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FRIGATES THAT VANISHED

ures this ornate sword-guard, the handle of a silver fork, a few knives, tea-cups, glass beads and bottles, and a spoon engraved with a crest and monogram. In addition to these furnishings of a ship's cabin, they had also some iron bolts, chain-plates, and axes.

Martin Bushart had been curious to discover how these islanders had obtained such relics of disaster, for the Hunter was the first ship that had ever been seen off Tucopia when he was set ashore there in 1813. He was informed that a large group of islands called Manicola lay to leeward about two days' sail in a canoe, and that voyages were frequently made there for trade and sociability. It was from the people of Manicola that the articles of iron and silver had been obtained. Now, Captain Dillon remembered the story of La PĂ©rouse, as did every shipmaster who traversed the South Seas, and so he examined the sword-guard and discovered engraved initials, faint and worn, but legible enough for him to surmise that they were those of the French discoverer and navigator.

His interest keen. Captain Dillon went ashore with Martin Bushart, who interpreted for him, and they held a long conversation with the chiefs of Tucopia. Many years before, so the tale ran, two great ships had anchored among the islands of Manicola. Before they were able to send any boats