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قراءة كتاب The Wreck of the Grosvenor, Volume 2 of 3 An account of the mutiny of the crew and the loss of the ship when trying to make the Bermudas

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‏اللغة: English
The Wreck of the Grosvenor, Volume 2 of 3
An account of the mutiny of the crew and the loss of the
ship when trying to make the Bermudas

The Wreck of the Grosvenor, Volume 2 of 3 An account of the mutiny of the crew and the loss of the ship when trying to make the Bermudas

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دار النشر: Project Gutenberg
الصفحة رقم: 2

with the miserable creature's terror. "He wants to talk to you about the cuddy provisions."

The carpenter stared at him grimly, out of a mean tyranny and relish of his fears; and the poor creature said, "Yes, sir?" lifting his eyes humbly to the carpenter's face, and folding his hands in an involuntary attitude of supplication.

"You'll understand, young feller," said the carpenter, thrusting his hands into his pockets and leaning against the mizzen-mast, "that we're all equals aboard this here wessel now. No one's above t'other, barring yourself, who's just nowheeres at all, owin' to your keeping in tow of the skipper when he was pisoning us with the stores which you, d—— yer! took joy in sarving out! Now, you understand this: you're to turn to and sarve out the cuddy stores to the men at the proper time, and three tots o' grog every day to each man. Mr. Ryle 'll tell you how long our passage 'll last, and you're to make a calkilation of the live stock so as each watch gits a share of the pigs an' poultry. But you," he continued, squirting some tobacco juice from his mouth, "aren't to touch no other provisions but the stores which the crew's been eatin' of: mind that! If we catch you tastin' so much as half a cuddy biscuit, by the living thunder! we'll run you up to the fore-yard-arm!"

He shook his fist in the steward's face, and addressing me, said—

"That's all to be said, ain't it?"

"That's all," I replied; and the steward went cringing and reeling towards the pantry, whilst the carpenter mounted the companion-ladder.

I entered the cabin, which, to save confusion, I will continue to call the captain's cabin, and seated myself in a chair screwed down to the deck before a wide table. This cabin was comfortably furnished with hanging bookshelves, a fine map of the world, a few coloured prints of ships, a handsome cot, and mahogany lockers cushioned on top to serve for seats.

Among some writing materials, a case of mathematical instruments, a boat's compass, and a variety of other matters which covered the table, I observed an American five-chambered revolver, which, on examining, I found was loaded. I at once put this weapon in my pocket, and after searching awhile, discovered a box of cartridges, which I also pocketed.

This I considered a very lucky find, as I never knew the moment when I might stand in need of such a weapon; and whether I should have occasion to use it or not, it was certainly better in my possession than in the hands of the men.

I now left my chair to examine the lockers, in the hopes of finding other firearms; and I cannot express the eagerness with which I prosecuted the search, because I considered that, should the boatswain succeed in winning even one man over from the crew, three resolute men, each armed with a revolver or firearm of any kind, might, by carefully waiting their opportunity, kill or wound enough of the crew to render the others an easy conquest.

However, to my unspeakable disappointment, my search proved fruitless; all that I found in the lockers were clothes belonging to Captain Coxon, a quantity of papers, old charts, and log-books, some parcels of cigars, and a bag containing about £30 in silver.

Whilst engaged in these explorations, a knock fell on the door, and on my replying, the girl came in. I bowed and asked her to be seated, and inquired how her father did.

"He is still very weak," she answered; "but he is not worse this morning. I heard your voice just now, and watched you enter this cabin. I hope you will let me speak to you. I have so much to say."

"Indeed," I replied, "I have been waiting impatiently for this opportunity. Will you first tell me your name?"

"Mary Robertson. My father is a Liverpool merchant, Mr. Royle, and the ship in which we were wrecked was his own vessel. Oh!" she exclaimed, pressing her hands to her face, "we were many hours expecting every moment to die. I cannot believe that we are saved! and sometimes I cannot believe that what has happened is real! I think I was going mad when I saw your ship. I thought the boat was a phantom, and that it would vanish suddenly. It was horrible to be imprisoned with the dead body and that mad sailor! The sailor went mad on the first day, and soon afterwards the passenger—for he was a passenger who lay dead on the deck—sat up in his bed and uttered a dreadful cry, and fell forward dead. The mad sailor pointed to him and howled! and neither papa nor I could get out of the house, for the water washed against it and would have swept us overboard."

She told me all this with her hands to her face, and her fair hair flowing over her shoulders, and made a sweet and pathetic picture in this attitude.

Suddenly she looked up with a smile of wonderful sweetness, and, seizing my hand, cried—

"What do we not owe you for your noble efforts? How good and brave you are!"

"You praise me too warmly, Miss Robertson. God knows there was nothing noble in my efforts, nor any daring in them. Had I really risked my life to save you, I should still have barely done my duty. How were you treated yesterday? Well, I hope."

"Oh yes. The captain told the steward to give us what we wanted. I think the wine he sent us saved papa's life. He was sinking, but rallied after he had drunk a little of it. I am in a sad plight," she exclaimed, while a faint tinge of red came into her cheeks. "I have not even a piece of ribband to tie up my hair with."

She took her beautiful hair in her hands, and smiled.

"Is there nothing in this cabin that will be of use to you?" I said. "Here is a hair-brush—and it looks a pretty good one. I don't know whether we shall be able to muster a bit of ribband among us, but I just now came across a roll of serge, and if you can do anything with that and a needle and thread, which I'll easily get for you, I'll see that they are put in your cabin. Here are enough clothes to rig out your father, at all events, until his own are made ship-shape. But how am I to help you? That has been on my mind."

"I can use the serge if I may have it," she replied, in the prettiest way imaginable.

"Here it is," I said, hauling it out of the locker; "and I'll get needles and thread for you presently. No sailor goes to sea without a housewife, and you shall have mine. And if you will wait a moment I think I can find something else that may be useful."

Saying which I hurried to my old cabin, unlocked my chest, and took out a new pair of carpet slippers.

"A piece of bunting or serge fitted into these will make them sit on your feet," I exclaimed, handing them to her. "And I have other ideas, Miss Robertson, all which I hope will help to make you a little more comfortable by-and-by. Leave a sailor alone to find out ways and means."

She took the slippers with a graceful little smile, and put them alongside the roll of serge; and then, with a grave face, and in an earnest voice, she asked me to tell her what the men meant to do with the ship now that they had seized her.

I freely told her as much as I knew, but expressed no fears as to my own, and hers, and her father's safety. Indeed, I took the most cheerful view I could of our situation.

"My notion," said I, "is that when the time comes for the men to leave the ship they will not allow us to go with them. They will oblige us to remain in her, which is the best thing that could happen; for I am sure that the boatswain will stay, and with his and the