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a HONTTOR BROUGHT TO B
THE EMIGRANT HEIR
5.51 , « ^^^-
I. — In thb Ship's Hold, . . .7
II.— Lawful to hang him, ....
III.— Reprieved, ......
IV. — Too LATE, OR TOO EARLY, ....
v.— The Dread Verified, ....
VI. — The Eve of Discovery, ....
VII. — Hatred, Malice, and all Uncharitableness,
VIII. — Face to Face with Death, ....
IX. — " I WANT MY Heir, Sir," ....
X. — Humble Pie eaten too proudly, .
XI. — ^A Swimming Match with a Whale, .
XII.— "Where's Storton?*' ....
XIII. — Cast Out, ......
xrv.— Pineapples for Dessert, but no Dinner,
XV. — ^The Effect of a Rifle-shot, and ten minutes to
build a House, ....
XVI. — Storton Escapes, .....
XVII. — " A Battle for a Kingdom : who'll win ? " .
XVIII. — ^A Cocoa-nut Battle — Monkey wins, '.
XIX. — "What's for Breakfast?" with a new fashion
FOR catching Eels, . . . . • 159
XX. — King Frank likes his Kingdom, . . 170
XXI. — Leaf Cottage and a Folding-Chair, . • '77
XXII. — "Seasoning" for a Light Meal, . . .181
XXIII. — A Morning Performance at Leaf Cottage, . .185
XXIV. — Seeking a Settlement, they discover Raft Bay, 190
XXV. — Wagga saves the Girls' Lives, and provides
HIMSELF WITH DINNER, . . . .195
XXVI.— Lost, . . . . . .198
XXVII.— Ned spends a few hours with a Man's Head, . 201
XXVIII. — An Awful Alternative, , . . 207
XXIX. — "Speak for yourself, if you please," . . 212
XXX. — "Where's the Large Hammer?" . . 217
XXXI. — Poisoned Arrows, . . . . .221
XXXIL— "I'm Dead," 230
XXXIII. — The New Scholar of Newdigate, . . 234
XXXIV. — Sir Edward Bertram's Hopes, . . . 238
XXXV. — A Southern Storm, ..... 243
XXXVI. — Ned and his Companions quit the Island, . 246
XXXVII. — Hammering a Shark, .... 248
XXXVIII.— A Startling Climax to Ned's Canoeing, . 256
XXXIX. — Bill Anderson answers an Advertisement, . 262
XL. — News at Last, ..... 265
XLI.— Jeffery Robinson Adrift, .... 269
XLII.— Tracking an Heir, .... 276
XLIII. — A Final Escape, and — Home, . . . 277
The Head Monitor brought to bay, . . (Frontispiece) 64
Edward Bertram escaping from School, . . (Vignette) 10
Tony Lumpkin shoots at a Whale, . . . .98
Cast, up by the Sea, . . . . .112
Storton's Peril, . . . . . .144
The Rescue, ....... 187
A Terrible Moment, • . . . . .253
\=^ ..^. .t
L 9l--^-/'" /
^ \^' >^^^\^k
' W- AM^ -V
^ ^/h'^— y
t^Ttv^- MJR>^ ,^/-^-
C H AFTER I.
IN THE SHIP S HOLD.
SAILING ship for Australia in 1837 was not an abode
of delight, and the hold of the Good Bess was a perfectly
horrible place, as young Edward Bertram soon found,
even before the appalling dread came upon him that he had
procured for himself a most awful living grave. Ned — or, as
his schoolfellows always called him, *' good-tempered Ned " —
had often both heard and read of men and boys getting
free passages to all parts of the world, and to all sorts of
glorious adventures, by contriving cleverly to conceal them-
selves in the holds of ships during their lading, and so he
had decided that it must be a very sensible and easy thing
The getting on board and hiding, in the midst of the
coming and going and wild bustle kept up by a set of weeping
emigrants and half-drunken sailors, had not been a difficult
matter, certainly ; and after his excitement, and the fatigue of
the past three days, young Bertram had no sooner crept into a
comer behind a great pile of agricultural implements, than he
8 Edward Bertram.
had fallen into a heavy sleep, too sound to be disturbed even
by the heaving of the anchor, the shrill shriek of a poor
woman who was bidding a final farewell to her aged parents,
or the noisy good-bye songs of the ship's company. Un-
happily for him, he was not even awakened by the successive
thuds of flour-sacks, boxes, bales, and casks of every descrip-
tion that were lowered down, and even occasionally flung
down into his prison-house.
The Good Bess had been at sea many hours when Ned
awoke. He opened his eyes in perfect black darkness.
For some moments he was in a state of utter bewilderment,
and could not decide whether he was asleep or awake. The
school dormitory had never been so entirely devoid of light
before, and that he was lying in one of the hard, narrow
school-beds was his first thought. But the wind was rising,
and the ship was lurching a good deal, and Ned suddenly
remembered where he was, and how he came there. He sat
up and put out his hands ; not many inches though, for there,
close around him, were the stacks of rakes and spades and
axes and pitchforks.
" Umph," muttered Ned, " that* s the worst of books, they
only give a fellow the best side of everything. I don't believe
there's ever a tale I've read has said anything about its being
so pitchy dark in a hold that it'll be a thousand times more
diflicult than the Hampton Court maze to find your way out
of it And as for stiflingnessl ugh! I can hardly breathe.
I'll just get up on deck at once. There are so many people
on board that it is not likely I shall be noticed."
Having come to this decision Bertram rose to his feet, and
carefully feeling his way with his hands, he made a couple of
steps forward. In which direction was his next step to be ?
He had got past the barrier of tools, but another barrier now
met his hands, firm, and immovable, and impassable. He
stepped back into his recess, and tried for egress on the other
In the Ship's Hold.
side Again his trembling, eager hands met a barrier, firm,
immovable, and impassable. On all sides he was hemmed in.
His arms fell down, and a low cry burst from his lips, as of
some poor hunted animal who sees the dogs close behind it,
when its heart is beating to agony, and its breath is almost spent
Then he leapt forward wildly, and tried in headlong fashion to
climb up the obstructions. Three times he got up a little way,
and three times he fell back ; the last time he fell with his leg
on one of the rakes, and it got a painful wound. The climb-
ing would have been almost an impossibility even in full
daylight ; in perfect darkness it was quite so.
He flung himself down again on the floor of his narrow
hiding-hole with a groan, and the dash of the waves against
the vessel seemed to mock his misery. There are some fearful
dungeons in Venice below the level of the Adriatic, and the
poor creatures in them, doomed to irrevocable death in the
former times of the Doges, must have felt the same sort of
hopelessness that came to young Edward Bertram, when they
heard the long, quiet wash of the waters against their prison
As Ned lay half-stunned with his sudden, unlooked-for
calamity, he had plenty of time, poor fellow, to repent of his
wrong-doing in running away from school. But if ever a boy
might be forgiven for that fault, it was Edward Bertram. He
had been an orphan ever since he could remember. His only
relation and guardian was a very rich old bachelor great-uncle,
as crabbed as rich, who thought that the two words **boy"
and '' nuisance " meant the same thing, and who paid extra to
have his nephew and heir kept at school all the year round,
not for any advantage to the boy, but to save himself being
troubled with him. Ned had never known any love but the
love he won from his school-fellows by his kind-heartedness ;
and this very kind-heartedness it was that led to his being in his
present terrible predicament — a big, fierce-tempered monitor
lo Edward Bertram.
having thrashed him savagely for giving a rather undue amount
of help to a sickly little schoolmate in his exercises.
Ned, according to his own way of expressing the matter,
had put up with a great deal already, but this, was the last
straw that either his pride or his patience could bear. That
same night he waited until all in the school-house were asleep ;
then he dressed himself, crept out into the corridor, got out of
the window, made a desperate but successful leap into the
branches of a pear-tree that grew a few feet in front of it,
climbed down, and hastened away from the hated neighbour-
hood as fast as his feet would carry him.
'' Uncle has often said he wished I was at the other side of
the world,'' thought Edward Bertram with a smile ; '' now he
shall have his wish."
And he made the best of his way to Portsmouth, arriving
there the third day, footsore and thoroughly tired, but greatly
delighted at not having been caught by the school authorities,
and full of the very grandest hopes for the future.
" And this is how it is all to end ! '' moaned the boy, as he
strained his aching eyes into the darkness, in the despairing
longing to discover even the faintest ray that should aid his
efforts at escape. He was growing faint with hunger, too, for
it was nearly twenty-four hours since he spent his last penny
on a roll. He stretched out his hands once more, and felt the
walls of his narrow dungeon. The barricade on his right was
evidently composed of sacks. Sacks of grain or flour, most
likely. Indeed, he fancied that he could detect the pleasant
odour of flour when he sniffed hard. Flour meant food, and
food meant more time to live — more time to hope. Ned's
courage revived a little, as, it is said, the courage of a nearly
exhausted swimmer comes back to him when he sees a straw
floating on the waves between him and the shore.
Our prisoner put his hand in his po<5ket for his knife, to cut
a hole in one of the sacks. Alas I all things seemed against
In the Skip's Hold.
him. He felt in all his pockets. But there was no knire
" No," muttered the unhappy boy bitterly, " of course not,
I remember now ; that comes of kindness. I lent it to Dudley,
the day before I ran away, to cut his pencil, and be never gave
Then be set to work with teeth and nails to try to bite or
tear a hole. He might almost aa well have tried to bite a bit
oCr one of the iion spades that lay chained and padlocked
together in great bundles at his feet The sacks were new
and strong, and resisted all his frantic efforts to get at their
contents. At length, utterly exhausted in mind and body,
he sank down, and sleep once more came mercifully to his
relief from all his woes for another space of some hours.
LAVFUL TO HANC HIM.
THE punfiil, gnawing sensation of starvation awolce Bertram
at last, and a second time he exerted his faihng strength
in trying to snap, dr push liis fingers through, the threads
of the sacks; but darkness and hopelessness are not good
helpers in any undertaking, and Ned failed, as he had done
before. He searched in his pockets again, not this time to
find a knife, but to gather up, if possible, even a few crumbs of
bread or biscuit to stay his agony of hunger. He found nothing
but a bit of string, his last copy of Latin verses, pocketed
because it had a caricature of one of the masters on the back,
and a bit of wood about four inches in length. Edward knew
what that was by the feel of it — the smooth, shining, cruel bit of
cane. That was the bit of cane that Robinson, the monitor, had
broken across his schoolfellow's bruised and bleeding shoulders;
and, when his flogging was over, Edward Bertram had fetched
it from the comer it had flown off to and put it in his pocket,
muttering passionately that the day should yet come when he
would give back that bit of cane to Robinson, and it should
prove as bitter to the monitor as it had done to him. That
day did come, and Bertram kept his word.
Meantime, Edward Bertram was dying of starvation, and
under those circumstances he had little strength to feel deep
Lawful to hang him. 13
wrath, and even string, copy-book paper embellished with draw-
ings and Latin verses, and the bit of wood itself, were regarded
as eatable treasures, infinitely too valuable to be given away to
an enemy or kept for him. The sheet of blue paper, with its
thick lines of writing atid blots, was eaten first, and it was
bitten and chewed and sucked as though the abominable taste
of the ink were as good a relish as Batt/s Nabob Pickle or
apple sauce to a roast goose. That feast ended, the stifling
air, or rather it should be said the almost utter want of air,
sent Bertram into a drowsy state again. His next meal con-
sisted in sucking the string and gnawing the wood. He was
growing very weak now. And still no human sound reached
him, no air, no hope, and the waves went on beating against
the sides of the ship, as though to remind him of their freedom,
and to mock at his captivity. Once a mouse ran over him,
and he tried to catch it, but failing in that attempt, he gathered
together all his remaining strength, and made an effort to dis-
cover whether its sharp teeth had made a hole that would be
of any use to him. He might have spared himself the blind
search. There were plenty of sacks in the hold to afford food
for any number of mice there might be there, without the
sensible little wild beasts attacking those that were close to
one of their human enemies. Poor young Ned's next suffering
came from intolerable, feverish thirst, that made him crave for
a long draught of even the salt water of the ocean.
Now and then scalding tears burnt his eyes at being doomed
to die such a lonely and such a terrible death so young. Only
foiuteen years of life, and none of those very sunny ones. But
yet — O I he could not die — he prayed to live. He would go
back to school at once, he would let Robinson flog him every
day — half-a-dozen times a-day — if only he might be delivered
from his dungeon, and from the agonising death so rapidly over-
taking his youth and health and strength.
In some such hopeless, half-fainting way Edward Bertram
14 Edward Bertram.
was praying when a sound fell upon his ears. Not a sound
like that ceaseless wash of the waves which had grown so hate-
ful to him. It was a sound in the hold, or close to it, and,
unless there were a whole legion of mice or rats in the place,
the sound was too firm and loud and distinct to be produced
by any of their mischievous doings. Then a draught of fresh
air came down with a rush, and swept over Bertram's fevered
cheeks, and, with a wildly beating heart, a choking cry burst
from his parched lips —
" Help me ! — save me !"
''Hallo, Bill ! do you believe in ghostesses?" muttered a
big, broad-shouldered sailor, grasping his companion's arm, and
hesitating on the steps leading down into the hold.
Bill shook himself free, and sprang on to the floor, exclaim-
ing contemptuously, " Hey, Jack, for all your inches ye're
nobbut a poor fool, I'm thinking, an' the largest cooward oot
Come awa', man, and let's find out what sort o' a poor, mis-
guided wretch took upon him to have the bad thought to .steal
himself a free berth in this dreary, starvashun hole. If he's not
dead yet, he'll not be far off, I'm thinking."
So saying, the two men, picking their way by the aid of their
lanterns amongst the piles of goods, advanced towards the
spot whence the cry had come, burly Jack keeping himself,
however, ready for flight, should anything in the shape of a
white sheet and a broomstick make its appearance.
But they found no white sheet, only a white face, quite still,
with shut eyes, and dry, white lips.
"An' it's nobbut a young lad, neither," muttered Bill,
huskily, as he knelt down, and gently passed his hand over
the curly brown hair, while Jack stood by, looking almost as
scared as if he were really gazing at one of those ''ghostesses"
that he was always expecting to come upon some day.
" Be he dead. Bill?" he whispered, and heartily wishing the
while that anybody had been sent down for the wrongly stowed
Lawful to hang htm. 15
flour but himself. Bill did not answer immediately, so he
whispered again, with a shiver —
" Bill, I say, BiU, teU un, be he dead ?"
'^Nay, man, nay," said the other impatiently; 'U' lad beant
dead, only nigh enough that gate to stand no dawdlin', so just
ye step aside and baud t' lanterns while I carry un up on
So saying. Bill lifted Edward Bertram up in his strong arms,
and carried him forward.
** What will captain be saying about this business? " remarked
Jack, as he followed with the two lanterns. " How'll he take
it, say you?"
'* Dunno," was the short answer, and then Bill had reached
the ladder, and he sang out for a rope, which he fastened round
Ned under his arms, and then, telling the astonished men above
to haul away fair and softly, he came up the ladder himself
behind the apparently lifeless schoolboy. Of course, the
moment Ned was laid on the deck, a crowd instantly collected
round him. Crowds always do collect when there is anything
to be seen out of the ordinary way, just as readily at sea as on
land ; the only difference is in the things to be seen, porpoises
instead of Punch and Judy shows, and men overboard instead
of a house on fire. But Bill had small sympathy with do-
nothing crowds and their curiosity. He only left Ned to be
stared at just long enough to undo the knot of the rope from
about him, and then he picked him up again, and marched off
with him to the captain's cabin, leaving Jack to tell as long
a yam as he chose.
'^ What in the name of goodness and patience have you got
there, Anderson ? " exclaimed Captain Pender, as Bill Anderson
stood in the doorway with his burden, awaiting permission to
'' A young lad, captain ; found un nigh dead down in the
1 6 Edward Bertram.
So saying, the saUor came forward^ and laid young Bertram
down upon the captain's couch.
'' A young scoundrel/' said the captain, after looking at him
carefully for a few moments. '' Evidently a fine young gentle-
man, from his clothes and his hands. Took a dislike to
his A, B, C, I suppose, and thought life at sea would be
all play. We'll teach him differently."
" If so be he lives," said Bill, grimly. ** 'Pears to me there's
none too many planks atween him an' death, if so be ye mean
to leave un alone."
*' No, no, you are right," said the captain, quickly, and with
a changed tone. '^ For the sake of his mother, if he's got one,
if for nothing else, we must try to keep him alive. What a
mercy that mistake was made about the flour. Go to the cook
and get a cup of broth from him, and hurry back."
While the sailor was gone. Captain Pender busied himself
earnestly, and with no ungentle fingers, in efforts to restore
Bertram to consciousness.
" Poor fellow, poor boy !" he murmured once or twice, as he
looked at the parched lips and the sunken eyes, whose lids
began to quiver with returning life just as the gruff-spoken,
friendly sailor returned with the warm broth. It was a diffi-
cult matter to get the first spoonful swallowed, but the second
and third disappeared more speedily, and after the sixth, Ned
opened his eyes, and asked —
« Where am I ? "
"Where ye're better off than ye deserve," grunted BilL
" Open your mouth, and dinna talk."
Ned did as he was bid ; and when he had taken as much of
the broth as his nurses thought good for him he fell asleep,
awaking refreshed and strengthened, but still very hungry, and
quite ready for the second meal of broth and bread that
stood ready for him.
While he was eating it, recollection began to come back
Lawful to hang him. 17
with returning strength. He remembered his escape from
School, smuggling himself on board. He remembered vividly
all his agony of suflfering in the awful prison of the hold ; but
there memory failed him, and he exceedingly wished to ask for
the particulars of his escape, and how he reached his present
comfortable position. The only person, however, in the cabin
with him was a stern-looking gentleman, who had never once
looked at him since saying, " Drink this," when the cup was put
into his hand on awaking. Outside, a good many people looked
at him furtively, now and again, through the window or the half-
open door. But they gave him no opportunity to speak to
them, especially as they darted away out of sight every time
the solemn, silent man moved. At last, however, his suspense
came to an end. The stern-looking man, who was no other
than Captain Pender, rose, and, going to the door, called in
Jack Hughes and Bill. Anderson. Having marshalled them in
front of Ned, he said, without any preface —
" Now, young gentleman, since you seem to have recovered
your senses, you and I will come to an explanation, if you
please. These two men found you in hiding down in the hold,
like a sneak. Pray, how came you there?"
At the word " sneak," the hot blood had rushed into Ned's
cheeks, and he raised his eyes hastily, but they fell as quickly
before the steady gaze that he met fixed upon them. His lips
moved, but he made no answer.
" It is well that there is some shame left in you," said that
quiet, stern voice, speaking again after a pause. " You dare
not tell me how you came there, so I will tell you. You came
there like a thief, young gentleman. You stole away from your
home, and you have stolen a passage so far on my vessel, and
you intended, no doubt, to steal your meat and drink through-
out the whole of your voyage."
There was another burning flush on Ned's cheeks, and again
he tried in vain to speak, or to raise his eyes.
1 8 Edward Bertram.
" If I am judging you wrongly, I shdll be glad to hear it,"
said the captain. *' Perhaps, after all, it was a mere whim of
yours to creep stealthily on board like a thief, and you have
your money with you to pay your fare, as everyone else has
done. Tell me, how much money have you brought with
" None," muttered Bertram, in a scarcely audible whisper.
"None — Anderson, Hughes, you hear. Those listening
outside can hear ; he has stolen a place on board this ship ; he
has brought no money with him to pay for the long passage,
nor for the food that he, of course, meant to get out of some
of us, somehow. He is judged out of his own mouth as a
thief, and as I don't see that I am called upon to give him,
or any other disreputable thief, board and lodging for nothing,
just because they may think they have managed to make me
do so, why, I judge the young rascal to be strung up to the
mast-head, and hung."
Edward Bertram was no coward. Indeed it had been well
known at school that he could dare more and endure more
than any one of his companions; but he had lately gone
through enough to shake the courage of the bravest of well-
tried warriors on life's war path, and besides, there was some-
thing peculiarly dreadful in the unexpectedness of the harsh
judgment, and the dreariness of having been rescued from one
death, only to be consigned to another equally awful and
still more sudden. His face turned white as when super-
stitious Jack shuddered at it while he lay swooning in his
hiding-hole, his limbs trembled, and he fell on his knees before
"Oh! spare mel spare me!" he cried in a tone of bitter
agony. " I will work ; I will be your servant ; black your
boots, anything, only spare me."
*' y OR'S a inussy mc, husband," whispered a woman
AjT amongst the crowd of emigraaCs who had gathered out-
side the captain's door, in defiance of all ships' rules and
regulations, to see "the dead and done-for lad who had come
to life again." " Lor's a mussy me, could the captain — and be
always so kind, too, to us all — in real lawful law and right
hang the poor lad ?"
" O' coorse not, sil-ly," returned her husband, contemptu-
ously. " Captain Pender, he be only givin' th' youngster a bit
of a fright like. An' I don't doubt he deserves it. But
hearken ye, there's more comin'."
As Bertram's heartrending cry burst forth, and he fell on his
knees, the captain turned hastily aside, and made a great deal
more fuss than was at all necesiaiy over taking a pinch of
snuff. That ceremony ended, however, he came back to
Bertram, and, taking him by the arm, he drew him up on to
his feet, while he said rather huskily —
" Come, come, my man, I thought from the look of your
face to find more spirit in yoiL The sea gives folks a touch of
lawlessness, no doubt, but not quite to the extent of hanging
up stowaways, even though they may richly deserve the
punishment Should Providence give us a safe run, I'll land
20 Edward Bertram.
you at Sydney right enough, with the rest of my passengers,
unless I find you a more proper customer for Botany Bay.
Meantime, as I prefer honest folks to rogues about me, you
will be a prisoner in a place more light and airy, but a good
deal smaller than the hold, and there you will remain alone
for the remainder of the voyage."
"Better hang un outright, captain," growled Bill. "He's
had enough o* lonesomeness to last a body one while."
" Silence, Anderson. This age is a good deal too fond of
teaching lads that scoundrelly actions are finer than honest
ones ; this youngster shall learn that my opinion is different.
Take him aft."
Anderson paused a moment; but there was no sign of
relenting on the firm, set face of Captain Pender. The man
looked troubled, but implicit, prompt obedience is the sailor's
first law, and with a gruff", " Come along, young master," he
led the way from the captain's cabin to a narrow cupboard of
a place down below, just big enough to swing a hammock, and
no more. Tears started to Edward Bertram's eyes as he saw
a strong key in the man's hand.
" Am I to be locked in ?" he asked, anxiously.
"Bound to be, sir. Them's the cap'n's orders. But heart
up, sir ; even a voyage to Australy don't last fot ever. And,
after all, your sufferin's won't be nothing to them as you'll have
made your poor mother bear."
" I haven't got any mother," said Ned, setting himself down
on an old box, which was the only seat afforded him.
" Well, your father, then."
" I haven't got any father."
Bill stared at the young prisoner for a moment, and then
hastily turned away, put the key in the door on the outside,
and locked him in. The next minute there was a tap at the
" Come in. Well, Anderson, what now ?"
Reprieved. 2 1
" The key, sir."
" All right Put it down. That will do."
Still Bill stood in the doorway. The captain looked up
" Well ; is there anything more?"
^* T' lad's name is Edward Bertram, an' he hanna nor father
Having blurted out that information, Bill stepped back, and
was about to shut the door, when Captain Pender called after
"See that the prisoner has his meals regularly. I give him
into your charge."
Captain Pender had good right to say that he loved
uprightness, for he was honest as the day himself; but had he
thought Bertram's trick as admirable and clever as the boy had
once considered it himself, he would still have had fair reason
to be annoyed at it. The owners of the vessel wanted to
make as large profits as they possibly could out of it, and one
of their ways of doing so was to cut down the provisions to
the lowest possible figure. Each day of the voyage had been
reckoned, and the supply of food apportioned to it, as if each
day had been insured beforehand to be favourable, and no
such things as contrary winds or rough seas were to be feared
as hindrances. Under these niggardly circumstances, even
one unexpected mouth was an additional anxiety.
Two or three days passed on, during which Captain Pender
kept firm to his resolution not to relent towards poor Ned,
very much to the surprise of everyone on board. Bill got in
the habit of spending all his leisure time with his back against
the locked door, talking aloud of all that was going on on
board the ship, and spinning yams. It was against orders to
hold conversation with Mr. Bertram ; but there were no orders
against thinking out loud.
"There !" exclaimed the sailor, one afternoon, in a tone of
impatience, " if that isn't the second needle IVe broken over this
sleeve. Truth be, my fingers are too clumsy for needlework."
" Hand your jacket in to me," said a voice inside, eagerly.
" I can work first-rate ; had to do lots when I was fag. Pray
let me mend it for you. It's awful sitting here all day and all
night, on and on like this, doing nothing. I begin to wish
that Captain Pender had really hung me."
" Do you so, my lad ?" said a clear, ringing voice, which
was certainly not that of husky, good-hearted Bill Anderson.
Before Ned could speak again, the key turned in the lock,
and Captain Fender himself stood before him, with a half-
smile upon his face.
** So, young man, you wish I had really hung you, do you ?"
"He's only beginning to wish it," muttered Bill, with a
" Yes, please, sir," said Bertram, bravely raising his head,
and looking up frankly. "I was only beginning to wish it,
and now I don't wish it at all ; for I do think you will forgive
me when I tell you how sorry I am for having got on board in
a cheaty way. I never looked at it in that light before ; and I
do think that I may truly say I never cheated anyone else in
my life. I've been in many scrapes, but I've never cheated,
never stolen, and never told a lie."
Captain Pender looked earnestly at the handsome, open
young face before him, and then, laying his hand on his
shoulder, he said gravely, " I believe you, and will trust you.
You are free. But remember, I reserve to myself the power
to order you back here should I choose, or see due cause.
However, I may as well tell you at once that I have shortened
my punishment somewhat more than I intended, because I
believe there is a threatening of foul weather in the air, in
which case you may have deeper cause to regret your stolen
passage than any I can give you. Even," he added, in a low
voice, " to the repetition of your experiences in the hold."
Ned shuddered. But all dark memories, and fears for the
future, were forgotten before he had been ten minutes on deck.
Freedom and fresh air raised his spirits to a degree that almost
alarmed his self-constituted guardian, Bill Anderson.
" Dinna ye go to do anything wild-like, sir," he muttered, in
He had hardly spoken, when his warning seemed alike
necessary and useless. A piercing scream rang through the
vessel, and at the same instant Ned had flung off his jacket,
kicked off his boots, jumped on to the taffrail, and thence
plunged into the sea, over which brooded a purple-hued,
ominous calm. Bill looked over the side of the vessel, where
a woman stood wringing her hands and moaning —
"My child! my child !"
He could see nothing but a little mass of brown, seaweed-
looking stuff, streaming on the top of the water. For this,
however, Ned Bertram was striking out gallantly.
"He's got her, he's got her!" shrieked half-a-dozen voices
excitedly, as the boy made a clutch at the brown mass. Once
it eluded him, and floated further off. He swam on, made
another effort ; this time he grasped it tight, and turned to swim
back with his burden. A rope was flung out to him, Bill let
himself down by another, and as soon as the swimmer drew
near, he took the half-drowned child from his arm, handed it
up to the mother, and then helped Ned, who was rather ex-
hausted with his adventure, to climb on deck again.
"He's got the right stuff in him, hey, Anderson?" said
Captain Pender, who had been attracted to that end of the
vessel by the unusual bustle, and now stood with a pleased
expression looking after the boy as he went to change his own
dripping garments for one of the innumerable suits pressed
upon his acceptance.
" We'll make him worth his salt, I think, Anderson."
" Ay, ay, sir. But he needna go to takin' the deeds out o'
24 Edward Bertram.
his better's hands all the same. An' I'll be telling him that
From that hour young Edward Bertram was treated on board
more as though he were a prince in disguise than a scapegrace
runaway, a penniless young beggar living on extorted charity.
And the treatment agreed with him wonderfully. He grew
visibly taller and broader and stronger every day. For the
first time in his life he felt as though he had found a home.
Its roughness he did not care about.
"All the same," he grumbled to his big, burly confidant,
Bill, one day, "I do wish Captain Pender would give me some
regular employment. I hate to feel that I'm eating my head
off, so to speak, day after day, and doing nothing to pay for
my food. If he wants to go on punishing me, he's doing it
"Pity you didn't think of all that, sir, afore ye coom
" Of course it was. Bill. You don't know that a bit better
than I do myself. But, you see, the boys in the books I
best like reading never do think, so what was there to make
me ? — except when I was learning my lessons."
" Please, Mr. Bertram, mother says will you be so very good
as show her how to make bread, as you did Mrs. Johnson,
Ned laughed as he looked down at the small urchin sent
to him with this message from the emigrants' quarters. So did
" May I make so bold as ask, sir, how you learnt the
" My father's trade," answered Ned, flippantly.
Grave-minded, pious Bill looked solemn. "You said
your father was an officer, sir, in His Majesty King George's
service, and that you never told a lie."
The colour deepened in Ned's cheeks. For a moment he
felt indignant with his strict monitor, then his better nature
prevailed, and, choking back the passionate words that had
risen to his lips, he said quietly —
" I beg your pardon, Anderson ; but you know I only said
that in fun. My father was an officer ; still, you know, he may
have learnt how to make bread at school, as I did."
" Bless me, sir," was the astonished exclamation, " ye never
mean to tell me those are the sort o' things gentlemen learn at
their grand schools, tailorin' and bakin' ! "
"But indeed they do, though," said Ned, laughing — "at
least fags do. Hot rolls for breakfast for the monitors — rather
heavy, you know, but very good with lots of butter and jam in
the middle. And then. Bill — oh ! the hot sausages and
mashed potatoes I I won't mind cooking you some now, Bill,
if you'll provide the materials, and give me the leavings."
Bill rubbed the back of his hand across his mouth, and
walked off quickly to help hoist a sail, as though he thought it best
to try if active employment would aid him to banish useless
longings. If Bill had a weakness, it was for fried sausages, well
browned and hot. Ned ran off to the emigrants' quarters, where
his welcome made some amends for other disagreeables.
There were over two hundred emigrants on board, forty of
them being; children. There was not proper room for above
a hundred and fifty, and, in spite of all the efforts of the
captain and officers of the ship, between decks discomfort
reigned supreme. The men's department was not so bad;
they and their belongings did not require so much room ; but
the women's quarters were most intensely wretched, en-
cumbered, as they were, with goods and chattels intended for
home-furnishing in the unknown land.
" Worse than my uncle's pigsties," muttered young Bertram,
his heart swelling with pity for the poor, pale-looking little
children who crowded round him the moment he appeared.
The same tender-heartedness that bore a thrashing for a weary-
26 Edward Bertram.
— I - I ■ > I — -*
headed little schoolmate, had led the boy to try to relieve the
dolefulness of the long sea-voyage for the unfortunate little
creatures now in his neighbourhood. On deck they were
terribly in the way, and in perpetual danger of getting drowned
by falling overboard ; and down below they were half-stifled
for want of air. It was a choice of miseries, and the mothers
never ceased to bless the day that sent "the young master" to
lessen their troubles, and ease some of the weariness of their
children. Besides, he did ever so many useful things — ^put
plaisters on bruised foreheads, stopped fights, borrowed Bill's
clasp-knife, and transformed odds and ends of wood into
dolls' tables and chairs, tied up rotten old hammocks with bits
of string, with an ingenuity that excited the liveliest admiration,
and now he had crowned his popularity by betraying a perfect
genius for cookery — at least, what passed for genius amongst
his ignorant companions.
" An' blessin's on your honour's head, an* how did ye make
out to learn?" asked a poor Irishwoman one day as she
stood watching him.
" Chiefly by getting a rap over the head with a stick pretty
often," was the laughing answer. And then Edward Bertram
went on feeding a little invalid Paddy with some mashed
potato, which he had got the ship's cook to let him warm
up and brown to a nicety.
" I don't know how it is, but somehow that impudent young
rascal has managed to get the complete run of the ship — ^to go
where he likes and do what he likes," said the captain, meeting
him with the plate in his hand. " I'm afraid he may be rather
presuming, and over bold."
" May be," said the chief mate, a straightforward Scotchman ;
"but I'll not ask to see a lad more to my liking between
the poles. That countryman of mine, Anderson, says he's
fretting to have some work given him to do. Why, he does as
much as any two of us on board already. Wherever there's
hearty work or hearty play going on, you are sure to find
that young chap in the midst of it. And as for his bright face,
and the frank, honest look in his eyes, why, they're as good as
the sea-breeze itself."
" Well, he has evidently won a warm friend in you, Griffin,
at any rate," laughed Captain Pender, with a look of relief.
" I confess I have taken a liking to the boy myself; but
it is wiser to err on the side of strictness than laxity at sea, and
it would not do to allow anyone else to imitate the liberty
of action that Bertram has assumed."
" Certainly not. But it is not everyone on board who has
endured three days and more of starvation in a pitch dark
"That is no reason in his favour," said the captain, with
a smile; "but Til not go into that question with you.
Griffin. I see your heart is engaged on the lad's side, and
when that is the case, argument is useless."
" My reason is engaged quite as much as my heart. Young
Bertram is steady, keen-sighted, fearless, and upright; and
will make a man worth knowing one of these fine days."
" I trust he may live to prove you right."
" Amen to that."
TOO LATE, OR TOO EARLY ?
filDWARD BERTRAM'S experiences as school-fag, and a.
aLC considerable share of mother wit, rapidly enabled him
to gain a great reputation, and not only his hands but his
brains were frequently taxed to the ultermost. Mrs. Johnson's
friend was about to claim the powers of both now. While he
mixed flour and waler for her, she lost no time in beginning a
whispered conversation with him, and Ned soon found that
the desired lesson in biscuit- making was only a pretext for
something much more important.
"Why don't you tell Captain Fender?" asked Ned at last,
with a very grave face, when the woman paused in her com-
munication, but from want of breath rather than because she
considered her subject exhausted.
" Bless you, sir ! 'Tisn't for the likes o' me to go speaking
up to the captain. Nor by token I don't suppose he'd heed it
if I did. He'd shrug his shoulders, belike, and say I'd dreamt
it, or it was another of our scares."
A smile flitted over Ned's face at that suggestion, it was
such a very possible one ; and as he remembered some of the
outbursts of screams attendant upon causeless panics, and the
repeated scenes of needless confusion that had occurred on
board during the past few weeks, he felt somewhat reassured
Tod iate^ or too early ? 29
as to the present cause of anxiety. At the same time, he
decided to keep his eyes open.
" You see, sir," muttered the woman, looking carefully round
her to see that she was not overheard — "you see a death
by fire at sea must be a real awful one, and it isn't, to say, like
" No, indeed," said Ned, as he walked off to think. His
cogitations at length ended, he went on deck, and presented
himself to the captain.
" If you please, sir, shall you be disengaged soon, for a few
"Disengaged? Well, Vm not especially busy just now, at
any rate not so busy but what I can give you a share of atten-
tion. I see nothing to prevent my giving a bit of my thoughts
to anyone with such a solemn face."
" If you please, sir, a bit of your thoughts and a share of
your attention is not enough. And I cannot speak to you out
here, where we may be overheard."
" Umph I" ejaculated Captain Pender, opening his eyes very
wide, and staring at the lad. After a look round the deck, he
prepared to lead the way to his cabin.
" Is it anything you have seen, anything you want, or any-
thing you have heard, that you wish to consult with me about,
" Something I have heard."
" From Anderson ! He should have come to me himself.
He deserves a reprimand for speaking to you first"
"No, no, sir, no," exclaimed Ned, quickly. "You are
making a great mistake, sir. This is nothing to do with Ander-
son. It*s something I've heard in the women's quarters."
He had scarcely time to finish his sentence before the captain
stopped short, with a long, loud burst of laughter. Giving a
great, sounding thump to his leg, he exclaimed in a voice
expressive of relief and hearty amusement —
30 Edward, Bertram.
'* How could I make such a fool of myself as to be so taken
in ! Why, my boy, you must have thought this was the ist of
April Fancy coming to me with some mare's nest discovered
in those women's quarters. It's bad enough to have depu-
tations of themselves coming upon one at all times and
seasons; but if you are going to take upon yourself an
appointment as their advocate and messenger, woe betide me 1
However," added the captain more quietly, "you need not
look so offended, Bertram, for, after all, I may confess that
I believed some of these tales myself the first few days.
Whatever it was you had to say, keep it for this evening. It is
pretty sure to be some good joke that I shall enjoy to hear
over my cofifee."
" It may be too late to hear it then, sir."
" All right, then it must be, for it is too early to hear it now,"
said Captain Fender coldly, as he turned away, and went
back to his former post
Ned went off to Bill Anderson. On his way he met Jack,
the man who had been Bill's cautious companion the day he
was rescued by them from the hold. The big sailor was
looking very troubled, and as pale as the deep bronze of his
complexion would permit
" What's the matter with you, Jack ?" asked Ned, as he came
up to him. " To look at you, one would think that you must
have seen a good half-dozen of your friends the ghosts, and
been warned to pay them a visit besides."
"I have, sir, I have," muttered the man in a tone of
undisguised horror, and with trembling lips — " I have so."
** What!" exclaimed Ned, making an involuntary step back
from the man, who, he thought, must have gone mad at last,
with his gloomy fancies and superstitious fears. " You mean
to tell me seriously. Jack, that you have seen some ghosts ? "
" No — not seen any yet," was the answer, in the same awe-
struck tone^ and with a swift shuddering glance over his
Too latCy or too early ? 31
shoulder, as though he feared to see one of them in the act of
making a clutch at him, " I've not seen one yet, Mr. Bertram,
only I've — IVe — been warned — with a curse — that I shall go —
go to them — myself."
"Ugh! Jack," returned Ned, with irrepressible contempt
" If you were a school-boy. Jack, you'd get called the biggest
baby out, and a lot more names, too. Besides, don't you
know the old saying, ' Curses, like chickens, come home to
roost ' ? So it's the one who spoke the curses, not the one who
heard them, who'll have to visit the ghosts, if any one does."
" Do you think so, sir," anxiously.
But Ned had passed on. He had a boy's impatient scorn
for the nervous fears of superstition. God-fearing, calm-
minded Anderson was much more to his liking, and just now
he was particularly anxious to have the consolation of his
However, his first remark, when he found him, had nothing
to do with his own affairs. Throwing himself down beside
Bill, he said, with a laugh —
" What an awfully weak stupid that big giant Jack is, Ander-
son. He deserves to be made to go about in a dunce's cap,
or, better still, a fool's cap and bells. It would almost serve
him properly if some one did give him a good fright some
" Well, Mr. Bertram, that is what some one has done not an
hour since. And indeed, then, though I'm not greatly given
to fearing men's words myself, it did seem to me as if my blood
curdled and my flesh creeped like, at the awful curses and
threats — for me and Jack in especial, and all the rest in general —
poured out o' that wretched fellow, Storton, like boilin' grog
out o' a wide-mouthed jug."
" Storton 1 " repeated Ned, with eager interest. " What
about Storton, Bill ? "
" Hey 1 lots, sir. But nothing for a young gentleman like
32 Edward Bertram.
you to be asking about or hearing of. It's bad enough for
them as can't help themselves to have to do with him. We'll
have a yam, Mr. Bertram, if you please. You tell one first
out o' your books, and I'll cap it with a real one."
"All right But first, Anderson, I am going to ask you
again what about Storton, in spite of what you say. For I
have already heard something that makes me think it will be
safer for all on board if I hear more."
A glance at Ned's earnest face soon convinced the sailor
that the boy was not actuated by any mere idle and mis-
" Well, sir, if you have any real reason for your question, of
course that alters the case. But the fact o' the matter is, that
Storton be an up-and-down ugly customer o' all sides; an'
though I'm not afeerd o' his gleaming eyes, as Jack is, I'd liefer
forget un than remember him. I'd a'most as soon swim in
company wi' a shark. Look here," and unrolling a great red
and blue cotton handkerchief that was bound about his hand,
he displayed it to Ned.
" What ugly wounds, BilL You should get them dressed."
"So I mean, sir, directly I'm off duty; for they are ugly
wounds, as you say, an' it were Storton's teeth as give them
to me. If I hadn't had strength to choke un off, he'd have
had the piece out He's a regular brute, sir, sometimes. You
know he's an escaped forger, slipped through for want of proof;
but he's as savage as he's cunning when he's drunk."
" So it seems," said Ned ; and then he told as much as he
dared of some information that had been given him by the
woman respecting a villainous plan said to have been formed
by this same Storton.
" Have you telled all this to the captain, sir?"
" He won't hear it, because a woman told me."
" And quite right too, sir. It's just got up for a scare. It's
Too latCy or too early ? 33
" I don't believe it," said Ned. " What's at the back of the
place where Storton's confined now ? "
" Oh, casks and barrels ; tricky sort o' merchandise booked
out to Sydney to the Governor. * Hospital' 's marked on one
in big white letters. I saw that when I stowed un ; but I
know no more, and few on board knows as much."
" And who are those few who do ?"
"Well, captain for one, of course, I suppose. And the
mates, and me, and Jack — and that thief Storton, and Mrs.
" And yet you won't believe Mrs. Downing's story, and the
captain won't hear it ! "
" Certain sure not. Not a critter could get at these casks —
spirits or not spirits in them — wi'out a sight o' hard work as
'ud let all in the ship know what they were up to."
Ned found it useless to speak further. He left Bill, and,
drawing oflf his shoes in a quiet comer, he crept softly down to
the neighbourhood of Storton's dungeon. Looking round to
see that he was not observed, as he reached the last limit of
the light that struggled down there, he plunged into the dark-
ness that surrounded the ship's prison cell, and in two minutes
discovered that Storton certainly was free of the manacles, and
was indulging in his favourite habit of drinking, whether he
could get at the contents of those casks or not.
Ned crept back to daylight, and then flew once more to the
captain. He and the chief mate, Macgregor, and Anderson,
were together, and they all listened to the boy now, when he
rushed forward with flushed cheeks and sparkling eyes. Still
the captain was sceptical.
" I implore you to believe me," exclaimed Ned. " I declare
that Storton is free of the handcuffs now. That part of the
woman's tale is true, at any rate."
" It's onpossible," exclaimed Bill, " I put un on myself."
"Still, men have been known to get free," said the chief
34 Edward Bertram.
mate, musingly. " There would be no harm, as Bertram says,
in seeing that he is safe."
"Ah! you are sure to take our young stowaway's part,"
laughed the captain. "Well, go, by all means, but don't
expect my company on the fool's errand."
That permission was enough. The three started off at once,
Ned going direct to the inner edge of the darkness around the
prison cell, while the others went for a key and a lantern.
Bertram did not have long to wait for his companions, but
each moment seemed a minute as he stood about three yards
distant from the small prison, within which all appeared now
to be perfect stillness. He dared not approach any nearer, for
fear of giving a premature warning to the miscreant, and he
was thankful enough when the chief mate and Anderson made
their appearance. When they were within two feet of him
they stopped, while Bill put the key between his teeth, and,
holding the lantern in one hand, futnbled in his pockets with
the other for his tinder-box and sulphur matches. Ned's care-
fulness would be all thrown away if that noisy flint and steel
were to be struck together half-a-dozen times, just there, to get
a light ; and as this thought occurred to him, he muttered a
sharp " Stop ! "
A startled exclamation burst from the sailor's lips, who was
quite unaware of the boy's close neighbourhood. Down
clattered the key ; irrepressible cries of annoyance broke from
Ned and the chief mate ; an echo to them was heard from
within the prison walls, and then there followed a tremendous
clinking and clattering of chains. Mr. Macgregor darted
forward, and showered a series of thundering raps on the door.
" What are you about in there, you rascal ? "
No answer, but the clinking and clattering of chains con-
tinued more vigorously than ever.
"Find that key, Anderson — Bertram," shouted the mate,
impatiently. " Find it directly, and bring it here."
Too latCy or too early ? 35
" Ay, ay, sir, as soon as we can," said Anderson, dolefully.
"But I'll be having to get a light first, I'm afeerd, for I'm
thinking it's got down a chink in the boards. I've felt all round,
and can't come upon it nowheres."
A laugh came from within the prison, mingling with the
other sounds, which still further exasperated the mate. He
recommenced hammering on the door, and shouted again his
former question, "What are you about in there, you villain,
you? what are you about in there?"
" You had better come in and see," was the taunting reply.
" A little society would be a charming interruption to my soli-
tude. At the same time, since you are so very anxious to
know my present occupation, I don't mind gratifying you. I
am trying to get free j and, in spite of any orders you or the
captain may issue to the contrary, I shall go on doing that till
I have succeeded, or am let out."
On the receipt of this coolly given bit of information, Mr.
Macgregor went back to Ned, looking very disconcerted. " I
say, my boy, that does not sound like being free already,
according to your assertion."
Ned's only answer was to clench his hands impatiently, and
mutter, " When is Anderson coming back with that lantern ?"
Two lights were brought at last; the key was found, and
hooked up with some difficulty, and the prison-door was
There lay Storton on the ground, kicking and plunging about,
and struggling violently with his hands and arms, but in every
respect just as he had been left between two and three hours
ago. The iron bands were still round his ankles, and fastened
securely together by the eighteen-inch-long chain. And the
handcuffs, which hung from the chains of the iron band that
encompassed the mast, were very visible upon his swollen
wrists. He looked a little less ferocious, but a good deal more
insolent, and supremely contemptuous. As Bill stooped
36 Edward Bertram,
down to try the security of his fastenings, the prisoner said
'^Ab, my man, hope your hand smarts a bit, hey? IVe
got a score to clear off with you for the choking you gave me.
I hope I won't keep you waiting long. And you, you young
sneak," to Edward Bertram, '^ what do you want to come prying
about here for? Half-starved once upon a time, were you?
I'll take care that you are never half-starved again. What!
going away so soon, all of you ? How unsociable ! Good-day
to you, or good-night, since you are so unmannerly as to cany
your light with you."
"Well," questioned Captain Pender, when his mate, the
sailor, and Ned returned to him, '' what news? How did you
find Storton ? "
"The greatest villain unhung, but fast enough," growled
Macgregor, looking rather sheepish.
" What did I tell you ? " said his friend, laughing. " Your
great fault, my dear fellow, is being too credulous."
"He has not shown himself so this time," said Ned, ex-
citedly. " Whatever Storton may be now, I declare he was
free of the irons — of the handcuffs, at any rate — when I came
to you half-an-hour ago. I declare it, on my honour."
This time, instead of showing any anger or impatience.
Captain Pender fixed his eyes intently on the eager face up-
turned to him, and, as he did so, his expression betrayed some
Ned's eyes were brilliant with intense excitement, and his
cheeks were crimson. Meeting the enquiring gaze fixed upon
him, he exclaimed again — "Yes, sir, I declare it, on my
" All right, my boy," said the captain at last, in a soothing
tone, as though speaking to a sick child ; '' you have done your
duty in coming to tell me, and now, if I were you, I'd turn in for
an hour or two, and get a good sleep. You look rather done up."
Too late, or too early ?
With a sigh, that was almost a groan, Ned went off, and the
captain, turniag to the others, said gravely —
" I'm afraid that lad's con^netnent and sufferings in the hold
told upon his constitution more seriously than we have
hitherto supposed. He's pretty evidendy booked for a bad
illness now, I fear, and some cock-and bull story told him
by those meddling emigrants seems to have been the last straw
that his over-wrought nerves could bear. You, Anderson, give
an eye to him an hour or so hence, and if he still looks as
feverish, let the doctor know."
THE DREAD VERIFIED.
WHEN Edward Bertram was dismissed to his hammock, as
related in the last chapter, it need scarcely be said,
perhaps, that he did not obey the captain's kindly-meant
He knew now that his last hope had failed of getting any
help against Storton's machinations. Any further disclosures
or entreaties would be thrown away upon Mr. Macgregor, and
Bill was as likely as not to strap him into his bed as the victim
of delirium if he made any more attempts to influence him.
Under these circumstances he had himself alone to depend
upon, to discover some means by which to avert the ship's
So far from being re-assured by finding Storton again hand-
cuffed, the circumstance only tended to convince him still
more strongly of the miscreant's power and cunning skill, and
he felt as though every moment that the prisoner was allowed
to spend unwatched added to the threatened danger.
For the third time he made his way to the lower part of
the ship, where the gloom and darkness could only be
surpassed by that of the hold itself, and to which no one came,
as a rule, who could keep away.
With greater care and quietness, if possible, than ever, Ned
The Dread Verified. 39
slipped down into his former position against the door, the
key of which he now held firmly clutched in his hand. That
key was the solitary coadjutor he had secured for the forth-
coming struggle in which he expected before long to be
In a fit of absent-mindedness, very unusual with Bill
Anderson, he had allowed the boy to lock the door when they
came out of the small dungeon, and to keep the key, which
Ned took care he should not be reminded of by seeing it, for
he hastily hid it away in his pocket That key would enable
him to come to close quarters with the prisoner, and if the
worst came to the worst, that would have to be his last
Meantime, Ned felt very wretched. Nothing short of the
awfulness of the present case would have prevailed upon him
to act the part of a spy. He would infinitely rather have
denounced the forger openly, and run the risk of any sufferings
the man's ingenious vengeance might have endeavoured to
However, that was not to be, and with a more heartfelt
prayer than any perhaps he had ever uttered in his life before,
he set himself to perform the duty that happened to have
fallen to him to fulfil.
When Ned first bent his ear against the keyhole, he could
hear nothing but the man's rather heavy breathing. But afler
a few minutes the chains clinked once more, and Storton
" Con-found it ! I wish the swollen veins would be quick
and shrink again. The idea of those prying creatures coming
where they weren't wanted, and giving me all this trouble, not
to speak of the waste of time in getting at the good liquor."
What his words signified Ned was not sufficiently experienced
to understand, but it was very clear that he was not yet so far
again at liberty as to be dangerous, and the silence, darkness,
40 Edward Bertram,
and weariness of inactive excitement began to have its natural
eflfect upon the watcher in making him very drowsy. Ned
must have been actually dozing for a few minutes, when,
providentially for him, a rattle of the chains suddenly startled
him wide awake again. It was only just in time. For a few
moments terror almost overwhelmed him.
The danger this time was not from within the prison-walls,
but from without. There, standing in the light, just without
the line of darkness, stood the man Downing, a drunken,
bullying fellow, only less annoying and less to be feared in his
wickedness than Storton because he was a coward.
He stood looking furtively around him, to see if there were
any observers, before vanishing into the obscurity, as Bertram
had recently done himself; then he disappeared. He was
only three or four yards away, and that distance was rapidly
lessening between the ruthless man and the trembling boy.
There was not the sound of any other creature on board to be
heard. The mingled sounds of wind and waves would
drown any scream before it reached other ears than those
of the two brutal-hearted confederates.
Ned had taken up his present position with the firm resolve
in his brave young heart to die, if need were, to save the many
hundred other lives on board j but to die in vain would be a
piled-up agony too great for human resignation. And yet
he could not move to get away. Closer and closer he drew
himself up against the door, crouching there, waiting — so
it seemed to him — to be murdered; and the soft clinking
of the chains went on, as though their wearer were taking
things easily just now, and still those stealthy footsteps came
on inch by inch, nearer, as the boy felt, to his slight throat.
Just as he fancied he could feel the man's thick breathing
upon his forehead, and his heart leapt up with a wild prayer
for preservation from his awful peril, a voice came from inside
the prison, and the oncoming footsteps stopped.
The Dread Verified. 4[
"Who goes there, pray? more Paul Prys coining to see
how a gentleman looks in bracelets? Pray walk in, ladies
"Hist yer foolinV' growled the man outside ; " do yer want
every critter aboard to come crowdin' 'ere to see what's the
" Nay, indeed, you well-beloved Downing," in a lower tone.
" I did not know it was you, my charming, elegant-speaking
chum ; but take care how you come on, or you'll roll full tilt
against the door, I can hear by your voice. Turn right about
to the left, and then two steps on ; right about back, and two
steps, and if you stoop low enough you'll about hit the mark.
Mind you, pull out the nails cautiously, or the board will fall
in with a bang."
" No, it won't, no more nor it's done other times ; not if you
hold on," was the snappish retort " I suppose yer ain't too
fine a gentleman ter do that much."
" By no means, my dear friend ; but, unfortunately, freedom
and I have parted company just now. My hands and the
lower part of the mast that runs through this dog-hole persist
at the present moment in remaining at very dose quarters."
" What ! yer don't mean, after all yer boastin', that ye're
fastened up still ? That's what comes o' trustin' the likes o'
ye ; an' I ha' paid this risky v'yage for naught, ye unhung good-
" Don't use bad language, my friend, and don't grumble. I
shall be free to fill your bottle for you again in a minute, if you
don't rouse my wrath against you, and agitate me so that my
veins swell again. I have been at liberty once to enjoy
myself, but unexpected visitors had the impertinence to intrude
themselves upon me, and I had to get myself into my bracelets
" Law sakes 1 An' how did yer do it before they pounced
42 Edward^ Bertram.
" Easily enough, as it happened — thanks to that bigoted old
idiot, Anderson. He did me such a splendid good turn that
I'd really spare him a drop out of our cask if circumstances
" Which they don't. But this is the first I've heerd o' love
bein' lost atwixt you two. How come that old Grumps to show
" Oh, he didn't do it on purpose. Don't frighten yourself.
You know the prejudiced old fool won't have anything to do
with the friction matches. I believe he thinks they are a new
invention of the devil's to burn the world, and so he sticks —
antiquated old idiot I — to his tinder-box ; and, what with the
noise of trying to get a light out of that and dropping the key,
I'd loads of warnings, and was as trim and tight as you please
when at last the door opened, and old Bill and the first mate
thrust their prying heads in, followed by that young sneak, Ber-
tram. And that reminds me, Downing, if you've the good luck
to get that rat in a cosy corner, just oblige me by twisting your
fingers round his gentlemanly, lady-white neck, please. I
believe he smells something."
" I wish / did," growled Downing, who by this time had
drawn out four nails that kept in its place a narrow bit of
planking of the wall, about eighteen inches in length, which
he had dropped very cautiously down on the inside of the cell.
** Ain't yer out o' them irons yet ?" he muttered, putting his
head in at the hole. " Do be quick. I'm a'most certain I
heard something, and some spy'U be around before I get so
much as a smell o' the liquor."
If he had not been so intent on his own wishes, and Storton
had not made an opportune rattle with the chains, he would
have been more than almost, he would have been quite
certain that he heard something, and that something close
at hand, too.
Ned's cramped position was growing insupportable to him.
The Dread Verified. 43
and the murderous wishes respecting him expressed by the
prisoner made it still more desirable that he should endeavour
to make himself a little more secure from the clutches of his
When the light of Bill Anderson's lantern, an hour or so
earlier, had enabled him to see the surroundings of the prison-
cabin a little more clearly, he had noticed to the right a great
pile of trusses of hay — the fodder, no doubt, for the two cows
on board and the sheep. If only he could drag himself along
the walls of the cell, and reach that pile without detection, he
felt that he should be able to provide himself with a compara-
tively safe post of observation.
He never for one moment thought of stealing away. Ulti-
mate escape he had quite given up hoping for ; but he valued
his life highly, and, while the wretched drinker Storton was
willing to die, in a drunken sleep, so that he could indulge a
drunkard's mad revenge, the brave-hearted schoolboy was
willing to die if by his death he could be the means of saving
other lives. But if he were killed now, thus prematurely, by
these miserable confederates, they would be left more at liberty
than ever to fulfil their deliberate schemes of wholesale crime.
For one moment Ned thought that it was all up with him at
once. He had been gradually leaning more and more heavily
against the rough wooden door, and when, as a preliminary
to further proceedings, he lifted himself quickly away from
it, it gave out a sudden succession of creaks and jars, only
partially smothered by the greater noise of the chains within.
Downing might well think he heard something, but Storton
only laughed at his smothered exclamation.
" Hear something indeed ! Why, I should say there are a
thousand or two of rats and mice scuttling about in and out of
that hay,, and you say you hear something ! But come, I'm a
gentleman at large now. Hand us in your bottle, and don't be
a month about it ; time's precious."
44 Edward Bertram.
"All right. There, don't break it; it's some'at slippy.
But it's fine, you talking about time's precious, when you ha'
kep' me a-standin' about for more'n twenty minutes. Mind
yer fill it chock up full Maybe they won't be putting yer in
here for another while to get any more."
Ned paused in his climbing on to the hay at those last
words, and breathed more freely. They certainly implied that
Downing was ignorant of his companion's awful resolve ; and
yet there was some puzzle in the matter, for it was from her
drunken husband that Mrs. Downing had received the mys-
terious hints she had given to Edward Bertram of some
impending overwhelming catastrophe to be brought about by
him and the forger. However, the next words spoken by
the two men cleared up the mystery, and Ned finished his
climbing and lay down to listen.
" You've taken care to bring a big enough bottle this time,
I feel," laughed Storton. "You evidently don't put much
faith in my threats last week, that next time they clapped me
in here with those detestable irons on, I'd send them, and you
and me, and the whole ship into the middle of next week, or
the next world more likely."
" O' coorse not," growled the other with a half shudder.
" I don't doubt yer good intentions, if it was only them and
the ship, and p'raps me, as would have to go, but yer ain't
sech a fool as to do it when yer know as ye'd have to join
"Ah, just so," came the quiet answer. "It would require
a good deal of courage to put an end to oneself in such a
way; would it not?"
" I believe ye," exclaimed the other in a suppressed tone of
horror. " But, sakes alive, man, if I didn't give my old woman
a fust-rate, glorious, up an'-down good fright yesterday, when
her went on a-jawin' at me. P'raps I stopped her long
clapping tongue pretty sharp, that's all."
The Dread Verified. 45
" Pretty sharp ! what with ?" muttered Storton, with a sudden,
ominous hiss in his voice. " What did you give the woman a
" Why, about what you could do, to be sure. Only I put it
as if you were not only able, but certain sure to be up to it one
o' these days."
"You did, did you? you blabbing fool, you," hissed
Storton, as in a paroxysm of fury he dashed the bottle, just
handed in to him, at the other man's face. Darkness and
passion made him miss his aim, and the bottle hit the wall,
and fell smashed into a thousand pieces on the floor
There was a startled exclamation from Downing, and then
for a long two minutes all was profound silence. Both the
men were listening for those who might be coming to learn the
meaning of the unexpected sounds down there. Downing was
holding himself in readiness to slip away, and Storton was
cursing himself for his want of self-command. But no one
came. It was the sailors' dinner hour, and the emigrants had
adopted the same time for their meal, so that all were other-
wise employed than in listening for far-off noises. At length
the cowardly Downing ventiured on a whisper —
" Ye clumsy loon, you ; ha' ye been an' gone an' broke my
"Just so," replied the prisoner, "and serves you right too,
you blabbing idiot. But I wouldn't have broken it if I could
have filled it with poison for you, instead of spirits of wine.
How dared you go, you miserable rascal, and repeat what I
said to you?"
" 'Ow should I know yer mind," was the sulky answer. " An'
now what be I to do for a bottle ? Ten to one I'll be tracked
if I go back for another."
" There, make your mind. easy," muttered Storton, who had
been rapidly turning matters over in his mind, and had finally
46 Edward Bertram,
decided to keep on good terms with his comrade, and get rid
of him as speedily as possible.
" I'll fill my tin for you, and let you have that, and you
must console yourself for its small size with the hope that I
may soon be in durance vile again. Meantime, hark here a
minute; on your honour — or — ^well — on what you like — swear
that you'll go right off, and tell your wife that was all humbug
you were putting off upon her about my intentions. And when
you've quieted her mind, start off instanUr and find that young
sneak, that Bertram boy, and dog him up and down, here,
there, and everywhere, till you are lucky enough to get him
quietly and conveniently to yourself, and then chuck him
overboard, or, if you cannot manage anything better, tack him
on to a dozen or two of squalling brats, and see he doesn't get
free of them in a hurry ; for I dare swear that every word you
told your wife she's repeated like a fool to that young black-
guard, and that accounts for the visitation I received a while ago.
There I I've dropped my matches now amongst all this smash
of glass splinters. Just hand us in yours."
" All right ; but have a care. Remember those barrels of
gunpowder are right close up agin your wall, and the hay's
touchin' on to them, an' if you let so much as a spark kick off
into the spirits, we're all gone critters, as sure's you're there,
without any more chance o' you a-makin' jokes about the
" Well," said Storton coolly, as he took the matches, " as I
was the one to tell you all that, I suppose I may be expected
to know it myself."
As he spoke, he put his hand into the lining of bis coat,
which was torn and ragged inside, as though from age and
long wear rather than from ingenious forethought, and, diving
to the bottom of it, he drew up a long, flat coil of taper.
Untwisting one end of the taper, he struck a match and
lighted it. Then from the lining of the other flap he produced
The Dread Verified. 47
a small flat tin vessel, capable of holding perhaps about half-a-
pint of liquid.
Having now carefully extinguished the smouldering match,
and put the taper in a safe position, so that no accident might
happen before he had drunk his own senses into a state of
stupefaction, he moved away from Downing, as quickly as his
shackled feet would permit, to the wall opposite the door, over
which he began a diligent search with both eyes and hands,
little dreaming of the two unblinking great brown eyes that
were so keenly watching him from a crack in the upper part of
the other wall, at right angles to him.
Storton at length found the small hole of which he was
in search — a hole made by forcing out a knot in one of
the planks. He put his finger upon it while he stooped for
a thin, bent tin pipe lying concealed under some old sailcloth ;
then that was inserted into the hole, pushed on for three or
four inches, until from the sound it evidently came in contact
with some wooden object outside, when it was moved about a
little until it entered a second hole in the spirits-of-wine cask,
made originally with a red-hot skewer, and at the expense of a
vast consumption of matches.
It had been a critical piece of work, and one that required
a steady hand and a good deal of nerve, to bore into that cask
through the hole in the prison cell ; to bore just a little depth
with the red-hot tool, knowing that if it went too far in that
state a conflagration would ensue, and the secret worker would
be burnt to death before it would be possible to rescue him.
But Storton had a steady hand and a cool head when not
on the .verge of delirium tremens. He had a good many
qualities that might have raised him to an honourable
position in the world, had he not chosen to dedicate his
powers to the mean grovelling ways of sin by which he
earned the contemptible name of forger, the companion-
ship of the lowest and most degraded of his fellow-creatures,
48 Edward Bertram.
and handcuffs. His cleverness, coolness, and sin had
not earned much that was worth env3dng. The noble-
hearted young schoolboy, lying with patient, unconscious
heroism on the hay trusses, was far more to be envied, as he
held his life in his hand for others, and watched the forger as
he took a long sip of the fiery liquid, and then, by the help of
a small bladder on the end of his syphon, filled the tin flask.
'' Coom now, bring un here a minute," muttered Downing,
with craving eagerness. '' Let us have a pull at it, and then
fill it up again."
His petition was granted, with the whispered caution —
*' Be chary now how you drink. Remember what you are
about, or this stuff will nigh choke you, and then you'll bring
the whole ship's company about our ears."
Five minutes later Downing had crept off with his hidden
treasure. He gave a glance round once at the hay, on which
a faint glimmering of light fell, through the chinks of the wall,
from the taper ; but Ned had dragged himself quite to the
farther side, and although, with slightly raised head, he could
see the retreating figure, he was himself quite out of sight
After giving that glance round. Downing came back to the
door to mutter a second warning.
" That hay do be awful close upon ye, to be sure. Have a
look-out to carefulness with yer matches and lights. I'd like
to have the heads of the fools at ween my boot an' the floor
who put hay an' gunpowder cheek-by jowl."
" And I," murmured Storton, when his comrade had stolen
away again out of hearing — '' and I could hug them for their
glorious stupidity before I blow them up by means of it To
think that I could have been such a fool as to give even a half-
confidence to that miserable, mean-spirited scoundrel ! But
he's done small harm as yet, apparently, and I'll take good care
that his wife's warnings shall not have much more time in
which to take effect — at least — at least "
The Dread Verified. 49
And for the first time the listener heard a sigh, almost a
groan — it might be of compunction, or sudden, surging despair
— burst from the forger's lips. He had not always been vile —
not always with a stifled conscience — not always with a mind
tnd body and soul steeped in a maddening, deathly drunken-
ness. With the poison snatched from him, he might even
then, at the eleventh hour, have been reclaimed. But he and
his cherished deadly foe were together, and the eleventh hour
was past, the twelfth was at hand.
THE EVE OF DISCOVERY.
Jr is difficult to imagine that the world ever contained a.
more tragic spot than that small dark comer of the ship,
the Good Stss, which harboured the forger Storton and his
watcher, Edward Bertram, that 3rd of May, 1837. It was a
beautiful afternoon, the wind was favourable, and the delicious
and invigorating breeze blowing on deck had put everyone
into good health and spirits— everyone, that is to say, but
Downing, who was drinking himself into a state of gloomy
drunkenness down below, and his unhappy wife, who had
brought about their emigration in the hope of thus reclaiming
him from his vicious life, and now found herself so bitterly
disappointed. She now sat alternately watching her husband
and working at some garment for the child whom Edward Ber-
tram had saved from a watery grave a few days after they left
" Susie had better ha' been drownded than saved to have to
live with such a father," she exclaimed at last, with mingled
fear and disgust
" Pily, as them's your thoughts," growled the surly ruffian,
" that Storton tells me as all them threats o' his'n that I telled
ye of were only his jokin'. If they'd ha' been real, now, you
The Eve of Discovery. 5 1
and the child could ha' left me easy, ye see, for 'taint likely as
the powder'd ha' taken the perlite thought to send us three's
set o' pieces up together."
The half-tipsy rascal had barely finished his brutal speech
when two firm, heavy hands came suddenly down behind him
on his shoulders with a firm, tight grip.
He started violently, and uttered an exclamation that was
almost a scream, as he made a frantic effort to wriggle himself
But it was a useless attempt. At his best, he would have
been no match for the broad-chested, muscular owner of those
hands, and in his present fuddled, scared condition he could
not have coped successfully with a man far weaker. He fell
back upon the coward's alternative — a whining petition for
release, beginning with an attempt at braggadocio, and falling
off into the most contemptible pitifulness.
" Coom now, ye jackanapes, let un be — let a be, I ses.
Leave yer hold, or ye'U ha' to square up accounts wi' me when
yer do, 1 tell ye. Now, coom — them fingers o' yourn are like
a vice j loose a fellow, can't ye ? What's the good o' tryin' to
scare a body this gate ? "
" Good ! you wretched rascal ; na good," said the deep, stern
tones of the Scotch mate, Macgregor. " There's nought but
vileness to be caught by touching you. Good indeed ! How
dare you desecrate the word ? There's nought of good to be
got by terrifying your mean soul, I know well j but I may suc-
ceed in frightening a confession of evil from your lips."
Then the mate took his hands from Downing's shoulders,
and came round and stood facing him, the drunkard seizing
the opportunity to put the tin flask once more to his lips,
determined, whatever might be about to happen, to make sure
of as much of its contents as possible.
" What have you got in that tin ?" asked Macgregor. " But
never mind answering," he added immediately ; " I want no
52 Edward Bertram.
lies. Anderson, come forward and take it from him, and then
we can find out for ourselves."
"So ye're down here too, are ye?" muttered the man, as>
with a sullen scowl, he permitted the sailor to take away the
flask. ** An' I hope it may choke ye," he muttered again, when
Bill further proceeded to obey his officer's second order to
And his spiteful wish was gratified, for Bill spluttered and
choked to a tremendous degree when his incautious gulp of
the strong, fierce spirit got into his throat.
The Scotchman looked doubly grave and thoughtful.
** Where did you get that flask and its contents from?
You'd better speak out, or I'll find means to make you."
" I didn't get it nowheres ; Storton guv it me."
" Umph ! And where did Storton get it from ?"
" Then it will be as well for you to find out within the next
ten seconds, or the cat-o'-nine-tails shall have the teaching of you."
The coward turned livid with fear as he gasped —
" No, no, not that. The lock-up, irons, anything — not the
"Nothing, if you tell the truth," was the quiet, stern
answer; "if not — the cat, and nothing else. Now, time's up.
Anderson, call another to help you."
" No, no, no !" shrieked the miserable creature, as though he
already felt the thongs cutting into his flesh. " Stop, Anderson,
stop ; I'll tell all, I will, if you'll only give me time. I dunno
where Storton got the tin from, an' that's white truth, but the
spirit he got from that there cask at t' back o' the prison-hut."
The mate and the sailor exchanged startled glances of
intelligence, and the examination proceeded by the asking
of another question, namely, what Downing's words meant that
he had addressed to his wife just before he had been nearly
terrified out of the small portion of wits he possessed, by feeling
The Eve of Discovery. 53
his shoulders so suddenly grasped. Once again the cat-o'-nine-
tails had to be threatened ; once again the threat was sufficient
to obtain the desired result of full confession, which proved
that, whether Storton had been speaking in joke or earnest, the
lad Bertram had at any rate bad ample reason for his attempts
to persuade the officers of the ship to set some watch over
their crafty prisoner.
"No wonder he was wounded at our indifference, and alarmed
too, if he had by any means heard aught of this hideous
tale,'' said the mate, looking cautiously towards Mrs. Downing,
who sat, pale and shrinking, trying to appear wholly absorbed
in her needlework. " But, by the bye, Anderson, where ever
is the boy? He was not in his berth, you said, when you
looked in just now. But are you really sure? for it's odd
we can find him nowhere."
" So it be, sir, so it be. But none the more for that, he
werena in's berth, that's sure, an' he bean't here, and he
weren't on deck, an' I han't seen him for mor'n three hours,
not since cap'n sent un to get a snooze. I turned in myself,
soon arter, you know, sir, and so that's how 'twere I didn't
look un up afore. But if you've no objections I'll go on wi'
the search right through now for the young gentleman, for,
when there's vicious folks about, honest ones happen, now an
again, to get spited, an' there's never no knowin' how."
" Just so, Anderson. Besides, we've some amends to make
to the boy for the ridicule we cast upon his warnings. I'll
join with you in your continued search decidedly ; and you.
Jack and Tomlins," to two other sailors passing through at the
moment, " you had better come with us, for after we've found
Mr. Bertram, we shall have a word to say to the emigrant,
Long Jack quaked and turned pale. "P-p-please, sir,
would you mast-head me instead, or g-give me the cat ? He've
put the evil eye up-up-on me. I'd r-ra-rather have the cat."
54 Edward Bertram.
" Nonsense, Jack, you booby, I'm ashamed of you," said
the mate with a ^im smile. "You'd be a good sailor
if it wasn't for your abominable superstition. Four of us
against one, and you hang back ! Anderson, bring him
along with us, and laugh him out of his nonsense. You,
Mrs. Downing, go up on deck with your child, and remain
there, with companions, until you see me again, or hear from
And now we must go back a short time to learn what
brought the mate and Anderson upon Downing at the moment
when he was making that sneering speech to his wife which
proved so very inopportune for him. The fact was, that
Bertram's great earnestness had had a deeper effect upon the
thoughtful-minded Scotchman than even he himself was at first
aware. Captain Pender's utter scepticism helped to allay
his growing suspicions, but when he was away from the
captain's influence, the belief again grew up in his mind that
there might be something, meriting the very gravest investiga-
tion, in Bertram's unproved testimony.
The hours had worn away, however, in thought without
action, so far as these matters were concerned, and, excepting
that he missed the pleasant sight of the lad's cheerful, frank
face a good deal, the mate was beginning to let the morning's
episode sink into the bygones. A very slight circumstance
brought it back vividly to his thoughts. He was standing
near a little group of emigrants, who were amusing themselves
with talking over their neighbours, for the time being, and
discussing their merits and demerits with as much gusto as
though they were on shore.
"And there's that poor, down-trodden Mrs. Downing,"
ejaculated one woman. "Bless you, she'll have no more
comfort of her life out yonder than she had in England, with
that drunken wretch of a husband o' hers."
The Eve of Discovery. 55
" And you may well say drunk," chimed in another. " Why,
he ain't never, not to say downright, sober. An' where he gets
the drink from passes me, it do. He didn't bring all as he's
drunk since he's been aboard ship from England with him,
and that's sure enough."
"Gracious sakes, no," said another, while a man stooped
over the speakers and muttered mysteriously —
'' If ye wants to know where Dick Downing gets his liquor
from, I can tell ye fast enuff. He gits it from the forger
fellow, who thinks hisself too fine gentlefolks to look at the
most on us, only a poor, weak tool like drunken Dick. But
if ye goes on to arsk me where the forger gets it from, I'm
mum — leastways, I really don't know. Not but what I've
tried to find out I don't mind confessing but he's clever, an'
that cunnin' an' artful I could a'most feel like being as
skeered at him myself as that sailor chap they call Long
Having heard thus much, Mr. Macgregor went off in search
of the captain, and when he had found him he began
** Do you know, I really begin to think that there might be
something in the lad Bertram's information a while since. I
have once heard of a man being able to slip his handcuffs, and
it's not likely that there is only one in the world who can
"But, my good fellow," said Captain Pender, testily, "I
gave you free leave to go and see if Storton had, and you went,
and found he hadn't. If you aren't satisfied, for goodness' sake
go again — z, hundred times, if you like — ^but really I am sick
of the subject"
Then Macgregor turned on his heel, and went in search of
Bill Anderson. He had not far to seek, for the sailor was
coming in quest of him, and asked as he came up —
" Please, sir, I suppose cap'n didna mean as Mr. Bertram
56 Edward Bertram.
were bound to stay in his cabin till he sent for un, he didna,
did he ? " anxiously.
'' Dear me ; no, Anderson, assuredly not. I was just wanting
to send you to him to say I should like to speak to him for a
The good-natured sailor looked immensely relieved.
'' Well, I'm main glad, for the young gentleman is na in's
cabin whatever, and I feared, mebbe, as he did ought to be
after what cap'n said, and he'd likely catch it for bein'
" Certainly not," said the mate ; " it was a permission, not a
command, the captain gave him. And do you know, Anderson,
I begin to have my suspicions that he was more worried than
ill, and I am now bent on questioning him as to whether he
had any reason, in the first instance, for being in the neigh-
bourhood of Storton when he discovered, or imagined that he
had discovered, he was out of irons. You may as well come
with me to help look him up."
This joint search for Bertram led the mate and the sailor, in
course of time, to the emigrants' quarters, and thus, as has been
seen, they came upon the man Downing in the nick of time
to make unexpected and startling discoveries. Still, Edward
Bertram was not yet found, and his friend, Bill Anderson, was,
naturally enough, beginning to feel some anxiety about him.
He regarded his officer with considerable approval when Mr.
Macgregor joined two others to the search party, and con-
sidered their important appearance as they moved on only
what was due to his missing favourite. Almost unconsciously
the mate at once bent his steps towards the ladder leading
still lower down into the vessel's heart, and on towards the
• ••••. .
Those seafaring men must manage to roll along a little faster,
or they will be too late. It is fortunate that the mate, and the
The Eve of Discovery. 57
sailor Tomlins, have not Anderson's prejudices against the
three-year-old invention of matches, or there would be small
hope for the noble young life that they may yet not be in time
Insensibly as the four men, the mate at the head, got into
line for the dark end of the ship that hid the diminutive ship
jail, silence fell upon them all. Jack had made one or two
trembling efforts to escape, but Bill had got a firm grip upon
his waist-band, and showed no intention of weakly relenting in
pity to his comrade's terrors. The two moved on. silently, the
one stem and anxious, the other pressing close up to him, ashy
pale and shivering. Tomlins was silent with curiosity, and a
certain amount of awe, and the grave Scotchman was engaged
in silent prayer.
Suddenly the progress of the party was arrested. . Out from
the darkness, and swelling onwards, wave upon wave, through
the vessel to its furthest corners, came a wild, long, ringing,
reverberating shriek —
" Father 1 Help me 1" Then the sound of a sudden rush and
a fierce oath.
For one moment the startled feet of Macgregor and his men
were arrested. Then they gathered themselves up, and dashed
forward into the darkness.
HATRED, MALICE, AND ALL UN CHARITABLENESS.
A HURRIED tap at the study door of Robinson, head
monitor of the great public school of Errington. He was
standing with a volume of Homer's Iliad in his hand, and,
before he could recall his thoughts sufficiently from his book
to answer, the handle turned, and the second monitor, Fred
Nicholson, entered the room.
"Have you come to breakfast?" asked Robinson, in a
somewhat sullen tone, and scarcely deigning to raise his eyes.
" Thank you for nothing," replied Nicholson ; " when I take
to inviting myself to other fellows' tables I'll look out for a
more gracious host. I have rushed off to give you a word of
"Warning?" exclaimed Robinson, with .sudden interest
" What about ? Surely there cannot be an examination of any
kind coming on in the middle of term."
Nicholson looked at his companion for a few moments, and
then for answer to the eager question said quietly —
" I am fond of learning myself. I think Fust and Caxton,
and the rest of those old printers, the most glorious fellows
that ever lived, and I go a little way towards worshipping such
men as Bacon and Sir Isaac Newton, but "
" Well ? go on. Out with the * but.' By all means let us
Haired^ Malice, and all Uncharitableness. 59
have the sermon to your text," said Robinson, with a sneer.
"What's the 'but'?"
"Only this, that sooner than let myself sink, as you are
doing, into a mere reading machine, dead to all human
sympathies, I'd bum my books, cut this place, and enlist in
" You're an idiot."
"Perhaps so; and you're a bigger," was the angry retort.
" But there, I'm a downright fool to waste my breath on you.
If none of the great authors you are so fond of can teach you
common sense, it is not likely that I can. Ha ! " as a second
rap came to the door, " that's your summons to Dr. Brown, no
doubt. I wish you well over it ; but I'm glad I don't stand in
your shoes just now, and I must be off, for I expect my eggs
are getting cold. That little rascal, Frere, does not understand
the art of keeping things hot as Bertram did, before he got out
" Hang Bertram ! " exclaimed Robinson, with a fierce light
in his eyes^ that looked as if he meant his wish. " He's a
chattering magpie, like you. I'll have the lock of my door
mended before I'm a day older."
"No need, so far as I am concerned," said Nicholson,
haughtily, as he threw back his handsome head, and walked
off to his own quarters.
He was the only boy in the school who had kept on good
terms with the head monitor. Robinson's great abilities and
indomitable industry had excited the admiration of his
generous-hearted rival, who had hitherto warded off from him
many a disagreeable result of his sullen temper.
All this was ended now. The blind, miserable fellow had
wilfully converted a staunch and able ally into an enemy, and
he was literally friendless when he turned with a scowl upon
the man-servant who stood in his doorway, and asked, im-
6o Edward Bertram.
" What's your message ?"
" You are to go to Dr. Brown, sir, immediately, in the great
class-room. I'm afraid you'll find there's a pretty coil up, sir,"
added the man, with malicious pleasure.
Not a servant about the place liked the boy. '' And no
wonder," the old gatekeeper's wife used to say, " seein' as how
he'd been in the bad luck to be bom without a civil tongue in
The doctor's splendid coUey showed his dislike to the harsh-
natured student in a very marked manner whenever oppor-
tunity offered, and you may believe the anecdote or not, as
you like, but it is true all the same. Whenever the noble
animal found himself in the neighbourhood of Robinson, he
would immediately walk in a wide circle round the youth, stop
when the circle was completed, face him, sit up on his
haunches, and give a low, solemn growl ; then rise, turn his
back upon him, and walk off in a slow and stately manner, that
seemed to say as plainly as words could have done —
" I have entered my protest against you, and so far my duty
is accomplished for the present."
This manoeuvre was always witnessed with the greatest
interest by everybody about the place, and it was a common
amusement with the boys to bring it about, a tolerably easy
matter in spite of the contrary efforts of the victim. Once
manage to get their companion and the dog together in the
same class-room, the same school-yard, or the same field, and
the affair was accomplished, for Lynx took the further pro-
ceedings into its own paws — Robinson was powerless. He
had tried several times to escape, but at the first sign of such
an attempt the dog would make a swift dart forward, with an
ominous snarl that chilled everyone who heard it with dread,
and much more the quaking boy himself, who had a natural
fear of the whole canine race.
There were only two people in the whole establishment who
Hatred^ Malice, and all Uncharitableness. 6 1
had power to call Lynx away in the midst of his strange
performance. One of these was Dr. Brown himself, who,
of course, always did so when he came upon it, although
it may be privately confessed that he had now and
then witnessed, and allowed friends to witness, what
he termed an extraordinary sight, from behind the shelter
of his library curtains. The other individual to whose
authority Lynx condescended to submit was young Edward
Bertram, and it was partly because he would not always exert
his influence on the monitor's behalf that the young tyrant
seized so eagerly upon every pretext to punish him. One of
the " Lynx exhibitions " had immediately preceded the savage
flogging that prompted Ned to run away. Robinson would
gladly have spent a year's pocket-money on poison for the dog
had he dared, but, lacking the courage for that cowardly revenge,
he spent his spite on the boy.
But to follow Jeffery Robinson across the courtyard, and
into the great class-room, which he had not entered for nearly
two years now, excepting on examination and prize-giving
When the monitor went into the long, lofty room, he found
the whole school assembled, from Dr. Brown down to the
youngest boy — little rosy-cheeked Henty, who smarted
under the ignominious nickname of "Baby." At his entrance
a murmur began, low at first, swelling up into a general excla-
mation, and suddenly sinking into dead silence.
Robinson had walked half-way up the room towards the
place usually appointed to the head-monitor before he perceived
that it was already occupied. One of the masters had taken
the seat by Dr. Brown's desire. He hesitated then, and finally
stood still, a deep flush of mingled rage and nervousness on his
dark face. He looked furtively from side to side, but the
benches were all filled. There was no mute invitation in any
eyes, no mute invitation conveyed by the movement of even one
62 Edward Bertram.
boy to offer him refuge from his conspicuous and uncomfortable
position. For some moments he suffered greater torture than
any his cane inflicted upon Bertram.
Dr. Brown rose, clasped those long firm hands of his upon
the desk in front of him, and bent forward. At last he spoke,
slowly and deliberately.
'' Robinson Major, a circumstance has occurred since eleven
o'clock last night which has caused me indescribable annoyance
and pain. Some portion of the blame, no doubt, belongs to
me and the other masters, for we have had one amongst us who
we knew had no home affection to turn to in the troubles and
vexations of his boyhood, and we have not remembered to
afford him the special friendship that he, and every lonely
orphan, would have a right to claim from us. But upon you
falls the fullest burden of the charge of injustice and cruelty.
Do you know what has happened ?"
" No," muttered Robinson, with lips that would tremble, in
spite of his efforts, as he shot a swift glance along the
benches of Bertram's class-mates, and saw that the boy
was absent. Could it be possible that he had seriously
injured him yesterday in the indulgence of his ungovernable
'^ Since we separated last night Edward Bertram has disap-
peared. I received the painful news more than an hour ago,
and I have lost no time in making investigations into the
business. I have traced the matter so far home that every-
thing points to you — to your incessant and deliberate persecu-
tion of one who was friendless — as the cause of his escape
from a place that you have made an abode of constant misery
The doctor paused, and the monitor raised his head and
asked, " Can I go now, sir?"
" Yes, you can go. And remember for the future you are
no more a monitor. You have abused the power entrusted to
Hatred^ Malice^ and all Uncharitableness. 63
you, and I revoke the trust you have shown yourself incapable
" The doctor's awfully wretched about Bert's running away,"
whispered the boys to each other, as they scurried off in a
confused heap, like a flock of sheep when a dog comes near,
and the whole flock tries to perform the impossible feat of
being all middle and>no outside.
" How horrid our house will be without him," said another ;
" he was the jolliest fellow here."
Happily for the deposed monitor, JeflFery Robinson, his
morning letters brought him news of an open scholarship to be
tried for, which a£forded him means of instant escape from the
scene of his degradation. Dr. Brown was almost as glad to be
rid of him as he was to go.
• Two hours later, Robinson walked for the last time through
the gateway of Errington. He had said no good-bye, and re-
ceived none at the school. The departing schoolboy, as he
may be termed for the last time, had taken measures expressly
to avoid the " God speed you " of every one. He had left his
luggage to be sent after him, and having watched his oppor-
tunity anxiously, he crept noiselessly, and with feverish haste,
along the corridors, down the stairs, across the courtyard and
playground, and escaped, like a thief, from the scene of so many
triumphs and final humiliation.
But he did not get off with quite the secrecy upon which he
had begun to congratulate himsel£ Two very sharp eyes had
observed the quick, stealthy glances that the student had cast
at all the surrounding windows as he issued from the doorway
of his house ; and, unseen themselves, those two particularly
sharp eyes had watched the ex-monitor's swift course towards
the outer gates. And beneath the sharp eyes was a particularly
sagacious nose, that tossed itself up in the air with an enquiring
sniff. Then followed a short space of earnest thought and
deliberation, while the nose was laid quietly along on the
64 Edward Bertram.
ground, and kept warm between two sets of toes. And just
when any beholder would have supposed that that nose was
the nose of a sleeper, it was suddenly flung up again with a
decisive snort Its owner's self-commune was ended, and, like
a black-feathered arrow, it flew after the unfortunate Robinson,
and suddenly arrested his further progress by a long, low growl.
There, sitting upon his haunches, with an air of the most
determined resolution, was that superlatively aggravating and
intelligent Lynx, right in the pedestrian's pathway.
Robinson stooped and picked up a stone, with a face white
with fury. Lynx looked at the stone, and got up and came a
little nearer, and gave a second growl, and drew back his lips.
Robinson looked at the two rows of gleaming teeth, and his
hand trembled and dropped the stone, and he stood still. Then
Lynx began his exhibition. He walked once round as usual.
Then he hesitated ; and whether he felt that the occasion was
an especial one, or that the delighted chuckles of the gate-
keeper and his wife made him unusually proud of his perform-
ance, Robinson had to endure the torture of a second round,
while the old couple stood at their open window, and made
their remarks close behind his back.
"Deary, deary me," exclaimed old Mother Sharplin, "if
the beautiful critter isn't a'most as knowin' as a Christian ! "
" Bless you \ " chuckled her husband, with a great emphasis
on the " you," that hanimal could pick you out them as ain't
bom to be drownded anywheres. Dear, dear, if it ain't as good
as playactin' to watch him, an' he so king — ^stately-like ! There
now, see, he'll set up an' bark."
And so Lynx did. One growl, and one bark^ and then he
turned short off", re-entered the school premises, and made his
way up to his master, while Robinson pursued his way to the
inn whence the stage-coach started for his home. He would
have given up even his hopes of the scholarship to be able to
kill that dog. His late schoolfellow Edward Bertram, and his
Hatred^ Malice, and all Uncharitableness. 65
schoolmaster's dog Lynx, were distinguished with his especial
hatred. But the dog was quietly licking his own paws and the
blacking off his master's boots, alternately, while he lay com-
fortably at his master's feet, and young Bertram was pursuing
his road to Portsmouth, intent upon the completion of his pur-
pose, and only remembering his old tormentor when fatigue
compelled him now and again to throw himself down under a
hedge to rest, and the cuts and weals on his wounded back
came into unpleasant contact with the ground. But as far as
he is concerned, this history has carried him some weeks
farther on in his life, and we must now proceed to relate what
led to the wild shriek by which the mate of the Good Bess and
his companions were electrified, as they were proceeding in
search of the runaway schoolboy.
FACE TO FACE WITH DEATH.
1\ YEARLY three hours before that startling cry already
Ah mentioned was uttered, Edward Bertram, the schoolboy,
or, as Captain Pender usually called him, the " Stowaway,'' had
stretched himself out upon the top of the piled-up hay to keep
strict watch and ward over the pitiless Storton.
It is told of a noble Scotch boy, during the war of the last
century between the English and Charles Edward, that, being
forbidden leave, on account of his youth, to march with his
father's clan to battle, he was sent out to superintend the
herdsmen guarding the cattle. His neighbourhood, as is the
case with most neighbourhoods during war time, was infested
with a set of rascals who belonged to no party but their own, and
who cared nothing which side lost so that they gained. It was
the custom with this fighting, thieving set of vagabonds to scare
away or kill the cattle-keepers, and then drive the cattle. After
the first commencement of their operations they very seldom
had to do any killing, for the poor, base-born herdsmen never
lost a moment's time in scampering as far away as possible from
the dangerous neighbourhood of their charges, the moment the
heads of the freebooters appeared above the crests of the hills.
In due course of time the robbers turned their attention to the
cattle belonging to this Scotch boy's clan. According to
Face to Face with Death. 67
custom, the instant they appeared in sight the herdsmen rushed
frantically away, in spite of the remonstrances of their chief-
tain's young son. The boy remained at his post, offering what
resistance he could, valiantly. But, of course, he was soon
overcome, and then the freebooters questioned him how he
dared defy them, and why he had not run oflf with his
"How could I act otherwise than I have done?" was
the calm and simple answer. " I was sent out to guard the
cattle. I have fulfilled my duty so far as my power went"
Then he waited quietly for the expected death at his lawless
It is well for human nature that we are able to add that the
nobility of the young prisoner struck some answering chord in
the souls of the wild freebooters, and they despatched him
safely home with the greater part of the property that he had
stood by so faithfully.
We simply give this true page of history to show you, boys,
that the character and acts of Edward Bertram are not over-
drawn, they can be matched in numberless instances. His
own answer was much the same as the Scotch boy's, when,
years after, he was complimented on his bravery.
"How could I act otherwise than I did? Circumstances
had betrayed to me the awful danger of the ship and all on it,
and of course I had to do all that lay in my power to avert it.
And the more so that my own faulty way of getting on board
had weakened the warning influence I might have had with the
However, to come back to that May morning, when Ned
lay on the trusses of hay, and saw the glimmering of Storton's
taper shining through the chinks of the wall upon the barrels
of gunpowder and the broached spirits-of-wine cask. He
looked through the chinks of the wall at the flickering taper
and the box of matches, and he knew perfectly well, as each
68 Edward Bertram.
minute passed, that the next might be his last But he felt no
fear now. His heart even swelled with some natural pride as
he held the clever, cunning forger under his steady gaze, and
felt how much depended upon his presence of mind and
readiness. After a short time Storton extinguished the taper,
as a precaution against detection or any further disturbance in
the prosecution of his nefarious schemes; and for a terrible
two hours Ned kept guard in darkness. Even the deep
silence was only broken at long intervals by a quiet rattle of
the chains, as Storton turned from one side to the other for
ease on the hard floor, or rose, once or twice, to refill the very
small measure he had retained for himself to drink from, when
he gave up the larger flask to Downing.
''Poor fool," he chuckled once, soliloquising aloud about
that recent gift '^ He little knows how short a time he's got
in which to empty that"
Ned felt not the smallest inclination now to sleep, notwith-
standing the silence and darkness. Every faculty was strung
to the utmost, and he was as wide awake and as keen as the
rats, who were regarding him as a most unwarrantable inter-
loper. Once or twice the little animals nearly ruined every-
thing by dashing up through the hay, bringing a cloud of dust
in their train, which half-choked their human companion, and
almost forced him to sneeze. As he lay there, compelled to
idleness as to his body, his mind worked away harder than it
had ever done at school, although he had been no idler or dunce
there, in spite of Jeffery Robinson's contemptuous epithets. He
turned over the circumstances of the present case in every
possible manner, and regarded it from every aspect that you
can have done; and thought quite as clearly and cleverly
as you may be doing, of what was really the best and wisest
way for him to act now, and if he had really chosen it
About the middle of his solemn watch he wavered in his
opinion. He wavered to such a degree that he actually stole
Face to Face with Death. 69
down from his perch, and began to creep softly away towards
the more inhabited quarters of the ship. It did seem such an
awful, tremendous responsibility he was taking upon himself,
and for some minutes it seemed too great for him to bear,
it appeared to overwhelm hino. He felt that he must burst
away from it, rush on deck, and compel the captain and
others to listen to him, to believe him, and to act with him.
When he reached that point in his resolve he climbed down
from the hay-stack, and left the prison as far behind him
as that border-land of light and darkness lay, on which he had
so often paused already. There he paused once more, and
as he grew calmer he sighed, and then he crept back again, and
clambered, inch by inch, with stealthy care and caution, on to
his lofty couch once more, and lay in the darkness waiting
for what time should bring to his hands to do. Reason told
him but too surely that the very grimness of the narrative
he could give would prevent its credence, there being not
the smallest previous preparation for its belief. And the
more passionately he might try to proclaim it, the more
rooted would become the belief in his own delirium, and
the less chance there would be of even his being left free
to do his utmost to avert the threatened doom. He
wavered no more. From this moment he put his whole
trust in himself under God, and the next hour was spent in
prayer and watching — ceaseless watching, that let scarcely
a sound of the forger's breath escape him. Seven years later,
Edward Bertram was alone with a furious madman in the midst
of a tract. of blazing Australian bush, and while he kept the
madman at bay, and watched the windward run of the flames,
the strange memory leaped up in his mind of his boyhood's
watch, seven years before, over the poor sinful wretch in the dark
depths of the Good Bess. Fresh nerve and vigour came to
him with the thought, and he felt that the wild, open field
of fire, and irresponsible disease, were companions infinitely
70 Edward Bertram.
preferable, infinitely less terrible, than that dark ship comer
blackened with the brooding sin and drunken hate it
shrouded. A sort of tender pity for the brave, unflinching boy-
watcher came to him, although the boy had been himself.
But in the present, the boy Ned felt no compassion at all for
that individual. His most vivid sensation, as the slow time —
the same time that was flying away so blithely up on deck —
dragged its weary course along down there, was a tremendous
longing for something to happen. You understand, he did
not wish that anything dreadful should come to pass, or
be attempted at all, but, if it was to be attempted, he most
heartily wished that it might be attempted soon. None of
us ever wish that there should be a great fire, but when there
is one we cannot help wishing to see it. Ned's feelings were
very similar. He was waiting for something that was almost
positively to occur, and the tediously drawn-out expectation
was only an additional item in the dismal programme.
At last something occurred. All had been intensely still
and silent in the narrow prison for nearly twenty minutes.
Ned had begun to torment himself with the apprehension
that perhaps the diabolical scheme was already in progress,
and that the darkness and silence would render him powerless
to interfere. But afiairs were not quite so far gone in hopeless-
ness as all that.
The silence was, all on a sudden, broken by a loud snore, and
a sound as of something thumping pretty heavily against the
wall, followed by an exclamation of pain.
"Why, hang it all," muttered Storton's voice the next
moment, '^ if I haven't been letting myself fall asleep before
I've made my preparations. 'Law sakes,' as that fellow
Downing would say, I've certainly nigh upon robbed myself
of my revenge. If it hadn't been for giving myself this crack
on the skull, I don't believe I should have woke up in time to
get the thing done this bout"
Face to Face with Death. 71
While he thus muttered he moved about, feeling with his
hands on the floor for his matches. " Hang it !" he grumbled
once more, flinging away match after match as he broke them
in trying to strike them. " Hang it, how my hands shake 1
If anyone saw them, they'd think it was the effects of con-
science, perhaps. Ah I growing compunction, no doubt
Poor fools, what a mistake they would make !" and he uttered
a somewhat unsteady laugh.
But if conscience were striving to make itself heard in this
terrible hour, the demon of drink did its best to stifle it.
At length he got a match to burn, and lighted his taper once
more. Edward Bertram had not now many more minutes of
suspense to endure. He crept to the very edge of the
haystack, to be ready to descend in a moment ; and he took the
door-key out of his pocket, and grasped it firmly and very
closely in his hand \ and all the time he never left off watching
through the cracks between the boards of the wall. Storton
was now moving on unsteady feet up to the mast, where he let
himself slip gently on to the floor, and felt under the sailcloth
for his hidden treasures, which were nothing less than two
twisted lengths of straw, twisted the first time he had been put
in irons, when this terrible plan of revenge had first occurred
to the wretched drunkard's mind, and he had begun pre-
parations for its execution by twisting the straw matches. On
the next occasion that he had contrived, purposely, to get
locked up for some offence, that he might indulge his terrible
craving for drink, he had duly prepared the twists for his pur-
pose ; and now, as he found them and drew them towards the
taper, he looked at them with an evil glee and self-gratulation.
Helping himself up by clutching at the dangling handcuffs,
Storton now reeled back to the wall, and, having taken a final
sip or two of the spirit, to fortify his wavering resolution,
he withdrew the tin tube, and with considerable dififi-
culty inserted one end of a straw-twist through the two
72 Edward Bertram.
holes into the cask. Then he moved on along the wall
about three feet, and, feeling about a little while, he found
another hole, pushed an end of the second twist through that,
and after some trouble, and having once to remove it and
put in the other end because he had so bent the first, he
got that, in turn, securely into a hole in one of the barrels
of gunpowder — a fact he made known by his triumphant
Matters were drawing on fast enough at last The crisis was
at hand. Ned's heart began to beat violently, and the blood to
course wildly through his veins. He slid to the ground. Had
there been time now, he would have flown to seek help stronger
than his own ; but there was no time — no time to seek human
help, only time to seek that which is Almighty. Those matches
were fearfully short Once lighted, they would have burnt
their way up to the powder and spirit casks in little more than
five minutes ; and the forger seemed scarcely even drowsy now,
and, though so tipsy, he had a good deal of strength and power
yet left in him.
Ned's self-sacrifice threatened, after all, to be a useless one.
He dared not lean against the door, and yet his agitation was
so great that he could scarcely stand. It is a solemn thing to
hold your life in your hand, and to know that ten minutes
hence it may be lost, as far as this world is concerned.
Storton, having so far made his preparations, and placed his
lighted taper close at hand, appeared in no hurry to consum-
mate his black deed. He seated himself again, with his back
against the wall, between the two straw-twists, and closed his
eyes ; but whether the thought of death, so close at hand, shook
even his dulled heart, or that the snatch of sleep he had had
already had partially weakened the effect of the spirit, the desired
drowsiness appeared to elude his wishes now. He drew out
his small flask, and found, to his relief, that it was not yet
drained. Sucking his lips to get off even the few drops ding-
Face to Face with Death. 73
ing to them, he again composed himself, and after a few
more minutes of that dread silence, he opened his eyes heavily,
lifted the two ends of the straw-twists, and slowly lighted them.
Ned stole the key into the lock.
There was a yard of straw-twist, five minutes of time, between
life and death for four hundred human beings, and only the
courage and constancy of one young lad in the scale for
life. Up on deck the emigrants were talking over their
plans for the future, some of them discussing their hopes of
return to the old home, ten, fifteen, or twenty years hence.
Captain Pender was meditating on the probable weather of to-
morrow, and the possibility of the ship sighting land — and those
two straws were burning on. There were only four minutes
now between life and death, for Captain Pender, his ship, and
his passengers. And Edward Bertram's hand was beginning
to turn the key, and a sharp agony was gnawing at his heart ;
for he saw that it was almost an impossibility that he could
draw away, and cast out of reach, both those deadly matches
lying close, one on either side of the drunken, cruel villain,
before he should be seized and strangled by the forger's strong
white fingers. The man was lightly dozing no more. Ned
expected to be killed in the execution of his self-imposed task ;
but, oh ! if only the great reward might be granted him in
death of its accomplishment
With this agonised entreaty struggling up to his lips, and
almost forcing audible utterance, the key was turned, the door
swung wide, and the young and noble and pure-hearted boy,
and the wretched forger who had crushed his father's heart
into the dust, were face to face ! Alas 1 they were more.
They were eyes to eyes. The noise of the falling lock, the
inrush of air, roused the man, who had been striving for
unconsciousness indeed, but not obtaining it. For some
awful moments they gazed at each other. Then, with a low
howl, more like a wild beast's utterance than that of a human
being, Storton sprang forward. At the same moment, out
upon the air, rang that long, clear, ringing cry —
" Father ! Help me !" Edward Bertram flung himself for-
ward on the floor of the cell with outstretched hands grasping
at the two matches, and they fell from the holes as he fell to
the ground. Then came the deadly clutch upon his throat
which he had expected, and he knew no more.
" I WANT MY HEIR, SIR."
" Y WANT my heir, sir ; I want my heir. I insist on having
A my heir. There, sir ! Now what do you say to that,
Nothing was said to that for a minute or two.
The speaker was a most irascible-looking old gentleman,
who was stomping up and down Dr. Brown's library at the
public school of Errington. It is just possible that there is no
such word to be found in your dictionaries as "stomping."
However, it is perfectly certain that if there is not, there ought
to be, for " stamping " does not in the least describe the special
way in which this old gentleman was managing to disturb the
usual peace and harmony of the Doctor's studious refuge.
A jerk, and a kick, and a stumble, followed by a stamp, and
then another jerk, and kick, and stumble, followed by another
stamp, cannot all be a stamp ; can it, now ? Surely there can
be but one answer, and that answer. No.
However you put the question, it will come to the same
thing; you will find, even if you ask it as a riddle — "Why is
a jerk, and a kick, and a stumble like a stamp? or like
stamping?" which you will ; the only possible answer that can
be given must be, " Because it isn't" Well then, having
proved that all future dictionaries must give the word, " stomp-
76 Edward Bertram,
ing — a complicated and peculiar mode of progression " (and
not "vulgar for stamp"), we can proceed — ^not, I hope, to
stomp ourselves, but — to learn the meaning of this intrusion
upon Dr. Brown.
It is of course needless to say that, when Edward Bertram
disappeared from Errington, the head-master lost no time in
sending intelligence of the event to his guardian, and only near
relation, General Sir Edward Bertram, K.C.R And a letter
had been received back by return, which meant a lapse of four
days between tlie despatch of the one and the receipt of the
other in 1837.
And the letter was not a very satisfactory one when it did
arrive. It began with a good round of abuse of the General's
grand-nephew, and it ended with a good round of very slightly
more carefully worded abuse of the school authorities, who had
let him escape from their discipline.
However, there was a sentence in the middle of the letter
from which Dr. Brown had drawn some comfort It was
this : —
"No doubt, sir, the disgraceful young scoundrel has run
away to sea. / once ran away to sea. And I was flogged
and sent back. My grand-nephew must be flogged and sent
back. And I was flogged when I got back. I desire that my
grand-nephew may be flogged when he gets back. • . ."
The four 'floggings — ^the two in the past, the other two
ordered for the future — ^had but small impression upon the
Doctor's mind, but the suggestion that the missing pupil might
have made his way to the sea coast, and got taken on board
some ship, gave a new impulse and purpose to the inquiries
that were being instituted for him in all directions.
Every list of passengers and crews that could be got hold of
was diligently perused, but of course in vain, and the old
General, who was suflering from a long and severe attack of
gout, fumed and stormed at the non-discovery of the boy,
"/ want my heir^ sir" 77
till he had nearly fumed and stormed himself into the
The news of his nephew's escape from Errington reached
him the 27th of March; but it was the 27th of May before he
was well enough to post across England, from his estate in
Gloucestershire, to make the personal demand for his nephew
with which this chapter opens.
He had sent due warning, some days before, of his coming,
and the Doctor had been trying to school himself for the
interview. But he found it almost more painful and dis-
agreeable than he had expected.
Dr. Brown would have laughed, if he had not been feeling
so grieved and angry, at the absurdity of the old gentleman's
repeated exclamation, with every variety of tone and gesture —
*' I want my heir, sir — I want my heir."
And now there was the imperative, ridiculously unreasonable
'' I insist on having my heir ! There, sir ! Now what do
you say to that, sir?"
Of course Dr. Brown could not possibly have anything to
say to that, and so he held his peace, biting his lips. And he
did not quite know whether he bit them to keep in laughter or
At last Sir Edward had thoroughly tired himself out with
his violent exercise, and he flung himself heavily back into an
arm-chair, and, drawing out a yard or two of silk pocket-
handkerchief, he at first mopped at his forehead and head with
it, and then dropped his face into it, only just in time to about
half smother a gulping sob.
At that most marvellous and utterly unexpected sound. Dr.
Brown started, and stared, with an air of the most bewildered
amazement, at his visitor. Was he literally choking with pas-
sion, or was that sob a token of grief?
There was another gulp. And then the head-master sat up
78 Edward Bertram.
in his chair, and leant forward, and said, in a low tone of
mingled sympathy and surprise —
"Forgive me, my dear General; but surely you are not
taking so bitterly to heart the loss of one for whom you cared
literally nothing when he was — was "
Dr. Brown had been about to finish his sentence with the
word "alive," but he suddenly broke off. He could not
openly admit, even to himself, the belief that the uncared-for
orphan, the desolate young pupil, was really beyond the reach
of human love. However, even in its unfinished state, his
sentence struck hardly enough upon its hearer. The proud
white head bowed lower, as the old man growled, with an
unsteady voice and misty grammar —
" I didn't care literally nothing for him ? Nothing of the
sort, sir; I tell you, nothing of the sort ! But the world's full
of fools — fools ! The gun-muzzle of the world is choked up
with them, I say. Because I didn't have a young rascal, a
regular nuisance of a boy, cutting his capers about me ; because
I didn't cram his mouth with lollypops till he got sick, and give
him pop-guns and pocket-knives to maim himself with, the
world and his wife cry out — * Well, you've had a small loss I
You did not care for the lad ! ' "
The old General sat upright now, and spread out his long-
fingered, bony hands upon his knees, and fixed his keen grey
eyes upon his companion.
" The world's a fool, sir ; and his wife's a bigger ! And now,
what do you say to that, sir ? "
Once again Dr. Brown said nothing to it outwardly.
But inwardly he did say that he wished the very gallant general.
Sir Edward Bertram, K.C.B., was a small boy with his name
on the Errington books. In that case it is possible, although
the Doctor's sway was mild — peculiarly so for forty years ago —
it is possible, we repeat, that that small boy might have received
a speedy and impressive lesson against asking preposterous
"/ want my heir^sir.^^ 79
questions, to which, from the very nature of circumstances, it
was utterly impossible to give any answer.
However, answer or no answer, it was much the same to Sir
Edward Bertram, and after a pause he continued in a firmer
and somewhat calmer voice —
" Yes, the world's a fool — the world's a fool ! "
The repetition of that piece of information appeared so
soothing to his own ears and feelings that he repeated it a
third time before continuing —
" If I didn't waste any nonsensical affection upon the boy^ I
always meant to downright love the man he was to grow into
one day. Why, sir, I cared literally nothing for him, indeed,
do the fools say? Do you know, sir, for this twelve years
past, sir, I have been improving my estate for my heir. I have
planted trees for my heir ; I have drained ever so much marsh
land for my heir ; I have bought plate for my heir ; laid down
wines for my heir ! Everything I have spent my money and
my brains on, sir, has been for this young rascal of an heir of
mine. And then I am told I cared literally nothing for him !
What more would you have had me do ? "
"Give him a little of the love in the present," said the
Doctor, with quiet sadness, " that you have been so lavishly
storing up for him in the future. Do you know. Sir Edward,
that it is the general opinion of the whole school that your
nephew had gradually grown old enough to feel that life, with
no ray of loving kindness to shine upon it, was too hard to
Once more the head that had held itself so bravely at Water-
loo sank down. But the old veteran was not going to yield
quite without a struggle ; he showed fight still a little longer in
the surly mutter —
"What did the young blackguard's father and grandfather
go and get killed for, then, and leave him to the care of the
old bachelor of the family? How was I to know that the
So Edward Bertram.
young rascal wanted me to love him ? I loved bis grandfather
— a bonnier lad than his grandson need ever hope to be, dead
or alive — and his grandfather got killed. Ay, man, killed by
my side, saving his worthless old elder brother's life, who'd
have died, and gladly, to save him. Then I loved the rascal's
father; loved him as if he'd been my own son — ay, and more,
for he was my dead brother's son, and he got killed. And
now, man alive, you'd have had me love this good-for-nothing
boy ! And he's gone. Thank you ; I think I've had enough
And then the stem voice broke, and the iron frame shook
with suppressed emotion.
The lonely, bereaved old man might be almost forgiven for
thinking that a life begun without love was less to be pitied
than one that was bereft, at its ending, of the rich treasures it
had once possessed.
Had the head-master been able to turn the famous war-worn
warrior into a small boy now, he would have done it — not that
he might chastise him, but that he might dare the more freely
to try to comfort him.
At the same time, the position of affairs was rather embar-
rassing, for it was quite impossible that the head-master of
Errington should sit all day in his library with the great-uncle
of a runaway pupil They had been together for more than an
hour now, and the old general showed no more signs of
intending to take leave than he had done five minutes after his
arrival ; and there really seemed nothing more to be said or
done that could be of any profit
" How was it," asked Sir Edward at last — " how was it that
my nephew was so dependent upon my love ? Was the lad
such a curmudgeonly young rascal that he could win no liking
from his schoolfellows ?"
"Nothing of the sort," said Dr. Brown quickly. "Of
course, as he was one of the younger boys, I had very little to
"/ want my heir^ sir'^ 8i
do with him myself; but I never met him without looking with
pleasure at his frank face and honest brown eyes. And he was
a general favourite amongst his companions. It was the long,
dreary holidays to which your orders condemned him that made
him think over and understand the dreary desolateness of his
life. Dozens of his schoolmates would have gladly taken him
with them when they went home for their holidays, but your
orders were strict that he was to accept no invitations. And
I find that he was peculiarly unfortunate in the silent, reserved
character of the master in whose house he spent his last
That admission was somewhat unwise on Dr. Brown's part
His listener snapped at it as eagerly as a cat might do at an
unwary mouse. He sat up again, and his grey eyes glittered as
he exclaimed imperiously —
'' And pray, sir, whose fault was it that he was condemned to
spend his holidays with a brute? Perhaps you'll say that
that was my fault, sir? I deny it, sir, I deny it. I affirm
that it was the fault of somebody else, not a hundred
miles from me. So there, sir ! Now what do you say to that,
"That you are a disgracefully impertinent old man, and
that I desire you to leave me instantly," Dr. Brown was half,
no, a quarter tempted to say ; but he did not say it. He was
beginning to understand the heart of the way-worn old man
better than he did when the General first entered his room.
He understood it still better when the old man rocked
himself slowly backwards and forwards, and murmured in tender
tones of pity —
" Poor boy, poor boy ! Four weeks shut up with a brute !
My Edward's son shut up with a brute !"
" Not a brute. General — anything but a brute," Dr. Brown
ventured at last to remonstrate on behalf of his maligned
master. "Mr. Smith is certainly not a brute— rather lax,
82 Edward Bertram.
perhaps, if anything, in discipline. Only not given to laughter
or conversation. No care for boys' amusements."
" Then he is a brute, sir," growled Sir Edward — " a selfish
brute. So what do you say to that, sir ? Bless my heart alive,
are boys to have no pleasure in their young days, but to be
snarled and frowned into young prigs ? His next holidays my
heir shall spend at Bertram Hall."
And with that very positively spoken, but at the same time
most doubtful announcement, the Duke of Wellington's well-
known friend and comrade rose to take his leave. Dr. Brown
rose also, but before he had moved a step from his writing-
table there came a sharp knock on the panel of the door.
The knock was followed by the almost immediate entrance
of the visitor, before the Doctor had fairly had time to finish
his words, " Come in."
He started when he recognised the identity of his new guest,
as well he might, and exclaimed in a tone of slightly indignant
At the utterance of that name the General started also, and
strode forward towards the young man who had just entered
the room, and with his wrinkled face growing purple with fury,
he dung his right hand out towards him as he exclaimed —
" Young man, if you are the villain whose acts helped to
drive my heir to desperation, I can tell you that your
opportune arrival here has saved me a journey down to your
home. I can say what I had to say without waste of time.
You have destroyed my hopes, young man; and my object
in life, for the future, shall be to destroy yours. I will dog
you, watch your course, and when you think to grasp the
coveted crown of your struggles, I will contrive, somehow, to
be always ready to dash it down. You have robbed me of my
heir ; I will rob you of the success you crave, the triumphs you
expect to obtain."
"/ want my heir, sir^ 83
Then the baxonet strode on past Robinson, out of the room
and down the stairs, leaving his hearers electrified with the
vindictiveness of his speech — a speech made still more bitter
by the relentless fierceness of the tone in which it was uttered.
Robinson's pale face turned a shade paler, and, the instinct
of party feeling rising up in his master's breast, the Doctor felt
drawn to take part with his pupil against his vengeful enemy.
While the two struggled to regain composure, the wealthy and
influential Sir Edward Bertram was suffered to depart unat-
tended, and make his way across the school-yard and towards
the outQr gates alone.
'' Hullo ! who's that ?" asked a boy, standing amidst a knot
of companions at the edge of the cricket field.
*' Oh ! a bigwig of some sort," said another, looking admir-
ingly at the fine, upright figure, and stern, commanding face.
'* I know who he is," exclaimed a third boy ; " at least I
know half, for I asked the man-servant who came with him,
and he stared at me because I didn't know, as if he thought
I'd just come from the Cannibal Islands."
'* Well there, cut all that, look sharp. Who did he say he
" Why, he said, ' Bless you, young gentleman ! don't you
know as my master's Sir Edward, him as was so great at
Waterloo before you were born?' But he didn't say what
name came after the Edward."
"Never mind," cried the first boy. "You are sure, Ben,
that he said ' Sir Edward' ? "
Yes, Ben was quite sure of that. And being convinced on
that point, the questioner sprang over the railings, and flew
after the retreating " bigwig," slipping adroitly in front of him,
cricket-cap in hand, just before he reached the gates.
The General stopped short, as, indeed, he was bound to do,
if he did not intend to try to walk over the tolerably tall and
broad obstruction in his path.
84 Edward Bertram.
" Do you want anything, boy ?"
'' Yes, please, Sir Edward," as glibly as if he had known Sir
Edward's first name, and second name too, any time the past
thirteen years, and been tipped by him with praiseworthy
regularity. ^'Yes, please, Sir Edward. You know it's the
custom for all visitors here, whoVe done anything fine, to get
us a holiday; so perhaps you'll do the same, please. The
battle of Waterloo was a good many years ago, but that doesn't
matter, sir, a bit — ^at least it won't if you tell the head-master
that it needn't"
A grim smile spread over the soldier's stern countenance, as
he looked down at the merry, mischievous face before him.
Then his eyes grew dim as he asked —
" Did you know my heir, my nephew, Ned Bertram, my boy?
Did you like him ? "
The fun and impudence died out of the blue eyes, and their
owner moved aside as he stammered, "Yes, sir, . yes— every-
body liked — liked Ned but you — ^and — thank — ^you, sir — ^but
we don't want the holiday."
And then the boy rushed away — not back to the companions
who had been admiringly watching his " plucky proceedings,"
but first to the solitude of one of the class-rooms, to get rid of-
the suddenly-recalled sorrow for his lost schoolfellow. And
then he flew to his favourite monitor, Fred Nicholson, to tell
him of the meeting with poor, jolly old Ned Bertram's horrid
old tyrant of an uncle.
*' And I wouldn't have had a holiday, not of his giving,
wretched old Blue Beard!" exclaimed the boy impetuously;
" not if the school term was to last all the rest of the year."
" Perhaps he never understood how dull Bertram must find
having no letters or messages, and no home to go to in the
holidays," said Nicholson quietly.
He had watched the scene between the boy and the General
from his window, and^ although he had heard none of their con-
^* I want my heir ^ sir. ^^ 85
versation, he had been struck with the way in which the old
man's stately head had drooped when the boy hastened away
from his side ; and he began to think, now that he heard who
he was, that the whole weary air of dejection, betrayed by man-
ner and figure, was that of a man who had lost a possession
which he would have been glad to keep.
If such were the case, Nicholson, for his part, felt that he
must forgive him, and even pity him, for not having sooner dis-
covered the value of his treasure.
That evening Sir Edward Bertram's be-plushed and be-pow-
dered man-servant came up to the college again, with a message
to the head-master.
"If you please. Sir Edward's respects to Dr. Brown, and if
Dr. Brown could only suggest anything more to be done
towards finding Sir Edward's heir, Sir Edward would be deeply
" Dr. Brown's respects back, and he would try to think of
And then Dr. Brown leant his head in his hands with a
weary sigh, for he thought he knew that the luckless young heir
was dead. He little dreamt, however, in what a strange and
startling way his fears were likely to prove to have been
The next day the owner of Bertram Hall posted back to the
estate that he had been making so beautiful for the runaway
who had hoped to find the wide world more home-like than his
"What shall we be doing about the improvements now.
General ? " asked Jarvis, the steward.
" Go on with them. My heir will be sick of the sea in a
year's time, and then we'll have him here — and — and — well —
if he proves too great a nuisance to me, I shall turn him over
to you, Jarvis, and a tutor ; and if you and he and the tutor,
with the aid of guns, dogs, books, and horses, cannot manage
86 Edward Bertram.
to make yourselves happy — ^well, you'll be a set of sticks, who
had better be miserable."
It was all very well for Sir Edward to talk like this, and to
decide upon what he would choose to have done twelve months
hence. Unfortunately for him, his nephew was not a chicken
with a string tied round its leg, whereof one end was in his
HUMBLE PIE EATEN TOO PROUDLY,
WE must return for a few minutes to Dr. Brown's library,
from which we hurried, somewhat unceremoniously, after
Sir Edward Bertram, leaving the head-master and his former
pupil standing opposite each other, and both equally pale,
although agitated by the different feelings of sorrow, fear, and
" I cannot forbear saying, Robinson, that I am grieved you
should have had those harsh, meaningless threats hurled at you
after this fashion."
** And by the uncle, of all people," said the young man, with
mingled scorn^ and passion, " I wonder whether old
whether Sir Edward Bertram knows to whom the boy himself
gave the larger share of the blame for his sentimental miseries
and puling "
" Hold !" shouted Dr. Brown, and he brought his hand down
with a sudden thud upon the book lying on his table nearest
to him. " Be silent, sir. You have presumed too far upon
my momentary compassion for you. You deserve none. I
doubt if you are even conscious of needing it A youth so
callous-hearted that he can descend to libelling a dead com-
panion is beneath compassion. He deserves little more than
the loathing pity we may bestow upon a half-crushed viper,"
SS Edward Bertram.
The fine intellectual face of the head-master glowed with
righteous indignation, and even Robinson's dull conscience was
stung by his words so far as to lead him to enter a protest
against the positive way in which the Doctor had spoken of his
former schoolfellow's death."
" You blame me, sir, for my words. I don't know whether
you think it fair to pile up what you consider my crime by
affirming for a fact what is only a supposition of your own,
founded on not one tittle of evidence. If I believed Bertram
dead, as you do, I might speak of him differently. At the
same time, I have asked for neither pity nor compassion. I
have come here to-day to claim bare justice."
" What is it you want of me ? In what manner am I to
show you justice ?"
"The tales of my last morning here and of my sudden
departure have spread abroad by some means, and the particu-
lars have got so shamefully exaggerated and distorted that I
am likely to suffer great injury. My tutor says that he has
heard from Oxford that the gross falsehoods detailed to my dis-
advantage may even prejudice my admission to my college."
" I am very sorry," said Dr. Brown gravely.
" I trust," replied Robinson hotly, " that you will see fit, sir,
to be more than sorry. I have come to demand "
A strange, firm, set look came over the Doctor's face, and
Robinson stopped short with a sort of gasp, and his sudden
imperiousness of manner dwindled and dwindled till it faded
all away and died.
There was a long pause. The Doctor's over-indulged Persian
cat jumped up on the table, and laid itself down comfortably
on the top of its master's papers, and the Doctor stroked its ears
Robinson's hatred of young Bertram, or of his memory, grew
fiercer than ever, but nothing of that sentiment appeared in his
voice when he next spoke. His words and their tone betrayed
Humble pie eaten too proudly. 89
nothing but the most intense anxiety when he again ventured
to break the silence.
" Sir, do you mean — can you mean to refuse to clear me of
these false charges ? Your refusal, sir, blights all the prospects
of my life."
"Of what refusal are you speaking?" asked the master
calmly, turning from his cat to look quietly at the agitated
speaker. "I have given no refusal, for I have been asked
nothing. I seldom, if ever, refuse requests — wheriy* he added
significantly, '^ they are couched in such language that I can
grant them with due regard to my own dignity."
' Twenty minutes later. Dr. Brown was in possession of all the
particulars of the queer, unt rue, and in some cases ridiculous
stories about Robinson, that seemed to have been grown and
spread by the air j and Robinson had the satisfaction of per-
using the letter to the Vice-Principal of College, in which
the Doctor denied all the false charges.
When the Vice-Principal learnt the nature of the real charge
against the new scholar, he dismissed it with an astonished
laugh and a —
" Pooh-pooh I The idea of making all this coil about noth-
ing ! I'd stake the Bodleian upon it that the youngster merited
a dozen worse floggings than he got And as for running away !
Well, if only all the bad boys would run away, there would be
more plums left for the good ones."
And so that was all the pity Sir Edward Bertram's lost heir
got from the learned Vice-Principal of College.
Just before Robinson left Dr. Brown's library, Lynx came
snifling ia He had been on a lawless hunting expedition on
his own account, and had only just returned in time to discover
the presence of his old aversion on the premises. He had
bounded up the stairs with the greatest eagerness, and entered
the room with almost a chuckle of a growl, when he found that
he was not too late to go through his tormenting exhibition.
90 Edward Bertram.
Alas for poor Lynx's laudable ambitioa I Dr. Brown de-
tected his purpose, and, calling him to his side, made him lie
down while Jefferjr Robinson made his escape from the
When the two met again, poor faithful old Lynx was almost
too aged to enter his lengthy and public protest against sullen
natures and bad temper, even had he wished.
A SWIMMING MATCH WITH A WHALE.
MY boy, I am come to cany you up on deck; will you let
me ? Dr. Clarke says that it will do you good.''
The speaker was Captain Fender, and the person he ad-
dressed with a voice of such kind solicitude was a long, lanky,
hollow-eyed young chap, with as few pretensions to good looks
as one might expect to see in a day's march. And yet, if you
could have seen how he was being gazed at by the captain,
and Bill Anderson, and the first mate, the good Scotchman,
Macgregor, you would really have supposed that they considered
him the most glorious object that their eyes could rest
Well then, to tell the truth — perhaps they did. And you
need not quarrel with them very greatly for their bad taste
either; for whenever you suffer a blow to save a smaller boy
from getting it, you think yourself something of a hero, and
Ned Bertram had put himself in danger of death, and nearly
suffered it too, to save the lives of others.
He did not appear to have much consciousness either that
he had elevated himself into the ranks of the heroes. But
then, certainly, he had only the day before recovered con-
sciousness of anything, so that he had not as yet had much
time to trouble his head about questions of moral philosophy
9 J Edward Bertram.
or metaphysics, or any other abstruse science that might teach
him the precise thoughts and ways and deeds that go to the
making up a hero.
It is queer to hear people sometimes talking of heroes as if
they were compositions, like mincemeat, to be made out of
certain given ingredients, duly weighed and measured. The
only absolutely quite necessary ingredients in the recipe are
generally left out —
" Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and
with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and thou shalt love
thy neighbour as thyself."
However, to return to the small group collected in Edward
Bertram's crib of a cabin — rather, we should say, around its
door, for Edward Bertram in his hammock, and Captain
Pender beside it, were as many human beings as it would
The chief mate, the doctor, and honest Bill Anderson had
to content themselves with peering in upon him from the
outside, while his two nurses during his illness, Mrs. Johnson and
poor Mrs. Downing, mopped their eyes and giggled hysterically
in the background.
When the captain asked Ned if he might carry him up on
deck, Ned's face flushed a little, partly with pleasure at the
prospect of getting out of his close quarters, and partly at the
suggestion that he should be carried.
" I thank you, sir. It will be very jolly to get up on deck
again ; but — but — I don't think I need trouble yoiL"
" Trouble 1 my boy ; trouble ! Why, your weight now
wouldn't outbalance that of a rope's end, I believe. Come
But still Ned made no sign of " coming along " — that was
of letting the captain lift him up ; and Bill grunted —
" Fact is, cap'n, sir, I believe t' yoong gentleman thinks
carryin' an' being a babby goos togither. Let un try to get up
A Swimming Match with a Whale, 93
on deck hisself, sir. Joost let un have a try, that's all, as he
be so mighty vain o' his strength."
"Oh! that's it, is it?" exclaimed the captain. "By all
manner of means make the attempt for yourself. Only don't
blame us if you tumble down and get hurt"
"No, of course not," said Ned eagerly, as he began to
raise himself in the hammock. '' But I'm sure I can manage
"Oh I o' coorse," muttered the sailor; "an' puffin' an'
bio win' like a grampus a'ready."
The next moment there was a pitiful cry from Ned, and
from the captain a half-laughing, half-angry —
"There, you obstinate fellow 1 If I hadn't been on the
look-out to catch you, knowing what would happen, you would
have been really done-for this time."
And then, having got the helpless invalid in his arms, with-
out further ado Captain Pender marched off with him, and
soon had him comfortably ensconced in a quiet, sunny corner
on deck, for there was a fresh breeze blowing, and the sun was
not unwelcome. It must be remembered that this sailing vessel,
the Good Bess, was rapidly making way towards winter, not
summer, and the end of May was the end of autumn with her
then rather than the end of spring. But whatever the season
might choose to call itself, or to be called, was a matter of the
most perfect indifference to Ned as he lay rejoicing in the
feeling of returning health.
He found considerable satisfaction too in relieving his injured
feelings by a mutter to Bill Anderson.
" You know, Anderson, I don't care a bit about your laughr
ing at me like that — not a bit. If the captain hadn't gone
swathing me up like a mummy in this gigantic North Pole sort
of a dressing-gown thing, I could have got out of my hammock
and up on deck as well as you could have done."
" Ay, ay, to be sure, sir, as well as I could have done, if
94 Edward Bertram.
I'd been ill o' brain fever for three weeks an' more. O' coorse
yer could, sir ; o* coorse yer could."
" Oh ! well, Bill, if you are going on like that, I shan't argue
with you," said Ned, and he turned over on his improvised
couch with a contented sigh, and fell asleep.
When he awoke, there was a great commotion going on on
"What's up?" he exclaimed eagerly.
But everyone was too excited to answer him. Some were
rushing one way, some another. The faces of some were
lighted up with expressions of the greatest glee, the faces of
others betokened apprehension and alarm.
" What's up ?" he called again ; but equally in vain.
Then he tried to rise, but the effort was too much for him,
and made him feel faint. He was obliged to sink back again,
and try to make out the mystery by using his eyes.
At a short distance from the ship, rising and falling on the
waves, he could see a boat. Near it, half in, half out of the
water, was a great dark object, looking like another boat
turned upside down. Was it possible that there had been a
great accident while he was asleep ?
Ned's interest and curiosity grew intense, and he was the
more puzzled, inasmuch as the boat, which was right side upper-
most and filled with sailors, appeared so uncertain in its move-
ments, now making a sudden dash forward towards the other, and
then, when it had managed to get tolerably close, pulling away
from it again as though it were some fatal whirlpool.
Ned's head was beginning to throb painfully with bewilder-
ment, when Jack, the ghost believer, came by.
" Jack ! I say. Jack ! stop a moment, there's a good fellow,
" Ay, ay, sir. Glad to see you looking finely again, sir."
" Thanks, Jack. But tell me, what's everybody looking at ?
What's that boat out there for?"
A Swimming Match with a Whale. 95
Jack frowned and shuddered, and turned pale,
<< That boat out there, Mr. Bertram, is engaged in a impious
work. The men are tryin' to ketch the whale sent by the
Lord to swaller up our Jonah down below."
Ned stared, as well he might And what amount of truth
he would have gleaned in time out of this astounding piece of
information it is impossible to say, for at that moment Bill
Anderson came bustling up, his whole face aglow with
eagerness and gratification, and with hardly breath enough to
"Heart alive, Mr. Bertram," he exclaimed; and then he
had to stop to breathe before he could go on. '* Heart alive,
but if you ain't in luck to be able to come on deck this
identical day. We've a sight to show you now, as I'll be bound
they ain't never showed ye at your schools, an' yer cricket
fields, an' yer footballings."
" Very likely. Bill But what is it ? Is it really a whale ? "
" Well, now, ain't I coom a purpose to take ye to see for
yerself. Only, mebbe," with a slight grin, ** ye'll be being too
proud to be carried by me where ye can see the sight?"
" Nonsense, Anderson, don't tease."
Ah ! there was a shout.
" Oh, do make haste, all the fun will be over."
" Hey ! Misther Berthram, sir, an' is it fun ye call it," cried a
poor Irishwoman. " An' it's Biddy, meself, that am thinking
the monsther'U be after heaving the ship of us over, the on-
" If it doesna ha' the ship over, it'll ha' th' boat over, if
yon lubbers dinna look out," growled Bill, as he laid down
Bertram in a position from which he could very well see the
whole of the sport
A huge creature was the whale that had been unwise enough
to come to close quarters with the Good Bess, A splendid
creature one or two of the passengers were calling it
96 Edward Bertram.
But with that verdict Ned could not agree, unless si^e alone
rendered it worthy of the praise. It certainly could not boast
of any beauty of outward appearance, for it was so completely
hung round and covered over with masses of seaweed and
barnacles, that it resembled nothing so much as a gigantic log
of timber put to soak in the water.
As the monster rolled slowly and heavily in the green ocean,
and once came with a great, lurching shock up against the
ship, most of the women emigrants shrieked, and some of the
sterner sex looked as though they would not be sorry if it
were dead or departed.
Now was the time, thought one of these exiles, to distin-
guish himself. He had left his home in his native village with
the full intention of distinguishing himself, and here was the
very opportunity for doing it.
He had never, as yet, been very clear in his own mind as to
how he would set about making himself famous. But here was
the very thing to his hand. There was a whale to be killed,
and he would kill it, and be famous.
That was a nice little programme, very nice, but, unfortun-
ately, drawing up a programme is not always dancing it Our
young friend, however, proceeded to dance through his in
fine style, but not quite to the tune he expected.
On leaving his country home, Tony Lumpkin bought a rusty
old musket, that had done good service in the wars thirty years
ago. He had never fired off anything in his life, as yet. But
he said he must be provided with firearms to shoot the lions
and tigers, and other such companions, in the country he was
Some one suggested that he had heard lions and tigers did
not abound in Australia. But who was going to pay heed to
what he said ! He was a poor-spirited creature, who had never
dreamt of making up his mind to be distinguished. Tony
Lumpkin knew better than to pay heed to what he had heard«
A Swimming Match with a Whale. 97
And so he bought his musket, and paid for it, and for some
balls and powder too, and stored his delightful new possessions
carefully away in his travelling trunk for future use. And, lo
and behold ! that future had arrived.
To shoot a whale at sea would be at least as glorious an
achievement as shooting a lion on land. And — a considera-
tion not to be lost sight of, even when one did wish to be
distinguished — perhaps, of the two enterprises, it looked as if
it might be a trifle the safer.
Accordingly, while the boatful of sailors was lowered into the
water, Tony Lumpkin, or country bumpkin, whichever you
please to call him, unearthed his treasures. He crammed
down the poor, ill-used old musket three charges of powder
and three balls.
*' I'll do for the big beast," chuckled Mr. Tony. '< 111 do for
him, see if I don't, sure as eggs is eggs. No use a doin' things
skimpily when it's a question of a ten-yard-long brute like this'n
yonder. It'll take the whole hog to make him into sausages,
sure as my name's Lumpkin."
And so, by way of giving the whale the benefit of the
"whole hog," on the top of the three charges of powder and
the three balls Mr. Tony Lumpkin generously sprinkled
down a pinch or two more powder, as he had seen his
mother, now and again, put a handful more currants into
the batch of Christmas puddings. Then he marched up on
A suspicion that the captain, and the mates, and the sailors
might envy him his approaching triumph, and jealously try to
prevent his obtaining it, made him carefully conceal his truly
formidable weapon inside his coat until he gained a favourable
position and opportunity for its discharge.
Anderson had just placed Edward Bertram comfortably,
and the excitement of a series of more spirited move-
ments on the part of the whale had brought everyone
98 Edward Bertram.
around the lad, when there was a sudden rush and triumphant
Tony Lumpkin was to the fore. With one exulting wave of
the rusty musket, and an exulting cry — " Look out, all of ye,
m do for him ! " he put the weapon to his shoulder, put his
finger to the trigger, and fired.
" Stop !" " Stop, you fool ! " " Stop him ! " shouted three
Too late. The shouts of *'Stop him I" were succeeded,
with scarcely a moment's pause, by a yell, a sharp cry, and a
perfectly deafening torrent of shrieks.
The yell was uttered by Tony Lumpkin himself who fell to
the ground with a hand nearly shattered to bits. The badly-
treated, worthy old musket had revenged itself for ill-usage in
its old age by bursting, as might have been expected. If mag-
nificent hunters could die before they come down to drawing
hansom cabs, no doubt they would do so, just as lobsters
prefer to give up a claw to demeaning themselves to ask for
liberty of an adversary.
But the musket would have behaved more fairly had it con-
fined its revenge to its ignorant owner, instead of dealing pain,
and danger, and confusion all around it, amongst those who
were innocent even of the knowledge of its existence.
The yell, as has been said, was uttered by the unfortunate
Tony himself. The sharp cry was extorted from a gentleman
who was struck just over the region of the heart by a piece of
the lock. He must have been killed on the spot, had he not
been fortunate enough to have a half-crown in his waistcoat
pocket, which stopped the course of the missile. Money is of
some use, evidently, even where there are no shops. Mind
you, always keep a half-crown in your waistcoat pocket ; you
are sure to be glad of it some day. Tell your relations, you
know, how valuable it may prove to you. And when one
melts away, you had better try to get another 1
A Swimming Match with a Whale. 99
If you want to know who uttered the perfectly deafening
torrent of shrieks, the fact is, '' Want must be your master/'
unless you would like the passengers' lists and the crew list
copied out for you. For very little less than that would
answer your question. Everybody shrieked who had a shriek
in him (or her). And good reason, too.
Whales cannot stand fire. They have not been brought up
to that sort of thing, and don't know what to make of it, any
more than cows used to do of railway trains. Now-a-days cows
are accustomed to trains, and don't mind them a bit ; and no
doubt, if plenty of people amused themselves with bursting guns
^ver whales, whales would get accustomed to the sound, and
not mind it a bit. Hitherto, however, the experiment has not
been tried, and certainly it had not been in 1837, when not
even telephones and phonographs had been thought of. Ac-
cordingly, when that poor, stupid Tony Lumpkin made all
that horrible uproar with his musket at the most inopportune
moment he could have chosen, the whale was startled out of
its seven senses. It gave a great lunge forward, and a bound,
and flung up its tail into the air. And up into the air with its
tail went the boat, and the ten men in it ; the men and the tail
and the boat all coming down again together with a most
tremendous, simultaneous flop! Now, do you wonder that
some screams were heard ?
Happily, all the men could swim, and the wind had fallen
to a dead calm before the captain let his men amuse them-
selves with an hour's whale-fishing. But although things were
so far in their favour, matters were more than serious enough.
Swimming in company with an agitated whale might be more
than either Captain Webb or Captain Boyton would care for as
an amusement. Some of the men dodged the leviathan, caught
the ropes thrown out, and got on board ; one man scrambled
on to the upturned boat But two or three of the men began
to look exhausted.
loo Edward Bertram.
Another champion appeared upon the scene. It was no
Tony Lumpkin this time, not even a first cousin of that race,
but a grandee of a passenger travelling for amusement's sake.
He had been asleep in his own sumptuous private cabin during
the first part of the excitement, and only came out just in time
to see the final catastrophe produced by his ambitious country-
He looked on a few moments at the swimming men, and at
the spouting, snorting, floundering monster, and then hastened
back to his cabin. It was the work of a minute to get out his
revolver, return to the ship's side, and lodge the first bullet in
the whale's back.
Alas ! except to make it more stormy in its movements, the
bullet might as well have been a sugar-plum, for all the effect
it seemed to have.
"Ah! Mr. Murray, sir, help us!" cried one of the poor
fellows in the water, who had swum from side to side of the
ship a dozen times, only to find the whale each time there
" I will, my man, I will," he shouted back, adding, in a lower
tone, a fervent " please God." And throwing one of his pistols
to a sailor clinging to the boat, who cleverly caught it, the man
took a steady aim and fired.
There was a great plunge. A second report. A faint flap
of the tail, a roll over, and the whale was dead. The men and
the boat were rescued, the wounded Tony Lumpkin was carried
off" to the doctor's quarters, and Dr. Clarke gave orders, before
going to attend to his new patient —
" Anderson, carry that boy down, and put him back in his
hammock directly. He'd no business to have all this excite-
ment the first day of coming on deck."
So Ned Bertram was forthwith conveyed below, and saw no
more sights that night. He had his supper given to him, and
was ordered to go to sleep.
A Swimming Match with a Whale. lot
" But what is going to be done with the whal^ Anderson ?*
"Go to sleep."
And then the cabin door was shut, so it was no good Ned
grumbling out —
"You surly, old, ill-natured bear !"
There was no one to heed or reply to the grunt.
WHEN Captain Pender made his appearance, the day after
the whale adventure, in Ned's cabin, tie met no repulse
of his kind offer to carry him on deck again. Having arranged
the boy and his vraps, with fatherly solicitude, he seated
himself beside him for a few minutes' conversation.
" Bertram, I fear that it is scarcely right to recall terrible
memories to you, but remember, if for the future I do not
allude to them, it will not be because I have forgotten, or can
ever forget, the patient, splendid nobility of your late conduct
Nothing, I confess, but the awful proof, gained through your
steady determination, of that Storton's villainy would have ever
induced me to believe in its depth, or to take sufficient pre-
cautions against it
Ned had turned very white, and shivered.
"There, my boy, we will talk of something pleasanter; I
shall have that tyrant, Dr. Clarke, declaring that it is necessary
for my health that I should lose a double tooth, by way of
punishing me for throwing his patient back."
Ned smiled. No one on board would have dared to make
that joke about the captain but the captain himself.
Captain Pender would have walked up to the muzzle of a
gun about to be fired as coolly as he would have walked into a
" Where's Storton V 103
dining-room, had duty appeared to dictate such a step ; but
when it came to a question of having a tooth drawn — if the
truth must be confessed — Captain Pender was an awful coward.
He excused himself to himself by saying, '* I can't help it."
He excused himself to other people, after a fashion, by
frightening them out of daring to allude to the undignified
His allusion to tooth-drawing, by way of changing the con-
versation, was one of the greatest proofs that he could have
given Bertram of his fatherly care for him. Unfortunately, his
magnanimity was wasted, for Ned harked back to the former
topic himself. After he felt his own hands drag down the straw
matches, and Storton's hand fasten on his throat, he knew
nothing more until, two days ago, he had opened his eyes
wearily in his narrow slip of a cabin, and seen Mrs. Downing
holding a cup, with a camphorish smell about it, to his lips.
And he wanted to know more.
There was a short pause, however, after Captain Pender's
mention of the doctor. Neither of the companions appeared
to be very ready with that " something pleasanter " to talk of.
Ned looked out at the sea, and tried to collect his thoughts.
And the captain looked at Ned, and puzzled his brains, as he
bad often done before, as to what sort of a horrible old wretch
the great-uncle must be, who had shown himself so indifferent
to such a first-rate young nephew. For, of course, Bertram
had long ago been called upon for his autobiography.
At last Ned thought of one very palpable question to ask —
" How was I saved, sir ? "
<'Mr. Macgregor and Bill Anderson were on the search
An inward thanksgiving rose up in Ned's heart Since
he found the ship safe, and all on it, he was not at all sorry to
find himself safe too.
"And how about — ^about — Storton — sir; where is he?"
I04 Edward Bertram.
"Where he was before."
"No! never!'' exclaimed Ned, starting up with the false
strength given him by surprise and apprehension.
Captam Pender pulled him back again and pushed him
" Don't go flying ofif on a wrong tack in that fashion, you
impatient fellow. You're as bad as a woman. Although
Storton is in the same place as before, neither the spirits of
wine nor the gunpowder are in the same places they occupied
before. They are now pretty nearly as far removed from
him as the space of the ship will permit Does that satisfy
you ? "
"Yes," answered Ned simply, but his face gave a far more
emphatic assent than his tongue thought needful
" For your further re-assurance," continued his friend, " I
may as well tell you that Storton is so secured now, that, with
all his clever power to distend and contract his muscles, not
even his ingenuity can set him free."
"I hope not," murmured Ned. He was impressed with
a tremendous idea of the forger's powers. " What are you
going to do with him when we reach Sydney, sir?"
Captain Pender's face looked very grim. " Get him hung, I
Ned shuddered, and the captain thought, regretfully, that it
was owing to his thoughtlessness in reminding him of the pain-
ful episode of his own first rough welcoming on board. He
tried to rally him.
" How could you be so foolish, Bertram, by-the-bye, as to
believe my joking threat, that day you were fished out of the
hold, that I would \\zxi%you f"
Ned's thoughts had, in reality, travelled so far fi-om himself,
that he did not at once remember to what his companion
alluded ; but when he did, he answered readily enough-^
" I don't see how I was to help believing you. The way you
" Where's Storton ?" 105
put the matter seemed so just and plain. If I lived I should
have to have food, and I hadn't got any money to pay for it
And you'd no call to feed me for nothing, so you settled
to hang me."
Captain Pender burst out into a loud, long fit of laughter at
the calm simplicity of Ned's way of stating the matter. It
certainly had an air of plain reasonableness about it that might
recommend it to the meanest capacity.
** Really, my boy, we shall have to make you a lawyer
instead of a sailor, you know, if you argue like this. I had no
idea that you had such a knack of hitting the nail on the head.
But I'm afraid that the world would look a bit queerish, and get
rather empty, if everyone was hung who was found where he was
not wanted. Fray, though, what are you looking so grave
'' It's a horrible thought that that Storton is all alone down
in that black hole, to wait weeks, and weeks, and weeks — ah !
how terrible ! — only to be hung at last ! "
** Well, my boy, I should not think that you need waste much
pity on him, for he tried his best to do for you. That's one of
the things that will help to get him hung."
" Poor wretch ! " murmured Ned again. " Is there no hope
for him, sir?"
'' I fervently trust not, unless we are in danger of shipwreck,
and then he shall have his chance of swimming for his life with
the rest of us."
JUST to give an idea of the course of Edward Bertram's
voyage to Australia in 1837, it may be as well to mention
shortly that the Good Bess left England on the 23rd of March.
On the 27th of May, when the whale adventure took place,
the two islands of Trinidad and Martin Vas were in sight,
about 600 miles off the coast of South America ; and on the
ist of June Ned got his first clear view of the constellation
of the Southern Cross.
On the 1 2th of June, after having experienced considerable
difficulty from contrary winds, and squally, wintry weather,
they rounded the Cape of Good Hope, that undiscovered goal
of the hopes of the earnest-hearted Portuguese, Prince Henr)%
in the 15th century; and now, when the present chapter
opens, on the 28th of July, the Good Bess is still beating about
in the Indian Ocean, many and many a long hundred miles
from its destination.
Provisions are growing scarce. Captain Pender's face is
growing very long, and the emigrants have become too
depressed, anxious, and weary to grumble any more.
That terrible 28th of July wore on. No sign appeared of a
change for the better in the wind.
It was Ned's fifteenth birthday. He had grown much taller
Cast Out 107
and stronger since his illness than he was before, and was now
a stalwart, manly-looking youth, whom not even his former
monitor, Robinson, would have thought of flogging.
But Ned had almost forgotten Errington and his school-
fellows, as he sat for nearly an hour watching the sea, which
had been gradually settling into a sullen calm since the
The sailor Bill came up and stood beside him.
^' Anderson, when do you think there is a chance of an
alteration in this state of things?"
" Before night, sir."
" Hurrah !" exclaimed Ned— or rather he began the exclama-
tion, but it died upon his lips before he had fairly uttered it,
for a strange whistling wind swept suddenly across the ship at
that moment, as though mocking him, and Bill's hand came
heavily down upon his shoulder.
'' Whist ye, then, young gentleman ! There's naught to call
" But you said — you said," began 'Ned, stammering, for his
companion's gloomy tones had fairly daunted him — " you said
the wind would change."
" And so it will — ^so it has — ^but I did not say for the better."
A second of those weird, wailing winds that in Ireland you
hear called " the Banshee's Warning" swept swift and sharply
For a moment the Good Bess was motionless. A terrible,
waiting silence reigned on board. Then a strong quiver shook
every timber of the vessel, as though it were a living thing, and
shuddering from fear.
Ned instinctively started up from his post and looked around
him. The first thing that met his eyes was the face of Captain
Pender, so white and set that it looked almost as though it
were carved in stone^ except for the open mouth issuing rapid
io8 Edward Bertram.
Some of the emigrant women were clutching their children
to them; others of the passengers — ^men and women alike —
were cowering together in huddled masses, awaiting in panic*
stricken terror some calamity, they scarcely comprehended of
A third of those horrible, unearthly shrieks, longer and
stronger than its predecessors. The masts creaked and bent
before it, and all useless hands were sent below. The sea, that
had fallen to the dead-level of a lake, began to heave and surge.
The scudding clouds seemed suddenly to settle and thicken.
The whole sky was darkened. The very act of breathing
became an effort
Then the wind began to gather up — slowly at first, with a
sort of murmur — a warning — such a warning as a lion's growl
may be to an unarmed man. The sea rose higher and higher,
green, crested-looking, lashing waves rising to the deluge pour*
ing down from above. Then the storm broke in all its fury.
Two men were lashed to the helm.
The waves, as they towered up and rushed in torrents over
the ship's sides, dashed the men hither and thither, leaving the
vessel helpless, to be driven as the wind would. The thunder
bellowed and roared, and the lightning revealed a red, lurid sky
when it made a path of light for itself athwart the hail and rain
" Get below, my boy/' said Captain Pender, coming across
Edward Bertram kneeling on the flooded deck, with his arms
about a mast to save himself from being washed overboard*
'' If we have to take to the boats, I will see that you have timely
** Then are we in danger, sir?"
** You said Storton would be set free if we were."
'' Thinking of him now 1 Well, if Anderson chooses to bring
him on deck, he can."
Cast Out. X09
Then the captain went on, and Ned, leaving the mast, and
clinging first to one thing and then another, made his way
below, found the key of Storton's narrow dungeon, and per-
suaded Anderson, who had just been relieved from his exhaust-
ing duty at the helm, and come below for a few minutes' rest,
to go with him to release the prisoner.
" But we'll not give ye too much liberty, lest ye should tak*
it into your head to give the winds and waves a helping hand
to our hurt," said the sailor, as he detached the handcuffs from
the mast instead of from Storton's wrists, and then he helped
him up on deck, for his long confinement in irons had made
his limbs almost useless to him.
Just then there was a lull in the capricious wind, and Ned, in
his ignorance, began to think that they had weathered the gale.
" The storm has not done us much harm after all, Jack," he
said triumphantly, as the tall sailor drew near him and his ill-
" Not yet," muttered Jack, as he stood staring with mingled
fear and hatred at Storton. '* It has spared us as yet, sir ; but
so long as yon ne'er-do-well is to be amongst us, we'll have to
go to the bottom in his company."
As though to prove the truth of his gloomy prognostications,
his last words were lost in the renewed roaring of the wind.
Again the waves dashed over the decks, and threatened to
wash everything overboard.
Each blast grew fiercer. From below, shrieks of agonised
terror pierced even above the storm. Then a giant mast came
crashing down, killing one of the sailors in its fall, and the
scene of confusion on deck was at its height when a cry came,
sharp and shrill —
The warning was too late. In the awful tempest then raging
it must have been useless, however, any way. Ropes creaking,
masts crashing, the winds appearing to come from every point
no Edward Bertram,
of the compass at the same moment, the helm well-nigh useless^
the unfortunate vessel was driven helplessly where the waves
took it, whenever one of those long gusts came upon it
Another moment and there was a tremendous shock. This
was the crowning stroke of calamity. Every one began to crowd
up on deck, with faces that sufficiently betokened a compre-
hension of the awfulness of the situation.
Not an oath was heard, not a rash word, death was too near.
With every dash of the waves the vessel rose, and then settled
down more firmly upon the rocks, with that fatal vibration and
crunching sound which foretold inevitable destruction.
Soon the sheathing-boards from the bottom of the vessel
began to float away. Efiforts were made to lighten her. Casks,
oil-jars^ old iron, refuse stores of all kinds, were cast overboard,
and then the scene of horror was completed by a terrible act of
'^ It is useless to throw over anything more," exclaimed Cap-
tain Pender at last. '* The tide is sinking, and the ship is lost,
unless it can hold together for the next few hours or more.
You are wasting your strength in vain/'
'' Ay, in throwing overboard that lumber, captain," cried long
Jack, suddenly starting forward to where Captain Fender, the
chief mate, Ned, and the lately liberated prisoner were gathered
together in a group.
'*It's wasting o' strength to cast out they senseless goods
an' chattels, but there's some'at else to cast out o' our midst
Some'at," he continued, wildly flinging up his arms, '' that has
brought all these evils upon our heads. An' if so be as we
mun go, he shall go first"
Thus saying, he suddenly stooped down over Storton,
lifted him with all a madman's strength, dashed forward to the
vessel's side before anyone could divine his purpose or
hinder it, and the next instant a piercing shriek broke above
the tumult of the storm —
Cast Out, III
"I am bound, you wretch J"
Then there was a plunge into the oncoming wave, a shout
of triumph from the poor madman, and a rush to the vessel's
side of those who had witnessed the dreadful scene.
A moment later, a second cry of horror and consternation
burst forth simultaneously from several throats. Some one
else had taken a fl3dng leap clear of the rocks, and plunged
into the wild turmoil of the waters beside the white face of
Storton, which had not yet had time to be battered out of
Those by the tossing vessel's side looked round upon
each other. Who was it that had taken useless pity on
the drowning man ? All were there still but the boy Edward
Bertram. It was he who had offered up his young life for
mercy's sake to the man who had tried to kill him.
Captain Pender dropped his face into his hands with a groan.
A bright, brave life flung away like that did appear too terrible.
But these were not moments to spend in vain regret Another
giant wave dashed against the maimed Good JBess^ and
Macgregor muttered in a low tone —
" Not much need to grieve over the lad, Pender, he's only
forestalled his fate by an hour or so. No boats could live in
"But the ship may!" shouted long Jack, as the wind with
redoubled force gathered up the falling waves before it was too
late, and, ere any one could say how it happened, the Good
Bess was off the rocks and driving before the blast.
The same waves that dashed up under the ship, raised
it, and carried it back to the ocean with them, carried the
bodies of Storton and Edward Bertram over some rocks
at a short distance off, and washed them securely into an
inland cleft, where they were saved from all further efforts of
the tempest to dislodge them.
PINBAFPLBS FOR DESSERT, BUT NO DINNER.
'"(QJHAT in the world is the matter with my hammock?"
TAT So grumbled a boy's voice, as the speaker tried to
find an easy posiiioa for his head amongst some sharp-pointed
rocks where it lay.
" Ab, I am so glad !" exclaimed another voice. " Then you
are not dead ? "
" Dead ! no, I am not dead. Why should I be ? Oh t I
remember now," cried Edward Bertram, raising himself with
some difficulty into a sitting posture, and looking about him
with surprise and anxiety. " I jumped over after that Storton ;
not that there was much chance of saving him, but he'd got
his arms fastened together, and I wouldn't throw a dog over
" Was he thrown over ? How dreadful."
" Yes ; but I wonder who you are, and how you come to be
here^" questioned Ned, staring with all his eyes at his
companion, a girl with fair hair and blue eyes about the same
age as himself. "Have I been washed up on to English rocks,
with a bit of London growing on them ? "
The girl laughed merrily, but there was some sadness in her
voice as she answered —
" No, indeed ; I wish you had, if I and my father were there
Pineapples for dessert^ but no dinner. "3
too. We were shipwrecked off here a fortnight ago, on our way
to England, and no one was saved but my sister and I, and our
father. We escaped on a raft, but all the others scrambled
into the boats and got swamped."
"Umph," said Ned, but he had not above half-heard her
last words, for, in peering about to discover something of his
present whereabouts, his eyes had lighted upon an object a
yard or so further on in the grotto where he lay, and his interest
in that object instantly grew very great.
'^ Had you any one with chains on aboard your ship ? "
he asked his companion after a moment's pause.
'* I don't think so. I expect that poor fellow yonder must
be the man you jumped over after. But it's no good troubling
about him any more, for I am sure he's dead ; IVe looked at
him ever so many times."
" That's just like a girl," was the rather contemptuous answer.
" You'd have gone away in another minute, I expect, declaring
that I was dead, if these abominable craggy rocks hadn't hurt
my head so that I was obliged to open my eyes to look at
them. Perhaps Storton's been pitched into a more comfortable
So saying, Ned raised himself to his feet, with one or two
groans extorted by the bruises with which he was pretty well
covered from head to foot, and, stepping over on to a floor of
shining white sand, in another moment he reached Storton's
side, and at once exclaimed triumphantly —
" There now, Miss Whaf s-your-name ! I'm right and you are
wrong, for he is alive."
And so Storton truly was. In fact, neither he nor Bertram
had been long enough in the water to be drowned, and as they
had mercifully been lifted over the rocks instead of being
dashed to pieces against them, there was little matter for
wonder, in reality, that neither of them had sufifered more than
114 Edward Bertram.
Short, however, as the time had been between Storton's
release from his small ship dungeon and the moment when Ned
stood beside him in the grotto, a'marvellous change had passed
over the man's nature. As he gazed up, helpless and hopeless,
from the boiling ocean, he had seen Ned plunge into that
furious sea after him, and an irresistible wave of gratitude had
risen up in his heart and swept away his wickedness, as the
waves of wholesome air often sweep away a pestilence.
" Surely you cannot really be glad to see that I am alive?"
he now asked, with dimmed eyes gazing up at the boy whom
he had but a few weeks before treated so barbarously.
'^ But indeed and I just am, then,'' was the hearty answer.
" And you are not afraid of me any longer?"
" Not a bit ; and to prove that, I'm going to get you out of
these things without further delay."
No sooner said than done. Ned pressed his finger on the
spring locks of the handcuffs, and had them off in a moment,
flinging them down with a shout of triumph, which Storton
more gravely echoed as he found himself once more a free
" So far so good," exclaimed Bertram. " Now the next thing
is to see where the ship is."
" You cannot do that," said the young lady, " for it got oflF
the rocks just as you were thrown up here, and while I was
running down to signal it to send us help. It's out of sight
Whew ! Well, the next thing, then, must be to learn where
we are, and what we are going to do for food. Perhaps, Miss
What's-your-name, you can tell us ?"
" The first piece of information that I shall give you is, that
my name is Rosa Bell, and not Miss What's-your-name."
" And my name is Ned Bertram, at your service, and this
gentleman is Mr. Storton, and we are both very hungry."
" I am very sorry for that. I hoped you wouldn't be hungry
Pineapples for dessert, but no dinner. 115
till it got dark," said Rosa Bell gravely. " However, I suppose
I must tiy to get you something to eat at once, if you very much
"Why should we trouble you?" said Storton, coming for-
ward. " Let us try for ourselves, and for you too, if you will."
"Oh no!" she exclaimed in sudden alarm, and trying to
block up the exit of the grotto with her slight figure. '^ You
must not come out The only chance for all our lives is in
your keeping free. We are not on a perfectly desert island,
unfortunately. Josephine and I are left to go where we will,
but our father is kept bound to a tree near the middle of the
island ; and one of the women has made us understand by
signs that, when all the fruit has been gathered up here, and the
shells that are thrown up by the storms at this season, they
shall cross over to another island, and take us girls with them,
but kill our father and throw him into the sea. And if ^"
" If they catch us," interrupted Ned, ** no doubt they will do
the same by us."
"Yes," began Rosa, but once more she was interrupted.
This time it was by a low, soft whistle, like a bird's evening
call to its mate.
Miss Rosa ran quickly a few yards away from the grotto,
and then answered the call with a similar one, when out from a
miniature jimgle jumped a child four or five years younger than
herself, and flew to meet her, leaping and wading across the
belt of water that divided the reef from the island.
" Rosie, Rosie," came the smothered exclamation, " if only
we were men now instead of girls, I believe we could manage
to get the island to ourselves, and set papa free."
" Come here and explain what you mean," said Rosa, pulling
the child eagerly forward into the grotto.
Josephine retreated in alarm when she saw the strangers, but
Storton came forward and put her long curls back from her face,
as he said kindly —
ii6 Edward Bertram.
" We are friends — shipwrecked like you in a manner. Per-
haps we have just got here in time to help you."
" If you can manage to get the guns, you have," said the little
girl, rapidly regaining confidence, especially as she saw that one
of the new-comers was only a boy, and a very good-tempered-
looking one besides.
"Guns! What guns, and where are they?" asked Ned.
" If we'd only got a couple of good rifles and powder and shot,
we'd soon frighten away any number of poor niggers from their
own possessions, I'll venture to declare."
" Follow me, then," said Josephine, " and you shall have not
only two, but three rifles, if only you have the courage to take
So saying she advanced from the grotto, and Ned and
Storton began to obey her leadership, when Rosa started
forward and exclaimed, half-angrily, " Stop, stop ! Have you
lost your wits, Pheenie? How in the world are two men
to knock down twenty or thirty? And you know perfectly
well that the natives won't give up the guns willingly."
" Of course I know that as well as you do," said Pheenie, in
an off'ended tone. " But there won't be much knocking down
to do^ — most of them have knocked themselves down. They
have been drinking that wine sort of stuff which they make out
of the cocoanut milk ever since you went away from our hut,
and now all but one or two of them are as tipsy as ever they
can be. Some are fast asleep, and scarcely any of them can
Rosa made no further opposition. If any successful effort
were to be made for life and liberty, evidently the present was
the time to make it.
" But you must be silent — ever so silent," whispered little
Pheenie, as she led her companions in and out wherever the
weedy grass grew highest, or a palm trunk offered any screen.
" I think," said Rosa, "that these islanders have dog's ears
Pineapples for dessert^ but no dinner. 1 1 7
and cat's eyes. They hear the wind before I know it has com-
menced to blow, and they can see the tiniest white grub inside
the bark of a tree ever so high up."
" I wish / could see anything in the shape of food any-
where," whispered hungry Ned.
" So you can," said Rosa, with a low laugh. " There's
" Possibly, for people in a balloon," muttered her companion
disconsolately, as his gaze followed the direction of her finger
to the crown of a stately cabbage-palm.
" But really," he added, after a pause of a few moments
under the tree, " I don't see that there is very much there,
even if I could get up to the top of it"
*' All the same, there is something, and a very good some-
thing too, for I have tasted it," remarked Josephine, coming
back to see why her followers were loitering.
" Well then," continued Ned, still doubtfully, " all I can say
is, it ought to be good to pay for the climb up to get it"
" The natives did not trouble themselves to climb up for the
one we helped to eat," whispered Rosa. " They just burnt a
great fire round it till the trunk was nearly burnt through, and
then moved a good way off and quietly waited for it to tumble
down, when they cut out the bijg cabbage at the top at their
" And wasted all the rest of the tree?"
" They did that because it was not a very good one ; but of
another, as fine as this, they burnt out the middle a good way
down, burnt off the two ends, and made a canoe."
"Ah !" ejaculated Storton suddenly. "Of course. I have
heard of that being done. And, Bertram, let us be sure to
take care of my irons ; they may be made into first-rate tools,
for want of others."
Storton's conviction of the certain future usefulness of those
irons grew so strong that he prevailed on his companions to
ii8 Edward Bertram.
let him return for them at once. And it was well he did
As the little party approached the grotto, and were far
enough, as they imagined, from all listeners or observers,
Storton, who was foremost, stopped short, and exclaimed
" Ha ! What animals have you on the island ?"
" None, except —
One of the exceptions stopped further information with a
yell and a rush from the rocky cave, brandishing the irons in his
dark hands. The startled Storton and the two girls sprang out
of his pathway ; not so Ned, however.
Remembering, almost from instinct, the common schoolboy
trick, he made no attempt to seize or catch the slippery native,
but he flung himself down before him. Over Ned, upon his
nose, tumbled the darkie ; in an instant Ned was on the top of
him, snatching at the precious tools of the future.
The struggle was short and desperate, but decisive, and
before the others could interfere, Ned jumped up with the
prizes of victory in his hands, and his opponent's dusky feet
were flying over the jagged, slippery, surf-beaten rocks as easily
and securely as ours could do over a field of grass.
Ned pushed back the tumbled locks from his forehead, and
clapped himself on the back, with his favourite exclamation,
" So far so good."
" So far so bad," cried Rosa, wringing her hands, and great
tears gathering in her eyes. " Oh, how could you let him go ?
Just fancy keeping those stupid bits of iron instead of the man.
Oh, how could you?"
" Why, what do you mean?" asked Ned in rueful astonish-
ment, dropping his despised trophies and rumpling up his hair.
" I don't understand you. It was the irons we wanted, and not
the nigger, wasn't it?"
" Of course ; I know that," said Rosa impatiently. " Rut
Pineapples for dessert^ but no dinner. 119
don't you see, you dreadfully stupid boy, that you have let
that native escape to go and wake up all the others, and bring
them down upon you, and then all is lost''
" But, Rosie, look," said that sharp-witted little Pheenie ;
'' he's keeping all along by the sea. He is not going inland, or
at all in the direction of the village. If we are quick, perhaps
we may reach the others before he will, and get the guns
" That's one for you. Miss Josephine," said Ned^ brightening
up again ; " but do you think that perhaps he has got some
more friends there upon the beach whom he is fetching down
upon us ?"
'* I hope not," answered the little girl, turning pale at the
Meantime, Rosa had flown a few yards along the rough
beach, almost as swiftly as the native himself, and she now
came leaping back from crag to crag, beckoning excitedly to
"What's up now?" asked Storton, as they all ran forward
to meet her.
" He's going off !" was the almost breathless reply.
** Through this surf? Impossible !" exclaimed Storton.
But, possible or impossible, it was true, and in another
minute they saw the young boatman and his frail-looking bark
making steady way through a raging surf that would have
destroyed any product of more skilful and dainty workmanship.
" Try to remember in which direction he goes," said Rosa,
as they stopped to watch his wonderful progress till he cleared
the shoals, " for if we have to leave this island, we had better
choose another way."
" Most decidedly, your ladyship. And now for the rifles.
Lead on. Miss Pheenie, and if you come across a hot beef-
steak and potatoes, or even a bit of cold boiled pork, on the
way, please be kind enough to let me know, and call a halt"
I20 Edward Bertram.
" Oh, certainly," laughed Josephine. " But, look here, if
you are really so very hungry that you would like anything
better than nothing "
" Which I am," interrupted Ned, so decidedly and empha-
tically that his companions, in spite of their present anxieties,
laughed heartily at his expense.
" All right, laugh away as much as you please, so long as
you give me something to eat," said the young philosopher.
" I begin to feel almost as great a gnawing in my inside as I
did in that horrid hold."
" Well," said Josephine, still rippling over with merriment,
" I am very sorry that I can't give you any dinner, but here is
some dessert for you, at any rate. And, as it is not as good as
it ought to be, I won't charge you anything for it, either. But
you would have to pay ever so many shillings for it in England."
So saying, the little girl, who had run on a few yards beyond
high-water mark, knelt down beside what Ned at first thought
was a most prodigious and forbidding bunch of outlandish
" I'm not a donkey," he muttered disappointedly. " And
if I were, at least if I were a civilised English donkey, I couldn't
** But you are a donkey — ^a civilised English donkey — and
you can eat M^/," laughed Pheenie, who had just plucked
up the plant from its sandy bed, and now turned the round
head of prickly leaves upside down in her hand, and held it
" Look there, sir, is not that good enough for civilised Eng-
lish donkeys ? "
" Why, it's a pineapple ! " exclaimed Ned, who had seen
pineapples before he left England, although in 1837 this
delicious fruit, first seen in England in the days of stern old
Oliver Cromwell, was not by a thousand times as common an
object as it is now. " Fancy feeding upon pineapples !"
Pineapples for dessert, but no dinner, lai
" Yes," said Rosa, " it sounds very grand, but I'm afraid you
won't find it so very de'ightful, after all. There are none of
them good this season. One of the native women, vho is
rather kind to my sister and me, told us that the weather has
been bad for them, and they have nearly all rotted this year,
before they have ripened."
And so poor Ned found was the case with the present
one. At the best of times the foreign fruit is not to be com-
pared to the luscious pines grown in an English hothouse, but
Pheenie's gift was unfortunately neither "sweet, sour, nor
Still the boy and Storton munched it up, peel and all, as
they now pushed on for the native village.
THE EFFECT C
" A RE we near the niggers yet ? " Tlie four English castaways
A \ had been moving along very rapidly, although cautiously,
for nearly three quarters of an hour, and bruised, battered,
hungry Ned was getting somewhat tired and impatient
He caught little Pheenie by the hand, and asked again —
" Aren't we near those horrid old niggers yet ? "
" Hush-sh," whispered back Josephine. " Hush-sh, we are
pretty nearly close to them. But they are not old — only one
of them. They are no older than your friend, and some are as
young as you. And they are Dot niggers, neither — not if that
means black people."
" What are they, then ? "
" You'll see for yourself in a few moments," said the elder
sister, stooping as she spoke, and peering through the lower
branches of some privet-leaved shrubs, behind which they
were all at present gathered.
After a long and eager scrutiny she rose, and turned to
Storton and Edward Bertram.
"Come here, both of you," she muttered in a low tone.
" But mind you do not stumble up against that dead tree, oi
The effect of a rifleshot, 123
its branches will come cracking down with a noise that will set
all the birds on the island screaming, and then woe betide us
Miss Bell's warning was not at all unnecessary, for the
ground was so covered with a tangled mass of bindweeds of
various kinds, that the untravelled Englishmen stumbled at
When they at length reached the point to which they were
beckoned, and, stooping, looked through the opportune open-
ing in the shrubs, they could scarcely restrain a startled
Within six or seven yards of them lay the nearest of a wild-
looking circle of human beings, utterly unlike anything that
either of them had ever seen before. Dingy yellow in hue
for the most part, one or two were of a dark-brown colour, like
the individual they had surprised in the grotto.
All of them, alike, were adorned with the most savage and
fantastic-looking of ornaments — long fringes of split bark,
strips of something that looked like plaited cloth, necklaces
and bracelets of shells, while some looked especially formidable
with their hair gathered upon their heads and bound round
and round with gleaming rows of sharks' teeth. The sleepers'
own black teeth looked awful enough when they were visible,
here and there, through their parted lips.
" Do they grow with those hideous teeth ? " muttered Ned,
shuddering with disgust.
" No indeed, their teeth are whiter, if anything, than ours,
before they take to chewing the betel nut."
" What's that ? "
" Oh ! I'll tell you another time. Have you yet discovered
where the rifles are ? "
" No," answered Storton and Bertram simultaneously. "Are
they near here?"
" Why, of course they are. That is why Pheenie led you
124 Edward Bertram.
to this place. I found out where they were the minute I
Ned stooped down again. It was horrid to have his eyes
outdone by a girl's.
Once again he scanned the strange scene before him. The
circle consisted of thirty or forty men, lying in various attitudes
around the smouldering embers of a fire, on the outer edge of
which lay a pile of feathers and cleanly picked birds' bones,
scorched and singed by the heat
Beyond the circle was a group of five cocoa-nut palms,
to the centre one of which Ned now discovered a man was
fastened, and just beyond them was the little rough village of
gipsy-like huts, and some sleeping women and children. But
nowhere could Ned see those rifles.
" Are you sure that they are there at all ? " he asked at last,
" Yes, yes, yes," whispered Josephine, eagerly. " Don't
you see that very dirty, horrible-looking yellow man, with the
great tuft of green and red feathers for a topknot, and the big,
slashed humps on his shoulders ? "
''I should think so, indeed. I wish I didn't. But the sight
of him is a good cure for hunger, anyway."
A moment later Ned straightened himself, and &ced round
upon the others.
'* I see them now. Storton, I say, these girls have cut our
work out for us pretty well, I must say. The rifles are lying
under that chap's arm — absolutely under it ! And we are two
to about forty."
" Well," murmured Pheenie, " you know I told you that you
would want some courage to get them. These savages must
have evidently, some time or other, seen them used, for they
always take the greatest care not to let us get them away from
them. But I thought — I thought — perhaps if we were men, we
should be brave enough to try to recover them now."
The effect of a riJle-shoL 125
" And we, who are men, will be brave enough to try," said
Storton, resolutely. Cowardice had never been one of his
" Of course we will," added Ned ; " but we must look out
for the chance of getting more pricks than if we were picking
blackberries. I wonder who's got his arm over the powder
and shot bags, by-the-bye."
•* I have," said Pheenie, with a low laugh. " I managed to
steal back father's flasks out of one of the huts before I ran off
to find Rosie. They are in my pockets. And see, every one
of the men is asleep."
" Yes, " said Storton ; " and the less time we waste now the
better, lest any of them should wake."
While he spoke, he gathered a handful of leaves and soft
twigs, and, laying them across the centre of his handkerchief,
proceeded to fold the handkerchief smoothly, cornerwise
fashion, over them till he had a sort of little pad, or cushion,
with two long ends on either side.
"What is that for?" asked Rosa. "Have you got stung?
Is it a poultice ? "
" Yes I A poultice for that yellow fellow's mouth. And
now will you show us how to get at him ? "
A minute later, the little unarmed, defenceless party took
their last step out from the shelter of the bushes. There was
no need for any of them to warn the others to silence now.
The group of savages conveyed the impression of people sleep-
ing with one eye open even in their intoxicated slumbers, and
innumerable murderous-looking weapons lay ready for imme-
diate use in the shape of shark-fin spears, clubs, bows and
arrows, and pieces of sharply-pointed bamboo, which looked
quite capable of inflicting a very ugly wound if thrown by
" I'll tell you what," muttered Ned, bending forward close to
the girls' ears, " you two had better hurry round at once, and
126 Edward Bertram.
help each other to unfasten your father. Don't both try at
the same knot But whichever is the cleverer^ set to work on
the hands, and you'll do better for all of us."
" All right," nodded back Rosa*
Thus answering, she took her sister's hand, and the two ran
back into the bushes again, lest one of the women, or anyone
else, should discover and frustrate their purpose. Secure from
detection, they pushed their way through all the obstacles in
their path, with desperate energy, until they were opposite
the palm grove, when they darted out of concealment,
and, for the first time for fourteen days, stood beside their
The joy of their parent was immense at being once more
able to speak to his children. But even joy was lost sight of
to some degree in curiosity. And no wonder. For Mr. Bell
knew nothing of the ship full of his countrymen which the
recent storm had cast up upon the neighbouring reef of rocks,
nor of Storton's and Bertram's perilous bathe, and almost
miraculous preservation. Naturally, then, it was rather
surprising to him to see two English-looking, English-clothed
human beings suddenly appear within a few yards of him.
'' Have those two white men dropped down from the clouds
in the hailstorm, Pheenie?" asked her father, pointing to our
two friends, who had now just succeeded in creeping up behind
the guardian of the coveted rifles, and were pausing to consider
their next move.
Pheenie held her breath. She was too absorbed in watching
Another moment, and Storton had bent down low over the
sleeper, and, with the swiftness of a thought almost, his ready-
made gag was in the sleeper's mouth, and tied tightly at the
back of his head, while at the same instant Ned lifted up the
native's arm, snatched the guns from under it, and fled to the
cocoa-nut trees, followed by his companion.
The effect of a rifle-shot. 127
*' The flasks !" he gasped as he drew near, ''quick, the flasks,
they are not loaded. They are all rousing. They'll be upon
us in a moment."
Ned seized the flasks of powder and shot from Pheenie's
outstretched hands, but he gave her no thanks for her prompti-
tude, for at the same time his eyes fell upon the bands that
still bound the gentleman to the palms. Not a single eflbrt
had been made to undo them.
''Just like girls T' he exclaimed, with some pardonable anger.
" They must always look after everybody's business but their
•' Ha ! look there I In the name of goodness get your father
That was, indeed, a breathless time of deadly peril for those
half-dozen white people. The intoxication produced by the
fermented milk of the cocoa-nut is seldom very heavy, and the
violent actions of the gagged and furious chief had eflectually
aroused most of his followers.
Leaping to their feet with their weapons in their hands, the
savages looked about in every direction for the cause of the
disturbance. At the moment when Ned had glanced round
back at them they had just discovered the group under the
palm-trees, and with a wild, animal-like chorus of savage yells,
the whole forty infuriated fellows had dashed forward, bent on
the immediate massacre. of their trembling white brethren.
Ned handed one of the loaded rifles to Storton, pressed his
back against a tree-trunk, looked at poor little Pheenie, and
set his teeth hard.
" Fire, my lad," said a calm voice beside him. " Now — at
The fierce breath of the savages was almost on their
Crack, crack went the rifles.
A shriek, a yell— ah I what a change in the state of affairs.
128 Edward Bertram.
Ned could not restrain one burst of laughter even in that
supreme moment of dread.
Helter-skelter over the ground, away from the palm-trees,
were going thirty-eight pairs of yellow legs, top-knots dancing,
fringes flying, necklaces jingling, and castaway weapons mark-
ing the course of flight Even trembling little Pheenie uttered
a quivering giggle at the ridiculous sight, as she pulled and
tugged at the cords of cocoa-nut fibre with which her father
was fastened to the tree, far more securely than ever any visitor
to Messrs. Maskelyne and Cook's exhibition managed to tie up
one of those clever magicians.
Half-a-dozen yards away from them were two more pairs of
yellow legs. The owner of one pair lay on the ground per-
fectly motionless, imitating some of the beetle tribe and sham-
ming dead. The owner of the other pair was sitting up, and
eyeing two little streams of blood flowing from his wounded
limbs very disconsolately, and keeping up a pathetic little howl
over them — ^a sort of low, continuous " wow-wow-wow," some-
thing after the nature of a melancholy dog's soliloquy.
"You aren't very bad, you know, you big coward," said
Edward at last, in indignant remonstrance, and advancing a
few steps towards him as he spoke. "That charge wasn't
much worse than if I'd given you a shake of the pepper-pot"
" Wow-wow-wow," still howled Ned's yellow antagonist
"Ohi bother your * wow-wow-wow,' " exclaimed Ned. "I
wish we'd had you at school for a month, we'd have soon
taught you to 'wow-wow-wow' for nothing, I can tell you."
" Never mind him, my lad," called Mr. Frank Bell, the girls'
father, who was now free, but found himself as utterly unable
to use a rifle as before, the tight bandages and exposure having
swollen his arms and made them almost helpless ; so that the
defence of the party still rested with Storton and Bertram.
"You had better load your rifles again," said Mr. Frank.
" I know something of savage nature. It yields to alarm very
The effect of a rifle-s/wt 129
easily at the first outset, but courage comes back with time and
reflection. And they won't go off without their women and
children, I feel certain."
He had scarcely spoken when an arrow came whistling
through the air from the bushes to their right, and passed
through Ned's rumpled locks.
'' That was a near shave 1 " exclaimed Storton.
"Ay, indeed, it was pretty nearly being my turn to cry
* wow-wow-wow,' " replied Bertram, as he raised the rifle to his
shoulder, and fired again in the direction from which the
arrow had come.
Sounds of scuffling, trampling of brushwood, calls and yells
that followed that shot proved, to the fresh alarm of the
English group, that their enemies had already pretty well
surrounded them on all sides, and at the same time were
themselves almost safe from the rifles. What was to be done
A perfect cloud of arrows came tumbling about their ears,
happily wounding no one as yet, but the next shower might,
and perhaps they were poisoned.
" If only we were in one of the huts," sobbed Josephine.
** Why, of course. That's the very thing. You've hit the
right nail on the head," exclaimed Ned, turning about, and
measuring the distance between the huts and their present
position with his eye.
" Come, then, let^s have a race for it," he added, clasping
"But there are women in all of them, and^ they look
" That's true," answered Ned. " But women aren't poisoned
arrows, and I'll soon settle them, you see if I don't. Now, are
we all ready ? Who'll win ?"
So saying, the high-spirited English boy tightened his grasp
of the little girl's hand, drew in a deep breath, and flew past
130 Edward Bertram.
the palm grove, followed by the others, just in time to avoid a
second flight of arrows, that found no more sensitive marks for
their force, happily, than tree-trunks and the ground.
Arriving in front of one of those ramshackle huts, that
absurd Ned acted much as he might have done before the
door of the lodge at Errington. He had been in so many
dangers and difficulties lately that he had begun to look upon
them as the natural state of things, and to think lightly of them
While still breathless with his race, he made a low bow to
the sullen and scared-looking woman standing at the entrance.
Then, dropping Pheenie's hand, he put up both his own to his
mouth, suddenly ducked his face forward to within an inch of
the woman's, uttered a tremendous " Whoop,'* and while she
rushed frantically away, followed by all her companions, to tell
the men of her tribe that they were fighting against a demon,
and not against helpless men like the one tied to the tree, Ned
and all the rest of his party hastily took possession of her home.
"And I must say I can't say much for the place,"
remarked Ned, looking round the hovel critically. " IVe
heard of Irish cabins, but they must be palaces to this."
"Never mind," said Mr. Bell; "I am sure we ought to
admire it, for I expect it means life, instead of death, to us."
" Yes, sir — only really — don't you think that no house ought
to be built without a well-stocked larder?"
The Bells and Storton all laughed. They could afford to
laugh now, for, rough as their shelter was, it was a shelter from
the Indians' weapons, so long as the assailants kept at a
distance, and, if they came near, then the rifles could come
into use again.
Before the laugh had subsided, however, Rosa suddenly
stooped down, and when she rose again, she held a little bundle
of something up to her hungry companions, saying, with a
The effect of a rifle-shot, 131
" There, you see this house has a larder after all Wait a
raoment. I have Father's knife in my pocket, and as Pheenie
gave you your dessert, now I will give you your dinner."
" If my dinner is to come out of that dirty little lump of
stuff, I'd rather go on starving, thank you," said Ned, making
a grimace of disgust
''Ah, you don't know what you are talking about," said
Josephine, with a calm superiority, while she watched her
sister turn the despised " lump of stuff" over in her hand, and
then begin to make a neat, careful slit down the centre, like a
scientific cook who had learnt at a cooking-kitchen, only that
there were not such places in 1837 ; people learnt cooking in
those days in their own homes, and not so badly either, judg-
ing by my mother, and other dames of my acquaintance of her
standing. Ned began to be rather interested.
" Hallo ! The lump's got wings !"
" Why, of course it has. Most birds have got wings, haven't
they ?" asked Rosa, laughing, as she proceeded to turn off the
burnt feathers and outer skin of a plump, well-cooked parrot,
holding it tidily by the wings as she did so. Then she cut off two
dainty slices of the breast, and looked up with mock gravity at
poor Ned, whose mouth began to water with longing for the
tempting feast, while she tantalised him with her mischievous
" I am so sorry, Mr. Ned, that I haven't anything fit to offer
you, only this poor little lump of stuflf."
" Ah ! well, since you haven't, I suppose a fellow must put
up with that. Let's taste, and see if it's eatable, cooked in its
feathers in that outlandish fashion."
Ned was not going to humble himself too much to a girl ;
but, like a girl, Rosa forgave him his stubbornness, and pitied
his hungry condition, and presented him with the two slices.
And then she continued to feed him and Storton until there
was little left beside the outside covering and the bones.
132 Edward Bertram.
^-— i^^^^^a^^^^^^i^^^—Ba^^a— ^^i^>^n^^__^^^B^^^^^— ^^•^^i^^.^^_^»M^a^B>~^^^— ^^^^i~iai^iaai^Ba^ia>^i»mMa^
"Girls are some good in the world after all," said Ned
generously. ''I should never have dreamt of searching for
anything inside that horrid-looking muddle."
" And if you had," added Rosa, " you would have hacked
at it so, that half of it would have been wasted."
" Meantime," said Mr. Bell, breaking in upon this dialogue
that went to prove that boys and girls have a tolerably poor
opinion of each other as a class — "meantime, what do you
suppose this long silence of our yellow brethren outside
signifies ? "
"That is the very thing that I have just begun to wonder,"
said Storton. " And if you all like, I'll volunteer to go out
"I think it will be still wiser if we remain all together
now that night is coming on," said Mr. BelL " If these
natives are anything like those of Australia in their habits
and superstitions, they will not attempt to move about or
molest us during the hours of darkness, when they believe
that the spirit of evil is taking his walks abroad, and is
ready to pounce upon any unlucky wretch who is stirring,
and inflict all manner of injuries upon him."
" Well, on second thoughts I agree with you," said Storton.
" But if we are to stay here, cannot we make the place a
little more comfortable, and also a safer stronghold ? "
No sooner said than done, or rather begun. Ned's meal
had given him a whole new stock of fresh energy, and he
was all eagerness for some fresh employment This suggestion
was the very thing. Unfortunately, Ned had such a small
amount of admiration for his present refuge, that his first
ideas of improvement took the form of destruction, and he
had wrenched up pretty nearly half of the native woman's
house before his companions could stop his wholesale
As some of you may be sceptical as to the strength of anyone
Ten minutes to build a house. 133
but Samson being equal to pulling a house about one's
ears in the space of a minute, it may, perhaps, be as well
to describe the building which Edward Bertram treated with
such a ruthless want of ceremony. At a distance of about
eight feet apart, two rows of bamboo poles, three in a row,
were stuck to no very great depth into the ground. These
poles were drawn nearly together at the top, a bit of rough
cocoa-nut matting formed the roof, and a back wall was built
up of bark and twigs. The front was open, and the two
sides were certainly not to be called closed I Ned, with some
dim notion of ready-made tents, or bricks and mortar, exerted
his strength on this luckless abode, by dragging up three poles
on one side, and jerking down the loose roof upon his
**What in the world have you done that for?" exclaimed
Mr. Bell, while everyone else awaited the answer, aghast with
dismay and surprise.
** Why, you said we'd make a better place," stammered Ned,
beginning to feel conscious that he had done something not so
remarkably fine as he had intended, and heartily wishing that
the prostrate bamboos would rear themselves up and stick
themselves back in a hurry in their old places.
Rosa took pity on his discomfiture.
<< Never mind,'' she said, beginning to raise up one of the
poles again ; '' there's really a very small amount of damage
done, and I don't wonder that you think little of such a hut as
this. You see, we have lived several years in Australia, and
have grown accustomed to thinking that people have got really
almost a nice home if they have got two sticks tied together,
and a bit of bark against it to keep the worst of the wind off
them. Anything makes a home in these parts of the
''So it seems," muttered Ned, ''if you call such a place as
134 Edward Bertram.
" Ah, well, if we are only left at peace we will make this
quite an ornamental cottage perhaps, to please you," said Mr.
Bell, laughing ; " and meantime you may indulge your love of
destruction by pulling down our next-door neighbour, and
bringing its poles here to set in between these."
" All right."
« But be "
Ned ran out without waiting to hear the end of Mr. Frank's
exclamation, and in less than thirty seconds he tore back again
with the end of a pole in one hand and a trailing mass
dragging after it.
" There's — there's one of the jabbering yellow beggars there,"
he gasped, dropping the pole, and for once in his life fairly
showing the white feather.
" Where ? where ? where ?" exclaimed all the Bells, crowd-
ing round him, with faces once more growing pale with
anxiety. " Where is he?"
" There," said Ned, pointing a quivering finger at the mass
of poles and cords and matting lying before the entrance of
their own harbour of refuge.
" Nonsense," said Mr. Bell, with a short laugh of relief.
^' My lad, you are dreaming. These fellows have a marvellous
faculty for hiding themselves, I admit ; but it is perfectly ridi-
culous to suppose that any human being is concealed in that
If there had been, do you suppose that he would have let you
drag him along at your heels in this fashion ?"
" I believe he has, then," declared Ned positively. '* The
moment I wrenched up the poles, he started up from some-
where and began to scream at me ; and then, as I rushed off
here, I saw him fling his arms round his tumbling house and
come away with it."
" Well, at any rate, if your tale is true," said Mr. Frank,
doubtfully, " he's quiet enough now, and I should think he's
smothered or killed, poor wretch* Anyway, he will only be
Ten minutes to build a house. 135
one to four; so I think we may as well disentangle him from
the ruins of his home."
" Just what I was thinking," said Storton, going out as he
spoke, and stooping down over the straggling dtbris. The
next instant he jumped back with an ill-suppressed scream.
" He bites !"
"Ah !" said Ned, with grim triumph ; "now perhaps you'll
This remark was followed by a great scuffling amongst the
prostrate mass, and in a few moments, while all eyes were upon
it, and Ned held a rifle in readiness, out sprang the dreaded
"jabbering yellow beggar."
" Jabbering," indeed, fast enough, but neither yellow nor a
beggar. And Rosa and her little sister suddenly broke out
into perfect shrieks and fits of laughter.
" Oh ! Mr. Edward," laughed Josephine, dancing a miniature
war-dance round him in her delight, " fancy being frightened
at that ; fancy calling that poor little brown monkey a jabber-
ing — ah, ah, ah 1 oh, dear ! — a jab — jabbering — ^yellow beggar I
Oh, dear me 1"
" There, my little daughter, that will do," said Mr. Frank,
biting his lips to keep in his own laughter. For Mr. Edward
Bertram was beginning to look rather cross. Like many
another good-tempered, honest-hearted individual, he detested
being laughed at — " especially," he would have added himself,
" by girls."
"Now, good people, let us set to work about building
instantly, 'with a long pull, and a strong pull, and a pull
all together,' to adopt the sailors' phrase, for it will be pitch
dark in another ten minutes, and then we can do nothing."
Mr. Bell tried to set the example of acting up to his own
advice, but it was almost immediately evident that he must
content himself with giving directions to the others. His own
arms could not be made to work.
136 Edward Bertram.
Having taken a keen look round, and assured themselves
that they had a clear space of twenty yards, at any rate, about
them free of enemies, " except, perhaps, monkey enemies," as
Rosa mischievously whispered, Mr. Bell decided that the next
hut on the left hand, which was fortunately only a couple
of yards distant, almost in a straight line, should help in the
formation of a second inner apartment, where the two girls
might sleep while the men kept watch alternately in the outer
*' All right," said Ned, but with not quite such a tone of
assurance as he had pronounced those words in before.
" What part of the work shall I do ? "
'' You shall come with me, and I'll show you. Meantime,
Mr. Storton, will you disentangle those poles, and set them up
between our right-hand ones ? You won't find it very difficult
to drive them into the ground just here ; and then if you twist
that bit of native matting in and out among them, and fasten
all together with the cords, we shall have quite a substantial
defence against attack on that side. And, girls, you go and
move down all the back wall of the next hut, and make it a
continuation to ours. Now, Mr. Edward, come along."
Having set the others to work, Mr. Bell took Ned to the
farther side of the second hut, and told him to take up those
*' But gently, my lad, and carefully, for I don't want the
others to come down also."
'' No ; I understand what you want done here," answered
Ned, ''by what you have just set Storton to da Wait an
instant, and you'll see if I don't"
So saying, Ned, with the greatest care, pulled up the three
bamboo rods, Mr. Bell supporting each as he did so. Then
he gathered them together in his hands, and carried them over
to their companion wall, where he planted them in between the
others, only making them all slope in the opposite direction
Ten minutes to build a house. 137
down to the roof of the first hut By the time his work was so
far done, the two girls had already rebuilt the back of the
apartment destined for them, and were at liberty to help him
in collecting together armsful of leaves, fallen branches, and
bits of matting, and other poor little possessions left behind
them by the native women, with which to shut up the front
door, as Pheenie called it, of their new home.
Storton came to help them, having successfully accomplished
his own task, and very soon the two little rooms were hedged
round on all sides, with the exception of the one original
opening, with a perfect bank of materials that would prove
quite impervious to arrows.
" Now, if we only had some pictures and wall-papers, my
friend," said Mr. Frank Bell, laughing, " I am sure even you
must admit that we have quite an elegant and substantial
" Oh, certainly," laughed Edward in assent, " more especially
so long as it doesn't rain," looking up and round at the
innumerable chinks, through which the darkening sky was still
Pheenie followed his glance, and answered it with a smiling —
^' Ah, in another minute it will be too dark to see that, and
then you will think it is all good roof."
Then Mr. Bell pulled apart, or rather got Ned to pull apart,
two of the poles of the inner wall The young sisters passed
through, and soon lay down and fell asleep, while their father
kept watch without
Ned and Storton slept also.
'* ¥ AM so awfully thirsty."
A That was Ned's waking ejaculation, as he sat up, just
as dawn was breaking, and rubbed his eyes, preparatory to
staring about him. Certainly his view was rather circum-
scribed Some bamboo poles and bits of matting ; some bars
and spots of brightening sky ; one man lying down beside him ;
one man sitting up, and blotting out with his back the only
possibility of a wider prospect.
Ned was just about to shut his eyes again, when a soft
murmur of " Poor boy " made him turn his head to the other
side, where he saw two merry faces peering at him over the
bits of matting that had been laid up against the inner poles.
^* You look like wild beasts in a menagerie den," said Ned,
shaking off his drowsiness, and jumping up when he found that
there was a chance of companionship.
" Isn't it a horrid nuisance that this isn't really an out-and-
out desert island ? "
" I don't know," answered Pheenie, cautiously. " What do
you mean ? "
'* Why, that if it were, I could let you two girls out, you
see, and send you off in different directions to hunt out a
river, or a lake, or a pond, or a dairy perhaps, so that I could
get something to drink,"
Storton Escapes. 139
The two sisters laughed. *' You are very kind, I am sure.
Perhaps we would send you out to hunt for us instead."
''And really and truly I do wish we could, too," said
Josephine, rather piteously, '' for I am certain positive that I
am quite as thirsty as ever you can be."
"Poor little thing, I suppose you are. I never thought
of that But, you see, a fellow fancies somehow that you are at
home here ; you seem to know so much more about the place
than I do ; and that you can get what you want. I suppose
you could, too, could you not, before to-day?"
" Well, we could get plenty of delicious fresh, clear water
certainly, and bananas and cocoa-nuts, but of course we only
had meat when the natives chose to give us any."
"Well, they may keep all their meat for the present, for
all I care," said Ned, "if they would only let me have a
bucketful of that delicious clear water. Whereabouts does
"Just beyond the palm grove, not ten minutes' run from
here. If papa would only let me out, I would soon get you
some, and myself too."
" And be clapped up by those yellow thieves, Miss Pheenie.
No, no, that would never do. I know a thing worth two of
that suggestion; I'll go myself. But what shall I bring you
some back in ? "
" Those empty cocoa-nut shells. They are what the natives
use, except when they use leaf-baskets."
" Leaf-baskets to carry water in 1 " exclaimed Ned. " No
thank you, Miss Rosa, that is too much of a joke. I know
better than that."
" But indeed you don't, then, for it's a fact And they don't
spill a drop from them either. I'll make you one some day
perhaps, to show you. And you shall drink the water out of
it ; it gives it such a nice, cool, fresh taste."
" Thank you. Seeing is believing, you know, so I'll believe
140 Edward Bertram.
when I see; meantime, as there are no leaves here for you
to show your cleverness with, I'll put up with the cocoa-nut
shells. Good-bye for the present."
With this farewell, Ned picked up the shells, shouldered one
of the rifles, and prepared to set out on his expedition. But
he had reckoned without his host.
" Hallo !" said Mr. Bell, suddenly aroused out of a deep
reverie, and catching tight hold of the foot which Ned had just
raised in the act of stepping over the pre-occupied doorkeeper.
" Hallo, young man, where are you proposing to be off to for a
morning ramble ? "
*' To the lake beyond the rice-field, for water, father," called
out Rosa, before Ned had time to reply, or to decide whether
he should tumble down or try to shake his foot free.
To Rosa's secret glee he tumbled down, or rather was
knocked down, for Mr. Bell let his foot go so suddenly, and
jumped up in such a hurry with a great push against him, that
over Ned went on to the top of Storton.
A general explanation followed, with a prohibition to Ned
and a scolding to Rosa.
" But he's so dreadfully thirsty, papa," remonstrated Rosa,
" and he wished to go."
" He would not have wished to go if you had told him that
he was perfectly certain to get stuck full of arrows, like a
pincushion, if he did."
" But he was going to take the gun."
" That would have been no good. The natives' eyes are
sharper than his, and they would have got first shot He
would have been as dead as a drowned rat before he could use
his rifle. No, no, my boy; thirst is a very uncomfortable
thing, even in its early stage, but it must get to a far worse
pass with you before I shall let you risk your life to satbfy it«
At any rate, we will wait for an hour or two to see what
St or ton Escapes. 141
Ned put down the rifle, and dropped back against the wall.
Of course Mr. Bell had no real right to control him, but he
had no right either, himself, to run foolhardy risks; neither
did he wish to.
Every one was silent for a few minutes, then that tender-
hearted little Pheenie said quietly —
^' Mr. Edward, I'm getting over my thirstiness a little ; I
hope you are."
"No, I'm not," groaned Ned. "I believe I'm rapidly
getting on to the mad-dog stage."
•* That ought to be rather a comfort to you," laughed Rosa ;
** because then, you know, you will hate the sight of water,
instead of liking it."
" Ah, well, then I'm afraid I have not reached that point
quite yet But, if you please, sir, how long do you propose
that we should wait to see what happens; for I think
that waiting is quite the horridest thing that anyone can have
to do, especially when one's tongue is beginning to shrivel
up like a parched pea."
" When it does that, my boy," said Mr, Bell, " you won't
be quite so clever at talking. But — hey ! — Hullo ! — Stop ! —
Look there, all of you 1"
There was little necessity, however, for the gentleman to tell
any one to look, for every one was already looking after Storton,
who had, unperceived, gathered up all the cocoa-nut cups and
got close to the opening, when, without any warning, he took
to his heels and sped away in the direction of the palm grove.
" Poor fellow ! Brave fellow !" muttered Mr. Bell.
But Ned turned white and sick with fear. He knew, or had
known, Storton for some time, and when he saw that all the
cups were gone, the suspicion came to him that cruel spite-
fulness was the motive of the present act
"Has he taken all the rifles as well?" he startled his
companions by asking sharply.
" What do you mean ? He has not taken even one."
" Then let me take one and go after him."
"No!" said Mr. Bell firmly, and planting himself in the
doorway to give emphasis to his words. " We cannot afford to
lose another of our number."
Again the small party relapsed into silence, Ned thinking to
himself that perhaps it was almost impossible for any one who
had been very bad to be brought back to goodness by kindness,
and the Bells, who of course knew nothing of Storton's
antecedents, regarding him in their own minds a^ a rather
foolishly impulsive individual, but a very benevolent hero all
Events proved that the ignorant Belts were right.
"a battle for a kingdom: who'll win?"
FOR a quarter of an hour after Storton's flight no one in
the hut spoke a word. Ned was reflecting on things in
general, and human nature in particular, and all the Bells were
thinking, and listening too, with straining ears, for sounds in the
For fifteen minutes they heard nothing to reward their
earnest attention. Some screaming parrots flew overhead,
pecking at one another, and a brilliant crimson feather fell on
the ground before the opening. Then a couple of monkeys
came to the village, and scampered after each other, up and
down the supports of the hut farthest removed from the
inhabited one. And they bit each other's tails, and jabbered
and squeaked, and played leap-frog in a way that would have
made them a perfect fortune to a showman. But Ned looked
at them with unseeing eyes, although he had never seen such
a sight before, and none of his companions observed them
At last there came sights and sounds of deeper interest.
The first sight was Storton issuing from the palm grove,
and tearing over the ground, back towards the huts, at a pace
that might have distanced even an emu.
144 Edward Bertram.
The first sound was a wild mingling of yells. The second
sound was a shriek from Storton —
" The rifles ! "
That warning cry had scarcely reached their ears when
a second sight met their eyes that seemed to freeze their very
' life-blood in their veins.
The whole number of the savages on the island — men,
women, and children — came pouring out from behind the
shrubs, and from between the trunks of the palm-trees, armed
with that most awful of all weapons, a flaming flre-brand.
Hideous with war-paint and self-inflicted deformities, on they
came, leaping, and yelling, and howling, and brandishing their
torches with almost flendish exultation. No more quarter was
to be expected from that wild rabble rout than poor Louis
XVI. saw, once upon a time, in the eyes of the mob that
stopped his flight, and brought him back to Paris to await his
turn at the guillotine.
" Come out to us, girls. Quick ! quick ! *'
" Crouch down at the back of the hut, girls ! " came the
contradictory exclamations to trembling Josephine and Rosa,
while, with the strength bom of despair, Mr. Bell and Ned
seized the rifles, loaded them, and held them in readiness for
use. The one Ned had appropriated was already loaded, and
he came forward and stood in the entrance with the elder man.
Rosa and her sister obeyed the order that was most acceptable
to them, and, pushing their own way through their accommo-
dating wall, they came close behind their father, and stood
ready to supply powder and shot, or load the rifles as might be
" Let me load your rifle for you again, when youVe fired it
ofl*," whispered Pheenie to Ned, who turned round and stared
" Why, you can't, can you ? "
" Of course I can," was the half-indignant answer.
STOKTON'a PS ML.
'^A battle for a kingdom : whdll win f " 145
" All right, then ; but how queer."
It was not half as queer as Ned thought, though. For
Josephine and Rosa had lived four years in the Australian
bush, where girls learn to do a good many things that they are
not taught in English schoolrooms. Pheenie knew what sort
of shot was good for small game, and what should be used for
large, as well as Ned himself; and she knew perfectly well, too,
that what she had in her flask now would not keep at bay any
less ignorant foes than their present adversaries.
"They've got their arrows, too," exclaimed Rosa, gazing with
fascinated eyes at the oncoming torrent of besiegers of their
weak, wooden refuge.
"Yes," gasped Storton, gaining the hut at that moment,
and falling down on the ground inside. "They have
indeed got their arrows. I have had three in me. But
I got the water first, thank goodness. Here, Bertram,
catch hold of this. You don't know how glad I am that
I have been able to do something for you. I'd have put
up with a dozen arrows for the sake of that."
Ned's face flushed crimson, and tears started into his
" Give it to the little girl, please, Storton."
There was a big lump in Ned's throat as he turned ^back to
face the enemy. But he must be steady. The natives had
paused in their onward rush when they came near enough to
see the mouths of those three rifles pointed at them. And
they had gathered into one of their favourite circles, and held
a consultation of war. But seeing that those dreaded mouths
did not speak, nor vomit forth any fire or smoke, they appeared
to think that they had grown dumb, and, losing all awe of
the silent weapons, they once more broke their circle with
acclamations for the expected speedy victory, flung up their
arms into the air till their brands blazed out into flame, like
greedy tongues longing to lap up that poor little mouthful of
146 Edward Bertram.
white people, and once more they came raging and yelling
" Fire !" exclaimed Mr. Bell's deep voice.
Crack, crack, crack went the three rifles. Then dead silence.
Josephine and Rosa began to reload rapidly for their father
and Ned ; the third weapon Storton quickly enough loaded
Before the smoke had cleared away, crack — crack — crack
went those rifles again, and this time a hubbub, a babel, a
perfect pandemonium of screeches, howls, yells, and shouts of
rage and defiance followed. The women and children had
betaken themselves to panic-stricken flight Those, at least,
who could ; but unhappily the shots had wounded two poor
women, who now lay rolling on the ground in overwhelming
terror and pain, and the men of their tribe were aroused to
unusual obstinacy and decision by the sight
" Poor creatures," muttered Ned.
"Yes," said Mr, Bell. "I'm grieved enough that we have
hit the women. But we must fire again. Those fellows mean
mischief. They are desperate; and so are we, with more
cause. We only hurt them at the worst, but they'll kill us if
they can — torture us, too, if they get the chance."
Even as he spoke, their dusky enemies prepared for a new
form of attack. Half the number handed over their torches
to the other half, who began to move round so as to attack the
huts in the rear, while the others seized their bows, and let
fly a shower of their unfeathered bone-tipped arrows against
the defenders in the front
"What are we to do now?" exclaimed Ned, in a tone expres-
sive of a certain amount of despondency.
" Why, cheer up, and hope for the best, to be sure," said Mr.
Frank, kindly, and laying his hand for a moment reassuringly
on the boy's shoulder. "Remember, my lad, there is One
above who sees our straits, and can help us."
"^ battle for a kingdom: who'll winV 147
** Fire," ordered Mr. Bell, once more. The natives were
much nearer now, and the rifles did greater execution. Three
men fell, two of them evidently much hurt, and all the rest
retreated hastily. Seeing this, Mr. Bell and Ned reloaded
with all possible despatch, and sent another volley after the
bow and arrow party. That settled the fortunes of the day in
that direction. The Indians had had more than enough, poor
fellows, of the fire-talkers, and, dragging their wounded along
with them, they lost no more time in hurrying away from the
field of battle.
" That's the way to the shore," exclaimed Rosa, gladly, as
she watched the course taken by the fugitives.
** Let us hope, then," said her father, " that they are going to
take to their canoes and leave us in peace."
" Look out," said Storton ; " you are rejoicing too quickly.
We are not out of the wood yet. I am certain I saw a light
shining across the crevices at the back of the inner hut"
" Ah, to be sure," cried Ned. " We are forgetting the fire
party." As far as regarded saving the huts went, it was too
late to remember that division of the enemy now, for at that
moment a tremendous crackling was heard, and the next
instant, or certainly within the space of a quarter of a minute,
the whole structure of dry leaves, twigs, and bamboo canes was
in a blaze.
Happily, the flames that drove the English party out of their
shelter kept the savages at the same time from approaching
them, and prevented their foes from even taking fair aim with
their arrows. The only person who got hit was Ned, and he
was so excited that at the time he scarcely even knew that he
had been wounded. He finished up the engagement finally,
and clenched the English victory, by an act of true madcap
English recklessness. Tired of shooting, and being shot at to
no purpose, he suddenly tossed the rifle he held to Storton,
with the remark that no doubt he could make better use of it.
148 Edward Bertram.
and then, before his purpose could be suspected or hindered,
he ran back to the burning huts, seized the uninjured end of a
flaring bamboo pole, and, armed with this huge and formidable
club, made a sudden curve round the ruins, darted forward,
and made a series of swift, promiscuous lunges at the fore-
most assailants, whose own brands were now reduced to
insignificant bits of brittle charcoal.
Rather to guard Ned from the consequences of his own rash
act than from any other motive, the Bells and Storton followed
his course, and fired their loaded pieces for the last time at the
astonished natives. No one was hit. But the yellow men did
not care to wait and see whether they might be less fortunate
another time. They had had quite enough. They saw their
friends taking care of number one, and galloping away in the
distance, and they very sensibly made up their minds to follow.
Five minutes later, the five English people, standing by the
smouldering huts, were the only human beings in sight for the
monkeys and the rats to look at
" But," said Josephine, continuing her meditations aloud.
" « But' what ?" asked her father.
'' Only, papa, that I know those natives have gone down to
the shore, but we don't know for certain that they have got
into their canoes and paddled awa/to some other island, and
I think it would be much more comfortable if we did"
" I am sure it would," voted Edward, without any hesitation.
The others all voting in the same direction, the rifles were
reloaded by way of precaution, and the two girls being put in
the middle of the little procession — of which they also had to
be the guides — the party set out on their expedition, keeping
as much as possible to the open, for fear of an ambush.
To their great thankfulness they reached the shore without
any mishap, and saw a whole fleet of canoes departing from the
island as rapidly as the paddles could be handled. In fact, a
party of young men in one of the canoes tried to get away even
"^ battle for a kingdom: who'll winT' 149
faster than was practicable, when they saw the bold owners of
the fire-talkers pursuing them even down to the beach. In
their terrified hurry to get farther away, they pulled their canoe
up against another one, and over both went together.
"Hallo !" exclaimed Ned, "what an awful nuisance. Now
they'll have to swim back here or get drowned, poor wretches."
"No such thing, my boy; don't frighten yourself," laughed
Mr. Bell. "That is not the fashion after which things are
managed in these parts."
And even while Mr. Bell was speaking, Ned discovered his
mistake. A. dozen or more natives were darting about in the
water for a few seconds, looking as much at home there as the
fishes themselves, and then all of a sudden uprose the two
canoes sheer out of the water. Both of them got a shake from
their owners, were turned over, and deposited right side upper-
most in the ocean again. Then the swimmers sprang into
them as easily as if they were jumping off a springboard on to
a steady platform, and rowed off after their brethren as if
nothing had happened, while Ned sent a ringing cheer after
them of as hearty admiration as if he and they had parted on
the most friendly terms.
" What jolly fellows they are, afler all, those yellow skins,"
he exclaimed. " I and the fellows at Errington would give a
thing or two to be able to do that trick."
" Listen to the young man 1 " cried Mr. Bell with a laugh.
" Where is the thing, even one, pray, young gentleman, that
you can give away on' any account? I am afraid your very
seaweedy, torn jacket and trousers are not worth much to any-
one but the owner."
Ned laughed too. But the next moment he sank gracefully
down on one knee, saying, "Pardon me, the prowess of my
arm has won me at least a share in this kingdom. I resign my
share to you, King Frank^ and henceforth enrol myself as your
150 Edward Bertram,
" A first-rate notion," said Storton. " Behold another subject
in me, your majesty."
"And in us," exclaimed the two young sisters, readily
falling into the spirit of the thing. ** You shall find us the
most delightful and obedient of subjects, King Father."
"Very well," said Mr. Bell with suitable gravity. "I
accept the dignity you so unanimously confer upon me,
for I suppose that even on a desert island it is as well to
have a head, and I am the eldest of our party."
" Yes, of course," said Ned, quickly. " And now, please your
majesty, the first use you will make of your new authority
will be to order us all to go and get something to drink,
A general laugh followed this cool piece of advice to
the new sovereign.
"No, Mr. Edward Bertram," laughed Mr. Bell. "My
first exercise of power shall be to make you my prime minister
by way of prudently taking the bull by the horns. You
will make a first-rate officer of state, but I should find you
rather a restive subject in a more subordinate position, I fear."
"Oh no, sir. But it will be rather a joke being prime
minister on a desert island — the prime minister gives the
orders, doesn't he? Miss Rosa Bell, lead up to the lake
beyond the rice-fields, and if you see a really good pineapple
by the way, or a cocoa-nut, or any more roast pollies, stop and
pick them up."
By the time this speech was ended, the Bells and Storton
looked like anything but a hapless, helpless, doleful set of cast-
aways. All eyes were dancing with merriment, and Mr. Bell
" Well done, prime minister. Prime minister number one,
king number two."
"Oh dear, no," said Ned, demurely. "At least only some-
times, by way of a help."
'*A battle for a kingdom: who'll win?'' 151
Then the little procession formed again — Rosa at the head,
Ned marching next, King Frank after him, with his younger
daughter clinging to his hand, and Storton bringing up the
After a few minutes Storton began to lag behind. He had
tried hard to keep up with the pace of the others, but the effort
was too painful, and he began to turn faint and sick. He had
drawn out the arrows, certainly, with which he had been
wounded while dipping up water out of the lake for Edward
Bertram ; but he became conscious, now that the excitement
and peril of the recent battle was at an end, that he had not
drawn out eveiything that had struck him. The fact was, that
he had been hit with one of the native arrows that was tipped
with a scrap of bone, so ingeniously contrived in its adjustment
that it stuck tightly into anything it entered, and readily
separated from the weapon to which it had been fixed. Poor
Storton found this out now, and every step he took seemed to
force the instrument of torture farther into the wound. At
last he called out an entreaty to be left behind, and that some
of the party would return to him when they had satisfied their
" I'll stay with you now," said Ned. " You got your injuries
for my sake ; it's only fair that I should put up with a trifle
of inconvenience for you."
'^ No, no ; that's absurd," said Storton. " Run off as fast as
you can go, and you'll be back the sooner. It is I who am
under obligations to you — obligations that I can never repay ;
you are under none to me. But stay a moment ; you can leave
me a loaded rifle, lest any of those yellow men and brethren of
ours have chanced to take a fancy to stay behind."
Finding that the wounded man was really bent on being left
alone, the rest of the party placed him as comfortably as they
could under the circumstances, and then went on, with pro-
mises to return speedily with supplies of fruit and water.
ija Edward Bertram.
" What sort of fruit ?" asked Ned, as he walked on again
beside Rosa. " I've been looking round everywhere, and I
can't make out anything that looks like fruit, at least eatable
fruit. There's never a pear nor an apple anywhere about, I'm
sure ; not so much even as a cherry tree."
" Perhaps not. But there's plenty of beautiful fruit here, all
the same. But see! that is the lake, shining through there.
You had better run on- You cannot miss your way now."
Ned needed no second bidding. He bounded away with a
cry of joy.
A COCOA-NUT BATTLE — MONKEY WINS.
WHEN Ned at last really stood upon the margin of that
exquisite little island lake, boy as he was, and, still more^
thirsty boy, he paused for some minutes before stooping down
to drink. He was literally startled into admiration for the
beautiful scene that burst upon his view.
" We must have stumbled upon the land of the fairies," he
sighed at length, as the otheTS came up to him, and interrupted
" And this is still winter here," said Mr. BelL " What
would you think of i^ I wonder, if you saw it in all the glories
of early summer?"
" That it was a great deal too hot, I expect," replied Ned,
as thirst once more conquered poetry ; and he flung himself
down on the green bank, and put his parched mouth into the
clear, sweet water.
" I say, come, that's enough," exclaimed Mr. Bell a minute
later, and he took his prime minister by the heels, and pulled
him up from the lake. " We shall have the fate of the vain
bull-frog befalling you, if you drink any more. And I cannot
allow the water-supply of my kingdom to be exhausted at this
154 Edward Bertram.
"All right, your majesty," said Ned, laughing; "I don't
mind obeying you just now, for I've had enough for the present.
But, may it please your majesty, it seems to me that you're
uncommonly fond of taking fellows by the heel — I'd much
rather, if you don't mind, that you would take me by the
" Ah then, I suppose you would. Well, I will, next time —
if it comes handiest. And now, what is to be our next
" Go back to poor old Storton, and then look out for some
breakfast, I should say," remarked Ned with a tone of calm
Josephine clapped her hands with amusement.
" I was certain that you would say that," she cried. " I
cannot think how it is, boys always seem to be wanting some-
thing to eat."
" And girls don't seem, but they are," retorted Ned. " I'll
be bound. Miss Pheenie, that you wouldn't hang back if I
offered to take you into a tuck-shop this minute."
** A tuck-shop ! What's that ? I expect I should," answered
Pheenie. " We don't have shops with such ugly names as that
in the Bush."
" Nor any others either, according to Mr. Edward's notions
of shops," said her father, smiling. " But come, our poor
wounded man will be thinking that we have forgotten him.
Besides, you had better hurry up, for my eyes have found your
breakfast for you yonder, while you have been squabbling."
"Squabbling!" repeated Ned indignantly. "We haven't
been squabbling. I think Pheenie is a jolly little thing. But
of course she doesn't understand anything about boys ; girls
" Certainly not ; how should they ? poor little unobservant
ignoramuses. Meantime, here's a good meal for you, which I
might never have found, if it had not been for Rosa's sharp
A Cocoa-nut Battle — Monkey wins. 155
eyes helping me. Meat and drink, cup and platter, all in one.
I wonder if you know how to get inside it ? "
" Yes, of course. Smash it down on the ground, and break
the shell. The milk is very likely all dried up in it, and, if not,
it's scarcely ever very nice, and worth saving."
" What do you mean ?" cried Rosa, with very wide eyes.
" Never mind questioning him, Rosa dear," said her father
with a smile. " Mr. Edward is thinking of the cocoa-nuts he
has been accustomed to buy at his English 'tuck-shops' and fruit
stalls. Give me that pocket-knife of mine that you were so
lucky as to save from the natives, and we will soon show our
new friend that, if we know nothing about boys, we know some-
thing more about cocoa-nuts than he does."
While he spoke, the new-created monarch, with perfect ease,
made three incisions in the indentations always to be seen at one
end of a cocoa-nut, and which are generally so hard in the English-
bought ones that it requires no end of efforts with iron skewers
and pen-knives to break through them. Mr. Bell had no
trouble with the one now picked up, fresh fallen from its own
tree, and, having made three good-sized round holes, he pre-
sented the nut to Edward.
•* There, young man, just take a pull at that flask of Nature's
unaided providing, and then say if the draught was not nice
enough to be worth saving."
Ned did as he was bid. He sucked up a very small,
cautious sip to begin with. For he knew and believed in the
old proverb — "What's one man's meat is another man's
poison." And although the Bells thought fresh cocoa-nut milk
very nice, he might think it very nasty.
But he didn't.
His second sip was a long and strong one. And then he
slowly dropped his hands, with the cocoa-nut clasped tight
between them, and murmured —
" How galopscious !"
156 Edward Bertram,
" What?" shouted those two young sisters. " Whatever did
you say? We have heard a great many funny words in
Australia, but we never heard that one before."
" And it's such a beautiful long one," added Pheenie.
"And means ever so much more than 'delicious,'" said
Ned. " But it's no good your learning it up, because it's one
of those words which girls mustn't use."
" Oh dear I what a pity," sighed Pheenie, solemnly. " Is
" Yes," answered Ned, positively. " Just you see if your
father doesn't say so too."
" Never mind, Pheenie," said Rosa. " I daresay papa will
let us use it now and then, by way of a treat On our birth-
days, perhaps. But do just look up there." And Miss Rosa
Bell broke into a low, mischievous-sounding titter.
" Look up where ? What am I to look at ?"
" Why, don't you see. In that next tree, watching us, is one
of Mr. Edward's yellow-skinned, jabbering beggars."
As though in answer to her notice, at that moment the small
creature in question swung itself down on to a lower branch to
take a nearer inspection of the human group. The scrutiny
appeared to be highly unsatisfactory, and, singling out Ned as
the special object upon which to fix its bright eyes, it suddenly
launched a tremendous, angry harangue at him, jabbering
away as hard and fast as ever its tongue and lips could move.
Everyone laughed but the victim, and his face flushed with
angry remembrance of yesterday's humiliating panic
"Take that, you chattering little beast," he cried wrath-
fully, hurling his cocoa-nut into the tree.
The monkey uttered a scream — not of pain, for Ned's throw
had been much too wide to hit it, but of rage — and with almost
the quickness of lightning it made a spring forward into the
tree immediately over him, and, plucking another nut, showed
that two could play at that game, by dashing it down with all
A Cocoa-nut Battle — Monkey wins. 157
its force on to where Ned's head would have been had not Mr.
£eU, happily for him, pulled him back just in time to avoid the
heavy missile. Ned stooped and picked it up, but as another
and yet another came dashing down, the whole party took to
their heels, till they got clear of the cocoa-nut palms.
" * Discretion is the better part of valour,' where an infuriated,
uncome-atable little brute like that is concerned," said Mr.
Bell, when the party stood still to draw breath once
more. " And one was afraid to shoot it for fear of alarming
Mr. Storton. Otherwise, it would have made us a good
dinner, with a little exercise of Rosa's cooking powers."
" Gah ! " ejaculated Ned, with drawn lips expressive of
intense disgust "You don't mean that you eat monkey for
" Don't we, though 1 " cried Mr, Bell. " And I can tell you
what, my lad, you'll soon learn better than to turn up your nose
at such a dish as that, if we have to stay here long. Why, a
nice, tender, young, well-roasted monkey is a dinner fit for a
king. In the course of my travels I have often made a meal
off one, without being confined to the narrow limits of a desert
" Would you rather have monkey than mutton, then, papa ?"
" Certainly not, madam, that is a very different matter. But
where King Frank finds himself compelled to do without
mutton, he would much rather have monkey than nothing."
"And I wouldn't," said Ned. "So you girls needn't trouble
yourselves to cook any of that sort of food for me, I may as
well tell you at once. I won't be taster of monkey-dishes to
his majesty, that's certain. But, I say ^"
With that exclamation Ned fell back upon those behind him,
and pointed, with open mouth, towards the place where they
had left Storton.
'' Have they come back ?" he asked, in a tone of mingled
158 Edward Bertram.
terror and annoyance. " I wonder where the rest are hidings
Are the rifles loaded?"
"Yes," answered Mr. Bell. "Girls, come here. Bertram,
as you are unarmed you had better fall back."
" Umph," muttered Bertram. " I've more than half a mind
to rush forward, and learn the worst at once. Poor old
StortoQ ! Well, be turned over a new leaf at the last, thank
goodness ! "
"what's for breakfast?" with a new fashion for
WHEN the Bells and Bertram pursued their way to the
lake, leaving Storton in the shelter of some bananas and
other thicker-growing plants, his first proceeding was to try and
ascertain the nature of his wounds. The one that gave him
the greatest amount of pain was, of course, that in which the
arrow-point still remained. Unfortunately, this was also the
one that it was most difficult to get at, for it was in the calf of
his leg, and all his twistings and contortions to try to get the
jagged end of bone out only appeared to result in pushing it
more firmly in. He could see the wound plainly enough, and
touch it too, but his leg was far too swollen and painful to
submit willingly to being wrenched round to be operated upon.
Besides that, his right arm hurt him a good deal, and the
wound in his side made itself felt very much more than was
agreeable, from long neglect, and the rubbing of his clothes
against it Altogether, Storton was in a bad case, and at last
he dropped himself quickly back full length on the ground, and
A brilliant scarlet flamingo, astray from its usual haunts,
paused for a minute by the prostrate form, with its small head
meditatively held on one side. It did not seem to think much
i6o Edward Bertram.
of the sight It blinked its eyes at it, straightened its head,
dropped down its second long stilt, and stalked gravely away,
apparently impressed with the opinion that animals of the
human tribe were a mistake.
A few minutes later, a singular-looking animal, with very
short forelegs and a very long tail, taking a succession of great
leaps, came right on the top of the silent figure. Fortunately,
it was a small one of its species, or it would have flattened its
human landing-stage into a pancake. As it was, it bounded
away again, twelve feet at a time, without having done any
particular harm. But it had not done any good, either. For
the figure was as motionless and silent as before, and showed
no signs of rousing. That fact becoming quite evident, there
was a slight rustle, just within the edge of the wood, after a
The rustle stopped. But those closed eyelids remained fast
shut, so the rustle began again. It was a very soft rustle, not
much louder than a rat would have made creeping through the
undergrowth. But it continued up to the outer edge of the
wood, and then it finally ceased within three feet of Storton,
and two human eyes stared at him, and two human lips said
At least that is exactly, to the very letter, what Ned Bertram
would have declared that they said, if he had been there to
hear them, and there are very few people in the world clever
enough to have contradicted him.
" Wow-wow-wow," came that solemn remark again.
For, let me tell you, "Wow-wow-wow" can sound very
solemn indeed, under certain circumstances, and it was under
these certain circumstances that they were pronounced now.
There was one dead-looking, white-faced human being lying
stretched out on the ground, and near him sat a very cada-
verous-looking, hollow-eyed, yellow-skinned human being,
'' What 's for Breakfast f i6i
staring at him. The yellow-skinned human being was dressed
in draggled feathers, broken shell necklaces, and a fringe of
cocoa-nut cords, about a yard in depth, hung round his waist.
The bare yellow legs were ghastly with streaks and clots of
blood.. And even the cocoa-nut fringe was bedabbled on one
Over the heads of these two sorely wounded human beings
shone a clear blue sky, it soft air breathed over them through
the trees, a burnt village of bamboo huts lay to the right of them,
and the plash-plash could be heard of the ocean waves, lapping
up on the coral-reef two miles distant.
The yellow-skinned human being stared at his white-skinned
brother for a long time ; and then his eyes fell upon the rifle which.
Storton had laid beside him when he began to examine his
wounds. At sight of that weapon poor yellow-skin started and
trembled, and looked pitifully at his own injuries. Finally, he
struggled up on to his knees, bent forward, clasped his hands,
and addressed a rapid jumble of sentences to the rifle, of which
even Edward Bertram could have only distinguished the tone
When the native had finished his prayer to the unknown and
horrible demon, the dreadfully powerful guardian of the pale
strangers, he was suddenly endowed with a happy inspiration.
He would bury his two enemies — put it out of the power of the
demon and his charge to do any further harm. This happy
thought scarcely occurred to him before he proceeded to put
it into execution. His idea of burying was fortunately much
the same as that of the robin redbreasts who buried the babes
in the wood. He preferred an above-ground burial, and no
moving of the bodies.
There were plenty of tropical leaves close at hand, and
twigs and weeds. It did not take two minutes to smother up
Storton and the rifle out of sight. And then the tired-out,
maimed native sat down again, chose the twisted, uneven trunk
1 62 Edward Bertram.
of a screw-palm by way of a comfortable leaning cushion, and
gave himself up to the contemplation of his handiwork with a
quiet grin of satisfaction. In a minute or two his eyes closed,
and he fell asleep. Then Edward Bertram, marching on in front
of his companions, came within sight of the strange scene, as
has been already mentioned, and of course, as he had not been
present at the very light and airy and poetical burial of his
fellow-emigrant, and now only saw a yellow-skinned native close
to where his white countryman ought to be, he was considerably
grieved and alarmed.
King Frank called a halt He, too, began to fear that his
reign was to be a short one, and that the natives, getting the
better of their fright, had come back to renew a contest in
which they were almost certain to be successful if they persisted
" The question is," said Mr. Bell, ** whether it's wisest to
leave the girls here in the open while we advance, or to take
them with us."
''Take them with you," said Pheenie, slipping her hand
coaxingly into her father's. ''Besides, I've still got all the
" Yes, but we will take them, even if we leave you."
" By-the-bye," said Ned, " suppose we all stay here together
in the open, just for the present, and send a shot over in that
direction before we go any further. It would very likely pro-
duce some effect, and show us better what to do."
" Not at all a bad suggestion," cried Mr. Bell ; " nothing
could be better." And losing no time in its execution, he
forthwith raised his rifle to his shoulder and fired.
Ned's expectations were realised. The shot did produce an
effect, and a very extraordinary one ; at least so those anxious
lookers-on considered; but it was not at all the kind of
effect that had been anticipated.
The four English people were gazing forward with anxious
" IVAa^'s for Breakfast V 163
eyes to see a second fierce onslaught of enemies break out from
behind the bushes upon them. Instead of that, they saw a
sudden upheaval of a mass of leaves, with a man very like
Storton starting up in the midst of them, while one poor
unarmed native, having sprung to his feet and stared at the
unexpected vision for a moment, was now flying directly
towards them in his blind terror, as though all the queer
demons of his imagination were in visible shape pursuing him.
" This is a rummy go," ejaculated Ned, as he ran forward
and caught the native in his arms, just as the poor creature
staggered and was falling to the ground, exhausted with
illness and terror.
*' * A rummy go,' " murmured Miss Rosa, storing up a second
new expression for future use, as they all hurried forward to
Storton, dragging the trembling prisoner along with them.
" What in the world made you cover yourself up like that,
Storton? Were you cold?" shouted Ned, as soon as he
was near enough to make himself heard. ''We thought
you had disappeared — been done away with altogether — and
lo and behold ! you exhibit yourself as a Jack-in-the-Green,
and months after May-day. The funniest thing to do I ever
**It would be, certainly, if I'd done it. But IVe no more
notion than yourself how I came by my green covering."
"The fact of the matter is, that you have been buried,'*
said Mr. Bell, who had been making use of his slight knowledge
of the native language to put a few rapid questions to the captive.
•* And it's lucky for you,*' continued that gentleman, " that you
were buried before you were killed. It is not the usual
fashion in these parts, I believe. However, neither your burial
nor your rest appear to have agreed with you. I am a doctor
by profession. Suppose you let me examine your wounds,
while the rest of them gather fruit for our breakfast"
Mr. Bell had already begun, as he spoke, to busy himself
1 64 Edward Bertram.
with the other sufferer, and thus taking upon himself the
charge of the two wounded men, he dismissed the
others to look for the wherewithal to furnish a morning
meal, of which they all began to be sorely in need.
"And mind you lay the table neatly, Pheenie," said her father.
" Oh, of course she will," answered Rosa, laughing. " And
pray, papa, what orders have you for me ? "
"Why, that you light a fire, and cook us something very
" The very thing," cried Ned.
" Oh, of course you ^**
" Now, if you please, Miss Rosa, don't be in such a
hurry. What I was going to say was, that it would be the
very thing for you to make a fire, and meantime I believe I
can find you something to cook at it."
" A monkey ? "
" No, nor a parrot either, just now."
With that short answer Ned ran off to avoid further
questions, only turning once to cry out —
" Be quick with that fire."
"What is he going to get, I wonder?*' asked the girls.
" Nothing," said Mr. Bell, laughing. " He thinks, no
doubt, that he is going to bring you back a fine dish of fish,
but they are not so easily caught as he supposes."
" Then you don't think that I need try to light a fire."
"No, certainly not Much better use your energies in
trying to find some ripe bananas. We cannot well have
anything more wholesome and nourishing. And we shall not
starve, if we have nothing else for the next few days to come."
" I am tired of bananas," muttered Rose.
"And so am I," echoed her sister. "And it would have
been good fun trying to light a fire as the Indians did, by
rubbing one stick inside the hole of another. I expect it's
" What 's for Breakfast r 165
Meantime Edward Bertram hastened on to fulfil his half-
made promise, which was not by any means such a wild
or ignorant one as Mr. Bell imagined. On coming up from
the sea-shore an hour ago, Ned had noticed to the left hand
the gleam of a diminutive, muddy little river, and as he
hastened on with his companions to the clear, pure lake, he
had repeated, half-unconsciously, that specially elegant
imitation Latin rhyme —
'' In mud eels is,
In clay none is,
In fir tar is,
In oak none is.'
And now, as hunger and ambition united to make him wish
for distinction in the commissariat department, his eager feet
kept time to a somewhat monotonous song, whose whole
burden was — " In mud eels is, in mud eels is."
Arrived at his goal, Ned lost no time in descending the
slippery bank a foot or so below the sluggish water; then,
by the aid of an old oyster shell he had picked up on his
way, he began scooping out the mud, carefully and watchfully,
but there was no undue deliberation in his movements.
For some minutes his trouble met with no reward, and the
repetition of his interesting little statement, " In mud eels is,"
began to have a questioning accent in its utterance. All of
a sudden it changed again to a jubilant shout of decisive
exultation — " In mud eels isT
And in a moment Ned had dropped down on his knees in
the slush, and was tugging away with both hands at two
slippery prizes. He obtained a couple more in the same
unfishermanlike way, and then he clambered back to dry
ground, with the audible remark —
'* Of course girls don't eat much, so there'll be one apiece
for us men, and Darkie must fish for himself, unless he eats
grubs, as Rosa says they do in Austialia."
1 66 Edward Bertram,
Having thus settled matters quite to his own satisfaction,
Ned resumed his usefully instructive song, and proceeded to
make the best of his way back to the temporary encampment,
where the two girls had completed their preparations for
breakfast, and were impatiently awaiting his return.
Pheenie's part of the arrangements was very tasteful, A
couple of giant palm leaves that had formed part of Storton's
covering now served for table and table-cloth, while bunches
of such blossoms as she could find at that season, and leaves,
were grouped here and there upon them to conceal other
deficiencies ; at least to try to conceal them, for they did not
have the smallest effect in hiding the poverty of the provisions
from Ned's sharp eyes. While the three Bells exclaimed
joyfully at the sight of his eels, he groaned dolefully at the
other contributions for the picnic.
"It's bad enough," he groaned, "your not getting the fire
lighted. But who in the world, do you suppose, is going to
eat those leathery-looking things you've got spread out there ?
Leather at the bottom of the table," he continued, looking
dolefully enough at the bunches of bananas, '^ and leather at
the top ; leather in the middle, and leather at the two sides.
It's worse than the French commander's old boot, that was
served up with some sauces."
'^ But these fruits are not old boots," said Mr. Bell, laughing,
" and they have nothing leathery about them but their outsides.
They are so good and nutritious that I should not wonder if
the doctors take to ordering them, some day, as wholesome,
" But I like a heavy one," muttered Ned, " so that it isn't
leather. Beefsteaks, and lots of potatoes, and Yorkshire
** You'll have Rosa laughing at you again," whispered
'^Let her. Just look at her rubbing those two sticks
" What 's for Breakfast f " 167
together to get them to light Why, they are as green as if
she had just picked them off a growing tree ! Come along,
and let you and me see if we can't beat her at that
" Meantime," said Mr. Bell, " hand over your eels to me,
and I will get them ready, while you get the fire ready between
" If they can," corrected Storton. " But from the way my
yellow friend yonder is grinning at them all, I don't think he
expects much from their attempts."
In fact, poor Wow-wow found the stupidity of the white faces
too great to be borne. And partly from gratitude to his
surgeon, and partly from contempt for the awkward ignoramuses,
he took the fire manufacture into his own hands. Gathering
together some withered leaves and twigs, which the sun and
wind had already dried after yesterday's storm, the native next
searched about for two bits of dry, hard wood, which he was
not long in finding. One of the pieces had been bored right
through by some insect One end of the other piece he
scraped down to a point with a sharpened shell, carried with a
number of other articles in a sort of pouch in his belt
His implements thus prepared. Wow-wow inserted the point
of the one stick into the hole in the other, and then, rolling the
pointed one rapidly between his hands, he had sparks, smoking
leaves, and, finally, fire, almost before the sisters or Edward
Bertram had made their sticks feel even warm.
'* He's my prisoner though, after all, you know," remarked
Edward, as though the fact of having caught the wounded man
in his arms gave him some undeniable claim to praise for the
native's cleverness. Mr. Bell took the matter in a different
"Very well," he said, "you shall have the prisoner made
over to you. Everything good that he does shall be laid to
your credit, and, of course, everything bad. And as it is of
1 68 Edward Bertram.
almost vital importance to us now to keep him here, you shall
have the privilege of watching over him at night"
" That's a part of the prime minister's business always, is it
not, papa," asked Rosa, "to look after the prisoners?"
" Then if it is, you shall be prime minister," said Ned, with
a pretended yawn. " For I won't. I should be sure to fall
asleep on duty. But see. Now we've got the fire, how are we
going to cook our fishes? That's a much more interesting
matter than politics, or whatever you call prime minister
affairs. We can't put them down here in front, because the
wind is blowing so that they would be covered with ashes ; and
if we put them on the top, they will be burnt to nothing.
" Yes. We'll put up some gipsy sticks over the fire. There
are some splendid long ones that will just do, over there by the
"And how about the kettle — ^what's to do for that ?"
** Kettle, indeed 1 Saucepan, you mean. Dear me, what
are boys made so ignorant for, I wonder," said Rosa, pityingly.
" To amuse girls, I expect," answered Ned, coolly. " But
that cocoa-nut shell is a good thought of yours. A string of
them over the flames with our breakfast boiling away in them
will be jolly."
" They will be still jollier, in my opinion," said King Frank,
" when they are set before us on Pheenie's green table-cloth.
It must be getting on towards dinner-time. I shall begin
feasting upon one of you if you keep me waiting much longer
for some food."
The native youth was apparently beginning to feel as hungry
as his foreign companions, for he held out his hands now
towards the bananas, and made begging signs for some to
be given him. Josephine picked out three or four of the finest
"lumps of leather," as Ned called them, and laid them down
before the stranger guest, while Ned looked on to see how the
brownish-yellow things were to be eaten. He was considerably
" What 's for Breakfast V' 169
surprised when he saw the tough outer skin stripped down all
round, laying bare the eatable inside, which looked like a soft,
thick piece of pith four or five inches long. The islander ate
up the first with such eager relish that Ned began to think he
might as well throw aside pride, and begin breakfast with a
bit of leather after all, while Rosa was finishing her cookery.
But there was something more to see first.
Having eaten one banana in its natural state. Wow-wow
peeled the others, slit them in halves, and, going round to the
other side of the fire, laid the slices on the glowing wood,
where the wind blew it clear and bright, and in a few moments
the smell from the sputtering, fr3ring fruit was so good that Ned
forthwith gave up his fears of leathery food for once and all,
and joined his philosophical prisoner in his meal forthwith.
KING FRANK LIKES HIS KINGDOM.
OUR hungry friends took an uncommonly short time to
eat their breakfast, and '' clearing away " was somewhat
"So what's to do next?** asked Ned, as he swallowed
his last mouthful of banana, and wiped his sticky fingers
somewhat fastidiously upon a leaf.
His act drew quite superfluous attention to his general
personal appearance. The heat of the fire, wind, and time
combined, had dried his clothes very completely, and the front
view of him presented a fine specimen of baked mud. His
face was streaked. His hands were grimy, with the exception
of the tips, whose very cleanness made the dirtiness of the rest
more visible. Consequently his question, " What's to do
next?" was greeted, after a moment's pause, with a general
laughing exclamation —
" Go and have a bath, clothes and all."
** Ah ! " said Ned, calmly surveying himself for the first
time, "that comes of trying a new plan for catching eels.
But it will be very agreeable to the feelings of the prime
minister to go and have a swim. So, if you please, your
majesty, I vote that you and I make our way down to the
King Frank likes his Kingdom. 171
sea, while the girls see to keeping up the fire against dinner
time, and gathering another supply of bananas, and anything
else good that they come across."
"Very well," answered King Frank, smiling. "Your
idea is not such a bad one, if the girls don't object to their
share of it, and Mr. Storton will keep guard over camp while
we are away."
"Oh yes, I know he will," replied Rosa for him quickly,
" and attend to the fire too, while Josephine and I get Wow-
wow to go into the woods with us, to snare a monkey for Mr.
Edward's next meal."
"Gahl" exclaimed Ned once more, as he and Mr, Bell
went off for their bathe*
" Find us a bathing-place, while you are there," called Rosa
*' And make haste back, to build a house for to-night," called
" Pheenie's request gives rise to a very grave consideration,"
said King Frank. " The whole island appears now to be at
our disposal. But we know neither its extent nor its capa-
bilities. And it would be pleasant to know both before
deciding on the site for our habitation."
"You speak, sir, as if you expected us to be shut up on
this island for the rest of our lives," said Ned.
"Well, we might have many a worse fate," answered the
new king, as he stood still in the beautiful glade they were now
crossing, and looked around him on the exquisite scenes of
peaceful beauty that met him on every side, edged in front by
a delicate white fringe bordering the sparkling waters of the
sea, and with a background of soft swelling blue-toned hills, at
the foot of which lay the unseen lake.
" What do you say, my Prime Minister ?" asked Mr. Bell,
after a short pause. " Does the prospect of having to remain
here seem a very doleful one to you?"
172 Edward Bertram.
"If you please, your majesty, not at all for a time," was the
ready answer; "and when we are tired of it, why, we'll just
build a boat, and cut it"
" Admirably decided," exclaimed Mr. Bell. " And of course,
since you speak so confidently about the boat, you are fully
equal to its construction, and when we require it we shall only
have to tell you, and leave the care of providing it in your
competent hands. You shall have the free use of my pocket-
knife by way of tools. The island contains no others, un-
"Then I wonder how the natives manage to make their
canoes, and bows and arrows," remarked Ned, rather shrewdly.
But the explanation of that wonder had to wait for the future,
and was gradual in its unfolding. The two companions had
reached the shores of the island, which were washed by a sort
of narrow salt lake, the bed broken here and there by sharp,
rocky projections, which served as stepping-stones or connecting
links in fair weather with the reef. During storms, such as that
of yesterday, these stepping-stones were completely covered by
a high-dashing, fierce surf, which was quite impassable, and at
such seasons the only connection between the reef and the
island on that side was at one small point, about a quarter of
a mile lower down, where the rock formed a natural bridge
between the two. It was across this bridge that Rosa had run
when she saw the ship, the Good BesSy rocking on the reef at
its outermost edge, still further down ; and it was across this
spray-washed, pool-filled bridge that, an hour or so later, she
had pulled her sister with her, to the small grotto on the reef,
into which Edward Bertram and Storton had so mercifully been
But neither this bridge, nor the grotto, were visible from the
point of shore which Mr. Bell and Ned naturally arrived at
first, in coming straight down the long and beautiful glade, of
nearly three miles in length| which led from the neighbourhood
King Frank likes his Kingdom. 173
of the native village down to the sea, or rather to the inner
belt of salt water.
Ned prepared to go over the rocks, to get to the open sea,
with a rather rueful look at his bare feet and the sharp crags.
" I'll have a try if I can't make myself some shoes out of
those leather banana skins before to-morrow," he laughed, as
he gave his first leap forward on to the smoothest place he
"All right, Shoemaker and Prime Minister" — the titles
sounded capitally together^ — "but meantime, youngster, you
are always in such a mighty hurry about everything. Sharks
abound in the waters about here, I believe ; and although the
natives escaped being snapped up this morning, we might be
less fortunate. All things considered, I think we will bathe
inside the reef until we know somewhat more about our sur-
" Humph," muttered Ned, and looking half inclined to rebel.
But he opportunely remembered a gruesome tale told him by
Bill Anderson, of a mate of his who had both his legs chopped
off clean and sharp by a shark's teeth in Sydney Harbour.
And the operation had been performed so unscientifically, that
the poor fellow had died from the effects of it.
This recollection, rather than loyalty, kept Ned to his duty ;
and as he happened to alight on the rim of a natural basin of
considerable depth and width, he had a very enjoyable bath,
although the exercise of his swimming powers was somewhat
When Mr. Bell returned to dry land, and advised his
companion to do the same, Ned suddenly exclaimed —
" Gh I but how about my clothes ? I haven't washed them
yet And I am sure they are in a worse pickle than I was."
"Very likely," said his companion. " But your jacket and
trousers will shake and brush, and I washed your shirt the first
thing. I hope it is dry now. Yes," he continued, stooping
174 Edward Bertram.
to where he had spread it out on the sand, '' that is dry enough,
as I expected. But where are your socks ? did you kick them
off as well as your boots when you jumped overboard?"
" No ; I took them off when I went in after the eels. I
wonder where they are got to."
" Nowhere, I should say, but are l)dng where you left them.
But come, are you ready ? Rosa and Josephine will be think-
ing we are lost, and we have made no search as yet for a safe
and sheltered bathing-place for them. I should like to find
one near here, if we can."
So saying, Mr. Bell led the way along the shore — not towards
the place whence the native fleet had departed that morning,
but in the direction of the bridge. And about midway Ned's
nimble feet carried him first to the exact thing that was
required. The action of the water there had grooved out of
the sandy shore a miniature canal, which ran up into a green,
leafy wood, and there emptied itself into a small, clear lake,
shelving gradually to the centre, where its greatest depth was
not more than five feet The bed was of sparkling white sand,
which also formed a narrow border round it of three or four
feet in width ; while close up to this came groups of tea shrubsi
shining-leafed tobacco plants, plantains, palms, and many
another beautiful production of the tropics, that only awaited
the first sign of summer to burst forth into glorious masses of
" They can't very well get drowned here, unless they try,"
said Ned, as he knelt down, and gathered some shells gleaming
with metallic lustre, just beneath the water.
Their father agreeing with Ned's opinion, it was soon de*
cided that Rosa's behest was fulfilled. It remained now to
hasten back to the small encampment, and concert measures
for carrying out Pheenie's more important advice.
" My idea is," said Mr. Bell, " that we erect a temporary abode
on or near the site of the native village. There is an abundance
King Frank likes his Kingdom. 175
of building material close at hand. A fair supply of food is
within reach, and fresh water is not far off."
"Added to which," said Ned, "we know our way from
there to our bathing-places, and to the eel river. And we
don't know our way about anywhere else."
"There is more in that last argument of yours," said Mr.
Bell quickly, "than in any of the others that I had just advanced.
For, on second thoughts, I begin to think that the position is
as unwise and inconvenient, for people in our circumstances,
as it would be possible to find on the island. At least three
miles from the sea and passing ships, and more than half-a-
mi le from fresh drinking water."
" Then we had better go somewhere else."
"Decidedly. And so we will, when we know where that
somewhere else is. But we may as well take time to make
a good choice while we are about it."
" Hullo ! they haven't let the fire out, at any rate," shouted
Ned joyfully, at this moment coming within sight of a fine
mass of smoke and flame blown towards them by the wind.
" If they have only been as good about the dinner as the fire,
we shall do well."
" Yes, especially as I have brought up a fair contribution to
it from the sea," said Mr. Bell, attracting Ned's notice, for the
first time, to a large folded leaf he was carrying carefully with
Ned turned and peered in at the opening of the leaf, and
then rushed on to the camp, crying at the top of his voice —
"Clear a hot place for the cockles, Rosa; be quick.
" Nay then, there's no hurry," exclaimed Mr. Bell, hastening
up behind him. " It is little more than two hours since we
"But if you please, your majesty," said that ever-hungry
prime minister, " I think it will be such a good thing to get
176 Edward Bertram.
dinner over before you set the builders to work. It will save
interruption till supper-time."
"Oh, of course," was the laughing assent. "Well, have it
your own way. But evidently our companions have not wasted
their time while we have been absent Rosa and Josephine
are not beckoning to us in that eager way for nothing."
LEAF COTTAGE AND A FOLDING-CHAIR.
MR. BELL was quite right. The sisters, with a little help
from Storton, who was much easier since his wounds had
been washed and the piece of bone extracted, and with a
great deal .of help from the grateful young native, had prepared
a very agreeable surprise for their absent parent and friend.
Josephine had scarcely sent her request after them, as they
went off seawards, than Rose turned to her with the
"Suppose we try to build a hut, to astonish them with when
they get back?"
Pheenie, thinking this a splendid idea, the two girls pro-
ceeded to try and put it into execution without loss of time.
Running across the open to the burnt village, they began by
seeking out a few poles that had escaped the fire, and, deciding
f^ainst erecting them on that dreary site, they commenced
operations by each carrying one across to the outskirts of the
beautiful little wood where they had established their gipsy
camp. Then, with some of the sharpened shelb they had
found near the huts, and with bits of wood, they scooped out
two holes about ten feet apart, and began to set up their staves,
one on either side of Storton.
178 Edward Bertram.
"What are you about?" he asked, as he pulled himself
forward a little to help them.
"Building a roof over your head," laughed Rosa; "or
Whether or no their attempts would have been successful
is doubtful, if at this stage in the proceedings the native had
not guessed what was going forward, and with very unin-
telligible language, but very intelligible signs, volunteered his
Running a little farther into the wood, he soon returned
with several long strips of bark, of a tolerably tough, strong
nature ; and the English folks had not long to wait to see the
use of them.
Immediately behind Storton grew half-a-dozen of the soft-
stemmed young plaintains, about twelve feet high.
These the native drew together in pairs, as near the top as
he could reach, with his strips of bark, fastened with pins of
wood and tendrils of the trailing plants growing at their feet
While he was doing this Storton began to perceive his pur-
pose, and, directing the girls to pile up a heap of wood for
him, by way of a high step beside each of their staves, he took
a third of the poles they had brought across, and, mounting on
the wood piles, he bound the two ends firmly to the tops of
the side staves. Then Wow-wow, with a grin of approval,
pushed towards him his pairs of plantains, one pair being
bound to the centre of the cross pole, the other to the two
ends where it united with the sides.
The bower-hut thus far advanced, Rosa and Josephine
clapped their hands with delight. But there was something
more to be done yet to make it answer even to Wow-wow's
notion of a home. He looked thoughtful for a minute, and
shook his head reproachfully at the ruined village, amidst
which lay the burnt remnants of cocoa-nut matting. But his
face soon cleared, and, bounding away towards a fan-palm of
Leaf Cottage and a Folding-Chair. 179
middle growth, about thirty or forty feet high, he climbed up
the uneven trunk with the agility of a cat, quite regardless of
his wounds, and soon stripped off and flung down a couple
of the enormous leaves, about twelve feet long, and between
nine and ten broad.
"Hurrah!" cried Josephine, as she pounced upon one of
them, and began dragging it towards the bower.
** Wah !" shouted the native, with an equal tone of triumph,
as he dropped to the ground and seized the other.
When, with the additional aid or Rosa and Storton, these
two leaves had been utilised into complete coverings for back,
roof, and sides, the rapidly-built dwelling began to look really
comfortable, with the fire kept blazing away merrily in front of
it, close to which the native flung himself down, and regarded
the joint piece of handiwork with grins and chuckles of the
"Now for some chairs and a table," said Pheenie. And
her two English companions laughed. But the young lady
soon showed them that she meant what she said.
A diligent turning over of the ruins resulted in the finding of
fourteen or fifteen various lengths of bamboo, with which she
returned to camp, and Rosa laughed again, remarking, "Why,
I don't believe that you've got two pieces of the same length.
I'm afraid your chairs won't be comfortable enough to tempt
any one to sit on them but yourself."
*'0h, Rosa, now you really are foolish. Don't you know
that I can make a long hole for the long pieces, and a short
one for the little ones."
. Thus reminded of a very plain fact, Rosa quite contentedly
turned the laugh against herself, and, beginning to think that
her sister's furniture plan was really possible of accomplishment,
she once more set to work to help. The four legs of the table
were soon set up, and Pheenie fetched a large, shining leaf,
which formed a bright top for it, at a very small amount of
i8o Edward Bertram.
trouble, and no expense. It was rather given to turning up at
one side, but the young cabinet-maker remedied that defect by
laying a couple of bananas down there. The seats gave more
" Leaves won't do to sit on," murmured Pheenie, in sudden
perplexity. " They would split, I suppose. I wonder whether
Wow-wow could suggest anything."
With this hope, Josephine began to make signs to the native,
to intimate her wishes. She placed a leaf on the three sticks
meant to form the supports of one of her three-legged stools,
and, seating herself upon it, suffered herself to fall with it to the
ground. She looked dolefully at Wow-wow, and went through
the same performance a second, and then a third time;
Wow-wow, meantime, staring at her with eyes that grew bigger
every moment, until they threatened to swallow up his whole
"sbasoning" for a light meal.
OUR last chapter ended with Josephine Bell's attempt to
get the native's aid in making chairs. As she completed
her third performance to prove that a leaf is an unreliable
chair-seat, Rosa went off into a convulsive giggle Wow-wow
transferred his bewildered gaze to her for a moment Then
his face cleared, his eyes contracted to their natural size, and,
to poor Josephine's utter consternation, he burst into a
paroxysm of laughter, threw himself back full length on the
ground, and rolled over and over in excited glee at the funny
little exhibition that had been provided for his amusement
" There, you see, Rosa, you shouldn't have laughed," said
Josephine J "you have made Wow-wow think it all nonsense."
"And so — so — so it is— all nonsense," laughed and stam-
mered Rosa, till she suddenly saw that her disappointed sister
was on the point of tears. Then good-nature got the better of
amusement, and she set her brains to work to forward the little
"Look here," said Storton, holding up something in his
hands; "won't this do? It's rough, but may answer your
" I should think so f " B^utifully," exclaimed both the girls,
i82 Edward Bertram.
as they looked admiringly at a piece of cross-bar work, made
of twigs, and bits of split bamboo.
Josephine's face was all smiles again. As for darkie, he
much better understood the girls' next intimation, that he
might help them to provide another supply of food. The first
article he brought was a small snake. He had seen the eels
welcomed with delight two hours ago, and accordingly had
taken some pains to procure a similar-looking article of diet
He was very surprised when the girls retreated from his offer-
ing, shuddering. He turned sulky, sat down as far from the
hut as the pleasant influence of the fire extended, cooked his
prize for his own benefit, and when he had eaten it, lay down
and fell asleep.
" Crosspatch," said Rosa.
"Never mind," said Josephine, who had completed her
chairs. " We can do without him." She ran off to the palm
grove for the nuts which the furious monkey had been good
enough to use as missiles to throw at Ned.
Rosa's contribution to the meal was a bunch of bananas, and
a handful of small round seeds she had gathered from a plant
" What is the use of them ?" asked Pheenie, with doubt-
ful looks at the little greenish-black balls. "Are they
" Don't know," replied Rosa, with a mischievous sparkle in
her bright eyes. "I thought they looked so like pills that
they might console father for not being able to concoct real
ones. Perhaps that boy may like a few for miniature
At that moment " that boy's " shout was heard, and he him-
self appeared in sight, tall almost as the impudent young lady's
own tall father. The girls flew forward to welcome the new
arrivals to Leaf Cottage.
" And it does you infinite credit," said Mr. Bell, looking at
*^ Seasoning'' for a light meal. 183
the building, and its interior arrangements, with much ap-
"What do you say?" asked Pheenie, turning with some
anxiety to Bertram, who stood holding the cockles, of which he
had politely relieved the doctor.
" Yes, what do you say ?" added Rosa.
" Elegant, but unsubstantial," was the calm reply.
" You may well say that," exclaimed Mr. Bell, who had just
let himself drop on to one of Pheenie's chairs, which had
instantly collapsed with him, and he now sat huddled up on
the ground, hemmed in with three bits of gracefully bending
Even the discomfited Josephine laughed, and th6 light-
sleeping native boy awoke, and, seeing a repetition of the
former queer exhibition, laughed and choked till his com-
panions thought he was going into a fit. Happily, the only fit
that ensued was a fit of restored good-humour.
" Next time you make chairs, young ladies, please to make
them of something less pliable," said their father.
" And next time you prepare dinner for men, please to let
the first or second course be meat," added Ned, turning his
attention once more to the light repast set out carefully on the
green table. " This affair looks like the refreshments one has
before supper at a party."
"And to add insult to injury," said the doctor, smiling, as he
raised his eyes from a closer inspection of the table, "they
have provided us with seasoning, as though they feared our
appetites would require aid to get through this sumptuous pro-
As he spoke, he picked up one of Rosa's little balls, and
" If you please, father, those are pills, ' to be well shaken
before taken,'" remonstrated Rosa.
" If you don't take care, ma'am, I will make you a dose of
i84 Edward Bertram.
tea with a handful of them. There will be no fear of com-
plaints that it is not hot enough."
" Why, what are they then ?" asked every voice at once.
"The seeds of the pepper plant, to be sure. They will be a
great aid in Rosa's cookery."
" When she gets anything to cook," muttered Ned, discon-
A MORNING PERFORMANCE AT LEAF COTTAGE.
THE light repast of cockles and bananas eaten, all the
party, with the exception of the invalid Storton, set to
work to fortify Leaf Cottage against besiegers. Once more
Wow-wow rendered important service, both by his labour and
by his knowledge of the various plants, leaves, and boughs
most suitable for the desired purpose.
As night drew near, Mr. Bell and his assistants seated
themselves beside the fire, and regarded their homestead with
pardonable pride. But, whether from the excitement of the
past thirty-six hours, from over-fatigue, or from a discovery,
made too late to guard against it, that the sea curved veiy
closely in upon the rear of the cottage which they had not forti-
fied, the cheerful spirits that had animated everyone during
daylight sank completely, and not one of the English group
was inclined ^either to sleep or talk. The native boy, less
sensitive to such influences, curled himself round, dog fashion,
almost within reach of the flames, and fell asleep, much envied
by his companions.
At last, hours after the whole landscape had been hidden in
darkness, excepting where it was lighted up here and there with
the fitful flare from the fire between the bars of the small
stockade, Mr. Bell persuaded his daughters to retire to the
1 86 Edward Bertram.
little apartment prepared for them, and sheathed all round
The doctor then laid himself down in front of it, and soon
fell asleep, wearied out with his last night's watching, and
somewhat slowly his two companions followed his example.
They would have shown more wisdom if they had taken
their sleep four hours earlier. As it was, dawn was beginning
to flood the whole place with rosy light while they still lay
wrapped in oblivion.
But if they chose to wake and sleep at wrong times, other
people were more sensible.
When the brown-skinned thief, who had made the unsuccess-
ful attempt to run off with Storton's irons, got back to his own
people, he lost no time in stirring them up to revenge his
injuries, and, representing that the numbers of the white faces
were absolutely insignificant, he soon procured a fleet- of
volunteers to accompany him back to regain his iron treasures.
Happily for the white people, there was a life and death
feud raging just then between the yellow islanders and the
brown ones, who came of different races, and spoke a diflerent
tongue. Accordingly, when, just after day broke, Wow-wow
was aroused from the final remnants of his morning doze by a
rustling sound coming through the trees, he instantly sat up,
and began to look about him.
For some moments even his sharp eyes were bafiled by the
cover afforded to the foe in the wood. At last, however, two
brown fellows, more eager and daring than their companions,
pushed straight forward swiftly for Leaf Cottage, and Wow-
wow saw them, and trembling with terror he wriggled rapidly
along the ground, stretched out his hand, and gave a vigorous
tug to Mr. Bell's foot, and then a second. At the same
instant there was a sharp, rending sound at the back of the
The doctor sprang up, and seized his rifle, still half asleep.
A Morning Performance at Leaf Cottage. 187
" What is it ? what is the matter ?" he exclaimed, as his eyes
fell on the cowering native.
The exclamation awoke Storton and Ned, the latter sitting
up, and asking with calm drowsiness, as he rubbed his eyes —
"What's the row?"
Another moment, and wild cries of agonized terror rang
through the leaf walls of the girls' room, and startled the three
Englishmen into thorough wakefulness.
"Save her! save her!" shrieked Rosa's voice. Then —
The father, Ned, and Storton dashed themselves through
the leaf entrance, Ned's rifle going off as he did so. There
was a yell of astonished fright within the hut, a rush, and Rosa
was free once more. But where was Josephine ?
"There, there," gasped Rosa, half frantic with fear and
sorrow. " Fly naw^ or it will be too late."
Past the stems of plantains and bananas Josephine's long
golden curls were streaming behind her, as a couple of brown
captors dragged her along between them, struggling and shriek-
ing, towards the canoes.
She might have spared her struggles, poor child. Her little
white arms were as helpless as reeds against the lean brown
hands that grasped her, which, small though they were almost
as her own, were so much more muscular. However, help was
close at hand.
Regardless of the troop of natives, who were already begin-
ning to rally from their sudden panic at the rifle, Mr. Bell and
Ned rushed impetuously through the midst of them, overawing
them by their fierce courage, and rapidly gained on the
The natives had almost reached the shore. Once there, the
prize must be theirs, and father and child would be lost to each
other for life.
" Fire, sir !" exclaimed Ned, breathlessly, as the imminence
1 88 Edward Bertram.
of the affair became each moment more apparent Had his
rifle been loaded he would, himself, have fired some minutes
Twice, already, the father had raised his rifle to his shoulder,
and twice dropped it again. At Ned's entreaty he tried once
more. But the effort was in vain; his agitation was too
terrible. Almost flinging the loaded weapon into his com-
panion's hands, he muttered hoarsely —
"You fire. I cannot Do not shoot my child."
Ned's face brightened. He sprang forward. The doctor's
weapon was a double-barrelled rifle, and Ned gave the natives
the benefit of both barrels, one for each of them.
Yells of " Ha-ee — Ha-ee " followed each report Josephine's
arms were released, and as she fell to the ground the robbers
bleared the shore with a bound, rolled head over heels into the
water, crept through it to the reef, over which they tore like
mad things, regardless of cuts and scratches, threw themselves
into their canoe, and paddled away as fast as they could go,
without waiting for further dealings with either friends or foes.
Storton and his rifle had given the remainder of the troop,
meantime, very impressive hints that the white colonists were
not anxious for other company, and soon all the brown indi-
viduals and their canoes had departed from Shipwreck Island.
History does not say what treatment the original instigator to
this unprofitable expedition received on his return to the head-
quarters of his tribe, but it is tolerably safe to conjecture that
it was something rather unpleasant
A more important part of the matter, as regards us, is, that
from this date neither he nor any of his people again ventured
near the shores of the demon-haunted island, and, as far as
they were concerned, our English friends were left at peace.
When Josephine fell to the ground her father paid no further
heed to her captors, but ran forward, and threw himself down
beside his little daughter, crying in a tone of anguish—
A Morning Performance at Leaf Cottage. 189
She is dead ! My child is killed."
He would not let Ned come near her, nor would he listen
to a word he said ; and when Storton and Rosa came up with
them two minutes later, he was still moaning —
"She is killed— my child is killed!"
" Killed !" ejaculated Storton, in a hushed tone of horror.
"Killed, did you say?"
"I don't believe it,'* said Ned, shortly and sharply. "I
don't believe she's any more dead than I am. If a boy at
school had gone on doing like Mr. Bell he'd have got hit.
The shot never touched her."
" And, except by some very sad mischance, it could not have
killed her if it had, if that is all her father fears."
"Come, sir, move. You are stifling the child. You — a
doctor — to go on acting in this fashion. You surprise me, sir.
There, she's better already, now that she has got some air.
Open your eyes, little one, and tell your father that he is
behaving very badly."
Thus advised, Pheenie did open her eyes, and gave a
bewildered gaze around her. Then, as recollection returned
to her, she raised herself up, threw her arms round her father's
neck, and burst into tears. That latter act did everybody good
but Ned, who looked more indignant than ever, and marched
off back to the wreck of Leaf Cottage, muttering — " What
SEEKING A SETTLEMENT, THEY DISCOVER RAFT BAY.
THE visit of the "Brownies," as Ned called the recent
disturbers of the peace, promoted a general wish to lose
no further time in finding a more prudent spot for the settle-
ment of the colony.
Accordingly, Rosa and Josephine having gathered together
eight or nine of the cocoa-nut shells, and a gourd jar they had
found in the village, to serve for drinking cups and saucepans,
preparations for striking camp were completed, and, with . the
Indian for guide, the procession started upwards for the hills.
The morning was genial as a fair May morning in England,
although it was nearly the midst of such winter as that southern
island ever knew.
Skirting the palm grove and the rice-fields, the party reached
the lake, on the beautiful banks of which a halt was called.
Rosa took advantage of the opportunity to remark to
Bertram, in a tone of mock gravity —
"You have never once said you are hungry this morning 1"
Ned's face flushed, and he cast a rapid, furtive glance at
Pheenie's pale cheeks. Then turning away, he muttered —
"I suppose a fellow isn't obliged to be hungry unless he
Rosa's eyelids dropped over the saucy blue eyes, and as
Discovery of Raft Bay. 191
every one rose to commence the ascent of the hills, she
hastened to Bertram's side, whispering —
" I beg your pardon. It's wicked to laugh at you when you
saved poor little Josie. But please don't mind — I always laugh
** Yes, I know you do," said Ned, in his turn laughing now.
" I have found that much out about you quite well already."
'' Oh, I am so glad. Then of course it's all right, and I can
do it as much as I like," exclaimed Miss Rosa, joyfully. '* I
wish you and I might go on first We shall never get to the
top at this rate."
However, the crown was reached at last, and the climbers
felt amply rewarded for their toil by the beauty of the view
spread out everywhere around them, while their curiosity was
excited by another range of hills crossing the island, and
shutting out from them what lay beyond.
Ned's vexation at having left the bathing-place so far behind
vanished in delight when he reached the edge of the small
plateau at the top of the hills, and, looking down the other side,
he saw nothing but a gentle green slope of not quite a mile in
length between him and a beautiful little bay, around the edges
of which tiny wavelets were rippling with a most enticing
aspect. Just at that point the reef and the island joined, and
curved in with a deep indentation for the formation of this most
convenient little bay.
" Hurrah !" shouted Ned. " Hurry up, all of you, hurry up.
Here's something worth seeing, I can tell you."
'' There are a dozen reasons to make me as thankful as you
for its existence," said Mr. Bell, when he and Storton crossed
to Ned's side, in obedience to his eager summons. '* It looks
tempting enough, for one thing, to induce passing ships to send
a boat here. After all, we may be glad of a chance to escape
some day to a less confined territory."
'*When that time comes," laughed Rosa; "you remember
192 Edward Bertram.
your prime minbter is to provide us with the means of trans-
port He has found the bay in readiness for his fleet"
'' It looks uncommonly as if the^-e were a boat, or something
of the sort, down on the beach already," said Ned five
minutes later, returning to his companions after a rapid run
part of the way down the slope to get a nearer view of the
'' Do you really mean that you have seen anything of the
sort?" asked Mr. Bell, with an excitement that somewhat con-
tradicted his recent expression of resignation.
Ned noticed the fact, and, fearing to raise false hopes, replied
more cautiously — " I don't know. There's something on the
beach that is not stone or shells or seaweed, I'm pretty certain,
but I can't say more than that"
'' Why don't you go and examine it ?" asked the practical
A short consultation ensued, which resulted in the doctor
and Ned starting down the slope with the speed of anxiety and
They were half-way down the hills before they got a fair
view of the object towards which they were descending.
When they did so, both uttered exclamations of delight
Ned shouted, "The materials for our house 1"
Mr. Bell cried, "Our raft I"
They ran on again, and in a very few minutes stood along-
side the raft, on which the Bells had escaped from their sink-
ing ship. Whether the natives had conveyed it there for future
use, or it had drifted round the island, been washed into the
bay by the waves, and landed high and dry during the late
high tide, it was impossible to say. The grand and delightful
fact was sufficient for its finders, that there it was — planks,
spars, ropes, sailcloth, all complete.
"This is indeed a blessing," said Mr. Bell, gravely and
Discovery of Raft Bay. 193
'^ I should think it is, indeed ! Just look here. And they're
as good as if they had only just been made," said a rather
Mr. Bell started slightly, and turned towards Ned. The
next moment he burst out laughing.
*' Come, young man, since you are taster to his majesty, and
you seem to approve those biscuits highly, just hand one over
here, please. It was my thought to put that cask on the raft.
You should be grateful to me."
"And I just am, then," said Ned, heartily. "Oysters and
cockles and bananas will eat evet so much better with biscuits
to eat with them."
" Here is a barrel of something even more useful than the
biscuits," said Mr.«Bell, as the two continued their investiga-
tions, munching the while.
"What is it?" asked Ned, coming round with a heavy
package in his arms. " Is it as useful as what I have got here ?"
" Both are as useful as anything could possibly be to people
in our circumstances," was the answer. " Your box is full of
tools, I know, for I packed them myself. And this barrel is
full of potatoes."
"How jolly. .And that box over there has got a bit of
pickled pork in it, and some red herrings."
"Another barrel full of red herrings, do you say?" said Mr.
Edward Bertram shook his head. "No indeed, sir. No
such luck. Just a few. About enough to tempt us to do with
them as the miser did with bis bit of cheese — put them in a
bottle, and rub our noses against it, as a treat, now and then."
"Never mind. I have a couple of fishing-nets and some
fishing-rods and tackle, bound down with the ropes to the raft.
So if you cannot catch yourself any more red herrings, I daresay
you can get some other fish as good."
" Now, sir, do you mean ? "
194 Edward Bertram.
" Well, no, not exactly. For now, what do you say to our
going back to the others, to let them know of our good
Ned was quite willing. ^' But can we not take something
with us as a proof?" he asked^ with a longing look at the
treasures he was leaving.
Mr. Bell laughed. "Not the biscuits, young man."
" Umph," came the subdued ghost of a grumble. " Well,
what else, then ?"
" Why, I shall be only too glad if you can carry up that box
of tools while I roll this barrel of potatoes up the hill. I am
sure you will admit that they are both first-rate examples of
the value of our find."
In spite of his temporary disappointment as to those capti-
vating biscuits, Ned agreed to this part of the bargain with the
greatest alacrity, and the two companions began to remount
with their treasures. They had not proceeded far, however,
when their progress was arrested in a most awful manner.
No sound had broken on their ears since they quitted their
companions but the gentle ripple of the water on the shore.
Suddenly shrieks of the wildest, most heartrending agony burst
upon them, and were repeated with terrible, mocking echoes
from the cliffs. The two girls appeared, rushing down in
headlong flight from the brow of the hill, their arms flung up
to heaven, as though in an attitude of almost mad despair,
while they continued to utter piercing screams that well-nigh
froze the hearers' hearts.
Ned dropped his load, and Mr. Bell started aside from the
barrel, which rolled and bounded back to the strand, splitting
to pieces as it fell, and scattering the tubers far and wide.
"What new misery has come upon us?" they exclaimed
But the cry died on their lips, and their eye-balls seemed
leaping from their sockets, when
WAGGA SAVES THE GIRLS' LIVES, AND PROVIDES HIMSELF WITH
THE end of the page, and a sort of sympathetic gasp,
brought our last chapter to a particularly abrupt termina-
tion. To resume.
The cry of consternation died on the lips of Mr. Bell and
Ned, and their eyeballs seemed to leap from their sockets as
Rosa's and Josephine's headlong rush brought them onwards,
nearer and nearer, as though a sleuth-hound were at their
Something still more deadly wrapped the girls in its awful
folds. When Mr. Bell and Ned had descended to the shore
an hour since, the sisters wandered along the brow of the cliffs,
making explorations on their own account. Very shortly,
coming upon a beautiful little lake, embosomed almost on the
very summit of the hills, they laid themselves down upon its
margin, beneath the shade of some dwarf fan palms, and soon
They awoke simultaneously with a suppressed cry, and a
sensation of shuddering terror at some unknown evil. For a
few moments they tried to shake off what they imagined but a
nightmare dream. They sat up, and Rosa attempted to with-
draw her arm from her young sister's waist. She could not !
They were bound together; and her effort was followed by a
196 Edward Bertram.
sharp, low hiss from the long, thin snake that was coiled
around them, and which was even then drawing them more
closely together in its deadly clasp.
Most of you have, no doubt, seen pictures and casts of the
world-renowned ancient sculpture of the Laocoon. I have
seen the original itself, in the Belvedere of the Vatican at
Rome, and I am not ashamed to confess that even before the
inanimate marble my blood chilled, and I momentarily closed
my eyes to shut out the awful, all-too-suggestive sight
What then must it have been for these two young English
girls when they saw, not a stone representation of one of the
most tragical of mythological tales, but their own helpless
living bodies linked together with this horrible writhing serpent
chain. As their startled gaze fell on the gleaming, creeping
folds and the glittering eyes, for the first minute a deadly faint-
ness overcame them. But as it is with people in great suffer-
ing, so it was now with Rosa and Josephine. Their mad
terror grew too great for unconsciousness j too great, indeed,
for caution, prudence, or thought
Rising to their feet, the two girls flew to the top of the hill,
uttering shriek upon shriek, and incoherent screams for help.
Then, catching sight of Mr. Bell and Ned, they rushed
frantically down towards them, without hearing or regarding
the cries of the native, who had just perceived their situation,
and bounded forward to meet them, as they sped away in the
It is little wonder that the unexpected spectacle unnerved
the unhappy father, while even Ned's presence of mind and
readiness of resource failed him for once. At this dreadful
crisis in the fate of the young sisters Wagga gave splendid
proof of his kind feeling for his new friends. Flinging himself
forward, in such a way as to arrest the panic-stricken flight,
over which his unintelligible words had no power, he shook his
fist with angry impatience in the girls' faces, as though a second
Wagga saves the Girls^ Lives. 197
adversary had come to overwhelm them. His gleaming eyes
and clenched teeth had the desired effect of cowing them into
stillness sufficiently long for his purpose.
The snake had drawn its downhanging head in upon itself
during its victims' headlong scamper, but as though it had been
meantime employing the leisure in evil cogitations as to next
proceedings, they no sooner came to a standstill than it
suddenly reared its green and golden crest with a second
venomous hiss, and darted it upwards towards Rosa*s neck.
That moment its own neck was seized as in the grip of a
vice, and its narrow, black forked tongue hung helpless from its
jaws. Swift as thought it unwound itself from its rescued
captives, and prepared to fling itself furiously round the native.
At the same instant, however, Mr. Bell's pocket knife flashed in
the light, and the next the heavy coils fell quivering and
wriggling to the ground. Begging the loan of the unknown
steel instrument, Wagga quickly finished the decapitation, and
without waiting for thanks or praises, coolly proceeded to skin
the slain enemy, and then marched upwards with the body
hung about his shoulders like a long tippet, and ready to
furnish him with several delightful meals.
The English people fell on their knees, and poured out
theu: gratitude to the heavenly Father with the passionate
fervour of men who have just seen those dearer to them than
their own lives caught back, on the very brink of the great
precipice, from an impending and agonising death.
JT was a very unpleasant discovery to Edward Bertram that
even a residence on desert islands had some drawbacks,
but as getting away from the present one was among those
things that are easier said than done, the question that re-
mained was how to make the best of it
An hour's diligent search resulted, fortunately, in finding a
deep and wide alcove in one of the hills, which would afford a
secure retreat in case of an Indian onslaught As it also had
the advantage of being close to the summit, whence views
were commanded of the sea all round, no time was lost in
building a tolerably substantial and air-tight home in front of
it The raft, and the box of ship carpenter's tools, were great
aids in its construction, while Storton possessed mechanical
genius that proved of great service in promoting the comfort of
the small colony, and Wagga's knowledge of the good bread to
be made from the pith of the sago palm, the eminently eatable
biscuits to be sliced from the golden globes of the bread-fruit
tree, and of the when and where to dig up the giant tubers of
the yams, made him a very acceptable friend to Ned.
After the first few weeks our friends required little pity, so
far as mere personal comfort was concerned. They had a
good roof over their heads ; sailcloth, cotton, and monkey-skins
for garments ; thorns, fish-bones, and wood for needles ; cocoa-
nut and palm-leaf fibre for thread. And as for food, they had
abundance and to spare, when they once learnt where to look
for it and how to obtain it. The bread has just been mentioned,
or rather only some of it There was palm-oil for butter ;
crabs, oysters, cockles, and fish of all sorts to be obtained
from the sea ; eels from the river; rice and tea from the fields ;
a plentiful supply of sweet water from the lakes; sugar for the
trouble only of cutting a sugar-cane ; birds for the snaring ;
and fruits too numerous to mention.
When Ned's mind was once at rest on this score, and the
works of general utility were fairly advanced, he announced
his intention one morning of setting out on a long day's
expedition across the other line of hills, to discover what lay
on the opposite side.
The information was received in various ways, according to
the disposition of the hearers. Mr. Bell mounted to the out-
look, and took a long, earnest gaze all round the horizon to
make sure there were no canoes in sight, and then begged
Ned to look out botanical treasures for him on his route.
Storton moaned over his lame leg, which prevented his indul-
gence in a similar pleasure. Impudent Rosa made up a huge
packet of everything eatable in her store cupboard, and offered
it to him as support for his journey ; and Josephine slid her
little soft hand into his, and, with a quivering voice, implored
Ned not to lie down to sleep anywhere, lest he should awake
to find himself in a serpent's coils.
"All right, Pussie," replied Bertram, pressing the gentle
hand before he released it ; " I'll think of you if I begin to
feel drowsy, and then my thoughts will be so pleasant that I
shall be sure to keep awake. Good-bye, everybody; I'll be
back before dusk."
The next minute he was running down through the trees, as
if he were in a hurry to get into the school before the bell
ceased, instead of starting on a voluntary pleasure excursion.
Nevertheless, great as his haste was, he did not keep his
promise of returning before dusk. Night fell, and still the
excursionist was absent, and when morning returned, and
brought no signs of the missing friend and favourite, the
dismay and grief were very great amongst the dwellers in the
hill-side castle. Mr. Bell bitterly reproached himself for having
allowed the boy to start off alone, to encounter the unknown
dangers and difficulties of a region yet unexplored by any of
them ; and, with the Indian boy for guide, he lost no time in
following on his tracks, leaving his daughters to the care of
Storton and their own vigilance.
Meantime, to return to the previous day, and to accompany
Ned on his tour of discovery.
NED SPENDS A FEW HOURS WITH A MAN'S HEAD.
AT the end of about an hour's hard walking, Edward
Bertram reached a break near the centre of the transverse
line of hills, and at once took advantage of it, to save time
rather than to spare himself the stiff climb over the summits.
He had got half-way through the natural cutting, when a cave
a few yards above his head attracted his inquisitiveness.
Swinging himself up the steep ascent by means of the vine
tendrils growing over it, he soon stood at the entrance of the
mysterious-looking cavern. An impenetrable darkness filled
the interior for some distance, except where it was pierced by
one thin shaft of light, whose source Ned instantly determined
It is tolerably well known by this time that Ned was no
coward, and as for prudence — ^well, that was a word that he
privately thought had best be omitted from a boy's dictionary ;
so with one parting look at the far-off glancing sea, the waving
trees, and the bright sunshine^ he plunged boldly into the
darkness, guided only by the arrow of light quivering in the
air overhead, while his path below was shrouded in most utter
The opening through which he had entered already appeared
to have dwindled behind him to a hole scarcely big enough
for a cat to pass through, and still he had not discovered the
source of the rapidly increasing light But he never for an
instant dreamt of turning back.
Two minutes more, stumbling onwards over the rough
uneven ground of the long gallery, and Ned suddenly brought
himself up short with a startled exclamation, and a chill
feeling of dismay.
Just beneath a natural shaft in the rock, about thirty feet
before him, was a circular chamber, against the walls of which
sat a row of grinning skeletons, gleaming in the flood of light
that appeared to be poured down for the sole and special
benefit of their eyeless skulls.
The sight was as ghastly as unexpected, and Ned for once
repented of the love of investigation which had led to the dis-
covery of this old native sepulchre. He remembered that he
had got a mile to walk back through the darkness, with those
horrid grizzly bones behind him all the time. For all he knew,
there might be lines of them all along on either hand of him,
and he began to have a creepy feeling that the long skeleton
arms were stretching themselves out, and that the long
skeleton finger-bones were hovering about, groping greedily
for a clutch at his shoulder.
"But how absurd," muttered Bertram at last, with an
impatient laugh, and trying to rally himself out of his uncom-
fortable sensations. "I shall be afraid of a nursery bogey
next. Good-bye, old gentlemen."
As he made his mock bow, a gust of wind blew down the
shaft, one of the skeletons started up with a tremendous rattle,
bent forward, and — was gone.
Ned involuntarily leapt forward. His head shone for an
instant in the light, a cry reverberated through the dismal
tunnel, and the grim skeletons were once more alone in their
glory. Where was Ned ?
A few hours with a man 's head. 203
Well, poor old Ned was where there was some chance of his
remaining until he got turned into a skeleton himself, beyond
the reach of any known eyes till Doomsday. When he first
gained sight of the unexpected human exhibition, he was so
taken up with it as to pay no attention to the dim surroundings
in his immediate neighbourhood ; accordingly, when he sprang
forward, he jumped right into the trap before him, and fell
headlong another fourteen feet lower into the heart of the hill.
And there he lay, with no bones broken, but shaken and
His first thought, when he slowly recovered consciousness,
was that he had been turned adrift on the Bells' raft at sea.
Then he imagined himself once more in the reef grotto, and
listened eagerly for Rosa's encouraging words of assurance.
But, unfortunately, Rosa was as ignorant as Sir Edward
Bertram himself of the runaway heir's doleful plight at that
After a time he became aware of a pain across his shoulders^
caused by lying so long on a hard, sharp bar of something. He
roused up sufficiently to raise himself and withdraw the uncom-
fortable bolster. From the sudden way in which his fingers
unclosed and dropped it when it appeared before his eyes, one
might have thought it was a red-hot poker, or at least something
that could bite. As a fact, it was only a skeleton's arm, and
a trunkless skull at his feet grinned at him with gleaming teeth
and sightless sockets.
" Oh ! bother," exclaimed Ned, " I've had enough of this
sort of thing. It may be all very well for those horrid old
monks in Rome to make playthings of their friends' bones ; for
my part I prefer other sights, so I'll be off."
Fulling himself together, he jumped up and ran forward as
though to leave the cavern. He had forgotten his tumble
until he came in sharp contact with the wall of the lower cave,
just out of range of the light. Then, indeed, he remembered
2o| Edward Bertram.
the additional discomforts of his position, and stood still to
** There must be certainly something of the rat about me,"
he remarked with a dreary laugh, ''for I am always getting
into a hole of one kind or another.'^
The one he was in now was of tolerable extent, but Ned's
most diligent and prolonged examination of the walls all
round, with his hands and straining eyes, did not result in find*
ing any point at which he could climb back to the gallery from
which he had fallen.
The walls in their whole circumference curved inwards, and
that is a sort of wall, as you well know, up which not even a
cat can climb.
The only outlet of any description from the skull-tenanted
pit was an opening close to the ground, and about two feet
square, beneath the broad ledge on which the skeletons were
seated, and leading in the opposite direction to that from
which Bertram had made his unfortunate ingress.
However, as the day passed on, he came to the decision
that even unknown penis were to be preferred to the certain
horror of his present position, from which there was scarcely a
remote chance of rescue, excepting through his own exertions.
Summoning up all his resolution, and with a silent prayer for
help and guidance, he slipped down on hands and knees, and
dragged himself through the hole.
He was now in perfect darkness, and in a tunnel so low that
his head touched the roof as he crawled along, and so narrow
that his shoulders were every now and then even squeezed
together by the rock.
Had Ned known the ordeal that was before him, it is
probable that even his brave spirit would liave quailed, and
that he would have yielded himself to a death of effortless
despair rather than face so much suffering to save his life.
For half-an-hour he continued his slow progress on hands
A few hours with a man^s head. 205
and knees. The cramped attitude and confined air were
beginning to be almost insupportable, and he was on the point
of trying to turn back to make a second effort to escape in
another quarter. Then the passage suddenly widened some-
what, and became high enough for him to rise into a sitting
posture, and rest awhile. Thus he got courage to go on.
Again the gallery narrowed down to little more than a tube,
through which he had to drag himself almost at full length.
Still he crawled on. The very awfulness of his present position
seemed to help him to continue the struggle. There was
something revolting to every noble human instinct in the death
that threatened him. Stifled like a worm in a hole, never to
be found till the hilts themselves dissolved. It must not be.
At lengthy intervals, just when nature seemed almost
exhausted, the gallery would improve. Once or twice he was
even able to rise to his feet for a distance of thirty yards or so,
and on one of these occasions a blessed glimpse of the blue
sky, and a breath of fresh air, from a deep fissure in the hills
beneath which he was burrowing, inspired his sinking heart
with fresh strength and energy.
How long he continued his painful journey through the
night of his living tomb he never knew. If time be reckoned
by such things as thought, and bodily and mental suffering, he
might have claimed a month at least as having been employed
in his terrible travels.
At last, when he was utterly worn out, he emerged once
more into a wide and lofty cavern, a fact of which he was made
thankfully sensible by the great improvement in the air, for the
darkness was as intense as ever. Feeling a floor of soft sand
beneath his feet, he pushed some of it in a heap to form a
pillow, laid his weary head upon it, stretched out his aching
limbs, and fell asleep.
Countless are the instances on record of prisoners and
martyrs sleeping peacefully the night before execution, so no
OQC need wonder that tiied-out Edward Bertram slept soundly
in a dungeon stronger and more pitiless than any of human
invention, and from which there appeared to be scarcely even
a faint chance of ultimate escape.
A new gaoler came upon him while he slept A stealthily
silent assassin stole noiselessly to his humble, unprotected bed.
J J^' \# '^nt-- A
w' W_5 ->«■ J^ .•?sf*<!
AN AWFUL ALTERNATIVE.
y T was well for Edward Bertram that, tired as he was
A when he gained the farther outlet of the dismal, tube-
like corridor, he had yet sufficient thought for his comfort
to make that pillow for his head before he lay down to sleep ;
otherwise his life and this tale might have come to an abrupt
Slowly and softly, but with a deadly sureness and steadfast-
ness, the silent assassin crept up about the simple sand-bed
of the sleeper. And the assassin of that dungeon cave was
none the less terrible because it was an unconscious one,
ignprant of its own pitiless cruelty.
The fact was, that in the utter darkness Ned had flung him-
« self down dangerously near to the edge of a subterranean lake,
which, at high tides and in stormy weather, frequently filled to
the overflowing of its banks. For the aggravation of Ned's
misfortunes this circumstance occtuxed while he was buried in
the depths of profound slumber.
Gradually the water soaked up through the sand, and
Bertram's own weight aided to scoop out the grave to which
the stealthy murderer was consigning him. And still he slept ;
and there was none to have mercy upon him, and to awake
2o8 Edward Bertram.
A water-bed may be very comfortable for invalids, when the
water is packed safe inside a waterproof sack, but otherwise,
excepting in the hottest weather, and in the hottest countries,
one would have imagined that it must have been disagreeable
enough to have awakened even Rip Van Winkle himself.
And yet poor, tired-out Bertram slept, until at last the water
crept up to his pillow, and touched his cheek with its chillness.
That did arouse him somewhat; but even yet he lay still,
perplexed with dreamy fear and wonder, till suddenly a rush
of water poured over his chin and into his mouth.
He woke up then, and no mistake, and started to his feet,
or rather he tried to start up on to his feet. But it is no easy
matter to get firm standing on sloping sand, in twenty or more
inches of water, even when daylight enables you. to see what
you are about ; in darkness it is far more difficult, and Ned's
attempt ended in his pitching head-fotemost into the middle of
his water-bed. Thus he got from the frying-pan into the fire,
for his vigorous plungings and flounderings to regain firm
ground finished by breaking down the thin edge that had
hitherto divided his hollowed couch from the lake, and the
next moment he found himself swimming for his life in the
deep, unseen waters.
He was wide awake enough now.
Happily for Ned« he was one of those people who scarcely
ever lose their presence of mind in sudden emergencies.
Moreover, he was greatly refreshed by his long rest, in spite
of its unpleasant ending. Accordingly, having come to the
surface again after his involuntary dive, he set to work thinking
what to do next.
" Get out of this horrible river Styx," he muttered decidedly,
at last. And turning right about, a couple of vigorous strokes
brought him back to the shore, when he clambered up, and
once more stood on dry ground.
For the moment he felt quite triumphant and thankful.
An Awful Alternative. 209
Unhappily, those, feelings were destined, poor fellow, to be but
too speedily crushed. Not ten minutes had passed before
Ned had made the awful discovery that through those black,
unknown, mysterious waters lay his only hope, his last hope of
Behind him lay the wall of rock, with its one narrow opening,
through which he had so painfully dragged himself. He found
that again with his groping hands, and turned from it shudder-
But with all his eager feelings over that rocky end of the
cavern, he could find no other loophole for hope. And in
front of him lay that midnight lake. He could hear its soft
wash against the cavern walls to the right and left It spared
not even so much as an inch of the shore beside it on either
hand along which he could creep.
He lay down close against the wall of the cave, and tried to
go to sleep again, with the longing that death might come to
him thus, with pitying compassion. But it was quite as difficult
to sleep as to get back to the upper world. His brain was
tortured with the perpetual repetition of the alternative that lay
before him — lingering death by starvation in that bitter dreari-
ness, or an attempt, that might be fruitless, to escape through
the unknown perils of that unseen lake, around which he might
swim in the darkness, till strength failed him, and find no
He sat up, and dropped his aching head into his hands.
" If I were only not alone,*' he groaned. ** But no, no," he
muttered the next moment; "I don't mean that. I'm sure I
don't want anyone else to be in this horrid pickle. If there
were even a streak of light it would not be so hard to
Then he fell into a sort of stupor of despair, out of which he
was aroused by a somewhat singular incident He had allowed
one of his arms to fall listlessly to his side, and suddenly,
2IO Edward Bertram.
beneath the hand resting on the sandy floor he felt a move-
ment. Something cold and smooth was gliding beneath his
A thrill of the most intense thankfulness passed through his
whole frame. He was not the only living creature in that
terrible dungeon 1 Instinctively his fingers clasped around the
moving thing, and for a moment he held in his hand one of
those strange little slim blind-fish, which thinly populate sub-
terranean waters. The next instant it had slipped through
and escaped from its unexpected captivity, and a faint little
plash just before his feet told him in which direction it had
A half sob burst from his lips at thus quickly losing again
the companionship of this small link with life; but it had
scarcely broken upon his own ears before a braver spirit
returned to him. The moan changed into a defiant —
" I'll have you again, you slippery little rascal.*'
And Ned jumped up with an expression of grand resolve
upon his face that was noble enough to make one think it was
a pity none but the darkness saw it
One moment more he turned towards the unseen entrance
to the narrow gallery, and shook his head. It was very doubt-
ful if he could ^survive a second of those horrible airless
journeys, and if he could, to what purpose would it be, as there
was no more likelihood of his being able to get out of the
cavern at the other end now than there was before. He might
as well starve to death in the present one, as go through a
great deal of misery to starve to death in the other.
"But I won't starve to death in either," exclaimed Ned.
" I'll have another try for life, and if I fail, at least it won't be
my fault, and I've heard folks say that death by drowning isn't
as painful as others ; so here goes."
As has been observed before, Ned was no coward, and when
he had once fairly made up his mind that a thing was to be
An Awful Alternative. 211
done, he did it He made two firm steps forward, threw his
arms above his head, and dived into the dismal lake.
There was a great splash, and the waters closed over his
head. But he rose directly, and struck out to the left till he
gained the walL
In following that wall onwards lay his only chance of escape.
If that led out to the upper world, it would lead him with it, if
his strength lasted long enough. But he knew too well the
bewildering pranks that darkness plays people, not to decide
wisely, from the outset of his desperate enterprise, that he
would keep close to his insensible guide.
"speak for yourself, if you please."
HED swam along vigorously for some time. Once he
turned on his back, to try and husband his strength by
floating awhile. But he soon found that would not do. The
almost icy chill of the water was just bearable while he kept
up his own warmth by constant exercise, but he felt numbness
creeping over him the instant he ceased his efforts.
There was no help for it. He must swim on as long as he
could, and if he had not reached the end of the lake, or the
river, or whatever it should be called, by the time his strength
failed — well, then —
"A fellow can but die once," he murmured: and still he
swam on. But as bodily weariness grew upon him, even to
pain, his strength of mind began to fade once more into
mournful despair. An absolute loathing for the black waters
came over him — an agony of doubt as to the Infinite Com-
passion that could have consigned him to that most mournful,
And, meanwhile, in the upper world night had come and
was passing away, leaving his friends as sleepless with anxiety
as it had found them.
Five minutes more — three minutes — two minutes — and all
his strength would be gone — and he must sink, and die.
* * speak for yourself if you please. " 213
Never more see the sun, the sky, the waving trees upon
which he had cast such a lingering glance twenty-four hours
ago, as he plunged into the dark recesses of the hillside
Already he failed, sometimes, to hold his head high enough
to keep his mouth out of the awful hidden waters of that
midnight pool. A bitter cry escaped his cold lips —
" Father 1 Father! show me the light once more before I
He put out his hand, feebly, to feel for the wall. He
grasped a corner. His heart stood still, and then began to
beat with a wild tumult that threatened to burst its bounds.
There was a pause — then he flung himself round the angle,
and a smothered cry broke from his lips.
His prayer was answered, and no more.
At least thus it seemed to Edward Bertram, as he gazed
with a sort of rapture upon the far-off, sofl, dim twilight that
met his eyes as soon as he had turned the comer. He was
not condemned to die in darkness. As for living to enjoy
light, that appeared more improbable than ever, for his very
emotions of gratitude had taken power out of him ; and as for
swimming on to the source of that faint moonbeam of bright-
ness, he knew well enough it was impossible.
However, he must get a little nearer to it ; he must see it a
little more clearly. He made two or three feeble strokes, and
then uttered a cry of pain. He had cut his foot against a
sharp-pointed rock. He swam on another yard, and then both
his feet came in contact with sand and stones, and he stood
up. He moved forward a step or two, feeling before him
carefully with his hands. as he went ; and thus finding a natural
bench in the wall of the cavern, he sat down for a while and
rested, and felt thankful.
Impatience to reach the source of that dim light, from which
he never took his eyes, soon drew him on again^ and he kept
214 Edward Bertram.
forward steadily, although his further progress was up a steep path
that would have tried the strength and patience even of a per-
son who had had no previous exertion. He stumbled on, over
slippery stones &nd pointed crags, the salt water still trickling
over his feet, a remnant from the stream that some hours earlier
had fed the lake too bountifully for his safety. But although
he moved on carefully — for he could not now afford to indulge
in a third tumble into unknown dangers — he never stopped or
hesitated. The light was growing clearer, and the air grew
fresher with every onward step.
As he mounted, his head came closer to the cavern's roof;
at last it touched it He had to stoop, and finally to go on
hands and kneest, as he had done the previous day. But that
was towards darkness ; this was towards light. That was in a
stifling atmosphere; this was with a breeze blowing in upon
him, whose every breath gave him fresh nerve and energy.
These things made all the difiference.
At last his goal was reached, and he gazed through the rock
window to which he had advanced so hopefully. He did not
look quite so pleased as he had expected to do. And, for a
remark in passing, if you cannot swim you had better make
haste and learn, or, if you ever find yourself in Ned Bertram's
position, it will be aU up with you.
When our hero looked through that window of Nature's
making, his eager eyes met with nothing but a wide expanse of
blue sky and blue sea. He had no wings to fly upwards, and
for the other element, as it was low tide now, the sea, which
not very long ago had been leapmg in where he now crouched,
lay many feet beneath him. His burrowing journey had led
him to the outermost edge of the reef, and he was as far from
friends and food as ever, imless he had another swim for it
''And I suppose that's just what I must have," said he, with
a grim little smile, and shaking his head rather ruefully at the
calm sea shining so placidly before him.
^' speak for yourself if you please'^ 215
" What must be, must be," he added, a minute later. " And
the less dawdling about it the better, perhaps. So here goes
for the final item in my adventures."
So saying he dragged himself through the opening, held
with his hands to the ledge for a moment, then, giving his body
a swing out, so as to avoid the sharp sides of the rock, he went
souse into the waves, which greeted him with the genial
pleasantness of a warm bath, after his late experiences in the
He had not far to swim to gain a tolerable landing-place, up
which he scrambled. Then he stumbled over the reef, waded
through the inner belt of water, crossed the shore of the island,
and, having gained the edge of the wood, he ate some fruit, and
lay down and slept
Meantime Mr. Bell and Wagga returned, after eight hours'
fruitless search, to' the rest of the party awaiting them on the
brow of the hill A consultation was held as to what should
be done next to endeavour to find the lost pedestrian.
Rosa and Josephine had prepared quite a sumptuous meal to
greet the return of seekers and sought, and they asked, with
tears in their eyes, what they should do with it now.
" I am sure I don't know," answered Mr. Bell, irritable with
anxiety. " It is no good serving it up, for no one will be able
to eat it."
" Speak for yourself, if you please, sir," called a bright clear
voice out of the bushes just below.
And the next minute the bemoaned wanderer ran up the
remaining few yards to the lawn before Hillside Castle, and
stood once more amongst his friends.
"You wicked boy, Ned, how dare you frighten us so?"
exclaimed Rosa, between smiles and tears. " Don't you know
you are dead?"
" Ah, just so," was the calm reply. " It's a way ghosts have.
A skeleton half frightened me out of my wits, yesterday."
2i6 . Edward Bertram.
" How !" " How !" " How I" exclaimed every voice. " What
do you mean?"
" Just what I say. But suppose we all have a try at Rosa's
cookery first, and then I'll give you a full, true, and particular
account of my adventures since I left you yesterday, and just
see if I don't send you all to bed shivering in your shoes !"
And so he did ; the men for thinking of the awful perils
through which he had passed, and of which the brave young
fellow made so light, and the girls for thinking of what he called
" a gruesome lot of skeletons."
" All the same," remarked Rosa ; " I think I should rather
like to try if I could squeeze myself through that narrow
" And I shouldn't," replied Josephine, decidedly.
And then the two sisters slept, and had very uncomfortable
dreams — Rosa, that she was transformed into a worm; and
Josephine, that she was trying to rescue a dead fish from a
black pool, and the fish had a face like Ned.
If Ned had any dreams himself on the subject of his late
trials, he was wise enough to say nothing about them.
" WHERE'S THE LARGE HAMMER?"
WEEKS and months passed on, after Ned's excursion
through the hills, and our party of exiles had gathered
about them many of the comforts and even some of the
luxuries of civilisation.
The dozen books Mr. Bell had been thoughtful enough to save
on the raft played an important part in the pleasures and em-
ployments of Hillside Castle, while their number was increased
by a small weekly island journal, written on the rice paper shred
from the pith of the Arabia Papyri/era, and to which all con-
tributed, with the exception of the native.
But those two restless spirits, Ned and Rosa, began to
weary terribly of the painful monotony of their lives. As long
as there had been any real hard work to do, or constant
excitement in making fresh discoveries, their energies had had
scope enough, and they had declared, even more warmly than
their companions, that the island was a perfect little paradise.
But when, largely owing to their own endeavours, their home
assumed much the appearance of a beautirul, well-ordered
cottage in civilized England, while a continuance of fair skies,
gentle showers, and refreshing breezes made it appear that
Shipwreck Island was indeed an abode of perpetual peace,
ai8 Edward Bertram.
calmness, and plenty, then Ned and Rosa began to get heartily
sick of it
" Really," said Ned irritably, one day, " I begin to think
that the snakes are blessings in disguise. If it wasn't for them,
and the little excitement of tumbling over one of them now
and again, I verily believe we should solidify into blocks."
Storton laughed. He felt the present peace, after his life
of storm, an immeasurable blessing. Still he pitied his younger
" What do you say," he asked, " by way of a change, to our
all making an excursion to your skeleton cave?"
"The very thing!" exclaimed Rosa, delightedly. "We
have not had a picnic for the past three months. Do let
"Do let us go," echoed Josephine; and as every one else
was agreeable to the scheme, preparations were soon made,
and the party started.
Even Pheenie screwed up her courage to a certain pitch of
eagerness to see the strange sight her friend Edward had
described to her so often, and of which he spoke to her again
as he helped her over the difficulties of the route through the
hills leading to the strange and solemn mausoleum.
Arrived at their destination, Ned, who had purposely pro-
vided himself with ropes, got Storton and Mr. Bell to let him
down into the lower cave, whence he handed up to the gratified
doctor one of the three or four skulls that lay scattered
" It would be doing a much more useful thing," called down
Rosa, " if you provided means of escape for any other poor
creature who may some day be as awkward as yoursel£"
" Awkward indeed," returned Bertram, indignantly. " I
should like to see how clever you would have been, if you had
come, without any warning, on yonder lot of horrors."
" Never mind, Ned dear," said little Pheenie, soothingly.
^* Whereas the Large Hammer T^ 219
'' That's only Rosa's nonsense. I want to know how she means
that you could help anyone else.''
'* \Vhy, in the way that I have already thought of," answered
Edward. And the next moment the sound of hammering
reverberated through caverns and galleries with a perfectly
Having put into the rock, with some considerable trouble,
two long and firm pieces of wood as steps, Ned next laid
beside them a coil of rope, and two or three cocoa nuts. Then
he got Storton to pull him up again, for although his steps
would be better than nothing, in case of necessity, it would be
rather a scramble to get up by them. He would have put up
another had he really thought there was likelihood of their ever
being required for use.
As the gallery was traversed on the return journey there was
a suppressed cry from Storton, and Ned exclaimed anxiously —
" Hallo ! What's happened ? Are you hurt ?"
" Thank God, no," answered Storton, earnestly, when they
were all once more standing together in the open air. " But
I am very glad to be safe out of that doleful place. A huge
snake slipped from beneath my foot when you heard my
" I vote," said Mr Bell, " that we carve up over the entrance
'CABINET OF HORRORS.'"
" A very good suggestion," assented Ned. " And I won't
be one of those who pay a shilling to enter. I've had enough
All the same, he had to have some more of it, and very
shortly too, before time had been able to take ofif the edge of
his increased dislike to the place.
A few days after the trip, Mr. Bell was observed most busily
and anxiously turning over all the household goods, ransacking
220 Edward Bertram.
the cupboards, even looking about amongst the shrubs in the
garden they had planted around the front and sides of their
" What is the matter, father?" asked Rosa at last "What
are you looking for ?"
" Why, for the large hammer," came the vexed answer. " I
cannot imagine where it can have got to. And it is much too
valuable a possession to lose."
*' I should think so indeed," said Storton, looking up from
his carpenter's bench, at which he was fashioning wooden sabots
for the girls.
Ned was busy breaking the clay mould out of an india-rubber
canoe, but he dropped his treasure with a sudden start Com<
ing forward, he said as quietly as he could to his unsuspecting
"I know where the hammer is. I'll bring it to you
Then he went out. And as soon as he was out of sight he
flew along like the wind. Had he been able to see an hour
or two into the future, he would have felt that he was rather
flying to meet death than to find a hammer.
Y T was true enough that Ned knew where the hammer was,
A but as for bringing it back directly, that was quite another
matter, in spite of the promise he had so glibly uttered in his
The truth was, that precious hammer was then reposing
peacefully in the lower cave where Ned had dropped it after
he finished hammering in the second step, and he had never
remembered anything more about it until he heard Mr. Bell's
answer to his daughter's question.
"It's a horrid bore," was Ned's inelegant but emphatic
mental ejaculation, as he interrupted his fascinating occupation,
and started ofif on his distasteful expedition.
Had he known all that was to come of it, he might have
called it something more than a "horrid bore." But as he
was rather ashamed of his carelessness, and had, moreover, no
wish to let any of the others suffer for his fault by accompany-
ing him as a sacrifice to friendship, as they were sure to do if
they knew whither he was bound, he limited himself to his bare
assertion and rather misleading promise, before he set off on
He scarcely paused once even to recover breath, much less
to look to the right or left, before he reached the cave
222 Edward Bertram.
entrance. There, indeed, he did hesitate a few moments, and
wished that he had brought with him one of the lamps of
palm-oil Mr. Bell had manufactured for the general comfort
Storton's experience with the snake had invested the transit of
even that upper gallery with an unpleasant amount of excite-
ment. And, although the thread of light shining through it
overhead was quite sufficient for a guide, it was utterly useless
as an aid in avoiding ground enemies.
But that hammer had to be got at somehow, and Ned had
to get it
" And," he muttered, " unless I can manage to blow up the
hill or dig through it — either of which undertakings are rather
out of the possible just now-r-Fve no way to regain the bother-
ing thing but by the route I have travelled in safety three times
already, so I must just hope for as good luck twice more.''
At the very minute that Ned was thus soliloquising, Storton
rushed down from the summit of the hill, just above the
cottage, burst into the room where the girls and their father
were quietly engaged with their various occupations, and looked
round anxiously at the astonished group.
" What is the matter ?" he was naturally asked.
For answer, he exclaimed — " Where's Bertram ? We must
keep together. I have just seen some canoes drawn up on
shore. The occupants are already landed, and are out of
Many months of freedom from unwelcome visitors had made
our friends almost forget the possibility of ever again having
trouble on that score. Storton's announcement was received
with pale faces and startled eyes. Mr. Bell hastened to get
the rifles down from their pegs on the wall, and the others
anxiously repeated the query —
« Where's Bertram ?"
Unsuspicious of the threatened danger, and unarmed, there
was every fear of his falling into the hands of the enemy unless
Poisoned Arrows. 223
he speedily returned to the settlement, or could be found and
warned. But Mr. Bell dared not leave his daughters, and
although Storton was all eagerness to go to the help of his
companion, much time was lost in summoning Wagga up
from the bay to give assistance by his wonderful tracking
Meantime, Ned, having fought down his repugnance, passed
through the opening in the hill, ran quickly along the gallery
to the edge of the pit, and with some difficulty obtained a
footing upon one of his wooden steps, and dropped to the
lower floor. The object of his search lay close by, and he
found it directly. But when he tried to remount, he got
rather an uncomfortable tumble back again.
" Umph," he muttered, as he rubbed his bruised shoulder,
^' I think I'll give myself the benefit of a third step in a rather
more convenient position before I make another attempt."
He little dreamt what that third step might cost him, of
which he spoke so coolly.
And once more the sound of hammering broke the solemn
silence of those lonely regions. The rock seemed harder than
ever, and it was some time before Ned had succeeded in fixing
another piece of wood sufficiently firm in its place to bear his
weight At length, having brought the hammer down pretty
heavily upon his fingers, he decided he had had enough of that
employment, and a few moments later he once more stood on
the upper level, with the tool in his hand, and his face turned
At that instant the speck of light in the distance, which
signified the hillside opening, was darkened. Ned hastened
on. Very shortly he heard the tramp of feet, and the confused
sound of voices coming along towards him through the gallery.
"Halloa," he muttered, laughing, "if they haven't found me
out after all. From the noise, the whole party must have
followed me, girls and even Wagga."
224 Edward Bertram.
As a welcome to his approaching friends he shouted a loud,
ringing, '^ All right Come on, I'm here ; but small thanks to
you, good people, for blocking out the light"
He had scarcely finished when his shout was answered ; but
certainly not in the tones he had expected. A wild tempest
of shrieks and yells rushed to his ears, and died, as though
unwillingly, in howls and moans along the roof, only to be
followed by another savage outburst of defiance. The feet,
which had been advancing with a steady slow pace, now came
flying towards him with their utmost speed.
For a few moments Ned stood motionless, as though he
were spell-bound. Merciless foes were close upon him, and
they were coming along the only path by which escape might
have been possible. Even in that tenth part of a minute Ned
seemed to remember all the dreadful accounts which he had
ever heard or read, of horrible tortures inflicted by savages
upon their victims.
But they were approaching rapidly. He could not stand
still there and await them. Suddenly a thought, a gleam of
hope, flashed into his mind. For the first time since his
terrible underground sojourn he was glad to recollect that
narrow corridor through which he had dragged himself, and its
low entrance. He turned, and, regaining the edge of the pit,
quickly dropped himself back into its depths. A minute later
he lay crouched up just within the low passage between the
two caves, the hammer, cocoa-nuts, and coils of rope beside
Bertram had scarcely thus withdrawn himself into compara-
tive safety, when a group of twenty or more Indians issued
into the light of the upper cave. The foremost carried nothing
in their hands but implements of warfare. Behind them came
half-a-dozen men bearing a litter of bamboo, covered with bark
and green branches, on which lay extended a dead body; that
of one of their venerated wizards, as he afterwards learned
Poisoned Arrows. 225
Behind these bearers again came more men, some with split
tree trunks, others with food — parched rice, dried fish, and
plantains— whilst one carried nothing but a small gourd vessel,
slung in a net of palm-leaf fibre. The insignificant appearance
of his burden was evidently counterbalanced by its important
quality, for he guarded it with the greatest watchfulness, and
all his companions showed the utmost care in the midst of
their bustle and excitement not to tumble up against it
When the whole party were gathered together in the weird
mausoleum, a most tremendous jabbering began.
Ned, from his hidden post of observation, had seen the
eager looks cast around by each gleaming pair of eyes as the
owners rushed out into the cavern, and it was impossible to
repress a shudder as he heard the howls of baffled rage that
successively followed the discovery that the expected prisoner
was not yet secured.
However, after a considerable amount of fierce and noisy
talking had been got through, one of the corpse-bearers, who
appeared to have some superior authority over his companions,
managed to obtain a quiet hearing, and, having delivered his
harangue, further proceedings were carried out with methodical
deliberation. The split trunks having been laid over the
chasm, by way of bridge, the wizard's body was carried across,
and then carefully placed beside the skeletons of his predeces-
sors in dignity. This business accomplished, a triumphant or
funeral dance followed, and then the whole party sat down
around the mouth of the pit, and lost no time in despatching
the food brought with them, one of the hands of the dead man
forming part of the meal, to Ned's horror, and being carefully
shared amongst his bearers, as a mark of special honour to the
Meantime, unfortunate Bertram was beginning to ache all
over from his cramped position in the tunnel, and although he
had an intense detestation of the mean and grovelling vice of
226 Edward Bertram.
drunkenness, it must be confessed that he was grievously
vexed to perceive that the Indians had brought nothing with
them to drink more stupefying or sleep-inspiring than
''Ohl when will you take yourselves off again, you
ugly wretches?^' he muttered, irritable with weariness and
At last they all rose, and he began to breathe freely again.
Poor fellow ! he had absolutely deluded himself into the belief
that his dusky companions had forgotten the unlucky intima-
tion he had given of a stranger's presence in those sacred pre-
cincts, or that, at any rate, they had resolved to pay no heed
to it He was soon to be undeceived.
They had only acted upon Captain Cuttle's advice as to
attending to one thing at a time, and so making their pleasur-
able excitement last the longer.
The fact of the matter was, that the Indians felt like so many
happy cats, who have a mouse so safely "cornered" that at
any moment a paw has only to be put out to draw it within
reach of the sharp teeth. Under such circumstances the cat
does not hurry on to the final enjoyment, but as for forgetting
its present or future pleasure ! no, indeed.
The human cats enjoyed their dance and their feast ever so
much more for the belief that they had a human mouse at their
feet, only waiting to be picked up, and when the proper
moment came they proceeded to secure it
The leader of the party chose out two of his companions —
the tallest, strongest, fiercest of the number, and led them to
the edge of the pit Then, while the rest spread themselves as
a barrier along the mouth, Ned had the additional mortifica-
tion of seeing his enemies, with uncouth grins of satisfaction,
descend to his neighbourhood by the steps it had cost him so
much trouble to make. He crawled a foot or two further into
Poisoned Arrows. 227
^'Wah!'' exclaimed the seekers, in mingled astonishment
and disgust, when, on reaching that lower depth and looking
eagerly around, they found no one was visible.
As has been already mentioned, the wall curved inwards, as
they knew, and the supposition had been that the prisoner was
in useless hiding beneath the overhanging brim.
However, this second disappointment was received more
quietly than the first had been.
A consultation was held with those above, and then for the
first time Ned guessed the meaning of that carefully guarded
The man who carried it was called forward. The chief took
a bundle of the sharpest pointed of the arrows, and dipped
them one by one slowly into some liquid it contained
A cord was then fastened round them, and they were let
down to the ferocious hands stretched upwards to receive
Ned began to wish that he had even ventiu-ed a second
crawl straight on through that horrible tube. Bad as that
would have been, it could not be quite so bad as a death of
agony in its cramped space from poisoned arrows. But there
was no time to waste upon wishes now. Before he could have
turned to begin his slow retreat the arrows would be after him.
He must act
He had one advantage over his enemies. He could see
them, but they could not see him. They could see the low
entrance, but even theu: keen sight could scarcely penetrate so
much as a foot into the interior of the dismal subterranean
lane. So far, Ned had the best of the coming battle, and he
roust make the most of it The coils of rope, with a cocoa-nut
fitted into the middle, made a tolerable shield, which he held
in the left hand ; in his right, he grasped another of those
invaluable nuts as a missile, while the hammer lay before his
knees as a formidable weapon in case of his assailants attempt-
328 Edward Bertram.
ing the invasion of his territory and a combat at close
These small preparations took scarcely as much time to
accomplish as they do to read of, but the dusky foe was
equally prompt, and Ned only raised his shield just in time to
receive the first arrow in it instead of in his forehead.
As the thud of the arrow against the impromptu buckler was
heard, a yell of triumph arose at discovering the certainty of
the pale-&ce's presence, and his near neighbourhood. A
second arrow was ready to be launched through the dark door-
way. At that moment some words spoken by one of the
spectators above attracted the man as he crouched down pre-
pared to shoot He turned round, and, quick as thought, Ned
hurled his missile at him.
Its effect was far more important than Ned had dared to
hope. Bewildered with unexpected pain and surprise, the
Indian started to, his feet with a shriek, and struck his deadly
arrow with all his force at his companion, of whom he had
from the outset shown some angry jealousy.
Whether he really believed his bruise had been inflicted by
his countryman, or whether he seized upon the pretext to
gratify previous dislike, Ned, of course, could not determine ;
but, as the unhappy victim of his rage fell with a howl of the
bitterest despair, the revenge he omitted to take himself was
claimed for him by many eager partisans. Another arrow
hastily dipped in the bowl of poison was hurled at the
murderer, who, in his turn, found friends to espouse his
In the hideous and fatal struggle that followed Ned was
forgotten, and he even forgot his own dangerous position in
watching the dreadful fight It was more like a life-and-death
battle between wild animals than between human beings.
And, in the midst of all, the two miserable creatures with whom
it had originated, lay moaning, shrieking, and writhing in all
Poisoned Arrows. 329
the tortures of a most agonizing death ; none thinking to soothe
their miseries with a word of pity, a kind touch, or a drop of
water to cool the burning, swollen tongues. The sights and
sounds presented to the onlooker's eyes were too much for
him. His own troubles and sufferings were borne bravely;
but now he felt sick and feint, the narrow gallery seemed to
contract suddenly into a still more stifliDg cage, and he
WHEN Edward Bertram recovered consciousness, deep
silence once more reigned Within the precincts of that
strange sepulchre. Having spent some minutes in most earnest
use of both his eyes and ears, and discovered nothing more
formidable than the dry skulls of old, and the distorted bodies
of his recent foes, he managed, with some difficulty, to extricate
himself from his hiding-hole.
In spite of his anxiety to get away altogether from the
region, now become so doubly terrible, he was obliged to remain
yet a little longer with his ghastly companions, whilst his
cramped limbs recovered strength sufficient to climb to the
He passed the time in covering the poor Indians with the
boughs and pieces of bark thrown down in the late skirmish.
This compassionate act performed, he mounted upwards, the
hammer, which had so nearly cost him his life, slung to his
Once more at the entrance of the gallery he paused and
listened. Again a reassuring silence calmed his apprehensions,
and he lost no more time in making another attempt to escape,
a longing to warn his friends of the presence of strangers on
the island adding speed to his feet
"/W DeadP 231
As has been already seen, however, his friends had learnt
that fact even sooner than himself, and he was scarcely more
than half-way through the hills, when suddenly the sharp crack
of a rifle broke the stillness, a little distance off.
**^ Too late !" he exclaimed, his steps arrested for a moment
by the sound, and then he pushed on more quickly than
Early in the last chapter mention was made of a long delay
in setting out to seek for Bertram, owing to Wagga's absence
from the holding, grandly entitled by the exiles, " Hillside
Castle." When he had at length been called up from the bay,
and told the reason of the service required of him, fear and
fatigue combined to render him a far less willing and service-
able aid than usual. More than two hours had elapsed before
he and Storton drew near the entrance of the caverns. Even
then, Storton had rather his own instinctive fears to thank,
for the true guess at Ned's whereabouts, than any help
rendered by the native's sagacity. He was engaged in
reproving his guide's dilatoriness, when his harangue received
a startling interruption in the shape of a shower of arrows that
came whizzing through the air towards them, and fortunately
fell harmless at their feet
Wagga instantly took to his heels, and Storton raised Mr.
Bell's double-barrelled rifle to his shoulder and fired. Whilst
awaiting the effect of the shot upon the unseen enemies before
discharging the other barrel, he heard a pitiful cry from his
flying comrade, and echoed the cry the same instant, but
in a very different tone, as Ned darted out into the day-
light, and sprang towards him with the almost breathless
"Are you all safe? Where are the others? — little
"Thank God you are safe," was Storton's first reply,
examining his friend from head to foot as he spoke, to assure
232 Edward Bertram.
himself that he had really got him back, whole and sound.
But Ned's anxiety could ill brook the delay.
'' Botheration about me/' he exclaimed impatiently ; '' how
about the others?"
'' All right," was the satisfactory answer Storton now found
thought to give him. " At least," he added, " with the excep-
tion of that idiot Wagga, whose arrant cowardice has run him
apparently into the very danger he was trying to escape."
As he spoke, a second cry reached them, more imploring
than the last. ^' Misser Storton — Misser Ned, save me !"
Ned started forward in the direction whence the entreaty
came. ''Come on, Storton; we can't forsake the poor
So saying, and having just escaped from one peril, Bertram
ran forward to meet another. His friend joined him, and
their charity received one immediate reward, for their wholly
unexpected advance totally disconcerted the adversaries' calcu-
lations, and a second and well-aimed flight of arrows fell as
harmless around the position the Englishmen had just vacated,
as the random one had done by which the native boy had
been so terrified. Ned's nimble feet well seconded his gene-
rosity, and, closely followed by his companion, he soon came
in sight of a party of ten or more of his late fellow-inhabitants
of the sepulchre. In the midst of them lay Wagga, who had
been thrown to the ground, and was now being tightly bound.
At the present moment one savage-looking fellow was in the
act of twbting a cord which he had passed round the prisoner's
''Ahl" gasped Ned in horror, and with a cold sweat of
dismay breaking out upon his forehead. Another second or
two, and without succour the poor boy would be strangled.
Even now his eyes were starting from his head, but their gaze
was directed towards his English friends with a mingled ex-
pression of faith and agony that was irresistible.
''I'm Dead:' 233
Ned stooped and picked up two handfuls of stones. Rush-
ing forward, he dashed them pell-mell at the group. More by
luck than good management, as the old saying has it, his wild
onslaught had the effect of, at any rate, arresting the victim's
death, for the executioner dropped the cord to clap his hands
to his own bleeding face, along which a great gash had been
cut by a sharp fragment of rock.
Now was Storton's opportunity.
With a wounded cheek, and a charge of shot in his right
arm, the savage had had enough of the contest; with the
bestowal of a parting kick upon the prisoner, he made off to
the boats, and a few more discharges of the wonder-working
rifle had the expected result of sending his comrades helter-
skelter after him, no one caring to be burdened with the bound
captive, who was left upon the field as a trophy for the
'' Now, old fellow,'' said Ned, as he and Storton finished
their task of unfastening his cords. '' Now, old fellow, get up
and come on !"
''Can't, Misser Ned, me dead!" answered the shivering
" All right, then lie there," retorted Ned coolly, and he and
his friend forthwith made the best of their way home. The
poor coward, seeing this, thought better of his statement, and
got up, and made very good use of his dead feet in rejoining
them. It is needless to say that the supper party that night at
Hillside Castle was a happy one.
But Ned Bertram's life was not yet destined to be a smooth
one. His next perils were to the full as terrible as any he had
yet won through.
THE NEW SCHOLAR OF NEWDIGATE.
WE must now leave Shipwreck Island for a short time, and
return to the temperate regions of 52 deg., north latitude.
It is to be hoped that our readers have not altogether for-
gotten the existence of the ex-monitor of Errington. As he and
Edward Bertram are tolerably sure to cross each other's paths
again at some future day, it is needful that they should keep
alive sufficient interest in him to remember, at any rate, his
name and character.
Seven months after Jeffery Robinson left the school he went
up to the university. Morose and unsociable by nature, the
reports that he knew had gone thither before him to his disad-
vantage did not tend to make his looks more genial, nor his
manners more friendly, at the commencement of his college
Self-consciousness made the new scholar imagine that he
was a centre at which all eyes were directed in condemna-
tion, and he revenged himself for this imaginary treatment by
wrapping himself round in a cloak of sullen reserve.
The real fact of the matter was, that the small stir created
by the flogging of his runaway schoolfellow had been forgotten,
even by those who knew of it, while the majority of those about
him had, of course, never heard anything of the affair whatever.
The New Scholar of Newdigate. 235
Nevertheless, although Robinson's antecedents were not to
blame for his reception at college, his behaviour at the outset
caused it to be chill enough to nourish all his gloomy appre-
'' What an awfully sulky-looking fellow the man is who's got
into old Danvers' rooms," said a Newdigate man one day.
'' If he hasn't got a small skeleton of some sort in his private
cupboard, I'm an ice-pudding." And he piled up his fire as he
spoke, with the tongs' aid, quite scientifically.
'' Ice-pudding, indeed ! Don't talk of such horrible things,"
said a friend, who had just come in. '< To hear you speak, one
would think we must have got a jolly good hot August back
again. Just move a step, and let a fellow get a sight of the
fire. How I do abominate your .'brisk, bright, seasonable
weather.' Who are you speaking of?"
" Why, the fellow who sat next you to-day. Do you mean to
say that you did not notice how he slunk into Hall, and
seemed to shrink before our eyes, as if he expected to be
saluted with hisses or rotten eg^ ?"
'' Shyness, all shyness. Lots of fellows look like whipped
dogs when they first come up fresh from a home-tutor and the
mother's apron-strings. They think that everyone is on the
alert to get a rise out of them."
*'Umph," said Dryden, as he dragged forward a second
chair for the accommodation of his feet '' I am glad, at any
rate, shy or not shy, that all fellows have not got that chap's
hangdog look about them. I know this, if they had, my set
would be very select— ^myself and myself— and yet again
" And no bad thing either," grumbled the shivering friend,
'' on honid cold days like this. I shall go back to my own
"Nonsense, old fellow, just stay where you are," answered
Drydea " And as for cold, stuff, you're in the dumps. It's
236 Edward Bertram.
above temperate. Put on the kettle for me, there's a good
fellow, and get out the mannalade, and toast these muffins, and
you shall have tea. Meantime I'll read you a glorious scheme
I've jotted down of what a prize poem ought to be."
And thus Jeffery Robinson was dbmissed from his new
companions' thoughts, and the host for the evening easily and
gracefully did the honours to his guest by allowing him to
forget the chillness of the October air in working for the
comfort of both.
<<It is all strange to you at present, bat you will find
university life very enjoyable when you get more used to it,"
said his tutor, kindly, to the intellectual but gloomy-looking
Robinson at their first interview.
" I have come up to work, not to enjoy myself," muttered
the young man, ungraciously. ^'Is there anything more for
me to learn as to lecture hours?"
" Nothing more. Good-morning."
Jeffery Robinson bowed and took his departure, and Mr.
Chase, the tutor, sat for a few moments looking absently at the
door through which he had just passed. At the end of that
time his thoughts expressed themselves in the outspoken
quiet remark —
"My new pupil may be a genius, but he is an intensely
disagreeable fellow at the same time, and I expect can be
abominably impertinent He had better try nothing of the
sort on with me, however."
And then the tutor, in his turn, dismissed him firom his
The weeks passed, and Robinson was as much alone at
Newdigate as if he were a solitary dweller in a college that had
been swept by pestilence. He showed no human sympathy
for others, and he received none. He always went into the
Hall for dinner as late as possible, and got away as soon as he
could, and after the first few days, when every attempt at
The New Scholar of Newdtgate. 237
conversation with him had met a sullen rebufT, men very seldom
spoke to him.
His rooms were rarely invaded by friends or foes, Not even
the most mischief-loving cared to inflict their ingenious atten-
tions upon him, or to make him the subject of any of their
He scarcely ever went out, except to chapel and lectures,
and altogether his life was as dreaty as Sir Edward Bertram in
his most vindictive moments could have possibly desired.
sm EDWARD Bertram's hopes.
WHILE we are in England, a passing glance may as well
be bestowed on Ned Bertram's old uncle, the Waterloo
On the morning when we reach Bertram Hall, Sir Edward
Bertram's splendid place in Gloucestershire, a year has passed
since we last travelled thither with the old General, a few
weeks after the flight of his neglected heir from the public
school of Errington.
" Good-morning, General I hope, sir, that I see you pretty
well this morning."
So spoke Mr. Jarvis, Sir Edward's steward and factotum, on
entering his employer's library about eleven o'clock one bright
day in May.
Mr. Jarvis had just come in from the brilliant sunlight, and
his eyes required a few moments in which to get accustomed to
the comparative darkness of the library. When his powers of
vision had regulated themselves to different circumstances, a
suppressed exclamation escaped him, expressive of sharp self-
Everything out of doors had looked so bright and cheerful
that the steward's feelings were bright and cheerful also, and
Sir Edward Bertram^ s Hopes. 239
his voice had had almost a jaunty tone in it as he uttered his
morning's salutation and well-meant hope.
But his greeting received no answer, and when his eyes at
length really saw the General, he experienced a sudden shock,
and all his joyousness died out of him.
The elbows of the veteran soldier were planted on his
writing-table, and his grey head was buried in his muscular,
bony hands. The whole attitude was tliat of a man irremedi-
" Any bad news, General ?" asked Mr. Jarvis, with hesitation
Still no answer, and he advanced a few steps nearer, and
yet more nervously repeated his query — "Any bad news.
" Yes," growled Sir Edward Bertram, suddenly looking up,
and showing a nbttef set face — "yes — no news."
" Oh ! ah ! yes — I see," muttered Jarvis, looking much
relieved on receiving this very contradictory reply. He added
aloud — "But, if you'll please to remember. General, I warned
you long ago that it would be no news to me to learn that you
had not heard of your heir by this precise date. I don't call
silence in that direction bad news."
" Then I should like to know what you do call it, sir — what
you do call it ?" shouted the old soldier, with the stem fury
with which he might have rallied a body of wavering troops.
" Can't you say, sir, what you do call it ?"
Well, to tell the truth, that was one of the things that the
steward was not able to say on the moment, so he stammered
over first one word, and then over another, and then relapsed
" Ah, ah ! you see," growled Sir Edward, with a grim
chuckle, " you don't call no news bad news, only because you
haven't the wits, man — the wits — to call it anything. So just
listen to me, Jarvis. You can do that, I suppose, can't you?"
240 Edward Bertram.
" Umph," muttered Sir Edward, " now you're rubbed up the
wrong way, I suppose, and feel in a rage. Well, I'm rubbed
up the wrong way, too, and feel in a rage. You're in a rage
" No, sir ; . no. General Oh ^"
"Hold your tongue, Jarvis — don't interrupt. You're in a
rage with me "
" Oh, dear sir, no. I-^— "
"Hold your tongue, sir, hold your tongue," shouted Sir
Edward, starting to his feet " I won't be silenced, sir. My
voice has been heard on the field of Waterloo, sir, after the
Duke's, and do you suppose I'll have it silenced in my own
" Oh pray. General, believe "
But the General looked so minded to fly at him, that Mr.
Jarvis waited for no spoken orders, but broke off his intended
speech himself that time, and his flery companion continued —
" You're in a rage with me, and I'm in a rage with fortune,
and so we're quits. And I tell you this — ^and just be so good
as to remember it for the future when I ask you — no news, at
the end of a long year and two months, of my great-nephew
and heir, Edward Bertram, is bad news, and bad news that I —
I — find it hard to stand — up against."
With the last words all the forced passion had died out of
the poor old General's face — all the forced energy out of his
body, and he once more sank down in his chair, weary, weak,
Jarvis drew nearer. A low moan burst from the old. man's
closed lips, and Jarvis drew close to him, and said gently —
" Several of the ships that started away from English ports
for the antipodes last March twelve months have not returned
yet. Your nephew is, no doubt, in one of them."
"Yes, yes; that is true — that must be true," assented the
Sir Edward Bertram's Hopes. 241
General eagerly, and snatching at the crumbs of comfort offered
him. He took one of his hands from his face, and grasped
"You're a good fellow, Jarvis, and I'm a bear— a '*
" Oh no. Gene "
"Now, now," testily. "There you go again, interrupting,
and I won't stand it. Do you know, Jarvis, your besetting sin
is a love of interrupting me. Now watch against it for the
future, there's a good fellow — especially when I've got the
gout; because, you see, your besetting sin brings out my
besetting sin, which is — temper. But we'll argue that matter
over a glass of port wine, one of these days, and meantime,
about these ships. Have you found out anything more about
any of those that left our shores about fourteen months ago?"
" Yes, General When I was in Liverpool last week I made
a few inquiries here and there, and I learnt that two vessels
started on their voyages about that date, that are expected to
be away, the one three years and the other five years. And on
both of them boys shipped themselves at the last moment."
Sir Edward straightened himself up, with sparkling eyes.
" Why, Jarvis," he exclaimed in a tone of joyful certainty —
"of course those boys are my nephew, Edward Ber "
" One of them," interrupted Jarvis, in an apologetic manner.
"Ah, well, perhaps — yes, of course, one of them," assented
the General slowly, loath to give up the double chance, but
letting the interruption pass for once. " Yes, one of them, Jarvis
— the one on the ship that is gone for three years, no doubt.
We'll find out all the ports it was expected to touch at on its
homeward route, and send letters to them for the young
" Yes. General"
" And, Jarvis, go on planting, and keep the tenants up to
the marL No harshness, you know; but I won't have the
boy find a slovenly estate when he gets back to us — ^Jarvis !"
242 Edward Bertram.
" Yes, General."
" Fourteen months from three years leaves a year and ten
months ; doesn't it? Ay; but, Jarvis, that is a long time for
an old man to wait The young can live on hope only, it is
hard for the old to do so."
Once more the old, brave soldier's head sank wearily and
sadly down, and the steward began to fear whether he had done
more harm than good by endeavouring to draw comfort and
encouragement from circumstances that he himself secretly
considered had very little to do with the unknown fate of the
Jarvis heartily loved his irritable but upright and generous
employer, and although of a naturally quiet and peaceable dis-
position, he would gladly have done violence to his own
feelings, for once in a way, had fortune so far favoured him as
to enable him to horsewhip Jeffery Robinson, whom he looked
upon as the author of all Sir Edward's misery. The baronet
himself continued, from time to time, to recur to the threats he
had uttered in Dr. Brown's library against the ex-monitor. On
several occasions, when the gout was unusually troublesome,
and temper and spirits consequently at their worst, he had
resolutely declared that he would start off to the university,
and denounce the scholar of Newdigate College as guilty of
manslaughter, and half-a-dozen lesser crimes. He had even
gone so far once as to order out his chariot and post-horses for
the journey. But better feelings had hitherto prevailed, and, so
far as Sir Edward Bertram was concerned, Robinson had been
unmolested, and left free to establish for himself a good charac-
ter in his new sphere. We have already seen how small
advantage he took of his opportunities ; and we will now again
take flight from England for the sunnier clime and brighter
shores of Shipwreck Island.
A SOUTHERN STORM.
Y N our last chapter we spoke of returning to the sunnier clime
A and brighter shores of Shipwreck Island; unfortunately,
when we again visit it, after a lapse of more than two years, its
appearance is anything but cheerful, and justifies its lugubrious
title. It has been lately visited by several wind-storms, the
traces of their devastation being everywhere visible, and a
gloomy canopy of clouds overhead, a leaden-coloured sea, and
an oppressive atmosphere threaten their speedy continuance.
Hillside Castle, in spite of its lofty position, has not at pre-
sent sufifered, the shrubs and climbers that have been planted
about it, and grown over its walls, serving as some protection ;
but the garden is a perfect wreck, and so is a great part of the.
wood in which Ned Bertram, Storton, the native, and Mr. Bell
are now hard at work making canoes.
" The storm has done us one good turn, at any rate," said
Ned, as he vigorously continued his occupation of scraping
out the biurnt ash from the hollow trunk of a tree recently
** Ay, indeed," replied Mr. Bell. ** It would have cost us
a considerable amount of time and trouble to get these trees
down, ourselves. But we must not waste breath in talking, fox,
if I mistake not, this wood will be no safe place to be in, an
hour or so hence."
244 Edward Bertram.
The words had scarcely escaped him when a low growl, as
from some wild animal, sounded through the trees. But the
growl was the warning of something more ominous and un-
tamable than the fiercest beast. The experience of the past
fortnight had taught the exiles what it signified. A moment
later a giant tree fell with a crash, snapped short off dose to
the ground, and Ned and his companions covered their eyes
with their hands, blinded with the serpent light that had
flashed out from the darkness gathering up around them.
The tropical storm had begun — such a storm as the people
of northern climes can scarcely imagine even in their dreams.
Peal on peal of " Heaven's artillery '' cracked and roared in
their ears. At alternate instants the whole region round them
appeared wrapped in living fire, or clothed in the blackest
night. The wind seized savagely on glorious, wealth-crowned
forest trees, dashed them down, or flung them away as so many
dead and sun-dried saplings. The hot lightning breath stole
within them, and converted their own life-blood into their
destroyers, splitting them asunder like reeds. Ground plants
were torn up as though with invisible hands. Whole tracts
were laid bare, and the raging sea was audible over all, as
the waves lashed themselves against the reef.
Simultaneously the workers in the wood cast down their
tools and fled. . Bravery and defiance are vain against the
forces of the elements.
When they were clear of the falling trunks and whirling
branches, they were removed from one danger only to meet
with another in the gusts of wind which wrestled with them,
and almost baflied their most desperate efforts to proceed.
The plateau was gained at last, and the shelter of the home
walls; but not a moment too soon. The terrified girls had
spught safety in the alcove under the hill^ and thither the
others now followed them.
Scarcely were all the party thus securely housed than a
A Southern Storm. 245
wilder, more awful blast than ever, swept over the island.
There was a crash, a rending — and in one atom of time the
home, that had been perfected with two years of unending care
and elaboration, was gone.
Out at sea, tossed hither and thither on white crests of the
fierce waves, was the ruined nest of the handful of English
exiles. What little remnant was spared by the first blast was
carried off by the next, and the spoliation was complete.
The bitterness of the storm was spent The once beautiful
island was a wide scene of wrecked and torn desolation, and
the thunder ceased, the wind fell by degrees, gradually dying
away at last in soft sighs, as though wearied with its cruel sport.
The skies cleared, and a troubled heaving of the sea alone
recalled its recent turbulence.
For three or four hours scarcely a word had been spoken by
the Bells or anyone. At last Ned broke the silence, sharply,
and almost fiercely —
" Let us get away from here. I was beginning to grow sick
to death of the confinement of our narrow cage ; now I hate it.
Let us get away."
" We must — we have no choice," said Mr. Bell, wearily,
'' unless we are willing to stay here and die. Encumbered as
the island now is with dying vegetation, it will most probably
become a hotbed of fever in a short time hence. Besides
which, I expect both fruit and birds will be very scarce for a
good while, and we have lost nearly everything that made our
stay here tiolerable, and two of the rifles that made it safe. We
must leave, and quickly."
NED AND HIS COMPANIONS QUIT THE ISLAND.
THREE days after the storm, a singular-looking group was
gathered on the shores of the little bay. A couple of
canoes, made according to the native's directions, had been
carried thither and launched on the clear waters. Both of
them were duly furnished with paddles, and provisioned with
such food as the devastated island still afforded Their intend-
ing crews presented a spectacle queer enough to provoke
laughter, had not the faces that surmounted the oddly-fashioned
and clumsy garments looked so grave and anxious.
Monkey skins, and a sort of sackcloth of cocoa-nut and
palm-leaf fibre, eked out the remains of the sailcloth, while the
two girls had contrived, by means of knitting-needles which
Storton manufactured for them, to make themselves rough
cotton dresses from the abundant cotton plants on the island.
Collars, capes, and aprons of lace-bark, cut from the lace-bark
tree, and fastened by strings made of the woody fibre of rotten
screw-pine stems, completed their uncommon costume.
It must be added that the whole party wore plaited leaf hats,
and shoes, lined with cotton and feathers, and made of india-
rubber from the gigantic climbing plant, the Urceola Elastica,
So clothed, and unencumbered by luggage, our friends stepped
into their small barks, the three Bells into one, Ned, Stortoni
Ned and his Companions quit the Island. 247
and the native into the other, and bid a final farewell to Ship-
There was some sadness in the Bells' good-bye to their late
home, but none in Ned's. He had long known every yard of
the place, and craved for a wider sphere with the natural rest-
lessness of youth.
"Thank goodness, we are off," he shouted gladly, as the two
canoes cleared the bay, and were rowed out to sea.
Mr. Bell's tone was not so gleeful as he asked their pilot, for
the twentieth time —
"Are you sure we are within a day's row of other land?"
" Ay, ay, Misser Bell, no hab fear, all right," was the confident
More confident, indeed, than future events justified. Wagga
had no intention of taking his white friends to his native island
to be massacred, and the position of the other one he had
"You are sure we are rowing in the right direction?" asked
Ned, late in the afternoon, and resting on his oars to take a
good look about him.
" Ay, ay, all right, all right," was the quick answen " Yellow
fellow row now; gib him oar; row hard."
" Row as hard as you like, I don't believe we shall see land
before nightfall," muttered Ned, with an anxious glance towards
the occupants of the other canoe.
Had he been able to see but a few hours into the future, he
would have known that they less needed pity than himself.
HAMMERING A SHARK.
OUT at sea in a canoe made of the single hollowed-out
trunk of a tree, with food enough to last three persons
tolerably well for a couple of days, in the midst of an utterly
unknown waste of waters, and unprovided with a compass.
The situation was neither safe nor cheerful, and Ned
Bertram and Storton looked grave enough when day dawned,
and they once more took the paddles in their hands.
The sudden night of the tropics had fallen upon them, as
Ned had anticipated, while they were yet out of sight of land.
For some time an effort had been maintained to keep the
canoes together, but in the darkness collisions had twice
occurred, threatening to upset one or both of the light boats,
and eventually the dangerous attempt had been relinquished,
and the canoes suffered to drift with the tide.
When morning broke, the Bells and their canoe were
nowhere to be seen.
''They were ahead when we laid down the paddles last
night," said Ned. " No doubt they have been carried along
rather faster. Let us catch them up." With this resolution
the two Englishmen bent to their oars with a will But to
catch up their friends was easier said than done, seeing the
Bells were then on board a fast-sailing vessel bound for
Hammering a Shark. 249
America, while Ned was rowing in the directly contrary
About a couple of hours after the two canoes had been
washed apart by the waves, and carried far out of hailing
distance of each other, a flash of summer lightning had revealed
the party of Bells to the look-out on the American ship. In
another five minutes they would have been run down and
drowned ; as it was, they were rescued, and taken on board.
But no entreaties could prevail upon the captain to keep up,
during the night, what he termed a wild-goose chase after canoe
number two. The Bells had to be contented with their own
safety, and to pray for that of their friends.
The long day passed on. Ned and Storton rowed when
they could, but chiefly for the sake of occupation. As the
morning wore aw^y, they lost all hope of coming up with the
other canoe. The fierce rays of the sun blazed down upon
their heads, and the native sat crouched up at one end of the
boat in a state of semi-stupefied despair.
'' Our dismalness has spared the food to-day, at any rate,"
said Ned, rather grimly, as the second night drew on apace,
and he began to feel hungry after his long fast, as the air grew
But although they had eaten nothing all day, they had nearly
emptied the water-jars, and when Storton's request that he
might have another draught now, instead of food, was complied
with, there was not a drop left
The second night passed, and again the sun rose, rushing up
in the heavens as though in hastie to mock at their helplessness.
Ned had been craving for some months past for more excite-
ment and adventure than that afforded by snaring parrots,
cutting sugar-canes, and making botanical discoveries, and now
they had come to him in full measure. More than once a
longing after the past two years of peacefulness on Shipwreck
Island came upon him. And through the feverish mist, that
250 Edward Bertram.
ever and again danced before his eyes, the delicious, cool, clear
waters of the two lakes seemed barbarously to tantalise him
with their near neighbourhood.
A third night came, and crept onwards into a fourth fiery,
burning day. Two sharks appeared in the wake of the canoe.
Storton had been leaning forward for some time with closed
eyes. At Ned's exclamation, he opened them and asked eagerly
whether land were in sight
''Land! No indeed," answered Ned with a shudder.
" Look there ! "
After Storton's first glance, he appeared fascinated by the
horrible, bloodthirsty creatures.
" Ned," he whispered hoarsely, " which of us do you think
they will have?"
Ned started and stared. "What do you mean?" he ex-
exclaimed, half-angrily. ''Our position is not so lively that
you need add to its wretchedness by such ghastly jokes as
"Jokes !" repeated Storton in the same tongue-dried, harsh
whisper, and still following every movement of the great car-
nivora — "I meant no joke. Don't you know that the sailors
say sharks that have once begun to follow a vessel never leave
it till they have received toll from it? I believe them now."
" I know sailors talk a lot of stuff, and you too," was the
sharp answer, accompanied by a keen look at the gloomy
prognosticator. "You are tired. Lie down and go to
Storton withdrew his eyes heavily from the sharks, and
stared at his young companion's firmly-set face. Ned met the
look with calm determination. "Lie down," he repeated
" Give me a drink of water, then I will," moaned the poor
fellow humbly. He was already more than half-delirious with
fever, as Ned had just perceived.
Hammering a Shark. 251
Bertram looked into the gourds. and the earthen water-
bottle. All were empty ; not even a drop of moisture remained
in any of them."
"Just one sup of water, and then I'll obey you," moaned
Bertram gulped down a lump in his throat, and then turned
and faced his companion again, with the stem words — "I
can't You must obey me without Lie down."
Cowering back in fear from his companion now, Storton lay
down beside the Indian, and Ned dropped his face into his
hands to pray and think.
" What shall I do ? " he muttered. " What is it best to do ? "
And then he looked up. A dazzling sky overhead, a
dazzling sea all round, a small canoe, no water, one man in a
state of stupor, another in growing delirium. •* What is it best
to do ?"
Then Ned's eyes met those keen, shining eyes within a few
feet of the canoe's side. And in his turn, as the scorching sun
seemed to set the blood in his veins boiling, he watched them
swim now before, now behind the frail craft Now they swam
in company along the right side^ and the next minute his
head grew giddy as he turned from right to left, and left
to right, to see what first one and then the other might be
Now and again one of the sharks would raise its blood-
thirsty head out of the water, and snap its jaws, as though in
rage at the long-delayed feast. And Ned shuddered, and the
agonizing beating of his heart was audible.
"Oh my God!" he muttered, "any death but that, any
death but that— have mercy 1"
And still the sun blazed on, and Ned felt the fever gaining
ground against every effort of his will. The sharks kept close
to the canoe now. There was no more careless indulgence in
turnings and twistings and divings. With an awful instinct of
25 2 Edward Bertram,
the bitter imminence of the situation, the two monsters
settled into a calm, persistent, slow movement behind the
slowly-drifting canoe, their cruel teeth within four feet of
The sun began to sink. The day, with its heat and intoler-
able thirst, had been awful, but all its miseries seemed to sink
into nothing before the thought of having those two sharks for
companions during the long hours of helpless darkness. The
very idea rendered Edward Bertram desperate, and fought
down his feverish lassitude for a time.
He must do something. He must make some attempt to
get rid of them, or drive them off. Kneeling down in the
bottom of the canoe, he pulled out everything that had been
stowed away in the foot square hold, made in the thickness of
the wood at the stem of the boat
Amongst other things, he turned out a forgotten bunch of
bananas and a cocoa-nut, articles invaluable in the present
burning thirst But for the moment even they were pushed
aside, for something more immediately desirable in the seeker's
Such tools as had been in use in the wood the day of the
final fearful storm had been saved from the tornado that swept
away all the contents of Hillside Castle, and they had been
divided between the two canoes. Amongst those at Ned's
disposal were a heavy hammer and a sharp, finely-tempered
chisel. Both these tools he fastened separately to two lengths
Laying the chisel beside him, Bertram took the hammer in
his hand a second time, and pulled at the rope he had fastened
round it to make sure that it was secure. Then he coiled a
twist or two of the other end about his left wrist and fingers.
His preparations so far made, he knelt up in the canoe facing
the sharks, and threw out to them some old banana skins and
an empty gourd.
Hammering a Shark. 253
The daintiness of sharks is fortunately in inverse proportion
to their greediness. Without waiting to ascertain the nature
of the gifts so unexpectedly offered them, the voracious
creatures no sooner saw the refuse coming than they turned
over on their backs to receive it Now was Ned's time.
Steadying himself, and setting his teeth tight, with the
swiftness of thought he seized the great hammer, and
with the whole power of his strength raised it above his
head, and flung it crashing down upon the upturned foremost
The energy of his throw nearly pulled him over the side of
the canoe, and before he could right himself again, or discover
the effect of his heavy missile, he felt a hot breath on his
cheek, a heavy hand on his shoulder, and he turned to
meet the glittering eyes of Storton, and to hear his delirious
" Ah ! ah ! you've fed him, Bertram, you've fed him. Well
done, old fellow; now I'll feed the other faithful follower,
and then we'll finish up our travels in the moon — red heat
in the sun — white heat in the moon. Never mind, here
So saying, Storton released Ned's shoulder as suddenly as he
had clutched it, and sprang up to throw himself into the sea,
his gaze once more fixed on the monsters who appeared to
have as fatal a fascination for his disordered brain as snakes
have for the birds on which they feed.
In a moment Ned perceived his intention. It was no time
for persuasive words or gentle acts. He turned on him, and
with a swift, straight hit out from the shoulder, full at his chest,
he felled him, dropping him a dead weight in the bottom of the
At any other time the motionless figure at his feet would
have filled Edward Bertram's heart with grief— now he only
254 Edward Bertram.
<< Better so than to die between the jaws of yonder brute. I
did it to save him."
Secure from interruption within the canoe, Ned was once
more at liberty to turn his attention to affairs without, and to
wonder why, after the first moment, he had felt no further
strain upon his wrist. The first glance showed him that his
uncouth weapon had done its work with unhoped-for complete-
ness. It still lay buried in the dead body of the giant-fish, and
served to tow it along in the boat's wake. It was well for Ned
that his cast had been thus fatal, otherwise he would have
never lived to make another. In the rapidity and agitation of
his preparations, he had so fastened the rope round his wrist
that, if his huge victim had been spared time to make any
struggles for freedom, Bertram must infallibly have been pulled
overboard. Excitement, action, and success had by this time
somewhat steadied his brain, and his future proceedings were
more wary, although marked by barbarity that requires the
excuse of circumstances.
The living fish had swum a short distance off after the
slaughter of its companion. But it rapidly regained its bold-
ness, and now once more resumed its horrible, waiting attitude,
attending on the slow drifting of the boat.
"Misser Ned," muttered Wagga, whom the recent events
had aroused from his long stupor, *' Misser Ned, let dead fish
go, live fish stop behind with him."
" Very likely," said Ned, through his closed teeth ; " but the
dead fish means meat for us, and we'll keep it"
As he spoke, Ned took the chisel, or rather plane-iron
sharpened at both ends, in his right hand, the other end of the
rope in his left, and directing Wagga to throw out some odds
and ends to answer the purpose, as before, of bait, he once
more planted himself as firmly as he could on his knees, awaited
the moment when the shark drew near, flashed the steel in its
eyes, and then flung forth the more glittering and tempting prize.
Hammering a Shark. ass
The greedy monster turned over as Ned raised his aim,
opened its ht^e jaws, and swallowed down the keen-edged,
treacherous booty. The next instant, before it could recover
itselforactinany way, Ned gave one shaip, strong wrench upon
the rope, dropped it into the sea the moment after, seized the
paddles, and rowed for life from the neighbourhood of the
wounded, frantic enemy.
A STARTLING CLIMAX TO NED'S CANOEINa
YT was with a sigh of the most intense relief that, when
A Edward Bettram paused, after fifteen minutes' hatd rowing,
to look into the sea at the rear of the boat, he discovered that
his hope was realized — no living shark was visible. The next
thing to be done was to look to Storton, before darkness and
forced inactivity came upon them.
Ned's momentary dread that he might have killed his friend
was relieved by seeing one of hia hands move, and just as he
bid down the paddles, a few words of unintelligible jargon
still further reassured him.
Under ordinaiy circumstances, Bertram's first proceeding
would have been an attempt to do something for the relief of
his companion, but in the present emergency he took advan-
tage of the delirious man's helplessness to bind him securely,
hand and foot, before bringing him back to the dangerous
semi-consciousness of high fever. One wild or incautious
movement might at any moment overturn the frail barque.
Prudence thus consulted, that treasure-trove of bananas
proved invaluable aids in further efibrts of benevolence. The
moist fruit relieved the parching thirst from which they were
all suffering, and the skins made cooling plaisters to lay on the
■ick man's burning forehead. Having done all that was
A Startling Climax to Ned^s Canoeing. 257
possible for Storton's comfort, Ned laid himself back in the
canoe to rest. The native rolled himself round again, after a
final eager glance to make sure that the mass of food they had
in tow was still safe, and went to sleep.
Storton fell into a troubled doze, and Ned passed the three
or four solemn hours of the night in wakefulness and prayer.
Once or twice a black terror surged up in his heart, and almost
overwhelmed him, as he realized the whole significance of their
position, their utter helplessness and desolateness, drifting on
slowly and surely to a lingering, unmarked death in the vast,
pitiless tract of waters.
"Oh my Father !" he groaned, as the cold damp of agony
stood upon his temples, " have mercy upon us."
A sudden death between the jaws of the sharks began to
appear preferable to the awful picture of torturing thirst, starva-
tion, delirium, and prolonged dying misery which his over-
wrought imagination conjured up. Now and again Storton
awoke, startling the night with shrieks, and curdling Ned*s
blood with the oaths and curses formerly so familiar to the
forger's lips, but long since forsaken and repented of. Heavy
thimder-clouds crept up the horizon, and the air was oppres-
sive to the last degree. Ned began to think that night would
never end, and yet it was, in reality, a very short one, and just
as it was about to end he fell asleep.
" Misser Ned, Misser Ned ! open her eyes, Misser Ned."
These words, spoken in Wagga's most energetic tones, and
accompanied by a pull of his arm, effectually aroused the
sleeper, who raised his head, and obeyed the injunction to
open his eyes with an eager gaze all round.
" What is it?" he asked after a minute, in an accent of keen
disappointment ; " I see nothing."
" But there is something all the same^ Misser Ned," replied
the Indian, pointing his finger towards the south-east, whither
they were still drifting.
2s8 Edward Bertram.
As he finished speaking, he changed his seat, took up his
paddles, and for the first time since the ending of the day on
which they left Shipwreck Island, he commenced to row
Ned let him do so alone for nearly half-an-hour, while he
still kept his own eyes fixed in the direction indicated by
At last a cry of joy escaped him, and he too seized the
paddles, and imitated his companion's example.
It is necessary to have been for nearly a week in a small,
open boat on an unknown sea-desert, during a tropical summer,
to understand the depth of thankfulness with which Ned
Bertram and Wagga ran their canoe up into a little cove
indenting the shores of a small island, after a long spell of
The place was very dimunitive, scarcely more, in fact, than
a rock standing out of the sea. But it was a refuge for the
time from a brief, fierce storm, that would inevitably have
swamped their boat and drowned them. When the storm
passed and the sun once more blazed forth, the few trees
afforded welcome shelter to the weary wanderers.
Having carried Storton to as comfortable a resting-place as
they could find him beneath the trees, the others ensured the
safety of their precious boat by conveying it up almost to the
centre of the rock, into a cavity of which they pushed it out of
reach of the wind should another storm come.
These matters arranged, the next thing was to obtain water
by grubbing round the roots of the trees. Cockles and oysters
served for food, together with a species of rather bitter-tasted
seaweed, which the Indian set the example of eating, and
which appeared to have some effect in relieving Storton's
On this desolate rock, of little more than a mile in diameter,
the three men remained nearly a fortnight, of which the first
A Startling Climax to Ned's Canoeing. 259
half was spent chiefly in sleep, the latter in looking out with
desperate eagerness for passing ships which never came, and in
doubts as to future proceedings. But the reprieve from heat,
thirst, and constant danger had two effects. Storton recovered
his health and strength, and Ned recovered his courage and
'' It's very certain," he began suddenly one evening after an
hour's silence, during which the three companions sat staring
out to sea — "ifs very certain that we cannot spend the
remainder of our lives on this wretched rock."
" Oh yes ! Misser Ned, stay here," interrupted Wagga, who
had not yet sufficiently forgotten recent experiences to wish for
" All right, old fellow, you may if you like, but I shall not,"
resumed Edward ; " so I vote that we cut it at once, while the
sea is smooth and the weather fair."
" Agreed," said Storton, And then they lay down to rest,
in order to be ready to start with the dawn.
Wagga went almost frantic when he saw the canoe launched
again, with a small cargo of shell-fish and fresh water. He
clung to first one, and then the other of his companions, with
piteous appeals to them to be content with present safety.
When he found all his entreaties vain, he flung himself down
on the strand as though in despair, and for neither threats nor
advice would he join the others, who at length gave up their
attempts at persuasion, jumped into the canoe, and pushed off
from the shore.
" But we can't really forsake the obstinate fellow," grumbled
Ned, after rowing on for about ten minutes.
He was preparing to put about again, when, lo ! Mr. Wagga
started up, flung himself into the sea, swam swiftly out to
them, scrambled into the canoe, and sat down as coolly
as if he had been with them at first starting. He had
made use of all the means he knew of to get them to yield
26o Edward Bertram.
to his wishes, but he had no intention of being really left
This present voyage only lasted two days, when again they
reached an island, and once more indulged in a short sojourn
on land. Three or four weeks passed in this manner, between
as many islands. As they gained the last one, Ned fell ill
from the effects of the heat and bad diet, and their strange
voyage of discovery was interrupted for nearly a month.
He had scarcely recovered his strength when restlessness
once more mastered prudence, and for the fifth time the small
canoe and its crew of three passed out of sight of land.
In spite of sdl discomforts, for the first three days all bore up
bravely, buoyed with the expectation of certainly soon coming
to another of those welcome oases in the water-desert that
appeared so numerous in their present neighbourhood. But
the third night fell, and they were still out of sight of land.
A fourth day came and went A fifth. They were without
food or water. And once more all the terrible experiences
of the first portion of their voyage were repeated. Day and
night followed each other, how they scarcely knew. They gave
up rowing. They could not sleep. During the daylight they
sat with strained eyes gazing out for land, or any sign of hope.
But neither flying bird nor floating leaf raised their dying
energies. At night their hollow eyes still stared into the
darkness with meaningless persistency.
It was Storton's turn now to make a final struggle for their
" Bertram," he said one night, laying his hand on that of his
young companion, " we need not help our adverse fortune to
kill us. Let us lie down now and sleep. Our watching
hitherto has done us no good. Let us sleep through this
night, and gain some strength, if possible. To-morrow we
will once more take up the paddles, and try for land — and
A Startling Climax to Ned's Canoeing. 261
So StortoD spoke, and soon all three lay at the bottom of
the drifting canoe, wrapped in exhausted slumber. But they
were destined never again to touch those paddles. The hours
passed — dawn began to faintly tinge the sky on the horizon.
A tumult of noise, shouts, and shrieks sounded through Ned's
dreams, and the next minute he was struggling fraoiically in the
still dim waters of the ocean.
BILL ANDERSON ANSWERS AN ADVERTISEMENT.
JN the spring of the year 1842, a gentleman and a weather-
beaten sailor sat together in the sanded kitchen of a small
inn a few miles out of Plymouth. It was a squally day at the
beginning of April, a sort of remnant from the past month, and
the two people just mentioned were the only passengers by
that day's coach to London.
The postmaster had taken advantage of his unpretending-
looking fares to start them on their way to the metropolis
in an old coach long since put on one side as past work, and
the ramshackle concern had broken down, as might have
been anticipated^ before twenty miles of the journey were
The travellers, outside and in, were coolly told that they
would have to stay where they were until the next morning,
and there was nothing for it but to bear the delay as patiently
as their tempers would allow.
Both men had knocked about the world too much to think
a great deal of the distinctions of rank, and they soon got into
conversation together in front of the landlady's cheerful fire.
" You are on your way to see your friends, I suppose ?" said
the gentleman, eyeing the honest, bronzed countenance of his
companion with some interest.
Bill Anderson answers an Advertisement. 263
*• Not so, sir/' was the answer ; " and begging your pardon
for the contradiction. IVe neither kith nor kin as I knows on,
and my mates aboard ship are the closest friends I own to.
My business in London city is with the lawyer chaps. A
matter o' four year ago, a young lad — as bonny a lad as I'd
wish to see — passed himself out t' Australy aboard my ship.
Leastways, he tried to, but better nor midway the freak took
him to jump overboard in a storm, to try and save a ne'er-do-
" Ay ! " interrupted the listener with sudden eagerness, then
adding — " Yes, yes 1 Go on, if you please. What have lawyers
to do with the matter ? "
" Why, just this. When t' poor, buffeted Good Bess reached
port, and we landed for a spell, I came across this 'vertisement,
sayin' as bow information respectin' Edward Bertram — the very
lad I'm meanin', ye see — would be thankfully received, alive
or dead, and all expenses paid, by some London lawyer folks.
Well, I put the paper by in my kit, an' took ill after that, and
thought no more of the matter till I coom across this again a
few weeks sin', an' now I think better late nor never, and so
While speaking, our good-hearted old friend. Bill Anderson,
had drawn forth and unfolded a carefully wrapped-up scrap of
paper, which he handed to his companion, who perused it
with great interest, and the upshot of the conversation that
followed was, that both the travellers gave up their journey to
the metropolis for the present, and took post-horses northward
to Gloucestershire instead.
As the sailor sat beside the gentleman, while they drove
along the country roads just donning their first faint tinge of
summer greenness, every now and again an exclamation would
burst fi*om his lips —
" And he were na' drooned ! — And ye knew un — It's passin'
strange ! passin' strange."
264 Edward Bertram,
" Ay," responded the gentleman sadly. *' But passing sad,
too, it seems to me, that the brave lad should have been once
so wonderfully spared, only to die in much the same manner
** Perhaps he is na dead; wha kens."
The second day drew to its dose, and the travellers b^an
to grow somewhat nervous.
'^Ye are sure the lad, Edward Bertram, did belong to the
old General up here, sir?" asked Bill Anderson, beginning to
think that after all it might have been wiser to obey the
advertisement, and carry his information to London.
But his companion had no doubts of that nature. Ned had
often spoken to him of the stem old soldier, whose name was
well known to all Englishmen. And, even amidst all the
glowing beauty of southern scenery, Ned had often described,
in terms of affectionate enthusiasm, the beautiful estate that
must one day be his, if he lived, but from whose delights his
boyhood had been so excluded.
** I have no fears, Anderson, that we are not bringing our
news to headquarters," was the answer to Bill's question. " I
am much more anxious as to the way in which it may be
received. I confess I shall feel inclined to call the old man
out if he shows churlishness, or indiflference to the fate of his
gallant young heir."
NEWS AT LAST,
" YF you please, sir, there are some visitors asking to see
" I won't see them — I won't see anyone. You know I
won't," was the passionate answer ; and Sir Edward Bertram
turned a face that looked almost as grey as his hair, upon the
man-servant who still lingered in the doorway.
"Well!" he exclaimed angrily, "what now? Are you
glued to the ground, sir ? Go at once, and tell them I see
no one, for a year past."
" I told them that, General, but they said you would see
" Like their impertinence. Who are they ?"
"I don't know, sir; strangers. One is a gentleman, the
other a sailor fellow."
" What ! " cried the General, starting up, and coming forward.
" A sailor ! What — what — has he come about ?"
" About Mr. Edward, he "
Sir Edward waited to hear no more. Striding to the door,
he flung the servant on one side, and shouted down the hall in
stentorian tones —
" Sailor, come here, and you, sir."
266 Edward Bertram.
The two visitors exchanged looks with each other. The
imperious welcome given to them was delivered much in the
manner of an African king giving his subjects leave to make
themselves mto targets for his arrows. However, they had
come too far to care to go back now with their mission
unfulfilled. They walked forward, and entered the fine library
of Bertram Hall, which was its owner's usual sitting-room.
Inside the room they stood still, and awaited some further
salutation, but none came, and just as the gentleman was about
to mention the object of their visit, the stem, fierce-looking
old General fell at their feet in a swoon.
Happily at this juncture Mr. Jarvis came hurrying up, to
learn the meaning of the scrap of information brought to him
by the footman. Flinging himself down beside his employer,
he lost no time in using every effort for his recovery, volubly
abusing the strangers, meanwhile, to their infinite surprise, for
being guilty of gross cruelty and heartlessness. -
''Why," cried BUI Anderson at last, smarting under a sense
of unjust treatment, " yeVe no call to gae jawin' us at this gate.
I'm main sorry the old gentleman be took ill, but 'tisna to our
blame. He cared no more for's nephew than for a dog, nor
sae mooch, by all seeming."
'' Then all seeming is false," came a murmur firom between
the General's pale quivering lips. " Tell me he lives, that God
has had this pity on my desolate old age, and I will bless you
on my knees."
But Bill Anderson had not this assurance to give, so he
choked instead, and rubbed his sleeve over his eyes, with a
sudden revulsion of feeling towards the bereaved veteran. He
helped Jarvis to raise him from the ground, and assisted him to
his arm-chair with as much gentleness as though it were Ned
himself upon whom he was attending, and in the two hours'
talk that followed he softened as much as possible everything
that could wound his hearer's feelings.
News at Last. 267
Anderson's narrative ended, he called upon his companion
to continue it, which he did, until the night of the day on
which Ned and his companions rowed away from Shipwreck
Island, to seek for land more in the track of passing vessels
than that had lately proved to be.
"You should have made that American captain stop and
look for him, sir," growled the General, when Mr. Bell con-
cluded his recital with a sigh for past memories. " You should
have forced him to put about, and institute a search for your
" We used every effort to do so, but in vain."
'' Did you put a pistol to the scoundrel's breast, sir, and
threaten to shoot him if he sailed on ? " shouted Sir Edward,
furiously ; " no, of course you did not."
" No, certainly, we did not do that," assented the doctor,
with a slight smile. But he had already discovered that the
white-haired, hard>spoken veteran had a heart softer than his
tongue, and during the remainder of the day, while he and
Anderson accepted the boundless hospitality of the owner of
Bertram Hall, he already learnt to feel a friendship for the man
whose reserve and outer harshness had driven his nephew into
exile, to dangers and hardships innumerable, and possibly to
That last final and irretrievable possibility, however, General
Bertram refused to listen to, and with the energy and restlessness
which his nephew had inherited, before he went to sleep that
night he had already declared his intention of setting out for
the Indian Ocean and Australia, to trace and find his missing
heir. Bill Anderson and the faithful Jarvis should go with him,
and Mr. Bell, if he would.
But that could not be, for Mr. Bell had just come to the
West of England to buy a physician's practice, and he was now
going back to fetch his daughters, Rosa and Josephine, who
would already be growing anxious at his absence.
368 Edward Bertram.
"Very well," conceded Sir Edward at lasl, reluctantly.
" But at any rate, then, you must promise to come and pay us
a long visit when we get to England."
"Oh, certainly, I promise that," said Mr. Bell, with an
outward appearance of ready and cheerful hope that he was
far from feeling inwardly.
Anderson had more faith in the future.
JEFFERY ROBINSON ADRIFT.
"^OU have had a very long illness from overwork, Mr.
A Robinson, and I repeat I strongly advise you not to go
up for the forthcoming examination. You are not now in a
state of preparation to do yourself justice."
Mr. Chase was in his rooms at Newdigate, and Jeffery
Robinson had come to report himself on his return after a six
months' absence with brain fever, and to declare his intention
of at once resuming his studies, and going in for his final
examination without further delay than was necessary.
A longer acquaintance had not made Mr. Chase like his
clever pupil any better than he did the first day of their
introduction to each other, but he had felt an extorted
admiration for his abilities, as Fred Nicholson and Dr. Brown
had done in the old days at Errington, and he had a sincere
wish to save him the bitter disappointment he was likely to
bring upon himself if he persisted in his determination.
But illness had had no softening effect upon Robinson's
temper and self-will. He took the well-meant counsel as an
insult; and, when he had to listen to its second and third
emphatic repetition, he drew those lowering brows of his
together into a heavy scowl, and muttered in a tone of studied
270 Edward Bertram.
"Thanks for your gratuitous lecture; I prefer those in the
college course. I choose to follow my own opinion as to what
"Then/' exclaimed the tutor, rising as he spoke, and
irritated into momentary loss of self-restraint — "then you choose,
sir, to be a fool, as you have been before, and will be again."
"A what?" hissed Jeflfery Robinson, livid with rage, and
advancing a step nearer.
"Afool, sir— a "
And then the tutor's words were stopped with a blow, and
the following day his passionate pupil's University career was
brought to an end by summary dismissal from his college.
His ambition was destroyed, his spirit broken, and before
another year had passed over him he had hidden his lowered
head in the Australian bush.
" Keep you, indeed I" exclaimed a squatter, contemptuously,
and looking at the round-shouldered, white-handed scholar of
Newdigate to whom he had given a night's hospitality, and
who now muttered a request to be kept on as a servant, or
help of some sort, at the Bush Inn, where travellers could
obtain almost anything, when seasons were good, excepting
cleanliness and civility.
"Keep you, indeed !" repeated the ex-convict and present
innkeeper. " What on earth do you suppose would be the good
of a fine gentleman like you about the place ? What do you
know about selling candles or cart-grease, or mending up an
old horse-shoe, or making a pile of dampers, or getting a good
price out of customers for a potful of * fat-hen' when there's
nothing better to be got?"
The University man's silence confessed his ignorance on all
these points. Indeed he had never so much as heard of the
spinach-like weed to which the settlers give the deceptive title
of fat-hen — as for cooking it, or selling it, that would be as
difficult to him as the mending of the old horse-shoe. Worn
Jeffery Robinson Adrift. 271
with wretchedness and privation, he shouldered his bundle,
and prepared to continue his weary search for employment.
As he turned to the door some one else entered, to whom
the innkeeper shouted, " Hullo, neighbour, you've come in the
nick of time. Yon fine gentleman wants a situation. You
don't happen to want a lecturer down at your clearing, do
you ? I don't feel to, myself."
" Nor I, thank you," laughed the new-comer ; " but, I say,"
he added after a moment, in a changed tone, " there's them
young uns of mine, you know, Smith. The missus is always
on at me about their not being able to read your signboard-,
nor write their own names. This might be a rare chance to
please her. What do you say, young gentleman ? would it suit
your wishes to turn tutor to my three boys ?"
Robinson's condition was so desperate that he was prepared
to say "yes" to almost any offer, and the present one really
seemed, on the surface, to be quite a splendid opening.
An hour later he was accompanying his new employer still
farther into the bush, and the next day he entered on his
trying occupation of tutor to three half-clothed, dirty, neglected,
impudent little savages.
The task of trying to put crumbs of knowledge into those
unwilling shock heads would have been a really terrible one
for even the most patient and hum-drum of teachers, but to the
irritable, fierce-tempered Robinson it was absolutely awful.
The spiteful children spared him no item in his day's miseries,
and even at night their ingenious torments frequently helped to
increase the discomforts of the rough, insect-filled bark-hut,
and bed of straw and ragged blankets, which were considered
quite good enough for the refined and fastidious tutor.
Once or twice just anger got the better of the prudence he
had learnt so bitterly, and he administered a box on the ears
to one or other of his pupils. On each occasion the urchin
rushed off roaring and screaming to his parents, who lost no
272 Edward Bertram.
time in soothing his injured feelings by furiously scolding the
** Look here, my fine fellow," said the settler one day before
his children, "the next time you lay a hand on one of my
youngsters you'll rue it."
Robinson determined to save every penny of his salary for
the next two or three months, and thus obtain means to escape
to some happier position, but the climax came before his pur-
pose was accomplished.
The mother taunted Robinson with the small progress his
pupils made, and they persisted more obstinately than ever in
resisting his efforts to push them on. They ridiculed his looks
and his ways, tore his clothes, and stole his hard-earned money.
His very forbearance was a subject for their contempt At
last his patience was exhausted, and, careless of consequences,
he bestowed a couple of sound cuffs upon the eldest boy and
dismissed him from the schoohroom.
An hour passed before he heard anything more of the
affair — then the father made his appearance.
" You and one of your pupils have had another affray, I
hear, sir," said the settler quietly.
" Yes," said Robinson, breathing more freely. He had been
nerving himself to encounter a storm of fierce reproaches and
threats, and the man's calm tone and manner were a great
relief to him. Had he known Jem Howland better, he would
rather have preferred to have dealings with a mad dog than
with him when he spoke in that cool, slow voice.
He was a man who rarely took the trouble to be in a
passion, but those who knew Jem were very careful not to
quarrel with him. To use his own phrase, he always paid off
all his scores with interest. He considered compassion a
virtue only fit for girls, and he had no more mercy in him than
a tiger. But the unfortunate tutor knew nothing of this as he
answered thankfully —
Jeffery Robinson Adrift. 2*11
'' Yes. I am sorry, but I assure you his impertinence was
"Ah, just so, no doubt," said the settler. "And, do you
know, I have made up my mind that it is a pity you should
have to put up with any more of it; so, if you'll just get ready,
I'll bring the gig round, and drive you myself to a more peace-
"Now — at once !" asked Robinson, in astonishment
"Ay, to be sure. Why not ? We made our agreement in a
minute, and we can break it in a minute, can't we ? Not that
I mind giving you a month's pay over and above your due
either," he added, with a significant chuckle that much puzzled
Little more than thirty minutes later, Robinson had said
good-bye to his pupils and their home, and was driving along
a scarcely perceptible road through the uncleared brush, in
company with the farmer and his stockman, a big, powerful
man, whose occupation of driving wild herds of cattle had not
tended to soften his rugged nature.
Scarcely a word passed for some time between the three
companions, as they drove on and on along a route marked
out by nothing but an apparently interminable succession of
the dreary, scanty-leaved eucalyptus trees.
"I cannot imagine," said Robinson at last, "how any
number of years can teach you to know your way through siich
country as this. There does not seem to me to be the slightest
sign, to show whence you have come, nor where you should
go. I should think no place in the world can match these
Australian tracts for desolateness and monotony. Shall we
soon reach something more cheerful ?"
The farmer and his stockman exchanged looks as the former
answered quickly, " All in good time, all in good time."
They went on for another hoiu:, and then all descended to
dine off the mutton and damper they had brought with them,
274 Edward Bertram.
The stockman made a fire and boiled coffee, and then pipes
followed, after which he and the. settler threw themselves at
full length on the ground, declaring they must have a doze
before they went any further. Robinson fell into the barbarous
trap laid for him, and followed their example.
He awoke an hour later, and found himself alone.
Now he understood the smooth speeches and the meaning
glances which had so puzzled him.
Short as his sojourn had been in Australia, it had been quite
long enough for him to hear many a dismal tale of travellers
dying of starvation and thirst in the bush. This was the fate
to which the vengeful Jem Rowland had consigned him.
Hour after hour he sat there, till the darkness gathered up
around him, and he could hear the soft footfalls of the opossums
as they ran up and down the trunks. He bitterly envied the
unthinking kangaroo-rats, who sat blinking their bright eyes at
him from the burnt hollows of the neighbouring trees. They
all had homes, he had none.
Friendless, homeless, alone, and burdened with a heavy con-
science, it was little wonder that Robinson envied even the
very insects with which the Australian bush is so uncom-
One event after another of his past life came back to him
during that solemn night, and he wondered many times whether
the young school-fellow of old, Ned Bertram, whom he had
treated so cruelly, would feel satisfied now, if he could see him,
that his own sufferings of former days had been sufficiently
With the daylight he rose, and set off walking rapidly to try
to escape. If he continued on in the same direction, it seemed
that he must at length come at least to a river or stream of
some sort that would furnish him with food, and be a guide to
Cheered with this thought, he bore up bravely throughout
Jeffery Robinson Adrift. 375
the day, and had just decided that another similarlp sustained
effort would certainly carry him out of the bush the next day,
when a cry escaped him, and he sank down, burying his face in
He had come back to the spot from which he had started in
the morning. There were the ashes of the fire at which the
stockman had cooked the coffee, the broken pipe Jem How-
land had thrown away, and the bit of wrapping canvas in which
the mutton had been folded.
Id spite of his despair Robinson fell asleep, and dreamt
all night of Edward Bertram and the grammar school of
TRACKING AN HEIR.
TOLD you so; I always told you so," said a testy old
gentleman, who stood in the coffee-room of the Royal
Hotel, Sydney. " If I had taken my own way I should have
had my heir at home with me a couple of years ago. Of course
he came to Australia. All sensible young fellows of spirit
come to Australia. Jarvis, mind this, we start for the farm he's
on the first thing to-morrow morning."
" Yes, General ; certainly, Sir Edward," replied the obedient
Jarvis, and looking almost as happy as his companions, the
General and Bill Anderson.
Thanks to Mr. Bell's information as to the canoe, news as
to its owners was easily obtained at Sydney, and the poor old
uncle was at length in a fair way to recover the nephew whom
he had helped to drive into all manner of perils by an affecta-
tion of indifference to his happiness.
A FINAL ESCAPE, AND— HOMF.
ALTHOUGH in the last chapter an intimation has been
given of the safety of our hero, it must be remembered
that we left Ednard Bertram struggling at early dawn in the
waters of the Indian Ocean. We find him, a year ,or two
later, a stockman on an Australian farm in the bush. The
same ship that ran down the small canoe gave shelter a few
minutes later to its three occupants, and about a fortnight
after Ned found himself in the beautiful harbour of Sydney, for
which he had so long ago lefl England.
Our three friends were scarcely landed before they were
' besieged with offers of employment, either together or
"Decidedly together," said Bertram and Storton. And
Wa^a being equally anxious on that point, a lucky farmer,
owning a clearing some seventy miles south of Sydney, secured
the services of three of the steadiest, most industrious, and
reliable workers to be found in the colony.
Storton found ample scope for his carpentering abilities in
making houses, sheds, and cattle yards. Wa^a proved a
much more valuable acquisition than his master had expected,
for his apprenticeship under the Bells, on Shipwreck Island,
278 Edward Bertram.
had taught him some of the perseverance in which Indians, as
a rule, are sadly deficient As for Ned himself, he was at last
in his element On the half-cleared cattle farm on the edge of
the Australian scrub there was full scope for even his super-
abundant pluck and energy.
That you may have a true notion of what Ned's duties and
employments were, and what yours will be if you choose to
accept a similar position, I will give you a real Australian
stockman's account of his experience.
Of course, in the first place, he must be a man of intelligence.
He must be quick at finding the cattle when they stray. He
must accustom each mob to run to its camp at the crack of the
stock-whip. He must be able to gather out his own stragglers
firom the midst of many thousands of others at the periodical
cattle musters of a district He must be able to mend his
saddle, and shoe his horse. And, above all, he must not be
afraid to gallop over any sort of country, to be charged by a
wild bullock, or to encounter a tribe of blacks.
Of course Ned was not able to do all these things directly
he landed in Australia; neither did he become a stockman
immediately ; but he received his first lessons pretty soon, and
they were tolerably rough ones.
By the time he was a fine, strong, sunburnt fellow of twenty,
he was equal to anything that was required of him, and up to
almost any emergency. He and his favourite horse. Black
Prince, were known far and wide.
There is not time now to tell of his splendid rescue of the
cedar-cutters when the floods were out, nor of the terrible
meeting of himself and Storton with the half-mad sailor of the
Good Bess^ when the victim of superstition and delusion set
the rank grass of the bush on fire, to rid the world, as he said,
of a demon in the person of poor penitent Storton.
Storton escaped, but the unhappy madman himself perished
in the wild and far-spread flames, in spite of Bertram's almost
A Final Escape^ and — Home. 279
frantic efforts to save him from the fearfully magnificent funeral
pyre which he had lighted for his own destruction.
But we must hasten to a conclusion.
" Where are you off to ? " exclaimed Storton, one morning,
as Ned rode slowly past the hut, looking very thoughtful.
" I don't know/' said Ned, a smile brightening his face for a
moment " But the fact is, some of the cattle are lost, stolen,
or strayed — we don't know which. The head stockman has
got an attack of rheumatic fever, * the pains,' as he calls it,
poor wretch, and I'm off in his stead to find the beasts if I can,
and head them home again."
"Oh, I see. So that accounts for your unusually solemn
" No, it doesn't," answered Ned quickly, and bending over
the neck of his horse that his lowered tones might be audible
to his friend — "the fact is, Storton, that I don't thoroughly
trust that convict Brown who has lately come to work here, and
I am sorry to say he is to go with me, and Cobawn Bill is to be
our tracker. I believe, for my part, that they are in league
with each other, and that both the Indian and Brown know
perfectly well the whereabouts of the missing cattle. But see,
they are ready. I must be off."
And before Storton could utter a word of advice, agreement,
or dissuasion from the doubtful expedition, Ned had cracked
his whip and started off in a gallop.
Storton returned to his own work, looking rather anxious.
But it does not answer, when one is in the bush, to take alarm
at every cloud in the sky, for if folks did, the colonies would
be in a perpetual state of panic.
" And forewarned is forearmed," murmured Storton, during
the course of the morning, still thinking about his friend.
"And he had his pistols with him."
Just as that comforting remembrance came to Storton, Ber-
tram, unperceived by his companions, was drawing forth one
28o Edward Bertram.
of those weapons for immediate use. Brown and the Indian,
Cobawn Bill, had exchanged a good many looks and half
uttered words during the last mile or so, and Brown had taken
to lagging behind
Bertram turned to order him forward just in time to catch
him with his hands up to his mouth. This action, which
he had truly construed as the prelude to a signal, confirmed all
It was the work of a moment for Ned to seize his pistol, but
the long, ringing '' Coe-ee" escaped even sooner from Brown's
The place had been well chosen for an attack. The path
was so narrow as scarcely to leave room to turn a horse, while
the dense jungle on either hand was rendered still more for-
bidding by the warning scarlet blossoms of the deadly nettle,
or stinging-tree, as it is commonly called. Fifty yards or so in
front the path widened, and the jungle gave way to open forest
land. If Ned could reach this, he was mounted so well that
he would have a fair chance of escape from any number of
enemies, otherwise he saw at once that his life was not worth
ten minutes' purchase.
Grasping the reins tightly in one hand, and holding the pistol
ready for use in the other, he shouted, for Brown's benefit,
" You pitiful scoundrel, you !" and made a dash forward.
It was too late. A man rushed towards him with a cry.
Behind him came three others, also carrying firearms. Ned
reined up Prince, and fired. At the same time one of the
bushrangers fired, and poor, faithful Black Prince reared,
sprang up into the air, and fell back dead, Ned having barely
time to free his feet from the stirrups, and spring to the
ground, to avoid being crushed beneath his poor favourite.
He was desperate now. Turning upon the traitor who had
caused his cruel loss, he struck him to the ground with the
butt end of one pistol, while he blindly fired the other in the
A Final E scape ^ and — Home, 281
direction of the bushrangers. And then, with two unloaded
pistols in his hands, he stood awaiting death, from which, as
far as his powers were concerned, there was absolutely no way
The enemy appeared disposed to take matters quietly now.
They stopped to examine the man who had been foremost, and
had fallen with Ned's first shot. That minute's delay was fatal
to them, but it saved Ned's life. As he stood there waiting
for them to come on, he was astonished to see them suddenly
rise, pause as though listening to some sound, and then turn
to fly. However, this time it was their turn to be too late to
escape. Eight or nine horsemen barred their way, five of the
number being members of the mounted police force.
Ten minutes later the three bushrangers, with their con-
federates. Brown and the Indian, were secured, bound, and
placed on horseback in front of their captors.
"I am glad we were in time to save your life, my good
fellow," said the officer in charge of the party, to Ned, regard-
ing him meantime with evident admiration. " And now, if you
feel grateful to us for the act," he added, laughing, " perhaps
you will conduct us to your station, if it is near at hand, for we
have had a twelve hours' march from Sydney without food, and
we and our animals are knocked up."
'' And so are we knocked up," exclaimed an old gentleman,
who was one of the party. " We left Sydney yesterday morn-
ing, and if I haven't had to sleep out in the open air on- the
bare ground, as if it was war time. That rascally young
nephew of mine ought to be horsewhipped. for bringing his old
uncle tramping over the world to look for him."
During this speech Ned had darted forward and gazed at the
speaker, as though he were a vision, while the colour came and
went on his bronzed cheeks like a girl's. However, before he
could say anything, or his strange appearance had been noticed,
the wounded man had been discovered on the pathway, and
282 Edward Bertram.
the general attention was attracted to the supposed fourth
With some difficulty he also was lifted upon a horse, and
during the operation a letter fell out of his pocket, which
Bertram picked up, and as he did so, his eyes fell upon the
address, and he received another shock. Grasping the letter,
Ned directed that Cobawn Bill should be made once more to
act as guide, and early in the afternoon the large cavalcade
drew rein at the farm.
While Storton, Wagga, and the squatter himself hospitably
supplied the wants of the remainder of the company of un-
expected visitors, Bertram carried the wounded prisoner to his
own bed, and soon restored him to consciousness.
" Food, food," murmured the poor creature, feebly, when he
Ned opened a little box made for him long since by Storton,
when they were on Shipwreck Island, to serve as a provision
box, and which he generally wore slung round his waist The
only thing it contained just now was a bit of cane, about six
inches in length. This he took out, and held towards the man,
saying sternly, " Do you ask me for food, Robinson ? Do you
remember that bit of cane, which you broke on my back when
I was little more than a desolate child ? And now you would
have murdered me if you could — basely, and in cold blood —
one of a gang of cowardly, worthless wretches. Take that bit
of wood and gnaw it, and see if it will satisfy your craving in
the same way that it satisfied my boyhood's craving for a little
kindness and forbearance. What other favour do you dare ask
at my hands ?"
" None," murmured Robinson, in a scarcely audible whisper,
as he recognised Bertram — "none. But forgive me."
Then his eyes closed again. Ned little knew that he was
really dying of starvation. At that moment the police officer
hastened up to the bed.
A Final E scape y and — Home. 283
'^ Sir/' he exclaimed, '^ pardon me, but I find this man has
no connection with my prisoners. Indeed, I believe he may
have been a sufferer at their hands, if, as I imagine, this
pocket-book be his. Meantime," he continued, with his
fingers on Robinson's pulse, '' he will not live to reclaim it, I
fear, for he is sinking rapidly from exhaustion. Been lost, no
doubt, in the bush."
The last words were lost upon Ned. It had never entered
his head to think that his former schoolfellow might be abso-
lutely starving, until the ofRcer mentioned the fact It need
not be said that he then lost not another moment in flinging
away once for all the doubly hateful piece of cane, and minis-
tering to the sufferer with an anxious, eager solicitude that
almost broke the poor penitent's heart While he was once
more asking, with trembling lips, to be again assured of the
forgiveness which Ned had already granted, a quick, sharp
voice exclaimed from the further end of the hut, " Young man,
do you happen to know how far it is from here to a place
called ' Woolman's Farm' ? "
" This is Woolman's Farm," replied Ned, going forward.
" This is !" exclaimed the old gentleman, starting to his feet
"Then — then — where is my heir? Where— where is my
poor lost boy?"
" I am here, uncle," said Ned, quietly and rather coldly.
There is little necessity to tell the reader that all the cold-
ness died out of Ned's warm heart when he learnt from Jarvis
and good Bill Anderson, and, later on, from Mr. Bell also, and
Dr. Brown of Errington, the enduring sorrow that had almost
crushed the old General at his loss, and the eager hopefulness
he had nourished of once more seeing him again.
Whether the General was most vexed, in return, to find
his heir a tall, broad-shouldered, sensible-looking young man
instead of the mischievous boy with whom he had meant to
be so forbearing, it would be hard to say. But it is quite
certain that he soon learnt to have as much pride as affection
for him, and on returning to England made more vigorous
efforts than ever to improve the estate for his future benefit.
Two or three months after the unexpected meeting, Edward
Bertram said a somewhat doleful, but very aSectionale farewell
to his already thriving friends, the partners Storton and Jeffery
Robinson, and set sail to return to England, rich in the posses-
sion of an affectionate uncle, who was bent on spoiling and
indulging him to any extent he might desire.
Some readers may be glad to Icam that a few years later
Mr. Bell's lovely younger daughter, Josephine, left her father's
home to take up her abode at Bertram Hall, with the new
name of Mrs. Edward Bertram, and was ever a life-long proof
to her husband that even the heaviest troubles, rightly borne,
" work together for good."
BOOKS FOR BOYS.
TALES, TRAVEL, AND ADVENTURE.
Young Marmaduke : a Story of the Reign of Terror. By
W. H. Davenport Adams, Author of "The Arctic World," "Memor-
able Battles in English History," ''Lighthouses and Lightships," &c.
Crown octavo, cloth extra. 3/6
Adventures in Utany Lands. By Pabker Gillmorb ("Ubique").
With Illustrations by Sidney P. Hall. Crown 8vo, cloth extra. 5/-
" A really admirable book for boys^" — Graphic.
"One of the most attractive and absorbing boys' books ever written, and one
whicli will fascinate older readers as welL"— EanuuiTicr.
Three Years at Wolverton : a Public School Story. By a
Wolvertonian. Coloured Frontispiece, Illuminated Title-page and
numerous Original Illustrations. Crown octavo, cloth extra. 5/-
" The best purely boy's book we have seen since *Tom Brown.' " — Saturday Review.
"The book is manly, and has but little of the unreal sentiment which is so apt to
disfigure public school stories. Bertram is a well-conceived and natural character;
and schoolboys can get nothing but good trom reading of his failures and successes
. . . We can recommend the book." — Gttardian.
**A capital book for boys, which is likely to instil right principles to guide them in
their school iife.*'—Blackhe(Uhen SchM)l Maganne.
Stirring Tales of the Sea, by S. Whitohuroh Sadler, R.N.
The Flag Lieutenant: a Story of the Slave Squadron.
With Coloured Frontispiece, Illuminated Title-page, and numerous
Orijsrinal Illustrations. Crown octavo, cloth extra. 5/-
" WiU probably be a favourite with boys." — Academy.
"Captain Sadler constructs his story neatly, and knows how to throw in his
incidents, never obtruding the lessons he would teach in such a way as boys would not
like. " — N(yaconform.%st.
"A good rattling sea story."— iScotmnan.
Last Cruise of the Ariadne, With Coloured Frontispiece,
Illuminated Title-page, and numerous Original Illustrations. Crown
octavo, cloth extra. 5/-
"A stiiring story of the sea." — Academy.
"A pleasant and spirited tale."— iSpectotor.
Perilous Seas, and how Oriana sailed them. With
Coloured Frontispiece, -Illuminated Title-page, and numerous Original
Illustrations. Crown octavo, cloth extra. 5/-
"All through 'Perilous Beas' there is enough stirring incident to arouse, and
enough good writing to sustain, the interest of its youthful readers. "—Hour.
The Ship of Ice: a Strange Story of the Polar Seas.
With Coloured Frontispiece, Illuminated Title-page, and numerous
Original Illustrations. Crown Octavo, cloth extra. 3/6
"Notonly a 'Strange Story,' but one ftiil of exciting interest.
The author writes in a vigorous, manly style, and the book is one which most
English boys, with theur love of daring and adventure, are likely heartily to relish."
— PoU MaU Gazette.
" A capital book of adventure."— If andiester Guardian.
MARCUS WARD & CO., LONDON, BELFAST, NEW YORK.
THE NEW PLUTARCH:
Lives of Men and Women of Action who have made
the History of the World*
REV. W. J. BRODRIBB, M.A., AND WALTER BESANT, M.A.
POST OCTAVO. Price 2b. 6cL cloth extra.
COUGNY : the Failure of the French Reformation. By
Walter Bbsant, M.A., Author of "The French Humourists,"
" Studies in Early French Poetry," "Kabelais," &o. With a Portrait
Second Edition, 28. 6d.
" Mr Besant has consulted every possible authority conceming the character and
deeds of Coligny, and the resolt of his labour is a volume from .which a reader may, in
an hour or two, acquire in the pleasantest way a great deal of knowledge conceming one
of the most stirring times of history, and one of its principal figures."— iScUitrday Review.
" It is a deeply interesting volume."— £riM«/i (Quarterly.
JUDAS MACCABjEUS: the Revival of the Jewish Nation-
alUy, By Lieut. C. R. Conder, R.E., Author of "Tent Work in
Palestine," "Handbook of the Bible;" late officer in command of the
Survey of Western Palestine. With a Map. 28. 6d.
" After a brief but clear retrospect of the history of the Jews firom Ezra to the time
immediately preceding the Maccabean revolt, the autiior gives a chapter on the national
life of the people, which is the clearest ana best account of their peculiar social and
religious institutions which we have yet seen. The nature of their government, the
constitution of the synagogue, the puritanical bigotry of the upper and educated classes,
and the gross ignorance of the lower agricultural classes, the distaste for all arts
except poetry, the feasts, fasts, and temple services — all these are described in a
manner that will be new to most readers and interesting to all. " — Athenceum.
"The whole history of the war is brought most vividly before us, and Lieutenant
Conder's intimate acquaintance with the scenes of Judas's expeditions makes tiie long-
ago story seem wonderfullv real, and enables one to answer satisfactorily the motto on
the title-page, 'Can these bones live?' . . . DelightMly fresh reading. ... A
wprthy record of a worthy life." — Examiner.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN: the Abolition of Slavery. By Charles
G. Leland, Author of the "Hans Breitmann Ballads," " The Gipsies
in Egypt," &c. With a Portrait. 28. 6d.
** The story of Lincoln's career, as.told by Mr. Leland, is an interesting addition to
The New Plutarch." — Athenaeum.
" Mr. Leland gives us in this compact little volume, in plain and simple language,
probably all that will ever be necessary or important to know conceming Abraham
Lincoln'^s extraordinary career . . . may be safely accepted as the standard authority
on the subject."— Academy.
JOAN OF ARC, "The Maid." By Janet Tucket. With a
Portrait. 2s. 6d.
'* Miss Tuckey has done her work well . . . has written her book with fervour
and full sympathy with her suliject . . . sound, scholarly, and free from exagger-
ation." — Academy. " The volume has much interest"— S^otuniay Review.
"The work is to be commended for good taste, industry, and literary skill." —
SpeeUUor. *' Is one of the very best volumes of the New Plutarch Series. " — GraphUi.
*' Brightly written narrative. . . . The graceful style of the volume makes it
easy to read ; but easy reading is seldom easy writing, and the labour expended on this
monograph must have been considerable."— JPoU Mali Gazette,
TffS NSW PZUTASCS— Continued.
HAROUN ALRASCHID. Caliph of Bagdad. By K H. Palmer,
M.A., Lord Almoner's Professor of Arabic in the Uniyersity of Cam-
bridge; Author of the "Desert of the Exodus," '*A Persian Gram-
mar, "A New Translation of the Koran," &c 28. 6d.
" It has seldom been our good fortune to read so well- written an account of a
pecnliarly interesting life. Oriental studies are too apt to be dry. Professor Palmer,
nowever, is among tlie few who can breathe the life into dry bones ; and his present
creation is full of Interest and even charm. • . . A really valuable addition to the
treasures of biography."— Sofurda]/ Keviev).
"A book of great value, and withai fuU of amusement. . . . One of the most
amusing and interesting books of the season." — Athvnaum.
" Prof. Palmer has told his story very well. . . . The part of the book which
will attract many readers the most strongly is the ' Caliph of the Legends,' a collection
of the best anecdotes of Haroun's court, admirably told and pleasantly strung together.
Prof. Palmer's well-known gift of renderiag Eastern wit and humour serves him well
here ; and we cannot read his clever sketch of the Ehalif at home vrithout feeling that
we are really made f^ee of the palace at Bagdad, and are personally enjoying the good
things there were in it, and in abundance, though their tenure was uncerUin and their
influence restricted." — Academy.
SIR JOHN FRANKLIN. By A. H. Bbesly, M.A., Author
of « The Gracchi, Marius and Sulla," &c. With Maps. 28. 6d.
" The New Plutarch would have been incomplete without a biography of the great
Arctic explorer. . . . The volume is illustrated by several maps The
style is careful." — Athenamm.
" All these series, the multiplication of which is such a feature of our literature,
have their good points, and the ' New Plutarch ' undoubtedly ranks among the best of
them. Professor Palmer's ' Haroun Alraschid ' wHl become a standard work ; and
Professor Beesly's 'Sir John Franklin' is the exhaustive record of a heroic and deeply
interesting life, the facts about which have hitherto been little accessible to the mass of
readers. Mr Beesly writes enthusiastically, and his enthusiasm is contagious. • . .
The book is one of the best of an excellent series." — Graphic,
SIR RICHARD WHITTINGTON, Lord Mayor of London. By
Walter Besant and James Rice, joint Authors of "Keady Money
Mortiboy," «* The Golden Butterfly," &c. , &c. 28. 6d.
"We havt seldom met with a pleasanter memoir; and, if the l^;end loses something
of its more romantic features, the true story is an interesting contribution to archsao*
logical knowledge, and an excellent example of a good and usefm life." — Saturday Review.
"A most readable life of Sir Richard Whittington. The work is much more than
this ; it gives a clear sketch of the London charters, and of London life (especially
prentice life) in the fourteenth century." — Graphic.
MARTIN LUTHER and his Work. ByJoHNRTRBAOWELL. 2/6
** Mr. Treadwell's biography, although written in a succinct form, does justice to the
grand ideal of Luther, and forms one of the best of the 'New Plutuxsh' series." — Daily
"His general treatment of the subject is judicious and discriminating."— (7raiAi&
" The story of Luther's life ... is ably told and well-written. It is a volume
that ought to have, and no doubt will have, many readers. It deserves to be read by
all, especially by those who admire its sul^ect's character. — Church Revitw,
VICTOR EMMANUEL By Edward Dicey, M.A., Author of
" Cavour : a Memoir," "Rome in 1860," &c With a Portrait. 28. 6d.
" No one can fail to be interested in this little work, telling, as it does, in a simple
and pleasant way, the story of one of the most stirring episodes of contemponmr>
tiSaXorj."— Academy. " A very interesting biography."— Jbfcn BuU,
"The 'New Plutarch' continues to Justify its title, and it gives Mr. Dicey the
opportunity of telling, in a very effective way, the story of how Italian independence
was achieved." — Graphic
MARCUS WARD A CO., LONDON, BELFAST, NEW YORK.
BOOKS OF TRAVEL
Suitable for Presents and Prizes.
Thit popular Series now congists of the foUowing Volumes, profusely
luustrated, and uniform in size and price, Orovm Octa/oo^ Cloth
Extra. Price Sje sack.
Heroes of North African Diecovery. By N. d'Anvbrs.
Map and linmerons lUastrations. Second edition. 8/6
" A mass of cuvfully digested information, drawn from over forty different worln.
. . . The work ia weu and carefully printed, contains numerous Ulustrations, and,
what la especially essential, a good map of Africa, corrected down to the present date,
and giving in red the routes of urayellers. "—Tht ColonUs and India.
" All who vrish to have a fair knowledge of what has been hitherto achieved in the
Held of African discovery should read this iuteresting and instructive volume." — Mature.
Heroes of South African Discovery, By N, d'Anvees,
Author of "Dobbie and Dobbie's Master." Map and nnmerons lUoa-
trations. A companion volume to " Heroes of North African Dis-
covery." Second edition. 8/6
" The two volumes should undoubtedly be In every one's possession, for by their
perusal it will not be difficult to realise the vast amount of labour and enterprise
which have been needed to fill up the great blank which the map of Africa presented
but a very few yeanS aga"— 2^ Overland MaU.
China, Historical and Descriptive, By C. EL Edkn. With
an Appendix on COBEA. Map and numerous IllustrationB. Second
"A concise and interesting account of China, and of the manners and customs of
the inhabitants of that vast country."— Academy.
" The four chapters on Gorea, which are chiefly based on the valuable introductory
matter prefixed to Dallet's 'Histoire de I'Eglise de Cor^e,' bear signs of being careftilly
written, and will be read with the greater interest."— T%e Overland MaU,
Japan, Historical and Descriptive, A comprehensive account
of Japanese History, Life, Character, and Manners. By C. H. Edeic,
Author of ''India, Historical and Descriptive," ftc. Seventy-five
Illustrations, Map and Coloured Frontispiece. S/6
" A very clear and comprdiensive view of Japanese Ufe, character, and manners." —
*' There have been few books at once so valuable and so accessible
Another ri^t good work to the many rare issues 4>f the Belfast Press." — Art Journal.
** A complete history of the growth of Japan. ... A good, valuable, and
profoundly interesting book."— Timeg.
India, Historical and Descriptive, With an Account of the
S^oy Mutiny of 1857-58. By C. H. £dbn, Author of "Ralph
Somerville," ic Sixty-six Ulustrations, Map and Coloured Frontin-
"The illustrations are well executed."— 5tondar<2.
''A clever little book, containing an excellent uid most readable account of our
greatest dependency."— DaiZy Telegraph. "An interesting yolame."— Graphic.
Notes of Travel in Egypt and Nubia, By J. L. Stephens.
Kevised and enlarged, with an account of the Suez Canal. Seventy-
one Illustrationfi, Map and Coloured Frontispiece. Second edition. 8/6
" A very entertaining, well-written volume." — OropMo.
" The little volume is unexceptionable."— JDaiZy TeUgra/pK
MARCUS WARD & CO., LONDON, BELFAST, NEW YORK.