Page:Paine--Lost ships and lonely seas.djvu/205

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FOUR THOUSAND MILES

days only, I have no doubt that your weight would be reduced more rapidly than any high-priced specialist in dietetics could possibly achieve for you. A twenty-fifth of a pound of hard bread would not much more than satisfy the appetite of a vigorous canary bird. Yet these seventeen men lived on it and stayed alive for weeks and weeks. Heavy rains came to give them more water, but thirst was a continual torment, so sparingly and prudently did Lieutenant Bligh dole out the precious fluid.

They passed within sight of many islands, green and smiling, and smoke wreathed skyward from native camps and villages, but Bligh sternly checked his men when they yearned to seek the land and a respite from the merciless sea. With him it was Timor or die, and in the lonely watches he recalled that previous voyage with Captain Cook, when the great navigator was lured to his death by the soft-voiced, garlanded people of Oahu. And so the open boat flitted past the mysterious beaches and lagoons of the New Hebrides and veered farther seaward to give a wide berth to the savage coast of New Guinea. After one of the numerous storms which almost swamped them, Bligh noted in his diary:

 
I found every person complaining and some of them requested extra allowance. I positively refused. Our sit-