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Adventures in Southern Seas eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 208 pages of information about Adventures in Southern Seas.

The men from the Male Island I found to be as free from ill-will toward one another as were the women on the Female Island.  Since they had neither wife nor child, they associated in pairs, and mutually rendered each other all the services a master could reasonably expect from a servant, being together in so perfect a community that the survivor always succeeded his dead partner to any property he may have had.  They behave to each other with the greatest justness and openness of heart.  It is a crime to keep anything hidden.  On the other hand, the least pilfering is unpardonable, and punished by death.  And indeed there can be no great temptation to steal when it is reckoned a point of honour never to refuse a neighbour what he wants; and when there is so little property of value it is impossible there should be many disputes over it.  If any happened, the wise-ones interposed, and soon put an end to the difference.

In all my travels I never met with happier or more gently disposed persons than the people of the Male and Female Islands of Engano.

CHAPTER XXXIX

I BECOME A VICTIM OF DOMESTIC INFELICITY

Next morning the wise-ones, according to promise, informed me, by means of their power of second sight, that my ship was in the place where I had left her, which seemed probable, as it would no doubt be on land that Hartog and my friends would be looking for me.

I passed my word to the wise-ones that Hartog’s vessel would not visit the Engano Islands, since strangers were not welcome; and, having bid good-bye to the Amazons, I once more embarked with Sylvia in her canoe, and was paddled round the east end of the Great Barren Island, where, in the distance, was the “Golden Seahorse” still at anchor in the bay where I had last seen her.

When I came aboard Hartog was overjoyed at my return.  “I shall have to keep thee tied up, Peter,” he said to me, in jest at my frequent mishaps.  “You are for ever either falling overboard or running away.”  But when I told him of my adventure on Amazon Island he listened with great interest, expressing regret that I should have pledged my word against the ship’s calling there.  His disappointment, however, was modified when I told him that nothing of any commercial value was to be found upon either of the Engano Islands; nothing, in fact, being worthy of notice but the wonderful contentment of the inhabitants, a commodity which could not be carried away.

“Let us up stick and home, then,” answered Hartog merrily.  So, having presented Sylvia and her accompanying Amazons with gifts, in return for which they showed us where excellent water was to be obtained with which we might replenish our tanks, we bade farewell to the Great Barren Island, and shaped a course for Holland.

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