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NEW BLOOMFIELD, TUESDAY, ' NOVEMBEH 0, 1880.
in Independent Family Newspaper,
It PUBLISH ID IT8RT TUBSD4Y ST
F. MOltTIMER & CO.
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AN ADVENTURE AT SEA.
WE were about eight hundred miles
south of the Cape of Good Hope,
and our ship's head pointed nearly due
east. ' " Twelve knots an hour," says I
to the skipper, in reply to " How much
v is she maklug V" The dripping log line
r was rolled up and the time-glass placed
away in me pinnncie. au extra pun
was taken on the braces, the yards
pressed hard against the Btays, and right
well did the old Marathon He over. from
the heavy breeze that swelled our can
vas to its greatest tention. I hove the
"How much now?" says the skipper.
" Twelve and a half, sir."
" I guess that is about all we can get
out of her with this wind ; that extra
pull gave her the other half knot."
In ten days after passing Kerguelen's
Land the high and irregular coast of
Australia was raised from the masthead
by our first mate, Mr. Bolter, who
shouted the glad tidings to those on
deck. No sooner had the sound of his
voice died away than a baker's dozen
was running up the ratlines, eager to
obtain even a distant view of the great
A number of us old salts, who had
Mailed for Australia before, contented
ourselves by snuffing the air like so
After we had passed between Tasma
nia and the South Sea continent we
caught a light breeze on our quarter and
headed for Sydney. No sooner had we
dropped our right bower in the river
just off the town than our vessel was
boarded by the surgeon of the port, who
examined our papers, and, being satis
lied that we were in good health, our
ship was allowed to haul up nearer the
city. The old man went ashore to make
his report to the Consul, but when he
returned his face wore a troubled look.
He called Mr. Bolter and myself into
the cabin, where, to our surprise and
chagrin, he stated that the Consul In
formed him that when the cargo was
discharged he should have to press the
ship into service for the Government
to carry a lot of convicts to Van Die
man's Land. The vessel that brought
them was disabled, and could proceed no
The skipper remonstrated against the
seizure, but it was of no avail. The
Consul said he was sorry, but it could
not be avoided our vessel being the
ouly one In port that would answer , the
purpose,' and the convicts must be got
off without delay. This news found its
way among the crew," and several, of
them ran away and took to the buBh,
not caring to risk themselves at sea
with a lot of desperate men fresh from
the prisons of Englaud. The skipper
-quieted the fears of the rest by telling
tuem that no danger could possibly
arise, as the convicts would be heavily
ironed and placed between decks with a
guard over them. t,
On the following morning, between
decks were prepared for the reception of
our live freight. - A strong double bulk
UOHJ WAS iUb UJf JUBb IUIHRIU U bUD
cabin, and one just aft of the chain
lockers, and extra' bars and padlocks
were procured for the hatches.
When I surveyed the work' of the
Government carpenters my mind felt
Everything being In readiness, our
guests were marched down between files
of soldiers. Each convict was hand
cuffed, and on the right ankle of every
man an Iron ring was fastened, to which
were attacked heavy chains. Six of
them being fastened together, their
movements were quite slow and retard
ed. As they filed up the gang plank to
the deck, I counted eighty-seven. Some
were large, powerful men ; others were
weak and wore a sickly expression, but
they all had a look of dogged determina
tion ; their closely cropped hair and
striped trousers and jackets making
them look all the more savage. When
number eighty-seven reached the deck,
they were drawn up in line and inspect
ed by the superintendent and his assist
ants. Each convict was thoroughly
searched in order to see if he had any
Nothing was found, however, but
what was proper for them to have. Bo
the inspector informed us that there
would be no danger, and that we would
soon be rid of them. The guard that
was to accompany us had been selected
with great care, each one having a
musket, two revolvers and a cutlass.
Several extra casks of water were got
on board for fear we would not have
enough to last during the run. As no
signs of our runaways were to be had,
the skipper was obliged to Bblp several
men In order to fill his compliment.
Une of these fellows was a villainous
looking customer, and I asked the Cap
tain why he shipped such a man.
He replied ttaut it was the best he
could do. Sailors were scarce, as nearly
every one was off in the mines or stock
raising. I told Captain Billows that I
did not relish having such a man on
board the Marathon, but he laughed at
my fears, and said the man had been
discharged from a Liverpool ship some
two mouths before, and, as he wished to
return home, be thought he would ship
on the Marathon. -
The Consul verified the man's state
ment, which satisfied the skipper, so he
had shipped blm on the strength of this.
I said nothing more to the old man,
but determined to keep a weather eye
on that man's movements. We were to
put out to see that night, If the wind
was favorable. The eighty-seven men
were placed between decks, to remain
there until morning, when they would
be taken out for an airing. The guard
consisted of twenty-four men, half the
number standing watch while the others
turned ia below.
It was 11 o'clock before the wind was
in our favor, and nearly eight bells
when we weighed anchor. I tell you I
did not sleep much in my watoh below ;
the shouts and curses of the convicts
made a perfect Bedlam and would have
aroused the seven sleepers. In vain the
guard threatened them, but they an
swered derisively and dared the soldiers
to shoot. .
Mr. Bolter came to my berth when
his watch was out, and said he expected
to find me awake, for sleep was impossi
ble with those wretches howling. 1 '
So I lighted my pipe and weut on
deck, preferring to remain ' above than
on a level with the banished English
men. Before daybreak they were quiet
enough, and no particular one could be
sifted out for creatlug the disturbance,
so the whole eighty-seven went scot
About 7 o'clock they were led up on
deck for an airing and to pass ' inspec
tion.' After three hours they were sent
below again. ' In the afternoon about 3
o'clock a gale sprung up, which requir
ed all hands to reef topsails. 1 The yards
were soon manned, and I went aloft
myself, as is generally the custom when
all hand are called.
While I was passing the weather ear
ring and taking the last turn, I heard
Shaling (one of the foremost, hands,
who was knotting a reef-point next to
me,) ask :
" Where ia Barker V I don't see him
on the yard."
I looked over the line of men, and sure
enough he wasn't there. I tell you I
waan't long In getting on deck and stat
ing my suspicions to the Captain. We
at once rushed forward, followed by
several of the guard, and just as we
reached the forecastle who should make
his appearance but Barker.
The old man yelled at him : ,"What
are you doing down there ? Speak up
What are you shirking below for when
all hands were called for duty V"
" I was slok," growled the soouistire)?
"and could not go along." ,v.
" You are lying, you villain 1 and you
know It," said the skipper. u I'll be
bound you are up to some deviltry. Mr.
Steeraway, Just keep your eye on hi in
till I come back."
"Aye, aye, sir 1" I responded.
By this time all hands had comedown
The Captain soon returned and stated
that he could find nothing out of the
way, but I was convinced in my own
mind that something was out of the
way. So the old man gave me leave to
go below and satisfy myself. I could
find nothing, but at the same time was
far from being satisfied. I asked why
was Barker, of all others, down below Y
We told the crew of our suspicions, and
ordered them to keep a lookout on Bar
As the night came on the guard was
relieved and cautioned by the sergeant
to be on the alert. It seemed kind of
queer to me that the convicts remained
so quiet, for beyorfd a low conversation
their voices were scarcely audible, but I
thought afterward that probably they
Intended to get a good night's rest, and
preferred to keep still.
I lay awake some time after turning
In ; but my eyes finally grew heavy,
and I was In the land of dreams away
off in Boston. My mother came up to
my room (I was still in my dreams) to
tuck in the bed-clothes. I felt her gen
tle touch on the blankets; but why did
she place her hand over my mouth V I
opened my eyes to see the reason.
The glittering blade of a sheath-knife
was held before them. 1 knew the reason
then pretty quick, I assure you, for Bar
ker held it.
"Now, Steeraway," says he, "you
just keep quiet, and you wont be hurt.
Open your mouth and you won't know
what hurt you."
I knew that any movement on my
part would be my death warrant. , .
"Will you keep quiet if I take my
hand from your mouth ?"
I nodded my head in the affirmative
and his baud was removed.
" Now, Steeraway," says he, "I am
going to put a little stopper In your
mouth. I won't hurt you, for I know
how to do these things."
He evidently did, for I was very soon
bound hand and foot, a gag placed in
my mouth and your humble servant
was rendered as useless as a dead man.
The conviot then left me and disappear
ed. I had not been alone more than ten
minutes when I heard a voloe near the
berth say, "All right."
In a moment more a light draft of air
entered my stateroom, and it smelt
strongly of pent-up air a sort of convict
odor, so to speak.
The bulkhead had been removed and
the cabin was soon crowded with pris
oners. Not a sound did they make, for
their irons were off, and the thought
flashed quickly upon me, our ship is in
their hands, may the Lord have mercy
on our crew.
Silently they went up the cabin stairs;
then I heard a quiok rushing sound,
shouts, yells, curses, then a few shots in
quick succession ; several splashes near
my cabin deadlight ; more shouts and
"Down with them 1 Now or never I"
"No Van Dieman's for us I Down
with them I"
In vain I heard several voices pleading
for mercy. Finally the shouts and yells
ceased, then the quick, hurried tramp
of feet overhead. Presently a step
descends the stairs, the rope binding me
was out, the gag torn from my mouth,
and a gruff voice said :
" Come, Steeraway, you are wanted
on deck. Lively, now."
I came to the conclusion that it was
useless to deliberate, and I obeyed the
order at once. It was not necessary for
me to ask what the matter was. I knew
that well enough, at a glance.
Barker that scouudrel Barker was
an escaped convict, and had shipped on
board the Marathon for the purpose of
aiding his friends, and, from the appear
ance of things, he had succeeded beyond
bis utmost expectations. As I emerged
from the cabin, I was greeted with:
" Here he is," by several of the striped
jacket gentry. "Now, Steeraway, we
want you to mind and do Just as we tell
I you or what Joe Gosshawk, the Cap
tain tens you-:ana you won't be hurt ;
but if you doa't why overboard you go.
W know you can navigate ; now which
Js'ft;6h'arks' dinner or obey orders 1"' '
Of course I . didn't want to ease the
appetite of the jet-finned wolves that
were swimming around the ship. So I
told them I would do all they wished ;
but I wanted to know what had become
of the Captain and crew.
" You'd better swim after them and
ask 'em what's done with 'em ; all ex
cept that cussed first mate, Bolter, and
we cant' get no track of him, blast
him," said GoBBhawk, the recognised
I uttered a silent prayer that Bolter
might be safely stowed away somewhere
out of their clutches.
" Well, Steeraway," says Gosshawk,
" where are we 1"'
" About eighty miles from Van Die-
"Now, then," says he, "you Just fix
this ship so she will be more nor that
In twelve hours from now. Make her
run north until I ask you again were we
" And mind you don't play any points
or you'll find the bottom of Davy Jones
I asked him then who would work
" Why, you just give the orders and
these men will work her; and mind you
give them right." ,
" Then brace around the yards," re
plied I, " so I can get her on the other
" All right," said Gosshawk ; tell us
I explained to them and pointed out
In ten minutes we were around and
sailing almost due north.
When day broke my heart almost
sank within me. The deck presented a
sickening sight. Pools of clotted blood
here and there, torn clothing, the rem
nant of some desperate struggle, and
the striped convict jackets and red coats
of the English soldiers were scattered
over the deck.
I requested that the decks be cleared
up and washed down, so that no vestige
might greet my eyes of that terrible en
counter that had taken place the night
At noon Gosshawk asked me where
we were. I bad just taken the sun,
and found we were in 82 deg. south lati
tude and 178 deg. longltute east, all of
which I oorreotly Informed the convict
skipper. ' 1
"Ain't the Flj Is about here some
where I1" he asked.
" Yes, they are in 20 latitude and 180
" Well, take us there, Steeraway, and
you are free' to go lu the long boat just
as soon as we sight land. I'll take care
of the Marathon myself."
As we still had about 760 miles to the
northward to make, and about 420 miles
of longitude, I computed the sailing dis
tance, and found there were about 1,140
miles to cover, which, deducting the
difference from our actual course, would
leave about 930 miles before wo raised
the Fijls. I reported the same to Goss
hawk, who grunted anything but satis
" No nearer than that V Well, keep
for the Fljls anyhow."
So I kept her for the Fljls, and on the
fourth day "Land, hoi" was shouted
by one of the convicts who was station
ed aloft. Gosshawk'a eyes brightened
up, and he turned to me, saying, " Well
If I only had my own way, I would
have put them on a coral reef, but life Is
precious, you know, even to a sailor.
As the Marathon neared the land, which
proved to be one of the group to the
south'ard Gosshawk gave some orders
in a low tone to several of the men. . I
knew what they were immediately, for
the convicts began to cast off the lash
ings from the long boat. "So Goss
hawk intends to keep his promise," I
thought to myself, and I was to be cast
adrift in the long-boat.
When within fifteen miles of land the
breeze died away and the old Marathon
lay almost motionless. Gosshawk swore
and stamped the deck, but to no purpose.
Kind Providence paid no attention to
him. About dusk the wind made Its
appearance, and I got ready to stand In
" Steeraway," said Gosshawk, "
guess you will have to make a voyage in
the dark, but it can't be helped."
The boat was lowered ; two kegs of
water, a bag of hard-tack, and three or
four junks of salt horse were tossed in,
and I was told to follow suit. As I was
cast adrift, the villains shouted after
"Good-bye, Bteeraway; you have
done us a good turn, and we won't for
get it I"
I made no reply, but sat in the stern
of the boat gazing after the receding
vessel. After looking at her for a few
minutes I was overcome and bowed my
head in my hands and wept. Just then
a splash in the water near the boat
aroused me. " A shark !"' thought I.
Again I beard it, and then a low voice
as if from the deep, " Steeraway I"
I sprung from my thwart as if struck
by a galvanic shock. I strained my eyes
and peered Into the darkness. Present
ly I saw a dark form swimming toward
the boat. Again the voice came over
the water t
Ben here knows I am not superstitious
but I confess I did feel a little awe-stricken.
Before I had time to collect my
scattered thoughts, a hand was laid on
the gun-wale, and the form of a man
arose from the sea.
" It's Bolter, Joe ; don't be frightened
I'm no ghost I"
That short sentence broke the spell
which clung to me.
" Oh, Bolter I" cried I, In a trausport
" For Heaven's sake, help me In the
boat, Joe 1 I'm mighty weak. Now,
where's the water V That outside the
boat will do to swim in, but I can't
drink it." ,
Soon I had the water-keg to his lips,
and he took a long draught.
There 1 I never wanted water so bad
but once before in my life; and this is
what I call hard luck, Joe."
I agreed with him on that score, and
asked him to tell me how he escaped
from the convicts.
" Why, you see, Joe I got an inkling
of what was coming, but before I could
get out of the cabin the rascals were
down upon us. So I slipped Into the
secret locker under the transom, and
they looked Into every place but that.
Luckily, the locker contained some
canned meats and fruits, so there was
no danger of my starving. I overheard
that fellow's conversation the one they
called Gosshawk and I knew, Steera
way, that you were safe. I also beard
your boat lowered. I peeped . from
my hiding-place and I saw the cab
in was clear, as they were all on deck to
see you off. Soon as I beard the boat
cast adrift I crawled through the stern
window, bung by the frame for a min
ute or two, then dropped into the sea,
swam after your boat and here I am." .
Bolter suddenly started up and cried
out : - ,
" Look, Joe, if they have not set the
ship on fire!" ,
And so they had. Before they landed
they had no doubt left two or three of
their number to lash the wheel and ap
ply the torch. The flames threw a lurid
light over the ocean, and soon the whole
outline in fire of the doomed Marathon
could be seen. Heavy tongues of flame
ran up the tarred rigging, and rolls of
fire, like a cloud, would now and then
burst forth as the sails, one after anoth
er, were consumed. It was a magnifi
cent sight, but a sorrowful one for us.
We watched her until scarcely a spark
could be seen ; when, suddenly, like a
flash, the faint light disappeared, and all
that once remained of the Marathon
went to the bottom. 1
On the following mornlug we sighted
an American whaler, which fortunately
came near enough to see our signal of
distress, and we were relieved from our
uncomfortable position. Bolter and my
self told the whaling skipper our story,
when he at once made sail for Sydney,
where the facts were laid before the En
glish Consul, who took steps to capture
the short-haired villains. This was suc
OT A baker, whose loaves bad been
growing "small by degrees and beauti
fully less," when going his rounds serv
ing customers, stopped at the door of
one and knocked, when the lady with
in exclaimed: "Who's there V" and
was answered, "The baker." "What
do you want 1"' " To leave your bread."
" Well, you needn't make such a fuss
about It put It through the keyhole,"
was the reply.