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CHAPTER XVII

THE NOBLE KING OF THE PELEW ISLANDS

MANY kinds of ships and men have endured the eternal enmity of the sea, as these true tales have depicted, but there is one episode of disaster which might be called the pattern and the proper example for all mariners cast away on unknown shores. It reveals the virtues and not the vices of mankind in time of stress, and saves from oblivion the portrait of a dusky monarch so wise and just and kind that he could teach civilization much more than he could learn from it. No white men had ever set foot in his island realm until he welcomed this shipwrecked crew, and the source of his precepts and ideals was that inner light which had been peculiarly vouchsafed him. Naked and tattooed, he was not only a noble ruler of his people, but also a very perfect gentleman.

The packet Antelope, in the service of the East India Company, sailed from Macao in July, 1783, and was driven ashore in a black squall on one of the Pelew Islands three weeks later. All of the people

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