Kidnapping in the Pacific, by WHG Kingston.





"You want a yarn. You shall have one," said a young friend of mine, a

midshipman, who had just returned from a four years' cruise in the

Pacific. "I am not a good hand at describing what I have seen, but I

can narrate better the adventures of others which they have told me:--"

We had visited a good many islands in the Pacific, engaged in settling

the disputes of the natives or trying to settle them, punishing evil

doers, supporting the consuls and missionaries, surveying occasionally

hitherto unknown harbours, and endeavouring to make the British flag

respected among the dark-skinned inhabitants of those regions.

I with another midshipman and a boat's crew had landed on a beautiful

island of the Western Pacific to bring off a cargo of cocoa-nuts and

breadfruit with which the natives had promised to supply us. Two of our

men had straggled off against orders into the interior. While waiting

for them we saw the signal made for our return. Unwilling to leave them

behind, we ourselves unwisely started off to look for them. The natives

gave us to understand that they were a little way ahead, so we pushed on

hoping to come up with them and bring them with us.

A considerable time longer than we expected was thus occupied, and when

having at length overtaken them we got back to the beach, we found that

a strong breeze had set in, and that so heavy a surf was breaking on the

shore that it would be extremely dangerous passing through it. Still

the signal was flying and the order must be obeyed.

We shoved off, but had not pulled many strokes before a succession of

tremendous rollers came roaring in, turning the boat right over and

sending her back almost stove to pieces on the beach. Had it not been

for the natives who swam to our rescue, we should probably have lost our


Wet through, and half-drowned, we were dragged on shore. It would have

been madness to have again made an effort to get off. All we could do,

therefore, was to haul our sorely battered boat out of the reach of the

surf and to collect the portion of our cargo washed up on the sands.

Although it was tolerably hot we felt that we should be more comfortable

than we were if we could shift our wet clothes. The garments worn by

the natives could assist us but little, seeing that most of them wore

only somewhat narrow waist clothes. They made us understand, however,

that not far off we should find the house of a white man, who would

perhaps afford us accommodation. Why he had not yet hitherto made his

appearance we could not tell, but we determined to visit him and claim

his hospitality. Led by the natives, we proceeded some distance along

the beach when we came in sight of a hut, larger and more substantially

built than the other habitations around. Just inside a porch at the

entrance of the hut, an old white man, dressed in shirt and trousers,

with a broad-brimmed straw hat on his head, was seated in a roughly made

easy-chair with his feet resting on the trellis-work before him. A

large wooden pipe was in his mouth, from which he was smoking lustily.

He seemed scarcely to notice our approach, and when we addressed him he

enquired in a gruff voice where we came from and what we wanted. We

told him what had happened, and asked him if he could give us shelter,

and lend us some garments while our clothes were drying.

"As to that, young gentlemen, you shall have a shirt and a pair of duck

trousers apiece, and such food as there may happen to be in my

store-house," he answered, seeing by our uniforms who we were. "Your

men shall be looked after also."

We were soon seated round his cooking stove inside the house, rigged out

in the garments he had provided while our own clothes were hung up to

dry. A native girl attended us, obeying with alacrity the old man's

commands. We supposed her to be his daughter, and spoke of her as such.

"No, you are wrong in that, I have no child," he observed. "She is my

wife. That," pointing to a thick stick which rested on a stool near

him, "served as my marriage lines, it makes her as sharp and attentive

as I can wish, and keeps her in good order."

I had suspected from the appearance of the old fellow that he was a

ruffian; I had now no doubt that he was a thorough one; and I felt sure

that had he dared he would not have scrupled to hand us over to the

natives should they by chance demand our lives. A man-of-war in the

offing, though she might be driven away for a few days, afforded us

perfect security with such a character.

At first he was not disposed to be communicative; he kept beating about

the bush to ascertainapparently whether we knew anything about him, and

had come to call him to account for any misdeeds of which he might have

been conscious. When he discovered that we were not even aware that a

white man resided on the island, he opened out more freely. I was

curious to know something about him, and, concealing the opinion I had

formed of his character, tried to induce him to talk of himself; that he

was an old sailor I could see at a glance.

"You were long at sea, I suppose," I observed.

"First and last pretty nigh sixty years," he answered.

"I was a small boy when I first ran off from home, and I never lived on

shore many weeks together from that time up to within a few years ago.

I have served on board every sort of craft afloat, and have seen a good

many curious sights, as you may suppose."

I resolved not to interrupt him, unless he should get a hitch in his

yarn with which a question might help him through, so I let him run on,

and, once having begun, he seemed nothing loth to allow his tongue full

play. Probably he had not had auditors who could understand him for

many a long day.

"The first craft I shipped aboard was bound for the coast of Africa. In

those days not a few vessels belonging to Liverpool were engaged in one

way or another in the slave trade, either in supplying the slavers with

goods, and stores, and provisions, or in actuallyrunning cargoes of

blacks, which though the most profitable was a dangerous business to

engage in.

"I understood that we were to bring back gold dust and ivory, but

instead of that we began to load with negroes, and soon had pretty nigh

three hundred stowed away below hatches. We had hoisted the Spanish

flag, and had a Spanish captain, and fresh papers, for it was, I fancy,

a hanging matter for an Englishman to command a slaver, though a few

years back it had been all lawful and shipshape, but things change, you

see, and what seems right one day is wrong the other. We had to keep a

bright look out for English cruisers, who were on the coast to put a

stop to the business.

"I heard some curious yarns of the way the slaves are taken. Some

powerful tribes make it a regular business, and attack their weaker

neighbours for no other purpose than to capture them, and then to sell

them to the slave dealers. They generally steal on a village at night,

surround and set fire to it, and seize all the inhabitants who rush from

their huts to escape the flames. Parties go out to pick up others

wandering in the woods, or travelling from one place to another. The

inhabitants of the West Coast of Africa must have an uncomfortable life

of it, I suspect. With our living cargo on board we made sail for South


"Before we were many leagues from the shore, an English man-of-war hove

in sight. Should we be taken we should not only lose the vessel and our

expected profits, but it would go hard with the English part of the

crew. All knew that, and were ready to do anything to escape. We made

all sail, but for a wonder the British man-of-war was a fast craft, and

soon began to overhaul us. Our skipper, and most of the officers and

crew, swore fearfully at the stranger, and some declared that sooner

than be taken they would blow our vessel, with all the niggers on board,

as well as the English cruiser, into the air.

"I observed the captain and officers talking together, and there was a

fierce determination in their looks which showed they meant what they

said. I had no fancy to be blown into the air, and was considering what

I could do to save myself.

"As the cruiser drew near I saw some of our men go below, and presently

up they came with a black fellow. They led him aft and lowered him


"`Don't be frightened, all you have to do is to swim to yonder ship, and

she will pick you up,' said the mate.

"I don't fancy the negro understood him, still blacks are as fond of

life as other people, and I saw him striking out boldly for the ship.

He was seen. The ship hove-to, a boat was lowered, and he was picked

up. Our people laughed at the success of the plan, for we had increased

our distance from the enemy.

"Evening was coming on. The great thing was to keep ahead of her till

darkness would allow us to alter our course without being perceived.

"In a short time, as soon as we saw that the boat was hoisted up,

another negro was hove overboard. He was a strong swimmer, and struck

out boldly. He, too, was seen on board the man-of-war, and by another

cruiser of the deep also, a huge shark. The monster made towards him,

he swam bravely on for his life, but it was of no avail. Before long he

disappeared, and I fancied I could hear the shriek he uttered, even at

the distance he already was from us.

"We should have sacrificed half our cargo rather than be taken as long

as there appeared any probability of the man-of-war heaving-to to pick

up the unfortunate wretches, but the breeze falling light, we had an

advantage over the heavier vessel, and darkness coming on, we at length

lost sight of her. We immediately altered our course, knowing that she

would do her best to fall in with us in the morning. We escaped her,

however, although we lost fifty or sixty blacks on the passage; that was

a matter of no consequence, considering that we landed the greater

portion and made a large profit by the venture. Our success was so

satisfactory that it was not long before we were again back on the

coast, and as our craft was a remarkably fast one we managed again to

escape the British cruisers.

"We made altogether eight or ten trips, now and then we narrowly escaped

capture, but we were too clever for our enemy, and they were not up to

our various dodges.

"I had by this time become well accustomed to the work, and, though at

first it had gone somewhat against me to see the blacks dying by scores

during the middle passage, yet now I saw them hove overboard with as

little compunction as if they had been so many sheep.

"We had a precious rough crew, about as villainous a set of cut-throats

as well could be collected together. It does not do for tender-hearted

fellows to sail aboard a slaver.

"I had meantime grown into a big stout lad, and could hold my own

against any of them.

"How it was I don't know, but I should not have liked at that time to

have done the things that some of them did. We had a black cook aboard,

whether or not sitting before a hot fire had softened his heart, I

cannot tell, but he was not as bad as the rest; he had consequently a

hard life of it amongst them. One day he was detected by the mate

carrying a mess below to some of the sick blacks, they were people of

his own tribe, and I suspect relations. The mate swore that he intended

to raise a mutiny among them, it may be to let them loose to murder us

all. Poor Sambo declared that he had no thoughts of doing anything of

the sort, but that the people were ill, and that he hoped what he gave

them would do them good and save their lives. He was a sensible fellow,

and must have known that from where we were, about mid-channel, they

could never have found their way back again to the coast of Africa, and

that if they had murdered the crew they themselves must also have

perished. The captain and mate would not hear his excuses, and began

belabouring him with thick cudgels till they had nearly knocked the

breath out of his body. I felt very indignant, for black though he was

I had a liking for the man, and determined to speak out.

"`I tell you what, Ringdon, if you don't belay your jaw-tackles you will

be treated in the same way!' exclaimed the captain, turning on me.

"`Sambo had no bad intentions, I will answer for that,' I cried out.

`If any of us were sick and dying we should expect one of our

countrymen, if he had the means, to help us, and I don't see that Sambo

intended to do more than that.' Sambo gave me a glance, as much as to

say if I have the chance I'll render you a service some day; and,

bobbing his head, as the mate made another blow at him, escaped forward.

The two then turned on me, and I thought were going to try their

cudgels on my head. I stood up boldly and faced them.

"`Now,' I asked, `what have you got to say to me?'

"`Look out for squalls, Master Boas, that's all,' growled the mate.

"`You will some day wish that you had kept your opinions to yourself,'

said the captain, but neither he nor the mate ventured to strike me. I

turned round and walked forward, leaving the two talking together. I

was sure by the glances they cast at me that they meant mischief, so I

determined to be on my guard.

"Several days passed away, and things went on much as usual. Sambo got

many a kick and cuff from the captain and mate when he could not help

coming near them, but he kept out of their way as much as he could

within the caboose, and cooked our meals without uttering a complaint.

"I had heard say that the pitcher which often goes to the well gets

broken at last, and I could not help fancying, notwithstanding our long

run of success, that such would be the fate of the slaver.

"Perhaps the owners thought the same, for we had received orders to

proceed round the Cape to the East Coast of Africa, where the Portuguese

slave dealers had agreed to supply us with a cargo--that coast at the

time being less watched by the English cruisers.

"We were some way off the Cape, on our passage eastward, when, while it

was blowing hard and a pretty heavy sea was running, I fell from aloft.

I had been a good swimmer from my boyhood, and when I came to the

surface I struck out for my life, expecting to see the schooner heave to

and lower a boat to pick me up. Instead of her doing so, what was my

horror and dismay to observe that she was standing away from me. I

caught sight of the captain and mate on the poop, and by the looks they

cast at me I felt sure that they intended to leave me to my fate. I

shouted loudly to them, asking if they were going to allow a

fellow-creature to perish. Again and again I cried out, doing my utmost

to keep my head above the foaming seas.

"A number of huge albatrosses had been following the vessel, sweeping

round and round her, now soaring upwards, now plunging down into the

waters to pick up anything which had fallen overboard. You may fancy my

dismay when I found that instead of chasing the vessel as before, they

were gathering round my head. Every moment I expected to see them

darting down towards me, and I knew that a blow from one of their sharp

beaks would have easily pierced my skull and struck me lifeless in a

moment. Nearer and nearer they drew. I could distinguish their keen

eyes watching me, and had I remained quiet for a moment I felt convinced

that they would have dashed at me. I continued, therefore, striking out

with my feet and beating the water with my hands, which I lifted up as

often as they came near to keep them at bay. Still I knew full well

that the struggle must soon cease, for I could not possibly much longer

exert myself as I was then doing. I had had very little enjoyment in

life, but yet I had no wish to go out of it; my hopes of escape,

however, were small indeed; the only chance I could see was that the

crew, indignant that one of their number should be left to perish, would

insist on the captain heaving-to, and would lower a boat to come to my


"Further and further the vessel sailed away from me. I was beginning at

  • western [´westən] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.西的;西方的   (初中英语单词)
  • interior [in´tiəriə] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.&a.内部地(的)   (初中英语单词)
  • considerable [kən´sidərəbəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.重要的;值得重视   (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)
  • extremely [ik´stri:mli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.极端地;非常地   (初中英语单词)
  • succession [sək´seʃən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.继任;继承(权)   (初中英语单词)
  • rescue [´reskju:] 移动到这儿单词发声  vt.&n.救援;挽救   (初中英语单词)
  • portion [´pɔ:ʃən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.嫁妆;命运 vt.分配   (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)
  • wooden [´wudn] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.木制的;呆板的   (初中英语单词)
  • supposed [sə´pəuzd] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.想象的;假定的   (初中英语单词)
  • driven [´driv(ə)n] 移动到这儿单词发声  drive 的过去分词   (初中英语单词)
  • security [si´kjuəriti] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.安全;证券;抵押品   (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)
  • conscious [´kɔnʃəs] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.意识的;自觉的   (初中英语单词)
  • freely [´fri:li] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.自由地;慷慨地   (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)
  • interrupt [,intə´rʌpt] 移动到这儿单词发声  v.中断;打扰   (初中英语单词)
  • aboard [ə´bɔ:d] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.&prep.在…上   (初中英语单词)
  • actually [´æktʃuəli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.事实上;实际上   (初中英语单词)
  • running [´rʌniŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.奔跑的;流动的   (初中英语单词)
  • slaver [´slævə, ´sleivə] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.贩奴人(船)   (初中英语单词)
  • capture [´kæptʃə] 移动到这儿单词发声  vt.&n.捕获;俘获;夺取   (初中英语单词)
  • suspect [´sʌspekt, sə´spekt] 移动到这儿单词发声  v.怀疑;觉得 n.嫌疑犯   (初中英语单词)
  • vessel [´vesəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.容器;船;脉管   (初中英语单词)
  • striking [´straikiŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.显著的,明显的   (初中英语单词)
  • swimmer [´swimə] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.游泳者   (初中英语单词)
  • monster [´mɔnstə] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.怪物 a.大得异常的   (初中英语单词)
  • shriek [ʃri:k] 移动到这儿单词发声  v.&n.尖叫(声)   (初中英语单词)
  • unfortunate [ʌn´fɔ:tʃunit] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.不幸的,运气差的   (初中英语单词)
  • knowing [´nəuiŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.会意的,心照不宣的   (初中英语单词)
  • consequence [´kɔnsikwəns] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.结果;后果;推断   (初中英语单词)
  • venture [´ventʃə] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.投机 v.冒险;敢于   (初中英语单词)
  • altogether [,ɔ:ltə´geðə] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.完全;总而言之   (初中英语单词)
  • meantime [´mi:ntaim] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.&ad.其间;同时   (初中英语单词)
  • sensible [´sensəbəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.感觉得到的   (初中英语单词)
  • mischief [´mistʃif] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.伤害;故障;调皮   (初中英语单词)
  • pitcher [´pitʃə] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.大水罐;投掷者   (初中英语单词)
  • dismay [dis´mei] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.惊慌 vt.使惊慌   (初中英语单词)
  • standing [´stændiŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.持续 a.直立的   (初中英语单词)
  • perish [´periʃ] 移动到这儿单词发声  v.灭亡;消灭;(使)死去   (初中英语单词)
  • distinguish [di´stiŋgwiʃ] 移动到这儿单词发声  v.区分;识别;立功   (初中英语单词)
  • therefore [´ðeəfɔ:] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.&conj.因此;所以   (初中英语单词)
  • beginning [bi´giniŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.开始,开端;起源   (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)
  • cruise [kru:z] 移动到这儿单词发声  vi.&n.巡航;航游   (高中英语单词)
  • madness [´mædnis] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.疯狂;狂热   (高中英语单词)
  • seeing [si:iŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  see的现在分词 n.视觉   (高中英语单词)
  • hitherto [,hiðə´tu:] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.至今,迄今   (高中英语单词)
  • hospitality [,hɔspi´tæliti] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.好客,殷勤   (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)
  • thorough [´θʌrə] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.彻底的;详尽的   (高中英语单词)
  • ascertain [,æsə´tein] 移动到这儿单词发声  vt.探查;查明   (高中英语单词)
  • apparently [ə´pærəntli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.显然,表面上地   (高中英语单词)
  • profitable [´prɔfitəbəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.有益的;有用的   (高中英语单词)
  • hanging [´hæŋiŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.绞刑 a.悬挂着的   (高中英语单词)
  • uncomfortable [ʌn´kʌmftəbəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.不舒服的,不自在的   (高中英语单词)
  • determination [di,tə:mi´neiʃən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.决心;决定   (高中英语单词)
  • boldly [´bəuldli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.大胆地;醒目地   (高中英语单词)
  • bravely [´breivli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.勇敢地;毅然   (高中英语单词)
  • probability [,prɔbə´biliti] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.或有;可能性   (高中英语单词)
  • consequently [´kɔnsikwəntli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.因此,所以   (高中英语单词)
  • amongst [ə´mʌŋst] 移动到这儿单词发声  prep.其中之一 =among   (高中英语单词)
  • notwithstanding [,nɔtwiθ´stændiŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  prep.&conj.虽然;还是   (高中英语单词)
  • boyhood [´bɔihud] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.少年时代(期)   (高中英语单词)
  • schooner [´sku:nə] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.纵帆船   (高中英语单词)
  • enjoyment [in´dʒɔimənt] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.享受;愉快;乐趣   (高中英语单词)
  • trying [´traiiŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.难堪的;费劲的   (英语四级单词)
  • unwilling [ʌn´wiliŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.不愿意的;不情愿的   (英语四级单词)
  • accommodation [ə,kɔmə´deiʃən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.供应;调解;贷款   (英语四级单词)
  • apiece [ə´pi:s] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.每个,每件,每人   (英语四级单词)
  • afloat [ə´fləut] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.&a.漂浮;在海上   (英语四级单词)
  • resolved [ri´zɔlvd] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.决心的;坚定的   (英语四级单词)
  • liverpool [´livəpu:l] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.利物浦   (英语四级单词)
  • lawful [´lɔ:fəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.合法的,守法的   (英语四级单词)
  • skipper [´skipə] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.&vi.(当)船长   (英语四级单词)
  • cruiser [´kru:zə] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.巡洋舰   (英语四级单词)
  • considering [kən´sidəriŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  prep.就…而论   (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)
  • remarkably [ri´mɑ:kəbli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.非凡地;显著地   (英语四级单词)
  • mutiny [´mju:tini] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.兵变;反抗 vi.叛变   (英语四级单词)
  • indignant [in´dignənt] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.义愤的,愤慨的   (英语四级单词)
  • eastward [´i:stwəd] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.&ad.向东(的)   (英语四级单词)
  • upwards [´ʌpwədz] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.=upward   (英语四级单词)
  • gathering [´gæðəriŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.集会,聚集   (英语四级单词)
  • lifeless [´laifləs] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.无生命的,无生气的   (英语四级单词)
  • sorely [´sɔ:li] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.痛苦地;剧烈地   (英语六级单词)
  • beating [´bi:tiŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.敲;搅打;失败   (英语六级单词)
  • narrowly [´nærəuli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.勉强地;严密地   (英语六级单词)
  • liking [´laikiŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.爱好;嗜好;喜欢   (英语六级单词)

  • 上传人 欢乐鱼 分享于 2017-06-26 18:52:18
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