Adventures in Southern Seas eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 245 pages of information about Adventures in Southern Seas.

It now became necessary to review our situation.  Of food and fresh water we had an abundant supply, and there were dwellings at our disposal more than enough, for the Spaniards had numbered over two hundred, while we mustered but thirty.  We possessed, however, no arms or ammunition beyond what we had taken with us upon our expedition to the caves.  The thought of this caused us grave anxiety when we reflected upon the small force at our disposal should hostile natives, having discovered our weakness, be tempted to attack us.  Repining, however, would avail us nothing, so, at Hartog’s request, I set about organizing our camp.  Hartog himself was so cast down by the loss of our ship that he seemed incapable of diverting his thoughts from the catastrophe which had overtaken us.  I thus found our former positions reversed, Hartog being on the brink of the same hopeless despair which had obsessed me when Anna was taken from me, while upon me devolved the task of heartening him.

And now a new danger threatened us.  We had not been a month at the settlement after the piracy of the “Golden Seahorse” before it became evident to me that our crew had ceased to regard their officers with the same respect as they had formerly shown them on board ship.  Sailors, ashore, are accustomed to a license they do not look for at sea.  Hence it was but natural that, since their ship no longer claimed their duty, they should regard themselves as freed from discipline.  This revolt against authority, however, I knew to be a menace to our common safety, and I determined to put an end to it.  I spoke first to Hartog, who spent most of his time in the Queen’s house, brooding over our misfortune, and thus setting a very bad example.

“It is not because you are no longer captain of the ’Golden Seahorse’,” I said to him, “that you should regard your responsibilities at an end.  If you can regain your authority over the men, we may yet win through.  If not, then let us at once abandon ourselves to the mercy of the savages, whom, I may tell you, I have observed watching us from the cliffs above, and who are only waiting to assure themselves of our weakness before they attack us.”

For a time Hartog remained silent.  Then he rose, and stretched himself; drawing himself up to his full height, he stood before me, the finest specimen of a man I have ever met.

“You are right, Peter,” he said.  “I deserve the scolding you have given me.  Show me the man who will not obey me, and I will talk to him.”

Now there was one, Hoft Hugens, a Swede, who had made himself a leader among the mutinous and lazy crew.  I had intended dealing with this man myself, but it now occurred to me that his schooling would serve to rouse Hartog from his apathy.

“If you must know, then,” I answered, “it is Hoft Hugens to whom the men look as leader.”

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Adventures in Southern Seas from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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