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

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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