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The Three Commanders
written by "Kingston, William Henry Giles, 1814-1880"
...he ship proceeded along the coast, when a little farther on she opened a village which there was every probability belonged to their late treacherous assailants. A couple of rockets fired into it quickly set it in flames, and another village in the neighbourhood was treated in the same manner. Jack considered that this punishment was necessary to teach the natives that they could not attack white men with impunity. Jack was by this time almost in despair of recovering the boats, but would not yet abandon the attempt to find them. If they had escaped foundering or being driven on a reef, they must have reached the shores of one of the neighbouring islands; he resolved therefore to go back to Santa Cruz, and then to steam round every island in succession, narrowly examining their shores. The ship accordingly stood back to Santa Cruz, though Jack scarcely expected to find the boats in the harbour. A look-out was kept on every side, and at night blue lights were burned frequently to attract their attention should they be in the neighbourhood. In the morning watch, just before daybreak, as the ship was gliding smoothly on with a light breeze, a hail was heard on the weather bow. It was so faint, that had the screw been going at the time, it would not have been noticed. Mr Mildmay, who was officer of the watch, ordered the yards to be braced up, and kept the ship in the direction from whence the hail came. Again it was heard louder. “There’s no doubt about it,” he exclaimed; “that must come from the boats—call the commander.” In a minute Jack was on deck. At length the two boats could be seen under sail, running down towards the ship. She was immediately hove-to, and in another minute they were alongside. Instead of the woebegone, half-starved beings Jack expected to see, he was delighted to find them all in good condition and excellent spirits. Green and Tom gave a rapid account of their adventures; after leaving the island they ha...

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