The Young Buglers by G. A. Henty
Chapter V. Overboard.
There were no lighter hearts than those of Tom and Peter Scudamore on board the transport "Nancy," as, among the hearty cheers of the troops on board, and the waving of hats and handkerchiefs from friends who had come out in small boats to say good-bye for the last time, she weighed anchor, and set sail in company with some ten or twelve other transports, and under convoy of two ships of war. It would be difficult to imagine a prettier scene. The guns fired, the bands of the various regiments played, and the white sails opened out bright in the sun as the sailors swarmed into the rigging, anxious to outvie each other. Even the soldiers pulled and hauled at the ropes, and ran round with the capstan bars to get the anchors apeak. Tom and Peter, of course, had, like the other boys, got very much in the way in their desire to assist, and, having been once or twice knocked over by the rush of men coming along with ropes, they wisely gave it up, and leaned over the side to enjoy the scene.
"This is splendid, Tom, isn't it?"
"Glorious, Peter; but it's blowing pretty strong. I am afraid that we sha'n't find it quite so glorious when we get out of the shelter of the island."
Peter laughed. "No; I suppose we sha'n't all look as jolly as we do now by night-time. However, the wind is nor'-westerly, which will help us along nicely, if, as I heard one of the sailors say just now, it does not go round to the south."
"Bugler, sound companies one, two, and three to breakfast."
The order interrupted the conversation, and, for the next hour, the boys had little time for talk. Half the regiment was on board the "Nancy," and, after breakfast, the men were divided into three watches, of which one was always to be on deck, for the ship was very crowded, and there was scarcely room for all the men to be below together. The boys were in the same watch, for the day previous to starting Tom had been appointed bugler to the 2d Company, Peter to the 3d. The 1st Company, or Grenadiers, were in the watch with the band, the 2d and 3d Companies were together, and the 4th and 5th.
Tom was very ill for the first two days of the voyage, while Peter did not feel the slightest effects from the motion. Upon the third day the wind dropped suddenly, and the vessels rolled heavily in the swell, with their sails flapping against the masts. Tom came up that morning upon deck feeling quite well again, and the boys were immensely amused at seeing the attempts of the soldiers to move about, the sudden rushes, and the heavy falls. A parade had been ordered to take place; but as no one could have stood steady without holding on, it was abandoned as impossible. The men sat about under the bulwarks, and a few amused themselves and the rest by trying to play various games, such as laying a penny on the deck, and seeing which would pitch another to lay nearest to it, from a distance of five yards. The difficulty of balancing oneself in a heavily rolling vessel, and of pitching a penny with any degree of accuracy, is great, and the manner in which the coins, instead of coming down flat and remaining there, rolled away into the scuppers, the throwers not unfrequently following them, produced fits of laughter.
Tom was still feeling weak from his two days' illness, and was not disposed actively to enter into the fun; but Peter enjoyed the heavy rolling, and was all over the ship. Presently he saw Sam, the black drummer, sitting in a dark corner below quietly asleep; his cap was beside him, and the idea at once occurred to Peter that here was a great opportunity for a joke. He made his way to the caboose, and begged the cook to give him a handful of flour. The cook at first refused, but was presently coaxed into doing so, and Peter stole to where Sam was asleep, and put the flour into his cap, relying that, in the darkness, Sam would put it on without noticing it. Then, going up to the deck above, Peter put his head down the hatchway, and shouted loudly, "Sam!"
The negro woke at the sound of his name. "What is it?" he asked. Receiving no reply, he got on to his feet, muttering, "Some one call Sam, that for certain, can't do without Sam, always want here, want there. I go up and see."
So saying, he put on his cap, and made his way up to the upper deck. As he stood at the hatchway and looked round, there was, first a titter, and then a roar of laughter from the men sitting or standing along by the bulwarks. In putting on his cap some of the flour had fallen out, and had streaked his face with white. Sam was utterly unconscious that he was the object of the laughter, and said to one of the men nearest to him, "Who call Sam?"
The man could not reply, but Tom, who was sitting close by, said, "It was no one here, Sam, it must have been the bandmaster; there he is, close to the quarter-deck."
Sam made his way along towards the point indicated, and as he did so some of the officers upon the quarter-deck caught sight of him. "Just look at Sambo," Carruthers exclaimed, "somebody has been larking with him again. Look how all the men are laughing, and he evidently has no suspicion of the figure he is."
The sergeant, who, the bandmaster having remained at the depot, was now acting as chief of the band, did not see Sam until the latter was close to him. "You want me, sergeant?"
Sergeant Wilson looked up, and was astonished.
"What on earth have you been doing to yourself, Sam?" he asked.
"Me been having little nap down below," Sam said.
"Yes; but your face, man. What have you been doing to your face?"
Sam, in his turn, looked astonished. "Nothing whatsomeber, sargeant."
"Take off your cap, man, and look inside it." Sam did as ordered; and as he removed the cap, and the powder fell from it all over his face and shoulders, there was a perfect shout of laughter from the soldiers and crew, who had been looking on, and the officers, looking down from the rail of the quarter-deck, retired to laugh unnoticed.
The astonishment and rage of Sam were unbounded, and he gave a perfect yell of surprise and fury. He stamped wildly for a minute or two, and then, with a sudden movement rushed up on to the quarter-deck with his cap in his hand. The colonel, who was holding on by the shrouds, and talking with the major, in ignorance of what was going on, was perfectly astounded at this sudden vision of the irate negro, and neither he nor the major could restrain their laughter.
"Scuse me, colonel, sah, for de liberty," Sam burst out; "but look at me, sah; is dis right, sah, is it right to make joke like dis on de man dat play de big drum of de regiment?"
"No, no, Sam; not at all right," the colonel said, with difficulty. "If you report who has played the trick upon you, I shall speak to him very seriously; but, Sam, I should have thought that you were quite big enough to take the matter in your own hands."
"Me big enough, Massah Colonel, me plenty big; but me not able to find him."
"Well, Sam, it is carrying a joke too far; still, it is only a trick off duty, and I am afraid that it is beyond my power to interfere."
Sam thought for a moment, and, having by this time cooled down from his first paroxysm of rage, he said, "Beg pardon, massa, you quite right, no business of any one but Sam; but Sam too angry to 'top to think. Scuse liberty, colonel," and Sam retired from the quarter-deck, and made a bolt below down the nearest hatchway, when he plunged his head into a bucket of water, and soon restored it to its usual ebony hue.
Then he went to the cook and tried to find out to whom he had given flour, but the cook replied at once, "Lor, I've given flour to the men of each mess to make puddings of, about thirty of them," and Sam felt as far off as ever.
Presently, however, a big sailor began to make fun of him, and Sam retorted by knocking him down, after which there was a regular fight, which was carried on under the greatest difficulty, owing to the rolling of the ship. At last Sambo got the best of it, and this restored him so thoroughly to a good temper that he was able to join in the laugh at himself, reserving, however, his right to "knock de rascal who did it into a squash."
The following day the weather changed, a wind sprang up nearly from the north, which increased rapidly, until toward afternoon it was blowing half a gale, before which the whole fleet, with their main and topsails set, ran southward at great speed. A heavy cross sea was running, the wares raised by the gale clashing with the heavy swell previously rolling in from the westward, and so violent and sudden were the lurches and rolls of the "Nancy" that the master feared that her masts would go.
"How tremendously she rolls, Tom."
"Tremendously; the deck seems almost upright, and the water right under our feet each time she goes over. She feels as if she were going to turn topsy-turvy each roll. It's bad enough on deck; but it will be worse down below."
"A great deal worse, Peter, it's nearly dark already; it will strike eight bells in a minute or two, and then we shall have to go down. There's no danger, of course, of the ship turning over, but it won't be pleasant down below. Look out, Peter!"
The exclamation was caused by an awful crash. The ship had given a tremendous lurch, when the long-boat, which was stowed amidships, suddenly tore away from its fastenings and came crashing down. It passed within three feet of where the boys were sitting, and completely tore away the bulwark, leaving a great gap in the side, where it had passed through. "Look, Tom, Sam's overboard!" Peter exclaimed.
Sam had been sitting on the bulwark, a few feet from them, holding on by a shroud, when the boat came down upon him; with a cry he had let go of the shroud and started back, falling into the water just as the boat struck the bulwark. "There he is, Tom," Peter said, as he saw the black only a few yards from the side. "He is hurt, come on," catching up the end of a long rope coiled up on the deck close to their feet, the boys jumped overboard together. A dozen strokes took them up to Sam; but the black hull of the ship had already glanced past them. They could hear loud shouts, but could not distinguish a word.
"Quick, round him, Peter!" and, in a moment, the boys twisted the rope round the body of the black, and knotted it just as the drag of the ship tightened it. Thus Sam's safety was secured, but the strain was so tremendous as they tore through the water, that it was impossible for the boys to hold on, and, in a moment, they were torn from their hold.
"All right, Peter," Tom said cheerily, as they dashed the water from their eyes, "there is the boat."
The remains of the boat were not ten yards distant, and in a few strokes they had gained it. It was stove in and broken, but still held together, floating on a level with the water's edge. With some trouble the boys got inside her, and sat down on the bottom, so that their heads were just out of water.
Then they had time to look round. The ship was already disappearing in the gathering darkness.
"This boat will soon go to pieces, Tom," was Peter's first remark.
"I expect it will, Peter; but we must stick to its pieces. We had better get off our boots. The water is pretty warm, that's one comfort."
"Do you think the ship will come back for us, Tom?"
"I don't think she can, Peter; at any rate, it is certain she can't find us, it would take a long time to bring her round, and then, you see, she could not sail straight back against the wind."
"Look here, Tom, I remember when I climbed up to look into the boats yesterday that there were some little casks lashed under the seats, and a sailor told me they were always kept full of water in case the boats were wanted suddenly. If they are still there we might empty them out, and they could keep us afloat any time."
"Hurrah! Peter, capital, let's see."
To their great delight the boys found four small water-kegs fastened under the seats. Three of these they emptied, and fastening one of them to that which they had left full, and then each taking hold of one of the slings which were fastened to the kegs for convenience of carriage, they waited quietly. In less than ten minutes from the time when they first gained their frail refuge, a great wave broke just upon them, and completely smashed up the remains of the boat. They had cut off some rope from the mast, which they found with its sail furled ready for use in the boat, and now roughly lashed themselves together, face to face, so that they had a keg on each side. They had also fastened a long piece of rope to the other kegs, so that they would float near them.
It was a long and terrible night for them, generally their heads and chests were well above the water, but at times a wave would break with its white crest, and, for a time, the foam would be over their heads. Fortunately the water was warm, and the wind fell a good deal. The boys talked occasionally to each other, and kept up each other's courage. Once or twice, in spite of the heavy sea, they were so much overcome with exhaustion that they dozed uneasily for a while, with their heads upon each other's shoulders, and great was their feeling of relief and pleasure when morning began to break.
"It is going to be a splendid day, Peter, and the wind is dropping fast."
"Look, Tom," Peter said, "there are some of the planks of the boat jammed in with the kegs."
It was as Peter said; the two kegs, one empty and the other full, were floating about ten yards off, at the length of the rope by which they were attached to the boys, while with them was a confused mass of wreckage of the boat.
"That is capital, Peter, we will see if we can't make a raft presently."
As the sun rose and warmed the air, the boys strength and spirits revived, and in a few hours they were so refreshed that they determined to set about their raft. The wind had now entirely dropped, the waves were still very high, but they came in long, smooth, regular swells, over which they rose and fell almost imperceptibly.
"They must be rolling a good deal more in the 'Nancy' than we are here, Peter. Now, the first thing is to have a drink. What a blessing it is we have water." With their knives they soon got the bung out of the water-keg, and each took a long drink, and then carefully closed it up again.
"There, Peter, we have drunk as much as we wanted this time; but we must be careful, there is no saying how long we may be before we are picked up. Hurrah, Peter, here are the masts and sails, so we shall have plenty of cord."
It took the boys nearly three hours to complete their task to their satisfaction. When it was concluded they had the three empty kegs lashed in a triangle about five feet apart, while two planks crossing the triangle, assisted to keep all firm and tight; floating in the center of the triangle was the keg of water. "There, I don't think we can improve that, Peter," Tom said at last, "now, let us get on and try it." They did so, and, to their great delight, found that it floated a few inches above water. "We may as well get the masts on board, Peter, and let the sails tow alongside. They may come in useful; and now the first thing is to dry ourselves and our clothes."
The clothes were soon spread out to dry, and the boys luxuriated in the warmth of the sun.
"What great, smooth waves these are, Tom, sometimes we are down in a valley which runs miles long, and then we are up on a hill."
"Here we lay, all the day, in the bay of Biscay, oh!" Tom laughed. "I only hope that the wished-for morrow may bring the sail in sight, Peter. However, we can hold on for a few days, I suppose. That is a four-gallon keg, so that we have got a quart of water each for eight days, and hunger isn't so bad to bear as thirst. We have pretty well done for our uniforms, our bugles are the only things that have not suffered."
For the boys' companies being on deck at the time of the accident, they both had their bugles on when they jumped overboard.
"Our last upset was when that bargee canted us over at Eton, rather a different business that, Peter."
"My shirt is not dry yet, Tom; but I shall put it on again, for the sun is too hot to be pleasant."
Tom followed Peter's example.
"Do you think, Tom, that we had better try to get up a sort of sail and make for land, or remain where we are?"
"Remain where we are, Peter, I should say. I suppose we must be a hundred miles from the French coast, and even if the wind blew fair we should be a long time getting there, and with the certainty of a prison when we arrived. Still, if there were a strong west wind, I suppose it would be our best way; as it is we have nothing to do but to wait quietly, and hope for a ship. We are in the right line, and there must be lots of vessels on their way, besides those which sailed with us, for Portsmouth. So we must keep watch and watch. Now, Peter, you lie down on that plank, it is just about long enough, you shall have two hours' sleep, and then I'll have two, after that we will have four hours each."
"How are we to count time?" Peter said laughing.
"I never thought of that," Tom said, looking at his watch. "Of course it has stopped. We must guess as near as we can; at any rate, you go to sleep first, and, when I am too sleepy to keep watch any longer, I will wake you up."
So passed that day and the next night. A light breeze sprung up from the southwest, and the sun again shone out brightly.
"I feel as if I wanted breakfast horribly," Peter said, with an attempt at a smile. "Do you think that there is any possibility of catching anything?"
"We have nothing to make hooks with, Peter, and nothing to bait them with if we had."
"There are lots of tiny fish swimming all about, Tom, if we could but catch them."
Tom was silent for awhile; then he said, "Look here, Peter. Let us cut a piece off the sail about five feet long, and say three feet wide, double it longways, and sew up the ends so as to make a bag; we can unravel some string, and make holes with our knives. Then we can sink it down two or three feet, and watch it; and when we see that some little fish have got in it, we can draw it up very gently, and, by raising it gradually from the sea, the water will run out, and we shall catch the fish."
Peter agreed that at any rate it was worth trying; for, even if it did not succeed, it was better for them to be doing something than sitting idle. The sail and the floating wreckage were pulled alongside, and the boys set to work. In three hours a large and shallow bag was made, with some improvements upon Tom's original plan. The mouth was kept open by two crossed pieces of wood, and four cords from the corners were attached to the end of the oar which formed their fishing-rod. At last it was finished, and the bag lowered.
To the horror of the boys, it was discovered that it would not sink. They were ready to cry with vexation, for the want of food had made them feel faint and weak.
"What have we got that is heavy?" Tom asked in despair.
"I have got fourpence in halfpence, Tom, and there are our knives and watches."
Their pockets were ransacked, and the halfpence, knives, and watches were placed in the bottom of the bag and lowered. Still the wood-work kept afloat.
"There are the bugles, Tom," Peter cried in delight. These had been fastened to the raft, and were now hastily untied and placed in the canvas bag.
It sank now, and the boys lowered it five or six feet, so that they could partly see into it. "There are lots of little fish swimming about, Tom," Peter said in a whisper. "Some are almost as long as one's hand. Do you think that they will go in, Tom?"
"I hope the glitter of the bugles and watches will attract them, Peter."
"There, Tom, there--I saw a whole swarm of little ones go in."
"Wait a minute or two, Peter, to let them get well down, and then draw up as quietly as possible."
Very cautiously the boys raised the point of their rod until the top of the square-mouthed bag was level with the surface; then they brought it close to them and looked in, and as they did so gave a simultaneous cheer. There, in the bottom of the canvas, two feet below them, were a number of little fish moving about. Raising the rod still higher, they gradually lifted the net out of the sea, the water running quickly off as they did so, and then they proceeded to examine their prize.
"We will take out one and one, Peter; give them a nip as you take them up, that will kill them." There were two fish of about three inches long, another three or four of two inches, and some thirty or forty the size of minnows. It was scarcely more than a mouthful each, but it was a stay for a moment to their stomachs, and no one ever said a thanksgiving with deeper feeling and heartiness than did the boys when they had emptied their canvas net.
"We need not be anxious about food now, Peter; if we can catch these in five minutes, we can get enough each day to satisfy us. They quench the thirst too. We must limit ourselves to half a pint of water a day, and we can hold on for a fortnight. We are safe to be picked up before that."
All the afternoon and evening the boys continued to let down and draw up their net, sometimes bringing in only a few tiny fish, sometimes getting half a dozen of the larger kind. By nightfall they had satisfied the cravings of hunger, and felt stronger and better. One or two sails had been seen during the day, but always at such distances that it was evident at once that they could not pass within hail. That night, fatigued with their exertions, both laid down and went to sleep until morning, and slept more comfortably than before; for they had fastened a piece of the sail tightly on the top of the raft, and lay softly suspended in that, instead of being balanced upon a narrow and uncomfortable plank. They felt new creatures when they woke, pulled up their net, had a mouthful of raw fish, took off their clothes, and had a swim, and then set to earnestly to fish. The sun was brighter, and the fish in consequence kept deeper than upon the preceding day; still by evening they had caught enough to take the edge off, if not to satisfy, their hunger. The fishing, however, during the last hours of daylight was altogether neglected, for behind them they could see a sail, which appeared as if it might possibly come close enough to observe them. There was still the long, steady swell coming in from the Atlantic, and a light breeze was blowing from the north. The boys had been so intent upon their fishing, that they had not noticed her until she was within nine or ten miles of them. "She will not be up for an hour and a half, Peter," Tom said, "and the sun will be down long before that. I fear that the chance of their seeing us is very small indeed. However, we will try. Let us get the net out of the water, and hold it and the oar up. It is possible that some one may see the canvas with a telescope before the sun goes down. Take the things out of the net."
The oar with the canvas bag was elevated, and the boys anxiously watched the course of the vessel. She was a large ship, but they could only see her when they rose upon the top of the long smooth waves. "I should think that she will pass within a mile of us, Peter," Tom said, after half an hour's watching, "but I fear that she will not be much closer. How unfortunate she had not come along an hour earlier. She would have been sure to see us if it had been daylight. I don't think that there is much chance now, for there is no moon. However, thank God, we can hold on very well now, and next time we may have better luck."
The sun had set more than half an hour before the ship came abreast of them. They had evidently not been seen.
"Now, Peter," Tom said, "let us both hallo together; the wind is very light, and it is just possible they may hear us."
Again and again the boys shouted, but the ship sailed steadily on. Peter dashed the tears aside, and Tom said, with a quiver in his voice, "Never mind, Peter; better luck next time, old boy. God has been so good to us, that I feel quite confident we shall be saved."
"So do I, Tom," Peter said. "It was only a disappointment for a minute. We may as well put the oar down, for my arm and back ache holding it."
"Mind how you do it, Peter. If we let the end go through the canvas, we shall lose our watches and bugles, and then we shall not be able to fish."
"Oh, Tom, the bugles!"
"What, Peter?" Tom said, astonished.
"We can make them hear, Tom, don't you see?"
"Hurrah, Peter! so we can. What a fool I was to forget it!"
In a moment the bugles rang out the assembly across the water. Again and again the sharp, clear sound rose on the quiet evening air.
"Look, Peter, there are men going up the rigging to look round. Sound again!"
Again and again they sounded the call, and then they saw the ship's head come round, and her bow put towards them, and then they fell on their knees and thanked God that they were saved.
In ten minutes the ship was close to them, thrown up into the wind, a boat was lowered, and in another minute or two was alongside.
"Hallo!" the officer in charge exclaimed, "two boys, all alone. Here, help them in, lads--that's it; now pull for the ship. Here, boys, take a little brandy from this flask. How long have you been on that raft?"
"It is three days since we went overboard, sir; but we were in the water for about eighteen hours before we made the raft."
Tom and Peter drank a little brandy, and felt better for it; but they were weaker than they thought, for they had to be helped up the side of the ship. A number of officers were grouped round the gangway, and the boys saw that they were on board a vessel of war.
"Only these boys?" asked the captain in surprise of the officer who had brought them on board.
"That is all, sir."
"Doctor, you had better see to them," the captain said. "If they are strong enough to talk, after they have had some soup, let them come to my cabin; if not, let them turn in in the sick bay, and I will see them in the morning. One question though, boys. Are there any others about--any one for me to look for or pick up?"
"No one else, sir," Tom said, and then followed the doctor aft. A basin of soup and a glass of sherry did wonders for the boys, and in an hour they proceeded to the captain's cabin, dressed in clothes which the doctor had borrowed from two of the midshipmen for them, for their own could never be worn again; indeed, they had not brought their jackets from the raft, those garments having shrunk so from the water, that the boys had not been able to put them on again, after first taking them off to dry.
The doctor accompanied them, and in the captain's cabin they found the first lieutenant, who had been in charge of the boat which picked them up.
"I am glad to see you looking so much better," the captain said as they entered. "Sit down. Do you know," he went on with a smile, "I do not think that any of us would have slept had you not recovered sufficiently to tell your story to-night. We have been puzzling over it in vain. How you two boys came to be adrift alone on a raft, made up of three water-kegs, as Mr. Armstrong tells me, and how you came to have two bugles with you on the raft, is altogether beyond us."
"The last matter is easily explained, sir," Tom said. "My brother and myself are buglers in H.M.'s Regiment of Norfolk Rangers, and as we were on duty when we went overboard, we had our bugles slung over our shoulders."
"Buglers!" the captain said in surprise. "Why from your appearance and mode of expressing yourselves, I take you to be gentlemen's sons."
"So we are, sir," Tom said quietly, "and I hope gentlemen--at any rate we have been Etonians. But we have lost our father, and are now buglers in the Rangers."
"Well, lads," the captain said after a pause, "and now tell us how you came upon this little raft?"
Tom related modestly the story of their going overboard from the "Nancy," of the formation of the raft, and of their after proceedings. Their hearers were greatly astonished at the story; and the captain said, "Young gentlemen, you have done a very gallant action, and have behaved with a coolness and bravery which would have done credit to old sailors. Had your father been alive he might have been proud indeed of you. I should be proud had you been my sons. If you are disposed to change services I will write directly we reach the Tagus to obtain your discharge, and will give you midshipmen's berths on board this ship. Don't answer now; you can think it over by the time we reach Portugal. I will not detain you now; a night's rest will set you up. Mr. Armstrong will introduce you to the midshipmen to-morrow; you are passengers here now, and will mess with them. Good-night."
It was not many minutes before the boys were asleep in their hammocks. If people's ears really tingle when they are being spoken about, Tom and Peter would have had but little sleep that night. The first lieutenant related the circumstances to the other lieutenants; the second lieutenant, whose watch it was, told the gunner, who related it to the petty officers; the doctor told his mates, who retailed the story to the midshipmen; and so gradually it went over the whole ship, and officers and men agreed that it was one of the pluckiest and coolest things ever done.
The boys slept until nearly breakfast time, and were just dressed when Mr. Armstrong came for them and took them to the midshipmen's berth, where they were received with a warmth and heartiness which quite surprised them. The midshipmen and mates pressed forward to shake hands with them, and the stiflingly close little cock-pit was the scene of an ovation. The boys were quite glad when the handshaking was over, and they sat down to the rough meal which was then usual among midshipmen. As the vessel had only left England four days before, the fare was better than it would have been a week later, for there was butter, cold ham and tongue upon the table. After breakfast they were asked to tell the story over again, and this they did with great modesty. Many questions were asked, and it was generally regretted that they were not sailors. Upon going up on deck there was quite an excitement among the sailors to get a look at them, and the gunner and other petty officers came up and shook hands with them heartily, and the boys wished from the depths of their hearts that people would not make such a fuss about nothing; for, as Tom said to Peter, "Of course we should not have jumped overboard if we had thought that we could not have kept hold of the rope."
That day they dined in the cabin with the captain, who, after the officers present had withdrawn, asked them if they would tell him about their past lives. This the boys did frankly, and took the opportunity of explaining that they had chosen the army because the enemies' fleet having been destroyed, there was less chance of active service in the navy than with the army just starting for Lisbon, and that their uncle having commanded the regiment that they were in, they had entered it, and had received so much kindness that they had fair reason to hope that they would eventually obtain commissions. Hence, while thanking him most warmly for his offer, they had decided to go on in the path that they had chosen.
The captain remarked that, after what they had said, although he should have been glad to have them with him, he thought that they had decided rightly.
The next morning, when the boys woke, they were surprised at the absence of any motion of the vessel, and upon going on deck they found that they were running up the Tagus, and that Lisbon was in sight.