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of it," said the Yankee, dropping his voice;
"this Van Buren we're afloat in, is an old craft,
old and leaky, and clean wore out from her keelson
to her b'iler, that's jest truth. The owners
held a talk about giving her up, they did, a
month ago, but old Barnabas Kyle, senior
partner, said, Hold onshe's good for a voyage
or two, and if she breaks up, the fixings are no
losslet her rip!"

"Do you mean to say that the owners have
permitted this boat to sail, knowing she was
unsafe? If so, and harm happens, it is murder!"

The general nodded. " That's a Europian
idea, sir. I don't say I approve of what old
Kyle's done, but it's common enough. Still,
this child wishes he were in his boots, and his
boots ashore, he does."

And the American drummed the devil's
tattoo on the side rail with his long bony fingers.

I asked whereabouts we were? I knew
that Flint was familiar with every bend of the
river.

"We're past New Madrid," he answered,
scanning the shore line sharply; " and we're
going mortal slow for all our puffing and straining.
Let me seethat's Red Bluff on the
Tennessee bank, and yon dark line on the larboard
must be Island Number Ten."

As if the words had been the sounds of some
fearful spell, there was, at that instant, a roar as
loud as the roar of a hundred cannon, a crash of
breaking timber and riven iron-work, and the
deck was torn into splintered fragments, while
fire, shattered beams, and scalding vapour,
came spouting up as from a volcano. I was
struggling with the cold waters of the Mississippi,
which bubbled and hissed in my ears,
as the strong current sucked me down stream.
What had happened I hardly knew. I was
stunned and deafened, but I fought for life
with mechanical energy, and, being able to
swim, could just keep myself above the
surface. My wet clothes and boots embarrassed
me, and the stream was too strong to be
resisted; but, just as I felt myself being swept
away like a leaf upon the river, I jostled against
a floating mass of wood-work, and clutched it.

"Give me your fingers, whoever you air,"
cried a familiar voice, and a strong hand caught
my wrist. " Mr. Barham, by all that's airthly!
Wall, I'm glad to see you alive, Britisher. Get
hold of the beam, and scramble up where I am."

General Flint assisted me to crawl to the top
of the floating timber, where he sat at ease, with
his feet dangling in the water.

"Tain't first time this child has seen a b'iler
bust. Apple quiltings! I thought it would be a
final smash! The notions I was taking back to
Philadelphia were all well insured, that's one
comfort, and my notes are in my waistband."

"Boiler burst! Then the boiler did burst, and
we are alone! The rest of us? Ned Granger?"

"There's not much moon, but you may make
out the hull of the steamer afloat yet," said the
Yankee; " what's left of her, a drifting like a
floating coffin. If there's any living human
being aboard herdrowning will be welcome,
after the misery they're in, I guess. The water
and steam did scald, I reckon!"

A dull pain in my hands attracted my notice.
I looked down and could see that they were
swollen and red. I remember that I had grasped
the side rail at the moment of the explosion,
and I had no doubt that I had been partially
injured by the dash of heated water, from which
Flint seemed wholly to have escaped.

I do not recollect what followed. I heard
Flint's voice very indistinctlya mere
humming of meaningless wordsand I rocked to
and fro, from weakness. My brain reeled.
Then I grew sick and faint, and I remember
being in deadly fear lest I should tumble
off the spar. I remember, too, trying to call
to my companion for help, but failing to speak
intelligibly. And then I remember no more
until I was lying on a heap of brushwood
ashore, and Flint was insinuating between my
lips some drops of whisky from a metal flask.

"Cheer up, Britisher; you'll do now. It
kinder came over you," said the good-natured
Yankee, lifting the flask to his own lips, and
imbibing several sups of the cordial.

I gave his hand a feeble squeeze.

"I owe you my life; but where are we?
And Nedare any saved?"

The Yankee shook his head. " We're on
Island Number Ten, that's where we air. Jest
after you gave in, we grounded, and I got a grip
of a snag sticking out of the mud, and we're
on dry airth again. If you're strong enough,
mister, we'd best look for a shelter, for 'tain't
wholesome to lie out, so far south."

I was bruised and weak, and my hands were
very painful, but I could walk pretty well. We
made our way across a sort of swampy meadow,
the general talking rapidly and continually, in
his kindly wish to divert my thoughts from the
sad fate of my gallant cousin. I gathered from
him that the island had no permanent inhabitants,
but was occasionally frequented by ferrymen,
flatmen, and others, at the particular
seasons when their trades were in full activity.
General Flint scarcely fancied that we should
find any living possessors of this dreary spot;
but he made no doubt we should discover some
log-house in tolerable repair, where we could
pass the night.

"And in the mornin', mister, we'll signal a
steam-boat and get picked off. No fear of our
playin' Robinson Crusoe too long here, I guess.
We'll have a banyan breakfast, but our appetite
for dinner will be a caution to alligators. Ah!
here's a con-venient location."

In effect, we were on the threshold of a large
and substantial log-house, behind which we could
dimly discern the outlines of other buildings.
The heavy door was ajar, and yielded sullenly
to our push. We entered. The interior was,
of course, quite dark, but a feeble red glow
proceeded from some dying embers on the hearth,
proving that human beings had been there
within a few hours. The general showed no
surprise. He merely observed that a timber
flat, bound for New Orleans, had probably

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