may, the curse was still potent, for as the next mishap six sailors and one of the Indians stole the barge and made off to sea with it. This left the others stranded and bereft of everything that belonged to them. Besides this affliction, the Patagonian chief was disgruntled because the barge was to have been his reward for befriending them. He was for killing them at once as the easiest way to settle the account, but it was Midshipman Byron, of course, who cajoled him out of his mood and pleased him with the gift of a fowling-piece. The six seamen who stole the barge passed into oblivion at the same time, and so were justly punished for their perfidy. They joined the great majority of the Wager's company who never saw port again.
Over the rocks and through the swamps panted and staggered the few survivors, hauling and paddling canoes like galley-slaves and abused immoderately by their Indian guides, or captors. They were cold and wet and famished, and at last the surgeon died, and the others were little more than shadows. Captain Cheap grew more selfish and pompous, and adversity had no power to chasten him. One more picture and we are almost done with him.