Page:Paine--Lost ships and lonely seas.djvu/341

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America. When the season of spring arrived, the tribe broke camp for the long pilgrimage to the pampas and the chase of the wild horses which supplied food and raiment.

The customary route to the sea passed within a hundred miles of Buenos Aires, and the sailors persuaded their masters that it was worth while trying to obtain ransom for them. At last there was a tangible hope of extricating themselves, but it brought joy only to three of the four comrades. Poor John Duck happened to be a mulatto born in London, and his brown skin won the fancy of the Indians, who insisted that he was of their own blood. Therefore they refused to part with him and he was sold for a very high price to another chief in a region even more remote, and this was the last of him. His three shipmates were very sorrowful at leaving him, no doubt, and it must have been an incident deeply moving when they shook hands and went their opposite ways, for they had suffered manifold things together and carried it off magnificently. And in their minds there must have been the memory of that vow they had sworn together "never to quit each other unless compelled by a superior force."

The chief was faithful to his word in sending a messenger to Buenos Aires, where the Spanish governor expressed his willingness to buy three English