Page:Paine--Lost ships and lonely seas.djvu/209

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

far as to tell me, with a mutinous look, that he was as good a man as myself," relates this inflexible commander who had made such a sorry mess of things in the Bounty. He added:


"It was impossible for me to judge where this might end, therefore to prevent such disputes in future I determined either to preserve my authority or die in the attempt. Seizing a cutlass I ordered him to take hold of another and defend himself; on which he cried out that I was going to kill him and immediately made concessions. I did not allow this to interfere further with the harmony of the boat's crew and everything soon became quiet."


For a week they coasted along New Holland in this manner before risking the open sea again. They caught some turtle and went ashore at night to hunt the noddies, or sea-birds, and knock them over on their nests. One of the sailors, Robert Lamb, stole away from his companions, contrary to orders, and blundered into the birds, which fled away. Much provoked, Bligh gave the culprit a drubbing and made him confess that he had eaten nine noddies raw. It goes without saying that greedy Robert Lamb promised not to do it again.

Much more sanguine of some day reaching the destination of Timor, the argonauts endured another long stretch of the voyage, almost two thousand miles more, but it was fast breaking the