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LOST SHIPS AND LONELY SEAS

stuff was washed out, and they made a landing in worse plight than before.

With fitful weather they skirted a swampy coast, with nothing to eat but seaweed, until they were chewing the shoes they had sewed together from raw sealskin. It was Christmas day or thereabouts when the yawl was smashed beyond mending by dragging its anchor and driving into the surf. The barge was not large enough to carry all hands, and it was agreed that four of them should be abandoned ashore. There was no obstreperous argument over it. They had become careless of such matters as life and death. Just how these four men were chosen or whether they volunteered is left to conjecture. The story written by Midshipman Byron, which is the most detailed account of the episode, describes it as follows:

 
They were all marines, who seemed to have no great objection to the determination made with regard to them, they were so exceedingly disheartened and exhausted with the distress and dangers they had already undergone. Indeed, I believe it would have been a matter of indifference to most of the others whether they should embark or take their chance. The captain distributed among these poor fellows arms, ammunition, and some other necessaries. When we parted they stood upon the beach, giving us three cheers and calling out, "God bless the King!" We saw them a little after setting out upon their forlorn