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BY CHARLEI CHAUVE L THlE STORY OF TPIE O T fSA E NAME - 'DIUTRIBUTtD BY UNIVERJALPICTUR _____cc
STEAMING back into the .18th1 century; Mr. Charles Chauvel found 'on ain isltnil at thie worls"end "iv ilised men of our own race who had never seen a motor car or a wireless set, and lived as men lived before 1800. And these godly, righteous, and sober folk are descendants of those murderous, lustful and 'de based ruffians, the Mutineers of the "Bounty." Mr. Chauvel has re constructed the story of the mutiny, and linked it with the life of Pit cairn Island to-day. CHAPTER ONE. In the far backwash of the Pau nmotu Archipelago, whose dangerous coral atolls fringe that circle of soli tude below the Equator, lies the grim Necropolis of the, South Seas. Like the woof of a. spiders' web stretched from: the forgotten isles of Mangareva to the.. mystery isle of Easter, are the sun-baked sands and jagged reefs of Oeno, Ducie and Henderson. - In the centre of this web lies grim little Pitcairn Island, which shares the mystery of Easter Island. As I wrote this article,. I could look down into Bounty Bay from the win dow of my hut, and watch the lone liest of seas for over breaking upon the rocks. five hundred feet below. A little circle of white foam was sporting upon the summit of a hid den rock which serves as a guide to the grave of an old square-rigged sloop of war-Hell Ship, many have called it. Cargo of Pagans. Dreaming back, I pictured that' day in 1790, when the Bounty, after plunggin- for weeks tagaihst'" hurr-' cane and rain, with a diunken, fight ing 'cargo of. (Park pagans and white felons, groped its way through haze along the terrifying shore of this is land, and by a master hand was brought into the bay below to an chor. I could jiicture its desperate navigator, Fletcher Christian, young sun-peeled viking of the Isle of Man, and adventurous scion of the House of Keys, dramatically casting his last (lice with an order to fire the Bounty. On December 20th, 1787, the Bounty,' provisioned ' for 18 months, had left England under Lieutenant William Bligh, with a very mixed aind unseasoned crew of 45. She sailed for . Tahiti, made known through the visits of Wallace and Cook and of Bouganville (who called it the Cytherea of the South Seas), to secure young bread-fruit trees for the West Indies, where the fruit was to feed the negro slaves. Tahiti Looms Ahead. Bligh's First niate,' Fletcher Chris.' .tian, was a tall, commanding younig man of 24 years okf age, as daring and courageous as the "Ruthless Clifford,"' Lancastrian leader during the; "Wars of the Roses," from. whom, on his mother's side, th. was directly descended. Of ' another good family was young Midshipman Peter Heywood, who joined the Bounty at the age of 14. Midship man Edward Young came of a cul tured and refined family, as did also Midshipman George Stewart, aged 21 years. The privations., suffered by the crew of the Bounty woere frightful. Whein crossing thd' equator earlier in the voyage, the : pumpkins spoiled, and were issued' instead' of bread ! Half a gill of. oil was mixed with 1 ounce of sugar t60sdrvo as a substi tute for butter, and dried shark was served in lieu of the sheep, that had died of starvation.' When the men complairied to their commander, Bligh sent for the stew ard, Samuels, and ordered him to call the first man of every mess, and let him see who woult dare to re fuse to eat the food.
"You damned infernal scoundrels. I .wll ?nake. you. eat grass .or .an_-. thing you can catch before I have' done with you,"'he said. The old ship became so strained that the rain and salt seas soaked through into the forecastle and cab ins, and wood stoves had' to be burned between decks in order to keep the boat reasonably dry. and free from an excess of mildew, Bligh's temper was badly strained (luring this period of personal hard ship, and the continued complaints of his suffering crew irritated him. Quite early in the voyage Matthew Quintal, an able seaman, was sen tenced to two dozen lashes of the cat-o-nine-tails for "insolence and mutinous behaviour." The murmurings of mutiny found for their motive a seaman called Alexander Smith, who later, as John: Adams, was to become the miracle man of the Pacific, the story of whose dream and the inspiring power of an old ship's Bible has become one of the wonder stories of the. world. After more than a year of this, the Bounty moved into that sun steeped sea of sleep, just on the fringe of the doldrums. During one calm, starlit night a faint odor of mixed scents of the sweetest flowers was wafted to the tired and disillhisioned crew-Tahiti loomed ahead. The Tahiti of those days was a land of plehty ; of living and loving too damnably easy. These swabs from the waterfronts became chiefs with harems, and in place of salted -shark they feasted. on roast pig,. luscious tropic fruits and fish, cooked and served by these strange gentle people, who believed that their "Rohutu Non Noa," or "fra grant' Paradise," could best be gained by travelling the road of life in love and song. Thrdugh all these scenes moved the figure of Fletcher Christian. Young, handsome, daring, and popular-the idol of all. The crews of Wallis and Cook had visited Otahiti before Bligh, and there crossed the path of Christian a soft, half-cast girl-Isabella, he called ,her, after Isobel Lowthers and Percys, from whom he had de scended. The miracle was that the Bounty ever pdit to sea again with its full complement of men, excepting the doctor, who had drunk himself to death. After successfully storing its bread-fruit, the .Bounty moved off like a fabled treasure-ship, carrying plenteous gifts of- curios anj 'ood from the Tahitian chiefs and high priests-every sailor had his hog, and the'cocoanuts were stacked high between'the cannons. From the stories related to me by the old Pitcairners, from the deduc tons that I have made from Bligh's log, and from the journal of James Morrison, one of the mutineers, I place the Tahitian women first am ong the elements which brought about the mutiny of the Bounty. In the second place, I put the constant influence of Alexander Smith, and as the third element, the unjust: treatment by their comman der, William Bligh. South Sea women were at the bot tom of this mutiny ; Bligh was pure ly a contributing factor. One night, just before the mutiny, Chris tian made 'an attempt to desert the Bounty by lowering himself into the sea on a raft, and it was Smith who persuaded him to give up such a foolhardy idea, suggesting that Christian should lead a mutiny. (To be continued.)