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Ching-Wan-Tau Roads at night and I'll anchor her as close as I dare to the land. I'll try and see the way's all clear for you-and the rest you'll have to do yourself. You'll be in your irons down the hold, and, as soon as we anchor, you must slip up on deck quickly and drop over the side and swim ashore. Will you be all right if you do get ashore ?""

"If I can land without being seen,' he says, 'I've friends who'll hide me. But how shall I know when the time has come-to swim?'

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When the anchor's let go,' I said. Then's your time. You'll hear the chain running out all right. You'll hear that down the hold even if you're asleep. Well-that will be the signal.'


Good,' says he again. 'But take the ship in very close to the shore, Captain. I can't swim far; but I'll trust you. You must trust me too, and when I've done what I've got to do, remember, I'll be waiting and listening for your signal.'

"After that we shook hands again on our bargain, and I left him. I went up on the bridge and he went down the hold. I didn't see him again."

The Skipper's long chair screeched as he sat up suddenly. For a while he said nothing at all; but when he spoke again his voice surprised me. "It's not wise," he said, "to put too much trust in any man. We trusted each other too much, and it isn't fair.

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per. "Don't you make any mistake, my friend. He didn't fail. No. He did all he said he would; although I don't know how he did it. I can only guess, and go by the facts

as they appeared. For instance, you take the facts we'd find each day inside Da Silva's hospital. The first few days after I'd made my bargain there'd be the usual crop of victims-twelve to twenty poor devils, that is, all slashed up and bleeding. And then one morning Da Silva comes along, smiling all over his face. They don't fight no more,' says he. To-day there is no one cut.' But next morning he wasn't so happy. 'Bad, Captain, bad,' he says. 'Four men they bring me to-day. Four-all shot in the face and dead. It's bad for us, Captain, I think, now they begin shooting.'



'Maybe it's not so bad as you think, Doc.," I told him. And that's all I'd say, for I guessed what had happened. And when I went aft and took a look at the corpses, I knew it was all right-for my partner wasn't one of 'em.

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was an old gunny bag. It was shoved through the port-hole over my bunk that same night, and it fell on me with a bump and a rattle that scared me out of the first good sleep I'd had since we'd left Durban. I switched on my light in a hurry and picked the thing up. It was heavy, and the mouth of it was tied up with a piece of twine. For a little while I just sat there looking at the thing, and wondering who'd thrown it in and what was in it. But when I did open it and spilt the contents out on my blanket, I understood at once. It was a message-to tell me one side of the bargain had been fulfilled. It was proof, too, that tumbled out of that bag on to my lap. Nineteen small knives and my Colt automatic was proof enough for me. The knives were just ordinary folding pocket-knives, and the blades of four of them were broken; but all the rest were as sharp as razors. The barrel of the gun was fouled, and the magazine was short of four cartridges. It was good evidence; but I wasn't keen on any one else seeing it, so I put the things into the bag again, and went out on deck and dropped the lot overboard. For a minute or two I thought of going forward and paying my friend a visit. I wanted to tell him I understood, and thank him, and try and make some better arrangement for getting him clear of the ship; but there was a bright moon shining full on the forward deck, and

the officer on the bridge would have been certain to see me, so I turned in again-and slept.

"Next day at noon Cape Shangtung was abeam, and we headed west to run through the Gulf of Pechili to ChingWan-Tau. That gave us 270 miles to go, and meant arriving about three o'clock the next afternoon. This wouldn't do, and I saw I'd have to slow the ship up if I was to carry out my part of the bargain and get her in after dark. Now, you can't go easing a ship down unless you've got good reasons for it. It all goes down in the log, of course, and when you get home they call you up to the office and want to know what you've been playing at. However, there it was, and I'd got to chance it. Slowed down the ship had got to be, office or no office, and I was trying hard to think of a good excuse, when the weather supplied me with the finest kind of a one I could have wished for. It came on thick. It started with some patches of fog closing down on us about four in the afternoon, and it got thicker and thicker, until by ten o'clock that night we were steaming dead slow, and you couldn't see the foremast from the bridge. The Gulf of Pechili's a horrible place to be drifting around in in thick weather. When a fog shuts in properly there it's apt to last for a long while, and the blessed tides run all over the place at the rate of knots, and you can't tell where or how far they're going to set you. By mid

night I didn't like the look of things. We'd been dodging along dead slow for hours, and I wasn't sure within twenty miles or so where we'd got to. Cape Lai Lee Shan was somewhere ahead of us I hoped; but I didn't want to hit it, so I stopped the engines and sent the second mate aft to take a cast of the lead. I did it because it never pays to take chances at sea, especially in a fog; but as a matter of fact I felt pretty sure we'd got plenty of water under us. So you can understand when that young officer of mine came running up the bridge ladder singing out he'd got bottom at eight fathoms, it gave me the deuce of a start. We'd been set to the devil and gone off our course, and there was only one thing to be done. I roused out the Mate to stand by forward, and then took another cast of the lead. time we only got six fathoms, and I saw it was high time to bring the ship up and wait until we could see something. 'Stand by, forward,' I sang out, and


All ready, sir,' answers the Mate. 'Let go, then,' I shouted, and 'Leggo, sir,' says he. Then there was a squeak from the windlass brake and our cable roared out through the hawse pipe, shaking the whole ship as it went. 'Give her 35 fathoms to the water's edge, mister,' I said, and then I walked to the binnacle to watch which way the tide would swing us. And the tide there must have been running like a

race, for as soon as the ship brought up on her cable she swung round through nine points so quickly you'd have thought a tug had got hold of her head. I looked over the side and heard the tide regularly sluicing past us. 'Hear that?' said I to the second. 'No wonder we've been set off to blazes.' And then, in a flash, I understood what I'd done. I feared I was too late ; but it wasn't many seconds before I found myself on the fore deck, shouting down the hold to the man who'd been waiting there and listening for the signal I'd promised to give. I called and I kept on calling; but I got no answer. He'd heard the signal. He'd taken me at my word and gone overboard-with the ship somewhere in the middle of the Pechili Straits and a five-knot tide running past her straight out to sea."

The awning bellied out above us and came down again with a smack on the spreaders, and a warm brisk wind that I had not noticed before made my pyjamas flap about my legs. There are times when it is not well to talk, so I held my tongue and waited. In a little while the Skipper spoke again. "You go and turn in," he said. "There's a nice breeze now, and your berth's to wind'ard, so you ought to be able to sleep. And if you can't, you can spend your time nicely thanking God there's only the smell from some sweating sugar to keep you awake."


There is a tradition in the family of the writer of this narrative, ViceAdmiral George Vernon Jackson, that he was the prototype of Peter Simple. At any rate, it seems certain that Captain Marryat was acquainted with Jackson's youthful escapades and adventurous early life. As his name was entered in the books of the Trident on 5th May 1795 at eight years of age, his official connection with the Navy may be said to have lasted eighty-one years. He died in 1876, aged eighty-nine.



DURING the voyage out to Lieutenant I have nothing to Halifax, I had said nothing say. The Marine Officer, John about my hopes of promotion; Green, stood about six feet and all were astonished when, high, and might be compared soon after our arrival, Admiral to a switch in personal appearLee came on board, and, after ance. There was plenty of shaking hands, congratulated length but no breadth about him. I had a great regard for him, and believe the feeling was mutual, though this did not prevent us from being often at variance. always going to call me out, but I always made an absurd joke of it, and declined to go out to fight a man with as much chance of hitting him as of splitting a bullet on a penknife. Poor Green : the sequel of his life proved that he was not such a difficult mark after all.1

on my appointment as Second Lieutenant to one of the finest frigates in the Navy, the Junon, 38 (Captain John Shortland). This was on 20th April 1809. I joined her during the same evening, and on the following day received an invitation to dine with the Admiral and attend a ball afterwards.

This was the beginning of a great change from the hardships and uncertainties of a tarpaulin Midshipman, hitherto without a friend to interest himself on my behalf.

An old shipmate named Conn was Third Lieutenant in the Junon; the rest of the officers were strangers. Of the First

He was

Captain Shortland bore the character of an austere disciplinarian, and I felt rather nervous at the prospect of serving under him; however, I have reason to think that he

1 He was killed in the Junon while beating off a boarding-party of the enemy in the action of 13th December 1809, when the Junon was captured by the French.

took a liking to me. He was particularly celebrated as a navigator and a good seaman, and he showed preference for me in one respect, as he would allow no one to touch his chronometer but myself. This instrument was his own private property. He did not entirely depend upon my management of it when he was taking observations, but he made me to call over the time as it transpired.

The day before we left port an alarm was given of fire forward. I called for the drummer to beat to quarters-a foolish thing to do in those days, as it wasted time, while a word would have sufficed and told the Captain. It transpired that some matches had ignited somehow, but the fire was soon got under. The contents of the match-room, however, had been damaged by water; and although the damage was thought to have been rectified, it proved ere long to have been otherwise, as will shortly be seen, when occasion for their use arose.

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and the two Armées-en-flute Loire and Seine, each carrying twenty guns. From this moment until the termination of the ensuing engagement I was ignorant of what took place on deck, being on duty on the main deck; but just as we were about to pass under the stern of the leading ship, the Renommée, they changed their colours and let fire a broadside. I was looking out of the port at the time. Our helm must have been put down, and as we came up into the wind the second frigate, the Clorinde, drew alongside of us, her bowsprit abreast of our mainmast. She manifestly did not like her position, and hauled off. The Renommée meantime had placed herself on our weather, bow, and the Clorinde then resumed her old position to an inch. About this time the purser hurried up to me and said that there were no matches, and as he spoke a shot came into us and struck away an iron stanchion which stood directly between us. Once during the action I received a fearful blow across my body, caused by a poor fellow being blown into smithereens-by my side. Passing aft to my quarters I stepped over a prostrate seaman who was literally disembowelled, whom I afterwards found to be my own servant. Towards the last part of the fight, the Arméeen-flute Loire, on board of which were some 200 French soldiers, came up as close as possible to our stern, and poured volley after volley of musketry along

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