Page:Paine--Lost ships and lonely seas.djvu/340

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also gave each of us a piece of an old blanket to cover our nakedness."

Two hundred miles back into the mountainous interior, where white men had never been seen, the wandering party of horse-hunting Indians carried the four sailors. These were sporting savages with a taste for gambling, and it is chronicled that "in this place we were bought and sold four different times, for a pair of spurs, a brass pan, ostrich feathers and such trifles, which was the low price generally set on each of us; and sometimes we were played away at dice, so that we changed masters several times in a day."

A few weeks later the band of nomad Indians was joined by other parties, and together, with a train of fifteen hundred horses, they moved by easy stages far inland, almost a thousand miles from the coast, and came in four months' time to the capital, or chief town of the tribe, where the king claimed the seamen as his own property. He spoke a little Spanish, and hated the Spaniards so cordially that his friendly regard was offered these wanderers because they had served in an English man-of-war of a squadron sent against the enemy. They were slaves, it is true, but this condition was tempered with kindness, and for eight months they lived and labored among these wild horsemen of South