.A fictionalized account of Patrick Watkins by the author, a frequent contributor to Ballou's Monthly Magazine. The account of dealing with Watkins for vegetables and the theft of a whaleboat is similar to that in the May 20th, 1809 entry in Paul West's Ship's Log: Whaleship Cyrus. —JW.
My Uncle Malachi Worth was a veteran whaler of the old school, who had made several Pacific voyages in the days when ships were small and sperm whales numerous, and the passages out and home covered half the duration of the voyage; when the Galapagos were the very ultima thule of his navigation, all to leeward of that group being a great unknown sea; when sextants were valued for their weight of metal, and chronometers scarcely heard of except in discovering ships; when the topgallantmasts were all sent on deck in latitude forty to strip for the fight with Cape Horn, and triumphantly sent aloft again in the same parallel on the other side; when the oil was stowed down in wooden-bound casks, and half the between-decks reserved for coiling down “wooden cables;” and when the ship's bottom was as guiltless of copper as her sides were of bulwarks above the spar-deck. All these points my Uncle Worth dwelt upon as things to be proud of; not as deficiencies or disadvantages, but rather as evidences that all the new innovations and explorations were worse than useless; for he was accustomed to say to us, his nephews and grandsons, “What's the use of your making voyages clear round the globe, and cruising away down to Loo Choo, and away up to Kamtchatka, where you are gone twice as long as I used to be, and don't get any more oil?” Argument was wasted upon him. “There's whales enough now on Peru and Chili,” he woud say, “if you'll only go there and stick there. You don't want any crow-nometers or bay-rometers to find your way there, nor any toggle-irons and bomb-shells to kill them with.”
But, with all his obstinacy and old-fogyism, which, after all, was mostly put on for effect, my venerable uncle was the best of company for us younger seamen; for he was really an intelligent man, and his stock of yarns was inexhaustible. He was, in most cases, his own hero, and if any place mentioned by us was within his old cruising limits, he had an adventure to relate with it; if it was beyond his boundary line, he listened complacently, but generally ended by declaring it an outlandish island, and lamenting the perversity of the present generation of seamen in going there at all.
“The Galleypaguses,” said the old gentleman, “is as far off shore as ever I saw any need to go. I was put ashore once there, and lived there some months.”
“Lived there!” I exclaimed, in astonishment. “That's the last place I should select for a hermitage.”
“Well, I didn't pick it out myself,” said Uncle Worth, “though I was ugly enough when I went ashore to go anywhere for a change. You see I was taken sick with a fever while we lay below Tumbez bar in the old Atlas, and she went to sea and left me there, as it was a very doubtful case whether I lived or died. But I weathered it, and as soon as I got strong, of course I was anxious to get away from such a hole as that, for there was nothing there but a few half-savage Spanish-Indian mongrels, and legions of alligators and fleas. It may be a little better place now-a-days, but I guess not much. Well, I couldn't wait for the Atlas to come back, and I shipped in an English whaler, called the Hotspur, that was bound off to the Galleypaguses, and the captain agreed if he fell in with the Atlas to put me aboard. But he hadn't more'n got me into blue water before he told me he shouldn't do anything of the kind,, and I soon found my treatment there was going to be monkey's allowance, ‘more kicks than ha'pence.’ Well, I sotod it as patiently as I could till I couldn't bear it any longer, and finally I knocked him down on his own quarter-deck. He and his mates then seized me up to the rigging, and he was going to flog me, when I told him he had better flog me to death, for if he didn't, I would have his life afterwards. He thought better of it, and instead of flogging me, he cut me adrift and put me into handcuffs. He threatened to set me ashore on one of the islands under his lee, and I told him I'd thank him to do so; or if he would only stand in sight of the land, and give me two planks for a raft, I would shake the dust of his old Hotspur off my feet, and give him no further trouble.
“We made the land the next day, and he lowered a boat and went himself to set me ashore. He was well bowsed up, as, indeed he was nearly all the time, and when I asked him what island it was, he told me to find out by my education; but I doubt if he knew himself, for he had a navigator with him, shipped for the purpose. We pulled into a bay where there was good landing for the boat, my irons were taken off, and I stepped ashore with my few traps in a bag. Old Clavering pulled out a bottle from under the stern, and after taking a good long pull of it, asked me if I wouldn't have a drink. I turned on my heel without making him any answer, and he shoved off and left me.
“I didn't wait long on the beach. I pushed up inland to get a sight from the high rocks off to seaward, to see if I could form any judgment of my whereabouts. I had been one season among these islands, and judged it must be Charles's Island that I had landed on, and if so, there was a post-office in a harbor on the northwest side, a box erected by some of the whalemen, where each ship which touched left her report. Following the coast round, having only the sun for a guide as to direction, I found the bay, as I had expected, and going down to the beach, found five or six papers in the post-office, but nothing later than three months back. It was not the time when ships were most likely to come here, as everybody there was over about Albemarle and Narborough, where the whales are found in great numbers. But I was satisfied of one thing, that I was on Charles's Island. I was likely to stay there some time, too, as no sail was in sight but the Hotspur, and she was standing over towards Albemarle. It was not a very cheering prospect, for these island are not suited for human beings to live on, nor, indeed, anything else but guanas and terrapins, who can live a year or two without food or drink, and grow fat on it.
“I spent nearly all day hunting for water, and at last found a place where I could scoop a little out of the hollows of the rocks; but this was warm and flat, and I knew that a few days more would try it all up, and I should have to depend then upon the terrapins' stomachs, and kill one when I wanted a drink. Those animals take in their stock of water for a whole year at a time, and live on a much smaller allowance of it than the camels of the great desert that we read so much about. I had brought a tinder-box in my bag, so I built a fire and cooked some more of the terrapin, which you know is good eating; but I had no bread or potatoes with it, and, above all, I suffered for the want of good water and a comfortable place of shelter, for the sun was burning hot, and the stunted trees that grew here and there were nearly all withered for the want of moisture. I hope boys, you may never know by experience the delights of wandering all day about the rocks of a dry, parched, volcanic island, lying right under the equator, and drinking lukewarm water from the rocks or from land-turtles' stomachs. I kept on the move, hoping to stumble upon a spring, for I had heard there was one on the island somewhere. But I did not find any, and, towards the middle of the afternoon, tired out and overpowered by the heat, I came to a spot where two stunted trees grew near together, though they didn't furnish much shade, and here I sat down to rest awhile. I strained my eyes all round the horizon to search of a sail, but could see none. There were other islands in sight, but they were all as near alike as peas in a pod. I leaned against the parched trunk of one of these trees, and closed my eyes in thought.
“I don't know how long I sat there before I was startled by a sound of something striking the rocks, and turning my head, I saw a man, or, at any rate, something in human form, coming towards me. He had no covering on his body above the waist, and his skin was burnt and tanned from exposure to the sun; his lower limbs were pushed through a couple of rude bags of hair seal-skin, while his bare feet pattered from rock to rock, as if perfectly at home among them. He had the remains of an old straw hat perched on his head, but his long red hair and beard were matted and tangled together, and his face and body had a baked appearance, as if all the juices had been dried out of him. He carried an old flint-lock musket in his hand, that looked about as rusty and neglected as its owner. His manner and appearance were wild and savage beyond anything I had ever seen in human form, as he strode up to me and levelled his old flint-lock at me, almost poking the muzzle of it into my ear.
“ ‘What are ye doing here?’ he roared, with a strong Irish brogue.
“ ‘Sitting down to rest,’ I answered, timidly; for it was not to be wondered at that I was struck with terror at the terrible appearance of the figure before me, and the lonely circumstances of our meeting in this out-of-the-way place.
“ ‘Lost from your ship?’ he asked, wildly, still keeping his gun levelled at my head.
“ ‘No,’ answered I. ‘I was put ashore here by the captain.’
“ ‘From what ship?’
“ ‘The Hotspur, of London.’
“ ‘Clavering?’ he inquired, with a hideous leer in his eyes.
“ ‘Yes,’ said I, ‘that's the skipper's name.’
“ ‘Ah, the soundrel! I know him this many a day,’ he said, lowering his gun, somewhat to my relief. ‘Dry and hungry, aren't you?’ he asked.
“ ‘Yes,’ said I. ‘I'm suffering for a drink of good water, and if you know of any spring, I wish you would direct me to it.’
“ ‘Travel on ahead of me,’ he answered, in a tone of command. ‘Here, this way,’ pointing to the eastward.
“ ‘I obeyed in silence, stepping off at a round pace, while the tall, wiry figure followed close in my rear, carrying the old musket at a trail, and on the half cock.
“ ‘Ye're not an Englishman?’ he snapped out, suddenly, and as if his mind was fully made up about it.
“ ‘No,’ I replied, ‘I'm an American. I shipped with Clavering in Tumbez, where I had been left ashore sick.’
“ ‘What's yer name?’ he demanded, in the same crusty style.
“ ‘Malachi Worth.’
“ ‘Nantucketer?’ he jerked out again.
“ ‘Yes,’ said I. ‘I came out in the Atlas. Have you heard of her?’
“ ‘Didn't come here this year,’ he returned. ‘Up off Cape Blanco.’
“We trudged on under a blazing sun, my companion following me up close, and now and then indicating the direction he meant for me to take, and I was nearly exhausted, when, shortly before sundown, we rose a hill which overlooked the eastern side of the island, and a valley under cultivation lay before us, containing an acre and a half or more, and which was, perhaps, the only spot on the island, or, indeed, in the group, which afforded moisture enough to raise pumpkins and sweet potatoes. In the middle of this cultivated patch stood a small hut, rudely constructed of driftwood and old canvas, towards which we directed our course. A slight-built lad, who looked like an American, was working among the potato patches, his nakedness partially covered by tattered garments, and a small Peruvian dog ran from the hut to meet us, yelping spitefully at me, and fawning upon my savage comrade.
“An old barrel set into the ground by way of curb, at a short distance back from the hut, told where the spring was, and was, just at that moment, the most attractive object in the picture. After I had satisfied my wants in that particular, I went with the wild Irishman into his shanty, which was as rude and filthy inside as out. He pulled a bottle of rum out of a dark corner of the hut, and half emptied it at a single pull; then hailing the youngster, who was working among the potatoes, and whom he addressed as Jake, he ordered him to cook supper. He then proceeded to inform me that he was the proprietor of this plantation, and the sovereign lord and master of the island, and that I might be his obedient and loyal subject, and work for him, subject to his orders, or, if I preferred, I might just climb the hill again and go off on my own hook. As I saw no prospect before me in that case but suffering and death, unless a ship soon arrived, and felt that I was entirely dependent upon the bounty of this semi-savage, I readily agreed to anything.
“All this time he was swigging away at his bottle, and, as the liquor operated, he became more boastful and swaggering.
“ ‘Did you never hear of King Pat?’ he asked.
“I was obliged to confess that I never had.
“ ‘And ye say ye've been a season at the Galleypaguses before?’
“ ‘Yes; but that was three years ago,’ I replied, ‘and I never landed on this island, though it seems to me I have heard of a man living here at that time.’
“ ‘Ay, that's the first season after I settled here, and I wasn't so well known. But all the whaling fleet knows Pat now, especially when they want pertaties. King Pat's my name, and I've two subjects now. There's one thing I want to put in my palace here.’
“ ‘What may that be?’ I inquired.
“ ‘A queen,’ said he. ‘As soon as I can get a boat, I'll go and get me one.’
“ ‘Where?’ I asked, in astonishment.
“ ‘Up to the coast of Peru,’ he replied, boldy. ‘At Payta or Guayaquil.’
“By this time Jake had the terrapin meat and potatoes boiling in the pot outside, and I went out to have a yarn with him while I watched the progress of the supper, for I was getting sharkish.
“ ‘Jake,’ said I, ‘how long have you lived here?’
“ ‘About six months,’ answered the youth, with an uneasy glance towards the hut. He was not more than seventeen, of a timid and submissive disposition, and evidently stood in great awe of his tyrannical master, King Pat.
“ ‘How came you ahsore here? were you lost from your shipmates?’
“ ‘He,’ jerking his head sideways towards the shanty, ‘he gave me liquor, and while I was drunk he stowed me away. When I came to myself the boat was gone, and he,’ with another jerk of the head, ‘kept me here, and wouldn't let me go.’
“ ‘Didn't your captain make any search for you?’ I asked.
“ ‘Yes, the ship came down here off and on, and sent her boat in; but he tied and gagged me, and carried me up behind that rock there, and I heard him tell my shipmates that he hadn't been able to find me, and he supposed I must have fallen down from the mountains somewhere, and been killed or drowned.’
“ ‘What ship did you belong to?’
“ ‘The English bark Laurel. I was a 'prentice in her.’
“ ‘But other ships have visited the place since?’
“ ‘O yes; but he always stows me away, and makes me keep out of sight. He'd kill me in a minute if I didn't do just as he tells me to,’ continued the youth, with a shudder.
“It was evident that the Irish savage had the boy completely cowed, having gradually established such a sway over his feeble mind, that he dared not disobey or cross him in any way.
“ ‘But,’ said I, ‘if he drinks rum at the rate I see him doing it now, he must get dead drunk sometimes, and you would have him in your power. If you don't want to stay here, you shall leave in the next ship that comes. When I go, you shall go with me, unless you prefer to stay here with this ruffian.’
“I found, however, that King Pat was not to be laid out dead drunk by even a full bottle of liquor; for, though noisy and boastful, as I have already observed, he always kept his legs and preserved his wits about him, so as not to be easily taken off his guard. I managed to jog on very well with him, and willingly assisted him to cultivate his farm, as well as to clear and break up some more land that he might extend his operations, and a fortnight passed away without the arrival of any vessel. Pat drank deeply, and seemed to have a large stock of rum stowed away in odd corners; for his produce, with which he supplied ships, was either bartered for liquor, or sold for Spanish dollars, as Jake informed me. Decent clothing or other comforts, he seemed to care nothing about; but the boy said he thought he must have considerable sums of money hidden somewhere.
“Jake and I climbed the rocks one day in search of a terrapin, when, mounting a high eminence, I discovered the mastheads of a ship at anchor in the bay. I told the boy that here was our chance for freedom, and encouraged him to go with me. We struck a bee-line of the ship, keeping her masts in view; but on gaining the cliff that overlooked the anchorage, I at once recognized her as the Hotsupur, and saw the captain and boat's crew at the foot of the rocks, examining the papers in the post-office box. I changed my plan as soon as I saw this, and concealed myself from view, directing the boy to do the same; for I preferred staying with King Pat to returning on board that ship, or even letting Clavering know that I was alive, and I was also determined not to make my young companion the subject of his brutal tyranny. Having reconnoitred, we returned to the hut and reported to Pat, who at once laid a plan to get possession of a boat. Having communicatd this to me, and secured my consent to join him in it, which I would hardly have yielded in the case of any other ship but this, he took his old musket and started off on a tramp over to the bay. He returned about nightfall, having agreed to deliver a lot of potatoes to Clavering, who was to come for them the next morning, and bring his own men to dig them and lug them down to his boat. He had no suspicion that there was any one else on the island but Pat, and no recollection of any former acquaintance with that strange and wretched looking being, who, as he had told me at our first meeting, had an old grudge against Clavering.
“The boat was seen, early the next day, rounding the point and pulling in to where Pat stood waiting at the most favorable place for beaching her, which was nearly a mile from the hut, and, as you know, is still called by whalemen, ‘Pat's Landing.’ He conducted them all up to his hut, and producing his bottles, plied them freely with liquor, and as Clavering could not stand more than half as much in this way as his host, he was soon laid out, while none of his boat's crew were in much better condition. Meanwhile, the boy and myself, who had lain concealed, took quiet possession of their boat, shoved her off, and pulled a short distance into the most convenient hiding-place that can be imagined.
“Nearly abreast of the shanty, on the seaward side of the valley, rose a rocky, precipice, old and steep on the surface, and hollowed out underneath, forming a natural cavern, while other rocks lying across the bight of it concealed it entirely from the view of any one passing outside. The water in this cave was many fathoms deep, and alive with fish, of the kinds called grouper and rock-cod. This cliff had the appearance of having been, at some distant period, a part of a crater, and been split asunder by some great convulsion. The cave could be entered by a passage in the rock from the land side, and here Pat had been accustomed to go whenever he wanted a change of diet, the fish being so abundant and ravenous that they might be caught with a bare hook. Into this snug retreat we took the Hotspur's boat, and secured her nearly up to the ‘Hole-in-the-Wall,’ as the land entrance was termed by us. The mouth of the cave where we took the boat in was not less than twenty yards across, but was protected from the sea, as well as from observation, by the off-lying barrier of rocks.
“Clavering, on recovering semewhat from the effects of his debauch, was of course mystified by th disappearance of his boat; but as no one had had any care of her for several hours, it was decided that she must have struck adrift, floated out, and been swept away by the currents, which, as you know, run with more violence than regularity among this group of islands. He was obliged to make his way overland to the anchorage of his ship, and returned next day for his potatoes. He saw no one but Pat himself, as before, for Jake and I were careful to keep out of sight, and he finished his business and went to sea without the slightest suspicion of the truth.
“As soon as the Hotspur was fairly at sea, King Pat began to make his arrangements for a voyage to the coast in search of a queen to grace his palace and cheer his loneliness. He purposed taking Jake with him on this cruise, leaving me alone in charge of his plantation. The boat was well stocked with provisions and water, for the passage might be long, and there was no chance of rain in this part of the ocean. The distance to Guayaquil was only about seven hundred miles on a course nearly east, but the prevailing winds were against him, and much calm weather was to be expected. No danger was to be apprehended from storms, there being no part of the ocean so free from perils of that kind. Indeed, it was common for ships cruising there to lash down the clews of their topsails and unreeve the running gear to save the chafe and wear of it. He embarked his old gun and all his money, and put to sea one fine morning, leaving me for the time ‘monarch of all I surveyed.’ I of course did not intend to remain if a chance offered to get on board of a ship, that is, any other than the Hotspur, and I lost no time in contriving means to let my situation be known to any one arriving at the anchorage, by putting my ‘report’ in the post-office box, while I did not fail every morning to climb a high cliff, whence I could see the mastheads of a vessel if one should have entered the harbor. I had no boat or other conveyance to leave the island with, or I might have gone down to the grounds about Albemarle and Narborough, where I should have been quite sure of being picked up by some of my countrymen. I sometimes thought of attempting this on a float of inflated seal-skins; but as this seemed at best but a desperate undertaking, I gave it up, and being comfortably situated, with abundance of provisions, I determined to wait patiently till the season when ships were most likely to touch here.
“For two months I had led this solitary life, without a visit from any living being, and now began to look anxiously towards the rising sun every morning for the reappearance of King Pat returning with his queen, when one of those series of volcanic changes occurred which are no uncommon events among islands of this formation, and which sometimes change the whole face of nature in their progress. For several days mysterious rumbling noises were heard in the earth, and one night I was awakened by a bright light shining down upon me, and rose to find a fresh crater opened up in the interior of the island. This continued to burn for forty-eight hours, though the eruption was not violent, and during all this time I observed a slight escape of sulphurous smoke from the ‘Hole-in-the-Wall,’ and volumes of it rising from the cave on the outside of the cliff, showing a communication with the interior through this underground chamber. On the third day this escape ceased, though the high crater still continued to send up black clouds at intervals, and slight noises and tremblings were perceptible now and then. On climbing to my perch, as usual, my eyes rested upon a distant sail steering directly at the island; but as the wind was light, it was sometime before I satisfied myself that she was a fore-and-aft schooner, and my attention had been so fixed upon the distant vessel, that I had not until now observed a boat which was not more than two miles from me, and was just setting her sail. Two figures only could be seen in her, which I was not long in conjecturing to be those of Pat and his queen. He had probably been lying-to during the night, so as to approach the landing by daylight, and had just observed the schooner. He had no crew to man his oars, and therefore had no alternative but to set his sail, at the risk of revealing his position to his pursuers, as they could not see him at that distance in range of the land if he kept it down. But they would soon be up with him if he remained lying-to, and to elude them he must push on and reach the shore. All this, of course, I understood afterwards, though at the moment I knew nothing of any pursuit, or of the business of the strange vessel in this locality.
“I descended the mountains to the beach to meet and welcome my sovereigns, but I perceived by their course that they did not intend to land at the usual place. At seeing me there, the boat was sheered within hail, and Pat cried:
“Throw them off the track when they come ashore! Tell them I've gone round the other side of the island! You'll find me at the Hole-in-the-Wall!’
“I waved my hand as a signal that I understood the situation, and the boat again yawed off out of reach of the voice, steering for the cavern. Pat, so far as I could judge at that distance, was much metamorphosed since he left me. His hair and beard were trimmed, and he was dressed in a decent suit of clothes, with a broad Panama hat, looking, for the first time since my knowledge of him, like a Christian being. This I attributed, of course, to the humanizing influence of the woman at his side, who appeared, at that distance, a fine specimen of the Spanish-Indian race, tawny in color, but with handsome features, and free, erect figure.
“I left the landing place, retreating in the direction of the shanty, as I thought the pursuers might lose some little time looking for the best spot to land, if there was no one to indicate it to them. The boat sped on for the cave, and was lost to my view just as the schooner hove in sight round a projecting point in pursuit.
“To my astonishment, those on board showed no signs of surprise or bewilderment at having lost sight of the boat. They dropped their own small boat, and sent here in with four men to the landing-place, which they seemed to know as well as I did myself, while the vessel herself ran in close to the rocks off the mouth of the cavern. Some one must be on board who knew the locality well. As the boat struck the beach, the mystery was explained; for besides the four armed men whom I had seen in her, the boy Jake made his appearance as guide and pilot.
“‘Are you here yet, Worth?’ said he, joyfully seizing my hand. ‘I thought you would have got away before this. Pat's in the cave, I suppose; but he may as well come out first as last. He has run away with Catalina, the niece of old Don Whon, and killed a soldier in Guayaquil, and they are after him now and bound to have him.’
“He started off at the call of the impatient Spaniards, to show them the entrance to the Hole-in-the-Wall, leaving me a mere spectator of the proceedings of the party, which of course I watched with much interest. They approached the hole in the rock, the boy still leading, and just before reaching it were hidden from me by a low hill.
“They had hardly disappeared from view when the report of a musket was heard, and the party suddenly fell back, bearing Jake among them, wounded in the arm, though not severely, as I ascertained by running forward to meet them. Pat still held to his old flint-lock, and knowing he could expect no mercy from the Spanish authorities, meant to defend himself desperately.
“A pause now ensued, while the boy's arm was bandaged, and the party then prepared cautiously for another advance. But at this moment the rumbling noises under the earth were renewed, and the swarthy Spaniards turned pale with affright, as the dreadful, whispered word, ‘terremoto!’ passed from mouth to mouth; for these dwellers under the Andes were no strangers to the sound, or to the effects which sometimes followed it. I cast my glance upward at the newly-opened crater; its volume of smoke increased and spread until the whole upper part of the mountain was envelped in a dark cloud, through which still darker masses could be distinguished shooting skyward, with loud reports; the whole air about us became thickened and filled with choking vapors, and a sudden blast from the narrow passage in the cape-rock fairly drove us to seek safety by flight. I looked to seaward; the same clouds which I had observed during the former eruption rose from the cave heavier than before, obscuring the schooner entirely from view, and increasing till the whole mountain was enveloped in their impervious folds. Jake and I stood petrified, bereft, as it were, of speech or motion, while the frightened Spaniards fell upon their knees, calling wildly upon all the saints to interpose for their safety.
“Suddenly the eruption from the main crater inland ceased, appearing to be checked by some obstruction, the subterranean roaring grew louder, while the earth of the valley where we stood swelled and wavered like a sea; the pent-up fire and smoke rushed into the passage under the cavern-rock, and pouring from its narrow vents, buried all in still deeper obscurity; then a sound was heard like the explosion of a steam boiler, and the fierce after-escape of the confined vapors, combined with a noise like the crashing and splitting of massive rocks. The smoke lifted and spread, clearing gradually, the earth in the valley became steady and firm again, and the black cloud drifted off to leeward. The crater on high was again in active operation, the Hole-in-the-Wall had disappeared under immense masses of fallen rock, and the whole sea-face of the precipice had fallen in a chaotic pile of boulders and fragments of every variety of shape and size. The aspect of the shoreline was entirely changed for an extent of nearly half a mile, and the view was open to the ocean, which a minute before had been bounded by the rocky bluff forming one wall of the valley. The outlaw and his innocent but too credulous companion were entombed, far beyond the reach of mortal quest, but not before they had been mercifully suffocated by the noxious vapors in the rocky vault.
“The Spaniards rose to their feet, devoutly crossing themselves, and rushed for their boat, which still lay in safety on the shore; for the convulsions of the earth had not thus far been accompanied by the phenomenon of the tidal wave, which we had every reason to dread, and the greatest haste was made by us all to gain the schooner's deck, and to give her a safe offing from the shores of Las Encantadas, or the Enchanted Islands, as this group was commonly called by the Spanish Americans. Within an hour we were watching the steady escape of the smoke from the creater at a safe distance, and making our way towards the coast as well as light and adverse winds would permit.
“I learned from Jake, who rapidly recovered from the flesh-wound inflicted by the bullet intended for his head, that King Pat (for he no longer said ‘he’ with that timid jerk of the head) had treated him with great cruelty during the passage up to the coast, which occupied three weeks, had beaten and nearly starved him, and, landing in a retired spot on the shore of the gulf, had turned him adrift there, threatening to shoot him if he ever came to the town; but the poor boy had been taken in charge by a native fisherman, who was very kind to him. The wild adventurer, it seems, after making himself presentable among civilized beings, had wound himself into the affections of the young woman Catalina, and persuaded her to accompany him to his beautiful island, of which he had no doubt given her the most glowing descriptions. They had stolen away to his boat in the night, and one of the guards, having his suspicions aroused, had attempted to stop them, but was shot by Pat, who immediately pushed out to sea. The murder and the abduction of Catalina, who was related to one of the Spanish officials, had roused the authorities. The schooner was despatched next morning in search of him, and Jake, appearing with his story at the right moment, was taken on board, not much against his own wishes, I thought, to act as pilot.
“From Guayaquil I made my way across the bay to Tumbez again, where I found my old ship the Atlas, and reported myself on board, having been absent from her about six months.”
Here Uncle Malachi ended his yarn, which I was inclined to think rather apocryphal.
“I have been to ‘Pat's Landing’ myself, Uncle Worth,” said I, “and I have heard that he went up to the coast in a whaleboat, but I have never heard that he returned to the islands.”
“His fate was just as I have told you,” answered the old seaman. “You may take your old uncle's word for it, for no other one could tell you as much about it, except the English boy Jake, and I've never seen or heard of him since I left him at Guayaquil”