Chapter 1


A few more days passed, and, as was expected, the mutineers could hold out no longer. In the first place, they had put in the spile of the second cask of wine so loosely when they were tipsy, that it dropped out, and all the wine ran out, so that there had been none left for three or four days; in the next, their fuel had long been expended, and they had latterly eaten their meat raw: the loss of their tent, which had been fired by their carelessness, had been followed by four days and nights of continual rain. Everything they had had been soaked through and through, and they were worn out, shivering with cold, and starving. Hanging they thought better than dying by inches from starvation; and yielding to the imperious demands of hunger, they came down to the beach, abreast of the ship, and dropped down on their knees.

“I tell you so, Massa Easy,” said Mesty: “d—n rascals, they forget they come down fire musket at us every day: by all de powers, Mesty not forget it.”

“Ship ahoy,” cried one of the men on shore.

“What do you want?” replied Jack.

“Have pity on us, sir—mercy!” exclaimed the other men, “we will return to our duty.”

“Debbel doubt em!”

“What shall I say, Mesty?”

“Tell em no, first, Massa Easy—tell em to starve and be d—d.”

“I cannot take mutineers on board,” replied Jack.

“Well, then, our blood be on your hands, Mr. Easy,” replied the first man who had spoken. “If we are to die, it must not be by inches—if you will not take us, the sharks shall—it is but a crunch, and all is over. What do you say, my lads? let’s all rush in together: good—bye, Mr. Easy, I hope you’ll forgive us when we’re dead: it was all that rascal Johnson, the coxswain, who persuaded us. Come, my lads, it’s no use thinking of it, the sooner done the better—let us shake hands, and then make one run of it.”

It appeared that the poor fellows had already made up their minds to do this, if our hero, persuaded by Mesty, had refused to take them on board—they shook hands all round, and then walking a few yards from the beach, stood in a line while the man gave the signal— one—two.

“Stop,” cried Jack, who had not forgotten the dreadful scene which had already taken place—“stop.”

The men paused.

“What will you promise if I take you on board?”

“To do our duty cheerfully till we join the ship, and then be hung as an example to all mutineers,” replied the men.

“Dat very fair,” replied Mesty; “take dem at their word, Massa Easy.”

“Very well,” replied Jack, “I accept your conditions, and we will come for you.”

Jack and Mesty hauled up the boat, stuck their pistols in their belts, and pulled to the shore. The men, as they stepped in, touched their hats respectfully to our hero, but said nothing. On their arrival on board, Jack read that part of the “articles of war” relative to mutiny, by which the men were reminded of the very satisfactory fact “that they were to suffer death;” and then made a speech which, to men who were starving, appeared to be interminable. However, there is an end to everything in this world, and so there

  By PanEris using Melati.

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