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LOST SHIPS AND LONELY SEAS

The ship was fast grinding to pieces, but there was no confusion, and the carpenter was so intent on getting his kit of tools together that he would have been left behind if the captain had not searched for him. A landing was made in a sandy cove, and no natives were discovered. Tents were rigged of sail-cloth, fires built, the arms cleaned and dried, and sentries posted for the night. One might have supposed that this efficient ship's company was in the habit of being shipwrecked.

Two canoes came paddling into the cove next day, and Captain Wilson went down to meet the islanders. Luckily, he had with him a sailor named Tom Rose who could talk one or two Malay dialects, and he managed to struggle along as an interpreter for the reason that a native in one of the canoes could also speak the Malay tongue.

To questions Tom Rose answered that these were unfortunate Englishmen who had lost their ship upon the reef and wished to be friends. Unafraid and cordially disposed, eight islanders left the canoes and accepted Captain Wilson's invitation to breakfast. Two of the guests were found to be brothers of the king. They tasted tea and biscuit for the first time, and were introduced to the officers, with whom they shook hands, having quickly noted that this was the accepted manner of greeting.