Page:Paine--Lost ships and lonely seas.djvu/122

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had for the gathering. It was hard, revolting fare, but other castaways had lived for months and even years on food no worse, and the horrors of famine were averted.

Captain Greig was taken ill, and his authority therefore amounted to little. His officers were not the men for such a crisis as this, and they do not appear to have been able to master it. The sailors were insolent and lazy, no doubt of it, and young Mr. Greig devotes many pages of his diary to abuse of them. It is quite evident, however, that the officers and passengers felt themselves to be superior beings and expected the sailors to wait on them as menials. In such a situation as this one man was as good as another, and the doctrines of caste and rank properly belonged in the discard. It was rather pitiful and absurd, as one catches glimpses of it in the ingenuous narrative of the very young Mr. Greig.

For a few days after the wreck it was hail fellow, well met, but Jack, once put upon an equality, began to take unwarrantable liberties, and as familiarity is generally the forerunner of contempt, so it proved in this case. Quarrels soon began and the passengers now took the opposite course of attempting to issue orders to the sailors and treating them as servants. This exasperated the crew and they swore that no earthly power should ever induce them to render the least assistance to the passengers.