Page:Paine--Lost ships and lonely seas.djvu/240

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ashore or to become acquainted with the natives, a very sudden storm arose, and both ships were driven upon the reefs and were destroyed by the fury of the surf. The people of Manicola rushed in crowds to the beach, armed with clubs, spears, and bows and arrows, and the sailors of the ships fired muskets and big guns at them. This infuriated the people, who killed some of the shipwrecked men when they were washed ashore or managed to make a landing in their boats. The survivors showed a friendly spirit and offered axes, buttons, and trinkets as gifts, at which the people ceased to attack them.

The foreign sailors saved a large quantity of stores and other material from the wrecks, and at once began to build a small vessel from the timbers of the two shattered frigates. They worked with astonishing skill and speed, and built a schooner that was large enough to carry most of them away. The commander promised to return and bring off those whom he was compelled to leave behind. Crowded into this little makeshift craft, a large number of the officers and men of the lost Boussole and L'Astrolabe steered away from Manicola and were never heard of again. A second shipwreck swallowed them somewhere in the South Seas. It was impossible to ascertain whether La PĂ©rouse himself was one of this company. Those who were