Letour- neur's invitation to pay a visit to the reef, but to her great disappointment Mrs. Kear at first refused point-blank to allow her to leave the ship. I felt intensely annoyed, and re- solved to intercede in Miss Herbey's favor; and as I had already rendered that self-indulgent lady sundry services which she though she might probably be glad again to ac- cept, I gained my point, and Miss Herbey has several times been permitted to accompany us across the rocks, where the young girl's delight at her freedom has been a pleasure to behold.
Sometimes we fish along the shore, and then enjoy a luncheon in the grotto, while the basalt columns vibrate like harps to the breeze. This arid reef, little as it is, compared with the cramped limits of the Chancellor's deck is like some vast domain; soon there will be scarcely a stone with which we are not familiar, scarcely a portion of its surface which we have not trodden, and I am sure that when the hour of departure arrives we shall leave it with regret.
In the course of conversation, Andre Letourneur one day happened to say that he believed the island of Staffa be- longed to the Macdonald family, who let it for the small sum of L.12 a year.
"I suppose then," said Miss Herbey, "that we should hardly get more than half-a-crown a year for our pet little island."
"I don't think you would get a penny for it. Miss Herbey; but are you thinking of taking a lease?" I said laughing.
"Not at present," she said; then added, with a half-sup- pressed sigh, "and yet it is a place where I have seemed to know what it is to be really happy."
Andre murmured some expression of assent, and we all felt that there was something touching in the words of the orphaned, friendless girl who had found her long-lost sense of happiness on a lonely rock in the Atlantic.
CHAPTER XIX THE CARGO UNLOADED
NOVEMBER 6 to November 15. -- For the first five days after the Chancellor had run aground, there was a dense black smoke continually rising from the hold; but it grad- ually diminished until the 6th of November, when we might consider that the fire was extinguished. Curtis, neverthe- less, deemed it prudent to persevere in working the pumps, which he did until the entire hull of the ship, right up to the deck, had been completely inundated.
The rapidity, however, with which the water, at every re- treat of the tide, drained off to the level of the sea, was an indication that the leak must be of considerable magnitude; and such, on investigation, proved to be the case. One of the sailors, named Flaypole, dived one day at low water to ex- amine the extent of the damage, and found that the hole was not much less than four feet square, and was situated thirty feet fore of the helm, and two feet above the rider of the keel; three planks had been stove in by a sharp point of rock and it was only a wonder that the violence with which the heavily-laden vessel had been thrown ashore did not result in the smashing in of many parts beside.
As it would be a couple of days or more before the hold would be in a condition for the bales of cotton to be removed for the carpenter to examine the damage from the interior of the ship, Curtis employed the interval in having the broken mizzen-mast repaired. Dowlas the carpenter, with con- siderable skill, contrived to mortise it into its former stump. and made the junction thoroughly secure by strong iron- belts and bolts. The shrouds, the stays and backstays, were then carefully refitted, some of the sails were changed, and the whole of the running rigging was renewed. Injury, to some extent, had been done to the poop and to the crew's lockers in the front; but time and labor were all that were wanted to make them good; and with such a will did every- body set to work that it was not long before all the cabins were again available for use.
On the 8th the unlading of the ship commenced. Pulleys and tackling were put over the hatches, and passengers and crew together proceeded to haul up the heavy bales which had been deluged so frequently by water that the cotton was all but spoiled.