Page:Paine--Lost ships and lonely seas.djvu/208

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After three weeks of misery, this speck of an open boat in a trackless waste of ocean descried the wooded headlands of New Holland and a surf which beat against the outer ramparts of coral. They found an opening and rowed into a lagoon, where they hauled the boat out upon the white sand and feasted luxuriously on oysters. These they roasted in a fire which Lieutenant Bligh kindled with a lens of his spy-glass. Then they cooked a stew, and were so mightily refreshed that "all retained strength and fortitude sufficient to resist what might be expected in our voyage to Timor."

Two or three days of assiduous attention to the oysters, and they were ready to put to sea again, with water-breakers filled. Before they shoved off, Bligh directed all hands to attend prayers; so they knelt on the beach with bared heads while he read service from the Church of England prayer-book. A group of natives, black and naked, came scampering out of the forest just as the boat took the water, but there was no clash with them.

As they steered through the mazes of the Malay Archipelago, many small islands swam in the seas of azure and emerald, and they ventured to land again. Here Bligh had the first trouble with the tempers of his sick and weary men. "When ordered to go scouting for food, one of them went so