Page:Paine--Lost ships and lonely seas.djvu/298

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Here was a crew provided by a sort of unholy miracle, and they were ready to help take the ship to port to save their own perfectly worthless lives. They managed to carry her close to a harbor called St. John's, and one of the black rascals declared that he was an able pilot; but when the vessel drew close to the rocks he lost his courage and dived overboard, whereupon his comrades followed him, and all swam ashore like fishes. The afflicted Captain Roberts let go his anchor and waited through the night, after which other natives came off to the sloop and brought fresh provisions and water. It seemed as if their troubles might be nearing an end, but a storm blew next day, and the sloop went upon the rocks. Captain Roberts and the two lads were rescued by the kindly natives, who swam out through the raging surf, but the sloop was soon dashed to pieces. She deserved to win a happier fortune.

The voyage to the Guinea coast was ruined, and Captain Roberts had no money to back another venture; but he set about building a boat from the wreck of his sloop, and made such a success of it that with the two lads and three negro sailors he was soon doing a brisk trade from island to island. Having accumulated some cash, he decided to return to London, where he arrived after an absence of four years.