Page:Paine--Lost ships and lonely seas.djvu/449

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LOST SHIPS AND LONELY SEAS

wright in his youth, and he aided the carpenter in laying out the work. The tasks were methodically distributed, Mr. Matthias Wilson, Surgeon Sharp, and Captain Wilson sawing down trees, the boatswain in charge of the blacksmith shop, the gunner acting as chief of police, and a number of Chinese coolie passengers fetching water, hauling timbers, and running a laundry. Most of the sailors were employed in the carpenter's gang. A stout stockade was built around the little shipyard and two swivel-guns were mounted against a possible attack from seaward. From the wreck of the Antelope the boats brought cordage, oakum, iron, and copper, planking and timbers. It was an orderly bit of Old England transplanted to the remote and barbarous Pelew Island. And of course Captain Wilson read prayers to the assembled crew every Sunday evening.

The schooner's keel had been laid and the stem and stern-post bolted on, with the frames taking shape in the busy yard, when the five bold sailormen came back from the war with a tale of victory won over the forces of the King of Artingall. Their own sovereign, Abba Thulle, and his commander-in-chief, Raa Kook, had mustered a hundred and fifty canoes and a thousand men armed with spears and darts, which they handled with amazing skill.