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Title: Pelts and Powder. A Story of the West Coast in the Making.
Author: McKelvie, Bruce Alistair (1889-1960)
Date of first publication: 1929
Edition used as base for this ebook: London & Toronto: J. M. Dent, 1929 [first edition]
Date first posted: 3 March 2012
Date last updated: 3 March 2012
Project Gutenberg Canada ebook #921

This ebook was produced by: Al Haines






This map shows the islands at which the brig "Hope" called
This map shows the islands at which the brig "Hope" called




PELTS AND POWDER

A STORY OF THE WEST COAST IN THE MAKING




By

B. A. MCKELVIE

Author of "Huldowget," "Black Canyon," etc.




WITH EIGHT ILLUSTRATIONS




London & Toronto
J. M. DENT & SONS LTD.




First Published ... 1929


All rights reserved
PRINTED IN GREAT BRITAIN




FOREWORD

No more colourful chapter is to be found in the romance of the West than that which covers the period from 1778 to 1795, when Nootka, the landing-place of Captain James Cook, was the storm-centre of international politics and the pawn of nations. To this isolated spot on the wild West Coast came the adventurers of many lands, lured by the reports of the wealth to be obtained in the trading of sea-otter pelts between America and China, where the rich black fur was so highly esteemed by Oriental princes and mandarins. Purchased for trinkets and trifles worth a few pennies, these skins brought high prices on the Canton market.

Expeditions were fitted out in England, the Orient, France, Spain, and the United States for the rock-bound shores and dangerous channels of this little known part of the world. Men envisioned the rewards and counted not the difficulties or the terrors of the trade—and out of their daring grew civilisation.

While not the first to follow the track of the great British explorer, the "Boston Traders"—as the mariners from Massachusetts came to be known—were the most persistent in the commerce and continued to comb the coast for pelts until after the fur-traders of Canada extended their domain across the continent and, amalgamating under the banner of the Hudson's Bay Company, erected posts at strategic points from the Columbia River to Alaska and secured the monopoly of trade. Ships sailing from Europe and Boston and trading from China could not meet the competition of permanent establishments, and thus, half a century after they first appeared, the marine-traders were forced from the field.

In picturing the life and times of the trade, the history of the little brigantine Hope, Captain Joseph Ingraham, of Boston, has been closely followed. The original of this interesting record is in the Library of Congress at Washington, D.C., while a photostat copy is in the Provincial Archives at Victoria, British Columbia.

While the youthful characters have been, of course, devised to add interest and preserve continuity, and one or two events, such as their captivity among the Indians, were necessary to avoid the tedium of a trip to and from the Orient, the main incidents will bear comparison with the unvarnished tale as set down by the old mariner with his quill pen in the cabin of the Hope.

B.A.M.
Vancouver, B.C.




CONTENTS

      Foreword
I.    Signed On
II.    Uncharted Waters
III.    Trouble Brewing
IV.    The Brig Attacked
V.    Man the Pumps
VI.    A Wild Welcome
VII.    Adrift in the Mist
VIII.    In Captivity
IX.    The God of Fire
X.    Rescued
XI.    An Unexpected Message
XII.    Treacherous Natives
XIII.    Nootka
XIV.    Drake, Burbank and Drake




LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

Map of the Islands . . . . . . Frontispiece

"Good Morning, Sir"

A Large Double Canoe

Kenneth went Aloft to Keep a Look-Out

They Huddled Together

The Test by Fire

The Brig "Hope" in Nootka Sound

"Uncle!"




CHAPTER I

SIGNED ON

"So thou art my nephew?" The old trader gazed over the square lenses of his spectacles at the youth who stood before him hat in hand, "And what may thy name be?"

"Lawrence, sir—Lawrence Drake."

"Lawrence," repeated the old man slowly. "Ah, named for thy mother's kin?"

"Yes, sir."

Tobias Drake was a man of somewhat eccentric habits, but was better known to his fellow-merchants of Boston by reason of his shrewdness, perception and ability to drive a hard bargain. These qualities had won for him a reputation for wealth and an assured position in the mercantile community, but they had not brought him the friendship of his associates.

The almost obliterated firm-name on the weather-beaten old signboard that hung over the door of his dark and dusty counting-house was "Tobias Drake and Brother." Some there were among the older business-men of the town who could remember the junior partner, a pleasant-spoken young fellow who had returned from an English university to join Tobias in his commercial ventures. They could recall when the paint was fresh and shining on the sign-board, and when "Old Toby," then in his prime, had made a tour of the trading establishments, and with an air of pride and proprietorship had introduced his brother. Then, despite the change in the style of the business, the younger Drake seemed almost to vanish into the dingy recesses of the counting-house, where he pored over the books of the partnership, and took no evident part in the conduct of the business.

There followed troublous times. Men's minds were diverted from the hum-drum channels of trade to the vexations of politics. Taxes and exactions by the British Government followed one upon another, until muttered complaints grew into open defiance, and bitter argument separated old friends. Whigs openly reproached Tories who sought to justify the impositions, and Tories vainly argued the virtue of loyalty to the Crown.

It was rumoured, when men took time to discuss their neighbours, that Tobias Drake and his young brother were not in agreement upon the issues of the moment, and that the junior partner, not long from the Mother Country, upheld the policies of the King's Government. Tobias was well known to be a firm supporter of the cause of the Colonies.

Then came that memorable night in 1773 when men, garbed as Indians, swarmed down to the wharf where a cargo of tea awaited unloading and took possession of the vessel, and in protest against the obnoxious tea-tax dumped the loaded chests into the harbour. Rumour again reported that, when the next morning the whole town buzzed with the excitement and agitation of the news, there had been an angry dispute between the brothers, and Frederic Drake had quitted the place.

Whether this was true or false Tobias never vouchsafed an answer, but Frederic was not seen about the premises or town after that time. Nor did anyone care to question Tobias upon the subject. No changes were made about the counting-house, and the business was carried on as if the partnership continued to exist with one of the principals absent upon the affairs of the concern. The only change was in Tobias himself. He kept more and more to himself, holding but little converse with any person outside of his business dealings, unless it was with the manservant who looked after his bachelor quarters immediately behind his private office.

And now, seventeen years after the brothers had parted, came this boy, saying that he was Frederic's son.

"And thy father is dead?" Tobias asked almost in a whisper.

"Yes sir; I told you he died at Halifax three years ago."

"Three years—three years: this is 1790—yes, he would have lived long enough to repent," he murmured half aloud, and then turning to the boy he almost shouted: "Your father was a fool—a fool, I say. He would uphold oppression, and mouth about loyalty—loyalty; what did it bring him? Died in want, I warrant—no, no, don't tell me," and he waved his arms to silence the astonished youth, whose flushed face showed that his temper was being aroused, and he was about to give angry denial. "No, no," went on the old man, "loyalty brought him nothing—I know. All he possessed was loyalty and pride, and with those assets he married—married, ah, ah"; and he chuckled mirthlessly.

"And who was thy mother?" he demanded almost hysterically, "who was she? Some woman without sense, I trow, or she never would have married him. I know——"

"Stop right there," commanded the boy, and he clenched his fists and made a step towards his uncle. "You stop right there, or old as you are, and my father's brother, I'll thrash you. No one can insult my mother."

Old Tobias stopped. His mouth opened and he looked in amazement at the youth, who was trembling with rage. "There, there, I did not intend any insult, I knew not the woman," he apologised in a mumble. "Sit thee down."

"No, sir, I will not sit down, and I will not stay here either. I came only because my mother"—and his voice faltered for an instant—"made me promise, when she was dying, to hunt out my father's brother in Boston. I have done so, and I want nothing to do with him"; and putting on his hat he rushed from the room. Tobias Drake was too surprised to make any effort to detain the lad, and for several minutes he sat gazing at the door through which the young fellow had disappeared.

"He, too, has pride—and courage," he whispered at last, and turning called: "Hooker!"

In answer to the summons, a wizened old man appeared from the apartments screened from the office by a heavy curtain. "You called?"

"Verily; didst thou see the boy who was here?"

The servant nodded.

"Follow him and find whither he goeth; with whom he holds speech, and upon what subject."

After the man had gone Old Tobias, whom men said was hard-hearted and lacking in human sympathies, threw his arms across the high desk, and pillowing his white head upon them, cried like a child. "Oh, Frederic, Frederic," he sobbed, "thou art gone,—and I slaved for thee and worked for thee, that when thou didst return thy little would be plenty,—and now thou art gone."

The September day was drawing to a close when Hooker returned to find his master sitting in the darkened room where he had left him. The trader did not speak until after the man had lighted a candle; then, "What of the boy?"

"I followed him, sir, as you said. He be a sturdy lad, and I had a time a-keeping of him in sight. He talked to one or two of the merchants, asking if they had employment, but they had none for him. Then he went down to the water-side, and I followed——"

"Yes, yes, what did he there?"

"Well, he stood a-looking at the shipping for a time; then he went and spoke to the master of a brigantine, who just come ashore—and they talked. I could not hear what they was a-saying. They was too far away."

"Who was this captain? Didst thou learn his name?"

"He were Master Ingraham, sir."

"What, Joseph Ingraham—he who was on the Columbia as mate?"

"The same."

"And the brigantine?"

"It were the Hope."

"Ingraham—the Hope," Tobias repeated half aloud. "It's a long voyage and venturesome—but it might be well that he take it. Hooker!"

"I be here, sir."

"Go thou and find this Captain Ingraham: present my respects and tell him I would have speech with him on important business. He will come, for he knows I hold an interest in the ship and cargo."

Several hours passed before Hooker returned, followed by a broad-shouldered, deeply-tanned man in semi-naval uniform.

"Ah, Captain Ingraham," smiled Tobias as he lighted a second candle, "it pleaseth me to meet thee again, but I am grieved to have taken thee from thy family upon the eve of thy departure."

"Tut, tut, sir, 'tis nothing if I may be of service to you."

"Perchance thou mayest do me service," answered the merchant; and he beckoned the sailor to a seat and drew his own chair close to him.

They talked in low, earnest tones for a long time, and when at last Captain Ingraham rose to go, Old Tobias handed him a bag heavy with gold. "Now, mind thee," he cautioned, "speak nothing of this to the lad, but if he proves worthy of thy good opinion, let him not want for opportunity of advancing himself, either in trade or the service of the sea. If he proves to be unworthy——" and the old man extended his hands and shrugged his shoulders—"then forget that I have spoken to thee, and treat him as thou wouldst any other boy—as he deserveth."

"I will do as you say," answered the mariner as he shook the older man's hand and left the house to make his way home.

As he passed along the streets, by lighted shop-windows, and through the dim yellow radiance of flickering oil-lamps on occasional street corners where the idlers of the town congregated to gossip and chatter, men nudged each other and pointed him out. "There goes Captain Ingraham," they would whisper; and the more solid citizens whom he met—good burghers—would lift their lanterns and give him cheery "Good evening."

Joseph Ingraham was a hero to the people of Boston, for had he not been mate of the Columbia Rediviva, which under Captain Robert Gray had but recently carried, for the first time, the colours of the young Republic around the globe? And that after two years spent in trading with the treacherous savages on the little-known coast of North-West America?

Many there were who said that he was indeed entitled to equal share with Captain Gray in the glory of the expedition, and that both men were deserving of greater praise than Captain John Kendrick, who commanded the venture, and had remained on the West Coast in the smaller vessel, Lady Washington. It was but five weeks before that the Columbia had dropped anchor in Boston harbour, and officers and crew, dressed in strange tribal costumes of Pacific savages, and accompanied by Opye, a prince of Owhyee,[1] had paraded through the main streets of the town. They had been given a welcome that was only equalled in its warmth by that accorded to General Washington after his victories of the Revolution.

Such were the tales that these mariners brought back of the wealth of these lands which had been so recently discovered by the great British navigator, Captain James Cook, that rival groups of merchants hastened to outfit vessels to participate in the new and lucrative trade in the highly prized sea-otter pelts that the explorer found could be purchased for mere trifles. True, several of the shareholders in the Columbia Rediviva and Lady Washington, on learning more of the risks of the commerce, considered that the profits already obtained were not sufficient to justify further expenditures and disposed of their interests. But this did not deter others from embarking upon similar enterprises.

So it was then, that, a week after his return, Joseph Ingraham was approached by a trading-group in which Tobias Drake was largely interested, with the offer of the command of a vessel, and an interest in the profits. While the craft chosen for the adventure was regarded by some as being too small for such a voyage, being a brigantine of but seventy tons, she was known to be a staunch and seaworthy little vessel. Further, it was argued that success depended more upon the brains and abilities of the commander and the character of the crew than upon the size of the ship. Acting upon this hypothesis the merchants had selected Joseph Ingraham as the man best qualified for the position. The inducements offered him were such that he could not do other than accept the command.

The intervening time, therefore, had been occupied with the outfitting of the Hope and the selection of her crew. Haste was essential, for other expeditions were in preparation, and he well knew that, in the trade of the wilderness, a single day might make the difference between failure and the success that came with a hold filled with prime pelts. For days all had been bustle aboard the brigantine. Stores of iron bar and copper and brass—metals highly prized by the savages—were received and piled below with but scant regard to proper stowing. Provisions and sails and cordage and ship's stores and gaudy articles of trade were packed into the hold to be more snugly arranged when opportunity offered. Then, too, the magazine had to be filled with powder, and the shot lockers stored with shot and scrap iron and balls a-plenty; boarding nets had to be fashioned and fitted, and cannons stationed and swivels mounted; muskets and pistols and side-arms and sabres for the protection of the ship and crew in the dangerous waters they were to visit had to be purchased. Water-casks had to be filled to overflowing, and great quantities of wood had to be cut ashore and taken aboard for the galley and cabin fires.

And now John Cruft, the first officer, reported that all these things had been done, and the Hope was ready for sea. Orders were immediately given for her sailing on the next day.

It was shortly after dawn when Captain Ingraham bade farewell to his family, and made his way through the now deserted streets of the town to the water-side. The outlines of the Hope as she swung at anchor were hardly discernible in the cold grey mists that rose from the river and floated down the harbour. In answer to his whistle came a shout from the vessel and the rattle and creaking of davit-blocks as a boat was lowered.

As he drew his greatcoat closer about him and stamped his feet on the ground, more from force of habit than from the chill of the cold morning air, he heard himself addressed with, "Good morning, sir."

"GOOD MORNING, SIR"
"GOOD MORNING, SIR"

Captain Ingraham turned swiftly to see Lawrence Drake approaching. "Oh, it's you," he smiled. "You're up betimes, young man."

"Yes, sir, you told me you would sail this morning, and I didn't want to miss you."

"Well, you certainly didn't let me get away from you," and then, after a pause, "So you want to join the Hope?"

"Yes, sir."

"Do you realise, boy, that she's a very small ship, and we're going on a very long and dangerous voyage, with only an even chance of ever returning?"

"I don't mind that, sir," was the quiet answer.

"You don't? Well, do you mind being starved and perhaps shipwrecked, and possibly being tortured by Indians; or being locked up in a Spanish prison: do you mind those things, boy?"

"Certainly I do, sir," replied Lawrence, "and so would anyone, but they are the risks that a person must take, and you have faced them and will do so again."

The master of the Hope regarded the strong, sturdy frame of the boy for a full minute without speaking. He noted the clear grey eyes and strong purposeful mouth and square chin which, in the boyish face, gave promise of a determined and resourceful manhood.

"You are not running away from home?" he demanded with a note of severity in his voice.

"No, sir. I have no home. My parents are dead."

"Have you no relatives?"

"None that cares what happens to me."

"Oh, you have relations—here in Boston?" and he watched the boy narrowly.

"An uncle, sir," answered Lawrence with some hesitancy; "but I only saw him once—yesterday—and we didn't get on very well together."

A shadow of a smile played about the corners of the captain's mouth. "What was the trouble?" he asked.

"I would sooner not discuss it," replied Lawrence; "but I'm not running away," he hastened to add. "I give you my word on that, sir."

"I believe you, boy," was the kindly answer. "And I'll take you. I'm in need of another apprentice. I have one and I can do with another. But mind you," he warned, as the lad sought to express his thanks, "you'll have to behave yourself. I'll stand for no nonsense."

"I'll do my best, sir."

"You'll need some things," went on the captain, "and you'd better get them and come aboard off the Castle Rock; we'll anchor there. Do you know where the Castle Rock is?"

"No, sir, but I'll find it."

"Very well. You'll need some money for your purchases? I'll advance you a little."

"Thank you, but I have some," and the boy stepped back.

"Very well," and he went on to enumerate the requirements for the voyage. The "slop chest" of the Hope, he explained, was well supplied with garments for men, but it was not stocked with clothing suitable for an apprentice.

"Here is young Burbank," he exclaimed as the ship's boat drew alongside, indicating a dark-complexioned youth seated in the sternsheets. He was about the same age as Lawrence. "He'd better go along with you," added the captain as he motioned the lad to come ashore.

"Kenneth," he said, "this is Lawrence Drake who will sail with us and be your companion. He has to get some things and will come aboard off the Castle. You'd better go along with him."

"Yes, sir"; and the boys shook hands.



[1] The spelling of Hawaii as given in the journal of the Hope, "Owhyee" is given here, as the spelling of Captain Ingraham's log will be adhered to in reference to other place-names.




CHAPTER II

UNCHARTED WATERS

After Captain Ingraham left them the boys stood looking at each other for several minutes without speaking. Then Kenneth started to laugh, and Lawrence joined in his merriment.

"I guess we are a couple of ninnies," he exclaimed, "standing here saying nothing. We are to be together for a couple of years, and here are we gaping at one another like a pair of simpletons."

"Yes," responded the other, "let's get acquainted. My name is Kenneth Burbank—I don't know if the captain told you."

"Mine's Lawrence Drake."

"Too long—Lawrence," commented Kenneth, "I'll have to call you 'Larry.'"

"That suits me, if I can call you 'Ken.'"

"Agreed. Now how old are you, and where do you come from?"

"I'm sixteen, and I hail from Halifax."

"Oh, you're a Britisher?"

"Yes, and I'm not ashamed of it either."

"Well, there's no reason to get hot about it," observed Kenneth with a smile. "I'm an American; born in New Hampshire—that's where my folks are—sixteen years ago. I'm not blaming you for having caused the Revolution. Reckon neither of us was responsible for that. Anyway, we're of the same stock, and that means a lot."

"You're right," admitted Lawrence, "and to tell you the truth, I don't blame the colonies for rebelling. I guess I look at it differently from my father. He was a strong loyalist, and used to live here. He went to Halifax before the war and married and I was born there. Anyway, the Revolution is over and we'll have enough to do to take care of ourselves without worrying over things that have been settled. Have you ever been to sea before?"

"For about six months. I was on a packet running between here and New York—that's all. This is going to be a different thing altogether. Its going to be a real voyage, and we're lucky to be making it."

As they were talking the boys had been walking up-town, and now they turned into State Street towards the "Bunch of Grapes," the hostelry where Lawrence had put up on his arrival.

"Say, you're a fine Britisher, you are," laughed Kenneth, "stopping at this tavern. It was one of the breeding-places of the Revolution."

"I can't help that. If I was to avoid all the places in Boston that had anything to do with the old trouble, I'm afraid I'd have to follow the tea and stay in the harbour. My father stayed here when he first came from England, and he used to tell me of the fine meals they served. They may have changed the name of the street from King to State, but evidently they haven't changed the quality of the food; but let's try it. I haven't had breakfast yet."

The boys did ample justice to the goodly breakfast-table provided by Landlord James Vila, and then went to Lawrence's room. Here they sorted over the contents of his well-stocked wooden chest, and found that he had but few purchases to make.

"I've got to see a merchant here named Bulfinch," Lawrence said. "He's agent for the man who looks after my estate in Halifax; but that won't take long. Then we'll visit the shops."

It did not take long for Lawrence to transact his business with the merchant, and then they visited different stores and secured the things of which he was in need. He added to the list of articles Captain Ingraham had advised him to secure several books on navigation.

Returning to the tavern, the boys packed the chest, and leaving some things that Lawrence decided not to take with him in charge of the landlord, they had the box carted to the waterfront. On the advice of Kenneth they remained to lunch at the "Bunch of Grapes." "You see," he advised with the wisdom acquired by even his short experience of the sea, "it'll be a long time before we have the chance to eat a real good meal again. We'll be eating salt meat and sauerkraut every day from now till we touch at some foreign port."

"Well, I don't mind the salt meat, but why eat sauerkraut every day? I don't care for that prospect; will there be anything else?"

"Oh yes," laughed Kenneth, "we'll get sea-biscuit and whatever the cook can make; but all the same salt meat and 'kraut will be our mainstays in the food line. Sauerkraut is a sort of medicine to keep the scurvy away. It was Captain Cook who discovered how to fight the scurvy, which has always been the terror of sailors. He found out that it was caused through too much salt meat, so he took along pickled cabbage and spruce beer, and by feeding his men with lots of vegetables when he could get them and having 'kraut and spruce beer when he couldn't get greens, he kept them well. Captain Ingraham says that Cook did more for humanity by finding a cure for scurvy than by discovering all the places he did in the Pacific."

"But won't we touch anywhere till we get to the North-West Coast?" asked Lawrence in amazement.

"Oh yes, we'll go from here to Cape Verde Islands; then we'll stop for wood and water at the Falkland Islands before we double Cape Horn. That's where we'll meet with rough weather, Mr. Cruft says."

"Who's Mr. Cruft?"

"He's the first officer—and a fine man he is too; so is Mr. Crafts, he's the second mate."

"Funny they should have names so much alike," commented Lawrence; "but I guess it's time to go," he said, looking at his watch. So, paying the score, they sallied out and made their way to the harbour-front, where they soon hired a boatman to take them and the chest down to where the Hope lay at anchor off Castle Rock.

Shortly after they came aboard, the brigantine moved down under easy sail to Nantasket Roads, where anchor was again dropped, and there she remained until the following morning.

The crossing of the Atlantic to the Cape Verde Islands was made without incident, and upon arriving at the Portuguese settlement wood and water were taken on board and fresh provisions were obtained. Here too the cargo was properly stowed while the wants of the vessel were being supplied from shore. After a stay of several days the Hope again set sail.

The next stop was made at the Falkland Islands, where provision, wood, and water-stores were replenished after much bargaining with the Spanish officials, and haste was made to clear away to take advantage of the prevailing fine weather to round dreaded Cape Horn. This was accomplished, and now, seven months after leaving Boston, the little boat was bravely pushing her way northward through the brilliant blue of tropical seas.

At first Lawrence Drake had been seasick, but he soon recovered from the attack, and before the African islands had been reached he had acquired his sea-legs. Both boys were soon established in the good opinions of officers and crew alike. Lawrence especially was the favourite of an old seaman, Jim Potts—"Tinpots" he was called by his messmates,—who had sailed with the famous Captain Cook, while Kenneth, with a keen appreciation of possible future favours, made friends with Nicholas, the black cook.

The crew of the Hope had been selected by Captain Ingraham, not alone because of their qualifications as seamen, but by reason of their personal habits and dispositions. The majority of them had been recruited from men who had been with him on the Columbia and other vessels. All told there were but seventeen aboard the brigantine, so the task of recruiting a crew well suited for such a voyage had not been a difficult one.

The captain and his mates were especially kind to the boys, and took pains to assist them in mastering the science of the sea. Consequently the lads, who had spent their spare time with their books, were now fairly well versed in the elements of navigation.

"What's the date?" Kenneth asked one afternoon.

"April the fourteenth," answered Lawrence.

"Is it? Well, to-morrow's my birthday."

"Three cheers for you—let's celebrate it."

"How?"

"Oh, I don't know—but let's do it, anyway. I'll see if Nicholas can't give us something but boiled salt beef for the occasion."

"Go on with you," laughed his chum, "he'll give us boiled salt pork—and I don't know which is the worst."

"Look—what's that?" exclaimed Lawrence, excitedly pointing towards the distant horizon. "Yes—it's land: we'll celebrate all right"; and he ran aft with the news.

Captain Ingraham hurried on deck. "Yes," he said, after inspecting the tiny speck through his telescope, "it's land sure enough. It must be one of the islands of the Marquesas group."

By nightfall the Hope was only a few leagues from the island, and the next morning the shoreline could be plainly seen without the aid of glasses. The wind fell away and the vessel lay becalmed for some hours.

"It's Ken's birthday," Lawrence observed to the captain, "and I was wondering if we couldn't celebrate it in some way."

"I wish we could; but if we don't get any closer, I don't see much chance of getting fresh meat or greens from the land."

"Perhaps we could catch some fish, sir."

"Well, you can try."

The two chums and Tinpots were soon fishing with deep lines. At last the old sailor had a strike that nearly pulled him overboard. "'Elp, 'elp," he called, "I've caught a whale."

Lawrence rushed to his assistance and held on with him to the stout line, while another seaman caught up a harpoon and, as a shark broke water, threw it with accurate aim. A tremendous fight followed, but eventually the fish was exhausted and was drawn to the ship's side. A rope was noosed and passed about it, and it was hauled to the deck where it was finally killed with an axe.

"Hurrah!" shouted Lawrence. "Didn't I tell you, Ken, we'd have something for your birthday party? It's not much, but I guess a shark's better for a change than salt beef is for salt pork. They say the Chinese think sharks' fins are a great delicacy. Maybe Nicholas can make it taste good." And so the black cook did.

With the approach of evening the breeze freshened enough to carry the Hope closer to the land. A canoe put off from the shore, bearing two native boys. It was followed a few moments later by an old man in another dugout.

Every inducement was held out to them to entice them on board, but they resolutely refused to leave their boats. A handkerchief was thrown overboard, and as it drifted astern one of the young savages picked it up, only to have the old man range his canoe alongside that bearing the youths and take it away from the lad. Having possessed himself of the bit of cloth, the old man stood up in his canoe and plucked a handful of hair from his beard. This he blew towards the ship.

"I hope he's giving us good winds," laughed the first mate.

The brigantine stood off for the night, but at daylight returned and entered a strait between two of the islands. Hardly had the vessel passed between the headlands than she was surrounded by a fleet of canoes filled with naked savages, who brought presents of fish and fruit, which they tossed on board as they paddled alongside.

Not certain of the intentions of the natives, the captain had the boarding-nets hoisted and the crew armed, but the visitors were actuated by curiosity, not malice. They paddled around and around the brig, jabbering and shouting, while some clung to the sides of the vessel and peered through the cabin ports. On seeing the boys inside they became wildly excited.

"It's all right, but they're mighty familiar for people who haven't been introduced," laughed Kenneth, and he made a grimace and waved his hands at one old fellow who had his nose pressed against the glass. The native was so astonished he sprang backwards and fell out of his canoe, to the amusement of his companions.

The breeze strengthened, and the voyage was continued until late in the afternoon, when anchor was dropped in a pleasant bay, described on Captain Cook's chart as Port Madre de Dios.

For a time none of the natives, who could be seen in considerable numbers on the beach, approached. Then a white-haired old man came near in his canoe, and was, after much persuasion, induced to come on board. He brought a load of fish and fruit with him, and for this he was given a knife. Highly delighted, he made off, and soon scores of natives, encouraged by the success of the old fellow's venture, surrounded the vessel, offering an abundance of fresh fruits, vegetables, and fish for sale.

As darkness was approaching, Captain Ingraham, who did not relish having savages about the ship at night, hoisted a white flag, and called in the language of the Sandwich Islands that the ship was "taboo." The signal and word were evidently well understood, for the canoes were turned towards the shore.

As soon as it was daylight the natives came back in hordes, and soon there were hundreds of canoes, filled with men and women, crowded about the vessel, while scores more, who could not find transport from the shore in the dugouts of their friends, swam out to the ship and sought to climb on board. The boarding-nets were soon filled with them, and such were the numbers and weight of the savages that several holes were broken in the stout nets, while the ship commenced to list badly.

"I don't know what we'll do to get rid of them," observed the captain. "I don't want to hurt them, and we must get our water-casks filled."

"Why not get them to fill the casks?" Kenneth suggested.

"That's a good idea," agreed the first mate, and he motioned to a savage who appeared to be a chieftain, and then, going through the motions of drinking, he pointed to an empty barrel. This was thrown overboard. The chief knew what was desired of him, for he secured the cask, and having got it into his canoe, paddled for the shore. Now all the natives wanted casks, but these were refused until the chief returned with his barrel filled with fresh water, and received a knife for his trouble. All the empty casks were now thrown into the water, and there ensued a wild scramble for them. Eventually they were distributed among the strongest, and within a short time were returned to the ship, filled with water.

Several pigs were purchased; but the trade in this commodity was soon discontinued, for the savages refused to take the articles offered to them in exchange, demanding whatever took their fancy about the vessel as the price for the pork.

A limited number had been permitted to come on board for the purposes of trading, and, their exorbitant demands having been refused, they became troublesome. One big savage invaded the galley, where Nicholas threatened him with a knife. He retreated, only to return with his companions in a raid on the cook's quarters, seizing his pots, pans, and cooking utensils.

Nicholas fought furiously against the mob that crowded into the narrow confines of his galley. What might have been the outcome of the raid was doubtful, had not Lawrence and several seamen come to the rescue of the hard-pressed black, with drawn sabres. Upon their appearance the savages fled, taking with them, however, half the equipment of the cookhouse.

"Clear the ship," commanded Captain Ingraham, and the crew made a rush at the natives, who were crowding over the side to the deck. The savages fled, jumping overboard, and, regaining their canoes, paddled away. Soon there was not a single small craft about the ship.

As night fell great fires were lighted on the beach, and about these hundreds of savages could be seen dancing, while the beating of tom-toms and the wild, barbaric songs and shoutings betokened an unusual agitation among the tribesmen.

"I don't like the look of it," declared John Crafts, as he and Lawrence stood on the deck late at night watching the distant fires. "They're up to some devilment, you may be sure. You can never trust savages. They're your friends one minute and the next they're ready to murder you."

"Look!" suddenly whispered Lawrence, and he caught his companion by the arm. "Look—look there; see, in the reflection of that centre fire."

The second mate looked as he was directed. The forms of several canoes could be seen approaching the ship.

"Run quick," ordered the officer, "call the crew to man the guns, but don't make any noise."

Lawrence darted away to do as he was told, and in little more than a minute was aft again. The four-pounders and swivels had been loaded before dark, and now the men quietly took their stations and waited. The captain had been informed of the approach of the canoes, and he was in command when Lawrence returned.

"Fire high, men: we don't want to hurt them," was the order that was passed from gun to gun.

Now the canoes could be dimly discerned against the lighter shade of the water, only a few yards from the ship.

"All right, men—ready—fire!"

There was a deafening roar as the four-pounders and swivels flashed fire across the calm waters, followed by shrieks of fright and amazement from the savages in the canoes, which were echoed by half a thousand throats on shore.

"I don't think they'll bother us any more to-night," said the captain, as the sound of the savages' paddles died away in the distance.

Despite the incident, the natives came off in greater numbers than ever as soon as it was daylight. The foremost canoes bore great bunches of evergreens and branches of trees as tokens of peace. It was soon evident, however, that their intentions were not pacific, for no sooner had they reached the Hope than with long sticks and paddles they attacked the cabin windows, breaking several before they could be driven away.

"Give them a charge from the four-pounder," shouted the captain. Just as he spoke he was felled by a stick, thrown by a savage of gigantic proportions, who stood up in his canoe to hurl it.

Kenneth seized a musket and fired at the native. He missed him, but splintered a canoe near by.

The four-pounder was fired over the heads of the mob, and the cries of terror and defiance mingled were deafening to hear. The gun was run back, and another charge was rammed home.

There followed a terrific explosion, and with a scream of pain Mr. Cruft, who had charge of the cannon, reeled back, to be caught by Lawrence as he fell. In reloading the gun he had neglected to sponge it, and the charge had prematurely exploded, tearing away a portion of the unfortunate first officer's cheek.

With the assistance of a seaman the injured man was carried to his cabin, where the second mate, who had some knowledge of medicine, attended him.

The accident, which caused a louder and more terrifying explosion than the previous discharge, sent the natives paddling wildly for shore.

There was some confusion on deck at the moment, but the voice of Captain Ingraham restored order. "Steady, men; steady," he called, and proceeded to give instructions for the hoisting of the anchor and the sailing of the vessel.




CHAPTER III

TROUBLE BREWING

After leaving the Marquesas the Hope headed for the north-west, and late in the afternoon again sighted land in the shape of two tiny spots on the horizon.

After studying the distant islands intently for some time through his glass, the captain sent for Tinpots. The seaman came aft and, touching his forehead, waited, while the captain called to Lawrence: "Run to my cabin and bring me Captain Cook's chart."

When the boy returned with the map, Captain Ingraham spread it out and pored over it for a few moments without speaking; then, turning to the sailor: "Potts, you were with Captain Cook?"

"Aye, aye, sir."

"You remember the islands we just left?"

"That I do."

"Well, did you touch at those islands ahead?"

"No, sir, we did not: we never spied 'em. Maybe they's risen from the sea since, by yer leave. Hif they'd been there Captain Cook weren't one to miss 'em. They must be new ones."

The captain smiled at the old man's notion, well knowing his veneration for the British navigator. He continued his examination of the chart for a time and then, with just a trace of excitement in his voice: "See; Cook bore away from them; he couldn't have seen them, and I don't think anyone else has either. We're the discoverers of a new group—an American group! We'll plant the Stars and Stripes in the South Seas by right of discovery."

The following morning they were abreast of the islands they had first sighted, and found that there were two others in the group. The captain, after vainly searching for a harbour, called the crew aft.

"Men," he said, "we've found a new lot of islands, and I'm going to claim them for the United States, as we are the first white persons to see them."

The seamen answered with a cheer.

"I'm going to let Mr. Crafts name the first one," went on the captain.

"Well," demurred the second officer, "Mr. Cruft is conscious now, and as he's not able to be on deck, I think perhaps he should have the honour of naming it. I'll go and see him."

While the second officer was absent Tinpots edged close to Lawrence and complained in a whisper, "They's new hislands, sir, or else Captain Cook'd ha' seen 'em. 'E would—'e never missed anything."

"Perhaps you're right; but I don't think so. He might have passed them in the night. Anyway, you and I are Britishers and we're sailing under American colours, and we're sportsmen enough to cheer the other fellow when he does something."

"Yes, sir, maybe so," grumbled the old salt; "but Hi don't know—Captain Cook, 'e were in these parts, and 'e used to smell hislands, 'e did—leastways that's what we thought. But maybe it were night, as you says; an' again, 'e might 'a' been in such a 'urry to find 'em Sandwich Hislands 'e didn't bother with these ones."

"That must be the reason," Lawrence smiled, and the old fellow's face brightened.

The second officer returned. "Mr. Cruft would like you to call the island after General Washington," he said; and once more the sailors cheered, and Tinpots shouted louder than any of the others.

"Then we will honour this island with the name of our illustrious president," solemnly announced the captain, "and the other islands we will call, 'Federal,' for the United States; 'Adams,' for the vice-president; and the fourth one we will name 'Lincoln,' for General Lincoln. I want you men to bear witness that I have so named them, and that I take possession of them for the United States of America. And," he went on after the renewed applause had subsided, "in honour of the event, I think you should be served with a little something with which to toast the healths of the President, Vice-President, General Lincoln, and the prosperity of the Republic."

That evening a conference was held in the cabin of the wounded mate, and the boys were both invited to be present.

"I fear it will be some little time before Mr. Cruft is able to take his watch on deck," said the captain, "and while he is laid up, Mr. Crafts will, of course, act as chief officer, and one of you boys—I don't care which one—will act as second mate."

"Let it be Ken, sir," spoke up Lawrence. "He's older than I am, and he's been at sea longer, so he should take precedence."

"It is not fair," responded Kenneth. "Larry knows as much about navigation as I do, and besides I'm only six months older——"

"Well, we won't have any quarrelling over it," interrupted the captain. "Burbank, you act, and Drake can spell off with you."

"Thank you, sir."

"Now we must decide whether we will head for the North-West Coast, or make the Sandwich Islands. That's the point to be settled."

The question was argued at some length, the second mate and the captain doing the talking. Mr. Crafts argued in favour of stopping at the Sandwich Islands to replenish the stocks of water and provisions, while the captain was for pressing on to the American coast.

The matter was finally referred to the first officer, who indicated that he favoured an effort being made to reach the fur fields, and so it was decided.

Two more islands were discovered the next day, and these with similar ceremonies were christened Hancox and Knox Islands.

It was nearly a month later that Kenneth discovered one day that there were but five casks of water remaining, and that, owing to successive calms and head-winds, but comparatively little progress had been made towards Nootka Sound. He communicated the fact to Mr. Cruft, who was now able to take a part in navigating the ship.

Another conference was held, and it was decided to make all possible sail towards the Sandwich Islands, which were but a few days' distance. This was done, and, on 20 May, the island of Owhyee was sighted. As the Hope neared land a native came off in a canoe, and was instantly recognised by the captain as one of the islanders he had met on his previous voyage.

"Where's Tiana?" queried the captain, when the man came on board.

"Watch out for Tiana," was the answer given in the native language, which was understandable to several of the crew as well as Captain Ingraham. "Tiana is bad man. He captured a ship and killed all the white men."

"Who is Tiana?" Lawrence asked the following day.

"He's a prince who is supposed to be friendly to the whites," answered the first mate, "but I don't like him. He was taken to China on a voyage by Captain Meares several years ago, and speaks English very well. I don't trust him at all."

"I think we should see Tiana, if he's about here," observed the captain a few moments later. "Would you fire a gun, Mr. Cruft, so he will know we are here."

It was with evident reluctance that the first officer approached the gun and touched it off. He then proceeded to reload it, but failed to stop the vent, and again there was a premature explosion, and with a cry of pain he stumbled back and collapsed on the deck, his face deluged in blood.

"This is terrible," exclaimed the captain, as with the assistance of Lawrence he carried the wounded man to his cabin. "I'm afraid the shock will be too much for him. We have no doctor, and he needs great care, for he had not recovered from his last accident."

"If you'll let me, I'll do what I can in the way of nursing him," volunteered the boy.

"All right; but you'd better have someone to relieve you, for he'll need constant attention."

"I'd like Tinpots, sir."

"Tinpots? Oh, you mean Potts. All right."

Lawrence stayed with the injured and delirious officer throughout the night, moistening his lips with water and doing all that he could to relieve the pain. In the morning the old sailor came on duty. His years of experience in naval life made him an invaluable assistant in such an emergency. He seemed to know instinctively what was the proper thing to do, and despite his rough appearance he was as gentle as a woman.

For nearly a week one or other was constantly at the bedside of the wounded man, attending to his every wish.

"What's been happening?" Lawrence inquired one evening, as he was about to go on sick-watch, and stopped for a few moments' chat with his chum.

"Oh, enough," answered Kenneth; "—enough, Larry, to make me believe there's some trouble brewing. Tiana was on board. He's a bold lad all right, and I don't care for him. He had a letter from the captain of the Gustavus III, saying what a fine fellow he was, and another certificate of character with a note attached, which certainly looks as if there's a storm due at Nootka between the British and Spaniards. I managed to copy part of it. Here it is just as it was written:


"'The above was obtained from Lieutenant Kemp, commanding the sloop Princess Royal (belonging to the Honourable South Sea Company of England), and captured by the Spaniards in Nootka Sound in July 1789, and at this time navigating under Spanish colours and a passport to Manila, and from thence to Macao, to be delivered up to the owners' agents residing there.

"'Captain Colnett, of the Argonaut, who was also captured with the sloop Princess Royal and detained till the 1st of June, 1790, prisoners together with the officers and crews of both vessels, were ordered on board the Argonaut to proceed to Nootka and take possession of the Princess Royal, she being then employed in the Spanish service. The Argonaut proceeded to Nootka, but the Princess Royal had sailed after a series of misfortunes and the loss of thirty-four men, eighteen of which deserted, and died in Spanish prisons. The other sixteen died or were drowned off the Coast of America.

"'Since the liberation of the Argonaut she arrived in the bay of Tirooa, Owhyee, where the Princess Royal was then riding. Captain Colnett has also been treated by Tiana and Maiha'Maiha in every respect as he wished, everything the island produced being at his command.

"'Argonaut, 4 April, 1790.'"


"It certainly looks as if the Dons were seeking trouble, don't it?" added Kenneth.

"And they'll get it, too," hotly exclaimed Lawrence, "you can bet on that. When they get to seizing British vessels, there's going to be somebody's beard burned, or my name's not Drake."

"The great Admiral Drake who singed the Spanish king's beard in Elizabeth's time wasn't your forefather, was he?"

"Same family; but that's not the question. There'll be real trouble over this thing when they hear of it in England. But I say," he added, "from that note it would appear that this Tiana is a decent sort."

"Well, that letter would certainly make you think so; but there's a story going around about him having captured a small vessel and killed the crew. The captain isn't taking any chances on Tiana. The boarding-nets are up all the time and the men are carrying their muskets and cutlasses all the time. We've been standing away off shore, and Tiana tried hard to get us to run in close and anchor; but he was over-anxious, and Mr. Crafts saw him making signs to a bunch of canoes that were standing by while he was on board. He was also trying to find out from Nicholas and some of the men how many guns we have, and the amount of ammunition we're carrying. Altogether, Mr. Tiana isn't very popular here just now.

"The captain was very nice to him in order to get water and provisions, and we managed to get some, but not enough. From what the captain has learned, and by reason of his suspicions, he has concluded not to stay here longer, for fear of trouble, so we're only waiting for a breeze to move off to another island."

"Where are we going?"

"To Rapo'rapo Bay, in the Island of Morokinnee. The captain has been there before, and thinks we'll have no trouble to complete our watering at that place."

Lawrence was dozing off when, about daybreak, he was awakened by a terrific smashing and pounding on deck, the yelling of excited men, and the pitching and tossing of the brig. He hurried to the deck to find all in wild confusion. The sea was running high, and a four-pounder had broken from its lashings and was careening about the deck. A breach showed in the starboard bulwark where the gun had smashed against it, and the combing of the main hatch was splintered and broken.

"Look out!" called a seaman; and Lawrence sprang aside just in time to escape death or injury as the gun, like a thing possessed of life, charged wildly down upon him. One of the sailors was nursing a crushed hand, while another, who had attempted to stop the mad course of the reeling gun-carriage, had been gashed in the thigh.

"Now, men," called the captain, as he doubled a stout rope and started down to the well deck, "I'll try and noose it, and you stand by to give me a hand."

"Let me do it," volunteered Lawrence. "I'm smaller than you, and besides, with Mr. Cruft wounded, you've no right to risk your life."

Captain Ingraham hesitated for a second. "You're right," he said, and handed the rope to the boy.

Lawrence left one end of the rope with the captain, and noosed and coiled the other; watching the gun he advanced cautiously. The ship rose to a swell, and the cannon hurtled down at him. He waited until it had almost reached him, and then dodged to one side and, as it shot past, he threw the noose, but missed. The brig steadied for an instant on the top of the wave and then plunged, nose deep, into the sea ahead, sending spray and spume over the decks, and shooting the wild, rampaging gun forward. As the boat rose, the wheeled carriage spun round and came at Lawrence again. He retreated a few paces to where it had stopped before, anticipating that the wave the Hope was meeting was of similar size to the last one. He was right. The vessel steadied herself for the fraction of a second on the crest of the sea before starting to plunge. In that brief part of a second the boy threw the noose and it fell over the muzzle. Quick as a flash the captain snubbed the rope about the mast, and gently paid it out as the strain tightened.

The boy now dashed forward, and it was but the work of a moment to secure the other end of the line and hold the gun captive long enough to allow the seamen to securely fasten it with additional ropes to the ring-bolts on the gun-ports on either side of the deck.

"Thank you, Mr. Drake, I'll not forget this," was all that the captain said; but Lawrence blushed and stammered, "It was nothing, sir."

"Nothing!" shouted Kenneth. "You're a hero—that's what you are, and——"

Before he could say more Lawrence fled to Mr. Cruft's cabin, where he found the wounded man in a high state of excitement, with Tinpots endeavouring to calm him and keep him in his berth.

"What's the matter?" the officer whispered through his bandages.

"Not much, sir. Just a gun got loose."

"Not much—a gun loose—not much!" exclaimed Tinpots. "His hit fastened?"

"Oh, yes, they secured it all right."

"Not much!" repeated the seaman. "Hit couldn't be worse outside o' a wreck or a broadside from a battleship."

The chief officer nodded weakly in support of the old man's declaration.

Tinpots left the cabin, only to return a moment later with his face wreathed in smiles. "Beggin' yer pardon, sir," he said, addressing the mate, "but hit were 'im as stopped the gun," and he indicated his favourite with a gnarled and work-worn thumb.

"Go on—get out of here," shouted the boy.




CHAPTER IV

THE BRIG ATTACKED

When the Hope rounded the point and entered Rapo'rapo Bay a gun was fired to apprise the inhabitants of the arrival of the vessel, as Captain Ingraham was anxious to have the natives commence trading as early as possible. It was here that he expected to complete the provisioning and watering of the brig, and he hoped to sail directly from this port to the West Coast. Too much time had already been lost, and each day's delay might have serious consequences in the obtaining of a cargo of otter pelts.

Hardly had the echoes of the shot died away among the hills than a large double canoe, carrying a white flag at the top of a short mast, was seen to put off from the beach and make towards the ship with all possible haste. As it approached nearer three men could be discerned, paddling with all the vigour they could command.

A LARGE DOUBLE CANOE
A LARGE DOUBLE CANOE

"They seem anxious to meet us," laughed Kenneth, as he watched them.

"They probably are," answered the captain, who had been studying the small craft through his telescope. "For, if I'm not mistaken, they're white men. Yes, by thunder they are, and that fellow in the bow looks like Ridler. How in the world did he get here—and dressed like a native, too?"

"Ridler?"

"Yes, Ridler. He was carpenter's mate on the Columbia," and then, as the canoe came closer, the captain cupped his hands together and called: "Ahoy, Chips! What are you doing there?"

The man dropped his paddle and stared for a moment at the officers and men lining the brig's deck, and then, catching sight of the master of the Hope: "Mr. Ingraham—oh—oh—Mr. Ingraham——" and his voice broke.

"Thank God you've come."

The strangers were soon on board. Thin and emaciated, and wearing only the loin-cloth or marro of the islanders, they looked more like savages than civilised beings.

"Thank God you've come," repeated Ridler over and over again, as he seized Captain Ingraham by the hand. "You have saved us, and we are in time to warn you. The natives have already taken one ship, and would surprise and kill you too if they could."

"What ship?"

"The Fair American, sir. They massacred the officers and nearly all of the crew."

"Tell us about it; but first, who are your friends?"

"This will explain, sir," said one of the men, and he handed the captain a paper, which he read aloud:


"These presents are to certify that John Young and James Cox went on shore from the schooner Grace, with leave from William Douglas, owner and commander, to remain at Atooi till his return from Canton. But as no man can foresee what accidents may happen in the course of such a voyage, I have to request all commanders that may come this way; if the above-mentioned John Young and James Cox request a passage to Canton, that it may be granted, and the obligation shall be returned by

"CAPTAIN DOUGLAS.
"ATOOI, 21 August, 1790."


"We're not bound for Canton, but for the North-West Coast," explained the captain, when he had finished reading.

"We don't care where you are going, sir, if you'll only take us with you, and away from these devils," exclaimed Cox. "Peter Ridler will tell you——"

"Yes, Ridler, you'd better tell us the whole story; but first I think you'd better have something to eat and drink, for you look hungry."

"Yes, sir, we are hungry." And they were led off to the galley.

"Now let us hear all about this affair," said the captain, when they had been fed, and had returned to the quarter-deck. "What about this Fair American? What kind of a vessel was she?"

"She was a schooner; acting tender to the brig Elenora, of New York. Captain Metcalf was in command of the brig and his son,—about the age of this young gentleman"—and he indicated Lawrence—"about nineteen, was in charge of the schooner. He was a good officer, too.

"It happened at Owhyee. I had been left there to develop trade, sir, you will remember, when the Columbia was going home. The natives surprised the young captain. He had allowed a lot of them on board. They stabbed him, and killed three seamen at the same time. Four others they clubbed and threw overboard. The remaining member of the crew they beat and took prisoner.

"When they brought him ashore I went to the eries, or chiefs, and begged for his life, and after a while they let him go.

"At the time the Elenora was only a few miles away—at the place where Captain Cook was killed—and the natives planned to capture her too, and the man I saved was taken over there.

"The bos'n of the Elenora came ashore, and they captured him. Captain Metcalf sent ashore for him, but they said the bay was taboo, and that he would be sent off late at night or the next day. That night hundreds of canoes came from all parts of the island, and from the other islands too, for the thing had been planned. There were more than two thousand five hundred canoes altogether, drawn up on the beach and hidden on shore—all ready for the attack.

"The bos'n, sir, was a cool one. He told the king that the brig mounted more guns than Captain Cook's ships—and they still remember the bombardment they got when they murdered him. The bos'n said that even if they did capture the ship it would only be after hundreds of them had been killed. He said it would be better for them to have the Elenora go away, and promised to write to the captain telling him to sail. He promised to say nothing about the Fair American.

"At last they agreed to let him write, and he kept his word too. He knew that if he said anything about the captain's son and the rest being killed the captain would fight, and probably the ship would be captured and everyone on board would be killed, as well as the white men on the island, for there were two or three others as well, who had been left, like me, to look after the sandal-wood trade.

"Anyway, the Elenora sailed away, but Captain Metcalf got even with the natives. It was while he was at Mowee. He went there after leaving Owhyee. The savages came off in the night, and cut away one of the boats and killed the man who was on watch in her. The next morning they came off by the hundred to trade, as if nothing had happened. The captain loaded his guns with grape-shot and gave them a broadside, and killed more than two hundred of them. That's what he did—and I don't know if he knew then that his son had been murdered."

"And where is the Fair American—what did they do with her?" questioned Captain Ingraham.

"They've got her yet, sir, and sail her around. When they got her and all her stores and guns and everything, Tiana wanted to kill all of us white men who were on the island. He knew we'd tell what happened. The king wouldn't let him, but after that we had a very hard time.

"Captain Douglas came next in the Grace. I wasn't there at the time, but one of the men—a boy he was—got off to her. He didn't tell the captain about the Fair American, I guess, for he sailed away without trying to get the other men off. Maybe he thought that it wouldn't be any use, or that they wanted to stay: I can't say. But when he went to Mowee, the man who was saved from the Fair American managed to get off to him, and told him about King, the bos'n, and the others on the island, and warned him about Tiana.

"Captain Douglas went ashore, and tried to buy the men—I was one of 'em—and offered forty muskets. The natives lied to him, and said the white men had all gone away. They wanted to keep us to work the Fair American if anything went wrong.

"The Grace was only a small boat, and she lost most of her cannon overboard in a storm. Captain Douglas dropped a note on the beach, and Tiana brought it to me. I told him that it was about something else. He knew I wasn't reading it right, and wanted to kill me, but the king wouldn't let him. The king said it didn't matter what the note said, for he was going to kill everybody on the Grace next day; but that night she sailed. They thought I had warned the captain in some way, and again Tiana wanted to kill me.

"Captain Douglas went to Atooi, and there he left Cox and Young. The chief there was very friendly, and he was at war with Tiana, so the captain thought it would be safe enough for them.

"I heard that there were two men here, so I managed to make my way here, and we've been helping King Tio make war on Tiana and his crowd. They are just about as bad as the other lot. They'll try to kill you all if they can."

"They'll get a warm reception if they try anything," was the grim response of Captain Ingraham.

"You see," went on Ridler, "old King Tio wants to get a ship too, so he can be like Tiana, and besides he wants to get cannons and firearms and powder to carry on his war. Tiana is building a battery, and Tio wants to have the same."

"They're gathering about us now," exclaimed Lawrence, who had glanced towards the shore.

"Quick!" shouted the captain. "Out with the boarding-nets; call the crew to man the guns."

They boys ran off to carry out the orders, and in a few moments the nets were out and every man was at his station.

The natives were surprised at the activity and the evident purpose of the crew. It was not their intention to boldly attack without ascertaining the strength of the ship.

The second mate, who was proficient in the language of the islands, now addressed the savages, telling them that the only thing for which the Hope would trade was water, and after a great deal of bargaining about three hundred gallons was obtained in calabashes.

While this commerce was in progress, Cox went ashore in a canoe belonging to one of the principal chiefs. Captain Ingraham was annoyed that he should have done so without permission. He was apprehensive that the man would be detained, but this Ridler and Young did not think likely, saying that the chief would bring him back. He had gone, they said, to secure two muskets that belonged to them, and which they did not want to fall into the hands of the savages.

Cox returned in half an hour with the guns. He handed one up, and then boarded the vessel and called for the other musket to be passed to him. Instead of doing as bidden, the chief pushed the canoe away from the side of the vessel. The gun was passed to King Tio's canoe.

The captain demanded that it be surrendered, but instead of complying Tio laughed, and one of his warriors picked up the weapon and pointed it at the white man.

As he did so Captain Ingraham touched off a loaded swivel, which was pointed over the natives' heads. Confusion followed, and the canoes paddled towards the shore, but before reaching the beach they stopped, and a wild jabbering followed.

Presently the canoes, of which there were several hundred, formed into line, and the savages, screaming and yelling, made for the ship.

"They mean business, sir," shouted Ridler. "They're going to attack; give me a musket." And he and his companions seized fire-arms and ammunition from the lockers.

"Steady, men—give them small arms first," ordered the captain, and a volley was poured into the swiftly advancing line of canoes, and several of the natives were seen to fall. With renewed shouts of defiance and barbaric battle-cries, they came on.

The three new-comers, Tinpots, and Nicholas, by direction of Lawrence, reloaded the muskets as the others sprang to their stations at the guns.

Now the savages were within a few yards of the vessel, and spears and stones were falling on the deck. So close were they that the open formation of the line was lost and the canoes crowded together as the warriors stood up in their crafts to hurl their weapons.

"All right, men—the swivels—fire!" And the guns, crammed with small-shot, iron scraps, and lead balls, poured death and destruction into the massed dugouts. Shrieks of pain and wild screams of terror filled the air. Canoes were splintered to bits, while others overturned, throwing the dead and wounded occupants into other boats or the water.

Never before had the inhabitants of the island come into contact with the devastating effects of cannon, or felt the force of fire-arms.

There was a scramble among the surviving canoes to escape, and they separated and dashed wildly for the shore, one or two alone stopping to assist the wounded in the water.

"Shall we give them the four-pounders?" asked Mr. Crafts.

"No," was the humane answer. "It would be slaughter. We have done enough for our own protection. We don't want to kill more than we must to save ourselves. They've had their lesson."

"Here comes a breeze," Kenneth announced.

"Good; we'll take advantage of it and leave this place."

"There is one of the chiefs on board with his servant. He was here all the time, and took no part in the fight," Lawrence said; "what shall we do with him?"

"I'm afraid we'll have to take him with us. See that he's treated kindly," the captain answered. "We'll run to Woahoo and try to get some more water, and we'll leave him there."

It was nearly noon the following day when the Hope hove to off Woahoo at a distance of several miles from the beach.

"I think you had better keep that chief and his man out of sight, or they'll warn the others, and you won't get anything," advised Ridler. "Anyway they'll be sending a canoe from Rapo'rapo here sometime to-day, so you'd better make haste, sir."

"Yes; that's good advice," agreed Captain Ingraham; and accordingly the two natives were confined in the hold.

It was not long before the vessel was surrounded by hundreds of canoes, bringing fruit, vegetables, fish, and hogs to trade. It was explained that, while these articles would be accepted, water was most desired; and soon this was coming off in gourds.

About four hundred gallons had been secured when a strange canoe was seen rounding the point into the bay.

"That's from Rapo'rapo," observed Cox, after studying it for a moment through the telescope that Kenneth handed him.

"Then our trading is over."

"I'm afraid so."

He was right, for soon, in answer to a signal, the natives all deserted the vessel and were seen gathering about the canoe of the new-comer, close to the shore. As the last of the savages were leaving the brigantine the captive chief and his man were brought to the deck. They were given handsome presents, and were allowed to embark for the shore.

"All right, Mr. Burbank," called the captain, "make sail."

"Where to, sir?"

"For the North-West Coast."




CHAPTER V

MAN THE PUMPS

After leaving the Sandwich Islands the chief officer rapidly improved in health, due, he declared, to the care and attention bestowed upon him by Lawrence and Tinpots. Towards the end of June he was once more able to be on deck and assume a part of his duties. His face was terribly disfigured by his wounds, but his spirits were buoyant, and he was as anxious as any to reach the coast and enter into the activities of bartering for furs.

The delight of all at the recovery of Mr. Cruft was in a measure marred by the illness of the second mate, Mr. Crafts. This brave fellow had contracted a cold while the Hope lay off the Falkland Islands, and it had settled on his lungs. It had been expected that the warmer climate of the tropics would free him from it, but such had not been the case, and now, as the brig was ploughing her way northward, his condition gave rise to serious anxiety. He was weakened, and often had to retire to his cabin to rest, while the frequent rains and night mists chilled him to the bone. So it was that Kenneth was continued in the capacity of second officer while Lawrence had more frequently to assist him, by reason of the inability of the first mate to accept the full responsibilities of his office.

That Captain Ingraham was delighted with the manner in which the boys had acquitted themselves was shown by a letter he wrote addressed to Tobias Drake:


SIR,—As we are now approaching the American Coast, I am writing to you in the expectation that the opportunity will be afforded of forwarding the letter to China, from whence no difficulty offers to its being carried to Boston.[1]

"I am, sir, but expressing myself truthfully when I say that it was a fortunate circumstance that placed your nephew under my command. He has proved himself to be of the greatest value to me in the conduct of the enterprise, and has shown himself to be possessed of diligence, courage, and resource not to be expected in one of his years.

In time of danger he has not been lacking, and recently acquitted himself in a manner deserving of high commendation. A gun broke loose in a storm and was running wild about the deck. Your nephew contrived to capture it and prevent further damage being done.

Of late he has been nursing Mr. Cruft, my first officer, who was badly wounded by the premature explosion of a cannon, and Mr. Cruft gives him great credit for the skill and care he has displayed in this office.

I may add, sir, that I am very fortunate in having as juniors on the quarter-deck two such fine young fellows as Lawrence Drake and Kenneth Burbank.

I believe that Jonas Burbank, a respectable farmer of some means, near Derry, New Hampshire, is known to you. I would appreciate it as a favour if you would convey to him the high opinion I hold of his son.

Your humble and obedient servant,
    JOSEPH INGRAHAM.


After sealing this letter, and placing it with a packet of previously-written communications, the captain went on deck, where he found the boys in conversation.

"We were talking about that note that Tiana brought on board, saying that there had been trouble over the right of British vessels to trade at Nootka," explained Lawrence. "We were wondering what it was all about."

"I was there at the time that the seizures were made," answered the captain, "but I can't say definitely by what right the Spaniards claim that the whole coast belongs to them, unless it was a Papal bull, which gave them the whole coast, a long time ago. If that's all they have to support them it is not much. I never was much interested in politics, and these international affairs are too many for me. I only know what I saw and heard.

"It is because of that affair that I'm not heading for Nootka now, but will make the coast to the north of that port. I expect to fall in with the islands which Captain Dixon named Queen Charlotte, but which the Americans prefer to call Washington Islands."

"But what of the trouble at Nootka," Lawrence reminded him.

"Well, it was like this. I think you know that I was mate on the Columbia under Captain Kendrick, who later transferred command to Captain Gray and stayed on the coast in the Washington. We wintered at Nootka, and, in fact, made it our headquarters.

"When we arrived there we found that Captain John Meares was there with two vessels—one, the Felice, which he commanded, and the other, the Iphigenia, Captain William Douglas, the same man who left Cox and Young at the Island of Atooi—who had another officer with him, a Portuguese, named Viana, who claimed to be the captain in order that the vessel could secure the privileges enjoyed by that nation at Macao, in China.

"Meares had built a rough sort of a house on shore, and had landed one or two small cannon, to protect his men while they were building a sloop which had been brought out in sections in the hold of one of the vessels.

"This fellow Meares was very crafty and deceitful. He was very polite to us, but tried hard to persuade us that it would be folly for us to remain on the coast, as there were no furs to be had, and the natives would kill us.

"Not long after our arrival the sloop was completed, which was christened the North-West America. She was launched with great ceremony, all the vessels firing salutes in honour of the first boat to be built on the coast. She was outfitted and sailed on a trading trip. Shortly after this, Meares prepared to leave for China in the Felice. He came on board the Columbia and asked if we had any letters to be forwarded from China, saying that he would be pleased to take charge of them. Of course we were only too delighted at the idea, and gave him all our correspondence, and our boats and those of the Washington helped to tow the Felice out of the harbour.

"No sooner was the Felice safely at sea than Captain Douglas returned to us all our letters, giving as an excuse that Meares had changed his plans and would go to India instead of China."

"But why did he do that?" asked Kenneth.

"Because he knew that if he did not offer to take our letters we would bribe some of his crew to do it. He did not want to have us write home, and possibly encourage other expeditions to take part in the trade.

"It was in May 1789 that Don Estevan Martinez came. We were not at Friendly Cove at the time, but the Iphigenia was riding there. Meares's house was deserted, and, in fact, it was partially torn down. We had used some of the planks and so had Douglas.

"Martinez, who evidently did not have much use for the British, demanded by what right Douglas was in a Spanish port. Douglas replied that Viana was the real captain, and produced Portuguese papers. He added that he had put into Nootka in distress, and was waiting for the return of Meares with supplies.

"A week later another Spanish ship—the San Carlos—arrived. Then, having reinforcements, Martinez arrested Douglas and his crew, claiming that there was something wrong with his papers.

"In the meantime we were higher up the Sound, and learning of all this, we feared that we too would be arrested, but were assured we would not be. Douglas and his men were held for a few days and then released, and Martinez supplied them with cordage and provisions and permitted the Iphigenia to sail.

"We thought that the trouble had all blown over, but instead it was only starting.

"The Spaniards prepared for trouble too, for they set to work and built a battery on top of Hog Island, and started to establish a settlement.

"Meares claimed that he owned the land, having bought it from Macquinna, but this the chief later denied. But apart from that, the North-West America came back early in June, and the Dons immediately arrested the captain and crew.

"A few days later the Princess Royal—Captain Thomas Hudson—arrived, but she was not interfered with at that time.

"It was shortly after 1 July that Captain Colnett came in the Argonaut. A few of us went out to meet him, and he said he was sent by Meares to build a trading-post at Nootka.

"When Martinez heard of this he had the Britisher arrested and seized the Argonaut. The Princess Royal came back about the same time, and she also was captured.

"The prisoners were nearly all sent to San Blas, in Mexico, and I never heard anything more of them until we got that note from Tiana. A few of the men, though, we conveyed to China."

"But why should they let the Princess Royal and North-West America go and then seize them later?" asked Kenneth.

"I don't know. The whole affair was so complicated that I never could make much of it. We were afraid that we'd be seized and so we didn't pry into the business for fear we should invite trouble."

"They insulted the British flag," exclaimed Lawrence, "and I don't think they'll get away with that. They should know by this time that Great Britain don't stand for that sort of thing."

"Quite true," agreed the captain; "and, if I don't miss my guess, Spain will not be so haughty over her rights in the Pacific when London hears about the trouble. Of course it would suit us if no British ships were allowed to trade in these waters, and we continued to do so; there would be more pelts for us. All the same, if any nation is to quit, I don't think it will be Great Britain."

When the captain retired to his cabin the boys continued to talk for some time over the possibility of warfare on the coast. It added to the excitement of the voyage, while the idea of witnessing a struggle between the ancient rivals of the sea for the sovereignty of the fur fields so recently discovered appealed to their adventurous spirits.

It was the following evening that Captain Ingraham observed, "We should fall in with land to-morrow."

"I suppose we can't be far off it now," agreed Kenneth.

"Only a few miles, for the colour of the water has changed," answered the captain. "I expect we will be able to see the hills of Queen Charlotte Islands—or Washington Islands, as I prefer to call them. Then our work will start in earnest."

The captain stood chatting with Kenneth for a few moments longer, while Lawrence went forward. He almost bumped into Cox, one of the new men, who was hurrying aft.

"Sorry, sir," panted the man; "I was coming to say as how the ship's sprung a leak."

"What?"

"She's taking water fast. There's nearly three feet in the hold now."

"Have the bos'n pipe all hands on deck," shouted the lad, as he turned and raced aft.

"Ship's sprung a leak," he called as he approached the master. "Nearly three feet in the hold now."

"Pipe the crew on deck."

"I've done it, sir."

"Good. Call Mr. Cruft"; and, as Lawrence went to do his bidding, "Mr. Burbank, it's your watch, have the pumps manned."

By this time the men were tumbling up the forecastle companion-way to the deck, and it was only the work of a moment for them to start the pumps.

"Mr. Cruft," said the captain, "will you have the hold sounded."

Accompanied by Lawrence and the carpenter the first officer went below, where, by the aid of lanterns, it was ascertained that the report was true, and there was a depth of nearly three feet in the hold.

All night long the pumps were kept going, the men working in relays. Lawrence took his share of the toil at the handles, while his chum, with the carpenter, maintained a watch on the water, sounding every half an hour to note the progress being made by the pumps.

"I'm afraid, sir, we're done for," complained the carpenter.

"Nonsense," snapped Kenneth. "We're holding our own, and better. I think we're making headway. We're not far off shore, and will be able to find a cove and beach her to-morrow."

He was right, for an hour later it was found that the water had been lowered by an inch. Steadily and monotonously the creaking and sighing and sloshing of the pumps was continued hour after hour, as the men bent to the back-breaking work. Aloft every stitch of canvas was being carried before the light breeze, and the course, which had been originally set to fall in with the northern extremity of the group, was changed to make land as soon as possible.

When dawn first streaked the sky Kenneth went aloft to keep a look out. At first nothing could be seen through the mists of the morning, but as the light strengthened and visibility improved he discerned a faint outline in the distance, which grew more and more distinct as he continued to look. He did not want to raise false hopes, but as soon as he was satisfied that he was not mistaken he called: "Land, ahoy!"

KENNETH WENT ALOFT TO KEEP A LOOK-OUT
KENNETH WENT ALOFT TO KEEP A LOOK-OUT

There was a faint cheer from the weary men at the pumps as the word was passed along, and with renewed vigour they resumed their task.

Soon a mountainous shore could be clearly seen from the deck. The water in the hold had been reduced to less than two feet—but steadily and monotonously the pumps continued.

Three hours later they were close enough to make out several openings suggesting harbours, and the Hope was headed towards the nearest one. The longboat was swung out on the davits, and a small swivel was fitted to the gun-socket at the bow. Mr. Cruft prepared to take charge of the boat and explore the character of the opening and the facilities it offered for beaching the vessel.

When within half a mile of the rugged, timber-clad shore that rose, ridge upon ridge, to high mountain peaks capped with snow, the brigantine was hauled by the wind, and as she swung to the boat was dropped. The vessel stood off and on in short tacks before the entrance, waiting for the return of the longboat, and on deck the pumps sighed and groaned and sloshed and splashed with unremitting regularity.

It was two hours before the longboat was seen again. As she emerged from behind a point a flag was hoisted and a musket was discharged. This was the signal that a safe port had been discovered, and the Hope headed in. The boat was picked up, and Mr. Cruft piloted the brig into a snug cove with a sloping beach, well sheltered in a commodious harbour.

"I'm going to call this Cruft's Cove," was the delighted exclamation of Captain Ingraham, as he viewed the little bay, so well suited for graving the vessel.

The tide was almost full when they arrived, and preparations were at once made for beaching the Hope. This was accomplished without difficulty, and as the waters receded she was propped up on either side with long poles cut from the convenient woods or gathered from the driftwood.

It was late in the day when the stern-post was finally out of water, and here the leak was found. It was between the lower part of the post and the keel, where proper dovetailing had not been done, and the parts had separated, leaving a space of fully half an inch. The bottom of the ship was found to be covered with barnacles, seaweed, and other marine growth.

"Mighty fortunate we didn't hit a gale," remarked Peter Ridler, who was in a small boat with Kenneth when the leak was located. "That there seam would have opened sure if we'd had a big blow, and we'd all be down below now."

The blacksmith's forge was set up, and the smith was set to work by lantern light manufacturing a strong iron clamp with which to join the parted timbers, and early the next morning a start was made on repairing the break. While some members of the crew were assisting in this work the others, with the exception of those who were acting as guards, were engaged in scraping the weeds off, preparatory to copper painting the bottom on the following low tide.

"Do you know what day this is?" Lawrence asked his chum on the third morning after they landed.

"No; your birthday?"

"No, not mine: and you're a fine Republican, to have to be reminded by a King George man that it's your Independence Day."

"Whoopee!" was the wild exclamation, as Kenneth dropped a stick he was carrying and ran down the beach towards the ship. Several men seized their muskets, thinking that it was an Indian attack, and the captain hurried to acquaint himself with the cause of the excitement.

"What's wrong?" he cried.

"It's the Fourth—the Fourth of July," was the excited answer, "and I'm going to hoist the flag."

"By all means; and, by Jove, we'll celebrate it, too," declared the master.

Presently Nicholas the cook, and Tinpots, with another seaman, were busily and complainingly engaged in lighting a big fire on the beach.

"What are you doing?" asked Lawrence.

"'Nuff, sah," growled the cook. "De cap'n he says dis is 'pendence day—whatevah dat is—an he done want a big fat hawg cooked on sho'."

"Don't blame 'im," interjected Tinpots. "'E's British too, 'e is—though 'e don't look much like one."

"Jamaica, I is," affirmed Nicholas proudly.

"An'," went on Tinpots, without noting the interruption, "we don't 'anker to be celebratin' hany such day."

"Y' should," belligerently asserted the other seaman.

"Say, Bill Thompson," demanded Tinpots, "where were your father born?"

"England."

"Thought has much, an' you was a Britisher till fifteen years ago."

The argument promised to develop, until Lawrence interfered. "Look here, Tinpots," he said. "Great Britain was beaten—at least the Hessian soldiers King George sent to America were beaten. You can't get over that—but remember this: Great Britain was beaten by people who up to that time were British. You should be proud to think that the only time in centuries that Britain was beaten it was by Britishers—no one else could do it."

The old sailor scratched his head for a minute, then a broad smile overspread his face. "Righto—we're the honly ones as can beat hourselves. Come on, Nicky—let's get the 'og."

It was a merry company that gathered later on the beach, to eat the enormous Sandwich Island hog that had been roasted, and to drink the health of the President and Congress in an extra serving of grog.

"Men," said the captain, in proposing the toast to General Washington, "I guess this is the first time that Independence Day has been celebrated on this side of the continent. I want you to remember this—that you've got to keep the good name of our nation for honesty, even if we are trading with Indians. We've had our troubles with our mother country, but should remember that the trade of the British nation was built up on fair dealing. If the United States is going to prosper we will have to stay by those principles.

"Now that we're in the Indian country, you must be on watch all the time. Don't trust them too much: be kind but firm with them—and keep your powder dry."



[1] Vessels from Boston and other ports of the Atlantic seaboard of United States carried on a considerable trade with China for tea. The Chinese market, at the same time, paid the highest prices for sea-otter pelts, and it was to the Orient that the West Coast captains took their fur cargoes.




CHAPTER VI

A WILD WELCOME

Having completed the repairs to the vessel, and filled the water-casks and taken aboard a plentiful supply of firewood, Captain Ingraham directed the sailing of the Hope in search of Indians with whom to barter and trade for skins.

For several days the vessel cruised along the rugged shore-line without meeting with any natives. Then a large opening presented the promise of a harbour, and the Hope was directed towards it. It was not long before a canoe was seen. The little craft made towards the brigantine, and was soon close enough for the dozen natives who manned it to be distinguished. There was one man and eleven women.

The natives commenced a song of welcome as the Hope came to, and paddled around and around the ship in their craft, which was hollowed from a single log of cedar, with high, pointed prow and raised stern post. Having completed four circuits of the ship, the Indians came alongside. The man was a powerful-looking fellow of medium height, with a tremendous width of shoulders. His face, bedaubed with red ochre, bore a fierce aspect. The women, although unpainted, were hideous to look upon by reason of the manner in which their lower lips were distended by the insertion of labrets. The flesh had been cut through, and a wooden disk, of oval shape, had been inserted in the opening, causing the lip to protrude fully an inch beyond the chin.

The first canoe was joined by another containing seven men, among whom was a chief of some importance, who was garbed in a cloak of sea-otter skins. By signs he made it known that his village was but a short way within the sound, and that if the Hope would proceed there he would produce many skins similar to those that formed his costume.

The offer was immediately accepted, and the brig was soon at anchor off a village of low wooden huts of such size as to suggest that each one was occupied by a number of families. Another chief now appeared, and boarded the ship, announcing that his name was Kow. He spoke the Nootkan language with considerable facility, and as Captain Ingraham was fairly conversant with this tongue, it was possible to conduct a conversation. The chief was taken to the cabin, where he was regaled with biscuit and molasses, of which he appeared to be exceptionally fond. He was presented with a coat of bright blue cloth, plentifully supplied with brass buttons.

He explained that several other trading-ships had been visitors to the locality, and as a result of their visits there were but few skins available for trade, but if the Hope would remain for ten days a plentiful supply of furs would be secured. To this proposal the captain turned a deaf ear. The chief then suggested a stay of five days, and when this in turn was denied, he reduced it to three, and then to one. To this last suggestion Captain Ingraham agreed.

The boarding-nets were in position, and the crew was armed all the time the Indians were on board, for the disposition of the natives was uncertain. Several ships had been attacked and their crews had suffered heavily as a result of trusting the savages of the coast too far, and this, Captain Ingraham determined, should not be the case with the Hope.

While the captain was entertaining the chief in the cabin, the boys gazed in wonderment at the strange villagers and their peculiar habitations. Their attention was particularly attracted by the high, curiously-carved poles that stood in front of several of the rough board houses. The graven figures represented animals, birds, and human beings, and were for the most part highly coloured.

One of these poles, larger than the others, having a width at the base of nearly four feet, stood against the front of what was evidently the principal house of the community, in which no door could be seen.

"Look," exclaimed Kenneth suddenly, pointing at this particular pole. "Did you see that?"

"What?"

"The beak of that bird opened and a man came out of it."

"Go along with you," laughed Lawrence. "Do you think I'm green?"

"No; look!" And again the beak opened, revealing a great hole, and a man slid out of the bird's mouth to the ground.

Lawrence rubbed his eyes in amazement. "Did you see the same thing that I did?" he asked.

"I certainly did. It must be the door of the house."

"It is, sir," interjected Peter Ridler. "I seen 'em before when I was on this coast. They've got many funny things like that. You should see some of the masks they uses in their dances. They work 'em with strings and make animals open their mouths and move their eyes and everything: you just wait till you see some of them big wooden masks."

Captain Ingraham and Kow appearing on deck, the sailor's explanation of the curiosities to be seen was cut short. The chief was resplendent in his new coat, with which he appeared to be highly pleased.

"We are going ashore," Captain Ingraham remarked. "And I think you young fellows would like to go too," he added.

"We would, sir," they exclaimed, with such eagerness that the captain could not help smiling. "All right," he agreed, "but see to it that your pistols are loaded, and you had better take cutlasses along as well. I never trust these savages."

As the longboat touched the gravel of the beach the Indians crowded around, yelling and shouting and waving their arms. "Don't show any nervousness," whispered the captain. "Remember you are white men."

Prompted thus, the boys assumed an air of haughty indifference, and stared back at the grimacing natives, who stepped back, forming a lane through which Kow and his guests could proceed up the sloping beach. The longboat drew off from the shore as soon as they quitted it.

To the delight of the boys, the chief led them to the big house with the strange door. Catching hold of the lower beak of the wooden bird he disclosed the entrance, through which the captain, without the slightest hesitation, disappeared. Kenneth followed. Inserting one leg, he ducked his head down and made a dive forward. His chum was not as fortunate, for he caught his foot, and the beak closed upon him, holding him fast, to the immense delight of the savages and the amusement of his companions. He was soon liberated, and was drawn into the interior of the house.

It was several moments before the eyes of the visitors became accustomed to the semi-darkness of the place. Their noses were not as successful; and all the while they remained within the place they were assailed with a variety of pungent odours, of which that of decayed fish seemed to be in the ascendant. The atmosphere was also heavy with the smoke of a fire that burned on the earthen floor in the centre of the place.

The main portion of the great room had been excavated to a depth of three feet, leaving a platform of five or six feet around the sides of the dwelling.

Chief Kow led the way down some rude steps to the main floor, where several women who had been seated about the fire rose and spread mats. Upon these the whites seated themselves, while Kow proceeded to deliver a long speech to them, which he concluded by taking handfuls of white feather-down from a box and scattering it over himself and his guests as a token of friendship and goodwill.

"Look at that woman," whispered Lawrence, when the chief had completed his ceremony of amity. The squaw had taken a large, closely-woven basket and half filled it with water. Into this she proceeded to drop hot stones, which she raked out of the fire with a pair of wooden tongs. The water was soon boiling. She now picked up some pieces of fish from a board or tray, and dropped them one at a time into the water, and then added more hot stones, after abstracting those that had previously been put into the basket.

When the fish was thoroughly cooked it was served in a large, but rather dirty, wooden bowl, curiously carved to represent an animal. This was placed in front of the chief and his guests. The white men were given carved wooden spoons, with which to help themselves from the common dish, but Kow did not bother to use any implement in feeding himself, preferring to use his fingers in picking choice morsels from the mess. These, with impressive dignity, he first offered to Captain Ingraham, who gravely refused them, whereupon Kow, with evident satisfaction, appropriated them to his own use.

The boys found the greatest difficulty in forcing themselves to eat; but they knew that to refuse to do so would be considered as a grievous insult. Lawrence watched with strange fascination the hand of his host disappearing into the grease-blackened bowl in search of some particularly nice bit of fish, and then sought to find his own food as far away as possible from where the chief had secured his tit-bit.

The fish was followed by a dish of which they found it even more difficult to partake. It was a mess of wild berries, covered with rancid fish-oil which had been beaten into a foam.

"And we objected to boiled salt meat!" groaned Kenneth, as he forced himself to swallow some of this dessert.

They were indeed pleased when the meal was ended, and the captain had presented Kow with a string of beads in recognition of his hospitality.

"I'm certainly glad to be out of that place," declared Lawrence, when once more they were outside of the building. "This air certainly tastes good."

"Yes," agreed his companion; "but I wouldn't have missed seeing the inside of that house for a whole lot. Did you see how it was made? I wonder how they ever got those great beams up on those carved corner posts. They must be sixty or seventy feet long."

"At least that," assented Lawrence. "And however did they cut those great cedar boards for the roof and sides of the house? Some of them were three feet wide. I imagine they must split big logs with wooden wedges."

And so talking they returned to the Hope, where the incidents of their trip ashore provided conversation for the rest of the day.

Late at night the wind rose and the vessel pitched and tossed and strained at her moorings. Thunder rolled amid the higher peaks and lightning flashed, illuminating the dark forests and shore with a violet-blue, eerie light. By these intermittent flashes those on board the brig could see the Indians running wildly from house to house in great excitement and evident terror.

Gradually the intensity of the storm increased, and all hands were called to stand by. The topgallant mast had already been struck, and there was no sail showing; but in the narrow confines of the cove anything might happen, and Captain Ingraham was preparing for emergencies.

Hour after hour passed slowly. Instead of diminishing, the fury of the storm seemed to increase. Above the roaring and pounding of the waves on the beach, every now and again could be heard the crashing of a giant tree, uprooted by the wind and smashing smaller timber as it fell.

"I'm afraid we're being forced on to that reef on the starboard quarter," shouted Mr. Cruft, as a flash of lightning showed up the shore-line for a fraction of a second.

"Pull up on the kedge," called the captain, cupping his hands so his voice would carry above the howling of the storm.

Men sprang to obey the order; but as the strain tightened on the kedge, the anchor came home, and the ship veered round closer to the dangerous rocks. Closer and closer she approached the reef. Destruction seemed to be inevitable. Already the white foam of the breakers could be dimly seen as the waves broke against the ragged rocks.

"We've got to get a line ashore," Kenneth shouted in his chum's ear. "Will you come?"

"Yes," bellowed Lawrence.

The sheet anchor was let go and held, just as it appeared that the ship would strike with the next wave. There was no assurance, however, that the anchor would hold for long, while with the falling tide the vessel might crash on the rocks.

"We're going to take a line ashore," Kenneth told the captain.

"Good idea, if you can make it. It's worth trying. Who are you taking with you?"

"I'm going in the small boat, with Larry and Tinpots."

Captain Ingraham nodded, and the three prepared to launch the boat. As they lowered it Nicholas the cook joined them, and was permitted to go. It was only with difficulty that the boat was dropped without being stove in against the side of the brig. Kenneth took his place in the stern and paid out a light line, while Lawrence and the sailor tugged at the oars, and the black crouched in the bow with a boathook.

The distance to the opposite shore was but little more than a hundred yards, but the task of making it was one of danger, as it was necessary to row against the waves, towards the mouth of the cove, in order to avoid being swamped.

Lawrence pulled with all his strength, keeping stroke with Tinpots, but progress was made by inches only. The salt, wind-driven spume lashed them like whips, and the breaking seas soon had the little boat half filled with water. The negro dropped his boathook and bailed with all his might in an effort to lighten the boat of the water that threatened to sink her.

Inch by inch at first, and then foot by foot as they obtained the meagre shelter of the headland, the row-boat progressed. Now, with a quick turn, she was set about and ran down again into the bay, wallowing, and shipping seas, as she made diagonally across the waves, but with greater speed and less exertion to the rowers.

Kenneth had noted, the previous afternoon, a little beach of sand where several Indian canoes were drawn up, and this he determined to try to make. The water was smoother now, and with a shout to his companions that carried above the tumult of the storm, he managed to convey his intentions to them. The boat's nose was turned, and with renewed efforts Lawrence and Tinpots bent their backs to the oars. The boat shot ahead, riding the top of a wave, to crash down on the beach as the water receded. They jumped out and pulled the boat higher up on the shelving shore, above the reach of the succeeding comber.

Now they all joined in pulling at the line. Soon the increasing weight made it apparent that a heavier rope was being paid out from the brigantine, and it soon required every ounce of their united strength to bring it in. At last the heavy hawser was ashore, and it was made fast about the trunk of a tree that grew near the water's edge. It remained slack for a few moments, and then gradually tightened, and they knew that those on board the Hope were winding it in on the capstan and were pulling the vessel off to safety.

Sheltering themselves in the underbrush as best they could the four prepared to await the coming of daylight, for they knew that even if their boat had escaped serious damage when she crashed on the beach, it would be a hazardous and foolhardy thing to attempt to regain the brig in the darkness and storm. Drenched to the skin and chilled to the bone, and with sinews and muscles aching, they huddled together. Minutes seemed to pass like hours, and hours dragged on like days before the first faint streaks in the sky heralded the approach of daylight. As the light increased the storm lessened in its fury. They were soon able to make out the bulk of the Hope safely riding to her anchors and mooring line, and the sight cheered them.

THEY HUDDLED TOGETHER
THEY HUDDLED TOGETHER

"We should be able to get aboard in an hour or so," said Kenneth, through chattering teeth. "The sea's going down, and I don't think the boat is badly damaged."

"Ah don' want t' go on dat ship no mo'," whined Nicholas. "I'se on lan,' an' ah wants t' stay hyar."

"Don't be a fool," snapped Lawrence. "The Indians would eat you up."

"Ah don' ca'ah. I'se had enuff o' bein' a sailor."

"Let 'im be, sir," advised Tinpots. "A sailor's life ain't fer coloured men, hit ain't. Hit's a white man's job; an' hit wouldn't be no loss hif 'e were left ashore."

The negro mumbled something unintelligible, and no one bothered to find out what it was. They relapsed into silence.

A gun was fired from the ship, and in answer to it they showed themselves on the beach and returned the greetings that were waved to them from the vessel.

"I think we can try it now," observed Kenneth, half an hour later. "Is the boat damaged much, Larry?"

"No," answered Lawrence, who, with Tinpots, had been examining the craft. "She'll ride all right."

"Very well, let's run her out. Here, where's Nicholas?" demanded Kenneth. The black had vanished.

In vain was the immediate neighbourhood searched. No trace could be found of the missing cook.

"Maybe the Hindians 'as 'im," ventured Tinpots. "They be welcome to 'im as far as Hi'm concerned."

"No," answered Kenneth. "He has deserted. We can't spend any more time looking for him. Come on—we'll get aboard."

The storm had abated sufficiently to offer no great obstacle to the launching of the boat, and the trio were soon on board the Hope, to receive the thanks of the captain for their action. "And as for Nicholas," he added, "I'll have to teach him his duty."

"But, sir," protested Kenneth, "remember he was with us, and is entitled to as much credit as we are for getting the line ashore."

"I realise that; but I can't have him or anyone else deserting to the Indians. Why, just think what it means, not only to us but to every ship on the coast, to have the savages informed of the weakness of the trading ships!"

Later in the day, when Kow came on board, the captain arranged with him to capture the cook and deliver him on board unharmed. It was nearly night when the chief reappeared. He was accompanied by half a dozen of his warriors. They had Nicholas bound hand and foot in their canoe.

After rewarding the natives, who immediately left the vessel, Captain Ingraham addressed the black. "What have you to say for yourself?" he questioned.

"I'se berry glad to be back, sah," was the astonishing reply.

"Well, why did you desert?"

"Ah was col' an' scairt, sah—but de Indians dey don' scairt me mo'—so I'se glad to be back."

"Well," said the captain, who had a hard time to keep from laughing at the woebegone expression of the darkey, "I don't know what to do with you. You did splendidly last night, but I can't stand for desertion."

"Oh, sah, I'se bad, indeed Ah is," answered Nicholas. "Jus' call it half a dozen, sah, wif de cat, an' Ah won't do it no mo'."

"Half a dozen lashes? All right—that's for running away; but because of what you did last night, I'll forgive you three of them."

"Thank you, sah."

"Potts," went on the captain, "would you give him the three lashes?" and the captain deliberately winked at the seaman.

The negro was led to the foremast, and having been stripped of his shirt, his hands were tied around the mast, and Tinpots, with a great show of force, made the cat-o'-nine-tails swish through the air, to descend gently on the cook's back. Nicholas flinched as the whip fell, but only grunted when it struck.

"Yell, y' hidiot," exclaimed Tinpots in a hoarse whisper.

At the second stroke the black let out a roar, which was repeated when the third was given.

"I guess justice has been done in this case," said the captain, addressing the ship's company, which had been called on deck to see the punishment inflicted; "but I want to say that if anyone else tries to desert while we're on this voyage he will get ten times as much as Nicholas has just taken—and a good deal harder."




CHAPTER VII

ADRIFT IN THE MIST

Despite the fine promises of Kow that he would, each morrow, produce an assortment of prime skins for inspection and barter, trade with the Indians of the village was dull. Only a few pelts of but indifferent quality were offered, and for these the natives demanded prices that were in excess of the schedule that had been agreed upon aboard the Hope. As a result of the poor display and the high values attached to sea-otter furs by the Indians, only a score of pelts were secured in the first three days of the white men's stay opposite the habitations of Kow and his people.

The fourth day brought better prospects, for a larger number of canoes congregated about the vessel, some of them having come from some distance with a better collection of skins. Hardly had trading started, however, than it was interrupted by a dispute between two factions of the natives that, for a time, threatened to become serious.

Two Indians started an argument over some matter of precedence in the order in which they presented themselves for trade. One savage, invective failing to win him the advantage sought, picked up his spear and threw it at his rival. The weapon missed its mark, but struck another Indian in a canoe some few feet away.

Pandemonium broke loose. The air was filled with shrill yells. Insults, denunciations, and denials were screamed from canoe to canoe. Men and women flew to arms. The warriors picked up their spears, while the women lashed their knives to their wrists and prepared to engage in a deadly mêlée. Canoes were backed away or advanced as the factional groups formed, and permitted a space of water to separate the hostile fleets.

On board the brig at the first sign of trouble the boarding-nets were placed in position; men were called to their stations at the guns, muskets were distributed and cutlasses buckled on, in readiness to repel any hostile movement against the ship.

Kow was on board at the time. He watched the preparations with evident interest and some amusement; alternately surveying the activities of the sailors, and then those of his own people. At last, when he thought that matters had progressed far enough, he sprang to the rail, and scolded his people viciously. Standing on the bulwark he looked down upon his tribe, and poured out upon them such a torrent of abuse, that the whites, who could not understand his language, but could interpret his tone, were surprised that none retaliated. Instead, spears were lowered, knives were unloosened, and men and women sat with bowed heads, humbled and cowed by the voice of their chief.

It was the following morning that Lawrence made a discovery that was to prove of great value to the enterprise. He stood watching the efforts of the captain to inveigle a young chief to part with a cutsack, or robe of fur. The native looked with contempt upon the merchandise that was offered to him in trade.

"I don't know what to do with these misers," finally exclaimed the captain in disgust. "At Nootka they would give anything for copper and brass ornaments, but here this fellow has refused everything I have showed him."

"I've been watching them," replied Lawrence, "and I think they might take something fashioned out of iron."

"What, for goodness' sake?"

"Well, I would suggest that you have the smith make a neck-ring like the one this chief's squaw is wearing," and he indicated a circlet of red fibre about the neck of the young woman. "She's very proud of it. And I notice that the women have a lot to do with the bargaining."

The captain examined the neck-ring for a moment. "Well, it's worth trying," he grumbled. "I suppose if they won't take what we have, we'll have to make what they want."

The blacksmith was called, and viewed the ornament. His forge was set up, and he went to work to make one, twisting four or five thin rods together and welding them in the form of a hoop. It required several hours to make a single one, and by nightfall he had only been able to fashion four of them, although he had worked hard at the task all day.

"I'm afraid these things will break their necks," commented the captain, as he picked one up. "It must weigh five or six pounds."

"That don't matter," declared Mr. Cruft, "if the women want them. Native women are just like their white sisters; if fashion decrees something, they'll have to have it, even if it isn't comfortable."

The chief officer was right, for immediately the young chief who had been so loathe to part with his cutsack caught sight of the neck-ring, he offered the three skins comprising the garment for it. Thus was the price established, and soon Indians were crowding around, offering furs in exchange for collars. The first four were sold in a few moments, and others were eagerly seized upon while still warm from the forge.

Trade increased in other ways too. Indians arrived from other parts of the coast, and they were willing at first to dispose of their otter pelts for the ordinary goods of commerce. Once, however, they had caught sight of the iron collars, the attractions of copper, brass, and coloured cloths gave way to the desire for possession of these metal neck-rings. It was only after much bargaining and argument that they would take other goods.

So satisfactory did business now become that Captain Ingraham, who had intended to leave Kow's village, decided to stay for a few extra days. This was welcomed by the boys, for it gave them an opportunity of exploring the sound. They were particularly interested in a rude fortress that stood high up on a bold bluff. It was in the nature of several platforms of logs, surrounded by a stockade, and offered excellent defence from assault by forces unarmed with cannon.

Another object of curiosity was a small island where the dead were deposited. Examination showed that the top of the rock was covered with curiously carved cedar boxes, or coffins, while others were tied in the branches of the trees that shaded the islet. About the caskets and beneath the trees were all manner of stone and bone implements, food dishes and ceremonial bowls, for the use of the departed in the spirit world.

"Nicholas," warned Lawrence, upon his return from the place, "if you try and run away again, the captain is going to take you there in the dead of night and leave you with the ghosts."

The cook dropped the pan he was scouring, and his eyes grew large with fright. "Lawsee me, Massa Drake, I'se not gwine asho'—no siree. Ah won' go asho'—not eben if de ship am a-sinkin'."

"Well, remember—it don't matter where we are—we'll come back and put you on the Island of the Dead if you try and desert."

The appearance of a large fleet of canoes of a tribe with which Kow was at enmity at first gave rise to apprehensions of trouble, but it was soon apparent that the strangers came to trade and not to make war. They brought many excellent skins with them, and were reasonable in their demands.

The rivalry between the two peoples, which had so often led to bloodshed, now took a surprising turn. Kow decided that, it being poor generalship to openly wage war at the moment, he would despoil them otherwise. He accordingly produced a surprisingly large assortment of choice furs, and offered them to the white traders at prices as ridiculously low as they had previously been absurdly high. The new-comers, perforce, had to meet the competition, and Captain Ingraham and his helpers were kept busy from morning until night, appraising furs, displaying merchandise, and completing sales.

When, two weeks after coming to the place, all the available furs had been secured, a tally showed that three hundred choice skins and a few odd pieces had been secured.

A course was now set to the south-east, and for a week the Hope cruised along the shore, with but indifferent results. But while trade was slow the blacksmith was busily employed at his forge making neck-rings against the time that another village possessed of a goodly stock should be encountered.

"A sail!" shouted the lookout one afternoon; and immediate excitement followed, for it had already been decided that if a Spanish vessel was sighted every effort should be made to avoid contact with her, but a ship of any other nation should be approached with the idea of learning the state of affairs at Nootka.

"By Jove," exclaimed the captain, after viewing the stranger with his glass from the rigging. "It's the Columbia. Give our signal."

Before leaving Boston an arrangement had been made with Robert Haswell, the man who was to act as mate on that vessel when she again sailed for the North-West Coast, for an interchange of private signals if the two vessels should meet. This was now done by the Hope, and as the ships approached, it was returned from the Columbia.

Captain Ingraham, accompanied by Kenneth, boarded the Columbia, where Captain Gray welcomed his old first officer warmly and escorted him to the cabin. Kenneth remained on deck, chatting with Mr. Haswell, as the captains talked in the cabin over a bottle of wine.

"Here," whispered the mate of the Columbia, "take these and hide them," and he slipped a packet of letters into Kenneth's hand, as they leaned over the bulwark. Without comment Kenneth did so; but when, several hours later, they had returned to the Hope, he exclaimed, as he handed the package to Captain Ingraham, "What a peculiar way to deliver letters."

"Not at all," was the answer, as the captain sorted the contents of the parcel. "His owners would not allow Gray to carry letters for us, but Haswell brought these along secretly. Here's one for you," and he handed a letter to Kenneth.

"I'm sorry there's nothing for Mr. Crafts," he added. "I'm afraid he won't be with us long, and a letter from his folks would have cheered him."

It was unfortunately true, and all on board realised that the popular second officer had not long to live. He had declined rapidly, and was rarely able to leave his cabin. He himself knew that his time was short, for he told Lawrence one day, between coughs: "I'm bound for the last port—I'm making my last voyage; and I'll be ready to go ashore."

A visit was made to the mainland, but without much profit, and then, early in August, anchor was dropped off a large village on the eastern side of Queen Charlotte Islands, where a powerful chief named Cumshewa held sway.

At first the chief refused to sell his furs, viewing with contempt the stock of trade goods, but when he was shown one of the iron collars, of which a large number had been manufactured, he immediately demanded one, and before nightfall no less than 176 prime sea-otter pelts had been purchased. The next day eighty-four were added to the store. Strangers arrived almost daily from other villages, and for more than a week a most profitable trade was continued.

Bartering was suddenly terminated by the outbreak of hostilities between Cumshewa's tribe and another living far to the south. His enemies had attacked several canoes belonging to Cumshewa's village, and killed and wounded several of his people. The chief gathered his warriors and assembled his fleet of war canoes, and went away to seek revenge.

"We now have nearly eight hundred and fifty skins, and that's more than I expected," said Captain Ingraham, as he viewed the almost deserted bay. "I think we'll get ready to leave the coast for China. We'll take on wood and water, and sail in a few days for the Sandwich Islands, where we'll recruit before going to China."

The boys were delighted at the prospect of a change, for after six weeks of bartering with the savages they were tired of the continual haggling over furs, with no opportunity of going on shore. So warlike were the natives that the captain had refused permission for any of the crew to leave the vessel, except in the longboat, well armed and fully manned.

That night the man on watch heard the dipping of a paddle in the water close to the ship. He shouted a challenge, and immediately came the answer that skins were being brought on board. Hearing the shouting, the captain hurried to the deck, and ordered the canoe away. There was no response. All hands were called on deck, and once more the warning was given for the Indians to be gone, but instead they persisted in advancing.

"All right, men, give them a volley with the muskets," he said. "Aim high." And a dozen shots were fired. This had the desired effect, for with cries of fright the Indians fled.

In the morning the canoes came off as usual, and several of the chiefs who had visited the bay to trade, protested that the visitors of the night before were not their people. As all appeared to be tranquil, the longboat was ordered ashore, to bring off some spars that had been cut near the beach.

Hardly had the men set to work than they were surrounded by savages, who threatened them with knives and spears.

Lawrence, who was watching the shore party from the deck, was the first to observe the trouble. He sprang to a swivel gun, which he brought around to bear on the savages, at the same time calling to the others to take their stations. Captain Ingraham hurried from his cabin, and ordered the ship cleared of Indians.

Meanwhile, on shore, the men were falling back to the boat, keeping their faces towards the savages who were menacing them.

"Shall I shoot?" asked Lawrence. "Yes; over their heads."

Lawrence touched off the gun, while another swivel and a four-pounder crashed out at almost the same instant, sending solid shot and small bullets smashing into the forest directly behind the savages, stripping bark and branches from the trees. The Indians fled, shrieking, in all directions.

In a few moments Cumshewa, who had returned at dawn, was on board, to declare that the aggressors were not of his tribe.

There was no further trouble with the Indians, and the work of wooding and watering went on apace.

"I'd like to go fishing before we leave here, Larry," declared Kenneth, the day before they were to sail.

"So would I, Ken. The natives are peaceable. Why not ask the captain?"

"All right." And Kenneth sought and obtained permission to take the small boat and Tinpots for the excursion.

Delighted at the idea of a day's sport with hook and line, the trio rowed towards the mouth of the harbour, and towards a patch of kelp, where it was expected that the fish would be found.

Nor were they disappointed. The fishing proved to be good, and it was not long before a number of small cod and flat-fish had been caught. No attention was paid to the passing of time, until after Tinpots had landed a large fish, which in its struggles entangled his line. He looked up, and exclaimed in dismay, "There's a mist comin', sirs, an' Hi don't know where's shore."

The boys looked up in alarm. As they had been fishing a mist had descended, and the dead calm of the waters gave no indication of the direction of land.

"What shall we do?" asked Kenneth.

"I don't know," replied his chum, while the old sailor only shook his head dolefully. "One thing is certain, we've got to keep our heads. We've been drifting about for three hours," he added, looking at his watch. "We have got to try and make land, and stay there until the fog goes. Then we can hear the guns of the brig, for they'll be looking for us. So haul in the lines and we'll start."

The head of the boat was turned in the direction in which land was believed to be located, and for an hour they pulled at the oars, but without gaining any further idea of where they were. Occasionally they stopped and strained their ears for any sound that might guide them, but only the gentle lapping of the water against the planking of the boat, and the drippings from the oars could be heard.

"There don't seem to be any use rowing any more," said Kenneth at last. "I've heard that when people are lost in the woods they walk round in circles. We've probably been doing the same. We may only be going farther away all the time."

Lawrence nodded. "But listen! I hear something."

Faintly, but growing more and more distinct, came the sound of wood touching against wood.

"Indians," whispered Lawrence; and he held up his hand to enforce silence. They scarcely breathed, fearing to attract the attention of the savages before they discovered whether they were friendly. If of Cumshewa's tribe, they felt sure that the promise of a reward would induce the Indians to guide them back to the ship, but if of another nation—anything might happen.

Louder and louder grew the sounds, and voices calling and answering showed that there was more than one canoe. The only hope the boys held was that the Indians would pass at some distance, and thus they would escape in the fog.

Now the foremost canoe was abreast of them, a hundred yards away, they judged. They breathed easier. A sudden shout from the other side, however, showed that the keen eyes of the Indians in the second canoe had made out the bulk of the boat in the grey of the mist, although they could not see the canoe.




CHAPTER VIII

IN CAPTIVITY

"It's no use; put your gun down," ordered Kenneth, as Tinpots reached to pick up his musket. "They're too many for us. Appear to be indifferent. That's the best way."

The Indian dugout now took shape in the mist. It was a large war canoe, and from its build the boys recognised with dismay that it was not from any of the villages with which they were familiar. Several natives, wild, ferocious looking men, with faces bedaubed with black paint, stood among the paddlers with spears poised ready to be thrown.

Although the sight struck them with terror, neither the boys nor Tinpots paid any apparent attention to the hostile warriors, but continued to fish, having dropped their lines over the side of the boat when they first heard the approaching canoes.

"I don't think they've ever seen white men before," whispered Lawrence, as the war canoe came to a stop a few feet away. "We must excite their curiosity or they'll kill us. When I give the word, start laughing and singing."

"All right," assented Kenneth, and Tinpots nodded his agreement.

Two more canoes now appeared out of the mist, and the new arrivals, after a noisy parley with the occupants of the first craft, commenced to paddle in a wide circle about the white men.

"Now," whispered Lawrence; and the trio started to laugh, shout, and sing. "Ken, oh, Ken, start something—some antics to attract their attention," he roared. "Tinpots—ha, ha—do something." He himself started to wave his hands above his head, while his chum stood up and divested himself of his jacket, which he turned inside out and put on again.

Tinpots, who was bellowing an old sea ditty with such vigour that he did not at first comprehend what was required of him, at last stopped his singing, and hesitated for a moment as to what he could do.

"Take off your hat and show your bald head," shouted Lawrence; and with slow deliberation the old man lifted his woollen bonnet, revealing a red handkerchief tied about his head, and this he in turn removed, exhibiting a hairless and shining dome. The effect was immediately noticeable upon the natives, who were but a few feet away.

"Stop now and be indifferent," called Lawrence; and they became silent and motionless.

Slowly the foremost canoe came on until it scraped against the side of the boat. A chief reached forward and timorously touched the sailor's bald head with his forefinger, and withdrawing his hand looked curiously at it. He said something to his companions, and they appeared to be impressed by it.

Several savages now climbed on board the boat, no interference being offered them. They picked up and examined various articles, holding them up to the inspection of their friends.

"We can't expect to get away from them," advised Kenneth in a quiet voice. "Our best plan is to go with them uninvited, rather than as prisoners. Put your things in the nearest canoe, and we'll climb in as well. It will take them by surprise, and they'll probably offer no objection."

Without apparent haste they lifted their few belongings into the canoe, and then, to the astonishment of the natives, climbed into it themselves and took their seats on the mats that were in the bottom of the craft. From the manner in which the Indians regarded them, gazing at them in open-mouthed amazement, it was apparent that the whites had the advantage that comes with surprise, and that the savages were inclined to regard them as supernatural.

"Captain Cook said as 'ow you should halways do what a native didn't hexpect," declared Tinpots, "an' Hi ham goin' to do hit," and he drew out a stubby pipe, and, with steel, flint, and tinder, started to smoke.

The Indians drew away from him in horror and surprise, but Tinpots calmly puffed away at the pipe, and blew smoke in clouds from his mouth.

"They think he's a god of some kind," whispered Lawrence. "He's taking fire into his stomach, and it's not burning him."

After some discussion between the native chief and his followers the paddlers took their places; the ship's boat was abandoned, and the big canoes started off. It was with sinking hearts that the boys saw their boat disappear in the mist behind them.

For a long time nothing was said, for each realised that they were confronting terrible possibilities, and the prospect was not such as to induce conversation. At last Lawrence spoke. "Ken," he whispered, "listen: the Indians evidently regard Tinpots as some sort of a god. We've got to play up to that idea—it's our only chance. We've got to treat him with great respect."

"I guess you're right," was the answer. "I'd better tell him to put on airs," and he leaned forward and whispered to the old sailor, whose astonishment was complete. At first Tinpots refused to play the part, saying he "couldn't do hit right," but he was soon persuaded of the necessity of his doing so.

Gradually the mist cleared, as the wind freshened a little, and when, after several hours, they could see land, it was many miles distant. From the position of the sun, and using the dial of his watch as a compass, Kenneth found they were headed in a southerly direction.

Hour after hour dragged slowly away. Lawrence, who had been sitting with his back to a large cedar box, sought to shift his position to relieve his cramped limbs, and in doing so accidently knocked the lid off the chest. He turned to replace it, and glanced into the box—and almost dropped back in a faint. The box was filled with human heads. It was a full minute before he recovered sufficiently to communicate the gruesome intelligence of his discovery to his chum. "Ken," he stammered, "Ken—these people have been raiding the islanders. They have a box filled with heads—right behind me. They must be the people that Kow was fighting against. He said they came from away in the south. I guess we're in for it, and no mistake."

"Never mind, old man," comforted his friend, "we're not dead yet, and we'll find some way of escape."

Hour after hour the Indians continued their journey, the paddlers keeping stroke with monotonous regularity. The long August day drew gradually to a close, but still the natives kept up their steady work. Occasionally two of them would stop and rest for a few moments, and when they resumed paddling two others would take a brief respite. There were eighteen Indians in the big canoe, which could easily have accommodated ten or a dozen more. The evening wind brought a choppy sea, but the dangers of storm and darkness seemed to hold no terrors for the savages.

The canoe would climb a wave, poise for a second and dash down into the trough, to plunge its high-pointed nose and flaring prow into the succeeding wall of water, up which it would wallow, to repeat the dive before the advancing sea.

Tired, and with muscles aching from the positions in which they were forced to sit, hungry, for they had nothing to eat, and chilled to the bone from the cold sea spume, the boys suffered intensely. Not so Tinpots, who managed to curl himself up on the bottom of the canoe and sleep. Minutes passed like hours, and each hour seemed to be a long day.

As day was breaking the canoe turned towards a small island, where a landing was made. The boys and Tinpots followed the Indians ashore, where, wrapping themselves in their fur blankets, the natives threw themselves down to sleep. It astonished the lads that no sentinels were posted, and no attempt was made to place guards over them.

"I guess they knows as we hain't goin' to run haway," was the comment of Tinpots.

"You're right," answered Lawrence. "And it would seem that they're near home, and are just resting up before making their appearance."

"Well, I'm hungry," declared Kenneth, "and I'm going to get something to eat. There was some lunch in the basket we had in the boat, and it's in the canoe. I'm going to get it," and he crawled away to the place where the canoe was drawn up on the beach. He found the basket without much difficulty, and was delighted to discover that the Indians had not disturbed its contents. It contained bread, meat, and a bottle of wine, and upon these they made a substantial breakfast. As they ate they discussed in whispers their future course of action.

"It appears to me," said Lawrence, "that it was because they were on a war party and had won a victory that they did not kill us on first sight. Then, by exciting their curiosity, we convinced them that we were not ordinary creatures. It was a wise suggestion of yours, Ken, to step into their canoe. We would have been taken anyway; but now, at least, we're sort of guests rather than prisoners, and have not been robbed. Each of us has a pistol, powder-flask, bullets, and a knife. Besides, there are the two muskets. We must manage to keep these things, especially the muskets and knives. The only way for us to keep our heads is for us to think faster than they do, and to keep them astonished every time that they show signs of getting ugly."

"Larry's right," declared Kenneth, addressing the sailor. "And at present, Tinpots, you're the main brace. That bald head of yours, and your pipe, are our safeguards, and we've got to plan how to keep them thinking you're a great white chief, or god——"

"But Hi say," protested Tinpots, "hit won't do, y' know; 'ere Hi've been afore the mast all me life, an' you young gentlemen is on the quarter-deck——"

"That'll do," interrupted Lawrence. "Ken and I are depending on you to pull us through—and, besides, it's the only way you can save yourself."

"Hall right," grumbled the old fellow, "but you'll 'ave to tell me what to do."

The boys' conjecture was correct. The Indians were but taking a brief rest before making triumphal return to their village. After two hours slumber they were astir, and began decking themselves out in their finery, which consisted for the most part of fibre head and neck rings, dyed red, and blankets of cedar bark and sea-otter. The sombre black paint of war was replaced with streaks of red ochre. When these preparations were complete, and they had broken fast from their stock of dried fish and berry cakes, they prepared to re-embark. The gruesome trophies of their victory, to the horror and disgust of the boys, were uncovered, and some were impaled on spears, while others were hung over the high bows of the canoe.

When the signal was given for them to again take their place in the canoe, the lads rose from the log upon which they had been sitting, and having removed Tinpots' hat, they each placed a hand reverently upon his bald head, and with the other pointed towards the sun. They then knelt down, and the sailor, placing a hand on each bended back, assisted himself to rise, and striding with well-assumed dignity to the canoe, permitted himself to be lifted aboard. The boys then took the seats they had occupied on the previous day. They were immensely pleased to note the awe with which the natives regarded the ceremony.

The Indians bent to their paddles with a will and, taking their time from the steersman, sang wild, barbaric songs as the canoe raced through the water. After more than an hour they emerged from a narrow channel, to see a straggling village set on the beach of a crescent-shaped bay. The warriors greeted the sight with savage yells, and waved aloft their ghastly spoils. Then picking up their paddles again they sent the canoe ahead at a furious speed. One man alone betrayed no excitement. He was the head chief, who sat, silent and expressionless, with his sea-otter robe wrapped tightly about him. It was not for him to exult at this moment in the overwhelming victory that had been his. It was for him to show that success in war was usual with him. His time of boasting would come later: now it was for others to tell how he had led his forces into the sleeping camp of his enemies, and slaughtered a score or more of them before they could be awakened, and had scurried away in the night again without the loss of a single member of his band. Such a story, he well knew, would be handed down from generation to generation about the campfires of his people.

Now the canoes halted. They retreated, as if fleeing from an enemy; now they advanced again, faster, faster, faster, to where the great, ugly, weather-greyed wooden sheds poured out their clamorous, exultant occupants, who raced down to the water's edge to greet the victorious warriors. All songs and shoutings died away in the canoe; the fighting men had done their part; it was for old men, women, and children, and those who had not accompanied the band to sing their praises, and for them to accept the tribute that was theirs. So, slowly the canoe came to the beach, there to be seized by a hundred hands and drawn up on the shingle.

In the first enthusiastic outburst of welcome little attention was given to the three strangers; but now, as the throng increased about the canoe, they were noticed, and several, believing them to be prisoners, made threatening gestures towards them. Now it was time for the chief to speak, and with fluent tongue he told of how these strange people—sons of the great sea-god—had been found afloat in a great shell; how one, who was chief, had a shining head, and consumed fire—and how these sons of the sea-god had entered his canoe and had come to dwell with them, thus signalising them as the most favoured, as well as the most powerful, of all people.

While the boys could not understand what the chief was saying, they knew from his gestures that he was recommending them to his tribe, and when he stopped they stood up, bowed and smiled, and stepped from the canoe. They assisted Tinpots to the beach, and were for a moment at a loss what next to do, until Lawrence said in a whisper, "We must bring away the guns. Take off your coat, Ken," and together they divested themselves of their jackets. Picking up the muskets, powder-horns and shot pouches, Lawrence ran the barrel of one of the guns through the arms of his coat, while Kenneth followed his example.

"Now take hold of the butts," ordered Lawrence, "and, Tinpots, you get between the guns. I'll lead the way," and picking up the muzzles of the muskets, they followed in the wake of the chief, while Tinpots, flanked on either side by a trailing coat, walked between the boys.

The Indians made way readily for them as they proceeded through the crowd up the sloping beach, towards the largest house, into which the chief had disappeared. They followed him.

The interior of the building was somewhat similar to that of the natives of Queen Charlotte Islands, except that the central portion of the earthen floor had not been excavated to a lower level than the sides. A number of families resided in the lodge, their quarters being marked off with mat walls. A fire blazed on the floor in the centre of the place, while smaller family fires were scattered about nearer to the private accommodations.

The chief led the way to the upper end of the building, where larger quarters indicated that he and his immediate family dwelt. To the amazement of the boys he displayed no sign of affection towards the women and children who crowded around him, and did not deign to notice the woman who evidently was his wife. He ordered new mats to be spread on the floor, and to these he motioned Tinpots, who gravely seated himself. The boys placed the draped muskets on either side of the sailor, and squatted down behind him.

The big hall was soon crowded with Indians, who pressed about the strangers, gaping at them, while one or two timidly touched Tinpots' garments, recoiling with cries of alarm when he growled at them.

The heat of the day, the evil odours of the place, and the smoke from the smouldering fires almost proved too much for them, but they followed the whispered caution of Lawrence to "stick it out."

The chief had boiled fish and berries floating in oil placed before them, and they forced themselves to eat with feigned appreciation. "We must get used to this stuff," groaned Kenneth, when the others hesitated to accept the hospitality.

After the meal they carried out the suggestion of the old sailor that they go outside, and proceeded from the place in the same solemn manner in which they had entered. The chief followed them.

They did not go far, being well enough pleased to be out of the building and in the sunlight again, but seated themselves on a driftwood log on the beach.

"The thing to do is to see that we keep our arms with us all the time. That was a good plan of yours, Larry, in getting them away from the canoe. Just how long we can fool these people into believing that we're superior beings, I don't know. If they find out we are not, then we'll have to fight for it, so we must keep our muskets and pistols with us and ready for use at all times."

"That's what Hi think too," agreed Tinpots; "but hit's goin' to be cold on you 'avin' to drag your coats around hall the time; but we must keep them muskets."

"Yes, we must keep this ceremony up; but perhaps we can reserve it for state occasions, and get something else for daily use, such as taking a morning plunge. It will be good for us, anyway, and will help toughen us. We must study the Indians' habits, and especially the manner in which they prepare their food, for I've heard that some savages are very superstitious about these things. We can't hope to make our escape until we know something about the country and its people, or a ship turns up, so we had better try to make ourselves as comfortable as possible, and learn what we can of their language and manners."

"That's right," declared Kenneth, "and if we can only avoid arousing suspicion we'll get along all right. I think we've the advantage now by doing things without compulsion. Now I propose that we start to-morrow morning to build ourselves a little house or hut close to the chief's lodge. They won't try to stop us, for we're still strangers."

"Agreed," exclaimed Lawrence.

"But you will 'ave to do hall the work," grinned Tinpots, "for Hi'm a god."




CHAPTER IX

THE GOD OF FIRE

The boys set to work the following morning upon the construction of their hut. The old sailor, who seemed to enjoy the deference shown to him, looked on and offered advice, which, being of a practical nature based on a long experience gained in many parts of the world, was most useful.

At first the Indians looked on in wonderment, but gradually, as the purpose of the structure became evident, they joined in and willingly assisted in moving and placing logs and gathering sticks and branches for the rude shelter.

"What we need," panted Kenneth, as they paused after shifting a drift log into position as the base timber for one wall, "is anything to give us shelter for the present. We can improve it later."

"Yes," nodded his chum. "I don't care to share the hospitality and smells of the chief's house any longer than necessary. I thought I was used to anything, but I couldn't sleep last night, especially as he had those islanders' heads hanging to that beam above us."

By utilising driftwood, boughs from the forest, and boards and old pieces of mat volunteered by the natives, a temporary, but habitable hut, a dozen feet square, was completed in three days, and into this they immediately moved. The poles and sticks had been lashed together with dried kelp and native cord made from the roots of cedar-trees.

"This will do for a time," commented Lawrence, "but we've got to get something more substantial before the wet season sets in."

"Right, sir," agreed Tinpots. "Hi would say as 'ow no time should be lost about hit. Course Hi can't do hanythin', bein' a god, but hall the same hit would be wise to keep right hon improvin' the 'ouse. Besides, hit will give us a chance to look round a bit."

The boys agreed that the sailor's suggestion was a good one, and they determined to keep right on with their operations. A trench was dug about the hut to draw off the water; the side walls and roof were strengthened and made as weatherproof as possible.

"I don't like the idea of having to have our fire in the middle of the house," grumbled Kenneth one day.

"Well, why not build a chimney?" laughed Lawrence.

"Yes," agreed Tinpots, "Hi seen some good clay just a little way hup that creek, an' there's 'eaps of stones."

"That's a good idea," Kenneth agreed.

"Yes, hit is," Tinpots acknowledged; "an', besides," he added, "them Hindians 'as been feedin' us with fish an' berries, but they'll be gettin' tired of that, so we should do what we can now, while we're being treated like guests."

Under the direction of the old man, who had a fair idea of the masonry trade, acquired while employed at dockyard work, the lads set to work to build a fire-place. It was no easy task at first, but gradually it took form. Quantities of clay were carried from the banks of the stream, and this, mixed with water and a proportion of pulverised clam shells and sand, made a tolerable mortar.

The Indians, who only knew an open fire, could not understand the reason for the work. They grouped about the boys as they laboured, piling and fitting the sandstone and beach rocks, and filling the crevices with clay and mortar. The fire-place was built into the back wall of the hut, with the chimney on the outside. It required more than a week of hard toil to complete it, and the boys prepared to build their first fire.

The chief, whose name the boys learned was Quelas, with several of his followers, was present in the hut as Lawrence piled dried bracken and twigs on the hearth preparatory to lighting them. He was about to strike the flint and steel together when Kenneth stopped him.

"Don't," he whispered, "these people have not seen either of us strike a light yet. They saw Tinpots light his pipe, but I don't think the chief saw how it was done. Let him strike the light."

"Good." And, turning towards the sailor, Lawrence handed him the flint and steel, while Kenneth made a long oration, pointing towards the fire-place, and then towards the roof. They both made a deep bow. Tinpots leisurely knelt down and struck steel and flint. The tinder-like bracken ignited and flamed. There was a cry of wonder and amazement from the Indians, and Quelas recoiled from the seaman as if he was indeed a supernatural being.

The fire was soon blazing fiercely, giving out a fine warm glow and illumination. The Indians were delighted, and one of them ran from the hut, to return with others, who crowded into the room in such numbers that there was scarcely space in which to turn around. It was with some difficulty that the boys made their way out into the fresh air, the natives remaining in the over-heated room until the fire died down.

"That's another feather in your cap," laughed Lawrence. "They certainly think you're a wonder-worker, Tinpots."

"Well, hain't a god got to do miracles?"

"Yes," Kenneth agreed, "and there's another surprise for them—they haven't seen us use our guns yet. I think, though, we had better keep them in reserve as long as we can."

The success of the fire-place only encouraged the boys to further improvements about their hut, and the veneration with which the Indians regarded them, following the demonstration of Tinpots' command of fire, greatly aided them in their efforts, for natives now vied with one another in proffering them boards and boxes and mats. They were soon able to comfortably furnish their dwelling, and to add a stout door to the building. When this was completed they were satisfied that they had a habitation that would withstand the rigours of winter.

The boys were quickly acquiring a knowledge of the native tongue, and were soon on terms of friendliness with several young Indians, with whom they went out to fish.

When they went out on these expeditions they were rewarded with a portion of the fish caught, and occasionally, when they went out in the early morning, a deer would be killed by an arrow from one of the Indians' bows. They always obtained a portion of the meat. With their own lines they often caught cod from the rocks at the entrance to the bay, where the water was deep off shore. These Tinpots split open, removed the backbone, as he had observed the Indian women do with larger fish, and smoked them in the chimney over a fire of damp moss and leaves. Venison was cut into strips, and was similarly treated, to be stored away as provisions for the winter.

They followed the Indian method of cooking fish by boiling with hot stones dropped into a water-basket half filled with fresh water from the near-by stream.

One day the boys were out with their native companions at some distance from the village, when Lawrence was attracted by a piece of black stone in the bed of a small stream as he stooped down to drink. He reached into the water and picked it up. "Look, Ken," he exclaimed, with some show of excitement, "it's coal."

"Coal?"

"Yes—look." And together they examined it.

"I wonder where it came from; we must get some," declared Kenneth.

A search of a few moments rewarded them with the discovery of a narrow outcropping close to the beach. With a large stone they succeeded in breaking off several fairly large pieces, which they carried to the canoe, much to the surprise of the natives.

"We'll see if it'll burn, and if it will we may be able to give the Indians another surprise," Lawrence whispered, as they shoved the canoe off.

On arriving home they put a piece of coal on the fire, and were delighted to see it burn. Having satisfied themselves that they had discovered something of value, they debated for a long time as to whether they should secure a supply for winter use. At last, on the advice of Tinpots, they decided to keep the matter a secret, and preserve the three lumps that remained against an emergency, and they debated long and earnestly how they could best astonish the savages by the use of the coal.

It was fortunate indeed for them that they made this decision, for shortly after the first snowfall signalled the arrival of winter another tribe came to visit the village. It was the custom, the boys learned, for the Indians to spend most of the winter in feasting, dancing, and strange ceremonial rites that had to do with secret societies that were important factors in their social organisation. It was to take part in the initiatory performances of these fraternities that the strangers had come.

The three white men were on the beach when the visitors arrived, and from the angry glances cast at them they knew that the strangers had come in contact with traders.

"I'm afraid we're in for it now," whispered Kenneth, as he observed a man, evidently a powerful chief and medicine man, looking towards them and talking to Chief Quelas. "We'd better get back to our hut; but don't hurry."

"Tinpots," said Lawrence, when they were alone, "there's going to be trouble. There is a chief here who's seen white men before, and he's likely to start something."

"That's too bad for 'im," was the quiet answer.

"We've got to be ready to outwit him," declared Kenneth. "From what I've heard from the Indians, they'll try to make us do something, and if the visiting medicine man can duplicate it—well, we'll be done for. If he can't do it, then we will be all right. The question that we must consider is: What shall we do?"

There was silence for several minutes, and then Tinpots ventured: "'Ow about the coal? You know what we planned; an' hit looks has we must use hit now."

"Yes," reluctantly agreed Lawrence. "I guess that's about all we can do. Now remember what we arranged"; and for half an hour they discussed the details of their prepared plan.

Hardly had they concluded rehearsing the details of the scheme when the door was rudely thrust open, and the strange chief, followed by Chief Quelas and several of the visitors, entered.

Tinpots did not move, but sat gazing at the glowing embers on the hearth, but the boys both sprang to their feet and faced the intruders. "What means this, Chief Quelas?" demanded Lawrence, who was fairly proficient in the language of the natives. "Why do you come this way?"

The chief hesitated to answer, but the stranger snorted in contempt and spat on the ground. Without hurry, Kenneth bent down and with a chip dug up the earth where the hostile chief had spit, and handed the chip to Tinpots. The sailor tossed it on the fire. Lawrence, who had been closely watching the visitor, noticed that he paled, and was satisfied, for he knew that the action had driven fear into the soul of the stranger. It meant that Tinpots was prepared to make medicine against the invader, and punish him with fire for his insult. It was at the same time a challenge.

"What means this, Chief Quelas?" repeated Lawrence.

"My brother, Chief Kwalquem," stammered the chief at last, "says that you are not supernatural people; that you come to kill us; that you come in big canoes, and have killed many of his people with smoke and fire. He says you should be killed."

The boys laughed loudly; and while it was mirthless merriment, the effect was none the less discomfiting to the Indians.

Tinpots did not move, and his very stolidity only increased the uneasiness of Chief Quelas. "Wot is 'e a-sayin'?" he asked at last in a deep voice, and he held his hands out towards the fire.

"They're nervous and afraid," chanted Lawrence, and then, in the Indian tongue, "Chief Quelas, we have been with you for many moons. The leaves were on the trees when we came, and now the ground is white. You have had much food and no trouble while we have been here. Now you listen to this man who has an evil tongue.

"We do come from the other side of the world, where our people are as the stones on the beach for number. If we were bad we could have killed you long ago; but we were your friends; you are our friends. Now we will show you that we have the power of fire. You have seen Chief Shining Head make fire; now we will show this man and his people. If he is not afraid, and is not like a woman, let him do what Chief Shining Head will do. Let all the people come to the big house. Let the chiefs and the medicine men be there. Let them bring their rattles, and we will come; and if this man is a chief and not like an old woman, he will do what Chief Shining Head will do, and not be afraid. I have spoken."

Without a word the Indians turned and filed out of the hut.

The three friends were silent for a time. They looked at each other, and then, with a long intaking of breath, Tinpots exclaimed in a husky whisper: "Hi 'opes, young sirs, as ow' Hi'll be able to do hit. Hi hain't a prayin' man, but Hi knows as 'ow you prays at night—well, now's the time to pray your 'ardest."

The boys bowed their heads for a moment in silence. Then Kenneth extended his hand to his chum and gave it a squeeze, and both shook the knotted and gnarled hands of the old sailor.

"Hit's good as 'ow Hi 'as a 'ard 'and," exclaimed Tinpots, and the moment of emotion being over they set to work.

"Mind, Larry," cautioned Kenneth, "we've a big work to do. We have to keep the attention of everyone, so Tinpots can make the change. Have you the wooden whistle you made?"

"Yes, here it is."

"Have you the powder-flask there, Tinpots?"

"Aye, aye, sir," and he produced it.

"And the four little pieces of coal?"

"Aye."

Lawrence brought out his pocket-handkerchief, which had been washed and stowed away when the scheme was first concocted, and this he proceeded to tear into half a dozen small squares. Into two of them a small quantity of gunpowder was poured, and the corners were drawn up and tied. These were given to Tinpots, while Lawrence kept the other fragments of cloth. Kenneth put the four small pieces of coal, each about the size of a nut, into his pocket.

After drawing the charges from their pistols and reloading them the boys secreted the weapons in their clothing, and, thus prepared, the three friends set out.

As they stepped out into the night they could hear loud talking, and the noise of drums and rattles, from the big ceremonial hall, which was already well filled with the villagers and their friends.

A great fire blazed in the centre of the big building, and the red glare of the flames and the wreathing smoke wove fantastic shadows over the savage crowd, and gave an appearance of animation to the hideous figures on the carved corner-posts, which in the moving tracery of light and shade seemed to advance and retreat; to bend forward and backward, opening and shutting their huge, gaping mouths and staring eyes. The Indians were seated about the four sides of the building. The majority of the men were naked, or covered only with a loin-cloth of animal skin. The women wore blankets of cedar-bark decorated with grotesque painted figures. All were armed with short truncheons, with which they beat time on planks to the monotonous droning of a barbaric chant. At the upper end of the hall sat Chief Quelas, with the lesser chiefs of his tribe and the headmen of the visiting contingent.

As they entered the place the boys saw four naked figures wearing huge wooden masks dancing around the fire.

"Hit sure looks like the 'ot place," cried Tinpots, as he viewed the savage scene.

"All right, don't be frightened," whispered Lawrence reassuringly. "Come on," and he and Kenneth advanced four paces, dropped to their knees and waited until their companion came up with them, only to rise and advance another four paces and again kneel. In this slow but impressive manner they encircled the fire four times, knowing that four was the mystic number of the natives. Having completed the last circuit they came to a halt in front of Chief Quelas and the visiting chief.

Tinpots raised his right arm slowly, and for a full minute pointed at the face of the man he had challenged. Every eye was fixed upon him except that of his antagonist, who avoided his gaze.

"Hi 'ave 'im scared—go ahead with your talk," announced the sailor in a deep voice.

The boys bowed, and then Lawrence, speaking as if in interpretation of his chief's words, cried, "Chief Quelas, and all the people! Listen to what the great Chief Shining Head says."

"Make it thick, sir," admonished Tinpots in the same measured accents.

"He says this chief has spoken bad words; his heart is black. He will test him with fire. The Shining Head Chief will make stones burn, and he who is burned when he does it is bad. If this chief is not afraid he will say so. If he will not do this thing, then he is a woman and not fit to be with men."

Chief Kwalquem rose, his face black with rage and his eyes gleaming with hate. He burst into a torrent of abuse, and lifted up his spear as if to strike down the white man. Tinpots did not move, but continued to gaze with unblinking eyes at the Indian. The uplifted weapon was lowered.

"Hif 'e tries that again, shoot 'im," advised the sailor.

"Chief Shining Head says this man is afraid," said Lawrence scornfully.

Angry denial poured from the lips of the chief.

"Bring four large white stones and four pieces of hemlock," said Lawrence quickly, before the Indian had ceased speaking, and at a nod from Chief Quelas young men ran to do his bidding. When they were brought, the boys took a piece of hemlock in each hand and carefully brushed the ground midway between where the chiefs sat and the fire. The four white stones were set on the ground that had been swept, forming the corners of a square with sides of about two feet, and the hemlock boughs were placed between the stones. The four pieces of white cloth were then spread within the square, and the four bits of coal that Kenneth had brought were handed to Tinpots, who placed one on the top of each white stone. Then each one was lifted, and was carried to Chief Quelas for examination and, when they were replaced, Tinpots, with a stone hammer, commenced to powder them, kneeling with his back to the chiefs.

"Now," he whispered, and with a yell both boys started to jump up and down. Kenneth blew a shrill blast on his whistle, and Lawrence started to turn cartwheels about the fire. The surprise of the Indians was complete, and everyone watched the lads, as whistling and cartwheeling they encircled the blaze.

While the boys were the centre of attraction and were compelling the attention of the natives, Tinpots quickly transferred the contents of the two little packets of powder to the top of two of the stones, and secreted the pieces of coal. When he signalled to the boys they came to a halt upon completing their fourth circuit, and Lawrence stepped forward.

"You saw Chief Shining Head beat the stones into sand," he said. "Now let this strange chief do the same as Chief Shining Head."

Tinpots slowly removed the covering from his head and advanced towards the chief. He halted and turned to face the crowd, and held out his hands, palms upward. Chief Kwalquen did the same.

Kenneth with a twig of hemlock brushed the coal-dust off one of the white stones to a piece of cloth, and carrying it forward deposited it in the palm of Tinpots' right hand. Then the dust from another stone he placed in his left palm.

He now repeated the operation by filling the palms of the Indian chief with powder.

He brought the two hands close together, and Tinpots inclined his head over his extended hands. The savage chieftain did likewise.

Chief Quelas closely watched the performance. "Are you satisfied they are both the same?" Lawrence asked him, pointing towards the two men.

The chief nodded assent.

"It is well," and he stooped down, and picking up a twig he thrust it into the fire and lighted it. This he gave to Chief Quelas, and told him to touch the black pile that Tinpots was holding. The chief blew on the lighted twig to give it flame, and gingerly touched first one palm and then the other. Nothing happened.

"Now touch the black stone in the other man's hands."

Quelas again blew on the twig, and touched the right palm of his friend lightly. Nothing happened. Lawrence nearly fainted. "Now the other one," he managed to gasp.

Almost before he spoke the glowing point was pressed down into the little black pile. There was a blinding flash and a scream of agony, and Chief Kwalquem staggered back and fell to the ground, howling with pain.

THE TEST BY FIRE
THE TEST BY FIRE

For a moment nothing but the anguish of the Indian could be heard. Then pandemonium broke loose. Men and women started chattering and shouting. Those nearest to the white men started away from them in fright.

Lawrence sprang to the platform where the chiefs had been seated, and called in a loud voice for silence. Almost as if by magic the tumult ceased. "Chief Quelas and people," he shouted. "The fire from the stone has shown that the Shining Head Chief is good, and that the words of the other chief were bad. Now do not let anyone say bad words about us, or do bad things, or fire will burn them. We will do no harm to our friends. I have spoken."

Stepping down from the platform he signalled to Kenneth and Tinpots, and, advancing, kneeling, rising and advancing again, they quitted the place as they had entered it.




CHAPTER X

RESCUED

Winter gave way to spring. The snow disappeared from the lowlands, and the stark brown ugliness of leafless trees was relieved by the tender verdure of new foliage that showed in pleasant contrast against the darker evergreen of the forest giants. With the warmer weather came also new hopes to the three unwilling guests at the Indian village.

The months that followed the trial by fire, when Tinpots had established his supremacy, had not been happy ones for them. The natives had regarded them with fear, and many who had formerly been friendly disposed now avoided them. Only occasionally did the savages bring them food now, and then usually as an offering to propitiate their favour or to seek their services in working spells against an enemy.

Fortunately they had accumulated a store of provisions in the first few months of their stay, and were able to eke out an existence. Their chief misfortune was in the illness of Tinpots, who was attacked by rheumatic pains in his lower limbs, and as a consequence was compelled to remain within the hut for weeks at a time. It was necessary to keep this fact a secret from the savages, who were convinced of the supernatural character of the old seaman. When, on rare occasions, Indians did pay them a visit, Tinpots sat in front of the fire with a cedar-bark blanket drawn closely about him and said nothing, which more than ever added to his fame.

The boys spent hours rubbing his limbs, and eventually this treatment had a beneficial effect, which was greatly assisted by the use of steam baths, such as the natives employed. A trench six feet in length and two feet deep was dug in one corner of the hut. This was partially filled with seaweed, and then a number of red-hot stones were thrown into it. More kelp was piled over the stones, and water was poured over the whole just before the sick man was rolled in a cedar blanket and placed on the steaming mass. Another blanket was then spread over the rude bath-tub, leaving only the head of the invalid exposed, and in this manner he was thoroughly steamed for a quarter of an hour. This treatment was repeated twice a week.

With the lengthening days Tinpots improved, and was now able to get about with some of his old agility.

The mortality in the village had been heavy during the long winter, many of the older men and women and not a few of the children passing away. Often in the night could be heard the shouting and moaning of sorrowing men and women, or the beating of drums and the sound of rattles as medicine men sought by hideous sounds and savage charms to drive away the evil spirit of disease.

"I wonder what happened to that Indian who was burned," mused Lawrence one day, as the boys paddled towards the entrance of the bay to fish for cod.

"He lost one eye, according to Chief Quelas," Kenneth answered, "and he vowed to avenge himself on the whole tribe here. Now that spring has come I shouldn't be surprised if he tries to do it. These Indians usually attack at night, when their victims are asleep, and you can depend on it that if they come, they'll make for our place first."

"Yes, I believe you're right, Ken, and I think we should prepare to receive them."

That evening they discussed the possibility of attack, and decided that a strict watch should be maintained. Tinpots volunteered to stay awake at nights while the others slept, and so it was arranged: the sailor kept guard during the night and rested in the daytime, when there was but little probability of attack.

"I think," advised Kenneth, after this arrangement had been in effect for a week, "that we should do something more than just keep watch, Larry. If they come they will send a scout ahead to peer into the hut, and if they see Tinpots sitting up, they'll probably wait until they can strike us from ambush."

"You're right. Let us build a platform of some sort above the door where we can sleep, and fix up dummies that a person would mistake for us, and lay them near the fire."

The plan was put into execution, and a stout platform was erected above the door, while three logs were wrapped in blankets and placed in front of the fire-place each night.

Nothing happened for nearly a month, and then, one moonless night, the quick ear of the sailor caught a slight rustling outside of the hut. Cautiously he awakened Lawrence, who in turn aroused his chum. Each picked up the weapon that lay beside him, and waited.

Slowly the door was pushed open, and they could make out a dark form wriggling across the earthen floor towards the motionless forms beneath the blankets. Another, and then two more, appeared.

Lawrence touched Kenneth on the knee, and each raised his pistol and covered one of the stealthy figures. Tinpots already was aiming at the foremost savage. With a yell the native raised himself to plunge his knife into the form in front of him. The cry was the battle-call of his tribe, and his own death-knell, for as he lunged there was a roar and a flash. Tinpots fired, and the Indian crumpled and pitched forward. Two more flashes, as the pistols were discharged, and a second Indian fell, with two bullets in him, for the boys had both taken aim at the same man. The others fled in terror from the hut.

Dropping to the ground the three friends threw dried twigs on the fire, and by the blaze reloaded their weapons and made out into the night, which was now hideous with the cries of conflict.

"Make for the water and head them off," shouted Lawrence; and they stumbled over the rocky beach to where they knew the enemy canoes must be drawn up.

"Look," he cried, a moment later, "there's one of their canoes just putting off."

"Hi'll put a 'ole in hit," answered Tinpots; and dropping to one knee he took aim at the dark object that showed faintly against the waters of the bay. The flash of his musket was answered with a shower of arrows.

The boys both fired, and again the flashes were the signals for the native bowmen.

With a cry Lawrence staggered and fell.

"Larry, Larry, what's the matter?" cried Kenneth, who was fumbling with his powder-horn in an effort to reload his pistol. "Larry, where are you?"

"Here; and I'm hit. Nothing serious—in the fleshy part of the leg above the knee"; and he groaned with the pain.

"Tinpots!" almost shrieked Kenneth. "Quick; Larry's hit."

"Aye, aye, sir," was the cool reply. "Just a moment sir," and he fired the musket he had succeeded in loading in the darkness at a figure that showed for an instant a few paces in front of him. With a satisfied grunt he turned. "Hi got 'im; an' where's Mr. Larry, sir? Oh, there you be—all right. Lift 'im careful now. That's hit—easy away"; and between them they carried Lawrence to the hut.

Piling fresh fuel on the fire, Kenneth made a hasty examination of the wound by the light of the flames. The arrow was still lodged in the flesh.

"Tinpots, get those dead Indians out of the way, and get some fresh water," he ordered.

"Aye, aye, sir."

He gently pulled at the arrow shaft. Lawrence groaned. "Sorry, old man, but it's got to come out. It's not a bad wound, but the barb has caught and it's going to hurt some. I may have to cut it out, for it's in pretty deep."

Tinpots returned with the water, and it was soon brought to a boil.

"Here, Tinpots, give me your knife," said Kenneth, and he sharpened the blade on a stone, and then thrust it into the scalding water. "That will clean it all right. Now some of that soft moss."

"'E's fainted!" exclaimed the sailor in a whisper, as Kenneth cut away the clothing from about the wound.

"Good; he won't feel the pain of this"; and with a quick incision he freed the arrow—a long saw-toothed weapon of bone. "Now the hot water. That's it, fine; that will clean it out nicely: now the moss"; and he made a soft pack of the stuff and bound it tightly upon the wound with a strip torn from his own shirt.

"There, there, Larry, old man," he said tenderly, as Lawrence opened his eyes. "You're all right now; here, drink this"; and he handed him a bowl of water.

"Did I faint?" asked Lawrence weakly.

"Just for a minute. You lost a lot of blood; but you're fine now."

"I'm ashamed of myself. I—I—shouldn't have done that."

"You couldn't help it. We know you too well to think it was from any other cause than loss of blood; but how are you feeling now?"

"Easier, thanks."

"Is there anything you want?"

"Yes. I wish you would go and find out how the fight went."

"All right"; and away he went, to return in twenty minutes.

"They were badly beaten. Our shots alarmed the village, and Quelas and his men were able to beat them off with the loss of but one old man and a child killed and a woman wounded. So far they've found the bodies of four of the enemy, and another who was wounded was added to the dead; then there are the two that we accounted for: so that means that Kwalquem lost at least seven of his men."

As soon as it was daylight Kenneth again dressed the wound, and drew the edges of the cut together. Scarcely had he finished the task than Chief Quelas and several of his principal men arrived, bringing with them a woman who was well versed in the rude surgery of the savages. She took charge of Lawrence.

The chief was in high good humour, and was particularly delighted at the part that the white men had played, giving them credit for having aroused the village. He was very curious as to the means by which they had defended themselves.

"We made thunder and lightning," Kenneth explained. "Chief Shining Head destroyed them with fire." He motioned to Tinpots to bring his musket outside.

"The great white chief will show you," he went on, "how he pointed his fire-stick at them and killed them."

A basket was placed on a near-by log and, raising his gun, Tinpots fired, knocking the target from its perch, and badly frightening the Indians.

"Now go and pick up the basket," ordered Kenneth; and the chief himself obeyed, only to utter an exclamation of wonder when he saw the hole made by the bullet.

"Now, chief," Kenneth said, "you see how Chief Shining Head destroys his enemies. He is the chief of fire and thunder, but he does not hurt his friends; and you and your people are his friends."

Great was the awe and respect of the Indians for Tinpots after this further demonstration of his power. They feared that he might at any moment turn upon them and consume them with fire. They were afraid to have him stay longer with them, and yet were fearful that he might discover that they wanted to be rid of him. But they now supplied their guests with an abundance of food, and were ready to do the bidding of the white men at all times.

The old Indian woman proved to be skilful indeed in the treatment of Lawrence's wound, and under her constant care and that of his companions he rapidly improved, and in a little more than two weeks was able to walk with the aid of a crutch fashioned from the fork of a small tree. It was soon after he was able to be about that he broached the subject of departure to Chief Quelas.

"Chief," he said, "you do not want us here."

The Indian gave a start and murmured a protest.

"No, Chief, we know. We are not angry, and we are pleased with what you have done for us. Maybe before long a big canoe—with great white wings—will come to look for us. If it don't come, we want you to take us to look for it."

The Indian did not make answer. Lawrence waited, knowing what was passing in his mind. "No, Chief," he said at last, "no harm will come to you, but great good. Chief Shining Head will give you a fire-stick when you do this, and will show you how to use it."

Quelas looked searchingly at Lawrence for a moment, and then nodded, "Yes, Quelas will do it."

Kenneth was greatly excited when Lawrence related the conversation to his friends, but Tinpots, to the surprise of the boys, did not appear to be enthusiastic at the prospect of an early deliverance.

"But don't you want to get back to civilisation?" demanded Kenneth.

"Well, Hi suppose Hi does——" was the hesitating answer. "But 'ere Hi'm a god, a great chief, an' back aboard ship Hi'm just Tinpots. Hit's Tinpots do this; Tinpots do that; an' 'ere Hi don't do anything."

"What do you know about that!" and Lawrence looked in open-mouthed amazement at the old man and then at his chum. "Tinpots, you're a stubborn old donkey."

"Hi guess Hi ham," he grumbled. "Besides, hit wouldn't be the same with you gentlemen gone. But what's the chances of getting away?"

"Well, it's getting along towards summer now—it must be close to the first of June—and the trading-ships will be on the coast. It will be strange if one of them doesn't come this way sooner or later. After what I said to Quelas he will be on the watch for them, and if some of the distant tribes hear of them they will send him word. It's generally known all along the coast that we are here, and surely the Indians will tell the traders. If nothing turns up in a month or six weeks we will get the chief to take us to the northward."

The thought of getting away was now uppermost in the boys' minds, and they maintained a watch of the horizon from the point at the entrance of the bay from early morning until dark. Each day brought a fresh hope, and each night registered another disappointment, and the notches that were cut each evening in the doorpost increased in number until they totalled more than forty.

Then, late one afternoon, a canoe that had been on a visit at the Nahwitti tribe, distant about forty miles, returned hastily, with the news that a great winged canoe, such as Lawrence had described, had been seen the previous day.

Quelas hastened to the boys with the intelligence; and, true to his promise, he said he was prepared to start with them immediately in search of the vessel. Two hours later they took their places in the largest of the war canoes, and bade adieu to the natives, who crowded down to the water's edge to see them off.

A lump rose in Lawrence's throat as he waved to a group of women who were blowing the eagle down of peace and good will towards them. "You know, Ken," he stammered, "they're—they're mighty fine people. They may be savages, but they've been good to us in their way."

"They certainly have."

Tinpots only sighed and looked straight ahead. "They wouldn't 'ave treated Captain Cook 'imself better," he muttered at last.

For several hours the canoe sped through waters that were hardly ruffled by wind, and then, darkness descending, a landing was made and they lay down to rest. At daybreak the journey was resumed, and continued against a freshening breeze for three hours, when another halt was ordered at a small island.

Lawrence, who still felt the effects of his wound, remained in the canoe, but his companions landed, and Kenneth clambered to the highest point of land and climbed a tree. Hardly had he reached a position in the branches from which he could see across the island than he gave a shout: "Tinpots—Larry—A sail, a sail!"

"Where away?"

"Nor'-nor'-east—four leagues."

"Aye, aye, sir," and the old sailor started as fast as he could through the underbrush and over windfalls for the canoe.

"A sail, a sail," he called; "a sail, sir."

"Where?" excitedly demanded Lawrence.

"Nor'-nor'-east, Mr. Kenneth made it out, sir."

Kenneth followed a few moments later. The crew was already awaiting his arrival, for on hearing the news Lawrence had called to Quelas and his men.

Rounding the island the dugout headed into the teeth of a fresh sea. Spray broke over the upturned bow as the canoe rose and fell. The Indians paddled with all their strength, and despite wind and waves made good progress. The boys strained their eyes to catch a sight of the vessel.

"That be the mainland over there," ventured Tinpots. "An', with this wind, she'll be comin' around this way afore long, unless she be tackin' up the coast from us."

The old man's conjecture was correct, for an hour later Lawrence cried, "There she is—a sloop."

Kenneth tore off his tattered coat and hoisted it aloft on a fish spear. The natives renewed their efforts. The sloop was coming towards them. Now the distance between them was but little more than a league. Then the ship veered round on a tack that would take her out into the open sea.

The boys groaned dejectedly. It looked as if they were to be passed by. Quelas, who was steering, quick to appreciate the meaning of the movement, swung the canoe round and headed for the distant promontory. "Make thunder," he said.

"Yes, Tinpots," cried Kenneth, "load your musket."

With difficulty the sailor managed to do so, putting in an extra heavy charge. Quelas shouted an order to his men. The musket was raised above their heads, and was discharged with a terrific noise. The recoil was such as to upset Tinpots, who lost his hold, and the gun fell with a splash into the sea.

Anxiously the boys watched the sloop. She continued on her course. They were in despair; and then her head came round. "Hurrah, they've seen us—we're saved," and tears of joy filled Lawrence's eyes. Kenneth said nothing, but reached out and squeezed his chum by the hand.

Rapidly now the distance between the vessel and the canoe lessened. "She's a war boat," asserted Tinpots; "see 'ow many ports she 'as—an' she's British."

In less than half an hour they were alongside, and a few moments later were on the deck of the sloop, to be greeted by an officer in the undress uniform of a lieutenant. "Who are you?" he demanded.

"We're off the brigantine Hope, of Boston, and have been living with a tribe of Indians for a year, sir," answered Kenneth. "We were picked up by the natives off Queen Charlotte Islands. And to whom are we indebted?" he asked.

"This is the Jackall, of London, Alexander Stewart commander. I am the first officer."

"Pray, sir," interrupted Lawrence, "may we beg from you something with which to reward these Indians, who have brought us fully twelve leagues. We will then be pleased to tell our story."

Quelas was shown an assortment of trade goods, and from these made a selection that highly gratified him. He refused a gun, however, saying that he might destroy his own people with a thunder stick.

He parted from his guests in a most casual manner, but it was with some feeling of regret and a sense of gratitude that they saw him go.

"A mighty fine savage 'e is," commented Tinpots, as the canoe headed back to the village.




CHAPTER XI

AN UNEXPECTED MESSAGE

"Follow me," said the officer, and he led the boys and Tinpots to the captain's cabin.

Captain Stewart was a typical British naval officer, stern and reserved in the presence of strangers. He looked searchingly at the three for a moment before speaking; and it was evident from his expression that he was not impressed with what he saw, for, as Lawrence later remarked to his chum, they were not very presentable. Tinpots had grown a long grey beard during their captivity, which he had attempted to shorten from time to time with his sheath knife. His feet were bare, and his principal article of clothing was an otter-skin cloak which had been given to him by Chief Quelas.

Kenneth was the best dressed, for his coat was fairly intact, but his hair was long, and he was without a shirt, while his trousers were patched with his stockings, and his bare feet were thrust into broken shoes. Lawrence, who walked with the aid of a stout stick, boasted a tattered coat and an equally dilapidated shirt. In place of trousers he wore a kilt that had formerly been a cedar-bark cape. He had neither shoes nor stockings.

"Well," demanded the captain, who was correctly attired in the undress uniform of a naval lieutenant, "where do you come from?"

"We were taken by the Indians last year, sir," answered Kenneth, "and have been held by them ever since. Mr. Drake and I were junior officers on the brigantine Hope, of Boston, Captain Joseph Ingraham, and Potts was a seaman on the same vessel. We were on the point of leaving the coast for China when the three of us were caught in a fog in a small boat, and were captured by a war party of Indians."

"You may be telling the truth," said the captain; "that you have been living among Indians is obvious; but candidly I am doubtful of the balance of your tale," he added; and turning towards his first officer, "Mr. James, have the seaman shown to the fo'c'sle and give him some clothes from the slop-chest. I want to question these men further."

Tinpots, who had been standing at attention, saluted, and turned to follow the officer from the cabin. There was something in his manner that arrested the attention of the commander. "Stay," he exclaimed. "Were you ever in the British Navy?"

"Yes, sir. Hi was with Captain Cook, sir—and others."

"Oh, you were, eh?"

The old sailor had been closely studying the face of Captain Stewart, and had been searching his memory to recall where he had seen that officer before; now he remembered. "Yes, sir," he proudly answered, "and I was with you, sir, when you was a midshipman on the Spry on the West Indies station."

"What!" almost shouted the captain. "You're not the Potts who was bos'n's mate, and saved my life when we took that French privateer?"

"Hi did 'elp you a bit, sir, that time we captured the Jeanne Marie."

The stiffness and formality of the captain was dropped in an instant, and he sprang to grasp the old sailor by the hand. "Forgive me," he said; "and to think that I should not have recognised you! Well, well! Sit down, gentlemen, sit down. Pray forgive me for doubting you."

"Certainly, sir; and we don't blame you," said Lawrence.

"Mr. James," went on Captain Stewart, "these gentlemen and my good friend Potts will remain here. Have suitable clothes sent to them."

"And what happened to you—where did you go?" he demanded, addressing Tinpots.

"Hi got pretty bad 'it, sir, just after our fellows got to you. I was sent to 'ospital at Jamaica, and was sent back 'ome, where Hi was drafted into Captain Cook's crew. After the captain was killed, an' we got 'ome ag'in, Hi was discharged and went into merchantmen, sir."

"This man," exclaimed Captain Stewart, "saved my life. We had gained the deck of the Frenchman and were hard pressed. Our lads were carried back a bit, and I was knocked over. A Frenchy was going to finish me off with a pike when Potts came to my rescue and cut him down and stood over me until our fellows cleared the deck and rescued me. I've never seen him since; and to think I should meet him away out here. Well, well!"

While they were talking clothing had been brought; and when they were properly attired once more in civilised costume, they found food awaiting them.

"Come," invited the captain, "I fancy you are ready to eat."

While the fare could not be called elegant, the boys thought that they had never tasted a better meal; and when at last their appetites had been satisfied, Lawrence smiled broadly. "Begging Captain Stewart's pardon," he said, "I never thought that I would relish salt boiled beef as I have at this meal."

"And now," remarked the captain, "I would like to hear your story." And for the next hour the boys related their adventures among the Indians. When they had concluded the recital, their host exclaimed: "You certainly did have an adventurous time, and you must be quick-witted indeed to have thought of making a god out of Potts"; and he chuckled at the idea.

"I would like to have you with me," he added, "but I suppose you are anxious to find your ship. I came out in company with, and under the orders of, Captain Brown of the Butterworth. While this is a trading venture financed by London merchants, we are operating under Royal Charter, and are charged with the duty of establishing a settlement on the coast, in his Majesty's name, if opportunity offers. Just whether or not this will be done depends upon the outcome of the negotiations between Captain Vancouver and the representative of Spain, who is at Nootka now, waiting to hand over the territory that was taken from Meares."

"Is Captain Vancouver 'im as was midshipman with Captain Cook?" questioned Tinpots.

"The same. He is in command of the Discovery, and has the Chatham with him. He is exploring the waters that lead from De Fuca's Straits, and as there is a story among the Indians that the end of that channel opens out here, we have been waiting for him here. Captain Brown carries dispatches for him."

"But what are all these negotiations?" asked Lawrence. "When we were at the Sandwich Islands we heard that there had been trouble, and Captain Ingraham was at Nootka in the Columbia when Meares's ships were seized; but we never heard what the outcome of it all was, or what happened when England heard of it."

"There was nearly war. Meares sent a memorial to Parliament, and when it was read there was great excitement. The whole nation was in a furor over the insult that had been offered to the flag, and the Government demanded an immediate apology and a large indemnity from Spain, as well as the return of the lands claimed by Meares.

"Spain was inclined to be haughty, and at first refused to make amends, and both nations prepared for war. The Spaniards were depending on their compact with France, but the French king was having too much trouble at home with his own subjects to think of engaging in a foreign war over something that was no concern of his, just to please Spain. When he refused to entertain the idea, and would not come to the aid of the King of Spain, the dons capitulated, and the whole affair was settled without bloodshed. It was agreed that commissioners were to be sent from England and Spain to Nootka, where the lands would be restored and the convention would be formally ratified.

"Captain Vancouver is to act for Great Britain, and Señor Juan Francisco de la Bodega y Quadra is to represent Spain. He is waiting at Nootka now for Captain Vancouver, who was also instructed to examine the coast, and this he is doing before carrying out the more formal part of his commission."

"Didn't Hi tell you, sirs," exploded Tinpots, "as there'd be trouble about what them dons did to our people?"

"You assuredly did," answered Kenneth.

"And now about yourselves," said Captain Stewart. "I can take you along with me when I return to Nootka; but I can't say just when that will be. The port is crowded with shipping and there are no furs in that locality. You say that it was Ingraham's intention to return this summer to the Queen Charlottes. Well, it's the fifteenth of July now, and we are not far off the islands, so we will run up that way and see if anything has been heard of the Hope. No, no," he hastened to add, when the boys would have expressed their appreciation. "No; my chances of getting furs are just as good there as along this part; and it was my intention to go there in a few days. Besides, if for nothing else, I would like to feel that I am doing something to repay the debt I owe to our good friend Potts."

Orders were issued immediately, and the course was set for the islands; and late that same afternoon the Jackall passed Cape St. James, and just before darkness hove to in a small cove for the night.

The day passed pleasantly indeed for the three friends. They were anxious to learn the news of the outside world, and those on board the sloop were interested in their adventures. Their stay on the Jackall was to be very short, though, for early next morning a brigantine was sighted heading south, and signals were made for her to approach. When three or four miles distant the chief officer went out in the longboat to board her and ask for information about the Hope.

The noise of the lowering of the boat and the creaking of the oars against the rowlocks as it passed aft awakened Kenneth, and he was soon on deck.

"Where is the boat away to?" he asked.

"To board that brig," answered a sailor.

He looked in the direction indicated by the man, and saw a small brigantine. He caught his breath. No, surely it could not be! He hurried to where the second officer was viewing the stranger through his glass, and ventured, "Might I take a look at her? I think it is the Hope."

"Certainly"; and the glass was handed over.

"It's her," he exclaimed excitedly, when he had looked; and handing back the telescope he hurried to awaken Lawrence and Tinpots, who were soon on deck, where the captain joined them a few moments later.

"Ah, Mr. James has boarded her," observed Captain Stewart, "and they are breaking out a private signal. Do you recognise it?"

"Yes, sir," replied Kenneth, looking through the glass that the captain handed him. "It's the Hope, and no mistake."

"You will not want to lose any time in joining your friends," suggested Captain Stewart, "so I think we had better go aboard her in the small boat," and he ordered it to be lowered. Into this they piled; and with Kenneth and Tinpots assisting at the oars they were soon under way.

As they approached the Hope they were greeted with cheers, the whole crew having gathered to welcome them, and as they reached the deck they were surrounded by their friends.

"We've come aboard, sir," said Kenneth simply, as Captain Ingraham seized him by the hand.

"And it's time you did," exclaimed the captain delightedly. "Where's Drake? Ah, there you are; but what's the matter?"

"A flesh wound in the leg, but it's nearly well now."

"Ah, and here's Potts. Delighted to see you."

"Permit me to present Captain Stewart, who rescued us"; and Lawrence introduced the master of the Jackall.

"Pleased, very pleased; and a thousand thanks; but come into the cabin. Potts, I know you want to go with your messmates to tell them of your adventures," and Captain Ingraham led the way to the cabin.

"But where's Mr. Crafts?" Lawrence asked, as the first officer came forward to greet him.

"Poor Crafts has gone."

"What?"

"Yes, he died shortly after we left the coast last year, and we buried him at sea."

This intelligence, though hardly unexpected, grieved the boys deeply, for they both thought a great deal of the second officer.

For the next two hours they were kept busy relating their experiences among the natives; and when they had outlined all that had happened to them, Lawrence asked what had taken place during their absence.

"When you did not return," explained the captain, "we searched for you everywhere, and offered the Indians rewards for information about you. Two days later they brought in your boat. At first we thought you had been murdered, but when we found that your weapons and fishing-lines were gone, we concluded that you might possibly have escaped, and we maintained that belief all the way through, although I must confess that when we found on our return that nothing had been heard of you by Kow, we were disappointed indeed."

"I hope you did not write home to my people saying I was missing," interjected Lawrence.

"No. Mr. Cruft and I talked the matter over, and decided to say nothing about your absence until after this voyage. But that reminds me, I have letters for both of you."

While he was searching through his dispatch-box for the letters, the captain went on to explain that upon leaving the coast the Hope had sailed for the Sandwich Islands, from whence, after wooding and watering, sail had been made to China. Considerable difficulty had been encountered at Macao in disposing of the cargo of furs. Chinese officials and European agents had demanded excessive fees for their services, and eventually the pelts had to be sold at prices far below those which it had been expected they would bring.

After Captain Stewart had taken his departure, and the Hope was once more under way, the boys had an opportunity of reading their mail. Kenneth's letters were from his people at home, and their contents delighted him. Lawrence could not conceive who would write to him, and for a long time he sat looking at the envelope without opening it. At last his chum looked up, and seeing the puzzled expression on his face asked, "What's the matter, Larry?"

"I was wondering who this could be from."

"Well, why don't you open it and find out?"

"I didn't think of that," he stammered, and tore open the envelope, only to give an exclamation of surprise when he noted the signature.

"What's the matter, Larry?"

"This letter—it's from—you'd never guess."

"Of course I wouldn't."

"Well, it's from my uncle, Tobias."

"What does he say?"

"I don't know. I'll read it to you, if you are through with your letter."

"Yes, go ahead."

"All right," responded Lawrence, and he read aloud:


"DEAR NEPHEW,—I have learned of thy sailing with Captain Joseph Ingraham. I have also learned from letters sent to this place by that gentleman that he is pleased with thee, and that thou hast conducted thyself well. I am pleased.

"I am an old man, nephew, and have been alone many years; therefore do not deal harshly in thy opinion of me. Our meeting was not a pleasant one, and I would that I had spoken that which was in my heart instead of that which bitterness of memory forced to my tongue, which has always been an unruly member.

"I loved thy father, but we let matters of politics come between us, and he cut himself off from me, and I knew not whither he had gone, and grew old in the hope that one day he would return and take again his old place.

"Then thou camest, and I learned that he was dead. My hopes perished with thy message. In my bitterness and woe I said that which I should not have said.

"I am old and my days may be few. Thou art my only kin, and I would not like to go to the grave estranged from thee. I ask thy forgiveness.

"Thy Uncle,
    "TOBIAS DRAKE."


"Poor old uncle—poor old man," was all that Lawrence said when he finished, and there were tears in his eyes.




CHAPTER XII

TREACHEROUS NATIVES

The Hope cruised about the islands for another week, going from village to village, picking up a few pelts of indifferent quality. The competition for furs had become so keen that the Indians had no opportunity of collecting the large stores of otter skins that they had when the first traders came among them. Nor were they as eager as formerly to barter them for trinkets with the opening of the season, knowing full well that other ships would follow.

"I'm getting tired of haggling with these Indians," exclaimed Captain Ingraham one evening, after a day of but little profit. "I think we'll try our luck to the southward; not that I expect it will be any better, but I want to find what is going on at Nootka, and as it is the centre of trade in that quarter we will be able to find out what prices are being offered for furs."

So on 23 July the Hope left the islands and headed in the direction of Nootka Sound, only to encounter boisterous weather, which necessitated standing well out to sea with top-gallant masts struck and topsails furled, and with guns stowed below and hatches battened down. After several days of pitching and tossing the storm abated, and the brig headed back towards the coast under full sail.

"I think we should try a little trading before looking in at Nootka," advised Mr. Cruft, as the mountainous shores were sighted.

"That is a sensible suggestion," agreed the captain, "as they may want us to give a guarantee that we will not trade any more with the Indians about Nootka. There is a harbour ahead, and I think that Mr. Burbank had better go ahead and investigate it. He had better take Drake with him, and as they know Indian character they will be able to glean any information that the natives may be possessed of, or find if there is any possibility of trade."

Since their return to the Hope Kenneth was once more placed on the quarter-deck as second officer, while Lawrence, while rated as an apprentice, in reality occupied a position of equal importance.

The boat was got ready, and when the brigantine had approached to within a mile of the opening she was launched, and manned with a well-armed crew. It was late in the afternoon when they started, and it was dark before they had completed their exploration of the harbour. While a bay within the entrance was not all that could be desired, it would provide shelter for the night, and so they fired signals for the brig to approach, and guided her to anchorage.

The following morning they were again out early, and explored the harbour farther, finding good anchorage near a small creek where fresh water could be secured.

Indians were soon swarming about the vessel, manifesting in every possible way their friendship. The harbour, they said, was called Kyuquot. They brought off a number of furs for trade, but in barter were quick to take offence, and showed by their manner that they were not at all overawed by the white men.

"I don't like the looks of these fellows," remarked Lawrence, who was assisting in trading. "They appear to be both haughty and surly, and I noticed that they were counting our guns."

"Yes, I noticed that, too," answered the captain. "We won't have any more of them on board to-day, I fancy, and we will set a good watch to-night. To-morrow is Sunday, and I promised the men that they could go ashore in the morning to do their washing; we will have to see that they are well armed. We will head out to sea to-morrow night, for I don't like the idea of staying where I can't trust the natives."

On Sunday morning the captain spoke to the crew: "Men, I told you that you could go ashore in parties to-day," he said, "and I will keep my word to you, but I want to warn you of the natives. I don't like their actions. I'm going to suggest that instead of going in separate groups you all go at one time; but some must remain on the ship. I want to know if any of you will volunteer for that duty."

"I'll stay," said Lawrence. "I spent a whole year on shore and won't miss the change."

"I'll stay, sir, of course," said Kenneth.

"And me," chimed in Tinpots, and Nicholas the black cook also agreed to remain.

"That will be enough," said the captain; and he prepared to disembark with the others.

When they had gone Lawrence called to Tinpots to bring fishing-lines; and they were soon engaged in fishing from the bow of the vessel. Several small cod had been landed when Lawrence, who had been watching the shore-line, exclaimed: "That's funny! Look at those canoes slipping round the point. I've counted half a dozen of them in the last few minutes. Something must be in the wind. You'd better call Ken, and tell him to bring his telescope."

"What's the matter, Larry?" inquired Kenneth, when he came forward in answer to the message.

"I don't know; but the Indians are up to something. They've been dodging round that point, and are gathering there; and I'll warrant it's for no good purpose. Let me have your glass for a minute. Yes, I thought so; they're sneaking back under cover of the overhanging trees. Look, you can see half a dozen canoes there, and there are no women in them."

"You're right," exclaimed Kenneth, looking in turn at the distant point. "They're either going to attack us or the shore party. We had better give the captain warning. Tinpots, run up the flag and dip it twice," and as the sailor did so Kenneth fired his pistol to attract attention.

There was an answering shot from the shore, and in a few moments they could see the men piling into the boats and pushing off for the brig.

"Now, let us get these swivels loaded," suggested Lawrence, "and the muskets and cutlasses ready"; and with Tinpots' assistance he loaded the guns while Nicholas and Kenneth distributed the muskets.

"What is wrong?" called Captain Ingraham, as he climbed aboard.

"I think the Indians are preparing to attack us. Yes, see, they're coming now," answered Kenneth, pointing to where a long line of canoes could be seen emerging from the shadows. "Larry noticed them," he added, "and we loaded the swivels and stacked the muskets and cutlasses ready for trouble."

"Excellent! Now men, to your stations. Better load the four-pounders, Mr. Cruft."

"Very good. Gun crews, round shot for the four-pounders, grape for the swivels."

The men flew to obey orders. The boats were first hoisted up and the boarding-nets set in place. Cannon were run back, charged, and run out again. Powder, round shot, and grape were passed up from the magazine, and in a very few minutes the Hope was prepared for action.

"There are fifteen canoes, each with about a dozen men," called Lawrence. "Look what they are doing."

The Indians were only a few hundred yards away. The leading canoe had slowed down, to allow the next one to approach and lay its prow alongside the stern of the first. The third canoe did likewise and soon the fifteen dugouts were stretched out in an unbroken line, and in this manner they slowly approached the ship.

"Fire a shot over them," ordered the captain. "I don't want to kill them if I can frighten them away."

"All right. Fore starboard swivel, fire." And the gun crashed out its warning, peppering the water far beyond the Indians.

With wild cries of derision and defiance the savages dashed forward, several warriors waving spears, while one or two essayed to reach the ship with their arrows. It was the evident intention of the Indians to encircle the Hope and attack her from all sides simultaneously.

"Steady now—take careful aim. Spray the ends of the line with grape, and break it in the centre with round shot," called the first officer. "Are you ready?"

"Aye, aye, sir."

"Fire!"

There was a tremendous roar as the guns spurted flame and spewed death among the small craft. The ship shock with the shock of the broadside, and as the smoke cleared away a terrible sight was revealed to those on deck. Splintered and broken canoes, wounded and dying and dead Indians were intermingled with men who had escaped unhurt when their canoes were shattered, while surviving dugouts, in wild confusion, were turning and twisting amid the wreckage as the frenzied paddlers sought to escape from the tangle.

"We have got to teach these fellows a lesson," declared the captain. "Out with the launch, Mr. Cruft, and chase them. Mr. Burbank, take the longboat and pick up as many as you can of the wounded."

Lawrence accompanied Mr. Cruft in the launch, which mounted a small brass swivel on the bow. "Don't shoot them, but frighten them," ordered that officer, as the sailors gave chase to the canoes. There was no chance of overtaking the lighter craft, so after pursuing them for a mile a halt was called and the swivel was fired, the shot churning up the water behind the hard-paddling Indians.

In the meantime Kenneth had picked up six wounded men and four who were uninjured. These he had conveyed to the ship as he rescued them from the water, and later removed the wounded and then the others to the shore.

"That's a sad business," deplored Captain Ingraham, when the boats had returned, "but we did not provoke it. We will leave here at once."

After waiting several hours for a wind, the boats were put out, and the Hope was towed out of the cove into the broader expanse of the inlet, where a slight breeze gave her motion. To the surprise of all, a canoe, carrying a chief and three men, came alongside later in the day. In response to a demand for an explanation of the reason for the attack, the chief indignantly denied that it had been his tribe that had been responsible for the outrage. He said he came from the south, and, indeed, was at enmity with the natives of the locality. He requested permission to sleep on board the brigantine, declaring his fear of attack if he spent the night on shore. Being convinced that he spoke the truth, the captain granted his request. He said he had lately come from Nootka and that there were five vessel at that place, two English, two Spanish, and one American.

The boats were again ordered out, and continued towing the ship until well after darkness had descended, when anchor was dropped before a village.

A strong watch was maintained all night, but despite the vigilance of the guard the visiting chief and his retainers managed to slip away, taking a number of articles with them as mementoes of their stay.

At daybreak the laborious work of towing the ship was recommenced, and was continued until a slight wind came up and carried her out into the open. Now, however, the breeze died down, and the tide and long ground swell carried the brigantine rapidly towards the rocks.

Once more the small boats were lowered, and there followed a long and desperate struggle. It was all that the men could do to hold the vessel against the set of the tide, and for three hours they did but little more than keep her free from the reef, over which the long swell broke and splashed. At last, when they were almost exhausted, a fine breeze sprang up. The tired men were relieved and the Hope headed off shore.

"That was a close call," remarked Mr. Cruft to Lawrence. "It was worse than being attacked by Indians, for we should have a good chance of beating off the savages, but if we had touched those rocks nothing could have saved us: those long rollers would have pounded us to pieces. Water is one of the most powerful agencies known, and against the force of uncontrolled water man is but a puny thing."

"Where are we going now?" asked Lawrence.

"To Nootka, to give the men a little recreation and make some repairs."

All night the brigantine stood off shore in moderate weather, and next day made for Nootka Sound, which late in the afternoon was visible. It was the intention of the captain to anchor in some convenient cove for the night and enter on the following morning. Hardly had the vessel dropped her kedge, however, than a small boat was seen standing out from the port.

"It's a naval boat," commented the first officer, "see how nicely it is handled."

"An' Hi'll wager hit is a British boat," volunteered Tinpots, who had heard the remark.

The old sailor was not deceived, for the stranger proved to be the pinnace from H.M.S. Dædalus, a store-ship sent out with supplies for Captain Vancouver's command. The lieutenant in charge came out, he informed Captain Ingraham, to offer his services in piloting the Hope to Friendly Cove. Accompanying the lieutenant was the second mate of the brig Columbia, an old shipmate of Captain Ingraham.

"And so the Columbia is at Nootka again," he exclaimed delightedly. "I'll be glad to see her again, Smith."

"Yes," replied the Columbia's officer, "and lucky we are to be there, too. We struck a rock, under full sail, off Washington Islands, and were badly sprung. We just managed to get off and make Nootka. We've been repairing the damage ever since. It might have gone badly with us if we had been cast ashore among the Indians."

"It certainly would have," agreed Captain Ingraham, "although two of my officers and an old sailor spent a year ashore. They only saved themselves by persuading the savages that the seaman was a god."

"They were more fortunate than our fellows," declared the lieutenant. "We lost our first lieutenant, our astronomer, and a seaman in a foolhardy escapade at the Sandwich Islands. The master's mate was ordered to superintend the watering of the ship, and he asked for a protecting party with a swivel to cover him. Lieutenant Hergest asked him why, and he replied that he would not risk his men unnecessarily. This led to some words, and the lieutenant declared he would take the party ashore himself. Gooch, the scientist, volunteered to accompany him. They went unarmed, and the natives attacked them at once. Both Hergest and Gooch were killed, as well as one of the seamen.

"For the life of me I can't understand why Hergest did such a thing. He should have known better, for he was with Captain Cook when he was killed at the same islands. As for me, I'm just as willing as the next man to take my chances in a fight, ashore or afloat, but I don't believe in giving any savage an advantage over me."

"I agree with you," declared Captain Ingraham.




CHAPTER XIII

NOOTKA

Accompanied by a pilot launch sent out from the port by the Spanish commandant, the Hope next morning moved up the sound and dropped anchor opposite the settlement. As she passed Hog Island the colours of Spain were saluted with nine guns, the courtesy being returned by the battery that crowned the rock.

In the cove were riding the English store-ship and a Spanish frigate, while the Boston ship Columbia was graved on the beach undergoing repairs.

The boys had looked forward to seeing Nootka, which, ever since the publication of the journals of the ill-fated Captain Cook, had been the spot on the West Coast that had appealed as no other to those who loved adventure. It was to Nootka that daring sea merchants had come in search of the velvety fur of the sea-otter; it was Nootka that latterly had become a pawn of mighty play upon the chessboard of international politics. And now they were to see Nootka—the Nootka which Captain Ingraham and Mr. Cruft had so often described to them, and from which descriptions they expected to see only another such inlet as they had already visited upon the coast, improved with one or two rude huts of rough-hewn cedar, but withal differing in that it was the place that had been so glorified by the romance of the times.

THE BRIG "HOPE" IN NOOTKA SOUND
THE BRIG "HOPE" IN NOOTKA SOUND

Great was the astonishment of the lads, therefore, when the Hope rounded the island battery and dropped anchor; nor was their astonishment at the fallacy of their fancy greater than the surprise of their superiors at the change that had taken place in three short years. Where the tumbledown habitation of Meares had been the only evidence of European occupation, now stood commodious dwellings, storehouses, bake-shops, farm buildings, carpenter sheds and a hospital; an extensive clearing had been effected in the forest, and the tangle of underbrush and wind-blown trees had given way to fine gardens and fenced enclosures for herds of cattle, sheep, and swine.

Captain Ingraham gazed in wonderment at the scene for several minutes without speaking, and then exclaimed: "Did you ever see such a change?"

"I never did, and wouldn't have believed it possible if I had been told about it," answered his first officer. "But here, if I'm not mistaken, is Captain Gray."

"Well, well, Ingraham, my hearty, it's good to see you at Nootka again," cried the master of the Columbia, as he sprang aboard, to be warmly greeted by his old mate. "And there you are, Cruft! How are you all?"

Lawrence regarded Captain Gray with keen interest, for he had often heard members of the crew speak of him by reason of his exploits as a trader and his skill as a navigator. A square-shouldered man of medium height, with a purposeful jaw and straight, thin-lipped mouth, he might have been considered handsome had it been not for a detracting manner of squinting.

He nodded pleasantly to Kenneth. "Ah, I met you last year, I think"; and then, spying Lawrence, "And who is your other young gentleman, Ingraham?"

And, as Lawrence was presented, he commented, "You are young, are you not, to be out in this part of the world? Though I suppose not: boys will go to sea; and there's danger wherever the water is deep and the wind blows."

"Yes, both he and Mr. Burbank are rather youthful," answered Captain Ingraham; "but they're none the worse for that, and I'd rather have them than many older and more experienced men I've sailed with in my time."

The compliment paid to them in the presence of such a man as Captain Gray delighted the lads, and they were more than pleased when they were invited to join their seniors in the cabin.

"What have you been doing since I saw you last?" inquired Captain Ingraham, when they were seated before a bottle of wine.

"Oh, I have had excitement enough," was the answer. "We had a brush or two with the savages, and nearly lost ourselves on the Washington Islands."

"Yes, I heard of that. Were you badly damaged?"

"Yes, and it was only by good luck that we managed to reach Nootka. The dons have been very obliging. This man Quadra is a regular gentleman. I have been living on shore ever since we put in here, and he has loaned me smiths and carpenters, so that I'm nearly ready for sea again."

"Splendid! I hesitated to come in here, not knowing what the attitude of the Spaniards might be towards us, for while the United States is at peace with Spain, so was England when our old friend Martinez seized Meares's ships. It's too bad we have no claim to these territories."

"Do not worry," replied Captain Gray. "I have discovered a great river to the south of Cape Flattery, and have claimed it for the President and Congress, and named it after the Columbia."

"Excellent," exclaimed his friend. "Here, let us drink a toast to the Columbia River. Come, fill up your glasses; now, here's to the Columbia River and to its Discoverer."

"Bother you," laughed Captain Gray. "Why did you couple me with the toast, and prevent my drinking it with you? But come, I'll give you another—'May the banks of the Columbia River some day be settled with citizens of the Republic.'"

Further discussion of the discovery was terminated by the arrival of a Spanish officer bearing the compliments of Don Juan Francisco de la Bodega y Quadra, the commandant of the department of San Blas, which included Nootka, and his invitation to dine on shore.

As Mr. Cruft was engaged with arrangements for necessary repairs and refitting, and as the invitation included all the officers of the Hope, the two boys accompanied Captain Ingraham and the master of the Columbia ashore. They were impressed by the appearance of the Spanish soldiery, who evidenced a smartness and discipline that was foreign to their preconceived ideas of the soldiers of Spain.

Kenneth voiced his surprise, and Captain Gray, who overheard him, answered: "Things have altered since Quadra was given charge at San Blas. Before that the men were slovenly and indifferent; but he is a good soldier and a gentleman, and the men of the garrison under him reflect those qualities.

"These houses and gardens, though, are mainly as a result of the efforts of Captain Pedro Alberni, who was stationed here until a few months ago. He was very industrious and a very clever man. On his arrival he found that Chief Maquinna, who hated Martinez, would have nothing to do with the Spaniards. Alberni set about to win his friendship. He learned a few words of the Indian language, and composed a song in praise of the chief. This he taught to his company, and for hours the soldiers would stand on parade and sing to the trees. This continued for days, and then it stopped.

"Maquinna, like all Indians, is a vain fellow, and he came out of the forest, where he had hidden each day to hear his praises sung, and requested that the song be repeated. That was what Alberni had been waiting for, and he immediately made friends with the tyee and loaded him with presents, and as a result Maquinna will do anything for the Spaniards to-day. He spends much of his time with Quadra and eats at his table, and on occasion he shares Quadra's room with him."

As they talked they were walking up the pathway from the water's edge towards the large two-story house which the Spanish commander occupied. It was larger than they had at first believed, and on closer approach it was found that the whitewashed exterior was enlivened by a profusion of gay flowers growing in window boxes and beside the walls.

They were ushered into the main hall, where Señor Quadra himself came to greet them. A tall, spare, bearded man, with the air of a student rather than that of a soldier, his manner was at the same time dignified and friendly. He greeted his visitors in Spanish, which was translated by Señor Mozino, the botanist of the establishment, who had been sent by royal command to study and report upon the vegetation and geology of the country.

After the first greetings had been exchanged, Captain Ingraham produced the Hope's papers for examination, and when this formality had been disposed of the party was shown about the settlement, returning later for dinner. This was served in a large dining-hall, and to the surprise of the trio from the Hope, the service was of solid silver, while the richness of the draperies and the excellence of the appointments suggested the furnishings of a grandee's palace in old Spain rather than those of a wooden structure in the midst of a wilderness in a practically unknown quarter of the globe.

Nor were the dishes out of keeping with the magnificence of the room, for as course followed course, as fish and fowl and game, garnished with fresh vegetables and highly spiced, after the manner of Spanish cooking, appeared and gave way to sweets and fruits and rare wines from far-off Oporto and Madeira, Lawrence could hardly believe that it was not all a dream. "And to think," he whispered to Kenneth, "that a few weeks ago in this same country we were glad to get smoked fish, and thought we were well sheltered in our hut."

In addition to the American masters and the boys, Señor Quadra had as his guests Captain New of the Dædalus and his lieutenant, the gold lace and dark blue of their uniforms, and the lighter blue and scarlet and gold of the Spanish military and naval dress, adding colour to the gay scene. Of all the large company, however, the person whom the boys thought to be the most interesting was the Nootkan chief, Maquinna. This native, who was attired in European clothes, conducted himself at the table as if he had been accustomed to the use of knife and fork from infancy, and he behaved in a manner that was highly creditable to his instructors in etiquette.

The commandant led the conversation, chatting first with one and then another of his guests, his pleasantries and observations being interpreted by the scientist.

"And is this your first visit to Nootka?" he asked Captain Ingraham.

"No, señor, I was here as mate of the Columbia with my friend Captain Gray several years ago."

"Ah, then you were present when the unpleasant incident of the seizure of the English vessels took place; but that has given us the pleasure of meeting Captain New and his officers"; and he lifted his glass to the Englishmen.

"Yes, señor, I was present."

Nothing more was said of the incident then, but later, after they had returned to the Hope, a messenger came with a letter to Captain Ingraham from the commandant. This was to the effect that he would appreciate it if Captains Ingraham and Gray would prepare a joint statement of the exact circumstances of the detention of the British ships as they knew them.

This both Captain Ingraham and Captain Gray readily consented to do, and they were engaged for the whole of the next day upon the preparation of the document. They denied some of the assertions made by Meares in his memorial to the British Parliament, and declared that they had never heard of his alleged purchase of lands about Nootka from Maquinna, who had told them that the only person to whom he had disposed of his lands was Captain John Kendrick, of Boston.

Señor Quadra came in person to receive the statement, and was received on board with a salute of guns.

"These Spaniards must use up a lot of powder in answering all the salutes that are fired," laughed Kenneth.

"Yes, and there will be more of it, too, when Captain Vancouver arrives, for there will be salutes to the sovereigns of each country when they are toasted, and salutes when Quadra and Vancouver visit one another and when they leave again," said Mr. Cruft.

The Hope remained at Nootka for a fortnight, during which time the Margaret, of Boston, commanded by Captain James Magee, part owner of the Hope, the Butterworth, Captain Brown, and the Jenny, Captain Baker, of Bristol, England, arrived. Friendly Cove presented a very animated scene as sailors from the different vessels strolled through the settlement and passed to and fro between the ships and the shore in small boats.

On leaving the port the Hope returned to the northern islands, where trading was engaged in for the next month with a fair measure of success. Having secured a cargo, Captain Ingraham once more turned in the direction of Nootka, where he had promised to meet Captain Magee and take on board his furs for transport to China. It was night when the brigantine neared Nootka, and a cannon was discharged to inform the Spaniards of the approach of the vessel. Beacon fires were lighted on the top of Hog Island and the point beyond the village, and by the aid thus afforded Captain Ingraham was able to bring his ship into the harbour, where anchor was dropped.

At daylight Kenneth, who was on watch, was surprised to see riding at anchor close by two additional British ships of war. These proved to be the Discovery and the Chatham, under command of Captain Vancouver, whose arrival had been so anxiously awaited by Señor Quadra. The boys did not go ashore, but the first officer accompanied Captain Ingraham to pay his respects to the Spanish officials, and upon his return he explained what he had heard.

"It appears that there is a deadlock between Quadra and Vancouver," he said. "Quadra interprets his instructions to mean that he is to surrender only the land upon which Meares had his house and built the North-West America. That would mean that Spain would give up only about one acre. Vancouver, on the other hand, says that his orders are to take over all the lands claimed by Meares about Nootka and Port Cox. As neither one will change his viewpoint, they have decided to refer the whole matter back to their respective courts for more definite instructions.

"Quadra holds a very high opinion of Vancouver, and in spite of their differences they are the best of friends."

The boys soon had an opportunity of judging the British commander for themselves, for several days later he invited all the officers of the Hope to dine with him on board the Discovery, and proved himself to be an obliging and attentive host. He took pains to exhibit the charts he had made in the course of his voyage of exploration after entering the Straits of Juan de Fuca, and explained how he had circumnavigated a great island that had hitherto been regarded as a part of the main continent.

"And what name have you given to this island?" asked Captain Ingraham.

"I asked Señor Quadra to name it," he answered, "and he expressed a desire that our friendship should be marked in some way, so he named the island, 'Vancouver's and Quadra's Island.'"

In conversation Mr. Cruft happened to mention that one of Captain Cook's crew was on board the Hope, and, to the delight of Tinpots, the next day Captain Vancouver boarded the brigantine, announcing that he had come to inspect the vessel, crave the hospitality of the master, and meet his old shipmate of the Resolution. For fully twenty minutes he chatted with the old sailor, recalling incidents that happened when they were both serving under the illustrious navigator.

"What a fine man," exclaimed Kenneth in admiration, as the Discovery's boat drew away. "He can't be forty, either."

"'E ain't that yet," declared Tinpots. "'E ain't thirty-five yet."

For another month the Hope remained about Nootka, with one or two short cruises from the port, and then, early in October, the captain ordered full supplies of wood and water to be taken on board.

"Where are we bound for this time?" asked Kenneth, to whom the order was given.

"To China—and home."




CHAPTER XIV

DRAKE, BURBANK AND DRAKE

"Well, lads, we will be home to-morrow," joyously exclaimed Captain Ingraham one evening, eight months later. "Back to civilisation once more—back home; won't that be splendid?"

"It certainly will. I can hardly wait until we're in Nantasket Roads," answered Kenneth. "The old Hope seems to be making slower time than ever before."

"It will be nice," agreed Lawrence more soberly.

"Why, what's the matter, Drake," inquired the captain. "Are you not pleased to be back in Boston?"

"I don't know, sir," was the slow answer. "You see, you all have your homes and your friends—but I have no one. Of course I'm pleased that we shall be able to go ashore without having to carry fire-arms, and I'm glad that it means so much to you; but you see the Hope is my home, and you say we are not likely to go out again together. It means that I'll have to start looking for another ship, or for something to do on shore; and I don't expect to receive such kind treatment as I've had with you, sir."

"But you have an uncle here?"

"Yes; but I don't know if he cares particularly to see me. And now that you've mentioned it, captain, I would like to ask you something. I received a letter from my uncle, and he spoke of your having written home, and of his knowing I sailed on the Hope. Do you know how he learned of my being with you?"

"Yes, I know. It was through your uncle that I signed you on. You quarrelled with him, and as soon as you left him he was sorry. He had you followed, and you were seen speaking to me, and he sent for me and persuaded me to take you.

"And more than that: he gave me a sum of money to be used for your advantage if necessary. I have not touched it, and shall return it to him. So you see you have a friend—and you have a home too."

Lawrence was silent for a moment, and then he asked: "And was that the reason why you were so kind to me? No, no, that's not fair, sir, and I apologise."

"No need to apologise," was the kindly answer. "I can understand how you feel about it. I'll tell you the truth. At first I was very doubtful about taking a boy who had quarrelled with his uncle on their first meeting, but he induced me to do so. My first favourable impression of you was when you refused to take money from me to outfit yourself when I agreed to take you. My understanding with your uncle was to treat you fairly, but with no special consideration that you did not deserve. I am pleased to say that I soon found that you were worthy of my confidence. Now let me give you a piece of advice. It is that you go to see your uncle. You do not have to mention this conversation unless you wish to. Remember that he is an old man and has led a lonely life; and don't stand too much on your dignity."

"Thank you, sir. I will do as you say."

The Hope reached Nantasket Roads early the next morning, and later in the day, on the incoming tide, passed into the harbour and anchored. She was soon surrounded by small boats bearing friends of those on board, who had come to give them welcome home. It was nearly dusk when the two boys landed. As they stepped ashore an old man approached them. "Be one of you Mr. Drake?"

"Yes, that's my name," answered Lawrence. "What can I do for you?"

"I be thy uncle's man, Hooker, sir, and he sent me to fetch you to him. There be a carriage nigh here awaiting for you."

"Go on, Larry," Kenneth urged, as Lawrence hesitated.

"Not unless you come too."

"But why should I? No; you go ahead and get the meeting over, and I'll go along to the "Bunch of Grapes" and order a meal that you will bless me for; and don't be long, for I'm hungry for that meal now."

"All right, I suppose I'll have to"; and, turning to the old servant, "Let us walk, I don't care to ride."

"What! walk and the master be sending a carriage for you. I tell you he don't be hiring carriages every day, young sir."

"Very well," laughed Lawrence. "If that's the case you shall ride"; and he followed Hooker to the conveyance and insisted that the old man ride beside him.

"And how is my uncle?" he asked, as they rattled over the uneven roads.

"Been a-poorly, sir, but he's some better. He be all excited about you a-comin' home, and sent me to look for you."

Tobias Drake was indeed excited at the news. It was but two weeks before that he had received the answer Lawrence had written to his letter, and had entrusted to the officer Captain Vancouver had sent to London with dispatches from Nootka, and the frank, manly tone of the letter had given the old man great satisfaction. And now that his nephew was returning old Tobias was all of a tremble. He had dressed himself in his best, and with nervous hands kept readjusting his wrinkled cravat and ruffled shirt-front.

Doubts assailed him. The boy might refuse to come; but no, surely not; and he picked up the letter which he had read so many times in the past fortnight, and sought assurance from its pages. And now came the sound of carriage-wheels—and passed on, leaving him disappointed and the prey to anxiety. What if something had happened to the boy since he had written the message that had meant so much! The thought almost unnerved him. He dropped to a chair and stared wild-eyed about the room, which was ablaze with the light of a dozen candles. What would he do if—— But hark! Again the sounds of wheels and hoofs—nearer—nearer, and louder and louder. They were passing? Yes—no: they had stopped.

Now there were footsteps—the latch was being lifted. Old Tobias rose, the blood coursing through his veins, and a strange sensation gripping at his throat. The door opened wide, and a bronzed, broad-shouldered young man entered and stopped. They looked searchingly at each other for a full minute. Then it was Lawrence who broke the silence. He thrust out his hand—"Uncle!"

"UNCLE!"
"UNCLE!"

"My boy, my boy!" and old Tobias staggered forward, to be caught in a tight embrace, while tears of joy ran down his withered cheeks. "My boy, my boy!"

When at last he had somewhat recovered his composure, he led his nephew to a chair. "And now," he faltered, "it is right that I should say something to thee about our last meeting——"

"No, no, please"; and Lawrence held up his hand. "If you will agree, sir, that will be forgotten."

Tobias looked dully at his nephew, and then a look of joy lighted up his face, and he reached out his hand and they shook, sealing the bargain in silence.

"Thou art hungry," he exclaimed suddenly, as if making an accusation. "Thou art starving. Hooker, Hooker, why hast thou not served food?"

"I be attendin' it," grumbled the servant from another room; "I be attendin' it."

"If you don't mind, uncle," ventured Lawrence, "I would like you to come and dine with me at the "Bunch of Grapes" tavern. I have a very good friend—a shipmate—who is awaiting my coming there. I promised to dine with him and I cannot break my word."

"Break thy word! Thou shalt not. Of a surety I will go. Hooker, why didst thou not bring this other young gentleman? Hooker, where is my coat?" he called; and when the servant had brought it and helped him put it on, "Hooker, thou art a good man."

"I know I be," was the unperturbed reply.

Lawrence had ordered the carriage to wait for him, and entering it they were soon at the famous old hostelry. They entered by way of the taproom, only to find that some matter of concern had drawn everyone to the end settle, where a small crowd had congregated, including the barman. Nor did their entrance excite the slightest notice, for it was evident that some person was telling a story of compelling interest. They did not have to wait long to discover the cause of the excitement. A high-pitched voice, preceded by a long and satisfying sigh that betokened that the narrator had withdrawn his face from a pint pot of ale after a deep drink, took up the thread of a story: "An' Mr. Lawrence, 'e says, 'Tinpots,' 'e says, 'you're the only one as can save us, as you're a god'——"

"Come along, uncle," whispered Lawrence, and he plucked Tobias by the sleeve, while he pressed his hand over his mouth to prevent his laughter being heard. He led his uncle through to the parlour, where Kenneth was waiting, and when the formalities of introduction were over, the old man could restrain himself no longer. "Why didst thou lead me from the taproom?" he asked.

"Because that chap who was telling the story was one of our men, and I didn't want to embarrass him. It was Tinpots, Ken, and he's having a great time."

"He certainly is. I was listening to him from behind the door for a while."

It was a happy little party that sat down to supper a few moments later; and when the meal was over Tobias listened while the boys related their adventures. It was apparent that the old man had taken a strong liking for Kenneth. After a time he seemed to lose interest in the stories and to be occupied with his own thoughts.

"What are thy plans?" he asked suddenly, addressing Kenneth.

"I have nothing definite; but first I am going to New Hampshire to visit my people. I leave in the morning."

"And what plans hast thou, nephew?"

"I'm undecided. I may go back to Halifax, or to sea again. I did intend to go with Kenneth for a few days to visit his people," Lawrence answered hesitatingly, not knowing how his uncle would receive the suggestion of his leaving so soon. To his surprise Tobias exclaimed: "Yes, thou shouldst go; of a surety thou must go."

Accordingly on the very next day the two chums engaged seats in the stage-coach and were on their way to New Hampshire, where a wonderful welcome awaited them.

Three weeks passed quickly, and then one day came a curt letter from Tobias, asking that they come to Boston without delay.

"I suppose we will have to go," advised Kenneth; and two days later they left the pleasant New Hampshire farm to keep their appointment.

"Now," said the old merchant, when they waited upon him, "I will advise thee of the arrangements that I have made. Lawrence is a full partner in this business——"

"What?"

"Verily, thy father was an equal shareholder. Thou hast inherited his interest. There is no dispute of that," he declared, in a tone that brooked no argument. "But," he went on, "I doubt that thou hast experience in larger concerns, so we three have formed a new partnership in a new enterprise. There will be three equal shares."

It was now Kenneth's turn to express astonishment, but he was as quickly silenced as had been Lawrence.

"Wait until thou hast learned the nature of the venture," chided the old man. "I have secured a schooner to enter the trade between this place and Halifax. I am not acquainted with the sea, so I will provide the means; thou wilt be captain, and Lawrence will do the trading."

And so it was arranged; for old Tobias had set his heart upon the scheme and would not be denied. Before long they had established a good trade, and no one was more pleased at their success than Tinpots, who was the first person engaged by Captain Kenneth Burbank, as his mate.




Made at The
Temple Press
Letchworth
Great Britain





[End of Pelts and Powder, by B. A. McKelvie]