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Joshua is promoted ....



On the Eaft



Saved from the Sea ....



On the Rocks .....



Bitter Revelations ....



Surprised by Savages



The Power of Music



Harsh Judgments ....



Mr. Marvel shakes the Dust from


Feet .....






Faithful unto Death



Joshua and the old Wizard



Faithful Hearts ....






When daylight came — and bow they watched
for it and prayed for it ! — they saw clearly their
great peril. The ship was rolling amongst a mass
of sharp rocks jutting upwards from the sea. They
saw the points of these rocks on all sides of them;
hut no friendly land was in view.

' The ship is lost,' said Captain Liddle to
Joshua, whom he looked upon as his right-hand ;
' she is breaking up fast. Our next chance is the

It was a wonder indeed how the Merry Andrew
had kept together during the night, with the tre-
mendous beating she had received from the rocks ;



if she had been in deep water, she must inevitably
have sunk.

Joshua had told Captain Liddle of the under-
standing between Scadbolt and the Lascar, as
overheard by Minnie ; and now the Captain walked
to where the two conspirators were standing in
conversation with other sailors. Scadbolt was en-
deavouring to persuade them to seize the jolly
boat, and leave the passengers to shift for them-

' What is that you are saying?' cried the Cap-
tain, breaking in amongst them, and grasping
Scadbolt by the shoulder with a grasp of iron.
' More incitiugs to mutiny ! Take heed, sir !
Give me but a little stronger cause — nay, dare to
lay a finger upon boats or provisions without leave
— and, by God, I'll throw you into the sea !'

' Will you stand this, men ?' shouted Scadbolt,
writhing in the Captain's grasp.

The Lascar made a movement towards the
Captain, and the glitter of a knife flashed in the
light ; but a blow from Joshua sent him reeling,
and in an instant the knife was torn from his

' Berneniber !' said Joshua, in a low voice.
' You had a lesson from me years ago. What the


Captain does to Scadbolt, I do to you, you treach-
erous cur.'

' I remember,' muttered the Lascar, present-
ing the singular aspect of a man cowed by fear
and raging with furious passion at the same time.
' I swore to have your heart's blood, and I'll have
it ! Look you ! the end has not yet come. Give
me my knife !'

Joshua looked at the knife; it was one-bladed,
with a clasp — one of the articles, indeed, which the
Lascar had wrested from Solomon Fewster's fears.

' You asked me once before for a knife I took
from you,' he said; ' then I broke it before I gave
it back. But this — this, I mean to keep.'

' Now then, my men,' cried the Captain, in a
cheery voice, ' this is the second time that this
damned rascal has tried to step between you and
me. What I feared then has happened now. The
ship is breaking up, and can't hold together for
many days, and if the weather gets worse, may
break up in a day. There are certain chances in
our favour, every one of which will be destroyed
unless we act in friendly concert and like men.
This scoundrel has tried to make you believe that
your interests and the interests of the passengers
are in opposition. He lies ! I declare to you, as a


captain and a man' (if be had said a gentleman,
all would have been ruined), ' that your lives and
your safety are as dear to me as those of anybody
else on board — except my wife,' he said softly yet
stoutly, and murmurs of ' Bravo, skipper ! Bravo !
you're a man !' broke even from the lips of those
sailors who were most disposed to be won over by
Scadbolt. ' Well then, you hear me declare now,
as I have declared before, that I mean you fair.
And I declare moreover, that our only chance of
safety is in union. Once again — With me! or
Against me ?'

' With you ! with you, skipper !'

During this scene, Joshua did not know that
Minnie was standing near him. Now, releasing
the Lascar with warning words, he turned and
saw her. She met his gaze unflinchingly, and a
hot blush mantled over her neck and face. He
gazed at her for so long a time, that she drooped
her head before him, and stood in an attitude of
pleading. But he could not doubt the evidence
of his senses. Her manner, no less than her ap-
pearance, convinced him. It was Minnie, indeed,
who stood before him.

He covered his eyes with his hand, and stag-
gered to the saloon. If a thousand despairing and


undeserved deaths had stared him in the face, he
could not have been more shocked and bewildered.
He sat down and tried to think. What was the
meaning of it ? What did they know at home ?
What did they know! What might they suspect?
He saw himself and the Old Sailor together in the
boat at Gravesend, and heard that faithful old
friend tell him of Minnie's love for him, and what
it was his duty to do. He had seen his duty
clearly then : love for Ellen, no less than duty —
affection for his friend and brother, no less than
love and duty — impelled him to the right and
honourable course of making Ellen his wife. And
then ! Why, within three days of that consum-
mation of his dearest hope, he and Minnie were
together on board the Merry Andrew. If they at
home knew it, suspected it even, must they not
believe that his whole life was a monstrous lie ?
that he had planned, plotted, deceived, schemed,
to prove how utterly false he was to the woman
who adored him, to the man who believed in him,
to the kind mother and father who loved him
better than Benjamin was loved ? For a few mo-
ments he lost all consciousness of present peril.
The ship beat amongst the rocks; the seas dashed
over the deck : he heard them not, felt them not.


He took from his breast Ellen's picture and the
lock of hair she had given him at their parting,
and kissed them again and again, while his tears
ran on them. Strangely enough, there came to his
ears then, in the midst of his agony, his father's
hearty exultant voice, saying, ' This is better than
being a wood-turner all one's life, isn't it, Josh ?'
He shivered, and sobbed and cried, ' 0, Dan, Dan,
do not forsake me !' and stretched forth his hands
as if his friend were near. A hand upon his
shoulder aroused him. He looked up, and saw
the Captain's wife. She was a brave woman, and
had done much during the night to sustain the
courage of the others.

' There is a man's work to do on deck,' she
said to him gravely and sweetly. ' You are not
growing faint-hearted ?'

' No, my lady,' he answered, ' not faint-hearted
at the prospect of death ; but I have received a
shock worse than death.'

She did not stop to ask for an explanation
of his meaning — time was too precious ; but she
took the picture of Ellen and looked at it.

' My wife, my lady,' he said, with a sob.

A troubled expression crossed her features,
and she said encouragingly,


' Nay, all hope is not gone ; we may succeed
in reaching land, or some ship may see us and
pick us up. But all private grief must give way
now for the general good. There are not too many
faithful men on hoard ; the lives of others depend
on them. If they lose heart, and yield to the self-
ishness of their grief, we are lost.'

Joshua jumped to his feet and wiped his tears.

' They are not unmanly tears, my lady,' he
said bravely ; ' I can justify them to you when
there is no pressing work to do. Thank you for
calling me to my duty.'

She smiled brightly on him and shook hands
with him. When he got on deck, the Captain
was giving orders to lower the jolly boat ; but
as the boat was being lowered, the broken water
caught her and splintered her to pieces. The
sailors and passengers looked with dismay at the
fragments of the boat drifting away and dashing
against the jagged rocks. ' What next ?' they all

' Try the long boat, men,' cried the Captain.
And in accordance with his instructions, the long
boat — the only one left — was launched over the
vessel's side ; but as she hung in the tackle, a
huge wave dashed up and filled her. It was


imperative that the water should be baled out
of her.

' Who will do it ?' asked the Captain, loath to
give an order in which there was almost certain
death. Joshua was about to start forward, when
Minnie's hand upon his arm restrained him. Be-
fore he could shake off the grasp, the first-mate,
crying, ' I'm a single man ; I've no wife and
children waiting for me at home !' jumped into
the boat up to his waist in water, and began to
bale it out. But he had not baled out a dozen
gallons when the stern-post was jerked out of the
boat, which was left hanging in the tackle. The
shouts of the men and the screams of the women
apprised him of his danger ; and as he looked
about to see how he could remedy the disaster,
the fore-tackle got adrift, and the boat was battling
with cruel rocks and water. The force of the cur-
rent was too powerful for her. The Captain threw
out lines to the unfortunate man, but he could not
catch them. But if he had, he would have been
bruised to death by the sharp rocks. The moment
before he went down, he waved a good-bye to
those on board. A long silence followed. The
women looked anxiously at the Captain, but saw
no hope in his face. Then with a gesture to all


to follow hint, he went down to the saloon, and
there read prayers, and commended them to God.
He was not what is understood as a religious
man ; but knowing the danger in which they
stood, he conceived this to be a duty. That done,
he said, ' Men and passengers, we have one chance
left, and only one. Out of our masts and spars
we can make a raft sufficiently large to hold all of
us. Then we may be able to reach some friendly
land. To stay on board and wait, and not work,
is certain death. Even as it is, a raft will take us
some days to make, and the ship may break to
pieces before it is done. But we must trust to
God for that. What we're got to do is to work
like men, for our own sakes, for the sake of the
women, and for the sake of wives and children at
home. Some of you have these, I know. It is
not for me, now that we are in such a strait, to
say, Do this, or Do that ; although under any
circumstances I shall insist upon discipline and
order. I can't make you work, and therefore I
submit for your approval the plan I think best for
general safety. Have any of you a better one to
propose ?'

' No, no !' was the unanimous cry.

' Very well; then we'll determine upon this.


And for the better carrying out of our design, I
appoint Mr. Marvel second in command. He is
first-mate now. If anything happens to me, you
will look to him. When the raft is made, and
safely launched — if it please God that it shall he
so — we will set down necessary rules for all on
hoard. Until that time there is hut one rule — to
work. Every man on hoard must work — passen-
gers and all ; and every man must aid me in pre-
serving order.'

The Captain's manly speech infused hope into
every heart; and exclamations of ' Good!' 'Bravo,
skipper!' 'Well said, sir!' followed his last words.

' One other thing,' he said, in a more deter-
mined voice : ' to my certain knowledge, we have
unfortunately among us two men who have endea-
voured to spread dissatisfaction and add to our
confusion. I will not point out these men ; they
are known to me and all of you. They are men,
though, as we are, so far as the value of life to
each of us goes ; and it is only fair that they
should have equal chances with us. But this I
declare, by my dear wife's life ! If these men do
not work, and if they attempt anything that is not
for the general good, I will shoot them with my
own hand ! Now then, to the deck !'


Not a man among them who did not take off
his coat and set to work with a will. There were
a great many loose spars on board, which, with
the mizenmast, were found to be sufficient for
their purpose. They tried to cut down the main-
mast; but there was so much danger in the at-
tempt, that it was relinquished. For three days
they worked like slaves. The rocks served as a
resting-place for the ends of the largest spars,
which were firmly lashed together and nailed ; the
light and short spars were used for the centre of
the raft, upon which a kind of platform was raised
on which many of the shipwrecked persons could
lie out of the water; a mast to carry sails was
also rigged up. The raft was not finished too
soon ; they could not have stopped another day
on the ship. While the work was going on, three
of the sailors lost their lives, so that already their
number was lessened by four. The raft being
ready, it Avas launched with great difficulty. The
next anxious question was provisions; and the re-
sult of their inquiry blanched many a cheek. All
the bread was spoilt by the salt water, and most of
the preserved meat had been lost, in consequence of
having been brought on deck when they tried to
launch the boats. They also made another dis-


heartening discovery. They could only find two
small kegs to hold water. Still, when the first
shock of these discoveries was over, they were home
bravely, almost cheerfully. The women, excepting
Rachel Homehush, were the cause of this ; they
smiled upon the workers, encouraged them, and
made them hopeful in spite of themselves. Even
Mrs. Pigeon recovered some of her good spirits ;
and knowing that her merry laugh was a comfort to
the men, she laughed often when she was not in-
clined for mirth. The little child, Emma, was the
only truly happy one of the party, and her pre-
sence drove away many a hard thought. Rough-
and- Ready had his anxious intervals, hut he
worked with a will. Between him and Joshua a
strong attachment sprung up ; each admired the
manliness of the other. He was also particularly
kind to Minnie, and she grew accustomed to look
upon him with confidence and to trust in him.
The night before the raft was launched, Joshua
persuaded Captain Liddle to take a night's rest.

' It will he all the better for you and all of us,
sir,' said Joshua.

1 But you too, Marvel,' said Captain Liddle,
' you want rest as much as I. I don't believe you
have had two hours' sleep since we struck.' This


was really true : both Joshua and the Captaiu had
been indefatigable.

' Never mind me, sir,' said Joshua, with a sad
sweet smile. ' You have your wife to attend to.
Besides, I promise that I will rest to - morrow
night, if you will give me leave.'

' You are a noble fellow, Marvel;' and Captain
Liddle gazed admiringly at the young sailor. ' I
have often wondered how you acquired certain
qualities that are not common to the ordinary

' I don't know, sir ; I doubt if they were ever
in me. They must have been put there by my
friend Dan, who is nobleness itself.'

' Dan ? Ah, the lame boy with the wonderful
birds, that I saw at your house. I liked his

' He is the dearest fellow' Joshua turned

away his head.

The next day the provisions and the charts
and instruments, and many things that would be
useful, such as blankets, tools, and writing ma-
terials, were stowed safely on the raft. Of the
provisions there was a very small store : twenty
tins of preserved meat, a small quantity of sugar,
about a gallon of rum, and two kegs of water. By


the time everything useful was stowed away and
secured, and the passengers were safely on the raft,
it was evening, and within three hours the Merry
Andrew broke completely up. The raft (having
parted its moorings), forced by the strong current,
was carried to sea, and the passengers watched
the last of the ship with unmixed feelings of sad-
ness. The women shed tears, and all of them,
men and women, felt as if they had lost a friend.
When the vessel was out of sight, a stronger feel-
ing of desolation stole upon the unhappy group,
and Eough-and-Ready had many looks of astonish-
ment cast upon him as he rubbed his hands and
said in a cheerful voice, ' This is splendid. Now
we can be comfortable.' But it was well for them
that they had some stout hearts on board.

The direct allusion made by Captain Liddle to
Scadbolt and the Lascar had had its effect upon
those worthies ; they knew that their lives de-
pended upon their conduct. But they found
means to exchange confidences, and they resolved
to revenge themselves on both Joshua and the
Captain when opportunity served. ' Wait till we
make land,' said Scadbolt; ' they shall smart then,
the pair of them. I'll teach both of them the
meaning of " general good !" ' The Lascar's old


feeling of hate for Joshua had been revived in all
its intensity by the late scene between them.

' I'll have rny knife back,' he muttered to him-
self as he lay on the raft the first night, at a little
distance from Joshua, watching him with venom-
ous looks, ' and his heart's blood with it.'

Not a movement, not a glance, escaped Min-
nie's notice. Aware of the feelings of hate enter-
tained by the Lascar for Joshua, she set herself
the task of watching over Joshua's safety. He,
overpowered by fatigue, had been persuaded by
the Captain to take some sleep, and when he lay
down Minnie crept to his side and remained there
during the night. He slept long and peacefully
through the solemn night and after the gray
morning had daAvned, dreaming of home, of Dan
and Ellen, and murmuring their names with a
smile upon his lips.



Joshua, opening his eyes, saw Minnie sitting by
his side. She, seeing that he was awake, moved
quietly away without a word, and went to where
the other women were lying. He had been so
fatigued when he lay down to rest, that his sleep
had been very profound ; and when he awoke, the
full sense of his situation did not come upon him.
Minnie, sitting by his side with her brown face
and short curls, was the first thing he saw ; and
it seemed to him for a brief space that he was
dreaming. But when she moved away and joined
the other women, he remembered the perils they
had encountered, and the terrible position in which
they were placed. He would have called to her,
but that some feeling restrained him; and al-
though he thought much of her during the day,
he was glad that he had not spoken to her. Be-
sides, his attention was diverted for a time to


another circumstance. Some of the men were
clamouring for breakfast. Neither Scadbolt nor
the Lascar was among the murmurers ; these last
consisted of the weakest of the party, who were
less able than the others to bear hunger, and to
whom the fear of starvation made it appear as if
they had been already fasting a day.
'Breakfast! breakfast!' they cried.
' "Wait till ten o'clock,' said the Captain, in a
stern determined voice ; ' you can't be hungry
already. If you don't cease murmuring, I will
put off breakfast until twelve.'
This threat silenced them.
In the mean time the Captain called his coun-
cil together, and consulted with them. There
were four in the council : himself, Joshua, Rough-
and-Ready, and an old sailor named Standish,
who had been wrecked twice before, and who con-
sequently was looked upon as a distinguished
personage. At eight o'clock the Captain read
prayers. Then the men, with the exception of
the council, sat idly watching the water, and look-
ing out for a fish. The morning was fine ; one
of the sailors noted for quaint sayings remarked
that the weather had no business to be fine ; it
was a mockery. At ten o'clock the Captain piped



all hands ; the call was answered readily, but there
were no signs of breakfast.

' Be seated,' said the Captain.

They all sat down, with the exception of the
Captain and his three counsellors. The Captain
stood in front, his supporters behind.

' We who stand,' said the Captain, ' have been
constituted by me, commander of this ship, into a
council for the discussion and deliberation of all
matters relating to the general welfare. The fair-
ness of the selection will recommend itself to the
crew, for the council is composed of three sailors
and one passenger. Are you content ?'

'Yes, yes !' cried a large number.

Up rose Scadbolt.

' Let us .hear first what you have to say about
the provisions,' he said. ' I am not one who says
yes without consideration.'

'That's fair too,' broke from half-a-dozen

Captain Liddle eyed Scadbolt steadily. Scad-
bolt returned his gaze. He knew that, in the
position he had assumed, he could command the
sympathies of a certain number, and the know-
ledge gave him confidence.

' Well, it is fair,' said the Captain ; ' and a


reasonable suggestion is always reasonable, never
mind who makes it. The council have drawn
out a set of rules this morning, which I have here
writ down on paper. If you approve of them, you
will approve of the council; do I understand that?'

' Yes, yes ! '

The Captain produced his paper and com-

'Kule 1. All questions in dispute, with the
exception of such as are properly within the pro-
vince of the duties of Captain Liddle — whose
orders, as Captain of the Merry Andrew, we pro-
mise to obey and uphold to the death — shall be
decided by the majority.'

' Agreed !' some cried.

'Stop!' exclaimed Scadbolt ; 'how about the
women ? "We are not going to let them vote.'

Thought Captain Liddle, ' This is no common
scoundrel ; he puts in speech what many a mal-
content would only dare to think.' Said Captain
Liddle aloud, ' That was not mentioned by the
council. I don't suppose the women would wish
to vote ; a proper man would not have mentioned
it. Decided, however, that the women do not

In arguing with Scadbolt, Captain Liddle


committed a grave mistake : it put them upon a
kind of equality, and from that moment Scadbolt
could boast of being the leader of a party, small
as it might be.

' Rule 2/ continued Captain Liddle. ' The
small stock of provisions shall be equally di-
vided between every soul on board '

A little faint cheering here broke out.

' But, in consequence of the smallness of

the supply, the quantity to be measured out to each
person shall be regulated, as occasion demands,
by the Captain and his council.'

No demur was made to this.

' Rule 3. That all fish, birds, or food of any
kind which may be found in air or water shall be
added to the general stock, and shall be fairly and
equally divided.'

'Unfair!' exclaimed Scadbolt; 'each man is
entitled to what he can catch in air or water.'

' Not so,' replied the Captain ; ' for what then
would become of the women ? — Men, I appeal to
you : does this man, who speaks while you are
silent, represent your views ?'

Two or three voices answered, 'Yes;' a score
answered, 'No.'

'Good,' said the Captain; 'he represents but


one iu a dozen ; and even the two or three of you
who seem to side with him may be brought to see
the selfishness of what he advocates. If he had
his way, the weak would be left to die ; the strong
alone should live, and have a chance of being
saved. Is this fair ? is it manly ? is it honest ?'

'Every man for himself, and God for us all,'
muttered Scadbolt, trying to fan the flame.

' Then the strongest man would crush the
rest, and might would take the place of right,'
continued the Captain, beginning to see that he
had made a mistake in listening so patiently to
Scadbolt. ' We were never nearer to death than
we are this day; but shall that make us forget
that we are men ? Shall that turn us into brutes ?

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Online LibraryB. L. (Benjamin Leopold) FarjeonJoshua Marvel (Volume 3) → online text (page 1 of 14)