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was too heavy for her to move. In the centre of the sailors' hut stood the cask of rum which had been the cause of their destruction. It was nearly empty nowso light, indeed, that she had no difficulty in rolling it to one side.
She cleaned out the place as well as she could, and, returning to where Mr. Meeson's body lay, fetched the bag of biscuits and the roasted eggs, after which they had their breakfast.
Fortunately, there was but little rain that morning, so Augusta took Dick out to look for eggs, not because they wanted any more, but in order to employ themselves. Together they climbed up on to a rocky headland, where the flag was flying, and looked out across the troubled ocean. There was nothing in sight so far as the eye could see-nothing but the white wavehorses, across which the black cormorants steered their swift, unerring flight. She looked and looked till her heart sank within her.
“Will Mummy soon come in a boat to take Dick away?" asked the child at her side; and then she burst into tears.
When she had recovered herself they set to collecting eggs, an occupation which delighted Dick greatly, notwithstanding the screams and threatened attacks of the birds. Soon they had as many as she could carry; so they went back to the hut and lit a fire of driftwood, and roasted some eggs in the hot ashes; she had no pot to boil them in. Thus, one way and another the day wore away, and at last the darkness began to fall over the rugged peaks behind and the wild wilderness of sea before. She put Dick to bed, and he went off to sleep. Indeed, it was wonderful to see how well the child bore the hardships through which they were passing. He never had an ache or a pain, or even a cold in the head.
After Dick was asleep Augusta sat, or rather lay in the dark listening to the moaning of the wind as it beat upon the shanty and passed away in gusts among the cliffs and mountains beyond. The loneliness was something awful, and together with the thought of what the end of it would probably be, quite broke her spirit down. She knew that the chances of her escape were small indeed. Ships did not often come to this dreadful and uninhabited coast, and if one should happen to put in there, it was exceedingly probable that it would touch at some other point and never see her or her flag. And then in time the end would come. The supply of eggs would fail, and she would be driven to supporting life upon such birds as she could catch, till at last the child sickened and died, and she followed it to that dim land that lies beyond Kerguelen and the world. She prayed that the child might die first. It was awful to think that perhaps it might be the other way about: she might die first, and the child might be left to starve beside her. The morrow would be Christmas Day. Last Christmas Day she had spent with her dead sister at Birmingham. She remembered that they went to church in the morning, and after dinner she
had finished correcting the last revises of "Jemima's Vow.” Well, it seemed likely that long before another Christmas came she would have gone to join little Jeannie. And then, being a good and religious girl, Augusta rose to her knees and prayed to Heaven with all her heart and soul to rescue them from their terrible position, or, if she was doomed to perish, at least to save the child.
And so the long cold night wore away in thought and vigil, till at last, some two hours before the dawn, she got to sleep. When she opened her eyes again it was broad daylight, and little Dick, who had been awake some time beside her, was sitting up playing with the shell which Bill and Johnnie had used to drink rum out of. She rose and put the child's things a little to rights, and then, as it was not raining, told him to run outside while she went through the form of dressing by taking off such garments as she had, shaking them, and putting them on again. She was slowly going through this process, and wondering how long it would be before her neck ceased to smart from the effects of the tattooing, when Dick came running in without going through the formality of knocking.
“O Auntie! Auntie!” he sang out in high glee, “here's a big ship coming sailing along. Is it Mummie and Daddie coming to fetch Dick?"
Augusta sank back faint with the sudden revulsion of feeling. If there was a ship, they were savedsnatched from the very jaws of death. But perhaps it
Mr. Meeson's Will.
was the child's fancy. She threw on the body of her dress; and, her long yellow hair--which, in default of better means, she had been trying to comb out with a bit of wood--streaming behind her, took the child by the hand, and flew as fast as she could go down the little rocky promontory off which Bill and Johnnie had met their end. Before she had run half-way down it, she saw that the child's tale was true—for there was a large vessel sailing right up the fjord from the open sea. She was not two hundred yards from where they were, and her canvas was being rapidly furled preparatory to the anchor being dropped.
Thanking Providence for the sight as she never thanked anything before, Augusta sped on till she came to the extreme point of the promontory, and stood there waving Dick's little cap towards the vessel, which moved slowly and majestically on, till presently, across the clear water, came the splash of the anchor, followed by the sound of the fierce rattle of the chain through the hawse-pipes. Then there came another sound—the glad sound of human voices cheering. She had been
Five minutes passed, and she saw a boat lowered and manned. The oars were got out, and presently it was backing water within ten paces of her.
“Go round there,” she called, pointing to the little bay, “and I will meet you.”
By the time that she had got to the spot the boat was already beached, and a tall, thin, kindly-faced man
was addressing her in an unmistakable Yankee accent: “Cast away, Miss?” he said interrogatively.
“Yes,” gasped Augusta; “we are the survivors of the Kangaroo, which sank in collision with a whaler about a week ago.”
“Ah!” said the captain, “with a whaler? Then I guess that's where my consort has gone to. She's been missing about a week, and I put in here to see if I could get upon her tracks--also to fill up with water. Wall, she was well insured, anyway; and when last we spoke her, she had made a very poor catch. haps, Miss, you will, at your convenience, favour me with a few particulars?"
Accordingly, Augusta sketched the history of their terrible adventure in as few words as possible; and the tale was one that made even the phlegmatic Yankee captain stare. Then she took him, followed by the crew, to the hut where Meeson lay dead, and to the other hut, where she and Dick had slept upon the previous night.
“Wall, Miss," said the captain, whose name was Thomas, “I guess that you and the youngster will be about ready to vacate these apartments; so, if you please, I will send you off to the ship, the Harpoon—that's her name-of Norfolk, in the United States. You will find her well flavoured with oil, for we are about full to the hatches; but, perhaps, under the circumstances, you will not mind that. Anyway, my Missus, who is aboard-having come the cruise for her health and