It beats insurance and you know the underwriters won't stand for insurance in the Paumotus." Grief pointed to a small cutter beating up astern of them on the same course. "I'll wager a five-franc piece the little Nuhiva beats us in." "Sure," Captain Warfield agreed. "She's overpowered. We're like a liner alongside of her, and we've only got forty horsepower.
The little Nuhiva, lying abreast of the Malahini and closer in to the beach, her engine still unrepaired and her captain ashore, was having a bad time of it. She buried herself so frequently and so deeply that they wondered each time if she could clear herself of the water. At three in the afternoon buried by a second sea before she could free herself of the preceding one, she did not come up.
Captain Warfield took the cue and proceeded to do some acting himself. He raised his fist and his voice. "Get into that boat," he thundered, "or I'll knock seven bells out of you!" The Kanaka drew back truculently, and Grief stepped between to placate his captain. "I go to work on the Nuhiva," Tai-Hotauri said, rejoining the other group. "Come back here!" the captain threatened.
The Kanakas sprang to the captain's orders, and for five minutes the schooner laid directly into the passage and even gained on the current. Again the breeze fell flat, then puffed from the old quarter, compelling a shift back of sheets and tackles. "Here comes the Nuhiva" Grief said. "She's got her engine on. Look at her skim."
Five minutes later a cry of joy from their own Kanakas centred all eyes on the Nuhiva. Her engine had broken down and they were overtaking her. The Malahini's sailors sprang into the rigging and jeered as they went by; the little cutter heeled over by the wind with a bone in her teeth, going backward on the tide.