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  ― 31 ―

‘Ex Sardanapalus.’

‘MAKE it eight bells! Go below, the starboard watch!’

A few minutes later, and eight men sat on eight seachests, looking hungrily across at one another. Between them lay an empty meat-kid.note In a box alongside were some biscuits, black and honeycombed with weevil-holes. Dinner was over in the Sardanapalus' fo'c'stle, but still her starboard watch glared hungrily at each other.

‘I've lost two good stone since I jined this starvation hooker!’ presently growled one. ‘I ain't never full, and I kin feel them cussed worms out o' the bread a-crawlin' about in my stummick like so many snakeses.’

‘Same 'ere, matey,’ chimed in another. ‘A mouthful o' salt horse an' a bite o' rotten bread for breakfus, ditto for dinner, an' a soldier's supper;note with lime-juice an' winegar chucked in, according to the Hack,note ain't to say fattenin'.’

‘That's wot's the matter, when the skipper finds the ship,’ remarked a third. ‘Yer gets yer whack, an' ye gits nae mair, as the Scotchies has it.’

‘We doesn't even get that itself,’ put in another, who


  ― 32 ―
was sitting on the edge of his bunk. ‘That yaller hound of a steward gives short weight all round. ‘Lord!’ he continued, ‘only to think that, this time last year, I was a-smackin' my chops over mutton uns; an' full and plenty of everythin' in the Hostralian Bush. What a hass I was to leave it! One'd think there was some sort o' damned magic in the sea to be able to draw a feller a thousand miles down from good times, good tucker, good pay, an' all night in, with a spree whenever you felt fit.’

‘Too good, Billy, altogether,’ piped up a grey-headed old chap. ‘An' that's what's the matter. You gets up the Bush, you gets as fat as a bacon hog, you lives like a gentleman, an', in the long run, it don't agree with your constitooshun. You gets the boil,note an' your liver turns a sort o' dandy-grey, russet-colour, and you misses the gravy-eyenote trick at the wheel, an' you misses the jumpin' out o' a wet bunk, all standin' in wet clothes, and the hissle o' the gale in your ears, an' the woof o' the cold water over your boot-tops, an' down the small o' your back as ye comes a-shiverin' an' a-shakin' on deck. You've bin used to this sort o' thing all your life, Billy, an' your liver an' all the other innard parts gives notice when they're a-tired o' the soft lyin' an' the good livin' up-country, an' drives ye back to the old life an' the old ways agin. That's where the magic comes in, my son.’

After this there was silence for a while. Each man's face poked over his bunk with a short clay pipe in its


  ― 33 ―
mouth. Strong, rank fumes of tobacco filled the place.

‘I say, boys,’ suddenly exclaimed one, ‘what's this hooker got in her?’

‘General,’ replied the old man, whose name was Nestor. ‘I heerd the customs officer at Gravesend say as it was one o' the walluablest general cargers as 'ad ever left the docks.’

‘Well then, mates,’ said the other, ‘all I've got to remark is as we're the biggest an' softest set o' fools as ever left the docks, to go a-starvin' in this fashion, when t'other side o' that there bulkhead's every sort o' tucker you can mention.’

‘Make it eight bells! Go below, the starboard watch!’

The same eight men sat on their respective sea-chests.

Between them stood their allowance of beef and biscuit. But it was untouched. Yet the meal had been in progress an hour.

Alongside of him every man had one or more tins of some kind of preserved provisions, out of which he was keeping his plate supplied to an accompaniment of plain and fancy biscuits.

‘Try a little o' this 'ere fresh herrin', Jim,’ said one to his neighbour very politely; ‘I kin recommend it as tasty.’

‘Thank ye, Billy (looking at the label, and passing his own tin), and 'ere's some sheep's tongues with tomaty sauce, which p'raps 'll remind you on the Bush of Australier.’




  ― 34 ―

‘Ah, if we'd only a drop o' good stuff now, to wash these 'ere tiddlewinks down with,’ exclaimed Nestor, ‘I'd feel happy as a king—an' as full!’

‘All in good time, dad,’ remarked Billy; ‘this 'ere's only what the swells'd call a hinstalment—a triflin' hinstalment o' what the Sardinapples owes us for a whole month's out-an'-out starvin'. Just wait awhile till we gets to the bottled ale an' porter, which 'll likely be in the lower tiers, an' then we'll begin to live like gentlemen-shellbacks oughter.’

‘I votes as how we should let on to the port watch,’ presently said a man, as he finished off his repast with a handful of muscatels and blanched almonds.

‘Ay,’ responded old Nestor. ‘It do seem mean, us livin' high, an' them a-drawin' their belts tighter every day. Besides,’ added he, meditatively, ‘company is pleasing; an' there'll be all the more for Pentridge. Not that I thinks it needs come to that if we're careful. But (with a doubtful shake of the head) I'm afraid the grog 'll be too much for some of us when we gits to it.’

A word here as to the Sardanapalus.

She was one of the old-fashioned frigate-built ships— somewhat slow, but comfortable Carrying, as per owner's advertisement, ‘a first-class milch cow and surgeon,’ she was rather a favourite with that description of passengers who, obeying a doctor's prescription, were obliged to take ‘a long sea voyage.’ The passage money was very high. There were no ‘intermediates,’ no subdivisions. A very good table was kept, and the ‘dog-basket’ and ‘menavelings’ from it alone would have


  ― 35 ―
supplied the fo'c'stle twice over. But for these leavings a host of ill-fed, brass-bound apprentices, boys, and petty officers were ever on the watch—the former knowing as crows, sharp as kites. Foremast Jack had not the ghost of a chance with them.

Ever since she slipped along the ways the Sardanapalus had borne the reputation of being a ‘hungry ship.’ More than half-a-dozen times had she hauled into dock with a collar of clean picked beef bones around her figure-head. It was currently understood that the skipper ‘found’ the ship. He was an Orkney man, owned a part of her; and probably did so. She was a regular trader at that time. She is now a custom-house hulk in an East Indian harbour.

The chief officer was a native of Vermont, U.S., and, with regard to the crew, a bit of a bully. As he was wont to often inform them, with the national snuffle intensified,—

‘I'm a big lump of a horse—a high-bred stepper—an' when I kick bones fly.’

He came out a loser by this gift, as will be presently seen.

Long before the opening of this yarn the crew had remonstrated with their superiors about their food. The captain had laughed at them, and the mate inquired whether they imagined the Sardanapalus had been specially fitted out as a cook-shop for their pleasure.

Perhaps it was this that now made them linger joyfully over their stolen meals; and, occasionally, explore with naked lights the ‘general’ when they ought to have


  ― 36 ―
been sleeping on empty stomachs in their watch below.

It being an article of faith with the crew that the chief mate was responsible for the cargo, they felt a thorough pleasure in its total destruction. Nestor, old sea-lawyer that he was, had told them that, although a parcel might be opened and the contents abstracted, yet, could the smallest portion of the case, cask, or whatever it chanced to be, be produced, the mate would be held blameless. But, on the other hand, if not a vestige of anything were to be found to correspond with the item in the manifest, then would the chief assuredly be mulcted in the full value of the missing article. With this devoutly-wished-for end in view, any light package was dragged for'ard, handed up, and given a free passage. This was criminal and indefensible. But they hated the Yankee with a very hearty hatred. Had they not been able to discharge some of it in this manner there would have surely been a mutiny, and possibly bloodshed, before the termination of the passage.

In his character of ‘horse’ the mate had one day broken a poor submissive German sailor's ribs by repeated kicks from his heavy sea-boots. Such things create antipathies, even on board ship. Consignors and consignees alike would have danced with wrath and anguish could they have witnessed that night's jettison.

The forecastle was what is known as a ‘lower’ one. A bulkhead separated the two watches. This partition was composed of very heavy hardwood planking, on the after side of which was the fore-hatchway, filled up to


  ― 37 ―
within six feet of the deck by a collection of sails, rope, water-tanks, bundles of hay for the cow, etc. Aft of these, at about the same height, stretched the cargo. It will thus be noticed that the Sardanapalus was not a ‘full ship.’

The starboard watch had removed two of the broad massive bulk-head planks. The port watch two also. At such times as a fresh supply of provisions was needed, four men from each watch in turn exploited the cargo. The others kept a look-out aft, and stood by the scuttle to receive and give things ‘a passage.’ As time passed, the crew, under the new regimen, began to grow fat and jolly-looking. They worked with a will, and as a pleasure to themselves. Also, to the utter astonishment of their superiors, they sang and skylarked in the second dog watch.

‘And these,’ exclaimed the captain, ‘are the scoundrels who growled about their food!’

He visited the galley, and sniffed and peered into the fo'c'sle coppers, and also cross-examined the cook and the steward.

‘Give the beggars more rice,’ said he to the latter official—a sleek, oily quadroon. ‘Let 'em have “banyan day” three times a week. We'll have enough meat left then for the trip home without buying any in port.’

The crew grinned, but said nothing. The skipper was bothered.

‘Had the fore-hatch off yesterday, didn't you?’ he asked the mate.

‘Yaas, sir,’ snuffled he.




  ― 38 ―

‘Everythin' seem all right? No cargo shifted or broached?’

‘Naw,’ replied the mate; ‘seems 'bout the saame as when we left dock; an' I oughter know, for I hed a sight o' trouble fixin’ that deadweight so's to trim her forrard. I wonder, naow,” he continued with a chuckle as at some joke, ‘how It's a-gettin' on down below thar?’

‘Damn It!’ answered the captain shortly, as he turned away. He was in a bad temper that night. He hated to hear the men jolly; and instead of lying moodily about, silent and depressed, as of yore, in the six till eight watch, here were both watches on the t'gallant fo'c'stle putting all the strength of their united lungs into ‘Marching through Georgia.’

Such a thing had never happened to Captain Flett before, and he took it as a personal insult. The mate, snubbed, went down on the main-deck and put a stopper on the singing with a yell of ‘Lee fore-braces there, and chuck yourselves about a bit!’ The yards didn't want trimming in the least. So the men, who knew this, pulled slowly and silent, each with his mouth full of choice sweetmeats discovered the night previous.

As yet they had found no strong liquors. But they had found nearly everything else. ‘Dry goods’ of every description, jewellery, clocks, firearms, stationery, patent medicines, etc. They had commenced operations, in the first place, under the main hatch, leaving all the fore part of the hold untouched. Without a purposeful search, no one would imagine cargo to have been broached. The throwing things, except débris—empty


  ― 39 ―
cases, bottles, baskets, etc.—overboard had been discontinued. It took up too much time, and the labour was too heavy. Besides, reckoning by Nestor's calculation, the mate's pay-day was worth already some hundreds of pounds less than nothing.

But one night, coming across a case of toilet soaps, pomades, scented oils, etc., the temptation proved irresistible, and a stock was laid in. The love of personal adornment runs strong at all times in Jack's heart. On the following Sunday morning the t'gallant fo'c'sle resembled a barber's shop in a big way of business. Jack clipped and shaved and anointed himself until he fairly shone and reeked with the produce of Rimmel. Never had fore part of ship smelled so sweetly. The passengers staggered about with their heads well up, sniffing delightedly.

‘Oh, captain,’ said one—a gushing widow whose age was uncertain, but mourning fresh—‘we really must be approaching some tropical climes. These are the lovely “spicy breezes,” you know, “blowing soft o'er Ceylon's isle.” ’

The skipper didn't know, but, sniffing also, answered,—

‘Very likely, ma'am. But there's no islands nearer 'n Tristan da Cunha, an' I don't think that there's much spice about that one. I expect,’ he continued, glancing for'ard, ‘that it's some of the hands titivatin' themselves up. You see, ma'am, these scamps get all sorts of rubbishy oils and essences on an eastern voyage. One of 'em's evidently found a bottle or two in the locker of his chest; and, now, he and his mates are swabbing themselves down with it.’




  ― 40 ―

‘Dear me, how very interesting,’ replied the widow blandly, with a languishing glance at the skipper. ‘But (as a burst of hoarse laughter came on the scented wind) ‘they're a terribly rough set, are they not, captain? I'm sure, but for yourself and your brave officers, I shouldn't feel safe for a minute. I think I heard someone say, too, that they actually complained about their food at the beginning of the journey.’

This was touching the skipper on a tender spot.

‘At first, ma'am, at first,” assented he severely, after a sharp suspicious look at the somewhat faded features. ‘But they've found me out, now, ma'am. They know John Flett's up to 'em and their little games. The less food you give a sailor, ma'am, the better he works. Full an' plenty's a mistake. Give 'em a belly full an they'll growl from mornin' till night, an' all night through. They'll growl, ma'am, I do assure you, at the very best of beef and pork, the whitest of biscuits, an' the plumpest of rice. Growl! They'd growl if you gave 'em toasted angels!’

‘What horrible wretches!’ exclaimed the widow sympathetically. ‘And what a lot of worry you must have with them, captain!’

‘No one but myself can imagine it, ma'am,’ replied the skipper, as he moved off, meditating on the possibility of stopping the usual dole of treacle for the Sunday duff. That laughter from for'ard annoyed him beyond endurance.

Presently the cuddy went to luncheon; and the starboard watch to its dinner.




  ― 41 ―

The lump of dark unleavened dough and hook-pot full of molasses were there, but untouched, and awaiting the ocean sepulchre which had been their fate for many past Sundays.

‘I ralely don't know what this is,’ said Bill, as he helped himself to a paté de foie gras out of a dozen which lay on the deck. ‘But whatever it is, it ain't to be sneezed at. Some sorter swell pie, I reckons. Talk 'bout jelly, lor! What you got there, Ned?’

‘Looks like soup an' bully 'ithout the bully,’ answered the man addressed, who was pouring a steaming mixture out of a tin which he had just taken from over the big slush lamp—‘But it says on the paper “Ju-li-enne.” Sounds, as if some woman had a hand in it. It don't go very high,’ he resumed, after a few mouthfuls, ‘seems thinnish-like—no body—give us some o' your meat to mix with it, Nestor.’

‘'Taint meat,’ said the old man. ‘It's what they calls jugged 'are, and there's no bones in it.’

‘Pity we couldn't manage to hot this duff up,’ sighed one, cutting a huge slice off a big plum pudding; ‘but they'd smell it all over the ship.’

‘The cake for me!’ exclaimed another, attacking one of Gunter's masterpieces. ‘I ain't seen a three-decker like this since I was a kid, an' used to hang about smellin' at the tip-top cook-shops in the Mile-End Road!’

‘Wade in, my bullies, an' line yer ribs,’ croaked old Nestor. ‘It's the spiciest Sunday's feed I've 'ad in forty year o' the sea. I kin do three months chokey at the end o' this trip, flyin'; an' kin live on the smell of an


  ― 42 ―
oil rag all the time! If we on'y 'ad a few nips a-piece, now, it would be parfect!’

Midnight in the hold of the Sardanapalus. Four red spots moving slowly about in the thick gloom. From the irregular, tightly-packed mass proceeds all sorts of eerie creakings and groanings. The ship is pitching into a head sea and, at times, a wave catching her a thunderous slap, makes her seem to fairly stand still and shudder all over. The atmosphere is thick, and stuffy with an indescribable stuffiness. Presently the four points of light clustered together.

‘What is it, I wonder?’ said Billy, sticking his candle into a crevice, and pointing to a long, square, narrow case embedded in a pile of others.

‘Don't know,’ replied another, stooping. ‘Got no marks, only “Ex Sardinapples—With great care.” Had any luck, you two?’

‘Try this,’ answered one, holding out a bottle which old Nestor immediately clutched.

‘Wine o' some sort,’ was his verdict. ‘Poor stuff— got no grip o' the throat—sourish. Let's see what it sez on the bottle. “Chat-oo Mar-goox,” read he, straddling, with legs wide apart, and bottle and candle close to his nose.

‘Ay, ay,’ he continued, ‘I thought's much. Dutch, I reckon. Much the same kind o' tipple as ye gets at the dance-houses in Hamburg. We wants a warmer drink for these 'ere latichudes—not but what it's a cut above that sarseperiller, an' 'op bitters, an' such like slush as we bin livin' on lately.’




  ― 43 ―

‘Well,’ asked Billy, tapping the case, as he spoke, with a short iron bar, ‘shall we see what's in this?’

‘Not worth while,’ replied Nestor, who had finished the claret, not without many grimaces—

‘It's only china crockery, or somethin' o' that. They always put “With great care,” an' “This side hup” on sich. Blast the old hooker, how she do shove her snout into it!’

This last, as a tremendous forward send of the ship nearly carried him off his legs.

Billy, however, appeared determined on seeing the contents of the case, whose peculiar shape had aroused his curiosity, and started to break it out by himself. Finally the others came to his assistance, and a quarter-of-an-hour's work hove it up from its neat. To their surprise it was locked and hinged. Curiosity took hold upon them. They prised and hammered, and strove, until, with a crash, the top flew back.

‘Kind o' cork chips!’ exclaimed Nestor, taking up a handful and putting it to his nose. ‘Poof! smells like a chemist's shop, full o' camphor an' drugs.’

‘'Ere's another box inside this un,’ said Bill, who had been groping amongst the odoriferous mass. And so it proved; another long, narrow case, also locked and hinged, made of some polished wood whose surface reflected dimly the faces bending over it.

Subjected to similar treatment with its outer shell, it, too, soon yielded.

As the lid, which was thickly padded, flew off under the pressure of the iron levers, the four men shrank away


  ― 44 ―
as if they had stumbled on a den of venomous serpents.

On a strip of soft black velvet lay the shrouded corpse of a man. The grizzled head rested on a pillow, and the hands were crossed on the breast. Thin slats fitting athwartships kept the body in position. Although the eyes were closed, the features looked unnaturally natural. There even seemed to be a tinge of colour in the dead cheeks. But the artist had failed with the lips. The upper one had shrivelled and curled up over the white teeth, imparting a sardonic, grinning semblance to the whole face, unutterably ghastly to look upon, especially just then.

This it was, and the life-like seeming of It, that frightened the cargo broachers so badly. And they were terribly frightened. They were too frightened to run, even had running been practicable. But the man who attempts such tricks in a ship's hold at night, and with a heavy head sea on, comes to rapid grief at the second step. So they just stood still, gripping each other's arms, and swearing under their breath, as is the wont of the British seaman when badly scared.

The old man, Nestor, was the first to speak. In quavering tones he said,—

‘It's only a wax himmidge.’

‘Nothin' o' the kind,’ replied Bill, the boldest of the group, letting go his hold and coming a little closer. ‘It's a 'barmed corpus, that's wot It is. I was shipmates with one on 'em afore. A soger officer he were. He were lashed under the mizzen-top, an' labelled “Combustibles;


  ― 45 ―
do not touch!” in big black letters. One fine mornin' he come down by the run an' busted the case. He was just the same's this un, only they hadn't put that howdacious grin on to him. It were in the old Euryalus, man-o'-war, so we had to suffer him; an' a most hunlucky trip it were. Run her ashore twice. Took the sticks out on her twice. Lost four men overboard. No wonder we've had three weeks o' head winds. But this joker 'll get a free passage without much delay, if I've got to give it him single-handed.’ So saying, he advanced, picked up the lid, and began to fasten it down.

The next morning dawned bright and clear; but the head wind still stood, and there was a nasty lump of a sea on. For the comparatively high latitude the air was warm and comfortable.

Most of the passengers came up on the poop after breakfast. Presently, with the assistance of the skipper's arm, the widow began a promenade.

‘What an exhibition she's making of herself! Her husband, if she ever had one, can't be six months dead yet, by her mourning. She ought to be ashamed of herself— the sly thing!’

If the widow did not exactly hear all this, she felt it, and cast looks of triumphant defiance at her female friends, clustered in groups, most of them holding on to something unassisted. Elderly unmarried convalescents, and very spiteful, the majority.

‘Something—on—the—lee-quarter, sir!’ came down from aloft.




  ― 46 ―

The skipper called for his glass, without quitting his companion.

‘Keep her away a couple of points,’ he commanded, as he brought the instrument to bear.

‘Can't make it out at all,’ he went on, after a minute's focussing. ‘Something white, jumping up and down. Bit of wreckage, spar, or the like, I expect. Keep her away another point. Take a peep, ma'am. Your bright eyes 'll perhaps distinguish it.’

The widow bridled coquettishly and, supported by the skipper, put herself in what she fancied an appropriate and elegant position.

‘Oh!’ she squealed presently, ‘I see it, captain; it's coming this way. How very interesting! “A message from the sea,” “Strange tale of the ocean,” and all that sort of thing, you know, that one reads about in the papers. What an exciting adventure!’ The widow had taken the glass from her eye whilst speaking.

Suddenly a passenger cried,—

‘I see it! Look! On top of that wave!’ But even as he spoke it disappeared.

The starboard watch had been called aft by the second mate to try and jam the main-yards still further into the slack of the lee-rigging. The men now remained together with the eager knot of passengers staring over the quarter.

All at once, and with startling unexpectedness, there bobbed up on a sea almost level with the taffrail, a nude figure, nearly upright. One arm, by some eccentric working of the water, was jerked backwards and forwards


  ― 47 ―
from the face with an awfully grotesque motion of throwing kisses to the horrified watchers.

The notion was intensified by the grin on the lifelike features, startlingly distinct in the sunlight, as the embalmed figure, kept erect by the greater weight of its extremities, rose up and down, now in a hollow, now on a crest, not ten yards away.

‘It's IT, by G—d!’ shouted Nestor, who happened to be at the wheel.

But no one took any notice of him in the general confusion.

The male passengers stood stock still, fascinated by the spectacle. The female ones shrieked, and a couple fainted. But louder and higher than any of them shrieked the widow, who had got both arms around the skipper's neck, to which she hung, half choking him, whilst her feet rattled frantically on the deck.

‘Let go, ma'am!’ he gurgled. ‘Damn it, let go, can't you?’

‘It's his ghost!’ she screamed, taking another horrified glance at the bobbing, grimacing thing as it travelled slowly across the broad wake. ‘What have I done, James, that you should appear like this?’ she moaned. ‘I'm sure I thought you'd be comfortable down there!’ And here she began to laugh hysterically; and, held forcibly on the deck by the sorely-tried skipper, went off into a succession of violent fits.

‘Main topsail braces there, some of you!’ roared the mate, who, aroused by the cry of ‘Man overboard!’ uttered by one of the boys, had rushed on deck. ‘Come here, four hands, and clear away the life-boat.’




  ― 48 ―

‘Don't be a fool, Mr Sparkes!’ shouted the skipper, still struggling with the widow, who had got one hand in his long beard and was pulling it out by the roots.

‘Never mind the boat!’ he panted, for the real state of the case had broken upon him. ‘But come and take this she-devil away! Let It go to blazes as fast as it likes! It's got a fair wind, seemingly, and that's more'n we have!’

Anchor watch off Geelong, Victoria.

Apparently the whole thing had quietly blown over. When the mate, with a terribly long face, had reported to the captain, as nearly as he could, the amount of cargo missing and proposed as a set-off, to put one-half of each watch in irons until arrival, the skipper had only laughed.

He obviously enjoyed the responsible man's dismay.

‘Nothing of the sort,’ he replied. ‘We can't do without 'em. We're bound to get a good blow or two 'tween here and Port Phillip Heads, and where would we be with half the men in irons, and the rest sulking? You're a fool, Sparkes. I'm goin' to smooth 'em down. They'll have cabin biscuits and plum-duff three times a week from this out. And you knock off hazing 'em about so much'—chuckling heartily at the other's stare of amazement—‘till we get abreast of Sandridge Pier. Then up goes the police flag. I'll surprise the varmin, or my name ain't John Flett! Meanwhile, let a couple of the hard-bargainsnote sling their hammocks in the after-hold.


  ― 49 ―
That'll stop any more larks with the cargo. Has she been up in your watch since?’

‘Never seen a rag of her,’ answered the mate, who knew well to whom the skipper referred. ‘Kept her cabin ever since, I do believe.’

‘Damned good job too!’ said his superior, as he tenderly felt his face. ‘Who'd have thought that It was hers anyhow!’

But ‘hard-bargains' have long ears. One of them overheard the above conversation, and, reporting it to the crew, they got ready.

Also, on making the land, everything went wrong. Twelve hours vain signalling for a pilot made a big hole in the skipper's temper. So when, at last, one came off, and, to his astonishment, got soundly rated, with a promise of report, he, in revenge, box-hauled the Sardanapalus about until dark, and then brought-up with every link of hawse out, in a particularly muddy spot opposite Geelong.

Anchor watch had been set; and as old Nestor struck four bells in the chill morning and croaked hoarsely out his ‘All's well!’ the stars saw a crowd of men in stockinged feet, and bearing bundles, slipping silently aft.

The gig was hanging at the stern-davits. Noiselessly as greased falls could slide over greased sheaves she was lowered without a creak or a splash.

The man who had been standing over the cuddy companion with a handspike joined his fellows. Fortunately—for themselves—no one had shown up. The


  ― 50 ―
boat pushed off, Bill sculling. The Sardanapalus was crewless.

Half-an-hour afterwards, the great Australian Bush took to itself sixteen hairy-breasted able seamen and this story.

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