Page images


own expedition was anything to reach the Cape of Good but well found, and his men Hope died somewhere near had to live partly on shell- Ascension. fish and penguins till they Not taught by the futility reached warmer climes. He of the foundation of King imitated Drake's exploits on Philip's City, and by Caventhe west coast, though through dish's raid, Spain still attempted foolhardiness he lost many men to defend herself by land fortifion land, and had to sink one cations. In the year 1611 she of his own vessels for lack of fortified Monterey on the Calimen to man it. A second fornian coast as a port of refuge was lost later. His captures for galleons coming from Manila, were even more lucrative than but this not being their terDrake's, but he acted more minal port, when they put to ruthlessly. From

San sea again for Acapulco the Francisco he struck across the same danger existed. The Pacific on 19th November 1587, parallel to the use made of and taking a more northerly Plymouth during the Great route than Drake touched Ma- War for the discharge of mergellan's Ladrones, and reached chant ships is evident-a use the Philippines in fifty-six days dictated by the impossibility -a contrast to Drake's eighty- of securing immunity upfour. From Java to the Cape Channel. Spanish America of Good Hope occupied sixty- could, however, put up with nine days, but the total run occasional losses of shipping, from the East Indies occupied for no continued interference exactly the same time as could result from spasmodic Drake's; he had completed attacks carried on by English the circumnavigation in two ships operating so far from years fifty-one days, more than their base. The wealth that seven months faster than Drake she was reaping was enormous. -a remarkable achievement, The Asiatic trade carried out for only eight years elapsed by the annual voyage of a between the two performances. galleon

the Pacific The time was saved mainly brought more wealth into cirby running directly through culation in New Spain than did the Straits and by wasting the entire Atlantic trade." no time in the East Indies. Manila had become the great It is no wonder that coming entrepôt for the products of as it did after the defeat of China and India, but New Spain the Armada, it became was merely a conduit for the topic for many ballads, but mother country, who, as extragedy followed when he re- hausting European wars denewed the attempt four years pleted her own exchequer, kept later. Halfway through the drawing upon her colonial posStraits he was driven back sessions for gold and still more by a storm, and in an effort gold. The discovery and an



nexation of the Philippines by be secure-namely, sea power. Magellan did more than any. Her strength had passed away thing else ultimately to bring long before her possessions fell, about the revolt of Spain's and the absorption of the last American possessions : Spain by the United States thirty failed to defend their western years ago was really an anachseaboards, and at the same ronism. The Portuguese, too, time prevented them from ac- had disappeared centuries becumulating those funds which fore from the western side of would have enabled them to do the Pacific. They had won so for themselves.

their ascendancy merely as In the seventeenth century traders and discoverers, not as the Dutch equally with the conquerors, and the Dutch, English were busily occupied moving seawards in their newsmuggling goods into New Spain found liberty (a liberty which from both coasts. In the the English found developing eighteenth century the buc- into arrogance and rapacity in caneers flourished exceedingly their contact with them in the in these seas, and finally the Far East), gradually ousted the Spanish secret charts of the Portuguese from Java, Sumatra, Pacific routes were captured and the islands of the East. by Lord Anson on board a Vasco da Gama, Magellan, galleon. The Dutch and the they shed lustre on the counFrench continued a trading tries that sent them, they pospenetration, and the last blow sessed vision and daring greater of all came when Behring the than the English navigators Russian discovered the Strait who followed them, yet because that bears his name, and Rus- the pioneer countries failed to sians and British began to ap- realise or had not the inborn propriate the North Pacific genius to realise the basis on and its rich fur trade. Spain's which such discoveries must circle was narrowing. She forti- be consolidated, the English fied as the outposts of the were to be their heirs, for EngPacific San Francisco, Tahiti, land alone continued to look and the Falkland Islands, but seawards, and was not led away she did not hold them by the by fantastic dreams of Contionly way in which they could nental conquest.



THERE used to be great Among the midshipmen in rivalry among the midshipmen this last mentioned ship was of the various ships of the one Sartoris. He was only Mediterranean squadron, and fifteen years old when he joined many were the matches—shoot- the ship straight from the ing, riding, boxing, pulling, Britannia about a year before swimming, diving, and gym- my story commences, so was nastics--got up by the sup- still very much a a “junior porters and backers of " young midshipman”; a growing lad, gentlemen " who excelled at thin as a lath, though with the any of these sports. The Un- appetite of a boa-constrictor, defeated, for instance, had a innocent-looking as a baby and champion rider who fancied of a quiet and retiring appearhimself not a little at gymkhana ance-on the surface. He was meetings; the Gorgeous had a at once bitten with the spirit very fast swimmer who claimed of emulation and determined to be unbeaten ; the Pugnacious to excel in some branch of boasted of a bruiser on whom sport, in the interest of the his messmates were ready to ship. But what line was he put their shirts ; then the to take ? He was not big or Unfathomable's were prepared strong enough for the racing to back their deep diver against boat's crew (though he was all comers, and the justly

the justly getting on in height, having famous athlete and contor shot up seven inches during tionist of the Sinuous feared the year he had been in the no rival; while the shooting ship); he was a poor hand at team of the Argus had held boxing; he could not afford the fleet gun-room shooting to keep a pony, though he cup for two years running; was a good rider; he was a and the Flagship held the first-class shot, but not palm only for boat-pulling, and “marksman," so they wouldn't that was due largely to her put him in the shooting team ; possession of the champion

champion and his performances in the pulling cutter, affectionately gymnasium at Dartmouth were known as Nancy Dawson. There far below the average.

But was therefore, as may be im he was an excellent swimmer agined, a strong desire in every and loved the water. He would gun-room to capture the laurels take up that strenuously, and held by others for themselves, then let the Gorgeous chap and this covetousness was look to his laurels. especially marked on board As soon as he had come to the Flagship.

this decision, which he kept to

himself, he missed no oppor- was negligible, and he found tunity for practice, and was in it a simple matter. So he the water as often and for as tried again a little farther long as possible on every forward where the beam was occasion. His first summer in greater, and again succeeded the ship had already shown without difficulty. But when him that he could hold his he came to the broadest part own, 80 far as speed went, of the ship, which meant a with any one in the gun-room swim across of nearly a hundred of the Flagship except one- feet at a depth of about thirty the senior midshipman,--and it feet, he decided to leave it was a red-letter day when he until the following day. overtook this fellow in the And when the next day water and ducked him. Not came and he went down and only that, but he was able encountered the bilge keel, he successfully to evade the in- thought of the one on the other evitable reprisals, by means of side of the ship. It was a dull superior speed which he had day, and there was very little attained by observing the light down there and—andmethods employed by the said yes, he funked it and came up senior snotty and improving again the same side he had upon them. In the same way gone down on,

and was he taught himself the art of thoroughly ashamed of himself swimming under water and and was glad he had told deep diving, in which he copied nobody of his intentions. the style of Brennan, another Those bilge keels worried midshipman, who had been him. It would be very awkborn and brought up in the ward to barge up against one West Indies and was like a with one's head as one was fish under water. They all coming up the other side, and used to practise diving for the chances were that eggs alongside the ship, and would remain the wrong side after some time Sartoris found of it, permanently. He must that he could generally get an find some scheme of getting egg that someone else had the better of that second bilge failed at, he diving from the keel. He wouldn't be done. surface as soon as the un And then a bright idea struck successful candidate had come him while he was diving for up to blow and had signified a an egg that two fellows had miss.

missed, one after the other. One day, without saying any. The egg had got pretty deep thing to any one, he attempted before the second chap-it was to dive under the ship-down Brennan-had given it up, and one side and up the other. Sartoris had gone after it in This first try was made right pure

bravado. But having aft, just before the propellers, gone, he determined to get it, where the width of the ship even if he had to go to the


bottom for it and he remem- and one of the sub-lieutenants bered that they had anchored – Bolitho, a sterling, honest, in twelve fathoms of water. good fellow, with a very high And he got it, without even sense of honour-agreed to act sighting the bottom; but on as referee. The same evening, the way up he sighted some when the officers were bathing, thing else—daylight on the other the two boys dived in together side of the ship. That was from the gangway, Bolitho, the way to euchre that bilge with a stop-watch, taking up keel ; go well down below the his position on the top platform bottom of the ship for the of the accommodation ladder. swim across and keep on until they disappeared under water, you saw daylight, and keep in and nothing was seen of either it till you were past the beastly of them for just 1 minute thing. He would try it at 353 seconds, when Woodward's once.

head popped up blowing like a So as soon as he reached the grampus. surface with that egg he climbed Where's Sartoris ?” he deup on to the accommodation manded as soon as he could ladder and recovered his breath, speak. taking in a good supply of “Not up yet," replied the air for the dive, and then slid referee. down and sank like a stone And the hand of the stoptill he had got past the first watch went round the dial once, bilge keel, then, swimming dia- and again three-quarters of a gonally downwards, he got deep revolution before the other comenough to see the far side of petitor, Sartoris, came slowly the ship on what one might and quietly to the surface. call the sky-line. He was then Where's Woodward ? safe and could complete the cried at once. swim across without danger of “Here I am," said the latter collision with


hidden from the foot of the accomdanger, as all were outlined modation ladder, where he was against the light.

sitting. “Where the dickens It was some days later before have you been ? " he let it be known that he “I've been balancing myself had accomplished this feat, under the keel to keep me down. though he practised it each It's a much better trick than morning and evening. It yours. I saw you make straight happened that he got into an for the ladder and get underargument with another small neath it, and I'll take my oath midshipman — Woodward by you had your head out of name—as to which of them water there, hidden by the could remain under water the bottom platform. It's an old longer. The argument leading trick, that,” remarked Sartoris, to no result, it was arranged treading water. * that they should have a trial, Come up here, both of

[ocr errors]


« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »