Jack Buntline

By William Henry Giles Kingston

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Title: Jack Buntline

Author: W.H.G. Kingston

Illustrator: Horace Harral

Release Date: August 29, 2011 [EBook #37256]

Language: English


Produced by Nick Hodson of London, England

Jack Buntline
By WHG Kingston
Illustrations by Horace Harral
Published by Sampson, Low, Son, and Co, London.
This edition dated 1861.

Jack Buntline, by WHG Kingston.




Look at yon smooth-faced blue-eyed lad; his fair locks escaping from
beneath his broad-brimmed hat stuck to the back of his head; his blue
shirt collar, let in with white, turned over his neck-handkerchief,
which is tied with long streaming ends; his loose jacket, his wide
trousers.  You know the sailor lad at a glance.  He is a well cared for
apprentice under a kind captain.  He wins your regard by his artless
frank manners, and you think all sailor boys are like him.  Then see
that fine specimen of a man rolling along, with his huge beard and
whiskers, his love locks, his dark flashing eyes, his well bronzed
countenance, his bare throat, his dress, similar to that of the lad, but
of good quality and cut to a nicety.  He looks the hero of the sea, and
so he is, and so he feels himself.

What will he not dare and do?  He will board a foeman's ship by his
captain's side, however few with him or many against him; storm a
battery sending forth showers of deadly shot; leap overboard to rescue a
shipmate from a watery grave; will lift in his arms a charged shell with
the fuzee yet burning, or will carry on his shoulders a wounded comrade
from beneath the very guns of the foe.  He loves to fight on shore as
well as at sea.  He will suffer cold, and hunger, and thirst, and face
death in a thousand forms without complaint if his officers set him the
example.  He is the true man-of-war's-man, proud of his calling and
despising all others.

Now watch yonder nicely dressed old gentleman, with his three cornered
hat, white neckcloth, long blue coat with gold lace cuffs.  He is a
Greenwich pensioner.  He has done his duty to his country and done it
well, with all his heart; and now his country, whom he served in his
strength and manhood, cares for him as she should in his old age.

From these pleasing pictures people are apt to form their notions of
sailors and of a sea life, but there exists another numerous class of
whom I have a very different sketch to present.

They are as a class, however, gallant fellows.  They also will dare and
do all that men can accomplish.  Many are kind hearted, generous, brave;
but others are too often brutal, fierce, vicious, drunkards,
blasphemers, thinking only of present gratifications, and utterly
regardless of the future or of the world to come.

If such characteristics be theirs, I have a very solemn question to ask.
Why are they so?  Who has allowed them to become so?  What steps have
been taken to improve them?  The newspapers often give us one reason why
they are brutal.  Sent ignorant to sea, ignorant they grow up, no one
taking thought for the wellbeing of their souls or bodies; placed often
under ignorant brutal masters, whose only idea is how to get the most
work out of them, whose only argument is a handspike or rope's end;
ill-fed, ill-treated, ill-clothed, ill-lodged (oh what foul, wet, dark
holes have thousands of gallant sailors to live in on board ship); ill
looked after in sickness; when they return to port, handed over to the
tender mercies of crimps and foul harpies of every description, the
lives of our merchant seamen are short and hard indeed.

Remember that these are the men who supply us with all the luxuries we
enjoy, who have charge of the merchandise which has made England great,
glorious, and powerful.  Who then, I ask, has an excuse for refusing to
support any measure which will benefit them, their souls and their
bodies?  Can any one deny that our seamen have a claim on the sympathies
and aid of every member of the community, whether living in an inland
town, in the sequestered village, or on the wild sea side?

Oh could you but behold the merchant seaman on board his ship, the
coaster, the trader to neighbouring lands, aye on board some fine
looking craft also bound to distant ports; could you see him as he is,
day after day toiling on in his tarry, dirty clothes, unshaven,
unwashed, with rude companions, obscene in language and habits, in their
foul den of a berth; could you hear the expression applied to him by his
superiors, his groans of pain, his muttered curses as kicks and blows
and cuffs follow after the oaths showered on him; could you see him in
port consorting with the vilest of the vile, living in filth and
iniquity till his hard-earned gains being spent, his senses steeped in
drink, he is put on board another ship, often not knowing where he is
going till far out at sea.  Could you see and hear, I say, one tenth
part of the horrors which take place, unnoticed by man, on the wide
ocean, you, my readers, would weep and exclaim, unless your hearts are
harder than adamant, "We must, we must do something for that poor
fellow's soul and mortal frame."

Before, therefore, I begin the life of Jack Buntline, I must tell you
how that something may be done.  There exists in London a society called
The Missions to Seamen, which I was the humble means of establishing
there some five years ago.  It had before existed at Bristol.  It is
warmly supported by numerous admirals, and other naval officers and men
of influence.  The office is at 11, Buckingham Street, Strand, and the
Secretary is the Rev T.A. Walrond, an excellent clergyman, who has
devoted himself with the utmost zeal and energy to the interests of
sailors.  The object of the Society is to supply clergymen and lay
missionaries for seamen: but they do not wait till the sailors come to
them, they seek them out on board their ships, not only in harbours and
rivers, but even in open roadsteads, such as the Downs, the Solent, and
Portland Bay, wherever, indeed, any number of vessels are brought up
together.  The Society possesses several small vessels, on board which
seamen are collected and services are held, as also boats for carrying
the missionaries on board the ships.  They have a flag, the design of
which is an angel carrying the open gospel in her hand, on a blue

The work of the chaplains and missionaries is, as I have said,
especially to seek out seamen on board their ships, without waiting for
them to come to hear them.  They visit them in their berths, however
close or foul they may be, read and explain the Bible to them, pray with
them, collect them for public worship, and preach to them; offer them
Bibles, leave tracts with them, and speak to them as friends whose only
desire is for their soul's welfare.  Under God's guidance a very large
amount of good has, I believe, by these means been done, not only among
British, but foreign seamen who visit our ports.  Five years ago I was
induced to commence the work by the Rev T.C. Childs, who had succeeded
the Rev Dr Ashley, as sole chaplain of the Bristol Channel Mission,
the only one then existing.  We have now eleven chaplains, twelve lay
missionaries, and an income which already exceeds 6,000 pounds per
annum.  God has evidently particularly blessed our work.  Still we have
calls from all directions for more Chaplains and Scripture Readers, and
all who read this little book will, I trust, give their aid to the work
by such contributions as they can collect, taking care that they send
them to the Society for which I plead.

I should add, that I wrote the following story to read to the pupils of
the Rev J. Thomson, of Blackheath, and also to those of my friend the
Rev T. Langhorne, of Loretta House, Musselburgh, near Edinburgh.  Mr
Thomson's boys collected upwards of 10 pounds soon afterwards for the
Missions to Seamen.  Great will be my satisfaction if all my readers
follow their excellent example, and collect similar sums for the same
important object.

William H.G. Kingston.

Middle Hill, Wimborne, Dorset.


My dear Mr Walrond,

Allow me to dedicate the following little work to you, that I may have
the gratification of expressing my admiration of the judgment, energy,
and perseverance with which you have laboured in the great and noble
cause we both have at heart--the spiritual welfare of the British
seaman, so long unhappily neglected.  Nearly twenty of our flags (the
angel with the open Bible), waving in as many ports or roadsteads,
joyfully proclaim that it is neglected no longer.  Should thrice that
number be hoisted ere long, as I pray God there may be in various parts
of the world, I feel assured that you will be more gratified than you
would be by attaining any reward which the whole earth could give you.
That you may live to see abundant fruit from your labours, is the
earnest wish of

Yours most truly,

William H.G. Kingston.

To the Rev Theodore A. Walrond, Secretary, Missions to Seamen.


The sailor boy, as he is described in romances, or when he is made to
act the part of a hero on the stage, has run away from school or from
his parents, and entered under a feigned name on board a man-of-war;
there, instead of being punished for his misconduct, he is placed on the
quarter deck, and turns out in the end to be the heir to an earldom or
to a baronetcy.

Such was not the origin of poor Jack Buntline.  He was the only son of
his mother, and while he was yet an infant she was left a widow.  His
father had been a sailor, a true hearted gallant man.  He found Bessie
Miller, then neither young nor good looking, in distress and poverty.
He married her, saying that she should no longer want to the end of her
days.  How was he mistaken!  He went away to sea.  In vain his anxious
wife waited his return.  He never came back.  It was supposed that his
vessel was run down, and that he and all hands perished.  His poor widow
struggled hard to support herself and child: for some years she
succeeded.  She endeavoured also to impart to him what knowledge she
possessed.  It was but little.  But lessons of piety she instilled into
his mind at an early age.  The following, among many other quotations
from Holy Writ, she taught him: "God is love."  "Behold the Lamb of God
which taketh away the sins of the world."  "In God put I my trust, I
shall never be brought to confusion."  Deep into the inmost recesses of
his memory sunk those blessed words, and though long disregarded, there
they remained to bring forth fruit in due season.

At length a mortal sickness attacked the poor widow, and Jack was left
an orphan, houseless and hungry, to druggie with the hard world.  The
furniture and clothes his mother possessed were seized for rent, and he
was carried off to become an inmate of the workhouse.  He knew not where
he was going, but he thought the people very harsh and unkind.  He was
let out the next day to follow a coffin to a pauper's grave.  They told
him his mother slept beneath that low green mound.  When far, far away
over the blue ocean, often would his memory fly back to that one
solitary spot, to him the oasis in life's wilderness.  No relation, no
friend had he.  A pauper he lived for many a day, picking oakum and
wishing to be free.  That workhouse had a master, a stern, hard man.

An old companion, captain of an African trader, came to see him.  As
they sipped their brandy and water--"I want a boy or two aboard there,"
said Captain Gullbeak, "one o' mine fell overboard last week and was

"You may have as many on 'em as you like, perwided you takes care they
none on 'em come back again on the parish.  The guardians don't approve
of that ere joke."

"Not much fear of that, I guess," replied the captain with a grin; "they
has a knack of dying uncommon fast out there in Africa.  It's only old
hands like me can stand it do ye see."

So it was settled that little Jack was to be a sailor.  Jack was asked
if he would like to go to sea.  Would a sky-lark in a cage like to be
free?  He knew also that his father was lost at sea, and he thought he
might find him; so he said "Yes."  The guardians were informed of the
lad's strong desire to go to sea.  His resolution was highly approved
of, and leave was granted him to go.  So under the tender care of
Captain Gullbeak, of the _Tiger_ brig, poor Jack commenced his career as
a seaman--in mind still a child, in stature a big lad.  The only thing
he regretted was being separated so far from his mother's grave.  Away
over the ocean glided the African trader.  Hard had been Jack's life in
the workhouse--much harder was it now.  Every man's hand seemed against
him.  A cuff or a rope's end was his only reward for every service done
his many masters.

Occasionally in the workhouse he did hear prayers said and a discourse
uttered, somewhat hard to understand, perhaps.  Now, blaspheming,
scoffing, and obscenity were in every sentence spoken by those around
him.  What words can describe the dark foul hole into which Jack had to
creep at night to find rest from his grief in sleep.  It was in the very
head of the vessel.  The ceaseless murmur of the waves was ever in his
ears, and as the brig plunged into the seas the loud blows the received
on her bows made his heart sink within him, and it was long before he
could persuade himself that his last hour was not near at hand.

On, on flew the brig.  Hitherto the weather had been fine.  Jack had
sometimes gone aloft, but as yet he was but little accustomed to the
rolling and pitching of a ship at sea.  One night he was asleep dreaming
of the humble cottage by the greenwood side.  He was kneeling, as he was
wont, by his mother's knee, uttering a simple prayer to heaven for
protection from peril.  Now, alas, he has forgotten when awake how to
pray.  Loud harsh voices sound in his ear.  "All hands shorten sail."
He starts up.  "Rouse out there, rouse out," he hears.  He dare not
evade the summons.  He springs on deck.  The wind howls fiercely, the
waves leap wildly around, and sheets of spray fly over the deck.
Lightning flashes, dark clouds obscure every spot, the thunder growls,
scarcely can he lift his head to face the storm.  But he must go aloft
and lay out on the topgallant yard, high up in the darkness, where the
masts are bending like willow wands.  So rapidly, too, are they turning
here and there, that it seems impossible any human being can hold on to
them.  A rope's end urges him on.  Up he climbs, the lightning almost
blinding him, yet serving to show the wild hungry waves which break ever
and anon over the labouring vessel.  He reaches the topgallant yard.
There he clings, swinging aloft, the rain beating in his face, the wind
driving fiercely to tear him off--darkness around him, darkness below
him.  Not a glimpse can he obtain of the deck.  It appears as if the
ship had already sunk beneath those foaming waves.  How desolate, how
helpless he feels!  How can he expect to hold on to that unstable
shaking mast.  Now rolling on one side, now on the other, he hangs over
the dark threatening abyss.  What can he do to conquer that struggling
sail?  But there is one who sends help to the helpless, who turns not
away from the poor in their distress.  Jack there hears the first words
of kindness addressed to him since he came on board, and a helping hand
is stretched out to aid him.  The voice is that of a negro.  "No say I
wid you," adds Sambo, "or I no help you again."  The sail is furled, and
Jack descends safe on deck, his heart lighter with the feeling that
there is near at hand a human being who can sympathise with his lot.


The storm increased, but the brig, brought under snug canvas, rides
buoyantly over seas.  "Hillo, youngster, you are afraid of drowning are
you?" cried old Joe Growler, as he saw Jack's eye watching the heavy
seas, which came rolling up as if they would engulf the vessel.  "This
is nothing to what you may have to look out for, let me tell you."  Jack
thought the sea rough enough as it was, but he made no reply, for old
Joe seldom passed him without giving him the taste of his toe or of a
rope's end.  The other sailors laughed and jeered at Jack.  He was not,
however, afraid of the heavy seas.  He soon got accustomed to the look
of them.  He had a feeling also that God, who had put it into the heart
of the negro to help him on the topgallant yard, would not desert him.
The other men often reminded him of that awful name, but, alas, they
used it only to blaspheme and curse.

During the day the weather appeared finer, though the brig still lay
hove to; but at night the wind blew fiercer and fiercer, the sea broke
more wildly than ever.  Towards morning a loud report was heard, as if a
gun had been fired on board: the fore-topsail had been blown from the
bolt-ropes.  Before another sail could be set a terrific sea struck the
ship, washing fore and aft.  "Hold on, hold on for your lives," sung out
the master.  Jack grasped the main rigging, so did Sambo and others; but
two men were forced from their hold by the water and carried overboard.
A flash of lightning revealed their countenances full of horror and
despair.  A shriek--their death wail--reached his ears.  Jack never
forgot those pale terror-struck faces.

When morning broke, the crew no longer seemed inclined to jeer and laugh
at Jack.  The ship was labouring heavily.  About noon, the carpenter,
who had been below, appeared on deck with a countenance which showed
that something was the matter.  "What's wrong now?" asked the captain.
"Why, the ship's sprung a leak, and if we don't look out we shall all go
to the bottom," answered the carpenter gruffly.  He and the captain were
on bad terms.  "All hands man the pumps," sung out the captain.  The men
looked sulkily at each other, as if doubting whether or not they would
obey the order.  "Let's get some grog aboard; and no matter, then,
whether we sink or swim," said one.  "Ay, hoist up a spirit cask, and
have one jolly booze before we die," chimed in another.  It was evident
that they would if they could break into the spirit room, and steeping
their senses in liquor, die like brute beasts.  Sambo and Jack, however,
rushed to the pumps to help the mates rig them.  When the captain saw
the hesitation of the rest of the crew, uttering a dreadful oath, he
entered his cabin, and immediately returned on deck with a pistol in
each hand.  "Mutiny--mutiny!" he exclaimed.  "You know me, my lads--just
understand I'll shoot the first man who disobeys me."  Strange, that the
men who an instant before would not have hesitated to rush into the
presence of their Maker, were now afraid of the captain and his pistols.
Without another word they went to the pumps.  The labour was incessant,
but they were able to prevent the water from increasing.  All day, and
through the next night, they pumped on.  In the morning the storm began
to break; and soon, the wind shifting, the brig was put on her proper
course.  Still the water poured in through the leak; but as the sea went
down, half the crew were enabled to keep it under.  It was hard work
though, watch and watch at the pumps.  The captain and his mates walked
the deck with their pistols in their belts, ready to shoot any man who
might refuse to labour.  Jack and Sambo were the only ones who pumped
away with a will.  Several days passed thus.  At length the water grew
of a yellowish tinge, and a long line of dark-leaved trees appeared, as
if growing out of the sea.  Jack was told that they were mangrove
bushes, and that they were on the coast of Africa.  A canoe came off
from the shore full of black men.  One of them, dressed in a cocked hat
and blue shirt, with a pair of top boots on his legs, but no other
clothing, stepped on board.  He told the captain that he was son to the
king of the country; and having begged hard for a quid of tobacco and a
tumbler of rum, offered to pilot the brig up the river.  The brig's head
was turned in shore, and passing through several heavy rollers which
came tumbling in, threatening to sweep her decks, she was quickly in
smooth water, and gliding up with the sea breeze between two lines of
mangrove bushes.  The men required to shorten sail, had slackened at
their labours at the pumps.  This neglect allowed the water to gain on
them; so the captain, instead of ordering the anchor to be let go, when
some way up the river, ran the brig on shore.  He did this to save her
from sinking, which in another ten minutes she would have done.  It was
now high tide; and the captain hoped when the water fell to get at the
leak and repair damages.  He was come to trade in palm oil, ivory, and
gold dust, besides gums and spices, and any other articles which might
sell well at home.  He had brought Manchester goods--cottons, and
cloths, and ribbons; and also other merchandise from Birmingham, such as
carpenters' tools, and knives and daggers, and swords and pistols and
guns, to give in exchange for the productions of the country.

The king's son remained on board, and acted as interpreter.  Numbers of
natives came down to the banks of the river, and a brisk trade
commenced.  No vessel had been there for some time, and the captain
congratulated himself on quickly collecting a cargo.  The men, meantime,
had to work in the mud under the ship's bottom to stop the leak; and the
hot sun came down on their heads, and at night the damp mists rose
around them, and soon the dreadful coast-fever made its appearance.  One
by one they sickened and died.  Jack's heart sank within him when he
heard their ravings as the fever was at its height.  They died without
consolation, without hope, knowing God only as a God of vengeance, whose
laws they had systematically outraged.  The mates died, and the
carpenter and the boatswain, till two men only of the crew besides the
captain and Jack's friend, Sambo, remained alive.  The captain thought
that he had discovered the means of warding off disease, and always
talked of getting the brig afloat, and returning home with a full cargo.
He seemed to have no sorrow for the death of his shipmates, and cursed
and swore as much as ever.  At last Jack felt very ill, and one morning
when he tried to get up he could not.  Sambo came and looked at him, and
telling him not to fear, returned on deck and sent off for a
cocoa-nut-bottle full of some cooling liquid.  When it came, no mother
could have administered the beverage with greater gentleness than did
Sambo.  Though it cooled his thirst, still Jack thought he was going to
die.  The fever grew worse and worse, and for many days Jack knew
nothing of what was taking place around him.

While he had been well he had never said his prayers; but now the
recollection of them came back to his mind, and he kept repeating them
and the verses he had learned from his mother over and over again.


At last Jack completely recovered his senses.  The two men who had
remained in the berth were no longer there.  Sambo, who nursed him
tenderly as before, was the only person he saw.  He inquired what had
become of the rest.  "Captain and all gone.  Fis' eat them," was the
answer.  Yes; out of all that crew the negro and the boy were the only
survivors.  The king's son and his subjects had carried away all the
cargo, and the rigging and stores and the bare hull alone remained.

Jack was still very weak, but his black friend carried him on deck
whenever the sea breeze blew up the river, and that refreshed him.

While he lay on his mattress, he bethought him of repeating the verses
from the Bible and his prayers to Sambo.  The black listened, and soon
took pleasure in learning them also.  Jack remembered something about
the Bible, and how Jesus Christ came on earth to save sinners; and Sambo
replied it was very good of him, and that he was just the master he
should like to serve.

Thus many weeks and months passed away till Jack was quite strong again,
and he wished to go on shore and to see what was beyond all those dark
mangrove trees; but Sambo would not let him, telling him that there were
bad people who lived there, and that he might come to harm.

But a change in their lives was coming which they little expected.  As
they were sitting on the deck one evening, a long dark schooner appeared
gliding up the river like a snake from among the trees.  Sambo pulled
Jack immediately under shelter of the bulwarks, and hurried him below.
"The slaver--come to take black mans away--berry bad for we."  The
slaver, for such she was, dropped her anchor close to the brig.  Jack
and Sambo lay concealed in the hold, and hoped that they had not been
seen.  Oh that men would be as active in doing good as they are when
engaged in evil pursuits.  The slaver's crew, aided by numerous blacks
from the shore, forthwith began to take on board water and provisions,
and in the mean time gangs of blacks, tied two and two by the wrists,
came down to the river's banks from various directions.  Sambo looked
out every now and then, and said that he hoped the schooner would soon
get her cargo on board and sail.  "She soon go now," said he one day,
"all people in ship."

While, however, he was speaking, a boat touched the side of the brig,
and to their infinite dismay the footsteps of people were heard on deck.
Still they hoped that they might escape discovery.  "What dis smoke
from?" exclaimed Sambo.  "Dey put fire to de brig!"  So it was.  The
smoke was almost stifling them.  They had not a moment to lose.  Up the
fore-hatchway they sprung, and as they did so they found themselves
confronting three or four white men.

"Ho, ho, who are you?" said one, who turned and spoke a few words to his
companions in Spanish.

Jack replied that they were English sailors belonging to the brig, and
that they wished to return home.

"That's neither here nor there, my lads," was the unsatisfactory answer.
"You'll come with us, so say no more about the matter."

Thereon Jack and Sambo were seized and hurried on board the schooner.
Her hold was crowded with slaves.  The anchor was apeak, and with the
land breeze filling her sails, she ran over the bar and stood out to
sea.  "We are short handed and you two will be useful," said the white
man who had spoken to them, and who proved to be the mate; "it's lucky
for you, for we don't stand on much ceremony with any we find
troublesome."  Sambo had advised Jack to say nothing, but to work if he
was bid, and the mate seemed satisfied.

What words can describe the horrors of a crowded slave ship, even in
those days before the blockade was established.  Men, women, and
children all huddled together, sitting with their chins on their knees
and without the power of moving.  A portion only were allowed to come on
deck at a time, and the crew attended to their duties with pistols in
their belts and cutlasses by their sides ready to suppress an outbreak.
Many such outbreaks Jack was told had occurred, when all the white men
had been murdered.  He was rather less harshly treated than in the brig,
but he had plenty of work to do and many masters to make him do it.  It
was dreadful work--the cries and groans of the slaves--the stench rising
from below--the surly looks and fierce oaths of the ruffian crew,
outcasts from many different nations, made Jack wish himself safe on
shore again.

Thus, the slave ship sailed on across the Atlantic, the officers and men
exulting in the thought of the large profit they expected to make by
their hapless cargo.

But there was an avenging arm already raised to strike them.  No enemy
pursued them--the weather had hitherto been fine.  Suddenly there came a
change.  Dark clouds gathered rapidly--thunder roared--lightning flashed
vividly.  It was night--Jack was standing on deck near Sambo--"Oh! what
is dat?" exclaimed Sambo, as a large ball of fire struck the
main-topmast head.  Down it came with a crash, riving the mast into a
thousand fragments.  Wild, wild shrieks of horror and dismay arose.
Bright flames burst forth, shewing the terror-struck countenances of the
crew.  Down--down sank the ship, the fierce waves washed over her decks.
Jack thought his last moment had come as the waters closed over his
head, while he was drawn in by the vortex of the foundering vessel; but
he struck out boldly, and once more rose to the surface.  He found
himself among several spars with a few fathom of thin rope attached to
them.  He contrived to get hold of these spars, and by lashing them
together to form a frail raft.  This was the work of a minute.  He
listened for the sound of a human voice, yet he feared that he himself
was the sole survivor of those who lately lived on board the slave ship.
Not a sound did he hear, nothing could he see.  How solitary and sad
did he feel thus floating in darkness and alone on the wide ocean.  Oh
picture the young sailor boy, tossing about on a few spars in the middle
of the Atlantic, hundreds of miles away from any land, thick gloom above
him, thick gloom on every side.  What hope could he have of ultimately
escaping?  Still he remembered that God, who had before been so merciful
to him, might yet preserve his life.  He had not been many minutes on
his raft when he shouted again, in the hopes that some one might have
escaped to bear him company.  With what breathless anxiety did he
listen!  A voice in return came faintly over the waters towards him from
no great distance.  He was sure he knew it.  "Is that you, Sambo?" he
exclaimed.--"Yes, Jack, me.  Got hold of two oars.  Come to you,"
answered Sambo, for it was the black who spoke.  After some time Sambo
swam up to him, and together they made the raft more secure.  It was a
great consolation to Jack to have his friend with him; yet forlorn,
indeed, was their condition.


At length the night passed away, and the sun rose and struck down on
their unprotected heads.  They had no food and no water.  Anxiously they
gazed around.  Not a sail was in fight.  Death--a miserable death--was
the fate they had in prospect.  Their condition has been that of many a
poor seaman, and oh, if we did but think what consolation, what support,
would a saving knowledge of religion present to men thus situated, we
should rejoice at finding any opportunity of affording it to them.  The
day wore on, Jack felt as if he could not endure another.  He could hold
very little conversation with his companion.  The night came.  He had to
secure himself to the raft to save himself from falling off, so drowsy
had he become.

The sun was once more shining down on his head, when an exclamation from
Sambo roused him up.  Not a quarter of a mile from them was a large ship
passing by them.  But, oh, what agony of suspense was theirs, lest no
one on board should see them!  They shouted--they waved their hands.
Jack had a handkerchief round his neck,--he flew it eagerly above his
head,--he almost fainted with joy.  The ship's lighter sails were clewed
up.  She was brought to the wind, a boat was lowered and pulled towards
them.  They were saved.  The ship was an outward bound Indiaman.  Humane
people tended the poor sufferers.  A little liquid was poured down their
throats: a little food was given them: they were put into clean
hammocks.  For many a day Jack had not enjoyed so much luxury.  He had
hitherto been accustomed only to kicks and blows.  He thought Sambo the
only good man alive.  Kindness won his heart, and he learned to love
others of his race.

The voyage was prosperous.  India was reached in safety.  With a fresh
cargo the ship then sailed for China.  What wonders Jack saw in that
strange land I cannot stop to describe.  Laden with tea the good ship,
the _Belvoir Castle_, returned to England, and Jack's first and eventful
voyage was ended.



Jack had behaved so well when on board the Indiaman, that Captain
Hudson, her commander, kept him on to assist in looking after the ship
while she was refitting for sea, and once more he sailed in her.  Nearly
all the crew had been shipped when Sambo made his appearance and got a
berth on board.  Away rolled the old _Belvoir Castle_ laden with a rich
cargo, and full of passengers hoping to gain fortune and fame in the
distant land of the East.  None of them, however, took notice of the
young sailor lad, nor did it ever occur to Jack that such grand people
would think of speaking to such as he.  How vast was the gap between

It was war time.  One morning a strange sail was seen bearing down on
them, but whether friend or foe no one could tell.  To escape by flight
was impossible, so the ship was prepared for action.  Jack, like the
rest, stripped himself to the waist, and went to his gun with alacrity.
The old hands said they should have a tough job to beat off the enemy,
but they would do their best.  An enemy's frigate the stranger proved to
be, but so well were the old Indiaman's guns fought, that she beat off
the frigate with the loss of her foremast.  It was an achievement of
which all on board might justly have been proud, though several similar
acts of gallantry were performed during the war.  Jack's coolness had
been remarked, and he was called aft, and thanked by Captain Hudson on
the quarter deck for the way in which he had stood to his gun.


India was reached at last, the nabobs and the Griffins and the young
ladies were safely landed, and the ship, as before, proceeded to China.
There she took in a cargo of tea, and the time of year being suitable
the captain resolved to return home by Cape Horn.  The Pacific was true
to its character, and the Indiaman had a smooth run across it.  Cape
Horn was almost doubled.  It was a fine night.  The passengers tripped
it gaily on the quarter deck to the sound of music, the crew amused
themselves by singing forward.  No one thought of danger.  The moon's
bright beams played on the surface of the dark mysterious deep.  So
passed the evening away.  The passengers retired to rest; the first
watch was set; silence reigned over the ship.  Before the watch was out
dark clouds collected in the horizon and came rolling up overhead.
Every instant they grew thicker and thicker, the wind whistled louder
and louder, the sea rose higher and higher.  A heavy gale was blowing;
such a sea Jack had never before witnessed.  Suddenly a cry arose from
below, a cry the dread import of which a sailor too well knows--"Fire!
Fire!  Fire!"  The crew in a moment sprung on deck.  The passengers,
pale with terror, rushed from their cabins.

Jack listened for the orders of one on whom he knew all must depend--
their venerable captain.  Quick as lightning all flew to obey them.  The
courses were brailed up, the ship's head was brought to the wind.  All
hands were stationed to pass buckets along the decks, to deluge the hold
with water, but a fiercer element was at work.  Upward darted the bright
flames, grappling savagely with everything they encountered.  On--on
they fought their way, vanquishing the utmost efforts of the crew.
Those who had never before felt fear now trembled at the rapid progress
of the devouring element.  Already had the flames gained the foremast
and were mounting the rigging.  Their bright glare fell on the
terror-stricken countenances of the passengers and the figures of some
of the crew labouring to lower the boats into the water.  Others were
endeavouring hastily to construct a raft by which, perchance, some few
more of those on board might have their lives prolonged.  Provisions,
water, blankets, compasses, and other articles were collected in haste,
and thrown into the boats, as they were got into the water and dropped
under the counter.  Then the order was given to lower the women and
children into them.  Rapidly were the flames making their way aft.
Still the generous seamen obeyed the call of duty, and endeavoured to
see the most helpless rescued from immediate destruction before they
attempted to seek their own safety.  The frail raft was launched: one by
one the people descended on it: still many remained on board.

There was a loud explosion!  Fragments of the wreck flew high into the
air.  Bright hungry flames enveloped the whole ship.  Jack felt his arm
seized, and in another moment he was struggling in the waves supported
by Sambo, who then struck out for the nearest boat, the ship's launch.
They were taken on board.  Sad and solemn was the sight as Jack watched
the burning ship, casting its ruddy glare on the tossing foam-crested
waves, the tossing boats and helpless raft.  The launch, already
crowded, could take no more people in, and the second officer, who had
charge of her, judged it necessary to keep her before the wind.  So
hoisting sail they soon left their companions in misfortune and the
burning wreck far astern.  Yet how miserable was the condition of the
people in that storm-tossed boat.  Great also were their fears as to the
fate of those from whom they had just parted.  What hope also could they
have for themselves?  No sail in sight, land far far away, with small
supply of provisions or water.  The mate, Mr Collins, was a man of
decision and judgment.  The scanty store was husbanded to the utmost,
grumblers were silenced, discipline was maintained.

Still the sufferings of all were great.  Exposed to the sun by day, to
the cold at night, wet to the skin, with but little food, one after the
other they died.

A fortnight passed away.  Still no ship appeared in sight, no land was
made.  Scarcely could any of those in the boat have been recognised by
their dearest friends, so sad was the change wrought by those days of
suffering.  The wind now shifting, the mate determined to steer for the
Falkland Islands, the nearest land he could expect to make.  There, at
all events, they could obtain water and fresh meat.  Still it was a
hundred leagues or more away: could any hope to live to reach that
resting place for their feet?  Alas, their hollow voices, their haggard
countenances as in despair they looked into each other's faces, told
them that such hope was vain.  Jack and Sambo sat side by side, others
talked of home and friends, and entreated those who might survive to
bear their last messages to those friends in their far, far-off homes;
but Jack and the black had no homes, no friends to mourn their loss.
Much anguish were they saved.  It might have been the reason that they
retained their strength while others sunk under their trials.  Jack
remembered also how he and Sambo had before been preserved, and did not

Day after day passed away, the boat sailed on, her track marked by the
bodies of those committed to their uncoffined graves.  Strong men, as
well as women and children, young as well as old, sank and died.  At
length six only remained, the mate, and Jack, and Sambo, and three
others of the crew.  They had no water--no food.  The three men had
drawn together and had been holding consultation forward.  "It must be
done," muttered one, in a low ominous voice.

"We are not _all_ going to die," growled out another, looking towards
the mate who was steering; "we've made up our minds, sir, to draw lots."

"For what?" exclaimed the mate with startling energy; "for what, I ask,

The man did not answer.  There was something in the mate's tone which
silenced him.

"No more of that while I live," added Mr Collins, drawing a pistol from
his bosom and laying it beside him.  For many hours after this not a
word was spoken.


On sailed the boat.  The black was the only person who kept his eyes
constantly moving about him.  He might have suspected treachery.
Suddenly his whole manner seemed changed.  He jumped to his feet
clapping his hands.  "A sail--a sail," he cried.  Then he sat down and
wept.  All looked eagerly in the direction towards which he pointed.  A
large barque was crossing their course, but how could they hope that a
small boat could be seen by the people on board at that great distance?
They got out the oars, but their strength was insufficient to go through
the movements of rowing, much less to urge on the boat.  All they could
do was to sit still and wait, watching with intense eagerness every
movement of the stranger.  Picture them at this juncture.  On, on they
sailed.  Every one felt that if they missed the vessel their fate was
sealed.  A simultaneous groan escaped their bosom.  She altered her
course, and was standing away from them.  One of the men threw himself
down into the bottom of the boat, prepared to die.  Still Jack kept his
eye on the barque.  "See--see dere!" exclaimed Sambo.  The barque had
hove to.  Why, they could not tell, at the distance she was away.  She
had done so without reference to them.  Perhaps some one had fallen
overboard.  How anxiously did they wait!

As they were looking a spout of water rose in the air.  "Whales!
whales!" cried Sambo.  "See dere is anoder."  Ere long they descried a
boat rapidly approaching, urged on by some unseen power.  She dashed by
them, her bows covered with foam.

Well might her crew look with surprise and horror at the hapless beings
in the Indiaman's boat.  Jack and Sambo and the mate waved their hands,
their voices were too weak and hollow to be heard.  "We'll come to you--
we'll come to you, poor fellows!" shouted the crew of the whale boat.
It was long, however, before the whale to which the boat was fast rose
to the surface, and lashing the sea with its tremendous tail, spouted
out its life blood and died.  The whaler had made sail after her boat,
and now seeing the Indiaman's boat, took Jack and his companions on

"Who sent that whale towards us when we were almost dead?" thought Jack;
as often as he asked the question the answer came: "It was God in His
great mercy guided the senseless fish that we might be saved."

There were but five survivors.  One man, he whose ominous looks had made
the mate draw his pistol, had not lived to see the approach of the whale
boat.  Jack and his companions were treated not unkindly on board,
though their life was a rough one.  The whaler was an American, outward
bound, and five fresh hands when their strength returned were no
unwelcome addition to her crew.  Their early success put all hands in
good humour, and several sperm whales were killed before they reached
their usual cruising ground on the borders of the Antarctic ice fields.
Jack was soon initiated into the mysteries of blubber cutting and
boiling, and as the dirt and oil-begrimed countenances of the men were
seen as they moved around their seething cauldrons, amid bright flames
and dense masses of smoke, they looked like spirits of evil summoned to
labour by some diabolical agency.

Several weeks thus passed by, when the whaler with a full cargo was once
more steered northward.  All hands were exulting in their success.  The
weather had been fine.  There was every prospect of a prosperous voyage.
Cape Horn had been rounded, and they were at no great distance from the
coast of South America.  Before long, however, a change took place;
thick weather came on, and for many days not a glimpse of the sun was
obtained.  The master too was taken ill, and the first mate had proved
himself a bad navigator.  The result was that the ship was out of her
reckoning.  A gale sprung up, which, shifting to the eastward, increased
to a hurricane.

The belief was that the ship was a long way from the coast.

It was night.  The darkness was intense, such as can be felt.  The gale
had somewhat abated, and it was hoped that canvas might soon be got on
the ship to take her off the land, when that terror-inspiring cry arose
from forward:--"Breakers ahead!"  In tones of dismay it was repeated
along the decks.  "There's a watery grave for most of us then,"
exclaimed the old boatswain, near whom Jack was standing.  Scarcely had
he spoken when the ship struck, and the wild sea made a clean breach
over her, washing many poor fellows to destruction.  Groans of horror,
shrieks of despair rose on every side; but the sounds were quickly
silenced by the roar of the waves, the crashing of the falling sails,
and the wrenching asunder of the stout timbers.  Jack clung to the
bulwarks, and as they gave way he found himself borne onward with them
through the foaming breakers into comparatively smooth water.  The force
of the wind still drove him on till he felt his feet touching the hard
sand.  Disengaging himself from the pieces of wreck, before the waters
returned, he was beyond their reach.

He sat down--he thought--how good God had been again to save him, and he
tried to shape his thoughts into prayer; but there had been nothing like
prayer on board the whaler, and he could not pray.  For some time he sat
almost stupified; then he roused himself and listened for the sound of
some human voice to tell him that others had escaped from the wreck.  "I
should go and help them if they have," he exclaimed, starting to his
feet.  He ran along the beach calling out: a voice replied.  He at the
same moment came across a coil of light rope.  Carrying it on his arm he
hove the end of it towards the spot whence the voice came.  Twice he
hove, and had again to haul it in.  The third time it was seized.  He
dragged on shore one of the whaler's crew.  Jack placed him out of the
reach of the waves and ran on, for he thought that he heard another
person calling.  Again his rope was of use.  He discerned through the
darkness a large piece of the wreck.  Three men were clinging to it.
One of them was Sambo.  Together they continued their search for others,
venturing as far into the water as they dared.  Another man was found
struggling to gain the shore.  He was almost exhausted.  By himself he
could not have succeeded.  Jack was truly glad to find his old friend
Mr Collins, the mate of the Indiaman.  After a little time he also
recovered, and together the survivors continued their search.  In vain
they searched during the night.  The next morning not a particle of the
wreck was found hanging together.  Some dead bodies were washed on
shore, and several articles also of which the shipwrecked mariners stood
much in need were picked up, casks of provisions, clothing, tools, and
some arms and powder and shot.  They had thus no fear of starving.  As
soon as they had collected whatever the waves threw up they climbed to
the top of the cliffs to look around them.  They were evidently in an
uncivilised part of the country, though it was well wooded and watered.
Their great fear was from the Indians, a fierce race thereabouts.  The
mate, who naturally took the lead, told them that they might be able
probably to reach some of the Spanish settlements, and they resolved to
set off in search of them.  It was necessary, however, that they should
lay in a store of provisions, and recover their strength for the
journey.  There were numerous large trees and rocks scattered about the
shore, and the shipwrecked seamen soon discovered a cave in one of the
rocks, where they could shelter themselves from the wind and rain, and
in which they might lay up their stores.


Several days passed quietly away, most of the party going out for a few
hours at a time to endeavour to shoot any animals or birds which might
serve to vary their diet.  At length, however, they fancied themselves
strong enough to prosecute their journey, and a day was fixed on which
to commence it.  One morning the party, as was their custom, went out in
pairs to hunt.  Jack accompanied Sambo.  They were later than usual, but
on their return they saw no signs of a fire at their hut, nor any sounds
from their companions.  Jack's heart sunk within him.  On reaching the
hut his apprehensions were verified.  It was stripped almost of
everything.  The articles too bulky to be carried off were broken in
pieces.  What had become of their companions?  "Me fear killed," said
Sambo, who had been looking anxiously about.  He beckoned to Jack, and
penetrating through the wood to a short distance they found the dead
bodies of two of their late companions.  Sambo, after examining the
marks on the ground, declared it his belief that their other two
companions had been carried off by the Indians, Jack's first impulse was
to run away from the fatal spot, but on consulting with Sambo they
agreed that the Indians, having carried off every thing, were not likely
to return: besides, without the mate to guide them, they were unable to
find their way to the European settlements.  He, with the other man, had
probably been carried away by the Indians.  All they could hope for was
that some vessel might visit that part of the coast and take them off.

They had guns, but a very small supply of powder, and this they
determined to keep to make a signal should it be necessary.  As,
however, Sambo knew a variety of methods of trapping both birds and
beasts and of catching fish, and also what roots and fruits were
wholesome and unwholesome, they were not likely to want food.  Day after
day, and week after week, and month after month passed away, till Jack
lost all count of time and began to fear that no vessel would ever come
to take them off.  Several times in the summer they met with traces of
Indians, but Sambo was always able to avoid them.  Numberless were the
adventures they met with and the risks they ran.  Jack had reason to be
thankful that he had so intelligent a companion and faithful a friend as
Sambo, though they had not much power of interchanging ideas.  "What
matters the colour of our skin?" thought Jack.  "The same God made us
both, and I love him as a brother."  At length Jack began to be very
anxious to get away.  He thought that he might have to live there for
ever.  Sambo was much more contented with his lot.

Some twenty months or so had passed away since the shipwreck, when one
morning, as Jack went to the top of a cliff to take his usual look for a
vessel, he saw a large brig standing along the shore about a mile to the
northward.  He hurried back to the cave to call Sambo, and to get their
musket with the few rounds of ammunition they had left.  The two
returned to the shore.  Jack's heart beat quicker than it had ever
before done.  Off he set, followed by Sambo along the beach in the
direction of the brig.  He was afraid she might stand off shore again
without any on board observing them.  At length they came abreast of the
brig.  They shouted and waved their handkerchiefs; still no notice was
taken of them.  "We must fire," said Jack.  But the powder flashed in
the pan.  He tried again.  "Make haste! make haste!" shouted Sambo.
They were standing on the summit of a rock which lay on the beach, with
a wide extent of open country which sloped up from the shore behind
them.  There, galloping towards them at full speed, were a band of
mounted Indians.  Jack again primed the musket.  It went off.  He loaded
and fired again.  The signal was observed on board the brig, and a gun
was fired in return.  The reports of the firearms had the effect of
making the Indians rein in their steeds and look about them.  At the
same time a boat put off from the brig.  She was immediately perceived
by the Indians, and again they advanced, but more cautiously than
before.  Jack and Sambo looked anxiously at the boat.  It was doubtful
whether she or the Indians would reach them first.  They rushed down to
the beach and waded into the water.  The crew of the boat saw their
danger.  On came the Indians with terrific yells, flourishing their
lassoes high above their heads.  Jack and Sambo saw that narrow indeed
was their chance of escape.  The brig had been standing in shore.  Just
then she brought her broadside to bear, and opening her ports sent a
shower of round shot among the Indians.  Two or three of their saddles
were emptied and they again halted.  The delay enabled Jack and Sambo to
spring into the boat.  Scarcely had her head been pulled round, when the
Indians, again galloping on, dashed into the water and endeavoured to
throw their lassoes over their heads.  One man was very nearly caught,
but he had a sharp knife ready to cut the rope as it reached his neck.
Others among the Indians shot arrows at them, but the boat's crew having
no arms could not retaliate, and Jack's musket had got wet.  By smart
pulling they were soon safe on board the brig.


Jack and his companion found the brig was in search of a spot further to
the south where good water could be got.  Having visited it, Jack and
Sambo were able to pilot her there, and thus at once obtained favour
with their captain.  They had not been many days on board before Jack
became suspicious of the character of the _Sea Hawk_, such was the name
of the brig.  "Don't ask questions," was the only answer he got when he
inquired under what flag she sailed.  He found that she was neither
English nor American; still she was strongly armed, and from the
bandages which decked the heads and arms of several of the crew, and the
marks of shot in her hull and rigging, it was evident she had only
lately been engaged.  The people also were of all nations and colours,
and dressed in every variety of costume.  Watching his opportunity he
mentioned his doubts to Sambo.  The black shook his head.  "Berry bad,
me fear," he replied.  "This brig one big pirate--nothin' else."  Jack
had once seen some pirates hanging in chains, and had a wholesome fear
of their character.  He was therefore not a little anxious to get out of
their company.  He, however, said nothing, and went about his duty

In spite of the lawless manners of the crew, there was strict discipline
maintained on board, and a sharp look out kept.  From their
conversation, Jack guessed that they were on the watch for some of the
homeward-bound Spanish ships from Peru or Mexico, supposed to be
freighted with gold and other valuable commodities.  No one was more
constantly on the alert than the captain.  Every one paid him the
greatest respect.  Jack at first could not tell why.  His outward
appearance had nothing about it of the ferocious pirate.  Captain John
was a little man, somewhat sunburnt and wizened, and no beauty
certainly, but with usually a calm, rather benignant expression of
countenance, and a gentle soft voice.  If, however, any thing went wrong
or in any way displeased him, his eye kindled up, and his voice gave out
a note between the roar of a lion and the croak of a raven, and on these
occasions Jack always felt inclined to get away from him as far as he

Several weeks passed away and no prize had been made.  A thick fog had
hung over the sea since daybreak, shrouding every thing near or far from
sight.  A breeze springing up soon after noon, the fog lifted, when away
dead to leeward a ship was descried, her maintop just appearing above
the horizon.  Instantly all sail was made in chase.  No one doubted but
that at length a prize long waited for was to be theirs.  They rapidly
overhauled the stranger, who, apparently unsuspicious of danger, was
holding her course to the northward.  As the _Sea Hawk_ neared her, she
seemed to be a large ship, her build, her paint and rigging shewing her
to be a merchantman.  At the same time, as a Spanish ship of her size
would certainly carry guns, and as her crew might possibly fight them to
defend their freight, the pirates went to their quarters to be prepared
for the strife.  However, when the brig drew still nearer she seemed in
no way inclined to begin the combat.  This made the pirates fancy that
she would not fight at all, and that they would obtain an easy victory.
"We must not let one of the people escape to bear witness against us,"
said the mild-looking Captain John as he eyed the stranger.  Sad was the
fate awaiting all on board the merchantman.  Nearer and nearer drew the
two vessels.  So completely did the pirate brig outsail the other that
the _Sea Hawk_ might be likened to a spider with a fly in his toils.

The brig, hoisting her accursed black flag, sure harbinger of death and
destruction, was about to pour in her broadside, when an exclamation
escaped the pirate captain.  Large folds of canvas were drawn up from
the ship's sides, down came tumbling sundry other bits from aloft, the
muzzles of twenty guns looked grinning out of her ports, up went the
glorious British ensign at her peak, and at the same moment the frigate,
for such she was, sent forth a terrific shower of round shot and
langrage, which made the pirate brig tremble to her keel, and struck
down many a fierce desperado never to rise again.

The pirate captain now seemed in his element, though he must have known
his case to be desperate.  Ordering his man to fire high, wishing to
disable his opponent, he braced up his yards in the hopes of getting off
to windward; but the hitherto slow sailing frigate showed that she had a
quick pair of heels of her own, and was immediately after him.  Jack was
endeavouring to get away, that he might not fire on his countrymen; but
the pirates drove him back to his gun, with the threat of shooting him
if he attempted to desert them again.  Sambo, on account of his general
intelligence, had been made captain of his gun, and he seemed to be as
eager in working it as any one else; but he gave Jack a hint that no one
on board the frigate would be the worse for any shot he fired.  Now
began a scene of the most terrific carnage.  The pirates fought like
demons; but were struck down by numbers at a time, till the deck became
a complete shambles.  Still Jack and Sambo were unhurt.  Some of the
pirates gave signs of a desire to haul down their flag; but their
captain shot a man who was attempting the operation, and that made the
others desist.  At length Captain John received a wound and fell to the
deck, and the crew rushing aft struck to the frigate.  After giving them
a couple of extra broadsides--for pirates are seldom treated with
courtesy--the victor sent his boats, well armed, to take possession.  No
further opposition was made, though the little captain, as he lay
writhing on the deck, urged his crew to heave cold shot into the boats
as they came alongside.  The British seamen climbed up the sides with
their cutlasses in their teeth, and took possession of their prize.


Some dozen men only of the pirates remained unhurt.  They, with Jack and
Sambo, were forthwith transferred to the frigate and placed in irons
below.  "I'm no pirate," said Jack to the men who were handcuffing him.
"Oh, no," they answered with a laugh; "you looks like a lamb, and that
'ere craft there with the black flag flying is just an honest trader."
Poor fellow, he was begrimed with powder and smoke and blood, and looked
very unattractive.  He felt very wretched, for he saw no means of
proving that he was innocent.  His only comfort was that Sambo was near
him.  They could thus carry on a conversation in an undertone.  Sambo
had been so knocked about the world, and had been in so many strange
positions, that he was not easily cast down.  "Neber mind, Jack--
something save us dis time too--we trust in God."

The _Lion_ frigate, which had captured the pirate, had been dispatched
from the West India squadron expressly to look for him, and now shaped a
course for Jamaica with her prize.  From what Jack heard from the
pirates and from the crew of the frigate, he had no doubt that all of
them would be hung, as a warning to other evildoers.  Uncomfortable as
he was, he was in no hurry to have the voyage over.  He did not like the
prospect at its termination.  He tried in vain to get the ear of some of
the officers of the ship that he might tell his tale.  There was no
chaplain, or he would have spoken to him.

At length the frigate reached Jamaica, and Jack and his companions were
transferred to the prison on shore.  They were there constantly visited
by a minister of the gospel, and Jack seized an early opportunity of
telling him how he had come to be on board the pirate brig.  The
clergyman listened attentively to his tale, and cross-questioned both
him and Sambo on the subject.  He often spoke to them, losing no
opportunity of turning their minds to eternal things.  Still they were
left in doubt whether or not he believed their story.

The day of the trial arrived; Jack and Sambo and the other prisoners
were brought into the court of justice.  The evidence against them was
so clear that their counsel had little to plead in their defence.  Jack
simply repeated his story, describing how he and others, escaping from
the burning Indiaman, had been picked up by the whaler, and afterwards
wrecked on the coast of South America.

"I can corroborate one part of the story," said a gentleman, rising in
the court, "I was on board the Indiaman, and remember that young seaman
and the black, who both at different times performed some service for

"I felt sure, also, that they were innocent," added the chaplain of the
prison; "they were the only two of all the pirate crew who from the
first knelt in prayer, and were resigned to the will of God,
acknowledging his justice and goodness."

"There's no doubt about their innocence," exclaimed a sunburnt,
broad-shouldered man from the crowd, whom Jack recognised as his friend
Mr Collins.  "I was second officer of the Indiaman," he continued; "I
was wrecked in the whaler, carried off by the Indians, and have only
just escaped from them, and found my way here."

Still as Jack and Sambo had been found on board a pirate, and the
frigate wanted hands, though their lives were spared, it was on
condition that they should enter on board her.  Three days afterwards
the survivors of the pirate crew were seen swinging on gibbets,--a
punishment they richly deserved.

This event having taken place, the _Lion_ frigate put to sea.  Jack soon
found himself rated as an able seaman, and well able was he to do his
duty, to hand and reef and steer with any man in the ship.  No one would
have recognised in the active, well-built, intelligent, sunburnt seaman
the poor little spirit-cowed workhouse lad, who a few years before had
left the shores of England.

After serving for some months on board the frigate, Sambo was raised to
the dignity of ship's cook, his chief qualification being his power of
enduring heat.  For a better reason Jack was made captain of the
mizen-top, whence he might hopefully aspire to become captain of the
maintop.  War, which had only lately been concluded by a peace, again
broke out, and the frigate was sent to cruise in search of an enemy.
Jack's heart beat high at the thought of meeting one.  The last time he
had stood at his gun in action, its muzzle was turned against the very
ship on board which he now served, and he longed to show how he could
fight in a rightful cause.

He had not long to wait.  The frigate, having the island of Barbadoes
some fifty leagues or so to the westward, caught sight of a stranger,
her topsails just showing above the horizon to the eastward.  Sail was
made in chase, and as they rose her courses, she was pronounced to be an
enemy's cruiser of about equal force.  The private signals were
unanswered, and as soon as the ships got within range of each other's
guns the action commenced.  As the wind was from the westward, the
British frigate had the weather-gauge,--an advantage she kept,--and so
well were her guns served, that it was soon evident the enemy were
getting the worst of it.  Still the enemy fought well, and many of the
_Lion's_ crew lost the number of their mess.  At length it was resolved
to close, and carry her by boarding, for the night coming on it was
feared she might escape in the dark.  Jack buckled on his cutlass with
no little glee, and, following the first lieutenant, as the ships' sides
touched each other, was one of the first on board the enemy.  The decks
were slippery with blood; oaths, and cries, and shrieks, and groans, and
clashing of steel, and flashing and rattling of pistols, resounded on
every side, interrupted by loud roars, as both ships continued to work
their heavy guns as they could be brought to bear.  Numbers were falling
on both sides; but the intrepid courage of the English bore down all
opposition, and the enemy being driven below or overboard at last cried
out for quarter.  It was granted, and their flag being hauled down, the
well-won prize was taken possession of.

A violent south-westerly gale springing up soon afterwards, the frigate
and her prize were driven so far to the north-east that the captain
ordered a course to be shaped for England.  There, in seven weeks or so,
they arrived, and the ship being shortly afterwards paid off, Jack found
himself in possession of no small amount of prize money.


Jack knew less of the world, if possible, than most of his shipmates,
and not being much wiser, his wealth very rapidly disappeared.  How it
went he could scarcely tell.  He had just enough left to pay for an
outfit, when he found himself pressed on board the _Tribune_ sloop of
war, fitting out for the East Indies.  This time, greatly to his sorrow,
he was parted from Sambo, who had got his old rating as cook on board a
large frigate.  Away sailed the _Tribune_ for the lands of pearls and
pagodas, diamonds and marble temples, elephants and ivory palaces,
scorching suns and wealth unbounded; but what cared Jack whether he went
to the tropics or the poles, provided he had a stout ship under his foot
and trusty companions by his side.

India was reached, and over those bright calm seas the frigate glided,
visiting many a port, where many a strange scene was beheld, and where
communication was opened with many strange people.  The _Tribune_ was
continuing her voyage towards the rising sun--shortening each day in her
progress--when, as she was sailing by some spice-bearing isle, a soft
breeze wafting the sweet odours of many a fragrant flower from off the
land, a change came over the smiling face of the blue deep,--sudden--
terrific--like the work of magic.  A loud, tremendous roar was heard,
with a milling, hurtling, crashing sound.  The tall palm-trees bent low
before the blast, torn up by the roots, with roofs of houses, entire
cottages, and whole crops, the produce of rich lands and days of
wearying toil: they were swept like chaff before it.  All hands were
called, quick aloft they flew to shorten sail, tacks, sheets, and
halliards quickly were let go.  The topsail yards were speedily lowered,
but the gale was down upon them before the sails could be handed.
Wildly they fluttered, bursting all restraint, and then flew in tattered
shreds from the bolt-ropes.  Not a sail remained entire.  Fluttering
wildly in the gale the strips of canvas twisted and turned, flapping
loudly, driving the hardy seamen from the yards, till it had formed
thick, folds and knots which no human power could untie.  Not till then
could it be cut from the yards.  On, on flew the ship, what could stop
her now?  The fierce typhoon howled and whistled through the rigging.  A
yard parted; away it was carried; two brave men were on it.  Both
together were hurled into the seething, hissing, foaming water, through
which the ship was madly rushing.  Could any human aid avail them?
Alas! the cry was heard of a strong swimmer in his agony.  He turned his
longing eyes towards the ship fast leaving him, as still with giant
strength he struggled on, cleaving the yielding waters with his brawny
arms, his head lifted above the white foam thrown from her eddying wake,
in the vain hope--he knows it vain--to overtake her.  Yet he had never
given in throughout his life's combat with the world, and would not now
till remorseless death had claimed him as his own.  His shipmates grazed
astern with aching eyes, till his head alone was dimly seen in the far
distance amid the snow-white track the ship had left behind.

"Who was it fell?" was asked from the quarter deck.

"Jack Buntline," many a voice replied.  "Alas, 'twas poor Jack

"But two men were carried away with the broken yard," exclaimed the
officer of the watch; "I saw them fall."

A voice, faint and struggling for utterance, at that moment was heard
from alongside.  A rope from aloft was trailing overboard, and at the
end a human form was clinging.  Numbers hurried to assist their
shipmate.  "Be careful now, my men, or he also will be carried away,"
cried the officers.  A rope with a bight was hove to him, but the
struggling sailor durst not attempt to clutch it, lest on quitting one
he might miss the other, and be borne, like his comrade, far away
astern.  Oh, not another instant could he cling on.  If help cannot be
sent him he too certainly must let go.  Another rope was hove.  This
time more successfully, the bight fell over his shoulder.  He passed an
arm through it.  "Now haul away," was the cry.  He was hoisted half
fainting on the deck.  The surgeon was ready to attend him.  "Who is
it?" was asked.  "Jack Buntline," was the answer.

Once again Jack Buntline was preserved from sudden death, and what death
more dreadful than to feel the life blood flowing freely through the
veins, with youth, and strength, and many a fancied joy in prospect,
friends looking on, eager to save yet powerless, and to be left alone on
the cheerless boundless ocean, the stout ship flying fast and far away,
and unable to return till long, long after the strongest swimmer must
have sunk in the cold grasp of death.  Jack knew and acknowledged with a
grateful heart the arm which saved him.  Away, away flew the ship.  The
sky overhead a clear deep-dazzling blue, not a cloud but that wind must
have blown it from the atmosphere; the sea beneath was one mass of
seething, hissing, foaming, madly-leaping waves; not upward, but rushing
in frantic haste one over the other, the spray, like thickest snow
drifts, following fast astern, torn, as it seemed, from the summit of
the seas.  Royal masts, and topgallant masts and yards had from the
first been struck, top masts were housed,--still frantically onward flew
the ship, scudding under bare poles.

"What sea room has she?" was asked with many an anxious look into each
others' eyes.

"Not much on either hand--isles and reefs and rocks on every side
abound," was the whispered answer.

The typhoon howled louder than before.  Land could be seen blue and
distinct broad on the starboard beam, but though a sheltering port is
there, the ship cannot be steered to reach it, but must run on, whatever
may be the dangers ahead.

On, on she went: night was approaching.  A startling cry was heard,
"breakers on the starboard bow--breakers on the port bow--breakers
ahead--breakers abeam."  High over the hidden rocks the wild sea leaps.
The stoutest ship which ever floated on old ocean, if once amid them but
for a moment, would be shattered into a thousand fragments; and not for
an instant could a human being struggle among those roaring waters and
live.  All on board know this.  Where can they look for safety?  Can
they alter their course and beat the frigate out of that dangerous bay
of rocks?  Impossible!  Not a yard of canvas can be stretched to meet
that terrific gale.  On they must steer; neither on one hand nor the
other did an opening appear by which they might escape.  The faces of
even the bravest of that hardy crew were blanched with dread, as calm
and collected they stood contemplating their approaching doom.  There
were lookouts ahead,--lookouts on the fore-yard-arms with straining
eager eyes, endeavouring to find, even against hope itself, some passage
among the reefs through which the ship might run.

There was a shout.  At one spot, a little on the starboard bow, there
appeared to be a break in the line of dancing foam.  It was scarcely
perceptible among the thickening gloom dealing over the ocean.  The helm
was put to port.  With voice and hand the helmsman was directed how to
steer.  The frigate rushed towards the spot.  In an instant more her
fate would be sealed.  The breaking waters, in cataracts of foam, leaped
up on either side, but on she rushed without impediment.  Still all knew
that ere another instant the fatal crash may sound, and then masts,
spars, and rigging will all come hurtling down; the deck on which they
now scarcely stand, the oaken timbers and the stoutest planking will all
be wrenched asunder, and wildly tossed amid their mangled bodies, till
cast on some lone, far-off shore, or till the sea itself is summoned to
give up its dead.

Who, at such a moment, can freely draw a breath?  Yet the crash came
not.  The ship flew plunging on; reef after reef, covered with foaming
waves, was passed in safety.  What hand, with mercy in its palm, came
down to guide that ship?  No human knowledge or experience availed the
captain or his officers: no chart could help them: in an unknown sea
they scudded on.  Did any of them believe that chance or Fate stood near
the helm and conned the ship?  Did any of them dare in that awful moment
to pray to chance, or fate, or fortune to preserve them, and steer them
clear of all dangers?  If any did--and surely many of the bravest lifted
up the voice of prayer--it was to Him who made heaven and earth, the
sea, and all things in them, and governs them with wisdom infinite.

It was no deceptive passage the frigate had entered.  It widened as she
advanced, the water becoming smoother; but still before her lay
stretched out the moonlit ocean; the stars, also, glittering with an
almost dazzling brilliancy in heaven's dark blue arch.  The channel was
passed through, but still who could tell the numberless dangers which
might yet remain to be encountered.  Before another watch was set,
"breakers ahead--breakers abeam!" was once more echoed along the decks.

"Then, to my mind, our sand has pretty well run, and we and our brave
old ship are doomed," exclaimed Ned Faintheart, putting his hands in his
pockets, with a deep sigh.

"Doomed by whom?" cried Jack.  "I tell you what, mate, I haven't
forgotten, and I hope I never may, the saying of an old friend, a black,
as good a foul as ever lived, when we both lay expecting little better
than a felon's death, though undeserved, at the hands of our fellow men,
`Never mind, Jack, something save us this time, too.  We trust in God.'"

The breakers roared as loudly as before over the coral reefs, but, still
unharmed, the British frigate flew quickly by them.  A graze almost from
the outer point of the rugged surface of a reef might hurl her to
destruction; but neither coral reef, nor rock, nor sandbank stopped her
course.  Day came at last, and what a wide expanse of troubled waters
broke upon the sight of the weary seamen!  No one had that night turned
in; all kept the deck, steady at their stations, ready to do what men
might do to save the ship or their lives; at all events to obey their
officers to the last.  When the sun with an ensanguined glow shot upward
from the ocean, his beams glanced on a dark object which lay ahead.  The
lookouts soon proclaimed it to be a dismasted ship.  As on they rushed
in their still headlong course, not only did they see that she was
dismasted but was keel upward, the seas constantly breaking over.  A
turn to starboard of the helm carried the frigate clear, but how their
hearts wrung with sorrow and regret--alas! unavailing--when they saw
clinging to the keel some eight or more of their fellow creatures.
Some, apparently, could scarcely move, their fast waning strength barely
enabling them to hold on; but others wildly waved their hats and caps,
shouting, though their voices could not be heard, for help.  Utterly
impossible would it have been to lower a boat.  Again the poor wretches
shouted in chorus and held out their hands imploringly as the frigate
drove onward by them.  On, on she went.  Many a heart, like Jack
Buntline's, bled for them, and he and others kept their eyes on them;
and there they clung and knelt along the keel, holding out their hands
till the frigate sailed far beyond their sight.  Still on the frigate
flew, yet through every danger they passed unharmed.  "Messmates," said
Jack, "God has been with us.  God dwells on the deep.  God is

The typhoon's fury ceased, and at length in a quiet harbour the frigate
rode at anchor.  Some, who during the gale had stood with blanched cheek
and silent tongue, now began to talk as loud as ever and to boast what
they would have done; how they would have swum on shore if the ship had
struck some island coast, and how they would have lived a life of ease
and indolence among the harmless natives.  Among the loudest of the
talkers was a man named Richard Random.  He was bold, and often seemed
to be among the bravest, but in the night just passed scarcely a man
appeared to be more unnerved.  Religion was his scorn, while the holy
name of God he never uttered but to blaspheme.  Now, pretending to
forget all his late fears, he began openly to deny the existence of a
God.  Jack urged him to beware lest vengeance should overtake him before
long.  He laughed all such warnings to scorn.  He was a bold, strong
swimmer, no man in the ship could compete with him.  He boasted that he
could swim for many hours, that he feared neither sharks nor any other
monsters of the deep.  Why then should he be afraid of what spirits of
evil or angels of vengeance could do to him?  He defied them.  He was
not afraid of man, angel, or devil.  To men of sense, the wickedness he
spoke might have done no harm, but there were many youths on board who
listened with admiration to whatever Random said.  To the ears of such
his words were rankest poison.  Foolish as himself, they thought his
folly wisdom.  He was a bully, too, and brawler, and often had he caused
a quarrel when a soothing word would have brought peace about.  To give
him but his due, he was a most pestiferous and dangerous fellow among a

Boasting one day of what he could do; "I'll undertake," he said, "to
swim a dozen times or more around the ship, or, if you please, a mile
away and back, if the water is but calm.  Who'll dare to follow me?"

Jack could no longer bear this boasting.  "When young Seaton fell
overboard, did you jump overboard to save him?  Was it not our gallant
first lieutenant, though wounded in the arm and twice your age, while
you stood hesitating because you had seen a shark swimming around the

The question silenced Random for the time.  Several days passed away.
The frigate bent new sails, set up her rigging, and once more all hands
put to sea.  Traversing the blue Pacific she steered her course far to
the south.  A gentle breeze wafted her along, the sea was smooth as
polished glass.  All sail alow and aloft was set.  Some block at the
yard-arm required fresh stopping.  Random was sent to do the duty.
Thoughtless of danger he went aloft and sat carelessly on the yard.
Suddenly he lost his balance, a falling form was seen, a splash was

"A man overboard--a man overboard!" cried the sentry at the gangway.

Random rose to the surface.  "Never fear me," he sung out; "I can take
good care of myself.  Who's afraid?"  He shouted this in bravado.  All
the officers were looking on he saw, and, vain of his powers, he fought
to gain their admiration.

Just ere he fell the breeze had strengthened suddenly, and with all her
canvas set the ship was running quickly through the water.  The order
was promptly given to shorten sail,--the crew as promptly flew aloft to
obey it.  While studden-sail-sheets, and halliards were let fly, and all
the lighter canvas was fluttering loosely in the wind, Random swam
bravely on.  Still he was dropping fast astern.

A boat was quickly lowered and hastening towards him.  "How calm the
ocean! what reason can any have for fear?"

"That man swims well," observed the captain, "I never saw a finer

But the right arm of God, so oft stretched out to save, can as assuredly
reach the hardened sinner when the cup of his iniquities is full.  See
from afar the minister of vengeance comes.  From out of the clear blue
sky a speck of white is seen.  On wings of lightning rapidly it cleaves
the air.  What is it?  An albatross,--the giant of the feathery tribe
which skim the ice-bound ocean of the southern pole, with eye so bright
and piercing that objects invisible to human sight it sees when it
cannot be seen itself.  On, on it came, for an instant hovering over the
proud swimmer's head, and then with a fell swoop downward it plunged--
its beak sharp as an iron lance, with neck outstretched approached him.
He saw too clearly the monster bird coming from afar.  With eye of dread
he marked its rapid flight.  He saw his doom--quick, quick as thought it
came--horror of great darkness filled his soul.  In vain he lifted up
his hands to ward the expelled blow.  In vain--in vain he shouted to his
shipmates, or to frighten off the bird.  Downward, with terrific force,
there came a wedge of bone.  Deep into his skull it pierced, and with a
shriek of agony and fear he sunk from fight.  All who looked on beheld
the spectacle with horror, and many shuddered when they remembered some
last words they had heard uttered by that godless man.

But think a moment.  A death as sudden, if not as dreadful, may be that
of any one, and then, what may our last words have been?  As we are
living, as we think and speak every day, such will be our state when
summoned to stand before the Judge of all the earth.  A sailor's life is
scarcely more uncertain than that of those who live on shore.  Jack drew
a lesson from Random's end.  May those who read this draw one likewise.


The _Tribune's_ course was now held among the clustering islands of the
Pacific.  They are mostly bountifully supplied with all the varied
productions of the generous tropics.  Scarcely a fruit or vegetable of
those sunny regions but which in ample abundance is found among them.
There various kinds of the bread-fruit tree flourish in the greatest
perfection; so likewise the banana and plantain and milk-giving
cocoa-nut grow in profusion; yams, pumpkins, cucumbers, guavas, pine
apples, shaddocks, oranges, lemons, the tomato, arrow root, the much
cultivated taro and sugar cane, with numberless other fruits,
vegetables, and nutritious roots, afford an abundant supply of food for
man.  How warm and genial is the atmosphere! the cold of winter is
altogether unknown; storms may blow, but they are necessary to purify
the air; rains at times descend to fertilise the earth, but generally a
bright blue sky is seen overhead, and the rays of the glorious sun
sparkle on the blue waters of a placid sea.  All nature is beautiful and
excellent, but savage man is the dark and loathsome spot which defiles
it; not as he was when first he walked in Paradise, but as sin and all
his evil passions have made him.  Jack and his shipmates heard the
character of these islanders, and though not much given to shuddering,
shuddered as they heard the tale.

Nowhere on the face of the globe did more bloodthirsty cannibals exist,
especially among the chiefs.  To satisfy their horrible and unnatural
craving for human flesh, they murdered every one who was shipwrecked on
their coast.  Even if a canoe was cast on shore with their own people
they claimed the crew as their victims; they went to war for this sole
object; they lay in wait and carried off helpless women and children,
even their slaves they often killed to feed upon.  When a war canoe was
finished they dragged her over the writhing bodies of their captives,
and when first she put to sea they murdered others on her deck.  When a
chief's house or a temple was built, men were compelled to descend and
hold the upright posts, when the earth was shovelled in upon their

When a chief died, all his wives were strangled or burnt; mothers
destroyed their infants--children compelled their aged parents to
descend living into a tomb when weary of supporting them--and young men,
when disappointed of some object, would desire to be buried; and their
own parents would assist seemingly with pleasure at the horrible
ceremony.  Their only religion seemed to be an unwilling worship of evil
spirits; not from love or reverence, but to avert the mischief they
might otherwise work upon them.

The minds and hearts and souls of all those island tribes seemed to be
sunk into the lowest depths of darkness.  Such was their condition when
the _Tribune_ visited them.  They gazed with wonder on her snow-white
sails and frowning battery of guns.  They had often before seen whalers,
and other smaller vessels; but never since Captain Cook, in days gone
by, came to their shores, had they seen a ship comparable to her in

The _Tribune_ soon cast anchor in a beautiful and sheltered bay, the
shores of which, down nearly to the water's edge, were ornamented with a
feathery fringe of palm and other graceful trees.  While Jack and his
shipmates were looking towards the smooth and yellow sand, over which
the waves gently rippled, they saw numerous natives running along, as if
in eager haste; and presently several large canoes, like two boats
lashed together, put off towards them.  The canoes were allowed to come
alongside; and the seamen with good-natured frankness received their
savage-looking guests, as they stalked along the decks examining
everything with curious eye, and evidently longing to possess the
wonders they beheld.  Several appeared to be chiefs; but no person could
be discovered to have greater authority than all the rest.  All day,
canoes full of natives came off to the ship, and even when night drew on
they seemed in no way inclined to take their departure.  At last it was
necessary to use some gentle force to make them go; but it was intimated
to them by signs that they might return on the morrow, and signs were
made to them that fowls and vegetables would be acceptable.

The night drew on--the stars were shining brightly on the placid waters
of the bay; the sentries were at their posts; the watch on deck lay
concealed under the bulwarks; Jack was stationed forward.  As his keen
eye glanced towards the shore, he saw several dark objects crossing the
light streaming on the water.  They increased in numbers.  The whole
surface of the bay was alive with canoes.  What could be the intention
of the savages?  He ran aft to report the circumstance to the officer of
the watch.  The sentries at the gangways and quarters now sung out that
there were canoes surrounding the ship.  In an instant the watch was
called; and probably to the surprise of the savages, they discovered
that the crew of a British man-of-war are not to be found napping.
Silently, as it had approached, the dark flotilla disappeared again into
the darkness.  The next morning the savages returned on board with
smiling and friendly countenances, as if no act of treachery had been
intended; and so completely did this apparent frankness lull suspicion
asleep, that it was believed no treachery had been contemplated.

The next day a boat was sent to explore the coast, and to select a more
secure harbour for the ship; Jack formed one of the crew.  Meantime, a
most friendly intercourse was maintained with the natives; a number of
the officers and crew constantly visiting the shore.  While the boat was
away a sudden gale sprung up, and the ship was obliged to put to sea to
avoid the risk of being driven on shore.  Meantime the boat in which
were Jack and his companions was driven towards a reef a short distance
from the land.  The lieutenant in command urged them to pull hard to
save their lives.  Of course they pulled as they had not often pulled
before, but their efforts were of no avail.  High rose the foaming
breakers around them, and the black rock appeared beneath their keel.
Down came the boat upon it and was shattered into a thousand fragments.
Jack thought his last moments were come.  Still he struck out boldly,
though blinded by the spray he could not see where he was going.  At
length he discovered that he was inside the reef with four of his
companions near him, some clinging to oars and bits of the wreck and
others swimming.  There had been nine in all, four were missing.  Jack
looked back.  He saw a person still struggling in the breakers.
Throwing off his shoes and jacket and grasping an oar he bravely swam
back, and just as the drowning man was giving up the struggle in
despair, he seized him by the collar, and placing his hands on the oar
towed him into smooth water.  It was the lieutenant.  The other poor
fellows could nowhere be seen.

Expecting a kind reception from the friendly natives the survivors made
towards the shore.  Naked, bruised, and bleeding, they reached the
yellow shell-strewed sands.  They climbed up the bank and approached a
village.  Before many minutes they were discovered, and some twenty or
more savages were seen rushing towards them.  Jack was assisting the
officer whose life he had saved.  They were a little apart from the
rest.  Near them was an odd looking building, with a hideous figure in
the centre, shaded by trees.

"Come in here," exclaimed the officer.  "Follow me, my men."

Jack and he reached the temple and got hold of the idol.  Before the
rest could follow their example the savages with hideous yells were upon
them with their clubs, and to his grief and horror Jack saw every one of
them struck down and killed.  The bodies were instantly stripped, and
being placed on litters, were carried away by some of the savages, while
the rest approached Jack and the lieutenant.

Among them was one who was evidently a chief.  He took their hands, but
they refused to let go the idol.  Jack was heartily ashamed of his
position, but he did not forget, that he must look for protection from
above.  The chief intimated that if they would trust to him they would
be safe.

"I don't believe in a word he says," observed Jack to the lieutenant;
"but as we can't stay here for ever, I'll just teach him to have a
little respect for us at all events."

Saying this, Jack sprung on the chief, and clasping him round the body
almost squeezed the breath out of him; then lifting him up sat him
astride on the back of the idol.  The proceeding very much astonished
all present, but it had the effect of making the savages respect the
bold seaman.  His companion, the lieutenant, was, however, dragged away;
while the chief, getting down from his unusual seat and taking Jack by
the hand, made a long speech to the bystanders, clearly to the effect
that he intended to be his friend and protector.  Very different was the
treatment the unfortunate officer received.  No sooner was the speech
over than the savages, without warning, set on him with their clubs, and
before Jack could go to his assistance clubbed him to death.  Poor Jack
fully expected to share the same fate, but the savages seemed to have no
intention of injuring him.  The chief, on the contrary, led him away to
a hut, and in a little time several natives appeared bringing a variety
of dishes, nicely cooked, on clean plantain leaves, and some liquor in
cocoa-nut cups, which was far from unpalatable.  Had Jack not witnessed
the sad fate of his companions he would not have considered himself
badly off.  He was, however, a prisoner; for after what had occurred he
was very certain that the savages would not let him return to the
frigate.  All night he lay awake on his bed of leaves thinking how he
should escape.  Twice he got up, resolved to run off to the shore and to
endeavour to swim on board, but each time he found a savage with a long
spear sitting at the door of the hut, and a significant gesture made him

Next day, as he was wandering about attended closely by two or three
guards, the sound of music and shouting attracted him to the
neighbourhood of the temple.  A number of persons, evidently chiefs,
were assembled in a shaded dell, while a mob of the common people stood
around at a distance.  There were large ovens near, from whence a thick
vapour ascended into the blue sky.  A feast was going forward.  Jack
stood riveted to the spot with horror as he beheld the scene, and
discovered the dreadful fare on which the savages were feasting.  He now
knew too well why his companions had been so mercilessly slaughtered.
His captors were the most cruel of cannibals.  He could gaze no longer
on the dreadful scene, but ran shrieking from the spot.  He was followed
closely by his guards, who seemed highly amused at the delicacy of his
nerves.  For many a day, notwithstanding all the care bestowed on him,
he could not banish the idea that he was reserved for the same fate
which had befallen his companions.  His chief occupation was climbing
every height he could reach to look for the frigate.

One day he was sitting, solitary and sad, on a lofty rock overlooking
the blue ocean, pondering on the means of escaping from his thraldom,
when his eye fell on a white speck in the horizon.  For a moment he
thought it was but a snowy-winged sea bird, but larger and larger it
grew, till he knew it to be the white canvas of a ship; and then as sail
after sail rose out of the water, and nearer and nearer she drew to the
land, his heart beat high with hope, for he recognised the gallant
frigate to which he belonged.  On she sailed till she cast anchor in a
neighbouring bay.  He would have rushed down to the beach and swam off
to meet her, but as he was hurrying on with eager feet, several dark
savages rose up before him, and by significant gestures impeded his
further progress.  The frigate's boats came on shore, and the natives
went off to her as before.  Jack every day suspected that some
diabolical treachery was meditated, and longed to warn his shipmates of
their danger, but he was too closely watched to have the slightest
chance of communicating with them.  How his heart longed to be on board
his ship with his brave companions.  In vain--in vain he watched an
opportunity to escape.  At length she sailed; the captain, as Jack
suspected, satisfied that the boat had been lost, and that all hands had


No sooner had the frigate sailed than Jack found himself restored to
comparative liberty; but liberty among such cannibals brought no sweets
to him.  Still he saw that the appearance of contentment was more likely
to throw his captors off their guard than the constant exhibition of his
misery; so he set himself to work to build a hut after their style, and
to cultivate a garden, and to manufacture numerous articles of domestic
furniture, as if he had resolved to make himself at home.  He was
fortunate in discovering a saw, and plane, and other carpenter's tools,
which had either been given in barter to the natives or been stolen by
them.  These he managed to use very skilfully, greatly to their wonder,
as he performed ten times as much work as they could in the same space
of time.

He thus gained their respect, and then he bethought himself that he
might influence them in some way for good.  He rapidly learned their
language.  He endeavoured to shew them the horrors of cannibalism, and
many of their other disgusting practices.  Many listened with attentive
ears, and to his surprise acquiesced in the truth of his remarks.  He
pointed out to them the beauty of his own religion, and the pure
practices inculcated by it.  They drank in deeply what he said.  He
shewed them what even this world would be without wars, and murders, and
violence and deceit, and treachery and wrong; and then he strove to lift
their thoughts to another world, where all is pure and holy, and sinless
and painless, and full of joy and thanksgiving, where the spirit, freed
from this frail casket, having put on an incorruptible body, will, with
freedom unfettered, ever be employed in joyously executing the commands
of its Almighty Creator.  Little thought the rough sailor, for rough he
was, though his mind was enlightened, of the fruit which the seeds he
was sowing was destined to bring forth.

Months, years passed by, still Jack was a prisoner.  Yet he had won the
affection of many of the natives, some had even abandoned their worst
practices at his instigation.

At length a vessel came from Australia with a party of men to collect a
cargo of sandal wood.  Some of the chiefs were still anxious to prevent
his departure, but, aided by the friends he had made, he was enabled to
reach the vessel.  He was welcomed by the master and promised
protection.  The _Gipsy_ was a small schooner.  She put into another
port to complete her cargo.  There, as usual, the natives came on board.
He took care not to let it be known that he understood their language.
By their looks and behaviour he suspected treachery.  He warned the
master of the _Gipsy_, but his warnings were laughed to scorn.  Nearly
half the crew were on shore.  The canoes of the natives came thronging
round the schooner.  Some of the savages were clambering on board, when
Jack discerned through a spyglass a disturbance on shore.  The report of
firearms was heard.

"What think you of that, sir?" asked Jack of the master.

"That the savages are murdering my people.  Cut the cable, loose the
sails, we must stand in to defend them.  Heave those fellows overboard."

In another moment the savages would have gained the deck, but while they
were driven back with boarding pikes and cutlasses by some of the crew,
others sprang aloft to make sail, and before they had time to concert a
fresh plan of attack the schooner with a fine breeze ran from among
them.  As she swept close to the shore firing among the savages, two
boats put off to her; but many on board were desperately wounded, while
several more men lay dead on the beach.  The canoes no longer dared
approach her.  The savages deserved punishment.  The survivors of the
schooner's crew wreaked a severe vengeance on their heads, and then
sailed away for their destination, leaving the natives to retaliate on
the next vessel which might visit their shores.

Jack reached Sydney in safety, and quitting the schooner, entered on
board a merchant brig, the _Hope_, bound for England.

"I think that I should like once more to visit my native land after all
the adventures I have gone through," observed Jack to a shipmate; but he
experienced the truth of the saying, "Man proposes, but God disposes."

"Yes," replied his shipmate; "nothing shall stop me from getting there,
depend on that."

"There's many a thing may stop you, Bill," answered Jack.  "We may be
cast away or founder, or be taken by the enemy, or you may fall
overboard and be drowned, or fifty other things may happen to you.  I
would not dare to make so sure if I were you."

"All nonsense, Jack," said the other; "when a man has a mind to do a
thing he may do it.  That's my opinion.  I don't care who knows it."

On sailed the _Hope_ on her voyage, but in crossing the Indian Ocean she
got into a dead calm.  The sun sent its almost perpendicular rays with
intense fury down on the heads of the crew.  The water shone like a slab
of polished steel.  Not a breath of air came to fan their cheeks or to
move the sluggish sails hanging uselessly against the masts.  The heat
on deck was intense, the water looked as if it must be cooler and more

"Who's for a swim?" cried one.

"I am, I am," answered several voices, and in a few seconds a
considerable number of the crew were overboard, swimming about like fish
in the clear water.  How they kicked and splashed about and revelled in
the cool fluid.  They felt like prisoners set free from their dark
cells.  Every man who could swim but a few strokes, and some even of
those stupid fellows who had neglected to learn one of the most
requisite of ordinary accomplishments for landsmen as well as seamen,
let themselves down over the ship's side by ropes, and holding on tight
kicked and splashed, and shouted with the rest.  Jack, among the boldest
of the swimmers, made large circuits round the ship, accompanied by his
messmate, Bill Sikes.  One encouraging the other they increased their
distance from the vessel.

"It's time we were homeward bound," observed Jack at last: indeed more
than one signal had been made to them from the ship to return.  Still
Bill in his folly wanted to go farther off.  At length they turned with
their faces to the ship.  As they swam round Jack saw close to them a
black triangular object moving along just above the surface of the
water: he knew it at a glance to be the fin of that remorseless monster
of the deep, a shark.  He was afraid of telling his companion what he
had seen, lest it should unnerve him; but he himself instantly began to
kick and beat the water, and shout in the hopes of keeping the shark at
a distance.

"What's all that about?" asked Bill surprised.

"Do as I do," answered Jack, splashing more furiously than before; "it
will be the better for both of us."

They swam on thus for some way, but that ominous black fin kept even way
with them.

"If either of us stop for a moment the brute will have one or both of
us," thought Jack, and he wished that he had not been so foolhardy as to
go so far from his ship.  He looked up at the tall masts and dark hull,
and the delicate tracery of the rigging, and the white sails, which hung
against the masts and were reflected as in a mirror on the tranquil
deep, and they seemed still a long, long way from him; but Jack knew in
Whom he trusted.  He had been foolish and disobedient in going so far
from the ship; but he felt that he was under the protection of One,
merciful and long suffering, who had the power to save him even from the
jaws of the ravenous fish, and to that Great Being he prayed fervently,
unceasingly, for aid as he swam on.  Not for a moment did he lose heart;
still, as now and again he turned his head, there, close to him, was the
dark ominous fin, and through the clear water glittered the bright cruel
eye of the monster of the deep.  As long as the fin was seen Jack knew
that the shark was not about to make his attack, but he dreaded every
instant to see it disappear; for a shark must always turn on its back to
seek its prey.

It was some minutes before Sikes discovered the vicinity of their
dreaded companion.  Where was now his boasting and his courage?  On whom
had he now to trust?  On his own strength?  What could that avail him?
Unhappy man.  He had never learned to trust in God, who alone can help
him now.  He cried out piteously to his messmate.

"Jack, Jack, what shall we do now?"

Jack did not taunt him, as he might have done, for his boasting and
self-confidence.  Far from his heart was such an idea.

"Trust in God, Bill, and keep up your courage," he shouted with a
cheerful voice; "strike away, we shall soon reach the ship."

"I can't, mate, I can't," answered Sikes, "I don't know how to trust in
him.  He won't listen to such as me."

"Pray to him, He'll hear you, depend on it," replied Jack.

"I don't know how to pray--I've never prayed," replied the unhappy man.
"Oh, Jack, help me--help me.  The shark came close to me, I felt him
touch my leg," he shrieked in a piteous voice.

"Swim on, swim on, man cannot help you, Bill," said Jack in return;
"don't let your heart faint.  Keep praying, I say."

Alas, alas!  How many must find out when too late, that the man on a bed
of sickness, or in the hour of danger, who has never prayed before, can
seldom or never pray then!  The fresh morning of youth, the time of
health and strength, of safety and peace, is the time for prayer.
Depend on it, the man who does not pray in fair weather never will pray
well in foul.  So Bill Sikes found when the shark was swimming alongside
him.  Lustily and well the two seamen plied their arms and feet.  Most
of their shipmates had climbed on board.

"A shark, a shark!" shouted Jack as he drew near, anxious to warn others
of the danger he was himself incurring.

No one needed a second warning, and Jack and Bill were the only ones of
the crew left in the water.  Several ropes were hove to them, and eager
friendly faces looked down on them, and ready hands were stretched out
to help them.  Jack swam up to a rope, manfully striking out and
vehemently splashing the water to the last.  Bill with a faint heart
followed his example, but the greedy shark was not to be altogether
disappointed of his prey.  All on board had kept their eyes fixed on
that dark fin.  Suddenly it disappeared.

"Quick, quick, seize the rope," they shouted.

Jack had got hold of one, and was hauling himself up.  Bill made a grasp
at a rope and his hand had clutched it, but ere his fingers had got a
firm hold a shriek of agony and despair burst from his lips, and down,
down he was dragged, the ensanguined water shewing the cause of his
disappearance.  There was a cry of horror.  It served as the funeral
knell of the boaster.  As Jack drew himself out of the water, a long
snout rose to the surface: it was that of another shark.  The white
throat of the fierce fish glanced brightly in the sunbeams as he swam
off disappointed of his prey.  All rejoiced that Jack was saved, and
even the captain forgot to lecture him for going so far from the ship,
though horror filled the hearts of all as they thought of the fate of
Bill Sikes.  Why was this?  In his health and strength, boaster as he
was, Bill was admired by many.  Who thought of rebuking him for his
impiety?  Till his fate was sealed, till God's threatenings were
fulfilled, no one believed the warnings of His Holy Word.  So has it
been since Noah entered into the ark, so will it be till all things are

"This is the second time since I left home that I have seen the scorner
meet with a fearful end," observed Jack, yet he spake in no spirit of
self-congratulation.  "Oh, mates, whatever you do, put your trust in
God, and be assured that He will not fail to guide us for our good if we
will but rely on His mercy and kindness."

The _Hope_ sailed on in the prosecution of her voyage, and the fate of
Bill Sikes was soon forgotten.  Yet nearly a thousand miles had to be
traversed before the Cape of Good Hope could be reached.  Hitherto the
voyage had been unusually favourable, but a change came quickly over the
face of the sky and sea.  Dense clouds were gathering from the south,
the wind howled fearfully, the surface of the deep was torn up into
foam-topped mountains and deep dark valleys of water.  Now the brig lay
rocking in one, and then, lifted up on high, she seemed to be about to
be plunged headlong into another yet deeper than the first, a watery
wall threatening to overwhelm her.  To make any way on her proper course
was impossible, but still sail was kept on her in the hopes that the
might thus ride more easily.  Jack had been in many a gale, but he had
never been in a worse one.

Night came on, sea after sea broke on board.  No one expected to see the
morning's sun; the bulwarks were knocked to pieces, so were the boats,
with the exception of one: the main-topmast was carried away.  The
caboose and all spare planks and spars were washed overboard.  Thus
passed the night, the ship plunging fearfully, and the sea breaking over
her.  In spite of the just apprehensions of the crew, they saw the
morning sun's bright beams bursting forth from a break in the dark
clouds, and tingeing the snow-capped summits of the waves with a golden
hue.  The gleam came and was gone in a moment, and the storm raged
fiercer than before.  Now a mountain sea came rolling towards the
helpless brig.

"Hold on, hold on," was the cry.  Over it it broke.  Jack held on, but
the stauncheon he held to was carried away, and he and two of his
shipmates were washed overboard into the boiling sea.  What hope now for
him or them?  Those who remained on board with sorrow watched them
struggling among the blinding foam; but again the wave rose, struck by
an opposing one it seemed, and Jack and one of his companions found
themselves cast back with violence on to the deck of their ship.  They
clutched fast hold of friendly ropes, and the water as it passed away
left them clinging to the ship.  That heavy sea had done more damage
than at first appeared.  A leak was sprung.  Pale with terror the seamen
heard the news.

"How long can she swim?  Will she survive the gale?" one asked the

"We must labour hard at the pumps; we've still one boat uninjured
amidships; we may build a raft.  Don't let's be down-hearted.  Let's
trust in God," said Jack.

The pumps were manned, but the water gained rapidly on them.  The gale
blew fiercer than ever.

"We shall go down, there's no doubt of it," said more than one.

"Let's keep the ship afloat till the gale goes down rather," cried Jack
working away at the pumps.

The captain and officers all took their spell, but none worked harder
than he, and yet none trusted more firmly to the only arm which could
save them.  Higher and higher rose the water in the hold.  Fearfully the
ship laboured.  Still most of the crew worked bravely at the pumps.  All
hopes of saving the ship had been abandoned, but yet they trusted that
they might keep her afloat till the storm should subside.  Vain even
that hope.  Some in their despair and folly rushed to the spirit casks.

"She is sinking--she is sinking," was the cry.

The officers and Jack, with those who had kept firm at their posts,
leaped into the boat, the lashings were cut loose, some provisions and
water had already been put into her.  The oars were got out.  The brig
made a plunge forward into a mountain sea.  She never rose again.


The buoyant boat, though half filled with water, floated on the crest of
a wave.  Vainly the skulkers from duty, the mad drunkards shrieked for
help.  None could be given them.  In another moment their cries were
silenced in death.  The boat and those in her were all that remained of
the _Hope_.  By constant baling, and by keeping her head to the seas,
she with difficulty floated: still she lived.  The fury of the tempest
began to abate.  Jack told his companions how, under similar though
still worse circumstances, he had once in the South Atlantic been
mercifully preserved, and his account kept up their spirits.  Did Jack
preach to them, as some would call it?  No.  He spoke the simple honest
truth as it came swelling up pure from his grateful heart, the
convictions of his mind, and he would have been very much surprised if
any body had told him that he was acting the parson.  He would have
asked in what the likeness lay, and would have been sorely puzzled to
discover it.  The boat drove on before the remnant of the gale.  She was
still many hundred miles from any land.  The captain resolved to steer
for the Cape of Good Hope.  Many were the hardships they might expect to
encounter before they could reach it.  Still they kept up their spirits.
They had provisions for many days.  They agreed to husband them to the
utmost.  They told tales to each other; some were true, their own
adventures, and those of old companions; others were mere fiction.  They
recited poetry.  They even sang songs, though their voices sounded
strangely in the wild waste of waters in which they floated.

The gale subsided, the sea went down, and the boat was steered a direct
course to the westward.  Still she made slow progress.  A sail had been
secured, but it was a small one for the light wind then blowing, and
their strength was too much exhausted to enable them to urge her on much
faster by pulling.  Day after day their provisions decreased, and they
grew weaker and weaker.  Still no one had hitherto suffered in health.
Some showers which fell enabled them to replenish their stock of water.
Who can tell the value of that pure liquid to those living under the
burning sun of the tropics!  They knew it well.  Though they had water
for the present, their provisions they were aware must soon fail them.

They bethought them of trying to catch fish.  Lines they could easily
manufacture out of the ropes in the boat, but hooks cost them much
thought.  At last a file was found in a pocket knife, and some nails
were drawn from a piece of plank hove carelessly into the boat.
Scarcely had the baits been thrown overboard than a tug was felt and a
fine fish was hauled up.  Several were thus caught.  They were dried in
the sun and served them for many a meal.  Days passed and none were
caught, then again they fell in with a shoal and many were hauled up.
The spirits of the crew rose, they no longer doubted that they should
reach their destination.  Still they did not relax in their efforts to
procure food or to reach land.  Their strength, however, gradually
decreased, and very slow was the progress they made or could hope to
make even if the weather continued favourable.

What is more uncertain than the wide ocean?  While they were
congratulating themselves on their prospects, dark clouds were seen to
rise in the west, heavy seas increasing in height came rolling towards
them, and once more a heavy gale blew in their teeth.  They could no
longer carry sail, and all the strength they could exert was scarcely
sufficient to enable them to keep the boat head to sea.  "Then they
cried unto the Lord in their trouble, and He delivered them out of their
distress."  So will He always do to those who trust in Him.  Let that
belief never depart from any who read this story.  Cling to it, rejoice
in it.  Let nothing tear it from you.  Satan will strive to do so, the
world will try to do so.  Jack and his companions found in it their only
support.  Without it they must have sunk under the sufferings they had
to endure.  Even though their boat swam they could no longer replenish
their scanty stock of food; they had scarcely any water; their strength
almost failed them; black clouds were overhead, dark threatening walls
of water encompassed them around.  Still hand and eye, and nerve and
muscle must be exerted to keep the boat from swamping.

The fourth night of the gale was approaching when, as the captain was
standing up supported by his crew to take a glance round the horizon as
the boat rose to the summit of a sea, his eye fell on the dark sail of a
ship seen under the sinking sun.  She must, they knew, be approaching
them; but might she not too probably pass by them in the dark?  How
their hearts beat with alternate hopes and fears.  On she came, flying
before the gale.  They stood up, they waved, some shouted.  Now, on the
top of a foaming wave, they could see her; now, sunk into the trough,
they lost fight of her altogether.  Did she see them?  Earnestly they
prayed to heaven that she might.  God is ever merciful to those who call
upon him faithfully.  On she came.

"We are seen, we are seen!" they shouted.  They knew her to be a British
sloop of war.  The courses were brailed up, the topsails closely reefed,
and she was brought to the wind, so that they might pull up under her
lee.  Renewed strength for the operation was given them, and every help
being afforded from the ship, they were soon in safety on her deck.
Scarcely had they gained it ere they sank down through weakness, but
many sank on their knees to return thanks to Him whose right arm had
saved them.

Jack found several old messmates from the _Tribune_, who had been turned
over from her to the _Flora_, the ship which had saved him.  So firmly
had they been convinced that he had been lost, that they could at first
scarcely believe him when he told them who he was.  He at once entered
gladly on board, and the rest of the brig's crew were not slow to follow
his example.  Many a gallant action was the _Flora_ engaged in before
the close of the war.  Long, indeed, was it, as Jack had anticipated,
before he again saw his native land.

The _Flora_ was in company with several other ships of war, when it was
resolved to endeavour to cut out a number of privateers and merchantmen,
known to be at anchor in one of the ports of the enemy guarded by a
battery.  The boats of the squadron were sent in to effect this object.
In silence and darkness, with muffled oars they approached the shore.
Jack was in one of the leading boats.  The armed vessels were to be
first attacked, and as the wind blew off shore it was hoped that they
might be carried out in spite of the fire from the fort.  The tracery of
the masts and spars and rigging of the vessels could be seen rising up
against the sky, the dim outline of the dark frowning forts, and the
rocks and hills on the opposite side of the harbour, with here and there
a faint light glimmering from some lone cottage on the hill side.  Their
approach was unsuspected, nor did watchful sentry challenge them as they
entered the harbour.  Two boats attacked each vessel.  Silently they ran
alongside, and were on board in a moment.  Then the enemy's crews sprang
to their arms and defended themselves with desperation, but of their
officers some were on shore, others below, and British valour quickly
silencing all opposition, the deck was won.  Lustily the English seamen
cheered, for there was no necessity for further concealment; the cables
were cut, the sails let fall, and the prize, a fine sloop of sixteen
guns was moving through the water, when those on board felt her tremble
through every timber.

"To the boats, to the boats," shouted the officers.

The men sprang over the bulwarks.  Up lifted her deck.  It seemed by
some mighty force to be wrenched open.  High into the air were thrown
many of the late combatants together.  A loud thundering noise was
heard.  Flashes of flame burst forth and ascended in a fiery spout
towards the sky, widening as it rose, carrying with it spars and sails,
and pieces of timber and human forms, mangled, burnt, and torn asunder,
and groans, and shrieks, and cries filled the air.  Jack felt himself
lifted up just as he was leaping overboard.  He threw himself forward.
He seemed as if he was carried up amid the burning fragments, and then,
his clothes already on fire, he was plunged into the water.  Down he
sank.  His impulse was to strike out, and on rising to the surface he
looked around and made towards the nearest boat, on whose side the ruddy
glare of the fire shone brightly.  Several of his shipmates were in her,
and a few of the enemy whom they had picked up.  They hauled him on
board as they went to search for more of their companions.  When no
others were to be found they dashed alongside another of the enemy's
vessels.  Meantime the fort had opened its fire.  Notwithstanding this
several vessels were carried out, though few escaped without some shot
in hull or rigging, Jack got a wound in his arm.

"Bind it up tight," said he to a shipmate, "I want the use of it just

Two officers were killed, and several badly wounded.  Some honour and a
good supply of prize money was the chief result of the affair.

Some time after this, on her passage home, the _Flora_ fell in with an
enemy.  She gave chase and was not long in coming up with her, when it
was discovered that her opponent was of far greater size, and had
heavier metal, and many more men.  Did this disconcert her officers and
crew?  Far from it.  With even greater than their usual alacrity they
went to their guns.

"What care we though the odds are against us!  More is the glory to be
gained," was the general remark.

They ranged up alongside the enemy.  Their cool and well-directed fire
carried away her foremast.  Then they passed ahead of her, and she
flying up into the wind they raked her with terrific effect.  Still she
was not idle, and many of their crew were struck down to rise no more.
Jack got a severe wound in the leg.  He bound his handkerchief round it.

"Never mind," he sung out; "we must take the enemy, and then think about
our hurts."

He repeated but the sentiments of his gallant captain, who, twice
wounded, fought on till a shot brought him a third time to the deck.

"See, see, we have not fought in vain," he shouted, as at the same
moment the enemy's colours were struck.  The victory was won, though
hardly won, and at length the _Flora_ and her prize entered Plymouth
Sound.  The war was over, the last shot had been fired, peace, a truly
glorious peace, was proclaimed.  His ship was paid off, and Jack found
himself, for the first time in his life, free and on shore.


Jack's pockets were full of prize money.  It burnt them sadly.  What
should he do with it?  He bethought him that, before it was all gone, he
would go down to his native village.  He remembered the quiet
churchyard, with its yew trees, its white headstones, and its lowly
green mounds, where lay the only being he had ever learned to love--his
mother.  He fancied that he should meet some old friends, some one who
knew her and him in his childhood.  So the gallant hardy sailor set off,
with his bundle at the end of a stout stick over his shoulder, and his
pockets amply stored with money, towards his native village.  He could
not reach the place on the night he had expected, so he slept at an inn
a little distance off, and it was noon before he entered it.  The
steeple of the church guided him to the spot he sought.  Changed was the
village, changed was everything around.  The cottages seemed more
humble, the scenery on a smaller scale.  He at once bent his steps to
the churchyard.  Round and round it he wandered.  He could not determine
the spot he looked for.  At last he stopped in a remote corner, where
the rank herbage and tall weeds almost concealed the closely-packed rows
of long low mounds.  No foot or headstones were there, but a piece of
the wall had fallen, and lay where it fell with grass growing thickly
around.  He sat himself down on it, and rested his head on his hands.  A
tear, the first he had shed for many a year, escaped through his

"Alas, mother, mother, how comfortable I could have made you now had you
lived!" he thought, as he remembered the poverty and privations his
parent had endured.  "I have not forgotten your words, the lessons you
gave me.  I should not have been ashamed to meet you.  Yes, you hear me,
mother, but not from down there," and he unconsciously pointed to the
lowly graves.  "No, you are above--in Heaven, mother dear, and happy."
He raised his hand and looked up into the blue bright sky beyond the yew
tree, that fit emblem of mourning and sorrow, contrasting with the
glories of the firmament spread out above it, to which the Christian
believer looks with hope and joy as his abode for eternity.

Jack sat a while, then rose and went into the village.  He wandered
about looking into the faces of the people he met, but not a countenance
could he remember.  He recollected the names of a few.  He inquired for
them at the bar of the public house.  Nearly all were dead or scattered.

"You be from these parts, master, I s'pose?" said an old man who sat in
the bar eyeing him keenly.  "I'd a son once who went away to sea.  He
never came back.  They told me he was killed by the enemy.  May be you
knew him, he'd be about your age and size, I'm thinking."

"What was his name?" asked Jack.

The old man told him, and seemed sadly grieved when Jack had to say he
had never met him.

Resolved not to give up his search for some old acquaintance, Jack
shouldered his stick and bundle, and wandered along past the spot where
his mother's cottage had stood.  It was on a piece of common.  Though it
had fallen down, and most of the materials had been removed, he
recognised the outlines of the little bit of garden which had surrounded
it.  Not far off was another cottage.  An old woman stood at the door.

"Are you looking for anything, young man?" she asked, after watching him
for a time.  He felt almost inclined to give her an embrace.  The voice,
and expression, and figure he recognised as that of a neighbour.

"Are you not Dame Hughes?" he asked eagerly.

She nodded.

"And I'm Jack Buntline," he answered; "the son of widow Buntline.  Do
you remember me?"

"Remember thy mother, lad, that I do, a good woman.  And now I look at
thee I see that thou art her son.  Come in.  Come in.  Thou art

Thankfully did Jack enter the humble cottage.  He had found what he
longed to meet--some one who knew his mother.  Long and earnestly did he
talk to Mistress Hughes about her, and the dame was somewhat astonished
to find his voice falter and to see tears come into the rough seaman's
eyes as they spoke of her.

"Ah, the heart of the lad is in the right place I see," she muttered,
"though to be sure he don't look as if he often cried."

Jack at this time had huge brown whiskers, and a beard big enough for a
rook to build in, while his cheeks were of the colour of mahogany, and
his hands as hard as a smith's anvil.  Dame Hughes had become a widow
since Jack went to sea, but she had a daughter.  While they were talking
Nancy Hughes came in from gleaning.  Nancy was a good girl, though she
had little that was attractive about her except an honest open
countenance; but she was the daughter of the woman who had known his
mother, and from the first Jack found his heart drawn towards her.  Jack
lingered on in the village.  The old man whose son had been killed at
sea lodged him, and loved to listen to his tales of sea fights and
adventures.  So did Nancy.  Before many days were over he offered to
make Nancy his wife, and she consented.  They were married.  Jack was
very happy.  He cut out plenty of work for himself--built another room
to the widow's cottage, and helped the neighbours when any work was to
be done; but it was not profitable.  Jack, like many a man possessing
far greater experience in the world, forgot that his money would not
last for ever.  He put it into a bag, which he gave to Dame Hughes's
safe keeping, saying he could get plenty more when that was gone, but he
forgot to explain that he must go to sea to get it.

At last Jack found that the bag was getting empty.  Poor Nancy was very
sad when he told her he must be off, but she saw that there was no
remedy for it; so with a sorrowing heart Jack shouldered his stick and
bundle and returned to Plymouth, where he had left his chest and other
worldly goods.

The long war was over, and England was at peace with all the world, but
he had not many days to wait before he found a ship fitting out for the
Pacific.  The accounts he heard of her were favourable, so making
arrangements that his wife should receive half his pay, he joined her
for a four years cruise.

Away went Jack on board the _Hero_, once more to make the circuit, and
more than the circuit, of the world.  Sometimes for months together he
was scorching under the sun of the tropics.  At others, he was frozen up
among the icy regions of the northern pole.  This voyage he had only the
elements, pestilence and famine, to fight with.  Storms were skilfully
encountered, and the _Hero_ more than once narrowly escaped shipwreck,
but fever visited the frigate and carried off many a victim.  Dreadful
were the ravings of the sufferers as they lay tortured by the fell
disease.  Jack assisted to tend his shipmates with the tenderness of a
woman.  While others stood aloof, fearless of danger he went among them.
Had he any talisman to guard him?  No.  But Jack knew that it was his
duty to tend the sick, and he trusted in God's right arm that He would
protect him.  The fever at last disappeared, and Jack was unharmed.


Five years passed away before the _Hero_ returned once again to the
shores of old England.  Jack felt himself of more importance than he had
ever been before.  He had now a home of his own, and when the ship was
paid off, while others were seeking further employment or knocking about
idly in a seaport, he set off with joy to that humble abode.  It never
occurred to him that death might have been busy there of late.  For many
a long month he had not heard of Nancy.  Neither of them were great
scribes, but with the aid of friends and shipmates they had during his
absence contrived to exchange letters.  Jack trudged on manfully.  He
had brought home most of his pay, though no prize money burnt in his
pockets, yet he did not expect to be received with less welcome.  His
was a kind trailing heart.  It was dark when he reached his own door.
He looked in through the little lattice window.  There was Dame Hughes
and there was his Nancy sitting opposite to her busily plying her
needle.  He pronounced her name just to prepare her, as he said, for his
appearance.  She gazed about with a startled look as if she could not
believe her senses.  He spoke again.  This time she knew his voice, and
it was not long before he had both her and her old mother in his arms.
Jack was as happy as the live long day, and many a tale of wonder had he
to tell about those curious South Sea Islands and their savage
inhabitants, and the icebergs and the whales, and the Patagonian giants
and the huge sharks, and the waterspouts and the aurora borealis.

Two months thus passed speedily away, and then Jack found that he must
go to sea once more.  He would have liked to stay much longer, but if
Nancy once got used to him, as he said, she would not let him go at all;
so he had better go while he could.  This time he found his way to
Portsmouth, and sailed in a line of battle ship for the East Indies.
Four years soon passed by out there, though before they were over he
longed to be again at home.  Fever visited the ship and carried off many
victims, but he was spared.  He was in more than one tempest, and formed
one of a boat's crew who boarded a dismasted Indiaman, at the risk of
their own lives, and were the means of preserving those of all on board.

On his reaching England, he found that a fleet was fitting out for the
Mediterranean, and that something was to be done.  He would not miss the
opportunity, though he longed to be at home; so he at once entered on
board another line of battle ship, and then got a few days leave to run
down and see his wife.  He found her in great affliction, for she had
just lost her mother, and much he wished to stay and comfort her, but
duty called him away.  Poor Nancy would be very lonely during his
absence, and with a heavier heart than he had ever before in his bosom
he left her, her only comfort his promise that he would return as soon
as he had the power.

Long had the unhappy Greeks groaned under the grinding tyranny of the
Turks.  An army under Ibrahim Pacha was oppressing them with fresh
exactions.  Generous England, ever ready to assist the weak and injured,
resolved to send a squadron to relieve them.  It was placed under the
command of Sir Edward Codrington.  Jack was on board one of the line of
battle ships.  Joined by the squadrons of France and Russia they entered
the harbour of Navarin, where the Turkish and Egyptian fleets, mounting
altogether nearly two thousand guns, lay moored in the form of a
crescent, supported by some heavy batteries on shore.  The Turks
commenced hostilities by firing on a flag of truce and killing an
officer and several men.  The _Dartmouth_ on this opened a fire of
musketry to protect the boat, and the action commenced in earnest.  Jack
had never before been in a general action.  The allies had about thirty
ships, and the Turks had a hundred, and all these were now blazing away
together.  Shot, and shell, and musket balls were flying thickly about.
Loud and deafening was the roar from upwards of three thousand guns as
they sent forth their messengers of death, a dark canopy from their
smoke forming overhead and serving as a funeral pall to many a brave man
who fell that day.  Each British ship was opposed to several of the foe,
but discipline and true courage prevailed over fanaticism, and one after
the other the Turkish ships caught fire, and many blew up with terrific
explosions, destroying their own crews and the ill-fated Greek prisoners
they had on board.  Jack stood manfully at his gun, seeing but little of
what was going forward; but one thing he saw not to be forgotten, a
British man-of-war cutter engage a brig and a corvette; and when the
brig blew up, and her own cable being cut she drifted foul of a frigate,
repel repeated boarding parties of the Turks, and in addition an attack
from a large Turkish boat, which her two carronades knocked to pieces.
Jack had seen many of his shipmates fall.  As he was in the act of
hauling away at the tackle to run out his gun, he felt himself struck to
the deck.  He attempted to rise.

"Let me have another shot at them," he sung out, but his shattered leg
shewed him how vain was the wish.  He was carried below, and the surgeon
made short work in lopping off the limb.

Minus his leg, yet unbroken in spirit, and with a heart warm as ever and
his trust in God's mercy unabated, Jack returned once more to old
England.  Happily he had served long enough to entitle him to a berth in
Greenwich Hospital.  For that magnificent abode of England's gallant and
worn-out defenders he accordingly bore up, and on his way there he sent
for his faithful Nancy to nurse him and keep him company.  A smiling
black countenance under a three-cornered gold-laced hat greeted him on
his arrival, and he found his hand warmly grasped by his old friend
Sambo.  For many a year were they known at the Hospital, and many a long
yarn did Jack spin of the adventures which befel him during his nautical

The End.

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