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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesDick Cheveley: His Adventures And Misadventures - Chapter 16
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Dick Cheveley: His Adventures And Misadventures - Chapter 16 Post by :silvereagle Category :Long Stories Author :William H. G. Kingston Date :May 2012 Read :1428

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Dick Cheveley: His Adventures And Misadventures - Chapter 16


Land ho!--Cape Frio--The Sugar-loaf Mountain--The Castle of Santa Cruz--The harbour of Rio de Janeiro--A taste of fruit--We receive some passengers--A gale springs up--Man overboard--Poor Tom Trivett-- Captain Longfleet's inhumanity--Mark and I are treated worse--I overhear a conversation--A proposed mutiny--The plot--Differences will arise--Who's to be captain?--I determine to reveal the plot--I consult with Mark--Our determination--Southern latitudes--The Southern Cross-- The Falkland Islands--Mark escapes, but I am retaken--Highland blood-- Mark's probable fate--A battle with an albatross.

"Land ho!" was shouted from the masthead. In a short time we came off Cape Frio, a high, barren, almost insular, promontory, which runs into the Atlantic to the eastward of Rio de Janeiro. We stood on, the land appearing to be of a great height behind the beach, till we came in sight of the Sugar-loaf Mountain; the light land wind preventing us from entering the harbour, we had to stand off and on during the night.

"Well, I've made up my mind to get a precious good tuck out," I heard old Growles say to the boatswain; "I suppose the skipper will order a good store of provisions aboard after the talk we had with him the other day."

"Not so sure of that, old ship," said the boatswain; "but if he doesn't, he'd better look out for squalls, as he said to us."

The other men were rejoicing in the expectation of a hearty meal and wholesome food, and so indeed were Mark and I; for we were not better off than the rest, except that Mark occasionally got some pickings at the captain's table, and now and then, when he could manage it, brought me some.

Next morning a sea-breeze setting in, we stood towards the harbour, and as the fog lifted, several small islands near its mouth came into sight, and the Sugar-loaf Mountain loomed up high on the left, while on the right we saw the battlements of the Castle of Santa Cruz, which stands at the foot of the mountain. As we passed under the guns of the fortress, we were hailed by a stentorian voice, which came out from among the stone-built walls, but the speaker was not seen.

"What ship is that? Where do you come from? How many days out?"

The captain answered the questions through his speaking-trumpet as we glided by. We at length came to an anchor about a mile from the city of Rio de Janeiro, in one of the most beautiful and picturesque harbours in the world. I can't stop to describe it, or the fine-looking city, or the curiously-shaped boats filled with black, brown, and white people, though the whites were decidedly in the minority; indeed some of them could be only so called by courtesy. To our disappointment no one was allowed to go on shore. The captain and second mate almost immediately took a country boat and pulled for the landing-place.

"I suppose they intend to send us off some grub," said old Growles, in a voice loud enough for them to hear; but they took no notice, and pulled on. We waited in anxious expectation for the arrival of the provisions, but no boats appeared. It looked very much as if the captain had forgotten our necessities. At last a small one came alongside with fruit and vegetables, which those who had money eagerly purchased. I had a few shillings remaining in my pocket, but Mark had nothing, and I insisted on buying enough for him and myself. Mark declined taking them from me, saying he could do very well without them; but I pressed him, and we discussed a couple of dozen oranges between us. How delicious they tasted! We both felt like different creatures. Those of the crew who had money were put into much better humour, but the rest were more sulky than ever.

In the evening the boats brought off some fresh water, but no provisions. When the captain came on board at night we learnt that he had refused to purchase any, on account of their high price. Whether this was the case or not I don't know, but it made the men very angry. Next day he went on shore again, returning in the afternoon with four gentlemen, whom we heard were going as passengers round to Columbia River, in North America.

We soon found, from hearing them speak, that they were Scotch, and of this I had no doubt when I learned their names, which were McTavish, McDonald, McKay, and Fraser. Their vessel had been wrecked off Cape Frio, and notwithstanding the character borne by Captain Longfleet, they were glad to have an opportunity of continuing their voyage in the "Emu." Just before daybreak a small boat came alongside with fruit and vegetables; but they were all for the cabin, and the crew were none the better for them.

Next morning we sailed at daybreak with a land wind, followed by three or four other vessels, some bound round Cape Horn, others to cross the Atlantic. They were still in sight when it came on to blow very hard. In a short time a sea got up which made the ship tumble about in a way I had not experienced since I had been down in the hold. The captain stood on, wanting to keep ahead of the other vessels. The topmasts bent like willow wands, and every moment looked as if they would go over the sides. We carried on, however, until it was nearly dark, when he ordered the hands aloft to reef sails. I had not as yet been ordered to perform this duty, but Mark was as active as any one. He and Tom were on the lee fore-topsail yard-arm. Two reefs had already been taken in when the sail had to be closely reefed. It was now quite dark. The operation was being performed, when there was a cry from forward of "A man overboard!" To round the ship to might have been hazardous; but the second mate, who was the best of the officers, at once shouted out for volunteers to lower the boat.

"Hold hard," says the captain; "I'll not have the hands thrown away for a careless, useless lubber who can't hold fast."

I had run aft when I heard some one say that the man who had gone was Tom Trivett. Without waiting for orders I hove overboard an oar and a hen-coop, with half-a-dozen cackling hens in it, which not having been properly secured, had fetched away. In my excitement I was proceeding to throw some spars and other articles into the sea, when the captain, catching sight of me, ordered me to desist.

"Let the fellow drown," he exclaimed; "it's his own fault, and it'll be a lesson to the rest of you."

Though the men had no love for Tom Trivett, bad as they were these remarks greatly enraged them.

"He cares no more for our lives than he does for that of a dog. It would have been just the same if any of us had gone," exclaimed several of them.

The passengers were very indignant at the captain's barbarity. Two of them had been ready to go in the boat, and they all declared that the seaman might have been saved if proper efforts had immediately been made. I heard the captain in a peremptory tone tell them to hold their tongues, as they knew nothing about the matter. He was captain of the ship, and would act as he thought fit, and not endanger her safety for the sake of a single man who was not worth his salt. I deeply grieved for Tom since I discovered that he had been my firm friend, and I truly believed that I owed my life to him. Had it been daylight we might have watched to see whether he had got hold of any of the things thrown overboard, but almost immediately after he fell he was lost to view. The gale lasted only a short time. We made sail again as soon as we could, and quickly lost sight of the other vessels.

Now that Tom Trivett had gone, my position became harder than ever, as I had no friend to stand up for me. I had often been protected by him when the others were inclined to bully me, and thus escaped many a cuff and kick. Julius Caesar was the only person who befriended me, and he didn't dare to do so openly. He often, indeed, appeared to be bullying me worse than the rest. I had been ordered to assist in cleaning his pots and pans, and sweeping out the caboose. Whenever the rigging had to be blacked down I was sent to do it, and was called to perform all the dirty jobs. The men, knowing I was a gentleman's son, took pleasure in seeing me thus employed. Mark would willingly have helped me, but he was always sent aft to some other work when seen near me.

I would gladly have changed places with him, but he told me that he was as badly off as I was forward, for he got as much kicked about by the captain and officers as I was by the men.

I had no one to talk to, for I could seldom get the opportunity of saying much to him. I felt that I had not a friend aboard. The men, when they had exhausted a few fresh provisions which they themselves had purchased, again began to grumble at the bad quality of their food. They took care, however, to say nothing when the third mate was forward, but they went about their duty in a manner which it seemed surprising he did not observe.

One evening, being my watch below, still feeling the effect of the rough handling I had endured, I had crept into my berth to be out of the way of my persecutors. Mark, as usual, was attending to his duties in the cabin.

I had fallen asleep, when I was awakened by hearing some men speaking close to me, though it was too dark to see who they were, and even if they had looked into my berth they would not have discovered me; but I recognised the voices of old Growles and the boatswain, and two other men, who were the worst of the crew and the leading spirits for bad on board. I was not much alarmed, though I scarcely dared to breathe for fear of attracting their notice. I cannot repeat all they said, for they frequently made allusions which they knew that each other understood; but I heard enough to convince me that they were hatching a plot to overpower the officers and passengers, and to take the vessel into Buenos Aires, or some other place on the banks of the River Plate. One of the men proposed killing them and throwing them overboard. Old Growles suggested that they should be put into a boat and allowed to shift for themselves, just as their officers were treated by the mutineers of the "Bounty." The boatswain said that he thought the best way of treating them would be to put them on shore on some desert island far-away to the southward, seldom visited by ships, so that they could not make their escape.

"But they'll die of hunger, if you do that," remarked another man.

"They'll die, at all events, so it matters little," answered the boatswain. "Our business is to get rid of them, and either to go cruising on our own account, or to sell the ship at a Spanish port to the westward, and enjoy ourselves on what we get for her."

"Dead men tell no tales," muttered the first speaker.

"Heave them overboard at once, and we shall be done with them."

"I'm not for that sort of thing," said old Growles. "I shouldn't like to see their white faces as they dropped astern; they'd be haunting us, depend on that."

The boatswain and the others laughed.

"Who's to take the ship round Cape Horn, if we do away with the officers?" asked one of the men.

"I know enough navigation for that," said the boatswain, "it won't be a long job."

"Then I suppose you intend to turn captain. Is that it?" said another man.

"We don't want no captain aboard."

"If the ship was caught in a squall, you'd soon be calling out for some one to command you. Call me what you will, there's no man, except myself, knows how to navigate the ship when the officers are gone."

"I sees what you are after, boatswain," said old Growles. "We should be just getting rid of one captain, and having another like him in his place. We must all be free and equal aboard, or it'll never do. I propose that one is captain one day, and one another; and that you, if you can, or any one else, shall navigate the ship. Otherwise one man's as good as another, to my mind, and knows as well as you how to make or shorten sail."

"Well, I don't see how that can tell one way or the other," said the boatswain, who evidently didn't like the turn the conversation was taking.

To me it seemed that the villains were ready for any mischief, but had not wit enough to carry it out. I lay as quiet as a mouse, scarcely venturing to breathe, for I knew that they would not scruple to put an end to me should they discover me, and fancy that I was awake and had overheard them. I determined, should I be found out, to pretend to be fast asleep. They talked on for some time longer, till all hands were summoned on deck to shorten sail. I was considering, as well as I could, what I had better do. The captain and officers had ill-treated me, but that was no reason I should allow them to be murdered, if I could in any way warn them of the danger, while the guiltless passengers must be saved at all costs. I thought that if I told Captain Longfleet, he would treat my statement as a cock-and-bull story, and declare I had been dreaming. Probably I should be sent off with a kick and a cuff, and the crew would hear that I had informed against them. I thought, however, that I would tell the second mate, who was better disposed, and far more sensible than the rest of the officers. Then it occurred to me that I had better consult Mark first, and hear what he thought. Perhaps he would consider it wiser to speak to one of the passengers, three of whom were determined-looking men. The fourth, Mr Alexander Fraser, was much younger, and I liked his appearance. He had given me a kind nod sometimes when I went aft. Their presence prevented the captain and officers from ill-treating Mark and me as much as usual. We were therefore inclined to regard them with a friendly spirit. I finally came to the conclusion to tell Mr Fraser what I had heard, if I could get the opportunity of speaking to him out of hearing of the rest of the crew, though that might be difficult. I knew that, after all, I must be guided by circumstances. The would-be mutineers talked on, and might have talked on for a whole watch, had not all hands been summoned on deck to shorten sail. I waited till they had gone up the rigging, and then crept out. The ship had been struck by a squall. Sheets were flying, blocks rattling, officers shouting, and a number of the men on deck pulling and hauling, made a hubbub so that I escaped aft unperceived, and was able to join Mark at one of the ropes it was his duty to attend to. As there was no one near, I was able to tell him by snatches what I had heard.

"I'm not surprised," he answered. "The villains would murder their own mothers or grandmothers if they could gain anything by it; but I only doubt whether they will venture to attack the captain."

"Still, we must let one of the officers know, or else their blood will be upon our heads. I propose warning Mr Fraser, or one of the other gentlemen," I observed.

"That will do," said Mark. "Either you or I may find a chance to speak to one of them; but there's no time to be lost, for we can't say at what moment these ruffians may take it into their heads to carry out their villainous designs. We must be careful, however, that they don't suspect us of giving the information, or they might heave us overboard some dark night without ceremony."

Some time was occupied in taking in the canvas, but in the course of an hour the squall passed off, and we had again to make sail.

While this was being done, Mark and I had time to discuss the matter.

That night, while it was my watch, I managed to get aft, where I found a person walking the deck, occasionally stopping and gazing at the bright stars overhead, the southern cross and others so different from those of the northern hemisphere. I waited till he had gone right aft out of earshot of the man at the wheel. I knew by his figure that it was Mr Fraser, so I went boldly up to him.

"I have got something to say to you," I whispered. "It's of great consequence. I mustn't speak loud."

I then briefly told him that I had heard the men propose to get rid of the officers and passengers in some way or other.

"I've already heard something of this from your young messmate, but I'm very incredulous about it," he answered.

"Pray don't be that, sir," I said. "Your life, and the lives of many others besides, depends on your believing the truth of what I say and taking measures to protect yourselves;" and I then told him more circumstantially what I had heard. He now seemed to listen attentively, and evidently considered that there was something in what I had said.

"I'm very much obliged to you for the information you have given, and I'll consult my friends on the subject," he answered. "The captain seems to be a man who will know well how to deal with the villains, if what you say is true. We'll tell him what has come to our ears."

"Indeed what I say is true," I exclaimed with energy. "They may be upon you at any moment, while you are unprepared."

"Well, laddie, I'll lose no time," said Mr Fraser; and, afraid that if we remained much longer we might be observed by some of the men, I crept forward under the shadow of the bulwarks.

I waited anxiously during the remainder of the watch to see what would occur; but as the men turned in, I was thankful to find that they had no intention of carrying out their project that night, and it was not likely that they would do anything in the daytime, when their movements would be observed by the officers. My only fear was that they might have seen Mark and me talking to Mr Fraser, and might have their suspicions aroused. If so, Mark and I would run, I knew, great risk of being knocked on the head as soon as darkness again came on. I therefore kept a sharp look out whilst I was on deck during the night, though I had an uncomfortable feeling that I might possibly be smothered in my sleep, or that Mark might be treated in the same way. Daylight, however, returned without anything having occurred.

On meeting Mark, I expressed my fears to him.

"Do you know, Dick, I was thinking of the same thing, and I have made up my mind to cut and run on the first opportunity, and I advise you to do the same thing. Indeed, I should not be happy if I left you behind; in truth, I would not run unless you promise to desert also."

"That I will, with all my heart, though I don't think that Mr Fraser and the other gentlemen are likely to allow themselves to be taken by surprise, or to neglect putting the officers on their guard."

"They can't protect us; and the men, if they find themselves even suspected, will certainly think that we informed on them."

Whenever we had the opportunity, Mark and I discussed our plans for escaping. As far as we could judge, the officers and passengers were at their ease, and didn't act as if they thought any mutiny would occur. As the weather was now getting cold, the passengers had an excuse for coming on deck in their cloaks; and one day, when Mr Fraser's blew aside, I observed that he had a brace of pistols in his belt. They also brought their rifles on deck, and amused themselves by firing at passing birds, sometimes at porpoises, sharks, and other monsters of the deep who showed their backs above water. I guessed at last, by the looks of the men, that they saw that the passengers were on their guard. Even the third mate didn't come forward as he had been accustomed to do; and at night, what was very unusual, there were two officers on deck at a time. We had now contrary winds and thick weather, which greatly delayed us for several days. No observations were taken.

One morning land was discovered on the weather bow, which, the captain said, was the coast of South America, and he carefully kept along shore in order to pass between the Falkland Islands and the main land; but at noon, when a meridian observation had been obtained, he found that what he had at first supposed to be the main land was in reality the Falkland Islands. We had for many days been sailing entirely by dead reckoning, while the current had set us out of our course. As we had not taken a full supply of water on board at Rio, and, owing to the bursting of the butt, which had frightened me so much, we had less on board than usual, the captain steered for one of the islands, where he knew that it could be obtained.

We came to an anchor about half a mile from the shore just at sunset. As it would take the crew the whole day to get water, which had to be rolled down in small casks to the beach and brought on board, the passengers expressed their intention of making a shooting excursion on shore to kill some wild cattle--of which there are numbers in the island--or any other animals or birds they might fall in with. As the captain had no objection to having a supply of beef without cost to himself, he agreed to let them have a boat the next morning to take them on shore. They asked for one or two of the men to carry the meat. The captain said that they could not be spared, but finally told them that they could take Mark and me, as we were of little use on board.

"Now," whispered Mark, "is our opportunity. If there are cattle, we shall have some meat to live on; and I propose that we hide ourselves away, so that when the gentlemen return on board we shall be missing."

The captain, we were sure, would not take the trouble to look for us. I agreed, provided that from the appearance of the island we should have the chance of obtaining food and shelter; if not, we might die of starvation, and it would be better to endure our miseries, and the danger we ran of our lives, for a short time longer than to do that.

"Well, as to that we must see about it," answered Mark.

Soon after, our watch being over, we turned into our respective bunks. I didn't feel altogether comfortable, not knowing what the men might do to us. For some time I lay awake, for I wanted to be on the watch, lest any trick should be attempted, but at length dropped off to sleep. As we were in harbour, only an anchor watch was kept, and I was allowed to have my night's rest out, from which I rose fresh and ready for anything some time before daybreak. Mark, who had gone aft to call the gentlemen, returned with an order for me to get ready to go in the boat. Sufficient provisions for the party were put into the boat; and the gentlemen, taking their rifles and pistols with them, and with their swords at their sides, we shoved off, the boat being partly laden with empty water-casks. As there was not room for Mark and me forward, we sat aft with the gentlemen, when Mr Fraser talked in a friendly way to Mark and me. I saw the men eyeing us savagely at this; and I thought to myself at the moment, "Those villains suspect that we have had something to do in putting the gentlemen on their guard." I answered Mr Fraser, however, and he went on talking to me. We landed not far from where the casks were to be filled with water. The gentlemen then, taking their guns, divided the provisions between themselves and us, and we set off towards the interior of the island, where we hoped to meet with the wild cattle. There was nothing attractive in its appearance. Here and there were low scrubby woods, and the country generally was covered with thick patches of tussack grass, which, at a distance, gave it the appearance of being green and fertile. Between the patches, the soil was dry and sandy, so that it cost us much fatigue to make our way over it.

We had seen plenty of wild cattle, but the gentlemen had not yet succeeded in killing any. They winded us on all occasions on our approach, and scampered off beyond the limit of rifle range. At last the gentlemen agreed to separate by going in small parties, and thus hoped to get nearer to the creatures. Mr Fraser invited Mark to go with him, and Mr McTavish took me; the other two gentlemen went together. Before starting they deposited their provisions inside of a hollow in a high bank, which, from its position, was easily to be found, and they agreed to return to dinner. If any one of the party killed an animal, he was to summon the rest to carry the meat. The object of the gentlemen was to kill as many animals as they could; for, as the weather was cool, it was hoped that the meat would last until we were well round Cape Horn. The island was of good size, but still there did not appear to be much risk of our losing our way. Mr Fraser, who was the most active of the party, said that he should go to the further end of the island and work his way back; that he was determined to kill some birds, if he couldn't knock over a cow.

"Remember," whispered Mark to me, "that I shall slip away; and you do the same, and come and join me."

To this I agreed. Mr McTavish and I went away to the right. We had been looking out for cattle for some time when we heard two shots, and from the top of a hill we saw the two other gentlemen, standing by a couple of cattle they had shot.

"Come, Dick," said Mr McTavish; "though we cannot boast of killing a beast ourselves, we must go and help them."

I thought that this would be a good opportunity to escape, and while he went down one side of the hill I proposed running down the other. I was just going when he caught sight of me.

"Hillo, youngster, where are you going to?" he cried out; and he came after me evidently with no intention of letting me escape. On getting up with me, he inquired, "What made you try to run off? Come, tell me as we go along." He spoke very kindly.

At last I confessed that I had determined to run away from the ship in consequence of the ill-treatment I had received.

"You would have been starved to death in the midst of plenty," he said in a kind tone. "Had the island been fertile, and you could have supported yourself, I, for one, would never have hindered you, for I have observed the way the officers and men behave to you. But for the future I think we can prevent that. I have a notion that we owe our lives to you and your messmate, and we're grateful to you for it; so come along, and don't again attempt to run away."

He spoke so kindly that at last I promised to follow his advice, hoping that Mr Fraser would also have prevented Mark from hiding himself, and would induce him to come back likewise. The gentlemen fired several shots to attract Mr Fraser's attention, but none were heard in return. They, in the meantime, cut up the animals and loaded themselves with as much as they could stagger under. The rest they covered up closely with the hides so as to keep the flies off, proposing to send some of the men for it. With our loads we returned to the place where we had left our dinner. As we were all very hungry we didn't wait for Mr Fraser, but set to at once, expecting that he and Mark would appear before we had finished. We waited, however, for some time, the gentlemen lighting their pipes to enjoy a smoke.

"I'm afraid that young companion of yours has bolted, and that Fraser is delayed by looking for him," observed Mr McTavish. "We can't delay much longer if we're to save the flesh," said Mr McDonald. "Fraser knows what he's about; he will easily make his way down to the beach by the landing-place in the morning, and we must send a boat on shore for him." As the day was advancing the others agreed to this proposal; and, leaving the remainder of our provisions for Mr Fraser and Mark, we set off. It was almost dark as we approached the harbour, and I began to fear that the crew would have taken the opportunity of attacking the officers--perhaps would have got the ship under weigh, and left us to our fate. I didn't, however, mention my fears to any one. I was greatly relieved when I made out through the gloom the ship at anchor, and soon after, the boat close to the beach.

Old Growles answered Mr McDonald's hail. I observed that my companions had examined their pistols and reloaded their rifles, so that they would be on their guard should any treachery be attempted.

On arriving on board, the captain received the gentlemen in a somewhat surly way, and inquired why Mr Fraser had not returned.

Mr McDonald replied, that we had waited for him, and that he had not appeared; but they expected that he would turn up on the beach on the following morning; if not, they proposed going in search of him.

"There won't be time for that," said Captain Longfleet. "We have got all the water we require on board to-night. If passengers choose to go on shore and not return at the time they are told to do, they must take the consequences."

Mr McDonald's Highland blood was up in a moment. "You have made a great mistake if you suppose that we will allow our friend to be deserted. We intend to go on shore to-morrow, and must beg to take two or three of your men with us, to ascertain what has become of Fraser and his young companion," he exclaimed.

"We shall see who commands this ship," cried the captain, turning on his heel and entering the cabin, outside of which this scene took place.

This was nuts to the crew, who must have perceived that if there was division aft they had a good chance of succeeding in their project.

Next morning, at daybreak, the hands were turned up to get the ship under weigh. Directly after, Mr McDonald and the other gentlemen came on deck. "We protest against this proceeding, Captain Longfleet," he exclaimed.

"I told you that if Mr Fraser chooses to absent himself at the time I was prepared to sail, he must take the consequences. It may delay us a whole day if we send to search for him," answered the captain.

"If it delays us a week we must look for him till he's found," exclaimed Mr McDonald, drawing a pistol. "Get the ship under weigh at your peril."

Bold as Captain Longfleet was, he quailed under the eye of the determined fur trader.

"Hurrah! There's our friend," cried Mr McTavish. "We must send a boat for him, and that will settle this dispute, I hope."

"A boat shall not leave the ship," cried Captain Longfleet. "I can't spare the men."

"I say again, get the ship under weigh at your peril," said Mr McDonald, stepping a pace towards the captain.

None of the officers or crew attempted to interfere. Those of the latter who were near only stood observing the scene and grinning their satisfaction.

"Are you going to send a boat?" again asked Mr McDonald.

Just then another shot was fired.

"I'll do as you wish," replied the captain; "but I tell you it's more than your friend deserves."

"I will go in her," said Mr McDonald.

"No, you can't do that. I will send my own men; for what I know, you may delay the boat," answered the captain.

"It matters not, provided Fraser and the lad return," said Mr McTavish, who was inclined to conciliatory measures.

The captain now directed three of the hands to go in the smallest boat which was large enough for the purpose, while the rest were ordered to loose sails and heave up the anchor. While these precautions were going forward I observed the gentlemen watching the boat through their telescopes. She reached the shore, and after a short delay was seen returning.

I looked out anxiously for Mark, hoping that after the account I had received of the island that Mr Fraser would have brought him back. Great was my grief and disappointment when I did not see him in the boat. Still I hoped that the passengers would induce the captain to send a party on shore to look for him. I intended to ask Mr McTavish to obtain leave for me to go, for I knew that if Mark heard my voice shouting for him he would come out of his hiding-place.

No sooner had Mr Fraser stepped on board than the boat was hoisted up. On this I ran off to ask Mr McTavish to insist on the ship being delayed to allow of a search for Mark.

"We'll do what we can, my laddie," he answered; "though the captain doesn't appear to be in the humour to grant any requests."

As Mr Fraser greeted his friends, I heard him say that he had missed Mark, and supposed, after searching for him for some time, that he had joined one of our parties; and that at length he had made his way to the beach, having satisfied his hunger with some of the provisions we had left behind. It was night when he had come near the harbour; and as he knew the boat would have returned, he formed himself a nest under a bank with some tussack grass and slept soundly till daylight.

When he found that Mark had not returned, he was as eager as Mr McDonald to go in search of him, but all they could say would not move Captain Longfleet.

"He is one of my crew, and you have no business to interfere with him," he answered.

Mr McDonald replied, that he could not but say that this was the case, but that the lad had accompanied them, and they felt themselves answerable for his safe return.

The captain, however, would not listen, but continued shouting out his orders to the men, who obeyed them with more alacrity than usual.

I could not help thinking that they rejoiced at having thus easily got rid of Mark. For my own part I regretted not having run away also, and shared his fate, whatever that might have been. Had the distance not been so great, I should, even now, have jumped overboard and tried to join him. But the attempt would have been equivalent to suicide, and I dared not make it.

Away stood the ship out of the harbour, leaving my old friend all alone on the desert island. I pictured to myself his horror and disappointment at not seeing me; the miseries and hardships he might endure for want of food and companionship, and his too probable early death. I went about my duty in a disconsolate mood. I had now no friend to talk to. Not one of the men appeared to pity me. Even Julius Caesar uttered no word of comfort. We soon lost sight of the Falkland Islands and shaped a course to round Cape Horn. The ship was now surrounded by albatrosses, penguins, and pintado birds. Several were shot, and others taken with a hook and bait. An enormous albatross was thus hauled in, and being brought on deck fought bravely for some time before it could be killed.

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Dick Cheveley: His Adventures And Misadventures - Chapter 17 Dick Cheveley: His Adventures And Misadventures - Chapter 17

Dick Cheveley: His Adventures And Misadventures - Chapter 17
CHAPTER SEVENTEEN South Sea whaler--I write a letter home, and how far it got on its way there--The Earl of Lollipop--Mr McTavish saves me from a flogging--My prospects somewhat improve--Another storm--We lose another man--A struggle for life--Tierra del Fuego--Cape Horn--In the Pacific--The coast of Patagonia, and how we nearly got wrecked--Juan Fernandez-- Robinson Crusoe's Island--I again determine to run away, but am prevented by an offer I receive--"Shark! Shark!"--A narrow escape-- Valparaiso--Callao--Paita--The Sandwich Islands--The king and his court--Royal guests--Some queer dishes--Pooah--Am again prevented from deserting--Columbia River at last--A glimpse of freedom--A farewell dinner--An untoward incident--Once more a prisoner--My captors' fears

Dick Cheveley: His Adventures And Misadventures - Chapter 12 Dick Cheveley: His Adventures And Misadventures - Chapter 12

Dick Cheveley: His Adventures And Misadventures - Chapter 12
CHAPTER TWELVE Still in the hold--Conscience again troubles me--My new food and its effect on my health--I picture to myself the crew on deck--Rather warm--Another storm--My sufferings and despair--A cold bath--I lose my stock of provisions--The rats desert me--The storm subsides--My fancy gives itself rein. Days, possibly weeks, may have passed by; I had no means of calculating the time. The ordinary sounds from the deck did not reach my ear, or I might have heard the bells strike, or the voice of the boatswain summoning the watch below on deck. I scarcely like to describe this part of