Page:Paine--Lost ships and lonely seas.djvu/111

This page needs to be proofread.

with waistcoats and breeches of buff. Wines, ale, beer, and brandy were served without cost to the passengers, and the large staff of cooks and stewards was able to find in the storerooms and pantries such a varied stock of provisions as beef, pork, bacon, and tongues, bread, cheese, butter, herrings, and salmon, confectionery, oatmeal, oranges, and dried and preserved fruits, while a live cow or two supplied cream for the coffee, and the hen-coops stowed in the long-boat contributed fresh eggs.

The Blenden Hall was commanded by Captain Alexander Greig, a sailor and a gentleman of the old school, who had laid by a comfortable fortune during his long service. The trading ventures and perquisites of the master of an East Indiaman often yielded an income which a modern bank president would view with profound respect. The captain's son, young Alexander Greig, sailed as a passenger on this last voyage of the Blenden Hall. He was a high-spirited lad, bound out to join the army in India, and life was one zestful adventure after another. The modern youngster may well envy him his luck in being shipwrecked on a desert island, where he wrote a diary, using penguin's blood for ink and quill feathers for pens.

If the tale were fiction instead of fact, the beginning could be no more auspiciously romantic.