They all begged to shake hands with us, for the marine officer accompanied me. On returning to the boat we found two of the natives, who appeared at a distance more like maypoles than men, endeavouring to hold a conversation with the boat’s crew. The coxswain told me they had fallen in love with the boat-hook, and offered in exchange one of their lances.
I should imagine that you have almost forgotten the taste of wine.” “I have not touched it since two days after we were wrecked, sir; but on the whole we have not done at all badly with regard to food.” “In the first place, what has become of your boat’s crew?” “They are all dead, sir. Some were killed or washed overboard during the storm; the rest were drowned at the time of the wreck.”
Towel and the rest have all been killed by the Malays.” The news effectually damped the feeling of delight that had been excited on board when it was known that the canoe contained three of the boat’s party, for whose safety the greatest anxiety had been felt, the captain alone having entertained any hopes that the gig could have lived through the storm.
One of the boat’s crew, who sung in the style of Incledon, entertained us with several sea songs until we fell asleep, which was not, however, very refreshing, in consequence of the multitudes of mosquitoes. I positively believe some of us lost two ounces of our best blood.
But if you will purchase for me half a dozen of small bottles of otto of roses I will thank you. I cannot remain,” added I, “more than a quarter of an hour longer.” Whilst we were waiting for His Majesty’s Consul, who, I need not hint, was an Irishman, an animal made its appearance which the boat’s crew declared was a woman.
Space blew up in Rip’s face. The snapper-boat slewed wildly as the Connie shot took effect. Rip worked his controls frantically, trying to straighten the rocket out more by instinct than anything else. His eyes recovered from the blinding flash and he gulped as he saw the raw, twisted metal where the boat’s nose had been.
The boat’s crew are already on board and armed, but I don’t suppose you will meet with any resistance. When you have boarded her you will take command of her and navigate her to Valparaiso. I shall be returning there in the course of two or three days.” Stephen touched his hat and ran below. He was delighted at the prospect of his first command, though it was not a very important one.
We stunned him by a blow with one of the boat’s stretchers, threw him into the boat, and after taking in the net, repaired to the ship. In one of my excursions at this place I found a large manchineel tree. The fruit is nearly the size of a pippin, of a light yellow colour blushed with red; it looked very tempting. This tree expands its deadly influence and poisons the atmosphere to some distance.
Behind the racers sped the “Hudson,” keeping just far enough behind to be able to observe everything without interfering with either torpedo craft. From looking at the “Pollard” Captain Jack glanced down at the water. His own boat’s bows seemed to be cutting the water at a fast gait. The young skipper, knowing what he knew about both boats, could not understand this losing to the other craft.
On our boarding the enemy’s vessel we found the crew had abandoned her, and were firing at us with muskets from the bushes. They had scuttled her, and she was full of water. We turned her guns on them, which soon dislodged them, and they scampered off as fast as their legs would carry them. More than half of our boat’s crews had landed and were under my orders.