked out.

Dick seized it by the neck in spite of its furious struggles, and giving
it a swing, threw it down to the ground, where the rest of us pounced
upon it, when it commenced uttering the most tremendously loud, hoarse
screaming I ever heard.

"There is something else in the nest, though!" he exclaimed; and putting
in his hand he drew out an extraordinary little lump of vitality, which,
however, was evidently a young bird.  "I will bring it down to its
mother," he said; "for if I threw it, the poor little creature would be
killed."

Holding the creature in one hand with as much care as if it had been a
young child, he descended with the other.  It was a bird as large as a
pigeon, but without a single feather on any part of its body.  It was
wonderfully plump and soft, with a skin almost transparent, so that it
looked more like a bag of jelly than any living thing, with a head and
feet and commencement of wings stuck on to it.  The little creature
seemed in no way frightened, but opened its mouth as if expecting to be
fed.  We brought it to its mother, who immediately recognised it, and
when we handed her a piece of fruit she took it and gave a portion to
her offspring, who lifted up its beak to receive it.

"Oh, I will carry it!" cried Grace.  "I should not like the poor little
thing to be hurt."

Grace had a kind heart, and was always ready to sympathise with any one
in distress.  We accordingly made a basket of palm-leaves, and Dick
again ascended the tree to bring out the lining of the nest.  This we
put into the basket, and the bird was placed upon it.  The mother again
began to scream loudly when we took away its young.

"Come, old lady, I'll carry you," said Roger Trew, lifting up the hen
hornbill; but the bird fought so desperately that he was glad to put her
down again.  "We must tie your legs and put your nose in a bag, ma'am,"
said Roger, "or you will be doing some one a mischief."

A larger basket was therefore made, into which we put the old bird,
fastening in its head at the same time.  Mr Sedgwick was highly
delighted with his prize.  He had always wished to get one of these
birds; but had failed to find them, though he had seen them at a
distance, and therefore knew that they were in the island.  He was aware
of this habit of the male bird of plastering up his mate with her egg,
and bringing her food while it was being hatched.  Several other
hornbills act in the same way.

We continued our journey for some time along the banks of the stream,
which sparkled brightly as it made its way through the forest.  Then we
began gradually to ascend the mountains we had seen in the distance.
Nothing could exceed the beauty of the forest trees amid which we were
making our way--lofty palms, and the wonderful screw-palm, tall
cocoa-nut palms, and a number of trees of the same description.  Here
and there also were groups of bamboos; and in many places ratans grew,
hanging from tree to tree.  Now and then we met with beautiful flowers
and flowering shrubs, but they were not so common as we expected.  Their
size and brilliancy, however, made amends for their scarcity.  Among
them were some creepers, having crimson and yellow flowers; others were
of a rich purple colour.  Among the most beautiful was one which Mr
Sedgwick called an _anonaceous_ tree: it was about thirty feet high, and
its slender trunk was covered with large star-like crimson flowers,
which surrounded it like a garland, and Grace and Emily declared they
thought some one had come on purpose to adorn it.  In one spot a number
of these trees grew all together, producing a most beautiful and
brilliant effect; others were immense trees with furrowed stems; and now
and then we came to a magnificent fig-tree, which was altogether unlike
any tree I had ever seen.  It seemed as if its trunk had been divided
into hundreds of small stems and roots.  The most curious, however, was
one which had its base eighty feet up from the ground, while that rested
on a wonderful pyramid of roots which, shooting downwards, spread out on
every side, while the branches started off and rose again to a vast
height above the stem.  Then, again, from its branches hung down a
variety of creepers, like the shrouds of a vessel, to keep it apparently
from being blown away by a tornado.

I cannot attempt to describe all the beautiful butterflies we saw.  Now
and then Mr Sedgwick made chase after one.  Once he returned with one,
which he considered a valuable prize.  The ground colour of its wings
was a rich shining black, the lower wings being of a delicate grey with
white, and bordered by a row of large spots of the most brilliant
satin-like yellow.  The body was marked with shade spots of white,
yellow, and fiery orange, while the head and thorax were intense black.
The under sides of the lower wings were of soft white, the marginal
spots being half black and half yellow.

Scarcely had this one been caught, than he gave chase to another
superb-looking one, of a rich purple, variously tinged with ash colour,
a broad bar of deep orange running across the fore wings.  Away it flew,
and we ran after to assist him, when it seemed to drop among some dried
leaves, and there it totally disappeared.  What had become of it, we
could not tell, when suddenly, almost from before our eyes, it rose
again in the air, and gave us another chase, till it again disappeared
as before.  At length we saw Mr Sedgwick fall almost prostrate, with
his net over the leaves; and then what appeared to be a dry leaf
suddenly rose and turned into a large butterfly.  It was, however, under
his net, and was quickly made his prisoner.  We soon discovered the
curious arrangement by which the creature is enabled to escape capture.
The end of the upper wings terminated in a fine point, just as is the
case with the leaves of many tropical shrubs.  The lower wings were more
obtuse, and lengthened out into a short thin tail.  Between these two
points ran a dark curved line, representing the mid rib of a leaf, while
the other marks were radiated exactly like the lateral fans of leaves;
indeed, the wings of the creature when closed were so like a leaf, that
it was scarcely possible to distinguish it from those amidst which it
had pitched.

As we rose higher and higher in this mountainous region towards which we
were bending our steps, gigantic ferns became more numerous.  Among them
were most curious pitcher-plants.  They took the form of half-climbing
shrubs, their pitchers, of various sizes and forms, hanging in numbers
from their leaves.  Every ridge was now crowned with gigantic ferns,
which reminded us of the descriptions of the antediluvian world, when
ferns appear to have been the chief vegetation which covered the surface
of the globe.--I will not mention our dinner.

It was now time to encamp for the night.  Our first care was to make
arrangements for the accommodation of the young ladies.  We had an
abundance of materials at hand, and soon cut down branches and leaves
sufficient to make a very comfortable bower in which they might rest.  A
fire was then lighted, and similar bowers, though of less careful
construction, were erected for the rest of the party.  Our uncle
arranged that one of the party should remain on watch.

"I cannot tell what sort of creatures inhabit these wilds," he observed;
"but I have every reason to believe that many of those that range over
Borneo and Sumatra are to be found here.  They have probably been
prevented coming to my territory by the river which separates it from
the rest of the island; but I have seen traces of the rhinoceros, and
trees broken down in a way elephants alone could accomplish.  Wild boars
I have shot; and tigers and huge serpents, I have reason to believe, are
to be found in some parts of the island."

"How delightful!"  I exclaimed; but then I recollected the danger to
which Emily and Grace might be exposed.  I said something to that
effect.

"We must keep a careful watch," he answered; "and in truth I believe
that generally wild animals are more afraid of man than man need he of
them, if he is on his guard."

I did not wish to frighten the girls, and therefore did not talk to them
of these things.  As I lay down to waistcoat, I could not help thinking
of the various fierce creatures we might possibly meet with, and in my
dreams I was engaged in desperate encounters with all those my uncle had
mentioned, and not a few others--such as have no existence except in the
imagination.



CHAPTER TWENTY FOUR.

EXCURSION CONTINUED--FEARFUL ENCOUNTER WITH A MONSTER.

I was the first inhabitant of our hut awake.  Daylight was just
breaking; and going out silently, not wishing to disturb the rest of the
party, I looked round me.  Potto Jumbo, who had the morning watch, was
sitting by the fire; a few branches of trees stuck in the ground forming
a sufficient shelter from the night dews.  He was leaning against them,
and had evidently fallen asleep, for the fire was almost out.  I stood
for some minutes contemplating the strange scene.  Surrounding us on
every side were the curious trees I have before described, festooned
with creepers.  Here and there the bright flowers of some orchidaceous
plant ornamented their summits, or hung down from their boughs.  I
thought to myself, if any natives are in the island, how easily we might
have been surprised; or if tigers lurk in its thickets, how easily one
of our party might be picked off.

Presently Potto Jumbo sprang to his feet with a loud shout.  He must
have been dreaming, and supposed that one of the animals I was thinking
of was approaching.  His shout was echoed, it seemed, by a thousand
shrill voices; and looking up, I saw the whole of the trees surrounding
us alive with creatures--some trumpeting, some screeching, and others
making prolonged shrill whistlings; and from the high branches, like a
flock of birds, down came some forty or fifty monkeys, striking the tops
of the brushwood to which they clung, either with hands or tails, and
then off they went with the speed of arrows through the jungle.  There
seemed to be several descriptions.  Some were small creatures of a slate
colour; others of a light yellow, with long arms and long tails.  The
noise they made quickly roused Emily and Grace, as well as the rest of
the party, who sprang out of their bowers, watching the proceedings of
our neighbours.  Some made tremendous leaps from one branch of a tree to
another, a little lower down.  First went one bold leader, taking a jump
towards a tree which it seemed scarcely possible he could reach.  Then
the others followed, with more or less trepidation.  Some seemed afraid
to take a leap till their companions began to move off, when, for fear
of being left alone, they threw themselves frantically into the air,
while two or three came crashing through the slender branches down to
the ground.

"Oh, do catch one of those pretty creatures for us!" said Emily and
Grace.

Oliver and I ran forward to catch them; but they were not too much hurt
to defend themselves; and one of them bit me so severely in the hand,
that I was glad to let him go; while the rest, picking themselves up,
hopped off at a rate which would have made pursuit useless.

"I am very sorry," I said to Grace, "to lose the monkey; though I do not
think he would have proved a very amiable pet.  However, I hope to be
more fortunate another time."

My uncle laughed heartily at me, while he put some salve on my finger
and bound it up, the pain quickly subsiding under his treatment.

We soon had our coffee-pot boiling, and we took our breakfast before
commencing our day's walk.  The girls declared themselves fully able to
proceed.  While we were sitting on the ground, I perceived a movement in
the boughs, and saw that the monkeys were coming back to have a further
look at us; and presently the boughs above our heads were filled with
curious prying black, grey, and yellow faces.  I pointed them out to
Grace and Emily.

"If we could but entice some of them to come down, perhaps we might
capture one for you," I observed.

"Oh no, no; pray do not attempt it," said Grace, "or you will get
another bite.  I thought they were such good-natured little creatures
that they would hurt no one."

"Nor would they, young lady, if left alone," said my uncle.  "However, I
have some tame ones at home, and you shall choose the most docile when
we return as your especial property.  We must give them another
steeple-chase, however," he whispered; and suddenly starting up, he
uttered a loud cry and clapped his hands.

Again the wood was full of living creatures, and away they went as
before, swinging from bough to bough, with the aid of their long tails,
in the most wonderful manner.  We saw several further off on one side,
who moved in a different manner from the rest.

"Those are apes," said our uncle, pointing them out.  "I have one in my
collection which I will show you.  It is the _Siamang syndactyla_."

It was moving much slower than the monkeys, keeping lower down in the
underwood, but still it moved rapidly by means of its long arms.  It
appeared to be about three feet high, while its arms were between five
and six feet across, and by them it was swinging itself along among the
trees at a rapid rate.  Although at first I thought I could catch one, I
soon found that it could escape me as well as the monkeys had done.

We now packed up to proceed on our journey.  I should like to describe
more particularly some of the trees of the wonderful forest through
which we passed.  In the lowlands near the shore were groves of
cocoa-nut palms, of which I have already spoken.  Near them was the
curious pandanus or screw-pine.  My uncle said he always called it a
trunk with branches growing at both ends.  There were two species of it.
The one we saw had fragrant flowers.  Its leaves are manufactured into
mats and baskets.  Its fruit is of a spherical form, from four to six
inches in diameter, the surface being exactly divided by projections of
a pointed, pyramidal shape.  I have already described the bamboos.  As
we proceeded higher up we found ourselves among lofty fig-trees.  Here
the number of orchidaceous plants greatly increased, hanging down from
the boughs of nearly all the trees, clinging to them so closely that
they often appeared to belong to the tree.  The ferns, too, were in
great variety; among them were many curious pitcher-plants.  Thirsty
from our walk, we were looking about for water, when my uncle went up to
one of these remarkable productions of nature.  Each pitcher contained
about half a pint of water.  Some were full of insects, but in others it
was perfectly limpid, and thankfully we drank it off.  Though it was not
so cool as the juice of the cocoa-nut, still it served to quench our
thirst.  Thus we found how God has so bountifully provided this region
with the greatest necessary of life, guarding with a thick shell the
produce of the palm on the lower lands, and allowing the cool breeze of
the mountains to temper the water collected in the cups of the
pitcher-plant.

Instead of ascending the mountain--a task which the young ladies at all
events could not accomplish--we proceeded round it, towards a
curious-looking rock which rose up on one side.  We made our way without
much difficulty to the gap, when we found ourselves on the summit of a
cliff, and looking down into a wonderful circular basin surrounded
entirely by precipitous rocks, while another gap beyond seemed to open
into a smaller lake at a lower elevation.  It had apparently been the
crater of a volcano--so my uncle thought.  The sides of the higher lake
were nearly three hundred feet high, we calculated, and covered in most
places with trees and shrubs.  A beach or broad ledge extended round one
side as far as the further gap, on which we hoped we should have ample
space for walking and viewing the wonders of the lake.  Our ambition was
now to reach the water, and we looked about on every side to discover
some practicable path by which we might gain it.  After hunting about,
we found a way down the side of the mountain by which we hoped we could
accomplish our object.

The jungle through which we had to force our way, however, was
wonderfully thorny.  The creepers were thorny, even the bamboos were
thorny, while shrubs grew in a zig-zag and jagged fashion, forming an
inextricable tangle, through which it was difficult to cut our way.
Beautiful birds flitted in and out among the shrubs--grass-green doves,
large black cockatoos, golden orioles, and king-crows--their varied and
brilliant colours flashing brightly as they darted forth here and there
in the sunlight from out of the dark shade.  The most beautiful,
perhaps, were the golden orioles, which my uncle afterwards told me are
often classed with the birds of paradise, and are sometimes placed in
the same genus as the regent bird of Australia.  These, however, might
not have been the true golden oriole, because that bird is very rare,
and is an inhabitant of the mainland of New Guinea, though also found on
the island of Salwatty.  We observed their nests cleverly suspended
between the horizontal forks of the outer branches of lofty trees, where
they are not likely to be reached by the larger serpents which prey on
birds.  The paradise oriole has the throat, tail, and part of the wings
and back of a jet-black hue, but the rest of the body is of a brilliant
yellow colour, with the exception of the neck, which is covered by long
feathers of a deep orange, reaching some way down the back, somewhat as
do the hackles of a game-cock.  The birds we now saw, though not exactly
like those I have mentioned, were still very beautiful, and I believe
rare.  I cannot, however, attempt to describe but faintly the lovely
birds and insects we met with in our expedition.

Just then even our uncle could pay but little attention to them, for we
all had to use our axes with untiring energy before we could make any
progress.  At length, however, perseverance overcame all difficulties,
and we cut a narrow path through the thick belt which surrounded the
mountain.  We then found ourselves beneath a lofty cliff, which, we
concluded, formed one side of the lake, and circling round it, we
reached what we at once guessed was the lower lake, where the cliffs
were of less height and far more broken.  Emily and Grace sat down on
the top, while the rest of us began to make a path by which we might
descend to the level of the water.  It was not a very easy task.
Sometimes Dick Tarbox, who led the way, had to be lowered down by a rope
to a ledge below us, cutting away the shrubs which impeded his progress,
leaving only certain stumps in the rock which would assist those who
followed.  In some places he had to clear away the grass and earth to
allow of a firm footing; in others, he drove in pieces of bamboo, to
serve as supports to the hands or feet in our descent.  At last he
reached the beach, and we all eagerly followed him.  The lower lake was
very curious and beautiful, but we had an idea, from the glimpse we had
had of the inner one, that that was still more so.

"The young ladies would be disappointed at not seeing this!" exclaimed
Oliver; "and I am sure that they would be able to come down.  May I go
up and fetch them?"

"We must go and lend them a hand, though," said Dick Tarbox, beginning
to ascend.

I also went, while the rest of the party proceeded some way along the
beach towards the upper lake.  We found the ascent far more easy than we
expected--indeed, it seemed as if the girls would have no great
difficulty in coming down.  As we neared the top we heard them cry out,
and saw them standing by in an attitude of terror, looking towards the
jungle on the outer side of the lake.

"Oh, come, come!" exclaimed Emily.  "We saw a savage just now peering
among the trees!  There he is! there he is! even now looking at us!"

We hurried to their side.  "Savage he is, miss," said Dick Tarbox; "but
he is not a human savage, I think.  He is one of those big man-apes I
have heard tell of, though I never yet set eyes on one.  I don't think,
however, he will venture up to where we are."

I looked in the direction the girls were pointing, and there I saw a
large orang-outan some fifty feet below us.  He kept dauntlessly gazing
up at us, as if doubting whether he should venture to approach.  He was
a big hairy monster, with a black coat and a light-coloured face, with
enormous feet and hands, almost the height of a man.  His face, as we
saw him, had a particularly savage expression, and he was evidently a
formidable enemy to encounter.  Our shouts brought back the rest of the
party, who climbed up with their guns, for we had left ours at the foot
of the cliff.

"A mias! a huge mias!" exclaimed my uncle, as he saw the orang-outan,
levelling his fowling-piece, Potto following his example.  The mias was
standing holding on by a branch of a tree, as if about to ascend.  At
the report of the fire-arms he hauled himself up to a branch, much as a
sailor would do, and deliberately walked along the bough, evidently
uninjured by the shots, which, if they had not missed altogether, could
have but slightly wounded him.  Some of the trees, with large luscious
fruit, had evidently tempted him to come up to this hilly region, as the
mias seldom leaves the flat ground, where he spends the night.
Ascending from the bough, he caught hold of a branch of a tree which
crossed it by one of his long arms, and flung himself on to it with
great deliberation.  He did not appear to jump, or spring, or in any way
to hurry himself, but we saw him then go to the end of another branch
and catch hold of an opposing bough.  He then grasped them together with
both hands, and finding the other sufficiently strong to support him,
deliberately swung himself on to it; thus on he went among the lofty
summits of the trees, till he was lost to sight.

It was some time before Emily and Grace could get rid of their fright
sufficiently to begin their descent.  They had now plenty of people to
assist them, and ropes fastened round their waists to prevent the risk
of accidents.  They soon reached the level of the water.  We then
proceeded towards the gap.  Here we were again stopped for some time,
finding a way by which we might ascend the cliffy sides.  However, the
shrubs and the broken under-cliffs enabled us at length to climb up,
passing close to the waterfall formed between the two.  The whole party
uttered an exclamation of surprise and delight when we entered within
the circle of the inner lake.  The sides were covered with the most
beautiful and luxuriant vegetation.  Jungle trees of every description
jutted out from the crevices of the rocks, their trunks and branches
bearing an endless variety of beautiful creepers in brilliant blossom,
hanging down in festoons to the very water's edge.  Over our heads,
disturbed at our appearance, flew a number of pigeons and other birds of
beautiful plumage, backwards and forwards.  The water was intensely
blue, and beautifully clear.

"I should not be surprised but what this is one of the lakes I have
heard speak of which has no bottom," observed Dick Tarbox.  "They say
that water-spirits and monsters of all sorts live in some of them.  I do
not know what they would think at our coming among them."

"I have heard of lakes without bottoms, but I have always found, on
fathoming them, that they were not so deep as was supposed," observed my
uncle.  "I should like to try this one.  It may be very deep, but I
suspect that it is much shallower than from the top of these cliffs down
to where we stand.  What should you say, boatswain, if the rope you hold
in your hand, with a stone fastened to it, would reach the bottom and
give you some feet to spare?"

"Well, sir, you know better than I do; but I should be surprised if by
fastening all the ropes we have together we found soundings."

At last it was agreed that we should build a raft and try.  We had ample
materials; for in one corner was a large grove of bamboos, and plenty of
other light wood trees growing about.  We soon cut down some of the
larger bamboos, with ratan to secure the cross pieces, and had an amply
buoyant raft to carry one person out into the centre.  I begged that I
might go on it, but Dick Tarbox said he would make the expedition.  He
soon had a paddle formed out of bamboo, and sitting down on his somewhat
frail bark, away he went, with a coil of rope before him, to which a
stone was attached, into the middle of the lake.  We all watched him
eagerly as he let down the stone, when lo, and behold, long before the
rope had run out, the stone had reached the bottom.

"There must be a rock out here!" he exclaimed.  "It cannot be so shallow
as this."  Again he pulled up his stone, and pulled away between the
centre and the shore.  "Soundings again!" he cried; "and rather less
than in the middle.  I cannot make it out."

He now paddled round and round the lake, dropping the stone every now
and then, and at length came round to the spot where he had embarked.

"You are satisfied now," said Mr Sedgwick.  "I have generally found it
to be the case that lakes which are reputed fathomless are like this
one."

We all in turns had a paddle on the lake, and as the raft was found
large enough to support fully a couple of men, Emily and Grace got on
it, and I acted as their boatman.  We took the circuit of the lake,
while they admired the beautiful scenery I have already described.  Our
uncle meantime was hunting about for birds and butterflies.  The gap,
when we were on the opposite side, had a curious appearance, being like
a large gateway, fully one hundred feet in height, though broken and
ruinous.  The creepers also were seen to great advantage, some of them
falling in the most beautiful luxuriance from the very summits of the
surrounding heights down to the water's edge, many of them covered the
whole length with brilliant flowers.

"What a delightful place for a pic-nic!" exclaimed Emily.

"True, young lady," answered Mr Sedgwick; "and as all our meals are
pic-nics, I propose that we halt here and make our dinner.  We have
water in abundance, and our provisions at our backs."

A fire was at once kindled, the kettle which Potto carried at his back
unslung, and our various provisions produced.  Not many birds had
hitherto been shot, and our larder was therefore but ill supplied.

"I forgot all about eating!" exclaimed Mr Sedgwick; "but stay; we will
soon have some birds for the pot."

Saying this, he proceeded along to the lower lake.  The sound of his
fowling-piece, as he fired several times, reverberated strangely among
the rocks, making the birds fly to and fro in alarm at the unusual
sound.  Never before perhaps had fire-arms been discharged in that
romantic region, but instinct told them that it boded them no good.  In
a short time he returned with several pigeons and a couple of
parroquets.  It seemed almost a sin to deprive such beautiful birds of
their plumage; but Potto Jumbo, influenced by no such notions, quickly
had them plucked and prepared for roasting.  They were then stuck on
skewers, and in woodland fashion placed on forked sticks before the
fire.  They were pronounced excellent, and quite as tender as if they
had been kept for a long time; indeed, in that hot climate the only way
to have them tender is to pluck and cook them before they have time to
grow cold.  We had brought a supply of fruit, which we had plucked on
our way, as well as sago-bread and other articles, which altogether gave
us a luxurious repast.  No spot could have been more lovely than that
where we sat.  The bank was covered with soft, almost velvety grass,
being shaded constantly from the noonday sun, and the air felt cool,
though soft.  I had just opened a durian, which I was handing to Grace
and Emily, who had got over their repugnance to the smell, and now
pronounced it the most delicious of fruits.  One declared it had the
fragrance of pine-apple, another of the richest melon with cream and
strawberries, and the consistency of liquid blanc-mange, or more
correctly, perhaps, hasty pudding.  Our uncle had lighted his pipe, and
lay back on the soft grass enjoying the scene.  The three men, seated at
a little distance, followed his example.

"What a delightful spot this would be to fix our abode on, if compelled
for ever to remain on this island," said Emily.

"Oh, do not talk of remaining!" exclaimed Grace.  "Beautiful it is, and
very thankful I am to be with you, but I cannot help thinking of my
father and mother, and how anxious they will be when the _Dugong_ does
not arrive as they expect at Singapore.  Oh, it will break my mother's
heart, if she thinks any accident has happened to us.  They will not
know what has occurred, and they will think perhaps that we have been
cut off by pirates, or that the vessel has gone down, in a hurricane, or
has been driven ashore among savages."

Oliver and I tried to cheer her up.  "Some vessel will surely appear off
here before long," I observed; "or if not, when Mr Thudicumb gets well
we must set to work and build a cutter sufficiently large to carry us
all away."

While I was speaking, I heard a strange noise above our heads, and
looking up, I saw in the trees directly over us a dozen or more
long-armed monkeys, yellow-skinned fellows, with flesh-coloured faces.
Down they had come from branch to branch from the cliff above us.
Presently one made a spring, and seized hold of a fruit which Grace had
just taken.  She screamed with alarm, as well she might.  Oliver dashed
forward to seize the monkey, but before we could catch it, it had sprung
up again towards the nearest bough, and again hand over hand up the
branches, till he was far out of our reach.  There he and his companions
sat, eating away at the fruit; but they soon quarrelled among
themselves, and the greater portion of it fell from their paws to the
ground.  We could not help laughing at the audacity of the creatures.
Potto Jumbo especially was heartily amused, and lay back on the grass
shaking his sides with laughter.  The girls' faces, too, indicative of
astonishment and dismay, amused me excessively.

"Well, those are thieves," cried Dick Tarbox.  "It is the first time, I
have a notion, they have ever seen a human face, and I suppose they take
us to be big apes or monkeys like themselves."

The creatures seemed in no way alarmed at our gestures, nor did they
appear to fear the gun which Mr Sedgwick levelled at them.  He lowered
it again, however.

"No," he said; "they do not know better; and as we do not want to eat
them, it would be downright cruelty to kill the creatures."

I was very glad of this, for I should have been sorry to have had any of
them hurt.  The case would have been very different had my uncle wanted
one as a specimen.  He then seemed to have no regard for the life of any
animals he required.  He apparently considered that the honour he did
the creature by preserving it was ample amends for putting it to death.

It was now time for us to recommence our return journey.

"But shall we have to pass through the country of those dreadful apes?"
exclaimed Grace.  "Surely if a number of them were to come together,
they might attack us."

"No fear of that, young lady," said Mr Sedgwick.  "They will seldom
injure any one unless they themselves are attacked, though the big
fellow you saw would be a formidable antagonist to any one unsupported."

I thought so too, and was very thankful that we had come up in time.  We
were making our way towards the shores of the lower lake, Mr Sedgwick
leading; but on this occasion we young people lingered behind.  I was
walking with Grace; Oliver and Emily were a short distance behind us.
Emily had brought her sketch-book, which she had used in taking views
from the inner lake.  Presently Oliver came running after us to say that
she wished to take a view of the gap, and bid us wait a few minutes for
her while she hastily sketched it.  I went on to the party ahead to beg
them also to stop, or, at all events, when they had found the way, to
wait till we had come up to them.  I had almost got back to where I had
left Grace, when I heard a loud scream, and I saw a huge black monster--
so he seemed to me--drop from the branch of a tree near to where my
sister was standing.  Oliver quickly ran forward and threw himself
between her and the creature, which I now saw was a huge mias, very like
the one we had before seen.  Oliver had his gun in his hand, and
presenting it at the animal's head, he drew the trigger, but it failed
to go off, and the mias closed upon him.  One grip of the fierce
creature's powerful mouth would, it seemed, have been sufficient to
deprive him of life.  Oliver had lifted up his gun with the other hand.
The creature seized the weapon.  What was my horror the next moment to
see it rising on its hind legs, and bending forward, fix its teeth into
Oliver's arm, which he had raised to defend his head.  Meantime Merlin,
who had been with the rest of the party, came bounding back, and
attacked with his powerful jaws the leg of the mias.  The creature for
an instant let go Oliver's arm.

"Fly, Miss Emily! fly!" he cried out.  "Never mind me."

"But I do!  I do!" exclaimed Emily; "I cannot have you hurt for my
sake."

"Fly! fly!" again cried Oliver.

While this was going on Grace was shrieking loudly, and I shouting out
to our friends to come to Oliver's assistance, while I ran forward to
give him what aid I could.  I did not of course stop to consider the
danger I also was in, as the beast would have probably seized us both,
had I got within his grasp.  I also cried out to Emily to fly.  I saw
that not only her safety depended on her doing so, but that of Oliver,
for he would not move till she was at a distance from the orang-outan.
Meantime the rest of our party were hurrying up to our support.  Oliver
sprang back to avoid the creature's hand-like claws, which he stretched
out towards him.  Never had I seen anything so ferocious as those
powerful paws and the grinning row of teeth exhibited as he ran forward
to attack us, regardless for the moment of Merlin, who was now in
greater danger than we were.  The mias still held the gun in his claws.
While he again advanced towards Oliver, I levelled my fowling-piece and
fired.  The ball with which it was loaded, however, although it
certainly passed through the creature's neck, only increased his fury,
without apparently greatly injuring him.  Oliver's danger was fearful.
Already the creature was within a couple of yards of him, in spite of
the impediment which Merlin offered.  I had no time to load again,
though I attempted to do so as I retreated, shouting at the top of my
voice, and urging Oliver to do the same, in the hope that we might
frighten the huge ape.  He, however, was in no way alarmed by our shouts
and cries.  He still advanced, holding the musket.  Already, if he was
to stretch out one of his long arms, he might again grasp Oliver and
draw him towards him.  Oh, what would I not have given for a loaded gun
at that moment!  In vain I attempted to load mine while I stepped
backward.  Oliver was attempting to escape; but just then his heel
caught in the root of a tree, which grew at the base of the cliff, and
down he fell, rolling in the sand.  His fate appeared to be sealed.  I
cried out in terror and alarm.  The mias, uttering a shout of mocking
laughter, seemed prepared to throw himself on his victim.  At that
instant, as he changed the gun from one hand to the other, apparently
intending to get rid of Merlin before he attacked Oliver, it suddenly
exploded, bursting into twenty fragments, and wounding him severely in
the hands, face, and chest.  He uttered a loud scream of anger, but
still advanced.  Suddenly, when I thought that my friend's life would be
in an instant more taken from him, the creature fell back to the ground,
where he lay struggling violently, biting the earth and tearing it up
with his claws, while Merlin, evading his clutches, attacked him
wherever he could get a gripe, without risk of being seized, and
prevented him probably from again rising.

"Oh, he is killed! he is killed!" cried Emily, who had hitherto stood
terror-stricken, running to Oliver and kneeling down by him.  She heard
the report, and probably thought that he had been wounded by the gun.

"No, no, Miss Emily; do not be alarmed, I am not much hurt," said
Oliver, trying to lift himself up.  "The creature only tore my flesh,
and I have sprained my foot in falling.  I have been mercifully
preserved."

For some time, however, Emily could scarcely be convinced of the fact.
There lay the monstrous mias, still struggling violently, while Merlin
pertinaciously hung on to him.  I had now reached Oliver, and assisted
Emily in supporting him, while we put a safer distance between the
creature and ourselves.  Grace, who was far more timid than Emily, had
stood transfixed, as it were, to the ground, unable to advance or fly.
The rest of the party now came up, and a blow from Dick's hatchet
deprived the mias of life.

"I suppose he good for dinner," observed Potto Jumbo, surveying him.  "I
cut steak out of him before we go away."

"Out on you for a cannibal!" exclaimed Tarbox, with a look of horror.
"I would as soon think of eating a nigger boy."

"No, no, Massa Tarbox," answered Potto, in an indignant tone.  "Nigger
boy got soul.  Dis," and he gave the brute a kick with his foot, "just
like hog or cow."

"You may spare yourself the trouble of cutting a steak out of him," said
Roger Trew.  "I do not think any of us would make up our minds to eat
him, whatever he may be."

"If it was not so far off, I should have liked the skin, though," said
Mr Sedgwick.  "However, we will hang him up in a tree, and some day I
may have his skeleton, when the ants have picked it clean."

Under his direction the men now got some ratan, with which they
surrounded the body of the monster, and then, in a sort of framework,
they hoisted him up to the stoutest branch of a tree which they could
manage to reach.  We left him there, for all the world, as Roger Trew
observed, like a pirate hanging in chains, and then began our homeward
march with greater speed than before, to make amends for the time we had
lost.



CHAPTER TWENTY FIVE.

TERMINATION OF OUR EXCURSION.

We made our way along the shores of the lower lake till we came out by
the side of a beautiful cascade, which fell down over the cliff into a
river below us, whence the water flowed away, we concluded, towards the
sea; but the dense forest prevented us seeing the course it took.  The
lower lake I have been describing was raised but a little way above the
level of the country.  The height of the cascade was fifty feet; and,
giving another fifty for the fall of the river, we supposed that we were
not much more than one hundred feet above the sea.  My uncle, having
examined his compass, now settled, as far as he was able, the course we
were to take.  The river would be our guide, we saw, for a considerable
distance; indeed, the stream we crossed by the bamboo bridge was
evidently a portion of it.  Turning back, we saw, rising above us, the
lofty mountain, a shoulder of which we had crossed.  We were now better
able to judge of its height.  Numerous other lofty hills rose on either
side of it--mostly bare of trees--some almost black, others of a shining
white, which might have been mistaken at a distance for snow; while,
from the centre of the cone, wreaths of smoke circled upwards to the
sky, giving unmistakable signs of its volcanic character.  Our uncle
looked at it earnestly.

"It seems to me to be sending forth denser smoke than I have hitherto
observed," I heard him remark to Dick Tarbox.  "I hope it is not going
to play us any trick."

"Maybe a little more tobacco has been put into the pipe," observed the
boatswain, in return; "and the old gentleman, whoever he is, who is
smoking it, is having a harder pull than usual."

"I hope so; but I had rather he had put off his smoking for a few weeks
longer, till we are clear of the place," said my uncle, turning round.

I remembered the fearful danger Oliver and I had escaped when carried
off by the Papuans from our island; and I prayed that we might be again
preserved from a similar catastrophe.  We had made no great progress
when it was time to encamp.

"I must charge you, my friends," said Mr Sedgwick, "whoever is on the
watch at night, to keep a bright look-out.  The orang-outans are our
least formidable enemies, for it is seldom that they will attack a
person, as the one did we have just encountered; but tigers are far more
daring; and if we were to allow the fire to get low, we should run a
great risk of a visit from one of them."

We had still an hour or two of daylight.  We were all somewhat tired
with our long climb: the girls especially required rest.  We immediately
set to work to form our encampment, making huts, as we had done on the
previous nights.  Having collected a good supply of dried leaves, we
spread mats over them inside the young ladies' bower, to which they
retired to rest while supper was preparing.  We had still some birds
remaining; but my uncle took his gun, saying that he would try to shoot
a few more for our meal, and I begged to be allowed to accompany him.

"You will not have much difficulty in providing our supper," I observed,
"considering the number of birds flying about in all directions."

The woods were indeed full of sounds of all sorts.  I fancied that among
them I could distinguish the voices of wild beasts.

"Hark!"  I said.  "Surely that must be a lion!  It is just like the cry
I have heard they often give."

My uncle laughed.

"No, indeed," he said.  "The voices you hear are those of pigeons."

I could scarcely suppose, however, that he was right, so loud and
booming was the sound which came from the woods.

"Oh, what beautiful apples are those?"  I observed, as I looked up at a
tree in which a number of various birds were collected, among which were
several white cockatoos.  "I should like to carry some back to the
camp."

The fruit we were looking at was round, with a smooth shining skin of a
golden orange colour, which might rival in appearance the golden apples
of the Hesperides.

"Let them remain where they hang," he answered.  "Whoever might attempt
to eat them would certainly be made very ill, if they did not die.
Those beautiful apples possess the most poisonous properties of any
fruit in these regions.  They are what we naturalists call
_Apocynaceae_.  The birds, however, eat those rosy seeds which you see
displayed from the ripe fruit, which has burst open.--But stay!  There's
a fellow; I must have him."  He raised his gun, and brought down a fine
jungle cock, which Merlin, who had accompanied us, instantly ran forward
to catch.  He brought it to us, highly pleased with his performance.
"He, at all events, will afford a supper for a couple of us, hungry as
we may be," said my uncle.  "This fellow, or his ancestors rather, is
the grandfather of all our domestic poultry in England.  They have lost
a good deal of their beauty, to be sure, by civilisation, though they
may have improved in size and egg-laying powers."

I was fortunate in shooting a couple of great green fruit-pigeons
directly afterwards; indeed, in a short time we had as many birds as
would supply us for supper and breakfast.  We were passing through a
wood which consisted chiefly of the great palm, which my uncle said the
Malays call the _gubbong_.  The trees were in various conditions.  Some
were simply in leaf, others had flowers on them, others fruit, while
many were dead, apparently ready to fall.  The leaves were large and
fan-shaped, and I remarked that those which had flowers were destitute
of leaves; indeed, I could scarcely have supposed that they were the
same trees.  The full-grown trees had lofty cylindrical stems, and were
mostly two hundred feet in height, and two or three feet in diameter.
The flowers were on the summit, in the form of a huge terminal spike.
On the top of this was the fruit, consisting of masses of smooth round
balls, of a green colour, and about an inch in diameter.  My uncle told
me that each tree only flowers once in its life; and that when the fruit
ripens the tree dies, though it remains standing a year or two before it
falls to the ground.  It was on a branch of one of these trees that I
saw the pigeons, where they had settled after feeding on the fruit.

We had gone a little way after I had last fired, when, as we were
standing under a tree looking for another shot, a shower of the fruit I
have described came falling down thickly about our heads.  We quickly
ran from under it, when, looking up, my uncle shouted loudly, and
immediately a loud chattering was heard, and away scampered a whole
tribe of monkeys, making an enormous rustling as they leaped among the
dead palm-leaves.  One would have fancied that some huge beast was
rushing through the wood, so loud was the noise.

It was now time to turn back to the camp.  My uncle was a little in
advance.  He had just fired at a couple of birds, one of which he had
brought to the ground, when I saw him start back with an expression of
alarm which I had never before heard him utter.  Merlin, who was near
me, stood still for a moment in an unusual way, poking his head out
somewhat like a pointer; and there I saw on the ground, not ten paces
from my uncle, a huge snake, with head erect, as if about to make a
spring.  I well knew that it must be of a venomous character from the
exclamation that I heard.  Merlin instinctively seemed to think the
same.  I dreaded lest it should make its spring.  In an instant it might
do so.  I trembled lest I should miss it.  I might run the risk also, in
firing, of hitting my uncle.  I would gladly have rushed forward in his
defence.  In another instant its envenomed fangs might be fixed in his
body.  I levelled my fowling-piece, and took a steady aim.  I fired!  As
I did so, Merlin rushed forward with a bound.  I thought I saw through
the smoke the snake in the air.  My uncle had sprung on one side,
lifting his gun by the muzzle.  "I am safe!" he shouted out.  "Walter,
you did it well!"

The snake had sprung, but, wounded by the shot, had failed to reach its
object, and had been struck to the ground by the butt of the gun.  I did
not suppose from what I had seen of my uncle that he could be so
agitated as he now was.  He knew, he told me, the venomous nature of the
serpent, and that had it struck him, he should probably have been dead
in the course of a few minutes.

"You saved my life by your coolness, my boy," he said.  "I believe this
serpent is rare in the island, for I have never seen one like it; and it
is far more dangerous than the larger python, of which there are many.
They can swallow a deer whole, but seldom attack human beings.  They
would take our friend Merlin down in a gulp; but he probably has
sagacity enough to keep out of their way, so you need not be alarmed on
his account."

I begged that I might carry the serpent as a trophy to the camp.  To do
so I coiled it round a stick, and secured it with a piece of thin ratan.
As I walked along, Merlin every now and then came up sniffing behind
me, and seemed very much inclined to have a bite at it.  We saw several
more jungle cocks on our way.  They were very like the common game-cock,
but the voice was much shorter, and more abrupt.  The Malays call it the
_bekeko_.  We had reached an open space, when we saw running before us a
couple of the most magnificent peacocks.  Their tails, spread out as
they ran along, were fully seven feet in length.  They had been feeding
apparently on the ground, till they were frightened at our approach.
Having the snake over my shoulder, I could not fire.  My uncle raised
his gun, but recollected that he had not loaded.  He stopped to do so,
when the birds, running on rapidly for a short distance, rose obliquely
in the air, and, to my surprise, flew over some lofty trees before them
and disappeared.  I could scarcely have supposed that birds with such
large appendages could have risen thus easily.  It was a magnificent
sight, as they spread out their spangled tails to aid them in their
flight.

At length we reached the camp, where Potto Jumbo had already prepared
part of the supper, and was eagerly waiting our return to cook the game
we might bring.  The tea was boiling in our kettle, and we sat down to
our repast, while he plucked and cooked the remainder.  Emily and Grace
came out of their bower, and officiated at our rural tea-table.  Tarbox
and Roger Trew arrived directly afterwards.  They had gone on an
excursion down the river, and reported that they had seen a large animal
bounding through the underwood.  They had not got a clear sight of it;
but, from the account they gave, my uncle pronounced it to be a tiger.

"I must again warn you, my friends, to be on the alert," he observed.
"The scent of our cooking may attract him here; but unless he is very
hungry, I do not think he will venture among us."

All the party were eager to examine the snake which I had brought in.
Emily and Grace, however, shuddered when they saw it, and still more so
when they heard the risk to which Mr Sedgwick had been exposed.  He
again complimented me on the coolness I had displayed when firing at the
animal.

Before leaving the camp, we had persuaded Oliver to lie down.  My uncle
examined his arm, and bathed it in the cool water which we brought from
the river.

"You are in good health, or it might have been a serious affair," he
observed.  "However, I hope, after a night's rest, you will be able to
proceed on the journey."

Oliver said nothing, but I saw by the expression of his countenance that
he was suffering a good deal of pain; indeed, it seemed surprising, when
I looked at his slight arm, and thought of the big jaws of the mias,
that it had not been bitten through.  As may be supposed, after the
warning we had received, we kept up a blazing fire all night, and
instead of one watchman, we had two, always awake--either Roger Trew and
I, or the boatswain and Potto Jumbo.  All night long our ears were
assailed with strange sounds--the croaking of frogs, the shrieks of
night-birds, and the terror-inspiring cries of beasts of prey.  I went
to sleep with them still ringing in my ears, and when I awoke, the same
sounds were heard.  I had been seated on the ground for some time,
carefully making up the fire, when a loud rustling among the dried
leaves and shrubs at a little distance reached my ears.  I started up,
fowling-piece in hand, and telling Roger Trew to be on his guard,
advanced carefully towards the spot whence the sound had proceeded.  I
was standing near the camp, behind Emily and Grace's hut, when I saw the
head of a huge creature with glaring eyes fixed on me.  Still I did not
like to arouse my friends.  I kept my hand, however, on the trigger,
ready to fire should it advance, for it seemed as if it was about to
make a spring towards me.  There I stood gazing at the animal, with the
animal gazing at me, and wondering, probably, what sort of a creature I
was.  I doubted whether it would be wise to fire; for though my gun was
loaded with ball, I might possibly miss it, when it was likely to become
more furious than if let alone.  I cast one glance behind me at our
leafy village, towards which I slowly retreated.  As soon as I got near
enough for Roger Trew to hear me, I asked him to accompany me to the
spot where I had been, that we might be sure what the creature was.  He
was soon by my side.

"Why, a tiger, to be sure!" he exclaimed, levelling his musket.

He fired, and there was a loud rustling among the trees, as if some
large creature were bounding through them.  I caught a glimpse of it,
and fired.  In an instant the whole camp was alarmed.  The girls looked
out of their bower with scared looks, wondering what had happened, while
my uncle and Dick Tarbox came out with their guns in their hands.

"I thought it would be so," said the former; "but you have done well to
keep the creature at a distance.  However, he is perhaps not far off,
and we may before long have another shot at him."

We had some difficulty in persuading the girls to return to their bower
after this, while my uncle and Roger Trew insisted on remaining on watch
for the remainder of the night.  We added fresh fuel to our fire, and
loaded and frequently fired our muskets, and kept, as may be supposed, a
very strict watch.  Next morning we found some hair of the creature in
the spot where he had been observed clinging to the bushes, while drops
of blood were seen for some distance in the direction he had taken.

At an early hour we proceeded on our road to the house.  The banks of
the river were very picturesque, though there was not much water in it.
It was, however, my uncle supposed, the only full stream in the island.
He had discovered the beds of several others, which remained perfectly
dry.  We were eagerly looking out in the hope of seeing another mias, my
uncle being as anxious as any one.  He had some time before, he told us,
captured a couple; but one of them had managed to escape, and the other,
left alone, had pined for his mate, while he evidently resented the
close captivity to which he was subjected.  Proceeding down the banks of
the river, we came to a part where, though not much increased in width,
it was evidently deeper, with two or three calm pools, over which the
trees threw their boughs, clearly reflected on the smooth surface.  At
the lower end of one of the pools I caught sight of what appeared to be
a log floating on the water.  Presently I saw it moving against the
stream.  "There must be a powerful eddy there," I thought.  I pointed it
out to Mr Sedgwick.  After looking at it for an instant, he made a sign
to the rest of the party to keep back.  We were all collected together
behind a bush, through the branches of which we could observe the banks
of the river below us.  Presently there was a rustling in the underwood
in the direction we were looking, and we caught sight of a huge
orang-outan making his way down to the water.  Some fruit-bearing tree
hung over it, in the branches of which he took his seat, and began to
eat away at his leisure, letting the husks and rind fall into the water,
and now and then a whole fruit.  The log, so it still seemed, was coming
close under where the baboon was seated, and remained stationary.  The
orang-outan apparently took no notice of the object in the water.

"If we were nearer, we should see a pair of wicked eyes looking up out
of the end of that log," whispered my uncle, "with some rows of
formidable teeth, and a huge mouth below it."

"What! is that log a crocodile?"  I asked.

"No doubt about it," was the answer.  "The creature expects to make its
dinner off the mias; but from what I have heard, the mias will be too
clever to be caught by it.  But we will see."

After a time, the mias, having eaten as much food as he required,
descended the tree towards the edge of the water, holding on to a branch
with one of his powerful hands, while he stooped down to spoon out the
water with the other.  By an almost imperceptible motion the crocodile
approached; but the mias, although he appeared to be only intent on
quenching his thirst, had evidently a corner of his eye resting on the
seemingly harmless log.  The crocodile thought it was sure of its prey,
and opening its huge jaws, attempted to seize the mias.  The latter,
however, swung himself quickly up the tree with his arms, and remained
looking down on the crocodile within a few feet of its jaws.  Then
quietly stooping down, he held out a hand within as many inches of his
enemy's nose.  This, evidently, excited the crocodile's desire to get
hold of him, and the amphibious monster began to climb up the bank of
the river.  The mias waited quietly till it was within two feet of him,
and then swung himself along a short distance above it from bough to
bough, stopping again when the crocodile had got securely up the bank.
As the crocodile got near him, he proceeded on a little further; and
thus he went on till he had allured the monster to a considerable
distance from the stream.  What he was going to do we could not
conjecture; indeed, so daring had the mias become, that it seemed very
likely, after all, he would fall into the crocodile's jaws.  Suddenly,
however, we saw him climb up a tree to some distance, and run along a
branch which hung directly over where the crocodile was crawling.  Then
suddenly he flung himself off the branch right on the animal's back, and
with his powerful fists began belabouring away at its head and eyes.  It
seemed, from the movements of the crocodile, that it was already
blinded.  In vain it snapped its enormous jaws--the loud sound, as its
huge teeth met each other, reverberating through the woods.  The mias
had not the slightest difficulty in keeping his position on the scaly
monster's back, as its movements were far too slow to throw him off.  He
continued belabouring it with his fists till it ceased to move.  Then,
as the upper jaw was lifted up, he seized it in his powerful grasp, and
placing his feet upon its neck, with a power which his lever-like
position and prodigious strength made irresistible, he literally tore
back the monster's jaw.  Having done this, he sprang up a tree, and
awaited the result of the injuries he had inflicted.  The creature was,
however, not completely dead; but though it struggled violently and
moved its tail about, its once formidable jaw had lost its means of
doing harm.  After sitting there a little time we saw him, as if content
with his triumph, move off through the forest among the lofty branches
of the trees, swinging himself from one to the other with an ease which
gave almost grace to his movements.

"The fellow deserves his victory.  We will not attempt to shoot him,"
said Mr Sedgwick.

Indeed, I suspect by that time he might easily have escaped our bullets,
had we attempted to kill him.  We now hurried out from our shelter,
eager to see the injuries which the mias had inflicted on his
antagonist.  There it lay, utterly helpless, and we could stand by and
examine its huge proportions and strong coat of armour without danger.
Its struggles became fainter and fainter, and in a short time it seemed
perfectly still and dead.  Knowing the strength of the crocodile, it
gave us a good idea of the immense power of muscle exercised by the
mias; and Oliver said it made him feel doubly grateful that he had
escaped from the creature which had so nearly killed him.  His hurts
still gave him pain.  We stopped every now and then that a cooling
lotion might be applied to them, and he got over the ground as well as
the rest of us.

Our return journey gave us rather more anxiety than we had felt on the
previous days.  The knowledge that there were wild beasts on the island
kept us constantly on the alert; but, for my part, I dreaded those huge
serpents more than anything else.  They none of them gave signs of their
approach, as the rattlesnake of America does, while several were of a
most venomous description.

We had been going along, keeping a bright look-out on either side, when,
being ahead as usual, my uncle looking out for game, I saw a number of
birds flying round and round a tree in a curious fashion.  I was on the
point of levelling my gun and firing, when I thought I would refrain,
that I might ascertain what they were about.  My uncle just then came
up, having observed the same unusual movement of the birds.  Most of
them were wood-pigeons.

"Look up there," said my uncle in a whisper.  "Do you see that seeming
branch, and the huge lifeless creeper clinging to the trunk?"

I earnestly watched the object he pointed at, when I perceived that what
I took to be the stump of a branch was in reality the head of a huge
serpent, whose body was coiled round the tree.  The birds came nearer
and nearer.  One beautiful pigeon was standing on a bough directly above
the serpent's head, while others of gay plumage flitted round and round,
evidently brought there by some fascinating power it was exerting.  The
upper part of its body was not coiled round the tree, but simply pressed
against it, so that in an instant it could reach to a considerable
distance.  We watched without uttering a sound, and suddenly its tongue
projected from its mouth, and, quick as lightning, it darted forward its
head and seized the beautiful pigeon on the nearest branch.  So rapid
was the movement, that I thought the bird had fallen to the ground; but,
as we looked, we saw by the swelling in the creature's throat that it
had secured its prey.  Again it drew back into its former position,
where it remained perfectly motionless; while the other birds came
nearer and nearer, and one at length took the place of its unfortunate
fellow which had been captured.  After a little time the first bird was
swallowed, and another caught in the same manner.  I was anxious to
shoot the serpent.  I fired, but missed, I suppose, for the creature did
not move.  My uncle then took aim at its head.  He killed it apparently;
but instead of falling down, it remained coiled up, the head as it fell
catching in the fork of a branch, which held it securely.  There it
hung, and we were unable to reach it to ascertain more particularly the
species to which it belonged.  The birds, frightened by the report, flew
away.



CHAPTER TWENTY SIX.

AN EXPEDITION ALONG THE COAST--PIRATES APPEAR.

The nature of the ground had led us somewhat out of the course for the
house.  We now struck across the country, hoping to reach it, the ground
being less covered with trees and underwood.  We had gone for some
distance, when we saw before us a high mound.  It could not be called a
mountain, but it was of considerable elevation, and of a conical shape,
with a flat top.  My uncle believed that it had been formed by volcanic
action, though now being covered with brushwood and herbage and a few
tall trees, it was evident that it had been thrown up some time.  We
climbed to the top of it, expecting to find a view of the sea beyond;
but the trees which clothed the base were too lofty to allow us to see
to any great distance.  Here and there, however, there was a small gap,
through which we caught a glimpse of the ocean.

"This would make a fine place for a fort, if any of those pirate fellows
come this way," observed Dick Tarbox as I was standing near him.  "I
would undertake to fortify it against all comers, if we had a little
time to make ready.  I have seen some work of that sort in my younger
days, when I served aboard a man-of-war; and it would require daring
fellows to get inside such a place as we could make it, if we defended
it with the spirit which I know we should.  Why, bless you, Walter, the
young ladies and the old Frau would load our muskets for us, and we
might blaze away till we had picked off every Malay who might attempt to
get up the hill."

"But why do you think pirates are likely to come here?"  I asked.

"As to that, they are cruising about in these seas, and are as likely to
come here as to any other place, if they think they can get anything by
coming.  Your uncle did wisely to build his house in the forest out of
sight, or he would have been carried off long ago; and as they have not
been here for some time, it is the more likely that they will come
soon."

There was a hollow in the centre of the cone which had probably formed
the mouth of the old volcano, if volcano it had been, thus making a rim
or bank all the way round; and on the top of this Tarbox proposed
erecting palisades, and a stage, from which we might fire.  By making
hollows in the earth where we might store our goods and provisions, and
where the ladies might remain free from the risk of shot, our fort would
be perfect.  My uncle overheard our conversation.  "I hope there is
little risk of such an event," he observed carelessly.  The wood below
us was so thick, that it seemed scarcely possible we could penetrate it.
However, we were compelled to get there some way or other, or we should
have had to go back the way we had come.  While hunting about, we found
what appeared to be the bed of a stream, though perfectly dry.  My
uncle, on examining it, said he was sure it led in the direction we
wished to go.  After proceeding a little way, we found that it was
entirely free of trees or shrubs.  The bottom was covered with stones,
rounded by the once boiling torrent which poured down from the high
ground during the rainy season.  They were, however, not spheres, but
disk-shaped fragments of slate, very thin, the sharp corners rounded off
by the water.  Here and there, too, we found boulders of opaque,
milk-white quartz.  Generally the bed was level, but occasionally there
were holes where the torrent had been wont to rest in its course towards
the ocean.  We proceeded along it at a far more rapid rate than we had
hitherto been able to move.  The shadows which came across our path had
been growing longer and longer, when my uncle recognised some trees
which grew in the neighbourhood of the house.  We had once more to use
our axes, and by exerting them actively, we cut our way through to the
path which he had formed.  It was almost dusk when we saw the high
pointed roof of the house before us.  Our shouts brought out the
inmates, the Frau leading the way, though not accustomed to running.
She clasped Emily and Grace in her arms, bursting into tears when she
saw them.

"Oh! so glad you come back!" she exclaimed.  "We so frightened that you
have been carried away by de pirates!"

What she could mean we could scarcely understand, nor was Tanda at first
very explicit.  Mr Hooker, however, after our greetings were over, told
us that as Tanda had been on the sea-shore, collecting shell-fish as a
variety to their repast, he had seen, at no great distance from the
land, several prows, which, from their build and general appearance, he
was sure were those of Sooloo rovers, or perhaps pirates from the coast
of Borneo.  He had just arrived with the alarming intelligence, and he
was afraid they were coming to land on the island.  The fading light
would scarcely enable us to discover them, for though a few minutes
before it had been broad daylight, darkness comes on so rapidly in that
latitude, that day, as it were, leaps into night in the course of a few
minutes.  We hurried down, however, to the beach; but when we got there,
we could only distinguish in the far distance some shadowy forms, which
might have been the piratical vessels.  Which way they were steering,
however, the most practised eyes among us could not discover, and
directly afterwards they were totally hid from sight.  We returned to
the house to consult what was to be done.

"If you would take my advice, gentlemen," said Mr Thudicumb, "you will
have provisions done up, and arms and ammunition ready for a quick
march, and anything else that you consider most valuable to carry away.
We will then station a look-out down on the beach, or at the end of
Flagstaff Rock, to give us early notice of the approach of the enemy.
If they come, they are pretty sure to find this house out; and, if they
get hold of us, to knock us on the head or cut our throats.  As,
however, you have explored the interior of the country, we shall know in
what direction to go, and we shall be able to have the start of them,
and may therefore get away into a safe place, where they cannot find us.
Probably they will be content with such booty as they can find here--
though there is not much to their taste--and will, after a time, take
themselves off."

Mr Thudicumb's advice was considered good, and my uncle and Mr Hooker
agreed to adopt it.

"If they do come, though, what a grievous pity it would be to have all
our collection destroyed," said Mr Hooker.  "Is there no place where we
can stow them in safety?"

"We may hide them away, certainly," answered my uncle; "but the pirates
are pretty sure to ferret them out, thinking that some treasure is
within; and though they may not carry them away, they will break open
the cases, and then the contents will very soon be destroyed."

"Still we must give them a chance of safety," said Mr Hooker; "and
after we have made the arrangements for our flight, we must see what can
be done with them."

The poor Frau was in a state of great agitation and alarm, but Emily and
Grace were very far from frightened.

"We will help you to fight the pirates, if they come," said Emily; "and
with so many brave men, I am sure we shall beat them off."

"And you must teach me to load a musket," said Grace.  "I think I know
how to do it, but I am not quite certain.  I hope, however, they will
run away before we have to fire at them.  I don't like the thought of
your having to kill people.  It is very dreadful!"

Before we sat down to supper all arrangements were made.  The girls were
excessively busy.  Each had made up a large package of various articles
which they thought it would be necessary to carry--provisions and other
things.  It was arranged that two men should go down to the beach at a
time to watch.  Tanda and Dick Tarbox agreed to go first, and Potto
Jumbo and Roger Trew were to take the second part of the night.

"I think, however, you need not trouble yourselves, my friends," said
Mr Sedgwick, "for they will scarcely attempt to approach this coast in
the dark.  There are but few places that I have visited in the
neighbourhood where boats could come ashore without risk, and they would
scarcely find them out, unless with daylight."

This remark somewhat comforted the Frau, and we had supper before Tanda
and Tarbox started.  Mr Hooker and the mate had much recovered.  The
former was in much better spirits than he had been since he landed.
Altogether we had a very pleasant meal, and no one would have supposed,
seeing us seated round the table, that a piratical fleet was in the
neighbourhood, likely to attack us.

After Tarbox and Tanda had set off, however, the spirits of the party
began to flag.  No one cared to go to bed, as we did not know at what
moment we might be roused up.  As the night drew on we became more and
more anxious.  It was indeed a trying time, for even should they not
land at night, it was too probable that they would be down upon us
before daybreak.  Still we could not help anxiously waiting for that
time.  The hours appeared very long.  Now and then I fell off to sleep,
and was awoke either by the noises of the animals in my uncle's
menagerie, or by some strange sounds from the neighbouring forests--the
voices of night-birds or beasts of prey.  At last the two men who had
taken the first watch came back, reporting that they had seen nothing;
then Potto Jumbo, who had been lying down snoring loudly, started up,
and with Roger Trew went down to the shore.  The second part of the
night appeared even longer than the first.  Still I knew that it would
have an end.  At length the streaks of early dawn appeared in the
eastern sky.  The usual sounds of returning day came up from the forest.
The birds began to sing their cheerful notes, and ere long the sunbeams
lighted up the topmost branches of the lofty trees above our abode.
Just then the black and Roger Trew returned.  "Hurrah, hurrah!" sung out
the black, "dey all sail away, and no come here!"  Roger corroborated
his companion's statement; and Oliver and I, running down to the shore,
caught a glimpse of the pirates' sails, if pirates they were, just
sinking below the horizon.  It was some time, however, before Frau
Ursula's mind could be tranquillised.  She insisted that if they were in
the neighbourhood they would very likely return.

"Why do you think they will come here, good Frau?" said Mr Hooker.
"They are not likely to be aware that anybody is on this island, and
their object is to attack well-laden traders or towns, where booty can
be obtained.  Even if they knew of our existence, we have little here to
tempt them."

It was, however, but too probable that had they caught sight of the
wreck, a large portion of which was still above water, they would have
come in, and we might have suffered severely, had they not either
carried us off as captives or put us to death.  We had therefore great
reason to be thankful that they had passed by without visiting the
island.

Mr Thudicumb, though still not well enough to begin building the
vessel, assisted us in repairing the boat.  I was anxious to go out and
fish; for having gained a good deal of experience with poor Macco, I was
in hopes of being able to supply the table with the result of my
industry.  We had fortunately brought some fishing-lines and hooks.  I
proposed manufacturing some lobster-baskets such as I had seen used, in
the hope of catching lobsters or crabs.  We had plenty of materials in
the smaller creepers, some of which were of a tough fibre; and Roger
Trew, like many more sailors, understood basket-work.  We were therefore
not long in manufacturing a dozen pots, which we baited with pieces of
pork.  I should have said that my uncle had domesticated several pigs
which he had caught young, and which ran about in the neighbourhood of
the house, without any wish apparently to stray further.  Roger Trew,
Oliver, and I made the first expedition, while the rest of the party
were making preparations for the vessel.  It was not settled, however,
where she was to be built.  We agreed, however, that in the
neighbourhood of the house it would be very inconvenient to launch her.
Our first expedition was very successful, and we brought home a good
supply of fish.  The next day we carried out our lobster-pots, to try
our fortune with them.  Before returning home after fishing we pulled
along the coast, when we saw at a distance a lofty cliff, with a number
of large birds flying about it.  Some went off to a great distance, and
did not, as far as we could see, return.  The report we gave of these,
on our return, made Mr Sedgwick desirous of accompanying us on our next
expedition.

"They must be, I suspect, from your account of them, Walter, cormorants,
or rather that species of them known as the frigate-bird."

No one is so eager as a naturalist when in search of a specimen, and we
soon saw that Mr Sedgwick would be far more pleased if we took him
round to the cliff, than should we catch a boat-load of fish.

"Suppose then, sir, that we start the first thing for the cliff, and we
can then return and land you if you do not wish to remain for the
fishing," I observed.

"A very good idea, Walter," he answered.  "You and Roger Trew can go,
then, to manage the boat, and I will take my rifle.  It is difficult to
approach those birds near enough to shoot one, and I have long wished to
obtain some specimens in full feather."

It was arranged, therefore, that the next morning we should start
directly after breakfast.  As, however, there was time during that
evening, we carried out our lobster-pots, and placed them in a long row
on a rocky bed, where we had every hope that lobsters would be found,
and we agreed to take them up on our return.  We hurried over breakfast,
as Mr Sedgwick was eager to be off, and we then pulled away along the
shore, looking into the various indentations and bays as we passed, in
the hope of finding a spot where our proposed vessel might be launched,
and which might at the same time serve as a harbour.  It was very
important to find a small harbour of some sort, where we might fit her
out after she was afloat.  We had not gone far when we came to a point
with a reef running almost at right angles with it, which served as a
breakwater.  Inside was a sandy beach.

"Why, that is just the place we are looking for, Walter," observed Mr
Sedgwick.  "See! we shall find, I think, an entrance at the other end of
this reef; and if so, nothing can be more perfect."

We eagerly pulled round the reef, sounding as we went with our oars, and
had the satisfaction of finding that there was ample water for such a
vessel as we proposed to build.  We could see the forest coming close
down to the water's edge, and affording an ample supply of timber.  We
should therefore have but a little way to carry it.  We agreed to take
Mr Thudicumb there the following day, and if he agreed with us, to lose
no further time in laying the keel for our vessel.  A little further on
we came in sight of the cliff on which we had seen the birds.  No sooner
did we point them out to Mr Sedgwick than he exclaimed--

"Yes; those, from their flight, must be frigate-birds.  No ordinary
_cormorant_ would fly as they do.  They have come there to breed; for it
is seldom, except on that occasion, that those wonderful birds ever
visit the land.  What extraordinary power of wing they possess!  It is
said that they are never seen to swim or to repose upon the waters.  I
certainly have never seen them except on the wing."

There was a stiffish breeze, which had created a little sea; and it
seemed doubtful, although Mr Sedgwick was a good shot, whether he would
be steady enough to hit one of the birds he so much desired.  We pulled
on, however, keeping as close as we could venture under the cliff, so as
to be concealed from their sight till we got near them.  Roger Trew took
the two oars, while I sat at the helm to steer the boat more steadily.
My uncle stood up, rifle in hand, eagerly waiting till we got within
range of the birds.  However, they were so eagerly engaged in preparing
the homes for their future young that they scarcely appeared to notice
our approach, but kept flying about round the cliff as they had done the
day before when we first saw them.  At length one of the magnificent
birds came within range of my uncle's rifle.  Though his nerves were as
well strung as those of most men, I fancied his hands trembled in his
eagerness to obtain his prize.  He recovered himself, however, in a
moment, and, balancing his feet at the bottom of the tossing boat,
fired.  An instant afterwards a vast mass began to descend, at first
slowly, then it passed rapidly through the air like a huge piece of snow
cast before an avalanche, and down it came with a loud thud into the
water.

"Pull! pull!" he cried; and Roger Trew exerting his arms, we were soon
up to the bird.  It was still alive, though unable to impel itself
through the water or to rise.  It stretched out its beak towards us, but
all power had gone; and as my uncle eagerly seized it, and drew it into
the boat, it ceased to struggle.  The shot had alarmed the other birds,
some of whom were seen to soar high up into the air.  Up, up they went,
till they became mere specks in the blue sky, then disappeared
altogether.  Others, however, retained their position round the rock,
flying about in a startled manner, apparently unable to ascertain the
cause of the loud sound they had heard.  Meantime Mr Sedgwick again
loaded, and a second bird was brought down.  He offered a great deal
more resistance, but a blow from Roger Trew's oar quickly settled him.
My uncle was highly delighted with his success.  The second shot had put
all the birds to flight, and it did not appear likely that a third would
be killed.  We therefore put the boat's head round, and pulled along the
shore homewards.

On our way back Mr Sedgwick expatiated on the powers and beauty of the
frigate-bird.  "See," he observed, "these feathers are not of that
coarse and downy texture peculiar to aquatic birds; indeed, its graceful
form and all the internal arrangements seem especially adapted--I was
almost going to say for eternal flight.  See these wings, twelve feet
from tip to tip.  Observe this forked tail, these short legs, the thighs
not more than an inch in length.  Unless perched on some rocky pinnacle,
it is unable to take flight.  Neither, you will observe, is it adapted
for living on the waves.  See its feet; they are unlike those of
water-fowl, being but partially webbed.  Now, when I come to show you
the interior of the creature, you will see with what surprising
arrangements it is furnished for flight without fatigue in the loftiest
regions of the air, where it can even sleep without the danger of
descending.  See beneath its throat this large pouch; it communicates
with the lungs, and also with the hollow and wonderfully light bone-work
of its skeleton.  When it wishes, therefore, to rest in air, it first
spreads out its mighty wings, which are almost sufficient to float its
light body.  It then fills its enormous pouch with air, from whence it
is forced into all its bones, and even into the cavities between the
flesh and the skin.  Now this air enters cold, but in a short time, from
the heat of the bird's circulation, which is greater than that of other
animals, it becomes rarified, and will consequently swell out both the
pouch and every cavity I have spoken of, thus giving the bird a
wonderful buoyancy, even in the highest regions of the atmosphere.  We
saw how high those birds went just now, but they probably have gone far
higher.  In the same way, when the weather is stormy near the earth, the
frigate-bird rises into the higher and calmer regions, where, with
outspread wing, it remains suspended, motionless, and at rest.  There it
might remain for days together, unless compelled by hunger to descend.
When this is the case, it expels the rarified air from its body and
pouch, and drops swiftly towards the ocean.  It never, however, dives,
or even swims, but as it comes within a few feet of the waves, it
instantly brings itself to a stop, and skimming along, catches the
flying-fish with its hawk-like bill or talons, holding its neck and feet
in a horizontal direction, striking the upper column of air with its
wings, and then raising and closing them against each other above its
back."

On seeing this wonderful bird I could easily believe the accounts my
uncle gave me.  I remembered, when on board the _Bussorah Merchant_,
seeing some tropic birds, which, like the frigate-bird, can ascend to a
vast height.  One appeared out of the blue sky, when, descending
suddenly towards the ship like a falling star, it checked its course,
and hovering for a while over our masts, darted away with its two long
projecting tail-feathers streaming in the air towards a shoal of
flying-fish, which had just then risen from the water.  It caught one,
and again ascended in the most graceful way towards the blue heavens, to
enjoy its repast.

The Chinese, my uncle told me, train the common cormorant to fish for
them, the birds being taught to return with their prey to the boat in
which their master sits, when they receive a small fish as their reward.
As, however, the bird might help itself, and refuse to work for an
employer, the cunning Chinese fastens a band round its throat
sufficiently tight to prevent it from swallowing the fish, but not to
impede its free action in other respects.  The hungry bird, therefore,
very gladly returns to the boat to have this inconvenient appendage
removed, in order that it may enjoy its limited repast, considering that
"half a loaf is better than no bread."  My uncle showed me on our return
a sketch, which will explain the mode of proceeding even better than my
verbal description.

We were still talking of these wonderful birds, when we came near where
we had placed our lobster-pots.  They must have been on the edge of the
bank, for we found that two or three had been carried away into deep
water.  However, we caught sight of their floats at some distance.
Having drawn up the first we put down, several of which had large
lobsters, or fish and crabs, with various other creatures in them, we
pulled away to recover the rest.  Two were empty.

"I suppose it is scarcely worth while hauling up the other one," I
observed.

"We shall lose it if we do not, though there is no great chance of it
having anything within it," answered Roger Trew.

However, as we began to haul it up, we discovered by the feel that it
had something in it.  As we got it up to the side, Roger Trew remarked
that it was after all only a squid, probably, or some nasty creature of
that sort.

"Haul it in! haul it in, and let me look at it!" exclaimed Mr Sedgwick.

"Wonderfully beautiful!" he exclaimed.  "What a prize!"  And as if he
were handling the most delicate piece of mechanism, he carefully lifted
the basket into the boat.

"What is it?"  I asked.  "What can it be?"

"What is it!" exclaimed my uncle.  "It is worth coming all the way from
England to obtain, and living out here many years.  Why, this is a
perfect nautilus!"  With the greatest care he drew out the fragile shell
with the creature inside.  "See," he said, "it belongs to the genus
_Cephalapoda_.  It is one of the _Polythalamous_, or many-chambered
shells."

"Well, I should call it a big snail of rather a curious shape," observed
Roger Trew.

However, as far as the shape was concerned, it more approached a horn
with the end curled up and placed in the mouth.  My uncle said he was
rather doubtful that, when alive, the nautilus did float on the water.
However, he confessed that many naturalists assert that it does so, as
do certainly the people of the coast near which it is found.  He told me
that possibly this idea had arisen because the shell, when empty, swims
on the surface.  The creature, when at the bottom, crawls along like any
other snail.  Sometimes it dies and falls out, when the shell rises to
the surface by means of the gases generated in its chambers; and thus
they are seen floating on the waves.  Others say, however, that the
animal itself with the shell, putting out its head and all its
tentacles, spreads them upon the water with the poop of the shell above
it.  The light part of the shell rising above the waves is taken for the
sail with which it is said to move over the surface.  Numbers are seen
together after a storm, by which it is supposed that they congregate
also at the bottom in troops.  They certainly do not sail for any length
of time; but having taken in all their tentacles, they turn over their
boat, and thus once more descend to the bottom.



CHAPTER TWENTY SEVEN.

OUR HILL-FORT.

It was amusing to see the two naturalists eagerly examining the nautilus
when we brought it in.

"Walter, you have rendered science an important service!" exclaimed Mr
Hooker.  "So difficult is this creature to be obtained, that I know of
one only that has ever been brought to England, now preserved in the
Royal College of Surgeons."

Immediately a jar of arrack, which my uncle had brewed for the sake of
preserving his specimens--certainly not for drinking--was produced, and
the nautilus was carefully embalmed within it.

"If you can obtain another, which we can dissect, you will have rendered
Mr Hooker and me the greatest possible service," he exclaimed
enthusiastically.  "Us, did I say!--the whole scientific world at large.
You will deserve to become a member of all the societies of Europe--the
most honourable distinction which a man of any age might desire to
obtain."

Of course we undertook to manufacture a further number of fish-pots, and
to place them out in deep water, where we might have a chance of
catching another of these creatures.  We measured the hole they would
require for entering, and discovered that out of the number we had made,
the one which had caught the nautilus was the only one with a hole
sufficiently large to allow it to enter.

"But surely, uncle, the nautilus has sails by which it glides over the
water," said Emily, as she was examining the creature.

"In the imagination of the poets only, my niece," he answered.  "The
shells often float from their excessive lightness, in consequence of the
air contained in certain chambers within them.  It is then often swept
away by wind or tide to some neighbouring shore.  Thus large numbers of
the shells are found thrown up on the beach.  The animal, however, when
alive, floats occasionally with its shell on the surface; but I doubt
much whether it has any power of locomotion beyond that which the wind
or current gives it."

"How disappointing!" exclaimed Emily and Grace together.  "We always
thought that it had tiny sails, which it spread to the breeze; and
pictured it to ourselves skimming on the calm surface, and delighting in
its freedom and rapidity of movement."

"There is, no doubt, an abundance of wonders in Nature, young ladies,"
said Mr Hooker, "but a more intimate acquaintance with the habits of
animals will often dispel some of the common ideas which have been
connected with them, albeit in many instances held for centuries.  For
instance, till within a very late period people believed that the
upas-tree, which grows in Java, possessed such noxious qualities that it
destroyed all vegetable life in the neighbourhood.  The sap is,
undoubtedly, a poison; but I believe people may sleep under its boughs
without receiving the slightest injury, though perhaps, were any of the
sap to fall from the tree and to enter a wound, it would prove fatal.
Once upon a time people believed that the barnacles which are found
attached to ships' bottoms, or pieces of timber long floating on the
ocean, turned into geese, and the barnacle-goose was so called because
it was supposed to have its origin in that common mollusc, the
barnacle."

Mr Thudicumb had more than once to suggest to the two enthusiastic
naturalists that we should lose no further time in commencing the
building of our vessel, for although we had no great reason to complain
of our position, yet the mate was anxious to let his friends know that
he was safe, as also Captain and Mrs Davenport that their daughter and
the rest of us were still alive.  The sea was now so calm that we had
plenty of occupation in going backwards and forwards to the wreck.  Mr
Thudicumb, who was at length able to accompany us, suggested that a raft
should be made, by which means we might bring a larger quantity of
stores on shore at a time.  All hands were thus actively employed.
Tanda had to attend to affairs on shore, the Frau and the two girls
assisting him in household matters.  The two naturalists were engaged
all day long in collecting and arranging their specimens, while the
three other men, under the command of the mate, with Oliver and I, were
preparing for the building of the vessel.

It must be understood that all the timber and the heavy things were
towed round to the bay I have before described, which we now called Hope
Harbour--the _Hope_ being the name we proposed giving our vessel.
Oliver and I, with Roger Trew, generally managed the boat, while the
others remained on board tearing up the planks, and collecting such
articles as they could fish up from the bottom.

We had just returned on board one forenoon, when, on scrambling up on
the deck, we found our friends in a state of great agitation.  "See
dere!" exclaimed Potto Jumbo, who was the first person we met.  "What do
you say to dat?"  There, standing in towards the island, though still at
a considerable distance, were several mat-sailed vessels, which had
certainly a great resemblance to the piratical craft we had before seen.
Mr Thudicumb had been examining them with his glass, and had great
fears that they were pirates.

"We must get on shore as fast as we can," he said, "and prepare our
friends.  If they come here, we must try and seek for safety in the
interior.  I know these fellows too well.  It would be madness to trust
to their mercy; and I am afraid, if they once get sight of the wreck,
they are sure to overhaul her.  It is fortunate we have got most of the
things on shore;--but we must lose no time."

As the boat could not carry the whole party, Mr Thudicumb and Tarbox
remained on board, sending Potto Jumbo with Oliver and I on shore, while
Roger Trew was to return with the boat for them.  We pulled away as fast
as we could lay our backs to the oars, and as soon as we landed we
hurried up to the house.  We were anxious not to alarm the young ladies
and the good Frau, and therefore as we came in sight of it we walked
rather more steadily.  Fortunately our uncle and Mr Hooker were within
doors, engaged in their usual work.  I hastened up to them and told them
what we had seen.

"I must go down and judge with my own eyes," said my uncle.  "Their
fears probably have made our friends imagine that these vessels in sight
have a piratical look.  After all, possibly, they are only a fleet of
harmless traders, bound for the south part of Borneo, or perhaps up to
Sumatra, or the Malay Peninsula."

"However, in case of accidents, brother Sedgwick, we may as well get our
valuables into a place of safety," observed Mr Hooker, quietly.

I accompanied my uncle back to the beach, as we agreed we would not tell
the Frau or her charges what we had seen.  My uncle had a spy-glass with
him.  After examining the vessels, which were still at a considerable
distance, he shut it up with a slam.

"There is no doubt about it," he exclaimed.  "Those, if I mistake not,
are Sooloo pirates, and bloodthirsty villains they are.  I wish our
friends were on shore; but we must hurry back to the house, and get our
valuables packed up as fast as we can.  I do not think they will follow
us far inland; but if they do, we must be prepared for them."

"Had we not better at once hasten to the hill we fixed upon, and begin
to fortify it," I asked.  "They are not likely to make their way there
in a hurry, and we shall probably have time to put it into a fair state
of defence."

"The best thing we can do, Walter," he answered.  "I only hope the good
Frau will not go into fits with alarm; and as we will take the way by
which we came the other day--along our torrent road--we shall at all
events have a good start of our invaders."

By this time we had reached the house.  I found that Oliver had
gradually broken the news to my sister and Grace, as well as to the
Frau, and they were now all prepared for whatever might be arranged.
They were already indeed busily employed in making up bundles of such
things as were likely to be most required.  Mr Hooker was now all life
and spirits.

"The first thing we require, remember, is a good supply of provisions
and ammunition.  Those are the chief necessaries.  Water we cannot
carry, but I hope we may find it on the hill.  At all events, let us
take care to have some pitchers to contain it.  Then some cooking
apparatus, seeing we cannot eat our provisions raw.  Then we shall
require some bedding for you young ladies.  We can rough it well enough
on the ground."

We had made some progress in our preparations, when Mr Thudicumb and
Dick Tarbox arrived.  With their assistance we got on still more
rapidly.  Roger Trew had remained on the beach to watch the movements of
the supposed pirates.  The boxes of collections were at once carried to
a place of concealment which had been arranged, and a few other articles
which were likely to excite the cupidity of the pirates.  All things
were now ready for commencing our march, but we were unwilling to begin
it till we ascertained that we were really likely to be attacked.  We
were still in hopes that the pirates might pass by, or land on some
other part of the coast where they were not likely to find any traces
which might lead them to the house.

"Quick, quick! haste away!" cried a voice, and Roger Trew was seen
running up as fast as his legs could carry him to the house.  "The
pirates have seen the wreck, and are pulling in fast towards it," he
exclaimed.

We were all now in rapid movement.  Mr Sedgwick led the way, as knowing
the country best; followed by the Frau and the two girls, with Oliver
and I to assist them.  Mr Hooker came next, carrying his gun, and as
much ammunition and provisions as he could strap on to his back.  The
two coloured men and Roger Trew came next, well armed; Mr Thudicumb and
Dick Tarbox bringing up the rear, with Merlin, who seemed to consider
that the post of danger and honour.  Several of the tamer animals had
been let loose, and now followed us, a buffalo and babirusa following
behind, two deer keeping close to Emily and Grace, whose especial
favourites they were.  Several monkeys flung themselves along the
branches over our heads, to the great astonishment of their kindred whom
they met on the road.  Several tame jungle cocks and hens ran in and out
among our feet.  Indeed, so attached had all the more tameable animals
become to our uncle, that they would follow at his call, wherever he
went.  We had representatives, therefore, of a large number of the
creatures inhabiting those regions.  As soon as we reached the highroad
I have described along the rocky but dry stream, we halted, to conceal
as much as possible the place where we entered it from view, by placing
boughs at the entrance and strewing the ground thickly with leaves,
retreating backwards as we did so.  This done, we again moved forward at
a rapid rate.  The men could not march more easily, in reality, than the
weaker members of our party, as they were all heavily laden.  We had
gone some way, when Mr Sedgwick thought of despatching Tanda as a scout
to bring us information of what the Malays were about.  We should thus
run less risk of being taken by surprise.  Our road was far from even,
or such as would have suited delicately-nurtured people, but fortunately
even the girls had become accustomed to rough walking, and made no
complaint of the difficulties.  Now and then we had to descend into a
hollow, now to scramble over some huge boulders.  More than once,
scorpions, centipedes, snakes, and other reptiles, started up from under
the rocks.  We each of us, I should have said, carried pieces of ratan
in our hands, which against such enemies proved useful weapons, as a
well-aimed blow with a ratan at even a large snake will turn it aside.
Our numbers, also, kept the larger serpents and beasts of prey at a
distance.

We had still some way further to go, before we could reach our proposed
fort, when we who were in advance heard a loud rustling in the underwood
near us.  We called to Mr Sedgwick.  He turned round and peered in
among the trees.  Nothing could be seen.  "Perhaps Merlin will find the
creature, whatever it is."  I called Merlin up, and he instantly
understood what he was to do.  My uncle was unwilling to fire, lest the
sound of the shot might be heard by the pirates.  He told the men,
however, to be ready to use their bamboo spears, which might keep even a
tiger at bay.  Suddenly Merlin began to bark furiously.  Now he darted
forward, now he retreated.  There was evidently some animal concealed
there.  "Shout!" cried my uncle; "that may possibly rouse it."  We did
so, when Merlin having pushed aside some boughs, we saw lurking among
them a huge tiger.  The creature was apparently alarmed at seeing so
many enemies, and unaccustomed to the sound of the dog's voice, could
not make out what it was.  The underwood, also, was so thick that he was
entangled among it, and could not make his usual spring.

"I am sorely tempted to fire," exclaimed Mr Hooker.

"Do not till it is absolutely necessary," said my uncle.

The animal was moving slowly along, apparently trying to hide itself, as
a cat does when in search of its prey.  Presently it caught sight of
several of our party with their formidable looking spears pointed
towards it.  It seemed for once to consider discretion the better part
of valour, and an open space appearing on one side, we had the
satisfaction of seeing it creep more rapidly, and then bound away into
the distant part of the forest.

We had no other adventure of importance till we reached the foot of the
hill, up which we wound our way.  At the steeper part, however, Oliver
and I, as well as the girls and the Frau, found it impossible to carry
our burdens.  "Put them down, young people," said Dick Tarbox, "and we
will come back for them.  You get up yourselves."  At length we reached
the top, and piled our goods in the centre.

"The first thing to be done is to clear away some of this brushwood,"
said Mr Thudicumb.  "Were it not that we might point out where we are
to the enemy, the quickest way would be by burning it."

However, the men with their axes soon cleared off a sufficient space on
which we might build our huts; and this done, they set to work cutting
down thick stakes to form our proposed palisade.  At this Oliver and I,
as well as Mr Hooker and our uncle, worked away, the Frau, Emily, and
Grace carrying them up as we cut them, and placing them ready to be
driven into the ground.  For some distance round the hill the rocks were
so precipitous, that we had no fear of being attacked on those sides.
We therefore first fortified the part where the slope was more gradual;
and we hoped that, should our ammunition last, we might be able to keep
a large number at bay.  We continued working on in spite of fatigue, the
Frau and her assistants bringing us a draught of water, or a piece of
sago-cake to recruit our strength.  Thus in a short time we had a
considerable number of stakes ready for use.  Mr Thudicumb and the
other men now began driving them in, while the two gentlemen, with
Oliver and I, continued cutting more stakes.

By this time we were anxiously looking out for the appearance of Tanda.
Already some progress had been made with the fortifications, and Mr
Thudicumb expressed his opinion that even should the pirates appear at
once, they would afford us great assistance in keeping them at bay.  The
remainder of our stakes were now brought up, and we were still driving
them in, when, the sun setting, darkness began to steal over the forest.

"And all this time we have not thought of a shelter for you, young
ladies!" said Mr Hooker.  "That must be our next consideration."

We accordingly hastened down the hill, and brought up a quantity of the
huge palm-leaves which I have before described, as well as a number of
bamboos, and with these we soon erected a hut sufficient to accommodate
the Frau and the girls.  For ourselves, we agreed that, as we should
have to work all night, it mattered nothing our having no shelter.  We
found, indeed, the night air, in that elevated spot, thoroughly dry,
cool, and refreshing; so that, in spite of the labour we had already
gone through, we were well able to continue it.  Having at length driven
in the stakes all round, we commenced an embankment.  The outer crust of
the soil looked hard and dry enough; but we soon found, on digging down,
that it was sufficiently soft to enable us to get our spades into it
without difficulty.

"What can have become of Tanda?" said Mr Sedgwick.

"I hope the tiger has not carried him off," I could not help saying.

"No fear of that," was the answer.  "The tiger is not likely to return
to the spot from whence we drove him, and Tanda has so quick an ear that
he would easily get out of the creature's way.  It is more likely that
he has ventured too near the pirates, and been captured."

"I am afraid, then, that he will betray us to them," observed Mr
Thudicumb.

"I think not," answered our uncle.  "He is a faithful fellow, and I
believe that he would rather be torn in pieces than do so."

These remarks were made while we were taking a few mouthfuls of food,
and resting for an instant from our toils.  Just then the sound of a
voice reached our ears.  Mr Sedgwick shouted in return.

"All right," he said, "here comes Tanda;" and directly afterwards a
human form was seen climbing the side of the hill.  He stopped, and
again uttered an exclamation as he approached the fortification.

"He thinks it is the work of magic," answered Mr Sedgwick, "and
scarcely likes to enter the circle."  Mr Sedgwick then spoke a few more
words to Tanda, who now came forward with greater confidence.  We had
left a small opening on one side for going in and out, and by this Tanda
entered the fort.  An earnest conversation ensued between him and his
master, who explained that the pirates, after proceeding some way along
the coast, had caught sight of the wreck; that they had pulled close up
to it, and then gone on board.  They had also visited Flagstaff Rock,
and hauled down the flag, of which they had taken possession.  They had
been till dark engaged in plundering the wreck.  Not finding, however,
any good landing-place, they had pulled away along the shore, happily in
the opposite direction to that where our vessel was building.  Tanda had
then followed them.  Having anchored their prows in the sheltered bay,
they had, as is their custom, landed and encamped.  He had left them all
busily engaged cooking and eating their food, so that there was no fear
of their moving that night.  It was but too probable, however, that they
would return to the wreck on the following morning.  We could only hope
that there would be too much sea on the rocks to enable them to land
near the house.

This information was satisfactory, and we agreed that the probabilities
of their attacking us were less than we had supposed.  We accordingly
lay down to rest for a short time, till the return of daylight should
enable us the better to recommence our labours.  Two of our party,
however, stood assemblies during the remainder of the night, to give
timely notice of the approach of the enemy, should the pirates have
discovered us.

As soon as it was daylight Tanda again went out to watch their
proceedings, taking some sago and a little cocoa, to enable him to
remain out as long as necessary without returning.  We, having
breakfasted, recommenced our labours, and at length had finished the
fort to the satisfaction of Mr Thudicumb.  We had now, however, to dig
some pits, in one of which the ladies might be sheltered should we be
attacked, while in the other we might stow our ammunition.

"But we are ready to run every risk you do," said Emily, when she
understood what we were about.

We however persuaded her that it would be much more to our satisfaction
to know that the Frau and they were in safety, should bullets be flying
about.  "Besides, Miss Emily, if any of us are wounded, we must look to
you to attend to us," said Oliver.

She gave a glance up at Oliver's face.  "Oh, I pray that may not be,"
she observed.  "How dreadful to think that, although we have done no one
any harm, we run a risk of having to fight those savage men."

The tops of the trees came so short a distance above our hill, that Mr
Thudicumb thought, by erecting a post in the centre, we might have a
good look-out over the sea.  The idea was so excellent, that we
accordingly at once went down the hill to obtain a tall and straight
tree for the purpose.  A little way down the hill were some beautiful
cotton-trees.  Although the trunk of the largest was not more than
twelve inches in diameter, it rose to a height of thirty feet, which we
thought would be sufficient for our purpose.  The bark was of light
olive-green, remarkably smooth and fair.  The limbs shot out in whirls,
at right angles to the trunk; and as they were separated by a
considerable space, they would form, we agreed, steps by which to mount
to the top.  These trees appeared to great advantage, rising out of the
thick jungle amidst which they grew.  The fruit, I may as well observe,
is a pod, and the fibrous substance within it greatly resembles cotton.
I do not know whether it can be used for the same purpose; but Mr
Hooker and our uncle employed it for stuffing the birds they killed.  We
soon had one of these trees down, and fixed in the centre of the fort.
We stayed it up by ropes, while another rope hanging from the top
enabled us to ascend without difficulty.  Our rope, I should say, was
formed from the fibre of the gomiti or sagaru palm-tree.  The large
petioles of this tree spread out at the base into broad fibrous sheets,
which enclose the trunk.  It is from this material that the natives of
these regions manufacture the coir-rope.  It is a very coarse, rough
style of rope, for the fibres soon break, and projecting in every
direction, make it difficult to handle.  We had an abundance of this
palm growing on the hill-side, as it prefers higher land than the
cocoa-nut.  Its most valuable property is, being almost indestructible
in water.  Among the fibres there are some coarser ones, with which the
Dyaks of Borneo manufacture arrows for their blow-pipes, and
occasionally the Malays use them for pins.  Interwoven with them is a
mass of small fibre almost as soft as cotton.  This, from its
combustible nature, is used as tinder.  From the tree, also, a
refreshing beverage is extracted.  The flower part is cut off with a
knife, when the sap which issues is gathered in a bamboo cup.  It is now
of a slightly acid and bitter taste, resembling the thin part of
butter-milk.  When this is allowed to ferment, it becomes what the
natives call tuak--a very intoxicating beverage, of which they are very
fond.  The seeds grow in such large bunches, that one alone is as much
as two men can carry.  The envelopes of these seeds contain a poisonous
juice, in which the natives dip their arrows.

Well, as I was saying, we manufactured a supply of this rope for our
look-out post.  As soon as it was erected, Roger Trew climbed to the
top.

"Capital!" he exclaimed.  "There is the sea away on two sides of us,
though as to the pirates, I can see nothing of them.  Maybe they are
near the wreck, and that's too close in to be seen."

We thought that perhaps by erecting a higher post we might obtain a
better view; but when Mr Thudicumb went up, he calculated that the
trees were far too high near the shore to enable us to do this.  We all
in succession went up to have a look at the blue sea; but it was then
agreed that the post might possibly be seen by our enemies, and we
therefore at once lowered it, but kept it ready to set up again in case
of need.  We had been so much occupied in preparing our fort, that we
had thought little of eating or drinking.

"What we do for water?" exclaimed the Frau, bringing a large shell into
our midst.  "This is the last we have got!"

"I must blame myself for my forgetfulness," exclaimed Mr Sedgwick.  "We
ought to have lost no time in searching for water.  If one of you will
come with a spade, we will go out at once to look for it, while the rest
continue at the work in the fort."

I volunteered to accompany my uncle.  "But we may require a stronger
digger than you are, Walter," he said, and fixed on Roger Trew.

Roger, throwing his spade over his shoulder in navvy fashion, answered,
"I am ready, sir."

"Well, you can come too then," said my uncle to me.  "You may bring your
gun, though, in case of necessity.  We must remember not to fire if it
can be helped."

As only one iron spade could be spared, my uncle and I armed ourselves
with a couple which we had formed out of bamboo, and which might assist
Roger should we have to dig deep.  We took our way down the hill, and as
we looked up we agreed that our fort presented a very satisfactory
appearance, and that, probably, should we be discovered, the enemy would
be wary before they attacked us; indeed, they would very likely suppose
from its appearance that our numbers were far greater than they were in
reality.  As those people fight for plunder, and never for glory or mere
victory, they would, we hoped, take their departure without attempting
an assault.  This cheered our spirits.  We had arranged that should
Tanda return with any important news, we were to be instantly summoned,
though as the fort should we proceed into the forest, would be
completely hid, from our sight, it would be necessary for some one to be
sent after us.  Oliver agreed to come.  My uncle examined the ground as
we proceeded, now telling Roger to dig a hole here, now there; but no
water was found.  He therefore said that it would be of no use digging
more, as the hill was evidently of volcanic origin, and no water would
be contained within it.

"Let us go on further, however," he observed.  "If a stream does not
flow there, at all events a spring may be found."

The ground as we advanced grew softer, and the herbage greener and
greener.

"Stay," he said; "I think some animal must be there!  We will advance
cautiously."

As we proceeded my uncle signed us to stop, and looking along the
boughs, a huge black creature appeared before us, digging his snout into
the ground.

"That's a huge pig," whispered Roger to me.

"A pig, man!" answered my uncle.  "That is no less a creature than a
rhinoceros!"

We watched it for some time, afraid of moving lest we might draw its
attention towards us.  Sometimes these creatures are savage, and will
attack man.  At length, however, it began to move off in an opposite
direction to where we were posted.

"A rifle-ball would do little to stop that fellow," said my uncle; "but
we may possibly yet capture him, and I should like to obtain his
skeleton, though I may not add him to my menagerie."

"But we have come to search for water," I suggested.

"To be sure we have," answered my uncle.  "I was forgetting that.  Here,
at this very spot, I am sure we shall find it without having to dig very
deep."

Roger Trew instantly dug his spade into the ground, and began
energetically throwing up the earth.  It grew softer and softer as he
proceeded, I helping him with my bamboo.  My uncle had meantime cut down
a tall bamboo, the end of which he sharpened, and he now came back and
forced it into the ground.  Drawing it up, the end was perfectly wet.
"This is encouraging!" he exclaimed; and Roger and I now setting to work
with greater energy, at length a little whitish-looking liquid came
welling up.  A larger quantity appeared as we dug deeper and deeper, and
at length we had an ample supply to fill the shell we had brought for
that purpose.  It was somewhat like dirty milk; but my uncle said it was
wholesome, and if allowed to settle, that it would become perfectly
clear.  After resting a little the upper part became purer, and from
this we thankfully quenched our thirst.  As our well was at a
considerable distance from the fort, it would be necessary to carry up a
supply, for should we be besieged, it might be difficult to reach it.

"Now," said my uncle, "as our friends are not absolutely suffering from
thirst, we may as well try and catch the rhinoceros."

"What! make chase after it?" asked Roger.

"No; the creature is sure to come back here, and we will make a trap."

"A hard job to make one strong enough to catch that brute," answered
Roger.

"Very little strength is required," said my uncle.  "With your spade and
my axe we can quickly make it.  Here, let me set to work and dig!"

Roger, however, would not hear of that, and he and I commenced under my
uncle's directions, who aided us in digging a pit about the size of the
rhinoceros, the earth around being somewhat soft and slimy.  In the
meantime the water in our well had not only bubbled up, but settled
down, and was perfectly sweet and clear.  Under Mr Sedgwick's
directions, we covered over the pit with boughs and leaves, so that the
hollow below was not visible.

"The next time Mr Rhinoceros comes this way, he will find himself
prevented from proceeding on his journey," observed my uncle.  "I have
seen the creature caught in a pit like this, and I have little doubt
that ours will succeed."

We now filled the shells we had brought with water, and slinging them on
a bamboo, proceeded back to the fort.



CHAPTER TWENTY EIGHT.

ATTACKED BY PIRATES.

The party who had remained in the fort had made good progress in
strengthening it, and we now felt ourselves prepared for the pirates'
reception.

"We shall have no difficulty in beating them back," I observed to Mr
Thudicumb, "with a fort like this for our protection."

"I hope not, Walter," he answered; "but they are fierce and desperate
fellows, and they may use means for our destruction which we little
expect.  Still it is our duty to be prepared and to fight to the last.
We can do no more!"

"But if they conquer us what will Emily and Grace and the poor Frau do?"

"We must leave that in God's hands, Walter," answered the mate.  "We
must fight like men, and not yield while life remains.  If we are all
killed, he will take care of the helpless ones who are trusting in him."

Tanda at this time had not returned, and we were once more afraid that
he had been caught by the pirates.  At length my uncle's anxiety to
ascertain what was going on made him resolve to set out to try and get
sufficiently near them to watch their movements.  I begged to accompany
him.

"If you do, you must promise one thing--to keep behind me; and should I
be captured, to make your escape, and carry back news to the camp of
what has occurred," he observed.

I of course willingly gave the promise he desired.  While we were
speaking, we saw, rising in the distance, a thin column of smoke.  It
rose higher and higher in the sky.  All those in the fort gazed
anxiously towards it.

"They have discovered the house, and set it on fire," observed Mr
Hooker.  "Oh, what treasures they are destroying--the ignorant savages!
and yet, I am afraid, under similar circumstances our own countrymen
would not behave much better.  They are not likely to appreciate such
treasures more than these dark-skinned Asiatics."

"I am not quite so certain that that is the house on fire," observed Mr
Sedgwick, after watching the smoke for some time.  "I should not be at
all surprised if it was the brig that is burning.  The smoke, in this
clear atmosphere, is seen a long way off; and though my house would burn
rapidly enough, I scarcely think it would send up such dense volumes as
are now ascending to the blue sky.  What do you think, Mr Thudicumb?
It appears to me that the smoke is somewhat to the right of the house,
and further off?"

"I have been watching it attentively," said the mate, "and I agree with
you, sir."

"Still, as the wind is off shore, and there will be no surf in our bay,
I am afraid the fellows will very likely land there; and if so, it will
not be long before they discover the house," observed Mr Sedgwick.
"However, come along, Walter, and we will try to ascertain the true
state of the case."

My uncle, charging our friends to be on the alert, set off down the
hill, rifle in hand; and I, bidding farewell to Emily and Grace,
followed him.  I soon caught him up, and we made our way along our
torrent road.  We calculated that we should have ample time to get into
the neighbourhood of the house and return to the fort before dark.  I
could not help recollecting the tiger we had seen on our way up, and the
numerous serpents which I knew were crawling about in all directions.
My uncle, however, seemed utterly indifferent to them.  We had got to
the end of our torrent road, and were working our way through the
jungle, when the sound of human voices reached our ears.  On this,
instead of going straight forward, my uncle turned to the right towards
the sea.  I followed him, literally crawling on hands and feet,
something in the fashion of the monkeys, from bough to bough amid the
thick entanglement of the forest; sometimes close down to the ground,
though not often more than a few feet above it.  I could not help having
a fear that in those places there often lurked the fearful python; while
some dark pools over which we crawled might, I thought it more than
possible, harbour a hermit alligator or some other monster.

We had gone some distance, moving as noiselessly as possible, when my
uncle stopped and looked eagerly forward, keeping his body concealed
behind a bough.  I imitated his example.  Our worst anticipations were
realised.  In the distance I could see the brig burning furiously, while
alongside the rocks lay several long prows with swivel guns in their
bows, and their general appearance betokening them to be, what we
supposed, pirates of Sooloo.  A number of their crew were on the beach,
while others, in a compact body, were making their way up the road in
the direction of the house.  They were fierce-looking fellows, armed
with krisses and swords as well as spears and long bows.  They were
shouting to each other, and evidently expected, from the appearance of
the road, that they were approaching some village which they hoped to
sack.  We watched them for some time.  Fortunately they were making so
much noise that they were not likely to hear us, even should they pass
quite near.  My uncle, therefore, turning round, led by the way we had
come.  I found that he was approaching as near the house as the thick
brushwood would allow.  I shall not easily forget the shout of savage
delight the pirates set up when they came in sight of our peaceful
abode.  They instantly rushed forward, sending a shower of arrows before
them, and shrieking at the top of their voices.  It was somewhat trying
to my companion's temper to see them rushing up the steps of the house
and along the verandah into the rooms.  I was glad we had left Merlin
behind us, for he would probably not have restrained himself, but would
have rushed forward and betrayed our whereabouts.  My uncle did not move
from the spot, but continued to peer out from among the bushes.  The
pirates who had first reached the house were seen going in and out at
all the doors like a troop of monkeys.  They now came to the verandah
and shouted out to the others.  They were evidently disappointed at
finding no one within.  I could not help feeling pleased, however, that
they were not likely to find anything which they would look upon as
valuable, however much the articles might be prized by the owners.  In a
short time those who had been on the beach came up, and now they all
rushed in together, and we could hear them shouting to each other as
they ran about seeking for booty.  Their shouts of satisfaction were
soon changed to cries of disappointment and rage, as they found that
everything they prized had been carried off.  Some of the provisions,
however, which had been left behind were at length discovered; and
before long they found their way to the menagerie.  This seemed to
astonish them not a little.  Several of the creatures, however, having
been left without food, were howling piteously.  At last I caught sight
of a fellow rubbing away with two pieces of bamboo, and I knew well
enough that he was striking a light.  Another brought some dried boughs,
and they soon had a torch twisted up and blazing away.  Uttering a shout
of triumph, one of them rushed up the steps of the house with a blazing
torch, and ran round it, setting fire to the light wood-work and thatch.
It rapidly caught, and the flames darting out in all directions, the
whole house was soon furiously blazing away.  Some of the men who had
been inside rushed out, reeling as if they were drunk, and I guessed
that they had got hold of some of the arrack which had been kept for
preserving specimens.  They now began to dance round the house, shouting
and shrieking as if in delight at the destruction they had wrought.
Some of them, however, were hid from our view by the building, so that
we could not see what they were about.  Presently their shrieks and
cries seemed to increase, and we saw those from the other side of the
building scampering away as fast as their legs could carry them,
apparently in a panic.  The rest followed.  Away they went, each man
tumbling over the other, and caring only for his own safety.  I really
think that at that moment, had our whole party been together, we might
have rushed out and cut them to pieces.  I heard my uncle utter a low
chuckle of laughter, and presently there issued from behind the building
his huge python, hissing furiously, and making its way at a rapid rate
along the ground, as if in pursuit of the pirates.

"The fellows have set his cage on fire, and the creature has made his
escape from the flames," said my uncle.  "He is wisely rushing to the
nearest water to cool himself, and I suspect he thinks less of attacking
them than of soothing his wounds."

The python, however, as he was speaking, began to move slower and
slower.  He evidently had considerable difficulty in working his way
over the ground.  Presently his head, hitherto erect, sunk down, and he
lay stretched out at his full length apparently dead.

"It will be as well," said my uncle, "to make our way back to the fort,
for these fellows will soon recover from their panic, and will suspect
that the owners of the house are not far off.  We cannot remain long
concealed from them, for if they once begin to search about, they will
soon discover the path to our river road."

We accordingly hurried back to the fort.  We found that Tanda had
arrived before us.  The whole party were in a great state of alarm, for
he had made signs that the pirates had landed, and they also had seen
the smoke from the burning house.  They also dreaded from his signs that
we had fallen into their power.  I was glad to find that some deep caves
had been dug, in which Emily and her companions could find shelter.  The
provisions had also been stored in them.  All our arms were loaded.  A
number of bamboo stakes had likewise been formed, their points
projecting out between the palisades to prevent the pirates from
climbing over them.  Our return quickly restored the spirits of the
party.  Emily threw herself into my arms and burst into tears, and Grace
followed her example.

We had now a time of great anxiety.  In spite of it, however, I was very
glad when Mr Thudicumb proposed that we should pipe to supper.

"I never knew people fight so well on empty stomachs as on full ones;
and as we may have sharp work before the morning, it will be wise if we
fall to while we can," he remarked.

I found that during our absence Roger Trew had led the way to the well,
and brought up an ample supply of water to last us for some time.  Thus
our fort was pretty well stored; and even should the pirates lay siege
to it, we might be able to hold out for some time.

"By-the-by, Mr Walter," observed Roger, "the last time I came up, I saw
that the boughs had given way over the pit we dug; but I was in too
great a hurry to look in.  I have a notion, however, that something or
other has been caught, and whether it is that great brute with a horn on
his nose, or some other creature, I cannot say."

As darkness came on, we assembled in the largest cavern which had been
dug, in order that the light might not betray us.  Here we found that
without danger--as the flame would be hid, and the smoke would, of
course, not be seen--we might light a fire and boil water, and cook our
food, which was a great luxury.  Two of the party kept on watch while
the rest of us assembled to supper.  The sentries were accompanied by
Merlin, who was a host in himself, as his quick ear was more likely to
catch the sound of approaching footsteps than any one among us.  We
were, however, allowed to enjoy our meal in peace, and we, most of us
tired out, lay down to rest, while our watch was set as usual.  Often
during the night I fancied I heard the cries of the Malays rushing up
the hill, and I started up to find that I had been dreaming.  Hour after
hour passed by, Mr Thudicumb would not let me go on guard, as he said I
was already tired out.  I slept on and on, and at length daylight
streamed in through the entrance of the rustic hut in which I had passed
the night.  Emily and Grace were on foot, and soon afterwards Frau
Ursula made her appearance at the entrance of their bower.  "No pirate
come," she observed.  "I hope they go away, and not find us out."  I
heartily hoped so also; but, at the same time, had it not been for the
girls, I own I should rather have liked to have had a brush with the
pirates, so confident did I feel that we could beat them off.  Oliver
soon joined us.  He looked somewhat pale, I fancied.

"I have not slept at all," he whispered to me.  "I have been praying
that we may be protected from those fearful men.  It would be so
dreadful to have to fight them.  Before they could be driven off, so
many would be killed; and Walter, I confess I cannot bear the thoughts
of destroying our fellow-creatures."

"I do not wish it either," I said; "but if they come, they must take the
consequences."

I was sure that, notwithstanding his feelings, no one would fight more
bravely than Oliver.  Those who had been on watch during the night, now
got up, and the whole party assembled in the centre of our fort.

"Gentlemen," said Mr Thudicumb, "on board the _Bussorah Merchant_ we
always used to have morning prayers when the weather permitted, and,
with your leave, we will have them now.  We have plenty to pray for, and
much to be thankful for.  We should be thankful we have escaped the
dangers from which so many of our fellow-creatures have suffered, and
that we are all alive and well; and we need to pray that a stronger arm
than ours may fight for us, should we be attacked by those fierce and
ignorant savages."

"Very right," said Mr Hooker, "and I am sure all will agree with you."

Mr Sedgwick, however, made no remark.  He had never said anything
against religion; but I had observed, since we first found him, that he
did not appear to be in any way under its influence.  However, as he did
not object, Mr Thudicumb forthwith produced a Bible which he had found
in the cabin of the brig uninjured.  He now read a portion of Scripture,
and then offered up an earnest prayer for our deliverance.  I know I for
one felt more cheerful after it, and so I am sure did Emily and Grace,
while a tear stood in Oliver's eye.  He had entered more than any of us,
with all his heart, into the simple prayer of the untutored sailor.
Watch was, of course, kept meantime by one of the party, and we then in
good spirits went to breakfast, having lighted our fire as before in the
pit, making as small a one as possible, so as not to allow the smoke to
be seen at a distance.

Once more Tanda went out as a scout to try and ascertain what the
pirates were about.  Soon after he had gone, we were aroused by a loud
squeaking which seemed to come from the wood at the bottom of the hill.
It sounded exactly like the cry of a pig.  Oliver and I offered to go
down and ascertain what it was.  I was starting without any arms, and
had got to the gate, when it occurred to me that I might as well take a
fowling-piece.  I ran back for it, and Oliver and I then set forward
down the hill.  The squeaking sound increased for a little time, and
then ceased.  We had, however, marked the place from whence it had come.
We were making our way through the forest, when Oliver seized my arm.

"Stop, Walter," he exclaimed; "not a step further!  See, see!"  There,
at the foot of a large tree, with its tail coiled round an upper branch,
its body circling the trunk, was a huge python.  Our uncle's pet,
compared to it, was a mere pigmy.  It was pressing with its enormous
body a large pig, which, with its huge mouth wide open, it was preparing
to swallow.  So eager was it that it did not observe us.  We stood
transfixed with a feeling akin to horror, lest any movement might
disturb it.  We knew that we should be much safer should it once get the
unfortunate pig within its jaws.  Greatly to my relief, it now darted
down upon the pig, taking the head within its mouth, and gradually it
began to suck in the body.  We watched it without moving or speaking.
In a short time, more than half the quadruped had disappeared, and I now
knew, from the formation of the animal's teeth, that no power could draw
it out again, and that thus, till it had entirely swallowed it, we were
safe.  Now was the time, therefore, to beat our retreat, and we hurried
back to the fort with an account of what we had seen.

"We must prevent the creature from causing further mischief," said Mr
Hooker, seizing an axe.  "When it has digested the pig, it may pay us a
visit, and may be a more awkward enemy to deal with than even the
pirates.  Now, if we make haste, he is at our mercy."

Potto Jumbo begged that he might accompany us, and Oliver and he and I,
with the two gentlemen, each armed with an axe and a long bamboo spear,
hurried back to where we had seen the python.  As we reached it the hind
legs of the pig were just disappearing within its jaws.  "Now is the
time for the attack," cried Mr Sedgwick, rushing forward with his axe
and dealing the animal a blow behind the neck.  It instantly uncoiled
its powerful tail and attempted to seize its enemy.  It seemed as if it
could have crushed him with one blow against the tree, but he gave a
spring and just escaped it.  At the same instant Potto Jumbo sprang in
and struck the tail, which instantly flew back and again encircled the
tree.  The monster now tried to lift up his head to make a spring
towards us, but the pig prevented it from opening its jaws, though the
force with which it projected its enormous head was sufficient to have
knocked down the strongest man and killed him on the spot.  Mr Hooker
was on the watch, and received it on the point of his spear, which
transfixed its throat, and must have gone through the pig's body at the
same time.  Still his spine was uninjured, and there was great danger in
getting within the coils of its body.  Potto Jumbo, however, kept
watching the tail, which was again unwound from the branch of the tree.
"You cut, cut at the back while I hold," he cried out, seizing the very
end of the tail.  He threw himself out so as to stretch out the animal.
Oliver and I, who had been waiting our opportunity, rushed in, and dealt
it several severe blows with our hatchets.  Potto pulled away at the
same time.  "No fear now," he cried out; "one more cut and he die!"
Once more we rushed in with our hatchets.  No sooner did we deal the
blows than the creature lay stretched out apparently quite dead.

"We have settled him," said Mr Sedgwick.  "And now let us measure his
length."

He paced along the body, which lay stretched out on the ground, and we
found it to be fully twenty-five feet long.

"An unpleasant creature to encounter in a morning's ramble," observed
Mr Hooker.  "But how have you managed to escape these reptiles,
Sedgwick?" he asked.

"Simply, I suppose, because they prefer pork to man," he answered; "and
as we have the same taste, we may as well get piggy out of his maw."

To do so was impossible without cutting off the serpent's head.  This we
accomplished with our hatchets.  However, the appearance of the pig when
we got it out was far from tempting, and as we had a supply of food in
the fort, we agreed to let it remain where it was.  We had been so
interested in this encounter that we had almost forgotten the position
in which we were placed.  A shout from Mr Thudicumb, however, quickly
recalled us, and we hurried up to the fort.  Tanda had just arrived.

"He is in a state of great agitation, sir," said Mr Thudicumb, as Mr
Sedgwick appeared, "but what he says I cannot make out."

Tanda and his master exchanged a few words.

"Friends," said Mr Sedgwick, "the pirates are approaching.  They have
found their way up the river road, and will be here in a short time.
Once more I must urge you to fight to the last.  I know them well.
Should we yield, a fearful death or painful captivity would be our lot."

"We are all aware of that, sir," said Mr Thudicumb; "and I can answer
for all hands that none will fail in their duty."

The bank round the more gentle slope of the hill had been raised
sufficiently to protect our bodies, so that by keeping close to it, no
shot--should the enemy have fire-arms--could hit us.  All the muskets
were laid carefully loaded against the bank, and the Frau and the girls,
who had been practising loading for some time, took their places in
hollows which had been formed on purpose, where they might load without
risk, as soon as the guns were handed to them.  We all now stood at our
posts anxiously watching for the approach of the enemy.  At length we
saw some dark-skinned faces appearing amid the brushwood, and directly
afterwards some thirty or more wild-looking savages rushed through it
and began to ascend the hill.  They stopped for an instant on seeing the
formidable preparations made for their reception, while, of course, they
could not tell how many people were within the stockades ready to fire
on them.  At length one of their chiefs apparently came to the front,
and waving his curved sword, seemed to urge them to follow him.  On he
came, a humpbacked savage-looking fellow.  Even at that distance I
fancied I could distinguish his hideous features.  More than once he
went back, and seemed shouting to his followers to keep up with him; and
with wonderful agility, considering his form, he toiled up the hill.

"Mr Hooker, you are the best shot among us, please to pick off that
fellow," said Mr Thudicumb.  "If it were not for him, I do not think
the fellows would have come on."

The hunchback still continued to advance, his long arms and claw-like
fingers assisting him up the steeper places.  Again he stopped and
appeared to be swearing at his men for not coming faster.  He was now
within range.  I could not help looking on one side to watch Mr Hooker
as he stood perfectly calm with his musket covering the pirate chief.
Little did the man think that a musket in the hands of an unerring shot
was pointed at him.  The pirates, finding no opposition as yet, now came
on more readily, and soon another body of an equal number appeared
behind them, coming from the woods.  I could by this time clearly see
the countenance of the pirate.  He was an old man, with two or more ugly
gashes about the face, showing that he had not followed his profession
with impunity.  The pirates, uttering fierce cries, were now rushing on.

"I must stop that fellow's career, at all events," said Mr Hooker,
levelling his piece.  He fired.  The old pirate stood up for an instant
on a rock which he had just reached, waving his sword above his head,
and then fell backwards over the men who were coming up behind him.  The
Frau instantly seized the gun, and began reloading it.  The pirates, who
had been quickly advancing, now appeared to waver.

"If we had a dozen more fellows with us, we would quickly sally out and
put them to flight!" exclaimed Mr Thudicumb.

"But as we are only nine in all, not counting de ladies and Merlin, and
dem fellows fight like wild beasts, we hab hard job to drive dem back,"
said Potto Jumbo.  "Still we fight while we got drop blood in de veins.
Merlin fight wid teeth dough; you see dat!  Hurrah, boys!" and Potto
took aim at another Malay leader who now occupied the position of the
first.

Merlin was fully as eager for the fight as any one, and rushed backwards
and forwards, poking his snout between the palisades wherever there was
an opening, and barking furiously.

"I wish we had another python to let loose on them, uncle," I said to
Mr Sedgwick, near whom I was standing.  "It might have a useful
effect."

"Ah, yes; we should not have killed the other fellow, Walter," he
observed.  "But, to be sure, it would have been a difficult matter to
capture him, and still more so to make him take the right course when we
let him loose again."

The pirates, fortunately, had but very few fire-arms among them, and
they evidently depended on a hand to hand combat to overcome us.  The
larger body had now gained a more exposed part of the hill, and began to
ascend quicker than before.  We therefore, taking good aim, had to fire
as rapidly as possible.  No time for speaking now.  Thanks to the skill
with which the Frau and the young ladies loaded the muskets, we were
able to keep up a constant fusillade, which must have made it appear
that we had far more men within the fort than was really the case.  To
keep up the deception, we ran from side to side, thus extending the
length of our line, now firing out through one opening, now through
another.

"Do not throw a shot away," Mr Thudicumb continued saying.  "Fix on
your man before you fire."

I had never seen a shot fired in anger; but I own my blood quickly got
up, and I no longer felt the slightest compunction in killing our
enemies.  Even Oliver, so gentle and tender-hearted, played his part
well, and I believe every shot he fired took effect.  In my eagerness I
missed once or twice; but seeing the importance of following the mate's
advice, I endeavoured to restrain my excitement and take steady aim
before I pulled the trigger.  Still our ferocious enemies so far
outnumbered us, that if they once got up to the palisades, even though
many might be killed, a superior force would be able to climb up and
overpower us.  They were within a dozen yards when, greatly to my
dismay, I saw another strong body emerging from the wood, and with loud
shouts rushing up the hill to join their companions.  I began for the
first time to think that all would be lost.  My heart sank as I
contemplated the dreadful fate of the two poor girls.  What would become
of them and the good Frau when we were all killed? for killed I fully
believed we all should be.  Still, as yet, none of us were hurt,
although their arrows flew thickly over our heads, and they had begun to
throw their darts at us.  Four or five, armed with muskets, now
advanced, and also began firing away--their shot pinging against the
palisades.  We had far more to dread from them than from the arrows, I
fancied.  As they got nearer, however, several arrows came through the
openings, and I heard a bullet whistle close to my ear.  It was the
first time I had heard such a sound, but I knew it well, and could not
avoid bobbing my head, though the shot had passed me.  Mr Thudicumb and
Dick Tarbox, however, never flinched the whole time.  Uttering loud
shouts and shrieks, the fresh body of men now joined their companions,
while the first continued to shower arrows and darts and to send their
bullets among us.  I saw Oliver suddenly fall.  An arrow had struck him
on the shoulder.

"It is nothing," he called out; "it is nothing," and endeavoured to draw
the weapon from his wound.

Frau Ursula saw what had occurred, as she was at that moment handing up
a musket, and springing up, carried him down into their cave.  The
dreadful thought came across me that the arrows were poisoned.  I could
not, however, leave my post to inquire.  His fate might be that of any
one of us the next instant.  I could only wish that all were as prepared
to meet death as I knew he was.  Directly afterwards I saw my uncle
stagger.  A bullet had struck him; but recovering himself, he cried,
"Never mind, lads!  A mere graze;" and instantly again fired.  The
muskets came from below loaded, less quickly than before.  I guessed the
reason--that the Frau or the girls were attending to poor Oliver.  Again
a flight of arrows came flying over and through the palisades, some
sticking in them, when I felt one pass through my cap, and, as I
thought, wound my head.  I could not help having the fearful dread that
the poison would quickly enter my veins, and expected every instant to
drop.  Still there was but little time for thought, and I resolved to
fight away with my companions to the last.  A few minutes more of life
were of but little value, and I now fully expected that, in spite of the
determined way in which we were defending our fort, it would be stormed
at last.  Directly afterwards the Malays, showering their missiles upon
us, with loud shouts and shrieks rushed on.  Some caught hold of the
palisades, and attempted to pull them down; others began to climb over
them.  Some forced their hands through the openings to seize the bamboo
spears as we thrust them out at our enemies.  I caught sight of a number
of pirates making their way to one side where the fort was undefended.
Nothing now, it seemed to me, could prevent them from getting in; but
when I shouted out, Potto Jumbo joined me, and we rushed to the spot.
Just then a loud shouting was heard coming up from the bottom of the
hill.  I could distinguish through the opening, for the space was clear
where we then were, several pirates turning their heads.  The shouting
increased.  Some ran down the hill, the others turned and followed, and
those who had been climbing up the palisades dropped to the ground, and
then, as if seized by a sudden panic, rushed down the hill
helter-skelter, eager to avoid the shot which we sent after them.  We
could scarcely believe what had occurred.

"Heaven be praised!" said Mr Thudicumb.  "We are saved, and I do not
think they will come back again."



CHAPTER TWENTY NINE.

BUILDING OF THE "HOPE."

What had thus suddenly made the Malays take to flight remained a
mystery.  Forgetting my own wound, my first impulse was to run down and
see after Oliver.  I met Emily, who threw herself into my arms.

"He is better, he is better!" she exclaimed.  "The good Frau has, I
believe, saved his life."

"We are all saved, my dear sister," I said.  "The enemy have taken to
flight, and we hope will not come back again."

"And he will be saved--he will not die," she again said, leading me to
where Oliver was lying on a bed of leaves.

The Frau had torn off his jacket and shirt, and I found that, like Queen
Eleanor, who saved her husband's life, she had been sucking the poison,
if there was any, from the wound, and was now carefully bathing it.

"I do not think I am much hurt," said Oliver, looking up as I entered.
"The good Frau has tended me so kindly and carefully, that I am sure I
shall soon get better."

When the Frau had finished with Oliver, I begged her to look at my head,
and, greatly to my relief, I found that the point of the arrow had not
entered the flesh; the pain was caused by the shaft, which had passed
over my head, only carrying away some of the hair.  While the Frau was
making the examination, Emily and Grace stood trembling, watching the
result.  Emily now threw herself on my neck and burst into tears, while
little Grace took my hand, and exclaimed,--"I am so thankful!  I am so
thankful that neither you nor Oliver are likely to suffer."

"And now, my kind Frau," said Mr Sedgwick, coming down, "perhaps you
will look at my little hurt.  You are the best doctor of the party, and
it strikes me that I have a bullet somewhere in my shoulder."

"Well, then, you lie down there," she said, placing him on the ground,
and kneeling down by his side after he had taken off his coat and shirt.
"Let me see.  Yes, here is the hole the bullet came through."

I looked, when, to my surprise, I saw a little blue mark, scarcely
larger than a pea, and could not believe that a bullet had passed into
it.

"Yes, it come in there," she continued; "I see.  Hillo! here it is,
though;" and she touched a large lump which appeared just behind the
shoulder.  "Oh, I got knife.  Now you no squeak out, sir;" and taking a
sharp knife from her pocket, she made a cut across the flesh, when out
popped the bullet almost into the mouth of the faithful Tanda, who had
followed his master, and was eagerly watching the operation.  An
abundant supply of cool water was then applied, and plasters put on.
"There, you stay quiet a little, sir, and you soon get well," she said;
"but stay, I want to pull out the bit of shirt that go in--not much,
though."  Indeed, the hole in the shirt was not much larger than that in
the flesh; but still it was evident that some portion had been torn
away.  My uncle could hardly refrain from crying out as the Frau probed
the wound.  She, however, succeeded in finding the piece of cotton.
Fortunately the jacket had flown open at the moment, so that nothing
else had gone in.  "There, you healthy man; you be well in a few days--
no fear," she said.

Seldom has a desperate battle been fought with so few casualties on one
side, though, to be sure, a third of our party might have been put down
as wounded.  We had reason to be thankful; but still I could not help
dreading that the Malays might return.  Mr Sedgwick was about to
despatch Tanda, when Mr Thudicumb proposed that we should hoist our
post, and endeavour to ascertain what was the cause of their flight.  By
means of the coir-rope we had prepared, it was soon hoisted up, and
stepped in its place more securely now than at first, because there was
no necessity for again lowering it.  Roger Trew was very speedily at the
top.

"Hurrah!" he shouted; "hurrah!  The prows are shoving off to sea,
pulling away like mad!  Yes, there's the reason too--a large
square-rigged, white-sailed vessel coming round the point.  By her look,
too, she is English; and they know pretty well that if they were to be
caught by her, their day of pirating would be over.  Hurrah! hurrah!"

As may be supposed, we were all eager to mount to the top of the post,
and have a look at the stranger.  Mr Thudicumb with his spy-glass
followed Roger.

"Yes, there is no doubt about it.  She is a British man-of-war; and I
daresay she has been cruising in search of these very fellows.  They are
all off, though; yes--five, six, eight prows, making their way to the
eastward.  She will see our flagstaff on the rock, I hope, and send in
here.  But I forgot; the pirates carried that away."

Thus he continued making his observations.  We all stood eagerly round
him, though the ocean was hid from us.

"She has caught sight of the prows," he exclaimed, "and is making more
sail.  They are, however, well to windward of her, and I am afraid she
will have a hard job to catch them up.  Perhaps she will make a tack in
here; and if so, she will see us."

"Would it not be as well to hoist a signal on the Flagstaff Rock, to
supply the place of the flag carried off?" observed Mr Hooker.

"Of course, of course," was the answer; "and the sooner we do so the
better."

As we knew that the house had been burned down, and no accommodation was
to be found on the shore, it was agreed that the ladies, with Oliver and
Potto Jumbo, Mr Sedgwick and Tanda, should remain at the fort, in case
any stray Malays might have failed to get off.  It was important also to
drag away the dead bodies as soon as possible.  In a very few hours they
would render the fort scarcely bearable; besides which they would be
certain to attract beasts of prey.  Tanda and Potto Jumbo undertook to
perform this unpleasant work, and to bury them in some soft ground at
the bottom of the hill.  The rest of us then set off to the sea-shore,
carrying a large sheet which had been saved from the wreck to act as a
signal.

"And Hooker, my dear fellow--Hooker," exclaimed my uncle, as we were
starting, "do let me know as soon as possible if our treasures have
escaped; it would be heartbreaking to lose them.  Send up Walter as soon
as possible.  The knowledge that they are safe would bring me round
quicker than anything else, and recompense me for what we have gone
through."

"Depend on me," answered his brother naturalist.  "I hope it will be all
right; though probably, had the pirates not found their way to the fort,
they would have discovered our stores."

We now hurried down the hill, and made the best of our way along our
river road to the shore.  As we passed the spot where the house had
stood, a heap of cinders alone remained, still smouldering.  It was
surprising, indeed, that the trees had escaped.  Had they caught fire, a
large portion of the forest, if not the whole of the woods on the
island, might have been burned.  We were thankful we had escaped such a
fearful calamity.  On our way we found the apparently dead body of a
pirate.  I was going up to him, when Mr Thudicumb called me back.

"Stay, stay, Walter!" he cried.  "If he is not dead, he may take his
revenge on you, even though at the last gasp."

I drew back just in time, for I thought I saw the man's eye move.  Dick
Tarbox came on the next moment, when the seemingly dead Malay started
up, and made a rush at me, with his sharp kriss in his hand.  But the
exertion was too much for him: just as he reached me he fell back, his
wound bursting out afresh, and the next instant he gave a gasp, and was
dead.  It showed the desperate character of the men with whom we had had
to contend, and increased our gratitude that we had escaped falling into
their hands.  Two more we found close to the beach, who had been left
behind by their companions in their hurry to embark.  One was already
dead; the other, though badly wounded, still breathed.  We approached
him cautiously.  Roger Trew was on the point of lifting up his musket to
give him his quietus, when Mr Hooker called to him.

"He knows no better, poor wretch!" he said.  "If he were our greatest
enemy, we should do our best to save him; only let us take away from him
the power of doing mischief."

"You are right, sir; I forgot that," said Roger Trew.

The pirate's kriss was in his hand, but his arm was too weak to lift it.
We removed his weapon, when Mr Hooker addressed some words to him,
which made the pirate open his eyes wide with astonishment.

"I have told him we will not hurt him," said our friend, "and if we can
do him any good, we will.  I do not think he quite believes us; but
here, fortunately, I have brought some water.  He is suffering from
thirst; lift up his head, and I will pour a few drops down his throat."

This was done; and Mr Hooker--asking me to watch the man, after we had
placed him higher up on the beach--giving me his flask, hurried off with
the rest of the party to the Flagstaff Rock.

I confess I was somewhat disappointed, as I thought I should be able to
get a better view of the movements of the English ship from thence.  I
continued, however, to apply the flask to the man's mouth, he every now
and then making signs that he was suffering from thirst.  I looked out
seaward, where I could still see the ship, and she seemed to me to be
standing towards the shore.  How eagerly my heart beat with the thoughts
of being once more on board, and on my way to a civilised land!  Not
that I was weary of my stay on the island; but I knew how anxious
Captain and Mrs Davenport must be about their daughter: and she, too,
poor girl, was pining sadly for them.

I lost sight of the party for some time, till at length I saw them
clambering up on a point of the rock where our flagstaff stood.  It was
still there, though the flag had been carried away.  Presently I saw
Roger Trew mounting to the top to re-reeve the halliards; and then up
went the huge white cloth, which flew out in the breeze against the
dark-green foliage of the forest.  That surely must be seen, I thought.
The party stood round it, keeping their telescopes fixed on the distant
ship.  Presently I saw that some movement was taking place on board.
Alas! the ship was tacking, and away she stood from the island.  Perhaps
she will tack again, and once more stand in for the shore, I thought.
With difficulty could I take my eyes off her, to attend to the wounded
Malay.  His low voice asking for water again drew my attention to him.
Although his brow was low and his eyes somewhat close together and
turned inwards, the expression of his countenance was not so bad as that
of many of his people; and I thought even that he gave a smile of
gratitude as I occasionally let a few drops of water trickle down his
throat.

The ship stood on and on.  Once more she tacked, and my hopes revived.
She was, however, by this time a considerable distance along the coast,
and I could scarcely hope that our signal had been seen.  I had been
keeping my eyes on her for some time, without turning my head, when I
heard voices, and looking round, I saw Mr Hooker and his party coming
towards me.

"No chance of getting off this time, I am afraid," said Mr Thudicumb.
"We shall have to build our vessel, and the sooner we set about it the
better."

"We must, however, put a house over our heads in the meantime," said Mr
Hooker.  "This poor fellow, too, if we are to be instrumental in
preserving his life, must be cared for."

"Of course, sir," said Roger Trew.  "We will have a hut up for him in no
time; and then, as it will be better to be near the shore instead of
remaining on the hill, we must get one set up for the young ladies and
the old Frau."

"Very right, my lad," said Mr Hooker.  "But now, while you attend to
the wounded man, Walter and I will go and look for our treasures, and
ascertain whether they have escaped discovery by the pirates."

How eagerly Mr Hooker, whom I followed, looked round him on every side
as we proceeded to the hiding-place, lest he should discover any signs
of its having been visited!

"Alack! alack!  I am afraid some of them have been here," he said.  "Oh,
what mischief they may have done!"

We reached a hollow under the bank of a dry stream.  Alas! the boughs
had been pulled away, and it was very evident that it had been entered.
The first thing we came upon was the jar which had contained the
nautilus: it was open and empty.  The arrack had been carried off, and
the mollusc lay, entirely destroyed, on one side.

"This is sad--very sad!  Oh, what a loss!" exclaimed Mr Hooker.  "I
hope we may discover that no worse mischief has been done."

We went in, almost falling over a case which had been opened.  Mr
Hooker examined it anxiously.  It had not been disturbed, but after
being opened, the top had been allowed to fall down again.  The other
cases were in the place where we left them.  We now examined them.  Mr
Hooker uttered a shout of joy as he found that all had escaped.  It was
evident that the Malays had intended carrying off the cases, but had
been frightened away before they could accomplish their object.

"Now, Walter, run up to your uncle with the good news," exclaimed Mr
Hooker.  "He said it would restore him, and I am sure it will.  But do
not go without your fowling-piece, though.  We have had examples of the
savage creatures to be met with in the woods."

I hurried along as fast as my legs would let me.  I knew the delight the
announcement would give my uncle.  I took the path we had so often
followed; keeping, as may be supposed, a bright look-out on either side,
lest I might encounter a wild beast or serpent.  Emily saw me coming,
for she was on the watch, and ran down the hill to meet me.  She gave a
good account of Oliver.

"I am so thankful," she said; "he does not seem to have suffered from
that fearful arrow.  I little knew at the time what a risk you were all
running; but I now see how mercifully we have been preserved."

Our uncle had been sleeping, but he started up when he heard me speaking
in the fort.

"And our treasures, have they escaped, Walter?  Are my collections all
safe?" he asked eagerly.

I told him that all his things had been uninjured, and that one case
only of Mr Hooker's had suffered, besides the nautilus.

"Nautilus, did you say?  Has that been destroyed?  Oh, those atrocious
villains!  That prize on which I set such value!  Well, Walter, you must
try and catch me another; you cannot render me a greater service.  Alas!
alas! that I should have lost that one, and all for the sake of the
arrack in which it was preserved!"

I assured him that I would do my best to try and catch another, as I was
certain would also our companions.

"If poor Macco had been with us, I should have had more hope," I said.
"I never met a more expert fisherman, and I am sure he would have
devised some means, though we might fail."

He seemed to take much less to heart the information that the English
ship had passed by; indeed, I suspect he was very unwilling to leave the
island till he had re-collected more of the specimens which had been
left in the house and destroyed.  As yet we could not tell whether the
pirates had discovered our store of timber for building the vessel, as
we had not had time to visit the bay; nor, indeed, whether the boat had
escaped their sharp eyes.  That had been hidden among the rocks at some
distance from the place where we usually landed, and might possibly, we
hoped, not have been seen.

Late in the evening the rest of the party returned.  They had given up
all hopes of again seeing the vessel, and they came to ask Mr Sedgwick
whether he would like to be carried down to the sea-shore.

"Certainly, certainly," he answered; "though I think I can walk.  The
lad here--Oliver--must be carried; and if I fail, I will get you to help
me.  But the sooner we commence building a house the better.  I suppose
some time must pass before the vessel can be got afloat, and we can be
comfortable in the meantime Tanda here, who helped me to put up the
other house, will be of great assistance; and with so many hands, we can
soon get it ready."

I forgot to mention the creatures which had accompanied us into the
fort: we had to pull down some of our stockade to let them out.  And
now, much in the order in which we had arrived, we returned to the site
of the house; near which we found our friends had put up very
comfortable huts for the reception of Mr Sedgwick and Oliver, and the
ladies.

It was night by the time we arrived.  Our two-footed and four-footed
friends seemed delighted to get back to their old location, and began
feeding away eagerly, there being an abundance of provender suited to
their tastes scattered about.

"Up, lads, up!"  I heard my uncle shouting out next morning.  The sound
made me open my eyes.  "Up, lads, up!  We have work to do: a house to
put up, and a vessel to build; provisions to collect, and stores to
prepare."

All hands of our little community were soon on foot.

"Yah! yah! yah!"  I heard the Frau cry out.  "I will prepare breakfast.
You men go and work.  Yah!"

With axes, knives, and saws, most of us started for the nearest bamboo
grove, and were soon cutting and hacking away, bringing down the huge
stalks and clearing them of their leaves.  Oliver and I, however, went
in search of the boat, promising to join them.  We eagerly hastened to
the spot where we had left it, scarcely, however, expecting to find, it
safe.  It had escaped discovery, and we returned with the satisfactory
information.

As the stalks of the bamboos were cut down, they were formed into
bundles of a size which we could manage to drag over the ground to the
site of the house.  Two of the party, under the direction of my uncle,
dug the holes where the uprights were to be inserted.  Mr Hooker and I
undertook to drag the bundles.  When we arrived with the first, we found
the Frau, aided by the girls, busily employed in roasting and boiling
before a huge fire which she had kindled.  Oliver was still unable to do
any work.  He therefore remained at the camp--as I may call it--in the
careful hands of the kind Frau; she or one of the girls being constantly
at his side, either with some cooling beverage, or with some delicacy
which they thought might tempt his appetite.  At a little distance, in
the shade of some boughs, lay the wounded Malay.  I saw his eyes fixed
on the girls with an expression of wonder.  He probably had never seen
any beings so fair and graceful before.  I could not help fancying that
he must have supposed them angels from another world; but whether or not
I was right, I have my doubts.  When, however, one of them took him a
cup of tea which the Frau had just brewed, he received it with an
expression of countenance which I thought betokened gratitude.

When a number of people are working together with a will properly
directed, it is extraordinary how rapidly work can be got through.  We
had a considerable number of the uprights in their places before we sat
down to breakfast.  We were not long about our meal, as we were
determined to finish what was necessary to be done as soon as possible.
Having cut down a sufficient supply of bamboos, we next proceeded to
fell several sago-palms, for the purpose of obtaining the leaf-stems for
the walls and partitions, while from the trunks we intended to make a
supply of sago for our voyage.  By the evening we had made wonderful
progress with the house, and retired to our temporary huts, satisfied
that we had done a good day's work.

Fitting the leaf-stems into frames occupied a longer time; but as
neatness was not our object, it was done rapidly.  Thus in about four
days we had a very respectable house over our heads, capable of holding
all the party.  My uncle sighed as he looked about it, though, and
thought of the treasures his former abode had contained.  We now brought
back his and Mr Hooker's collections, and stored them in a division
which we called the museum.

"The next thing we have to do is to grow some corn for our consumption,"
said our uncle.

"Grow corn?"  I asked.  "Why, I did not suppose that we were to remain
here a year till it came up."

He laughed.  "A couple of months, or little more, after it is put into
the ground, will be sufficient to produce the ripe corn," he answered.

I expressed some incredulity, for I fancied that he was laughing at me.

"Set to work and scrape up the ground, for it is scarcely necessary to
dig it very deep.  We will put in the corn, and you will see that my
prediction will be fulfilled.  Fortunately, I saved a quantity of seed,
which I placed with my collections in concealment," he said.

From house-building all hands set to work to cultivate the ground, and
we quickly had a large space cleared for the reception of the seed,
which, although not a native of that clime, flourishes, as it does
throughout the greater portion of the American continent, whatever may
be the latitude.

By this time my uncle had almost recovered from his wound, and Oliver
and the Malay were much better and able to move about.  Both my uncle
and Mr Hooker could converse with the Malay.  They found him a very
intelligent fellow.  He told them that his name was Ali, that he had
followed various occupations, but that, having gambled away all his
property, he had as a last resource taken to piracy.  Among other
things, he had been a bee-hunter, and seemed to possess a great
knowledge of those wonderful insects.  He boasted also of his skill as a
fisherman.  Constantly listening to us as we talked, he soon began to
pick up a great many words of English.  He was thus able to understand
things said to him, though he could not make any very clear reply.

Mr Thudicumb now once more urged the importance of commencing our
proposed vessel.  I rather think that the two naturalists were in no
hurry to get away from the island, as they were both of them anxious to
replace the objects of natural history which had been destroyed by the
pirates.  However, they could not refuse to comply with Mr Thudicumb's
request, and we therefore set forth with tools to the bay where we had
collected the materials, which, it will be remembered, we called Hope
Harbour.  Fortunately, the pirates had not discovered it, or they would
probably have burned our wood.  The timber and planks which had been
brought on shore did not appear very promising; at first, indeed, I
thought it would be impossible to make a vessel out of them.

"Perseverance will overcome difficulties," observed Mr Thudicumb.
"Never fear, Walter.  With our axes and saws we shall be able in time to
smooth away these planks and fit the ribs to the new craft.  However,
the first thing to be done is to get the keel laid, and for that purpose
we must have one of the longest and straightest trees we can find."

There was a clear road from the bay up into the interior, and while one
party prepared the spot where the vessel was to be built, levelling the
ground, and fixing logs on which the keel was to be placed, under Mr
Thudicumb's directions another started to select the timber.  We were
not long before we came to a tall tree, fully eighty feet in height, and
as straight as an arrow.

"That will do admirably for us," said Mr Thudicumb; "for though our
vessel must not be so long, we shall require the thicker part for the
purpose."

Tarbox, Roger Trew, and Potto Jumbo set to work to fell the tree, the
forest loudly resounding with the blows of their axes.  I must not
occupy too much time in describing how the tree was felled, the branches
cut off, and squared into shape.  We then, fastening some ratans round
it, dragged it on rollers to the bed which had been prepared, and thus
in due form laid the keel of the _Hope_.  Mr Thudicumb, with pencil and
paper, had drawn a plan of the proposed vessel.

"We will give her a good floor," he said, "though she may be rather long
for her beam; but a long vessel is better suited to the seas we may have
to go through.  We will rig her as a cutter or yawl perhaps."

Day after day we repaired to the bay; but to my eye our progress was but
slow indeed, as every timber had to be reformed, and the old bolts taken
out of them, as well as out of the planks.  It was a long business.
With the exception of Mr Thudicumb and Tarbox, we were all
inexperienced carpenters.  At last, indeed, Mr Thudicumb proposed that
he and Tarbox and Roger Trew, with Potto Jumbo, should devote themselves
to building the vessel, while the rest of us either went fishing, or
assisted Mr Sedgwick and Mr Hooker in collecting objects of natural
history, or in manufacturing sago, or in making other articles which
would be required for the voyage or present use.

We set to work to make our sago, much in the way I have before
described.  We had got through the pith of a couple of trees, when one
day Ali made us understand that he had seen some bees at a distance, and
that he was sure we might procure some honey, if we would assist him in
obtaining it.  The Frau pricked up her ears at the sound.

"Oh yes, yes!" she exclaimed; "it will be great thing with sago-bread.
You go, Ali; go!"

It was arranged that Mr Hooker, with Oliver and I, should accompany Ali
in his search.  We started, therefore, accompanied by Merlin.  Ali
supplied himself with a couple of large cloths.  He also, as he went
along, cut some creepers, one a stout one, and another, of considerable
length, very fine.  These he begged us to carry.  With our guns as
usual, we took our way through the forest.  I had often remarked that he
seemed very uncomfortable, as if there was something he wanted very
much.  As we were proceeding, we came to several tall, slender, and
extremely graceful palms.  The trunks were from six to eight inches only
in diameter, though the sheath of green leaves that sprang from their
summits was nearly forty feet from the ground.  They were indeed elegant
trees.  Mr Hooker, when he saw them, said they were the pinang, or
betel-nut palm--_Areca catechu_.  We found the nuts growing from a stalk
hanging down in the centre, forming a loose conical cluster.  Ali no
sooner set eyes on them, than he climbed one of the trees, and brought
down a bunch of the nuts.  He put several of them into the bag he
carried by his side, and we proceeded some distance, till we came to a
stony place, when he instantly, selecting two large stones, pounded some
nuts.  They were ripe, each about the size of a small chicken's egg, the
skin of a brightish yellow.  Within was a husk, similar to the husk of a
cocoa-nut.  Within this again was a small spherical nut, not unlike a
nutmeg, and somewhat hard and tough.  Having picked some leaves, he took
one of them, and produced from his pocket a small piece of lime about
the size of a pea.  This he mixed with some of the nut, and enclosed in
the leaf.  He then took the roll between his thumb and forefinger, and
rubbed it violently against the front of his gums, his teeth being
closed and his lips open.  After this, he began to chew it for some
time, and then held it between his lips and teeth, a portion protruding
from his mouth.  Nothing could be more disagreeable than the result, for
immediately a profusion of a red brick-coloured saliva poured out from
each corner, dropping to the ground as if his mouth was bleeding.  He
seemed, however, highly satisfied, and continued on at a brisk pace.
Soon, however, he spoke a few words to Mr Hooker, who forthwith
produced from his pocket a tobacco-bag.  The eyes of the Malay glistened
with delight as he saw it; and as soon as Mr Hooker gave him a small
portion of the tobacco, cut very fine, he put it in with the betel,
leaving long threads, like pieces of oakum, hanging out on either side
of his mouth, not improving his appearance; and on again he went,
chewing the mass with evident delight.

Mr Hooker was not at all surprised.  He told me that not only the men
but the women indulge in the same unpleasant habit.  When a number of
them meet to chat, the various articles are produced from a box at hand,
and a high urn-shaped receptacle of brass is placed in the middle of the
circle, into which each dame or damsel may discharge the surplus saliva
from her mouth.  When a guest comes in, the _siri_ box is immediately
presented, that the mouth may be filled before commencing conversation.

In a short time a bee was seen flying before us; and immediately Ali
hurried on at a rapid rate, till we came under a tall, straight tree,
with a very smooth bark, and without a branch for at least eighty feet
from the ground.  On one of the long outspreading branches I saw a
couple of large combs hanging down, of a black colour.  After watching
it for a minute, there was a slight movement on the outside, and I
discovered that it was covered with bees.  Ali now produced a small
bundle of resinous wood, which he had brought with him to serve as a
torch, and giving it to me to hold, lighted the end.  He then fastened
one of the cloths round his loins, and another over his head, neck, and
body, leaving, however, his face, arms, and legs without covering.  The
thin coil of rope he had brought he secured to his girdle, while he
formed round the tree a circle of tough creepers, inside of which he
placed his body.  He now secured his torch to the end of another piece
of ratan, eight or ten yards long, with his chopping-knife fastened by a
short rope.  Having done this, he began to ascend the tree, throwing his
ratan band a short distance above him, leaning back at the same time and
placing his feet against the trunk.  It appeared to us who looked on
that every instant he would perform a somersault, and come down head
first, with a great risk of breaking his neck; but he seemed to have no
fear of that sort.  Up he went.  After ascending a few feet, and getting
a firm hold with his bare feet, he again threw up the creeper; and thus
he went on and on.  If there was any unevenness in the trunk, he took
immediate advantage of it by either placing his foot upon it or catching
the creeper above it.  At length he got within about ten feet of the
bough on which the bees hung.  He then lifted the torch, swinging it
towards the bees, so that the smoke ascended between him and them.  He
next in a wonderful manner mounted on the bough; and we could not help
dreading that the bees would attack him and sting him to death.  He,
however, brought the torch nearer and nearer to them; and in a short
time the cones, which before had been black with bees, were completely
deserted, and their natural white colour appeared.  The insects, instead
of flying towards him, formed a dense mass above his head, where they
seemed to hover as if contemplating an attack.  Some, braver than the
rest, occasionally flew towards him; but he, with perfect coolness,
brushed them away, allowing the smoke to circle round above his head,
thus keeping them at a distance from his face.  At length he got close
to the cone, and, with one stroke of his knife, cut it from the bough,
when, fastening the end of the rope round it, he lowered it down to us.
Proceeding along the bough, he cut the other cone away in the same
manner, when the bees, angry at being deprived of their habitation,
food, and their young, began to dart down towards us.  He, of course,
had enough to do to think of himself, and continued waving the torch
about his body, while he returned by the same way he had gone up, though
at a somewhat more rapid rate.

Meantime the bees had begun to swarm about our heads.  Poor Merlin was
furiously attacked, and I saw him driving his nose among the leaves, in
the vain endeavour to get rid of them.  Defeated by the pertinacious
insects, he rushed howling away through the forest.  We, having secured
the cones, followed at full speed, the bees pursuing us, and every now
and then giving a disagreeable sting at our ears, face, and hands.  We
knocked them off as they approached as well as we could.  Though we were
glad we had got the honey, we agreed that we had paid somewhat dearly
for it.  However, our blood was in good order, and the pain soon wore
off.  We had not only got some delicious honey for our friends, but some
wax, which was of considerable value.  We agreed, however, that the next
time we went bee-hunting we would each of us carry a torch for our
defence.

"Ali says there are many more cones in the island, and it is a pity not
to take them," said Mr Hooker.  We were therefore ready to proceed,
provided we could find torches.  Ali made us a sign to follow him, and
soon afterwards, on the side of a hill which we were passing, he pointed
out some tall trees.  On approaching them we found that from the trunks
masses of a sort of gum had exuded.

"Those are dammar trees," observed Mr Hooker.  "It burns readily, and
the natives of these regions use it for torches; indeed, in some places
it serves them instead of candles."

We found not only small lumps, but some weighing upwards of fifteen
pounds.  Some were hanging on to the trunk; others had fallen, and were
partly buried in the ground near the roots.  Ali took some of these
lumps, and, putting them on a piece of rock, with the blunt end of his
axe reduced them to powder.  He then cut some palm-leaves, which he
formed into tubes about a yard long, and these tubes he filled with the
resin, binding them tightly round with small creepers.  He presented one
to each of us, and then signified that if we followed him he would find
more bees' nests, and that we should thus have the means of defending
ourselves.

"But poor Merlin, what can he do?"  I could not help asking.

"We must defend him then," said Mr Hooker; "and Ali must make another
tube to be at his service."

Another was quickly manufactured, and we then proceeded on carefully to
discover the nests.  In a short time we came to another tree with no
less than four cones hanging to one of the branches.  In spite of the
injuries he had received (for he had not escaped altogether free), Ali
prepared to ascend the tree.  He made his preparations as before; and it
was wonderful to see the composure with which he occasionally swung the
torches towards the creatures while ascending, or waved it slowly above
his head when he got on the bough.  Four more fine cones rewarded him
for his enterprise.  The bees descended as before, but we received them
with the smoke from our dammar torches, which helped considerably to
keep them off.  Now and then, however, one bold fellow would rush in
between the wreaths of smoke and inflict a disagreeable sting; and we
had difficult work to defend Merlin's nose and tail at the same time.
Mr Hooker, however, stood stock still, merely letting his torch burn
quietly; and though some of the bees settled on him, they seemed to
consider that they could do him no harm, and again flew off in pursuit
of Oliver, Merlin, and I, as we ran away from them.

We now commenced our return homewards, laden with our honey cones and a
supply of dammar.  We were proceeding across a space rather more open
than usual, when we saw a creature run up the trunk of a tree and fly
obliquely from it towards the ground, near the foot of another, up which
it immediately commenced its ascent.  I should have supposed it to be a
huge bat, had I not seen it climbing as it did.  Ali immediately made
chase; and as the creature did not move very fast, he succeeded in
overtaking it before it had got to any great distance up the stem.  He
gave it a tremendous blow on the head, when it fell to the ground, and
we thought it had been killed; but as we reached it, it gradually began
to move off, running along like any ordinary quadruped.  We caught it
just as it was about to ascend another tree, when again it received
several heavy blows.  Even then, however, it seemed not to be dead.  Ali
coming up, pinned it to the ground with a forked stick.  We then saw
that it was a creature about the size of a cat, and that it had broad
membranes, extending completely round its body to the extremities of the
toes, as also to the end of its tail.  This was of considerable length,
and by the way it curled round a stick we placed near it we found that
it was prehensile.  The creature we now saw had a young one clinging to
its breast, a miserable little wrinkled, hairless monster, and
apparently as yet unable to see.  Its fur was beautifully soft, almost
like velvet.  The little one had escaped injury; indeed, the mother was
evidently still alive.

Mr Hooker at once recognised it as a flying lemur, the learned name for
which is _Galeo-pithecus_.  Ali having covered up its head, undertook to
carry it home, as Mr Hooker hoped it would recover.

"Your uncle will be delighted to have it in his menagerie," said Mr
Hooker; "and I believe that, unless we cut the creature's head off,
nothing will deprive it of life.  So I have no doubt that it will be in
good health again by to-morrow morning."

We had not got far after this adventure when I heard a curious noise
close to us, which I thought must proceed from some bird.  It sounded
like "Tokay, tokay;" almost, indeed, like a human voice.  I drew Mr
Hooker's attention to it.  He also thought it must be some bird, till
Ali coming up at once informed him that it was a lizard, and that he had
often heard the creatures thus talk.  What it said, he declared he could
not tell, but he was very positive that it did talk some language.
Perhaps some day a person who did understand it might come that way.

As may be supposed, we were cordially welcomed on our return, especially
by the Frau, who was highly delighted with the honey and wax which we
brought her.

"Oh! now you shall have honey for your breakfasts, and wax candles when
you sit in the house to read or stuff the birds and beasts; though I
cannot tell what use they are after you have taken the meat out of them,
or wherefore you get so many skins, and pack them up in the boxes," she
remarked.

The Frau was no naturalist.



CHAPTER THIRTY.

WALTER DISAPPEARS--NARRATIVE CONTINUED BY EMILY.

I had not forgotten my uncle's wish to obtain another nautilus, but the
weather had prevented us going on the water for some days.  It having
again moderated, I consulted Ali, through Mr Hooker, on the subject,
and got him to explain what we proposed doing.  We could not, however,
make him understand clearly what we wanted.  That morning he, Oliver,
and I, with Potto Jumbo, went down to the beach to procure shell-fish.
We had been some time on the rocks, when I saw an object floating in
towards the shore.  As it drew nearer, I discovered to my satisfaction
that it was the empty shell of a nautilus.  In my eagerness I was about
to throw off my clothes and jump in to fetch it, when Potto Jumbo drew
me back.  "Take care, Massa Walter," he said; "shark about here!  Never
swim out in open place like dis."  I, however, pointed out the shell to
Ali, and tried to make him understand that it was that of which we were
in search.  He seemed to fancy that I wanted him to swim off for it,
and, thoughtless about the sharks, he was on the point of doing so.
Potto stopped him also, and by waiting patiently, the nautilus shell
gradually floated in towards us, and seizing it eagerly, I returned with
it to the house.  Mr Hooker had now no difficulty in explaining to Ali
that it was the creature in its shell which he so much desired, and Ali
told him that he had great hopes of capturing one.

That evening Ali, Dick Tarbox, and I, went out to fish in our boat in
the line of cliffs near which my uncle had shot the frigate-birds.
First, however, we pulled out some way, and laid down our fish-pots at a
spot where Ali seemed to think it was possible we might capture one of
the much-wished-for nautili.  It was at this place Ali made us
understand that we were more likely to catch fish than any other.  He
came prepared with hooks, which he himself had manufactured from
brass-wire, some of which had been found in the wreck.  He had attached
about a fathom of wire to each hook, at the upper end of which the line
was fastened; this was in order to prevent the sharp teeth of the fish
cutting the line.  He had caught a few fish in a hand net for bait.
Having anchored our boat by a stone sufficient to hold her, we lowered
down our lines.  To each hook a sort of sling of palm-leaf was fastened,
and in this sling was a small stone, so arranged that on reaching the
bottom it fell out.  We very soon got bites, and Ali was the first to
haul up a fine large fish.  Immediately afterwards I got one, and Tarbox
before long caught another.  In the meantime, however, Ali hauled up a
couple; indeed, to each of ours he managed somehow or other to get two.
Their names I do not remember, but I know I never had better sport in my
life.  Gradually the rocks above our heads grew higher and higher in the
gloom of approaching night, which seemed to soften the faint outlines of
the landscape, and to increase the size of the objects round us.  A
little way from us was an opening in the cliffs, beyond which we could
see the dark forest.  From it there issued various sounds, which seemed
to echo backwards and forwards among the rocks.  Among them we could
distinguish the moaning cries of monkeys--one seeming to be calling to
the other for help in piteous tones.  The effect was curious, and had a
peculiarly melancholy sound; indeed we might easily have supposed them
to be the cries of captive slaves, or perhaps a more fanciful person
might describe them as disembodied spirits in some haunted island.
Meanwhile the night wind, sighing through the lofty trees, came moaning
down towards us.  At length darkness compelled us to give up our sport,
and, with an abundant supply of fish, we pulled slowly back towards our
usual landing-place, where, having unladen our boat, we hauled her up to
a safe spot above high-water mark.

I felt an unusual melancholy steal over me, why I cannot tell, while, by
the light of a lamp fed by cocoa-nut oil manufactured by my uncle and
his factotum Tanda, I sat writing these lines of my journal:--"To-morrow
morning Ali and I are going off in the hopes of obtaining a nautilus,
and he feels confident that we shall get one, probably at a reef which
he knows of at some distance, almost out of sight of the island.  It is
so far off that, had he not mentioned it, we should not have been aware
of its existence."

EMILY'S JOURNAL.

Only yesterday, my dear brother Walter asked me to assist him in writing
his journal from his dictation, begging me to put in any remarks of my
own.  Little did I think at the time that the whole would be my work.  I
obey his wishes, though sick at heart and full of anxiety.  Yesterday
morning he and Ali went off in the boat to fish, saying that they were
sure of bringing back a nautilus, which our uncle and Mr Hooker so long
to possess; but a whole day has passed, and they have not returned.
They were seen to be pulling out to sea further than they have ever
before gone.  They had been some time absent, and we were expecting
their return, when a fearful squall, such as has not occurred since the
time when the brig was lost, broke over the island.  Mr Thudicumb and
the kind old boatswain tried to persuade me that I need not be alarmed,
but I cannot help feeling most fearful anxiety.  The boat is so small,
and not at all calculated to contend with a heavy sea.  And then that
Malay Ali--ought he to have been trusted?  I have heard that the Malays
are dreadfully treacherous, and he may have taken this opportunity of
getting away to join his own people.  I could not have thought that he
had been so heartless and cruel as to injure Walter, and yet I know it
is possible.  Poor dear Grace can scarcely lift up her head; she has
been in tears all day, and Oliver feels it dreadfully.  If we had
another boat we might go and search for him, and Oliver has been trying
to persuade Mr Thudicumb and the rest to build one; but he says it
would take a long time to do so, as no timber is ready for the purpose.
It would, indeed, take almost as much time to build a boat as it would
to finish the vessel, and he thinks that it is more important to do
that.  Our uncle and Mr Hooker are very anxious, I see, notwithstanding
all they say.  This morning before daybreak a strange rumbling noise was
heard, and we felt the house shake, and several articles which had been
placed carelessly on shelves fell down.  On running out into the
verandah, a bright light was seen towards the mountains in the interior,
caused by flames issuing from a high peak, above which black wreaths of
smoke ascended to the sky.  Mr Hooker says that although there might be
an eruption of the mountain, yet, as we are a long way from it, we
should have every prospect of escaping injury.  I am nearly certain that
they said this to calm our alarm, for, unintentional, I heard them
talking together, when Mr Hooker observed he did not like the look of
things; that we are living at the mouth of a broad ravine, and that if
any large stream of lava were to come down, it would very likely take
our direction.

"That is what I am afraid of," said my uncle; "but as we have no means
of avoiding it, it would be a pity to put the idea into the minds of the
rest."

"Don't you think that we ought to have a large raft built?"  Mr Hooker
observed.  "If the lava were to come down, we might get upon that and
escape being burned, for the whole forest would quickly be in a blaze."

Our uncle said he would consult Mr Thudicumb; but he thought it would
take a considerable time to build a raft of sufficient size, and that
the time might be better employed in getting on with the vessel.  They
therefore, it appears, have determined to proceed with that.

"But our collections--our cases--what shall we do with them?" said Mr
Hooker.

"Well, my dear Hooker," answered my uncle, "though I would willingly
risk my own life for the sake of attempting to save them, yet I feel we
ought not to imperil the lives of these young people or the others with
us.  It is sad enough to have lost young Walter, and I am afraid he is
lost.  That fellow Ali is a genuine Malay; had he been a Dyak, I should
have had more confidence, although he might have been a heathen, or a
head hunter, or a cannibal to boot.  But those Malays, half Mohammedan
and half idolaters, are very untrustworthy."

Oh, how my heart sank when I heard these words.  I wish that I had not
been compelled to listen to them; it shows too clearly what they think.
Oliver, though suffering himself, tries to console me.  He tells me that
I must trust in God, and go on trusting, whatever happens; that I must
not suppose, even though Walter should be lost, that we have been
deserted by God; and that we may depend upon it, that he has allowed it
to happen for the best: at the same time, that he may have many ways of
preserving Walter, however great the dangers he may have to go through,
and of restoring him to us.  Poor Frau Ursula, after she has been
looking at the mountain, wrings her hands, and wishes that she had never
come to this island.  She left Ternate for fear of the burning mountain
there, and now she finds herself in a similar position of danger.
However, to do her justice, she tries to wear a smiling countenance when
she speaks to Grace and me.  We are left almost alone at the house, as
the rest of the party are assisting at ship-building.  Tanda only comes
occasionally to feed the animals, and to bring us fruit and vegetables
from the garden.  We volunteered to go and assist also, as we could at
all events carry the wood, and hold the planks while the others were
nailing them on; but though they thanked us, they said there were enough
hands employed.  I believe, however, that only two or three are good
workmen, and I suppose that we should be in the way.

Two more anxious days have passed by, and dear, dear Walter has not come
back.  We go down constantly to the sea-shore to watch for his boat, but
it does not appear.  I took Mr Hooker's spy-glass, and Grace and I
spent many hours on Flagstaff Rock, looking out over the ocean.  First I
took the glass, then she took it; and so we continued, as if looking
would bring him back, till our eyes ached with gazing on the shining
water: indeed, Ursula says we must not do it again, or we might bring on
blindness, which would be very dreadful.  If it were not for Oliver I
think we should break down altogether, but he has such a calm, pious,
hopeful spirit.  He assures me, and I know he speaks the truth, that he
yet hopes that Walter will return, or, at all events, that he has not
lost his life, and that we may find him some day or other.  He has
persuaded our uncle to let him read the Bible to the party before they
go out to work, and he does so now every morning; and then he offers up
a beautiful prayer for our safety, and returns thanks for the care with
which we have hitherto been watched over by our merciful God.

Again to-day we wished to go to the rock, when Ursula took the spy-glass
from my hands, and said that we might go, but that we must not take it
with us; that it could not help Walter to come back, and that we should
see him without it as well as with it.  We had been sitting there for
some time when Oliver joined us.  He said that my uncle had sent him to
attend upon us, as he thought we ought not to be left to brood over our
anxiety by ourselves.  Merlin accompanied him; and he says that in
future we must not go without Merlin.  I suspect that there was some
other reason, because Oliver came with a gun.  Perhaps some wild beasts
may have been seen lurking about in the neighbourhood, and they are
afraid the creatures may find us out.  Oliver brought a book in his
pocket, which he took out and read to us.  He reads beautifully, with a
gentle, yet clear musical voice.  His mother taught him, and he says
that she is a well-educated woman, and a very excellent reader.  It is a
valuable gift--for I think it is a gift, although it is one which may be
greatly improved by study and practice.  Two or three times I stopped
him, however, for I thought I saw an object in the distance which I took
to be a boat.  Oh, how my heart beat!  But when Oliver looked--and his
eyes are keener than mine--he assured me that there was nothing, and
that it must have been fancy.  Again and again I deceived myself in the
same way, and so did Grace.  Once I felt sure that I saw a boat--she
said she saw something too; but we waited and waited, and Oliver read
on, and yet the object, if object there was, did not approach nearer.
Again I declared I saw a boat.  Oliver looked up, and shading his eyes,
gazed in the direction in which I pointed.

"You are mistaken, Miss Emily," he answered quietly.  "I wish you were
not.  You caught sight of a mass of sea-weed, and your imagination made
it appear to your sight what it is not."

Saying this, he again sat down, and continued reading.  Tanda had
manufactured some large parasols of palm-leaves, which sheltered us from
the sun, or we could not have sat out on the rocks.  Oliver had come
without one of these, and we thoughtlessly allowed him to sit on with
the hot sun burning down on his back.  On a sudden, as I was looking at
him I saw him turn very pale, and before I could spring to his side to
support him, he sunk fainting on the rock.  Only then I thought of the
cause of his illness, and, holding up his head, placed the parasol above
him, while Grace ran down with his hat, and brought it up full of water.
The sea-water, however, was very warm.  Though we sprinkled his face
with it, it did but little to revive him.  Oh, what would I not have
given for some cold fresh water to pour down his throat!  As I leaned
over him I was afraid that he would not revive; he looked so deadly
pale, and scarcely breathed.  I entreated Grace to run to the house, and
bring the Frau, with a shell of fresh water; and I thought that perhaps
together we might carry Oliver back.  Grace set off, followed by Merlin,
who evidently seemed to understand that something had to be done.  Oh,
how anxious I felt for poor Oliver.  I am sure that I would have given
my own life to save his.  He was dear Walter's friend.  I am sure Walter
loved him as a brother; indeed, he is well worthy of such regard.  No
one also could be more attached to us.  I took my bonnet and fanned his
cheek with one hand, while I held the palm-formed parasol over his head
with the other.  Still he did not revive.  I dreaded lest he should have
received a sun-stroke, which I knew to be a very dangerous thing.  It
was very, very thoughtless of us to allow him thus to be exposed, but we
had been so accustomed to see everybody out in the hot sun that we did
not think about it, and used our parasols more for the sake of
preventing our faces being burned than from any fear of danger.

How anxiously I awaited the return of Grace and Ursula!  Every now and
then I looked up, hoping to see them, but of course I had to watch
Oliver, in the hope that he might begin to revive.  I could not help
occasionally, too, glancing seaward in search of Walter's boat.  I
thought I saw a slight movement in Oliver's eyes.  I was gazing down
upon his face when I heard a strange noise coming from the forest.  I
looked up, but could see nothing.  I thought I must have been mistaken.
Again the sounds reached my ears, and then, turning my eyes in the
direction whence they came, I saw, appearing among the boughs of a tall
tree, a hideous countenance.  I had not forgotten the appearance of the
monster we had seen at the lake.  A second look convinced me that it was
the face of a huge orang-outan.  I trembled lest he should discover
Oliver and me.  He was at some distance, however, and evidently employed
in eating fruit, as I saw a shower of husks and leaves falling down
beneath him to the ground.  Still I could not help dreading that his
eyes were fixed on us.  If he were alone, I hoped that there was less
danger; but if accompanied by his wife and young ones, I knew that there
was great risk, should he see us, of his attacking us, lest we might
hurt them.  Though anxious to watch Oliver, I could scarcely withdraw my
eyes from the hideous monster, who, as he moved along the bough, now
appeared full in sight.  The sounds made me dread, too, that he was not
alone; and presently I saw on another bough a smaller creature, and
then, what I dreaded much, another large one among the boughs on the
same tree.  Still, as long as they remained on the boughs, I knew I had
less reason to dread danger.

How long Ursula and Grace seemed in coming!  I fancied they would have
been with me in a much shorter time.  At last I caught sight of Grace
running along the shore round a point of rock, and when she saw me she
signed that Ursula was following.  A new alarm now seized me lest the
orang-outan should see her as she passed by, and descend the tree in
chase.  I thought of Oliver's gun, which lay near; but though I knew how
to fire, I had never taken aim at an object, and I had little hope of
shooting the mias.  I was afraid, too, of crying out, lest that might
also attract him; indeed, had I done so, Grace would probably not have
known what to do, and was very likely to be pursued.  I watched the tree
with greater anxiety even than before, but the mias continued busily
employed in plucking fruit and handing it to the young one; as I
supposed, teaching him how to open it, and take the best parts.  My
heart beat as if it would break, so anxious did I become.  Oh, how
thankful I felt when Grace at length reached me with the shell of water.

"I could not help spilling some of it," she said, as she put it to
Oliver's lips.  "I am sure it will do him good.  See! see! he is already
opening his eyes."

He did so, but closed them again.  We poured a few drops down his
throat, and then bathed his forehead and head; and in the meantime
Ursula was approaching.  She could never move conveniently very fast,
and she was now evidently out of breath from running.  This made her
perhaps more inclined to cry out, to let us know that she was coming.
Supposing the mias had not seen her, I dreaded lest her voice should
attract its attention.  That it had done so there was soon no doubt, for
I saw him leaning over the bough, and looking eagerly about.  Not till
then did I tell Grace what I had seen.

"Oh dear! what shall we do?" she exclaimed.  "It will seize poor Ursula,
I am sure.  See! see! it is already swinging itself down from the bough!
Yes--there--it has almost reached the ground!  Shall we let Ursula know
of her danger, though I am afraid she will faint if she catches sight of
the creature, she has such a dread of them?"

"No; say nothing: she is too far on to run back again, and it will be
better for her to get on the rock, and she may reach it before the mias
can do so."

"But if she does not, I must fire!" exclaimed Grace, seizing Oliver's
gun.  "I am not afraid of doing that."

"But you cannot take good aim," I said.  "It will be better not till the
last extremity."

"No; I will only do so if the mias gets near Ursula," she answered,
taking up the gun, however, and advancing steadily along the rock.

I had never seen her exhibit so much coolness and courage; indeed, I did
not think that she possessed them.  Ursula had stopped at that moment
for want of breath, and the mias also seemed to be sitting on a lower
branch which he had reached, gazing towards us, as if considering
whether the person he saw was coming to attack him.  Happily all this
time Ursula was not aware of her danger.  Having recovered herself a
little, she again began to hurry on towards the rock.  Hoping that, as
the mias stopped when she stopped, it might do so again, I now shouted
out to her.  The creature turned a quick glance towards us, and
discovered, as it might suppose, that it had two enemies instead of one.
"Quick! quick, Ursula! quick!" now shouted Grace, pointing to the mias.
The poor Frau showed by her gestures how frightened she was.  Still she
managed to run on, while the mias continued descending the tree.
Before, however, it had reached the ground she had got up to the rock,
at no great distance from Grace.

"Run! run!" cried Grace; "get safely on to the rock, good Frau, and I
will defend you."

"No, no, my child," answered the Frau.  "It is for me to fight.  Give me
the gun.  I know how to use it.  You run back to Emily and Oliver.
Here, take this shell of water, though.  I will fire the gun, I say."

She almost snatched the weapon out of the hand of Grace, who came on
towards us with the water.  I saw that the Frau was taking aim at the
mias, and was considering whether she could hit it at so great a
distance.  I was afraid that she would not, and entreated her not to
fire.

"No, no, my child," she shouted out; "I will wait till he come nearer."

Our position was truly a dreadful one, for the creature might in a few
minutes have destroyed the good Frau, and then come and attacked us if
it had been so disposed.  We were now once more quiet, and this induced
the mias to remain stationary.  I wondered why Merlin had not come.  I
thought that he might have assisted us at all events; at the same time
it was too probable that should he attack the creature, he would be
speedily worsted.

We now again applied more water to Oliver's brow, and gave him a few
more drops to drink.  The effect was satisfactory; and not only did he
open his eyes, but his lips began to move, and a slight colour came back
to his cheeks.  At length I heard him speaking, but in so low a voice
that I had to put my ear to his mouth.

"What is it all about?" he asked; "what has happened?"

"Do not be anxious, dear Oliver," I said.  "The sun was very hot, and
you fainted."  I did not like to tell him of our alarm about the mias.

"But I shall soon be well," he answered.  "It is very hot here.  I think
I could reach the shade of some tree, where it would be cooler."

"Oh no, no; you must not move," I cried out.  "We are safer here."

The exertion of speaking, however, was evidently very great, and with a
gentle sigh he again leaned back.  Of course, with that horrid creature
near us, I would not have ventured towards the forest, even had he been
better able to move.

The mias had all the time been watching us, and perhaps, from seeing so
many people together, it thought we were about to attack it.  Now, to
our horror, we saw it reach the ground and stand upright, holding on by
one of the boughs, and grinning savagely at us, so we fancied.  The Frau
took the gun.  "I'll fire!  I'll kill him!" she cried out.  "He must not
come near to hurt you young people."  There was a firmness in her tone I
had seldom heard.  She felt herself to be our protectress, and was
prepared to do battle in our behalf.  Oliver heard her speak.

"What is it?" he asked in a faint voice.

"Oh, there is a horrid mias near us, and the Frau has taken your gun to
shoot it," answered Grace.

"She cannot aim properly!  Let me fire.  Don't fire--don't fire, Frau!"
he said, attempting to rise.  He was, however, too weak, and again sunk
back on the rock, supported by Grace and me.

With horror we saw the mias let go the bough and begin to walk towards
us on all fours.  It advanced towards where a thick shrub grew, when
again catching hold of a bough, it raised itself up on its hind legs.
"Now I'll fire!" cried the Frau.  I was afraid even then that had it
been much nearer she would not have hit it, or at all events wounded it
mortally, and I knew that it would become more savage.  I cried out to
her to stop till it was nearer, but at that instant she pulled the
trigger.  She had missed, we feared, for the mias, uttering a savage
cry, again moved towards us.

"Load again; load again!"  Grace and I cried out.

"Bring the gun to me, pray," said Oliver; "I will load it.  I can do
that."  He felt for his ammunition, which was at his side, but the Frau
took it from him.

"I'll load," she said, beginning to do so.  All this time the mias was
advancing.  Now and then it turned its head, however, as if to watch
what had become of its family, and this delayed its progress.  The Frau,
having had experience of loading at the fort, was soon again ready.
Kneeling down, she raised the fowling-piece to her shoulder.  The mias
was still standing upright.  At the instant she fired we saw it fall.

"It is hit--it is hit!" cried Grace.

"I have killed the creature!" exclaimed the Frau.

But no, it had merely fallen to its usual walking position, and was once
more approaching us.  There appeared no longer time for her to load.
All hope of escaping the savage monster abandoned us.  The Frau,
however, grasped the gun, evidently intending to do battle.  At that
instant Merlin's loud bark was heard, and we saw him tearing along over
the sand towards us.  The mias stopped to look at him, seeming to think
him a more dangerous antagonist than were we three females and our sick
companion.  Merlin caught sight of the mias, and bounded towards him.  I
now began to fear for our four-footed friend, for I knew the power of
the creature, and how one grasp of its strong hands would in an instant
destroy the dog.  Just, however, before Merlin reached it, loud shouts
were heard, and we saw coming round the point of the rock several of our
friends with guns in their hands, evidently understanding that we were
in danger.  Mr Tarbox, the boatswain, led the way, followed by Mr
Hooker and Potto Jumbo.  The mias now turned round and moved towards the
dog, but Merlin was too sagacious to allow himself to be caught, and
when almost within the creature's reach he bounded on one side, and then
wheeled off, still barking, with the evident intention of drawing it
away from us.  How thankful I felt when I saw him do so, for his purpose
was answered.  The creature followed him, making springs which at each
bound almost brought it up to him; but on every occasion the dog nimbly
avoided it, till he had brought it within range of the boatswain's
musket.  The mias, exasperated by disappointment, made two or three
successive springs towards the dog, which brought it still nearer to our
friends.  The boatswain fired, when the creature seemed to discover, for
the first time, how near it was to its enemies.  The ball took effect
upon its shoulder.  We saw it stand upright, stretching out its huge
arms as if to grasp hold of them and tear them to pieces; but at that
instant Mr Hooker stopped and levelled his gun, and the savage monster
rolled over on the sand.  Still it was not dead, and we were even yet
afraid our friends might be injured; but the boatswain stopping,
reloaded his gun, and Potto Jumbo rushing in with a spear thrust it at
the creature.  There was another report, and we knew that we were
perfectly safe.

How thankful I felt that we had escaped, for I cannot describe
thoroughly how fearfully alarmed we were.  There is something so
dreadful in the appearance of those huge baboons.  Our friends arriving,
proposed carrying Oliver into the shade; but we told them that we had
seen another mias and a young one, on which Mr Hooker and the boatswain
set off in search of the creatures, while Potto Jumbo lifted up Oliver
in his powerful arms, almost as if he had been a child, and carried him
off to the edge of the forest, where we could all be sufficiently shaded
from the hot rays of the sun.  Potto Jumbo then set off to join Mr
Hooker and the boatswain.  Oliver now quickly recovered, and after
taking another draught of water, declared that he was able to walk home.
We persuaded him, however, to wait till the return of our friends.  In
a short time we saw them coming through the forest, dragging a prisoner
between them.  It appeared to be a largish monkey.  It was evident it
was in no way pleased at being taken prisoner, for it turned its head
round now on one side, now on the other, attempting to bite its captors,
but we saw that its snout had been muzzled.

"We have brought a prize for my friend's menagerie," exclaimed Mr
Hooker.  "Here is a young mias, and I hope to tame and civilise it,
though at present its manners are far from cultivated.  We killed the
mother, who now hangs to the bough of a tree.  Potto Jumbo soon
afterwards caught the young gentleman by a noose round the neck."

By this time Oliver, having greatly recovered, was able, with the
assistance of the Frau and Potto Jumbo, to set off for the house.  I was
anxious to remain that I might continue watching for Walter, but the
Frau and Mr Hooker would on no account allow me to do so, and at last I
yielded to their wishes and accompanied them home.  We reached it
without further adventure, having to stop, however, several times to
rest Oliver, who was far weaker than he had supposed.  The fright and
excitement we had gone through made Grace and me very ill; and all night
long I was dreaming that we were pursued by the hideous monster, from
whom we in vain endeavoured to escape.

By the morning, however, we had much recovered.  Our small captive
showed its ferocious nature by trying to bite and scratch every one who
approached it.  It caught Tanda by the arm when taking it some food, and
not till it had received several blows on the head would it let go.  It
was then shut up in a strong cage; but the following morning was found
dead, after having made a vain attempt to force its way out.



CHAPTER THIRTY ONE.

MR. SEDGWICK'S UNFORTUNATE EXPEDITION.

My uncle and Mr Hooker are very, very kind; they do all they can to
keep up my spirits, though I see they are very anxious about Walter--
indeed, how could they be otherwise?  Oliver was much better in the
morning, though he was still suffering from the effects of the
sun-stroke, which might have proved fatal; and Mr Sedgwick will not
allow him to leave the house, or in any way to exert himself.  Some of
the party go down constantly to the rock and look out for Walter; but
when each comes back he gives the same answer, "No boat in sight."  Both
the gentlemen do their best to interest me in other matters, so as to
take off my thoughts from Walter.  My uncle reminded me that I had not
been for some time to the plantation, which is at a considerable
distance from the house.  He took Grace and me there this afternoon.

"There, young ladies," he observed, pointing to some of the tall stalks
with beautiful leaves surrounding them.  "A month ago these were little
yellow seeds of maize.  See how rapidly the germ within them has been
developed.  See! already there are some ears which we will carry home to
cook; and in another month's time they will be ripe, and fit for making
into bread."

There was a large plantation of them.  We cut off a number of the heads
which grew on the side of the stalk, several on one.  Each head
consisted of a long piece of pith, to which the grain was thickly
attached, the whole sheathed in broad oblong leaves, which protect them
from injury, till the seed is perfectly hard and ripe.  Here also was a
plantation of sugar-cane.  They also were tall, graceful, reed-like
plants, and were nearly ripe.

Tanda was working in the plantation--or garden, shall I call it?  My
uncle told him to bring home a quantity of the canes, and he began
cutting them at once.  He cut off the tops, and left them and the root
on the ground.  I thought I could have carried a number, but I found a
single cane heavy, so loaded was it with juice.

In another part of the ground there was a plantation of rice.  It was on
the lowest level, where it could be well irrigated by a stream which ran
near.  The rice grew on the top of each blade, the head alone being cut
off.  The rice, before the husk is taken off, is called paddy, and
rice-fields are therefore generally called paddy fields.

Among other productions of the garden are several bushes which produce
the red pepper.  They are covered with fruit of all sizes.  Some of them
are small and green, and some which are fully grown and ripe are of a
bright pink colour.  These are now fit for gathering, and after being
dried are ready for use.  It is called lombok by the Malays.  They
always carry about a quantity of it, and use it at every meal.  One
small plot was devoted to the cultivation of tobacco.  That also was
almost ready for use, and my uncle said we should have a good supply for
the voyage.  The leaves, as soon as they have grown to a sufficient
size, are plucked off, and the petiole and part of the midrib are cut
away.  The leaves are then cut transversely into strips about
one-sixteenth of an inch wide.  These are then hung up to dry in the
sun, and have very much the appearance of bunches of oakum.  It is in
this state ready for smoking in pipes.  When employed for making cigars,
the leaves are not cut, but dried more carefully in their whole state.
Neither tobacco nor maize are natives of this region, but were brought
from the New World two hundred years ago.

In the evening Tanda arrived with the bundles of sugar-cane.
Fortunately the machine which my uncle had invented for crushing them
was at some distance from the house, and had escaped destruction.  It
was sufficient for the object, though rather roughly made.  After the
juice had been pressed out it was boiled, and allowed to run into a
number of pots, where it was to cool and crystallise.  It was then of a
dark brown colour.  While so doing, a quantity of clay and water, of
about the consistency of cream, was poured over it.  The effect of the
water filtering through was to purify the crystals and make them almost
white.  My uncle told us that it was discovered that the clay would
produce this effect by a native, who observed that when birds stepped on
the brown sugar with their muddy feet, wherever their claws had been
placed it became curiously white.  When the finer part of the juice had
been pressed out, the remainder, which is thick brown molasses, is
allowed to ferment with a little rice.  Palm-wine is afterwards added,
and from this compound arrack, the common spirit of the East, is
distilled.  My uncle manufactured it for the sake of preserving his
specimens; but he said he considered it one of the most destructive
stimulants which can be taken into the human body, especially in this
hot country.

We had all gone to bed last night, and I believe everybody was asleep,
when Grace and I were awoke by a curious sensation, as if our beds were
being rocked.  We sat up and began talking to each other, both having
experienced the same feeling.  Again the movement began, at first _very_
gently, and then rapidly increasing till the whole house seemed to be
moving up and down, like a ship at sea, while all the timbers creaked
and cracked as if it were about to fall to pieces.

"What is the matter?  What is it?" cried Frau Ursula, starting up.  "Oh
dear! oh dear! there's an earthquake!" and she sprang from her bed.
"Come! fly, girls, fly!  The house will come down!" she screamed out.

Her voice awakened those in the other rooms who were still asleep.
"Don't be alarmed!"  I heard my uncle saying.  "A marble palace would be
thrown to the ground long before this house will be.  We are as safe
here as anywhere."

Scarcely had he spoken, however, when several crashes were heard in
succession, and the house shook so much that I felt almost sea-sick.  In
spite of my uncle's exhortation, the Frau hastily threw on her clothes,
and we, imitating her example, followed her down the steps, where we
were speedily joined by the rest of the inmates.  There were strange
noises in the forest, and it seemed as if the trees were knocking
together, while the animals round us uttered unusual cries.  My uncle
and Tanda were the only people who remained inside.  He again cried to
us to come back, and at length the Frau was persuaded to return.  He had
struck a light, and enabled us to see our way.

"There, go to bed again," he said; "a few bottles and cases only have
been tumbled down, and no harm has been done."

It was some time, however, after we had gone to our room, before we
could again go to sleep.  It seemed to me that we had scarcely been
asleep many minutes before we felt another shock, very nearly as violent
as the first.  We again started up, and my uncle's voice was once more
heard, urging us all to remain quiet, and not expose ourselves to the
damp night air.  This time we obeyed him, though the Frau sitting up
wrung her hands, wishing herself in some region where earthquakes were
not experienced, and burning mountains were not to be seen.  Neither
Grace nor I could sleep for the remainder of the night; and I found that
Oliver had been kept awake.

The next morning, when we met at breakfast, we looked somewhat pale, I
suspect.  My uncle was inclined to banter us, and told us that we should
not mind such things, as he had felt several since he had been on the
island, and no harm had come from them.  I saw him, however, soon after
that looking somewhat anxiously, I thought, up at the mountain, from
which wreaths of smoke were ascending somewhat thicker than usual; and I
heard him urging Mr Thudicumb to hasten on with the vessel.  "Tanda and
I will prepare stores as fast as we can," he observed.  The
ship-builders hurried off with their tools, but he and Tanda and Oliver
remained behind.  They afterwards set off to what we call Cocoa-nut
Grove, as a large number of cocoa-nuts grow there.  Tanda led one of the
buffaloes with huge panniers on his back.  After a time they returned,
having procured a number of cocoa-nuts.  They were very different from
the cocoa-nuts we had been some time before eating, far more like those
I had been accustomed to see in England.  When the nut is young the
shell is soft, and of a pale green colour.  It shortly afterwards, when
the shell is formed, turns to a light yellow, and on the other side is a
thin layer of so soft a consistency, that it can easily be cut with a
spoon.  In this condition it is always eaten by the natives.  When it
grows older, the outside assumes a wood colour.  The husk becomes dry,
and the hard shell is surrounded within by a thick, tough oily
substance, and, indeed, just as we see it in England.  The natives look
upon it in this condition as very indigestible, and seldom eat it.  It
is of value, however, for the oil which it now contains.  Such were the
nuts which Tanda brought to the house.  We all set to work to break the
nuts and to scrape out the interior substance with knives.  When this
was done, it was put into a large pan and boiled over the fire.  After a
time the oil was separated from the pulp, and floated on the top.  We
then, under my uncle's directions, skimmed it off, and poured it into
bowls and bottles.  It was now fit for use--a very sweet, pure oil.  As
our pan was not very large, it took some time to make a quantity.  We
wanted some for present use, but the chief object was to have a supply
for our lamps on board the vessel.  This oil, my uncle said, is
generally used throughout the archipelago for lamps; indeed, it is
almost the only substance used for lighting.

We were so busily employed during the day, that we almost forgot all
about the earthquake.  There was one thing, however, we did not forget;
for, in spite of occupation, my thoughts were constantly recurring to
Walter.  As soon as our work was over, we ran down to the beach,
accompanied by Oliver, who carried his gun for our defence, lest another
mias might appear.  In vain we scanned the horizon.  No sail appeared,
no object which we could even mistake for the boat, and with sad hearts
we returned to the house.  The sun had just set.  As we were coming
along the path to the house, we saw some large creatures moving about in
the air with a peculiar motion unlike birds.  Going a little way we saw
two more, and then another couple appeared.  Oliver raised his gun and
fired, when down fell a huge creature which looked like a quadruped with
wings.  Though unable to fly, it began to defend itself bravely, and
Oliver had to give it several severe blows before he could venture to
touch it.  "It will be a prize to Mr Sedgwick, whatever it is," he
observed, fastening a line round the animal's neck.  He dragged it up to
the house, and when we brought it up to the light we found that it was a
huge bat.  The Frau, when she saw it, declared that it was a flying-fox.
Mr Sedgwick, however, said it was really a bat, and when he measured
it he found that is was four feet six inches from tip to tip of its
wings.  Oliver said it looked quite like an antediluvian animal.  Mr
Hooker said he had often seen them; that one day he found one hanging to
the bough of a tree with its head downwards.  He fired several shots
before the creature would release its crooked claws from the bough to
which it held.  Tanda proposed skinning and cooking it, saying it was
good to eat.  However, Grace and I begged that we might not be asked to
sup upon it, as the appearance of the animal was far from tempting.  Mr
Hooker called the creature Oliver had shot a _Pteropus_.

Although, through the industry of my uncle and Tanda, we were well
supplied with vegetable food, we were greatly in want of meat.  He
therefore invited Oliver to accompany him on an expedition to shoot wild
ducks on a lagoon at some distance.  He advised us, during their
absence, to keep within sight of the house, or at all events not to go
far from it.  Ursula begged that Merlin should remain with us.

"Yes, yes," said my uncle: "he might act as a retriever for us; at the
same time, I dare say, we can do without him, and he will serve as your
guard, and a very faithful one he seems to be."

I do not know why, but I felt rather anxious about my uncle and Oliver
when they set out.  I could not help thinking of the serpents and wild
beasts they might encounter.  They were going also to a district where
crocodiles abounded.  I was more anxious because they despised the
crocodiles, and said they were stupid creatures, and would never hurt
any one who was on his guard; and that only animals when very thirsty
and drinking, or people incautiously bathing, were ever caught.  As soon
as they were gone, we set to work with our various duties in the house.
I have not described them, but we had plenty to do, and wished to employ
ourselves usefully.  After that, Grace and I agreed to go down to the
beach in the vain hope--I am almost compelled to acknowledge that it is
so--that Walter might be returning.  I can now understand how those who
have lost some dear one at sea go to the shore day after day and month
after month, hoping against hope, that they might return.  When I am
away from the beach, I am constantly wishing to return to it, and often
in the house I look down the pathway leading to the shore, fancying that
possibly I might see Walter coming up it.  Oh, what joy it would be to
my heart!  My dear, dear brother!--the only person in the world nearly
related to me, whom I know well and love thoroughly.  Our uncle is very
kind, but I as yet do not know him well, and he is odd in some things.
Oliver truly acts the part of a brother, and I am sure loves me as a
sister, and I value his regard.  Merlin seemed also to watch the horizon
as anxiously as we did.  I am sure he knows that Walter is away, and is
also looking for him.

We watched and watched, till the sun, sinking low in the horizon, warned
us that we must go back and prepare supper for our friends.  The
ship-builders would soon be coming back, and we hoped that my uncle and
Oliver would also be coming home.  Again we cast one lingering look
towards the horizon, but there was no break in its clear, well-marked
line.  We found the Frau somewhat anxious about us.  "I do always think
of that horrid mias, for though Merlin would fight for you, yet the
creature would kill the dog with one grip of his big hands," she
observed.  We had got the table spread, and the Frau was putting some
dishes on it, when Mr Hooker and the rest arrived from Hope Harbour.
They had seen nothing of my uncle and Oliver.  Why had they not come
back?  I remembered my forebodings in the morning, and again began to
fear that some accident had happened to them.  Mr Hooker, however, said
he thought they would have been led, by their anxiety to obtain game,
further than they intended; and as all the party were very hungry, they
commenced supper without waiting for them.  Grace and I sat down, but
could eat nothing.  Oliver had scarcely recovered his strength, and I
was afraid that he might have been seized with the same sort of attack
as he was a short time ago.  It grew darker and darker, and very rapidly
night came down upon us.  Still no sign of the missing ones.  Mr Tarbox
proposed going out to search for them with torches.  Roger Trew and
Potto Jumbo agreed to accompany him.  A supply of dammar torches was
soon manufactured, and each carrying a bundle on his back, with one in
one hand and a gun in the other, they sallied forth.  As long as they
could find their way, there would be less danger moving through the
forest at night with torches than in the day-time, as savage beasts and
snakes avoid the light, and only harmless moths and bats fly against it.
In my eagerness I should have liked to have gone with them, but they
would not hear of it.  Merlin, however, having performed his duty in
watching over us, when he saw them going out, quickly followed, and of
course he was likely to be of use in searching for the lost ones.  Mr
Hooker and the mate were not so strong as they were before their
illness, and were therefore easily persuaded to stay behind.  They tried
to keep up my spirits, and reminded me that my uncle was so well
acquainted with the country, that he was not likely to have got into any
danger himself, or to have allowed his companions to do so.

Often Grace and I ran out to the verandah to watch for them, hoping to
see the bright light of the torches re-appearing along the path.  How my
heart bounded when at length I heard a shout and saw a gleam of light in
the distance!  It grew brighter and brighter, and then I could make out
several people carrying torches.  I tried to count them.  I saw three,
and then a fourth figure.  There ought to have been six.  I could
distinguish my uncle from his tall figure and peculiar dress.  Then it
seemed to me as if they were carrying something between them.  In vain I
looked for Oliver, whom I should have known by his being shorter than
the rest.  We ran down the steps to welcome them, and inquired what had
happened.

"Don't be alarmed, Miss Emily," I heard Roger Trew, who came first,
exclaim.  "Your uncle is all right, but Oliver--" Oh, how my heart sank.
"Well, he has been somewhat hurt.  He will come round, though; don't be
afraid, miss.  Poor Tanda, it has been a bad job for him."

Before I could make any more inquiries, the rest of the party, who bore
Oliver among them, arrived, and he was carried up the steps.  I ran to
his side.  He could speak but faintly.  My uncle seemed very much out of
spirits, as his faithful Tanda had lost his life.

"I do not know which of us may go next," he observed.  "Oliver has had a
narrow escape, let me tell you; and he deserved to escape, for a very
bold thing he did.  He is a brave lad.  It would have been a pity to
lose him."

"But what has happened?  What has happened?" exclaimed the Frau.  "Why
Oliver again ill?"

"You shall hear all about it by-and-by, Frau.  But here, give Oliver
some food, he requires it, for even I am almost faint for want of my
supper."

The Frau attended to Oliver's wants, and my uncle sat down to the
supper-table and began eating away without speaking further.  He was not
a man of many words, and when anything had annoyed him, I observed that
he was more silent even than usual.  As I did not think Oliver was in a
fit state to speak, I resolved to bridle my curiosity till the next day.
Food and a night's rest greatly restored Oliver, and he was up next
morning at the usual hour.  He then gave me a short account of what had
happened:--

"Instead of taking our usual course across the bamboo bridge," he
observed, "we struck away to the right to explore a part of the country
Mr Sedgwick had not visited.  We caught sight of several wild
creatures, and among others a mias which led us a long chase, and even
then managed to climb up into his nest in a tall tree where we could not
reach him.  You see, Emily, these creatures build nests for themselves
and their young ones, and indeed, from what Tanda told Mr Sedgwick, I
believe they build one every night when they go to sleep in the boughs
of a large tree.  Certainly this one seemed to have no inclination to
attack us, and I could easily believe that they would not generally do
so, unless alarmed and afraid of being attacked themselves.  After a
little time we reached a most curious spot, all around destitute of
vegetation.  The ground rose towards it, and in the centre was a
miniature conical hill, out of which there bubbled a stream of water
running down on one side of it.  Mr Sedgwick hurried forward to examine
this curious spring, and on tasting the water, he took some grease out
of his wallet to wash his hands in the fountain.  Immediately he
produced a thick lather, and shouted out to me to come near and wash my
hands if so disposed, as he had discovered a veritable soap-spring.
[Note.  There is a soap-spring of this description in Timor, an island
our friends did not visit.] I proposed that as the spot was at no great
distance, we should mark it, so as to be able to repair there to wash
our clothes, preparatory to our voyage.  Mr Sedgwick said he had no
doubt it contained a large quantity of alkali and iodine, which had been
the cause of the destruction of the surrounding vegetation.  Not far off
were some beautiful clear springs, which possessed none of these
qualities.  We drank the water from the latter, which tasted thoroughly
pure, and was beautifully clear.  Above them rose several lofty
banyan-trees, their numberless stems forming cool arbours which tempted
us greatly to rest there, and I could not help wishing that you had
accompanied us thus far.  I think, had Mr Sedgwick discovered it
before, he would have built his house in the neighbourhood.  How
delighted Walter would have been with the picturesque beauty of the
scene.  Going on for some way over a variety of hills, we descended to a
beautiful lake, where we soon discovered a flock of brown ducks.  On
getting down, however, to the edge, we found a border so marshy that we
could not get a good shot at them.  On the side where we were was a band
of dead trees.  We proceeded along the lake, through the tall,
sharp-edged grass, till we got exactly opposite the spot where the flock
had settled.  They could not see us, as we were thoroughly sheltered by
the grass and trunks of trees; at the same time it was difficult to
shoot them on account of the trees which intervened.  We kept as close
as we could, expecting them every instant to take to flight, when Mr
Sedgwick sprang up, and I followed his example.  We both fired at the
same time.  Although a number of the ducks flew away, six or seven at
least remained floating on the water.  Had Merlin been with us, we
thought we should soon have had them; but now, how to get them out was
the question.  I proposed swimming off for them, but Mr Sedgwick said
that after my illness I ought not to make the attempt, and then Tanda
offered to go.  `Very well,' said Mr Sedgwick; `you, Oliver, stay and
take care of the guns, and Tanda and I will go.'  Accordingly, throwing
off his clothes, he and Tanda began to wade through the mud and reeds.
It appeared dangerous work, as the mud was very soft and the reeds very
tall, and often they were hid from sight.  I had never felt so anxious
before.  Presently I saw them emerge from the reeds and begin to swim
towards the ducks.  Some of them not having been killed outright, had
floated to a distance from the others.  Towards these Tanda made his
way, while Mr Sedgwick swam towards the four which were still floating.
He was already bringing them back, when, to my horror, I saw between
him and Tanda a huge snout appear above the surface.  I knew it to be
that of a crocodile.  I trembled for the fate of our kind friend.
Tanda, I thought, would be safe, as he was near the shore.  Could I save
Mr Sedgwick?  Whether Tanda saw the crocodile or not, I do not know;
but he had already seized the ducks, and had once more plunged into the
water, swimming towards his master.  Mr Sedgwick struck out boldly.  He
had caught sight of the creature, but it did not unnerve his arm, nor
would he let go his ducks.  I heard his voice shouting.  `Fire!'  I
thought he said.  Putting the other guns down, I immediately loaded with
ball, knowing that shot would be utterly useless.  I approached the edge
of the lake, and fired at the monster's head, feeling that the lives of
my companions might depend on my aim.  The ball struck the monster, but
I saw it bound off into the water.  The creature sank, and I dreaded to
see it come up near our friend.  The next instant, what was my horror to
observe it rise again, and with open jaws rush at Tanda.  The brave
fellow shouted out and thrust the ducks forward, hoping, apparently, to
draw back in time to escape those terrible jaws; but the monster was a
large one and hungry, and so great was his impetus that it seemed almost
as if not an instant had passed before the upper part of the unfortunate
Tanda's body was seized and he was dragged to the bottom of the pond.
Not a shriek escaped him; not a sound was heard.

"Great as was my horror, I still had presence of mind again to load, to
be prepared to assist Mr Sedgwick, should it be necessary.  I scarcely
think he saw what had occurred, and with powerful strokes he made his
way towards the bank.  Even when he had reached the sedges, I knew that
he might not be safe, as those terrible monsters could easily follow
him.  To assist him, however, I kept shouting at the top of my voice,
holding my gun ready to fire should one appear.  At length he made his
way across the sedges, and landed on the bank, holding up the birds, and
exclaiming with a laugh, `We have done well!  I hope Tanda has been
equally successful!'  Sad was the change which came over his countenance
when I told him what had occurred.  Not till then did I know how anxious
I had been.  The sun all the time was burning down on my head, and a
sudden sickness overpowered me.  I knew no more till I found myself in
the shade of the banyan-trees, near the cool fountain I have described.
Mr Sedgwick was sitting near me, and looking very sad.  He felt greatly
the loss of Tanda, and, I believe, thought that I also was dying.  The
cool air of evening, and the water with which Mr Sedgwick had liberally
bathed my head, had revived me.  It had been a great exertion to him
carrying me thus far, and he seemed to doubt whether he could manage to
convey me to the house.  However, he at length took me up, but he was
very nearly overcome, I suspect, when we were met by our friends."



CHAPTER THIRTY TWO.

THE "HOPE" SAILS IN SEARCH OF WALTER.

Several days have passed since I last wrote in dear Walter's journal.
Mr Sedgwick seems scarcely yet to have got over the loss of Tanda;
indeed he was his right hand man.  Still he works away very hard by
himself in arranging the stores for our voyage, and the Frau and Emily
and I help him as much as we possibly can.  We have a good supply of
sago-cake.  We went out and helped him to gather in the maize, which is
now ripe--having enormous ears.  We have busied ourselves in separating
the grains.  Then we have paddy.  We assisted in cutting it, but we
could not make much progress; and Potto Jumbo devoted a couple of days
to that work, so that we have now enough.  We find great difficulty,
however, in beating off the hull in a large mortar.  We had seen Tanda
do it, when not a grain was driven out; but when we attempted it, we
sent them flying out in all directions.  However, by placing a cloth
with a hole in it, for the handle to go through, over the mouth, we
managed to get on better, and prepared in the course of a few days a
good supply.  At a little distance from the house grew a grove of a
species of banana which my uncle planted.  He called it the _Musa
textilis_.  It was about fifteen feet high.  From the fibrous stem of
this plant the manilla hemp is manufactured.  It was now cut down, and
by being beaten thoroughly the fibres were drawn out, and our uncle and
Potto Jumbo set to work to manufacture rope from it for rigging the
vessel, as they did not consider there had been a sufficient supply of
rope saved from the brig.

We had been anxious to go and see the vessel, and one day we set off
with the ship-builders at an early hour.  Our surprise was very great to
find her perfectly ready for launching.  Her masts and spars and rigging
lay under a shed on one side, and it seemed as if it would only be
necessary to put her in the water, and get the stores on board, to sail
away.  But sail where?  That was the question.  Should I have any
satisfaction in sailing away without first looking for Walter?  Would
our uncle consent to do this?  The uncertainty took away some of the
satisfaction I should otherwise have felt.

The whole of the party now collected, when Mr Thudicumb announced that
the launch was that morning to take place.  Hopes and tackle had been
arranged and secured to the rocks to assist in hauling her off, and I
was told that I was to throw a bottle of arrack at her bows, and to name
her.  Having no bottle, I found that the arrack had been put into a
small gourd.  It was hung from the bows, against which I was told to
swing it.  No sooner had I done so, wishing the _Hope_ a prosperous
existence, than she began to glide off towards the water.  Quicker and
quicker she went, and it seemed to me that she would slip away out to
sea; but ropes restrained her, and in another instant she floated calmly
in the bay.  Loud cheers broke from our small company, and Roger Trew,
who had remained on board, waved his hat, and danced a hornpipe in his
glee at the success of their undertaking.

All things are ready for the voyage.  The _Hope_ is to be rigged as a
cutter.  The seams have been filled in with dammar; and though no paint
has been used, she appears to great advantage with the natural colour of
the wood.  I thought we were all to go in her at once; but it is
considered better that she should first make a trial trip in search of
Walter.  I was very anxious to go; but my uncle says he cannot allow me,
and that Grace and I, with the Frau and Oliver, must remain on the
island.  Her crew, therefore, will consist of Mr Thudicumb as
commander, Dick Tarbox, Roger Trew, and Potto Jumbo as crew, with Mr
Hooker as passenger.  He wishes to go, both on account of his anxiety to
find Walter, and also, as they will visit a number of islands and reefs
in their search, he expects to find numerous objects of natural history.

We were busily employed for several days in carrying down stores to Hope
Harbour; even the water had to be carried a considerable distance.  It
is contained in large pieces of bamboo, which can be stored securely in
the hold, as there are no casks in which to put it.  Then they have
sago, rice, and Indian corn, and young cocoa-nuts and bananas, mangoes,
and several other roots and fruits.  Among the most valuable are the
bread-fruit, just now ripe, the trees of which my uncle planted when he
first came to the island.  He had also grown some tea-plants, and among
our other occupations I forgot to mention, was preparing the leaves
according to the Chinese mode.  The beverage does not taste very strong,
but it has a nice flavour, and will answer its purpose very well.  The
cocoa-nut oil which we manufactured is also contained in pieces of
bamboo.  Our sugar is not very white, and would not be considered highly
refined, but it is sweet and nice, and Grace and the Frau consider it a
very delicious sweetmeat.  The vessel is thus stored with the
necessaries of life.  I hope she may sail well.  She is decked
completely over, with three compartments for cabins.  When we all sail
we are to have the centre, the men are to be forward, and the gentlemen
aft, with a small cabin for Mr Thudicumb in the fore part of the
vessel.  There are large lockers on either side for stores, some of
which are to be placed in the hold, but only those which will not suffer
from being wet, as it is thought likely that the vessel will leak
somewhat, perhaps, in consequence of the want of skill on the part of
the workmen.  However, each one says he has done his task to the best of
his ability, and can do no more.  My uncle and Oliver retain two of the
best fire-arms, and the rest are to be put on board the vessel, in case
they should fall in with pirates, or land on any part of the coast where
savages exist.  We are to go down to-morrow morning to see them off.
Oh, how earnestly will my prayers ascend for their safety, and that they
may find dear Walter!

The _Hope_ has sailed.  We went down to Hope Harbour early in the
morning, having breakfasted by lamp-light, and as soon as all had gone
on board the anchor was weighed.  It was like a Malay anchor, made of
wood, and a huge stone to keep it down.  Favoured by the land-breeze,
the _Hope_ glided out of the harbour.  Oliver said she appeared to sit
beautifully on the water, and he thought she would be a fine sea-boat.
Amid cheers and tears and prayers--oh, how earnestly I prayed, and I am
sure so did Oliver and Grace--we saw her sail away from the land.  We
hastened homeward, that we might get a last look of her from Flagstaff
Rock.  The _Hope_, instead of proceeding out to sea, was now standing
along shore.  How pretty and light she looked as she glided by.  We
continued waving an adieu, but I do not think those on board could have
seen us; indeed, we could only just distinguish them as they stood on
the deck.  Away, away she sailed towards the east.  She went in that
direction because Mr Thudicumb believed, from the way the wind blew
when dear Walter was carried away from the land, that he would have been
driven to some place in that direction.  The wind was light, so that she
continued in sight for a long time.  We could not tear ourselves away
from the spot.  How well was she called the _Hope_; for our hope was
strong that she would find him of whom she was in search.  Gradually she
became smaller and smaller, and less distinct; and now her hull was
entirely hid from view, and we could see only the white canvas above the
ocean.  At length that began to descend in the horizon, and a small
white speck alone was visible, gradually decreasing in size till it
disappeared altogether.  I could not help regretting that we were not
all on board, but those who knew better than I do decided it otherwise,
and so I do my best to silence my regrets.  It is a good thing, too,
that we have Oliver with us.  He exerts himself not so much to keep up
our spirits, as to show us how we ought to think and feel; and he proves
clearly that as God knows best what should be done, we should bow humbly
to his will, whatever may occur.  What a blessing it is to know that God
watches over us, and arranges our affairs for us better than we can for
ourselves, if we show a readiness to submit to his will.  It would,
however, be a hard trial should the vessel return without having found
Walter.  My uncle is kinder than ever.  He seems to understand how
anxious I am, and continues to try and find employment for us.  We have
a number of curious birds to feed, and some poultry which escaped the
Malays having been found, we take care of them, as also several animals
which require being attended to.

Among the most precious and beautiful were several birds of paradise,
prized above all others in the collection.  The first I will mention was
called the superb bird of paradise.  The plumage was black, though, as
the sun shone on it, the neck showed a rich bronze tinge, while the head
appeared to be covered with scales of a brilliant metallic-green and
blue.  Over its breast was a shield of somewhat stiff feathers, with a
rich satiny gloss and of a bluish-green tint, while from the back of the
neck rose a shield--in form like that on the breast, but considerably
larger and longer--of a rich black, tinged with purple and bronze.  It
would be difficult to do justice by a verbal description to the beauty
of that little gem of a bird, when, animated, it expanded its shields
and stood quivering on its perch.  I often thought how much more
beautiful must be the appearance of numbers collected together in their
native woods in the interior of New Guinea, from whence this one was
brought.  The feet of our little pet were yellow, and it had a black
bill.  We fed it on fruits, especially small ripe figs, and also on
insects, such as grasshoppers, locusts, and cockroaches, with
occasionally caterpillars.

Another of our pets was called the six-shafted or golden bird of
paradise.  It was not less curious than the former.  The plumage, though
black in the shade, glows in the sun with bronze and purple, and on the
throat and breast are broad feathers of a rich golden hue, exhibiting in
a bright light green and blue tints.  The back of the head is adorned
with the most brilliant feathers, shining as if composed of emeralds and
topazes; in front is a white satin-like spot, and from the sides spring
six slender feathers, thin as wires, with small oval webs at the
extremities.  As if the beautiful creature was not sufficiently adorned,
on each side of the breast rise masses of soft feathers, which greatly
increase its apparent bulk when fully elevated, and almost hide its
wings.

Walter in his journal has already described several other birds of
paradise.  Our uncle calculates that there are eighteen known species,
all remarkable for their beauty, and the curious arrangements and colour
of their plumage.

Poor Tanda used to look after them, and now Oliver and Grace and I have
undertaken the task as far as we are able.

We had for a long time given up watching for Walter.  The _Hope_ might
find him, but it was not very likely that he could come back in the
small boat.  I should have given way long ago to despair had not Oliver
been with us; but he showed me that despair is on all occasions wrong,
and I endeavoured to overcome my anxiety.

How quiet our party appeared that evening, so many having gone.  My
uncle spoke but little.  Oliver did his best to interest Grace and me;
and the Frau, though she did not talk very learnedly, talked away, and
did her best to amuse us.  Every now and then she turned on Mr Sedgwick
and bantered him on his silence.  Merlin went up to the seats which had
usually been occupied by the absent ones and snuffed at them all round.
Then he went and lay down in his usual place on a mat near the door.  He
had seen them go off in the vessel in the morning.  I wonder if he knew
where they had gone.  I believe he was fully aware that they had gone in
search of Walter.

There was another earthquake last night.  The house shook almost as much
as before, and this morning I thought my uncle looked far more anxious
than ever; indeed, he observed that he was not quite certain whether it
would not have been wiser for us all to have gone on board the _Hope_.
"These earthquakes are often forerunners of an eruption," I heard him
remark to Oliver.  Oliver and he went out soon afterwards to Hope
Harbour with their axes, and were absent all the day.  When they came
back Oliver said he had been employed in cutting down trees.  I asked
him what they were for.

"Why, Mr Sedgwick thinks it may be as well to prepare a raft, in case
we should wish to leave the island before the return of the boat."

"But could we possibly wish to do that?"  I exclaimed.  "Not under
ordinary circumstances," he answered.  "But, Miss Emily, I would urge
you to brace up your nerves for whatever may occur; or better than that,
seek for strength from above to go through any danger to which you may
be exposed.  I think indeed that Mr Sedgwick himself wished me to talk
to you about the matter, for he has grave apprehensions that there may
be, with short notice, an eruption of the mountain.  I had terrible
evidence of what that may produce, when Walter and I escaped from our
island.  He therefore thinks it prudent to have a raft ready sufficient
to carry us all.  If we could build it, it would remain secure in Hope
Harbour, though we may pray that it may not be required.  The trees we
have cut down are of a very light wood, which floats easily, and we are
going to place the planks which remain over from the vessel, with a
quantity of bamboo on the top of it, so that we may quickly make a
buoyant and secure raft."

I believe I should have been far more alarmed at this information had I
received it from any one else, but Oliver spoke in so calm a way that I
felt sure that all would be for the best.  I then told Grace, who was
perhaps more alarmed than I had expected her to be.  I trusted, too,
that the _Hope_ would return before such a fearful event should occur,
and that we might be safe away from the island in her.  We gradually
told the Frau what Mr Sedgwick apprehended.  "Ah, yes!" she said,
looking up at the mountain, "I think so too.  Before long that send up
stones and ashes, and send down rivers of lava from its sides; but I
hope we be away first.  I would rather be living in my own Dutch land,
where we see no hill higher than a mole-hill, and where we have the sea
ready to come in over the country with every storm, than I would live
out in these beautiful lands, where the earthquake like the sea, and the
mountains are like so many cannons stuck in the ground with their
muzzles up."

When my uncle came home I told him what I had heard, and begged he would
allow us to come and help him and Oliver to make the raft.  "I do not
know that you can help us in building the raft," he said; "but you can
assist in preparing the provisions and stores, without which it would be
of little use, as we should only put to sea to be starved."

This we gladly undertook to do, and immediately commenced arranging
packages for the buffaloes to carry.  The Frau hurried off, and worked
very energetically, every now and then casting an anxious glance up at
the mountain.  "What if it blow up before we ready?" she exclaimed.
"Dear, oh dear!"  The buffaloes had become so accustomed to us that we
could lead them without difficulty, and as soon therefore as we were
ready, we started off by the well-beaten track to Hope Harbour.  I will
not say that we were not a little anxious lest we might meet a mias or
tiger or other wild beast, but we had Merlin as a guard, besides which,
we hoped that the frequent firing of the guns had driven them away.  We
found my uncle and Oliver hard at work upon the raft.  It was now almost
ready to launch.  "We must build a shed also in which to store our goods
till the moment comes for embarking, should we be compelled to quit the
island," he observed.  "We will hope, however, for the best, and that
the old mountain will remain quiet till the _Hope_ returns."  We made
three trips with the buffaloes, till we had collected an ample supply of
provisions, as also some additional clothing, and canvas with which to
form a covering to the raft.  We were of some assistance also in putting
up the shed.  This was soon done.  It had, however, to be tolerably
secure, to prevent the entrance of monkeys, or any wandering bear which
might have found his way to the store.  Both creatures are great
thieves, and would have carried off the whole of them.  This done, my
uncle and Oliver made several improvements on the raft.  A strong rail
was put up round it to serve as a bulwark, and a place raised in the
centre, also securely railed in, which they said should be our post.
They rigged also a couple of masts and sails, and some long oars, as
well as a rudder and some short paddles, which latter might be used at
times when the oars could not be so well worked.  Altogether we looked
with some satisfaction on the raft, and felt thankful that we had the
means of escaping should we be driven from the island.

We were now looking out every day for the return of the _Hope_.  The
weather, which for long had been very fine, once more gave signs of
changing.  We remembered too clearly the sad night when the brig was
lost, and we dreaded lest the cutter might be exposed to a similar
danger.  Hitherto the weather had been beautifully calm and clear; now
clouds were gathering in the sky, though the wind was not as yet very
strong.

"How dreadful it would be," said Grace, "if the mountain were to burst
forth while a hurricane was blowing!  We should be driven from the
island, and yet not be able to venture on the sea."

"We should not give way to such thoughts, Miss Grace," remarked Oliver.
"Let us go on trusting to Him who has hitherto taken care of us."

"I feel rebuked," said Grace, a little time afterwards; "I will try to
quiet my alarms, and hope for the best."

Having now made all the arrangements which could be thought of, we very
frequently went down to Flagstaff Rock to look out for the _Hope_.
Often we had to return disappointed, however.  At length one day, when
Oliver, Grace, and I, attended by Merlin, were collected there, Grace
exclaimed--

"See! see! there is a white spot in the horizon!"

We all looked towards it.

"I fear it is a line of foam-crested seas," said Oliver.  "See! it
extends far on either side.  It is caused by a hurricane, which is
sweeping towards us."

"Oh, but I am sure there is a sail too!" said Grace.  "Look again,
Oliver.  If you shade your eyes, you will see it rising above the foam."

We all looked; and at length both Oliver and I agreed with Grace that
there was a vessel's sail.  She seemed to be coming towards the island.
How eagerly we gazed at her!  At length we had no doubt about the
matter; and Oliver said he was sure she was the cutter.  We wished to
let Mr Sedgwick and the Frau know the good news; and yet neither of us
liked to leave the spot.

"Merlin can remain with you," said Oliver at length, "and I will go and
tell them;" and off he set.

The cutter drew nearer and nearer, carrying a press of sail, considering
the strong wind which was now blowing.  She was apparently making for
Hope Harbour, instead of standing in towards Flagstaff Rock.  From the
way of the wind, the entrance to Hope Harbour would be tolerably
sheltered.  This probably was the reason.  I understood enough about sea
affairs to know that she was carrying so much canvas in order to weather
Flagstaff Cape.  When that was done, I trusted she would be safe.  Oh,
how I wished we had a spy-glass to see who was on board!  Could Walter
be there?  How my heart beat!  Poor dear Grace, too, was greatly
agitated.  We had long wished for this moment; and now it had come.  Not
only were we still in doubt, but agitated by anxiety for the safety of
those on board.  It appeared to me that our friends were in great
danger, from the way the little cutter heeled over to the wind.  On she
stood, without attempting to lessen the sail; when, as we were gazing at
her, suddenly a fearful blast struck her.  Over bent her mast and sail.
We both of us shrieked with horror.  Before we could look again she was
upset, and the sea breaking wildly over her.

"Oh, she will sink! she will sink!" cried Grace--"and all will be
drowned!"

She had passed the cape, and was driving in towards the shore, the sea
every instant increasing in height and fury.  Would she float till she
reached it? or, should she reach it, would she escape the fearful rocks
which lined so long an extent of the coast?  We watched her with fearful
anxiety, trying to ascertain what those on board were doing; but the
distance and the spray which drove over her almost concealed them from
our sight.  We were still gazing at them, when we heard my uncle and
Oliver utter exclamations of dismay.  They had just arrived at the spot
where we were.

"We must go round to Cormorant Bay," said my uncle.  "I think she will
drive ashore thereabouts, if she floats as long; and if our friends can
manage to cling on till then, they may possibly be saved.  But the risk
is a fearful one."

Hurrying from the rock, we had to go all the way round by the house to
get to the bay of which my uncle spoke.  The Frau saw us as we passed,
and followed as fast as she could move, though she in vain attempted to
keep up with us.  On we ran with Merlin.  We no longer thought of
snakes, or orang-outans, or tigers, so eager were we to reach the bay.
As we passed the house, our uncle and Oliver snatched up some large
bamboos and ropes to assist them in getting our friends on shore.  We
eagerly looked out through each opening towards the sea, in the hope of
seeing the vessel; but she was nowhere visible.  Oh, how my heart
trembled lest she should have sunk before reaching the shore!  Sometimes
our agitation was so great that Grace and I could scarcely proceed.
Again we regained our courage, and ran on; but I felt as if I was in
some fearful dream, so eager were we to get there, and yet so incapable
did we feel ourselves of moving fast.  At length the bay to which we
were directing our course appeared between the trees.  We made our way
down to the beach; but so fearfully agitated was the ocean that we could
not at first distinguish the vessel.  Yes! but there she was, though--
still floating, and at some distance from the land; but the foaming seas
were washing over her, and it seemed impossible that anybody could yet
be clinging to her sides.  The spray broke in our faces, and prevented
us from seeing clearly.  Oliver, however, at last exclaimed--

"Yes, yes--I am sure there is some one holding on to the bulwarks!  Yes!
I see two--three figures!  I am sure of that.  Perhaps there are more."

We stood with aching eyes gazing on the vessel.  We could render her no
assistance.  Still it was evident she was driving in closer and closer.
Happily the bay towards which she was coming was free of rocks; and
though a tremendous surf broke on it, yet it might be possible for them,
with our assistance, to escape to land should she once reach the beach.
As she drew near, my uncle fastened a rope round his waist, and told
Oliver to do the same.

"Now, Frau," he said, "you take hold of this rope, and do not let me go,
or my life will be sacrificed.  Girls, do you do the same for Oliver."

And thus they stood, each with a long bamboo in his hand, ready to rush
in and help those who might still be alive.  Now the thought pressed
itself upon me, "Is Walter among them?  If he is, will he reach the
shore alive?"

Grace and I grasped the rope tightly.  Now a huge wave came roaring in,
with the vessel on its summit.  She seemed close to us, and then away
she glided towards the ocean.  Oh, how it tantalised us as we saw
several persons still clinging to her!--and I thought I could
distinguish Mr Hooker and Dick Tarbox.  Yes--and there was a slight
figure also.  "Can that be Walter?  Yes, yes--it must be!"  I thought.

And now once again the vessel was driving towards the land.  On--on she
came!  Now at length she touched the beach.

"Spring! spring!" cried Mr Sedgwick, rushing into the water, the Frau
holding the rope with all her might.  Oliver followed his example.

The figure on which my eyes were fixed let go its hold, and the next
instant was buffeting the waves, which seemed to be carrying him out to
sea.  Oliver dashed in, we almost being dragged in after him.  But we
held the rope tightly, leaning back against it; and Oliver grasped the
person with his hand, and with desperate energy we hauled them both
ashore.  Oh, what joy and gratitude I felt when I recognised Walter, as
he staggered forward towards us!

"Yes, I am safe, dear sister!  And you--" He could say no more, ere he
sank on the ground.  "Go and help the others," he said, faintly.  "Do
not delay.  On, Oliver, on!"

Oliver again rushed forward, and caught hold of Potto Jumbo, who at that
moment leapt from the vessel, to which he had till then been clinging,
into the foaming surf.  Oliver grasped him by his woolly hair just as he
was being torn away; and directly after, Potto, gaining his feet, rushed
up the sand carrying Oliver in his arms.  Oliver himself was almost
overcome by his exertion.  My uncle, in the meantime, had caught hold of
Mr Hooker, and placed him in safety, and was now rushing in to help
Dick Tarbox.  He succeeded in his efforts.  Meantime Potto Jumbo, taking
the rope off Oliver, fastened it round his own waist.  "I go for the
others," he cried out.  "You hold dere, Oliver and you young ladies.
Don't let go.  Walter, he soon come all right--no fear."  Saying this,
Potto rushed into the water, and reaching the wreck, seized hold of Mr
Thudicumb, who was still clinging to it.  But where was honest Roger
Trew?  Mr Thudicumb was landed, but greatly exhausted.  Just then we
saw another figure holding on to the bulwarks forward; but he had before
been so completely covered with the foam, that we had not observed him.
Mr Sedgwick and Potto made a dash at him together, and though he
appeared more dead than alive, they succeeded in dragging him up the
beach.  Still another person remained onboard.  Who could he be?  "I
see, I see!" cried Potto Jumbo.  "I see; I go get him.  He my cook-mate.
Hurrah! hurrah!"  Saying this, Potto Jumbo fastened the end of Mr
Sedgwick's rope to his own, and crying out to the rest to hold it, he
darted once more into the sea.  Twice the surf bore him back again to
the beach; but he persevered, shouting out at the same time, "Come,
come--no fear!"  The person he was attempting to rescue heard him, and
waiting till a sea was approaching, sprang in.  The wave carried him
towards Potto, who seized him in his powerful grasp; and those who had
hold of the rope hauling away, both were dragged up in safety.  Yes,
there stood Macco, whom we supposed, as Walter had done, had been killed
by the savages.  There he was, however, there could be no doubt about
that.  He crawled to Walter's side, and taking his hand, looked in his
face, exclaiming, "Oh, I t'ankful you escape, Massa Walter.  Me lub you
as one fader, one broder, one eberyt'ing."  The expression of Macco's
countenance showed that his words were true.

Not till now could I run to Walter's side, and for some minutes I could
do nothing else but put my arms round his neck and kiss him again and
again.

"We may well thank Heaven that we have escaped," said Mr Hooker; "but
what will become of the vessel I cannot tell."

"We must try and secure her," said Mr Thudicumb; "for though she is
getting a fearful bumping, if she is thrown on shore we may manage to
launch her again some day when we are ready for her."

The matter, however, was settled in a different way; for another fierce
sea rolling towards us, drove her with such violence against the beach,
that her sides were completely beaten in, and in a few minutes she
became a confused mass of wreck.



CHAPTER THIRTY THREE.

WALTER'S ADVENTURES.

Although our friends were greatly exhausted by having to cling so long
to the cutter with the sea breaking furiously over them, after resting
for some time on the beach they were able to proceed to the house.  I
clung to Walter's arm as we walked along, and could only again and again
say how rejoiced and thankful I was that he had escaped.  He seemed so
pale and weak, that I forebore asking him questions.  Still, of course,
I was longing to know what adventures he had gone through.  He, however,
seemed more anxious to be told what had occurred to us during his
absence.

"You shall read all the chief events in the continuation of your
journal," I said.  "You remember, Walter, that you asked me to go on
with it should you be interrupted, and I have done so; and perhaps if I
read it to you I shall be able to make remarks as I go on, which will
still further enable you to understand all that has occurred since you
went away."

The next day, as Walter was utterly unable to go out, I spent in reading
what I had written; and he then showed me his note-book, which he had
fortunately had with him, and in which he had also marked down the chief
part of his adventures.  The particulars of the voyage of the _Hope_ I
had yet to learn.  I now, however, handed him over his journal, that he
might enter more clearly the events he described to me.  Mr Hooker
afterwards told us about the voyage of the _Hope_, which had terminated
in so disastrous a way to our little vessel.  Happily, the mountain
continued burning slowly, though steadily, and our uncle told us he
trusted it would do so without committing further damage, though he
suspected that the beauties of many of the scenes we visited round its
base must have been considerably marred; indeed, now and then a puff of
wind brought a quantity of fine dust in our direction, which covered
everything, and even penetrated into the house.

I found that Mr Hooker, and those who had suffered least from their
shipwreck, had gone to Hope Harbour.  They said they wished to see if
anything could be saved from the cutter; but I suspect, from some
remarks which they let fall, that their intention was to increase the
size of the raft, and to make some further improvements on it, so that
it might carry, if required, the whole of the party without difficulty.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

WALTER'S JOURNAL.

Ali seemed as anxious as I was to obtain a nautilus, and we agreed early
in the morning to set off in search of one.  I found that he had brought
several bamboos full of water, as also a supply of sago-cake and rice.
We had our fish-pots with long lines ready to lower in deep water, with
fishing-lines and hooks and a supply of small fish for bait.  We first
hauled up the pots which had been lowered a short distance from the
shore; but though there were several fine fish in them, no nautilus was
found.  Ali now made me understand that we should be more likely to
obtain what we wanted near a reef at a considerable distance from the
shore, and taking the oars, he pulled away lustily out to sea.  In a
short time a breeze sprang up, when we hoisted our little lugsail, and
skimmed merrily over the water, just rippled into wavelets by the brisk
breeze.  Ali's countenance was at no time very prepossessing.  I could
not help thinking that it had a more than usually sinister expression.
Still I persuaded myself that this was fancy, and, ashamed of my
suspicions, resolved to do as he proposed.  At length I caught sight of
a part of the reef rising a few feet out of the water.  By the white
line of the surf which extended on either side, I saw that it was of
considerable length under the surface.  Lowering our sail, we pulled
round to leeward of it, where we found the water sufficiently shallow to
enable us to lower the pots.  Ali made signs to me that we should be
sure to catch a nautilus at this point if we waited long enough.  Having
put down the pots, we pulled a little distance along the reef, where he
proposed fishing with our lines.  We had soon hauled in several fine
fish, one an enormous fellow, which must have weighed nearly two hundred
pounds.  We had great difficulty in hauling it in; but believing that it
would be acceptable at home, I was unwilling to let it go.  The fish
struggled violently, and in our efforts to get it in, one of our oars
slipped overboard.  I was so eager to get the fish, that I scarcely
thought of the oar.  We then got it into the boat; but it seemed
inclined to take it from us, and send us overboard.  Ali hammered away
at its head and tail till at last he quieted it; not, however, till the
oar had been driven by a current to a considerable distance.  Scarcely
had we got the fish in, when we had another bite, and this was also a
large fish, and occupied us some time.  When I at length looked about
for the oar, I could not see it.  We, however, hoisted up the stone
which served as an anchor, and Ali sculled in the direction we supposed
it had gone.  He thought he saw it; but when we got up to the spot we
found only a piece of sea-weed floating on the surface.

The weather, as you remember, had begun to change, and I saw it was time
for us to return to the shore.  Without an oar, however, this was no
easy task, as the wind had begun to blow directly from the shore.  It
now came in strong gusts, and though there was not much sea, still it
was sufficient to try the boat, and we were obliged to continue bailing
to keep her free of water.  I now perceived clearly the dangerous
position in which we were placed.  With only one oar, should the wind
continue blowing from the shore, we must inevitably be driven off.  I
proposed getting back under the lee of the reef and anchoring.  This we
did, and for some time held on.  Our fish-pots had been lowered, and I
proposed hauling one of the nearest to us up.  Great was my delight, on
getting it on board, to find that a nautilus had been caught.  The shell
and creature were perfect, although it was very different from the
graceful one I had seen pictured in books, with its tentaculi spread
out, and apparently employed in rowing over the water; but in reality,
as Mr Hooker had told me, used as fishing-lines, or, at all events, for
catching its prey.  Another pot was at some little distance, and so
delighted was I at catching this one, that I hoped we might find another
nautilus.  We therefore hauled in our anchor.  Scarcely had we done so,
when a tremendous blast came over the land, and before we could regain
the reef, we were out of soundings.  The boat was now tossed about
violently, and I saw, and so did Ali, that our only prospect of
preserving our lives was to hoist the sail and keep before the wind.
The sea had changed greatly, and came dancing and foaming up round us.
Where we should drive to, we knew not.  My heart sank within me at the
thought of being driven away from Emily and my friends, and I knew, too,
the great anxiety my absence would cause them.  I could not tell also to
what dangers we might be exposed.  If the boat escaped being swamped,
she might be cast upon a reef.  We had, providentially, a good supply of
water and an abundance of food.  Our fish, however, would not keep many
days; but while it lasted, we had no fear of starving.

Whether Ali had intended to get away from the island or not I could not
tell.  If he did, his purpose was answered.  I saw him cut some of the
fish into strips, and hang them up to the mast.  This he did for the
sake of drying them, and thus preserving them longer.  All we could do
now was to keep the boat directly before the wind, for I dreaded lest
she should broach to and be immediately overturned.  I cast a look back
at our island, which seemed gradually to sink into the sea, till at
length it was altogether lost to sight.  Here we were in this small boat
tossing on the waves out of sight of land, and not knowing where we were
going.  Perhaps Ali knew better than I did.  He, at all events, did not
seem to be alarmed, and when unemployed, he continued humming melancholy
Malay airs, which certainly did not tend to raise my spirits.  There is
a great difference in reading of an adventure and going through it.  I
confess I should have felt less anxiety had Oliver been with me; but as
I could not exchange ideas with my companion, and we could only very
imperfectly understand each other, it was very trying.  During the day I
had managed to steer pretty well, so that with occasional bailing we
kept the boat free of water; but at night it was far more difficult.
Still, we had for present safety to run on before the gale.  Often I
fancied that I heard voices calling to me across the water.  More than
once it appeared to me that tall ships were passing us; but as we could
not alter our course, there was no hope of nearing them; indeed, I
believe that they were phantoms of my imagination.  The Malay did not
offer to steer.  He seemed contented with the way I was doing so.  In
spite of the dangerous position in which we were placed, I was every
moment becoming more and more sleepy, and felt that I would have given
anything to be able to go to sleep for a few minutes.  At length I made
Ali understand that he must take the helm.  He came carefully aft, and I
changed places with him.  I had every reason to suppose that he knew
well how to steer, from the way I had seen him manage the boat, and I
therefore confided the helm to him without fear.  Scarcely had I lain
with my back against the mast than I was fast asleep.  It appeared to me
that the boat was flying on as before, though sometimes tossed even more
violently than at first.

When I at length awoke the grey dawn was breaking, clouds were overhead,
and the dark seas rolled up on either side, foaming and hissing as if to
overwhelm our small boat.  It appeared wonderful that she should be able
to ride over such tempestuous seas.  Still, on she went, Ali steering as
carefully as I had done.  I felt very thirsty, and took a draught of
water from one of the bamboos.  Ali signed to me to give him another,
which he drank off; and I then handed him a little sago-bread and some
dried fish.  He, however, preferred the fresh fish, which he ate raw.
I, as yet, had no inclination to do that, and preferred biting away at a
dried piece with my sago.  I became more anxious when I saw how far we
were getting from the island, as I knew the difficulty we should have in
returning.  After a time I offered to relieve Ali, and he then lay down
and went to sleep.  In the course of the morning the sea had gone down
considerably; but we still continued running before the breeze.  The
time seemed very, very long, and my only consolation was that the wind
was decreasing, and that, at all events, we might be able to direct our
course for the island.  I forgot for the moment that the wind might have
changed, and that not knowing how we had been steering, even with the
aid of the sun we should be unable to find our way back.  I was thankful
when Ali awoke and offered to take the helm.

When I again opened my eyes, I found that Ali had been eating some fish
and sago and drinking the water.  I had taken a draught, when, looking
to our supply, I found to my dismay that only one bamboo cask of water
remained.  Ali, however, made no remark; indeed, my suspicions were
confirmed of his wish to get away from the island, and he, at all
events, seemed to know more nearly whereabouts we were than I did.  I
knew that nothing caused so much dreadful suffering as want of water,
and I feared that we should be exposed to it unless we could fall in
with land.  I was now able to stand up in the boat and scan the horizon,
but nowhere was land to be seen.  The sun rising enabled us to steer
more steadily, and we continued to proceed towards the north.  I now
tried to make Ali understand that we must economise our water to the
utmost.  He took the bamboo, and I saw, instead of returning it to its
place, that he put it down by his side.  I could not help thinking from
this that he intended to appropriate it to himself.  However, as I had
lately had a draught, and was not thirsty, I made no remark.  The sun
soon struck down with great heat upon our heads, and gave me an
increased desire for water.  I made signs to Ali that I wished for some,
but he shook his head, as if to signify that I must wait some time
longer.  I did so patiently, thinking that perhaps he was right.
However, at length I could brook no longer delay, and springing up,
seized the bamboo.  He cast an angry glance at me, but even had he had a
weapon in his hand, I should not have been prevented from drinking the
water.  I could have swallowed the whole of it, but refrained, and
merely took a small draught, barely sufficient to quench my burning
thirst.  I then made signs to him that when he was equally thirsty he
might also have some, but kept it in my own possession.  I suspected,
however, that when I was again compelled to go to sleep he would seize
it, and perhaps drink the whole of the contents.  Now and then the
dreadful thought came across me that he might perhaps murder me, or
throw me overboard.  I might be wronging the man; but I knew he had been
a pirate, and was not likely to be very particular as to what he would
do.

Again daylight departed, and when at length I fell asleep, I was
dreaming of fountains and lakes and sparkling streams and draughts of
crystal water.  I awoke to find my mouth parched with thirst, and on
lifting the bamboo, I discovered that every drop had been drained.  I
felt sure that unless we could fall in with land death must be our
portion--at least, for my own part, I believed I could not go through a
whole day without water.  The sun had not been up long before I began to
feel the suffering I had expected.  I knew that drinking salt water was
dangerous in the extreme.  I saw, however, that Ali was continually
chewing a little dried fish, and sometimes a few grains of rice, a
handful of which had been in the boat.  I followed his example, but
found but little relief.  Again and again I looked round in the hope of
seeing land.  At length I caught sight ahead of a long line of white
breakers.  I pointed them out to Ali, that we might avoid them,
supposing that a reef existed in that direction.  He stood up and
examined them, and then altered the course of the boat a little.  As we
approached, I saw beyond the breakers a line of white sand.  It was, I
judged, a lately made coral island.  We continued on till we got on the
lee side of it, when we ran close into the rocks.  It appeared, as far
as I could judge, to be about a mile and a half in circumference, the
shore so steep that a big ship might have run in alongside it.  The
whole was covered with fine white sand, without a vestige of vegetation.
I was unwilling to land, though I thought it possible water might be
obtained, for I had a dread that Ali might leave me there and go off by
himself.  He seemed to understand my suspicions, and jumping out, made
the boat fast, and led the way over the sand.  I saw that it was covered
with a great variety of sea-birds, some of which rose immediately we
advanced, and began shrieking and uttering loud cries as they hovered
over our heads, disputing our advance.  We had literally to defend
ourselves with the boat-stretchers which we carried, and knocked over
several of them while on the wing as they flew towards us.  They were
incited, we discovered, to attack us in defence of their young, numbers
of which, from the little gaping nudity just out of the shell to
well-fledged bantlings, covered the ground.  There was also a great
number of eggs, many of which were newly laid.  Of these we got a large
store, besides half filling the boat with the birds we had killed.  In
vain, however, we searched all the island round for water.  Not a drop
could we discover.  Even the hollows in the rocks were dry.  It was
evident that no rain had fallen there for a long time.  The blood of the
birds, however, somewhat quenched our thirst.  At first Ali would not
touch it, but on seeing me take it, he at length overcame his scruples.
I confess that when we returned to the boat I endeavoured to keep first,
still feeling that he was very likely to leave me.  I think, however, I
wronged him there, as he made no attempt to get off without me.

Once more we were steering to the north.  All day long I kept a bright
look-out, in the hope of seeing some other island.  Two days passed.
Oh, how fearfully did I suffer from thirst during the last of them; I
would have given everything I possessed for a draught of cold water.  We
were gliding on during the night, when it seemed to me as if suddenly a
tall grove had sprung out of the water.  I rubbed my eyes, and looked,
and looked again.  Yes; there could be no doubt of it; we were passing a
palm-covered island.  I awoke Ali, who had just before fallen asleep.
To land at night was dangerous.  However some risk must be run.  We
therefore continued close to the shore, in the hope of finding some
sheltered bay into which we might run the boat.  The dawn was just
breaking, and at length, with the help of daylight, we discovered a
place where we thought we could venture to land.  We ran in on a soft
white sand; but the sea following, almost filled the boat with water,
and we had to jump out and haul her up to escape a second wave, which
came rolling slowly in after the first.  So eager were we to find water,
that the instant we had hauled the boat up out of reach of the seas, we
began running along the beach.

The island was a small one, with numerous palm and other trees growing
on it.  I eagerly looked out for the sago-palm, remembering that it was
in a grove of one of these trees we had found water on our island.  We
searched and searched in vain.  Already our tongues were clinging to the
roofs of our mouths.  The birds had soon grown putrid, so that many
hours had passed since we had moistened our lips.  I felt ready to drop,
and Ali also was almost overcome.  We eagerly chewed the leaves of
trees, but they gave us no relief.  Oh, how delightful would have been
the sound of a bubbling fountain!  No sago-trees, no sign of water could
we discover.  I found my knees shaking, my strength leaving me.  At
length I could no longer stand.  I leant against the trunk of a tall
tree, and gradually sank down to the ground.  I began to dread that
death would overtake me, and what a fearful death!  I had read of such,
but never supposed that I should realise it myself.  Ali cast a look at
me.  He could do nothing to help me.  He was going to desert me, I
thought.  My voice was failing.  I tried to call him back, but I could
no longer articulate, and a dreamy, half-conscious state of feeling came
over me.  "I shall thus sink calmly into death," I thought.  I tried to
pray, I tried to collect my thoughts, but in vain.  How long I thus
continued I know not, when I heard a voice shouting.  It was Ali's.  I
opened my eyes, and saw that he was running towards a tall tree.  At
last I saw him ascend the trunk.  It seemed wonderful how he could get
up.  Presently I heard something drop.  It was a bunch of cocoa-nuts;
another and another followed.  I tried to crawl towards them, but had no
strength to move.  Ali descended the tree.  He seized a cocoa-nut, broke
it open, and drank the contents.  Once more I tried to cry out.  Then I
saw him running towards me.  Oh, how delicious was the draught which he
poured down my throat!  In a few seconds I felt like another being.  My
strength returned.  I sat up and eagerly clutched another cocoa-nut
which he handed me.  In a wonderfully short time I felt perfectly
recovered.

We hunted about, but could find very few more trees.  We should soon, we
knew, consume the young fruit.  We remained, however, on the island all
the day, and as we wandered along the beach, we came to some soft hot
sand, in which we discovered a number of turtles' eggs.  We had now
sufficient to support life, but I well knew that our provisions would
not last long, and that we must once more put to sea.  Ali also clearly
understood this.  We quickly got a light with pieces of bamboo, and
cooked our eggs, and having loaded ourselves with as many cocoa-nuts as
we could carry, set off to return to the boat.  As we went along, the
fear seized me that we had not hauled her up sufficiently, and that
perhaps she had been washed away.  I could scarcely refrain from setting
off running, so eager was I to ascertain the truth.  I soon, however,
found that my strength was not sufficiently restored for active
movement.  On we went, till we had reached the beach where I thought we
had left the boat.  She was nowhere to be seen.  I looked about
anxiously.  I was giving way to despair, when, casting my eyes along the
sand, I observed that it had been undisturbed.  There were no traces of
our feet.  I knew therefore that we could not have been at the spot.
Ali pointed along the beach, and we proceeded some way, when at length I
caught sight of a dark object in the distance.  Yes, it was our boat;
but already the water had reached her stern, and in another minute she
would have floated away.  We drew her up still further, and secured her
by her painter to a stone high up the beach.

My suspicions about Ali had not been altogether removed, but still, the
way he had treated me in bringing the cocoa-nuts when he might have left
me to die, showed me that he could not have any sinister intentions.  I
therefore proposed that we should sleep on shore that night, and proceed
to sea early the following morning.  We accordingly built a hut high up
on the dry sand, and made ourselves comfortable beds with leaves, on
which we could stretch our limbs and rest at ease during the night.  We
first, however, lighted a large fire, though there was not much fear of
any creatures disturbing us on that small island.

Next morning we made a further search for turtles' eggs, and having
found a good supply, we placed them and our cocoa-nuts on board the
boat, and then launching her, once more put to sea, steering as before
to the northward, where we hoped to find land with food and water on it.
Our stock of sago-cake was getting low, but that mattered little, I
thought, as without water I found it very difficult to masticate.  On,
on we sailed.  I had miscalculated distances, for though, looking at the
chart, as I frequently had done on board the _Dugong_, the sea did not
appear of great width, yet when sailing across it in a small boat the
matter was very different.  For two dreary days we glided on over the
calm sea, looking out for land, or for some passing vessel which might
take us on board; but neither appeared.  I recollected Macco's wonderful
voyage in his frail canoe, and felt that I ought not to despair.  The
Malay sat passive.  What he was thinking of I could not tell.
Occasionally he offered to take the helm when I grew weary, and I soon
fell asleep.  When I awoke, there he was sitting like a statue, scarcely
moving limb or eye.  On we sailed.  The sun rose and sank again, and
still we were in the midst of the circling horizon.  Our stock of
cocoa-nuts was getting low; indeed, though the juice is very refreshing
for a draught, it cannot take the place of pure water.  Our sago-cake
was exhausted.  We had but three eggs remaining.  It might be many days
more before we could reach another island, I feared, and if so, could we
support existence till then?  These thoughts were passing across my mind
as the sun was reaching the horizon.  I saw Ali bending forward and
looking under the sail.  He said not a word, however.  I gazed in the
same direction, but could see nothing.  The sun sank beneath the water,
and darkness came on.  I had been at the helm for some time, when I
found Ali taking it out of my hands, for I had dropped to sleep.  I lay
down, and in an instant was unconscious of all that was taking place.

When I awoke it was broad daylight.  A dark shadow was passing across my
face.  I looked up, and saw that we were gliding under some tall
mangrove bushes.  I sprang up eagerly.  We were entering the mouth of a
river.  Astern, the blue sea shone in the beams of the rising sun.  On
either side were dark trees.  "Soon get water and food," said Ali.  On
we glided.  I felt my spirits and strength greatly restored, and
returned thanks to Heaven for bringing us into so promising a region.
We were soon amidst the most luxuriant vegetation.  Tall trees rose up
on either side of the river, with thick underwood, which here and there
gave place to small patches of grass.  From the banks we occasionally
saw huge alligators gliding slowly off into the water, or watching us as
we passed with their cruel-looking yellow eyes.  Curiously shaped
lizards crawled along the banks, or lay extended on the boughs of the
trees, gazing at us, and occasionally puffing themselves up into
extraordinary shapes.  From either side also came strange sounds--the
shrill call of pea-hens, the cooing of pigeons, high above all of which
was the pertinacious chattering of monkeys, while parrots and other
gaily-coloured birds flew from bough to bough, and gigantic butterflies
with brilliant wings skimmed over the surface of the stream.  The
monkeys followed us as we proceeded, or else the banks must have been
thickly inhabited with them; some throwing themselves frantically from
bough to bough, coming close down to our heads, others uttering hoarse
cries, as if to frighten us away from their neighbourhood.  Oftentimes I
could not help fancying that some natives were watching us, so
human-like did the faces of the larger monkeys appear.  Now and then we
interrupted a little family enjoying themselves in a clear space at the
base of a tree, the patriarch sitting calmly watching the proceedings of
his progeny, while the mother was gambolling with her young one, or
seeking food among the grass, or under the roots of a tree; and then she
would come with her prize, and commence playing with her infant, and
caressing him like any human mother, tumbling about perhaps in rather a
strange fashion.  As we came more in sight, the whole family would
scamper off, a few remaining to the last, grinning fiercely at us,
hooting and chattering hoarsely, and shaking the boughs in their
indignation at our unwelcome appearance.  Anxious as I was, I could not
help being amused at these things; but Ali was utterly indifferent to
them.

On we glided, till at a fresh turn of the river I saw rising above the
bank some buildings on poles, extending a considerable way along it.
The buildings we were approaching were raised eight or ten feet above
the water on strong posts.  There were wide platforms of bamboo before
them, over part of which projected the roofs of the verandahs.  Several
ladders hung down from the platforms to enable the inhabitants to ascend
from their boats.  They were somewhat similar to those we had seen in
Papua, but far more substantial, and built in a much more elegant style.
The inhabitants, apparently, had only lately risen, and came out on the
platforms as we approached.  The men were dressed in waistcloths of blue
cotton, hanging down behind, mostly bordered with red, blue, and white.
Some had handkerchiefs of the same colour bound round their heads, and
one or two were ornamented with gold lace.  They wore also ear-rings of
brass, and moon-shaped, with heavy necklaces of white and black beads.
On their arms were numbers of rings made of brass or white shells, while
over their shoulders hung their long black shiny hair, which set off to
advantage their pure brown skin.  Some of them held knife-headed spears
in their hands, while to a belt round the waist hung a long slender
knife and a pouch with materials for betel-chewing.  One man, who seemed
to be the chief, wore on his head a bunch of large gaily-coloured
feathers secured by a circle round it.  They were mostly
pleasant-looking people, and seemed ready to welcome us as we
approached.  The women had far more covering than the men.  Round the
waist they wore coils of ratan, stained red, to which their petticoats
were attached.  Below it one whom we took to be a chief's wife wore a
girdle of small silver coins.  Others had additional ornaments of
brass-wire, but most of them wore a large number of brass rings round
not only their arms, but their legs, from the knee to the ankle, while
curiously shaped hats adorned with beads ornamented their heads.
Altogether they were far superior in appearance to the savages I had
expected to see in these regions, and I had little doubt that we had
arrived at the mainland of Borneo, and that they were a tribe of Dyaks.

We made signs that we were very thirsty, pointing to our lips, and the
chief, coming forward, beckoned us to ascend the ladder.  This I did
first, Ali following with not so much confidence behind me.  He was at
once perceived to be a Malay, and he must have known that his countrymen
are apt to ill-treat the Dyaks, and consequently he could scarcely have
expected to be received by them as a friend.  From the looks of the
people, however, I had no fears of them, especially when one of the
girls, running off, brought back a large bamboo full of cool water.  Oh,
how delicious it was! the first which had passed my lips for many days.
I handed it to Ali, whom they did not seem to treat so courteously as
they did me.  When I signified that I should be glad of more, instantly
a fresh supply was brought me.  The chief now addressed Ali, who, I
found, fully understood their language, and he seemed to be giving an
account of the cause which had brought us to their country.  The chief
appeared satisfied; and now giving orders to some of the women, a basket
containing some pork and rice and some fine-looking bananas was brought
to us.  I felt no great inclination to eat the pork and rice, for my
throat was hot and parched, but I got through a portion; and oh, how
delicious were the bananas!  No sooner had I got them into my mouth than
they seemed to melt away.  They were of the colour of the finest yellow
butter, and of an exquisite flavour.  I felt as I ate that I could never
take enough of them.  I saw in the open space behind the house a
plantation of them, showing that they were carefully cultivated.  The
Dyaks showed me a corner of a room where I might rest, for they
perceived that I was sleepy and weary, and I believe most of the men
went out either to cultivate the ground or on a hunting expedition.
What became of Ali I could not tell; but as, after a little time,
notwithstanding his cool reception, he seemed to be at home with the
people, I concluded he would take care of himself.



CHAPTER THIRTY FOUR.

WALTER'S ADVENTURES IN BORNEO.

My Dyak hosts seemed well-disposed towards me; yet, I confess, I was not
altogether comfortable in their society.  The first morning after my
arrival, just as I left my sleeping-corner, I saw a large basket
standing in the chief's room.  Supposing it to contain provisions, I
looked into it, when, what was my horror to see it filled with a number
of dried Imuran heads grinning horribly up at me!  I turned away in
disgust, when I saw the chief looking at me with a glance of triumph in
his eye, just as a civilised person would have been pleased at
exhibiting a collection of his orders of merit for gallantry in battle
or sagacity in the council.  They were trophies, I found, taken by the
chief in his wars with neighbouring tribes.  Probably it was the
possession of these which had raised him to his position in his tribe.

Soon afterwards I saw a number of young men coming along.  They were
singing and shouting.  I saw that one of them had a head, yet gory and
fresh, on the top of a spear.  A light brown girl, really a pretty
creature, ran out to welcome him; and I afterwards discovered that she
was his bride-elect, and that he had gone with his companions on a foray
in order to obtain this human head, to make himself worthy of her
affection.  These people were, however, very gentle and mild in their
manners to each other, and had I not witnessed this, and similar sights,
I could scarcely have supposed they were the savages they have been
described.  A party soon afterwards assembled, apparently to go out on a
hunting expedition.  Each man had a wooden tube about five feet long.
This was a blow-pipe, through which bamboo arrows are shot with great
precision.  The points are dipped in a subtle poison, which destroys
birds and small animals almost instantaneously when struck with them.
Some of the men, also, were armed with bows and arrows.  The chief men
carried swords about two feet in length, slightly curved, and broad at
the end.  They were admirably tempered, and the chief, to show me how
sharp they were, cut through with a blow a small bar of iron, and then
showed me the blade to prove that it was not in the least turned.  The
poison of their arrows was, I believe, extracted from the juice of a
tree similar to the upas-tree of Java.  It is called _ippo_.

I accompanied them on the hunting expedition, when they used generally
the blow-pipe I have described.  The instant a bird was struck, it
dropped dead to the ground.  I observed that they immediately cut round
where it had been wounded, and all the birds thus killed were afterwards
eaten without any bad effect.

Having completely recovered my strength, I was anxious to recommence our
voyage, and told Ali of my wish.  He, however, seemed in no hurry to go
away; but signified that, if I would be content to wait a little longer,
he would accompany me.  I endeavoured to employ the time in obtaining
some knowledge of the Dyak language, as also the habits and customs of
the people.  I found that at a little distance from this village another
existed, inhabited by the same tribe, or at all events the people were
on terms of friendship with each other.  There was great wailing one
day, and I suspected that a person of consequence, perhaps a chief, was
very ill, or had died, in the other village.  Finding some of the people
going in that direction, I followed them.  The path, however, was very
difficult to walk in, as it was sunk a foot or so below the ground on
either side, and was only broad enough for a man's foot to tread in; the
Dyaks walk in a peculiar manner, by placing one foot directly before the
other, without in the slightest degree turning out their toes.  I found
on my arrival at the village that my suspicions were correct.  The chief
was not dead, but very ill, and as I saw him lying on his mat in an
upper room, I perceived that he had not long to live.  Had I known at
the time more of the customs of the people, I should have been greatly
alarmed for my own safety and that of Ali.

On my return with several people of our village, the chief made signs to
me that he was going on an expedition.  Supposing it to be for hunting,
I gladly signified that I was ready to accompany him.  Several large
canoes, which I had not before seen, were now drawn out of a place of
concealment a little up the stream.  Our chief with about forty
followers entered them, armed with their swords, bows and arrows, and
blow-pipes.  Not till we had got a little way down the river did I
discover that they bore a more warlike appearance than would have been
the case had they been simply going on a hunting expedition.  What had
become of Ali I could not tell, or I might have learned from him more
about the matter.  We started soon after daybreak, and pulled along the
coast for a considerable distance, when we landed in a bay where
apparently there were no inhabitants, as the thick jungle came close
down to the water without a break on either side.  Here the flotilla
remained till the sun sank low, when we shoved off and continued as
before along the coast.  It was dark when we entered the mouth of
another river, up which we proceeded, the men paddling carefully, and
not a word being spoken.  We kept close in with the bank, now and then
touching on the long straggling roots of a mangrove-tree, then forcing
our way through the entangled mass of underwood, out of which affrighted
birds flew shrieking amid the darkness.

I had now but little doubt that we were on some marauding expedition.
Now and then we stopped, apparently that our leader might listen to
ascertain whether any enemy was near, when from the forest there came
forth shrill whistles, chirrups, unearthly cries, drumming noises, such
as make one of these Indian forests apparently more full of life during
the night than when the sun sheds his beams over the scene.  Now we
glided away more towards the centre of the river, which was as smooth as
polished glass, and reflected, wherever the trees left an opening, the
millions of stars which sparkled in the clear sky overhead; while above
us on either side rose the tall stems of the mighty trees, waving their
sable plumes in the air; and often, as if some sprites were amusing
themselves in letting off rockets, sparks of fire darted out in thick
masses, now appearing in one spot, now in another amid the waving
leaves.  The sparks were produced by thousands and tens of thousands of
fire-flies.  Thus we made our way up the stream, now branching off in
one direction now in another, till I could not possibly have discovered
my way again to the ocean.  At length we drew up under a thick shaded
bank, when the chief and most of his followers landed, stepping
noiselessly over the soft green sward as they made their way through the
forest.  One man only was left in each canoe.  I also remained, having
now stronger fears than ever that my companions were bent on evil.  Not
a sound was heard except those I have before described proceeding from
the forest.  Suddenly I saw a bright light burst forth amid the branches
of the trees.  Loud shrieks and cries rent the night air.  My companions
seemed highly excited, and could scarcely restrain themselves from
leaping on shore and deserting the canoes.  The cries increased.  Shouts
of triumph rose above them.  For some minutes they continued.  So
fearful were the sounds that they made my heart sink within me, and
gladly would I have escaped from them.  Then all was silent.  In a few
minutes we heard steps coming through the forest.  I had little doubt
that some village had been attacked by my friends, and expected to see a
number of prisoners brought to the canoes; but, instead, every man bore
a round ball in his hand, so it seemed through the gloom; but when they
stepped into the canoes, what was my horror to discover that each was a
human head held by the hair.  Shoving off their canoes, they began to
paddle away down the stream up which we had come.  Once more they were
silent, as they had been when we approached the ill-fated village.  I
had now no doubt that they had set fire to it while the inhabitants were
fast asleep, and then, as they rushed out to escape the flames, they had
waylaid and cut off the heads of all they could catch hold of.

When daylight broke, we had already gained the mouth of the river.  Each
man who had been so fortunate as to kill an enemy, sat with a gory head
by his side, and my horror was increased when I saw that several were
those of women and children.  I turned away sick at heart from the
spectacle.  The river opened out on one side into a wide lagoon, and as
the mists of night rose, I saw at no great distance a tall bird with red
plumage standing in the water seeking his prey.  His body was
comparatively small, but he had an enormous neck, and a bill a yard
long, it seemed, and of immense size at the head.  I knew him at once to
be an adjutant bird--the chief of fishermen.  Soon he began to move his
head rapidly about, then he made some rapid strides into deep water,
into which he plunged his long beak, and presently rose with a large
fish held by it.  The fish wriggled about as if attempting to escape,
then by a sudden jerk he seemed to throw it into his mouth, down which
it disappeared.

Again we were at sea, paddling along parallel with the shore.  There was
no longer a necessity for silence, and the Dyaks gave vent to their joy
and satisfaction at the success of their headhunting with shouts and
songs and peals of laughter.  "It was no laughing matter to the once
peaceful inhabitants of the village you have so ruthlessly destroyed," I
should have liked to have said, but as they would not have understood
the sentiment, I remained silent, and I saw that they smiled whenever I
turned away my eye with disgust as it chanced to fall upon their gory
trophies.  They met, on our return, with an enthusiastic welcome.
Directly on landing they set off to the neighbouring village, probably
to console the dying chief with the sight of the heads they had brought,
to assure him that in his passage to the other world he would have no
lack of retainers.  They had been gone some time, and the house was
almost deserted, when I saw Ali paddling up in our boat to the steps.
He sprang up on the platform and came to me.  "Bad people dese," he
said.  "Dey cut off Ali's head, dey cut off Walter's head," and he made
a significant sign across his throat.  "I know what do, ay, ay."

I could not understand his purpose--indeed, he did not deign further to
explain himself.  He had left the boat at the steps.  He made signs to
me to get into her.  I did so, and found that he had supplied her with a
pair of oars and a number of bamboos of water, as well as a supply of
rice and fish and other articles of food.  He then made signs to me to
row a little way down the river, and there to wait for him.  I had got
to a little distance, when I saw some one moving under the house, where
a quantity of dry husks of rice and stalks of various sorts had been
collected.  I recognised Ali by his costume, different from that of the
Dyaks.  Presently I saw him making his way from under the house, and
coming along the path near the spot where he had told me to meet him.
Just then several Dyaks sprang out from the jungle; I saw the bright
gleam of a sword, and the instant afterwards Ali's body fell to the
ground, and a Dyak waved his head in triumph in the air.  Such might be
my fate, I thought.  A strong breeze was blowing.  While the Dyaks were
rejoicing round the head of the man it appeared to me they had so
treacherously murdered, I saw a bright flame spring up from under the
house.  Presently it caught the dried bamboos which formed the flooring,
and in a few seconds the whole building was in flames.  As the greater
number of the inhabitants were absent, there were not people enough to
attempt to put it out.  A few seemed to run into the building, but
quickly retreated.  I dared not return, warned by the fate of Ali, and
suspecting that, should I fall into the Dyaks' power, I should be
treated in the same way.  I therefore bent to my oars, and began to pull
down the stream as fast as I could go.  I might have hoisted my sail,
but that, I thought, might attract the attention of the Dyaks.  In the
meantime the whole house was wrapped in flames, while the wind blew the
light embers towards the neighbouring houses and trees.  The rice
plantation caught fire, and soon I saw the fire extending on either side
down the banks of the river.  It seemed as if a hundred torches had been
applied to the jungle at the same moment, but it was not so.  The spark
which Ali had kindled was the origin of the whole.  Fearful was the
rapidity with which the flames had spread among the dry brushwood.  For
months probably not a drop of rain had fallen there.  Now the fire
worked its way amid the leaves and dry grass, now the flames mounted the
trees, wrapping round the tall palms, the leaves being like touch-paper;
and no sooner was one ignited, than the next caught fire.  Thus both
banks of the river soon bore the appearance of being covered with
gigantic torches flaming and waving in the air.  The sun had set by this
time, the flames looking more fierce and lurid amid the darkness of
night.  Away the fire leaped from tree to tree, licking up with its
fiery tongue every object it encountered.  I pulled for my life, for the
fierce flames blew across from side to side of the stream, making a
fiery arch overhead, while the boughs as they burnt through came
crashing down in masses of fire astern of me.

Fast as I rowed, the flames came faster, and it seemed impossible that I
should escape.  A fearful death, I thought, was about to overtake me.
It was like some terrible dream.  I dreaded lest the boat might ground
on some bank, or run against the wide-spreading roots of the
mangrove-trees.  But on, on; I felt that my only prospect of escape was
to persevere.  I had often to turn my head round, to try and discover
the branch of the stream up which we had come.  I saw one at length on
my left, and pulled down it, having strong doubts, however, whether it
was the right one.  At length I appeared to have got to a distance from
the flames, which I could see however, burning up as brightly as before
amid the trunks of the trees which lined the banks of that part of the
stream through which I was now making my way.  My arms began to ache,
perspiration dropped from my brows, but still I must go on.  I was by
this time getting out of sight of the flames, but I could still see the
glare of the burning forest rising above the topmost boughs of the
trees.  Finding myself in a broad stream, I began at length to breathe
more freely.  The wind came down it.  I guessed by that that it led
directly to the sea.  For the first time I dared to cease rowing, and
stepping the mast, hoisted my sail.  Strange sounds came out of the
woods on either side, and sometimes I fancied I could hear the shouts of
the Dyaks pursuing me, to revenge on my head the destruction of their
village.  I knew that an account of the catastrophe would soon have been
conveyed to the tribe whose chief lay dead, and I thought it probable
that they would come in pursuit of me and cut me off, should it be known
that I had escaped.  I glided on, recovering my strength with the rest I
was thus able to afford myself.  And now the river opened out wider than
before, and I saw through the gloom the calm sea spread out before me.
There was not a ripple on the bar.  The current ran smoothly, and my
boat, carried on its tide, glided out into the ocean.

I was now as eager to escape from the land as I before had been to reach
it, but in what direction to steer my course I knew not.  On I sailed.
The boat now began to rise and fall on the swell of the open ocean.  She
was well provisioned for many days, and I trusted by economising my food
to make it last till I should reach some land inhabited by civilised
people.  As far as I could judge, therefore, I steered to the
south-west.  Encouraged by Macco's preservation under somewhat similar
circumstances, I hoped either to be picked up as he was, or to reach the
shore I was in search of in safety.  When day broke I was already at
some distance from the land--too far, I hoped, to be seen by any of the
Dyaks who might be in search of me.  I had, however, miscalculated my
strength, for having been pulling for so long during the night, I soon
began to feel excessively fatigued, and longed to lie down and sleep.
At length I could no longer resist the temptation, and lowering my sail
and mast, I stretched myself in the bottom of the boat.



CHAPTER THIRTY FIVE.

WALTER'S ADVENTURES CONTINUED.

How long I had slept I could not tell, when a voice reached my ear.  My
heart bounded.  Could it be some one calling me from a ship!  I tried to
rise, but felt unable.  It was still night.  Presently I saw rising high
above me, as I thought, the lofty masts and sails of a large ship.  On
she came, so fast it seemed that a rope thrown from her could reach me.
At length I tried to shout.  I lifted up my hands, for I thought they
would not fail to heave a rope, but she glided by.  I could see no one
on her deck, but I thought I could count the ports.  She must be a ship
of war, I fancied.  On she went.  I turned my aching eyes towards her as
she glided away from me; and I thought a shout of mocking laughter came
over the water towards me in answer to my appeals for help.  Again and
again I tried to cry out; but it seemed as if my voice would not leave
my chest.  I lay still in the bottom of the boat, with a feeling of
hopeless despair creeping over me.  Then again I closed my eyes; and
when I once more opened them, the sun was shining across the water, just
risen from his ocean bed.  There was not a breath of air blowing across
the water.  No land was in sight.  Here and there a flying-fish rose out
of the mirror-like deep, skimming across it, again to disappear.  Once
more I rose, and was about to seize the oars, when I bethought me that
it would be labour in vain.  In what direction should I pull?  Hunger
reminded me of the provisions Ali had put on board the boat.  I took a
draught of water and ate some food.  It restored my strength; and I now
began to suspect that the ship I had seen had been but a phantom of the
brain, and that I had been dreaming all the time.  I sat at the helm,
longing for a breeze.  Then I stepped my mast and hoisted my sail,
hoping that it might come, and I should be ready for it.

I remembered that I had not offered up my petitions to Heaven.  I knelt
down in the boat and prayed fervently.  Once more I rose, refreshed in
body and mind.  I began to reflect that He who had hitherto guarded me
from so many dangers would guard me still.  The thought restored
confidence to my heart.  Presently I saw a light ripple on the water.
It disappeared; but again, at a little distance, another cat's-paw sped
over the surface.  I hoped it might be the forerunner of a breeze.  Soon
my sail began to bulge out.  A gentle breeze blew me along.  Now the
boat was running rapidly along through the smooth water.  I felt sure,
should I keep to the south or south-west, that I should fall in at last
with land.  To regain the island I knew was almost a vain hope, and I
might lose too much valuable time in making the attempt.  Hour after
hour I sat at the helm, gliding over the water.  Again I thought of poor
Macco.  How much better off I was than he had been.  I had a supply of
provisions and water, and was in a well-built boat, and knew that I must
in a short time, if I continued on my course, inevitably fall in with
land; whereas he had been on the wide Indian Ocean, and might have
sailed on for many hundred miles without meeting it.  Thus I continued
all day long, till night again came down over the world of waters.  For
many hours during the night I kept awake.  At length I began to feel my
head drop on my breast.  Each time I did so I raised myself with an
effort; but I found I could only keep awake for a short time, when again
that terrible drowsiness came over me.  It arose, I knew, from weakness,
and the hot sun to which I had been exposed all day.  Still I steered on
before the wind.  I did my utmost to keep awake till daylight should
again appear.  I thought my eyes were open, and that I was steering as
before.  Suddenly I felt a violent shock; and starting up, I found the
seas washing round me, and tall trees rising up a short distance ahead.
The boat had run upon a sandy beach.  Another sea came rolling in, and
sent the boat broadside on to the beach, throwing me out.  With
difficulty I crawled up over the sand.  The sheet had been made fast;
and what was my dismay to see the boat's head going round, and before I
could rush into the water to seize her, she had already receded from the
shore.  I was on the point of rushing into the water to swim after her,
when, overcome by weakness, I sank on the sand; and I well knew that had
I made the attempt I should probably have lost my life.  I endeavoured
to collect my scattered thoughts; but rudely roused from sleep, I had
difficulty in reflecting where I could be.  At length, however, I began
to consider that I could not possibly have reached Java, or any of the
large islands in a line with it; and thought I must be on some smaller
island; but whether inhabited or not I could not tell, or whether or not
I could there find the means of supporting life.  How anxiously I
watched my boat, hoping that perhaps some other sea might put her head
round, and that once more she might return to the shore.  The breeze had
freshened, and she quickly glided away.  In a short time I could no
longer distinguish her amidst the gloom of night.

I sat down on the beach, endeavouring to consider what I should do.  I
saw, at a short distance behind me, a thick wood; while on either side
dark rocks ran into the sea.  "I might have been driven against those,"
I reflected; "and had I been so, in all probability the boat would have
been dashed to pieces, and I should have been drowned.  Have I not
reason then to be thankful that I have been preserved?  No, I should be
wrong to despair.  I will yet hope that I may find means of preserving
my life."  With this thought I lay on the sand to wait till the light of
day would enable me to explore the island and search for the means of
supporting existence.  I had no food, no weapon of defence; but on
feeling in my pocket I was thankful to find I had my knife.  Oh, of how
much value was that little clasp-knife then to me!  At first the noise
of the surf had prevented me from hearing any other sound; but, as my
ears got accustomed to it, I could distinguish the usual noises of an
Eastern jungle--the cries of the night-birds, and the chattering and
moaning of the monkeys.  They gave me assurance that I should be able to
support existence, for I knew that where they were food would be found.
My mind thus set somewhat more at rest, I dropped to sleep.

The bright rays of the sun shining in my eyes awoke me; and rising to my
feet I found that I was on a green, smiling island, with rocks and hills
scattered here and there towards the centre; while a thick belt of
palms, the ever-present pandanus, and numerous other trees, surrounded
it.  My first thought was to search for water.  The experience I had
gained when with Macco on our island was now of the greatest assistance
to me.  Had I been cast alone upon such a spot I might have perished;
but now I knew well where to search for the sign of water.  I had not
gone far when I saw between the trees a grove of bamboo.  I soon cut
down a stout piece, the point of which I sharpened; and thus it served
me as a staff and a weapon of defence.  I also made a spade, such as
Macco had manufactured; and before long I came to a hollow under some
trees where the ground appeared soft.  I eagerly set to work to dig, and
after getting down to the depth of three or four feet, my satisfaction
was great to see water springing up.  I had expected to be compelled to
dig much deeper.  A piece of bamboo served me as a cup, and allowing the
water to settle, I was enabled to obtain a delicious draught.  Thus one
of my chief causes of apprehension was dissipated.

Returning along the beach, I walked along looking up for some cocoa-nut
trees.  The shore, however, was lined with rocks, and it did not occur
to me that at such a spot they were not likely to be found.  I then
remembered that it was only on low beaches, where the nuts had been
washed ashore, that I had ever seen the trees growing.  I therefore
climbed to the top of the highest rock in the neighbourhood, and looked
along the shore, in the hope of discovering some open beach.  I saw one
at some distance, and eagerly made towards it.  I was not disappointed,
for no sooner had I reached it than I saw in the centre a grove of
cocoa-nut palms.  But how should I be able to climb so tall a tree, weak
and unnerved as I was!  I was approaching the nearest tree, eagerly
casting up my eyes towards the tempting fruit, which hung down in
clusters, when I heard a loud hammering sound; and there I saw on the
ground a huge crab, such as I had before met with in Amboyna, busily
employed in breaking the shell.  If I could kill him, I could secure
both meat and vegetable at the same time.  I had got close to him before
he heard me approach, when he began to sidle off at a great rate.
Seizing the cocoa-nut which he had just broken, I ran after him.
Brought to bay, he lifted up his huge claw; but I darted my spear
through the joint and fixed him in the sand.  As I did so I dashed the
cocoa-nut with all my might on his back.  It bounded off; but I seized
it again, and once more struck him a blow which effectually prevented
him from making further resistance.

I had now an ample supply of food for a hearty meal.  I was at no loss
to light a fire; and collecting a supply of sticks and leaves, I struck
a light with the two pieces of bamboo as Macco had done, and soon had
the crab roasting before the fire; while I satisfied the cravings of
hunger with a draught from the cocoa-nut and a portion of the fruit.  I
now hunted about under the trees and found several other cocoa-nuts
which had fallen, and though not equal to those which were less ripe,
they were sufficient to satisfy hunger and support life.  Having thus
obtained the means of subsistence, I bethought me that the next wisest
thing to do would be to build a hut.  I had been greatly tormented by
mosquitoes and sandflies, and I thought by going a little way into the
interior I might avoid them.  On searching I discovered a large rock
within which was a cave.  Here I thought I might find shelter, and at
the same time light a fire, the smoke of which might keep off my
tormentors.  As I had but little clothing, and found the night, after
the heat of the day, chilly--though, probably, in England it would have
been considered intensely hot--I determined to build a front to my cave,
so that I might keep out the night air, and at the same time any
unwelcome intruders.  The cave was in a peculiarly sheltered spot; and,
indeed, had I been in search of such a retreat, I do not think I should
have discovered it.

I cut down a number of bamboos, and these I placed close together in
front of the cave, leaving only a narrow opening through which I could
pass.  I strengthened the interior by cross pieces, thus leaving only
room to creep under.  The door I also formed of bamboo, which I could
shut closely.  I thus hoped that I might not only keep out any large
animals, but snakes or reptiles, which might be inclined to get in.  I
made a torch of dry wood, with which I surveyed my cave, carefully
examining every hole and crevice.  I discovered several bats, which I
soon put to flight.  Had I been very hungry, I should probably have
killed them for food; but while I saw a prospect of obtaining cocoa-nuts
and crabs, I was not reduced to such an extremity.

I little thought at the time of what importance this hiding-place would
be to me.  It took me some time to scrape out the dirt on the ground,
and it was almost dark before I had finished the operation.  I managed,
however, to collect some leaves and branches with which to form my bed.
I had only time to eat a piece of cocoa-nut and crab for supper before
darkness came on.  I then lighted my torch, and with the smoke managed
to drive away all the mosquitoes, and then shut to my door.  Closely,
however, as I had placed the bamboos, the creatures quickly came back
again; and I had to start up and strike a light and make some more
smoke, in order to get rid of them before I could again go to sleep.
However, I got tired of this operation, and at length dropped off to
sleep, allowing them to sting me at their will.

I soon found that I ought to have been grateful for having been cast on
this island.  Scarcely had I left my abode the next morning, when I came
upon a tree with enormous leaves, many of them a foot wide and a foot
and a half long.  From it hung a fruit in the form of a melon, attached
by its stem directly to the trunk or limbs.  I recognised it at once as
the valuable bread-fruit tree.  Here was a supply of wholesome food for
me as long as I might have, I hoped, to live on the island.  To get at
the fruit, however, was the difficulty, though it was at no great
height.  I bethought me, therefore, that I would make a ladder of
bamboo.  I should have liked to have had some fruit for breakfast, but
as it would take some time to make my ladder securely, I had to content
myself with the remainder of the crab and some more cocoa-nut, and a
draught of water from my well.  I had, indeed, to go towards the well
for the purpose of obtaining a bamboo.  To secure the rounds, I cut a
quantity of fine ratan, or some of the smaller creeper, which answered
the purpose pretty well; and to prevent them slipping, I secured from
the top to the bottom a piece of ratan twined round them on both sides.
My ladder, though not very sightly, was, I hoped, thus made secure.  On
reaching the bread-fruit, I was delighted to find that it was scarcely
yet mature,--the best state, indeed, for eating.  I eagerly cut down a
couple of the melon-like fruit and descended with them to the ground.

As my breakfast had not been substantial, I lost no time in cutting up a
bread-fruit into slices, which I toasted before the fire, pouring over
it a little cocoa-nut milk.

I must not take up too much space in describing the various events of my
life on the island.  I spent most of the clay on the beach, sometimes
clambering up to the top of a high rock, whence I could gain an
extensive view of the sea, in the hope of seeing some vessel passing,
and being able to attract her attention.

I may say at once that I had an abundance of food, both crabs and
shell-fish, and various fruits, so that I was kept in good health.  My
clothes, however, had already been much worn, and were now torn almost
into tatters by my excursions through the woods.

I had just climbed up a rock, when I saw a fleet of native vessels
approaching the island.  I examined them anxiously, and was soon
convinced that they were either the same pirates who had paid us a visit
at my uncle's island, or gentry of a similar character.  I could not
help feeling considerable alarm for my own safety.  What was I to do?
If they touched on the island, should I be able to conceal myself from
them?  As I had walked about the woods the possibility of such a
contingency had occurred to me.  At first I thought of hiding away in my
cave; but the marks of the fire outside, and the trees I had cut down,
should they find their way to it, might betray me.  Still I knew that,
even should they land, they were not likely to go far into the interior.
Near the top of the rock was a hollow in which I might lie completely
concealed, with the assistance of a few boughs, which I might place
across it.  Here, therefore, I determined to take up my post, should I
see that they intended landing.  As they came nearer I left the beach
and watched them from the underwood.  I was soon convinced that they
were pirates, probably on some marauding expedition, and that they were
about to land.  I hoped that they would not remain long, as probably
they were coming ashore to repair some of their vessels, or to obtain
cocoa-nuts or water.  At length I saw the vessels entering the bay.
Some anchored, while others ran on to the beach, when their crews,
leaping out, carried tackles and ropes to the nearest trees, and began
to haul them up.  My idea as to their object, therefore, was correct.  I
retired as soon as they had done this, making my way as silently as
possible towards the spot I had fixed on.  I had, as far as I was able,
obliterated the marks of my fire by covering them with leaves and broken
branches.  I had also concealed the mouth of my cave with branches, in a
way which I thought looked so natural, that no one would attempt to
enter.  I then climbed up to my proposed hiding-place, carrying some
other branches which I had cut down for the purpose I contemplated.  I
felt somewhat like a bird in a nest, for I was completely concealed from
the view of those below; at the same time I could look out between the
branches and see what was going forward.  I had taken the precaution of
carrying up some provisions with me, so that I might not suffer from
hunger.

I had remained here for some time, when I heard the Malays shouting to
each other in the distance.  What the cause of their doing so was I
could not guess, as they are not generally addicted to making a noise.
The sounds now grew nearer; then once more they appeared to recede.
Sometimes I fancied that they had discovered some sign of a person being
on the island, and were in search of me.  Still, my concealment was so
complete that I hoped to escape discovery.  Presently I heard a noise as
if some human being or beast was breaking through the underwood, and
looking out I caught sight of a man running.  I looked again and again.
Could my eyes deceive me?  If that was not Macco, it was a person
wonderfully like him.  And yet I felt sure I had seen Macco killed on
the shore of Papua; but yet he was so unlike a Malay or a Dyak, or any
of the inhabitants of New Guinea, that I could scarcely suppose he could
be any other than Macco.  It seemed to me that he was looking about for
some place to conceal himself.  I could resist the temptation no longer,
but shouted out, "Macco, Macco!"  He stopped and looked up with a glance
of astonishment.  "Macco, is it you?"  I again cried out.

"Yes, yes; oh, de joy!" he answered.

I now showed myself, and scrambling down from my aerie, I was in a few
minutes by his side, taking his hands and looking into his face.

"Yes, yes; you Massa Walter!" he could only exclaim, his feelings
overcoming him.

"But why are you thus running through the wood?"  I asked.

"I run from de pirates.  Dey make me slave," he answered.

"Then climb up here with me; there is room for both of us," I said.  "No
time to be lost, or your pursuers may overtake you."

He was quickly stowed away in the hollow, across which I drew the bushes
as before.  We had not been there long when again the voices of the
Malays sounded nearer.  They were making their way through the jungle,
evidently determined to retake their captive.  After a time they drew
near the rock.  They seemed to be passing close to the spot where we lay
hid; but so well had I concealed the opening to the cavern, that though
they went completely round the rock, they did not discover it.  Macco
trembled in every limb at the thought of being retaken.  I whispered to
him to be calm, for I was in hopes we should escape.  The shadows of the
trees began to grow longer and longer, and soon we had the satisfaction
of seeing the shades of evening draw over the island.  We were safe, I
now knew, till the following morning, for I was sure the Malays would
not wander about during the night in a strange place.  I therefore
invited Macco to descend, that we might rest more comfortably in my
cavern.  I here had, as I before said, a supply of food, to which Macco
did justice, for I found that he had been a long time without a meal.

His history was a brief one.  He had remained for some time as a slave
among the Papuans, and had then been sold by them to some traders, who
were carrying him off, when they were attacked by the pirates, into
whose possession he thus fell.  They had compelled him to work at the
oars in their boats.  The labour, he said, he did not so much mind, as
the fearful scenes of cruelty which he was obliged to witness.  He
therefore determined to make his escape on the first opportunity.
Having lived so well on our island, he determined to hide himself on
landing on this one, preferring to live a life of solitude to the
society of heathen savages.  "Now, Massa Walter, I no care.  Oliver
always say One above look after poor people who lub him, and now I know
he does."  We slept soundly in our cave, and at the earliest dawn
clambered back into our aerie.

I had been longing for a companion from the time I landed, and often and
often thought how far better would have been my lot if I had had Oliver
or Macco with me; and here the latter had been sent to bear me company.
We spent the day in our hiding-place, for we were afraid that the Malays
might renew their search for Macco; and we could still hear them in the
far distance, their voices reaching to the top of the rock over the
heads of the trees.  I was proposing to descend to try and see what they
were about, when again we heard their voices drawing near.  We could not
help feeling anxious, lest on this occasion they might discover us.

"But we must hope for the best," I said half aloud.

"Yes, Massa Walter, hope for de best," repeated Macco; "and if it no
come, still hope for de best.  All best when we put trust in God."

Once more we caught sight of the Malays forcing their way through the
forest, and calling to each other, evidently again searching for Macco.
Several times I thought they were coming close up to the mouth of the
cavern, and once a party of them stopped directly under where we were
concealed.  I held my breath with anxiety, and my heart once more
bounded as if released from a weight when I saw them take their way
through the forest.

We again passed the night in my abode, and afterwards climbed up to the
top of the rock.  No sounds reached our ears.  "Now I must go and see if
they are really getting away," I said, "but you stay here.  I know my
way through the forest, and one person is less likely to be discovered
than two."  I accordingly set out towards the beach, taking my bamboo
spear, which I trailed after me.  Some of the pirate vessels had their
sails hoisted, and were gliding out of the bay.  The crews of the others
were just shoving them off into deep water.  I watched them eagerly, and
at length they all went on board.  Still I thought it possible that at
the last moment some might land, and make another search for Macco.  I
therefore waited till they were all well out of the bay, and then
hurried back with the satisfactory intelligence to my dark-skinned
friend.  "We have reason to be t'ankful, Massa Walter," he observed.
"Dose great cut-t'roats!"  I was now much happier than before, having
Macco as my companion; at the same time, I was very anxious to let my
dear Emily know that I was safe.  I told Macco of my anxiety.

"Why, then, we not build canoe?" he said.  "It take time, but it can be
done."

"But I have only my knife to do it with," I said.

"But I have knife too," he said, drawing out a longish weapon from his
belt.

Still I thought with such weapons our object could not be attained.  Two
days after that, as I was walking on the beach, I saw something sticking
up in the sand.  I was going to pass it carelessly, when I thought it
was a piece of wrought wood.  I went towards it, when great was my
astonishment, and greater still my satisfaction, to find that it was a
Malay axe, which had been left by the pirates in the sand.  I called to
Macco, who was at a little distance.  "Dere, dere!" he exclaimed.  "Now
no difficulty.  I use dat well, and build boat."  At first I proposed
making a dug-out, but Macco said he had often assisted in boat-building,
and that a plank boat would be far superior.

"But how are we to get the planks?"

"Oh," he said, "I split some of de trees, and work dem down."

"But that would take so very long," I observed.

"Neber mind, Massa Walter.  Long time come to end, and work done."

His courage raised my spirits, and I now determined to set heartily to
work in carrying out our proposed undertaking.  Several days passed
away, and some progress had been made.  Macco had already cut down a
tree, and formed some wedges to split it up with, when one morning,
while he was at his work, I agreed to go down to the beach to look for
some shell-fish or crabs as a variety to our food.  No sooner did I
reach it than my eye caught sight of a white sail shining in the morning
sun.  I rubbed my eyes.  I could not be mistaken.  No; there was a
European vessel, I was sure of it, with a single mast.  Could she be the
cutter which my friends had proposed building?  Were they on their
homeward voyage, or were they coming to look for me?  Perhaps, after
all, the island where I now was might be at no great distance from
theirs.  Perhaps they were sailing away, having given me up in despair.
I could not move from the spot, but kept gazing and gazing at the sail
to ascertain whether it was approaching.  Yes, yes; I was sure it was.
On it came.  The breeze freshening, the seas rolled in on the beach.
Nearer and nearer drew the cutter.  I ran down to the water, and waved
my hands and shouted.  They could not have heard me, but yet they came
in directly towards where I was standing.  Presently I saw the sails
brailed up, and now a boat, with several people in her, put off from the
vessel.  They approached.  Mr Hooker was in the stern.  The boat's head
was turned round, so as to allow her to drop in through the surf.  I
rushed in towards her, and burst into tears as I shook my kind friend's
hand, and helped him to spring on shore.

"My dear boy, you are safe!  We had given up almost all hope of finding
you, when we picked up your boat!" he exclaimed.

Great was my astonishment to find that the boat was my own craft which
had brought me to the island.

"Are they all well?"  I asked, looking eagerly towards the vessel.  "Is
Emily well, and Grace, and Oliver?"

"Yes, yes," he answered; "all are well.  We left them at the island; but
there is no time to be lost.  The weather looks threatening, Mr
Thudicumb says, and the sooner you are away from this the better.  Step
in now.  I suppose there is nothing to detain you?"

"No, but I have a friend," I answered; and told them how Macco had
escaped from the pirates.

Begging them to wait, I ran back to where I had left him at work.

"Well den," he said, "we leab de boat for some oder person to build.  I
bery glad to see Potto Jumbo and my old friends."

I ran back to the boat, Macco following me.  We were soon on board, and
pulling to the cutter.  All sail was then made for Sedgwick Island; for
so we resolved to call it.  The weather, however, got worse and worse,
but still Mr Thudicumb was very anxious to enter Hope Harbour; and in
spite of the threatening sky and strong wind and increasing sea, we
continued our course towards it.  The loss of the vessel, and the
merciful way in which our lives were preserved, has already been
detailed by Emily.



CHAPTER THIRTY SIX.

AN ERUPTION OF THE BURNING MOUNTAIN.

The mountain had been quiet for some days.  Our apprehensions of an
eruption had passed away.  We had succeeded in hauling the _Hope_ on
shore; and Mr Thudicumb was of opinion that we should be unable to
repair her, though it might take some time to enable us to do so
sufficiently to prosecute our voyage to Singapore.  We were all in good
spirits, as we trusted that after so many misadventures we should be
able to succeed.  The Frau and the girls had been busily employed in
preparing a fresh supply of provisions, while sago, rice, and maize, and
sugar-cane in abundance, had been brought from the plantation.  My uncle
and I had been out shooting, and had killed a couple of deer, three
hogs, and a number of wood-pigeons and other birds.  We had thus a good
supply of meat.

We had all retired to rest, and were in the expectation in a few days of
getting the _Hope_ ready for launching.  Suddenly we were awaked by my
uncle's voice shouting out, "Up! up!  Sleepers, awake!  Put on your
clothes, and endeavour to retain your presence of mind."  In an instant
I was wide-awake, and knew by the tone of his voice that something
serious had happened; indeed, the bright glare against the thick foliage
of the trees in front of my window would have told me so.  Oliver and I
dressed rapidly, and ran to the room occupied by the Frau and the young
ladies.

"What is it? what is it?"  I heard the Frau exclaiming.

"Quick, quick," I answered; "put on your clothes, and take whatever you
have of most value."

They were already dressed, and now came to the door with looks of terror
in their countenances.

"We shall have time to save our lives, I trust, if we do not delay,"
said my uncle, who now appeared in the chief room.

Here we all collected.  Each man bore on his shoulders as much provision
as he could carry, done up in bags, already prepared for the purpose.
"On," cried my uncle.  "Mr Thudicumb and Tarbox desire to bring up the
rear; I will lead the way."  We hurried down the steps, and began our
march toward Hope Harbour.  The mountain was throwing up sheets of
flame, amid which appeared huge masses of rock and stones, while over
our heads came down a shower of light ashes.  Already a fringe of flame
surrounded the mountain.  It was the jungle which had caught fire, and
was blazing furiously.  The bright glare of the flames was reflected on
the trees on one hand, making the night as bright as day.  My uncle had
set at liberty his poor animals.  "They must seek their own safety," he
observed; "and their instincts may guide them to the least dangerous
spot."  Mr Hooker insisted upon taking Emily's arm, I supported Grace,
and Roger Trew begged the Frau to let him help her.  Macco walked with
Oliver, while Potto Jumbo ran to the front to assist my uncle in
clearing the way.  We hastened forward as fast as we could move, the
poor Frau panting with the unusual exertion she was compelled to make.
The very heavens seemed on fire.  The earth shook.  The wild beasts in
the forests roared and howled.  The birds uttered strange cries of
terror, and flew here and there.  At length we reached the bamboo
bridge.  At such a moment it seemed a fragile structure to cross.  Not a
moment was to be lost, however, for already the fire seemed rushing out
towards us, the trees crackling and hissing as the flames caught them.
Terror-stricken animals rushed past us, heeding us not.  My uncle, Mr
Hooker, and the Frau, with their companions, had crossed, and Grace and
I were on the bridge.  It seemed to be shaken violently, and as I looked
up towards the mountain, I saw a mass of liquid fire rushing down the
sides, and apparently wending its way towards us.  I had nearly gained
the further end of the bridge, when another violent shock occurred, and
the frail structure fell into the water.  With difficulty could I haul
my companion up the bank.  But where were Oliver and the other three
men?  They too saw the stream of fire rushing towards them.  I trembled
lest we should be separated, or they might be overwhelmed in the
destruction we were endeavouring to escape.  Macco cried out to Oliver,
"Come on! come on!" and taking his arm, he rushed down the bank and
plunged into the stream, from which a vapour was ascending, as if it was
already heated by the fire above.  I could not desert Grace, or I would
have hurried back to assist them; but they needed it not, for the next
instant Macco and Oliver landed, Mr Thudicumb and Tarbox were already
in the water, and the other two were stretching out their hands to help
them.  I felt greatly relieved when I saw them all landed.

But even now our danger was fearful.  On came the fire, on came the
stream of lava.  We had still a long way to go, it seemed.  The rest of
the party, not knowing what had occurred, had already got to some
distance.  We rushed after them at increased speed.  Poor Grace could
scarcely support herself, but I helped her along.  At length we overtook
our friends.  "On, on!" cried Mr Sedgwick, every now and then turning
back and pointing towards the beach, much as an officer might encourage
a forlorn hope, only we were flying from danger instead of running into
it.  The fire seemed scarcely a hundred yards from us, and already we
felt the heat of the advancing conflagration.  At length the bay opened
out before us, but the fire was by this time close on one hand, and the
flames were curling up some tall palms which we the instant before had
passed.  Crash followed crash as the trees sank before the devouring
element.  Already it had gained the edge of the path and ignited the
wood on the opposite side.  We had to pass under an arch of fire.  I
entreated Oliver to keep close behind us.  He and Macco sprang forward.
At that moment there came a crash, and a tall tree fell directly behind
them, cutting off the mate and boatswain.  It was no time to stop,
however.  I felt this for my companion's sake, and I know not, even if I
had been alone, that I should have ventured to turn back to help them.

I feared that our two friends had been lost.  Without them, how could we
expect safely to navigate our frail raft?  We had got some way, almost
clear of the wood, when I heard shouts, and turning my head, greatly to
my relief I saw both Mr Thudicumb and Tarbox leaping over the burning
trunk, their clothes already on fire.  They were striking out the
flames, however, and rushing on.  "On! on!"  I heard Tarbox shouting
out, and his voice seemed as strong and cheery as ever.  In a few
seconds they overtook us, and we altogether rushed frantically out of
the burning forest.  A minute later none of us could have passed.  We
hurried down to the beach.  "On board the raft! on board the raft!"
shouted my uncle, "for the lava may rush down from the mountain even
here."

The raft was moored securely in the harbour, and, since I had seen it,
had been greatly enlarged and improved.  Potto Jumbo and Roger Trew
rushed into the water, and cutting--the cable, towed it ashore.  The
provisions meantime were carried from the house where they had been
stored, and those we had brought with us were put on board.  We all now
hastened on to the raft.  The masts, and spars, and oars, and all the
other things which had been prepared were also placed on it.  "Now,
shove off!" cried my uncle, "and Heaven protect us!  Mr Thudicumb, we
beg you to take charge of the raft.  My duty is over."  Merlin was the
last of our party who leaped on board.  With long poles, which had been
got ready for the purpose, we shoved off.  Not a moment too soon; for
already the lava which had overflowed the stream was making its way
towards the harbour, while the showers of dust increased, thickly
covering the raft.

I cast an affectionate look at the _Hope_.  She had been the means of
rescuing me from my solitary island, and restoring me to my sister and
friends.  In a few minutes, she would probably be a mass of cinders.  As
soon as we were clear of the harbour, we got out our oars and paddles,
and urged the raft away from the island.  It was nearly calm.  The heat
was drawing the air towards the mountain, thus creating a contrary
breeze to what we expected to find, or wished for.  The scene which took
place on our own island when Macco and I were carried from it, was
vividly recalled to my mind.  There was the mountain blazing away, with
a vast sea of flame surging at its base, spreading here and there with
fearful rapidity, while the showers of ashes came every instant thicker
and thicker.  Three streams of lava were descending from the sides of
the mountain, sweeping away in one instant the tall trees against which
it forced its course as if they had been willow wands.  Even now it
seemed as if destruction might overtake us.  We urged on the raft with
all the energy of despair.  Mr Thudicumb steered, the rest of us worked
the oars.  The Frau and the two girls were seated in the centre,
surrounded by the lockers which contained our provisions.  While the
water was smooth, there was no danger, but we could not help seeing
that, exposed to a heavy sea, there would be great risk of our being
washed off it.

We soon had reason to be thankful that we had escaped from the island,
for the fire was every instant seen to be extending on both sides, while
the eruption became more furious than ever.  Suddenly a loud roar was
heard coming over the water, and a vast rent was made in the side of the
mountain.  It seemed like the work of magic.  The whole outline was in
an instant changed.  The conical top was rolling down, while in other
places huge mounds were seen to be forced up as it were out of the
earth.  The glare of the conflagration reached us even at the distance
we were from the island.  I had been watching Emily and Grace, and
though their countenances exhibited anxiety, there was no senseless
terror perceptible.  The Frau certainly did show alarm, and every now
and then hid her face when the mountain sent forth fresh volumes of
flame, or continued roars were heard as vast fragments of rock were
hurled up into the air, and came crashing down on the earth, new
openings being made in the side of the mountain.

"There is a breeze from the eastward," I heard Mr Thudicumb exclaim.
"Hoist the sails, lads!"

The masts had already been stepped.  We hoisted our two lugsails, with a
small jib on the bowsprit, which had been rigged ahead, and the raft
feeling its effects, glided over the surface.

"We may reach some part of Java, even if we cannot get as far as
Singapore," observed Mr Thudicumb.  "It would be a long voyage in such
a craft as this; but if the weather holds fair, and our provisions last
out, I see no reason why we should not accomplish it.  We shall have the
sun soon, and that will help us to steer the right course when we lose
sight of the island."

Streaks of bright light were now appearing in the east, and presently
the whole sky was overspread with a ruddy glow, which increased in
intensity near the horizon, till the sun, a vast globe of fire, rose
above the waters, and quickly shot upwards in the sky.  Still we were
not clear altogether of the cinders which fell in light showers upon our
heads, but we had lost all dread of being overwhelmed by any heavier
substance, though we could see that many huge stones and rocks were
falling into the water astern of us.  The very island itself was torn
and rent by the various subterranean powers working away beneath it, and
it seemed probable, from what was taking place, that the whole would ere
long be submerged by the ocean.  How thankful we were when at length,
the breeze freshening, we were carried to a distance from the awful
spot.

"Should we not return thanks to Him who has preserved us?" said Oliver
at length in a quiet tone to Mr Hooker.

"Certainly we should, my boy," was the answer; and together we knelt
down on the raft, Mr Thudicumb still steering, and offered up our
thanks to him who rules the winds and seas and all the powers of the
earth.

With a better appetite than might have been expected, and with cheerful
spirits, we went to breakfast.  No distinction was made between the
ladies and gentlemen and the men.  All shared alike.  We had an oil
lamp, with which we could boil our tea, and our other provisions we were
compelled to eat cold.  Few of them indeed required cooking.

Day after day we glided on, still favoured by fine weather.  The little
tent we had brought sheltered the Frau and her charges.  Those who had
been on watch also were not sorry in the day-time to creep into it and
go to sleep.  Thus we all obtained sufficient rest, and those alone who
have been exposed as we were, can understand how sweet that rest was.

"A sail! a sail!" cried Roger Trew.  The beams of the rising sun were
shining on the white canvas of a ship which was hull down a long way to
the westward.  She seemed to be crossing our course, but whether we
could reach her before she had stood to any great distance seemed
doubtful.  We got out our oars to increase the speed of our raft.  How
eagerly we all kept looking towards that patch of white just rising
above the horizon!  We drew nearer and nearer.  Perhaps the look-out
aloft might have seen us.  From the deck of the ship we could scarcely
have been visible.  Frequently, as we drew nearer, I felt inclined to
shriek out and to shout to her to stay for us.

"Do you think she is English?" asked Mr Hooker.

"Little doubt about it," answered Mr Thudicumb.  "She is a merchantman,
though probably bound round from Singapore to trade with some of these
islands, and maybe to go to Sydney, or perhaps up to China."

It seemed very doubtful, however, whether she would perceive us before
she had got to a distance.  Already she was ahead of us, standing away
on the port tack.  Our eyes, as they had hitherto been, were still fixed
on her.

"See! see! there is lift tacks and sheets!--the helm's a-lee!--she's
coming round!" shouted Tarbox.  "We are seen! we are seen!"



CHAPTER THIRTY SEVEN.

OLD ENGLAND REACHED AT LAST--CONCLUSION.

The ship was standing towards us.  We had now no doubts of her being a
large English merchantman.  She was a new ship, too, apparently.
Presently she was hove to.  A boat was lowered, and with rapid strokes
pulled towards us.  "Who are you?  Where do you come from?" asked some
one in the boat as we lowered our sails.

"Our answer would be a long one, friend," said Mr Sedgwick.  "We are
English people escaping from a burning mountain."

"You will be welcome aboard our ship at all events," was the answer.
"Here, catch hold of this rope, and we will tow your raft alongside."

A rope was hove to us over the stern of the boat, and without further
words we were towed away towards the ship.  I eyed her with pleasure.  I
had often thought that if I once got ashore I should never wish to go to
sea again.  On looking, however, at her fine proportions and trim
rigging, I felt that I should be proud to be an officer of such a craft.

Of course we did not move quickly.  It was some time before we were
alongside.  "Come, we must now take you on board," said the officer in
the boat.  "The ladies first, I conclude."  The Frau, Emily, and Grace
were handed in.  "We can take more, though.  Here you, young man, and
one of you gentlemen."  Mr Hooker followed him into the boat.

An accommodation ladder was let down, as the sea was as smooth as in a
sheltered harbour.  The Frau was helped up the side first, and the two
girls followed.  Suddenly I heard a loud shriek of astonishment, and
presently whose face should I see but that of my old friend Captain
Davenport appearing at the gangway.  In another instant he had his
daughter Grace in his arms.

"My mother! where is my mother?" exclaimed Grace.

"Here, here, my child!" and Mrs Davenport received her daughter from
her husband's arms.  Both held her, gazing anxiously at her face.

"You are restored to us, my child," said Mrs Davenport.

"And Emily, our second daughter!" exclaimed the old captain, taking
Emily in his arms.  She received almost as loving a welcome as Grace had
done, and I had ample reason to be thankful for my reception.

I must make a long story short.  We found that Captain and Mrs
Davenport, after waiting at Singapore for some months, vainly expecting
our return, and after having made every inquiry in their power for the
missing _Dugong_, had at length given up the search, under the belief
that we had been lost in a typhoon.  A ship had touched at Singapore
whose captain had died, and Captain Davenport having lost so much of his
property in the _Bussorah Merchant_, had been compelled to accept the
charge of taking her home.  He had there been immediately appointed to
the command of a new ship--the _Ulysses_.  The offer he gladly accepted,
as she was, after touching at Singapore, to proceed round the south
coast of Borneo, and thus up through the Sea of Celebes to the
Philippine Islands and Japan.  He had faint hopes of finding us, but yet
the opportunity was not to be lost.

Our meeting was indeed wonderful, and we had reason to be thankful that
we had been saved the sufferings to which we might have been subjected,
and that their anxiety was thus happily ended.  I need scarcely say that
Mrs Davenport and her husband suffered greatly at the supposed loss of
their daughter, while I fully believe they mourned also greatly for us;
indeed, they treated both Emily and I as if we were their own children,
and nothing could exceed their kindness and attention.  Captain
Davenport offered to return to Singapore for the sake of landing Mr
Hooker and our uncle; but they preferred remaining on board the ship,
declaring that they must set to work to replace the treasures they had
lost; and as the ship was to remain for several days at every place she
touched at, they hoped in a limited degree to do so; but I could not
help being amused sometimes at hearing them mourning the loss of their
specimens--not, however, so much on their own account as on that of the
scientific world in general.

"But surely, uncle," I said one day, "you have saved your note-books,
and from them you may give a good deal of information."

"Of course, Walter," he answered.  "That is my great consolation.  Had
it not been for that, I scarcely think I could have survived the
terrible disaster."

We had reason to be thankful that we had fallen in with the _Ulysses_,
for we had not been on board a couple of days when it came on to blow
hard, and so heavy a sea got up, that I suspect our raft would scarcely
have held together, or at all events we should probably have been washed
off it.  I must reserve the notes we made at the fresh places we visited
for another occasion.

At length we were once more on our homeward voyage.  The first mate of
the ship having got appointed to the command of a vessel which had lost
her master, Mr Thudicumb took his place.  The boatswain also was taken
ill, and Dick Tarbox became boatswain in his stead; while the other men
entered as seamen on board the _Ulysses_.

We arrived in England after a prosperous voyage.  I told Captain
Davenport that I hoped he would allow me to accompany him again to sea,
trusting that I might soon obtain a berth as mate on board his ship.

"I should be very glad to have you, Walter," he said; "but I have
received some information which will make it your duty, I suspect, to
remain on shore.  When I was last in England, I saw an account in the
newspapers of the death of the surviving children of your father's elder
brother, and now he himself has followed them to the grave.  As far,
therefore, as I can learn, you are heir-at-law to the title and estates
of Lord Heatherly."

I almost lost my breath as I listened to this information.  I could
scarcely indeed believe it.

"I think you must be mistaken, my dear sir," I answered.  "I never even
heard my father say that he was likely to succeed to the title."

"Probably not," said Captain Davenport, "as your eldest uncle had two
children, and Lord Heatherly had a younger brother; but as all four have
since been removed by death, I believe that there is no other heir than
yourself."

This information he gave me at his house at Poplar, where Emily and I
were residing with him.  That very afternoon our uncle, Mr Sedgwick,
arrived.  He, too, had just heard of the death of my uncle, Mr
Heathfield, though he was not aware that all his children were also
dead.

"I see that I must bestir myself, Walter, for your and Emily's
interests," he observed.  "Captain Davenport is right, I am sure, in
supposing that you are the heir-at-law to Lord Heatherly, besides which
you have inherited some property which would have been your mother's."

My uncle, though an enthusiastic naturalist, was also a man of action.
He proposed immediately setting off to visit Lord Heatherly, and to see
whether he would acknowledge my claims.

"I was once well acquainted with his lordship," he observed, "and I
think he will attend to my representations.  If he does not, we must see
how far the law can help us.  I have, however, little doubt that he will
be ready to acknowledge you as his heir."

The next day a postchaise arrived at the door, when my uncle and I
started in it for Hampshire, in which county Lord Heatherly resided.  As
we neared the house, I observed the sadly dilapidated condition of
numerous cottages we passed; indeed, the whole property seemed to wear
an air of neglect very unusual, I must say, about an English estate.  On
arriving at the house, the servant who opened the door said that Lord
Heatherly was very ill, and could not possibly see strangers.

"But I am not a stranger," said Mr Sedgwick; "and this young gentleman
is a relation of his lordship,--indeed, the nearest he has; and probably
Lord Heatherly would be glad to see one who will some day succeed to his
name and estates."

The manner of the servant immediately changed.  "Lord Heatherly, sir,
is, I am afraid, dying," he answered; "but I will let his lordship know
who has come, and possibly he may be ready to do as you wish.  At the
same time, pray understand, sir, that it will not be my fault if he
refuses to see the young gentleman."

"Of course not, my good man," said Mr Sedgwick.

In a short time the servant returned, saying that Lord Heatherly would
see us.  We found the old lord lying on a stately bed in a handsome
room, a harsh-featured nurse by his side, while a footman stood at the
foot of the bed ready to receive orders.

"Mr Sedgwick, I remember you," he said.  "Your sister married my
cousin.--And so this lad claims to be my heir?  Let me look at him.  I
remember Walter Heathfield's features well.  Yes, I can believe that you
are his son.  I have made no will.  All my estates are entailed, and if
you can prove that you are next of kin, you will succeed.  It matters
not to me, though I should prefer that they were inherited by one who
has been brought up as a gentleman.  I do not wish to dispute your
rights, if you are really my heir.  The doctors say I am dying.  They
may be right.  I have lived a number of years, and I am pretty well
tired of life.  You think, young gentleman, that you are about to
succeed to a noble inheritance; but let me tell you that an estate like
this entails many cares and responsibilities.  The responsibilities I
have ignored.  Of the cares I have had enough.  If you follow in my
footsteps, you will find but little satisfaction in the property.  It is
somewhat heavily encumbered; and if my brother Jack had succeeded, it
would in a short time have been still more so.  There, I have given you
a few hints; it will be your own fault if you do not take them.
Speaking so much has wearied me.  You and Mr Sedgwick are welcome to
remain in the house as long as you please.  If I am alive to-morrow
morning I shall be happy to see you again.  You will find dinner
prepared for you.  And now, good afternoon."

My cousin, who was propped up with pillows, made an inclination with his
head, but did not even attempt to hold out his hand.  My uncle bowed,
and I followed his example as we left the room.  We found the servants
arranged in the hall, and with many bows they ushered us into the
drawing-room.  Soon afterwards the housekeeper made her appearance, and
begged to learn my commands.  I declined, however, giving any, saying
that we were but guests in the house of Lord Heatherly, and would trust
to her to act as she thought fit.  I asked Mr Sedgwick whether he
wished to remain.

"Yes, Walter," he said; "I think it will be the best thing to do.  If
his lordship publicly acknowledges you it will be nine-tenths of the law
in your favour; and, indeed, as I cannot learn who else claims to be the
heir, I trust that you will have no competitor."

I had never in my life seen a better entertainment than was in a short
time put before my uncle and me.  I felt very shy when sitting down at
table with so many attendants, and was very glad when dinner was over
and they retired.  My uncle and I then drew our chairs towards the fire,
and talked over my prospects.  Certainly the change seemed very great,
when I reflected that not a year ago I was living a solitary being, cast
away on an island in the Eastern Seas, and that I was now heir to a
title and a large estate.

During the night I was awaked by hearing the sound of footsteps moving
along the passage, and soon afterwards there was a rap at the door.  I
jumped out of bed, and asked who it was.  It was the butler, who entered
the room and lighted the candles.

"His lordship is very much worse, sir," he said; "and if you wish to see
him alive, you should come immediately."

I hurried on my clothes, and, accompanied by Mr Sedgwick, who had also
been roused, repaired to Lord Heatherly's room.  The doctor was by his
side.  He made a sign to us to come forward.  The dying man opened his
eyes and fixed them on me.  "He is my heir," he said.  "In a few minutes
he will be Lord Heatherly, and I shall be dust."

Scarcely had he uttered these words when I saw a fearful alteration take
place in his countenance.  The medical man held his pulse, and presently
I saw him lean forward and close my cousin's eyes, whose last gaze had
been fixed on me.

"He is gone," said the doctor, "and I can be of no further service.
Probably the young Lord Heatherly and you, sir," he added, turning to
Mr Sedgwick, "will give such directions as you may think fit.  You, I
conclude, are acquainted with the late Lord Heatherly's wishes."

Strange were the sensations which came over me.  I had scarcely realised
till then my position.  I felt, indeed, utterly unfit to think or act
for myself, and was very glad when I once more found myself in my own
room and in bed.

As may be supposed, I slept but little for the remainder of the night;
and the next morning when the servants addressed me as "your lordship,"
I almost felt as if they were mocking me; indeed, I was not a little
annoyed by the constant repetition of the expression.  At length I
begged my uncle to come with me to the study, giving directions to the
servants that we should be left alone.  However, we were soon
interrupted by persons who came to take orders for the funeral, and I
found myself at once with numberless responsibilities on my shoulders.
The first moment of quiet I could find I sat down to write to Emily, and
to send messages to our kind friends.  Mr Sedgwick undertook to come
back as soon as various necessary arrangements were made, and to bring
her to Heatherly Hall.  I begged that he would invite Grace to accompany
her, requesting that, after the funeral, Captain and Mrs Davenport
would come also.

I will pass over the account of the funeral, which was attended, I am
sorry to say, with very few real mourners, though all the families in
the neighbourhood sent their carriages, and a few gentlemen who had been
more intimately acquainted with the late lord came themselves.

In a short time another claimant appeared; but as I had been
acknowledged in the presence of sufficient witnesses by the late lord,
he soon withdrew his claim, and I was left in undisputed possession of
the title and property.  I remembered Lord Heatherly's remarks with
regard to the responsibilities of my position, and I considered well
what they were.  He acknowledged that he had reaped but poor enjoyment
from his wealth.  "That also may be my case," I said to myself; "but one
thing I will do, I will pray for guidance from above, and will endeavour
to fulfil to the best of my power the responsibilities cast on me."  My
uncle had an old friend, a clever and honest lawyer, whose services I
immediately engaged; and with his aid, and that of the steward of the
estate, I set to work to ascertain what incumbrances existed, and what
was most required to be done on the property.  The cottages of the poor
tenants were in a sadly dilapidated state.  My first care was to have a
number built in a style best suited to their wants, with four or more
rooms in each, and with various conveniences for their comfort.  They
were well drained, and had an ample supply of good water.  For their
spiritual wants I engaged an experienced missionary, who might
constantly go among them; and while he preached the glad tidings of
salvation, might ascertain who were sick or suffering, and report to me
accordingly, that I might relieve them.

Among my first guests was Oliver Farwell.  He took an eager interest in
what was going forward, and greatly assisted the missionary in his
labours.  I asked Oliver what profession he purposed following, whether
he wished again to go to sea.

"I should probably have done so," he answered; "but Mr Hooker has
proposed that I should go to college, and my tastes certainly lead me to
adopt one of the learned professions.  I delight in study, and should
like to choose the one by which I might the most benefit my
fellow-creatures.  Had I my free choice, I should wish to become a
minister of the gospel, for I am sure to no more honourable or important
calling can man devote the energies and talents with which his Maker has
endowed him."

"I am thankful to hear that, Oliver," I answered.  "You and I have been
like brothers so long, that you must allow me to treat you as a younger
brother, and bear your college expenses.  I have, too, I understand, two
livings in my gift, the incumbents of which are at present old men, and
I gladly promise to present you to the first which becomes vacant,
should you by that time have been ordained."

"I will tell Mr Hooker of your kind intentions," he answered; "and
indeed, Lord Heatherly, I am truly grateful to you for them."

It sounded very odd to hear Oliver calling me Lord Heatherly.  "Call me
Walter, as before, my dear Oliver," I said.  "You and I must always be
Oliver and Walter to each other."

As soon as a number of decent cottages had been put up, I offered them
to the tenants at the same rents that they had paid for the ruinous
ones, which I then had pulled down, as I found they were utterly unfit
to be repaired.  On their sites, after the ground had been drained, I
erected others; and in the course of two or three years, no one would
have recognised the place.  Three or four wretched public-houses or
beerhouses had existed in the village.  I declined renewing the leases
of the tenants of these, and got a respectable man to take a new and
decent inn, which I had built for the purpose.  That part of the parish
had been noted for poachers, and the number of other disorderly
characters it contained.  These either left the place or took to better
callings.

One of my earliest undertakings was to have a good school-house erected,
with a residence for the master and mistress, in the most central
position I could fix on.  By giving rewards and encouragements to the
pupils, in a short time there was not a child on the property who did
not attend school.

I consulted Emily, as also my uncle and Mr Hooker, as to how I could
best prove my gratitude to Captain and Mrs Davenport.  They managed to
place a sum to his credit at his banker's, in a way which prevented him
from suspecting from whom it came.  Shortly afterwards I found, from the
way he spoke of the satisfactory addition to his fortune, he had no idea
that I was the donor.

"Our great wish had been to give our dear Grace a finished education,"
observed Mrs Davenport.  "She is already as well informed as most girls
of her age, but probably a few accomplishments would be advantageous to
her.  With our increased income we can now afford to send her to a
first-rate school.  I have heard of one where the mistress is not only
an accomplished lady, but a pious woman, who watches over the most
important interests of her pupils, and from the account I have heard
from the young ladies under her charge, I feel sure that Grace cannot
fail to benefit by spending two or three years with her."

When Emily found that Grace was to go to school, she begged to accompany
her.  I had too many duties to perform to allow me to go to college,
which I should otherwise have done, though already rather old, I
fancied, for commencing a university career.  I, however, through Mr
Hooker, found a first-rate tutor, and during the time my sister and
Grace were at school, I read hard every day with him.  I found also his
advice of great assistance in my efforts to improve the condition of the
people committed to my charge.

Captain Davenport had not given up the sea entirely; but after making
two or three successful voyages, he so improved his means, that he was
able to retire and live on shore, where he obtained a lucrative
employment.

He had some time before presented me with Merlin, who soon made himself
at home in the house, though he never went far from it, evidently
considering it, as the ship had been, under his especial charge.
Whenever he heard me narrating our adventures, he pricked up his ears,
as if he understood what was said, and wished to corroborate my account.
He lived to extreme old age, amiable and faithful to the last.

Emily, at length, having left school, came to reside with me, and
preside over my establishment.  I should have said that it was far less
difficult to manage than in my cousin's time, as I had dismissed several
of the footmen and grooms, as well as other useless hangers-on, who, I
felt sure, benefited neither themselves nor me, by living lives of
idleness.  As may be supposed, Emily, who had grown into a beautiful
young woman, had no want of admirers; but, to my surprise, she refused
several excellent offers in succession.

"Why should I leave your house, my dear brother?" she answered, when one
day I gently expostulated with her on the subject.  "When you have a
wife of your own, it will be time enough for me to do so; unless she
wishes me to remain."

Soon after this, Oliver Farwell, who had generally spent his vacation
with me, was ordained, and the incumbent of the chief living belonging
to the property having died, I presented him to it, and he commenced a
career of sympathising care over the flock committed to him, which soon
endeared him to them, while he gained the love and respect of people of
all denominations in the parish.

"It is a long time since the Davenports paid us a visit," I said to
Emily one day.  "Will you write and invite them?  I am sure that you
will be glad to have your old friend Grace with you."

I had not seen Grace for a long time, and I somehow or other always
thought of her as the little girl who had been Emily's friend, and the
daughter of our kind protector during our adventures in the Eastern
Archipelago.  I could scarcely believe my eyes when an elegant and
refined young lady stepped out of the carriage which brought Captain and
Mrs Davenport to my house.  I had never thought of marrying; indeed, I
had not been attracted by any of the young ladies in my immediate
neighbourhood.  When I saw Grace, however, and found her sweet, and
amiable, and well-instructed, and refined, and right-minded, possessed
indeed of all the qualities which should adorn a woman, new thoughts and
feelings took possession of me, and I became convinced that no lady in
the world was more calculated to add to my happiness than she was.
Still, I could not tell how her own feelings might be engaged.  Perhaps
Emily saw how things were going on, for one day she said to me--

"I do not think you need be afraid, Walter; and if you ask her, I shall
be very much surprised if she refuses you."

Thereon, before many hours had passed away, I spoke to Grace, and found
that there was every prospect of all my hopes of happiness being
realised.

"And, Emily," I said to her the next day, "will you confide to me the
reason why you have refused so many good offers of marriage?  I do not
wish to get rid of you, and I am very certain that you would add greatly
to Grace's happiness if you remain here."

"In that case," she answered, "I think it will be my duty, as well as
pleasure, to remain your guest."

"That is not a categorical answer," I remarked.  "Come, Emily, tell me,
is there no one for whom you have more regard than for those unhappy
gentlemen whom you refused?"  I saw a gentle blush rise to her cheek.
"Well," I said, "I shall ask Oliver Farwell to come and stay here.  He
keeps away far more than there is any necessity for, as he can easily
ride across the park to his vicarage, and equally well attend to his
duties as he can when residing there."

"If Mr Farwell keeps away, he has probably good reason for doing so,"
answered Emily; "though, of course, you are welcome to ask him to come
over here, if you like to do so.  I greatly respect him, and I am sure
whatever he does is from a right motive."

The following day I rode over to the vicarage, and pressed Oliver to
come and stay with us, and help to entertain Captain and Mrs Davenport.
I saw he hesitated somewhat.  Though he congratulated me sincerely on
my prospect of marriage, he uttered an involuntary sigh as he ceased
speaking.  "I hope, my dear Oliver, that you may enjoy the same
happiness yourself," I said.  "I am very certain that the usefulness of
a clergyman is greatly increased by the assistance of a suitable wife--
one who will sympathise with him in his unavoidable trials and
disappointments, and who will attend to many of the cases of distress
which he may find it difficult to manage."  He looked grave, and then I
thought he gave an inquiring glance up at my face.  "Yes, Oliver," I
said; "and I am sure if you can find a woman possessed of the qualities
you desire, and her heart is disengaged, she is not likely to refuse to
share your fortunes."

Before I left, Oliver had promised to come over that day to the hall.
Whatever Emily had intended to do, somehow or other before long Oliver
found out that, should he make her an offer, she was not likely to
refuse him.

The two marriages took place on the same day, and among those who were
present were Dick Tarbox, Roger Trew, Potto Jumbo, and our old friend
Macco--Merlin wearing a huge favour on this occasion.  Macco, indeed,
was installed soon afterwards as a butler at the vicarage; while Potto
Jumbo became under-cook in my establishment, and soon, by his
intelligence and attention, rose to be head-cook.  Dick Tarbox and Roger
Trew promised, when they gave up the sea, to come and settle down on my
estate, and I pointed out the site where I would build two cottages for
their accommodation.

My friends and I had gone through many trials and dangers together, and
I believe we had all learned an important lesson from them,--to put
implicit trust in a merciful God who watches over his creatures, who
allows not a sparrow to fall to the ground unknown to him, who desires
the happiness of all, and who has made the way plain and simple, having
given us the most minute directions by which that happiness may be
obtained.

THE END.





*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "In the Eastern Seas" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



Home