The raft drew beyond the middle of the river; the boys pointed her head right, and then lay on their oars.
The river was not high, so there was not more than a two or three mile current. Hardly a word was
said during the next three-quarters of an hour. Now the raft was passing before the distant town. Two or three glimmering lights showed where it lay, peacefully sleeping, beyond the vague vast sweep of star-gemmed water, unconscious of the tremendous event that was happening.
- The Black Avenger stood still with folded arms, ”looking his last” upon
- the scene of his former joys and his later sufferings, and wishing
- ”she” could see him now, abroad on the wild sea, facing peril and death with dauntless heart, going to his doom with a grim smile on his lips. It was but a small strain on his imagination to remove Jackson’s Island
- beyond eyeshot of the village, and so he ”looked his last” with a
- broken and satisfied heart. The other pirates were looking their last,
- too; and they all looked so long that they came near letting the
current drift them out of the range of the island. But they discovered the danger in time, and made shift to avert it. About two o’clock in the morning the raft grounded on the bar two hundred yards above the head of the island, and they waded back and forth until they had landed their freight.
Part of the little raft’s belongings consisted of an old sail, and this they spread over a nook in the bushes for a tent to shelter their provisions; but they themselves would sleep in the open air in good weather, as became outlaws.
- They built a fire against the side of a great log twenty or thirty
- steps within the sombre depths of the forest, and then cooked some
- bacon in the frying-pan for supper, and used up half of the corn ”pone”
- stock they had brought. It seemed glorious sport to be feasting in that
- wild, free way in the virgin forest of an unexplored and uninhabited
- island, far from the haunts of men, and they said they never would
- return to civilization. The climbing fire lit up their faces and threw
- its ruddy glare upon the pillared tree-trunks of their forest temple,
- and upon the varnished foliage and festooning vines.
When the last crisp slice of bacon was gone, and the last allowance of corn pone devoured, the boys stretched themselves out on the grass, filled with contentment. They could have found a cooler place, but they would not deny themselves such a romantic feature as the roasting camp-fire.