Page:Paine--Lost ships and lonely seas.djvu/125

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punished, wherefore he mustered the seamen loyal to him, and they maintained order while the boatswain gave the chief offender fifty lashes on the bare back with a rope's-end. The dreary exile was further enlivened by the discovery that Lieutenant Painter's tent had been robbed of jewelry and other valuables. A formal trial was held, with young Alexander Greig as judge and a water-cask as the official bench. A sailor named Joseph Fowler was accused of the theft, and Mrs. Lock surged into the proceedings by announcing that, in her opinion, the relations of Mrs. Painter and this common sailorman had been a public scandal.

"Very ladylike of you, I'm sure, Mrs. Lock," cried Mrs. Painter, "but what could a person expect?"

Such episodes as these were trivial when compared with the tragic problem of survival and es- cape from Inaccessible Island. Exploring parties had climbed the lofty peak, and in clear weather were able to discern the snow-clad summit of the larger island of Tristan, only fifteen miles distant, which was known to be inhabited. It might have been a thousand miles away, however, for the lack of tools and material had discouraged any efforts to build a boat. In a mood of despair a flagstaff was set up on the southwestern promontory, which