Page:Paine--Lost ships and lonely seas.djvu/236

This page needs to be proofread.

find a refuge from toil in the South Sea Islands, and Fiji was plagued with runaway sailors whose idea of paradise was to loaf and get drunk and dance with the girls.

While the Hunter was taking on her cargo, a party of these salt-water vagabonds engaged in a murderous row with the natives, who decided to be rid of them. The earnest intention of the embattled Fijian warriors was to exterminate their European guests. The chief mate of the Hunter, Mr. Dillon, happened to be ashore with a boat's crew, and he was a lusty man in a shindy, as his name might indicate. Out of the mêlée he succeeded in hauling a German beach-comber, Martin Bushart, who seems to have been a sober, decent fellow, and a Lascar sailor. They were taken off to the ship and allowed to remain there.

When the Hunter sailed for China, this derelict of a Martin Bushart made the singular request of Chief Officer Dillon that he be landed on the first island that happened to be convenient to the vessel's course. Dillon's story fails to explain why this simple-minded "Prussian," as he called him, should have desired to run the risk of being killed and perhaps eaten after he had escaped by the narrowest margin. However, the captain and the mate of the Hunter were obliging mariners who