Part 9 out of 9
that had gone a little queer in the bottom of the tub.
"Now, Mr. Sharkey, let us see if you can digest that," exclaimed Jack,
as he dropped the hook overboard.
The shark looked at it closely, and then looked up at Jack, as though
he would much prefer the fisher to the bait.
"It is no use, Jack," said Harry; "he is not hungry."
"Strikes me it is unskilfulness in angling, rather than want of
appetite on the shark's part," remarked Mr. Mole.
"Would you like to have a try, sir?"
"Hem! well, I don't mind showing you how to do it," responded the
Jack began to haul in the line, coiling it down just at Mole's feet, or
rather where his feet should have been.
But sharkey, finding himself in danger of losing his dinner, made a
dart at the meat before it left the water, then discovering that the
barb of the hook had stuck in his mouth, she darted off at a great
rate, but sad to relate, the rope as it flew out over the bulwark, got
twisted round one of Mr. Mole's stumps, and the worthy professor flew
into the ocean For a wooden-legged man to swim well, or even to keep
himself afloat by treading water, is a somewhat difficult task and so
Mr. Mole would have found it, had not Harry Girdwood promptly followed
the advice given by a celebrated American--
"When you see a drowning man, throw a rail at him."
Harry threw a plank, and Mr. Mole being fortunate enough to clutch it,
was thereby enabled to keep himself afloat.
But he was exposed to another danger.
The shark being irritated by the rusty iron in his throat, was rushing
hither and thither in a most furious manner, snapping his jaws in a way
that made the spectators thankful they were on deck.
And then, turning on its back, it bit at Mole.
"Help, help!" shouted Mole.
"Oh! the brute has taken my leg off."
The shark resumed its natural position, and held Mole's stump above
water, puzzled to know what to do with it.
"This is my fault," said young Jack, and seizing a cutlass, he leaped
"Lower away the boat," shouted Dick Harvey, who had just come on deck.
He and Jefferson had also armed themselves, and were about to leap in
to young Jack's assistance, when Harkaway senior appeared.
"Hold, let no man here risk his life," he said.
"But the excitement will do me good, I want a good fight to keep my
While speaking he had thrown off his coat and shoes, and cutlass in
hand, leaped to the rescue of his son and old Mole.
By this time, however, the boat had been lowered and was pulling
rapidly towards Mr. Mole, who still clung to his plank about thirty
yards from the stern of the vessel.
Old Jack with a few powerful strokes reached him.
"Hold on, Mr. Mole; the boat is coming. You youngster, swim out of the
way at once."
"I'm going to fight the fish, dad."
"You are not. Away with you at once."
During this brief conversation the shark had been down out of sight. He
now rose to the surface, and perceiving three enemies, seemed undecided
which to attack first.
And while the fish was hesitating, Harkaway resolved to open the
campaign. Accordingly he dived, with the intention of coming up beneath
the fish and administering a stab.
Old Jack Tiller and Joe Basalt were just at that moment engaged in
hauling Mr. Mole into the boat; they had him half way over the gunwale,
when the shark made a snap and away went the professor's other leg.
"Mercy, help! The beast is devouring me by inches," screamed Mole, as
he rolled headlong into the boat.
Joe Basalt seeing that young Jack was still itching to have a go at the
shark, seized him by the collar and dragged him in. They then rested on
their oars and prepared to give the elder Harkaway any assistance they
"I lay five to three against the monster of the deep," said Harvey.
"I accept the wager on those terms," said Mole, who having discovered
that he was unhurt, was reviving.
He took another swig at the pistol and then sat up to watch the
The shark, finding he had now only one opponent to deal with, turned
towards Harkaway, who dived again, and getting this time fairly beneath
the fish, thrust his cutlass up to the hilt in its stomach.
Startled by this sudden attack, and smarting from the pain caused by
the wound, the shark leaped up half out of the water, and then fell
with a loud splash close by Jack.
Everyone on board was by this time on deck, watching the unequal
While the shark was twisting and turning to get at its adversary, Jack
managed to give a second stab; but it was rather hot work, though, for
Jack was obliged to dive so frequently that he had little time to
recover his breath.
He was just endeavouring to do so, when the shark made another rush at
Old Jack dived again, and young Jack would have been over to his
father's assistance had not Joe Basalt forcibly restrained him.
A third stab made the shark feel very queer indeed.
In fact, Harkaway thought the fish was done for, and had struck out for
the ship, but just as he grasped a rope and permitted himself to be
drawn up, the shark recovered and made another most vicious dart at
Our hero, who had, in his time, vanquished so many foes, felt hardly
inclined to let a shark get the best of him. He dropped from the rope
and sank beneath the waves just as the head of the brute emerged
Then up again like a shot; and the keen cutlass tore its way through
the vitals of the fish.
Then a fin was lopped off, and a few seconds afterwards the huge
carcase was seen floating on the waves.
Harkaway seized the rope and fastened it round the head and tail of his
vanquished foe, which was then hauled on deck.
"Bravo, old man," exclaimed Harvey, shaking his schoolfellow by the
"You did that well."
"Though you were certainly a long time about it," observed Mole. "I
"You could have paid me three sovs. by this time," replied Harvey, "so
just out with the dust."
Mole made no reply.
Jefferson then added his congratulations.
"Pshaw!" said Jack. "Mr. Mole did it all."
"Why, he poisoned the poor shark with his wooden legs. It's enough to
make a fish disgusted with life."
A loud laugh followed.
"Meanwhile," said Mole, "will some-one be good enough to give me a
The professor was hoisted up on deck, and when they had all changed
their clothes, and the great shark-killer had shipped two new wooden
pins, he grew quite as bounceable as ever.
Especially as the death of the last shark was still jocularly attributed
OLD JOE PLOTS WITH HUNSTON--WHAT CAME OF THE PLOT.
The Harkaway family and their guests were all assembled at dinner,
after the shark-fishing, when the conversation turned upon their old
"I wish we were fairly rid of him," said Mrs. Harkaway, "for all the
while he is on board, I feel as if some misfortune were hanging over
"Have you had any dreams, Emily?" he asked, slily,
"Don't learn to mock, sir," retorted the lady, with mock asperity, "You
have been influenced by dreams yourself before now."
Jack looked serious.
"And we owe this wretched man nothing--"
"We do that," said Jefferson; "but he is a miserable wretch, and we can
afford to let him off cheaply, without paying old scores."
"What do you wish to do, then?" demanded Harkaway. "I am willing to
abide by the decision you may come to."
"Well," said Mr. Mole, "I propose that he shall be put ashore."
There was the rub.
They were many weary miles away from the sight of land.
"Put him ashore the first time that we come within reach of land,"
"We will," said Harkaway, "if that is the general wish."
It was put to the vote and found that everybody, without a single
exception, was desirous of seeing the back of Hunston.
Who can wonder?
"Well, well," said old Jack, "that is agreed upon. And now, Emily, my
dear, I hope that your mind is at rest."
"What! doesn't that satisfy you yet?"
"For the present; but I shall be all the more satisfied when he is
really out of the place altogether, for he is a regular nightmare to
"You are fanciful, my dear," said old Jack.
"Perhaps; but there have been times when you have not made so light of
my presentiments," said Emily.
As these words were spoken, the saloon door was opened and who should
enter but Joe Basalt.
Now old Joe wore a face as long as a fiddle, and addressing Harkaway he
requested a few words in private.
"Presently, Joe," said Harkaway.
The old tar twisted his hat round and waited.
"What, won't presently do for you?"
"I'd sooner out with it at once," said Joe.
"Well, out with it," said Harkaway.
"Before everyone, your honour?" Joe demanded.
He looked shyly about him, and cast a furtive glance at the ladies
before he ventured to speak out.
"I want to break it to your honour as gently as possible, and I want to
know what your honour thinks of me?"
Old Jack stared.
"Why, really, Joe--"
"I think Joe wants to know if you think he's handsome," suggested Dick
"Do you admire the cut of his figurehead?" chimed in young Jack.
But Joe Basalt was evidently too much upset and preoccupied by
something on his mind to heed this chaff.
"No, your honour," he said, fiercely, "what I want to know is--do you
consider me a d--d mutineering swab?"
"Joe, Joe," exclaimed Harkaway, laughing in spite of himself, "moderate
your language; remember that there are ladies present."
Joe reddened to the roots of his hair.
"I ax their pardon, every mother's son of them," he said, tugging at
his forelock; "but my feelin's carries me away."
"Tell us what it is, then," said Jefferson, "and perhaps we can offer
"Well, then, sir, I've been insulted."
"I see, I see," said Jefferson; "you have been having a row with one of
"And you have punched his head?" suggested young Jack.
"Serve him right, too, Joe," said Harry Girdwood.
"No, no, young gentlemen," said Joe, "I ain't done that, or else I
should be quite happy--that's just it--because I wanted his honour's
"To give him a good licking," urged Joe Basalt; "you see, I couldn't
well do it without, as it's the stowaway."
The interest of the whole of the company redoubled at this.
"He's been at his tricks again," said Joe.
"I thought so."
"And d--d dirty tricks they are, too. The swab can't do nothing fair
and square and above board. He allers cruises about in a nasty, sly,
"What is it? Tell us at once."
"Yes, sir, I will. Why, you see, the fact is, he has been a-sounding me
about trying if the crew is satisfied with your honour."
A low murmur went from mouth to mouth around the table.
"He's never trying to undermine you, old fidelity!" ejaculated
"That's it, your honour."
"And what's more, he's been trying it on with Jack Tiller."
Harkaway's brow darkened, and the expression of his face grew ominous.
"How did Jack Tiller meet his advances?" asked Harvey.
"Why, Jack ain't got no command over himself, and so he--"
"Why, Jack gave him one for himself; but he ain't damaged him much,"
Joe hastened to add apologetically, "for Jack Tiller knows his dooty
better than that, your honour. No, he's only put one of his toplights
This sent the two boys into ecstasies.
"And so you see, your honour, when he opened fire on to me, I could
hardly believe it possible, until he put it plainer, and then I was so
staggered that I did not know what to do, so I thought I would come and
let you know."
Harkaway, looking up, caught his wife's glance fixed upon him.
"You see, it doesn't do to scoff at secret apprehensions," she said,
"No, no. This shall be seen to at once," he answered, rising from his
seat. "Come with me, Dick, and you, Jefferson."
They left the cabin, followed by old Joe Basalt.
Now, when they got on deck, Jack Harkaway led the way to a part where
they were alone, and not likely to be disturbed.
"Now, Joe," said he, "I have been thinking this matter over. I know you
have only spoken the truth, without a word of exaggeration. But we must
catch the villain in his own snare."
"How, your honour?"
"I'll tell you. You must go back to this traitor, and you must play the
part of a willing listener."
"A willing listener. You must let him think you are ready to join in
his villainy, do you see?"
"I do, your honour, but damme if I like it."
"You will have to like it in this instance, Joe, for the good of us
all. This man is the worst villain alive. I have forgiven him more
wrongs than you would think it possible to forgive; but now the safety
of all is concerned, and it must be done."
Joe scratched his head, and looked troubled.
"If that's orders, your honour, I've nothing but to obey."
* * * * *
Having primed Joe Basalt up in his lesson, they marched off to
Hunston's cabin, and Joe entered, while Harkaway, Dick Harvey, and
Jefferson took up a position near where they could overhear what was
going on within.
"Well, shipmate," said Basalt, "how goes it?"
Hunston was lying on his side, holding a damp towel to his damaged eye.
He only turned round, and grunted some few ungracious words.
"I've brought you some news," said Joe, repeating his lesson; "there is
a regular shine on deck."
Hunston turned quickly round at this.
"What's wrong?" he asked, anxiously. "You haven't been saying any
thing, because I'm sure you were mistaken, as--"
"As Jack Tiller was."
And Hunston fondled the blackened eye, mentally cursing Tiller and his
hard, horny fist.
"Not I," said Joe Basalt, "not I. There's a row aloft, I told you.
Three men have been put into irons, and I have got into trouble as
"Nothing," answered Joe Basalt, with a surly imitation of anger.
"That's just it, for nothing, and aren't they up in the stirrups
"They are!" exclaimed Hunston.
"And what do they say?"
"Say!" exclaimed Basalt. "Why, they'd as lief draw a cutlass over his
weasand, as they'd smash a ship's biscuit."
Hunston's pale face grew crimson at these words.
"That's good," he said; "they're men of spirit."
"That they are."
"And the rest of the crew; what do they say of it?"
"Why, they are all up about it; all to a man. So if you have a good
thing to offer, I'll undertake to say as they'll volunteer to a man."
"And leave them Harkaway folks in the lurch here, as they deserve, the
"Mean, indeed," echoed Hunston, secretly chuckling. "Why, they're worse
"So you'd say if you only knew what a palaver they've made about having
you here, pretending as it's all charity and the like, when, of course,
"That it's all your goodness, and that of your hot-headed comrade."
"Don't speak of Jack Tiller, my friend," said Joe, who was working into
his part capitally by this time; "he sees now what a fool he has made
"Did he say so?"
"Why did he go on so?"
"He quite misunderstood your meaning."
"The deuce he did. Why, however could that be? I was pretty explicit."
"He thought that it was to sell him. In fact, he made sure as you had
overheard us grumbling together about the skipper, and that you was
a-trying it on only to tell Mr. Harkaway all about it."
"Did he say so?"
"Then undeceive him immediately."
"I have done so."
"As for this," added Hunston, pointing to his discoloured eye and
cheek, "I think nothing of it. All I'll ask of him is that he shall do
as much for Harkaway."
"That he will," said Joe, with sham heartiness. "And now how soon shall
the ship be ours?"
Hunston glanced anxiously towards the door.
"There's no fear." said Joe. answering his look; "they are all too busy
for'ard, talking about them poor devils in irons."
"Aye, that they are. But when shall we get them free from their
floating prison, cos that's what it seems a-coming to?"
"I'll tell you," answered Hunston, sinking his voice, "we'll serve the
Harkaway party as he served your messmates."
"Put them in irons."
Joe Basalt gave a start at this.
"And if they would not go?"
"Chuck them overboard, all, everyone of them, except the women."
"I should hardly like doing that," said Joe.
"Then that shall be _my task_," exclaimed Hunston, warming up as
he unfolded his diabolical scheme. "I should like to do that part of it
myself. I swore to finish them all off," he added, more to himself than
to Joe, "and I shall keep my oath after all, I begin to think. I'll
throw them all overboard--Harkaway, Jefferson, Harvey, all."
He looked up suddenly at the door.
Three big forms stood upon the threshold of the cabin.
The three whose names Hunston had just uttered.
Harkaway, Jefferson, and Dick Harvey.
"I thought I heard you call us," said the latter.
Hunston's colour fled from his cheek.
He looked from one to the other.
Then he glanced at Joe Basalt.
Harkaway was the first to break the silence.
The sound echoed dismally, as though uttered in some bare-walled
"Yes," he faltered, struggling to appear at his ease.
Harkaway pointed silently to the door.
"What do you want with me?"
"Can't you guess?"
The words were simple ones, yet they sounded like a death-knell to him.
"We have heard all; every word. This crowning act of villany and
ingratitude, baser than ever entered the mind of man, has doomed you.
Appalled, half stunned with fear, the miserable wretch tottered after
Close upon his heels came Jefferson and Dick, while Joe Basalt brought
up the rear.
THE TRIAL--HUNSTON'S PUNISHMENT.
"Pipe all hands on deck!"
"Aye, aye, sir."
The crew came tumbling up.
And when they were all assembled, Jefferson and Dick Harvey ranged them
round in position, while Harkaway, with Hunston close by his side,
stood forward to address them.
"My men," said he, "I have had you called together upon no pleasant
errand. But it is a question of duty, and, therefore, pleasant or
unpleasant, must be done. What we have to do is an act of justice, and
I don't wish that anyone should be able to impugn my motives. I would
not leave it in the power of any man to say that I ever behaved
unjustly to my worst enemy."
A ringing cheer greeted Harkaway.
"Now, my men, what I have to say to you concerns my own and my family
history, perhaps, more than it does you. You have all heard my poor
boy's adventures when he fell into the hands of the Greek brigands?"
"Aye, aye, sir."
"You know who it was that was instrumental in getting him condemned to
"It was that sneaking lubber, Hunston," cried several voices at once.
"It was. I need not enlarge upon all he has done to merit the worst
punishment it is in our power to bestow, if ever he should fall into
our hands--the worst I say, eh?"
"Yes,--him!" said a voice, with a very strong expletive.
The approval of the crew was perfectly unanimous.
In vain did Hunston look about him for one of those disaffected men of
whom Joe Basalt had spoken.
Not a vestige of any thing like opposition to the general sentiments
did he trace in any of those weather-beaten, honest countenances.
"Well," resumed Harkaway, "and what would you say if, after that I have
forgiven him, taken him in hand and had him carefully tended and
nursed, what would you say if even then he tried to wrong me--to
ensnare innocent, well-meaning men, into a murderous plot against my
"Why, I should say as he's the blackest-hearted lubber ashore or
afloat," said one.
"One word more," said Harkaway. "What should we do to this wretch if we
had him here in our power?"
"Give him a round dozen, to begin with," suggested Sam Mason.
"And then string him up."
A cheer came from a score of throats.
"Men," said Harkaway, "this is the villain, Hunston."
The men were so thoroughly taken by surprise at this that they had not
a word to say for themselves.
"I was anxious to spare him," said Harkaway, in conclusion, "for
although he has always been false, treacherous, and cruel, I could not
forget that he was a fellow-countryman, and that we were boys together.
I would have returned good for evil, he refused it; I now mean to try
evil for evil."
The men applauded this to the echo.
Joe Basalt and his comrade Jack Tiller passed the word forward from
mouth to mouth.
They told their shipmates what had taken place, and so thoroughly
incensed them against him that his life would not have been worth five
minutes' purchase had Harkaway, Jefferson, and Dick Harvey absented
"Come," said Jefferson, "it is growing late; let us settle it off-hand."
"What is the verdict?" said Harvey, "Let the men decide."
Their decision did not take long at arriving at. As if with a single
voice, the men responded--
A sickening sensation stole over Hunston.
There was enough in that to appal the stoutest heart, it is true, and
he now felt that it was all over.
"Very good," said Harkaway, "His fate is with you."
"String him up to the yardarm at once, then," suggested Sam Mason.
"Tie him up by the heels and let's shoot at him."
"Let him walk the plank."
"No; hanging is better fun. It's a dog's death that he has earned, so
let him have his deserts."
A rope was got and the end of it was flung over the yardarm, and a
running noose made in it.
Then rough hands were laid upon the doomed man.
This aroused him into lifting his voice in his own behalf.
"Harkaway," he said, "do you know that this is murder--cold-blooded
"So is every execution, even if sanctioned by law."
"But it is done upon ample proof."
"We have proof enough."
"You haven't a single witness against me," said Hunston, eagerly.
"Where's one? Let go, I tell you," he cried frantically, at the men who
were dragging him towards the rope. "This is murder; you'll hang for
it, Harkaway; you'll--cowards! all of you upon one."
But they did not pay much heed to his ravings.
"Do you hear, Harkaway?" he cried, "This is murder, whatever you call
it. It will hang you yet; at the least, it will transport you for
"I shall not soil my fingers in the matter."
"It is your work!" now yelled Hunston, struggling with mad desperation.
"Then we'll all have a hand in it," said Harkaway; "we'll all pull
together, so that no one can fix it upon his fellow--"
"You'll not escape," yelled the miserable wretch. "You'll swing for it
yourself; you will, I swear. You have no witnesses; these two sailors
are notorious liars."
"Take that, you swab," cried Joe Basalt, dashing his fist in his face.
"They are greater curs than yourself," yelled Hunston; "such witnesses
would swear away your own life for a glass of grog--witnesses indeed--"
He stopped short.
His glance fell upon two forms standing close by--young Jack and Harry
Both were dressed as he had last seen them in the mountain haunt of the
Hunston was still in ignorance of the rescue of the boys.
For all he knew, their bodies were rotting in their mountain grave in
They bent upon him the same sad and stern look which had been so
efficacious before, and he cowered before them.
Appalled at the horrible phantoms come to mock him at his last moments,
he clapped his hand to his eyes in the vain endeavour to shut out the
Vain, indeed, for the sight possessed a horrible fascination for him,
which no pen can describe.
"Down, and beg for mercy," said young Jack, solemnly.
"On your knees, wretch!" added Harry Girdwood.
The two boys pointed together to the feet of Harkaway senior.
The condemned man caught at their meaning at once.
A wild cry of hope came from his lips, and he burst from the sailors
who held him and threw himself at Harkaway's feet.
"Mercy, mercy, Harkaway!" he cried, piteously. "Have mercy, for the
love of Heaven, as you hope for mercy yourself hereafter."
Harkaway gazed on him in silence.
"Look there," cried Hunston, wildly, pointing to where the two boys
stood still in contemplation of the scene, "Look there; see, they are
begging for mercy for me."
"Who? Where?" demanded Harkaway, in considerable astonishment
"Your own son, your own boy; don't you see him?" pursued Hunston,
"Look. No--It is my own fancy, my fear-stricken mind, which conjures up
these horrible visions. Ugh!"
And he cowered down at Harkaway's feet with averted glance,
endeavouring to shut out the fearsome sight.
"Take him away," said Harkaway to the men.
They advanced and laid hands upon him, but Hunston fought madly with
them and clung to Harkaway's knees in desperation.
It was his last chance, he felt positive.
"Think, Harkaway, think," he cried again and again. "Remember our
boyhood's days; remember our youth, passed at school together. We were
college chums, and--"
"No; not quite," interrupted Dick Harvey in disgust. "We were at Oxford
together, but never chums."
"You were never the sort of man that one would care to chum with,"
"Take him away."
Hunston gave a loud yell of despair, and gazed around him.
Again his glance was riveted by the sight of the two boys standing in
the same attitude, and then horror-stricken, appalled, he sank upon the
ground all of a heap and half fainting.
A miserable, a piteous object indeed.
* * * * *
"Hunston," said Harkaway, after a few minutes' pause, "you bade me
think. It is my turn to bid you think. If your white-livered fears had
not blinded your judgment, you would have known that your life is safe
Hunston raised his head slowly.
He gazed about him with the same vacant look, utterly Unable to realise
the meaning of Harkaway's words.
"You jest," he faltered.
"We are not butchers," said Jefferson, sternly.
Humbled, degraded, though he was, these words of hope sent the blood
coursing through his veins wildly.
Was it possible?
Young Jack stepped out of the circle and approached the miserable
"When we last stood face to face, and when you ordered the Greek
brigands to fire on us, Hunston, I told you that this would come
Hunston shrank affrightedly before the lad.
"I told you, Hunston," continued young Jack, "that the time would come
when you would grovel in the dirt and beg your life from my father.
That time has come, you see. Like the miserable cur that you are, you
grovel and beg and pray in a way that I would never condescend to do to
you. You have tasted all the horrors of anticipation, and that is worse
than death itself. Now, perhaps, you know what I and my comrade Harry
felt when you condemned us to death."
"We told you," added Harry Girdwood quietly, "that it would come home
to you; it has."
During the foregoing, Hunston began to realise the truth.
"Get up," said Jefferson; "it is time to end this sickening scene."
Hunston slowly rose to his feet
"Excuse me," said the captain, stepping forward, "but as captain of
this ship--under your orders, Mr, Harkaway, of course--I can't see how
it is possible to allow his offence to go unpunished. You are of course
at liberty to forgive him for any wrong he may have done you all, but
with all due deference I must set my face against winking at such
offences as he has committed on board this ship."
"Listen to the skipper," added another of the crew.
"To let him off scot free would be to encourage insubordination and
mutiny, in fact."
"Then I leave it to you, captain," said Harkaway; "I shall not
interfere in your management of the ship."
Hunston's heart sank.
"Get rid of him at once," suggested Harvey.
"Lower him in a boat; provision it for a month and set him adrift."
"Do that," said Hunston, "and you consign me to a living death, worse
than any tortures that savages could inflict." He remembered too well
how he and Toro the Italian had been cast adrift from the "Flowery
He had not forgotten the horrors of that cruise.
It was, in truth, as he said, ten times more horrible than death at
their hands could be.
"My own opinion is," said the captain, "that his crime should be
punished at once; such a crime should not be allowed to pass on board
"What would you do?"
"Tie him up to a grating and give him four dozen lashes."
A wild storm of cheering greeted this proposal.
There was some feeble attempt at opposition upon the part of the
Harkaway party, but this was overruled by the captain and crew.
"I'm not a cruel man, gentlemen," said the captain, "but I must side
with the crew in this. Now, we'll give him every chance. I propose to
let him off if there is a single voice raised in his favour."
Not a word was spoken.
"If any of you think, my men, that he should not be punished, he shall
escape. Let any man stand forth and it shall settle it. I will allow
him to escape and not question the motives of whosoever speaks for
Hunston looked anxiously around him.
Not a voice.
Not so much as a glance of pity did he encounter there.
His only hope was in the man that he had most wronged of all there
present, and so in despair he turned to Harkaway.
But the latter moved away from the spot in silence.
Rough, horny hands were laid upon him, and his coat and shirt were torn
in shreds from his back until he stood stripped to the waist.
The grating was rigged for punishment, and the culprit was lashed
securely to it.
"Take the cat."
This was the youngest boy in the ship. The lad took the whip and poised
it in his hand eager to begin operations.
"Yes, your honour."
"Time the strokes."
"Aye, aye, sir."
The boy Barclay now received his instructions, and noted the same most
"Strike well up, not too low. You understand, well across the
"And don't be too eager or too quick. Let each stroke tell its own
What were the miserable man's feelings when he heard his torture
prepared thus, with such coolness and deliberation, we leave you to
A momentary pause then occurred, during which every one present looked
on with mixed sensations of eagerness and dread.
A whizzing noise.
Then a dull, heavy thud, as the thongs came in contact with the
culprit's back and shoulders.
A gasp came from the spectators, a convulsive shudder from the
suffering wretch himself.
And then his shoulders showed a series of livid ridges of bruised
Down came the lash.
The blood shot forth from the right shoulder, where there was more
flesh to encounter the cruel whip.
A moan of utter anguish burst from the victim, whose blood streamed
down his back.
A sickening, horrible sight to contemplate.
"Come away," exclaimed Harkaway; "come away from this. It makes me sick
"Yes," said Jefferson; "it is not to my taste."
"Nor mine," said Dick.
"This may be Justice, my friend," said Jack Harkaway "but it isn't
English--it is not humanity."
A cry came from the prisoner.
"Cast him loose!" cried Harkaway, "No more--no more!"
But the sailors did not appear to hear.
"Have done, I say!" thundered Jefferson. "Enough of this!"
"Excuse me, sir," said the captain, "we have a duty to perform. I can
understand that it is not pleasant to you, but--"
"Seven," sang out Joe Basalt, drowning every voice.
Down came the whip again.
And as the thongs struck the lacerated flesh of the wretched man he
gave a piercing shriek.
It sounded more like the cry of some wild animal than the utterance of
a human being.
"Fetch the doctor," exclaimed Harkaway.
Young Jack, who was secretly glad of an excuse to begone, ran off and
brought the doctor up from below.
"Doctor Anderson," said Harkaway hurriedly, "I believe sincerely that
this man has earned all he has had and a great deal more."
"Indeed he has," said Doctor Anderson.
"But I can't endure the lash. It is savage, it is unworthy of a
civilised people--it must not go on. Stop it."
"How many has he had?"
The answer to this came at that identical moment from Joe Basalt's
As the lash came down, the body shook slightly, and then was quite
"Say that he can bear no more," said Harkaway. "They'll heed your
report as the doctor."
"I shall only say the truth," said the doctor.
"You think so?"
"Of course. He has fainted. You'll kill him if you go on. Cast him
loose, carry him to his berth."
MR. MOLE'S TROUBLES AGAIN--AN ADVENTURE WITH NERO--LAND HO!--
THE FIRST VIEW OF AUSTRALIA.
Let us draw the curtain.
The particulars given in the preceding chapter must be as unpleasant to
the readers as they were to Harkaway, to Jefferson, to Dick Harvey, and
beyond all to Harry Girdwood and young Jack.
They are not agreeable matters to relate, and we gladly draw the veil
upon such a scene.
Once in the care of Doctor Anderson, the prisoner was tended carefully,
and the doctor's best skill was employed in bringing him back to
But his convalescence was a long time in being brought about, for not
only was he cruelly maimed, but, to use the doctor's own expression--
"The scourge had knocked him to bits in health generally."
* * * * *
"What a capital sailor old Nero makes, Harry."
"He only wants to know how to chew."
"And take grog like old Mole."
"True, and then he'd be an out-and-out sailor."
These words were part of a conversation which our two young comrades
were indulging in one afternoon towards sun-down as they walked to and
fro on deck.
They had rigged Nero out in full nautical costume, and taught him
several sailor tricks of manner.
He hitched up his inexpressibles with a jerk that the late T. P. Cooke
might have made studies from.
And his bow and scrape, although more like a stage sailor than the real
thing itself, were ticked off so admirably, that you expected him to
start off into a rattling hornpipe.
But perhaps the greatest treat of all was to see him pretending to take
observations through a telescope.
"Nero," cried young Jack.
The monkey ran up at the word.
"Give us your arm, Nero."
And so drawing a paw under each of their arms, they promenaded the
deck, these three young monkeys together, to the great amusement and
delight of the sailors generally.
"Why, Joe!" said Sam Mason, "he looks as great a swell as the port
"Port admiral! As the first lord himself."
"Do you know, Joe, that Billy Longbow had a monkey once as would--"
"Now for a yarn."
"No, this is a born fact," persisted Sam Mason, stoutly. "Billy Longbow
had a monkey on board ship as used to mock the bos'en, and one day when
he see the bos'en take out his rattan to larrup one of the powder
monkeys, Jocko went for to give the bos'en one for hisself."
"By way of protecting one of his own species, I s'pose," suggested Joe.
"Perhaps. Well, he felt in all his pockets for a rattan, and he
happened to get hold of the tip of his tail. Now he seed the bos'en
lugging hard to get the rattan out of his pocket, for it had got
entangled with the lanyard of his jack-knife, and so Jocko tugs
precious hard at his tail, presuming it to be a rattan likewise, I
s'pose, and, by Jove, if he doesn't pull it right out."
"Come, now," cried Joe Basalt, with a grunt, "I ain't agoing to swaller
"It's a fact. Billy Longbow was the most truthful pal I ever had--out
came his nether rattan."
"Well, what next?"
"Nothing next," answered Sam Mason, with a sly look. "That was the end
of Jocko's tail, and it's the end of mine too."
Now while they were engaged in listening to Sam Mason's Billy Longbow
anecdote, they saw Mr. Mole come out of the deck saloon, where he had
He walked up the deck with a certain apparent unsteadiness of gait.
"Old Mole is half seas over," said Harry Girdwood.
"I'll tell you what. Wouldn't it be a lark if we could get him to strut
up and down with Nero, without knowing it?"
"That's more easily said than done, I imagine."
"Wait and see."
They crept back out of sight as Mr. Mole passed along. Then, having
made a hurried whispered consultation, young Jack stepped forth alone
and tackled Mr. Mole.
"Taking the air, sir?"
"Yes, Jack--hiccup--yes, my dear boy, and I have come to look out for
"Are we near?"
"Sho--sho--I mean so--I shpose--s'pose--"
Mr. Mole was conscious of his speech being a little bit thick, and he
hastened to add that he was suffering from toothache.
"My mouth ish sho shwollen--swollen, I mean--that I can hardly sp--
speak plainly," he said.
"Dear me! how shocking!" exclaimed young Jack.
Slipping his arm under Mr. Mole's they walked up and down talking.
Meanwhile, young Jack tipped the wink to Harry Girdwood, who slipped
out of his hiding-place with Nero, and followed Mole and Jack along the
Young Jack chose his opportunity well, and drawing his arm out of Mr.
Mole's he pushed Nero's in its place.
Mr. Mole, all unconscious of the change in his companion, strutted
along, chattering away, secretly pleased at having such an excellent
listener by his side.
"It'sh really pleasure to talk to you, my dear boy," he said.
"You un--stand with half a word--and I enjoy--a conservation--conserva
--singular thing--I can't say conservashun. I enjoy--a talk--an
intellectshul chat more with you than sitting down to wine with
Jeffershon and Harvey, and your dear father. Good fellarsh--jolly good
fellarsh--only too fond of sitting over wine. Shocking habit--shpending
hours in getting tipshy--hiccup!"
* * * * *
Now, while Mr. Mole poured out his philosophical reflections into
Nero's ear, Harry Gridwood went and fetched Harvey; old Jack and
Young Jack stepped back to the door of the deck saloon, and sat down
while Mole turned round and hobbled up the deck again, with Nero still
leaning upon his arm.
As the old gentleman came up to where they all stood, they could hear
him still laying down the law to Nero.
"Yesh, Jack, my dear boy," he was saying, "wine'sh a jolly good thing--
to be ushed and not abushed. Blow my toothache--toothache--so very
dericulous--don't know what I'm shaying."
Mr. Mole winked and blinked like an owl in daylight.
"Whash the devil--Jack!"
He started in utter amazement.
"Why, Mr. Mole," said Harvey, suddenly popping out of the cabin,
followed by Jefferson and old Jack, "what on earth are you walking up
and down with him for?"
Before another word could be spoken, Nero, on a secret sign from his
young master, took off his tarpaulin hat, and dabbed it on Mr. Mole's
Mole turned suddenly round upon his companion.
"Nero--the devil fly away with you, you beast!"
He made a dash at the monkey; but the latter was up in the shrouds and
out of danger in the twingling of an eye.
* * * * *
Harkaway had a glass up in a crack.
"That's right," he said. "Gentlemen all, allow me to introduce you to
HUNSTON IS DISPOSED OF.
Yes, there was the continent of Australia.
The ladies came running up on deck at the news, for the first sight of
land after a long voyage is a thing to make your heart beat, however
much you like the sea.
"I can't see anything yet," said little Emily, after peering vainly
through a telescope for five minutes.
"Because you don't get the proper focus," explained young Jack.
"Then you fix it for me, since you are so clever," retorted the young
"That's an Irish remedy," laughed young Jack.
However, he helped her to fix upon the focus, and then she had the
gratification of seeing the land.
It was a beautiful verdure-clad range of hills that they had first
perceived from the distance, which were half a mile or more inland.
So that they found themselves presently much nearer land than they had
It was covered with wild luxuriant vegetation, but it was altogether
"Harkaway," said Jefferson, as they stood together contemplating the
scene, "this is where Hunston must be dropped ashore."
Harkaway thought it over for a few moments.
"Yes, Jefferson," he said, presently, "I think you are right, this will
do. He can't well starve here, and it will be better than dropping him
amongst the civilised people."
A boat was manned, and provisioned, and lowered.
Then Hunston was brought up from below.
His face had never changed since the first moment that he had recovered
from the great shock of the flogging he had received.
Apparently there was some fixed purpose in his mind now that it would
take much to uproot.
He never said a word when they came to fetch him.
He was not a little anxious to know all about it, but such was his
pride that he would have perished sooner than breathe a word.
As he was lowered into the boat, Harkaway just gave him to understand
what he was going to do in a few hurriedly-chosen words.
"We are going to put you ashore here, Hunston; not that you have any
right to expect the least consideration at our hands, but we do not
wish to have it on our consciences that you have been badly treated by
us. You will be left here, far away from any human habitation, where
you can do no harm, at least, for some time to come. We shall leave you
these provisions, but we have no arms or ammunition to give you."
Hunston listened silently--impassively to these words.
Not the slightest change in the expression of his countenance indicated
that he heard the words which been addressed to him.
"You are going, and our ways through the rest of our lives may be
widely separated. We may never meet again. It will be some
gratification to you to know that you have once more most keenly
disappointed me--that I would have given much to see the least signs of
repentance in you--that the greatest delight would have been for me to
say to myself 'At least I have conquered the evil in that man's nature
by showing him a good return for his vicious acts, and turned a bitter
enemy into a friend,' but that was a forlorn hope. May you live to
repent your evil courses."
Not a word escaped him.
The boat pulled off from the vessel, and in the same sullen silence he
was landed with his rations.
There were forty pounds of hard biscuits, a good twenty pounds of salt
beef, besides rice, flour, a jar of water, and other matters which
might be necessary, should he fail to fall in with the means of getting
food and drink for some considerable time.
But when that was gone he might starve.