Page:Paine--Lost ships and lonely seas.djvu/457

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LOST SHIPS AND LONELY SEAS
 

When the little schooner hoisted the union jack and fired a swivel in token of good-by, the king and his young son came aboard from a canoe, to be together until the vessel had passed out through the channel of the reef. A multitude of natives followed in canoes, offering gifts of fruit and flowers, yams and cocoanuts, which could not be accepted for lack of space. Gently they were told this, but each held up a little something, crying: "Only this from me! Only this from me!" Other canoes were sent ahead to pilot the schooner or to buoy the reef. When it came time for the king to summon his own canoe he said farewell to his son, and then embraced Captain Wilson with great tenderness, saying:

"You are happy because you are going home. I am happy to find you are happy, but still very unhappy myself to see you going away."

In this manner two rare men saw the last of each other. Captain Henry Wilson was far too modest to claim credit to himself, but it is quite obvious that the happy ending of this tragedy of the sea was largely due to his own serene courage, kindliness, and ability as a seaman and a commander. An inferior type of man would have made a sorry mess of the whole affair.

The schooner pluckily made her way through fair weather and foul until she safely reached the road-