Page:Paine--Lost ships and lonely seas.djvu/177

This page needs to be proofread.

death when he sang Irish songs and danced jigs for the Arab women, and so delighted them that they fed him on porridge, or "stirabout," as he called it, until he swelled like a balloon.

That astute chieftain, Ahamed, reappeared on some important errand of tribal conference, and again held discourse with Captain Paddock concerning the ethics of the slave-trade. In his stately fashion he declaimed:


"You say that if I were in your country, your people would treat me better than I treat you. There is no truth in you; nothing but lies. If I were there, I should be doomed to a life-time of slavery and be put to the hardest labor in tilling your fields. You are too lazy yourselves to work in your fields, and therefore you send your ships to the negro coast, and in exchange for the worthless trinkets with which you cheat those poor blacks, you take away ship-loads of them to your country from, which never one returns. We pray earnestly to Almighty God, to send Christians ashore here in order that we may gain a little profit of the same kind, and God hears our prayers and often sends us some good ships."


It was this same masterful Bedouin, lord of the desert wastes, who enlightened Captain Paddock as to what had befallen the frigate which drove ashore where the Oswego's crew had discovered the sea-washed timbers, the roofless huts of stone, and the heap of human bones. It was a very largewar-