Page:Paine--Lost ships and lonely seas.djvu/129

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THE BLENDEN HALL

"I little thought, Captain Greig, ever to see this day; but I will bring relief to you and young Mr. Alexander, if I perish in the attempt. If I never see you again, sir, God bless you for your kindness to me during the years we have been shipmates."

In the punt with the cook went five volunteers, three able seamen, the gunner, and the sailmaker, but not one of the ship's officers. These six fine fellows were ready to risk their lives for others, but the quarter-deck failed to share in the splendid action. The punt hoisted sail, the cook and his comrades shouted three cheers, and they stood out from the lee of the island to face a heavy sea. This was the last ever seen of them. They must have perished soon after.

The castaways waited week after week, desperately hungry and wholly discouraged. Meanwhile the carpenter had finished his boat, but delayed his voyage until certain of fine weather, and wasted much time in skirting the island in the hope of finding some trace of the cook. It was late in October, almost three months after the loss of the Blenden Hall, before the carpenter attempted to reach Tristan. Nine men were with him, five able seamen, the boatswain, the steward, a boatswain's mate, and a carpenter's mate. Again the list was conspicuous for the absence of an officer.