Page:Paine--Lost ships and lonely seas.djvu/312

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

to take him along as a prisoner and hand him over to justice for killing Midshipman Cozens.

They hauled their commander out of bed and lugged him by the head and the heels to the purser's tent, where he was guarded by a sentry of marines and very coarsely derided by these unmannerly rebels. The gunner informed Captain Cheap that he was to be carried to England as a prisoner; at which he retorted, with proper spirit, that he would sooner be shot than undergo such humiliation and, given his choice, he preferred to be left behind on the island. This was agreeable to the mob, who gave three cheers and thought no more about him. His two loyal companions, the surgeon and Lieutenant Hamilton, elected of their own free will to remain with the fallen commander, and this devotion was one of the admirable episodes of the tragedy. The mutineers recognized it as such, and they distributed the provisions fairly with these exiles and gave them arms and ammunition.

There were now eighty-one men to embark in the long-boat, the cutter, and the barge and set sail for the Strait of Magellan. They started off with huzzas and Ho for Merry England, with about one chance in a thousand of getting there, and coasted along for two days when the wind blew some of their rotten canvas away and they halted to send the