Great Sea Stories eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 385 pages of information about Great Sea Stories.
and many other attendant circumstances equally desirable, it is now perhaps not so much to be wondered at, though scarcely possible to have been foreseen, that a set of sailors, most of them void of connections, should be led away:  especially when, in addition to such powerful inducements, they imagined it in their power to fix themselves in the midst of plenty, on one of the finest islands in the world, where they need not labor, and where the allurements of dissipation are beyond anything that can be conceived.

FATE OF THE CASTAWAYS

My first determination was to seek a supply of breadfruit and water at Tofoa, and afterwards to sail for Tongataboo, and there risk a solicitation to Poulaho, the king, to equip our boat, and grant us a supply of water and provisions, so as to enable us to reach the East Indies.  The quantity of provisions I found in the boat was a hundred and fifty pounds of bread, sixteen pieces of pork, each piece weighing two pounds, six quarts of rum, six bottles of wine, with twenty-eight gallons of water, and four empty barrecoes.

We got to Tofoa when it was dark, but found the shore so steep and rocky that we could not land.  We were obliged, therefore, to remain all night in the boat, keeping it on the lee-side of the island, with two oars.  Next day (Wednesday, April 29) we found a cove, where we landed.  I observed the latitude of this cove to be 19 degrees 41 minutes south.  This is the northwest part of Tofoa, the north-westernmost of the Friendly Islands.  As I was resolved to spare the small stock of provisions we had in the boat, we endeavored to procure something towards our support on the island itself.  For two days we ranged through the island in parties, seeking for water, and anything in the shape of provisions, subsisting, meanwhile, on morsels of what we had brought with us.  The island at first seemed uninhabited, but on Friday, May 1, one of our exploring parties met with two men, a woman, and a child:  the men came with them to the cove, and brought two cocoanut shells of water.  I endeavored to make friends of these people, and sent them away for bread-fruit, plantains, and water.  Soon after, other natives came to us; and by noon there were thirty about us, from whom we obtained a small supply.  I was much puzzled in what manner to account to the natives for the loss of my ship:  I knew they had too much sense to be amused with a story that the ship was to join me, when she was not in sight from the hills.  I was at first doubtful whether I should tell the real fact, or say that the ship had overset and sunk, and that we only were saved:  the latter appeared to be the most proper and advantageous for us, and I accordingly instructed my people, that we might all agree in one story.  As I expected, inquiries were made about the ship, and they seemed readily satisfied with our account; but there did not appear the least symptom of joy or sorrow in their faces, although I fancied I discovered some marks of surprise.  Some of the natives were coming and going the whole afternoon.

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Great Sea Stories from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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