Page:Twenty years before the mast - Charles Erskine, 1896.djvu/97

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79
Twenty Years Before the Mast.

will buy no more of the tea at any price, let this be
 called mutiny, a tea-party, or whatever they choose to
 name it." Our mess bill, which we received at the end
 of each month, read as follows: "Tea, sugar, tobacco,
 mustard, pepper, bees-wax, soap, white and black thread,
 thimbles, scissors, palms, large and small needles, dead-eye buttons, tin pots, tin pans, tin spoons." Our division
 bill: "Pea-jackets, blankets, mattresses, blue jackets,
 blue trousers, blue flannel shirts, yards of sheeting, yards
 of dungaree, black silk neckerchiefs, yards of black ribbon, stockings, shoes." Whatever of these articles we
 wanted, we would sign for, and they would be charged
 to our account. We now signed for everything we
 wanted, except tea and sugar, and then, with intense
 anxiety, awaited the result, expecting every minute to
 hear the drum beat to quarters, or the boatswain and
 his mate calling all hands to witness punishment. The
 commodore and the purser were walking the quarterdeck, next morning, talking very seriously. The former’s
 face, which was always hard, this morning looked as
 genial as if he had discovered a new planet. We did
 not hear any more about tea until we arrived at Sydney.
 In the meantime our breakfast and supper consisted of
 a scouse made of yams and taro, and salt junk, with our
 usual ship-bread and water.

After visiting the islands of Huaheine, Tahaa, Bora-bora, and Maufili, we made Bellinghausen’s Island.
 This is one of the low coral islands. Here we landed,
 and made magnetic observations. On the 7th of October
 we made Rose Island, the most eastern of the Samoan
 or Navigator group. This is also one of the low coral