Alone on an Island, by W.H.G. Kingston.





The _Wolf_, a letter-of-marque of twenty guns, commanded by Captain

Deason, sailing from Liverpool, lay becalmed on the glass-like surface

of the Pacific. The sun struck down with intense heat on the dock,

compelling the crew to seek such shade as the bulwarks or sails

afforded. Some were engaged in mending sails, twisting yarns, knotting,

splicing, or in similar occupations; others sat in groups between the

guns, talking together in low voices, or lay fast asleep out of sight in

the shade. The officers listlessly paced the deck, or stood leaning

over the bulwarks, casting their eyes round the horizon in the hopes of

seeing signs of a coming breeze. Their countenances betrayed ill-humour

and dissatisfaction; and if they spoke to each other, it was in gruff,

surly tones. They had had a long course of ill luck, as they called it,

having taken no prizes of value. The crew, too, had for some time

exhibited a discontented and mutinous spirit, which Captain Deason, from

his bad temper, was ill fitted to quell. While he vexed and insulted

the officers, they bullied and tyrannised over the men. The crew,

though often quarrelling among themselves, were united in the common

hatred to their superiors, till that little floating world became a

perfect pandemonium.

Among those who paced her deck, anxiously looking out for a breeze, was

Humphry Gurton, a fine lad of fifteen, who had joined the _Wolf_ as a

midshipman. This was his first trip to sea. He had intended to enter

the Navy, but just as he was about to do so his father, a merchant at

Liverpool, failed, and, broken-hearted at his losses, soon afterwards

died, leaving his wife and only son but scantily provided for.

Tenderly had that wife, though suffering herself from a fatal disease,

watched over him in his sickness, and Humphry had often sat by his

father's bedside while his mother was reading from God's Word, and

listened as with tender earnestness she explained the simple plan of

salvation to his father. She had shown him from the Bible that all men

are by nature sinful, and incapable, by anything they can do, of making

themselves fit to enter a pure and holy heaven, however respectable or

excellent they may be in the sight of their fellow-men, and that the

only way the best of human beings can come to God is by imitating the

publican in the parable, and acknowledging themselves worthless, outcast

sinners, and seeking to be reconciled to Him according to the one way He

has appointed--through a living faith in the all-atoning sacrifice of

His dear Son. Humphry had heard his father exclaim, "I believe that

Jesus died for me; O Lord, help my unbelief! I have no merits of my

own; I trust to Him, and Him alone." He had witnessed the joy which had

lighted up his mother's countenance as she pressed his father's hand,

and bending down, whispered, "We shall be parted but for a short time;

and, oh! may our loving Father grant that this our son may too be

brought to love the Saviour, and join us when he is summoned to leave

this world of pain and sorrow."

Humphry had felt very sad; and though he had wept when his father's eyes

were closed in death, and his mother had pressed him--now the only being

on earth for whom she desired to live--to her heart, yet the impression

he had received had soon worn off.

In a few months after his father died, she too was taken from him, and

Humphry was left an orphan.

The kind and pious minister, Mr Faithful, who frequently visited Mrs

Gurton during the last weeks of her illness, had promised her to watch

over her boy, but he had no legal power. Humphry's guardian was a

worldly man, and finding that there was but a very small sum for his

support, was annoyed at the task imposed on him.

Humphry had expressed his wish to go to sea. A lad whose acquaintance

he had lately made, Tom Matcham, was just about to join the _Wolf_, and,

persuading him that they should meet with all sorts of adventures,

offered to assist him in getting a berth on board her. Humphry's

guardian, to save himself trouble, was perfectlywilling to agree to the

proposed plan, and, without difficulty, arranged for his being received

on board as a midshipman.

"We shall have a jovial life of it, depend upon that!" exclaimed Matcham

when the matter was settled. "I intend to enjoy myself. The officers

are rather wild blades, but that will suit me all the better." Harry

went to bid farewell to Mr Faithful.

"I pray that God will prosper and protect you, my lad," he said. "I

trust that your young companion is a right principled youth, who will

assist you as you will be ready to help him, and that the captain and

officers are Christian men."

"I have not been long enough acquainted with Tom Matcham to know much

about him," answered Humphry. "I very much doubt that the captain and

officers are the sort of people you describe. However, I daresay I

shall get on very well with them."

"My dear Humphry," exclaimed Mr Faithful, "I am deeply grieved to hear

that you can give no better account of your future associates. Those

who willingly mix with worldly or evil-disposed persons are very sure to

suffer. Our constant prayer is that we may be kept out of temptation,

and we are mocking God if we willingly throw ourselves into it. I would

urge you, if you are not satisfied with the character of those who are

to be your companions for so many years, to give up the appointment

while there is time. I would accompany you, and endeavour to get your

agreement cancelled. It will be better to do so at any cost, rather

than run the risk of becoming like them."

"Oh, I daresay that they are not bad fellows after all!" exclaimed

Humphry. "You know I need not do wrong, even though they do."

The minister sighed. In vain he urged Humphry to consider the matter


"All I can do, then, my young friend, is to pray for you," said Mr

Faithful, as he wrung Harry's hand, "and I beg you, as a parting gift,

to accept these small books. One is a book above all price, of a size

which you may keep in your pocket, and I trust that you will read it as

you can make opportunities, even though others may attempt to interrupt

you, or to persuade you to leave it neglected in your chest."

It was a small Testament, and Harry, to please the minister, promised to

carry it in his pocket, and to read from it as often as he could.

Humphry having parted from his friend, went down at once to join the


Next day she sailed. Humphry at first felt shocked at hearing the oaths

and foul language used, both by the crew and officers. The captain, who

on shore appeared a grave, quiet sort of man, swore louder and oftener

than any one. Scarcely an order was issued without an accompaniment of

oaths; indeed blasphemy resounded throughout the ship.

Matcham only laughed at Humphry when he expressed his annoyance.

"You will soon get accustomed to it," he observed. "I confess that I

myself was rather astonished when I first heard the sort of thing, but I

don't mind it now a bit."

So Humphry thought, for Matcham interlarded his own conversation with

the expressions used by the rest on board; indeed, swearing had become

so habitual to him, that he seemed scarcely aware of the fearful

language which escaped his lips.

By degrees, as Matcham had foretold, Humphry did get accustomed to the

language used by all around, which had at first so greatly shocked him.

Though he kept his promise to the minister, and carried the little

Testament in his pocket, he seldom found time to read it.

He wished to become a sailor, and he applied himself diligently to learn

his profession; and as he was always in a good temper and ready to

oblige, the captain and officers treated him with more respect than they

did Matcham, who was careless and indifferent, and ready to shirk duty

whenever he could do so. Matcham, finding himself constantly abused,

chose to consider that it was owing to Humphry, and, growing jealous,

took every opportunity of annoying him. Humphry, however, gained the

good-will of the men by never swearing at them, or using the rope's-end:

this the officers were accustomed to do on all occasions, and Matcham

imitated them by constantly thrashing the boys, often without the

slightest excuse.

As the ship sailed on her voyage, the state of affairs on board became

worse and worse. On one occasion the crew came aft, complaining that

their provisions were bad, and then that the water was undrinkable, when

the captain, appearing with pistols in his hands, ordered them to go

forward, refusing to listen to what they had to say. Another time they

complained that they were stinted in their allowance of spirits, when he

treated them in the same way. They retired, casting looks of defiance

at him and the officers. On several occasions, when some of the men did

not obey orders with sufficient promptitude, Humphry saw them struck to

the deck by the first and second mates without any notice being taken by

the captain. The officers, too, quarrelled among themselves; the first

officer and the second refused to speak to each other; and the surgeon,

who considered that he had been insulted, declined intercourse with

either of them. The younger officers followed their bad example, and

often and often Humphry wished that he had listened to the advice of his

friend Mr Faithful, and had inquired the character of his intended

companions before he joined the ship.

At the first port in South America at which the _Wolf_ touched, the

surgeon, carrying his chest with him, went on shore, and refused to

return till the mates had apologised. As this they would not do, she

sailed without him; and although the men might be wounded, or sickness

break out, there was now no one on board capable of attending to them.

Such was the condition of the _Wolf_ at the time she was thus floating

becalmed and alone on the wide ocean.


Harry Gurton stood gazing on the glassy sea till his eyes ached with the

bright glare, his thoughts wandering back to the days of his happy

childhood, when he was the pride and delight of his beloved father and

mother. He had come on deck only to breathe a purer air than was to be

found below.

Soon after leaving the coast of South America a fever had broken out on

board, and several of the crew lay sick in their berths. Their

heartless shipmates, afraid of catching the complaint, took little care

of them. Humphry could not bear to see them suffer without help, and

from the first had done his best to attend on them. He constantly went

round, taking them water and such food as he could induce the cook to


Tom Matcham was the only officer who had as yet been struck down by the

fever. He lay in his berth tossing and groaning, complaining of his

hard lot. The officers, who were annoyed by his cries, often abused

him, telling him roughly not to disturb them.

"The cruel brutes! I will be revenged on them if I ever get well,"

exclaimed Matcham.

In vain Humphry tried to pacify him.

"Don't mind what they say, Tom," he observed. "I hope you may get well;

but if you were to die, it would be dreadful to go out of the world with

such feelings in your heart. I remember enough about religion to know

that we should forgive those who injure us. If you will let me, I will

try to say some of the prayers which my mother taught me when I was a

child, and I will pray with you. I have got a Testament, and I should

like to read to you out of it."

"I can't pray, and I don't want to hear anything from the Testament,"

answered Tom gloomily.

"It would be very dreadful if you were to go out of the world feeling as

you now do," urged Humphry.

"What! you don't mean to say you think I am going to die!" exclaimed Tom

in an agitated voice.

"I tell you honestly, Tom, that you seem as bad as the two poor fellows

who died last week," said Humphry.

"Oh, you are croaking," groaned Tom, though his voice faltered as he


After talking for some time longer without being able to move him,

Humphry was compelled to go forward to attend to some of the other men.

In the first hammock he came to lay Ned Hadow, one of the oldest, and

apparently one of the most ruffianly of the crew. He seemed, however,

to be grateful to Humphry for his kindness; and he acknowledged that if

it had not been for him, he should have been fathoms down in the deep

before then.

"I hope, however, that you are getting better now," said Humphry.

"Thanks to you, sir, I think I am," answered Ned. "I don't want to die,

though I cannot say I have much to live for, nor has any one else aboard

this ship, except to be abused and knocked about without any chance of

gaining any good by the cruise."

"Perhaps we may do better by and by," observed Humphry.

"I have no hopes of that while such men as the captain and his mates

have charge of the ship. Take my advice, Mr Gurton, if you have a

chance, get out of her as fast as you can. You will thank me for

warning you--it is the only way I have to show that I am grateful to you

for your kindness."

Hadow's remarks made no deep impression upon Humphry, but he could not

help occasionally recollecting them.

After visiting the other sick men, he went on deck to keep his proper

watch; then, weary with his exertions, he turned into his berth to

obtain the rest he so much needed.

He was awakened by hearing the cry of "All hands shorten sail!" He

quickly sprang on deck.

A gale had suddenly sprung up. The ship was heeling over, and ploughing

her way through the seething waters. The crew flew aloft. The loftier

sails were taken in, and the top-sails were being closely reefed, when

another blast, more furious than the former, struck the ship, and two

poor fellows were hurled from the lee-yard-arm into the foaming waters.

There was a cry from the crew, and several rushed to lower a boat--

Humphry among them.

"Hold fast!" cried the captain; "let the fellows drown; you will only

lose your lives if you attempt to save them."

Still the men persisted, showing more humanity than they had exhibited

in attending to their sick shipmates, when the captain swore that he

would shoot any one who disobeyed him. Though spare spars and

everything that could float had been hove overboard, the poor fellows in

the water could no longer be seen.

The crew, with gloomy looks, assembled forward, muttering threats which

did not reach the officers' ears.

The change of weather had the effect of restoring some of the sick men

to health, though several died. Among the first to appear on deck was

Ned Hadow. He still looked weak and ill--the shadow of his former self.

He was changed in other respects, and Humphry observed that he was

quiet in his behaviour, and no longer swore in the way he had been

accustomed to do.

Matcham remained in his berth. He seemed a little better, though he

still refused to listen to Humphry when he offered to read the Bible to

him, and when asked the reason, replied, "Because I am not going to let

those fellows suppose that I am afraid to die. They would be sneering

at me, and calling me a Methodist; and I don't intend to die either, so

I don't see why I should bother myself by having religion thrust down my


"If you are not going to die, I suppose the case is different," answered

Humphry. "Still, I know that if you were, the Bible is the best book to

  • horizon [hə´raizən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.地平线;范围;视野   (初中英语单词)
  • breeze [bri:z] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.微风;不费力的事   (初中英语单词)
  • temper [´tempə] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.韧度 v.锻炼;调和   (初中英语单词)
  • suffering [´sʌfəriŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.痛苦;灾害   (初中英语单词)
  • sickness [´siknis] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.生病;呕吐,恶心   (初中英语单词)
  • reading [´ri:diŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.(阅)读;朗读;读物   (初中英语单词)
  • countenance [´kauntinəns] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.面部表情;脸色;面容   (初中英语单词)
  • minister [´ministə] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.部长;大臣 v.伺候   (初中英语单词)
  • faithful [´feiθfəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.忠实的;可靠的   (初中英语单词)
  • illness [´ilnis] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.生病,不健康,疾病   (初中英语单词)
  • lately [´leitli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.近来,不久前   (初中英语单词)
  • assist [ə´sist] 移动到这儿单词发声  v.协助;援助;搀扶   (初中英语单词)
  • willing [´wiliŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.情愿的,乐意的   (初中英语单词)
  • farewell [feə´wel] 移动到这儿单词发声  int.再见 n.&a.告别   (初中英语单词)
  • companion [kəm´pæniən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.同伴;同事;伴侣   (初中英语单词)
  • account [ə´kaunt] 移动到这儿单词发声  vi.说明 vt.认为 n.帐目   (初中英语单词)
  • constant [´kɔnstənt] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.坚定的;坚贞的   (初中英语单词)
  • character [´kæriktə] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.特性;性质;人物;字   (初中英语单词)
  • endeavour [in´devə] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.&v.努力,试图,尽力   (初中英语单词)
  • persuade [pə´sweid] 移动到这儿单词发声  v.(被)说服;使相信   (初中英语单词)
  • confess [kən´fes] 移动到这儿单词发声  vt.供认;坦白;承认   (初中英语单词)
  • diligently [´dilidʒəntli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.勤奋地   (初中英语单词)
  • profession [prə´feʃən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.职业;声明;表白   (初中英语单词)
  • careless [´keəlis] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.粗心的;草率的   (初中英语单词)
  • constantly [´kɔnstəntli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.经常地;不断地   (初中英语单词)
  • voyage [´vɔi-idʒ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.&vi.航海;航程;旅行   (初中英语单词)
  • allowance [ə´lauəns] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.津贴;配给量;考虑   (初中英语单词)
  • capable [´keipəbəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.有能力;能干的   (初中英语单词)
  • beloved [bi´lʌvd] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.为….所爱的 n.爱人   (初中英语单词)
  • complaint [kəm´pleint] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.抱怨;叫屈   (初中英语单词)
  • disturb [di´stə:b] 移动到这儿单词发声  vt.扰乱;使不安;打乱   (初中英语单词)
  • dreadful [´dredful] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.可怕的;讨厌的   (初中英语单词)
  • forgive [fə´giv] 移动到这儿单词发声  vt.原谅,谅解,宽恕   (初中英语单词)
  • injure [´indʒə] 移动到这儿单词发声  vt.伤害,损害,毁坏   (初中英语单词)
  • honestly [´ɔnistli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.诚实地,老实地   (初中英语单词)
  • grateful [´greitful] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.感谢的;令人愉快的   (初中英语单词)
  • charge [tʃɑ:dʒ] 移动到这儿单词发声  v.收费;冲锋 n.费用   (初中英语单词)
  • impression [im´preʃən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.印刷;印象;效果   (初中英语单词)
  • occasionally [ə´keiʒənəli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.偶然地;非经常地   (初中英语单词)
  • sprang [spræŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  spring 的过去式   (初中英语单词)
  • furious [´fjuəriəs] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.狂怒的;猛烈的   (初中英语单词)
  • humanity [hju:´mæniti] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.人类;人性;仁慈   (初中英语单词)
  • bother [´bɔðə] 移动到这儿单词发声  v.打扰 n.麻烦(事)   (初中英语单词)
  • thrust [θrʌst] 移动到这儿单词发声  v.&n.猛推;冲;刺;挤进   (初中英语单词)
  • pacific [pə´sifik] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.和平的;温和的   (高中英语单词)
  • intense [in´tens] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.强烈的;紧张的   (高中英语单词)
  • anxiously [´æŋkʃəsli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.挂念地;渴望地   (高中英语单词)
  • respectable [ri´spektəbəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.可敬的;有身价的   (高中英语单词)
  • worthless [´wə:θləs] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.无价值的   (高中英语单词)
  • loving [´lʌviŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.爱的,有爱情的   (高中英语单词)
  • guardian [´gɑ:diən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.监护人;保护人   (高中英语单词)
  • finding [´faindiŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.发现物;判断;结果   (高中英语单词)
  • perfectly [´pə:fiktli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.理想地;完美地   (高中英语单词)
  • prosper [´prɔspə] 移动到这儿单词发声  v.(使…)繁荣(成功)   (高中英语单词)
  • hearing [´hiəriŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.听力;听证会;审讯   (高中英语单词)
  • indifferent [in´difrənt] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.不关心的;中立的   (高中英语单词)
  • roughly [´rʌfli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.粗糙地;毛糙地   (高中英语单词)
  • sprung [sprʌŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  spring的过去分词   (高中英语单词)
  • gloomy [´glu:mi] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.昏暗的;忧郁的   (高中英语单词)
  • liverpool [´livəpu:l] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.利物浦   (英语四级单词)
  • bedside [´bedsaid] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.床边 a.护理的   (英语四级单词)
  • incapable [in´keipəbəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.无能力的;不能的   (英语四级单词)
  • saviour [´seiviə] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.救星;救助者   (英语四级单词)
  • willingly [´wiliŋli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.情愿地,乐意地   (英语四级单词)
  • worldly [´wə:ldli] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.现世的;世俗的   (英语四级单词)
  • parting [´pɑ:tiŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.&n.分离(的)   (英语四级单词)
  • testament [´testəment] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.契约,誓约;遗嘱   (英语四级单词)
  • accompaniment [ə´kʌmpənimənt] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.伴随物;伴奏(唱)   (英语四级单词)
  • intercourse [´intəkɔ:s] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.交际;往来;交流   (英语四级单词)
  • hammock [´hæmək] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.吊床;圆丘   (英语四级单词)
  • shorten [´ʃɔ:tn] 移动到这儿单词发声  v.缩短,变短   (英语四级单词)
  • overboard [´əuvəbɔ:d] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.向船外;到水中   (英语四级单词)
  • dissatisfaction [di,sætis´fækʃən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.不满   (英语六级单词)
  • discontented [,diskən´tentid] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.不平的;不满的   (英语六级单词)
  • earnestness [´ə:nistnis] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.认真,急切;坚定   (英语六级单词)
  • blasphemy [´blæsfimi] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.亵渎;辱骂   (英语六级单词)
  • habitual [hə´bitʃuəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.习惯的,通常的   (英语六级单词)
  • foretold [fɔ:´təuld] 移动到这儿单词发声  foretell过去式(分词)   (英语六级单词)
  • applied [ə´plaid] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.实用的,应用的   (英语六级单词)
  • annoying [ə´nɔiiŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.使人气恼的;讨厌的   (英语六级单词)
  • retired [ri´taiəd] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.退休的;通职的   (英语六级单词)
  • glassy [´glɑ:si] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.光滑的;无神的   (英语六级单词)
  • taking [´teikiŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.迷人的 n.捕获物   (英语六级单词)
  • calling [´kɔ:liŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.点名;职业;欲望   (英语六级单词)

  • 上传人 欢乐鱼 分享于 2017-06-26 17:26:32
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