Page:Colymbia (1873).djvu/22

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16
COLYMBIA.

the sea. I would then hoist my sail, and keep it up until the last breath of wind had again died away.

I took my meals at regular times, economising my store of provisions as much as was consistent with keeping up my strength, and most of the remainder of my time was spent in scanning the horizon in hopes of seeing a friendly sail.

On the morning of the fourth day I thought I discovered some sign of land fax away in the north. It was but a speck, and might well be a cloud, but I was convinced that it must be land. Fortunately a gentle breeze rose, and as it continued to blow from the south, I hoisted my sail and steered straight towards the distant speck.

The breeze was so slight that I made but slow progress. However, by noon the speck had grown a little larger and had assumed a more distinct form. I felt assured it must be the tops of some lofty, though still distant, mountains, towards which I was steering, and I reckoned that, at my present rate of progress, I should be close upon them in another twenty-four hours.

Hope again took the place of despondency, but I experienced a sudden revulsion of feeling when I considered that the land before me might be one of those Pacific islands, inhabited by cannibals, who would probably give me, at my journey's end, a warmer welcome than would be agreeable. I soon dismissed this thought, when I remembered how many of these islands had been brought under the beneficent influences of Christianity and civilisation by the self-denying labours of our good missionaries.

From the position of the sun at noon I guessed that I must be close upon the equator, and indeed the