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CHAPTER II. Storm and Wreck.

“AND what a change it will be, too,” said Reginald Fitzroy to Johnnie and Willie, while Peggy McQueen sat listening in the tent to every word that was said.
He had already signed the agreement with the Macgilvray Company to bring out Peggy on the Australian stage. In her acting2 and singing she had made such progress this winter, that she was certain to cause a sensation in that new land of sunshine.
It was spring again once more; it is a sorrowful thing for anyone who loves nature, to sail away from his native land when the birds begin to build and sing, and wild-flowers spring wanton, to be loved and admired.
But ever since he had met Macgilvray’s agent, Fitzroy had been a different man.
“It will be for the good of us all, my dears,” he said, hopefully. “Peggy will become a queen of the stage.”
Poor Peggy’s eyes sparkled with delight, but she sighed immediately afterwards, for{128} she was very fond of her caravan3. But then—well, she couldn’t be always a child.
Father Fitzroy had already written a three-act piece for Peggy, and he himself believed he would get rich. Willie would be a draw, and the splendid blood-hound would work beautifully into the play. Such a chance would never come again, he thought—
“There is a tide....
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune.”
Thus Fitzroy, with gestures suited for the occasion. But poor old Mother Molly took Father Fitzroy down a peg1.
“Which ye doesn’t get Molly to sail for no furrin parts, ’cept heaven itself when her day comes; there’s no tide but that for her.” And Molly resolved now to reside with a sister.
The caravans4 would not be sold, but left in comfortable quarters. A show like this, Fitzroy said, might be something to fall back upon.
The expenses would all fall on Macgilvray’s agent. He pooh-poohed them. Fitzroy would be able to pay him back out of his first week’s gate-money.
No wonder hope rose high. They were
going in a sailing-ship, though. This would be quieter, and though a longer voyage, it would be a healthier; and Fitzroy was just old enough to begin to think of his health and comfort.
A smart little barque enough, and a kindly5 skipper; a trader, however, and ordered to make straight for Rio first, then Buenos Ayres, etc.; and, at each town he visited, the Wandering Minstrels were to give their great entertainment.
Nothing succeeds like success, and had Fitzroy elected to stay on with his company even at Rio, he might have made a pile.
But he didn’t. There was a golden future before them all, he told himself, when they should reach the land of the Southern Cross.
They had troublesome times weathering Cape6 Horn, and the barque leaked badly. Often and often it was all hands to the pump. Pump or drown, Fitzroy phrased it. The children were told nothing about their danger, and the stormier the weather the merrier they were. Why, in two months’ time, somewhat to Fitzroy’s consternation7, Willie grew a whole quarter of an inch!
“If he starts growing,” said Fitzroy to the giant, “he’ll ruin himself, and hurt me also.{130}”
“But,” said Gourmand8, “I suppose you don’t mind me growing, do you?”
“Goodness sake, Gourmand!” cried Fitzroy; “grow a foot if you want to, or a yard even would be better.”
Somehow, when the ship was stretching up north and west into sunnier seas, she stopped leaking. Seaweed sometimes gets sucked into a leak and stops it. Ah! then it was a happy and a merry time on board!
But another storm arose which drove them far out of their course, which split the sails, and smashed the bulwarks9 to pieces.
One night the mate came to the skipper’s state-room.
“The ship is sinking, sir, and the men have seized the boats. They are going to leave her, you better come.”
“You cowards!” cried the captain, springing up and seizing his revolver. “I will shoot the first man who attempts to leave the vessel10.”
This was only what the scoundrel of a mate expected. He darted11 out of the state-room and locked the door.
The captain was a prisoner, probably to be drowned like a rat in its hole.
When the sun rose about six next day, like{131} a big, blood orange shimmering12 red through the horizon’s haze13, the good barque Vulture lay like a log upon the water, and reeled like a drunken man. The waves were high, but there was not a breath of wind. Only those smooth, oily-looking billows.
The children had to be told of the danger now, for at any time the Vulture might take her final plunge14. But they bore up most bravely.
The captain had been set free again, and he, with Fitzroy himself and the giant, set about cutting away every stick. Few sailors could wield15 axe16 or adze as Gourmand did. It was splendid to see the splinters fly! But thus relieved, and the rolling seas going down, the vessel recovered herself.
She might float a long time yet. But for a time she was at the mercy of the currents, or of any breeze that might blow.
Two little jury-masts were rigged just to catch the wind, which soon came from the south-east, only bits of staysails, but they served the purpose of keeping her head before it.
Every day they kept looking out for the ship that never passed their way, and every night they burned a light.{132}
They spent a terrible time. The sun was so hot that the pitch between the planks17 of the quarter-deck boiled and stuck to the shoes. There were plenty of provisions, but the mutinous18 mate and crew had taken most of the water and all the rum away in the boats. The remainder of the water went bad, and both Peggy and Willie began to pine. Oh, it was pitiful to see them, and even to hear the poor, faithful blood-hound appealing in his own canine19 fashion for the water that was not forthcoming. To make matters worse, the captain found he was far out of the track of ships, far away from any of the ocean’s great highways.
“But,” pleaded poor Peggy, hopefully, “a ship may come. God may send a ship.”
Alas20! God seemed to have forgotten them, if that indeed were possible.
One night, the sky bright with heaven’s jewels, sheet-lightning playing behind the low, rocky clouds on the horizon, that seemed to forebode a storm, and a phosphorescent light upon the waves, something happened. There was a rasping noise coming from beneath the keel, and all motion suddenly ceased.
The Vulture had grounded on a reef! No one slept two consecutive21 hours, and everyone{133} was astir before the sun leapt out of his ocean bed. But it was not an ocean bed this morning, for in the east, and but a short distance off, lo and behold22! a green and beautiful island, with a beach of coral sand, and strange round huts built under tall and stately poplar trees. A cry of joy burst from every lip. They were saved!
Yes, saved from the sea!
But on those sands spear-armed savages23 danced and yelled, brandishing24 their weapons and waving their naked arms as if to keep them off.
What now would be the fate of the Wandering Minstrels?


1 peg p3Fzi     
  • Hang your overcoat on the peg in the hall.把你的大衣挂在门厅的挂衣钩上。
  • He hit the peg mightily on the top with a mallet.他用木槌猛敲木栓顶。
2 acting czRzoc     
  • Ignore her,she's just acting.别理她,她只是假装的。
  • During the seventies,her acting career was in eclipse.在七十年代,她的表演生涯黯然失色。
3 caravan OrVzu     
  • The community adviser gave us a caravan to live in.社区顾问给了我们一间活动住房栖身。
  • Geoff connected the caravan to the car.杰弗把旅行用的住屋拖车挂在汽车上。
4 caravans 44e69dd45f2a4d2a551377510c9ca407     
(可供居住的)拖车(通常由机动车拖行)( caravan的名词复数 ); 篷车; (穿过沙漠地带的)旅行队(如商队)
  • Old-fashioned gypsy caravans are painted wooden vehicles that are pulled by horses. 旧式的吉卜赛大篷车是由马拉的涂了颜色的木质车辆。
  • Old-fashioned gypsy caravans are painted wooden vehicles. 旧时的吉普赛大篷车是涂了颜色的木质车辆。
5 kindly tpUzhQ     
  • Her neighbours spoke of her as kindly and hospitable.她的邻居都说她和蔼可亲、热情好客。
  • A shadow passed over the kindly face of the old woman.一道阴影掠过老太太慈祥的面孔。
6 cape ITEy6     
  • I long for a trip to the Cape of Good Hope.我渴望到好望角去旅行。
  • She was wearing a cape over her dress.她在外套上披着一件披肩。
7 consternation 8OfzB     
  • He was filled with consternation to hear that his friend was so ill.他听说朋友病得那么厉害,感到非常震惊。
  • Sam stared at him in consternation.萨姆惊恐不安地注视着他。
8 gourmand Vezzc     
  • He was long famed as a gourmand and heavy smoker and drinker.长期以来,他一直以嗜好美食和烟酒闻名。
  • The food here satisfies gourmands rather than gourmets.这里的食物可以管饱却不讲究品质。
9 bulwarks 68b5dc8545fffb0102460d332814eb3d     
n.堡垒( bulwark的名词复数 );保障;支柱;舷墙
  • The freedom of the press is one of the great bulwarks of liberty. 新闻自由是自由最大的保障之一。 来自辞典例句
  • Surgery and X-irradiation nevertheless remain the bulwarks of cancer treatment throughout the world. 外科手术和X射线疗法依然是全世界治疗癌症的主要方法。 来自辞典例句
10 vessel 4L1zi     
  • The vessel is fully loaded with cargo for Shanghai.这艘船满载货物驶往上海。
  • You should put the water into a vessel.你应该把水装入容器中。
11 darted d83f9716cd75da6af48046d29f4dd248     
v.投掷,投射( dart的过去式和过去分词 );向前冲,飞奔
  • The lizard darted out its tongue at the insect. 蜥蜴伸出舌头去吃小昆虫。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • The old man was displeased and darted an angry look at me. 老人不高兴了,瞪了我一眼。 来自《简明英汉词典》
12 shimmering 0a3bf9e89a4f6639d4583ea76519339e     
v.闪闪发光,发微光( shimmer的现在分词 )
  • The sea was shimmering in the sunlight. 阳光下海水波光闪烁。
  • The colours are delicate and shimmering. 这些颜色柔和且闪烁微光。 来自辞典例句
13 haze O5wyb     
  • I couldn't see her through the haze of smoke.在烟雾弥漫中,我看不见她。
  • He often lives in a haze of whisky.他常常是在威士忌的懵懂醉意中度过的。
14 plunge 228zO     
  • Test pool's water temperature before you plunge in.在你跳入之前你应该测试水温。
  • That would plunge them in the broil of the two countries.那将会使他们陷入这两国的争斗之中。
15 wield efhyv     
  • They wield enormous political power.他们行使巨大的政治权力。
  • People may wield the power in a democracy.在民主国家里,人民可以行使权力。
16 axe 2oVyI     
  • Be careful with that sharp axe.那把斧子很锋利,你要当心。
  • The edge of this axe has turned.这把斧子卷了刃了。
17 planks 534a8a63823ed0880db6e2c2bc03ee4a     
(厚)木板( plank的名词复数 ); 政纲条目,政策要点
  • The house was built solidly of rough wooden planks. 这房子是用粗木板牢固地建造的。
  • We sawed the log into planks. 我们把木头锯成了木板。
18 mutinous GF4xA     
  • The mutinous sailors took control of the ship.反叛的水手们接管了那艘船。
  • His own army,stung by defeats,is mutinous.经历失败的痛楚后,他所率军队出现反叛情绪。
19 canine Lceyb     
  • The fox is a canine animal.狐狸是犬科动物。
  • Herbivorous animals have very small canine teeth,or none.食草动物的犬牙很小或者没有。
20 alas Rx8z1     
  • Alas!The window is broken!哎呀!窗子破了!
  • Alas,the truth is less romantic.然而,真理很少带有浪漫色彩。
21 consecutive DpPz0     
  • It has rained for four consecutive days.已连续下了四天雨。
  • The policy of our Party is consecutive.我党的政策始终如一。
22 behold jQKy9     
  • The industry of these little ants is wonderful to behold.这些小蚂蚁辛勤劳动的样子看上去真令人惊叹。
  • The sunrise at the seaside was quite a sight to behold.海滨日出真是个奇景。
23 savages 2ea43ddb53dad99ea1c80de05d21d1e5     
未开化的人,野蛮人( savage的名词复数 )
  • There're some savages living in the forest. 森林里居住着一些野人。
  • That's an island inhabited by savages. 那是一个野蛮人居住的岛屿。
24 brandishing 9a352ce6d3d7e0a224b2fc7c1cfea26c     
v.挥舞( brandish的现在分词 );炫耀
  • The horseman came up to Robin Hood, brandishing his sword. 那个骑士挥舞着剑,来到罗宾汉面前。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • He appeared in the lounge brandishing a knife. 他挥舞着一把小刀,出现在休息室里。 来自辞典例句


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