Masterman Ready

Author: Frederick Marryat

Chapter X

When Ready returned on board, he first went down into the cabin to acquaint Mrs. Seagrave and William with what they had done. Mrs. Seagrave naturally felt anxious about her husband being on shore alone, and Ready informed her that they had agreed that if anything should occur Mr. Seagrave would fire the musket. He then went down into the sail-room to get some canvas, a new topgallant sail which was there, and a palm and needles with twine. Scarcely had he got them out, and at the foot of the ladder, when the report of the musket was heard, and Mrs. Seagrave rushed out of the cabin in the greatest alarm; Ready seized another musket, jumped into the boat, and pulled on shore as fast as he could. On his arrival, quite out of breath, for as he pulled on shore he had his back towards it, and could see nothing, he found Mr. Seagrave and Juno busy with the tent, and Tommy sitting on the ground crying very lustily. It appeared that, while Mr Seagrave and Juno were employed, Tommy had crept away to where the musket was placed up on end against a cocoa-nut tree, and, after pulling it about some little while, had touched the trigger. The musket went off; and, as the muzzle was pointed upwards, the charge had brought down two large cocoa-nuts. Mr. Seagrave, who was aware what an alarm this would produce on board the vessel, had been scolding him soundly, and now Master Tommy was crying, to prove how very penitent he was.

"I had better return on board immediately, sir, and tell Mrs. Seagrave," said Ready.

"Do, pray," repli??r. Seagrave.

Ready then returned to the ship, and explained matters, and then recommenced his labour.

Having put into the boat the sailmaker’s bag, with palm and needles, two mattresses, and blankets from the captain’s state room, the saucepan with the beef and pork, and a spar which he towed astern, Ready found that he had as much as he could carry; but, as there was nobody but himself in it, he came on shore very well. Having, with the assistance of Mr. Seagrave and Juno, got all the things up to the knoll, Ready lashed the spar up for the second tent, and then leaving them to fix it up like the other, he returned again on board. He made two other trips to the ship, bringing with him more bedding, a bag of ship’s biscuits, another of potatoes, plates, knives and forks, spoons, frying-pans and other cooking utensils, and a variety of other articles. He then showed Juno how to fill up the ends of the first tent with the canvas and sails he had brought on shore, so as to inclose it all round; Juno took the needle and twine, and worked very well. Ready, satisfied that she would be able to get on without them, now said: "Mr. Seagrave, we have but two hours more daylight, and it is right that Mrs. Seagrave should come on shore now; so, if you please, we’ll go off and fetch her and the children. I think we shall be able to do very well for the first night; and if it pleases God to give us fine weather, we may do a great deal more to-morrow."

As soon as they arrived on board, Mr. Seagrave went down to his wife to propose her going on shore. She was much agitated, and very weak from her illness, but she behaved courageously notwithstanding, and, supported by her husband, gained the deck, William following with the baby, and his little sister Caroline carried by Ready. With some difficulty they were all at last placed in the boat and shoved off; but Mrs. Seagrave was so ill, that her husband was obliged to support her in his arms, and William took an oar. They landed very safely, and carried Mrs. Seagrave up to the tent, and laid her down on one of the mattresses. She asked for a little water.

"And I have forgotten to bring any with me: well, I am a stupid old man; but I’ll go on board directly," said Ready: "to think that I should be so busy in bringing other things on shore and forget the greatest necessary in life! The fact is, I intended to look for it on the island as soon as I could, as it would save a great deal of trouble."

Ready returned on board as fast as he could, and brought on shore two kegs of fresh water, which he and William rolled up to the tent.

Juno had completely finished her task, and Mrs. Seagrave having drank some water, declared that she was much better.

"I shall not return on board any more to-night," said Ready, "I feel tired - very tired indeed."

"You must be," replied Mr. Seagrave; "do not think of doing any more."

"And I haven’t touched food this day, or even quenched my thirst," replied Ready, sitting down.

"You are ill, are you not, Ready?" said William.

"A little faint, William; I’m not so young as I was. Could you give me a little water?"

"Stop, William, I will," said Mr. Seagrave, taking up a tin can which had been filled for his wife: "here, Ready, drink this."

"I shall be better soon, sir; I’ll just lie down a little, and then I’ll have a biscuit and a little meat."

Poor old Ready was indeed quite tired out; but he ate something, and felt much revived. Juno was very busy; she had given the children some of the salt meat and biscuit to eat. The baby, and Tommy, and Caroline had been put to bed, and the second tent was nearly ready.

"It will do very well for to-night, Juno," said Mr. Seagrave; "we have done work enough for this day."

"Yes, sir," replied Ready, "and I think we ought to thank God for his mercies to us before we go to sleep."

"You remind me of my duty, Ready; let us thank him for his goodness, and pray to him for his protection before we go to sleep."

Mr. Seagrave then offered up a prayer of thankfulness; and they all retired to rest.


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Chicago: Frederick Marryat, "Chapter X," Masterman Ready, ed. Altemus, Henry in Masterman Ready Original Sources, accessed September 25, 2022,

MLA: Marryat, Frederick. "Chapter X." Masterman Ready, edited by Altemus, Henry, in Masterman Ready, Original Sources. 25 Sep. 2022.

Harvard: Marryat, F, 'Chapter X' in Masterman Ready, ed. . cited in , Masterman Ready. Original Sources, retrieved 25 September 2022, from