Page:Paine--Lost ships and lonely seas.djvu/217

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

Fijian language which have handed down the traditions of the race from father to son. The little schooner was never seen again by the Pandora after they parted at Tahiti to go their separate ways; but after many months the master's mate, the bold midshipman, and the seven handy seamen who comprised the crew came sailing into the Dutch East Indies.

The Pandora ransacked the South Seas in vain for Fletcher Christian and his party, and turned homeward after nine months of cruising on this quest. Having cleared the coast of New Guinea, the frigate crashed into the Great Barrier Reef while trying to find a passage through, and foundered after eleven hours of endeavor to keep her afloat by pumping. The discipline was admirable, and in the ship's dying flurry four boats were filled and sent away, besides some rafts and canoes.

During those long hours, however, while the sailors were trying to save themselves and the frigate, the hapless mutineers were left in the "Pandora's Box," in leg-irons and manacles and utterly helpless. Three of them were finally allowed to work at the pumps, still wearing their chains, but Captain Edwards paid no heed to the prayers of the others, who foresaw they were to drown like rats in a trap. It was inhumanity almost beyond belief, for these