Jarwin and Cuffy by R M Ballantyne Page 1 of 107

Chapter One.

Adrift on the Ocean.

On a certain morning, not very long ago, the sun, according to his ancient and admirable custom, rose at a very early hour, and casting his bright beams far and wide over the Pacific, lighted up the yellow sands and the verdant hills of one of the loveliest of the islands of that mighty sea.

It was early morning, as we have said, and there was plenty of life-animal as well as vegetable-to be seen on land and sea, and in the warm, hazy atmosphere. But there were no indications of man's presence in that beautiful scene.

The air was perfectly calm, yet the gentle swell of the ocean terminated in great waves, which came rolling in like walls of glass, and fell on the coral-reef like rushing snow-wreaths with a roar as loud as thunder.

Thousands of sea-birds screamed and circled in the sky. Fish leaped high out of their native element into the air, as if they wished to catch the gulls, while the gulls, seemingly smitten with a similar desire, dived into the water as if they wished to catch the fish.

It might have been observed, however, that while the fish never succeeded in catching the gulls, the latter very frequently caught the fish, and, without taking the trouble to kill them, bolted them down alive.

Cocoanut-palms cast the shadows of their long stems and graceful tops upon the beach, while, farther inland, a dense forest of tropical plants-bread-fruit trees, bananas, etcetera-rose up the mountain-sides. Here and there open patches might be seen, that looked like fields and lawns, but there were no cottages or villas.

Droves of pigs rambled about the valleys and on the hill-sides, but they were wild pigs. No man tended them.

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