Chapter 52030954

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Chapter NumberXXIV
Chapter Title
Chapter Url
Full Date1884-09-06
Page Number3
Word Count1798
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleMorning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Qld. : 1878 - 1954)
Trove TitleRonald Walton: A Tale of Early Squatting Life in Moreton Bay
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[Allriijht reserved.]


"I didn't like thc looks of the skipper, nor what be said, so I watched him. He had a long pull-a good mile-and he kept looking at ns pretty often. I called most of the fellows up, and opened the situation to them. Said I ' I believe that thundering skunk knows the ship as well as we do, ana has gone ashore to do us'e mischief. If we're bowled out we'll be lynched without judge or jury. What's to be done? One said, ' Let'B get ashore and make tracks for thc diggings. We'll not bc known in the crowd.' Another proposed to seattle the ship there and then, and ship aboard some vessel that was ready to etart but hadn't a crew. Well, we didn't know what to do, but at last there was only two things we could do-Btaud and fight it out, or cut and run. I sn.idr ' Kow, mates, listen to myttaa. fa luce6,-gï-'t*-ïttggIrigV7~ where they are Betting cold by the hundred- weight, but the chances are, wc can't get away without being bowled out, and if wc are, we'll be scragged. Then about scuttling the ship and shipping aboard auother, that's too risky to my fancy. Every ship in port

would be searched to find us-it's about the

first thing they'do. Besides, what's tho good of shipping under a skipper we don't know anything about T We have a good ship, and can sail lier to some other port and sell her, or get rid of her somehow, if we want. But I'll teU you what-if wo we're not out of this sharp, with the Bhip or without her well all be dancing at the yard-arm with- out «ny foot-ropes under us, before morn- ing. He meant mischief when he went ashore, III swear. There's a : good breeze' that'U take us clean out with one board. They talked a bit over it, and said they wotild cut and run for it with the ship. I told them to tumble aloft, and I'd take the wheel, for I .could pilot her. I kept a sharp look-out shoreward with thc glass.' and Wowed if I didn't spy abie 4mat coming off,- full of men with rifle», and that rascally skipper steering. I shouted. Spread every inch of canvas lads they're coming! Bown tackB and sheets.' As Boon ia* the fellows in the boat saw what we meant, they gave way like mad, but our crew were smart, and on deck in no time.

" Vp anchor lads, and let's get away, or' 'they'll be within range, and we'll getpepper.r Well, they hove away at the windlass, out,

the ¡anchor was foul. * Heave down hand- somely, lads,.' ' They did, and some of the bars broke. She was < broaching-to, and would have been.head .to wind in two minutes, aol'shouted,'Get the axe, HoppyJ' They hove down again áx hard as they èoiild, and' when the next swell came in Hobby dropped into the cable by the hawse-hole with the axe,

and ¡parted it. She rose with a jump that' made everything üap and rattle as if a' whale. bad Struck her. I looked astern, the boat was close to ns, and the fellows just going .to-' give ns a volley. I said, ' Eight of-you go1 down into the cabin, get your arms," and 'if they come 'too close, give them a raking 1 The boat's crew did not fire, because as soon as I spoke to our fellows, there wasn't-»ny> thing io -fire-«*.- She -WM running-pretty slose: to the wind, and not making.much way, so I could steer her on my'knees.1 I chanced a peep over the Bteni now and then, and saw they were gaining ou us. At last I heard a volley out of the stern windows, and another

from thc boat at the same instant. There was

cheering from both sides, and I could hear the men speaking in the boat. I looked over,

and saw that two or throe of thom were in the bottom of the boat, but their mates were pulling like fury, and the skipper tell- ing them not to let us beat them. I passed thc word down into thc cabin for them to pot the skipper at the steer-oar. Then there were two more volleys. Two of our follows were killed, and three wounded, and tho boat's crew suffered too. Our lads got very mad, and peppered them well, bût the boat s crew was game, and keptat it, and tile skipper was still steering. It was getting dark, and in half an hour we could laugh at them. ' Stand by lads to trim thc sails/ I shouted to the chaps on deck ; ' we'll show them a clean pair of heels now.' I cased the helm and she went free, and walked away from thom hand over fist. ' They left off pulling, and gave us a parting volley, but it did no harm.

" Night came on ; BO we made all snug and bore straight away. Almut ten that night we held a consultation to sec what course wc should keep. Some were for one thing, Borne for another. We were all in the cabin except the cook, and he was steering. Just as we were in the thick of it, lie comes to the cabin door and shouts, ' Quick 1 A large paddle steamer bearing right down upon ns V We all ruined out, and there she was, sure enough coming straight for us. . We'd forgot our lights, so it wasn't the steamer'« fault ; but it was top late now. All we could do was to sing out, ' Port your helm V In half a ?abrate more she struck us amidships.'?. She WM wedged, to tight into our poor ship that

we alt bad time to get aboard her. but nothing tospare, for the " Retribution sank as the lost/ pun gait off."

" What about the captain and mates 1' asked


' " Well, you see, we hadn't time to : look after them. They were fastened up in the little crib in the ooal-hole. Anyway,. one steamer wouldn't have held Ihrm and us too. The steamer was a large one from Panania, and was bound for Vancouver Island, because she had' changed hands and had to be delivered there, and was going to run between Vancouver and San Francisco. It was a lack]' escape for us, because if she'd been on the new berth then, it would have been found out who wc were, and all about us, if she'd been going into ' Frisco ; anil if she'd been coming out, thc skipper would have bowled us out from what had happened that evening iii port. We tobi them the real name of our snip-the Pride of Virginity-and- that the skipper and the

rest of them had gone to the bottom in


' ' ' What !' says the skipper of the steamer. The Pride of Virginny-whaler-Cap'n Abra- ham Jonathan Prometheus Washington

I Cathead ?"

1 The same, * says I ;1 aud a all-fired good I man, too,- and I draws my fill aero Ba my I eyes.

' Moses and Aaron ! It's my brother ! But where was he when we cut you down.'

' Down below in his cabin.'

' Tell me,' says he, ' Was lie right? You


' Oh,' says I, ' I don't like to say anything of the dead, hut what's good.'

' Blue denis ! Then lie was drunk. But it wasn't like him to sail without lights. Why didn't some of you tamal lubbers sling

'em ?

' Because none of us dared to do anything

without ordere.'

' Ha ! I know he was dead on discipline.

Where was the mateB ?'

' Down below with him.'

' Oh ! Abraham Jonathain Prometheus

Washington Cathead 1 I told you years ago how it would end ! Soe here-a finer, opener hearted, freer-handed sailor never trod a deck or steered a whalelioat, till he took to lush and knuckle-duBters, I calc'late, So he's gone 1 And half the ship was minc, too ! Ten years ago I wanted him to j inc thc Grand United Free and Independent Rovers of the Sea and Noble Western Prairie Mustang-Hunters' Lodge, to which this child hos the honour to belong. Wull ! wall ! Say, stranger-where was you bound for when we struck?'

' He never told us,'

' Where was you from ?'

1 Van Diemeu's Land and New Zealand

waters, A full ship-nigh up to the hatches

with oil.'

' Nigh up to the hatches with ile ! Jehosba phat 1 Why the ship and cargo was ha!j mine ! So I've lost-lost-thousands of dol- lars-and-my poor brother !'

" He toro his nair, jumped on his hat, and swore that it was more than a man could

Btand unsupported. He took me by the hand and lcd me into his cabin, and swore he'd doue with thc Grand United Free and In- dependent Rovers of thc Sea and Noble Western Prairie Mustang-hunters' Lodge foi ever, if that was all the luck it brought him Ile Uquored-up with whisky that night till hf was raving mad, and rushed out witt his revolver to shoot somebody, bm he was soon collared. He kept jaber ing all night about tho loss of his pool brother, and the ship and ' ile.' I wouldn' drink for fear I'd lot the cat out of the bag and told our fellows not to chance puttinj their necks in the noose, and they took th hint. Well, next day the skipper was better and got up a subscription for us, as we'd los all our things in the Pride of Virginny There Were lots of dassengers, and thc; chucked down, some ten, some twent; dollars each, and a new rig out too. Whe we got ¡uto port, thc skipper said he'd get u shins if we liked, but we thanked him kind! and declined, as we wished to go on our ow hook for particular reasons, so we split ut Snake, me, and Hoppy, agreed to leave th other fellows quietly. We altered the cut c our jibs a bit, and shipped aboard schoone going to 'Frisco, where we got berths in th .ChaorfuLji brie ÍKMIIII for Sydney. Then w worked our way out this far, and here we ar lad. How's the time ? I'm sleepy."

{To be continued.)