Page:Paine--Lost ships and lonely seas.djvu/363

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had not been allowed a chance for his life. While they were wrangling, the slave came running into the cabin to beg the captain's protection; but he was dragged out and shot and turned over to the cook and the big copper pots in the galley. For nine days this sufficed to keep the crew alive, while Captain Harrison steadfastly refused to touch the food they offered him. Then the mate and the men trooped into the cabin again and roughly demanded that the skipper take charge of the lottery.

This time he consented in order to be certain of fair play. Painfully raising himself upon his elbow, he tore up strips of paper and wrote numbers on them. In grim silence the six men who were left alive closed their fingers upon the slips of paper, and a seaman named David Flat groaned as he discovered that his was the ticket of death. Otherwise there was no noise in the cabin.


The shock which this produced was so great that the whole crew remained motionless for a considerable time; and so they might have continued much longer had not the victim, who appeared perfectly resigned to his fate, expressed himself in these words:

"Dear friends and messmates, all I have to beg of you is to dispatch me as soon as you did the negro, and to put me to as little torture as possible."

David Flat then turned to another seaman, James Doud, who had put the bullet into the slave and said:

"It is my wish that you should shoot me."