Page:Paine--Lost ships and lonely seas.djvu/241

This page needs to be proofread.
203
FRIGATES THAT VANISHED

left behind lived with the people of Manicola and were kindly treated by the chiefs.

The Lascar had made two voyages to Manicola and had actually talked with two aged Europeans, who told him that they had been wrecked many years before in a ship, the fragments of which they pointed out to him. They told him that no other ship had ever stopped there since and that most of their companions were dead, but that they had been scattered so widely among the islands of the group that it was impossible to know whether any more of them were still living. By the Lascar's reckoning, this would have been about thirty years after the disaster that overwhelmed the frigates of La PĂ©rouse and, for all that is known, he himself may have been one of those aged men who dwelt so long beyond all knowledge of their countrymen in France and to whom the priceless gift of rescue was denied.

Captain Dillon was determined to proceed at once to Manicola and find and save those two aged castaways whom the Lascar believed to be Frenchmen. Leaving Tucopia, he cracked on sail, and Martin Bushart went with him, having concluded to return to civilization and much moved by the friend ship which prompted the Irish shipmaster to visit him after so many years had passed. The Lascar remained behind, having a large and happy family,