A beautiful island lying like a gem on the breast of the great Pacific a coral reef surrounding, and a calm lagoon within, on the glass-like surface of which rests a most piratical-looking schooner.
Such is the scene to which we invite our reader's attention for a little while.
At the time of which we write it was an eminently peaceful scene. So still was the atmosphere, so unruffled the water, that the island and the piratical-looking schooner seemed to float in the centre of a duplex world, where every cloudlet in the blue above had its exact counterpart in the blue below. No sounds were heard save the dull roar of the breaker that fell, at long regular intervals, on the seaward side of the reef, and no motion was visible except the back-fin of a shark as it cut a line occasionally on the sea, or the stately sweep of an albatross, as it passed above the schooner's masts and cast a look of solemn inquiry upon her deck.