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Title: Willis the Pilot
Author: Adrien, Paul
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Willis the Pilot" ***

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[Illustration]

WILLIS THE PILOT,

A Sequel to the Swiss Family Robinson:

OR,

ADVENTURES OF AN EMIGRANT FAMILY
WRECKED ON AN UNKNOWN COAST OF THE PACIFIC OCEAN.

INTERSPERSED WITH

TALES, INCIDENTS OF TRAVEL, AND ILLUSTRATIONS OF
NATURAL HISTORY.

BOSTON:
LEE AND SHEPARD, PUBLISHERS.
NEW YORK:
LEE, SHEPARD AND DILLINGHAM.
1875.


LITHOTYPED BY COWLES AND COMPANY
At the Office of the American Stereotype Company,
PHOENIX BUILDING, BOSTON.

ILLUSTRATED BY KILBURN & MALLORY



PREFACE.


The love of adventure that characterises the youth of the present day,
and the growing tendency of the surplus European population to seek
abroad the comforts that are often denied at home, gives absorbing
interest to the narratives of old colonists and settlers in the
wonderful regions of the New World. Accordingly, the work known as the
_Swiss Family Robinson_ has long enjoyed a well-merited popularity,
and has been perused by a multitude of readers, young and old, with
profit as well as pleasure.

A Swiss clergyman resolved to better his fortune by emigration. In
furtherance of this resolution, he embarked with his wife and four
sons--the latter ranging from eight to fifteen years of age--for one
of the newly-discovered islands in the Pacific Ocean. As far as the
coast of New Guinea the voyage had been favorable, but here a violent
storm arose, which drove the ill-fated vessel out of its course, and
finally cast it a wreck upon an unknown coast. The family succeeded in
extricating themselves from the stranded ship, and landed safely on
shore; but the remaining passengers and crew all perished. For many
years these six individuals struggled alone against a variety of
trials and privations, till at length another storm brought the
English despatch-boat _Nelson_ within reach of their signals. Such is
a brief outline of the events recorded in the _Swiss Family Robinson_.

The present volume is virtually a continuation of this narrative. The
careers of the four sons--Frank, Ernest, Fritz, and Jack--are taken up
where the preceding chronicler left them off. The subsequent
adventures of these four young men, by flood and field, are faithfully
detailed. With these particulars are mingled the experiences of
another interesting family that afterwards became dwellers in the same
territory; as are also the sayings and doings of a weather-beaten
sailor--Willis the Pilot.

The scene is laid chiefly in the South Seas, and the narrative
illustrates the geography and ethnology of that section of the
Far-West. The difficulties, dangers, and hardships to be encountered
in founding a new colony are truthfully set forth, whilst it is shown
how readily these are overcome by perseverance and intelligent labor.
It will be seen that a liberal education has its uses, even under
circumstances the least likely to foster the social amenities, and
that, too, not only as regards the mental well-being of its
possessors, but also as regards augmenting their material comforts.

In the _Swiss Family Robinson_ the resources of Natural History have
been largely, and perhaps somewhat freely, drawn upon. This branch of
knowledge has, therefore, been left throughout the present volume
comparatively untouched. Nevertheless, as it is the aim of the
narrator to combine instruction with amusement, the more elementary
phenomena of the Physical Sciences have been blended with the current
of the story--thus garnishing, as it were, the dry, hard facts of
Owen, Liebig, and Arago, with the more attractive, groupings of life
and action.

The reader has, consequently, in hand a _mélange_ of the useful and
agreeable--a little for the grave and a little for the gay--so that,
should our endeavors to impart instruction prove unavailing, _en
revanche_ we may, perhaps, be more successful in our efforts to amuse.



CONTENTS.


CHAPTER I.

The Colony--Reflections on the Past--Ideas of Willis the Pilot--Sophia
Wolston


CHAPTER II.

To what extent Willis the Pilot had Ideas on certain Subjects--The
Knights of the Ocean


CHAPTER III.

Wherein Willis the Pilot proves "Irrefragably" that Ephemerides die of
Consumption and Home-Sickness--The Canoe and its Young ones--The
Search after the Sloop--Found--The Sword-Fish--Floating Atoms--Admiral
Socrates


CHAPTER IV.

A Landscape--Sad Houses and Smiling Houses--Politeness in China--Eight
Soups at Dessert--Wind Merchants--Another Idea of the Pilot's--Susan,
vice Sophia


CHAPTER V.

Allotment of Quarters--A Horse Marine--Travelling Plants--Change of
Dynasty in England--A Woman's Kingdom--Sheep converted into
Chops--Resurrection of the Fried Fish--A Secret


CHAPTER VI.

The Queen's Doll--Rockhouse to Falcon's Nest--The
Wind--Grasses--Admiral Homer--The Three Frogs--Oat Jelly--Esquimaux
Astronomy--An Unknown


CHAPTER VII.

The Search for the Unknown--Three Fleets on Dry Land--The
Indiscretions of a Sugar Cane--Larboard and Starboard--The supposed
Sensibility of Plants--The Fly-trap--Vendetta--Root and Germ--Mine and
Countermine--The Polypi--Oviparous and Viviparous--A Quid pro Quo


CHAPTER VIII.

Inhabitant of the Moon, Anthropophagian or Hobgoblin?--The Lacedemonian
Stew of Madame Dacier--Utile Dulci--Tête-à-tête between Willis and
his Pipe--Tobacco versus Birch--Is it for Eating?--Mosquitoes--The
Alarm--Toby--The Nocturnal Expedition--We've got him


CHAPTER IX.

The Chimpanzee--Imperfect Negro, or Perfect Ape--The Harmonies of
Nature--A Handful of Paws--A Stone Skin--Seventeen Spectacles on one
Nose--Animalculæ--Pelion on Ossa--Ptolemy--Copernicus to
Galileo--Metaphysics and Cosmogonies--A live Tiger


CHAPTER X.

The Pioneers--Excursion to Coromandel--Hindoo Fancies--A Caged
Hunter--Louis XI and Cardinal Balue--A Furlong of News--Carnage--The
Baronet and his seventeen Tigers--Fifty-four feet of Celebrity--Sterne's
Window--Promenade of the Consciences--Emulation and Vanity


CHAPTER XI.

On the Watch--Fecundity of Plants and Animals--Latest News from the
Moon--A Death-Knell every Second--The Inconveniences of being too near
the Sun--Narcotics--Willis contralto--Hunting turned upside
down--Electric Clouds--Partialities of Lightning--Bells and
Bellringers--Conducting Rods--The Return--The Two Sisters--Toby
becomes a Dragoman


CHAPTER XII.

Man proposes, but God disposes--The Choice of a
Profession--Conqueror--Orator--Astronomer--Composer--Painter--Poet--Village
Curate--The Kafirs--Occupations of Women--The Alpha and Omega of the
Sea


CHAPTER XIII.

Herbert and Cecilia--The little Angels--A Catastrophe--The
Departure--Marriage of the Doge with the Adriatic--Sovereigns of the
Sea--Dante and Beatrix--Eleonora and Tasso--Laura and Petrarch--The
Return--Surprises--What one finds in Turbots--A Horror--The
Price of Crime--Ballooning--Philipson and the Cholera--A
Metamorphosis--Adventure of the Chimpanzee--Are you Rich?


CHAPTER XIV.

The Tears of Childhood and Rain of the Tropics--Charles'
Wain--Voluntary Enlistment--A Likeness Guaranteed--The World at
Peace--Alas, poor Mary!--The same Breath for two Beings--The first
Pillow--The Logic of the Heart--How Fritz supported Grief--A Grain of
Sand and the Himalaya


CHAPTER XV.

God's Government--King Stanislaus--The Dauphin son of Louis XV.--The
shortest Road--New Year's Day--A Miracle--Clever Animals--The
Calendar--Mr. Julius Cæsar and Pope Gregory XIII.--How the day after
the 4th of October was the 15th--Olympiads--Lustres--The Hegira--A
Horse made Consul--Jack's Dream


CHAPTER XVI.

Separation--Guelphs and Ghibelines--Montagues and
Capulets--Sadness--The Reunion--Jocko and his Education--The
Entertainments of a King--The Mules of Nero and the Asses of
Poppæa--Hercules and Achilles--Liberty and Equality--Semiramis and
Elizabeth--Christianity and the Religion of Zoroaster--The Willisonian
Method--Moral Discipline versus Birch


CHAPTER XVII.

Where there's a Will there's a Way--Mucius Scævola--What's to be
done?--Brutus Torquatus and Peter the Great--Australia, Botany Bay,
and the Flying Dutchman--New Guinea and the Buccaneer--Vancouver's
Island--White Skins--Danger of Landing on a Wave--Hanged or
Drowned--Route to Happiness--Omens


CHAPTER XVIII.

Bacon and Biscuit--Let Sleeping Dogs Lie--The Paternal Benediction--An
Apparition--A Mother not easily deceived--The Adieu--The Emperor
Constantine--hoc signo vinces--The Sailor's Postscript--Cæsar and his
Fortunes--Recollections--Mrs. Becker plucks Stockings and Knits
Ortolans--How delightful it is to be Scolded--The Bodies vanish, but
the Souls remain


CHAPTER XIX.

Eighteen Hundred and Twelve--The _Mary_--Count Ugolino--The Sources of
Rivers--The Alps demolished--No more Pyrenees--The First Ship--Admiral
Noah--Fleets of the Israelites--The Compass--Printing--Gunpowder--Actium
and Salamis--Dido and Æolus--Steam--Don Garay and Roger Bacon--Melchthal,
Furst, and William Tell--Going a-pleasuring--Upset versus blown up--A
Dead Calm--The Log--Willis's Archipelago--The Island of Sophia--The Bread
Fruit-tree--Natives of Polynesia--Striped Trowsers--Abduction of
Willis--Is he to be Roasted or Boiled?--When the Wine is poured out,
we must Drink it


CHAPTER XX.

Jupiter Tonans--The Thunders of the Pilot--Worshippers of the
Far West--A late Breakfast--Rono the Great--A Polynesian
Legend--Manners and Customs of Oceanica Mr. and Mrs. Tamaidi--Regal
Pomp--Elbow Room--Katzenmusik--Queen Tonico and the Shaving
Glass--Consequences of a Pinch of Snuff--Disgrace of the Great
Rono--Marins--Coriolanus--Hannibal--Alcibiades--Cimon--Aristides--A
Sop for the Thirsty--Air something else besides Oxygen and
Hydrogen--Maryland and Whitechapel--Half-way up the Cordilleras--Human
Machines--Star of the Sea, pray for us!


CHAPTER XXI.

Lying-to--Heart and Instinct--Sparrows viewed as
Consumers--Migrations--Posting a Letter in the
Pacific--Cannibals--Adventures of a Locket


CHAPTER XXII.

The Utility of Adversity--An Encounter--The _Hoboken_--Bill alias Bob


CHAPTER XXIII.

In which Willis shows, that the term Press-gang means something else
besides the Gentlemen of the Press


CHAPTER XXIV.

Another Idea of the Pilot's--The _Boudeuse_


CHAPTER XXV.

Delhi--William of Normandy and King John--Isabella of Bavaria and Joan
of Arc--Poitier and Bovines--History of a Ghost, a Gridiron, and a
Chest of Guineas


CHAPTER XXVI.

Willis falls in with the Sloop on terra firma, instead of at the
bottom of the Sea, as might have been expected--Admiral Cicero--The
Defunct not yet Dead


CHAPTER XXVII.

Captain Littlestone is found, and the Rev. Mr. Wolston is seen for the
first time


CHAPTER XXVIII.

Willis proves that the only way to be free is to get sent to
Prison--An Escape--A Discovery--Promotions--Somnambulism


Conclusion



CHAPTER I.

THE COLONY--REFLECTIONS ON THE PAST--IDEAS OF WILLIS THE PILOT--SOPHIA
WOLSTON.


The early adventures of the Swiss family, who were wrecked on an
unknown coast in the Pacific Ocean, have already been given to the
world. There are, however, many interesting details in their
subsequent career which have not been made public. These, and the
conversations with which they enlivened the long, dreary days of the
rainy season, we are now about to lay before our readers.

Becker, his wife, and their four sons had been fifteen years on this
uninhabited coast, when a storm drove the English despatch sloop
_Nelson_ to the same spot. Before this event occurred, the family had
cleared and enclosed a large extent of country; but, whether the
territory was part of an island or part of a continent, they had not
yet ascertained. The land was naturally fertile; and, amongst other
things that had been obtained from the wreck of their ship, were
sundry packages of European seeds: the produce of these, together with
that of two or three heads of cattle they had likewise rescued from
the wreck, supplied them abundantly with the necessaries of life. They
had erected dwellings here and there, but chiefly lived in a cave near
the shore, over the entrance to which they had built a sort of
gallery. This structure, conjointly with the cave, formed a commodious
habitation, to which they had given the name of _Rockhouse_. In the
vicinity, a stream flowed tranquilly into the sea; this stream they
were accustomed to call _Jackal River_, because, a few days after
their landing, they had encountered some of these animals on its
banks. Fronting Rockhouse the coast curved inwards, the headlands on
either side enclosing a portion of the ocean; to this inlet they had
given the name of _Safety Bay_, because it was here they first felt
themselves secure after having escaped the dangers of the storm. In
the centre of the bay there was a small island which they called
_Shark's Island_, to commemorate the capture of one of those monsters
of the deep. Safely Bay, had, a second time, acquired a legitimate
title to its name, for in it Providence had brought the _Nelson_
safely to anchor.

By unwearying perseverance, indefatigable industry, and an untiring
reliance on the goodness of God, Becker and his family had surrounded
themselves with abundance. There was only one thing left for them to
desire, and that was the means of communicating with their kindred;
and now this one wish of their hearts was gratified by the unexpected
appearance of the _Nelson_ on their shore. The fifteen years of exile
they had so patiently endured was at once forgotten. Every bosom was
filled with boundless joy; so true it is, that man only requires a ray
of sunshine to change his most poignant griefs into smiles and
gladness.

The first impressions of their deliverance awakened in the minds of
the young people a flood of projects. The mute whisperings that
murmured within them had divulged to their understandings that they
were created for a wider sphere than that in which they had hitherto
been confined. Europe and its wonders--society, with its endearing
interchanges of affection--that vast panorama of the arts and of
civilization, of the trivial and the sublime, of the beautiful and
terrible, that is called the world--came vividly into their thoughts.
They felt as a man would feel when dazzled all at once by a spectacle,
the splendor of which the eyes and the mind can only withstand by
degrees. They had spelt life in the horn-book of true and simple
nature--they were now about to read it fluently in the gilded volume
of a nature false and vitiated, perhaps to regret their former
tranquil ignorance.

Becker himself had, for an instant, given way to the general
enthusiasm, but reflection soon regained her sway; he asked himself
whether he had solid reasons for wishing to return to Europe, whether
it would be advisable to relinquish a certain livelihood, and abandon
a spot that God appeared to bless beyond all others, to run after the
doubtful advantages of civilized society.

His wife desired nothing better than to end her days there, under the
beautiful sky, where, from the bosom of the tempest, they had been
guided by the merciful will of Him who is the source of all things.
Still the solitude frightened her for her children. "Might it not,"
she asked herself, "be egotism to imprison their young lives in the
narrow limits of maternal affection?" It occurred to her that the
dangers to which they were constantly exposed might remove them from
her; to-day this one, to-morrow another; what, then, would be her own
desolation, when there remained to her no bosom on which to rest her
head--no heart to beat in unison with her own--no kindly hand to
grasp--and no friendly voice to pray at her pillow, when she was
called away in her turn!

At length, after mature deliberation, it was resolved that Becker
himself, his wife, Fritz and Jack, two of their sons, should remain
where they were, whilst the two other young men should return to
Europe with a cargo of cochineal, pearls, coral, nutmegs, and other
articles that the country produced of value in a commercial point of
view. It was, however, understood that one of the two should return
again as soon as possible, and bring back with him any of his
countrymen who might be induced to become settlers in this land of
promise, Becker hoping, by this means, to found a new colony which
might afterwards flourish under the name of _New Switzerland_. The
mission to Europe was formally confided to Frank and Ernest, the two
most sedate of the family.

Besides the captain and crew, there was on board the ship now riding
at anchor in the bay a passenger, named Wolston, with his wife and two
daughters. This gentleman was on his way to join his son at the Cape
of Good Hope, but had been taken seriously ill previous to the
_Nelsons_ arrival on the coast. He and his family were invited on
shore by Becker, and had taken up their quarters at Rockhouse.
Wolston was an engineer by profession, but his wife belonged to a
highly aristocratic family of the West of England; she had been
brought up in a state of ease and refinement, was possessed of all the
accomplishments required in fashionable society, but she was at the
same time gifted with strong good sense, and could readily accommodate
herself to the circumstances in which she was now placed. Her two
daughters, Sophia the youngest, a lively child of thirteen, and Mary
the eldest, a demure girl of sixteen, had been likewise carefully, but
somewhat elaborately, educated. Attracted no less by the hearty and
warm reception of the Swiss family, than determined by the state of
his health and the pure air of the country, Wolston resolved to await
there the return of the sloop, the official destination of which was
the Cape of Good Hope, where it had to land despatches from Sidney.

Captain Littlestone, of H.B.M.'s sloop _Nelson_, had kindly consented
to all these arrangements; he agreed to convey Ernest and Frank Becker
and their cargo to the Cape, to aid them there with his experience,
and, finally, to recommend them to some trustworthy correspondents he
had at Liverpool. He likewise promised to bring back young Wolston
with him on his return voyage.

Everything being prepared, the departure was fixed for the next day:
the sloop, with the blue Peter at the fore, was ready, as soon as the
anchor was weighed, to continue her voyage. The cargo had been stowed
under hatches. Becker had just given the farewell dinner to Captain
Littlestone and Lieutenant Dunsley, his second in command. These two
gentlemen had discreetly taken their leave, not to interrupt by their
presence the final embraces of the family, the ties of which, after so
many long years of labor and hardship, were for the first time to be
broken asunder.

During the voyage, Wolston had formed an intimacy with the boatswain
of the _Nelson_, named Willis, and he, on his side, held Wolston and
his family in high esteem. Willis was likewise a great favorite with
his captain--they had served in the same ship together when boys;
Willis was known to be a first-rate seaman; so great, indeed, was his
skill in steering amongst reefs and shoals, that he was familiarly
styled the "Pilot," by which cognomen he was better known on board
than any other. At the particular request of Wolston, who had some
communications to make to him respecting his son, Willis remained on
shore, the captain promising to send his gig for him and his two
passengers the following morning.

Whilst Wolston was busy charging the pilot with a multitude of
messages for his son, Mrs. Becker was invoking the blessings of Heaven
upon the heads of her two boys; praying that the hour might be
deferred that was to separate her from these idols of her soul. Becker
himself, upon whom his position, as head of the family, imposed the
obligation of exhibiting, at least outwardly, more courage, instilled
into their minds such principles of truth and rules of conduct as the
solemnity of the moment was calculated to engrave on their hearts.

The dial now marked three o'clock, tropical time. Willis, wiping, with
the cuff of his jacket, a drop that trickled from the corner of his
eye, laid hold of his seal-skin sou'-wester as a signal of immediate
departure. Ernest and Frank were bending their heads to receive the
parting benediction of their parents, when suddenly a fierce torrent
of wind shook the gallery of Rockhouse to its foundation, and uprooted
some of the bamboo columns by which it was supported.

"Only a squall," said Willis quietly.

"A squall!" exclaimed Becker, "what do you call a hurricane then?"

"Oh, a hurricane, I mean a downright reefer, all square and
close-hauled, that is a very different affair; but, after all, this
begins to look very like the real article."

Now came a succession of gusts, each succeeding one more powerful than
its predecessor, till every beam of the gallery bent and quivered;
dense copper-colored clouds appeared in the atmosphere, rolling
against each other, and disengaging by their shock, the thunder and
lightnings. Then fell, not the slender needles of water we call rain,
but veritable floods, that were to our heaviest European showers what
the cataracts of the Rhine, at Staubach, or the falls of Niagara, are
to the gushings of a sylvan rivulet. In a few minutes the Jackal river
had converted the valley into a lake, in which the plantations and
buildings appeared to be afloat, and rendering egress from Rockhouse
nearly impossible.

However much of a colorist Willis might be, he could not have painted
a storm with the eloquence of the elements that had cut short his
observation.

"You will not attempt to embark in weather like this?" inquired Mrs.
Becker anxiously.

"My duty it is to be on board," replied the Pilot.

"The craft that ventures to take you there will get swamped twenty
times on the way," observed Becker.

"The worst of it is, the wind is from the east, and evidently carries
waterspouts with it. These waterspouts strike a ship without the
slightest warning, play amongst the rigging, whirl the sails about
like feathers--sometimes carry them off bodily, or, if they do not do
that, tear them to shreds and shiver the masts. In either case, the
consequences are disagreeable."

"A reason for you to be thankful you are safe on shore with us!"
remarked Mrs. Wolston.

"It is all very well for you, Mrs. Wolston, and you, Mrs. Becker, to
talk in that way; your business in life is that of wives and mothers.
But what will the Lords of the Admiralty say, when they hear that the
sloop _Nelson_ was wrecked whilst Master Willis, the boatswain, was
skulking on shore like a land-rat?"

"Oh, they would only say there was one useful man more, and a victim
the less," replied Fritz.

"Why, not exactly, Master Fritz; they would say that Willis was a
poltroon or a deserter, whichever he likes; they would very likely
condemn him to the yard-arm by default, and carry out the operation
when they get hold of him. But I will not endanger any one else; all I
want is the use of your canoe."

"What! brave this storm in a wretched seal-skin cockle-shell like
that?"

"Would it not be offending Providence," hazarded Mary Wolston, "for
one of God's creatures to abandon himself to certain death?"

"It would, indeed," added Mrs. Wolston; "true courage consists in
facing danger when it is inevitable, but not in uselessly imperiling
one's life; there stops courage, and temerity begins."

"If it is not pride or folly. I do not mean that with reference to
you, Willis," hastily added Wolston; "I know that you are open as day,
and that all your impulses arise from the heart."

"That is all very fine--but I must act; let me have the canoe. I want
the canoe: that is my idea."

"Having lived fifteen years cut off from society," gravely observed
Becker, "it may be that I have forgotten some of the laws it imposes;
nevertheless, I declare upon my honor and conscience--"

"Let me have the canoe, otherwise I must swim to the ship."

"I declare," continued Becker, "that Willis exaggerates the
requirements of his duty. There are stronger forces to which the human
will must yield. It is one thing to desert one's post in the hour of
danger, and another to have come on shore at the express desire of a
superior officer, when the weather was fine, and nothing presaged a
storm."

"If there is danger," continued the obstinate sailor, whom the united
strength of the four men could scarcely restrain, "I ought to share
it; that is my duty and I must."

"But," said Wolston, "all the boatswains and pilots in the world can
do nothing against hurricanes and waterspouts; their duty consists in
steering the ship clear of reefs and quicksands, and not in fighting
with the elements."

"There is one thing you forget, Mr. Wolston."

"And what is that, Willis?"

"It is to be side by side with your comrades in the hour of calamity,
to aid them if you can, and to perish with them if such be the will of
Fate. At this moment, poor Littlestone may be on the point of taking
up his winter quarters in the body of a shark. But there, if the
sloop is lost while I am here on shore, I will not survive her; all
that you can say or do will not prevent me doing myself justice."

At this moment Jack, who had disappeared during this discussion,
unobserved, came in saturated to the skin with water, and in a state
difficult to describe. Like the boots of Panurge, his feet were
floating in the water that flowed from the rim of his cap.

"What is this?" exclaimed his mother. "You wilful boy, may I ask
where, in all the world, you have been?"

"I have just come from the bay. O father and mother! O Mr. and Mrs.
Wolston! O Master Willis! if you had only seen! The sea is furious;
sometimes the waves rise to the skies and mingle with the clouds, so
that it is impossible to say where the one begins and the other ends.
It is frightful, but it is magnificent!"

"And the sloop?" demanded Willis.

"She is not to be seen; she is no longer at anchor in the bay."

"Gone to the open sea, to avoid being driven ashore," said Wolston.
"Captain Littlestone is not the man to remain in a perilous position
whilst there remained a means of escape; besides, nothing that
science, united with courage and presence of mind, could do, would
have been neglected by him to save his ship."

"In addition to which," observed Becker, "if he had found himself in
positive danger, he would have fired a gun; and in that case, though
we are not pilots, every one of us would have hastened to his
assistance."

"You see, Willis," said Mrs. Wolston, "God comes to ease your mind;
were we to allow you to go to the sloop now, the thing is simply
impossible."

"I have my own idea about that," insisted Willis, whilst he kept
beating a tatoo on the isinglass window panes.

Whilst thus chafing like a caged lion, Wolston's youngest daughter
went towards him, and gently putting her hand in his, said,
"Sweetheart" (for so she had been accustomed to address him), "do you
remember when, during the voyage, you used to look at me very closely,
and that one evening I went boldly up to you and asked you why you
did so?"

"Yes, Miss Sophia, I recollect."

"Do you remember the answer you gave me?"

"Yes, I told you that I had left in England, on her mother's bosom, a
little girl who would now be about your own age, and that I could not
observe the wind play amongst the curls of your fair hair without
thinking of her, and that it sometimes made my breast swell like the
mizen-top-sail before the breeze."

"Yes, and when I promised to keep out of your sight, not to reawaken
your grief, you told me it was a kind of grief that did you more good
than harm, and that the more it made you grieve, the happier you would
be."

"All true:" replied the sailor, whose excitement was melting away
before the soft tones of the child like hoar frost in the sunshine.

"Then I promised to come and talk to you about your Susan every day;
and did I not keep my word?"

"Certainly, Miss Sophia; and it is only bare justice to say that you
gracefully yielded to all my fatherly whims, and even went so far as
to wear a brown dress oftener than another, because I said that my
little Susan wore that color the last time I kissed her."

"Oh, but that is a secret, Willis."

"Yes, but I am going to tell all our secrets--that is an idea of mine.
You then went and learned Susan's mother's favorite song, with which
you would sometimes sing me to sleep, like a great baby that I am, and
make me fancy that I was surrounded by my wife and daughter, and was
comfortably smoking my pipe in my own cottage, with a glass of grog at
my elbow."

Willis said this so earnestly, that the smile called forth by the
oddness of the remark scarcely dared to show itself on the lips of the
listeners.

"Very well," resumed the little damsel, "if you are not more
reasonable, and if you keep talking of throwing your life away, I will
never again place my hand in yours as now; I shall not love you any
more, and shall find means of letting Susan's mother know that you
went away and killed yourself, and made her a widow."

Men can only speak coldly and appeal to reason--logic is their panacea
in argument. Women alone possess those inspirations, those simple
words without emphasis, that find their way directly to the heart, and
for which purpose God has doubtless endowed them with those soft, mild
tones, whose melodies cause our most cherished resolutions to vanish
in the air; like those massive stone gates we have seen in some of the
old castles in Germany, that resist the most powerful effort to push
them open, but which a spring of the simplest construction causes to
move gently on their formidable hinges.

Willis was silent; but no openly-expressed submission could have been
more eloquent than this mute acquiescence.

In the meantime the tempest raged with increased fury, the winds
howled, and the water splashed; it appeared at each shock as if the
elements had reached the utmost limit of the terrific; that the sea,
as the poet says, had lashed itself into exhaustion! But, anon, there
came another outburst more terrible still, to declare that, in his
anger as in his blessings, the All-Powerful has no other limit than
the infinite.

"If it is not in the power of human beings to aid the crew of the
_Nelson_," said Mrs. Becker kneeling, "there are other means more
efficacious which we are guilty in not having sought before."

Every one followed this example, and it was a touching scene to behold
the rough sailor yield submissively to the gentle violence of the
child's hand, and bend his bronzed and swarthy visage humbly beside
her cherub head.



CHAPTER II.

TO WHAT EXTENT WILLIS THE PILOT HAD IDEAS ON CERTAIN SUBJECTS--THE
KNIGHTS OF THE OCEAN.


The storm continued to rage without intermission for three entire
days. During this interval, not only was it impossible to send the
canoe or pinnace to sea, but even to venture a step beyond the
threshold, so completely had the tempest broken up the burning soil,
the thirst of which the great Disposer of all things had proportioned
to the deluges that were destined to assuage it.

All had at length yielded to bodily fatigue and mental anxiety, for
the seeming eternity of these three days and three nights had been
passed in prayer, and in the most fearful apprehensions as to the fate
of the _Nelson_ and her crew.

Nothing in the horizon as yet indicated that the thunders were tired
of roaring, the clouds of rending themselves asunder, the winds of
howling, or the waves of frantically beating on the cliffs.

Towards evening the ladies had retired to the sick-room with a view of
seeking some repose. Becker, Willis, and the young men bivouacked in
the hall, where some mattresses and bear-skins had been laid down.
Here it was arranged that, for the common safety, each during the
night should watch in turn. But about two in the morning, Ernest had
no sooner relieved Fritz than, fatigue overcoming his sense of duty,
the poor fellow fell comfortably asleep, and he was soon perfectly
unconscious of all that was passing around him.

Becker awoke first--it was broad daylight. "Where is Willis?" he
cried, on getting up.

"Holloa!" exclaimed Fritz, running towards the magazine, "the canoe
has disappeared!"

In an instant all were on their feet.

"Some one of you has fallen asleep then," said Becker to his children;
"for when the pilot watched I watched with him, and never lost sight
of him for a moment."

"I am the culprit," said Ernest; "and if any mischief arises out of
this imprudence, I shall never forgive myself. But who could have
dreamt of any one being foolhardy enough to attempt the rescue of a
ship in a nutshell that scarcely holds two persons?"

"I pray Heaven that your sleepy-headedness may not result in the loss
of human life! You see, my son, that there is no amount of duty, be it
ever so trifling in importance, that can be neglected with impunity.
It is the concurrent devotion of each, and the sacrifices of one for
another, that constitutes and secures the mutual security. Society on
a small, as on a large scale, is a chain of which each individual is a
link, and when one fails the whole is broken."

"I will go after him," said Ernest.

"Fritz and I will go with you," added Frank.

"No," said Ernest; "I alone am guilty, and I wish alone to remedy my
fault--that is, as far as possible."

"I could not hide the canoe," observed Fritz, "but I hid the oars, and
I find them in their place."

"That, perhaps, will have prevented him embarking," remarked one of
the boys.

"A man like Willis," replied Becker, "is not prevented carrying out
his intentions by such obstacles; he will have taken the first thing
that came to hand; but let us go."

"What, father, am I not then to go alone, and so bear the penalty of
my own fault?"

"No, Ernest, that would be to inflict two evils upon us instead of
one; it is sufficient that you have shown your willingness to do so.
Besides, three will not be over many _to convince_ Willis, even if yet
in time."

"And mother? and the ladies?" inquired Fritz.

"I shall leave Frank and Jack to see to them; a mere obstinate freak,
or a catastrophe, it will be time enough, when over, to inform them of
this new idea of the Pilot's."

"It is something more than an idea this time," remarked Jack.

Just as Becker and his two sons were issuing from the grotto, the
report of a cannon-shot resounded through the air.

Awoke and startled by the explosion, Becker's wife and Mrs. Wolston
came running towards them. As for the girls, their guardian angel had
too closely enveloped them in its wings to admit of their sleep being
disturbed.

"The sloop on the coast!" said Frank; "for the sound is too distinct
to come from a distance."

"Unless Willis has got upon Shark's Island," objected Fritz, running
towards the terrace, armed with a telescope. "Just so; he is there, I
see him distinctly; he is recharging our four-pounder."

"God be praised! you relieve my conscience of a great burden," said
Ernest, placing his hand on his breast.

"He is going to discharge it," cried Fritz--boom. Then a second shot
reverberated in the air.

"If Captain Littlestone be within hearing of that signal, he will be
sure to reply to it." said Becker. "Listen!"

They hushed themselves in silence, each retaining his respiration, as
if their object had been to hear the sound of a fly's wing rather than
the report of a cannon.

"Nothing!" said Becker sadly, at the expiration of a few minutes.

"Nothing!" reiterated successively all the voices.

"How in all the world did Willis contrive to get transported to
Shark's Island?" inquired Mrs. Becker.

"Simply, wife, by watching when asleep, whilst one of our gentlemen
slept when he watched."

"Yes, mother," said Ernest, "and if you would not have me blush before
Mrs. Wolston, you will not insist upon an explanation of the mystery."

"Mrs. Wolston," she replied, "is not so exacting as you seem to think,
Master Ernest--the only difference that her presence here should make
amongst you is that you have two mothers instead of one."

"That is," said Mrs. Wolston smiling, "if Mrs. Becker has no
objections to dividing the office with me."

"Shall I not have compensation in your daughters?" said Mrs. Becker,
taking her by the hand.

"Still," interrupted Fritz, "I cannot yet conceive how Willis managed
to reach Shark's Island in a wretched canoe, without oars, through
waves that ought to have swallowed him up over and over again."

"Bah!" exclaimed Jack; "what use has a pilot for oars?"

"There is a question! You, who modestly call yourself the best
horseman on the island, how would you do, if you had nothing to ride
upon?"

"I could at least fall back upon broomsticks," retorted the
imperturbable Jack. "Besides, in Willis's case, the canoe was the
steed, the oars the saddle--nothing more."

"We shall not stay here to solve the riddle," said Becker; "the storm
seems disposed to abate; and the more that it was unreasonable to face
certain destruction in a vain endeavor to assist a problematical
shipwreck, the more it is incumbent upon us now to go in quest of the
_Nelson_."

"But the sea will still be very terrible!" quickly added Mrs. Becker.

"If all danger were over, wife, the enterprise would do us little
credit. It is our duty to do the best we can, according to the
strength and means at our command. Fritz, Ernest, and Jack, go and put
on your life-preservers--we shall take up Willis in passing."

"I must not insist," said Mrs. Becker; "the sacrifice would, indeed,
be no sacrifice, if it could be easily borne; and yet--"

"Remember the time, wife, when I was obliged, in order to secure the
precious remains of our ship, to venture with our eldest sons on a
float of tubs, leaving you exposed, alone with a child of seven, to
the chance of eternal isolation!"

"That is very true, husband: I am unjust towards Providence, which has
never ceased blessing us; but I am only a weak woman, and my heart
often gets the better of my head."

"To-day I leave Frank with you; but, instead of your being his
protector, as was the case fifteen years ago, he will be yours. Then
there is Mrs. Wolston, her daughters, and husband, quite a new world
of sympathies and consolations, by which our island has been so
miraculously peopled."

"Go then, husband, and may God bring back in safety both the pinnace
and the _Nelson_!"

"By the way, Mrs. Wolston, how does our worthy invalid get on? We live
in such a turmoil of events and consternations, that I must beg a
thousand pardons for not having asked after him before."

"His sleep appears untroubled; and, notwithstanding all the terrors of
the last few days, I entertain sanguine hopes of his immediate
recovery."

"You will at least return before night?" said Mrs. Becker to her
husband.

"Rely upon my not prolonging my stay beyond what the exigencies of the
expedition imperiously require."

"Good gracious! what are these?" exclaimed Mrs. Wolston as the three
brothers entered, equipped in seal-gut trowsers, floating stays of the
same material, and Greenland caps.

"The Knights of the Ocean," replied Jack gravely, "who, like the
heroes of Cervantes, go forth to redress the wrongs done by the
tempest, and to break lances--oars, I mean--in favor of persecuted
sloops."

Mrs. Becker herself could scarcely refrain from smiling.

Such is the power of the smile that, in season or out of season, it
often finds its way to the most pallid lips, in the midst of the
greatest disasters and the deepest grief. It appears as if always
listening at the door ready to take its place on the slightest notice.
This diversion had the good effect of mixing a little honey with--if
the expression may be used--the bitterness of the parting adieus.
Becker took the lead in hiding his sorrow; the three young
Greenlanders tore themselves from the maternal embrace, and
affectionately kissed the hand held out to them by Mrs. Wolston.

Then, between those that departed and those that remained behind,
there was nothing more than the ties of recollection, the common
sadness, and the endless links of mutual affection.



CHAPTER III.

WHEREIN WILLIS THE PILOT PROVES "IRREFRAGABLY" THAT EPHEMERIDES DIE OF
CONSUMPTION AND HOME-SICKNESS--THE CANOE AND ITS YOUNG ONES--THE
SEARCH AFTER THE SLOOP--FOUND--THE SWORD-FISH--FLOATING ATOMS--ADMIRAL
SOCRATES.


When they had come within a short distance of the bay, Jack thought he
saw a large black creature moving in the bushes that lined the shore.

"A sea monster!" he cried, levelling his musket; "I discovered it, and
have the right to the first shot."

"No, sir," said Fritz, whose keen eye was a sort of locomotive
telescope, "I object to that, for I do not want you to kill or wound
my canoe."

"Nonsense, it moves."

"Whether it moves or not, we shall all see by and by; but do you not
observe this monster's young ones gambolling by its side?"

"Which proves I am right, unless you mean to say your canoe has been
hatching," and Jack again levelled his rifle.

"Don't fire, it is the hat and jacket of Willis!"

"What!" exclaimed Ernest, "is the Pilot a triton then, that he could
dispense with the canoe?"

"Well, yes, unless the canoe has found its way back of its own accord,
which would indeed make it an intelligent creature."

"The Pilot has evidently reached Shark's Island by swimming, in spite
of surf and breakers--a feat almost without a parallel."

"Bah!" said Ernest, parodying Jack's witticism about the oars, "what
does a pilot care about surf and breakers?"

Strongly moored in a creek of the Jackal River, and protected by a
bluff, forming a screen between it and the sea, the pinnace had in no
way suffered from the storm.

The swell was so violent, that they had a world of trouble in making
the island; as they approached, Willis, who had made a speaking-trumpet
by joining his hands round his mouth, was roaring out alternately,
"starboard," "larboard," "hard-a-port," just as if these terms had
not been Hebrew to the impromptu mariners.

At last, tired of holloaing, "Stop a bit," he said, "I shall find a
quicker way;" with that he threw himself directly into the sea, and
cut through the waves towards them as if his arms had been driven by a
steam engine.

Arrived on board, he gave a vigorous turn to the tiller, laid hold of
the sheet, let out a reef here, took in another there; the pinnace was
soon completely at his command, and behaved admirably; true, she
pitched furiously, and the gunwale was under water at every plunge. He
headed along the coast till the point beyond which Fritz had first
observed the _Nelson_ was fairly doubled; some days before this point
was called Cape Deliverance, it was now, perhaps, about to acquire the
term of Cape Disappointment, but for the moment its future designation
was in embryo.

Leaping on the poop, Willis carefully scanned the horizon as the boat
rose upon the summit of the waves; but seeing nothing, he at last
leapt down again with an expression of rage that, under other
circumstances, would have been irresistibly comic. Abandoning the
direction of the pinnace, he went and sat down on a bulk-head, and
covered his face with his hands, in an attitude of profound
desolation.

"Willis! Willis!" cried Jack, "I shall tell Sophia."

But there was neither the soft voice there, the caressing hand, nor
the sweet fascination of the young girl's presence, and Willis
continued immovable.

Becker saw that his was one of those minds that grew less calm the
more they were urged, and the excitement of which must be permitted to
wear itself out; he therefore beckoned his sons to leave him to his
own reflections.

The wind still blew a gale, and the pinnace pitched heavily; but the
sun was now beginning to break through the masses of lurid cloud, and
the air was becoming less and less charged with vapor.

"I can descry nothing either," said Becker; "and yet this is the
direction the storm must have driven the sloop."

"The sea is very capricious," suggested Fritz.

"True, but not to the extent of carrying a ship against the wind."

"Unfortunately," said Jack, "it is not on sea as on land, where the
slightest indications of an object lost may lead to its discovery; a
word dropped in the ear of a passer-by might put you on the track, but
here it is no use saying, 'Sir, did you not see the _Nelson_ pass this
way?'"

"Fire a shot," said Ernest; "it may perhaps be heard, now that the air
is less humid."

The two-pounder was ready charged; Fritz struck a light and set fire
to a strip of mimosa bark, with which he touched the piece, and the
report boomed across the waters.

Willis raised his head and listened anxiously, but soon dropped it
again, and resumed his former attitude of hopeless despair.

"It may be," said Ernest, "that the _Nelson_ hears our signal, though
we do not hear hers."

"How can that be?" inquired Jack.

"Why, very easily. Sound increases or diminishes in intensity
according as the wind carries it on or retards it."

"What, then, is sound, that the wind can blow it about, most learned
brother?"

"It is a result of the compression of the air, that from its
elasticity extends and expands, and which causes a sort of trembling
or undulation, similar to that which is observed in water when a stone
is thrown into it."

"And you may add," said Becker, "that bodies striking the air excite
sonorous vibrations in this fluid; thus it rings under the lash that
strikes it with violence, and whistles under the rapid impulsion of a
switch: it likewise becomes sonorous when it strikes itself with force
against any solid body, as the wind when it blows against the cordage
of ships, houses, trees, and generally every object with which it
comes in contact."

"I can understand," replied Jack, "how this sonorous effect is
produced on the particles of air in immediate contact with the object
struck; but how this sound is propagated, I do not see."

"Very likely; but still it travels from particle to particle, in a
circle, at the rate of three hundred and forty yards in a second."

"Three hundred and forty yards in a second!" said Willis, who was
beginning by degrees to recover his self-possession. "Well, that is
what I should call going a-head."

"And by what sort of compasses has this speed been measured, Master
Ernest?"

"The first accurate measurement, Master Jack, was made at Paris in
1738. There are there two tolerably elevated points, namely,
Montmartre and Montlhéry--the distance between these, in a direct
line, is 14,636 _toises_. Cannons were fired during the night, and the
engineers on one of the elevations observed that an interval of
eighty-six seconds and a half elapsed between the flash and the report
of a cannon fired on the other."

"That half-second is very amusing," said Jack laughing; "if there had
been only eighty or eighty-six net, one might still be permitted to
entertain some doubts; but eighty-six and a half admits nothing of the
kind. But why not three-quarters or six-eighths, they would do as
well?"

"What is more natural than to reckon the fraction, if we are desirous
of obtaining absolute precision? Is six months of your time of no
value? Are thirty minutes more or less on the dial of your watch of no
signification to you?"

"Your brother is perfectly right, Jack; you are not always successful
in your jokes."

"Other experiments have been made since then," continued Ernest, "and
the results have always been the same, making allowances for the wind,
and a slight variation that is ascribed to temperature."

"To confirm the accuracy of this statement, the speed of light would
have to be taken into consideration."

"True; but the velocity of light is so great, that the instant a
cannon is fired the flash is seen."

"Whatever the distance?"

"Yes, whatever the distance. Bear in mind that the rays of the sun
only require eight minutes to traverse the thirty-four millions of
leagues that extend between us and that body. Hence it follows that
the time light takes to travel from one point to another on the earth
may be regarded as _nil_."

"That is something like distance and speed," remarked Willis, "and may
be all right as regards the sun, but I should not be disposed to admit
that there are any other instances of the same kind."

"Very good, Master Willis; and yet the sun is only a step from us in
comparison to the distance of some stars that we see very distinctly,
but which are, nevertheless, so remote, that their rays, travelling at
the same rate as those of the sun, are several years in reaching us."

Willis rose abruptly, whistling "the Mariner's March," and went to
join Fritz, who was steering the pinnace.

At this _naïve_ mark of disapprobation on the part of the Pilot,
Becker, Ernest, and Jack burst involuntarily into a violent peal of
laughter.

"Laugh away, laugh away." said Willis; "I will not admit your
calculations for all that."

The sky had now assumed an opal or azure tint, the wind had gradually
died away into a gentle breeze, the waves were now swelling gently and
regularly, like the movements of the infant's cradle that is being
rocked asleep. Never had a day, opening in the convulsions of a
tempest, more suddenly lapsed into sunshine and smiles: it was like
the fairies of Perrault's Tales, who, at first wrapped in sorry rags,
begging and borne down with age, throw off their chrysalis and appear
sparkling with youth, gaiety, and beauty, their wallet converted into
a basket of flowers, and their crutch to a magic wand.

"Father" inquired Fritz, "shall we go any farther?"

Since the weather had calmed down, and there was no longer any
necessity for exertion, the expedition had lost its charm for the
young man.

"I think it is useless; what say you, Willis?"

"Ah," said the latter, taking Becker by the hand, "in consideration of
the eight days' friendship that connects you even more intimately with
Captain Littlestone than my affection for him of twenty years'
standing, keep still a few miles to the east."

"If the sloop has been driven to a distance by the storm, and is
returning towards us, which is very likely, I do not see that we can
be of much use."

"But if dismasted and leaky?"

"That would alter the case, only I am afraid the ladies will be uneasy
about us."

"But they were half prepared, father."

"Jack is right," added Fritz, whose energies were again called into
play by the thought of the _Nelson_ in distress; "let us go on."

"Besides, on the word of a pilot, the sea will be very calm and gentle
for some time to come: there is not the slightest danger."

"And what if there were?" replied Fritz.

"Well, Willis, I shall give up the pinnace to you till dark," said
Becker, "and may God guide us; we shall return to-night, so as to
arrive at Rockhouse early in the morning."

"Hurrah for the captain!" cried Willis, throwing a cap into the air.

The evolutions of a cap, thrown up towards the sky or down upon the
ground, were very usual modes with Willis of expressing his joy or
sorrow.

This homage rendered to Becker, he hastened to let a reef out of the
sheet, and the pinnace, for a moment at rest, redoubled its speed,
like post-horses starting from the inn-door under the combined
influence of a cheer from the postillion and a flourish of the whip.

"There is a cockle-shell that skips along pretty fairly," said Willis;
"but it wants two very important things."

"What things?"

"A caboose and a nigger."

"A caboose and a nigger?"

"Yes, I mean a pantry and a cook; a gale for breakfast is all very
well, one gets used to it, it is light and easily digested; but the
same for dinner is rather too much of a good thing in one day."

"I observed your thoughtful mother hang a sack on one of your
shoulders, which appeared tolerably well filled--where is it?"

"Here it is," said Jack, issuing from the hatchway; "here are our
stores: a ham, two Dutch cheeses, two callabashes full of Rockhouse
malaga, and there is plenty of fresh water in the gourds; with these,
we have wherewithal to defy hunger till to-morrow."

"Capital!" said Willis.

This time, however, a cap did not appear in the air, as the last one
had not been seen since the former ovation.

"Let us lay the table," said Jack, arranging the coils of rope that
crowded the deck. "Well, you see, Willis, we want for nothing on board
the pinnace, not even a what-do-you-call-it?"

"A caboose, Master Jack."

"Well, not even a caboose."

"Quite true; and if the _Nelson_ were in the offing, I would not
exchange my pilot's badge for the epaulettes of a commodore; but,
alas! she is not there."

"Cheer up, Willis, cheer up; one is either a man or one is not. What
is the good of useless regrets?"

"Very little, but it is hard to be yard-armed while absent at my time
of life--and afterwards--your health, Mr. Becker."

"That would be hard at any age, Willis; but I rather think it has not
come to that yet."

"When it has come to it, there will be very little time left to talk
it over."

"Did you not say, brother, that the _Nelson_ might hear our signals
without our hearing hers? If so, there is a chance for Willis yet."

"Certainly, Jack, because she has the wind in her favor to act as a
speaking-trumpet, whilst we had it against us acting as a deafener."

"Is there any other influence that affects sound besides the wind?"

"Yes, I have already mentioned that temperature has something to do
with it. Sound varies in intensity according to the state of the
atmosphere. If, for example, we ring a small bell in a closed vessel
filled with air, it has been observed that, as the air is withdrawn by
the pump, the sound gradually grows less and less distinct."

"And if a vacuum be formed?"

"Then the sound is totally extinguished."

"So, then," objected Willis, "if two persons were to talk in what you
call a vacuum, they would not hear each other?"

"Two persons could not talk in a vacuum," replied Ernest.

"Why not?"

"Because they would die as soon as they opened their mouths."

"Ah, that alters the case."

"If, on the contrary, a quantity of air or gas were compressed into a
space beyond what it habitually held, then the sound," continued
Ernest, "would be more intense than if the air were free."

"In that case a whisper would be equal to a howl!"

"You think I am joking, Willis; but on the tops of high mountains,
such as the Himalaya and Mont Blanc, where the air is much rarified,
voices are not heard at the distance of two paces."

"Awkward for deaf people!"

"Whilst, on the icy plains of the frozen regions, where the air is
condensed by the severe cold, a conversation, held in the ordinary
tone, may be easily carried on at the distance of half a league."

"Awkward for secrets!"

"And how does sound operate with regard to solid bodies?" inquired
Jack.

"According to the degree of elasticity possessed by their veins or
fibres."

"Explain yourself."

"That is, solid bodies, whose structure is such that the vibration
communicated to some of their atoms circulates through the mass, are
susceptible of conveying sound."

"Give us an instance."

"Apply your ear to one end of a long beam, and you will hear
distinctly the stroke of a pin's head on the other; whilst the same
stroke will scarcely be heard through the breadth of the wood."

"So that, in the first case, the sound runs along the longitudinal
fibres where the contiguity of parts is closer, than when the body is
taken transversely?"

"Just so."

"And across water?"

"It is heard, but more feebly."

For some time Fritz had been closely observing with the telescope a
particular part of the horizon, when all at once he cried, "This time
I see him distinctly; he is bearing down upon us."

"Who? the sloop?" cried Willis, starting up and letting fall the glass
he had in his hand.

"What an extraordinary pace! he bounds into the air, then plumps into
the water, then leaps up again, just like an India-rubber ball, that
touches the ground only to take a fresh spring!"

"Impossible, Master Fritz; the _Nelson_ tops the waves honestly and
gallantly; but as to leaping into the air, she is a little too bulky
for that."

"Ah, poor Willis, it is not the _Nelson_ that is under my glass at
present, but an enormous fish, ten or twelve feet in length."

"Oh, how you startled me!"

"Father! Ernest! prepare to fire! Jack, the harpoon! he is coming this
way."

Fritz stood at the stern of the pinnace, his rifle levelled, following
with his eyes the movements of the monster; when within reach, he
fired with so much success and address that he hit the creature on the
head. It then changed its course, leaving behind a train of blood.

"Let us after him, Willis; quick!"

The Pilot turned the head of the pinnace, and Jack immediately threw
his harpoon.

"Struck!" cried he joyfully.

By the hissing of the line, and then the rapid impulsion of the
pinnace, it was felt that the monster had more strength than the craft
and its crew together.

Ernest and his father fired at the same time; the ball of the former
was lost in the animal's flesh, that of the latter rebounded off a
horny protuberance that armed the monster's upper lip.

Fritz had time to recharge his rifle; he levelled it a second time,
and the ball went to join the former; but, for all that, the pinnace
continued to cleave the water at a furious rate.

Becker seized an axe and cut the rope.

"Oh, father, what a pity! such a splendid capture for our museum of
natural history!"

"It is a sword-fish, children; a monster of a dangerous species, and
of extreme voracity. If, by way of reciprocity, the fish have a museum
at the bottom of the sea, they will have some fine specimens of the
human race that have become the prey of this creature; and it may be
that we were on the way to join the collection."

"Did you observe the formidable dentilated horn?"

"It is by means of this horn or sword, from which it takes its name,
that it wages a continual war with the whale, whose only mode of
escape is by flourishing its enormous tail; but the sword-fish, being
very agile, easily avoids this, bounds into the air as Fritz saw it
doing just now, then, falling down upon its huge adversary, pierces
him with its sword."

"By the way, talking about the whale," said Jack, "all naturalists
seem agreed, and we ourselves are convinced from our own observation,
that its throat is very narrow, and that it can only swallow molluscs,
or very small fishes--what, in that case, becomes of the history of
Jonah?"

"It is rather unfortunate," replied Becker, "that the whale has been
associated with this miracle. There is now no possibility of
separating the whale from Jonah, or Jonah from the whale; yet, in the
Greek translation of the Chaldean text, there is _Ketos_--in the
Latin, there is _Cete_--and both these words were understood by the
ancients to signify a fish of enormous size, but not the whale in
particular. The shark, for example, can swallow a man, and even a
horse, without mangling it."

"I have heard," said Jack, "of navigators who have landed on the back
of a whale, and walked about on it, supposing it a small island."

"There is nothing impossible about that," observed Willis.

"One thing is certain, that we had just now within reach a sea monster
who has carried off four leaden bullets in his body without seeming to
be in the least inconvenienced by them; on the contrary, he seemed to
move all the quicker for the dose."

"Life is a very different thing with those fellows than with us. The
carp is said to live two hundred years, and it is supposed that a
whale might live for ten centuries if the harpoon did not come in the
way to shorten the period."

"Ah!" exclaimed Willis, with a sigh that might have moved a train of
waggons, "these fellows have no cares."

"And the ephemeride, that dies an instant after its birth, do you
suppose that it dies of grief?"

"Who knows, Master Jack?"

"The ephemeride does not die so quickly as you think," said Becker;
"it commences by living three years under water in the form of a
maggot. It afterwards becomes amphibious, when it has a horny
covering, on which the rudiments of wings may be observed. Then, four
or five months after this first metamorphosis, generally in the month
of August, it issues from its skin, almost as rapidly as we throw off
a jacket; attached to the rejected skin are the teeth, lips, horns,
and all the apparatus that the creature required as a water insect;
then it is no sooner winged, gay, and beautiful, than, as you observe,
it dies--hence it is called the day-fly, its existence being
terminated by the shades of night."

"I was certain of it," said Willis.

"Certain of what?"

"That it died of grief at being on land. When one has been accustomed
to the water, you see, under such circumstances life is not worth the
having."

"The day-fly," continued Becker, "is an epitome of those men who
spend a life-time hunting after wealth and glory, and who perish
themselves at the moment they reach the pinnacle of their ambitious
desires. Whence I conclude, my dear children, that there are nothing
but beginnings and endings of unhappiness in this world, and that true
felicity is only to be hoped for in another sphere."

"What a curious series of transformations! First an aquatic insect,
next amphibious, then throwing away the organs for which it has no
further use, and becoming provided with those suited to its new
state!"

"Yes, my dear Fritz; and yet those complicated and beautiful
operations of Nature have not prevented philosophers from asserting
that the world resulted from _floating atoms_, which, by force of
combination, and after an infinity of blind movements, conglomerate
into plants, animals, men, heaven, and earth."

"I am only a plain sailor," said Willis "yet the eye of a worm teaches
me more than these philosophers seem to have imagined in their
philosophy."

"Such a system could only have originated in Bedlam or Charenton."

"No, Ernest, it is the system of Epicurus and Lucretius. Without going
so far back, there are a thousand others quite as ridiculous, with
which it is unnecessary to charge your young heads."

"All madmen are not in confinement, and it may be that Epicurus and
Lucretius had arrived at those limits of human reason, where genius
begins in some and folly in others."

"It is not that, Fritz; but if men, says Malebranche somewhere,[A] are
interested in having the sides of an equilateral triangle unequal, and
that false geometry was as agreeable to them as false philosophy, they
would make the problems equally false in geometry as in morality, for
this simple reason, that their errors afford them gratification,
whilst truth would only hurt and annoy them."

"Very good," observed Willis; "this Malebranche, as you call him, must
have been an admiral?"

"No, Willis, nothing more than a simple philosopher, but one of good
faith, like Socrates, who admitted that what he knew best was, that he
knew nothing."

The sun had gradually disappeared in the midst of purple tinged
clouds, leaving along the horizon at first a fringe of gold, then a
simple thread, and finally nothing but the reflection of his rays,
sent to the earth by the layers of atmosphere,[B] like the adieu we
receive at the turning of a road from a friend who is leaving us.

There was a festival in the sky that night; the firmament brought out,
one by one, her circlet of diamonds, till the whole were sparkling
like a blaze of light; the pinnace also left a fiery train in her
wake, caused partly by electricity and partly by the phosphorescent
animalculae that people the ocean.

"Willis," said Becker, "I leave it entirely to you to decide the
instant of our return."

The Pilot changed at once the course of the boat, without attempting
to utter a word, so heavy was his heart at this unsuccessful
termination of the expedition.

"It will be curious," observed Fritz, "if we find the _Nelson_, on our
return, snugly at anchor in Safety Bay."

"I have a presentiment," said Jack; "and you will see that we have
been playing at hide-and-seek with the _Nelson_."

Willis shook his head.

"Are there not a thousand accidents to cause a ship to deviate from
her route?"

"Yes, Master Ernest, there are typhoons, and the waterspouts of which
I spoke to you before. In such cases, ships often deviate from their
route, but generally by going to the bottom."

Willis concluded this sentence with a gesture that defies description,
implying annihilation.

"Remember Admiral Socrates, Willis," said Jack; "_what I know best is,
that I know nothing_, and avow that God has other means of
accomplishing his decrees besides typhoons and waterspouts."

"My excellent young friends, I know you want to inspire me with hope,
as they give a toy to a child to keep it from crying, and I thank you
for your good intentions. Now, for three days you have, so to speak,
had no rest, and I insist on your profiting by this night to take some
repose; and you also, Mr. Becker; I am quite able to manage the
pinnace alone."

"Yes providing you do not play us some trick, like that of this
morning, for instance."

"All stratagems are justifiable in war. Master Ernest had fair warning
that I had an idea to work out. Besides, a prisoner, when under
hatches, has the right to escape if he can: under parole, the case is
quite different."

"Well, Willis, if you give me your simple promise to steer straight
for New Switzerland, and awake me in two hours to take the bearings--"

"I give it, Mr. Becker."

The three Greenlanders then descended into the hold, for tropical
nights are as chilly as the days are hot, and Becker, rolling himself
up in a sail, lay on deck.

In less than five minutes they were all fast asleep, and Willis paced
the deck, his arms crossed, and mechanically gazing upon a star that
was mirrored in the water.

"Several years to come to us, and that at the rate of seventy thousand
leagues a second--that is _a little_ too much."

Then he went to the rudder, his head leaning upon his breast, and
glancing now and then with distracted eye at the course of the boat,
buried in a world of thought, sad and confused, doubtless beholding in
succession visions of the _Nelson_, of Susan, and of Scotland.

FOOTNOTES:

[A] "Search after Truth," book ix.

[B] The twilight is entirely owing to this.



CHAPTER IV.

A LANDSCAPE--SAD HOUSES AND SMILING HOUSES--POLITENESS IN CHINA--EIGHT
SOUPS AT DESSERT--WIND MERCHANTS--ANOTHER IDEA OF THE PILOT'S--SUSAN,
VICE SOPHIA.


Towards five o'clock next morning everything about Rockhouse was
beginning to assume life and motion--within, all its inhabitants were
already astir--without, little remained of the recent storm and
inundation except that refreshing coolness, which, conjointly with the
purified air, infuses fresh vigor, not only into men, but also into
every living thing. The citrous, the aloes, and the Spanish jasmines
perfumed the landscape. The flexible palms, the tall bananas, with
their unbrageous canopy, the broad, pendant-leaved mangoes, and all
the rank but luxuriant vegetation that clothed the land to the water's
edge, waved majestically under the gentle breeze that blew from the
sea. The Jackal River unfolded its silvery band through the roses,
bamboos, and cactii that lined its banks. The sun--for that luminary
plays an important part in all Nature's festivals--darted its rays on
the soil still charged with vapor. Diamond drops sparkled in the cups
of the flowers and on the points of the leaves. In the distance,
pines, cedars, and richly-laden cocoa-nut trees filled up the
background with their dark foliage. The swans displayed their
brilliant plumage on the lake, the boughs of the trees were alive with
parroquets and other winged creatures of the tropics. Add to the
charms of this scene, Mrs. Becker returning from the prairie with a
jar of warm, frothy milk--Mrs. Wolston and Mary busied in a
multiplicity of household occupations, to which their white hands and
ringing voices gave elegance and grace--Sophia tying a rose to the
neck of a blue antelope which she had adopted as a companion--Frank
distributing food to the ostriches and large animals, and admit, if
there is a paradise on earth, it was this spot.

Compare this scene with that presented by any of our large cities at
the same hour in the morning. In London or Paris, our dominion rarely
extends over two or three dreary-looking rooms--a geranium, perhaps,
at one of the windows to represent the fields and green lanes of the
country; above, a forest of smoking chimneys vary the monotony of the
zig-zag roofs; below, a thousand confused noises of waggons, cabs, and
the hoarse voices of the street criers; probably the lamps are just
being extinguished, and the dust heaps carted away, filling our rooms,
and perhaps our eyes, with ashes; the chalk-milk, the air, and the
odors are scarcely required to fill up the picture.

Breakfast was spread a few paces from Mr. Wolston's bed, whom the two
young girls were tending with anxious solicitude, and whose sickness
was almost enviable, so many were the cares lavished upon him.

"You are wrong, Mrs. Becker," said Mrs. Wolston, "to make yourself
uneasy, the sea has become as smooth as a mirror since their
departure."

"Ah, yes, I know that, my dear Mrs. Wolston, but when one has already
undergone the perils of shipwreck, the impression always remains, and
makes us see storms in a glass of water."

"I am certain," remarked Mr. Wolston, "the cause of their delay is a
concession made to Willis."

"Very likely he would not consent to return, unless they went as far
as possible."

"By the way, madam," said Mary, "now that you have got two great girls
added to your establishment, I hope you are going to make them useful
in some way--we can sew, knit, and spin."

"And know how to make preserves," added Sophia.

"Yes, and to eat them too," said her mother.

"If you can spin, my dears, we shall find plenty of work for you; we
have here the Nankin cotton plant, and I intend to dress the whole
colony with it."

"Delightful!" exclaimed Sophia, clapping her hands; "Nankin dresses
just as at the boarding-school, with a straw hat and a green veil."

"To be sure, it must be woven first," reflected Mrs. Becker; "but I
dare say we shall be able to manage that."

"By the way, girls," said Mrs. Wolston, "have you forgotten your
lessons in tapestry?"

"Not at all, mamma; and now that we think of it, we shall handsomely
furnish a drawing-room for you."

"But where are the tables and chairs to come from?" inquired Mrs.
Becker.

"Oh, the gentlemen will see to them."

"And the room, where is that to be?"

"There is the gallery, is there not?"

"And the wool for the carpet?"

"Have you not sheep?"

"That is true, children; you speak as if we had only to go and sit
down in it."

"The piano, however, I fear will be wanting, unless we can pick up an
Erard in the neighboring forest."

"True, mamma, all the overtures that we have had so much trouble in
learning will have to go for nothing."

"But," said Mrs. Becker, "by way of compensation, there is the
vegetable and fruit garden, the pantry, the kitchen, the dairy, and
the poultry yard; these are all my charges, and you may have some of
them if you like."

"Excellent, each shall have her own kingdom and subjects."

"It being understood," suggested Mrs. Wolston, "that you are not to
eat everything up, should the fruit garden or pantry come under your
charge."

"That is not fair, mamma; you are making us out to be a couple of
cannibals."

"You see," continued Mrs. Wolston, "these young people have not the
slightest objection to my parading their accomplishments, but the
moment I touch their faults they feel aggrieved."

"I am persuaded," rejoined Mrs. Becker laughing, "that there are no
calumniators in the world like mothers."

"Therefore, mamma, to punish you we shall come and kiss you."

And accordingly Mrs. Wolston was half stifled under the embraces of
her two daughters.

"I am certainly not the offender," said Mrs. Becker, "but I should not
object to receive a portion of the punishment; these great
boys--pointing to Frank--are too heavy to hang on my neck now; you
will replace them, my dears, will you not?"

"Most willingly, madam; but not to deprive them of their places in
your affection."

"In case you should lose that, Master Frank," said Mrs. Wolston, "you
must have recourse to mine."

"But now, my friends, what do you say to going down to the shore to
meet the pinnace, and perhaps the _Nelson_?" said Mrs. Becker.

"Ah, yes," said Sophia; "and I will stay at home to wait upon father."

"No," said Mary; "I am the eldest--that is my right."

"Well, my children, do not quarrel about that," said Wolston; "I feel
rather better; and I dare say a walk will do me good. Perhaps, when I
get tired, Frank will lend me his arm."

"Better than that," hastily added Frank; "I shall saddle Blinky; and
lead him gently, and you will be as comfortable as in an arm-chair."

"What is that you call Blinky?"

"Oh, one of our donkeys."

"Ah, very good; I was afraid you meant one of your ostriches, and I
candidly admit that my experiences in equitation do not extend to
riding a winged horse."

"In that case," said Mrs. Becker, "to keep Blinky's brother from being
jealous, I, shall charge him with a basket of provisions; and we shall
lay a cloth under the mangoes, so that our ocean knights, as Jack will
have it, may have something to refresh themselves withal as soon as
they dismount."

The little caravan was soon on the march; the two dogs cleared the
way, leaping, bounding, and scampering on before, sniffing the bushes
with their intelligent noses; then, returning to their master, they
read in his face what was next to be done. Mary walked by the side of
Blinky, amusing her father with her prattle. Sophia, with her
antelope, was gambolling around them, the one rivalling the other in
the grace of their movements, not only without knowing it, but rather
because they did not know it. The two mothers were keeping an eye on
the donkey; whilst Frank, with his rifle charged, was ready to bring
down a quail or encounter a hyena.

Some hours after the pinnace hove in sight, the voyagers landed, and
received the warm congratulations of those on shore. When Willis had
secured the boat, he took a final survey of the coast, penetrating
with his eyes every creek and crevice.

"Is there no trace of the _Nelson_?" inquired Wolston.

"None!"

"Well, I had all along thought you would find it so; the wind for four
days has been blowing that it would drive the _Nelson_ to her
destination. Captain Littlestone, being charged with important
despatches, having already lost a fortnight here, has, no doubt, taken
advantage of the gale, and made sail for the Cape, trusting to find us
all alive here on his return voyage."

"Yes," said the Pilot, "I know very well that you have all good
hearts, and that you are desirous of giving me all the consolation you
can."

"Would you not have acted, under similar circumstances, precisely as
we suppose Captain Littlestone to have done?"

"I admit that the thing, is not only possible, but also that, if
alive, it is just what he would have done. I trust, if it be so, that
when he gets into port he will report me keel-hauled?"

"Keel-hauled?"

"Yes, I mean dead. It is a thousand times better to pass for a dead
man than a deserter."

"The wisest course he could pursue, it appears to me, would be to hold
his tongue--probably you will not be missed."

"Ah! you think that her Majesty's blue jackets can disappear in that
way, like musk-rats? But no such thing. When the captain in command at
the station hails on board, every man and boy of the crew, from the
powder-monkey to the first-lieutenant, are mustered in pipe-clay on
the quarter-deck, and there, with the ship's commission in his hand,
every one must report himself as he calls over the names.

"Then the captain will tell the simple truth."

"Well, you see, truth has nothing at all to do with the rules of the
service, the questions printed in the orderly-book only will be asked,
and he may not have an opportunity of stating the facts of the case;
besides, discipline on board a ship in commission could not be
maintained if irregularities could be patched up by a few words from
the captain. When it is found that I had been left on shore, the
questions will be, 'Was the _Nelson_ in want of repairs?' 'No.' 'Did
she require water?' 'No.' 'Provisions?' 'No.' 'Then Willis has
deserted?' 'Yes.' And his condemnation will follow as a matter of
course."

"In that case, the Captain would be more to blame than you are."

"So he would, and it is for that reason I hope he will be able to show
by the log that I was seized with cholera, tied up in a sack, and duly
thrown overboard with a four-pound shot for ballast."

"I cannot conceive," said Becker, "that the discipline of any service
can be so cruelly unreasonable as you would have us believe."

"No, perhaps you think that just before the anchor is heaved, and the
ship about to start on a long voyage, the cabin boys are asked whether
they have the colic--that lubbers, who wish to back out have only to
say the word, and they are free--that the pilot may go a-hunting if he
likes, and that the officers may stay on shore and amuse themselves in
defiance of the rules of the service? In that case the navy would be
rather jolly, but not much worth."

When Willis was once fairly started there was no stopping him.

"Dead," he continued; "that is to say, without a berth, pay, or even a
name, nothing! My wife will have the right to marry again, my little
Susan will have another father, and I shall only be able to breathe by
stealth, and to consider that as more than I deserve. You must admit
that all this is rather a poor look-out a-head."

"Really, Willis," said Mrs. Wolston, "you seem to take a pride in
making things worse than they are, conjuring up phantoms that have no
existence."

"It is true, madam. I may be going upon a wrong tack. Judging from all
appearances, the sloop, instead of being on her way to the Cape, is
tranquilly reposing at the bottom of the sea. But it is only death for
death; hanged by a court-martial or drowned with the sloop, it comes,
in the end, to the same thing."

"I dare say, Willis, had there really been an accident, and you had
been on board, you would not have felt yourself entitled to escape?"

"Certainly not, madam; unless the crew could be saved, it would look
anything but well for the pilot to escape alone."

Willis, however, to do him justice, seemed trying to smother his
grief; and, in the meanwhile, the two girls had been spreading a pure
white cloth on a neighboring rock, cutting fruit plates out of the
thick mangoe leaves, cooling the Rockhouse malaga in the brook, and
giving to the repast an air of elegance and refinement which had the
effect of augmenting the appetite of the company. The viands were not
better than they had been on many similar occasions, but they were now
more artistically displayed, and consequently more inviting.

Who has not remarked, in passing through a street of dingy-looking
houses, one of them distinguished from the others by its fresh and
cheerful aspect, the windows garnished with a luxuriant screen of
flowers, with curtains on either side of snowy whiteness and elaborate
workmanship? Very likely the passer-by has asked himself, Why is this
house not as neglected, tattered, and dirty as its wretched neighbors?
The answer is simple; there dwells in this house a young girl, blithe,
frolicsome, and joyous, singing with the lark, and, like a butterfly,
floating from her book to her work-box--from her mother's cheek to her
father's, leaving an impress of her youthfulness and purity on
whatever she touches.

For a like reason the _al fresco_ dinner of this day had a charm that
no such feast had been observed to possess before.

"We are not presentable," said Fritz, referring to his seal-gut
uniform.

"Ah," replied Mrs. Wolston, "it is your costume of war, brave knights;
and, for my part, I admire you more in it than in the livery of Hyde
Park or Bond Street."

"In that case," said Ernest, "we shall do as they do in China."

"And what is that?"

"Well, the most profound remark of respect a host can pay to his
guests, is to go and dress after dinner."

"Just when they are about to leave?"

"Exactly so, madam."

"That is very decidedly a Chinese observance. Are they not somewhat
behind in cookery?"

"By no means, madam; on the contrary, they have attained a very high
degree of perfection in that branch of the arts. It is customary, at
every ceremonious dinner, to serve up fifty-two distinct dishes. And
when that course is cleared off, what do you think is produced next?"

"The dessert, I suppose."

"Eight kinds of soup, never either one more or one less. If the number
were deficient, the guests would consider themselves grossly insulted,
the number of dishes denoting the degree of respect entertained by the
host for his guests."

"I beg, Mrs. Wolston," said Mrs. Becker laughing, "that you will not
estimate our esteem for you by the dinner we offer you."

"Well," replied Mrs. Wolston in the same tone, "let me see; to be
treated as we ought to be, there are fifty-seven dishes wanting,
therefore we must go and dine at home. John, call my carriage."

At this sally they all laughed heartily, and even Willis chimed in
with the general hilarity.

"Then, after the soups," continued Ernest, "comes the tea, and with
that the dessert, as also sixty square pieces of silver paper to wipe
the mouth. It is then that the host vanishes, to reappear in a
brilliant robe of gold brocade and a vest of satin."

"These people ought all to perish of indigestion."

"No; they are moderate eaters, their dishes consist of small saucers,
each containing only a few mouthfuls of meat, and, as for Europeans,
the want of forks and spoons--"

"What! have they no forks?"

"Not at table--nor knives either; but, on the other hand, they are
exceedingly expert in the use of two slender sticks of ivory, which
they hold in the first three fingers of the right hand, and with which
they manage to convey solids, and even liquids, to their mouths."

"Ah! I see," said Jack; "the Europeans would be obliged, like Mrs.
Wolston, to call their carriage, in spite of the fifty-two saucers of
meat: it puts me in mind of the stork inviting the fox to dine with
her out of a long-necked jar."

"We are apt to judge the Chinese by the pictures seen of them on their
own porcelain, and copied upon our pottery," said Becker; "but this
conveys only a ludicrous idea of them. They are the most industrious,
but at the same time the vainest, most stupid, and most credulous
people in the world; they worship the moon, fire, fortune, and a
thousand other things; people go about amongst them selling wind,
which they dispose of in vials of various sizes."

"That is a trade that will not require an extraordinary amount of
capital."

"True; and besides, as they carry on their trade in the open air, they
have no rent to pay."

"Their bonzes or priests," continued Becker, "to excite charity,
perambulate the streets in chains, sometimes with some inflammable
matter burning on their heads, whilst, instead of attempting to purify
the souls of dying sinners, they put rice and gold in their mouths
when the vital spark has fled. They have a very cruel mode of
punishing renegade Lamas: these are pierced through the neck with a
red-hot iron."

"What is a Lama, father?"

"It is a designation of the Tartar priests."

For some time Willis had been closely examining a particular point in
the bay with increasing anxiety; at last he ran towards the shore and
leapt into the sea. Becker and his four sons were on the point of
starting off in pursuit of him.

"Stop," said Wolston, "I have been watching Willis's movements for the
last ten minutes, and I guess his purpose--let him alone."

Willis swam to some object that was floating on the water, and
returned in about a quarter of an hour, bringing with him a plank.

"Well," he inquired, on landing, "was I wrong?"

"Wrong about what?" inquired Wolston.

"The _Nelson_ is gone."

"The proof, Willis."

"That plank."

"Well, what about the plank?"

"I recognise it."

"How, Willis?"

"How! Well," replied the obstinate pilot, "fish don't breed planks,
and--and--I scarcely think this one could escape from a dockyard, and
float here of its own accord."

"Then, Willis, according to you, there are no ships but the _Nelson_,
no ships wrecked but the _Nelson_, and no planks but the _Nelson's_.
Willis, you are a fool."

"Every one has his own ideas, Mr. Wolston."

Towards evening, when they were on their way back to Rockhouse, Sophia
confidentially called Willis aside, and he cheerfully obeyed the
summons.

"Pilot," said she, "I have made up my mind about one thing."

"And what is that, Miss Sophia?"

"Why, this--in future, when we are alone, as just now, you must call
me Susan, as you used to call your own little girl when at home, not
Miss Susan."

"Oh, I cannot do that, Miss Sophia."

"But I insist upon it."

"Well, Miss Sophia, I will try."

"What did you say?"

"Miss Sus--"

"What?"

"Susan, I mean."

"There now, that will do."



CHAPTER V.

ALLOTMENT OF QUARTERS--A HORSE MARINE--TRAVELLING PLANTS--CHANGE OF
DYNASTY IN ENGLAND--A WOMAN'S KINGDOM--SHEEP CONVERTED INTO
CHOPS--RESURRECTION OF THE FRIED FISH--A SECRET.


After some days more of anxious but fruitless expectation, it was
finally concluded that either the _Nelson_ had sailed for the Cape,
or, as Willis would have it, she had gone to that unexplored and dread
land where there were neither poles nor equator, and whence no mariner
was ever known to return. It was necessary, therefore, to make
arrangements for the surplus population of the colony--whether for a
time or for ever, it was then impossible to say. At first sight, it
might appear easy enough to provide accommodation for the eleven
individuals that constituted the colony of New Switzerland. It is true
that land might have been marked off, and each person made sovereign
over a territory as large as some European kingdoms; but these
sovereignties would have resembled the republic of St. Martin--there
would have been no subjects. What, then, would they have governed? it
may be asked. Themselves, might be answered; and it is said to be a
far more difficult task to govern ourselves than to rule others.

Though space was ample enough as regards the colony in general, it was
somewhat limited as regards detail. To live _pêle-mêle_ in Rockhouse
was entirely out of the question. Independently of accommodation, a
thousand reasons of propriety opposed such an arrangement. Whether or
not there might be another cave in the neighborhood, hollowed out by
Nature, was not known; if there were, it had still to be discovered.
Chance would not be chance, if it were undeviating and certain in its
operations. To consign the Wolstons to Falcon's Nest or Prospect
Hill, and leave them there alone, even though under the protection of
Willis, could not be thought of; they knew nothing of the dangers that
would surround them, and as yet they were ignorant of the topography
of the island. It was, therefore, requisite that both families should
continue in proximity, so as to aid each other in moments of peril,
but without, at the same time, outraging propriety, or shackling
individual freedom of action. Under ordinary circumstances, these
difficulties might have been solved by taking apartments on the
opposite side of the street, or renting a house next door. But, alas!
the blessings of landlords and poor-rates had not yet been bestowed on
the island.

One day after dinner, when these points were under consideration,
Willis, who was accustomed to disappear after each meal, no one knew
why or whereto, came and took his place amongst them under the
gallery.

"As for myself," said the Pilot, "I do not wish to live anywhere.
Since I am in your house, Mr. Becker, and cannot get away honestly for
a quarter of an hour, I must of course remain; but as for becoming a
mere dependant on your bounty, that I will not suffer."

"What you say there is not very complimentary to me," said Mr.
Wolston.

"Your position, Mr. Wolston, is a very different thing: besides, you
are an invalid and require attention, whilst I am strong and healthy,
for which I ought to be thankful."

"You are not in my house," replied Becker "any more than I am in
yours; the place we are in is a shelter provided by Providence for us
all, and I venture to suppose that such a host is rich enough to
supply all our wants. I am only the humble instrument distributing the
gifts that have been so lavishly bestowed on this island."

"What you say is very kind and very generous," added Willis, "but I
mean to provide for myself--that is my idea."

"And not a bad one either," continued Becker; "but how? You are
welcome here to do the work for four--if you like; and then, supposing
you eat for two, I will be your debtor, not you mine."

"Work! and at what? walking about with a rifle on my shoulder; airing
myself, as I am doing now under your gallery, in the midst of flowers,
on the banks of a river: or opening my mouth for quails to jump down
my throat ready roasted--would you call that work?"

"Look there, Willis--what do you see?"

"A bear-skin."

"Well, suppose, by way of a beginning, I were to introduce you to a
fine live bear, with claws and tusks to match, ready to spring on you,
having as much right to your skin as you have to his--now, were I to
say to you, I want that animal's skin, to make a soft couch similar to
the one you see yonder, would you call that work?"

"Certainly, Mr. Becker."

"Very good, then; it is in the midst of such labors that we pass our
lives. Before we fell comfortably asleep on feather beds, those
formidable bones which you see in our museum were flying in the air;
the cup which I now hold in my hand was a portion of the clay on which
you sit; the canoe with which you ran away the other day was a live
seal; the hats that we wear, were running about the fields in the form
of angola rabbits. So with everything you see about you; for fifteen
years, excepting the Sabbath, which is our day of rest and recreation
as well as prayer, we have never relapsed from labor, and you are at
liberty to adopt a similar course, if you feel so disposed."

"No want of variety," said Jack; "if you do not like the saw-pit, you
can have the tannery."

"Neither are very much in my line," replied Willis.

"What then do you say to pottery?"

"I have broken a good deal in my day."

"Yes, but there is a difference between breaking it and making it."

"What appears most needful," remarked Fritz, "is, three or four acres
of fresh land, to double our agricultural produce."

"Is land dear in these parts?" inquired Mrs. Wolston, smiling.

"It is not to be had for nothing, madam; there is the trouble of
selecting it."

"And the labor of rendering it productive," added Ernest.

"But how do you manage for a lawyer to convey it?"

"I was advising Ernest to adopt that profession," said Mrs. Becker;
"wills and contracts would be in harmony with his studious
temperament."

"At present, the question before us," said Becker, "is the allotment
of quarters; in the meantime, Mr. and Mrs. Wolston, with the young
ladies, will continue to occupy our room."

"No, no," said Wolston "that would be downright expropriation."

"In that case the matter comes within the sphere of our lawyer, and I
therefore request his advice."

To this Ernest replied, by slowly examining his pockets; after this
operation was deliberately performed, he said, in a _nisi prius_ tone,
"That he had forgotten his spectacles, and consequently that it was
impossible for him to look into the case in the way its importance
demanded, otherwise he was quite of the same opinion as his learned
brother--his father, he meant."

"And what if we refuse?" said Mrs. Wolston.

"If you refuse, Mrs. Wolston, there is only one other course to
adopt."

"And what is that, Master Frank?"

"Why, simply this," and rising, he cried out lustily, "John, call Mrs.
Wolston's carriage."

"Ah, to such an argument as that, there can be no reply; so I see you
must be permitted to do what you like with us."

"Very good," continued Becker; "then there is one point decided: my
wife and I will occupy the children's apartment."

"And the children," said Jack, "will occupy the open air. For my own
part, I have no objection: that is a bedroom exactly to my taste."

"Spacious," remarked Ernest.

"Well-aired," suggested Fritz.

"Hangings of blue, inlaid with stars of gold," observed Frank.

"Any thing else?" inquired Becker.

"No, father, I believe the extent of accommodation does not go beyond
that."

"Therefore I have decided upon something less vast, but more
comfortable for you; you will go every night to our _villa_ of
Falcon's Nest."

"On foot?"

"On horseback, if you like and under the direction of Willis, whom I
name commander-in-chief of the cavalry."

"Of the cavalry!" cried the sailor; "what! a pilot on horseback?"

"Do not be uneasy, Willis," replied Jack, "we have no horses."

"Ah, well, that alters the case."

"But then we have zebras and ostriches."

"Ostriches! worse and worse."

"Say not so, good Willis; when once you have tried Lightfoot or
Flyaway, you would never wish to travel otherwise: they run so fast
that the wind is fairly distanced, and scarcely give us time to
breathe--it is delightful."

"Thank you, but I would rather try and get the canoe to travel on
land."

"Ah, Willis," said Fritz, "that would be an achievement that would do
you infinite credit--if you only succeed."

"Will you allow me to make a request, Mrs. Becker?"

"Listen to Willis," said Jack, "he has an idea."

"The request I have to urge is, that you will permit me to encamp on
Shark's Island, and there establish a lighthouse for the guidance of
the _Nelson_, in case she should return."

"What! the commander-in-chief of cavalry on an island?"

"No, not of the cavalry, but of the fleet; it is only necessary for
Mr. Becker to change my position into that of an admiral, which will
not give him much extra trouble."

"I shall do so with pleasure, Willis."

"In that case, since I am an admiral, the first thing I shall do, is
to pardon myself for the faults I committed whilst I was a pilot."

"Capital!" said Ernest, "that puts me in mind of Louis XII., who, on
ascending the throne, said that it was not for the King of France to
revenge the wrongs of the Duke of Orleans."

"What, then, is to become of the boys? I intended to make you their
compass--on land, of course."

"The boys," cried the latter, "are willing to enlist as seamen, and
accompany the admiral on his cruise."

"You will spin yarns for us, Willis, will you not?"

"Well, my lads, if you want a sleeping dose, I will undertake to do
that."

"But there are objections to this arrangement," Mrs. Becker hastily
added.

"What are they, mother?"

"In the first place, a storm might arise some fine night--one of those
dreadful hurricanes that continue several days, like the one that
terrified us so much lately--and then all communication would be cut
off between us."

"You could always see one another."

"How so, Willis?"

"From a distance--with the telescope."

"Then," continued Mrs. Becker, "you would be a prey to famine, for
though the telescope, good Master Willis, might enable you to see our
dinner--from a distance--I doubt whether that would prevent you dying
of starvation."

"We might easily guard against that, by taking over a sufficient
quantity of provisions with us every night, and bringing them back
next morning."

"But could you carry over my kisses, Willis, and distribute them
amongst my children every morning and evening, like rations of rice?"

"If the arrangement will really make you uneasy, Mrs. Becker, I give
it up," said Willis, polishing with his arm the surface of his
oil-skin sou'-wester.

"Not at all, Willis. It is for me to give up my objections. Besides, I
observe Miss Sophia staring at me with her great eyes; she will never
forgive me for tormenting her sweetheart."

"Ah! since I have been staring at you, I have only now to eat you up
like the wolf in Little Red Ridinghood," and in a moment her slender
arms were clasped round Mrs. Becker's neck.

"Good," said Becker, "there is another point settled--temporarily."

"In Europe," observed Wolston, "there is nothing so durable as the
temporary."

"In Europe, yes, but not here. To-morrow morning we shall select a
tree near Falcon's Nest, and in eight days you shall be permanently
housed in an aerial tenement close to ours, so that we may chat to
each other from our respective balconies."

"That will be a castle in the air a little more real than those I have
built in Spain."

"Then you have been in Spain, papa?"

"Every one has been less or more in the Spain I refer to. Sophy--it is
the land of dreams."

"And of castanets," remarked Jack.

"Then my sweetheart will be alone on his island, like an exile?"

"No, Miss Sophia, we are incapable of such ingratitude. After enjoying
the hospitality of Willis in Shark's Island, he will surely deign to
accept ours at Falcon's Nest; so, whether here or there, he shall
always have four devoted followers to keep him company."

The Pilot shook Fritz by the hand, at the same time nearly dislocating
his arm.

"I wonder why God, who is so good, has not made houses grow of
themselves, like pumpkins and melons?" said Ernest.

"Rather a lazy idea that," said his father; "our great Parent has
clearly designed that we should do something for ourselves; he has
given us the acorn whence we may obtain the oak."

"Nevertheless, there are uninhabited countries which are gorged with
vegetation--the territory we are in, for example."

"True; but still no plant has ever sprung up anywhere without a seed
has been planted, either by the will of God or by the hands of man.
With regard, however, to the distribution of vegetation in a natural
state, that depends more upon the soil and climate than anything else;
wherever there is a fertile soil and moist air, there seeds will find
their way."

"But how?"

"The seeds of a great many plants are furnished with downy filaments,
which act as wings; these are taken up by the wind and carried immense
distances; others are inclosed in an elastic shell, from which, when
ripe, they are ejected with considerable force."

"The propagation of plants that have wings or elastic shells may, in
that way, be accounted for; but there are some seeds that fall, by
their own weight, exactly at the foot of the vegetable kingdom that
produces them."

"It is often these that make the longest voyages."

"By what conveyance, then?"

"Well, my son, for a philosopher, I cannot say that your knowledge is
very profound; seeds that have no wings borrow them."

"Not from the ant, I presume?"

"No, not exactly; but from the quail, the woodcock, the swallow, and a
thousand others, that are apparently more generous than the poor ant,
to which Æsop has given a reputation for avarice that it will have
some trouble to shake off. The birds swallow the seeds, many of which
are covered with a hard, horny skin, that often resists digestion;
these are carried by the inhabitants of the air across rivers, seas,
and lakes, and are deposited by them in the neighborhood of their
nests--it may be on the top of a mountain, or in the crevice of a
rock."

"True, I never thought of that."

"There are a great many philosophers who know more about the motions
of stars than these humbler operations of Nature."

"You are caught there," said Jack.

"There are philosophers, too, who can do nothing but ridicule the
knowledge of others."

"Caught you there," retaliated Ernest.

"It was in this way that a bird of the Moluccas has restored the clove
tree to the islands of this archipelago, in spite of the Dutch, who
destroyed them everywhere, in order that they might enjoy the monopoly
of the trade."

"Still, I must fall back upon my original idea; by sowing a brick, we
ought to reap a wall."

"And if a wall, a house," suggested another of the young men.

"Or if a turret, a castle," proposed a third.

"Or a hall to produce a palace," remarked the fourth.

"There are four wishes worthy of the four heads that produced them!
What do you think of those four great boys, Mrs. Wolston?"

"Well, madam, as they are wishing, at any rate they may as well wish
that chinchillas and marmots wore their fur in the form of boas and
muffs, that turkeys produced perigord pies, and that the fish were
drawn out of the sea ready roasted or boiled."

"Or that the sheep walked about in the form of nicely grilled chops,"
suggested Becker.

"And you, young ladies, what would you wish?"

Mary, who was now beyond the age of dolls, and was fast approaching
the period of young womanhood, felt that it was a duty incumbent upon
her to be more reserved than her sister, and rarely took part in the
conversation, unless she was directly addressed, ceased plying her
needle, and replied, smiling,

"I wish I could make some potent elixir in the same way as gooseberry
wine, that would restore sick people to health, then I would give a
few drops to my father, and make him strong and well, as he used to
be."

"Thank you for the intention, my dear child."

"And you, Miss Sophia? It is your turn."

"I wish that all the little children were collected together, and that
every papa and mamma could pick out their own from amongst them."

Here Willis took out his pocket-handkerchief and appeared to be
blowing his nose, it being an idea of his that a sailor ought not to
be caught with a tear in his eye.

"Now then, Willis, we must have a wish from you."

"I wish three things: that there had not been a hurricane lately, that
canoes could be converted into three masters, and that Miss Sophia may
be Queen of England."

"Granted," cried Jack.

And laying hold of a wreath of violets that the young girl had been
braiding, he solemnly placed it on her head.

"You will make her too vain," said Mrs. Wolston.

"Ah mamma, do not scold," and gracefully taking the crown from her own
fair curls, she placed it on the silvery locks of her mother; "I
abdicate in your favor, and, sweetheart, I thank you for placing our
dynasty on the throne. Mary, you are a princess."

"Yes," she replied, "and here is my sceptre," holding up her spindle.

"Well answered, my daughter, that is a woman's best sceptre, and her
kingdom is her house."

"Our conversation," said Becker, "is like those small threads of water
which, flowing humbly from the hollow of a rock, swell into brooks,
then become rivers, and, finally, lose themselves in the ocean."

"It was Ernest that led us on."

"Well, it is time now to get back to your starting-point again. God
has said that we shall earn our bread by the sweat of our brow, and
consequently that our enjoyments should be the result of our own
industry; that is the reason that venison is given to us in the form
of the swift stag, and palaces in the form of clay; man is endowed
with reason, and may, by labor, convert all these blessings to his
use."

"Your notion," said Mr. Wolston, "of drawing the fish out of the sea
ready cooked, puts me in mind of an incident of college life which,
with your permission, I will relate."

"Oh yes, papa, a story!"

"There was at Cambridge, when I was there, a young man, who, instead
of study and sleep, spent his days and nights in pistol practice and
playing on the French horn, much to the annoyance of an elderly maiden
lady, who occupied the apartments that were immediately under his
own."

"These are inconveniences that need not be dreaded here."

"Our police are too strict."

"And our young men too well-bred," added Mrs. Wolston.

"Not only that," continued Mr. Wolston, "this young student, who never
thought of study, had a huge, shaggy Newfoundland dog, and the old
lady possessed a chubby little pug, which she was intensely fond of;
now, when these two brutes happened to meet on the stairs, the large
one, by some accident or other, invariably sent the little one rolling
head over heels to the bottom; and, much to the horror of the old
lady, her favorite, that commenced its journey down stairs with four
legs, had sometimes to make its way up again with three."

"I always understood that dogs were generous animals, and would not
take advantage of an animal weaker than themselves; our dogs would not
have acted so."

"Well, perhaps the dog was not quite so much to blame in these affairs
as its master; besides, in making advances to its little friend, it
might not have calculated its own force."

"Yes, and perhaps might have been sorry afterwards for the mischief it
had done."

"Very likely; still the point was never clearly explained, and,
whether or no, the elderly lady could not put up with this sort of
thing any longer; she complained so often and so vigorously, that her
troublesome neighbor was served in due form with a notice to quit. The
young scapegrace was determined to be revenged in some way on the
party who was the cause of his being so summarily ejected from his
quarters. Now, right under his window there was a globe belonging to
the old lady, well filled with good-sized gold fish. His eye by chance
having fallen upon this, and spying at the same time his fishing-rod
in a corner, the coincidence of vision was fatal to the gold-fish;
they were very soon hooked up, rolled in flour, fried, and gently let
down again one by one into the globe."

"I should like to have seen the old lady when she first became aware
of this transformation!"

"Well, one of the fish had escaped, and was floating about, evidently
lamenting the fate of its finny companions."

"It was very cruel," observed Mary.

"Elderly ladies who have no family and live alone are very apt to
bestow upon animals the love and affection that is inherent in us
all."

"Which is very much to be deprecated."

"Why so, Master Frank?"

"Are there not always plenty of poor and helpless human beings upon
whom to bestow their love? are there not orphans and homeless
creatures whom they might adopt?"

"There are; but it requires wealth for such benevolences, and the
goddess Fortune is very capricious; whilst one must be very poor
indeed that cannot spare a few crumbs of bread once a day. Besides,
admitting that this mania is blamable when carried to excess, still it
must be respected, for it behoves us to reverence age even in its
foibles."

Frank, whose nature was so very susceptible, that a single grain of
good seed soon ripened into a complete virtue, bent his head in token
of acquiescence.

"Now the old lady loved these gold-fish as the apples of her eyes, and
her astonishment and grief, in beholding the state they were in, was
indescribable."

"And yet it was a loss that might have been easily repaired."

"Ah, you think so, Jack, do you? If you were to lose Knips, would the
first monkey that came in your way replace him in your affections?"

"That is a very different thing--I brought Knips up."

"No; it is precisely the same thing. She had the fish when they were
very small, had seen them grow, spoke to them, gave each of them a
name, and believed them to be endowed with a supernatural
intelligence."

"Therefore, I contend the student was a savage."

"Not he, my friend, he was one of the best-hearted fellows in the
world: hasty, ardent, inconsiderate, he resisted commands and threats,
but yielded readily to a tear or a prayer. As soon as he saw the
sorrowful look of the old woman, he regretted what he had done, and
undertook to restore the inhabitants of the globe to life."

"With what sort of magic wand did he propose to do that?"

"All the inhabitants of the house had collected round the old lady and
her globe, endeavoring to console her, and at the same time trying to
account for the phenomenon; some ascribed the transformation to
lightning, others went so far as to suggest witchcraft. Our scapegrace
now joined the throng, took the globe in his hands, gravely examined
his victims, and declared, with the utmost coolness that they were not
dead. 'Not dead, sir! are you sure?' 'Confident, madam; it is only a
lethargy, a kind of coma or temporary transformation, that will be
gradually shaken off; I have seen many cases of the same kind, and, if
proper care be taken as to air, repose, and diet, particularly as
regards the latter, your fish will be quite well again to-morrow.'"

"Did she believe that?"

"One readily believes what one wishes to be true; besides, in
twenty-four hours, all doubt on the subject would be at an end; added
to which, the young man was ostensibly a student of medicine, and had
the credit in the house of having cured the washerwoman's canary of a
sore throat."

"Well, how did he manage about the fish?"

"Very simply; he went and bought some exactly the same size that were
not in a lethargy; he then, at the risk of breaking his neck or being
taken for a burglar, scaled the balcony, and substituted them for the
defunct. Next morning, when he called to inquire after his patients,
he found the old lady quite joyful."

"Had she no doubts as to their identity?"

"Well, one was a little paler and another was a trifle thinner, but
she was easily persuaded that this difference might arise from their
convalescence. The young man immediately became a great favorite; and
the old lady would rather have shared her own apartments with him,
than allow him to quit the house; he consequently remained."

"What, then, became of the pistols and the French horn?" inquired
Jack.

"From that time on there sprung up a close friendship between the two;
he was induced by her to convert his weapons of war into
pharmacopoeas. Always, when she made some nice compound of jelly and
cream, he had a share of it; he, on his side, scarcely ever passed her
door without softening his tread; and both himself and his dog
managed, eventually, to acquire the favor of the old lady's pug."

"He appears to have been one of those medical gentlemen WHO profess to
cure every conceivable disease by one kind of medicine."

"And who generally contrive to remove both the disease and the patient
at the same time."

"You mistake the individual altogether; he is now one of the most
esteemed physicians in London, remarkable alike for his skill and
benevolence. It is even strongly suspected by his friends that he is
not a little indebted for his present eminent position to his first
patients--the canary and the gold-fish."

It was now the usual hour for retiring to rest. After the evening
prayer, which Mary and Sophia said alternately aloud, Willis and the
four brothers prepared to start for Shark's Island, to pass their
first night in the store-room and cattle-shed that had been erected
there. Of course they could not expect to be so comfortable in such
quarters as at Rockhouse or Falcon's Nest; but then novelty is to
young people what ease is to the aged. Black bread appears delicious
to those who habitually eat white; and we ourselves have seen
high-bred ladies delighted when they found themselves compelled to
dine in a wretched hovel of the Tyrol--true, they were certain of a
luxurious supper at Inspruck. So grief breaks the monotony of joy,
just as a rock gives repose to level plain.

Whilst the pinnace was gradually leaving the shore, loaded with
mattresses and other movables adapted for a temporary encampment,
Jack signalled a parting adieu to Sophia, and, putting his fingers to
his lips, seemed to enjoin silence.

"All right, Master Jack," cried she.

"What is all this signalling about?" inquired Mrs. Wolston.

"A secret," said the young girl, leaping with joy; "I have a secret!"

"And with a young man? that is very naughty, miss."

"Oh, mamma, you will know it to-morrow."

"What if I wanted to know it to-night?"

"Then, mamma, if you insisted--that is--absolutely--"

"No, no, child, I shall wait till to-morrow; keep it till then--if you
can."

"Sophia dear," said Mary to her sister, when their two heads,
enveloped in snowy caps with an embroidered fringe, were reclining
together on the same pillow, "you know I have always shared my
_bon-bons_ with you."

"Yes, sister."

"In that case, make me a partner in your secret."

"Will you promise not to speak of it?"

"Yes, I promise."

"To no one?"

"To no one."

"Not even to the paroquette Fritz gave you?"

"No, not even to my paroquette."

"Well, it is very likely I shall speak about it in my dreams--you
listen and find it out."

"Slyboots!"

"Curiosity!"

Like those delicate flowers that shrink when they are touched, each
then turned to her own side; but it would have cost both too much not
to have fallen asleep as usual, with their arms round each other's
necks;--consequently this tiff soon blew over, and, after a prolonged
chat, their lips finally joined in the concluding "Good-night."



CHAPTER VI.

THE QUEEN'S DOLL--ROCKHOUSE TO FALCON'S NEST--THE
WIND--GLASSES--ADMIRAL HOMER--THE THREE FROGS--OAT JELLY--ESQUIMAUX
ASTRONOMY--AN UNKNOWN.


Next morning, Sophia came running in with a sealed letter in her hand,
which she opened and read as follows:--

    "HEAD QUARTERS, SAFETY BAY, DAYBREAK.

    "The Admiral commanding the Fleet stationed in Safety Bay to her
    Most gracious Majesty Sophia, Queen of Great Britain and Ireland.

    "May it please your Majesty,

    "The crews of your Majesty's yachts, the _Elizabeth_ and the
    _Morse_, are quite entire and in perfect health. The enemy having
    kept at a respectful distance, we have not had as yet an
    opportunity of proving our courage and devotion. Mr. Midshipman
    Jack fell asleep on the carriage of a four-pounder, like Marshal
    Turenne before his first battle; but, in all other respects, the
    conduct of the officers has been most exemplary, and merits the
    utmost commendation.

    "It is the admiral's intention to push out a reconnaissance
    towards the east, in the direction of Pearl Bay, which he has not
    yet explored. If, however, your Majesty should regard this
    expedition as likely to interfere with the good understanding that
    subsists between that government and your own, it will be only
    necessary to fire a gun, in which case we shall return to port.
    Under other circumstances, the squadron will proceed with the
    enterprise, and endeavor to obtain a collar for your Majesty's
    doll."

"For my doll!" exclaimed Sophia angrily; "when did Jack find out that
I had a doll?"

"Is that, then, your secret?" inquired her mother.

"Yes, mamma, Master Jack took a pigeon with him for the express
purpose of playing me this trick."

"And what is worse, included yourself in the conspiracy. Dreadful!"

"Is it not--to speak of a young person of thirteen's doll?"

"Say nearer fourteen, my dear."

"Therefore, to punish your confederates, I shall fire a gun, and put a
stop to their excursion," said Becker, turning to one of the
six-pounders that flanked Rockhouse in the direction of the river.

"Clemency being one of the dearest rights of the royal prerogative,"
replied Sophia, "I shall pardon them, and I pray you not; to throw any
obstacle in the way of their expedition."

"Very good, your Majesty; but there are state reasons which should be
allowed to overrule the impulses of your heart; those gentlemen have
forgotten that we were to go and lay the first stone, or rather to
cut, to-day, the first branch of your aerial residence at Falcon's
Nest."

Admiral Willis and his officers having obeyed the preconcerted signal,
the whole party started on their land enterprise. One of the young men
was harnessed to a sledge, containing saws, hatchets, a bamboo ladder
that had formerly done duty as a staircase to the Nest, and everything
else requisite for the contemplated project.

Jack had already started when Sophia called him back, and he hastily
obeyed the summons.

"What are your Majesty's commands?"

"Oh, nothing particular, only should you meet my doll in company with
your go-cart, be pleased to pay my respects to them." Saying this, she
made a low curtsy, and turned her back upon him.

"Your Majesty's behests shall be obeyed," said Jack, and he ran off to
rejoin the caravan.

The sad ravages of the tempest presented themselves as they proceeded;
tall chestnuts lay stretched on the ground, and seemed, by their
appearance, to have struggled hard with the storm.

"After all," inquired Frank, "what is the wind?"

"Wind is nothing more than air rushing in masses from one point to
another."

"And what causes this commotion in the elements?"

"The equilibrium of the atmosphere is disturbed by a variety of
actions;--the diurnal motion of the sun, whose rays penetrate the air
at various points; absorption and radiation, which varies according to
the nature of the soil and the hour of the day; the inequality of the
solar heat, according to seasons and latitude; the formation and
condensation of vapor, that absorbs caloric in its formation, and
disengages it when being resolved into liquid."

"I never thought," remarked Willis, "that there were so many mysteries
in a sou'-easter. Does it blow? is it on the starboard or larboard?
was all, in fact, that I cared about knowing."

"In a word, the various circumstances that change the actual density
of the air, making it more rarefied at one point than another, produce
currents, the force and direction of which depend upon the relative
position of hot and cold atmospheric beds. Again, the winds acquire
the temperature and characteristics of the regions they traverse."

"That," observed Frank, "is like human beings; you may generally
judge, by the language and manners of a man, the places that he is
accustomed to frequent."

"There are hot and cold winds, wet and dry; then there are the trade
winds."

"Ah, yes," cried Willis, "these are the winds to talk of, especially
when sailing with them--that is, from east to west; but when your
course is different, they are rather awkward affairs to get ahead of.
The way to catch them is to sail from Peru to the Philippines."

"Or from Mexico to China."

"Yes, either will do; then there is no necessity for tacking, you have
only to rig your sails and smoke your pipe, or go to sleep; you may,
in that way, run four thousand leagues in three months."

"Stiff sailing that, Willis."

"Yes, Master Ernest, but it does not come up to your yarn about the
stars, you recollect, ever so many millions of miles in a second!"

"The trade winds, I was going to observe," continued Becker, "that
blow from the west coast of Africa, carry with them a stifling heat."

"That might be expected," remarked Frank, "since they pass over the
hot sands of the desert."

"Well, can you tell me why the same wind is cooler on the east coast
of America?"

"Because it has been refreshed on crossing the ocean that separates
the two continents?"

"By taking a glass of grog on the way," suggested Willis.

"Yes; and so in Europe the north wind is cold because it carries, or
rather consists of, air from the polar regions; and the same effect is
produced by the south wind in the other hemisphere."

"It is for a like reason," suggested Ernest, "that the south wind in
Europe, and particularly the south-west wind, is humid, and generally
brings rain, because it is charged with vapor from the Atlantic
Ocean."

"How is it, father, that the almanac makers can predict changes in the
weather?"

"The almanac makers can only foresee one thing with absolute
certainty, and that is, that there are always fools to believe what
they say. A few meteorological phenomena may be predicted with
tolerable accuracy; but these are few in number, and range within very
narrow limits."

"Their predictions, nevertheless, sometimes turn out correct."

"Yes, when they predict by chance a hard frost on a particular day in
January, it is just possible the prediction may be verified; out of a
multitude of such prognostications a few may be successful, but the
greater part of them fail. Their few successes, however, have the
effect with weak minds of inspiring confidence, in defiance of the
failures which they do not take the trouble to observe."

"At what rate does the wind travel?"

"The speed of the wind is very variable; when it is scarcely felt, the
velocity does not exceed a foot a second; but it is far otherwise in
the cases of hurricanes and tornados, that sweep away trees and
houses.

"And sink his Majesty's ships," observed Willis.

"In those cases the wind sometimes reaches the velocity of forty-five
yards in a second, or about forty leagues in an hour."

"Therefore," remarked Jack, "the wind is a blessing that could very
well be dispensed with."

"Your conclusions, Jack, do not always do credit to your
understanding. The wind re-establishes the equilibrium of the
temperature, and purifies the air by dispersing in the mass
exhalations that would be pernicious if they remained in one spot; it
clears away miasma, it dissipates the smoke of towns, it waters some
countries by driving clouds to them, it condenses vapor on the frozen
summits of mountains, and converts it into rivers that cover the land
with fruitfulness."

"It likewise fills the sails of ships and creates pilots," observed
Willis.

"And brings about shipwrecks," remarked Jack.

"It conveys the pollen of flowers, and, as I had occasion to state the
other day, sows the seeds of Nature's fields and forests. It is
likewise made available by man in some classes of manufactures--mills,
for example."

"And it causes the simoon," persisted Jack, "that lifts the sand of
the desert and overwhelms entire caravans; how can you justify such
ravages?"

"I do not intend to plead the cause of either hurricanes or simoons;
but I contend that, if the wind sometimes terrifies us by disasters,
we have, on the other hand, to be grateful for the infinite good it
does. In it, as in all other phenomena of the elements, the evils are
rare and special, whilst the good is universal and constant."

Fritz, as usual, with the dogs and his rifle charged, acted as pioneer
for the caravan, now and then bringing down a bird, sometimes adding a
plant to their collection, and occasionally giving them some
information as to the state of the surrounding country.

"Father," said he, "I chased this quail into our corn-field; the grain
is lying on the ground as if it had been passed over by a roller, but
I am happy to say that it is neither broken nor uprooted."

"Now, Jack, do you see how gallantly the wind behaves, prostrating the
strong and sparing the weak? If you had been charged with the safety
of the grain, no doubt you would have placed it in the tops of the
highest trees."

"Very likely; and, until taught by experience, everybody else would
have done precisely the same thing."

"True; therefore in this, as in all other things, we should admire the
wisdom of Providence, and mistrust our own."

"Whoever would have thought of trusting the staff of human life to
such slender support as stalks of straw?"

"If grain had been produced by forests, these, when destroyed by war,
burned down by imprudence, uprooted by hurricanes, or washed away by
inundations, we should have required ages to replace."

"Very true."

"The fruits of trees are, besides, more liable to rot than those of
grain; the latter have their flowers in the form of spikes, often
bearded with prickly fibres, which not only protect them from
marauders, but likewise serve as little roofs to shelter them from the
rain; and besides, as Fritz has just told us, owing to the pliancy of
their stalks, strengthened at intervals by hard knots and the
spear-shaped form of their leaves, these plants escape the fury of the
winds."

"That," said Willis, "is like a wretched cock-boat, which often
contrives to get out of a scrape when all the others are swamped."

"Therefore," continued Becker, "their weakness is of more service to
them than the strength of the noblest trees, and they are spread and
multiplied by the same tempests that devastate the forests. Added to
this, the species to which this class of plants belong--the
grasses--are remarkably varied in their characteristics, and better
suited than any other for universal propagation."

"Which was remarked by Homer," observed Ernest "who usually
distinguishes a country by its peculiar fruit, but speaks of the
earth generally as _zeidoros_, or grain-bearing."

"There, Willis," exclaimed Jack, "is another great admiral for you."

"An admiral, Jack?"

"It was he who led the combined fleets of Agamemnon, Diomedes, and
others, to the city of Troy."

"Not in our time, I suppose?"

"How old are you, Willis?"

"Forty-seven."

"In that case it was before you entered the navy."

"I know that there is a Troy in the United States, but I did not know
it was a sea-port."

"There is another in France, Willis; but the Troy I mean is, or rather
was, in Asia Minor, capital of Lesser Phrygia, sometimes called Ilion,
its citadel bearing the name of Pergamos."

"Never heard of it," said Willis.

"To return to grain," continued Becker, laughing. "Nature has rendered
it capable of growing in all climates, from the line to the pole.
There is a variety for the humid soils of hot countries, as the rice
of Asia; immense quantities of which are produced in the basin of the
Ganges. There is another variety for marshy and cold climates--as a
kind of oat that grows wild on the banks of the North American lakes,
and of which the natives gather abundant harvests."

"God has amply provided for us all," said Frank.

"Other varieties grow best in hot, dry soils, as the millet in Africa,
and maize or Indian corn in Brazil. In Europe, wheat is cultivated
universally, but prefers rich lands, whilst rye takes more readily to
a sandy soil; buckwheat is most luxuriant where most exposed to rain;
oats prefer humid soils, and barley comes to perfection on rocky,
exposed lands, growing well on the cold, bleak plains of the north.
And, observe, that the grasses suffice for all the wants of man."

"Yes," observed Ernest, "with the straw are fed his sheep, his cows,
his oxen, and his horses; with the seeds, he prepares his food and
his drinks. In the north, grain is converted into excellent beer and
ale, and spirits are extracted from it as strong as brandy."

"The Chinese obtain from rice a liquor that they prefer to the finest
wines of Spain."

"That is because they have not yet tasted our Rockhouse malaga."

"Then of roasted oats, perfumed with vanilla, an excellent jelly may
be made."

"Ah! we must get mamma to try that--it will delight the young ladies."

"And, no doubt, you will profit by the occasion to partake thereof
yourself, Master Jack."

"Certainly; but I would not, for all that, seek to gratify my own
appetite under pretence of paying a compliment to our friends."

"I know an animal," said Willis, "that, for general usefulness, beats
grain all to pieces."

"Good! let us hear what it is, Willis."

"It is the seal of the Esquimaux; they live upon its flesh, and they
drink its blood."

"I scarcely think," said Jack, "that I should often feel thirsty under
such circumstances."

"The skin furnishes them with clothes, tents, and boats."

"Of which our canoe and life-preservers are a fair sample," said
Fritz.

"The fat furnishes them with fire and candle, the muscles with thread
and rope, the gut with windows and curtains, the bones with arrow
heads and harness; in short, with everything they require."

"True, Willis, in so far as regards their degree of civilization,
which is not very great, when we consider that they bury their sick
whilst alive, because they are afraid of corpses; that they believe
the sun, moon, and stars to be dead Esquimaux, who have been
translated from earth to heaven."

Whilst chatting in this way, the party had imperceptibly arrived at
Falcon's Nest, wherein they had not set foot for a fortnight
previously.

Fritz went up first, and before the others had ascended, came running
down again as fast as his legs would carry him.

"Father," he cried, in an accent of alarm, "there is a fresh litter of
leaves up stairs, which has been recently slept upon, and I miss a
knife that I left the last time we were here!"



CHAPTER VII.

THE SEARCH FOR THE UNKNOWN--THREE FLEETS ON DRY LAND--THE
INDISCRETIONS OF A SUGAR CANE--LARBOARD AND STARBOARD--THE SUPPOSED
SENSIBILITY OF PLANTS--THE FLY-TRAP--VENDETTA--ROOT AND GERM--MINE AND
COUNTERMINE--THE POLYPI--OVIPAROUS AND VIVIPAROUS--A QUID PRO QUO.


"Have any of you been at Falcon's Nest lately?" inquired Becker, when
he had verified the truth of Fritz's intelligence.

"None of us," unanimously replied all the boys.

"You will understand that the question I put to you is, under the
circumstances in which we are placed, one of the greatest moment. If,
therefore, there is any unseemly joking, any trick, or secret project
in contemplation, with which this affair is connected, do not conceal
it any longer."

All the boys again reiterated their innocence of the matter in
question.

Becker then called to mind the mysterious disappearance of Willis,
and, although they were too short in duration to admit of his having
been at Falcon's Nest, still he deemed it advisable to put the
question to him individually.

Willis declared that the present was the first time he had been in the
vicinity of the Nest, and his word was known to be sacred.

"There can be no mistake then," said Becker; "the traces are
self-evident. This is altogether a circumstance calculated to give us
serious uneasiness. Nevertheless, we must view the matter calmly, and
consider what steps we should take to unravel the mystery."

"Let us instantly beat up the island," suggested Fritz.

"It appears to me," remarked Willis, "that the _Nelson_ has been
wrecked after all, and that one of the men has escaped."

"That," replied Ernest, "is very unlikely. All the crew knew that the
island was inhabited, and consequently, had any one of them been
thrown on shore, he would have come at once to Rockhouse, and not
stopped here."

"As regards the Captain or Lieutenant Dunsley," said Willis, "who were
on shore, and could easily find their way, what you say is quite true;
but the men were kept on board; and if we suppose that a sailor had
been thrown on the opposite coast, he would not be able to determine
his position in fifteen days."

"Much less could he expect to find a villa in a fig-tree."

"To say nothing of the light that has been kept burning recently on
Shark's Island, nor of the buildings with which the land is strewn,
nor the fields and plantations that are to be met with in all
directions. For, although a swallow alone is sufficient to convey the
seeds of a forest from one continent to another, still it requires the
hand of man to arrange the trees in rows and furnish them with props."

"Perhaps we may have crossed each other on the way; and the stranger,
after passing the night here, has steered, by some circuitous route,
in the direction of Safety Bay."

"May it not have been a large monkey," suggested Jack, "who has
resolved to play us a trick for having massacred its companions at
Waldeck?"

"Monkeys," replied Ernest, "do not generally open doors, and, seeing
no bed prepared for them, go down stairs and collect material for a
mattress. You may just as well fancy that the monkey, in this case,
came to pass the night at Falcon's Nest with a cigar in its mouth."

"Then he must have been dreadfully annoyed to find neither slippers
nor a night-cap."

"There is, unquestionably, a wide field of supposition open for us,"
said Becker; "but that need not prevent us taking active measures to
arrive at the truth. Our first duty is to care for the safety of the
ladies; Mr. Wolston is still ailing and feeble, so that, if a stranger
were suddenly to appear amongst them, they might be terribly
alarmed."

"There are six of us here," remarked Willis, "the cream of our sea and
land forces; we could divide ourselves into three squadrons, one of
which might sail for Rockhouse."

"Just so; let Fritz and Frank start for Rockhouse."

"And what shall we say to the ladies, father?" inquired the latter;
"it does not seem to me necessary to alarm our mother, Mrs. Wolston,
and the young ladies, until something more certain is ascertained."

"Your idea is good, my son, and I thank you for bringing it forward;
it is one of those that arise from the heart rather than the head."

"We have, only to find a pretext for their sudden return," observed
Ernest.

"Very well," said Jack, "they have only to say it is too hot to work."

"Just as if it were not quite as hot for us as for them. Your excuse,
Jack, is not particularly artistic."

"Might they not as well say they had forgotten a tool or a pocket
handkerchief?"

"Or, better still, that they had forgotten to shut the door when they
left, and came back to repair the omission."

"We shall say," replied Fritz, "that, finding there were twelve strong
arms here to do what my father accomplished fifteen years ago by
himself--for the assistance of us boys could not then be reckoned--we
were ashamed of ourselves, and had returned to Rockhouse to make
ourselves useful in repairing the damage to the gallery caused by the
tempest."

"Well, that excuse has, at least, the merit of being reasonable; and
let it be so. Fritz and Frank will return to Rockhouse; Ernest and
myself will continue the work in hand, and receive the friend or enemy
which God has sent us, should he return to resume his quarters; Willis
and Jack will investigate the neighborhood."

"By land or water, Willis?" inquired Jack.

"By land, Master Jack, for this cruise. I shall abandon the helm to
you, for I know nothing of the shoals here-abouts."

"If," continued Becker, "though highly improbable, any thing important
should have happened, or should happen at Rockhouse, you will fire a
cannon, and we will be with you immediately. Willis and Jack will
discharge a rifle if threatened with danger; and we shall do the same
on our side, if we require assistance."

"It is a pity," remarked Jack, "that we had not two or three
four-pounders amongst the provisions."

"I scarcely regard this matter as altogether a subject for joking,"
continued Becker, "and sincerely hope that all our precautions may
prove useless. Take each of you a rifle and proceed with caution;
above all, do not go far apart from each other; do not fire without
taking good aim, and only in case of self-defence or absolute
necessity; for this time it does not appear to be a question of bears
and hyenas, but, as far as we are able to judge, one of our own
species."

Two of the squadrons then hauled off in different directions,
carefully examining the ground as they went, beating up the thickets,
and endeavoring to obtain some further trace of the stranger, in order
to confirm those at Falcon's Nest.

The squadron of observation, in the meanwhile set diligently to work.
A tree having been selected at about fifteen paces from that already
existing, it was necessary, as on the former occasion, to discharge an
arrow carrying the end of a line, and in such a way that the cord
might fall across some of the strongest branches; this done, the
bamboo ladder was drawn up from the opposite side and held fast until
Ernest had ascended and fastened it with nails to the top of the tree.

Ernest then commenced lopping off the branches to the right and left,
so as to form a space in the centre for their contemplated dwelling;
whilst Becker himself below was making an entrance into the trunk,
taking care to avoid an accident that formerly happened, by assuring
himself that a colony of bees had not already taken possession of the
ground. The gigantic fig-trees at Falcon's Nest being for the most
part hollow, and supported in a great measure by the bark--like the
willows in Europe when they reach a certain stage of their growth--it
was easy to erect a staircase in the interior; still this was a work
of time, and Becker had resolved in the meantime to give up the
habitation already constructed to Wolston and his family, at least
until such time as an entrance was attached to the new one that did
not require any extraordinary amount of gymnastics.

[Illustration]

A portion of the day had been occupied in these operations, when
Willis and Jack returned to the camp.

"We have seen no one," said the Pilot.

"But," said Jack, "we are on the track of Fritz's knife."

"Be good enough to explain yourself."

"Well, father, at the entrance to the cocoa-nut tree wood we stumbled
upon two sugar canes completely divested of their juice."

"Which proves--" said Ernest; but his remark was cut short by Jack,
who continued--

"Not a bit of it; a philosopher would have passed these two worthless
sugar canes just as a place-hunter passes an overthrown minister, that
is, as unworthy of notice."

"And what did you do?"

"Well, I, the headless, the thoughtless, the stupid--for these are the
epithets I am usually favored with--I took them up, scrutinized them
carefully, and discovered--"

"That they were sugar canes."

"In the first instance, yes."

"Very clever, that!"

"And then that they had not been torn up--_they had been cut_."

"Is that all?"

"Yes, most wise and learned brother, that is all; and I leave you to
draw the inferences."

"I may add," observed the sailor, "that, as we were steering for the
plantation, myself on the starboard and Jack on the larboard--"

"On the what?"

"Master Jack on the left and myself on the right."

"That I pitched right over these canes without ever noticing them."

"Which is not much to be wondered at; Willis has been so long at sea
that he has no confidence in the solidity of the land; during our
cruise, he kept a look-out after the wind, expecting, I suppose, that
it would perform some of the wonderful things you spoke of this
morning."

"After all," observed Becker, "this is another link in the chain of
evidence, and I congratulate Jack on his sagacity in tracing it."

"But the affair is as much a mystery as ever."

"True; and the solution may probably be awaiting us at Rockhouse."

The united squadrons then started on their homeward voyage, Jack
thrusting his nose into every bush, and carefully scanning all the
stray objects that seemed to be out of their normal position.

"If these plants and bushes had tongues," said Jack, "they could
probably give us the information we require."

"Do you think," inquired Ernest, "that plants and bushes are utterly
without sensation?"

"Faith, I can't say," replied Jack; "perhaps they can speak if they
liked--probably they have an idiom of their own. You, that know all
languages, and a great many more besides, possibly can converse with
them."

"I should like to know," said Becker, "why you two gentlemen are
always snarling at each other; it is neither amusing nor amiable."

"Ernest is continually showing me up, father, and it is but fair that
I should be allowed to retort now and then. But to return to plants,
Ernest; you say they have nerves?"

"If they have," said Willis, "they do not seem to possess the bottle
of salts that most nervous ladies usually have."

"No," replied Ernest, "they have no nerves, properly so called; but
there are plants, and I may add many plants, which, by their
qualities--I may almost say by their intelligence--seem to be placed
much higher in the scale of creation than they really are. The
sensitive plant, for example, shrinks when it is touched; tulips open
their petals when the weather is fine, and shut them again at sunset
or when it rains; wild barley, when placed on a table, often moves by
itself, especially when it has been first warmed by the hand; the
heliotrope always turns the face of its flowers to the sun."

"A still more singular instance of this kind was recently discovered
in Carolina," remarked Becker; "it is called the _fly-trap_. Its round
leaves secrete a sugary fluid, and are covered with a number of ridges
which are extremely irritable: whenever a fly touches the surface the
leaf immediately folds inwards, contracts, and continues this process
till its victim is either pierced with its spines or stifled by the
pressure."

"It is probably a Corsican plant," observed Jack, "whose ancestors
have had a misunderstanding with the brotherhood of flies, and have
left the _Vendetta_ as a legacy to their descendants."

"There is nothing in Nature," continued Ernest, "so obstinate as a
plant. Let us take one, for example, at its birth, that is, to-day, at
the age when animals modify or acquire their instincts, and you will
find that your own will must yield to that of the plant."

"If you mean to say that the plant will refuse to play on the flute or
learn to dance, were I to wish it to do so, I am entirely of your
opinion."

"No, but suppose you were to plant it upside down, with the plantule
above and the radicle below; do you think it would grow that way?"

"Plantule and radicle are ambitious words, my dear brother; recollect
that you are speaking to simple mortals."

"Well, I mean root uppermost."

"Right; I prefer that, don't you, Willis?"

"Yes, Master Jack."

"At first the radicle or root would begin by growing upwards, and the
plantule or germ would descend."

"That is quite in accordance with my revolutionary idiosyncracies."

"You accused me just now of using ambitious words."

"Well, I understand a revolution to mean, placing those above who
should be below."

"Nature then," continued Ernest, "very soon begins to assert her
rights; the bud gradually twists itself round and ascends, whilst the
root obeys a similar impulse and descends--is not this a proof of
discernment?"

"I see nothing more in it than a proof of the wonderful mechanism God
has allotted to the plant, and is analogous to the movements of a
watch, the hands of which point out the hours, minutes, and seconds of
time, and are yet not endowed with intelligence."

"Very good, Jack," said Becker.

"Suppose," continued Ernest, "that the ground in the neighborhood of
your plant was of two very opposite qualities, that on the right, for
example, damp, rich, and spongy; that on the left, dry, poor, and
rocky; you would find that the roots, after growing for a time up or
down, as the case might be, will very soon change their route, and
take their course towards the rich and humid soil."

"And quite right too," said Willis; "they prefer to go where they will
be best fed."

"If, then, these roots stretched out to points where they would
withdraw the nourishment from other plants in the neighborhood--how
could you prevent it?"

"By digging a ditch between them and the plants they threaten to
impoverish."

"And do you suppose that would be sufficient?"

"Yes, unless the plant you refer to was an engineer."

"Therein lies the difficulty. Plants are engineers; they would send
their roots along the bottom of the ditch, or they would creep under
it--at all events, the roots would find their way to the coveted soil
in spite of you; if you dug a mine, they would countermine it, and
obtain supplies from the opposite territory, and revenge themselves
there for the scurvy treatment to which they had been subjected. What
could you do then?"

"In that case, I should admit myself defeated."

"If," continued Ernest, "we present a sponge saturated with water to
the naked roots of a plant, they will slowly, but steadily, direct
themselves towards it; and, turn the sponge whichever way you will,
they will take the same direction."

"It has been concluded," remarked Becker, "from these incontestable
facts, that plants are not devoid of sensibility; and, in fact, when
we behold them lying down at sunset as if dead, and come to life again
next morning, we are forced to recognise a degree of irritability in
the vegetable organs which very closely resemble those of the animal
economy."

"In future," said Jack, "I shall take care not to tread upon a weed,
lost, being hurt, it should scream."

"On the other hand, they have not been found to possess any other sign
of this supposed sensibility. All their other functions seem perfectly
mechanical."

"Ah then, father," exclaimed Jack, "you are a believer in my system!"

"We make them grow and destroy them, without observing anything
analogous to the sensation we feel in rearing, wounding, or killing an
animal."

"But the fly-trap, father, what of that?"

"It is no exception. The fly-trap seizes any small body that touches
it, as well as an insect, and with the same tenacity; hence, we may
readily conclude that these actions, so apparently spontaneous, are in
reality nothing more than remarkable developments of the laws of
irritability peculiar to plants."

"It does not, then, spring from a family feud, as Jack supposed?"
remarked Willis.

"Besides," continued Becker, "if plants really existed, possessing
what is understood by the term sensation, they would be animals."

"For a like reason, animals without sensation would be plants."

"Evidently. Moreover, the transition from vegetable to animal life is
almost imperceptible, so much so, that polypi, such as corals and
sponges, were for a long time supposed to be marine plants."

"And what are they?" inquired Willis.

"Insects that live in communities that form a multitude of contiguous
cells; some of these are begun at the bottom of the sea and
accumulated perpendicularly, one layer being continually deposited
over another till the surface is reached."

"Then the coral reefs, that render navigation so perilous in unknown
seas, are the work of insects?"

"Exactly so, Willis."

"Might they not as well consist of multitudes of insects piled heaps
upon heaps?"

"It is in a great measure as you say, Willis."

"Not I--I do not say it--quite the contrary."

"Well, Willis, you are at liberty to believe it or not, as you think
proper."

"I hope so; we shall, therefore, put the polypi with Ernest's stars
and Jack's admirals."

"So be it, Willis; but to resume the subject. There is a remarkable
analogy in many respects between the lower orders of animals and
plants, the bulb is to the latter what the egg is to the former. The
germ does not pierce the bulb till it attains a certain organization,
and it remains attached by fibres to the parent substance, from which,
for a time, it receives nourishment."

"Not unlike the young of animals," remarked Willis.

"When the germ has shot out roots and a leaf or two, it then, but not
till then, relinquishes the parent bulb. The plant then grows by an
extension and multiplication of its parts, and this extension is
accompanied by an increasing induration of the fibres. The same
phenomena are observed as regards animals."

"Curious!" said Willis.

"Animals, however, are sometimes oviparous."

"Oviparous?" inquired Willis.

"Yes, that is, they lay eggs; others are viviparous, producing their
young alive. A few are multiplied like plants by cuttings, as in the
case of the polypi."

"Bother the polypi," said Willis, laughing, "since we have to thank
them for destroying some of his Majesty's ships."

"Then again," continued Becker, "both plants and animals are subject
to disease, decay, and death."

"But, father, if the analogies are remarkable, the differences are not
less marked."

"Well, Ernest, I shall leave you to point them out."

"Without reckoning the faculty of feeling, that cannot be denied to
the one nor granted to the other, the most striking of these
distinctions consists in the circumstance that animals can change
place, whilst this faculty is absolutely refused to plants."

"If we except those," remarked Jack, "that insist upon travelling to
the succulent parts of the earth, and are as indefatigable in digging
tunnels as the renowned Brunel."

"Then plants are obliged to accept the nourishment that their fixed
position furnishes to them; whilst animals, on the contrary, by means
of their external organs, can range far and near in search of the
aliments most congenial to their appetites."

"Which is often very capricious," remarked Willis.

"Then, considered with regard to magnitude, the two kingdoms present
remarkable distinctions; the interval between a whale and a mite is
greater than between the moss and the oak."

"Ho!" cried Jack, "there is Miss Sophia coming to meet us, Willis."

"Perhaps they have news at the grotto."

"Well," inquired the child, "have you seen them?"

"Good," thought Becker, "our chatterers have not been able to hold
their tongues; I am surprised at that as regards Frank."

"We expected to have found them at Rockhouse."

"To have found whom?"

"The sailors from the wreck."

"What wreck?"

"The _Nelson_."

"I sincerely hope that the _Nelson_ has not been wrecked."

"In that case, whom do you refer to yourself, Miss Sophia?"

"To your go-cart and my doll, Master Jack."



CHAPTER VIII.

HABITANT OF THE MOON, ANTHROPOPHAGIAN OR HOBGOBLIN?--THE LACEDEMONIAN
STEW OF MADAME DACIER--UTILE DULCI--TETE-A-TETE BETWEEN WILLIS AND HIS
PIPE--TOBACCO VERSUS BIRCH--IS IT FOR EATING?--MOSQUITOES--THE
ALARM--TOBY--THE NOCTURNAL EXPEDITION--WE'VE GOT HIM.


Some days passed without anything having occurred to ruffle the
tranquil existence of the island families. Every morning the _élite_
of the sea and land forces continued to divide themselves into three
squadrons of observation; one of which remained at Rockhouse on some
pretext or other, whilst the other two were occupied in exploring the
country, or in carrying on the works at Falcon's Nest.

The mysterious stranger, whether shipwrecked seaman, savage, or
hobgoblin, who kept all the bearded inhabitants of Rockhouse on the
alert, had reappeared in his old quarters, where another litter of
leaves had been miraculously strewn exactly in the same place the
former had occupied.

Beyond this, however, and sundry gashes here and there--of which
Fritz's knife was clearly guilty, but which could not have been
perpetrated without an accomplice--nothing had transpired to enable
them to arrive at a satisfactory conclusion as to who or what this
personage could be.

Though the hypothesis was highly improbable, still Willis persisted in
his theory of the shipwreck; he only doubted whether the individual on
shore was a marine or the cabin-boy, an officer or a foremast man,
and, if the latter, whether it was Bill, Tom, Bob, or Ned.

Ernest rather inclined to think that the invisible stranger was an
inhabitant of the moon, who, in consequence of a false step, had
tumbled from his own to our planet.

The warlike Fritz was impatient and irritated. He would over and over
again have preferred an immediate solution of the affair, even were it
bathed in blood, rather than be kept any longer in suspense.

Frank, on the contrary, took a metaphysical view of the case; and,
believing that Providence had not entirely dispensed with miracles in
dealing with the things of this world, came to the conclusion that it
was no earthly visitor they had to deal with; and he even went so far
as to hint that prayer was a more efficacious means of solving the
mystery than the methods his brothers were pursuing.

Jack, coinciding in some degree with Ernest, shifted his view from an
ape to an anthropophagian, and blamed the latter for not coming
earlier; when he and his brothers were younger, and consequently more
tender, they would have made a better meal, and been more easily
digested.

As to what opinion Becker himself entertained, with regard to the
occurrence at Falcon's Nest that kept his sons in a feverish state of
anxiety, and had awakened all the fears of the Pilot for the safety of
his friends on board the _Nelson_, nothing could be clearly
ascertained; in so far as this matter was concerned he kept his own
counsel; and, to use an expression of Madame de Sevigné, "had thrown
his tongue to the dogs."

The close of the day had, as usual, collected all the members of the
family round the domestic hearth; and it may be stated here that Mrs.
Wolston, Mary, and Mrs. Becker alternately undertook the preparations
of the viands for the diurnal consumption of the community. By this
means, uniformity, that palls the appetite, was entirely banished from
their dishes. One day they would have the cooked, or rather
half-cooked, British joints of Mrs. Wolston and her daughter, varied
occasionally, to the great delight of Willis, with a tureen of
hotch-potch or cocky-leekie. The next there would be a display of the
cosmopolite and somewhat picturesque cookery of Mrs. Becker; there was
her famous peccary pie, with ravansara sauce, followed by her
delicious preserved mango and seaweed jelly. Nor did she hesitate to
draw upon the raw material of the colony now and then for a new hash
or soup, taking care, however, to keep in view the maxim that
prudence is the mother of safety--an adage that was rather roughly
handled by the renowned French linguist, Madame Dacier, who, on one
occasion nearly poisoned her husband with a Lacedemonian stew, the
receipt for which she had found in Xenophon.

Luckily Becker's wife did not know Greek, consequently he ran no risk
of being entertained with a classic dinner; but he was often reminded
by his thoughtful partner of Meg Dod's celebrated receipt: before you
cook your hare, first--catch it.

Sophia desired earnestly to have a share in the culinary government;
but having shown on her first trial, too decided a leaning towards
puddings and pancakes, her second essay was put off till she became
more thoroughly penetrated with the value of the eternal precept
_utile dulci_, which signifies that, before dessert it is requisite to
have something substantial.

As soon as they had finished their afternoon meal, Willis departed on
one of his customary mysterious excursions; and Jack, who, like the
birds that no sooner hop upon one branch than they leap upon another,
had also disappeared. It was not long, however, before he made his
appearance again; he came running in almost out of breath, and cried
at the top of his voice,

"I have discovered him!"

"Whom?" exclaimed half a dozen voices.

"The inhabitant of the moon?" inquired Ernest.

"No."

"I know," said Sophia playfully, "your go-cart and my doll."

"No, I have discovered Willis' secret."

"If you have been watching him, it is very wrong."

"No, father; seeing some thin columns of smoke rising out of a
thicket, I thought a bush was on fire; but on going nearer, I saw that
it was only a tobacco-pipe."

"Was the pipe alone, brother?"

"No, not exactly, it was in Willis' mouth; and there he sat, so
completely immersed in ideas and smoke, that he neither heard nor saw
me."

"That he does not smoke here," remarked Becker, "I can easily
understand; but why conceal it?"

"Ah," replied Mrs. Wolston, "you do not know Willis yet;--beneath that
rough exterior there are feelings that would grace a coronet: he is,
no doubt, afraid of leading your sons into the habit."

"That is very thoughtful and considerate on his part."

"He was always smoking on board ship, and it must have been a great
sacrifice for him to leave it off to the extent he has done lately."

"Then we shall not allow him to punish himself any longer; and as for
the danger of contagion from his smoking here, that evil may perhaps
be avoided."

"Do not be afraid, father; it will not be necessary to establish
either a quarantine or a lazaretto on our account."

"Besides, any of the boys," said Mrs. Becker, "that acquire the habit,
will, by so doing, voluntarily banish themselves from my levees."

"It is an extraordinary habit that, smoking," observed Mrs. Wolston.

"Yes," said Becker; "and what makes the habit more singular is, that
it holds out no allurements to seduce its votaries. Generally, the
path to vice, or to a bad habit, is strewn with roses that hide their
thorns, but such is not the case with smoking; in order to acquire
this habit, a variety of disagreeable difficulties have to be
overcome, and a considerable amount of disgust and sickness must be
borne before the stomach is tutored to withstand the nauseous fumes."

"In point of fact," observed Wolston, "if, instead of being made part
and parcel of the appliances of a fashionable man, cigars and
meershaums were classed in the pharmacopoeia with emetics and
cataplasms, there is not a human being but would bemoan his fate if
compelled to undergo a dose."

"Just so," added Becker; "the great and sole attraction of tobacco to
young people consists in its being to them a forbidden thing; the
apple of Eve is of all time--it hangs from every tree, and takes
myriads of shapes. If I had the honor of being principal of a college
I should no more think of forbidding the pupils to use tobacco than I
should think of commanding them not to use the birch for purposes of
self-chastisement."

"Perhaps you would be quite right."

"Instead of lecturing them on the pernicious effects of tobacco, I
should hang up a pipe of punishment in the class-room, and oblige
offending pupils to inhale a fixed number of whiffs proportionate to
the gravity of their delinquency."

"An excellent idea," observed Wolston; "for it is often only necessary
to show some things in a different light in order to give them a new
aspect and value. This puts me in mind of an illustration in point;
these two girls, when children, were the parties concerned, and I will
relate the circumstance to you."

"In that case," said Mary, "I shall go and feed the fowls."

"And I," said Sophia, "must go and water the flowers."

"Oh, then," cried Jack laughing, "it is another doll story, is it?"

"No, Master Jack, it is not a doll story; and, besides, we girls were
no bigger at the time than that."

On saying this Sophia placed her two hands about a foot and a half
from the floor and then the two girls vanished.

"When Mary was about six years old," began Wolston, "a slight rash
threatened to develope itself, and the doctor ordered a small blister
to be applied to one of her arms. Now, there was likely to be some
difficulty about getting her to submit quietly to this operation, so,
after an instant's reflection, I called both her and her sister, and
told them that the most diligent of the two should have a vesicatory
put on her arm at night. 'Oh,' cried both the girls quite delighted,
'it will be me, papa, I shall be so good. Mamma, mamma--such a
treat--papa has promised us a vesicatory for to-night!'"

"That was simplicity itself," said Mrs. Becker, laughing till the
tears came into her eyes.

"The day passed, the one endeavoring to excel the other in the
quantity of leaves they turned over; and, from time to time, I heard
the one asking the other in a low voice, 'Have you ever seen a
vesicatory? What is it made of? Is it for eating? And each in turn
regarded her arms, to judge in advance the effect of the marvellous
ornament."

"I should like much to have seen them."

"Night came, and I declared gravely that the eldest was fairly
entitled to the prize. The latter jumped about with joy, and Sophia
began to cry. 'Don't cry,' said Mary, 'if you are good, papa will,
perhaps, give you one to-morrow, too,' Then the joyful patient,
turning to me, said, 'On which arm, papa?' and I told her that the
ceremony of placing it on must take place when she was in bed. To bed
accordingly she went, the ornament was applied, she looked at it, was
pleased with it, thanked me for it, and fell asleep as happy as a
queen. But, alas! like that of many queens, the felicity did not last
long; before morning, I heard her saying to her sister, in a doleful
tone, 'Soffy, will you have my vesicatory?' 'Oh, yes, just lend it to
me for a tiny moment.' At this I hurried to the spot, and, as you may
readily suppose, opposed the transfer."

"Poor Sophia!"

"Yes; she was quite heart-broken, and said, sobbing, 'It is always
Mary that gets everything, nobody ever gives anything to me.'"

Next day, Willis laid hold of his sou'-wester, and was starting off on
his customary pilgrimage, when Becker stopped him.

"Willis," said he, "have you any objections to state what the
engagements are, that require you to leave us at pretty much the same
hour every day?"

"I merely go for a walk, Mr. Becker."

"Ah!"

"You see I require to take a turn just after dinner for the sake of my
health."

"A habit that you contracted on board ship; eh, Willis?"

"On board ship; yes Mr. Becker, that is to say--"

"Just so," observed Mrs. Wolston; "and by the way, Willis, I regret
that you do not smoke now; they say there is plenty of tobacco on the
island."

"Smoke!" cried Willis, raising his ears like a war-horse at the sound
of the trumpet, "why so, Mrs. Wolston?"

"Because we are dreadfully tormented with those horrid mosquitoes, and
you might help us to get rid of them. You smoked at sea, did you not?"

"Yes, madam; but then my constitution--"

"Bah!" said Wolston, "I thought you were as strong as a horse,
Willis."

"Well, I have no cause to complain neither; but then they say tobacco
would kill even a horse."

"Of course, Willis, your health is a most necessary consideration."

"Still for all that, if the mosquitoes really do annoy Mrs. Wolston, I
should have no objection to take a whiff now and then."

"You must not put yourself about though, on our account, Willis."

"About; no, it would not put me about."

"Very good; then it only remains to be seen whether there is a pipe in
the colony."

"Ah," said Willis, feeling his pockets, "yes, exactly--here is one."

"Curious how things do turn up, isn't it, Willis?" said Becker; "but
the mosquitoes would not be frightened away by the smoke, if applied
at long intervals, so you will have to repeat the dose at least two or
three times every day, always supposing it does not affect your
constitution."

"Sailors, you see," replied Willis, "are like chimneys, they always
smoke when you want them, and sometimes a great deal more than you
want them," And on turning round, he beheld Sophia holding a light,
and a good-sized case of Maryland, which had been preserved from the
wreck.

Ever after that time the mosquitoes had a most persevering enemy in
Willis; and, notwithstanding his health, his daily walks entirely
ceased.

For some time the Pilot and the four young men passed the night in a
tent erected about midway between Rockhouse and the Jackal River. The
apparent reason for this modification of their plans was the greater
facility it afforded for their all meeting at daybreak, breakfasting
together, and setting out for Falcon's Nest before the temperature
reached ninety degrees in the shade, which junction could not be so
easily effected with one party encamped at Rockhouse and the other
bivouacked on Shark's Island, with an arm of the sea between them.

The real motive, however, was that all might be within hail of each
other, and prepared for every emergency, in the event of the stranger
appearing in a more palpable shape, and assuming a hostile attitude.
We say the stranger, because, judging from the indications, there was
only one--still that did not prove that there might not be several.

One night, as Fritz was lying with one eye open, he observed Mary's
little black terrier suddenly prick up the fragments of its ears, and
begin sniffing at the edge of the tent. This shaggy little cur was
called Toby; it had accompanied the Wolstons on their voyage, and was
Mary's exclusive property; but Fritz had found the way to the animal's
heart as usual through its stomach, and Mary was in no way jealous of
his attentions to her favorite, but rather the reverse.

Fritz, feeling convinced by the actions of the dog, which was of the
true Scotch breed, that something extraordinary was passing outside
the tent, seized his rifle, hastened out, and was just in time to
distinguish a human figure on the opposite bank of the Jackal River,
which, on seeing him, took to its heels and disappeared in the forest.

He was soon joined by the Pilot and his brothers; the dogs leaped
about them, and the alarm became general throughout the encampment.
Fritz re-established order, enjoined silence, and said,

"I am determined this time to follow the affair up; who will accompany
me?"

"I will!" said all the four voices at once.

"Scouting parties ought not to be numerous," said Fritz; "I will,
therefore, take Willis, in case this mystification has anything to do
with the _Nelson_."

"And me," said Jack, "to serve as a dessert, in case the individual
should turn out to be an anthropophagian."

"Be it so; but no more. Frank and Ernest will remain to tranquilize
our parents, in case we should not return before they are up."

"And if so, what shall we say?"

"Tell them the truth. We shall proceed direct to Falcon's Nest; and if
the stranger--confiding in our habit of sleeping during the night--be
there as usual, we shall do ourselves the honor of helping him to get
up."

"Providing he does not nightly change his quarters like Oliver
Cromwell--not so much to avoid enemies, as to calm his uneasy
conscience."

"Well, we shall be no worse than before; we shall have tried to
restore our wonted quietude, and, if we fail, we can say, like Francis
I. at Pavia, '_All is lost except our honor_.'"

Some minutes after this conversation, three shadows might have been
seen stealing through the glades in the direction of Falcon's Nest.
Nothing was to be heard but the rustling of the leaves--the deafened
beating of the sea upon the rocks--and, to use the words of Lamartine,
"those unknown tongues that night and the wind whisper in the air."
The trees were mirrored in the rays of the moon, and the ground, at
intervals, seemed strewn with monstrous giants; their hearts beat, not
with fear, but with that feverish impatience that anticipates decisive
results.

When they arrived at the foot of the tree on which the aerial dwelling
was situated, Fritz opened the door, and resolutely, but stealthily,
ascended.

Willis and Jack followed him with military precision.

They reached the top of the staircase, and held the latch of the door
that opened into the apartment.

A train of mice, in the strictest incognito, could not have performed
these operations with a greater amount of secretiveness. On opening
the door they stood and listened.

Not a sound. Jack fired off a pistol, and the fraudulent occupier of
the room instantly started up on his feet. Fritz rushed forward, and
clasped him tightly round the body.

"Ho, ho, comrade," said he, "this time you do not get off so easily!"



CHAPTER IX.

THE CHIMPANZEE--IMPERFECT NEGRO, OR PERFECT APE--THE HARMONIES OF
NATURE--A HANDFUL OF PAWS--A STONE SKIN--SEVENTEEN THOUSAND SPECTACLES
ON ONE NOSE--ANIMALCULÆ--PELION ON OSSA--PTOLEMY--COPERNICUS TO
GALILEO--METAPHYSICS AND COSMOGONIES--ISAIAH--A LIVE TIGER.


"The chimpanzé or chimpanzee," says Buffon, the French naturalist, "is
much more sagacious than the _ourang outang_, with which it has been
inaccurately confounded; it likewise bears a more marked resemblance
to the human being; the height is the same, and it has the same
aspect, members, and strength; it always walks on two feet, with the
head erect, has no tail, has calves to its legs, hair on its head, a
beard on its chin, a face that Grimaldi would have envied, hands and
nails like those of men, whose manners and habits it is susceptible of
acquiring."

Buffon knew an individual of the species that sat demurely at table,
taking his place with the other guests; like them he would spread out
his napkin, and stick one corner of it into his button-hole just as
they did, and he was exceedingly dexterous in the use of his knife,
fork, and spoon. Spectators were not a little surprised to see him go
to a bed made for him, tie up his head in a pocket-handkerchief, place
it sideways on a pillow, tuck himself carefully in the bed-clothes,
pretend to be sick, stretch out his pulse to be felt, and affect to
undergo the process of being bled.

The naturalist adds that he is very easily taught, and may be made a
useful domestic servant, at least as regards the humbler operations of
the kitchen; he promptly obeys signs and the voice, whilst other
species of apes only obey the stick; he will rinse glasses, serve at
table, turn the spit, grind coffee, or carry water. Add to his virtues
as a domestic, that he is not much addicted to chattering about the
family affairs, has no followers, and is very accommodating in the
matter of wages.

It was neither more nor less than a chimpanzee that Fritz had caught
in the dark at Falcon's Nest.

"Now then, old fellow," said he, "you will help us to clear up this
mysterious affair."

The caged stranger made no reply to this observation; Willis and Jack
then questioned him, the one in English and the other in French.

Still no reply.

He did not submit, however, to be interrogated quietly; on the
contrary, his struggles to get away were most vigorous, so much so
that Fritz adopted the precaution of binding him.

"If it had been one of our sailors," said Willis, "he would have
recognized my voice long ago."

"Who are you?" asked one.

"Where do you come from?" inquired another.

"Do not attempt to escape," said a third.

"We mean you no harm; on the contrary, we are friends, disposed to do
you good if we can."

"If all his brothers and sisters are as talkative as himself,"
remarked Jack, "they must be a very amusing sort of people."

"He can walk at all events," said Fritz giving him a smart push.

The chimpanzee fell flat on the floor.

"It appears, sir, that you are determined to have your own way, we
must therefore wait till daylight."

An hour passed in polyglot expostulations with the stranger on the
score of his obstinacy, but all to no purpose; to use a popular
expression, he was as dumb as the Doges. He deigned, however, to empty
at a single draught a calabash of Malaga that Willis gave him, but
there his condescension stopped.

The Pilot, who now encountered mosquitoes in all directions, made
preparations for smoking; the light he struck, however, instead of
clearing up the mystery, only perplexed them more and more; there lay
their new companion, stretched on the ground, staring at them with a
ludicrous grin.

If, on the one hand, it occurred to them this man was an animal, on
the other the animal was a man, and Buffon did not happen to be there
at the time to assign him officially a place in the former kingdom.

The next difficulty that presented itself was, how they were to get
him along; when they broke in the onagra, they ran a prong through his
ear; in reducing the buffalo to subjection, they did not feel the
slightest compunction in thrusting a pin through the cartilage of his
nose; then, in order to give elasticity to the legs of the ostrich,
they yoked him to two or three other animals, and, willing or
unwilling, he was compelled ultimately to yield obedience to the lords
of creation. But whether the creature before them was a lower order of
negro or a higher order of ape, there was too great a resemblance
between the captured and the capturers to admit of any of these
methods of impulsion being adopted. It was, therefore, stretched on a
plank, like a nabob in his palanquin, that the chimpanzee made his
first appearance at Rockhouse.

When the cavalcade arrived there, all the family, with the exception
of Ernest and Frank, were still asleep. The first thing they did was
to clothe the creature they had captured in a sailor's pantaloons and
jacket, with which he seemed rather pleased, and the result of this
operation was, that he began to assume a less ferocious aspect, and
behave more respectfully towards his captors. All the family had sat
down to breakfast, when Fritz and Jack, taking him by the hands, led
him gravely into the gallery. A cord was attached to his legs,
allowing him to walk, but was so arranged that he could not run.

On his appearance the young girls fled at once; and, more accustomed
to drawing-rooms than the rude realities of savage life, Mrs.
Wolston's first impulse was to do the same.

"Goodness gracious!" she cried with an air of alarm, "what horror is
that?"

"That, madam, is precisely what we have been anxious for the last two
or three hours to find out," replied Fritz.

"Does the creature speak?"

"Up till now, madam," replied Willis, "he has only opened his mouth to
swallow my calabash of Malaga; beyond that, he has kept as close as a
purser's locker."

When the first shock had passed, and the company had regained their
self-possession, Jack related, with his customary originality, the
incidents of the nocturnal expedition, of which Fritz was the
originator, leader, and hero. The ladies then, for the first time,
were made acquainted with the doubts, fears, perplexities, and
battues, which, out of gallantry, they had hitherto been kept in
ignorance of. Becker then, having carefully investigated the creature,
pronounced it to be (as we already know) a full-grown specimen of a
kind of ape, called by the Africans "the wild man of the woods," and
by naturalists the _jocko_ or chimpanzee.

"It is naturally very savage," added Becker; "but this individual
seems already to have received some degree of education."

As a proof of this, the chimpanzee seated himself amongst them very
much at his ease; he scanned the faces surrounding him with an air of
curiosity, and seemed to search for a particular countenance that it
annoyed him not to find. Some fruit and nuts that were given him put
him in excellent humor.

"He has, without doubt, been on board some ship, wrecked on the
coast," said Wolston, "for I recollect having read that his kindred
are only found in Western Africa and the adjacent islands; do you not
recognize him, Willis, to belong to the _Nelson_, like the plank of
the other day?"

"No, sir."

"So much the better."

"We do not ship such cattle on board his Majesty's ships," added the
Pilot.

The girls, ashamed of their fear, now came peeping in at the door,
and, seeing that nobody had been devoured, took refuge by the side of
their mother.

"Look here, father," said Ernest, feeling the creature's crania,
after having facetiously begged pardon for the liberty, "its head is
precisely like our own; that is very humiliating."

"Yes, my son, but his tongue and other organs are also exactly like
ours, yet he cannot utter a word. His head is of the same form and
proportion, but he does not for all that possess human intelligence.
Is this not a very striking proof that mere matter, though perfectly
organized, neither produces words nor thought; and that it requires a
special manifestation of the Divine will to call these attributes into
existence?"

"True; but, father, some writers say that apes have been observed to
profit by fires lighted in the forest, and have gone and warmed
themselves when the travellers left."

"That, my son, is instinct, nothing more; the operation of keeping up
a fire, by throwing a few branches upon it, is exceedingly simple, but
their instinct has never been known to rise to that amount of
intelligence."

"You recollect, father, that heathcock we saw some years ago
displaying his glossy plumage to the dazzled hens; is that not a
well-marked proof of coquetry? and is not this coquetry an indication
of something more than mere instinct?"

"You will permit me to believe, my son, at least till the contrary has
been proved, that these actions to which you refer have nothing at all
to do with coquetry. Those brilliant colors are designed for a purpose
other than that which you suppose; they serve as signals to keep the
community together, or, in other words, they are a common centre round
which the hens may revolve."

"The transition from apes to heathcocks," remarked Jack, "appears to
me somewhat abrupt."

"Not so abrupt as you think, Master Jack," said Wolston; "those who
take the trouble to study Nature, observe an admirable gradation and
easy progression from a simple to a complex organization. There is no
race or species that is not connected by a perceptible link with that
which precedes and that which follows."

"What relation is there, for example," inquired Jack, "between an
oyster and a horse?"

"No immediate relation certainly, but there are intermediate links by
which the two are brought together: they may be regarded, however, as
the opposite extremes of the brotherhood--the two poles in the chain
of existence. A horse bears even less resemblance to a turnip than to
an oyster; a relationship may, nevertheless, be traced, step by step,
between them, dissimilar as they are. There is the polypus, that
singular product of Nature, which, regarded in one light, performs all
the functions of animal life, whilst, when regarded in another, it has
the ordinary attributes of a plant; does this not clearly and
distinctly mark the transition from the vegetable to the animal
kingdom? Again, certain species of worms blend the animal with the
insect tribe, those which are covered with a horny substance unite
them with the crustaceae. These approach fish on the one hand, and
reptiles on the other, whilst reptiles in some species become
moluscs."

"And what is a molusc?" inquired Willis.

"The term _molusc_ is applied by naturalists to creatures which have
no vertebrae, as for example, the cuttle fish and the oyster."

"I believe _you_, Mr. Wolston; but if I had asked Ernest or Jack, they
would have told me that it was a commodore or an admiral."

"Reptiles, I was going to say, are connected at one end of the chain
with moluscs by the slug, and at the other with fish by the eel. From
flying-fish to birds the transition is by no means abrupt. The
ostrich, whose legs are like goat's, and runs rather than flies,
connects birds with quadrupeds; these again return to fish through the
cetacea."

"Yes, but the interval between such creatures and man is still great."

"True; to connect the two would be a process replete with
insurmountable difficulties, and only possible to creative power. The
projecting snout would have to be flattened, and the features of
humanity imprinted upon it--that head bent upon the ground would have
to be directed upwards--that narrow breast would have to be flattened
out--those legs would have to be converted into flexible arms, and
those horny hoofs into nimble fingers."

"To accomplish which," remarked Frank, "God had only to say, 'Let it
be so.'"

"Assuredly; and as there is nothing incongruous in Nature, as
everything is admirably adapted for its purpose, as unity of design is
perceptible in all things, as every effect proceeds from a cause, and
becomes a cause in its turn of succeeding effects, so God has willed
that there should be a chain of resemblance running through all his
works, and the link that connects man with the animal kingdom--the
highest type of the mammiferous race, and the nearest approach to
humanity amongst the brutes--is the creature before you."

As if to illustrate this position, and prove his title to the place
awarded him, the chimpanzee quietly laid hold of Mr. Wolston's straw
hat and stuck it on his crispy head.

"He is, perhaps, afraid of catching cold," said Jack, thrusting a mat
under his feet.

"Compare birds with quadrupeds," continued Mr. Wolston, "and you will
find analogies at every step. Does the powerful and kingly eagle not
resemble the noble and generous lion?--the cruel vulture, the
ferocious tiger?--the kite, buzzard, and crow preying upon carrion,
hyenas, jackals, and wolves? Are not falcons, hawks, and other birds
used in the chase, types of foxes and dogs? Is the owl, which prowls
about only at night, not a type of the cat? The cormorants and herons,
that live upon fish, are they not the otters and beavers of the air?
Do not peacocks, turkeys, and the common barn-door fowl bear a
striking affinity to oxen, cows, sheep, and other ruminating animals?"

During these remarks, Jack's monkey, Knips, had found its way into the
gallery, and, observing the newcomer, went forward to accost him as if
an old friend; the latter, however, uttered a menacing cry, and was
about to seize Knips with evidently no amiable design, but was
prevented by the cords that bound his legs. Knips leaped upon the back
of one of the boys, and there, as if on the tower of an impregnable
fortress, commenced making a series of grimaces at the chimpanzee,
these being the only missiles within reach that he could launch at his
relation. The enemy retorted, and kept up a smart fire of like
ammunition.

"It appears," remarked Mrs Wolston, "that apes are something like men:
the great and the little do not readily amalgamate."

"We must make them amalgamate," said Jack, taking one of Knips's paws,
whilst Ernest held that of the chimpanzee; thus they compelled them to
shake hands, but with what degree of cordiality we are unable to
state.

"You ought to oblige them now to take an oath of fealty," said Mrs.
Wolston.

"Chimpanzee," said Jack, speaking for Knips, "I promise always to
treat you in future with smiles, delicacies, and respect."

"Knips," replied the wild man of the woods, through the organs of
Ernest, "I promise to have for you only the most generous intentions;
to share with you the nuts I may have occasion to crack, that is, by
giving you the shells and keeping the kernel; I promise, moreover, not
to immolate you at the altar of my just rage, unless it is impossible
for me to avoid an outburst of temper."

"Now the embrace of peace."

"Ah, madam," said Jack, "you must excuse that ceremony, their
friendship is too new for such intimacy, and Knips don't much like
being bitten."

"Need we other proofs," remarked Becker, when the scene between the
monkeys was concluded, "that everything has been premeditated,
weighed, and calculated? It was necessary for that most arid country,
Arabia, that we should have a sober animal, susceptible of existing a
long time without water, and capable of treading the hot sands of the
desert. God has accordingly given us the camel."

"And the dromedary," remarked Ernest.

"So everywhere," continued Becker; "and add to these evidences of
Divine wisdom the brilliant colors, the silken furs, the golden
plumage, and the ever-varying forms, yet, in all this diversity,
there is unison--a harmony. Like the various objects which a clever
artist introduces into his sketch, they are placed without uniformity,
but still with reference to their effect upon each other, and so to
the unity of the general design."

"Therefore," remarked Ernest, "we have an animal whose skin is of
stone, which it throws off annually to assume a new one--whose flesh
is its tail and in its feet--whose hair is found inside in its
breast--whose stomach is in its head, which, like the skin, is renewed
every year, the first function of the new being to digest the old
one."

Here the Pilot manifested some symptoms of incredulity.

"That is not all, Willis," continued Ernest, "the animal of which I
speak carries its eggs in the interior of its body till they are
hatched, and then transfers them to its tail. It has pebbles in its
stomach, can throw off its limbs when they incommode it, and replace
them with others more to its fancy. To finish the portrait, its eyes
are placed at the tip of long flexible horns."

"Do you really mean me to believe that yarn?" inquired Willis.

"Yes, Willis, unless you intend to deny the existence of lobsters."

"Lobsters! Ah! you are talking of them, are you!"

"Have not," continued Ernest, "six thousand three hundred and
sixty-two eyes been counted in one beetle? sixteen thousand in a fly?
and as many as thirty-four thousand six hundred in a butterfly? Of
course, facets understood."

"Supposing these facets myope or presbyte," observed Jack, "that gives
seventeen thousand three hundred and twenty-five pairs of spectacles
on one nose!"

"How wonderfully varied are the forms of Nature. If, from the mastodon
and the fossil mammoth, to which Buffon attributes five or six times
the bulk and size of the elephant, we descend to those animalculae, of
which Leuwenhoek estimates that a thousand millions of them would not
occupy the place of an ordinary grain of sand."

Here Willis lost all patience and left the gallery, whistling as
usual, under such circumstances, the "Mariner's March."

"Malesieu has detected animals by the microscope twenty-seven times
smaller than a mite. A single drop of water under this instrument
assumes the aspect of a lake, peopled by an infinite multitude of
living creatures."

"Therefore," observed Wolston, "it is not the great works of Nature,
or those of which the organization is most perfect, that alone
presents to the mind of man the unfathomable mysteries of creation;
atoms become to him problems, that utterly defy the utmost efforts of
his intelligence."

"Which," suggested Becker, "does not prevent us believing ourselves a
well of science, nor hinder us from piling Pelion on Ossa to scale the
skies."

"What becomes, in the presence of these facts, of the metaphysics and
cosmogonies that have succeeded each other for two thousand years?
What of all the theories, from Ptolemy to Copernicus, from Copernicus
to Galileo, Descartes and his zones, Leibnitz and his monads, Wolf and
his fire forces, Maupertuis and his intelligent elements, Broussais,
who, in his anatomical lectures, has oftener than once shown to his
pupils, on the point of his scalpel, the source of thought; what, I
say, becomes of all these?"

"There is less wisdom in such vain speculation than in these simple
words: '_I believe in God the Father, the Creator of all things_.'"

"Worlds," says Isaiah, "are, before Him, like the dew-drops on a blade
of grass."

"We are now, however, getting into the clouds," remarked Wolston; "let
us return to the earth by the shortest route. What do you mean to do
with the chimpanzee?"

"Why, we must cage him in some way," replied Becker; "to let him loose
again would be to create fresh uneasiness for ourselves. To kill him
would be almost a kind of homicide."

"Can I come in now?" inquired Willis, thrusting his head into the
gallery.

"Yes, with perfect safety."

"You see, when Master Ernest begins to spin, he gets into the chapter
of miracles, and forgets that we have ears."

"I cannot help seeing them sometimes though, Willis; when they are a
little longer than usual, it is difficult to hide them altogether."

"Well," replied Willis, "I confess I am a bit of a fool, and as you
are at a loss what to do with our friend here, I shall take him over
with me to Shark's Island: there will be a pair of us there then."

"If you will undertake to be his guide and instructor, he is yours,
Willis."

"What shall I call him?"

"Jocko."

"It shall go hard with me if I do not make a gentleman of him in a
month's time."

"I should like," said Frank, "if you could convert him into a tiger."

"A tiger?"

"Yes, we want a footman in livery to fetch Mrs. Wolston's carriage
next time she calls for it."

"I feel highly flattered by the compliment," said Mrs. Wolston, "but
fear you will not be able to turn him out entire."

"Why so, madam?"

"Where are the top boots to come from?"



CHAPTER X.

THE PIONEERS--EXCURSION TO COROMANDEL--HINDOO FANCIES--A CAGED
HUNTER--LOUIS XI. AND CARDINAL BALUE--A FURLONG OF NEWS--CARNAGE--THE
BARONET AND HIS SEVENTEEN TIGERS--FIFTY-FOUR FEET OF CELEBRITY--STERNE'S
WINDOW--PROMENADE OF THE CONSCIENCES--EMULATION AND VANITY.


When a country is released from the presence of an enemy that annoyed
and harassed them, the people feel as if a weight had been taken off
their shoulders; so the inhabitants of New Switzerland had breathed
more freely since the capture of the chimpanzee.

The works at Falcon's Nest were completed, and the two families had
taken possession of their aerial dwellings, where they were perched
like a pair of rookeries within call of each other.

The confined air of towns has a tendency to plunge men into lethargy
and indolence, and to precipitate the decadence of a constitution in
which the seeds of disease have been sown; whilst, on the other hand,
the pure air of the country braces the nerves, excites a healthy
action in the system, and invigorates a shattered frame; so it was
with Mr. Wolston--under the benign influences of the genial climate
and the refreshing sea breeze, he gradually, but steadily, recovered
health and strength.

A larger breadth of land had been cleared and fitted for receiving
grain, which it was susceptible of reproducing a hundred-fold. Such is
the sublime contract God has made with man, that, in exchange for his
labor and skill, a single grain of wheat will produce seven or eight
stalks, each bearing an ear containing fifty grains; a single grain
has been known to yield twenty-eight ears, and Pliny states that Nero
received a grain bearing the enormous number of three hundred and
sixty ears. Strange that such a singular instance of fecundity should
present itself during the domination of a man, or rather monster, who
dared to wish that the Roman people had only one head, so that he
might cut it off at a single blow!

Willis and the Wolstons were as yet ignorant of the extent and limits
of the colony; there were two inclosed and cultivated sections, named
respectively Waldeck and Prospect Hill, which they had not yet
inspected. With a view to enable them to form a more accurate
conception of the boundaries of the territory they inhabited, a grand
excursion was decided upon that would enable them leisurely to
investigate every nook and cranny of the settlement.

The storehouse was accordingly overhauled, and the ladies called in to
prepare viands for the journey; they were likewise invited to furnish
a supply of certain enchanted travelling bags, in which the gentlemen
were often astonished to find, during their distant expeditions, a
thousand and one useful things that they would never have dreamt of
bringing with them of their own accord.

Becker, Wolston, Ernest, and Frank set about the construction of a
vehicle on four wheels for the luggage and the ladies; they did not
contemplate erecting a machine with elastic springs and gilded panels,
like the Lord Mayor's state coach--their object was to produce a
machine that would ease, without dislocating, the limbs of the
travellers, and that would move at least more gently than a gardener's
cart, loaded with hampers of greens for Covent Garden Market. It may
readily be supposed that Ernest's Latin was not of much service in
these operations, for even Wolston's mechanical skill was sorely tried
in elaborating the design.

Fritz, Willis, and Jack had already started as pioneers of the
expedition to examine the buildings, and to see that no more apes or
other piratical marauders had established themselves on their
premises; and, in compliance with a request made by Willis, who
strongly objected to becoming a bushranger, they had gone by water. It
was further arranged that, on their return, all should start
together--the entire community in one cavalcade, like an army on the
march.

The young ladies were as much pleased in anticipation with this
journey as if the destination of the travellers had been Brighton or
Ramsgate. To children of their age, change is always pleasing. Often,
in consequence of a death, the collapse of a bank, the loss of a
law-suit, or some dire disaster of that sort, parents have seen
themselves compelled to abandon the home of their fathers, endeared to
them by many gentle recollections, perhaps to embark for some far
distant land; they stifle their sighs, and bid a mute farewell to each
stone and each tree, familiar to them as household words; they depart
with reluctance, and often turn to cast a lingering look behind at
objects so dear to their memory. Not so the children; they issue from
the door like a flock of caged pigeons just let loose; they sing and
leap and laugh with glee; the old house has no charms for them, they
are as glad to depart as their elders are wishful to stay; the trunk
desires to multiply its roots on the soil, but the buds prefer to blow
elsewhere--for the latter life resolves itself into the word FUTURE,
and for the former into the word PAST.

Leaving Wolston, Becker, and his two sons hard at work on the
carriage, let us turn to the pinnace which was now making its way
along the shore under the guidance of the Pilot.

"I should like much," said Fritz, "to present Mr. and Mrs. Wolston
with a couple of bear, leopard, or tiger skins."

"So should I," said Jack.

"I wish you could think of some other sort of gift," suggested Willis;
"what do you say to a couple of seal or shark skins?"

"Won't do," replied both Fritz and Jack in one voice. "What objections
have you to the others?"

"Well, you are in some sort consigned to my care; I should like you to
return to your parents with your own skins entire."

"Then you think it is a terrific affair to kill a tiger or two? You
have been accustomed to the sea, and fancy landsmen are good for
nothing but shooting crows and wild-cats; that is a mistake, however;
we are familiar with larger game."

"Shiver my timbers! do you call bears and tigers game?"

"I am afraid, Willis, you are a bit of a milksop."

"Avast heaving there, Master Fritz! as it is, I am a half-hanged man
already, so death has now no terrors Dov me; it is the first pang that
is most felt."

"Yes; but in the case of tigers, they never give you time to feel a
second pang; miss your aim, and it is all over with you."

"True; and therefore I wish you would give up the project. As for
myself, I would face anything with a four-pounder, but rifle practice
on board ship is mostly confined to the marines; it is not that,
however, I am troubled about; I am certain your worthy father would
never forgive me if I countenance this project."

"You need not tell him anything about it."

"Where, then, are the skins to come from? Can you say you bought them
at the furrier's? You must really hit upon some other fancy."

"But it is not a fancy, Willis, it is a necessity; it is not our own
amusement we are consulting. Just imagine yourself what will happen
during the excursion now being arranged. Our parents will, of course,
offer their bear skins to Mr. and Mrs. Wolston; there will be refusals
on the one side and entreaties on the other."

"And, as is usual in these sort of discussions," added Jack, "Mrs.
Wolston will call her carriage."

"Yes," continued Fritz, "and my mother will most certainly deprive
herself of a covering that is absolutely indispensable during the cold
nights of this climate."

"There is reason in what you say," observed Willis, scratching his
ear.

"You see, Willis, the thing ought and must be done."

"As you put it, yes; but it will take time to prepare the skins."

"They will not be ready in time for this expedition certainly, and my
mother must do without her skin this journey; but it is our duty to
prevent anything of the sort happening in future."

"Were I to consent to this project," said Willis, "there is still
something more required."

"What, Willis?"

"Why, the tigers and what's-a-names; it is necessary to find the brute
before you can get its skin."

"Granted; there would be a difficulty in the case had we not here
quite handy a magnificent covering of wild animals, all ready to kill
or to be killed. Just steer a point to the east, Willis; there, that
will do. Just beyond that bluff you see yonder, there is a low flat
plain covered with brushwood and tufted with trees; on the left, this
prairie is bounded by a chain of low hills, and on the right a broad
river, which last we have named the St. John, because it bears some
resemblance to a stream of that name in Florida; beyond this plain
there is a swamp."

"And," added Jack, "behind this swamp there is a magnificent forest of
cedars, peopled with the finest furs imaginable, but garnished,
however, with formidable claws and rows of teeth."

"I was not aware," said Willis, "that we were within reach of such
amiable neighbors."

"Oh, they cannot reach us; thanks to the conformation of that chain of
hills you see yonder, there is only one pass that opens into our
settlement, and that we have taken care to shut up and fortify."

"It appears then," said Willis, "that there will be no difficulty in
finding the animals, but--"

"Come, Willis, no more buts; you hunt in your own way from morning
till night, let us for once hunt in ours."

"I go a-hunting?"

"Yes, there you are, charging your piece just now."

"Oh, my pipe you mean; but look at the difference; mosquitoes bite
human beings, they don't eat them!"

"And, you may add, their skins don't make bed-clothes. Besides, if my
mother takes rheumatism or the ague, it will be you that is to blame."

"I would rather face all the tigers in Bengal and all the lions in
Africa than incur such a responsibility. I will, therefore, take a
part in your cruise, and if any accident happens to either of you, I
shall stay in the forest till nothing is left of me but my cap and my
bones. In this way I will escape all reproach in this world, and I may
as well, after all, rejoin my old commander, Captain Littlestone, by
this road as by any other."

In the meantime, they had reached the coast of Waldeck, and having
landed, they found the outhouses and sheds that had been erected there
in satisfactory order; the apes had not forgotten a battue that had
once been got up for their special behoof, as not an individual was to
be seen in the neighborhood. A morass of the district that had been
converted into a rice plantation, promised an abundant crop; and the
cotton plants, that Frank had once mistaken for flakes of snow, reared
their woolly blossoms, looking for all the world like the powdered
heads of our ancestors. After a slight repast, the pinnace was once
more in motion, and the party steering for Prospect Hill.

"Ah," sighed Willis, "I wish we had only Sir Marmaduke Travers' cage
here."

"Cage!" cried Fritz, laughing, "what, to shut up the game first and
shoot it afterwards?" "No, quite the reverse: to shut up the hunters."

"Ah, you would serve us in the same way as Louis XI. served Cardinal
Balue."

"I know nothing of either Louis XI. or Cardinal Balue; but the cage I
speak of was an excellent invention, for all that."

"Which you would like to prove to us by caging ourselves, eh?"

"Sir Marmaduke Travers," continued Willis, "was an English gentleman,
and he was travelling in Coromandel, no one knew why or for what
purpose."

"For the fun of the thing, probably," suggested Jack; the English are
said to be great oddities."

"At that time there happened to be a Hindoo widow somewhere in those
parts. This lady was very rich, very young, very beautiful, and very
fond of tormenting her admirers. And, as fate would have it, the
travelling Englishman was completely taken captive by this dark
beauty; and taking advantage of the hold she had obtained upon his
heart, she amused herself by making him do all sorts of out of the way
things. Sometimes she would bid him let his moustache grow, then she
would order him to cut it off; he had to worship Brahma, adopt the
fashion of the Hindoos, and had even to undergo the indignity of
having his head tied up in a dirty pocket-handkerchief."

"That is to say," remarked Jack, "that the lady, not having a pug or a
monkey, made Sir Marmaduke a substitute for both."

"Very likely, but still Sir Marmaduke was no fool; he was, on the
contrary, a gentleman and a philosopher."

"I doubt that," said Jack.

"You are wrong, then. You have been brought up in an out of the way
part of the world, and are not familiar with the usages of civilized
society. When once a man has allowed the tender passion to take root
in his breast, it cannot afterwards be extinguished at will; it grows
and grows like an oil spot, so that what might easily have been
mastered at first, makes us in time its devoted slave."

"I cannot admit," said Fritz, "that any sensible man would allow
himself to be treated in the way you state."

"The wisest and bravest have often, for all that, been obliged to bend
their heads to such circumstances; in fact, those only escape whose
hearts have been steeled by time or adversity. Well, nothing would
please the lady in one of her caprices short of Sir Marmaduke's going
alone to the jungle and killing a tiger or two for her. This caused
him some little uneasiness."

"I should think so," remarked Jack, "unless he had been accustomed to
face the animals."

"However, the widow's hand was to be the reward of the achievement,
and the thing must consequently be done. Being, however, as I have
said, a bit of a philosopher, he considered with himself that if, by
chance, he should perish in the attempt he would lose the widow all
the same, and that he could not think of with any thing like
equanimity. To extricate himself from this dilemma he sent a despatch
to an enterprising friend of his, then stationed with his regiment at
Calcutta, requesting his advice."

"And this friend, no doubt, sent him a couple of tigers all ready
trussed?"

"No, better than that; he sent him a strong iron cage fifteen feet
square, very solid. This was shipped on board a cutter commanded by
Captain Littlestone, and I was entrusted with the task of erecting it
on shore, whilst an express was sent off to Sir Marmaduke."

"Ah!" said Jack, "I begin to understand now."

"Well, he rigged himself in tiger-hunting costume, went and bade the
lady good-bye, who coolly wished him good sport, mounted a horse, and
rode off to conquer a lady who, as a proof of her affection, had so
cavalierly consigned him to the tender mercies of the wild beasts."

"Why, it was dooming him to certain destruction," said Fritz.

"In the meantime the cage had been conveyed to a valley surrounded
with mountains, the caves of which were known to shelter entire
colonies of tigers. Here also came Sir Marmaduke. The cage was firmly
embedded in the soil, the exterior was thickly studded over with sharp
spikes screwed into the bars; inside were placed a table and a sofa,
with crimson velvet cushions."

"A lady's boudoir in the wilderness," said Jack.

"In one corner there was a case containing a dozen bottles of pale
ale, and as many of champagne; in another was a second case containing
curry pies and a variety of preserved meats; in a third case were five
and twenty loaded rifles, together with a complete magazine in
miniature of powder and shot. On the table were sundry cases of
havannahs, a box of _allumettes_, the last number of the _Edinburgh
Review_, and a copy of the _Times_."

"What is the _Times_?" inquired Jack.

"It is a furlong of paper, folded up and covered with news,
advertisements, and letters from the oldest inhabitant of everywhere.
Leaving, then, Sir Marmaduke seated in the centre of his cage, we
towards night returned to the cutter, first scattering two or three
quarters of fresh beef in the vicinity of the cage."

"That should have assembled all the tigers in Coromandel," said
Fritz.

"Anyhow, it brought enough. Towards midnight Sir Marmaduke could count
thirty noble brutes capering in the moonlight and feasting upon the
beef that had been provided for them."

"What did the Englishman do then?"

"He took aim at the most magnificent specimen of the herd and fired.
No sooner had he done this than the whole pack came scampering towards
the cage, thinking, doubtless, they had nothing to do but scrunch the
bones of the solitary hunter. This was the signal for a regular
slaughter. Sir Marmaduke discharged his rifles point blank in the
noses of the animals that environed him on all sides; those who were
not wounded by the balls were severely injured by the spikes of the
cage in their furious efforts to seize their enemy. The howling,
yelling, and fury was quite a new sensation for Sir Marmaduke; he
rather enjoyed the thing whilst the excitement lasted. However, all
things must have an end; when the sun appeared on the horizon the
wounded retired, leaving the dead masters of the situation."

"I suppose, in the meantime," remarked Fritz, "that the amiable Hindoo
was considering whether or not, under the circumstances, she should
wear mourning for her defunct cavalier."

"Be that as it may, the defunct made his appearance, safe and sound,
that same day, whilst the cutter stood out to sea with every vestige
of the cage except the dead tigers. Shortly after, the widow was
astonished to see an army of coolies marching in procession towards
her door, all, like the slaves of Aladdin, heavily laden; and she was
not awakened from her surprise till the master of the ceremonies had
placed the following letter in her hands:

"Madam,--With this you will receive seventeen fall-grown tigers, which
I have had the honour of shooting for you.

"Marmaduke Travers."

"That was a choice bijou for a lady," said Jack.

[Illustration]

"Yes," added Fritz; "and if the ladies of Coromandel have stands in
their drawing-rooms, to display the tributes to their charms, Sir
Marmaduke's present afforded abundant material for adorning those of
the widow."

"Well, the consequence was, that Sir Marmaduke's name rung from one
end of India to the other. The feat of killing, single-handed,
seventeen tigers, converted him into a hero of the first magnitude. No
festival was complete without him, he was courted by the fashionables
and worshipped by the mob; some enthusiasts even proposed to erect a
tomb for him, that being the way they honor their great men in eastern
nations."

"Every country," remarked Fritz, "has its own peculiarities in this
respect. The memory of the illustrious men of Greece and Rome was
perpetuated in the intrinsic merit of the works of art erected in
their names. In England quantity takes the place of quality; there is
said to be in London a statue of a hero disguised as Achilles, six
yards in height, and perched upon a pedestal twelve yards high."

"Making in all," remarked Jack, "exactly eighteen yards of fame."

"The handsome Hindoo," continued Willis, "was proud of the feat her
charms had inspired. She gloried in showing off the redoubtable
tiger-slayer at her _réunions_, and ended in being completely
fascinated herself with her former slave. The match that she had
formerly sneezed at she now earnestly desired, and, as Sir Marmaduke
did not declare himself so speedily as she desired, she determined to
give him a little encouragement by sending one of the most inviting
and most odoriferous of notes."

"Sir Marmaduke must then have considered himself one of the happiest
of men," said Fritz.

"Well," continued Willis, "neither man nor woman can, in affairs of
this kind, depend upon themselves for two consecutive hours. The
aspirations of a whole life-time may be dispelled in five minutes, and
the wishes of to-day may become the detestations of to-morrow. The new
sensations awakened in Sir Marmaduke by the affair of the cage--his
recollection of the ferocious brutes as they clung with expiring
energy to the bars of the cage, their streaked skins streaming with
blood, the fearful howling and terrific death yells, the formidable
claws that were often within an inch of his face--had, somehow or
other, chased the passion he had felt for the widow completely out of
his breast."

"Oh, the scamp of a Travers!" said Jack, energetically.

"He began to ask himself coolly what a lady, who had made such
extraordinary demands upon him before marriage, might not require him
to do after; and the result of his cogitations is expressed in the
following reply that he sent to the now smiling widow:--

"'Sir Marmaduke Travers is highly flattered by the charming note of
the adorable daughter of Brahma; he shall gladly continue to bask in
the sunshine of her smiles, out his ambition desires and will accept
nothing more.'"

"Flowery and laconic," said Fritz.

"Well," inquired Willis, "was I not right in wishing to have the cage
of Sir Marmaduke here?"

"Yes, but we cannot get it. We have no ingenious trend at Calcutta to
send us such a machine, and furnish it with crimson-cushioned sofas
and pale ale, so we shall have to rest satisfied with our own
ingenuity, tact, and agility."

Fritz and Jack were justified in relying upon their own resources.
They had been often sorely tried, and never had been found wanting in
cases of emergency. Since the arrival of the Wolstons their courage
had become almost temerity; previous to that event, they had been
content to meet danger bravely when it was inevitable, and never went
deliberately in search of it. Now, however, if we apply the glass of
which Sterne speaks to their breasts and spy what is passing therein,
we shall fad that an imperious desire to become heroes had taken
possession of their inward souls--a determination to make themselves
conspicuous at all hazards was burning within them; that, in fact,
they were courting the admiration of the new audience that Providence
had sent to the colony, the praise of which found more favor in their
hearts than the paternal admonitions.

This was far from being commendable; but, although emulation and
vanity have some features in common, still they must not be
confounded: the former consists in generous efforts to equal or
surpass some one in something praiseworthy; the second is a kind of
self-love, that seeks to purchase respect or flattery at no matter
what cost;--the one is a vice, the other a virtue.

Fritz and Jack were not actuated by vanity; they were urged on by
their impulses, without weighing the circumstances that gave them
rise; and indeed they were not even conscious of being more desirous
of renown now than they had been hitherto.

The temperament of Ernest and Frank was of another kind. Their natures
were much less excitable, and it did not appear that the recent
arrivals had altered their outward demeanor in the slightest degree;
they continued calm, staid, and reflective, as they had ever been.

All four were a singular mixture of the child and the man--knowing
many things that young people are ignorant of, they were yet almost
totally unacquainted with the ordinary attributes of social
life--unsophisticated and naive to an extreme degree, they would have
appeared in a fashionable drawing-room downright fools. On the other
hand, they possessed great clearness of perception, presence of mind
in danger, promptitude in action, and the utmost coolness in the face
of apparently insurmountable obstacles--qualities that would have
utterly confounded the young men who shine in the saloons of Europe,
whose chief merit often consists in their being familiar with the
unmeaning conventionalisms of fashionable life.

At Prospect Hill they found the outhouses and plantations in much the
same position as at Waldeck. Here the crimson flowers of the caper
plant, the white flowers of the tea plant, and the rich blossoms of
the clove tree, perfumed the air and promised a fragrant harvest. This
was a charming caravansary, all ready with its smiles to welcome the
illustrious colonists as soon as they presented themselves.

These points being settled to the satisfaction of the three pioneers,
a sheep was taken on board the pinnace at the request of Willis--who
seemed to have taken a violent fancy for mutton chops--and they set
sail towards the east.

In the first instance they made for a projecting head-land that seemed
to bar their progress in that direction, and, much to the astonishment
of the Pilot, they entered a cavern that formed the entrance to a
natural tunnel. This, besides being an interesting feature in the
coast scenery, was one of the treasures of the colony, for it
contained vast quantities of edible birds' nests, so much prized by
the Chinese. The voyagers did not, however, tarry here; these were not
the objects they were now in search of. Nautilus Bay and the Bay of
Pearls were likewise traversed unheeded, nor could the attractive
banks of the St. John, fringed with verdant foliage, divert them from
the project they had in contemplation.

Wise men, when they indulge in folly, are often more foolish than real
fools; so it was with Willis: now that he had joined in the scheme, he
evinced more ardor in its execution than the young men themselves. He
said that it would not be enough to capture skins for Mr. and Mrs.
Wolston, they must also capture one a-piece for Mary and Sophia
likewise, and talked as if the adventure of Sir Marmaduke and his
seventeen tigers had been a bagatelle.

Some hours before dark they landed at a spot well known to both Fritz
and Jack; it was a place where Becker and his sons had some time
before been engaged in deadly conflict with a herd of lions, and where
one of their dogs had fallen a victim to the enraged monarchs of the
forest.

"My plan," said Willis, "is to kill the sheep and place the quarters
on the shore, just as bait is thrown into the water to bring the fish
within the net."

"A reminiscence of Sir Marmaduke," said Jack.

"Then," continued Willis, "we shall light a fire to take the place of
the sun, who is about to retire for the night. This done, I propose
that we should return to the pinnace, keep the mutton within rifle
range, and riddle the skins that come to feast upon it."

After some opposition on the part of Fritz and Jack, who preferred to
encounter their antagonists on more equal terms, the proposal of
Willis was ultimately agreed to.



CHAPTER XI.

ON THE WATCH--FECUNDITY OF PLANTS AND ANIMALS--LATEST NEWS FROM THE
MOON--A DEATH-KNELL EVERY SECOND--THE INCONVENIENCES OF BEING TOO NEAR
THE SUN--NARCOTICS--WILLIS CONTRALTO--HUNTING TURNED UPSIDE
DOWN--ELECTRIC CLOUDS--PARTIALITIES OF LIGHTNING--BELLS AND
BELL-RINGERS--CONDUCTING RODS--THE RETURN--THE TWO SISTERS--TOBY
BECOMES A DRAGOMAN.


As is usual in tropical climates, a blazing hot day was succeeded by
an intensely dark night. The fire that the hunters had made on shore
cast a lurid glare on the prominent objects round about. The flames,
as they fitfully lit up the landscape into that dim distinctness
termed by artists the _chiar oscuro_, made the bushes and trunks of
trees appear like monsters issuing stealthily from the forest that
lined the background. There seemed to be some attraction, however,
elsewhere for the real monsters, not a single wild beast having as yet
appeared on the scene.

The two young men were eagerly straining their eyes from the stern of
the pinnace, whilst the dogs kept diligently wagging their tails in
expectation of a signal for the onset. The position of Willis could be
ascertained now and then by an eye of fire, which opened and shut as
he inhaled or exhaled the fumes of his Maryland. The ripple beat
gently on the sea-line of the boat, which oscillated with the
regularity and softness of a cradle.

"It is always so," said Jack, impatiently; "if we don't want wild
beasts, there are shoals of them to be seen; but if we do want them,
then they are all off to their dens."

"Perhaps, there are none now," suggested Willis.

"Say rather," observed Fritz, "that there ought to be thousands; for
on the one hand they multiply rapidly, and on the other there is no
one to destroy them. Spaniards once left a few cattle on St. Domingo,
and they increased at such a rate, that the island very soon would not
have been able to support them, had they not been kept down by
constant slaughter."

"Besides," remarked Jack, "the bovine race reproduce themselves more
slowly than other animals; a single sow, according to a calculation
made by Vauban, if allowed to live eleven years, would produce six
millions of pigs."

"What a cargo of legs of pork and sides of bacon!" exclaimed Willis,
laughing.

"Then fish; there are more than a hundred and sixty thousand eggs in a
single carp. A sturgeon contains a million four hundred and
sixty-seven thousand eight hundred and fifty, whilst in some codfish
the number exceeds nine millions."

"Oh, you need not favor us with the 'Mariner's March,' Willis; what my
brother says is perfectly correct."

"What, then, do these shoals of creatures live upon?"

"The big ones upon the little ones; fish devour each other."

"A beautiful harmony of Nature," remarked Fritz drily.

"Then plants," continued Jack, "are still more prolific than animals.
Some trees can produce as many of their kind as they have branches, or
even leaves. An elm tree, twelve years old, yields sometimes five
hundred thousand pods; and, by the way, Willis, to encourage you in
carrying on the war against the mosquitoes, a single stalk of tobacco
produces four thousand seeds."

"The leaves, however, are of more use to me than the seeds," replied
Willis.

"This admirable proportion between the productiveness of the two
kingdoms demonstrates the far-seeing wisdom of Providence. If the
power of multiplication in vegetables had been less considerable, the
fields, gardens, and prairies would have been deserts, with only a
plant here and there to hide the nakedness of the land. Had God
permitted animals to multiply in excess of plants, the entire
vegetation would soon have been devoured, and then the animals
themselves would of necessity have ceased to exist."

"How is it, then," inquired Willis, "with this continual
multiplication always going on, the inhabitants of land and sea do not
get over-crowded?"

"Why, as regards man, for example, if thirteen or fourteen human
beings are born within a given period, death removes ten or eleven
others; but though this leaves a regular increase, still the
population of the globe always continues about the same."

"It may be so, Master Jack, but when I was a little boy at school, I
generally came in for a whipping, if I made out two and two to be
anything else than four."

"And served you right too, Willis; but if the human family did not
continually increase, if the number of deaths exceeded continually
that of the births, at the end of a few centuries the world would be
unpeopled."

"Very good; but if, on the other hand, there is a continual increase,
how can the population continue the same?"

"Because the increase supposes a normal state; that is to say, the
births are only estimated as compared with deaths from disease or old
age. But then there are shipwrecks, inundations, plagues, and war,
which sometimes exterminate entire communities at one fell swoop. Then
whole nations die out and give place to the redundant populations of
others; phenomena now observed in the cases of the aborigines of
Australia and America."

"Very true."

"No signs of furs yet," cried Fritz, who was every now and then
levelling his rifle at the phantoms on shore.

"We need not dread," continued Jack, "ever being hustled or jostled on
the earth; life will fail us before space. There are now eight hundred
millions of human beings in existence, and, according to the most
moderate computation, room enough for twice that number. As it is, the
most fertile sections of the earth are not the most populous; there
are four hundred millions in Asia, sixty millions in Africa, forty in
America, two hundred and thirty in Europe, and only seventy millions
in the islands and continent of Oceanica!"

"To which," remarked Fritz, "you may add the eleven inhabitants of New
Switzerland."

"Assuming, then, this calculation to be nearly accurate, though
authorities vary materially in their computations of the earth's
inhabitants, and regarding it in connexion with the average duration
of human life, a thousand millions of mortals must perish in
thirty-three years; to descend to detail, thirty millions every year,
three thousand four hundred every hour, sixty every minute, or ONE
EVERY SECOND."

"Aye," remarked Willis, "we are here to-day and gone to-morrow."

"Suppose, then, that the population of the earth were twice as great,
cultivation would be extended, territories that are now lying waste
would be teeming with life and covered with fertile fields, but the
same beautiful equilibrium would be maintained."

"And the inhabitants of the planets," said Fritz, "what are they
about?"

"What planets do you mean?" inquired Willis.

"Well, all in general; the moon, for example, in particular."

"The moon," replied Jack, "has, in the first place, no atmosphere.
This we know, because the rays of the stars passing behind her are
not, in the slightest degree, refracted; and this proves that neither
men, nor animals, nor vegetables of any kind, are to be found in that
planet, for they could not exist without air."

"That should settle the question," remarked Willis.

"Yes," remarked Fritz; "but some theorists, nevertheless, insist that
there may be living creatures in the moon, for all that--of course,
differently constituted from the inhabitants of our earth, and
susceptible of existing without air. There is, however, no evidence of
any kind to support such a theory; it is a mere fancy, the dream of an
imaginative brain. Upon the same grounds, it may be argued, that the
interior of the earth is inhabited, and that elves and gnomes are
possible beings. Besides, the telescope has been brought to so high a
degree of perfection, that objects the size of a house can now be
detected in the moon."

"It seems, I am afraid," remarked Jack, who, like his brother, was
getting annoyed by the phantasmagoria on shore, "that we were about
as well supplied with wild beasts here as they are with men in the
planets."

"In speaking of the moon, however," continued Fritz, "I do not imply
all the planets; for, certain as we are that the moon has no
atmosphere, so we are equally certain that some of the planets possess
that attribute. Still there are other circumstances that render the
notion of their being inhabited by beings like ourselves exceedingly
improbable. Mercury, for example, is so embarrassed by the solar rays,
that lead must always be in a state of fusion, and water, if not
reduced to a state of vapor, will be hot enough to boil the fish that
are in it. Uranus, at the other extremity of the system, receives four
hundred times less heat and light than we do, consequently neither
water nor any thing else can exist there in a liquid state; what is
fluid on our earth must be frozen up into a solid mass. Good, I
declare my brother has fallen asleep!"

"It is very--interesting--however," said Willis, making ineffectual
efforts to smother a yawn.

"The same difficulty with comets; there must have been some very
urgent necessity for human beings in order to have peopled them. When
they pass the perihelion--"

"The what?" inquired Willis.

"The point where they approach nearest the sun--when they pass the
perihelion, I was going to say, the heat they endure must be terrific;
when on the other hand, at their extreme distance from that body, the
cold must be intense. The comet of 1680 did not approach within five
thousand _myriamètres_ of the sun."

"Friends coming within that distance of each other should at least
shake hands," said Willis.

"Still, even at that distance, the heat, according to Newton, must be
like red-hot iron, and if constituted like our earth, when heated to
that degree, must take fifty thousand years to cool."

"Fifty thousand years!" said Willis, yawning from ear to ear.

"The central position between these extremes, which would either
congeal our earth into a mass of ice or burn it up into a heap of
cinders, is therefore the most congenial to such beings as ourselves.
Whence I conclude--"

Here the crimson flashes of Willis's pipe, which had been gradually
diminishing in brilliance suddenly ceased; _contralto_ notes issued
from the profundities of his breast, and it became evident to the
orator that all his audience were sound asleep.

"Whence I conclude," said Fritz, addressing himself, "that my orations
must be somewhat soporiferous."

Being thus left alone to keep a look-out on shore, his thoughts
gradually receded within his own breast, where all was rose-colored
and smiling, for at his age rust has not had time to corrupt, nor
moths to eat away. And it was not long before he himself, like his two
companions, was fast locked in the arms of sleep.

How long this state of things lasted the chronicle saith not; but the
three sleepers were eventually awakened by a simultaneous howl of the
dogs. They were instantly on their feet, with their rifles levelled.

It was too late; day had broken, and there was light enough to
convince them that nothing was to be seen. The sheep's quarters had,
however, entirely disappeared, and they had the satisfaction of
knowing that they had politely given the denizens of the forest a
feast gratis.

"Ah, they shall pay us for it yet," said Jack.

"This is a case of the hunters being caught instead of the game,"
remarked Fritz.

"The poor sheep! If Ernest had been here, he would have erected a
monument to its memory."

"I doubt that; epitaphs are generally made rather to please the living
than to compliment the defunct. But, Willis, we must deprive you of
your office of huntsman in chief--I shall go into the forest and
revenge this insult."

"I have no objection to abdicate the office of huntsman, but must
retain that of admiral, in which capacity I announce to you that there
will be a storm presently, and that we shall just have time to make
Rockhouse before it overtakes us."

"That is rather a reason for our remaining where we are."

"We have come for skins, and skins we must have."

"Besides, we are two to one, and in all constitutional governments the
majority rules."

"Have you both made up your minds?" inquired Willis.

"Yes, we are quite decided."

"In that case," said Willis, "let us hoist the anchor and be off
home."

"Home! but we are determined to have the skins first."

"No, you are not," said Willis; "I know you better than you know
yourselves. You are both brave fellows, but I know you would not, for
all the skins in the world, have your good mother suppose that you
were buffeted about by the waves in a storm."

"True; up with the anchor, Willis," said Fritz.

"Be it so," said Jack, shaking his fist menacingly at the silent
forest, "but we shall lose nothing by waiting."

The sailor had not erred in his calculations, for they had scarcely
unfurled the sail before they heard the distant rumbling of the storm.
As soon as the first flash of lightning shot across the sky, Jack put
his forefinger of one hand on the wrist of the other, and began
counting one--two--three.

"Do you feel feverish?" inquired Willis.

"No, not personally," replied Jack; "I am feeling the pulse of the
storm--twenty-four--twenty-five--twenty-six--it is a mile off."

"Aye! how do you make that out?"

"Very easily; you recollect Ernest telling us that light travelled so
rapidly, that the time it occupied in passing from one point to
another of the earth's surface was scarcely perceptible to our
senses?"

"Yes, but I thought he was spinning a yarn at the time."

"You were wrong, Willis; he likewise told us that sound travels at the
rate of four hundred yards in a second."

"Well, but--"

"Have patience, Willis! When the lightning flashes, the electric spark
is discharged, is it not?"

"Well, I was never high enough aloft to see."

"But others have been; Newton and Franklin have seen it. Now, if the
sound reaches our ears a second after the flash, it has travelled four
hundred yards. If we hear it twelve or thirteen seconds after, it has
travelled twelve or thirteen times four hundred yards, or about half a
mile, and so on."

"But what has that to do with your pulse?"

"In the first place, I am in perfect health, am I not?"

"I hope so, Master Jack."

"Then when our systems are in good order, the pulse, keeping fractions
out of view, beats once in every second; and consequently, though we
do not always carry a watch, we always have our arteries about us, and
may therefore always reckon time."

"Now I understand."

"Ah! then we are to escape this time without the 'Mariner's March.'"

"It appears, Master Jack, that you have turned philosopher as well as
your brothers. Can you tell me what causes lightning?"

"Yes, I can, Willis. You must know, in the first place, that all the
layers of the atmosphere are, more or less, charged with electricity."

"Ask him how," said Fritz drily.

"Ah, you hope to puzzle me," replied Jack, "but thanks to Mr. Wolston,
I am too well up in physics to be easily driven off my perch, and
therefore may safely take my turn in philosophising."

"Well, we are listening."

"The air, by means of the vapor it contains, absorbs electricity from
terrestrial bodies, and so becomes a sort of reservoir of this
invisible fluid. All chemical combinations evolve electricity, the air
collects it and stores it up in the clouds. There, worshipful brother,
your question is answered."

"Good, go on."

"Well, Willis, you must know, in the second place, the clouds are very
good fellows, and share with each other the good things they possess.
When one cloud meets another, the one over-supplied with this fluid
and the other in its normal state, there is an immediate interchange
of courtesies, the negative electricity of the one is exchanged for
the positive of the other."

"There does not appear, however, to be much generosity in this
transaction, since the surcharged cloud does not cede its superfluous
abundance without a consideration."

"It is very rarely that philanthropy amongst us goes much further,"
remarked Fritz.

"No, everybody is not like Willis," rejoined Jack, "who acts like a
prince, and gives legs of mutton gratis to hyenas and tigers. The
discharges of electricity from one cloud to another are the flashes of
lightning, and it is to be observed that the thunder is nothing more
than the noise made by the fluid rushing through the air."

"What, then, is the thunderbolt?"

"There is no such thing as what is popularly understood by the term
thunderbolt. The lightning itself, however, often does mischief. This
happens when the discharge, instead of being between two clouds in the
air, takes place between a cloud and the ground--a cloud surcharged
with electricity understood. Then all intervening objects are struck
by the fluid."

"There, however, you are wrong," said Fritz. "All objects are not
struck; on the contrary, the fluid avoids some things and searches out
others, even moving in a zig-zag direction to manifest these caprices;
it often discharges itself on or into hard substances, and passes by
those which are soft or feeble."

"I might say this arose from a sentiment of generosity," added Jack,
"but I have other reasons to assign."

"So much the better," said Fritz, "as I should scarcely be satisfied
with the first."

"Well," continued Jack, "lightning has its likings and dislikings."

"Like men and women," suggested Willis.

"It has a partiality for metal."

"An affection that is not returned, however," observed Fritz.

"If the fluid enters a room, for example, it runs along the bell
wires, inspects the works of the clock, and sometimes has the audacity
to pounce upon the money in your purse, even though a policeman should
happen to be in the kitchen at the time."

"Perhaps," remarked Willis, "it is Socialist or Red Republican in its
notions."

"It does not, however, patronise war," replied Jack; "I once heard of
it having melted a sword and left the scabbard intact."

"That, to say the least of it, is improbable," remarked Fritz. "The
hilt, or even the point, might have been fused; but even supposing the
electric fluid to have been capable of such flagrant preference, the
scabbard could not have held molten metal without being itself
consumed."

"Aye," remarked Willis, "there are plenty of non-sensical stories of
that kind in circulation, because nobody takes the trouble to test
their truth. Still, according to your own account, a man or woman runs
no danger from the lightning."

"I beg your pardon there, Willis; the electric fluid does not go out
of its way to attack a human being, but if one should-happen to be in
its way, it does not take time to request that individual to stand
aside, it simply passes through him, and leaves him or her, as the
case may be, a coagulated mass of inanimate tissues."

"What a variety of ways there are of getting out of the world!" said
Willis lugubriously.

"Again," continued Jack, "anything that happens to be in the vicinity
of the clouds when this interchange of courtesies is going on, is apt
to draw the storm upon itself, hence the continual war that is carried
on between the lightning and the steeples."

"Something like an individual coming within range of a cloud of
mosquitoes," suggested Willis.

"A learned German--one of us," said the scapegrace, laughing,
"calculated, in 1783, that in the space of thirty-three years there
had been, to his own knowledge, three hundred and eighty-six spires
struck, and a hundred and twenty bell-ringers killed by lightning,
without reckoning a much larger number wounded."

"And yet," remarked Willis, "I never heard of an insurance against
accidents by lightning."

"There are plenty of them, however, in Roman Catholic countries," said
Fritz. "Every village has one, and the charge is almost nominal."

"How, then, do these companies make it pay?"

"They find it answer somehow, and they never collapse."

"Then everybody ought to insure."

"Yes, but there are some obstinate people who do not see the good of
it."

"If my life had not already been forfeited, I should insure it. But
how is it done?"

"Well, you have only to go into a church, fall down on your knees
before the priest, he will make you invulnerable by a sign of the
cross; then, come storms that pulverize the body or crush the mind,
you are perfectly safe."

"Ah! that is the way you insure your lives, is it, trusting to the
priests rather than to Providence? For my own part, I should prefer a
policy of insurance--that is to say, if my life were of any value."

"Next to steeples," continued Jack, "come tall trees, such as poplars
and pines. Should you ever be caught by a storm in the open country,
Willis, never take shelter under a tree; face the storm bravely, and
submit to be deluged by the rain. Dread even bushes, if they are
isolated. An entire forest is less dangerous than a single reed when
it stands alone."

"But you forget, brother, that when a man stands alone he is quite as
prominent an object as the trunk of a tree four or five feet high,
particularly in an open plain."

"Quite so. It is therefore advisable, when severe storms are close
upon us, to lie down flat on the ground."

"Suppose," remarked Fritz, smiling, "a brigade of soldiers on the
march suddenly to collapse in this way, as if before a discharge of
grape."

"And why not? If it is done in the case of grape-shot, why may it not
be done when the artillery is a thousand times more effective?"

"Well, I suspect it would rather astonish the commanding officer,
that is all."

"Then, Willis," continued Jack, "you must not run during a storm,
because the air you put in motion by so doing may draw the electricity
into the current."

"Do the conductors not prevent the lightning from doing harm?"

"Yes, but you cannot carry one of them on your hat. These rods are
only useful in protecting buildings, and then to nothing more than
double the area of their length; it is for this last reason that roofs
of public buildings have them projecting in all directions."

"They are a sort of trap set for the lightning, are they not?"

"Yes, and into which it is pretty sure to fall. Franklin, of whom I
spoke just now, was the first to suggest that bars of steel would draw
lightning out of a cloud surcharged with electricity."

"What becomes of it when it is caught?"

"Keeping in view its partiality for bell-pulls, a wire is attached to
the rod down which the unconscious fluid glides."

"Like a powder-monkey from the main-top."

"Exactly; till it enters a well, and there it is left at the bottom in
company with Truth."

A practical storm had begun to mix itself up with the theory as
developed by Jack, but not before they had very nearly reached their
destination, where they were waited for with the greatest anxiety.

No sooner had they landed than Sophia ran to meet Willis, who was
advancing with Jack.

"Ah, sweetheart," she said, "Susan has been so uneasy about you."

"You are a good girl, Miss Soph--Susan."

"Oh, if you only knew how frightened we have been!"

"What, do you admit fear to be one of your accomplishments, Miss
Sophia?" inquired Jack.

"Certainly, when others are concerned, Master Jack. But, by the way,
do you recollect the chimpanzee?"

"Yes, what about the rascal?"

[Illustration]

"Oh, I must not tell you, mamma would call me a chatterbox; you will
know by-and-by."

In the meanwhile Mary, on her side, was congratulating Toby, who kept
scampering between herself and Fritz, at one moment receiving the
caresses of the one and at the next of the other, with every
demonstration of joy. This had become an established mode of
communication between the young people when Fritz arrived from a
lengthened ramble; the intelligent, brute, in point of fact, had
assumed the office of dragoman.

"Ah, ah, Becker, glad to see you again," said Willis. "Your sons are
fountains of knowledge, whilst I am--"

"A very worthy fellow, Willis, and I know it," replied Becker, shaking
him heartily by the hand.



CHAPTER XII.

MAN PROPOSES, BUT GOD DISPOSES--THE CHOICE OF A
PROFESSION--CONQUEROR--ORATOR--ASTRONOMER--COMPOSER--PAINTER--POET--VILLAGE
CURATE--THE KAFIRS--OCCUPATIONS OF WOMEN--THE ALPHA AND OMEGA OF THE
SEA.


To the storm succeeded one of those diluvian showers that have already
been described. Rain being merely a result of evaporation, it was
evident that sea and land in those climates must perspire at an
enormous rate to effect such cataclysms. In consequence of this
deluge, the proposed excursion was indefinitely postponed. The
provisions, the marvellous kits, the waggon, were all ready; but
Nature, as often happens under such circumstances, had assumed a
menacing attitude, and for the present forbade the execution of the
project.

A sort of vague sadness, that generally accompanies a gloomy
atmosphere, weighed upon the spirits of the colonists. Recollections
of the _Nelson_ and her sudden disappearance thrust themselves more
vividly than ever upon their memory; and Willis was observed to throw
his sou'-wester unconsciously on the ground--a proof that remembrances
of the past occupied his thoughts.

One of the ladies was occupied in the needful domestic operations of
the household, whilst the other sat with a stocking on her left arm,
busily occupied in repairing the ravages of tear and wear upon that
useful though humble garment. The two young ladies spun, as used to do
the great ladies of the court of King Alfred, and as Hercules himself
is said to have done when he changed his club and lion's skin for a
spindle and distaff with the Queen of Lybia; Jack was apparently
sketching, Fritz had a collection of hunting apparatus before him, and
the other two young men, each with a book, were deeply immersed in
study.

This state of things was by no means cheerful, and Wolston determined
to break up the monotony by introducing a subject of conversation
likely to interest them all, the old as well as the young.

"By the way, gentlemen," said he, "it occurs to me that you have not
yet thought of selecting a profession; your future career seems at
present somewhat obscure."

"What would you have?" inquired Jack; "there is no use for lawyers and
judges in our colony, except to try plundering monkeys or protect
jackal orphans."

"True; but suppose you were to find yourselves, by some chance, again
in the great world, there it is necessary to possess a qualification
of some kind; a blacksmith or a carpenter, expert in his handicraft,
has a better chance of acquiring wealth and position than a man
without a profession, however great his talents may be; an idler is a
mere clog in the social machine, and is often thrust aside to browse
in a corner with monks and donkeys."

"But to acquire a profession, is not instruction and practice
necessary?"

"Certainly; it is impossible to become a proficient in any art or
science by mere study alone; but before sowing a field, what is done?"

"It is ploughed and manured."

"And should there be only a few seeds?"

"We can sow what we have, and reserve the harvest till next season. By
economising each crop in this way, we shall soon have seeds enough to
cover any extent of land."

"May I request you, Master Ernest, to draw a conclusion from that as
regards sowing the seeds of a future career?"

"I would infer, from your suggestion, that we might adapt ourselves
for such and such a profession by preparing our minds to receive
instruction in it, and we might also avail ourselves in the meantime
of such sources of information regarding it as are at present open to
us. The physician in prospective, for example, might make himself
familiar with the medical properties of such plants as are within his
reach; he might likewise examine the bones of an ape, and thus, by
analogy, become acquainted with the framework of the human body. The
would-be lawyer might, in the same way, avail himself of the library
to obtain an insight into those social mysteries that bind men in
communities and necessitate human laws for the preservation of peace
and order. Thus, by directing our thoughts into one line of study, we
may form a basis upon which the superstructure may be easily erected,
and the necessary academical degrees or sanction of the university
obtained."

"And, when you see this, why not adopt so commendable a course?"

"Because we may probably be destined to remain here, where, according
to Jack, the learned professions, at least, are not likely to be much
in demand."

"The study of a particular science or art has charms in itself, which
amply compensate the student for his labor. But, even admitting you do
not return to the Old World, you forget that it is your intention to
colonise this territory."

"It seems, however, that God has willed it otherwise."

"What God does not will in one way, he may bring about in another.
What reason have you for supposing that the _Nelson_ may not return
with colonists?"

"It will be from the other world then," said Willis.

"Yes, from the other world," replied Jack, "but not in the sense you
imply."

"Besides, should the _Nelson_ not reappear, that is no reason why
another accident may not drive another ship upon the coast that will
be more fortunate; what has happened to-day may surely happen again
to-morrow. And in the event of colonists arriving, will there not be
sick to cure, boundaries to determine, differences of opinion to
decide, and opposing claims to adjudge."

"Certainly, Mr. Wolston."

"Well, admitting these necessities, what profession will each of you
select? Let us begin with you, Master Fritz."

"The career," replied Fritz, "that would be most congenial to my
taste is that of a conqueror."

"A conqueror!"

"Yes; Alexander, Scipio, Timour the Tartar, and Gengis Khan are the
sort of men I should like to resemble. They have made a tolerable
figure in the world, and I should have no objection to follow in their
footsteps."

"But you forget that their footsteps are marked with tears, disasters,
terror, and bloodshed."

"These are indispensable."

"Why?"

"Once, when a great commander was asked the same question, he replied,
that you cannot make omelets without breaking eggs."

"Yes," remarked Becker, "but if you had read the anecdote entire, you
would have seen that he was asked in return, 'What use there was for
so many omelets.'"

"Added to which," continued Wolston, "that is not a normal career;
there is no diploma required for it; it is an accident arising out of
adventitious circumstances, sometimes fostered by ambition, but no
course of study can produce a conqueror."

"What, then, is the use of military schools?"

"They are, to the best of my knowledge, instituted for rearing
defenders for one's country, and not with a view to the subjugation of
another's."

"My poor Fritz," said Mrs. Becker laughing, "I hope when you conquer
half the world, you will find an occupation for your mother more in
consonance with your dignity than mending your stockings."

"Then, again," continued Wolston, "war cannot be waged by a single
individual."

"There must be an enemy somewhere," suggested Willis.

"The difficulty does not, however, lie there," observed Jack; "for, if
we have no enemies, it is easy enough to make them."

"There must, at all events, be armies, magazines, and a treasury--or
eggs, as the great commander in question hinted."

"True," replied Fritz; "but there is the same difficulty as regards
all professions; there can be no barristers without briefs, no
physicians without patients."

"You will admit, however, that clients and patients are not so rare as
hundreds of thousands of armed men and millions of money."

"Brother," said Jack, "your cavalry are routed and your infantry
outflanked."

"If you are determined to be a conqueror, let it be by the pen rather
than by the sword--or, what do you say to oratory? It is not easier,
perhaps, but, at all events, eloquence is not denied to ordinary
mortals. You will not then, to be sure, rank with the Hannibals, the
Tamerlanes, or the Cæsars; but you may attain a place with
Demosthenes, who was more dreaded by Philip of Macedon than an army of
soldiers."

"Or Cicero," remarked Becker, "who preserved his country from the
rapacity of Cataline."

"Or Peter the Hermit," remarked Frank, "who by his eloquence roused
Europe against the Saracens."

"Or Bossuet," added Wolston, "and then you may venture to assert in
the face of kings that _God alone is Great_, should they, like Louis
XIV., assume the sun as an emblem, and adopt such a silly scroll as
'_Nec pluribus impar_.'"

"Bossuet, Peter the Hermit, Cicero, and Demosthenes, are not so bad,
after all, as a last resource," remarked Mrs. Wolston, "and I would
recommend you to enrol yourself in that list of conquerors, Master
Fritz."

"The more especially," observed Jack, "as you have no impediment in
your voice, and would not have to undergo a course of pebbles like
Demosthenes."

"So far as that goes, Jack," replied Fritz, "you would possess a like
advantage for the profession as myself; but I will take time to
reflect." Then, turning towards his mother, he said, "Conqueror or
Jack Pudding, mother, you shall always find me a dutiful son."

His mother was more gratified by this expression of attachment than
she would have been had he laid at her feet the four thousand golden
spurs found, in 1302, on the field of Courtray.

"And now, Ernest, what profession do you intend to adopt? what is
your dream of the future?"

"I, Mr. Wolston! Well, having no taste for artillery, brilliant
charges, blood-stained ruins, and the other _agrémens_ of war, I
cannot be a hero. Do you know when I feel most happy?"

"No, let us hear."

"It is towards evening, when I am reposing tranquilly on the banks of
the Jackal."

"Ah, I thought so," cried Jack; "no position so congenial to the true
philosopher as the horizontal."

"When the sun," continued Ernest, gravely, "is retiring behind the
forest of cedars that bounds the horizon; when the palms, the mangoes,
and gum trees, mass their verdure in distinct and isolated groups;
when nature is making herself heard in a thousand melodious voices;
when the hum of the insect is ringing in my ears, and the breeze is
gently murmuring through the foliage; when thousands of birds are
fluttering from grove to grove, sometimes breaking with their wings
the smooth surface of the river; when the fish, leaping out of their
own element, reflect for an instant from their silvery scales the
departing rays of the sun; when the sea, stretching away like a vast
plain of boundless space, loses itself in the distance, then my eyes
and thoughts are sometimes turned upwards towards the azure of the
firmament, and sometimes towards the objects around me, and I feel as
if my mind were in search of something which has hitherto eluded its
grasp, but which it is sure of eventually finding. Under these
circumstances, I assure you, I would not exchange the moss on which I
sat for the greatest throne in Christendom."

"But surely you do not call such a poetical exordium a profession?"
remarked Becker.

"It must be admitted," said Wolston, "that the sun and trees have
their uses, especially when the one protects us from the other; the
sun, for example, dries up the moisture that falls from the trees, and
the trees shelter us from the burning rays of the sun. Still, I am at
a loss myself to connect these things with a profession in a social
point of view."

"What would you have thought," inquired Ernest, "if you had seen
Newton and Kepler gazing at the sky, before the one had determined the
movements of the celestial bodies, and the other the laws of
gravitation? What would you have thought of Parmentier passing hours
and days in manipulating a rough-looking bulb, that possessed no kind
of value in the eyes of the vulgar, but which afterwards, as the
potato, became the chief food of two-thirds of the population of
Europe? What would you think of Jenner, with his finger on his brow,
searching for a means of preserving humanity from the scourge of the
small-pox?"

"But these men had an object in view."

"Jenner, yes; but not the other two. They thought, studied,
contemplated, and reflected, satisfied that one day their thoughts,
calculations, and reflections would aid in disclosing some mystery of
Nature; but it would have perplexed them sorely to have named
beforehand the nature and scope of their discoveries."

"According to you, then," said Jack, "there could not be a more
dignified profession than that of the scarecrow. The greatest
dunderhead in Christendom might simply, by going a star-gazing, pass
himself off as an adept in the occult sciences, and claim the right of
being a benefactor of mankind in embryo."

"At all events," replied Ernest, "you will admit that, so long as I am
ready to bear my share of the common burdens, and take my part in
providing for the common wants, and in warding of the common dangers,
it is immaterial whether I occupy my leisure hours in reflection or in
rifle practice."

"Well," said Jack, "when you have made some discovery that will enrol
your name with Descartes, Huygens, Cassini, and such gentlemen, you
will do us the honor of letting us know."

"With the greatest pleasure."

"It is a pity that Herschell has invented the telescope: he might have
left you a chance for the glory of that invention."

"If I have not discovered a new star, brother, I discovered long ago
that you would never be one."

"Well, I hope not; their temperature is too unequal for me--they are
either freezing or boiling: at least, so said Fritz the other day,
whilst we were--all, what were we doing, Willis?"

"We were supposed to be hunting."

"Ah, so we were."

"Now, Master Jack, it is your turn to enlighten us as to your future
career."

"It is quite clear, Mr. Wolston, that, since my brothers are to be so
illustrious, I cannot be an ordinary mortal; the honor of the family
is concerned, and must be consulted. I am, therefore, resolved to
become either a great composer, like Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven; a
renowned painter, like Titian, Carrache, or Veronese; or a great poet,
like Homer, Virgil, Shakspeare, Dante, Milton, Goethe, and Racine."

"That is to say," remarked Mrs. Wolston, "that you are resolved to be
a great something or other."

"Decidedly, madam; on reflection, however, as I value my eyesight, I
must except Homer and Milton."

"But have you not determined to which of the muses you will throw the
handkerchief?"

"I thought of music at first. It must be a grand thing, said I to
myself, that can charm, delight, and draw tears from the eyes of the
multitude--that can inspire faith, courage, patriotism, devotion and
energy, and that, too, by means of little black dots with tails,
interspersed with quavers, crotchets, sharps and flats."

"Have you composed a sonata yet?"

"No, madam; I was going to do so, but it occurred to me that I should
require an orchestra to play it."

"And not having that, you abandoned the idea?"

"Exactly, madam. I then turned to poetry. That is an art fit for the
gods; it puts you on a level with kings, and makes you in history even
more illustrious than them. You ascend the capitol, and there you are
crowned with laurel, like the hero of a hundred fights."

"What is the subject of your principal work in this line?"

"Well, madam, I once finished a verse, and was going on with a second,
but, somehow or other, I could not get the words to rhyme."

"Then it occurred to you that you had neither a printer nor readers,
and you broke your lyre?"

"I was about to reproach you, Master Jack," said Wolston, "for
undertaking too many things at once; but I see the ranks are beginning
to thin."

"Beautiful as poetry may be," continued Jack, one gets tired of
reading and re-reading one's own effusions."

"It is even often intensely insipid the very first time," remarked
Mrs. Wolston.

"There still remains painting," continued Jack. "Painting is vastly
superior to either music or poetry. In the first place, it requires no
interpreter between itself and the public;--what, for example, remains
of a melody after a concert? nothing but the recollection. Poesy may
excite admiration in the retirement of one's chamber; your nostrils
are, as it were, reposing on the bouquet, though often you have still
a difficulty in smelling anything. But if once you give life to
canvas, it is eternal."

"Eternal is scarcely the proper word," remarked Wolston: "the
celebrated fresco of Leonardo da Vinci, in the refectory of the
Dominicans at Milan, is nothing but a confused mass of colors and
figures."

"I answer that by saying that the painting in question is only a
fresco. Besides, I use the word eternal in a modified or relative
sense. A painting is preserved from generation to generation, whilst
its successive races of admirers are mingled with the dust. Then
suppose a painter in his studio; he cannot look around him without
awakening some memory of the past. He can associate with those he
loves when they are absent, nay, even when they are dead, and they
always remain young and beautiful as when he first delineated them."

"Take care," cried Ernest, pushing back his seat, "if you go on at
that rate you will take fire."

"No fear of that, brother, unless you have a star or a comet in your
pocket, in which case you are not far enough away yet."

These occasional bickerings between Ernest and Jack were always given
and taken in good part, and had only the effect of raising a
good-humored laugh.

"Let the painter," he continued, "fall in with a spot that pleases
him, he can take it with him and have it always before his eyes. The
hand of God or of man may alter the original, the forest may lose its
trees, the old castle may be destroyed by fire or time, the green
meadow may be converted into a dismal swamp, but to him the landscape
always retains its pristine freshness, the same butterfly still
flutters about the same bush, the same bee still sucks at the same
flower."

"Really," said Mrs. Wolston, "it is a pity, after all, that you did
not achieve your second verse."

"And yet," continued Jack, "that is only a copy. How much more sublime
when we regard the painter as a creator! If there is in the past or
present a heroic deed--if there is in the infinity of his life one
moment more blessed than another, like Pygmalion he breathes into it
the breath of life, and it becomes imperishable. Who would think a
century or two hence of the victories of Fritz, unless the skill of
the painter be called in to immortalize them!"

"I agree with you in thinking that the arts you name are the source of
beautiful and legitimate emotions. But generally it is better to view
them as a recreation or pastime, rather than a profession. They have
doubtless made a few men live in posterity, but, on the other hand,
they have embittered and shortened the lives of thousands."

"You will never guess what led me to adopt this art in preference to
the two others. It was the discovery, that we made some years ago, of
a gum tree, the name of which I do not recollect."

"The myrica cerifera," said Ernest.

"From the gum of this tree the varnish may be made. Now, like my
brother, who, when he sees the sun overhead, considers he ought to
profit by the circumstance and become a discoverer, so I said to
myself: You have varnish, all you want, therefore, to produce a
magnificent painting is canvas, colors, and talent; consequently, you
must not allow such an opportunity to pass--it would be unpardonable.
Accordingly, I set to work with an energy never before equalled; and,"
added he, showing the design he had just finished, "here are two eyes
and a nose, that I do not think want expression."

"Capital!" said Mrs. Wolston; "your painting will be in admirable
keeping with the hangings my daughters have promised to work for your
mamma."

"Nobody can deny," continued Jack, laughing, "that the colony is
advancing in civilization; it already possesses a conqueror, a member
of the Royal Society minus the diploma, and an Apelles in embryo."

"It is now your turn, Frank."

"I," replied Frank, in his mild but penetrating voice, "if I may be
allowed to liken the flowers of the garden to the occupations of human
life, I should prefer the part of the violet."

"It hides itself," said Mrs. Wolston, "but its presence is not the
less felt."

"When I have allowed myself to indulge in dreams of the future, I have
pictured myself dwelling in a modest cottage, partially shrouded in
ivy, not very far from the village church. My coat is a little
threadbare."

"Why threadbare?" inquired Sophia.

"Because there are a number of very poor people all round me, and I
cannot make up my mind to lay out money on myself when it is wanted by
them."

"Such a coat would be sacred in our eyes," said Mrs. Wolston.

"In the morning I take a walk in my little garden; I inspect the
flowers one after the other; chide my dog, who is not much of a
florist; then, perhaps, I retire to my study, where I am always ready
to receive those who may require my aid, my advice, or my personal
services."

Here Mrs. Wolston shook Frank very warmly by the hand.

"Sometimes I go amongst the laborers in the fields, talk to them of
the rain, of the fine weather, and of HIM who gives both. I enter the
home of the artizan, cheer him in his labors, and interest myself in
the affairs of his family; I call the children by their names, caress
them, and make them my friends. I talk to them of our Redeemer, and
thus, in familiarly conversing with the young, I find means of
instructing the old. They, perhaps, tell me of a sick neighbor; I
direct my steps there, and endeavor to mitigate the pangs of disease
by words of consolation and hope; I strive to pour balm on the wounded
spirit, and, if the mind has been led away by the temptations of the
world, I urge repentance as a means of grace. If death should step in,
then I kneel with those around, and join them in soliciting a place
amongst the blessed for the departed soul."

"We shall all gladly aid you in such labors of love," said Mrs.
Wolston.

"When death has deprived a family of its chief support, then I appeal
to those whom God has blessed with the things of this world for the
means of assisting the widow and the fatherless. To one I say, 'You
regret having no children, or bemoan those you have lost; here are
some that God has sent you.' I say to another, 'You have only one
child, whilst you have the means of supporting ten; you can at least
charge yourself with two.' Thus I excite the charity of some and the
pity of others, till the bereaved family is provided for. I obtain
work for those that are desirous of earning an honest living, I bring
back to the fold the sheep that are straying, and rescue those that
are tottering on the brink of infidelity."

Here the girls came forward and volunteered to assist Frank in such
works of mercy.

"I accept your proffered aid, my dear girls, but, as yet, I am only
picturing a future career for myself. After a day devoted to such
labors as these, I return to my home, perhaps to be welcomed by a
little circle of my own, for I hope to be received as a minister of
the Protestant Church, and, as such, may look forward to a partner in
my joys and troubles. Should Providence, however, shape my destiny
otherwise, I shall have the poor and afflicted--always a numerous
family--to bestow my affections upon. But, whilst much of my time is
thus passed amongst the sorrowing and the sick, still there are hours
of gaiety amongst the gloom--there are weddings, christenings, and
merrymakings--there are happy faces to greet me as well as sad
ones--and I am no ascetic. I take part in all the innocent amusements
that are not inconsistent with my years or the gravity of my
profession--but you seem sad, Mrs. Wolston."

"Yes, Frank; you have recalled my absent son, Richard, so vividly to
my memory, that I cannot help shedding a tear."

"Is your son in orders then, madam?"

"He is precisely what you have pictured yourself to be, a minister of
the gospel, and a most exemplary young man."

"If," remarked Becker, "we have hitherto refrained from inquiring
after your son, madam, it was because we had no wish to recall to your
mind the distance that separated you from him, and we should be glad
to know his history."

"There is little to relate; he is very young yet, and as soon as he
had obtained his ordination, he was offered a mission to Oregon, which
he accepted; but the ship having been detained at the Cape of Good
Hope, he regarded the accident as a divine message, to convert the
heathen of Kafraria, where he now is."

"It is no sinecure to live amongst these copper-colored rascals," said
Willis; "they are constantly stealing the cattle of the Dutch settlers
in their neighborhood. About twelve years ago, our ship was stationed
at the Cape, and I was sent with a party of blue jackets into the
interior, as far as Fort Wiltshire, on the Krieskamma, the most remote
point of the British possessions in South Africa. There we dispersed a
cloud of them that had been for weeks living upon other people's
property. They are tall, wiry fellows, as hardy as a pine tree, and as
daring as buccaneers. The chief of the _kraals_, or huts, wear leopard
or panther skins, and profess to have the power of causing rain to
fall, besides an endless number of other miraculous attributes.
Amongst them, a wife of the ordinary class costs eight head of cattle,
but the price of a young lady of the higher ranks runs as high as
twenty cows. When a Kafir is suspected of a crime, his tongue is
touched seven times with hot iron, and if it is not burnt he is
declared innocent."

"I am afraid," said Jack, "if they were all subjected to that test,
they would be found to be a very bad lot. But now, since we have all
decided upon a profession, let us hear what the young ladies intend
doing with themselves; let them consult their imagination for a
beautiful future gilded with sunshine, and embroidered with gold."

"There is only one occupation for women," said Mrs. Becker, "and that
is too well defined to admit of speculation, and too important to
admit of fanciful embellishments."

"Well, then, mother, let us hear what it is."

"It is to nurse you, and rear you, when you are unable to help
yourselves; to guide your first steps, and teach you to lisp your
first syllables. For this purpose, God has given her qualities that
attract sympathy and engender love. She is so constituted as to impart
a charm to your lives, to share in your labors, to soothe you when you
are ruffled, to smooth your pillow when you are in pain, and to
cherish you in old age; bestowing upon you, to your last hour, cares
that no other love could yield. These, gentlemen, are the duties and
occupations of women; and you must admit, that if it is not our
province to command armies, or to add new planets to the galaxy of the
firmament; that if we have not produced an Iliad or an Ænead, a
Jerusalem Delivered, or a Paradise Lost, an Oratorio of the Creation,
a Transfiguration, or a Laocoon, we have not the less our modest
utility."

"I should think so, mother," replied Jack; "it would take no end of
philosophers to do the work of one of you."

"It surprises me," said Willis, "that not one of you has selected the
finest profession in the world--that of a sailor."

"The finest profession of the sea, you mean, Willis. There is no doubt
of its being the finest that can be exercised on the ocean, since it
is the only one. If it is the best, Willis, it is also the worst."

"It has also produced great men," continued Willis; "there are
Columbus, Vasco de Gama, and Captain Cook, to whom you are indebted
for a new world."

"No thanks to them for that," said Jack; "if they had not discovered a
new world we should have been in an old one."

"That does not follow," remarked Ernest; "the new world would have
existed even if it had not been discovered, and you might have found
your way there all the same."

"Not very likely," replied Jack, "unless one of the stars you intend
to discover had shown us the way; otherwise it would only have existed
in conjecture; and as nobody under such circumstances would have
dreamt of settling in it, they would not have been shipwrecked during
the voyage."

"Very true," remarked Fritz; "if we had not been here we should, very
probably, have been somewhere else, and perhaps in a much worse
plight. Let me ask if there is any one here who regrets his present
position?"

Willis was about to reply to this question, but Sophia observing that
there was something wrong with the handkerchief that he wore round his
neck, hastened towards him to put it to rights, and he was silent.

The hour had now arrived when the families separated for the night.
Mary was preparing as usual to recite the evening prayer, but before
doing so she whispered a few words in her mother's ear.

"Yes, my child;" and, turning to Frank, she added, "Since you are
determined to adopt the ministry as a profession, it is but right that
we should for the future entrust ourselves to your prayers."

The two families were now located in their respective eyries; and
Jack, whilst escorting the Wolstons to the foot of their tree, said to
Sophia,

"I thought the chimpanzee had been playing some prank."

"So he has. Has nobody told you of it?"

"No, not a soul."

"Then I will be as discreet as my neighbors; good night, Master Jack."



CHAPTER XIII.

HERBERT AND CECILIA--THE LITTLE ANGELS--A CATASTROPHE--THE
DEPARTURE--MARRIAGE OF THE DOGE WITH THE ADRIATIC--SOVEREIGNS OF THE
SEA--DANTE AND BEATRIX--ELEONORA AND TASSO--LAURA AND PETRARCH--THE
RETURN--SURPRISES--WHAT ONE FINDS IN TURBOTS--A HORROR--THE
PRICE OF CRIME--BALLOONING--PHILIPSON AND THE CHOLERA--A
METAMORPHOSIS--ADVENTURE OF THE CHIMPANZEE--ARE YOU RICH?


Next day the sky was shrouded in dense masses of cloud, some grey as
lead, some livid as copper, and some black as ink. Towards evening the
two families, as usual, resolved themselves into a talking party, and
Wolston, requesting them to listen, began as follows:--

"There were two rich merchants in Bristol, between whom a very close
intimacy had for a long time existed. One of them, whom I shall call
Henry Foster, had a daughter; and the other, Nicholas Philipson, had a
son, and the two fathers had destined these children for one another.
The boy was a little older than the girl, and their tastes, habits,
and dispositions seemed to fit them admirably for each other, and so
to ratify the decision of the parents. Little Herbert and Cecilia were
almost constantly together. They had a purse in common, into which
they put all the pieces of bright gold they received as presents on
birthdays and other festive occasions. In summer, when the two
families retired to a retreat that one of them had in the country, the
children were permitted to visit the cottagers, and to assist the
distressed, if they chose, out of their own funds--a permission which
they availed themselves of so liberally that they were called by the
country people the two little angels."

"What a pity there are no poor people here!" said Sophia, dolefully.

"Why?" inquired her mother.

"Because we might assist them, mamma."

"It is much better, however, as it is, my child; our assistance might
mitigate the evils of poverty, but might not be sufficient to remove
them."

This reasoning did not seem conclusive to Sophia, who shook her head
and commenced plying her wheel with redoubled energy.

"When Herbert Philipson was twelve years of age he was sent off to
school, and Cecilia was confided to the care of a governess, who,
under the direction of Mrs. Foster, was to undertake her education.
But neither music nor drawing, needlework, grammars nor exercises,
could make little Cecilia forget her absent companion. Absence, that
cools older friendships, had a contrary effect on her heart; the
months, weeks, days, and hours that were to elapse before Herbert
returned for the holidays, were counted and recounted. When that
period--so anxiously desired--at length arrived, there was no end of
rejoicing: she told Herbert of all the little boys and little girls
she had clothed and fed, of the old people she had relieved, of the
tears she had shed over tales of woe and misery, how she had carried
every week a little basket covered with a white napkin to widow
Robson, how often she had gone into the damp and dismal cottage of the
dying miner, and how happy she always made his wife and their nine
pitiful looking children."

"That is a way of conquering human hearts," remarked Mrs. Becker,
"often more effective than those referred to the other day."

"Once, when Herbert was at home for the holidays, he accompanied
Cecilia on her charitable visits, and was greatly surprised to find
that blessings were showered upon his own head wherever they went;
people, whom he had never seen before, insisted upon his being their
benefactor. This he could not make out. At last, by an accident, he
discovered the secret--Cecilia had been distributing her gifts in his
name! He remonstrated warmly against this, declaring that he had no
wish to be praised and blessed for doing things that he had no hand
in. Finding that his protestations were of no avail, he determined,
on the eve of his returning to school, to have his revenge."

"He did not buy Cecilia a doll, did he?" inquired Jack.

"No; he collected all the eatables, clothing, blankets, and money he
could obtain; went amongst the poorest of the cottages, and
distributed the whole in Cecilia's name."

"Ah," remarked Mrs. Becker, "it is a pity we could not all remain at
the age of these children, with the same purity, the same innocence,
and the same freshness of sensation; the world would then be a
veritable Paradise."

"For some years this state of things continued, the affection between
the young people strengthened as they grew older, the occasional
holiday time was always the happiest of their lives. Herbert, in due
course, was transferred from school to college, where he obtained a
degree, and rapidly verged into manhood. Cecilia from the girl at
length bloomed into the young lady. A day was finally fixed when they
were to be bound together by the holy ties of the church; everything
was prepared for their union, when the commercial world was startled
by the announcement that Philipson was a ruined man. A ship in which
he had embarked a valuable freight had been wrecked, and an agent to
whom he had entrusted a large sum of money had suddenly disappeared."

"How deplorable!" cried Fritz.

"Not so very unfortunate, after all," remarked Mary.

"What makes you think so?"

"Because nothing had occurred to interrupt the marriage; only one of
the families was ruined, and there was still enough left for both."

"But," said Fritz, "even admitting that the friendship between the two
families continued uninterrupted, and that the father of Cecilia was
willing to share his property with the father of Herbert, still the
young man, in the parlance of society, was a beggar; and it is always
hard for a man to owe his position to a woman, and to become, as it
were, the _protégé_ of her whom he ought rather to protect."

"If that is the view you take, Master Fritz, then I agree with you
that the misfortune was deplorable," said Mary, bending at the same
time to hide her blushes, under pretence of mending a broken thread.

"And what if Cecilia's father had been ruined instead of Herbert's?"
inquired Jack.

"I should say," replied Sophia, "that we have as much right to be
proud and dignified as you have."

"The best way in such a case," observed Willis, laughing, "would be
for both parties to get ruined together."

"Herbert," continued Wolston, "was a youth of resolution and energy.
He entertained the same opinion as Fritz; and instead of wasting his
time in idle despondency, got together some articles of merchandise,
and sailed for the Indian Archipelago, promising his friends that he
would return to his native land in two years."

"Two years is a long time," remarked Mary; "but sometimes it passes
away very quickly."

"Ah!" observed Sophia, Cecilia, in the meantime, would redouble her
charities and her prayers."

"The two years passed away, then a third, and then a fourth, but not a
single word had either been heard of or from the absentee. Cecilia was
rich, and her hand was sought by many wealthy suitors, but hitherto
she had rejected them all."

"The dear, good Cecilia," cried Sophia.

"Up till this period the family had permitted her to have her own way.
But as it is necessary for authority to prevent excesses of all kinds,
they thought it time now to interfere; they could not allow her to
sacrifice her whole life for a shadow. Her parents, therefore,
insisted upon her making a choice of one or other of the suitors for
her hand. She requested grace for one year more, which was granted."

"Come back, truant, quick; come back, Master Herbert!" cried Sophia.

"There now, Willis," cried Jack, "you see the effect of your new
world; people go away there, and never come back again."

"Oh, but you must bring him back in time, father; you must indeed,"
urged Sophia.

"If it were only a romance I were relating to you, Sophia, I could
very easily bring him back; but the narrative I am giving you is a
matter of fact, which I cannot alter at will. There would be no
difficulty in bringing a richly-laden East Indiaman, commanded by
Captain Philipson, into the Severn, and making Herbert and Cecilia
conclude the story in each other's arms, but it would not be true."

"Then if I had been Cecilia, I should have become a nun," said Mary,
timidly.

"Exaggeration, my daughter, is an enemy to truth. It is easy to say,
'I would become a nun,' and in Roman Catholic countries it is quite as
easy to become one; but, though it may be sublime to retire in this
way from the world, it is frightful when a woman has afterwards to
regret the inconsiderate step she has taken, and which is often the
case with these poor creatures."

"As you said of myself," remarked Willis, "it is a crime to go down
with a sinking ship so long as there is a straw to cling to."

"I presume," continued Wolston, "that during this year poor Cecilia
prayed fervently for the return of her old playfellow; but her prayers
were all in vain, the year expired, and still no news of the young
man; at last she despaired of ever seeing him again, and, after a
severe struggle with herself, she decided upon complying with the
desire of her parents and her friends. A few months after the expiring
of the year of grace, she was the affianced bride of a highly
respectable, well-to-do, middle-aged gentleman. John Lindsey, her
intended husband, could not boast of his good looks; he was little,
rather stout, was deeply pitted in the face with the small-pox, and
had a very red nose, but he was considered by the ladies of Bristol as
a very good match for all that."

"Oh, Cecilia, how ridiculous!" exclaimed Sophia.

"Better, at all events, than turning nun," said Jack.

"The family this season had gone to pass the summer at the sea-coast;
and one day that Cecilia and her intended were taking their accustomed
walk along the shore--"

"Holloa!" cried Jack, "the truant is going to appear, after all."

"John Lindsey, observing a ring of some value upon Cecilia's finger,
politely asked her if she had any objections to tell him its history.
She replied that she had none, and told him it was a gift of young
Philipson's. 'I am well acquainted with your story,' said Lindsey,
'and do not blame the constancy with which you have treasured the
memory of that young man; on the contrary, I respect you for it--in
fact, it was the knowledge of your self-sacrifice to this affection
and all its attendant circumstances, that led me to solicit the honor
of your hand; for, said I to myself, one who has evinced so much
devotion for a mere sentiment, is never likely to prove unfaithful to
sacred vows pledged at the altar,' 'Come what may, you may at least
rely upon that, sir,' she answered. 'Then,' continued Lindsey, 'as an
eternal barrier is about to be placed between yourself and your past
affections, perhaps you will pardon my desire to separate you, as much
as possible, from everything that is likely to recal them to your
mind.' Saying that, he gently drew the ring from her finger, and threw
it into the sea."

It was strongly suspected that Mary shed a tear at this point of the
recital.

"It is all over with you now, Herbert," cried Fritz.

"You had better make a bonfire of your ships, like Fernando Cortez in
Mexico; or, if you are on your way home, better pray for a hurricane
to swallow you up, than have all your bright hopes dashed to atoms,
when you arrive in port."

"I am only a little girl," said Sophia; "but I know what I should have
said, if the gentleman had done the same thing to me."

"And what would you have said, child?" inquired her mother.

"I should have said, that I was not the Doge of Venice, and had no
intention of marrying the British Channel."

"Can you describe the ceremony to which you refer?"

"Yes; but it would interrupt papa's story, and Jack would laugh at
me."

"Never mind my story," replied her father, "there is plenty of time
to finish that."

"And as for me," said Jack, "though I do not wear a cocked hat and
knee breeches, and though, in other respects, my tailor has rather
neglected my outward man, still I know what is due to a lady and a
queen."

"There, he begins already!" said Sophia.

"Never mind him, child; go on with your account of the marriage."

"Well," began Sophia, "for a long time, there had been disputes
between the states of Bologna, Ancona, and Venice, as to which
possessed the sovereignty of the Adriatic."

"If it had been a dispute about the Sovereignty of the ocean in
general," remarked Willis, "there would have been another competitor."

"Venice," continued Sophia, "carried the day, and about 1275 or 76 she
resolved to celebrate her victory by an annual ceremony. For this
purpose, a magnificent galley was built, encrusted with gold, silver,
and precious stones. This floating _bijou_ was called the
_Bucentaure_, was guarded in the arsenal, whence it was removed on the
eve of the Ascension. Next day the Doge, the patriarch, and the
Council of Ten embarked, and the galley was towed out to the open sea,
but not far from the shore. There, in the presence of the foreign
ambassadors, whilst the clergy chanted the marriage service, the Doge
advanced majestically to the front of the galley, and there formally
wedded the sea."

"He might have done worse," observed Willis.

"The ceremony," continued Sophia, "consisted in the Doge throwing a
ring into the sea, saying, 'We wed thee, O sea! to mark the real and
perpetual dominion we possess over thee.'"

"And it may be added," observed Becker, "that the history of Venice
shows how religiously the spouses of the Adriatic kept their vows."

"Now," said Sophia, "that I have told my tale, let us hear what became
of Cecilia."

"Well, the marriage took place the morning after Herbert's ring had
been thrown to the fishes. Whilst the bride, bridegroom, and their
friends were congratulating each other over the wedding breakfast, as
is usual in England on such occasions, Cecilia's father was called out
of the room."

"Too late," remarked Fritz.

"Herbert Philipson had arrived that same morning; but, as Fritz
observes, he was just an hour too late. He had acquired a fortune, but
his long-cherished hopes of happiness were completely blasted."

"Why did he stay away five years without writing?" inquired Mrs.
Wolston.

"He had written several times, but at that time no regular post had
been established, and his letters had never reached their
destination."

"When did he find out that Cecilia was married?"

"Well, some people think it more humane to kill a man by inches rather
than by a single blow of the axe. Not so with Herbert's friends; the
first news that greeted him on landing were, that his ever-remembered
Cecilia was probably at that moment before the altar pledging her vows
to another."

"I should rather have had a chimney-pot tumble on my head," remarked
Willis.

"Herbert was a man in every sense of the word--the mode of his
departure proves that. On hearing this painful intelligence, he simply
covered his face with his hands, and, after a moment's thought,
resolved to see his lost bride at least once more."

"Poor Herbert!" sighed Mary.

"Foster was thunderstruck when the stranger declared himself to be the
son of his old friend; and, after cordially bidding him welcome,
sorrowfully asked him what he meant to do. 'I should wish to see Mrs.
Lindsey in presence of her husband,' he replied, 'providing you have
no objections to introduce me to the company.'"

"Bravo!" ejaculated Willis.

"Foster could not refuse this favor to an unfortunate, who had just
been disinherited of his dearest hopes. He, therefore, took Herbert by
the hand and led him into the room. Nobody recognized him. 'Ladies and
gentlemen,' said he, 'permit me to introduce Mr. Herbert Philipson,
who has just arrived from Sumatra.' You may readily conceive the
dismay this unexpected announcement called up into the countenances of
the guests. There was only one person in the room who was calm,
tranquil, and unmoved--that person was Cecilia herself. She rose
courteously, bade him welcome, hoped he was well, coolly asked him why
he had not written to his friends, and politely asked him to take a
seat beside herself and husband, just, for all the world, as if he had
been some country cousin or poor relation to whom she wished to show a
little attention."

"I would rather have been at the bottom of the sea than in her place,
for all that," said Mary.

"Why? She had nothing to reproach herself with. Had she not waited
long enough for him?"

"Young heads," remarked Becker, "are not always stored with sense. A
foolish pledge, given in a moment of thoughtlessness is often
obstinately adhered to in spite of reason and argument. The young idea
delights in miraculous instances of fidelity. What more charming to a
young and ardent mind than the loves of Dante and Beatrix, of Eleonora
and Tasso, of Petrarch and Laura, of Abelard and Heloise, or of Dean
Swift and Stella? Young people do not reflect that most of these
stories are apocryphal, and that the men who figure in them sought to
add to their renown the prestige of originality; they put on a passion
as ordinary mortals put on a new dress, they yielded to imagination
and not to the law of the heart, and almost all of them paid by a life
of wretchedness the penalty of their dreams."

"That is, I presume," remarked Mrs. Wolston, "you do not object to any
reasonable amount of constancy, but you object to its being carried to
an unwarrantable excess."

"Exactly so, madam," replied Becker; "constancy, like every thing else
when reasonable limits are exceeded, becomes a vice."

"The merriments of the marriage breakfast," continued Wolston
"slightly interrupted by the arrival of the new guest, were resumed.
Fresh dishes were brought in, and, amongst others, a fine turbot was
placed on the table. The gentleman who was engaged in carving the
turbot struck the fish-knife against a hard substance."

"I know what!" exclaimed two or three voices.

"I rather think not," said Wolston, drily.

"Oh, yes, the ring! the ring!"

"No, it was merely the bone that runs from the head to the tail of the
fish."

"Oh, father," cried Sophia, "how can you tease us so?"

"If they had found the ring," replied Wolston, laughing, "I should
have no motive for concealing it. Fruit was afterwards placed before
Herbert, and, when nobody was looking, he pulled a clasped dagger out
of his pocket."

Here Sophia pressed her hands closely on her ears, in order to avoid
hearing what followed.

"It was a very beautiful poignard," continued Wolston, "and rather a
bijou than a weapon; and, as the servants had neglected to hand him a
fruit-knife, he made use of it in paring an apple."

"Is it all over?" inquired Sophia, removing a hand from one ear.

"Alas! yes!" said Jack, lugubriously, "he has been and done it."

"O the monster!"

"Travelling carriages having arrived at the door for the bridal party,
Herbert quietly departed."

"What!" exclaimed Sophia, "did they not arrest and drag him to
prison?"

"Oh," replied Jack, "the crime was not so atrocious as it appears."

"Not atrocious!"

"No; you must bear in mind that young Philipson had passed the
preceding five years of his life amongst demi-savages, whose manners
and customs he had, to a certain extent, necessarily contracted. In
some countries, what we call crimes are only regarded as peccadillos.
In France, for example, till very lately, there existed what was
called the law of _combette_, by right of which pardon might be
obtained for any misdeed on payment of a certain sum of money. There
was a fixed price for every imaginable crime. A man might
consequently be a Blue Beard if he liked, it was only necessary to
consult the tariff in the first instance, and see to what extent his
means would enable him to indulge his fancy for horrors."

"On quitting the house," continued Wolston, "Herbert Philipson bent
his way to the shore, and shortly after was observed to plunge into
the sea."

"So much the better," exclaimed Sophia; "it saved his friends a more
dreadful spectacle."

"The weather being fine and the water warm, Herbert enjoyed his bath
immensely; he then returned to his hotel, went early to bed, and slept
soundly till next morning."

"The wretch!" cried Sophia, "to sleep soundly after assassinating his
old playfellow, who had suffered so much on his account."

"It is pretty certain," continued Wolston, "that, if Philipson had
been left entirely to himself, he would always have shown the same
degree of moderation he had hitherto displayed."

"Oh, yes, moderation!" said Sophia.

"But his friends began to prate to him about the shameful way he had
been jilted by Cecilia, and, by constantly reiterating the same thing,
they at last succeeded in persuading him that he was an ill-used man.
His self-esteem being roused by this silly chatter, he began to affect
a ridiculous desolation, and to perpetrate all manner of outrageous
extravagances."

"Bad friends," remarked Willis, "are like sinking ships; they drag you
down to their own level."

"The first absurd thing he did was to purchase a yacht, and when a
storm arose that forced the hardy fishermen to take shelter in port,
he went out to sea, and it is quite a miracle that he escaped
drowning. Then, if there were a doubtful scheme afloat, he was sure to
take shares in it. Nothing delighted him more than to go up in a
balloon; he would have gladly swung himself on the car outside if the
proprietor had allowed him."

"I have often seen balloons in the air," remarked Willis, "but I could
never make out their dead reckoning."

"A balloon," replied Ernest, "is nothing more than an artificial
cloud, and its power of ascension depends upon the volume of air it
displaces.

"Very good, Master Ernest, so far as the balloon itself is concerned;
but then there is the weight of the car, passengers, provisions, and
apparatus to account for."

"Hydrogen gas, used in the inflation of balloons, is forty times
lighter than air. If a balloon is made large enough, the weight of the
car and all that it contains, added to that of the gas, will fall
considerably short of the weight of the air displaced by the machine."

"I suppose it rises in the air just as an empty bottle well corked
rises in the water?"

"Very nearly. Air is lighter than water; consequently, any vessel
filled with the one will rise to the surface of the other. So in the
case of balloons. The gas, in the first place, must be inclosed in an
envelope through which it cannot escape. Silk prepared with
India-rubber is the material usually employed. As the balloon rises,
the gas in the interior distends, because the air becomes lighter the
less it is condensed by its superincumbent masses; hence it is
requisite to leave a margin for this increase in the volume of the
gas, otherwise the balloon would burst in the air."

"If a balloon were allowed to ascend without hindrance where would it
stop?"

"It would continue ascending till it reached a layer of air as light
as the gas; beyond that point it could not go."

"And if the voyagers do not wish to go quite so far?"

"Then there is a valve by which the gas may be allowed to escape, till
the weight of the machine and its volume of air are equal, when it
ceases to ascend. If a little more is permitted to escape, the balloon
descends."

"And should it land on the roof of a house or the top of a tree, the
voyagers have their necks broken."

"That can only happen to bunglers; there is not the least necessity
for landing where danger is to be apprehended. When the aeronaut is
near the ground, and sees that the spot is unfavorable for
debarkation, he drops a little ballast, the balloon mounts, and he
comes down again somewhere else."

"The fellow that made the first voyage must have been very daring."

"The first ascent was made by Montgolfier in 1782, and he was followed
by Rosiers and d'Arlandes."

"With your permission, father," said Ernest, "I will claim priority in
aerial travelling for Icarus, Doedalus, and Phaeton."

"Certainly; you are justified in doing so. Gay-Lussac, a philosophic
Frenchman, rose, in 1804, to the height of seven thousand yards."

"He must have felt a little giddy," remarked Jack.

"Most of the functions of the body were affected, more or less, by the
extreme rarity of the air at that height. Its dryness caused wet
parchment to crisp. He observed that the action of the magnetic needle
diminished as he ascended, sounds gradually ceased to reach his ear,
and the wind itself ceased to be felt."

"That, of course," remarked Ernest, "was when he was travelling in the
same direction and at the same speed."

"Well," said Jack, "we can find materials here for a balloon; the
ladies have silk dresses, there is plenty of India-rubber--we used to
make boots and shoes of it; hydrogen gas can be obtained from a
variety of substances. What, then, is to prevent us paying a visit to
some of Ernest's friends in the skies?"

"Unfortunately for your project, Jack, no one has discovered the art
of guiding a balloon; consequently, instead of finding yourself at
_Cassiope_, you might land at _Sirius_, where your reception would be
somewhat cool."

"But what became of Herbert?" inquired one of the ladies.

"Singularly enough, he escaped all the dangers he so recklessly
braved, and all the bad speculations he embarked in turned out good.
Somehow or other, the moment he took part in a desperate scheme it
became profitable."

"Ah!" exclaimed Sophia, "his victim, like a guardian angel, continued
to watch over him."

"When the cholera appeared in England, he was sure to be found where
the cases were most numerous. He followed up the pest with so much
pertinacity and publicity, that it was no unusual thing to find it
announced in the newspapers that Philipson and the cholera had arrived
in such and such a town."

"The bane and the antidote," remarked Jack.

"If Cecilia had been one of those women who delight in horse-racing,
fox-hunting, opera-boxes, and public executions, she would have been
highly amused to see her old friend's name constantly turning up under
such extraordinary circumstances."

"Is she not dead, then?" inquired Sophia, with astonishment,

"It appears that her wounds were not mortal," quietly replied her
mother.

"Besides," observed Jack, "there are human frames so constituted that
they can bear an immense amount of cutting and slashing. So in the
case of animals; there, for instance, is the fresh-water polypus--if
you cut this creature lengthwise straight through the middle, a right
side will grow on the one half and a left side on the other, so that
there will be two polypi instead of one. The same thing occurs if you
cut one through the middle crosswise, a head grows on the one half and
a tail on the other, so that you have two entire polypi either way."

"And you may add," observed Ernest, "since so interesting a subject is
on the _tapis_, that if two of these polypi happen to quarrel over
their prey, the largest generally swallows the smallest, in order to
get it out of the way; and the latter, with the exception of being a
little cramped for space, is not in the slightest degree injured by
the operation."

"And does that state of matters continue any length of time?"

"The polypus that is inside the other may probably get tired of
confinement, in which case it makes its exit by the same route it
entered; but, if too lazy to do that, it makes a hole in the body of
its antagonist and gets out that way. But, what is most curious of
all, these processes do not appear to put either of the creatures to
the slightest inconvenience."

"I am quite at a loss to make you all out," said Sophia.

"Well, my child," replied her mother, "you should not close up your
ears in the middle of a story."

"Cecilia, or rather Mrs. Lindsey, however," continued Wolston, "was a
pious, painstaking, simple-minded woman, who devoted her whole
attention to her domestic duties. Notwithstanding her fortune, she did
not neglect the humblest affairs of the household, and thought only of
making her husband pleased with his home. When she was told of the
vagaries of Philipson, she prayed in private that he might be led from
his evil ways, and could not help thanking Providence that she was not
the wife of such a dreadful scapegrace."

"I should think so," remarked Mrs. Becker.

"At last, Herbert Philipson astonished even his own companions by a
crowning act of folly. There was then a young woman in Bristol, of
good parentage, but an unmitigated virago; her family were thoroughly
ashamed of her temper and her exploits. They allowed her to have her
own way, simply for fear that, through contradiction, she might plunge
herself into even worse courses than those she now habitually
followed. In short, she was the talk and jest of the whole town."

"What a charming creature!" remarked Mrs. Becker.

"No servant of her own sex could put up with her for two days
together; she styled everybody that came near her fools and asses, and
did not hesitate to strike them if they ventured to contradict her.
She got on, however, tolerably well with ostlers, stable-boys, cabmen,
and such like, because they could treat her in her own style, and were
not ruffled by her abuse."

"How amiable!" exclaimed Mrs. Wolston.

"Herbert heard of this young person, and, through a fast friend of his
own, obtained an introduction to her, and on the very first interview
he offered her his hand. He was known still to be a wealthy man, so
neither the lady herself nor anybody connected with her made the
slightest objection to the match, thinking probably that, if there
were six of the one, there were at least half a dozen of the other."

"They ought to have gone to Bedlam, instead of to church," said
Willis; "that is my idea."

"Nevertheless, they went to church; and, after the marriage, Cecilia
sought and obtained an introduction to the lady, and, whether by
entreaties or by her good example, I cannot say; be this as it may,
the unpromising personage in question became one of the best wives and
the best mothers that ever graced a domestic circle--in this respect
even excelling the pattern Cecilia herself; and, what is still more to
the purpose, she succeeded in completely reforming her husband. When I
left England there was not a more prosperous merchant, nor a more
estimable man in the whole city of Bristol, than Herbert Philipson."

"From which we may conclude," remarked Mrs. Becker, "it is always
advisable to have angels for friends."

"We may also conclude," remarked Mrs. Wolston, "that when a stroke of
adversity, or any other misfortune, overturns the edifice of happiness
we had erected for the future, we may build a new structure with fresh
material, which may prove more durable than the first."

"Talking of having angels for friends," said Becker, "puts me in mind
of the association of Saint Louis Gonzaga, at Rome. On the anniversary
of this saint, the young and merry phalanx forming the association
march in procession to one of the public gardens. In the centre of
this garden a magnificent altar has been previously erected, on which
is placed a chafing-dish filled with burning coals. The procession
forms itself into an immense ring round the altar, broken here and
there by a band of music. These bands play hymns in honor of the
saints, and other _morceaux_ of a sacred character. Each member of the
association holds a letter inclosed in an embossed and highly
ornamented envelope, bound round with gay-colored ribbons and threads
of gold. These letters are messages from the young correspondents to
their friends in heaven, and are addressed to 'Il Santo Giovane Luigi
Gonzaga, in Paradiso.' At a given signal, the letters, in the midst of
profound silence, are placed on the chafing-dish. This done, the music
resounds on all sides, and the assembly burst out into loud
acclamations, during which the letters are supposed to be carried up
into heaven by the angels."

"A curious and interesting ceremony," remarked Mrs. Wolston, "and one
that may possibly do good, inasmuch as it may induce the young people
composing the association to persevere in generous resolutions."

The two families again separated for the night. And whilst the young
men were escorting the Wolstons to their tree, Sophia went towards
Jack. "Will you tell me," inquired she, "what happened whilst I had my
ears closed up, Jack?"

"Yes, with all my heart, if you will tell me first what the chimpanzee
had been about during our absence."

"Well, he got up into our tree when we were out of the way. After
soaping his chin, he had taken one of papa's razors, and just as he
was beginning to shave himself, some one entered and caught him."

"Oh, is that all? What I have to tell you is a great deal more
appalling than that."

"Well, then, be quick."

"But I am afraid you will be shocked."

"Is it very dreadful?"

"More so than you would imagine. If you dream about it during the
night, you will not be angry with me for telling you?"

"No, I will be courageous, and am prepared to hear the worst."

"What was your father saying when you shut up your ears?"

"Herbert had just pulled out a dagger."

"And when you took your hands away?"

"All was then over; Herbert had done some dreadful thing with the
dagger, and I want to know what it was."

"He pared an apple with it," replied Jack, bursting into a roar of
laughter, and, running off, he left Sophia to her reflections.

A few seconds after he returned. This time he had almost a solemn air,
the laughter had vanished from his visage, like breath from polished
steel.

"Miss Sophia," inquired he gravely, "are you rich?"

"I don't know, Master Jack; are you?"

"Well, I have not the slightest idea either."



CHAPTER XIV.

THE TEARS OF CHILDHOOD AND RAIN OF THE TROPICS--CHARLES'S
WAIN--VOLUNTARY ENLISTMENT--A LIKENESS GUARANTEED--THE WORLD AT
PEACE--ALAS, POOR MARY!--THE SAME BREATH FOR TWO BEINGS--THE FIRST
PILLOW--THE LOGIC OF THE HEART--HOW FRITZ SUPPORTED GRIEF--A GRAIN OF
SAND AND THE HIMALAYA.


At daybreak next morning, all the eyes in the colony were busily
engaged in scrutinizing the sky. This time the operation seemed
satisfactory, for immediately afterwards, all the hands were, with
equal diligence, occupied in packing up and making other preparations
for the meditated excursion to the remote dependencies of New
Switzerland.

The dense veil that the day before had shrouded them in gloom was now
broken up into shreds. The azure depths beyond had assumed the
appearance of a blue tunic bespattered with white, and the clouds
suggested the idea of a celestial shepherd, driving myriads of sheep
to the pasture. Children alone can dry up their tears with the
rapidity of Nature in the tropics; perhaps we may have already made
the remark, and must, therefore, beg pardon for repeating the simile a
second time.

In a short time, the two families were assembled on the lawn, in front
of the domestic trees of Falcon's Nest, ready to start on their
journey. The cow and the buffalo were yoked to the carriage, which was
snugly covered over with a tarpauling, thrown across circular girds,
like the old-fashioned waggons of country carriers. Frank mounted the
box in front; Mrs. Becker, Wolston, and Sophia got inside; whilst
Ernest and Jack, mounted on ostriches that had been trained and broken
in as riding horses, took up a position on each side, where the doors
of the vehicle ought to have been. These dispositions made, after a
few lashes from the whip, this party started off at a brisk rate in
the direction of Waldeck.

It had been previously arranged that one half of the expedition should
go by land, and the other half by water, and that on their return this
order should be reversed, so that both the interior and the coast
might be inspected at one and the same time. The only exception was
made in favor of Willis, who was permitted both to go and return by
sea.

The second party, consisting of Mrs. Wolston, Becker, Mary, and Fritz,
started on foot in the direction of the coast. They had not gone far
before Becker observed a large broadside plastered on a tree.

"What is that?" he inquired.

Nobody could give a satisfactory reply.

"Perhaps," suggested Mrs. Wolston, "paper grows ready made on the
trees of this wonderful country."

"They all approached, and, much to their astonishment, read as
follows:--

"TAKE NOTICE.

"The renowned Professor Ernest Becker is about to enlighten the
benighted inhabitants of this country, by giving a course of lectures
on optics. The agonizing doubts that have hitherto enveloped
astronomical science, particularly as regards the interiors of the
moon and the stars, have arisen from the absurd practice of looking at
them during the night. These doubts are about to be removed for ever
by the aforesaid professor, as he intends to exhibit the luminaries in
question in open day. He will also place Charles's Wain[C] at the
disposal of any one who is desirous of taking a drive in the Milky
Way. The learned professor will likewise stand for an indefinite
period on his head; and whilst in this position will clearly
demonstrate the rotundity of the earth, and the tendency of heavy
bodies to the centre of gravity. In order that the prices of admission
may be in accordance with the intrinsic value of the lectures, nothing
will be charged for the boxes, the entrance to the pit will be gratis,
and the gallery will be thrown open for the free entry of the people.
The audience will be expected to assume a horizontal position. Persons
given to snoring are invited to stay at home."

"I rather think I should know that style," remarked Willis.

"It is a pity Ernest is not with us," observed Fritz; "but the placard
will keep for a day or two."

"They say laughing is good for digestion," remarked Mrs. Wolston; "and
if so, it must be confessed that Master Jack is a useful member of the
colony in a sanitary point of view."

The party had scarcely advanced a hundred paces farther, when Fritz
called out,

"Holloa! there is another broadside in sight."

This one was headed by a smart conflict between two ferocious looking
hussars, and was couched in the following terms:--

"PROCLAMATION.

"All the inhabitants of this colony capable of bearing arms, who are
panting after glory, are invited to the Fig Tree, at Falcon's Nest,
there to enrol themselves in the registry of Fritz Becker, who is
about to undertake the conquest of the world. Nobody is compelled to
volunteer, but those who hold back will be reckoned contumacious, and
will be taken into custody, and kept on raw coffee till such time as
they evince a serious desire to enlist. There will be no objection to
recruits returning home at the end of the war, if they come out of it
alive. Neither will there be any objections to the survivors bringing
back a marshal's baton, if they can get one. The Commander-in-chief
will charge himself with the fruits of the victory. Surgical
operations will be performed at his cost, and cork legs will be served
out with the rations. In the event of a profitable campaign, a
monument will be erected to the memory of the defunct, by way of a
reward for their heroism on the field of battle."

"Well, Fritz," said Becker, with a merry twinkle in his eye, "you were
sorry that Ernest was not present to hear the last placard read;
fortunately, you are on the spot yourself this time."

Fritz tried to look amused, but the attempt was a decided failure.

When the party had gone a little farther, another announcement met
their gaze; all were curious to know whose turn was come now; as they
approached, the following interesting question, in large letters,
stared them in the face:--

"HAVE YOU HAD YOUR PORTRAIT TAKEN YET?

"It has been reserved for the present age, and for this prolific
territory, so exuberant in cabbages, turnips, and other potables, to
produce the greatest of living artists--real genius--who is destined
to outshine all the Michel Angelos and Rubenses of former ages. Not
that these men were entirely devoid of talent, but because they could
do nothing without their palette and their paint brushes. Now that
illustrious _maestro_, Mr. Jack Becker, has both genius and ingenuity,
for he has succeeded in dispensing with the aforementioned troublesome
auxiliaries of his art. His plan which has the advantage of not being
patented, consists in placing his subject before a mirror, where he is
permitted to stay till the portrait takes root in the glass. By this
novel method the original and the copy will be subject alike to the
ravages of time, so that no one, on seeing a portrait, will be liable
to mistake the grand-mother for the grand-daughter. Likenesses
guaranteed. Payments, under all circumstances, to be made in advance.

"Ah, well," said Becker, laughing, "it appears that the scapegrace has
not spared himself."

"I hope there is not a fourth proclamation," said Mrs. Wolston.

"There are no more trees on our route, at all events," replied
Becker.

"Glad to hear that; Jack must respect the avocation chosen by Frank,
since he sees nothing in it to ridicule."

As they drew near the Jackal River, in which the pinnace was moored,
Mary and Fritz were a little in advance of the party.

"Are you really determined to turn the world upside down, Master
Fritz?"

"At present, Miss Wolston, I am myself the sum and substance of my
army, in addition to which I have not yet quite made up my mind."

"It is an odd fancy to entertain to say the least of it."

"Does it displease you?"

"In order that it could do that, I must first have the right to judge
your projects."

"And if I gave you that right?"

"I should find the responsibility too great to accept it. Besides, a
determination cannot be properly judged, without putting one's self in
the position of the person that makes it. You imagine happiness
consists in witnessing the shock of armies, whilst I fancy enjoyment
to consist in the calm tranquility of one's home. You see our views of
felicity are widely different."

"Not so very widely different as you seem to think, Miss Wolston. As
yet my victories are _nil_; I have not yet come to an issue with my
allies; to put my troops on the peace establishment I have only to
disembody myself, and I disembody myself accordingly."

"Oh!" exclaimed Mary, "you are very easily turned from your purpose."

"Easily! no, Miss Wolston, not easily; you cannot admit that an
objection urged by yourself is a matter of no moment, or one that can
be slighted with impunity."

"Ah! here we are at the end of our journey."

"Already! the road has never appeared so short to me before."

"What!" exclaimed Mrs. Wolston, coming up to her daughter, "you appear
very merry."

"Well, not without reason, mamma; I have just restored peace to the
world."

The pinnace was soon launched, and, under the guidance of Willis, was
making way in the direction of Waldeck. The sea had not yet recovered
from the effects of the recent storm; it was still, to use an
expression of Willis, "a trifle ugly." Occasionally the waves would
catch the frail craft amidships, and make it lurch in an uncomfortable
fashion, especially as regarded the ladies, which obliged Willis to
keep closer in shore than was quite to his taste. The briny element
still bore traces of its recent rage, just as anger lingers on the
human face, even after it has quitted the heart.

Whilst the pinnace was in the midst of a series of irregular
gyrations, a shrill scream suddenly rent the air, and at the same
instant Fritz and Willis leaped overboard.

_Mary had fallen into the sea_.

Becker strained every nerve to stay the boat. Mrs. Wolston fell on her
knees with outstretched hands, but, though in the attitude of prayer,
not a word escaped her pallid lips.

The two men floated for a moment over the spot where the poor girl had
sunk; suddenly Fritz disappeared, his keen eye had been of service
here, for it enabled him to descry the object sought. In a few seconds
he rose to the surface with Mary's inanimate body in his left arm.
Willis hastened to assist him in bearing the precious burden to the
boat, and Becker's powerful arms drew it on deck.

The joy that all naturally would have felt when this was accomplished
had no time to enter their breasts, for they saw that the body evinced
no signs of life, and a fear that the vital spark had already fled
caused every frame to shudder. They felt that not a moment was to be
lost; the resources of the boat were hastily put in requisition;
mattresses, sheets, blankets, and dry clothes were strewn upon the
deck. Mrs. Wolston had altogether lost her presence of mind, and could
do nothing but press the dripping form of her daughter to her bosom.

"Friction must be tried instantly," cried Becker; "here, take this
flannel and rub her body smartly with it--particularly her breast and
back."

Mrs. Wolston instinctively followed these directions.

"It is of importance to warm her feet," continued Becker; "but,
unfortunately, we have no means on board to make a fire."

Mrs. Wolston, in her trepidation, began breathing upon them.

"I have heard," said the Pilot, "that persons rescued from drowning
are held up by the feet to allow the water to run out."

"Nonsense, Willis; a sure means of killing them outright. It is not
from water that any danger is to be apprehended, but from want of air,
or, rather, the power of respiration. What we have to do is to try and
revive this power by such means as are within our reach."

The Pilot, meantime, endeavored to introduce a few drops of brandy
between the lips of the patient. Fritz stood trembling like an aspen
leaf and deadly pale; he regarded these operations as if his own life
were at stake, and not the patient's.

"There remains only one other course to adopt, Mrs. Wolston," said
Becker, "you must endeavor to bring your daughter to life by means of
your own breath."

"Only tell me what to do, Mr. Becker, and, if every drop of blood in
my body is wanted, all is at your disposal."

"You must apply your mouth to that of your daughter, and, whilst her
nostrils are compressed, breathe at intervals into her breast, and so
imitate the act of natural respiration."

Stronger lungs than those of a woman might have been urgent under such
circumstances, but maternal love supplied what was wanting in physical
strength.

The Pilot had turned the prow of the pinnace towards home; he felt
that, in the present case at least, the comforts of the land were
preferable to the charms of the sea.

"This time it is not my breath, but her own," said Mrs. Wolston.

"Her pulse beats," said Becker; "she lives."

"Thank God!" exclaimed Fritz and Willis in one voice.

A quarter of an hour had scarcely yet elapsed since the patient's
first immersion in the sea; but this brief interval had been an age of
agony to them all. As yet, her head lay quiescent on her mother's
bosom, that first pillow, common alike to rich and poor, at the
threshold of life.

The%signs of returning animation gradually became more and more
evident; at length, the patient gently raised her head, and glanced
vacantly from one object to another; then, her eyes were turned upon
herself, and finally rested upon Fritz and Willis, who still bore
obvious traces of their recent struggle with the waves. Here she
seemed to become conscious, for her body trembled, as if some terrible
thought had crossed her mind. After this paroxysm had passed, she
feebly inclined her head, as if to say--"I understand--you have saved
my life--I thank you." Then, like those jets of flame that are no
sooner alight than they are extinguished, she again became insensible.

As soon as they reached the shore, Fritz hastened to Rockhouse, and
made up a sort of palanquin of such materials as were at hand, into
which Mary was placed, and thus was conveyed, with all possible care
and speed, on the shoulders of the men to Falcon's Nest. A few hours
afterwards she returned to consciousness and found herself in a warm
bed, surrounded with all the comforts that maternal anxiety and
Becker's intelligent mind could suggest.

Fritz was unceasing in his exertions; no amount of fatigue seemed to
wear him out. As soon as he saw that everything had been done for the
invalid that their united skill could accomplish, he bridled an
untrained ostrich, and rode or rather flew off in search of the land
portion of the expedition.

"Mary is saved," he cried, as he came up with them.

"From what?" inquired Wolston, anxiously.

"From the sea, that was about to swallow her up."

"And by whom?"

"By Willis, myself, and us all."

The same evening, the two families were again assembled at Falcon's
Nest, and thus, for a second time, the long talked-of expedition was
brought to an abrupt conclusion.

"Ah," said Willis, "we must cast anchor for a bit; yesterday it was
the sky, to-day it was the sea, to-morrow it will be the land,
perhaps--the wind is clearly against us."

How often does it not happen, in our pilgrimage through life, that we
have the wind against us? We make a resolute determination, we set out
on our journey, but the object we seek recedes as we advance; it is no
use going any farther--the wind is against us. We re-commence ten,
twenty, a hundred times, but the result is invariably the same. How is
this? No one can tell. What are the obstacles? It is difficult to say.
Perhaps, we meet with a friend who detains us; perhaps, a recollection
that our memory has called, induces us to swerve from the path--the
blind man that sung under our window may have something to do with
it--perhaps, it was merely a fly, less than nothing.

It is not our minor undertakings, but rather our most important
enterprises, that are frustrated by such trifles as these; for it must
be allowed that we strive less tenaciously against an obstacle that
debars us from a pleasure, than against one that separates us from a
duty--in the one case we have to stem the torrent, in the other we
sail with the current.

When we observe some deplorable instance of a wrecked career--when we
see a man starting in life with the most brilliant prospects
collapsing into a dead-weight on his fellows, we are apt to suppose
that some insurmountable barrier must have crossed his path--some
Himalaya, or formidable wall, like that which does not now separate
China from Tartary; but no such thing. Trace the cause to its source,
and what think you is invariably found? A grain of sand; the
unfortunate wretch has had the wind against him--nothing more.

Rescued from the sea, Mary Wolston was now a prey to a raging fever.
Ill or well, at her age there is no medium, either exuberant health or
complete prostration; the juices then are turbulent and the blood is
ardent.

Somehow or other, a good action attaches the doer to the recipient;
so, in the case of Fritz, apart from the brotherly affection which he
had vaguely vowed to entertain for the two young girls that had so
unexpectedly appeared amongst them, he now regarded the life of Mary
as identical with his own, and felt that her death would inevitably
shorten his own existence; "for," said he to himself, "should she die,
I was too late in drawing her out of the water." In his tribulation
and irreflection, he drew no line between the present and the past,
but simply concluded, that if he saved her too late, he did not save
her at all. Hope, nevertheless, did not altogether abandon him. He
would sometimes fancy her restored to her wonted health, abounding in
life and vigour. Then the pleasing thought would cross his mind that,
but for himself, that charming being, in all probability, would have
been a tenant of the tomb. Would that those who do evil only knew the
delight that sometimes wells up in the breasts of those who do good!

The first day of Mary's illness, Fritz bore up manfully. On the
second, he joined his father and brothers in their field labors; but,
whilst driving some nails into a fence, he had so effectually fixed
himself to a stake that it was only with some difficulty that he could
be detached. The third day, at sunrise, he called Mary's dog,
shouldered his rifle, and was about to quit the house.

"Where are you going?" inquired Jack.

"I don't know--anywhere."

"Anywhere! Well, I am rather partial to that sort of place; I will go
with you."

"But I must do something that will divert my thoughts. There may be
danger."

"Well I can help you to look up a difficulty."

Every day the two brothers departed at sunrise, and returned together
again in the evening. Mrs. Becker felt acutely their sufferings. She
watched anxiously for the return of the two wanderers, and generally
went a little way to meet them when they appeared in the distance.

"She does not run to meet us," said Fritz, one day; "that is a bad
sign."

"Not a bit of it," replied Jack. "If she had any bad news to give us,
she would not come at all."

FOOTNOTES:

[C] The constellation known in astronomy as the _Great Bear_ is in,
some parts of England termed the _Plough_, and in others _Charles's
Wain_ or _Waggon_. It may be added, that the same constellation is
popularly known in France as the _Chariot of David_.



CHAPTER XV.

GOD'S GOVERNMENT--KING STANISLAUS--THE DAUPHIN SON OF LOUIS XV.--THE
SHORTEST ROAD--NEW YEAR'S DAY--A MIRACLE--CLEVER ANIMALS--THE
CALENDAR--MR. JULIUS CÆSAR AND POPE GREGORY XIII.--HOW THE DAY AFTER
THE 4TH OF OCTOBER WAS THE 15TH--OLYMPIAD--LUSTRES--THE HEGIRA--A
HORSE MADE CONSUL--JACK'S DREAM.


Some men, when they regard the sinister side of events, are apt to
call in question the axiom, Nothing is accomplished without the will
of God. Why, they ask, do the wicked triumph? Why are the just
oppressed? Why this evil? What is the use of that disaster? Was it
necessary that Mary Wolston should be thrown into the sea, and that
she should afterwards die in consequence of the accident?

To these questions we reply, that God does not interrupt the ordinary
course of His works. Man is a free agent in so far as regards his own
actions; were it otherwise, we should not be responsible for our own
crimes. We might as well plunge into vice as adhere to virtue; for we
could not be called upon to expiate the one, nor could we hope to be
rewarded for the other. It is not to be expected that God is to
perform miracles at every instant for our individual benefit. It is
unreasonable in us to suppose that, in obedience to our wishes or
desires, He will alter His immutable laws.

A foot slips on the brink of a precipice, and we are dashed to atoms.
Our boat is upset in a squall, and we are drowned. Like Stanislaus
Leszinsky, King of Poland, we fall asleep in the corner of a chimney,
our clothes take fire, and we are burned to death. We go a hunting; we
mistake a grey overcoat for the fur of a deer, and we kill our friend
or his gamekeeper, as once happened to the son of Louis XV., who in
consequence almost died of grief, and renounced forever a sport of
which he was passionately fond. Did Providence will, exact, or
pre-ordain all these calamities? Certainly not; but our Creator has
seen fit to tolerate and permit them, since he did not interpose to
prevent them.

The government of God is a conception so wonderful, so sublime, that
none but Himself can fathom its depths. Human intelligence is too
finite to penetrate or comprehend a system so complex, and yet so
uniform. The mind of man can only form a just idea of a cause when the
effect has been made manifest to his understanding. There might have
been a reason for the death of Mary Wolston--who knows? But if it were
so, that reason was beyond the pale of mortal ken.

Let us not, however, anticipate. Mary Wolston is not yet dead. On the
contrary, when the ninth day of her illness had passed, Fritz and Jack
were returning from an expedition, the nature of which was only known
to themselves, but which, to judge from the packs that they bore on
their backs, had been tolerably productive. The two young men observed
their mother advancing, as usual, to meet them, but this time _she
ran_. They had no need to be told in words that Mary Wolston was now
out of danger; the serenity of their mother's countenance was more
eloquent than the most elaborate discourse that ever stirred human
souls.

Mrs. Becker herself felt that words were superfluous, so she quietly
took her son's arm, and they walked gently homewards, whilst Jack
strode on before. On turning a corner of the road, the latter stumbled
upon Wolston and Ernest, who, in the exuberance of their joy, had also
come out to meet the hunters. They were, however, a little behind; but
that was nothing new. These two members of the colony had become quite
remarkable for procrastination and absence of mind. When Wolston the
mechanician, and Ernest the philosopher, travelled in company, it was
rare that some pebble or plant, or question in physics, did not induce
them to deviate from their route or tarry on their way. One day they
both started for Rockhouse to fetch provisions for the family dinner,
but instead of bringing back the needful supplies of beef and mutton,
they returned in great glee with the solution of an intricate problem
in geometry. All fared very indifferently on that occasion, and, in
consequence, Wolston and Ernest were, from that time on, deprived of
the office of purveyors.

In the present instance, instead of running like Mrs. Becker, they had
philosophically seated themselves on the trunk of a tree. At their
feet was a diagram that Wolston had traced with the end of his stick;
this was neither a tangent nor a triangle, as might have been
expected, but a figure denoting how to carve one's way to a position,
amidst the rugged defiles of life.

"In all things," observed Wolston, "in morals as well as physics, the
shortest road from one point to another, is the straight line."

"Unless," objected Ernest, "the straight line were encumbered with
obstacles, that would require more time to surmount than to go round.
Two leagues of clear road would be better than one only a single
league in length, if intersected by ditches and strewn with wild
beasts."

"Bah!" cried Jack, who had just come up out of breath, "you might leap
the one and shoot the others."

"Your argument," replied Wolston, "is that of the savage, who can
imagine no obstacles that are not solid and tangible. The obstacles
that retard our progress in life neither display yawning chasms nor
rows of teeth; they dwell within our own minds--they are versatility,
disgust, ennui, thirst after the unknown, and love of change. These
lead us to take bye-paths and long turnings, and fritter away the
strength that should be used in promoting a single aim. Hence arise a
multiplicity of hermaphrodite avocations and desultory studies, that
terminate in nothing but vexation of spirit. Let us suppose, for
example, that Peter has made up his mind to be a lawyer."

"I do not see any particular reason why Peter should not be a lawyer,"
said Jack.

"Nor I either; but unfortunately when Peter has pored a certain time
over Coke upon Littleton, and other abstruse legal authorities, he
accidentally witnesses a review; he throws down his books, and
resolves to become a soldier."

"After the manner and style of our Fritz," suggested Jack.

"He changes the Pandects for Polybius, and Gray's Inn for a military
school. All goes well for awhile; the idea of uniform helps him over
the rudiments of fortification and the platoon exercise. He passes two
examinations creditably, but breaks down at the third, in consequence
of which he throws away his sword in disgust. He does not like now to
rejoin his old companions in the Inn, who have been working steadily
during the years he has lost. He therefore, perhaps, adopts a middle
course, and gets himself enrolled in the society of solicitors, which
does not exact a very elaborate diploma."

"Well, after all, the difference between a barrister and a solicitor
is not so great."

"True; but the exercises to which he has been accustomed previously
unfit him for the drudgeries of his new employment, and he soon
abandons that, just as he abandoned the other two."

"Your friend Peter is somewhat difficult to please," said Jack.

"He then goes into business, a term which may mean a great deal or
nothing at all; it admits of one's going about idle with the
appearance of being fully occupied. Then a few unsuccessful
speculations bring him back, at the end of his days, to the point
whence he started--that is, zero."

"Ah, yes, I see now," cried Jack, whilst he traced a diagram on the
ground. "Poor Peter has always stopped in the middle of each
profession and gone back to the starting point of another, thus
passing his life in making zig-zags, and only moving from one zero to
another."

"Exactly," added Wolston: "whilst those who persevered in following up
the profession they chose at first finally succeeded in attaining a
position, and that simply by adhering to a straight line."

Here Fritz and his mother arrived, arm in arm.

"Ha! there you are," cried Ernest. "We were on our way to meet you."

"You surely do not call sitting down there being on your way to meet
us, do you?"

"Well, yes, mother," suggested Jack, "on the principle that two bodies
coming into contact meet each other."

Like those flowers that droop during a storm, but recover their
brilliancy with the first rays of the sun, so a few days more sufficed
to restore Mary Wolston to better health than she had ever enjoyed in
her life before. Some months now elapsed without giving rise to any
event of note. All the men, women, and children in the colony had been
busily employed from early morn to late at e'en. No sooner had one
field been sown than there was another to plant; then came the grain
harvest and its hard but healthy toil; next, much to the delight of
Willis, herrings appeared on the coast, followed by their attendant
demons, the sea-dogs; salmon-fishing, hunting ortolans, the foundries
and manufactories, likewise exacted a portion of their time.
Frequently parties were occupied for weeks together in the remote
districts; so that, with the exception of one day each week--the
Sabbath--the two families had of late been rarely assembled together
in one spot.

The hope of ever again beholding the _Nelson_ had gradually ceased to
be entertained by anybody. Like an echo that resounds from rock to
rock until it is lost in the distance, this hope had died away in
their breasts. Willis nevertheless continued to keep the beacon on
Shark's Island alight; but he regarded it more as a sepulchral lamp in
commemoration of the dead, than as a signal for the living.

One morning, the break of day was announced by a cannon-shot. All
instantly started on their feet and gazed inquiringly in each other's
faces. One thing forced itself upon all their thoughts--daybreak
generally arrives without noise; it is not accustomed to announce
itself with gunpowder; like real merit, it requires no flourish of
trumpets to announce its advent.

"Good," said Becker; "Fritz and Jack are not visible, therefore we may
easily guess who fired that shot."

"Particularly," added Wolston, "as this is the first of January. Last
night I observed an unusual amount of going backwards and forwards,
so, I suppose, nobody need be much at a loss to solve the mystery."

"Aye," sighed Willis, "New Year's Day brings pleasing recollections to
many, but sad ones to those who are far away from their own homes."

Shortly after, the absentees arrived, each mounted on his favorite
ostrich.

"Mrs. Wolston," said Fritz, spreading out a fine leopard's skin, "be
good enough to accept this, with the compliments of the season."

"Mr. Wolston," said Jack, at the same time, "here is the outer
covering of a panther, who, stifling with heat, commissioned me to
present you with his overcoat."

"I am very proud of your gift, Master Fritz," said Mrs. Wolston; "it
is really very handsome."

"It may, perhaps, be useful at all events, madam," said Fritz; "for,
in the absence of universal pills and such things, it is a capital
preventative of coughs and colds."

"You have been over the way again, then?" inquired Willis.

"Yes; but, as you see, we adopted a more efficacious mode of
operations than the one you suggested."

"Ah," replied Willis, drily, "you did not light a fire this time to
frighten the brutes away, and go to sleep when it went out!"

Sophia then presented Willis with a handsome tobacco pouch, on which
the words, "From Susan," were embroidered.

"Bless your dear little heart!" said the sailor, whilst a tear
sparkled in the corner of his eye, "you make me almost think I am in
Old England again."

"What is the matter?" inquired Mrs. Wolston, as Mary came running in.

"Oh, such a miracle, mamma! my parrot commenced talking this morning."

"And what did it say, child?"

Here Mary blushed and hesitated; Mrs. Wolston glanced at Fritz, and
thought it might be as well not to inquire any further.

"Perhaps somebody has changed it," suggested Jack.

"Not very likely that a strange parrot could pronounce my own name."

"Well, perhaps your own has been learning to spell for a long time,
and has just succeeded in getting into words of two or more syllables.
These creatures abound in sell-esteem; and yours, perhaps, would not
speak till it could speak well."

"Odd, that it should pitch upon New Year's morning to say all sorts of
pretty things. They do not carry an almanack in their pockets, do
they?"

"Well," remarked Willis, "parrots do say and do odd things. I heard of
one that once frightened away a burglar, by screaming out, 'The
Campbells are coming;' so, Miss Wolston, perhaps yours does keep a
log."

"By counting its knuckles," suggested Jack.

"Counting one's knuckles is an ingenious, but rather a clumsy
substitute for the calendar," remarked Wolston.

"And who invented the calendar?" inquired Willis.

"I am not aware that the calendar was ever invented," replied Wolston.
"Fruit commences by being a seed, the admiral springs from the
cabin-boy, words and language succeed naturally the babble of the
infant; so, I presume, the calendar has grown up spontaneously to its
present degree of perfection."

"Yes, Mr. Wolston, but some one must have laid the first plank."

"The motions of the sun, moon, and stars would, in all probability,
suggest to the early inhabitants of our globe a natural means of
measuring time. God, in creating the heavenly bodies, seems to have
reflected that man would require some index to regulate his labors and
the acts of his civil life. The primary and most elementary
subdivisions of time are day and night, and it demanded no great
stretch of human ingenuity to divide the day into two sections, called
forenoon and afternoon, or into twelve sections, called hours. Such
subdivisions of time would probably suggest themselves simultaneously
to all the nations of the earth. Necessity, who is the mother of all
invention, doubtless called the germs of our calendar into existence."

"Yes, so far as the days and hours are concerned. There are other
divisions--weeks, for example."

"The division of time into weeks is a matter that belongs entirely to
revelation; the Jews keep the last day of every seven as a day of
rest, in accordance with the law of Moses, and the Christians dedicate
the first day of every seven to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ."

"Then there are months."

"The month is another natural division. The return of the moon in
conjunction with the sun, was observed to occur at regular intervals
of twenty-nine days, twelve hours, and some minutes. This interval is
called the _lunar month_, which for a long time was regarded as the
radical unit in the admeasurement of time."

"But the year is now the unit, is it not?"

"Yes, in course of time the moon, in this respect, gave place to the
sun. It was observed that the earth, in performing her revolution
round the sun, always arrived at the same point of her orbit at the
end of three hundred and sixty-five days, five hours, fifty-eight
minutes, and forty-five seconds."

"Does the earth invariably pass the same point at that interval?"

"Yes, invariably; and the interval in question is termed the solar
year."

"After all," remarked Jack, "the perseverance of the earth is very
much to be admired. It goes on eternally, always performing the same
journey, never deviates from its path, and is never a minute too
late."

"If the earth had performed her annual voyage in a certain number of
entire days, the solar year would have been an exact unit of time; but
the odd fraction defied all our systems of calculation. Originally, we
reckoned the year to consist of three hundred and sixty-five days."

"And left the fraction to shift for itself!"

"Yes, but the consequence was, that the civil year was always nearly a
quarter of a day behind; so that at the end of a hundred and
twenty-one years the civil year had become an entire month behind. The
first month of winter found itself in autumn, the first month of
spring in the middle of winter, and so on.

"Rather a lubberly sort of log, that," remarked Willis.

"This confusion became, with time, more and more embarrassing. Another
evil was, likewise, eventually to be apprehended, for it was seen
that, on the expiring of fourteen hundred and sixty revolutions of the
earth round the sun, fourteen hundred and sixty-one civil years would
be counted."

"But where would have been the evil?"

"All relations between the dates and the seasons would have been
obliterated, astronomical calculations would have become inaccurate,
and the calendar virtually useless."

"Well, Willis, you that are so fertile in ideas, what would you have
done in such a case?" inquired Jack.

"I! Why I scarcely know--perhaps run out a fresh cable and commenced a
new log."

"Your remedy," continued Wolston, "might, perhaps, have obviated the
difficulty; but Julius Cæsar thought of another that answered the
purpose equally well. It was simply to add to every fourth civil year
an additional day, making it to consist of three hundred and sixty-six
instead of three hundred and sixty-five, This supplementary day was
given to the month of February."

"Why February?"

"Because February, at that time, was reckoned the last month of the
year. It was only in the reign of Charles IX. of France, or in the
second half of the sixteenth century, that the civil year was made to
begin on the 1st of January. As the end of February was five days
before the 1st or kalends of March, the extra day was known by the
phrase _bis sexto_ (_ante_) _calendus martii_. Hence the fourth year
is termed in the calendar _bissextile_, but is more usually called by
us in England _leap year_."

"The remedy is certainly simple; but are your figures perfectly
square? If you add a day every four years, do you not overleap the
earth's fraction?"

"Yes, from ten to eleven minutes."

"And what becomes of these minutes? Are they allowed to run up another
score?"

"No, not exactly. In 1582, the civil year had got ten clear days the
start of the solar year, and Pope Gregory XIII. resolved to cancel
them, which he effected by calling the day after the 4th of October
the 15th."

"That manner of altering the rig and squaring the yards," said Willi
laughing, "would make the people that lived then ten days older. If it
had been ten years, the matter would have been serious. Had the Pope
said to me privately, 'Willis, you are now only forty-seven, but
to-morrow, my boy, you will fill your sails and steer right into
fifty-seven,' I should have turned 'bout ship and cleared off. Few men
care about being put upon a short allowance of life, any more than we
sailors on short rations of rum."

"But you forget, Willis, that, though ten years were added to your
age, you would not have died a day sooner for all that."

"Still, it is my idea that the Pope was not much smarter at taking a
latitude than Mr. Julius Cæsar--but what are you laughing at?"

"Nothing; only Julius Cæsar is not generally honored with the prefix
_Mr_. It is something like the French, who insist upon talking of _Sir
Newton_ and _Mr. William Shakespeare_; the latter, however, by way of
amends, they sometimes style the _immortal Williams_.'"

"Not so bad, though, as a Frenchman I once met, who firmly believed
the Yankees lived on a soup made of bunkum and soft-sawder. But who
was Julius Cæsar."

"Julius Cæsar," replied Jack, sententiously, "was first of all an
author, Laving published at Rome an Easy Introduction to the Latin
Language; he afterwards turned general, conquered France and England,
and gave _Mr._ Pompey a sound thrashing at the battle of Pharsalia."

"He must have been a clever fellow to do all that; still, my idea
continues the same. When he began to caulk the calendar, he ought to
have finished the business in a workmanlike manner."

"That, however," continued Wolston, "he left to Pope Gregory, who
decreed that three leap years should be suppressed in four centuries.
Thus, the years 1700 and 1800, which should have been leap years, did
not reckon the extra day; so the years 2000 and 2400 will likewise be
deprived of their supplementary four-and-twenty hours."

"There is one difficulty about this mode of stowing away extra days;
these leap years may be forgotten."

"Not if you keep in mind that leap years alone admit of being divided
by four."

"Did the Pope manage to get entirely rid of the fraction?"

"Not entirely; but the error does not exceed one day in four thousand
years, and is so small that it is not likely to derange ordinary
calculations; and so, Willis, you now know the origin of the calendar,
and likewise how time came to be divided into weeks, months, and
years."

"You have only spoken of the Christian calendar," remarked Ernest.
"There have been several other systems in use. Those curious people
that call themselves the children of the sun and moon, possess a mode
of reckoning that carries them back to a period anterior to the
creation of the world. Then, the Greeks computed by Olympiads, or
periods of four years. The Romans reckoned by lustri of five years,
the first of which corresponds with the 117th year of the foundation
of Rome."

"And when does our calendar begin?"

"It dates only from the birth of Christ, but may be carried back to
the creation, which event, to the best of our knowledge, occurred four
thousand and four years before the birth of our Savior. This period,
added to the date of the present, or any future year, gives us, as
nearly as we can ascertain, the interval that has elapsed since our
first parents found themselves in the garden of Eden."

"Our calendar," remarked Jack, "appears simple enough; it is to be
regretted that there have been, and are, so many other modes of
reckoning extant. What with the Greek Olympiads, the Roman lustres,
the Mahometan hegira, and Chinese moonshine, there is nothing but
perplexity and confusion."

"It is possible, however," said Becker, "to accommodate all these
systems with each other. Leaving the Chinese out of the question, we
have only to bear in mind, that the Christian era begins on the first
year of the 194th Olympiad, 753 years after the building of Rome, and
622 years before the Mahometan hegira. These three figures will serve
us as flambeaux to all the dates of both ancient and modern history."

The discourse was here interrupted by Toby, who entered the room, and
was gleefully frisking and bounding round Mary.

"Really," observed Mrs. Becker, "Toby does seem to know that this is
New Year's Day, he looks so lively and so smart."

The animal, in point of fact, wore a new collar, and seemed conscious
that he was more than usually attractive that particular morning. At a
sign from Mary, the intelligent brute went and wagged his tail to
Fritz. Hereupon the young man, observing the collar more closely,
noticed the following words embroidered upon it: _I belong now
entirely to Master Fritz, who rescued my mistress from the sea_.

"Ah, Miss Wolston," said Fritz, "you forget I only did my duty; you
must not allow your gratitude to over-estimate the service I rendered
you."

"Well, I declare," cried Mrs. Wolston, laughing "here is another
animal that speaks."

"The age of Aesop revived," suggested Mrs. Becker.

"What do you say, Master Jack?" inquired Mrs. Wolston. "Do you suppose
that Toby has learned embroidery in the same way that the parrot
learned grammar?"

"Oh, more astonishing things than that have happened! Mr. Wolston
there will tell you that he has seen a wooden figure playing at chess;
why, therefore, should the most sagacious of all the brutes not learn
knitting?"

"I fear, in speaking so highly of the dog," replied Mrs. Wolston, "you
are doing injustice to other animals. Marvellous instances of
sagacity, gratitude, and affection, have been shown by other brutes
beside the dog. A horse of Caligula's was elevated to the dignified
office of consul."

"Yes, and talking of the affection of animals," observed Ernest, "puts
me in mind of an anecdote related by Aulus Gellius. It seems that a
little boy, the son of a fisher man, who had to go from Baiæ to his
school at Puzzoli, used to stop at the same hour each day on the brink
of the Lucrine lake. Here he often threw a bit of his breakfast to a
Dolphin that he called Simon, and if the creature was not waiting for
him when he arrived, he had only to pronounce this name, and it
instantly appeared."

"Nothing very wonderful in that," said Jack; "the common gudgeon,
which is the stupidest fish to be found in fresh water, would do that
much."

"Yes; but listen a moment. The dolphin, after having received his
pittance, presented his back to the boy, after having tacked in all
his spines and prickles as well as he could, and carried him right
across the lake, thus saving the little fellow a long roundabout walk;
and not only that, but after school hours it was waiting to carry him
back again. This continued almost daily for a year or two; but at last
the boy died, and the dolphin, after waiting day after day for his
reappearance, pined away, and was found dead at the usual place of
rendezvous. The affectionate creature was taken out of the lake, and
buried beside its friend.[D]

"And, on the other hand," added Jack, "if animals sometimes attach
themselves to us, we attach ourselves to them. We are told that
Crassus wore mourning for a dead ferret, the death of which grieved
him as much as if it had been his own daughter.[E] Augustus crucified
one of his slaves, who had roasted and eaten a quail, that had fought
and conquered in the circus.[F] Antonia, daughter-in-law of Tiberius,
fastened ear-rings to some lampreys that she was passionately fond
of."[G]

"That, at all events, was attachment in one sense of the word," said
Mrs. Wolston.

"Without reference to the dog in particular," continued Jack, "proofs
of sagacity in animals are very numerous. The nautilus, when he wants
to take an airing, capsizes his shell, and converts it into a gondola;
then he hoists a thin membrane that serves for a sail; two of his
arms are resolved into oars, and his tail performs the functions of a
rudder. There are insects ingenious enough to make dwellings for
themselves in the body of a leaf as thin as paper. At the approach of
a storm some spiders take in a reef or two of their webs, so as to be
less at the mercy of the wind. Beavers will erect walls, and construct
houses more skilfully than our ablest architects. Chimpanzees have
been known spontaneously to sit themselves down, and perform the
operation of shaving."

"Stop, Jack," cried Mrs. Wolston; "I must yield to such a deluge of
argument, and admit that Toby may have acquired the art of embroidery
with or without a master, only I should like to see some other
specimen of his skill."

"Probably you will by-and-by," replied Jack, laughing, "if you keep
your eyes open."

Here Sophia came into the room leading her gazelle.

"Ah, just in time," said Mrs. Wolston; "here is another animal that
probably has something to say."

"Wrong, mamma," replied Sophia; "my gazelle is as mute as a mermaid.
Very provoking, is it not, when all the other animals in the house
talk?"

"You had better apply to Master Jack; he may, probably, be able to hit
upon a plan to make your gazelle communicative."

"Will you, Master Jack?"

"Certainly, Miss Sophia. The plan I would suggest is very simple. Feed
him for a week or two with nouns, adjectives, and verbs."

Here Sophia, addressing her gazelle, said, "Master Jack Becker is a
goose."

Meantime Fritz was leaning on the back of Mary's chair.

"Miss Wolston," said he, "did you not tell me that you had brought
Toby up, and that you were very fond of him?"

"Yes, Fritz."

"Then it would be unfair in me to withdraw his allegiance from you
now, and, consequently, I must refuse your present"

"But where would have been the merit of the gift if I did not hold
him in some esteem? Besides, I thought you were fond of Toby."

"So I am, Miss Wolston."

"Then you will not be indebted to me for anything--I owe you much."

"No such thing; you owe me nothing."

"My life, then, is nothing?"

"Oh, I did not mean that; I must beg your pardon."

"Which I will only grant on condition you accept my gift."

"Well, if you insist upon it, I will."

"I can see him as before; the only difference will be that you are his
master, in all other respects he will belong to us both."

"May I know what your knight-errant is saying to you, Mary?" inquired
Mrs. Becker.

"Oh, I have been so angry with him; he was going to refuse my
present."

"That was very naughty of him, certainly."

"He has, however, consented, like a dutiful squire, to obey my
behests."

"Yes, mother, Toby is henceforth to be divided between us."

"Divided?"

"Yes; that is, he is to be nominally mine, but virtually to belong to
us both. Is it not so, Miss Wolston?"

"Yes, Master Fritz."

On his side, Jack had approached Miss Sophia.

"So you won't give me your gazelle?" he whispered.

"No, certainly not, Mr. Jack," replied Sophia; "if you had saved my
life, as Fritz saved my sister's, I should then have had the right to
make you a present. But you know it is not my fault."

"Nor mine either," said Jack.

"Perhaps not; but if I had fallen into the sea, you would have allowed
the sharks to swallow me, would you not?"

"I only wish we had been attacked by a hyena or a bear on our way to
Waldeck."

"God be thanked, that we were not!"

"Well, but look here, Miss Sophia; let me paint the scene. You have
fainted, as a matter of course, and fallen prostrate on the ground,
insensible."

"That is likely enough, if we had encountered one of the animals you
mention."

"Then I throw myself between you and the savage brute."

"Supposing you were not half a mile off at the time."

"No fear of that--he rises, on his hind legs, and glares."

"Is it a hyena or a bear?"

"Oh, whichever you like--he opens his jaws, and growls."

"Like the wolf at Little Red Riding Hood."

"I plunge my arm down his throat and choke him."

"Clever, very; but are you not wounded?"

"I beg your pardon, however; all my thoughts are centred in you--I
think of nothing else."

"I am insensible, am I not?"

"Yes, more than ever--we all run towards you, and exert ourselves to
bring you back to your senses."

"Then I come to life again."

"No, stop a bit."

"But it is tiresome to be so long insensible."

"My mother has luckily a bottle of salts, which she holds to your
nose--I run off to the nearest brook, and return with water in the
crown of my cap, with which I bathe your temples."

"Oh, in that case, I should open one eye at least. Which eye is opened
first after fainting?"

"I really don't know."

"In that case, to avoid mistakes, I should open both."

"It is only then, when I find you are recovering, that I discover the
brute has severely bitten my arm."

"Then comes my turn to nurse you."

"You express your thanks in your sweetest tones, and I forget my
wounds."

"Sweet tones do no harm, if they are accompanied with salves and
ointment."

"In short, I am obliged to carry my arm in a sling for three months
after."

"Is that not rather long?"

"No; because your arm, in some sort, supplies, meantime, the place of
mine."

"Your picture has, at least, the merit of being poetic. Is it
finished?"

"Not till next New Year's Day, when you present me with an embroidered
scarf, as the ladies of yore used to do to the knights that defended
them from dragons and that sort of thing."

"What a pity all this should be only a dream!"

"Well, I am not particularly extravagant, at all events; others dream
of fortune, honor, and glory."

"Whilst you confine your aspirations to a bear, a bite, and a scarf."

"You see nothing was wanted but the opportunity."

"And foresight."

"Foresight?"

"Yes; if you had previously made arrangements with a bear, the whole
scene might have been realized."

"You are joking, whilst I am taking the matter _au serieux_."

"That order is usually reversed; generally you are the quiz and I am
the quizzee."

"You will admit, at all events, that I would not have permitted the
bear to eat you."

Here Sophia burst into a peal of laughter, and vanished with her
gazelle.

FOOTNOTES:

[D] Aulus Gellius, VII., 8.

[E] Macrobius, _Saturn_, XL, 4.

[F] Plutarch.

[G] Pliny, IX., 53.



CHAPTER XVI.

SEPARATION--GUELPHS AND GHIBELINES--MONTAGUES AND
CAPULETS--SADNESS--THE REUNION--JOCKO AND HIS EDUCATION--THE
ENTERTAINMENTS OF A KING--THE MULES OF NERO AND THE ASSES OF
POPPÆA--HERCULES AND ACHILLES--LIBERTY AND EQUALITY--SEMIRAMIS AND
ELIZABETH--CHRISTIANITY AND THE RELIGION OF ZOROASTER--THE WILLISONIAN
METHOD--MORAL DISCIPLINE VERSUS BIRCH.


Winter was now drawing near, with its storms and deluges. Becker
therefore felt that it was necessary to make some alterations in their
domestic arrangements; and he saw that, for this season at all events,
the two families must be separated--this was to create a desert within
a desert; but propriety and convenience demanded the sacrifice.

It was decided that Wolston and his family should be quartered at
Rockhouse, whilst Becker and his family should pass the rainy season
at Falcon's Nest, where, though these aerial dwellings were but
indifferently adapted for winter habitations, they had passed the
first year of their sojourn in the colony. The rains came and
submerged the country between the two families, thus, for a time,
cutting off all communication between them. The barriers that
separated the Guelphs from the Ghibelines, the Montagues from the
Capulets, the Burgundians from the Armagnacs, and the House of York
from that of Lancaster, could not have been more impenetrable than
that which now existed between the Wolstons and Beckers.

Whenever a lull occurred in the storm, or a ray of sunshine shot
through the murky clouds, all eyes were mechanically turned to the
window, but only to turn them away again with a sigh; so completely
had the waters invaded the land, that nothing short of the dove from
Noah's Ark could have performed the journey between Rockhouse and
Falcon's Nest.

Dulness and dreariness reigned triumphant at both localities. The calm
tranquility that Becker's family formerly enjoyed under similar
circumstances had fled. They felt that happiness was no longer to be
enjoyed within the limits of their own circle. Study and conversation
lost their charms; and if they laughed now, the smile never extended
beyond the tips of their lips. The young people often wished they
possessed Fortunatus's cap, or Aladdin's wonderful lamp, to transport
them from the one dwelling to the other; but as they could obtain no
such occult mode of conveyance, there was no remedy for their miseries
but patience. To the Wolstons this interval of compulsory separation
was particularly irksome, as this was the first time in their lives
that they had been entirely isolated for any length of time.

At Falcon's Nest, Ernest was the most popular member of the domestic
circle. His astronomical predilections made him the Sir Oracle of the
storm, and he was constantly being asked for information relative to
the progress and probable duration of the rains. Every morning he was
called upon for a report as to the state of the weather; but, with all
his skill, he could afford them very little consolation.

But all things come to an end, as well as regards our troubles as our
joys. One morning, Ernest reported that less rain had fallen during
the preceding than any former night of the season; the next morning a
still more favorable report was presented; and on the third morning
the floods had subsided, but had left a substratum of mud that
obliterated all traces of the roads. Notwithstanding this, and a smart
shower that continued to fall, Fritz and Jack determined to force a
passage to Rockhouse.

Towards evening, the two young men returned, soaking with wet and
covered with mud, but with light hearts, for they had found their
companions in the enjoyment of perfect health and in the best spirits.
They brought back with them a missive, couched in the following
terms:--

"Mr. and Mrs. Wolston, greeting, desire the favor of Mr. and Mrs.
Becker's company to dinner, together with their entire family, this
day se'nnight, weather permitting."

Ernest was hereupon consulted, and stated that, in so far as the rain
was concerned, they should in eight days be able to undertake the
journey to Rockhouse. This assurance was not, however, entirely relied
upon, for between this and then many an anxious eye was turned
skywards, as if in search of some more conclusive evidence. Those who
possess a garden--and he who has not, were it only a box of
mignionette at the window--will often have observed, in consequence of
absence or forgetfulness, that their flowers have begun to droop; they
hasten to sprinkle them with water, then watch anxiously for signs of
their revival. So both families continued unceasingly during these
eight days to note the ever-varying modifications of the clouds.

At length the much wished-for day arrived; the morning broke with a
blaze of sunshine, and though hidden with a dense mist, the ground was
sufficiently hardened to bear their weight. Wolston awaited his guests
at a bridge of planks that had been thrown across the Jackal River,
where he and Willis had erected a sort of triumphal arch of mangoe
leaves and palm branches. Here Becker and his family were welcomed, as
if the one party had just arrived from Tobolsk, and the other from
Chandernagor, after an absence of ten years.

Another warm reception awaited them at Rockhouse, where an abundant
repast was already spread in the gallery. Mrs. Becker had often
intended to work herself a pair of gloves, but the increasing demand
for stockings had hitherto prevented her. She was pleased, therefore,
on sitting down to dinner, to discover a couple of pairs under her
plate, with her own initials embroidered upon them.

"Ah," said she, "I was almost afraid I had lost my daughters, but I
have found them again."

After dinner the girls showed her a quantity of cotton they had spun,
which proved that, though they might have been dull, they had, at
least, been industrious.

"Mary span the most of it," said Sophia; "but you know, Mrs. Becker,
she is the biggest."

"Oh, then," said Jack, "the power of spinning depends upon the bulk
of the spinner?"

"Oh, Master Jack, I thought you had been ill, that you had not
commenced quizzing us before."

"Never mind him, Soffy," said her father; "to quote Hudibras,

  "There's nothing on earth hath so perfect a phiz,
  As not to give birth to a passable quiz."

Here Willis led in the chimpanzee, who made a grimace to the assembled
company.

"Now, ladies and gentlemen," said Willis, "Jocko is about to show you
the progress he has made in splicing and bracing."

"Good!" said Becker, "you have been able to make something of him,
then?"

"You will see presently. Jocko, bring me a plate."

Hereupon the chimpanzee seized a bottle of Rockhouse malaga, and
filled a glass.

"He has erred on the safe side there," said Jack, drily.

"Well," added Willis, laughing, "we must let that pass. Jocko," said
he, assuming a sententious tone, "I asked you for a plate."

The chimpanzee looked at him, hesitated a moment, then seized the
glass, and drank the contents off at a single draught. A box on the
ears then sent him gibbering into a corner.

"Your servant," remarked Mrs. Wolston, "has been taking lessons from
Dean Swift as well as yourself, Willis."

"I will serve him out for that, the swab; he does not play any of
those tricks when we are alone. I must admit, however, that I am
generally in the habit of helping myself."

Here attention was called to the parrot, who was screaming out
lustily, "I love Mary, I love Sophia."

"Holloa," exclaimed Fritz, "Polly loves everybody now, does she?"

"Well, you see," replied Sophia, "I grew tired of hearing him scream
always that he loved my sister, so by means of a little coaxing, and a
good deal of sugar, I got him to love me too."

The poultry were next mustered for the inspection of their old
masters. These did not consist of the ordinary domestic fowls alone;
amongst them were a beautiful flamingo, some cranes, bustards, and a
variety of tame tropical birds. With the fowls came the pigeons, which
were perching about them in all directions.

"We are now something like the court of France in the fourteenth
century," said Wolston.

"How so?" inquired Becker.

"In the reign of Charles V., they were obliged to place a trellis at
the windows of the Palace of St. Paul to prevent the poultry from
invading the dining room."

"Rural anyhow," observed Jack.

"Of course, most other features of the palace were in unison with this
primitive state of matters. The courtiers sat on stools. There was
only one chair in the palace, that was the arm-chair of the king,
which was covered with red leather, and ornamented with silk fringes."

"So that we may console ourselves with the reflection, that we are as
comfortable here as kings were at that epoch in Europe," remarked
Ernest.

"Yes; historians report, that when Alphonso V. of Portugal went to
Paris to solicit the aid of Louis XI. against the King of Arragon, who
had taken Castile from him, the French monarch received him with great
honor, and endeavored to make his stay as agreeable as possible."

"Reviews, I suppose, feasts, tournaments, spectacles, and so forth."

"A residence was assigned him in the Rue de Prouvaires, at the house
of one Laurent Herbelot, a grocer."

"What! amongst dried peas and preserved plums?"

"Precisely; but the house of Herbelot might then have been one of the
most commodious buildings in all Paris. Alphonso was afterwards
conducted to the palace, where he pleaded his cause before the king.
Next day he was entertained at the archiepiscopal residence, where he
witnessed the induction of a doctor in theology. The day after that a
procession to the university was organized, which passed under the
grocer's windows."

"These were singular marvels to entertain a king withal," said Jack.

"Such were the amusements peculiar to the epoch. It must be observed
that the Louis in question was somewhat close-fisted, and rarely drew
his purse-strings unless he was certain of a good interest for his
money. But courts in those days were very simple and frugal. The
sumptuary laws of Philip le Bel (1285) had fixed supper at three
dishes and a lard soup. The king's own dinner was likewise limited to
three dishes."

"These three dishes might, however, have yielded a better repast than
the fifty-two saucers of the Chinese," remarked Jack.

"No one could obtain permission to give his wife four dresses a year,
unless he had an income of six thousand francs."

"What business had the laws to interfere with these things, I should
like to know?" inquired Mrs. Wolston.

"Those who possessed two thousand francs income were only allowed to
wear one dress a year, the cloth for which was not permitted to exceed
tenpence a yard; but ladies of rank could go as high as fifteen
pence."

"Philip le Bel must have been an old woman," insisted Mrs. Wolston.

"No private citizen was permitted to use a carriage, and such persons
were likewise interdicted the use of flambeaux."

"They were permitted to break their necks at all events, that is
something."

"In England, the same primitive simplicity prevailed; Queen Elizabeth
is said to have breakfasted on a gallon of ale, her dining-room floor
was strewn every day with fresh straw or rushes, and she had only one
pair of silk stockings in her entire wardrobe."

"At the same time," observed Ernest, "these usages stand in singular
contradiction to those that prevailed at an earlier age. The supper of
Lucullus rarely cost him less than thirty thousand francs, and he
could entertain five and twenty thousand guests. Six citizens of Rome
possessed a great part of Africa. Domitius had an estate in France of
eighty thousand acres."

"Poor fellow!"

"When Nero went to Baize he was accompanied by a thousand chariots and
two thousand mules caparisoned with silver. Poppæa followed him with
five hundred she asses to furnish milk for her bath. Cicero purchased
a dining-room table that cost him a million sesterces, or about two
hundred thousand francs. I can understand the progress of
civilization, and I can also understand civilization remaining
stationary for a given period; but I cannot understand why a citizen
of ancient Rome should be able to lodge twenty-five thousand men,
whilst a king of France could scarcely keep the ducks from waddling
about his apartments, and a queen of England could fare no better than
a ploughman."

"If," replied Frank, "there were no other criterion of civilization
than luxury and riches, you would have good grounds for surprise; but
such is not the case. Between ancient and modern times, Christianity
arose, and that has tended in some degree to keep down the ostentation
of the rich, and to augment, at the same time, the comforts of the
poor. In place of the heroes, Hercules and Achilles, we have had the
apostles Peter and Paul; so Luther and Calvin have been substituted
for Semiramis and Nero. Pride has given place to charity, and
corruption to virtue."

"Would that it were so, Frank," continued Ernest. "Christianity has,
doubtless, effected many beneficial changes, and produced many able
men; but in this last respect antiquity has not been behind. It has
also its sages: Thales, Socrates, and Pythagoras, for example."

"True," replied Frank, "antiquity has produced some virtuous men, but
their virtue was ideal, and their creed a dream."

"And the Stoics?"

"The Stoics despised suffering, and Christians resign themselves to
its chastisements; this constitutes one of the lines of demarcation
between ancient and modern theology."

"But there were many signal instances of virtue manifested in ancient
times."

"Yes; but for the most part, it was either exaggerated or false;
unyielding pride, obstinate courage, implacable resentment of
injuries. Errors promenaded in robes under the porticos. Ambition was
honored in Alexander, suicide in Cato, and assassination in Brutus."

"But what say you to Plato?"

"The immolation of ill-formed children, and of those born without the
permission of the laws, prosecution of strangers and slavery; such
were the basis of his boasted republic, and the gospel of his
philosophy."

"Why, then, are these men held up as models for our imitation?"

"Because they are distant and dead; likewise, because they were, in
many respects, great and wise, considering the paganism and darkness
with which they were surrounded. Life was then only sacred to the few;
the many were treated as beasts of burden. The Emperor Claudian even
felt bound to issue an edict prohibiting slaves from being slain _when
they were old and feeble_."

"Which leaves a margin for us to suppose that they might be slain when
they were young and strong," observed Jack.

"By the constitution of Constantine certain cases were defined, where
a master might suspend his slave by the feet, have him torn by wild
beasts, or tortured by slow fire."

"Does slavery and its horrors not still exist, for example, in Russia
and the United States of America?"

"Slavery does exist, to the great disgrace of modern civilization, in
the countries you mention; but, so far as I am aware, its horrors are
not recognized by the laws."

"There, Mr. Frank," said Wolston, "I am very sorry to be under the
necessity of contradicting you. I have visited the slave states of
North America, and have witnessed atrocities perhaps less brutal, but
not less heart-rending, than those you mention."

"But do the laws recognize them?"

"Yes, tacitly; the testimony of the slaves themselves is not received
as evidence."

"Why do a people that call their county a refuge for the down-trodden
nations of Europe suffer such abominations?"

"Well, according to themselves, it is entirely a question of the
_almighty dollar_. If there were no slaves, the swamps and morasses of
the south could not be cultivated. It has been found that the negro
will dance, and sing, and starve, but he will not work in the fields
when free. Besides, they assert, that the slaves are generally well
cared for, and that it is only a few detestable masters that beat them
cruelly."

"Then, at all events, dollars are preferred to humanity by the United
States men, in spite of their vaunted emblems--liberty and equality."

"Quite so. In all matters of internal policy, the dollar reigns
supreme."

"Admitting," continued Frank, "that the evils of slavery may exist in
a section of the American Union, and amongst the barbarous hordes of
Russia, these evils are trifling in comparison with others that stain
the annals of antiquity. We are told that a hundred and twenty persons
applied to Otho to be rewarded for killing Galba. That so many men
should contend for the honor of premeditated murder, is sufficiently
characteristic of the epoch. There was then no corruption, no brutal
passion, that had not its temple and its high priest. In the midst of
all this wickedness and vice there appeared a man, poor and humble,
who accomplished what no man ever did before, and what no man will
ever do again--he founded a moral and eternal civilization. Judaism
and the religion of Zoroaster were overthrown. The gods of Tyre and
Carthage were destroyed. The beliefs of Miltiades and of Pericles, of
Scipio and Seneca, were disavowed. The thousands that flocked annually
to worship the Eleusinian Ceres ceased their pilgrimage. Odin and his
disciples have all perished. The very language of Osiris, which was
afterwards spoken by the Ptolemies, is no longer known to his
descendants. The paganisms which still exist in the East are rapidly
yielding to the march of western intelligence. Christianity alone,
amidst all these ring and fallen fabrics, retains its original
vitality, for, like its author, it is imperishable."

"It is a curious thing what we call conversation," observed Mrs.
Wolston. "No sooner is one subject broached than another is
introduced; and we go on from one thing to another until the original
idea is lost sight of. Leaving the palace of Charles V., to go with
the King of Portugal to a grocer's shop in some street or other of
Paris, we cross the Alps, the Himalaya, and the Atlantic. Lucullus,
Nero, Achilles, Peter, Paul, Tyre and Sidon, Semiramis and
Elizabeth--queens, saints, and philosophers, are all passed in review,
and why? Because the pigeons put my husband in mind of the Palace of
St. Paul!"

"No wonder," observed Jack; "these pigeons are carriers, and naturally
suggest wandering."

Once more seated round the table, Fritz, observing that the
misunderstanding between Willis and the chimpanzee still continued,
thrust a plate into the hand of the latter, and pointed with his
finger to Willis. This time Jocko obeyed, for the language was
intelligible, and he went and placed the plate before his master.

"Ho, ho!" cried Willis, "so you have come to your senses at last, have
you? Well, that saves you an extra lesson to-morrow, you lubber you."

"He takes rather long to obey your orders, though, Willis; it is
rather awkward to wait an hour for anything you ask for. What system
do you pursue in educating him--the Pestalozzian or the parochial?"

"We follow the system in fashion aboard ship," replied Willis.

"And what does that consist of?"

"A rope's end."

"Oh, then, you are an advocate for the birch, are you?" said Wolston;
"it is, doubtless, a very good thing when moderately and judiciously
administered. That puts me in mind of the missionary and the king of
the Kuruman negroes."

"A tribe of Southern Africa, is it not?"

"Yes, the missionary and the king were great friends. The king not
only permitted him to baptize his subjects, but offered to whip them
all into Christianity in a week. This summary mode of proselytism did
not, however, coincide with the Englishman's ideas, and he refused the
offer, although the king insisted that it was the only kind of
argument that could ever reach their understandings."

The day at length drew to a close, and, though no one asked the time
yet all felt that the moment of departure was approaching; whether
they were willing to go was doubtful, but at they were loth to depart
was certain.

"It is time to return now," said Becker, rising.

"Already!"

"There are some clouds in the distance that bode no good."

"Nothing more than a little rain at worst," said Jack.

"And your mother?" inquired Decker.

"Oh! we can make a palanquin for her."

"Your plan, Jack, is not particularly bright; it puts me in mind of
some genius or other that took shelter in the water to keep out of the
wet."

"Very odd," said Jack, "we are always wishing for rain, and when it
comes, we do all we can to keep out of its way."

"That is, because we are neither green pease nor gooseberries," said
Ernest, drily.

"True, brother; and as the rain is your affair, perhaps you will be
good enough to delay it for an hour or so."

"I am sorry on my own account, as well as yours, that I have not yet
discovered the art of controlling the skies."

Here Fritz whispered a few words in his mother's ear, that called up
one of those ineffable smiles that the maternal heart alone can
produce.

"Well," said Mrs. Becker, "if you think so, deliver the message
yourself."

"Mrs. Wolston," said Fritz, "I am charged to invite you and your
family to Falcon's Nest this day week."

"The invitation is accepted, unless my daughters have any objections
to urge."

"How can you fancy such a thing, mamma?" said both girls.

"The fact is, that my daughters have got such a dread of cold water,
that they dread to wet the soles of their shoes, unless one or other
of you gentlemen is within hail."

"Mamma does so love to tease us," said Mary; "we are afraid of nothing
but putting you to inconvenience."

"Well, in that case, we shall be at Falcon's Nest on the appointed
day, unless the roads are positively submerged."

"In that case," said Jack, "a line of canoes will be placed upon the
highway, between the two localities."

As the prospect of a prize incites the young scholar to increased
exertion--as the prospect of worldly honors urges the ambitious man on
in his career--as the oasis cheers the weary traveller on his journey
through the desert, and makes him forget hunger and thirst--as the
dreams of comfort and home warm the blood of a wayfarer amongst snow
and ice--as hope smooths the ruggedness of poverty and softens the
calamities of adversity, so the prospect of meeting again mitigates
the regrets of parting.



CHAPTER XVII.

WHERE THERE'S A WILL THERE'S A WAY--MUCIUS SCÆVOLA--WHAT'S TO BE
DONE?--BRUTUS TORQUATUS AND PETER THE GREAT--AUSTRALIA, BOTANY BAY,
AND THE FLYING DUTCHMAN--NEW GUINEA AND THE BUCCANEER--VANCOUVER'S
ISLAND--WHITE SKINS--DANGER OF LANDING ON A WAVE--HANGED OR
DROWNED--ROUTE TO HAPPINESS--OMENS.


The old saw, _Where there's a will there's a way_, means--if it means
anything--that a great deal may be effected by energy. A man without
energy is a helpless character, and invariably lags behind his fellow
mortals in the stream of life; like a cork in an eddy, he is rebuffed
here and jostled there, and goes on travelling in a circle to the end
of the chapter. Not so the man of action; no jostling thwarts him, no
rebuffs retard him; he breaks through all sorts of obstacles, and
floats along with the current.

Such a man was Becker. Though surrounded with dangers, and harassed by
the elements, almost alone he had converted a wilderness into fertile
fields; he pursued the track that his judgment suggested, and followed
it up with invincible resolution; he manfully resisted the severest
trials, and cheerfully bore the heaviest burdens; his reliance on
Truth or Virtue and on God were unfaltering; but had he provided for
every emergency? Is mortal power capable of overcoming every
difficulty? We shall see.

A day or two after the entertainment at Rockhouse, Becker whispered to
the Pilot--

"Willis, take a rifle, and come along with me; I have something to say
to you."

They walked a quarter of an hour or so without uttering a word, when
Willis broke the silence.

"You seem sad, Mr. Becker."

"Yes, Willis, I am almost distracted."

"Still, you seem well enough; you are as hale and hearty as if you
had just been keel-hauled and got a new rig."

"It is not my body that is suffering, Willis; it is my mind."

"Whatever is the matter?"

"Willis, _my wife is dying_."

And so it was. For a long period Becker's wife had been a prey to
racking pains, which, so to speak, she hid from herself, the better to
conceal them from others, just as if suffering had been a crime. After
having resisted for fourteen years the afflictions of exile, long and
perilous expeditions, nights passed under tents, humid winters and
fierce burning summers, her health had, at length, succumbed, not all
at once, like fabrics sapped by gunpowder, but little by little, like
those that are demolished piecemeal with the pickaxe of the workman.
Day by day she grew more and more feeble, without those who were
constantly by her side observing the insidious workings of disease.
Like Mucius Scævola, who held his hands in a burning brazier without
uttering a word, she so effectually hid her griefs within the recesses
of her own bosom, that no one even suspected her illness.

"But, Mr. Becker," said Willis, "I saw your wife this morning, and she
seemed as well as usual."

"Yes, _seemed_, Willis, that is true enough; not to give us pain, she
has concealed her illness from us all. It is only within the last
twelve hours that I accidentally discovered that she has been long
laboring under some fearful malady."

"Do you know the nature of the disease?"

"No, that I have no means of ascertaining; it may be a distinct form
of disease, or it may be a complication of disorders, which I know
not."

"It would not signify about the name if we only knew a remedy."

"True; but I dread some malady of a cancerous type, which could not be
eradicated without surgical skill."

"I wish I had been born a doctor instead of a pilot," sighed Willis.

"I cannot see her perish before my eyes."

"Certainly not, Mr. Becker; it would never do to allow a ship to sink
if she can be saved."

"Well, what is to be done?"

"There lies the difficulty; had it been a question of anything that
floats on the water, I might have suggested a remedy; but, in this
case, I am fairly run aground."

"I know too well what must be done, Willis. In cases of ordinary
maladies, with care and due precaution, proper nourishment and time,
Nature will generally effect a cure."

"Nature has no diploma, but she accomplishes more cures than those
that have."

"Unfortunately this is not a malady that can be cured by such means;
and, unless its progress be checked in time, it may ultimately assume
a form that will render a cure impossible."

"Is death, then, inevitable?"

"A patient may retain a languishing life under such circumstances for
some time; but if the disease be cancer, a cure is hopeless without
instruments and scientific skill."

"I thought I was the only wretched being in the colony," said Willis,
sighing, "but I find I am not alone."

"There are no hopes of the _Nelson_, are there?" inquired Becker.

"None now; for some time Mr. Wolston and yourself almost persuaded me
that she had escaped; but had she reached the Cape, we should have
heard of her ere now."

"The probabilities of another vessel touching here are small, are they
not?"

"We are not in the direct track to anywhere; therefore, unless a ship
has been driven out of her course by a gale, there is not a chance."

"Unfortunate that I am!" exclaimed Becker, covering his face with his
hands. "Brutus, Manlius Torquatus, and Peter the Great, condemned
their sons to death, but they were guilty; still the sacrifice must be
made."

Here Willis stared aghast, and began to fear Becker's intellect had
been affected by his troubles.

"I do not exactly understand you, Mr. Becker."

"Two of my sons have gone on before us; they were to embark in the
canoe for Shark's Island, and wait for us there. I must have courage,
and you also, Willis."

This exordium did not tend to alter the Pilot's impression. They
walked on for some time in silence towards the coast.

"Do you know the latitude and longitude of this coast, Willis?"

"Good!" thought the Pilot, "he has changed the subject."

"Yes; we are in the South Sea, and no great distance from the line."

"What continent is nearest us?"

"We cannot be very far off the south coast of New Holland, or, as it
is named in some charts, Australia. You know that the _Nelson_ hailed
from Botany Bay, or Sydney, as the convict colony which the English
Government has just founded there is called."

"How far do you suppose we are from Sydney?"

"Well, I should say, with a fair wind and a smart craft, Sydney is not
above two months' sail, if so much."

"Is the coast inhabited?"

"Yes."

"What character do the inhabitants bear?"

"According to the Dutch sailors, who have been on the coast, they are
the most plundering and lubberly set of rascals to be met with
anywhere."

"They are not acquainted with the use of fire-arms, are they?"

"No not of fire-arms; but they have a machine of their own that they
call a waddy, or something of that sort, which they throw like a
harpoon; but the thing takes a twist in the air, and strikes behind
them."

"Is the coast accessible?"

"No; it is fringed with reefs, and, in some places, the surf runs for
miles out to sea."

"The navigation along shore, then, is extremely perilous?"

"Whatever can he be driving at?" thought Willis.

"Yes; such a lee shore in a gale would terrify the Flying Dutchman
himself."

Here Becker shook his head dolefully, and they walked on a little
further in silence.

"What islands do you suppose are nearest us, Willis?"

"I should say we are in or near the group marked in the chart
Papuasia; beyond them is the territory of New Guinea, and a point to
nor'ard are a whole nest of islands discovered by the celebrated
buccaneer, Dampière."

"And their inhabitants?"

"Oh, some of them are pretty fair; but, taking them in the lump, they
are a bad lot."

"The islands to the west are those discovered by Cook, Vancouver, and
Bougainville, are they not?"

"They are marked Polynesia in the charts."

"Do you know of any European settlements on these islands?"

"Well, there is a fort of the Hudson's Bay Company on Vancouver's
Island, but that is a long way north; and, I believe, a factory has
recently been anchored in New Zealand, but that is a long way south."

"And what are the principal islands between?"

"There is New Caledonia, the New Hebrides, the Friendly Islands, the
Societies' Islands, the Marquesas, Tahite, and the Pelew Islands; but
each navigator gives them a new name, so that it is hard to say which
is which; all you can do is to say that there is an island in latitude
so and so and longitude so and so, but the name is almost out of the
question."

"And the natives?"

"Some of them are remarkably tame, and trade freely with strangers;
but others have strongly marked cannibal propensities, and dote upon a
white-skin feast when they can get one."

Here Becker shuddered, and uttered an exclamation of horror.

"That would be a terrible fate, Willis."

"Whatever can he mean?" thought the Pilot.

"Willis, to reach Europe from here, what course do you think would be
best?"

"Now I think I shall fix him at last," said the Pilot, levelling his
rifle at an imaginary bird.

"You will only waste gunpowder," said Becker; "I see nothing."

"You asked me just now what course I should steer for Europe, did you
not?"

"Yes."

"Well, the most direct course would be to make the Straits of
Macassar, and then steer for Java."

"And when there?"

"You would then be fifteen or sixteen hundred leagues from the Cape."

"So much?"

"Yes, that is about the distance in a straight line across the Indian
Ocean. When at the Cape, another fifteen days' sail will bring you to
the line; five or six weeks after that St. Helena will heave in sight;
then you fall in with the Island of Ascension; leaving which a week or
two will bring you to the Straits of Gibraltar, where you get the
first glimpse of Europe. But if you are bound for England, your
daughter may commence working a pair of slippers for you; they will be
ready by the time you get there."

They had now arrived at the point of the Jackal River where the
pinnace was moored.

"What do you think of this boat?" inquired Becker.

"The pinnace is well enough for fair weather; but it is not the sort
of craft I should like to command in a storm at sea."

"So that to venture to sea in it would be to incur imminent danger?"

"There is no denying that, Mr. Becker; if she shipped a moderately
heavy sea, down she must go to the bottom, like a four and twenty
pound shot; and if she should spring a leak, you cannot land to put
her to rights; the waves are by no means solid."

"Just as I thought!" exclaimed Becker; "I was right in judging that it
would be a sacrifice. It is almost certain death; but they must go."

"Where?" inquired Willis.

"To Europe if need be, if God in his mercy spares the pinnace."

"What for?"

"I have the means of purchasing surgical skill, and I must use all the
sacrifices at my command to obtain it."

"Avast heaving, Mr. Becker," cried Willis; "now I understand; the
thing is as clear as the tackle of the best bower, and when a
resolution is once formed, nothing like paying it out at the word of
command. When shall we start?"

"I am not talking of either you or myself, Willis."

"Of whom then, may I ask?"

"Fritz and Jack. Fritz knows something of navigation; and if they
succeed, they will have saved their mother; if they perish, they will
have died to save her."

"Fritz, as you say, does know something of navigation, particularly as
regards coasting; but here you have a pilot, accustomed to salt water,
quite handy, why not engage him also?"

"Willis, you have yourself said that the undertaking is perilous in
the extreme, and your life is not bound up like theirs in that of
their mother."

"True; but do you not see that I am sick of dry land, and that I am
getting rusty for the want of a little sea air?"

"I felt ashamed to ask you to share in so desperate an enterprise,
otherwise I would have proposed it to you, Willis."

"But you might have seen that I was growing thin, absolutely pining
away, and drying up on land. There are ducks that can live without
water, but I am not one of them."

"Am I, then, to understand that you offer to risk your life in this
forlorn hope?"

"Certainly, Mr. Becker; a man condemned to be hanged, running the risk
of being drowned is no great sacrifice."

"Willis, I accept your offer, to share in the dangers of this
enterprise, most gratefully. I thank you in the name of my sons and of
their mother, and trust that God may enable me to recompense you for
your devotion to them and to myself."

[Illustration]

"You forget," added Willis, wiping a tear from the corner of his
eye, that he ascribed to a grain of dust, "you forget that I was on
the point of venturing out to sea in the canoe, had you yourself and
Mr. Wolston not prevented me. There is work to be done, I admit; and
it is not impossible to cross even the Indian Ocean in the pinnace.
But we may find a doctor, perhaps, at some of the settlements--for
instance, at Manilla, in the Philippines."

"That is not to be hoped for, Willis; there is, probably, only one
skilful medical man in each colony, and he will be prevented leaving
by Government engagements."

"True; then we had better hoist sail for Europe direct, and trust to
falling in with a ship now and then."

"Alas!" sighed Becker, "in a path so wide as the ocean, it would be
unwise to trust to such chances; you will have to rely, I fear,
entirely upon the resources of the pinnace alone."

"Well, I dare say, though we may have to put up with half rations, we
shall not starve on the voyage, at all events."

They had unmoored the pinnace, and were on their way to Shark's
Island.

"You are about to announce to your sons their departure?" said Willis,
inquiringly.

"Yes; but my heart almost fails me."

"The iron must be struck while it is hot. Will you commission me to
whisper a few words in their ear?"

"Thanks, Willis; but what right have I to expect courage from them, if
I exhibit weakness myself? No, my friend, I may shed tears in your
presence, but not before them."

"A man ought never to allow his feelings to get the better of his
courage," said Willis, in whose eyes, however, the dust was evidently
playing sad havoc.

"These boys have almost never been absent from me. I have watched them
grow up from infancy to adolescence, and from adolescence to manhood;
they have always been dutiful and obedient, and with gratitude I have
blessed them every night of their lives. But stern are the decrees of
Fate; I must command them to depart from me--perhaps for ever!"

"There are evils that lead to good," said Willis, "even though these
evils be the Straits of Magellan or the storms of the Indian Ocean."

Here the pinnace reached the offing of Shark's Island, where Fritz and
Jack, leaning on the battery, watched the progress of the boat.

"Do you observe how downcast my father looks?" said Fritz.

"Willis does not look much gayer," remarked Jack.

"Do you believe in omens, Jack?"

"Now and then."

"Well, mark me, there is a screw loose somewhere, or I am no oracle."



CHAPTER XVIII.

BACON AND BISCUIT--LET SLEEPING DOGS LIE--THE PATERNAL BENEDICTION--AN
APPARITION--A MOTHER NOT EASILY DECEIVED--THE ADIEU--THE EMPEROR
CONSTANTINE--IN HOC SIGNO VINCES--THE SAILOR'S POSTSCRIPT--CÆSAR AND
HIS FORTUNES--RECOLLECTIONS--MRS. BECKER PLUCKS STOCKINGS AND KNITS
ORTOLANS--HOW DELIGHTFUL IT IS TO BE SCOLDED--THE BODIES VANISH, BUT
THE SOULS REMAIN.


On their return from Shark's Island, Fritz and Jack were deeply
affected, not by the dread of the perils they were destined to
encounter--these never gave them a moment's uneasiness--but by the
knowledge that a merciless vulture was preying upon the vitals of
their beloved mother.

Willis on the contrary, appeared as lively as if he had just received
notice of promotion; but whether the idea of again dwelling on the
open sea had really elevated his spirits, or whether this gaiety was
only assumed to encourage Becker and his sons, was best known to
himself.

It was arranged amongst them that no one, under any circumstances,
should be made acquainted with the design they had in contemplation.
By this means all opposition would be vanquished, and the regrets of
separation would, in some degree, be avoided. Besides, if the project
were divulged, might not Frank and Ernest insist upon their right to
share its dangers? This eventuality alone was sufficient to impress
upon them all the urgency of secrecy. The really strong man knows his
weakness, and therefore dislikes to run the risk of exposing it, so
Becker dreaded the tears and entreaties that this desperate
undertaking would inevitably exercise, were it generally known
beforehand to the rest of the family; whereas, if once the pinnace
were fairly at sea, it could not be recalled, and time would do the
rest.

Since, then, all the preparations had to be made in such a way as not
to excite suspicion that any thing extraordinary was on foot, the
progress was necessarily slow. Willis, under pretext of amusing
himself, refitted the pinnace, and strengthened it so far as he could
without impairing its sailing efficiency. He called to mind that, when
Captain Cook reached Batavia, after his first voyage round the world,
he observed with astonishment that a large portion of the sides of his
famous ship the _Endeavor_ was, under the water line, no thicker than
the sole of a shoe.

As soon as the weather had settled, and the tropical heats set in, the
Wolstons resumed their abode at Falcon's Nest; whilst, under some
plausible pretext or other, Willis, Fritz, and Jack took up their
quarters at Rockhouse. This arrangement gave the destined navigators
the means of carrying on their operations unobserved, especially as
regards salting provisions and baking for the voyage.

Along with the stores, a portion of the valuables, that still remained
in the magazines of Rockhouse, were placed on board the pinnace; for,
though gold and precious stones were not of much value in New
Switzerland, Becker had not forgotten that such was not the case in
other portions of the world; he reflected that his sons must be
furnished with the means of returning to the colony with comfort.
There was also a man of science and education to be bought, and that,
he knew, could not be done without as the French proverb has it,
having some hay in one's boots.

Storms are usually heralded by some premonitory symptoms: the
atmosphere becomes oppressive, the clouds increase in density, the sky
gradually becomes obscure and large drops of rain begin to fall, then
follows the deluge, and the elements commence their strife. It is much
the same with impending misfortunes: gloom gathers on the countenance,
our movements become constrained, our thoughts wander, and a tear
lingers in the corner of the eye. Fritz and Jack endeavored in vain to
appear unconcerned, but, in spite of their efforts, it was painfully
evident that their minds were burdened by some heavy weight. They
were more tender and more affectionate, particularly towards their
mother. Towards evening, when they quitted the family circle for
Rockhouse, their adieus were so earnest, so warm, and so often
repeated, that it almost appeared as if they were laying in a stock of
them for their voyage, to store up and preserve with the bacon and
biscuits. Even the animals came in for an extra share of caresses,
and, if they were capable of reflection, it must have puzzled them
sorely to account for all the endearments that were lavished upon them
by the two brothers.

Becker himself was no less affected than his sons; sometimes, when the
latter were busily occupied with some preparation for the voyage, he
would fix his eyes sadly upon them, just as if every trait of these
cherished features had not already been deeply graven on his soul.

During the preceding rainy season, the two young men felt the days
long and tedious, and wished in their inmost hearts that they would
pass away more swiftly; now, the hours seemed to fly with
unaccountable rapidity, and they would gladly have lengthened them if
they had had the power. But no one can arrest

  Le temps, cette image mobile
  De l'immobile éternité.

And time is right in holding on the even tenor of its way; for if it
once yielded to the desires of mortals, there would be no end of
confusion and perplexity. It takes unto itself wings and flies away,
say the fortunate; it lags at a snail's pace, say the unfortunate. The
idler knows not how to pass it away. The man of action does not
observe its progress. Those who are looking forward to some favorite
amusement exclaim, "Would that it were to-morrow!" but how many there
are that might well ejaculate, from the bottom of their souls, "Would
that to-morrow may never arrive!" How, then, could such wishes be met
in a way to satisfy all?

A day at length arrived when everything was ready for departure, and
when nothing was wanted to weigh anchor but courage on the part of
the voyagers. The pinnace was laden to the gunwale, the compass was in
its place, the casks were filled with fresh water from the Jackal
River, and Willis reported that both wind and sea were propitious for
a start.

The morning of that day was lovely in the extreme. Willis, Fritz, and
Jack were early at Falcon's Nest; the two families breakfasted
together under the trees in the open air. After breakfast an
adjournment to the umbrageous shade of the bananas was proposed and
agreed to.

"Mother," said Fritz, taking Mrs. Becker's arm, "I want you all to
myself."

"I object to that, if you please," cried Jack, taking her other arm.

"Why, you boys seem extravagantly fond of your mother to-day," said
Mrs. Becker, gaily.

"Well, you see, mother, we have the right to have an idea now and
then--Willis has one every week."

"So long as your ideas are about myself, I have no reason to object to
them," said Mrs. Becker, smiling.

"We have always been dutiful sons, have we not, mother?" inquired
Fritz.

"Yes, always."

"You are well pleased with us then?"

"Yes, surely."

"We have never caused you any uneasiness, have we?" inquired Jack.

"That is to say, inadvertently," added Fritz; "designedly is out of
the question."

"No, not even inadvertently," replied their mother.

"Were you very sorry when Frank and Ernest were going to leave us?"

"Yes, my children, the tears still burn my cheek."

"Nevertheless, you knew that it was for the common welfare, and you
felt resigned to the separation."

"But why do you ask such a question now?"

"Well, _à propos de rien_, mother," replied Jack, "simply because we
love you, and, like misers, we treasure your love."

Towards the afternoon both families were again assembled under the
trees at Falcon's Nest This time it was dinner that brought them
together; the repast consisted of cold meats of various kinds, but the
chief dish was a wonderful salad, the rich, fresh odor of which
perfumed the air. Wolston, Frank, and Ernest kept up a lively
conversation, yet, though all seemed happy and pleased, there were
bursting hearts at the table that day."

"I am going to take a turn in the pinnace to-morrow," said Willis,
quietly; "who will go with me?"

"I will!" cried all the four brothers.

"I shall require you, Frank and Ernest, to take a look at the rice
plantation to-morrow," said Becker, "so I wish you to put off the
excursion till another time."

"We are at your orders, father," replied the two young men.

"Where are you going, Willis?" inquired Mrs. Wolston.

"Well, I am anxious to discover whether we inhabit an island or a
continent, and may, consequently, extend the survey beyond the points
already known; so you must not be disappointed should we not return
the same night."

"But what is the good of such an expedition?" inquired Mrs. Becker.

"The country may be inhabited, or there may be inhabited islands in
the vicinity," replied Willis.

"If there be natives anywhere near," said Mrs. Becker, "they have left
us at peace hitherto, and, in my opinion, since the dog sleeps, it
will be prudent for us to let it lie."

"It is not a question of creating any inconvenience," suggested
Becker, "but only to ascertain more accurately our geographical
position: such a knowledge can do us no possible harm, but, some day,
it may be of immense service to us."

"What if you should fall in with a ship?" inquired Mrs. Wolston.

"In that case we shall give your compliments to the commander,"
replied Jack.

"You may do that if you like, but try and bring it back with you if
you can."

"Do you wish to leave us?"

"I do not mean that," hastily added Mrs. Wolston, "but I am beginning
to get anxious about my son, poor fellow. If the _Nelson_ has not
arrived at the Cape, then he will suppose we are all drowned, and I
should like to fall in with some means of assuring him of our safety."

"Oh yes," cried the two girls, "do try and fall in with a ship; our
poor brother will be so wretched."

"You might say our brother as well," added the two young men.

Here the two mothers interchanged a glance of intelligence, which
might mean very little, but which likewise might signify a great deal.

A moment of intense anxiety had now arrived for Becker and his two
sons; they could scarcely refrain from shedding tears, but they felt
that the slightest imprudence of that nature would divulge everything.

"Come now, my lads, look alive," cried Willis, in a voice which he
meant to be gruff; "if you intend to take a few hours' repose before
we start in the morning, it is time to be off."

Fritz and Jack, had it been to save their lives, could not now have
helped throwing more than usual energy into their parting embraces
that particular afternoon; but they passed through the ordeal with
tolerable firmness, and then with heavy hearts turned towards the
door.

"I think I will walk with you as far as Rockhouse," said Becker.

All four then departed; and when the party were about fifty yards from
Falcon's Nest, Fritz and Jack turned round and waved a final adieu to
those loved beings whom probably, they might never see again.

"It is well," said Becker. "I am satisfied with your conduct
throughout this trying interval."

It was now an hour when there is something indescribably sombre about
the country; day was declining, the outlines of the larger objects in
the landscape were becoming less distinct, and the trees were assuming
any sort of fantastical shape that the mind chose to assign to them.
Here and there a bird rustled in the foliage, but otherwise the
silence was only broken by footsteps of the four men.

In ordinary life children quit the parental home by easy and almost
imperceptible gradations. First, there is the school, then college;
next, perhaps, the requirements of the profession they have adopted.
Thus they readily abandon the domestic hearth; friends, intercourse,
and society divide their affection, and the separation from home
rarely, if ever, costs them a pang. Not so with Becker's two sons;
their world was New Switzerland; therefore, like the rays of the sun
absorbed by the mirror of Archimedes, all their affections were
concentrated on one point.

On the former occasion when the family ties were on the eve of being
rent asunder, the case was very different. It is true, Frank and
Ernest were about to leave for an indefinite period of time; but then,
every comfort that the most fastidious voyager could desire was
awaiting them on board the _Nelson_; for a well-appointed ship is like
a well-appointed inn on shore, all your wants are ministered to with
the utmost celerity. Besides, Captain Littlestone had taken the young
men under his special protection, and had promised to see them
properly introduced and cared for in Europe. How dissimilar was the
position of Fritz and his brother; they were about to tumble into the
old world should they be so fortunate as to reach it, much as if they
had dropped from the skies, without a guide and without a friend. They
were about to entrust themselves to the ocean, separated from its
treacherous floods by a few wretched planks; to be exposed for months,
almost unsheltered, to wind, rain, and the mercy of pitiless storms.

"If God in His mercy preserves you, my sons," said Becker, breaking at
last the silence, "you will find yourselves launched in an ocean still
more turbulent than that you have escaped--an ocean where falsehood
and cunning assume the names of policy and tact; where results always
justify the means, whatever these may be; where everything is
sacrificed to personal interest and ambition; where fortune is honored
as a virtue that dispenses with all others, and where profligacies of
the most odious kinds are decorated with gay and seductive colors. It
is difficult for me to foresee the various circumstances amidst which
you may be placed; but there are certain rules of conduct that
provide for nearly every emergency. I have no need to urge loyalty or
courage--these qualities are inseparable from your hearts. Strive only
for what is just and honest. Submit to be cheated rather than be
cheats yourselves; ill-gotten gains never made any one rich. Put your
trust in Providence. Seek aid from on high, when you find yourselves
surrounded with difficulties. Never forget that there is no corner on
the earth's surface, however obscure, that the eyes of the Lord are
not there to behold your actions. Act promptly and with energy. Bear
in mind that every moment lost will be to your mother an age of
suffering, and that her life is suspended on the fragile thread of
your return."

The party had now reached the banks of the Jackal River, where the
pinnace was moored. Fritz and Jack were shedding tears unrestrainedly,
and had dropped on their knees at their father's feet.

"I call," said Becker, in a trembling voice, "the benediction of
Heaven upon your heads, my sons."

"Oh, but they must not go!" cried Mrs. Becker, rushing out from behind
some tall brushwood that hid her from their view; "they shall not go!"

Fritz and Jack were instantly inclosed within their mother's arms.

"Ah!" cried she, pushing aside the hair from their brows, the better
to observe their features, "you thought to deceive your mother, did
you?"

"Pardon!" exclaimed both the young men.

Here Becker thought it necessary to interfere; and, summoning all the
courage he could muster to the task, said--

"Why should they not go? Is this the first expedition they have
undertaken?"

"No, it is not the first expedition they have undertaken, but it is
the first time their eyes and their looks betokened an eternal adieu.
It is the first time that I felt they were forsaking me for ever, and
it is the first time you ever addressed them with the words you just
now uttered."

Becker saw that it was useless to attempt to carry deceit any
further; he therefore withdrew his eyes from the piercing glance of
his wife. Willis, caught in the act, as it were, was completely thrown
off his guard, and had not a word to say for himself. Fritz and Jack
had again fallen on their knees, this time at the feet of their
mother.

"Ah! I begin to understand," she screamed, as she glanced around on
the scared group that surrounded her, like a wounded lioness whose
cubs were being carried off; "now the bandage begins to drop from my
eyes. A thousand inexplicable things dart into my mind. You are
sending the boys on an impracticable voyage to secure the safety of
their mother; but you did not think that in order to prolong my
existence for a few years, you would kill me instantly with grief!
What right have you to impose a remedy upon me that is a thousand
times worse than the malady? Have I ever complained? May my sufferings
not be agreeable to me? May I not like them? Is pain and suffering not
our lot from the cradle to the tomb? But I am not ill, I was never
better in my life than I am at this moment."

Here she was seized with a paroxysm of nervous tremors that convulsed
her frame most fearfully, and completely belied her words. Becker
rushed forward and held her firmly in his arms.

"God give me strength!" he murmured. "Go, my children, where your duty
calls you; go, my friend, do not prolong this terrible scene an
instant longer."

Not another word was spoken, the pinnace was unmoored; Fritz, Jack,
and Willis embarked. When at some little distance from the shore,
there was just light enough for Fritz to notice that his father was
directing the feeble steps of his mother in the direction of Falcon's
Nest. In a few moments more all the objects on shore were one confused
mass of unfathomable shadow. The pinnace dropped anchor at Shark's
Island, where some few final preparations for the voyage had to be
made. Fritz here took a pen and wrote:

"We part. We are gone. When you read this letter, the sea, for some
distance, will extend between us. We shall live and move elsewhere,
but our hearts still with you. We wish that Ernest and Frank would
erect a flagstaff on the spot where we last parted with our parents.
It may be to us what the celestial standard bearing the scroll, _in
hoc signo vinces_ was to the Emperor Constantine. The place is already
sacred, and may be hallowed by your prayers for us. Our confidence in
the divine mercy is boundless. Do not despair of seeing us again. We
have no misgivings, not one of us but anticipates confidently the
period when we shall return and bring with us health, happiness, and
prosperity to you all.

"Let me add a word," said Jack.

"The sea is calm, our hearts are firm, our enterprise is under the
protection of Heaven--there never was an undertaking commenced under
more favorable auspices. Farewell then, once more, farewell. All our
aspirations are for you.

"FRITZ.

"JACK.

"P.S.--Willis was going to write a line or two when, lo and behold! a
big tear rolled upon the paper. 'Ha!' said he, 'that is enough, I will
not write a word, they will understand that, I think,' and he threw
down the pen."

"How is the letter to be sent on shore?" inquired Fritz.

"There is a cage of pigeons on board the pinnace," replied Jack, "but
I do not want them to know that, for, if they should expect to hear
from us, and some accident happen to the pigeons, they might be
dreadfully disappointed."

"We can return on shore," observed Willis, "and place it on the spot,
where we embarked; they are sure to be there to-morrow."

This suggestion was incontinently adopted. The letter was attached to
a small cross, and fixed in the ground. The voyagers had all
re-embarked in the pinnace, which was destined to bear even more than
Cæsar and his fortunes. Willis had already loosened the warp, when, a
thought crossed the mind of Fritz.

"I must revisit Falcon's Nest once more," said he.

"What!" cried Willis, "you are not going to get up such another scene
as we witnessed an hour or two ago?"

"No, Willis, I mean to go by stealth like the Indian trapper, so as to
be seen by no mortal eye. I wish to take one more look at the old
familiar trees, and endeavor to ascertain whether my mother has
reached home in safety."

"But the dogs?" objected Willis.

"The dogs know me too well to give the slightest alarm at my approach.
I shall not be long gone; but really I must go, the desire is too
powerful within me to be resisted."

"I will go with you," said Jack.

Here Willis shook his head and reflected an instant.

"You are not angry with us, Willis, are you?"

"Not at all," he replied, "and I think the best thing I can do, under
the circumstances, is to go too."

"Very well, make fast that warp again, and come along."

The party then disappeared amongst the brushwood.

"Some time ago," remarked Fritz, "we followed this track about the
same hour; there was danger to be apprehended, but the enterprise was
bloodless, though successful."

"You mean the chimpanzee affair," said Willis.

"Yes; this time we have only an emotion to conquer, but I am afraid it
is too strong for us."

"These are the trees," said Jack, as they debouched upon the road,
"that I stuck my proclamations upon. We had very little to think of in
those days."

As the party drew near Falcon's Nest, the dogs approached and welcomed
them with the usual canine demonstrations of joy.

"I have half a mind to carry off Toby," said Fritz; "but I fear Mary
would miss him."

Externally all appeared tranquil at Falcon's Nest; this satisfied the
young men that their mother had succeeded in reaching home, at least,
in safety; a light streaming through the window of Becker's dwelling,
however, showed that the family had not yet retired for the night.

"If they only knew we were so near them!" remarked Jack.

The entire party then sat down upon a rustic bench, shrouded with
flowering orchis and Spanish jasmine.

"How often, on returning from the fields or the chase, we have seen
our mother at work on this very seat," observed Fritz.

"Aye," added Jack; "once I observed she had fallen asleep whilst
knitting stockings. I advanced on tip-toe, removed gently her knitting
apparatus, stockings, and all, and placed on her lap some ortolans
that I had caught and strangled; but I first plucked one of them, and
scattered the feathers all about, and then retreated into a thicket to
watch the _dénouement_ of my scheme. She awoke, put down her hand to
take up a stocking, and laid hold of a bird. She stared, rubbed her
eyes, stared again, looked about, and could find nothing but the
ortolan feathers. I then ran forward and embraced her, looking as if I
had just come from unearthing turnips. 'Well, I declare,' she said
with a bewildered air, 'I could have sworn that I was knitting just
now, and here I find myself plucking ortolans; and what is more, I
have not the slightest idea where, in all the world, the birds have
come from!' Of course, I looked as innocent as possible; so that the
more she stared and reflected, the less she could make the matter out.
At last, she went on plucking the birds, and when this was done she
stuck them on the spit. When the ortolans were roasted and ready to be
served up, I went into the kitchen, carried them off, and put my
mother's knitting apparatus on the spit. Imagine her surprise when she
beheld her worsted and stockings at the fire, knowing, at the same
time, that four hungry stomachs were waiting for their dinners! At
last, fearing that she was going to ascribe the metamorphosis to some
hallucination of her own, I went up to her, threw my arms round her
neck, told her the whole story, and we both of us enjoyed a hearty
laugh over it."

"Aye, Jack, those were laughing times," said Fritz, sadly.

"Not only that, but our mother was always so even--tempered; she was
never ruffled in the slightest degree by my nonsense; though she often
had the right to be very angry, yet she never once took offence. On
another occasion, Mary and Sophia Wolston were working here at those
mysterious embroideries which they always hid when we came near."

"Toby's collar, I suppose," remarked Fritz.

"My tobacco pouch," suggested Willis.

"I approached," continued Jack, "with the muffled softness of a cat,
and was just on the point of discovering their secret, when my monkey,
Knips, who was cracking nuts at their feet, made a spring, and drew a
bobbin of silk after it; this caused them to look round, and great was
my astonishment to find myself caught at the very moment I expected to
surprise them. They commenced scolding me at an immense rate, but then
it was so delightful to be scolded!"

"Aye," murmured Fritz, "that is all over now."

Like a file of sheep, one recollection dragged another after it, so
that the whole of the past recurred to their memories. Some faint
streaks of light now warned them that day was about to break; the
cocks began to crow one after the other, and to fill the air with
their shrill voices.

"Now," said Willis, "it is high time to be off."

Jack hastily gathered two bouquets of flowers, which he suspended to
the lintel of each dwelling.

"These," said he, "will show them that we have paid them another
visit."

They then bent down all three on their knees, uttered a short prayer,
and afterwards disappeared amidst the shadows of the chestnut trees.

"Listen!" said Willis, seeing that his companions were about to make a
halt, "if you stop again, or speak of returning any more, I will cease
to regard you as men."

Half an hour afterwards, on the morning of the 8th March, 1812, the
pinnace bore out to sea, and when day broke, the crew could not descry
a single trace of New Switzerland on any point of the horizon.



CHAPTER XIX.

EIGHTEEN HUNDRED AND TWELVE--THE MARY--COUNT UGOLINO--THE
SOURCES OF RIVERS--THE ALPS DEMOLISHED--NO MORE PYRENEES--THE
FIRST SHIP--ADMIRAL NOAH--FLEETS OF THE ISRAELITES--THE
COMPASS--PRINTING--GUNPOWDER--ACTIUM AND SALAMIS--DIDO AND
AENEAS--STEAM--DON GARAY AND ROGER BACON--MELCHTHAL, FURST, AND
WILLIAM TELL--GOING A-PLEASURING--UPSET VERSUS BLOWN UP--A DEAD
CALM--THE LOG--WILLIS'S ARCHIPELAGO--THE ISLAND OF SOPHIA--THE BREAD
FRUIT-TREE--NATIVES OF POLYNESIA--STRIPED TROWSERS--ABDUCTION OF
WILLIS--IS HE TO BE ROASTED OR BOILED?--WHEN THE WINE IS POURED OUT,
WE MUST DRINK IT.


At the date of the events narrated in the preceeding chapter,
comparatively little was known of Oceania, that is, of the islands and
continents that are scattered about the Pacific Ocean. Most of them
had been discovered, named, and marked correctly enough in the charts,
but beyond this all was supposition, hypothesis, and mystery. The
mighty empire of England in the east was then only in its infancy,
Sutteeism and Thuggism were still rampant on the banks of the Ganges,
but the power of the descendants of the Great Mogul was on the wane.
California was only known as the hunting-ground of a savage race of
wild Indians. The now rich and flourishing colonies of Australia were
represented by the convict settlement of Sydney. The Dutch had
asserted that the territory of New Holland was utterly uninhabitable,
and this was still the belief of the civilized world; nor was it
without considerable opposition on the part of _soi-disant_
philanthropists that the English government succeeded in establishing
a prison depot on what at the time was considered the sole spot in
that vast territory susceptible of cultivation. At the present time,
these formerly-despised regions send _one hundred tons of pure gold_
to England. The political state of Europe itself had at this time
assumed a singular aspect. Napoleon had made himself master of nearly
all the continental states; Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Holland, and a
part of Germany were at his feet; and, by the Peace of Tilsit, he had
secured the coõperation of Alexander, Emperor of Russia, in his
schemes to ruin the trade and commerce of Great Britain. England, by
her opportune seizure of the Danish fleet, broke up the first great
northern confederacy that was formed against her. This act, though
much impugned by the politicians of the day, is now known not only to
have been perfectly justifiable, but also highly creditable to the
political foresight of Canning and Castlereagh, by whom it was
suggested, to say nothing of the daring and boldness that Nelson
displayed in executing the manoeuvre. When news of this event reached
the Russian Emperor it threw him into a paroxysm of rage, and he
declared war against England in violent language. He had the insolence
to make peace with France the _sina qua non_ of his friendship. At the
distance of nearly half a century, the actual language employed has a
peculiar flavor. The emperor, after detailing his grievances, declares
that henceforth there shall be no connection between the two
countries, and calls on his Britannic Majesty to dismiss his
ministers, and conclude a peace forthwith. The British Government
replied to this by ordering Nelson to set sail forthwith for the mouth
of the Neva. A bitter and scorching manifesto was at the time
forwarded to the emperor. It accused him flatly of duplicity, and
boldly defied him and all his legions. The whole document is well
worthy of perusal in these lackadaisical times. It is dated
Westminister, December 18, 1807. It sets forth anew the principles of
maritime war, which England had then rigidly in force. Napoleon had
declared the whole of the British Islands in a state of blockade. The
British Government replied by blockading _de facto_ the whole of
Europe. This was done by those celebrated orders in council, which,
more than anything else, precipitated the downfall of Napoleon. They
threw the trade of the world into the hands of England. Of course,
Russia was deeply affected, so was Spain and all the other maritime
states; and they were all, one way or another, in open hostility with
this country. But England laughed all their threats to scorn; and in
the whole history of the country, there was not a more brilliant
period in her eventful history. She stood alone against the world in
arms. Even the blusterings of the United States were unheeded, and in
no degree disturbed her stern equanimity. She saw the road to victory,
and resolved to pursue it. But England then had great statesmen, and,
of them all, Lord Castlereagh was the greatest, although he served a
Prince Regent who cared no more for England or the English people,
than the Irish member, who, when reproached for selling his country,
thanked God that he had a country to sell.

At length the ill-will of the Americans resolved itself into open
warfare, and the United States was numbered with the overt enemies of
England. This resulted in British troops marching up to Washington and
burning the Capitol, or Congress House, about the ears of the members
who had stirred up the strife. Meanwhile, all the islands of France in
the east and west had been taken possession of; the British flag waved
on the Spanish island of Cuba, and in the no less valuable possessions
of Holland, in Java. Everywhere on the ocean England held undisputed
sway. This state of things gave rise to one great evil--the sea
swarmed with cruisers and privateers, English, French, and American;
so that no vessel, unless sailing under convoy, heavily armed, or a
very swift sailer, but ran risk of capture.

The _Mary_--for so Fritz now called the pinnace--had been ten days at
sea, the wind had died away, and for some time scarcely a zephyr had
ruffled the surface of the water, the sails were lazily flapping
against the mast, and but for the currents, the voyagers would have
been almost stationary. It may readily be supposed that, under such
circumstances, their progress was somewhat slow, and, as Jack
observed, to judge from their actual rate of sailing, they ought to
have started when very young, in order to arrive at the termination of
the voyage before they became bald-headed old men.

They prayed for a breeze, a gale, or even a storm; their fresh water
was beginning to get sour, and they reflected that, if the calm
continued any length of time, their provisions would eventually run
short, and the ordinary resource of eating one another would stare
them in the face. Jack, being the youngest, would probably disappear
first, next Fritz, then Willis would be left to eat himself, in order
to avoid dying of hunger, just as the unfortunate Count Ugolino
devoured his own children to save them from orphanage.

As yet, however, there were no symptoms of such a dire disaster; they
were in excellent health and tolerable spirits; they had provisions
enough to last them for six months at least, and consequently had not
as yet, at all events, the slightest occasion to manifest a tendency
to anthropophagism.

"I can understand the sea," remarked Jack, "as I understand the land
and the sky; God created them, that is enough; but I cannot understand
how a mighty river like the Nile or the Ganges can continue eternally
discharging immense deluges of water into the sea without becoming
exhausted. From what fathomless reservoirs do the Amazon and the
Mississippi receive their endless torrents?"

"The reservoirs of the greatest rivers," replied Fritz, "are nothing
more than drops of water that fall from the crevice of some rock on or
near the summit of a hill; these are collected together in a pool or
hollow, from which they issue in the form of a slender rivulet. At
first, the smallest pebble is sufficient to arrest the course of this
thread of water; but it turns upon itself, gathers strength, finally
surmounts the obstacle, dashes over it, unites itself with other
rivulets, reaches the plain, scoops out a bed, and goes on, as you
say, for ever emptying its waters into the sea."

"Yes; but it is the source of these sources that I want to know the
origin of. You speak of hills, whilst we know that water naturally, by
reason of its weight and fluidity; seeks to secrete itself in the
lowest beds of the earth."

"It is scarcely necessary for me to observe that water may come down
a hill, although it never goes up. Rain, snow, dew, and generally all
the vapors that fall from the atmosphere, furnish the enormous masses
of water that are constantly flowing into the sea. The vapor alone
that is absorbed in the air from the sea is more than sufficient to
feed all the rivers on the face of the earth. Mountains, by their
formation, arrest these vapors, collect them in a hole here and in a
cavern there, and permit them to filter by a million of threads from
rock to rock, fertilizing the land and nourishing the rivers that
intersect it. If, therefore, you were to suppress the Alps that rise
between France and Italy, you would, at the same time, extinguish the
Rhone and the Po."

"It would be a pity to do that," said Jack; "there was a time though
when there were no Pyrenees."

"That must have been, then, at a period prior to the formation of
granite, which is esteemed the oldest of rocks."

"No such thing," insisted Jack; "it was so late as 1713, when, by the
peace of Utrecht, the crown of Spain was secured to the Duke of Anjou,
grandson of Louis XIV."

"Howsomever," remarked Willis, "all the mariners in the French fleet
could not convince me that the Pyrenean mountains are only a hundred
years old."

"My brother is only speaking metaphorically," said Fritz; "when the
crown of Spain was assigned to the Duke of Anjou, his grandfather
said--_Qu il n'y avait plus de Pyrénées_. He meant by that simply,
that France and Spain being governed by the same prince, the moral
barrier between them existed no longer. The formidable mountains still
stood for all that, and he who removes them would certainly be
possessed of extraordinary power."

"I am always putting my foot in it," said Willis, "when the yarn is
about the land; let us talk of the sea for a bit. Who built the first
ship?"

"Well," replied Fritz, "I should say that the first ship was the ark."

"Whence we may infer," added Jack, "that Noah was the first admiral."

"We learn from the Scriptures," continued Fritz, "that the first
navigators were the children of Noah, and it appears from profane
history that the earliest attempts at navigation were manifested near
where the ark rested; consequently, we may fairly presume that the art
of ship-building arose from the traditions of the deluge and the ark."

"In that case, the art in question dates very far back."

"Yes, since it dates from 2348 years before the birth of Christ; but
the human race degenerated, the traditions were forgotten, and
navigation was confined to planks, rafts, bark canoes, or the trunk of
a tree hollowed out by fire."

"That is the sort of craft used by the inhabitants of Polynesia at the
present day," remarked Willis.

"It appears, however, by the Book of Job, that pirates existed in
those days, and that they went to sea in ships and captured
merchantmen, which proves, to a certain extent, that there were
merchantmen to conquer. We know also that David and Solomon equipped
large fleets, and even fought battles on sea."

"Whether an ancient or modern, a Jew or a Gentile," said Willis, "he
must have been a brave fellow who launched the first ship, and risked
himself and his goods at sea in it."

"True," continued Fritz; "but when once the equilibrium of a floating
body was known, there would be no longer any risk; as soon as it came
to be understood that any solid body would float if it were lighter
than its bulk of water, the matter was simple enough."

"Very good," interrupted Jack; "but the words 'when' and 'as soon as'
imply a great deal; _when_, or _as soon as_, we know anything, the
mystery of course disappears. But before! there is the difficulty.
Particles of water do not cohere--how is it, then, that a ship of war,
that often weighs two millions of pounds, does not sink through them,
and go to the bottom? Individuals, like myself for example, who are
not members of a learned society, may be pardoned for not knowing how
water bears the weight of a seventy-four."

"The seventy-four would, most undoubtedly, sink if it were heavier
than the weight of water it displaced; but this is not the case; wood
is generally lighter than water."

"The wood, yes; but the cannon, the cargo, and the crew?"

"You forget the cabooses, the cockpits, and the cabins, that do not
weigh anything. Allowing for everything, the weight of a ship, cargo
and all, is much lighter than its bulk of water, and consequently it
cannot sink."

"But how is it, then, that the immense bulk of a seventy-four moves so
easily in the water? One would think that its prodigious weight would
make it stick fast, and continue immoveable."

"When the seventy-four in question has displaced its weight of water,
its own weight is substituted for the water, and is in consequence
virtually annihilated; it does not, in point of fact, weigh anything
at all, and therefore is easily impelled by the wind."

"When there is any, understood," added Jack.

"And a yard or so of canvas," suggested Willis.

"True," continued Fritz, "a sail or two would be very desirable; these
instruments of propulsion do not appear, however, to have been used by
the ancients. We first hear of a sail being employed at the time when
Isis went in search of her husband Osiris, who was killed by his
brother Typhon, and whose quarters were scattered in the Nile. This
lady, it seems, took off the veil that covered her head, and fastened
it to an upright shaft stuck in the middle of the boat, and, much to
her astonishment, it impelled her onwards at a marvellous speed."

"A clever young woman that," said Willis; "but I doubt whether veils
would answer the purpose on board a seventy-four, particularly as
regards the mainsail and mizentops."

"The Phoenicians were the most enterprising of the early navigators.
They appeared to have sailed round Africa without a compass, for they
embarked on the Red Sea and reappeared at the mouth of the Nile, and
the compass was not invented till the fourteenth century."

"And who was the inventor of the compass?" inquired Willis.

"According to some authorities, it was invented by a Neapolitan named
Jean Goya; according to others, the inventor was a certain Hugues de
Bercy."

"Then," said Jack, "you do not admit the claims of the Chinese and
Hindoos, who assert priority in the discovery?"

"I neither deny nor admit their claims, because I do not know the
grounds upon which they are founded; like the invention of gunpowder
and printing, the discovery of the compass has many rival claimants."

"I am of opinion," said Jack, "that Guttenberg is entitled to the
honor of discovering printing, and that Berthold Schwartz invented
gunpowder."

"Perhaps you are right; but there is scarcely any invention of
importance that has not two or three names fastened to it as
inventors; they stick to it like barnacles, and there is no way to
shake any of them off. So, in the case of illustrious men, nations
dispute the honor of giving them birth; there are six or seven towns
in Asia Minor that claim to be the birth-place of Homer. National
vanities justly desire to possess the largest amount of genius; hence,
no sooner does anything useful make its appearance in the world, than
half a dozen nations or individuals start up to claim it as their
offspring. The wisest course, under such circumstances, is to side
with the best accredited opinion, which I have done in the case of the
compass."

"It was no joke," said Willis, "to circumnavigate Africa without a
compass."

"You are quite right, Willis, if you judge the navigation of those
days by the modern standard; but it is to be borne in mind that the
ancients never lost sight of the coast. They steered from cape to
promontory, and from promontory to cape, dropping their anchor every
night and remaining well in-shore till morning. If by accident they
were driven out into the open sea, and the stars happened to be hidden
by fog or clouds, they were lost beyond recovery, even though within a
day's sail of a harbor; because, whilst supposing they were making for
the coast, they might, in all probability, be steering in precisely
the opposite direction."

"It is certainly marvellous," said Jack, "that a piece of iron stuck
upon a board should be a safe and sure guide to the mariner through
the trackless ocean, even when the stars are enveloped in obscurity
and darkness!"

"It is a symbol of faith," remarked Willis, "that supplies the doubts
and incertitudes of reason."

"As for the ships, or rather galleys, of the ancients," continued
Fritz, "with the exception of the ambitious fleets of the Greeks and
Romans that fought at Salamis and Actium, one of the modern ships of
war could sweep them all out of the sea with its rudder."

"Yes," said Jack, "at the period of which you speak, the ancients
possessed a great advantage over us. The winds in those days were
personages, and were very well known; they were called Aeolus, Boreas,
and so forth. They were to be found in caves or islands, and, if
treated with civility, were remarkably condescending. Queen Dido,
through one of these potentates, obtained contrary winds, to prevent
Aeneas from leaving her."

"By the way," said Willis, "there is, or at least was, in one of the
Scottish rivers, a ship without either oars or sails."

"Yes, very likely; but it did not move."

"It did though, and, what is more, against both wind and tide."

"I wish we had your wonderful ship here just now, it is just the thing
to suit us under present circumstances," said Jack.

"So it would, Master Jack, for it sails against currents, up rivers,
and the crew care no more about the wind than I do about the color of
the clouds when I am lighting my pipe."

"You don't happen to mean that the _Flying Dutchman_ has appeared on
the Scotch coast, do you, Willis?"

"Not a bit of it, I mean just exactly what I say. It is a real ship,
with a real stern and a real figure-head, but manned by blacksmiths
instead of mariners."

"Well, but how does it move? Does somebody go behind and push it, or
is it dragged in front by sea-horses and water-kelpies?"

"No, it moves by steam."

"But how?"

"Aye, there lies the mystery. The affair has often been discussed by
us sailors on board ship; some have suggested one way and some
another."

"Neither of which throws much light on the subject," observed Jack;
"at least, in so far as we are concerned."

"All I can tell you," said Willis, "is, that the steam is obtained by
boiling water in a large cauldron, and that the power so obtained is
very powerful."

"That it certainly is, if it could be controlled, for steam occupies
seventeen or eighteen hundred times the space of the water in its
liquid state; but then, if the vessel that contains the boiling water
has no outlet, the steam will burst it."

"It appears that it can be prevented doing that, though," replied
Willis, "even though additional heat be applied to the vapor itself."

"By heating the steam, the vapor may acquire a volume forty thousand
times greater than that of the water; all that is well known; but as
soon as it comes in contact with the air, nothing is left of it but a
cloud, which collapses again into a few drops of water."

"That may be all very true, Master Fritz, if the steam were allowed to
escape into the air; but it is only permitted to do that after it has
done duty on board ship. It appears that steam is very elastic, and
may be compressed like India-rubber, but has a tendency to resist the
pressure and set itself free. Imagine, for example, a headstrong young
man, for a long time kept in restraint by parental control, suddenly
let loose, and allowed scope to follow the bent of his own
inclinations."

"Very good, Willis; for argument's sake, let us take your headstrong
young man, or rather the steam, for granted, and let us admit that it
is as elastic as ever you please--but what then?"

"Then you must imagine a piston in a cylinder, forced upwards when
the steam is heated, and falling downwards when the steam is cooled.
Next fancy this upward and downward motion regulated by a number of
wheels and cranks that turn two wheels on each side of the ship,
keeping up a constant jangling and clanking, the wheels or paddles
splashing in the water, and then you may form a slight idea of the
thing."

"Oh!" cried Jack, "we invented a machine of that kind for our canoe,
with a turnspit. Do you recollect it, Fritz?"

"Yes, I recollect it well enough; and I also recollect that the canoe
went much better without than with it."

"You spoke just now," continued Willis, "of rival nations, who pounce
like birds of prey upon every new invention; and so it is with the
steamship. An American, named Fulton, made a trial in the Hudson with
one in 1807--that is about five years ago--and I believe the Yankees,
in consequence, are laying claim to the invention."

"Now that you bring the thing to my recollection," said Fritz, "the
idea of applying steam in the arts is by no means new, although, I
must candidly admit, I never heard of it being used in propelling
ships before. The Spaniards assert that a captain of one of their
vessels, named Don Blas de Garay, discovered, as early as the
sixteenth century, the art of making steam a motive power."

"I don't believe that," said Jack.

"Why?"

"Because a real Spaniard has never less than thirty-six words in his
name. If you had said that the steam engine was discovered by Don
Pedrillo y Alvares y Toledo y Concha y Alonzo y Martinez y Xacarillo,
or something of that sort, then I could believe the man to have been a
genuine Spaniard, but not otherwise."

"Spaniard or no Spaniard, the Spanish claim the discovery of steam
through Don Blas; the Italians likewise claim the discovery for a
mechanician, named Bianca; the Germans assign its discovery to
Solomon de Causs; the French urge Denis Papin; and the English claim
the invention for Roger Bacon."

"You have forgotten the Swiss," said Jack.

"The Swiss," replied Fritz, with an air of dignity, "put forward no
candidate: steam and vapor and smoke are not much in their line. They
discovered something infinitely better--the world is indebted to them
for the invention of liberty. I mean rational, intelligent, and true
liberty--not the savagery and mob tyranny of red republicanism. The
three discoverers of this noble invention were Melchthal, Furst, and
William Tell."

"You can have no idea," continued Willis, "of the stir that steam was
creating in Europe the last time I was there. Of course there were
plenty of incredulous people who said that it was no good; that it
would never be of any use; and that if it were, it would not pay for
the fuel consumed. On the other hand, the enthusiasts held that,
eventually, it would be used for everything; that in the air we should
have steam balloons; on the sea, steam ships, steam guns, and perhaps
steam men to work them; that on land there would be steam coaches
driven by steam horses. Journeys, say they, will be performed in no
time, that is, as soon as you start for a place you arrive at it, just
like an arrow, that no sooner leaves the bow than you see it stuck in
the bull's eye."

"In that case," observed Jack, "it will be necessary to do away with
respiration, as well as horses."

"A Londoner will be able to say to his wife, My dear, I am going to
Birmingham to-day, but I will be back to dinner; and if a Parisian
lights his cigar at Paris, it will burn till he arrives at Bordeaux."

"Holloa, Willis, you have fairly converted Fritz and me into marines
at last."

"I am only speaking of what will be, not of what is--that makes all
the difference you know. It is expected that there will be steam
coaches on every turnpike-road; so that, instead of hiring a
post-chaise, you will have to order a locomotive, and instead of
postboys, you will to engage an engineer and stoker."

"Then, instead of saying, Put the horses to," remarked Jack, "we
shall have to say, Get the steam up."

"Exactly; and when you go on a pleasure excursion, you will be whisked
from one point to another without having time to see whether you pass
through a desert or a flower-garden."

"What, then, is to become of adventures by the way, road-side inns,
and banditti?"

"All to be suppressed."

"So it appears," said Jack; "men are to be carried about from place to
place like flocks of sheep; perhaps they will invent steam dogs as
well to run after stragglers, and bring them into the fold by the calf
of the leg. Your new mode of going a-pleasuring may be a very
excellent thing in its way, Willis; but it would not suit my taste."

"Probably not; nor mine either, for the matter of that, Master Jack."

"At all events," said Fritz, "you would run no danger of being upset
on the road."

"No; but, by way of compensation, you may be blown up."

"True, I forgot that."

"This conversation has carried us along another knot," said Jack,
opening the log, which he had been appointed to keep; "and now, by
your leave, I will read over some of my entries to refresh your
memories as to our proceedings.

"March 9th.--Wind fair and fresh--steered to north-west--a flock of
seals under our lee bow--feel rather squeamish.

"10th.--No wind--fall in with a largish island and four little ones,
give them the name of Willis's Archipelago.

"11th.--A dead calm--sea smooth as a mirror--all of us dull and
sleepy.

"12th.--Heat 90 deg.--shot a boobie, roasted and ate him, rather
fishy--passed the night amongst some reefs.

"13th.--Same as the 12th, but no boobie.

"14th.--Same as the 13th.

"Dreadfully tiresome, is it not," said Jack; "no wonder they call this
ocean the Pacific."

"Alas!" sighed Willis, thinking of the _Nelson_, "it does not always
justify the name."

"15th.--Hailed a low island, surrounded with breakers, named it
Sophia's Island."

"But all these islands have been named half a dozen times already,"
said Willis.

"Oh, never mind that, another name or two will not break their backs."

"16th.--Current bearing us rapidly to westward--caught a sea cow, and
had it converted into pemican.

"17th.--Shot another boobie, which we put in the pot to remind us that
we were no worse off than the subjects of Henry IV. No wind--sea
blazing like a furnace."

"You will have to turn over a new leaf in your log by-and-by," said
Willis, "or I am very much mistaken."

"Well, I hope you are not mistaken, Willis, for I am tired of this
sort of thing."

A red haze now began to shroud the sun, the heat of the air became
almost stifling, but the muffled roar of distant thunder and bright
flashes of light warned the voyagers to prepare for a change. Willis
reefed the canvas close to the mast, and suggested that everything
likely to spoil should be put under hatches. This was scarcely done
before the storm had reached them, and they were soon in the midst of
a tropical deluge. At first, a light breeze sprung up, blowing towards
the south-east, which continued till midnight, when it chopped round.
Towards morning, it blew a heavy gale from east to east-south-east,
with a heavy sea running. In the meantime, the pinnace labored
heavily, and several seas broke over her. Willis now saw that their
only chance of safety lay in altering their course. All the canvas was
already braced up except the jib, which was necessary to give the
craft headway, and with this sail alone they were soon after speeding
at a rapid rate in the direction of the Polynesian Islands. The gale
continued almost without intermission for three weeks, during which
period Willis considered they must have been driven some hundreds, of
miles to the north-west.

The gale at length ceased, the sea resumed its tranquility, and the
wind became favorable. The pinnace had, however, been a good deal
battered by the storm, and their fresh water was getting low, and it
was decided they should still keep a westerly course till they reached
an island where they could refit before resuming their voyage.

"The gale has not done us much good," said Jack, sadly; "if it had
blown the other way, we might have been in the Indian Ocean by this
time."

"Cheer up," said Willis, taking the glass from his eye, "I see land
about three miles to leeward, and the landing appears easy."

"But the savages?" inquired Jack.

"The islands of this latitude are not all inhabited," replied Fritz;
"besides, under our present circumstances, we have no alternative but
to take our chance with them."

"Well, I do not know that," objected Jack; "it would be better for us
to do without fresh water than to run the risk of being eaten."

"What a beautiful coast!" cried Willis, who still kept the telescope
at his eye. "Near the shore the land is flat, and appears cultivated;
but behind, it rises gradually, and is closed in with a range of
hills, covered with trees. There is a beautiful bay in front of us,
which appears to invite us ashore. But the place is inhabited; the
shore is strewn with huts, and I can see clumps of the bread-fruit
tree growing near them."

"What sort of vegetable is the bread-fruit?" inquired Fritz.

"It is a very excellent thing, and supplies the natives with bread
without the intervention of grain, flour-mills, or bakers. It can be
eaten either raw, or baked, or boiled; either way, it is palatable.
The tree itself is like our apple trees; but the fruit is as large as
a pine-apple--when it is ripe, it is yellow and soft. The natives,
however, generally gather it before it is ripe; it is then cooked in
an oven; the skin is burnt or peeled off--the inside is tender and
white, like the crumb of bread or the flour of the potato."

"Let me have the telescope an instant," said Fritz; "I should like to
see what the natives are like. Ah, I see a troop of them collecting on
shore; some of them seem to be covered with a kind of wrought-steel
armor."

"Perhaps the descendants of the Crusaders," remarked Jack, "returning
from the Holy Land by way of the Pacific Ocean!"

"Others wear striped pantaloons," continued Fritz.

"That is to say," observed Willis, "the whole lot of them are as naked
as posts. What you suppose to be cuirasses and pantaloons, are their
tabooed breasts and legs."

"Are you sure of that, Willis?"

"Not a doubt about it."

"Such garments are both durable and economical," remarked Jack; "but I
scarcely think they are suitable for stormy weather. But do you think
it is safe to land amongst such a set of barebacked rascals, Willis?"

"I should not like to take the responsibility of guaranteeing our
safety; but I do not see what other course we can adopt."

They had now approached within musket-shot of the shore. They could
see that a venerable-looking old man stood a few paces in front of the
group of natives. He held a green branch in one hand, and pressed with
the other a long flowing white beard to his breast.

"According to universal grammar," said Jack, "these signs should mean
peace and amity."

"Yes," replied the Pilot; "the more so that the rear-guard are pouring
water on their heads, which is the greatest mark of courtesy the
natives of Polynesia can show to strangers."

"Gentlemen," cried Jack, taking off his cap and making a low bow, "we
are your most obedient servants."

"We must be on our guard," said Willis; "these savages are very
deceitful, and sometimes let fly their arrows under a show of
friendship. I will go on shore alone, whilst you keep at a little
distance off, ready to fire to cover my retreat, if need be."

The young men objected to Willis incurring danger that they did not
share; but on this point Willis was inexorable, so they were obliged
to suffer him to depart alone. By good chance, they had shipped a
small cask of glass beads on board the pinnace. The Pilot took a few
of these with him, and, placing a cask and a couple of calabashes in
the canoe, he rowed ashore.

The natives were evidently in great commotion; there was an immense
amount of running backwards and forwards. Something important was,
obviously enough, going forward; but, whether the excitement was
caused by curiosity or admiration, it was hard to say. They might be
preparing a friendly reception for the stranger, or they might be
preparing to eat him--which of the two was an interesting question
that Willis did not care about probing too deeply at that particular
moment.

Fritz and Jack anxiously watched the operations of the natives from
the bay. They could not with safety abandon the pinnace; but to leave
Willis to the mercy of the sinister-looking people on shore was not to
be thought of either. The _Mary_ was, therefore, run in as close as
possible, and Jack leaped on the sands a few minutes after the Pilot.

Willis marched boldly on towards the natives, and when he arrived
beside the old man, the crowd opened up and formed an avenue through
which a chief advanced, followed by a number of men, seemingly
priests, who carried a grotesque-looking figure that Jack presumed to
be an idol. The figure was made up of wicker-work--was of colossal
height--the features, which represented nothing on earth beneath nor
heaven above, were inconceivably hideous--the eyes were discs of
mother-of-pearl, with a nut in the centre--the teeth were apparently
those of a shark, and the body was covered with a mantle of red
feathers.

At the command of the chief, some of the natives advanced and placed a
quantity of bananas, bread-fruits, and other vegetables at the Pilot's
feet; the priests then came forward and knelt down before him, and
seemed to worship after the fashion of the ancients when they paid
their devotions to the Eleusinian goddess, or the statue of Apollo.
Meanwhile, Jack, on his side, was likewise surrounded by the natives,
who was treated with much less ceremony than Willis. Instead of
falling down on their knees, each of them, one after the other, rubbed
their noses against his, and then danced round him with every
demonstration of savage joy.

Jack had now an opportunity of observing the personages about him more
in detail. They were mostly tall and well-formed; their features bore
some resemblance to those of a negro, their nose being flat and their
lips thick; on the other hand, they had the high cheek-bones of the
North American Indian and the forehead of the Malay. Nearly all of
them were entirely naked, but wore a necklace and bracelets of shells.
They were armed with a sort of spear and an axe of hard wood edged
with stone. Their skins were tattooed all over with lines and circles,
and painted; these decorations, in some instances, exhibiting careful
execution and no inconsiderable degree of artistic skill. These
observations made, Jack pushed his way to the spot where Willis was
receiving the homage of the priests.

"What! you here?" said the Pilot.

"Yes, Willis, I have come to see what detained you. By the way, is
there anything the matter with my nose?"

"Nothing that I can see; but the natives of New Zealand rub their
noses against each other, and probably the same usage is fashion
here."

"Why, then, do they make you an exception?"

"I have not the remotest idea."

The priests at length rose, and the chief advanced. This dignitary
addressed a long discourse to Willis in a sing-song tone, which lasted
nearly half an hour. After this, he stood aside, and looked at Willis,
as if he expected a reply.

"Illustrious chief, king, prince, or nabob," said Willis, "I am highly
flattered by all the fine things you have just said to me. It is true,
I have not understood a single word, but the fruits you have placed
before me speak a language that I can understand. Howsomever, most
mighty potentate, we are not in want of provisions; but if you can
show us a spring of good water, you will confer upon us an everlasting
favor."

"You might just as well ask him to show you what o'clock it is by the
dial of his cathedral," said Jack.

"They would only point to the sun if I did."

"But suppose the sun invisible."

"Then they would be in the same position as we are when we forget to
wind up our watches. Gentlemen savages," he said, turning to the
natives and handing them the glass beads, "accept these trifles as a
token of our esteem."

The natives required no pressing, but accepted the proffered gifts
with great good-will. The dancing and singing then recommenced with
redoubled fury, and poor Jack's nose was almost obliterated by the
constant rubbing it underwent.

Suddenly the hubbub ceased, and a profound silence reigned throughout
the assembly. The oldest of the priests brought a mantle of red
feathers, similar to the one that covered the idol. This was thrown
over the Pilot's shoulders; a tuft of feathers, something resembling a
funeral plume, was placed upon his head, and a large semi-circular fan
was thrust into his hand. Thus equipped, a procession was formed, one
half before and the other half behind him. The _cortége_ began to move
slowly in the direction of the interior, but the operation was
disconcerted by Willis, who remained stock-still.

"Thank you," he said, "I would rather not go far away from the shore."

As soon as the natives saw clearly that Willis was not disposed to
move, the chief issued a mandate, and four stout fellows immediately
removed the idol from its position, and Willis was placed upon the
vacant pedestal.

The kind of adoration with which all these proceedings were
accompanied greatly perplexed the voyagers. What could it all mean?
Was this a common mode of welcoming strangers? It occurred to Jack
that the Romans were accustomed to decorate with flowers the victims
they designed as sacrifices to the altars of their gods before
immolating them. This reminiscence made his flesh creep with horror,
and filled him with the utmost dismay.

"Willis!" he cried to the Pilot, whom they were now leading off in
triumph, "let us try the effects of our rifles on this rabble; you
jump over the heads of your worshippers, and we will charge through
them to shore. I will shoot the first man that pursues us, and signal
Fritz to discharge the four-pounder amongst them."

"Impossible," replied Willis; "we should both be stuck all over with
arrows and lances before we could reach the pinnace. Did I not tell
you not to come ashore?"

"True, Willis, but did you suppose I had no heart? How could I look on
quietly whilst you were surrounded by a mob of ferocious-looking men?"

"Well, well, Master Jack, say no more about it; I do not suppose they
mean to do me any harm; but there would be danger in rousing the
passions of such a multitude of people. They seem, luckily, to direct
their attentions exclusively to me, so you had better go back and look
after the canoe."

"No; I shall follow you wherever you go, Willis, even into the
soup-kettles of the wretches."

"In that case," said Willis, "the wine is poured out, and, such as it
is, we must drink it."



CHAPTER XX.

JUPITER TONANS--THE THUNDERS OF THE PILOT--WORSHIPPERS OF THE
FAR WEST--A LATE BREAKFAST--RONO THE GREAT--A POLYNESIAN
LEGEND--MANNERS AND CUSTOMS OF OCEANIA--MR. AND MRS. TAMAIDI--REGAL
POMP--ELBOW ROOM--KATZENMUSIK--QUEEN TONICO AND THE SHAVING
GLASS--CONSEQUENCES OF A PINCH OF SNUFF--DISGRACE OF THE GREAT
RONO--MARIUS--CORIOLANUS--HANNIBAL--ALCIBIADES--CIMON--ARISTIDES--A
SOP FOR THE THIRSTY--AIR SOMETHING ELSE BESIDES OXYGEN AND
HYDROGEN--MARYLAND AND WHITECHAPEL--HALF-WAY UP THE CORDILLERAS--HUMAN
MACHINES--STAR OF THE SEA, PRAY FOR US!


Was he on his way to the Capitol or to the Gemoniae? The solution of
this question became, for the moment, of greater importance to Willis
than the "to be or not to be" of Hamlet to the State of Denmark. This
incertitude was all the more painful, that it was accompanied by
myriads of insects, created by the recent rains; these swarmed in the
air to such an extent, that it was utterly impossible to inhale the
one without swallowing the other. The sailor, notwithstanding his
elevated and somewhat perilous position, true to his instincts and
tormented by the flies, took out his pipe, filled it, and struck a
light. As soon as the first column of smoke issued from his mouth, the
cavalcade halted spontaneously, the natives fell on their faces, their
noses touching the ground, and in an attitude of the profoundest fear
and apprehension. Jupiter thundering never created such a sensation as
Willis smoking. The savages seemed glued to the earth with terror. If
the Pilot had thought it advisable to escape, he might have walked
over the prostrate bodies of his captors, not one of whom would have
been bold enough to follow what appeared to be a human volcano,
vomiting fire and smoke,--the fire of course being understood.

Willis, however, now saw that he possessed in his pipe a ready means
of awing them. Besides, it was clear that, through some fortunate
coincidence, the natives had mistaken him for a divinity. There was,
consequently, no immediate danger to be apprehended; he therefore
became himself again, and began to enjoy the novelty of his new
dignity.

It was certainly a curious contrast. Willis, seated on a sort of
throne, crowned with a waving plume of feathers, shrouded in a fiery
mantle, and surrounded by a crowd of prostrate figures, was quietly
puffing ribbons of smoke from the tips of his lips. There he sat, for
all the world like a crane in a duck-pond. From time to time the more
daring of the worshippers slightly raised their heads to see whether
Jupiter was still thundering; but when their eye caught a whiff of
smoke, they speedily resumed their former posture. Some of them even
thrust their heads into holes, or behind stones, as if more
effectually to shelter themselves from the fury of the fiery furnace.
At last the eruption ceased, Willis knocked the ashes out of his pipe,
replaced it in his pocket, and the convoy resumed its route. After
half an hour's march, the procession halted near a clump of plantains,
in front of a structure more ambitious than any of those in the
neighborhood. A female, laden with rude ornaments, was standing at the
door. This lady, who rivalled the celebrated Daniel Lambert in
dimensions, would have created quite a _furore_ at Bartholomew Fair;
according to Jack, she was so amazingly fat, that it would have taken
full five minutes to walk round her. She took the Pilot respectfully
by the hand, and led him into the interior of the building, which was
crowded with images of various forms, and was evidently a temple.
Willis, at a sign from his conductress, seated himself in a chair,
raised on a dais, and surmounted by a terrific figure similar to the
one already described, but draped in white feathers instead of red.

The fat lady, or rather the high priestess--for she was the reigning
potentate in this magazine of idols--took a sucking pig that was held
by one of the priests. After muttering a prayer or homily of some
sort, she strangled the poor animal, and returned it to the priest. By
and by, the pig was brought in again cooked, and presented with great
ceremony to Willis. There were likewise sundry dishes of fruit, nuts,
and several small cups containing some kind of liquid. One of the
priests cut up the pig, and lifted pieces of it to Willis's mouth;
these, however, he refused to eat. The fat priestess, observing this,
chewed one or two mouthfuls, which she afterwards handed to the Pilot.
This was putting the sailor's gallantry to rather a rude test. He was
equal to the emergency, and did not refuse the offering. But he must
have felt at the time, that being a divinity was not entirely without
its attendant inconveniences.

Nor was this the only infliction of the kind he was doomed to
withstand. One of the priests took up a piece of kava-root, put it
into his mouth, chewed it, and then dropped a bit into each of the
cups already noticed. One of these, containing this nectar, was
presented to Willis by the fat Hebe who presided at the feast, and he
had the fortitude to taste it. Another of the cups was handed to Jack.

"No, I thank you," said he, shaking his head; "I breakfasted rather
late this morning."

Meantime, another personage had entered upon the scene. After having
performed an obeisance to Willis like the rest, this individual backed
himself to where Jack was standing, by this means adroitly avoiding
both the kava and the nose-rubbings. He was distinguished from the
other natives by an ornament round his waist, which fell to his knees.
His skin seemed a trifle less dark, his features less marked; but his
body was tattooed and stained after the common fashion.

The new comer turned out to be a Portuguese deserter, who had
abandoned his ship twenty years before, and had married the daughter
of a chief of the island on which he now was. At the present moment,
he filled the part of prime minister to the king, an office be could
not have held in his own ungrateful country, since he could neither
read nor write. These accomplishments, it appeared, were not,
however, absolutely indispensable in Polynesia. It has been found that
when a savage is transferred to Europe, he readily acquires the habits
of civilized life. By a similar adaptation of things to circumstances,
this European had identified himself with the savages. He had adopted
their manners, their customs, and their costume. When he thought of
his own country, it was only to wonder why he ever submitted to the
constraint of a coat, or put himself to the trouble of handling a fork
and spoon. He had not, however, entirely forgotten his mother tongue,
and, moreover, still retained in his memory a few English words. He
was likewise very communicative, and told Jack that they were in the
Island of Hawai; that the name of the king was Toubowrai Tamaidi, who,
he added, intended visiting the pinnace with the queen next day, to
pay his respects in person to the great Rono. "His Majesty," said the
Portuguese, "would have been amongst the first to throw himself at his
feet, but unfortunately the royal residence is a good way off; and
though both the king and the queen are on the way, running as fast as
they can, it may take them some time yet to reach the shore."

"But who is the great Rono?" inquired Jack.

"Well," replied the prime minister, "you ought to know best, since you
arrived with him."

Jack felt that he was touching on delicate ground, and saw that it was
necessary to diplomatise a little.

"True," said he; "but I am not acquainted with the position that
illustrious person holds in relation to Hawai." The Portuguese then
made a very long, rambling, and not very lucid statement, from which
Jack gleaned the following details. About a hundred years before,
during the reign of one of the first kings, there lived a great
warrior, whose name was Rono. This chief was very popular, but he was
very jealous. In a moment of anger he killed his wife, of whom he was
passionately fond. The regret and grief that resulted from this act
drove him out of his senses; he wandered disconsolately about the
island, fought and quarrelled with every one that came near him. At
last, in a fit of despair, he embarked in a large canoe, and, after
promising to return at the expiration of twelve hundred moons, with a
white face and on a floating island, he put out to sea, and was never
heard of more.

This tradition, it appears, had been piously handed down from family
to family. The natives of Hawai--who are not more extravagant in the
matter of idols than some nations who boast a larger amount of
civilization, but who do not destroy them so often--enrolled Rono
amongst the list of their divinities. An image of him was set up,
sacrifices were instituted in his honor. Every year the day of his
departure was kept sacred, and devoted to religious ceremonies. The
twelfth hundred moon had just set, when a large boat appeared in the
bay, and a man came ashore. The high priest of the temple, Raou, and
his daughter, On La, priestess of Rono, solemnly declared that the man
in question was Rono himself, who had returned at the precise time
named, and in the manner he promised.

It was, therefore, clear from this statement that Willis was to be
henceforward Rono the Great.

Jack was rather pleased than otherwise to learn that he was the
companion of a real live divinity. It assured him, in the first place,
that the danger of his being converted into a stew or a fricassee was
not imminent. He did not forget, however, that the consequences might
be perilous if, by any chance, the illusion ceased; for he knew that
the greater the height from which a man falls, the less the mercy
shown to him when he is down. As soon, therefore, as the ceremonies
had a little relaxed, and Willis was left some freedom of action, Jack
went forward, and knelt before him in his turn.

"O sublime Rono," said he, "I know now why your nose has escaped all
the rubbings that mine has had to undergo."

"Do you?" said Willis; "glad to hear it, for I am as much in the dark
as ever."

Jack then related to him the fabulous legend he had just heard.

After a while, Willis shook off his _entourage_ as gently as possible,
and succeeded in getting out of the temple. Accompanied by Jack, he
proceeded towards the shore, receiving, as he went, the adoration of
the people. The route was strewn with fruit, cocoa-nuts, and pigs, and
the natives were highly delighted when any of their offerings were
accepted by the deified Rono.

The islanders appeared mild, docile, and intelligent, notwithstanding
the singular delusion that possessed them. Living from day to day,
they were, doubtless, ignorant of those continual cares and
calculations for the future that in the old world pursue us even into
the hours of sleep. Were they happier in consequence? Yes, if the
child is happier than the man, and if we admit that we often loose in
tranquillity and happiness what we gain in knowledge and perfection:
yes, if happiness is not exclusively attached to certain peoples and
certain climates; yes, if it is true that, with contentment, happiness
is everywhere to be found.

The houses of the Hawaians are singular structures, and scarcely can
be called dwellings. They consist of three rows of posts, two on each
side and one in the middle, the whole covered with a slanting roof,
but without any kind of wall whatever.

They do not bury their dead, but swing them up in a sort of hammock,
abundantly supplied with provisions. It is supposed that this is done
with a view to enable the souls of the departed to take their flight
more readily to heaven. The practice, consequently, seems to indicate
that the natives possess a confused idea of a future state. When a
child dies, flowers are placed in the hammock along with the
provisions--a touch of the nature common to us all. They express deep
grief by inflicting wounds upon their faces with a shark's tooth; and,
when they feel themselves in danger of dying, they cut off a joint of
the little finger to appease the anger of the Divinity. There was
scarcely one of the adult islanders who was not mutilated in this way.

Though the worshippers of the great Rono appeared gentle and peaceable
enough, there were to be seen here and there a human jaw-bone,
seemingly fresh, with the teeth entire, suspended over the entrances
to the huts. These ghastly objects sent a shudder quivering through
Jack's frame, and made Willis aware that it would not be advisable
rashly to throw off his sacred character.

As it was now late, and as they knew that Fritz would be uneasy about
them, they put off laying in their stock of water till next day. Jack
told the prime minister that the great Rono would be prepared to
receive their majesties whenever they chose to visit him. This done,
Willis and his companion seated themselves in the canoe, and rowed out
to the pinnace.

"God be thanked, you have returned in safety!" cried Fritz; "I never
was so uneasy in the whole course of my life."

"Well, brother, we have not been without our anxieties as well, and
had we not happened to have had a divinity amongst us, we might not
have come off scathless."

Jack then related their adventures, which gradually brought a smile to
the pale lips of Fritz.

"But the water?" inquired Fritz, after he had heard the story.

"Oh, water; they offered us something to drink on shore that will
prevent us being thirsty for a month to come, but we shall see to that
to-morrow."

Towards dark, some fireworks were discharged on board the pinnace, by
way of demonstrating that Willis's pipe was not the only fiery terror
the great Rono had at his command.

Early next morning a flotilla of canoes were observed rounding one of
the points that formed the bay. The one in advance was larger than the
others, and was evidently the trunk of a large tree hollowed out.
Jack's new friend, the Portuguese, hailed the pinnace, and announced
the King and Queen of Hawai, who thereupon scrambled into the pinnace.
His majesty King Toubowrai had probably felt it incumbent upon himself
to do honor to the illustrious Rono, for he wore an old uniform coat,
very likely the produce of a wreck, through the sleeves of which the
angular knobs of his copper-colored elbows projected. He did not seem
very much at his ease in this garment, which contrasted oddly with the
tight-fitting tattooed skin that served him for pantaloons.

His wife, Queen Tonico, princess-like was half stifled in a thick
blanket or mat of cocoa-nut fibre. Her ears were heavily laden with
teeth and ornaments of various kinds, made out of bone, mother of
pearl, and tortoise-shell. Her nails were two or three inches long;
and, to judge by the number of finger-joints that were wanting, she
was either troubled with delicate nerves, or was slightly
hypochondriac.

The royal pair were accompanied by a band of music: fortunately, this
remained in the regal barge. It consisted of a flute with four holes,
a nondescript instrument, seemingly made of stones; a drum made out of
the hollow trunk of a tree, covered at each end with skin, of what
kind it is needless to inquire. The sounds emitted by this orchestra
were of an ear-rending nature, and of a kind graphically termed by the
Germans Katzenmusik.

"Illustrious Rono," cried Jack, "for goodness sake, tell these
gentlemen you are not a lover of sweet sounds."

"Belay there!" roared Willis.

This command, however, had no effect; the artists continued thumping
and blowing away as before. Willis, thinking to make himself better
heard, placed his hands on his mouth, and roared the same order
through them. This action seemed to be received as a mark of
approbation, for the noise became absolutely terrific.

"No use," said Willis: "I can make nothing of them. You try what you
can do."

"Very good," said Jack, lighting what is technically termed an
_artichoke_, but better known as a zig-zag cracker; "if they do not
understand English, perhaps they may comprehend pyrotechnics."

The artichoke was thrown into the royal barge. At first there was only
a slight whiz, finally it gave an angry bound and leaped into the
midst of the musicians. Startled, they tried to get out of its way;
but they were no sooner at what they thought to be a safe distance,
than the thing was amongst them again. Their majesties, who were just
then engaged in kissing the Rono's feet, started up in alarm; but when
they saw the danger did not menace themselves, they burst into a
hearty laugh at the antics of their suite.

This episode over, and the orchestra silenced, the Sovereign of Hawai
proceeded to inspect the pinnace. He expressed his delight every now
and then by uttering the syllables "_ta-ta_." Fritz handed one of
those shaving glasses to the Queen that lengthen the objects they
reflect. This astonished her Majesty vastly, and caused her to _ta-ta_
at a great rate. She looked behind the mirror, turned it upside down,
and at last, when she felt assured that it was the royal person it
caricatured, she commenced measuring her cheeks to account for the
extraordinary disproportion.

They next all sat down to a repast that was spread on deck. Their
Majesties observing Rono use a fork, did so likewise; but though they
stuck a piece of meat on the end of it, and held it in one hand, they
continued carrying the viands to their mouths with the other. At the
conclusion of the feast, Willis took a pinch of snuff out of a
canister. Their Majesties insisted upon doing so likewise. Willis
handed them the canister, and they filled their noses with the
treacherous powder. Then followed a duet of sneezing, accompanied with
facial contortions. The royal personages thinking, probably, that they
were poisoned, leaped into the sea like a couple of frogs, and swam to
the royal barge.

"Holloa, sire," cried Jack, "where are you off to?"

This was answered by the barge paddling away rapidly towards land.
Hitherto, the whole affair had been a farce; but now the natives, who
had collected in great numbers along the shore, seeing their king and
queen leap into the water with a terrified air, supposed that an
attempt had been made to cut short their royal lives, and, under this
impression, discharged a cloud of arrows at the pinnace, and matters
began to assume a serious aspect.

"What!" exclaimed Jack, "shooting at the great Rono!"

"That," said Fritz, "only proves they are men like ourselves. He who
is covered with incense one day, is very often immolated the next."

"And that simply because Rono treated Mr. and Mrs. What's-their-names
to a pinch of snuff. Serve them right to discharge the contents of the
four-pounder amongst them."

"No, no," cried Willis; "the worthy people are, perhaps, fond of their
king and queen."

"Worthy people or not," said Fritz, drawing out an arrow that had sunk
into the capstan, "it is very likely that if this dart had hit one of
us, there would only have been two instead of three in the crew of the
pinnace."

"Well," said Willis, "Master Jack thought the voyage rather dull; now
something has turned up to relieve the monotony of his log."

"We are still without fresh water though, Willis; I wish you could say
that had turned up as well."

"It will be prudent to go in search of that somewhere else now," said
Willis, unfurling the sails. "Fortunately the wind is fresh, and we
can make considerable headway before night."

As they steered gently out of the bay a second cloud of arrows was
sent after them, but this time they fell short.

"The belief in Rono is about to be seriously compromised," remarked
Fritz; "I should advise the priestess to retire into private life."

"Impossible."

"Why?"

"Because she is too fat to live in an ordinary house, she could only
breathe in a temple. But, O human vicissitudes!" added Jack, rolling
himself up in a sail after the manner of the Roman senators; "behold
Rono the Great banished from his country, and compelled to go and
pillow his head on a foreign sail, like Marius at Minturnus--like
Coriolanus amongst the Volcians--like Hannibal at the house of
Antiochus--like Alcibiades at the castle of Grunium in Phrygia, given
to him out of charity by the benevolent Pharnabazus, and in which he
was burnt alive by his countrymen--like Cimon, voted into exile by
ballot and universal suffrage--like Aristides, whom the people got
tired of hearing called the Just, and many others."

"Who are all these personages?" inquired Willis.

"They were worthies of another age," replied Fritz; "very excellent
men in their way, and you are in no way dishonored by being numbered
amongst them."

"Yesterday," continued Jack, "an entire people were upon their knees
before you; they offered up sacrifices, and poured out incense on
their altars for you; fruit and pigs were scattered in heaps, like
flowers, upon your path; the crowd were prostrated by the fumes of
your pipe. To-day--alas, the change!--a cloud of arrows, and not a
single glass of cold water!"

"That gives you an opportunity of quenching your thirst with the
nectar offered to you yesterday," said Fritz; "as for myself, I have
no such resource."

"Yes, that was a posset to quench one's thirst withal; I only wish I
had a cupful to give you. I do not regret having had an opportunity of
becoming acquainted with the people though. They have enabled me to
rectify some erroneous notions I formerly entertained. If, for
example, I were to ask you what air consists of? you would, no doubt,
reply that is a compound body made of oxygen and hydrogen or azote, in
the proportion of twenty-one of the one to seventy-nine of the other."

"Yes, most undoubtedly."

"Well, such is not the case; there are other elements in the air
besides these."

"If you mean that the air accidentally, or even permanently, holds in
solution a certain quantity of water, or a portion of carbonic acid
gas, and possibly some particles of dust arising from terrestrial
bodies, then I grant your premises."

"No; what I mean is, that the air of Hawai is composed of three
distinct elements."

"Possibly; but if so, the air in question is not known to chemists."

"These three elements are oxygen, hydrogen, and insects."

"Ah, insects! I might have fancied you were driving at some hypothesis
of that sort."

"I intend to communicate this discovery to the first learned society
we fall in with."

"In the Pacific Ocean?"

"Yes: there or elsewhere."

"I always understood," observed Willis, "that air was a sort of cloud,
one and indivisible."

"A cloud if you like, Willis; but do you know the weight of it you
carry on your shoulders?"

"Well, it cannot be very great, otherwise I should feel it."

"What do you say to a ton or so, old fellow?"

"If you wish me to believe that, you will have to explain how, where,
when, why, and wherefore."

"Very good. Willis; you have bathed sometimes?"

"Yes, certainly."

"In the sea?"

"Yes."

"Do you know what water weighs?"

"No, but I know that it is heavy."

"Well, a square yard of air weighs two pounds and a half, but a square
yard of water weighs two thousand pounds. Now, can you calculate the
weight of the water that is on your back and pressing on your sides
when you swim?"

"No, I cannot."

"You are not sufficiently up in arithmetic to do that, Willis?"

"No."

"Nor am I either, Willis; but let me ask you how it is that the waves
do not carry you along with them?"

"Because one wave neutralises the effect of another."

"Very good; but how is it that these ponderous waves, coming down upon
you, do not crush you to atoms by their mere weight?"

"Well, I suppose that liquids do not operate in the same way as
solids: perhaps there is something in our bodies that counterbalances
the effect of the water."

"Very likely; and if such be the case as regards water, may it not be
so also as regards air?"

"But I do not feel air; whereas, if I go into water, I not only feel
it, but taste it sometimes, and I cannot force my way through it
without considerable exertion."

"That is because you are organized to live in air and not in water.
You ask the smallest sprat or sticklebake if it does not, in the same
way feel the air obstruct its progress."

"But would the stickleback answer me, Master Fritz?"

"Why not, if it is polite and well bred?"

"By the way, Willis," inquired Jack, "do you ever recollect having
lived without breathing?"

"Can't say I do."

"Very well, then; had you felt the weight of the air at any given
moment, it must have produced an impression you never felt before, but
you have not, because circumstances have never varied. A sensation
supposes a contrast, whilst, ever since you existed, you have always
been subject to atmospheric pressure."

"Ah, now I begin to get at the gist of your argument. You mean, for
example, that I would never have appreciated the delicate flavor of
Maryland or Havanna, had I not been accustomed to smoke the
cabbage-leaf manufactured in Whitechapel."

"Precisely so; and take for another example the farm of Antisana,
which is situated about midway up the Cordilleras, mountains of South
America. When travellers, arriving there from the summits which are
covered with perpetual snow, meet others arriving from the plain where
the heat is intense, those that descend are invariably bathed in
perspiration, whilst those that have come up are shivering with cold
and covered with furs. The reason of this is, that we cannot feel warm
till we have been cold, and _vice versâ_."

"Our bodies," resumed Fritz, "however much the thermometer descends,
never mark less than thirty-five degrees above zero. In winter the
skin shrinks, and becomes a bad conductor of heat from without; but,
at the same time, does not allow so much gas and vapor to escape from
within. In summer, on the contrary, the skin dilates and allows
perspiration to form, a process that consumes a considerable amount of
latent heat. Starting from this principle, it has been calculated that
a man, breathing twenty times in a minute, generates as much heat in
twenty-four hours as would boil a bucket of water taken at zero."

"If means could be found," remarked Jack, "to furnish him with a
boiler, by fixing a piston here and a pipe there man might be
converted into one of the machines we were talking about the other
day."

"Were I disposed to philosophize," added Fritz, "I might prove to you
that for a long time men have been little else than mere machines."

Before night they had run about thirty miles further to the
north-east, without seeing any thing beyond a formidable bluff,
guarded by a fringe of breakers, that would soon have swallowed up the
_Mary_ had she ventured to reach the land. It was necessary however to
obtain fresh water at any price before they resumed their voyage.

It was to be feared that all the islanders of the Pacific were not in
expectation of a great Rono, consequently Willis suggested that it
would be as well to search for an uninhabited spot. The only question
was, how long they might have to search before they succeeded; for
they knew that there were plenty of small islands in these latitudes
unencumbered by savages, and furnished with pools and springs of
water.

Night at length closed in upon them, and with it came a dense mist,
that enveloped the _Mary_ as if in a triple veil of muslin.

"Willis," inquired Jack, "what difference is there between a mist and
a cloud?"

"None that I know of," replied the Pilot, "except that a cloud which
we are in is mist, and mist that we are not in is a cloud. And now, my
lads," he added, "you may turn in, for I intend to take the first
watch."

Before turning in, however, all three joined in a short prayer. The
young men had not yet forgotten the pious precepts of their father.
Prayer is beautiful everywhere, but nowhere is it so beautiful as on
the open sea, with infinity above and an abyss beneath. Then, when all
is silent save the roar of the waves and the howling of the winds, it
is sublime to hear the humble voice of the sailor murmuring, "Star of
the night, pray for us!"

That night the star of the night did pray for the three voyagers, for
the rays of the moon burst through the darkness and the mist, and fell
upon a long line of reefs under the lee of the pinnace. Had they held
on their course a few minutes longer, our story would have been ended.



CHAPTER XXI.

LYING TO--HEART AND INSTINCT--SPARROWS VIEWED AS
CONSUMERS--MIGRATIONS--POSTING A LETTER IN THE
PACIFIC--CANNIBALS--ADVENTURES OF A LOCKET.


The glimpse of moonshine only lasted a second, but it was sufficient
to light up the valley of the shadow of death. All around was again
enveloped in obscurity. The moon, like a modest benefactor who hides
himself from those to whose wants he has ministered, concealed itself
behind its screen of blackness.

The pinnace was thrown into stays, and they resolved to lie-to till
daybreak. There might be rocks to windward as well as to leeward; at
all events, they felt that their safest course lay in maintaining, as
far as possible, their actual position; and, after having returned
thanks for their almost miraculous escape, they made the usual
arrangements for passing the night.

Next morning they found themselves in the midst of a labyrinth of
rocks, from which, with the help of Providence, they succeeded in
extricating themselves. The rocks, or rather reefs, amongst which they
were entangled, are very common in these seas. As they are scarcely
visible at high water, they are extremely dangerous, and often baffle
the skill of the most expert navigator.

Whilst Willis steered the pinnace amongst the islands and rocks of the
Hawaian Archipelago, Fritz kept a look-out for savages, fresh water,
and eligible landing-places. And Jack, after having posted up his log,
set about inditing a letter for home.

"The voyage," said he, "has lately been so prolific in adventure, that
I scarcely know where to begin."

"Begin by saluting them all round," suggested Fritz.

"But, brother of mine, that is usually done at the end of the
letter," objected Jack.

"What then? you can repeat the salutations at the end, and you might
also, for that matter, put them in the middle as well."

"I have written lots of letters on board ship for my comrades,"
remarked Willis, "and I invariably commenced by saying--_I take a pen
in my hand to let you know I am well, hoping you are the same_."

"What else could you take in your hand for such a purpose, O Rono?"
inquired Jack.

"Sometimes, after this preamble, I added, '_but I am afraid_.'"

"I thought you old salts were never afraid of anything, short of the
Flying Dutchman."

"Yes; but the letters I put that in were for young lubbers, who,
instead of sending home half their pay, were writing for extra
supplies, and were naturally in great fear that their requests would
be refused."

"I scarcely think I shall adopt that style, Willis, even though it
were recognized by the navy regulations."

"Do you think the pigeon will find its way with the letter from here
to New Switzerland?" inquired Willis.

"I have no doubt about that," replied Fritz, "it naturally returns to
its nest and its affections. If you had wings, would you not fly
straight off in the direction of the Bass Rock or Ailsa Craig, to hunt
up your old arm-chair?"

"Don't speak of it; I feel my heart go pit-pat when I think of home,
sweet home."

"So do the birds. When they soften the grain before they throw it into
the maw of their fledgelings--when they fly off and return laden with
midges to their nests--when they tear the down from their breasts to
protect their eggs and their young, do you think their hearts do not
beat as well as yours?"

"But all that is said to be instinct."

"Heart or instinct, where is the difference? The Abbé Spallanzani saw
two swallows that were carried to Milan return to Pavia in fifteen
minutes, and the distance between the two cities is seven leagues."

"That I can easily believe."

"When you see a little, insignificant bird flying backwards and
forwards, perching on one branch and hopping off to another,
whistling, carolling, perching here and there, you think that it has
no cares, that it does not reflect, and that it does not love!"

"Well, I have heard in my time a great many wonderful stories of
robin-redbreasts and jenny-wrens, but I always understood that they
were intended only to amuse little boys and girls."

"You consider, doubtless, that a field-sparrow is not a creature of
much importance; but do you know that he consumes half a bushel of
corn annually?"

"If that is his only merit, the farmers, I dare say, would be glad to
get rid of him."

"But it is not his only merit. What do you think of his killing three
thousand insects a week."

"That is more to the purpose. But, to return to the pigeon, supposing
it is possible for it to find its way, how long do you suppose it will
take to get there?"

"It is estimated that birds of passage fly over two hundred miles a
day, if they keep on the wing for six hours."

"Two hundred miles in six hours is fast sailing, anyhow."

"Swallows have been seen in Senegal on the 9th of October, that is,
eight or nine days after they leave Europe; and that journey they
repeat every year."

"They must surely make some preparations for such a lengthy
excursion."

"When the period of departure approaches, they collect together in
troops on the chimneys or roofs of houses, and on the tops of trees.
During this operation, they keep up an incessant cry, which brings
families of them from all quarters. The young ones try the strength of
their wings under the eyes of the parents. Finally, they make some
strategic dispositions, and elect a chief."

"You talk of the swallows as if they were an army preparing for
battle, with flags flying, trumpets sounding, and ready to march at
the word of command."

"The resemblance between flocks of birds and serried masses of men in
martial array is striking. Wild ducks, swans, and cranes fly in a kind
of regimental order; their battalions assume the form of a triangle or
wedge, so as to cut through the air with greater facility, and
diminish the resistance it presents to their flight.

"But how do you know it is for that?"

"What else could it be for? The leader gives notice, by a peculiar
cry, of the route it is about to take. This cry is repeated by the
flock, as if to say that they will follow, and keep the direction
indicated. When they meet with a bird of prey whose attacks they may
have to repulse, the ranks fall in so as to present a solid phalanx to
the enemy."

"If they had a commissariat in the rear and a few sappers in front,
the resemblance would be complete."

"If a storm arises," continued Fritz, without noticing Willis's
commentary, "they lower their flight and approach the ground."

"Forgotten their umbrellas, perhaps."

"When they make a halt, outposts are established to keep a look out
while the troop sleeps."

"And, in cases of alarm, the outposts fire and fall in as a matter of
course."

"Great Rono," said Jack, "you are become a downright quiz. I have
finished my letter whilst you have been discussing the poultry," he
added, handing the pen to his brother, "and it only waits your
postscriptum." Fritz having added a few lines, the epistle was sealed,
and was then attached to one of the pigeons, which, after hovering a
short time round the pinnace, took a flight upwards and disappeared in
the clouds.

They were now in sight of a large island, which bore no traces of
habitation. There was a heavy surf beating on the shore, but the case
was urgent, so Willis and Jack embarked in the canoe, and, after a
hard fight with the waves, landed on the beach.

Each of them were armed with a double-barrelled rifle, and furnished
with a boatswain's whistle. The whistle was to signal the discovery of
water, and a rifle shot was to bring them together in case of danger.
These arrangements being made, Jack proceeded in the direction of a
thicket, which stood at the distance of some hundred yards from the
shore. He had no sooner reached the cover in the vicinity of the trees
than he was pounced upon by two ferocious-looking savages. They gave
him no time to level his rifle or to draw a knife. One of his captors
held his hands firmly behind his back, whilst the other dragged him
towards the wood. At this moment the Pilot's whistle rang sharply
through the air. This put an end to any hopes that Jack might have
entertained of being rescued through that means. Had he sounded the
whistle, it would only have led Willis to suppose that he had heard
the signal, and was on his way to join him.

Poor Jack judged, from the aspect of the men who held him, that they
were cannibals, and consequently that his fate was sealed, for if his
surmises were correct, there was little chance of the wretches
relinquishing their prey. Jack had often amused himself at the expense
of the anthropophagi, but here he was actually within their grasp.
Though death terminates the sorrows and the sufferings of man, and
though the result is the same in whatever shape it comes, yet there
are circumstances which cause its approach to be regarded with terror
and dismay. In one's bed, exhausted by old age or disease, the lips
only open to give utterance to a sigh of pain; life, then, is a burden
that is laid down without reluctance; we glide imperceptibly and
almost voluntarily into eternity.

At twenty years of age, however, when we are full of health and ardor,
the case is very different. Then we are at the threshold of hope and
happiness; our illusions have not had time to fade, the future is a
brilliant meteor sparkling in sunshine. At that age our seas are
always calm, and the rocks and shoals are all concealed. Our barks
glide jauntily along, the sailors sing merrily, the perils are
shrouded in romance, and the flag flutters gaily in the breeze. Then
life is not abandoned without a tear of regret.

To die in the midst of one's friends is not to quit them entirely.
They come to see us through the marble or stone in which we are
shrouded. It is another thing to have no other sepulchre than the
æsophagus of a cannibal. How the recollections of the past darted into
Jack's mind! He felt that he loved those whom he was on the point of
leaving a thousand times more than he did before. What would he not
have given for the power to bid them one last adieu? The idea of
quitting life thus was horrible.

It was in vain that he tried to shake off his assailants; his
adolescent strength was as nothing in the arms of steel that bound
him. He saw that he was powerless in their hands, and at length ceased
making any further attempts to escape.

The savages, finding that he had relaxed his struggles, commenced to
rifle and strip him. They tore off his upper garments, and discovered
a small locket, containing a medallion of his mother, which the
unfortunate youth wore round his neck. This prize, which the savages
no doubt regarded as a talisman of some sort, they both desired to
possess. They quarrelled about it, and commenced fighting over it.
Jack's hands were left at liberty. In an instant he had seized his
rifle. He ran a few paces back, turned, took deliberate aim at the
most powerful of his adversaries, who, with a shriek, fell to the
ground. The other savage, scared by the report of the shot and its
effects upon his companion, took to flight, but he carried off the
locket with him.

Jack had now regained his courage. He felt, like Telemachus in the
midst of his battles, that God was with him, and he flew, perhaps
imprudently, after the fugitive. Seeing, however, that he had no
chance with him as regards speed, he discharged his second rifle. The
shot did not take effect, but the report brought the savage to his
knees. The frightened wretch pressed his hands together in an attitude
of supplication. Jack stopped at a little distance, and, by an
imperious gesture, gave him to understand that he wanted the locket.
The sign was comprehended, for the savage laid the talisman on the
ground.

"Now," said Jack, "in the name of my mother I give you your life."

By another sign, he signified to the man that he was at liberty, which
he no sooner understood than he vanished like an arrow.

Great was the consternation of Fritz when he heard the reports; he
feared that the whole island was in commotion, and that both his
brother and the Pilot were surrounded by a legion of copper-colored
devils. From the conformation of the coast he could see nothing, and,
like Sisiphus on his rock, he was tied by imperious necessity to his
post.

The Pilot, on hearing the first shot, ran to the spot, and both he and
Jack arrived at the same instant, where the savage lay bleeding on the
ground.

"You are safe and sound, I hope?" said Willis, anxiously.

"With the exception of some slight contusions, and the loss of my
clothes, thank God, I am all right, Willis."

"We are born to bad luck, it seems."

"Say rather we are the spoilt children of Providence. I have just
passed through the eye of a needle."

"Is this the only savage you have seen?"

"No, there were two of them; and, to judge from their actions, I
verily believe the rascals intended to eat me. As for this one, he is
more frightened than hurt."

And so it was, he had escaped with some slugs in his shoulders; but he
seemed, by the contortions of his face, to think that he was dying.

"Fortunately," said Jack, "my rifle was not loaded with ball. I should
be sorry to have the death of a human being on my conscience."

"Well," said Willis, "I am not naturally cruel, but, beset as you have
been, I should have shot both the fellows without the slightest
compunction."

"Still," said Jack, giving the wounded savage a mouthful of brandy,
"we ought to have mercy on the vanquished--they are men like
ourselves, at all events."

"Yes, they have flesh and bone, arms, legs, hands, and teeth like us;
but I doubt whether they are possessed of souls and hearts."

"The chances are that they possess both, Willis; only neither the one
nor the other has been trained to regard the things of this world in a
proper light. Their notions as to diet, for example, arise from
ignorance as to what substances are fit and proper for human food."

"As you like," said Willis; "but let us be off; there may be more of
them lurking about."

"What! again without water?"

"No, this time I have taken care to fill the casks; the canoe is laden
with fresh water."

"Fritz must be very uneasy about us; but this man may die if we leave
him so."

"Very likely," said the Pilot; "but that is no business of ours."

"Good bye," said Jack, lifting up the wounded savage, and propping him
against a tree; "I may never have the pleasure of seeing you again,
and am sorry to leave you in such a plight; but it will be a lesson
for you, and a hint to be a little more hospitable for the future in
your reception of strangers."

The savage raised his eyes for an instant, as if to thank Jack for his
good offices, and then relapsed into his former attitude of dejection.

Twenty minutes later the canoe was aboard the pinnace.

"Fritz," said Jack, throwing his arms round his brother's neck, "I am
delighted to see you again; half an hour ago I had not the shadow of a
chance of ever beholding you more."



CHAPTER XXII.

THE UTILITY OF ADVERSITY--AN ENCOUNTER--THE HOROKEN--BILL ALIAS BOB.


A light but favorable breeze carried them away from land, and they
were once again on the open sea. Willis, after a prolonged
investigation of the sun's position, taken in relation to some
observations he had made the day before, concluded that the best
course to pursue, under existing circumstances, was to steer for the
Marian Islands.[H] In addition to the distance they had originally to
traverse, all the way lost during the storm was now before them. As
regards provisions, they had little to fear; they could rely upon
falling in with a boobie or sea-cow occasionally, and fresh fish were
to be had at any time. Their supply of water, however, gave them some
uneasiness, for the quantity was limited, and they might be retarded
by calms and contrary winds. The chances of meeting a European ship
were too slender to enter for anything into their calculations.

"It appears to me," said Jack, one beautiful evening, when they were
some hundreds of miles from any habitable spot, "that, having escaped
so many dangers, the watchful eye of Providence must be guarding us
from evil."

"Very possibly," replied Fritz; "one of the early chroniclers of the
Christian Church says that Lazarus, whom our Saviour resuscitated at
the gates of Jerusalem, became afterwards one of the most popular
preachers of Christianity, and in consequence the Jews regarded him
with implacable hatred."

"But what, in all the world, has that to do with the Pacific Ocean?"
inquired Jack.

"Very little with the Pacific in particular, but a great deal with
the ocean in general. Lazarus, his sisters, and some of his friends,
were thrown into prison, tried, and condemned."

"And stoned or crucified," added Jack.

"No; the high priest of the temple had a great variety of punishments
on hand besides these. He resolved to expose them to the mercy of the
waves, without provisions, and without a mast, sail, or rudder."

"Thank goodness, we are not so badly off as that."

"_He_, for whom Lazarus suffered, and who is the same that nourishes
the birds of the air and feeds the beasts of the field; watched over
the forlorn craft; under his guidance, the little colony of martyrs
were wafted in safety to the fertile coasts of Provence. They landed,
according to the tradition, at Marseilles, of whom Lazarus was the
first bishop, and has always been the patron saint. Who knows?--the
same good fortune may perhaps await us."

"We are not martyrs."

"True; but Providence does not always measure its favors by the merits
of those upon whom they are bestowed--misfortune, alone, is often a
sufficient claim; so it is well for us to be patient under a little
suffering, for sweet often is the reward."

"A little hardship, now and then," added Jack, "is, no doubt,
salutary. The Italians say: '_Le avversità sono per l'animo cio ch' è
un temporale per l'aria_.' Suffering teaches us to prize health and
happiness; were there no such things as pain and grief, we should be
apt to regard these blessings as valueless, and to estimate them as
our legitimate rights. For my own part, I was never so happy in my
whole life as when I embraced you the other day, after escaping out of
the clutches of the savages."

"There are many charms in life that are almost without alloy: the
perfume of flowers--music--the singing of birds--the riches of
art--the intercourse of society--the delights of the family
circle--the treasures of imagination and memory. Some of the most
beneficent gifts of Nature we only know the existence of when we are
deprived of them; occasional darkness alone enables us to appreciate
the unspeakable blessing of light. Man has a multitude of enjoyments
at his command; but so many sweets would be utterly insipid without a
few bitters."

"The rheumatism, for example," said Willis, rubbing his shoulders.

"Many enjoyments," continued Fritz, "spring from the heart alone; the
affections, benevolence, love of order, a sense of the beautiful, of
truth, of honesty, and of justice."

"On the other hand," said Willis, "there are dishonesty, injustice,
disappointment, and blighted hopes; but you are too young to know much
about these. When you have seen as much of the world on sea and on
land as I have, perhaps you will be disposed to look at life from
another point of view. In old stagers like myself, the tender emotions
are all used up; it is only when we are amongst you youngsters that we
forget the present in the past; when we see you struggling with
difficulties, it recalls our own trials to our mind, rouses in us
sentiments of commiseration, and softens the asperities of our years."

"According to you, then," said Fritz, levelling his rifle at a petrel,
"the misfortunes of the one constitute the happiness of the other?"

"Unquestionably," said Jack; "for instance, if you miss that bird, so
much the worse for you, and so much the better for the petrel."

"It is very rarely, brother, that you do not interrupt a serious
conversation with some nonsense."

"Keep your temper, Fritz; I am about to propose a serious question
myself. How is it that the petrel you are aiming at does not come and
perch itself quietly on the barrel of your rifle?"

"Jack, Jack, you are incorrigible."

"Did you ever see a hare or a pheasant come and stare you in the face
when you were going to shoot it?"

"Stunsails and tops!" cried Willis, "if I do not see something
stranger than that staring us in the face."

"The sea-serpent, perhaps," said Jack.

"I thought it was a sea-bird at first," said Willis, "but they do not
increase in size the longer you look at them."

"They naturally appear to increase as they approach," observed Fritz.

"Yes, but the increase must have a limit, and I never saw a bird with
such singular upper-works before. Just take a cast of the glass
yourself, Master Fritz."

"Halls of Æolus!" cried Fritz, "these wings are sails."

"So I thought!" exclaimed Willis, throwing his sou'-wester into the
air, and uttering a loud hurrah.

"If it is the _Nelson_" said Jack, "it would be a singular encounter."

"_The Nelson_!" sighed Willis, "in the latitude of Hawai; no, that is
impossible."

"She is bearing down upon us," said Fritz.

"Just let me see a moment whether I can make out her figure-head,"
said Willis. "Aye, aye!"

"Can you make it out?"

"No; but, from the sheer of the hull, I think the ship is British
built."

"Thank God!" exclaimed both the young men.

"Yes, you may say 'Thank God;' but, if it turns out to be a
man-of-war, I must report myself on board, and I doubt whether my
story will go down with the captain."

"But if it is the _Nelson_?" insisted Jack.

"Aye, aye; the _Nelson_," replied Willis, "is not going to turn up
here to oblige us, you may take my word for that."

"I have better eyes than you, Willis; just let me see if I can make
her out. No, impossible; nothing but the hull and sails."

"It is just possible," persisted Jack, "that the _Nelson_ may have
been detained at the Cape, and afterwards blown out of her course like
ourselves."

"All I can say is," replied Willis, "that if Captain Littlestone be on
board that ship, it will make me the happiest man that ever mixed a
ration of grog. But these things only turn up in novels, so it is no
use talking."

"She has hoisted a flag at the mizzen," cried Fritz.

"Can you make it out?"

"Well, let me see--yes, it must be so."

"What, the Union Jack?" cried Willis.

"No, a red ground striped with blue."

"The United States, as I am a sinner!" cried Willis. "Well, it might
have been worse. We can go to America; there are surgeons there as
well as in Europe--at all events, we can get a ship there for England.
But let me see, we must hoist a bit of bunting; unfortunately, we have
only British colors aboard, and I am afraid they are not in
particularly high favor with our Yankee cousins just now."

"Never mind a flag," said Fritz.

"Oh, that will never do, they have hoisted a flag and are waiting a
reply. But let me see," added Willis, rummaging amongst some stores,
"here is one of our Shark's Island signals--that, I think, will puzzle
the Yankee considerably."

The Pilot's signal was answered by a gun, the report of which rang
through the air. The strange ship's sails were thrown back and she
stood still. A boat then put off with a young man in uniform and six
rowers on board.

"Pinnace ahoy!" cried the officer through a speaking trumpet, "who are
you?"

"Shipwrecked mariners," cried Fritz, in reply.

"What is the name of your craft?"

"The _Mary_."

"What country?"

"Switzerland."

"I was not aware that Switzerland was a naval power," observed Willis.

"She has no sea-port," said Jack, "but she has a fleet--of row boats."

"Where do you hail from?" inquired the officer.

"New Switzerland."

"That gentleman is very curious," observed Jack.

Here a silence of some minutes ensued; the officer seemed at fault in
his geography.

"Where away?" at last resounded from the trumpet.

"Bound for Europe," replied Fritz.

This reply elicited an expression of doubt, accompanied with such a
tremendous exjurgation as made both Fritz and Jack almost shrink into
the hold.

A few minutes after the Yankee in command stepped on board, and
explanations were entered into that perfectly satisfied the republican
officer. He continued, however, to eye Willis curiously.

The _Hoboken_, for that was the name of the strange ship, was an
American cruiser, carrying twelve ship guns and a long paixhan. She
was attached to the Chinese station, but had recently obtained
information that war had been declared between England and the States.
She was now making her way to the west by a circuitous route to avoid
the British squadron, and, at the same time, with a view to pick up an
English merchantman or two.

Fritz and Jack being citizens of a sister republic, and subjects of a
neutral power, were received on board with a hearty welcome, and with
the hospitality due to their interesting position. Willis also
received some attention, and was treated with all the courtesy that
could be shown to the native of an enemy's country.

The pinnace was taken in tow till the young men made up their minds as
to the course they would adopt. A free passage to the States was
kindly offered to them, and even pressed upon their acceptance; but
the captain left the matter entirely to their own option.

Fritz and Jack were delighted with the warmth of their reception; and,
after being so long cooped up in the narrow quarters of the pinnace,
looked upon the Yankee cruiser, with its men and officers in uniform,
as a sort of floating palace. The _Nelson_ having been only a
despatch-boat, it had given them but an indifferent idea of a
man-of-war. On board the Yankee every thing was kept in apple-pie
order. Discipline was maintained with martinet strictness. The
fittings shone like a mirror. The brass cappings glistened in the sun.
Complicated rolls of cable were profusely scattered about, but without
confusion. The deck always seemed as fresh as if it had been planked
the day before. The sails overhead seemed to obey the word of command
of their own accord. The boatswain's whistle seemed to act upon the
men like electricity. The seamen's cabins, six feet long by six feet
broad, in which a hammock, locker, and lashing apparatus were
conveniently stowed, were something very different from the
accommodation on board the pinnace. These things were regarded by
Fritz and Jack with great interest; and nowhere is the genius of man
so brilliantly displayed as on board a well-appointed ship of war.

The young men, however, when they sat down to dinner in the captain's
cabin, and beheld a long table flanked with cushioned seats, commanded
at each end by arm-chairs, the side-board plentifully garnished with
plate and crystal of various kinds, fastened with copper nails to
prevent damage from the ship's pitching, they did not reflect that
they were in the crater of a volcano, and that two paces from where
they sat there was powder enough to blow the ship and all its crew up
into the air.

They were likewise highly amused by the perpetual "guessing,"
"calculating," "reckoning," and inexhaustible curiosity of the crew;
but their admiration of the ship, her guns, her stores, and her
tackle, were boundless; they felt that their pinnace was a mere toy in
comparison. The urbanity of the officers also was a source of much
gratification to them; Jack even declared that all the civilization of
Europe had been shipped on board the _Hoboken_, and in so far as that
was concerned, they had no occasion to go on much further.

The object of this expedition, however, was a surgeon. There was one
on board. Would he go to New Switzerland? Jack determined to try, and
accordingly he walked straight off to the personage in question.

"Doctor," said he, "would you do myself and my brother a great favor?"

"Certainly; and, if it is in my power, you may consider it done."

"Well, will you embark with us for New Switzerland?"

"For what purpose, my friend?"

"My mother is laboring under a malady, which there is every reason to
fear is cancer."

"And suppose a fever was to break out in this ship whilst I am
absent, what do you imagine is to become of the officers and crew?"

"There are no symptoms of disease on board; but my mother is dying."

"You forget, young man, that disease may make its appearance at any
moment. There are many sons on board whose lives are as dear to their
mothers as your mother's is to you, and for every one of these lives I
am officially accountable."

Jack hung down his head and was silent.

"No, my good friend, it is impossible for me to grant such a request;
but, from what I know of your history, and the means at your command,
you may be able to obtain the services of a competent medical man. I
would, therefore, recommend you to abandon your boat, and proceed with
us to our destination."

After a lengthy consultation, the two brothers and Willis determined
to adopt this course. The cargo of the pinnace was accordingly
transferred to the hold of the _Hoboken_. A short summary of their
history was written, corked up in a bottle, and fastened to the mast
of the _Mary_, which was then cut adrift. A tear gathered on the
cheeks of the young men as they saw their old friend in adversity
dropping slowly behind, and they did not withdraw their eyes from it
till every vestige of its hull was lost in the shadows of the waters.

As Fritz and Jack were thus engaged in gazing listlessly on the ocean,
and reflecting upon their altered prospects, and perhaps trying to
penetrate the veil of the future, Willis came towards them rubbing his
breast, as if he had been seized with a violent internal spasm.

"Hilloa," cried Jack, "the Pilot is sea-sick! Shall I run for some
brandy, Willis?"

"No, stop a bit; we were in hopes of falling in with Captain
Littlestone, were we not?"

"Yes; but what then?"

"We were disappointed, were we not?"

"Yes. That has not made you ill, has it?"

"No; somebody else has turned up; there is one of the _Nelson's_ crew
on board this ship."

"One of the _Nelson's_ crew?"

"Aye, and if you only knew how my heart beat when I saw him."

"I can easily conceive your feelings," said Jack, "for my own heart
has almost leaped into my mouth."

"And I am thunderstruck," added Fritz.

"I went towards my old friend," continued Willis, "with tears in my
eyes, threw my arms round him, and gave him a hearty but affectionate
hug."

"And what did he say?"

"Nothing, at first; but, as soon as I left his arms at liberty, he
gave me such a punch in the ribs as almost doubled me in two; it was
enough to knock the in'ards out of a rhinoceros--ugh!"

"A blow in earnest?" exclaimed Fritz in astonishment.

"Yes; there was no mistake about it; it was a real, good, earnest John
Bull knock-down thump; it put me in mind of Portsmouth on a pay
day--ugh!"

"Extremely touching," said Jack, smiling.

"Then, when I called him by his name Bill Stubbs, and asked what had
become of the sloop, he said that he knew nothing at all about the
sloop, and swore that he had never set his eyes on my figure-head
before, the varmint--ugh!"

"Odd," remarked Jack.

"Are you sure of your man?" inquired Fritz.

"But you say his name is Bill, whilst he declares his name is Bob."

"Aye, he has evidently been up to some mischief, and changed his
ticket."

"Then what conclusion do you draw from the affair."

"I am completely bewildered, and scarcely know what to think; perhaps
the crew has mutinied, and turned Captain Littlestone adrift on a
desert island. That is sometimes done. Perhaps--"

"It is no use perhapsing those sort of melancholy things," said Fritz;
"we may as well suppose, for the present, that Captain Littlestone is
safe, and that your friend has been put on shore for some
misdemeanour."

"May be, may be, Master Fritz; and I hope and trust it is so. But to
have an old comrade amongst us, who could give us all the information
we want, and yet not to be able to get a single thing out of him--"

"Except a punch in the ribs," suggested Jack.

"Exactly; and a punch that will not let me forget the lubber in a
hurry," added Willis, clenching his fist; "but I intend, in the
meantime, to keep my weather eye open."

A few weeks after this episode the _Hoboken_ was slowly wending her
way along the bights of the Bahamas. Fritz, Jack, and Willis were
walking and chatting on the quarter-deck. The sky was of a deep azure.
The sea was covered with herbs and flowers as far as the eye could
reach--sometimes in compact masses of several miles in extent, and at
other times in long straight ribbons, as regular as if they had been
spread by some West Indian Le Notre. The ship seemed merely displaying
her graces in the sunshine, so gentle was she moving in the water. The
air was laden with perfumes, and a soft dreamy languor stole over the
friends, which they were trying in vain to shake off. In one direction
rose the misty heights of St. Domingo, and in another the cloud-capped
summits of Cuba. Sometimes the highest peaks of the latter pierced the
veil that enveloped them, and seemed like islands floating in the sky,
or heads of a race of giants.

"The air here is almost as balmy and fragrant as that of New
Switzerland," remarked Fritz.

"Aye, aye," said the Pilot; "but it is not all gold that glitters: in
these sweet smells a nasty fever is concealed, with which I have no
wish to renew my acquaintance."

"By the way, talking about acquaintances, Willis, have you obtained
any further intelligence from your friend Bill, _alias_ Bob?" inquired
Jack.

"No, not a syllable; the viper is as cunning as a fox, and keeps his
mouth as close as a mouse-trap."

"He seems as obstinate as a mule, and as obdurate as a Chinaman into
the bargain."

"All that, and more than that; but," added Willis, "I have found out
from the mate that he was pressed on board this ship at New Orleans."

"Pressed on board?" said Fritz, inquiringly.

"Yes; that is a mode of recruiting for the navy peculiar to England
and the United States. Would you like to hear something about how the
system is carried out?"

"Yes, Willis, very much."

"The transactions, however, that I shall have to relate are in no way
creditable, either to myself or anybody else connected with them; and
I am afraid, when you hear the particulars, you will be ready to turn
round and say, your friend the Pilot is no good after all."

"Have you, then, been desperately wicked, Willis?"

"Well, that depends entirely upon the view you take of what I am to
tell you. Listen."

FOOTNOTES:

[H] Sometimes called the _Ladrones_ or _Archipelago of Saint Lazarus_.



CHAPTER XXIII.

IN WHICH WILLIS SHOWS, THAT THE TERM PRESS-GANG MEANS SOMETHING ELSE
BESIDES THE GENTLEMEN OF THE PRESS.


"When I was a youngster, about a year or two older than you are now,
Master Fritz, I slipped on board the brig _Norfolk_ as boatswain's
mate. The ship at the time was short of hands, so there was no
immediate probability of her weighing anchor; but on the same day I
scratched my name on the books a despatch arrived, in consequence of
which we left the harbor, and proceeded out to sea under sealed
orders. One day, when off the Irish coast, I was called aft by the
first lieutenant.

"'You know something of Cork, my man, I believe?' said he.

"'Yes, your honor, I have been ashore there once or twice,' said I.

"'Very good,' said he; 'get ready to go ashore there again as quick as
you like.'

"Leave to go on shore is always agreeable to a sailor. He prefers the
sea, but likes to stretch himself on land now and then, just to enjoy
a change of air, and look about him a bit; so it was with all possible
expedition that I made the requisite preparations.

"When I reappeared, I found a party of twenty men mustered on deck in
pipe-clay order. A full ration of small arms was served out to them,
and, under the command of the lieutenant, we embarked in the long-boat
and rowed ashore. We landed at a point of the coast some miles distant
from Cork, and it was dark before we reached the military barracks of
that town, which, for the present, appeared to be our destination.

"I had not the slightest idea of what we were to do on shore. From our
being so heavily armed, I knew it was no mere escort or parade duty
that was in question, and began to think there was work of some kind
on hand. This gave me no kind of uneasiness. I only wondered whatever
it could be, for there was clearly a mystery of some kind or other.
Were we going to besiege Paddy, in his own peaceable city of Cork? Had
some of the peep-o'-day boys been burning down farmer Magrath's ricks
again? or was there a private still to be routed out and demolished? I
could not tell.

"Half an hour after our arrival, I was called into a private room by
the lieutenant, who was seated at a table with a package of clothes
beside him. The first lieutenant of the _Norfolk_, I must remark, was
a bit of an original. He had won his way up to the rank he then held
from before the mast. His build was rather squat, and his face was
garnished with a pair of fiery red whiskers, so he was no beauty,
added to which he was reckoned one of the most rigid martinets in the
service; yet, for all that, his crew liked him, for they knew his
heart was in the right place.

"'See, my man,' said he, 'take this package, and rig yourself out in
the toggery it contains.'

"I obeyed this order, and soon after stood before him, in a pair of
jack-boots, with a slouching sort of tarpauling hat on my head, so
that I might either have passed for a manner out of luck or a dustman.

"'Well,' said the lieutenant, laughing, 'now you have quite the air of
the hulks about you.'

"This remark not being very complimentary, I did not feel called upon
to make any reply.

"'You know,' he continued, 'that the brig is short about a dozen
hands, and I want you to pick up a few likely lads here. I understand
there are a number of able-bodied seamen skulking about the
public-houses, where they will likely remain as long as their money
lasts. I should like to secure as many of them as possible, and then
capture a few stout landsmen to make up the number; but, in the first
place, I want you to go and find out the best place to make a razzia.'

"I stared when I found myself all at once promoted to the post of
pioneer for a party of kidnappers, and muttered something or other
about honor.

"'Honor, sir!' roared the lieutenant, 'what has honor to do with it,
sir? It is duty, sir. It is the laws of the service, sir, and you must
obey them, sir.'

"'But it is hard, your honor,' said I, 'that the laws of the service
should force men to do what they think is wrong.'

"'And what right, sir, have you to think it is wrong, or to judge the
acts of your superiors? If the laws of the service order you fifty
lashes at the yard-arm to-morrow, you will find that you will get
them. Do you want to be handed over to the drummer, and to cultivate
an acquaintance with the cat?'

"'No, your honor,' said I, laughing.

"The lieutenant's face by this time was as red as his whiskers, and,
though he was in a towering rage, he quickly calmed down again, like
boiling milk when it is taken off the fire.

"'Then,' said he, quietly, 'am I to understand you refuse?'

"'No, your honor,' said I. 'If it is my duty, I must obey; but you
will pardon the liberty, when I say that it is hard to be forced to
drag away a lot of poor fellows against their wills.'

"'Look ye,' replied the lieutenant, 'I tolerate your freedom of speech
for two reasons--the first, because we are here alone, and no harm is
done; the second, because I entertain the same opinion myself; but,
mind you, we are both bound by the regulations of the service, and it
is mutiny for either of us to disobey.'

"According to the moral law, the mission with which I was charged
could scarcely be considered honorable; but, according to the laws of
the land, or rather of the sea, it was perfectly unexceptionable.
Amongst the seamen, a foray amongst the landlubbers was regarded more
in the light of a spree than anything else. If, indeed, it were
possible to pick up the lazy and idle amongst the population, this
mode of enlistment might be useful; but often the industrious head of
a family was seized, whilst the idle escaped. It was rare, however,
that a ship's crew were employed in this sort of duty; men were more
usually obtained through the crimps on shore, who often fearfully
abused the authority with which they were invested for the purpose. As
for myself, the lieutenant's arguments removed all my scruples, if I
ever had any.

"I then suggested a plan of operations, which was approved. The men
were to be kept ready for action, and the lieutenant himself was to
await my report at the 'Green Dragon,' one of the hotels in the town.

"At that time there was in the outskirts of Cork a sort of tavern and
lodging-house, called the 'Molly Bawn.' This establishment was
frequented by the lowest class of seamen and 'tramps.' Thither I
wended my way. It was late when I arrived in front of the place; and
whilst hesitating whether I should venture into such a precious
menagerie, I happened to look round, and, by the light of a dim lamp
that burned at the corner of the street, I caught a glimpse of the
lieutenant leaning against the wall, quietly smoking an Irish dudeen."

"Like Rono the Great in the island of Hawai," suggested Jack.

"Something. This, however, cut short my deliberations. I walked in.
There was a crowd of men and women drinking and smoking about the bar.
These, however, were not the people I sought. The regular tenants of
the house were not amongst that lot, and it was essential for me to
find out in what part of the premises they were stowed. I commenced
proceedings by ordering a noggin of whisky, and making love to the
damsel that brought it in. After having formally made her an offer of
marriage, I asked after the landlord. She told me he was engaged with
some customers, but offered to take a message to him.

"'Then,' said I, 'just tell him that a friend of One-eyed Dick's would
like to have a parley with him.'"

"And who was One-eyed Dick?" inquired Fritz.

"One of the crew of a piratical craft captured by one of our cruisers
a few months before, and who at that time was safely lodged in
Portsmouth jail.

"The girl soon returned. She told me to walk with her, and led me
through some narrow passages into what appeared to be another house.
She knocked at a door that was strongly barred and fastened inside. A
slight glance at these precautions made me aware that there was no
chance of making a capture here without creating a great disturbance.
So, after reflecting an instant, I decided upon adopting some other
course.

"When the door was opened I could see nothing distinctly; there was a
turf-fire throwing a red glare out of the chimney, a dim oil-lamp hung
from the roof, but everything was hidden in a dense cloud of tobacco
smoke, through which the light was not sufficiently powerful to
penetrate."

"The atmosphere must have been stifling," observed Fritz.

"Yes, it puts me in mind of your remark about the air, which, you
said, consists of--let me see--"

"Oxygen and hydrogen."

"Just so; but the air a sailor breathes when he is at home consists
almost entirely of tobacco smoke. At last, I could make out twenty or
thirty rough-looking fellows seated on each side of a long deal table
covered with bottles, glasses, and pipes. Dan Hooligan, the landlord,
sat at the top--a fit president for such an assembly. He was partly a
smuggler, partly a publican, and wholly a sinner. I should say that
the liquor consumed at that table did not much good to the revenue.
How Dan contrived to escape the laws, was a mystery perhaps best known
to the police."

"So you are a pal of One-eyed Dick's, are you?' said he.

"'Rather,' said I, adopting the slang of the place.

"'Well,' said he, 'Dick has been a good customer of mine, and all his
pals are welcome at the 'Molly.' I have not seen him lately,
however--how goes it with him now?'

"'Right as a trivet,' said I, 'and making lots of rhino.'

"'Glad to hear it; and what latitude does he hail in now?'

"'That,' said I, 'is private and confidential.'

"'Oh,' said he, 'there are no outsiders here, we are all sworn friends
of Dick's, every mother's son of us.'

"'Then,' said I, 'Dick is off the Cove in the schooner _Nancy_, of
Brest,'"

"Holloa, Willis," cried Jack, "there was a fib!"

"Well, I told you to look out for something of that sort when I
began."

"'What!' cried the landlord, 'Dick in a schooner off the Irish coast?'

"'Yes,' said I; 'and aboard that schooner there is as tight a cargo of
brandy and tobacco as ever you set eyes upon.'

"Here the landlord pricked up his ears, and the rest of the company
began to listen attentively. The fellow that sat next me coolly told
me that both he and Dick had been lagged for horse-stealing, and had
subsequently broken out of prison and escaped. He further told me that
most of the gentlemen present had been all, one way or another, mixed
up with Dick's doings; from which I concluded they were a rare parcel
of scamps, and resolved, within myself, to try and bag the whole
squad. They were all stout fellows enough, most of them seamen. I
thought they might be able to 'do the State some service,' and
determined to convert them into honest men, if I could.'

"'Dick cannot come ashore,' said I; 'some one of his old pals here has
peached, and there is a warrant out against him.'

"This information threw the assembly into a state of violent
commotion. They rose up, and swore terrible vengeance against the head
of the unfortunate culprit when they caught him. The oaths rather
alarmed me at first, for they were of a most ferocious stamp.

"'Yes,' continued I, 'Dick is aboard the schooner, but, as there are
two or three warrants out against him, he does not care about coming
ashore; so said he to me, 'We want a lugger and a few hands to run the
cargo ashore; and if you look in at the 'Molly,' and see my old pal,
Dan, perhaps you will find some lads there willing to give us a turn.
The captain said, if the thing was done clean off, he would stand
something handsome."

"'Just the thing for us!' shouted half a dozen voices.

"'But the lugger?' said I.

"'Oh, Phil Doolan, at the Cove, has a craft that has landed as many
cargoes as there are planks in her hull. Besides, he has stowage for a
fleet of East Indiamen.'

"'Well, gentlemen," said I, 'the chaplain, One-eyed Dick, and myself,
will be at Phil Doolan's to-morrow at midnight; do you agree to meet
us there?'

"This question was answered by a universal 'Yes;' and by way of
clenching the affair, I ordered a couple of gallons of the stiffest
potheen in the house. This was received with three cheers, and before
I left the 'Molly' every man-jack of them had disappeared under the
table. Dan himself, however, kept tolerably sober, and promised, on
account of his friendship for One-eyed Dick, to have the whole kit
safe at Phil Doolan's by twelve o'clock next night, and with this
assurance I made my exit from the premises, and steered for the
'George and Dragon.'

"The lieutenant agreed with me in thinking that it would cause too
much uproar to attack the 'Molly Bawn.' He congratulated me on my
success in laying a trap for the people, and promising to meet me at
the Cove, he ordered a car, and drove off in the direction of the
_Norfolk's_ boat. Early next morning I started to reconnoitre the
ground and organize my plan of operations. I found Phil Doolan's
mansion to be a mud-built tenement, larger, and standing apart from,
the houses that then constituted the village. It was ostensibly a
sailor's lodging-house and tavern for wayfarers, but, like the 'Molly
Bawn,' was in reality a rendezvous of smugglers, occasionally
patronized by fugitive poachers and patriots. It was known to its
familiars as 'The Crib,' but was registered by the authorities as the
'Father Mahony,' who was represented on the sign-post by a full-length
portrait of James the Second. What gave me most satisfaction was to
observe that the building was conveniently situated for a sack.

[Illustration]

"When night set in I marched the _Norfolk's_ men in close order,
and as secretly as possible, to the Cove. Approaching Phil Doolan's in
one direction, I could just catch a glimpse of the red coats of a file
of marines advancing in another, with the lieutenant at their head,
and, exactly as twelve o'clock struck on the parish clock, the 'Father
Mahony' was surrounded on all sides by armed men. Two or three
lanterns were now lit, and dispositions made to close up every avenue
of escape."

"'There he is!' cried Willis, interrupting himself, and staring into
the air.

"Who?" inquired Jack--"Phil Doolan?"

"No--Bill Stubbs, late of the _Nelson_."

"Where?"

"That squat, broad-shouldered man there, bracing the maintops."

"Yes, now that you point him out, I think I have seen him before,"
said Fritz.

"Holloa, Bill," cried Jack.

"You see," said Willis, "he turned his head."

"How d'ye do, Bill?" added Jack.

"Are you speak'ng to me, sir?" inquired the sailor.

"Yes, Bill."

"Then was your honor present when I was christened? I appear to have
forgotten my name for the last six-and thirty years."

"No use, you see," said Willis; "he is too old a bird to be caught by
any of these dodges. But I have lost the thread of my discourse."

"You had surrounded the cabin, and were lighting lamps."

"Half a dozen men were stationed at the door, pistol in hand, ready to
rush in as soon as it opened. The lieutenant and I went forward and
knocked, but no one answered. We knocked again, louder than before,
but still no answer.

"'Open the door, in the King's name!' thundered the lieutenant.
Silence, as before.

"Calling to the marines, he ordered them to root up Phil Doolan's
sign-post, and use it as a battering ram against the door. The first
blow of this machine nearly brought the house down, and a cracked
voice was heard calling on the saints inside.

"'Blessed St. Patrick!' croaked the voice, 'whativer are ye kicking up
such a shindy out there for? Whativer d'ye want wid an old woman, and
niver a livin' sowl in the house 'cept meself and Kathleen in her
coffin?'

"'Kathleen is dead, then?' said the lieutenant with a grin.

"'Save yer honor's presence, she's off to glory, an' as dead as a
herrin,' replied the voice.

"'Really!' said the lieutenant, 'and where is Phil Doolan?'

"'Och, yer honor? he's gone to get some potheen for the wake.'

"'Well,' said the lieutenant, 'I should like to take a share in waking
the defunct--what's her name?'

"'Kathleen, yer honor.'

"'Well, just let us in to take a last look at the worthy creature.'

"The door then creaked on its rusty hinges, and we entered. Not a
soul, however, was to be seen anywhere, save and except the old woman
herself. The coffin containing the remains of Kathleen, resting on two
stools, stood in the middle of the floor, with a plate of salt as
usual on the lid. I fairly thought I had been done, and looked upon
myself as the laughing stock of the entire fleet."

"So far," remarked Jack, "your story has been all right, but the last
episode was rather negligently handled."

"How?" inquired Willis.

"Why, you did not make enough of the coffin scene; your description is
too meagre. You should have said, that the wind blew without in fierce
gusts, the weathercocks screeched on the roofs, and caused you to
dread that the ghost of the defunct was coming down the chimney; large
flakes of snow were rushing through the half-open door; a solitary
rushlight dimly lit up the chamber, and cast frightful shadows upon
the wall."

"Well; but the night was fine, and there was not a breath of wind."

"What about that? A little wind, more or less, a weathercock or so,
some drops of rain, or a few flakes of snow, do not materially detract
from the truth, whilst they heighten the color of the picture."

"And if some lightning tearing through the clouds were added?"

"Yes, that would most undoubtedly increase the effect; but go on with
your story."

"I knew Phil to be an artful dodger, and was determined not to be
foiled by a mere trick, so I laid hold of a lantern and closely
examined the walls and flooring. My investigation was successful, for
just under the coffin I detected traces of a trap-door."

"'Well, my good woman, what have you got down there?" inquired the
lieutenant.

"'Is it underground, ye mane, yer honor? divil a hail's there, if it
isn't the rats.'

"'Well, just remove the coffin a little aside; we shall see if we
cannot pepper some of the rats for you.'

"Here the old woman appealed to a vast number of saints, and protested
against Kathleen's remains being disturbed. The lieutenant, however,
grew tired of this farce, and ordered the coffin to be shifted. A
sailor accordingly laid hold of each end.

"'Blazes!' said one, 'here is a body that weighs.'

"'Perhaps,' said the other, 'the coffin is lined with lead.'

"The trap-door was drawn up, and the lieutenant, pistol in hand,
descended alone.

"'Now, my lads,' said he, addressing some invisible personages, 'we
know you are here, and I call upon you to yield in the King's
name--resistance is useless, the house is surrounded, and we are in
force, so you had better give in without more ado.'

"No answer was returned to this exordium; but we heard the murmuring
of muffled voices, as if the rapscallions were deliberating. I now
descended with my lamp, followed by some of the seamen, and beheld my
friends of the night before either stretched on the ground or propped
up against the walls, like a lot of mummies in an Egyptian tomb.

"They were handcuffed one by one, pushed or hauled up the stairs, and
then tied to one another in a line. When we had secured the whole lot
of them in this way--

"'Lieutenant,' said I, winking, 'will you permit me to send a ball
into that coffin?'

"'Please yourself about that, young man,' said he.

"Here the old woman recommenced howling again and called upon all the
saints in the calendar to punish us for my sacrilegious design.

"'Shoot a dead body,' said I, 'where's the harm?' Besides, what is
that salt there for?'

"'To keep away evil spirits,' was the reply.

"'Very well,' said I, 'my pistol will scare them away as well.' Then,
cocking it with a loud clink, I presented it slowly at the coffin."

"The lid all at once flew off--the salt-was thrown on the ground with
a crash--the defunct suddenly returned from the other world in perfect
health, and sat half upright in his bier. I did not recognize the
individual at first, but, on closer inspection, found him to be my
communicative companion of the preceding night--the horse-stealer of
the 'Molly Bawn;' and, being a stout young fellow, he was harnessed to
the others, and we commenced our march to the boats."

"You do not appear to have had much trouble in effecting the capture,"
remarked Fritz.

"No; the men were unarmed, and were nearly all intoxicated. You never
saw such a troop; scarcely one of them could walk straight; they
assumed all sorts of figures; the file of prisoners was just like a
bar of music, it was a string of quavers, crotchets, and zig-zags.
Luckily, it was late at night, else we might have had the village
about our ears, and, instead of flakes of snow and screeching
weathercocks, we might have had a shower of dead cats and rotten eggs.
Probably a rescue might have been attempted; at all events, we might
have calculated on a volley of brickbats on our way to the boats.
There would have been no end of commotion, uproar, confusion, and
hubbub, possibly smashed noses, blackened eyes, broken beads--"

"Holloa, Willis!"

"You said just now that a little colouring was necessary."

"Certainly; but the privilege ought not to be abused. Besides, broken
heads and smashed faces are the realities, and not the accessories of
the picture."

"Oh, I see. If it is night, the moon should be introduced; and if it
is day, the sun--and so on?"

"Of course; and, if the circumstances are of a pleasing nature, you
must leave horrors and terrors on your pallette; change gusts into
zephyrs, snow into roses and violets, and the weathercocks into golden
vanes glittering in the sunshine."

"I understand."

"You want to color a popular outbreak, do you not?"

"Yes."

"Then you should introduce a tempest howling, the waves roaring, the
lightning flashing, and discord raging in the air as well as on the
earth."

"Well, to continue my story. Although it was midnight, the disturbance
began to wake up the villagers, and a crowd was collecting, so we
hurried off our prisoners to the boats as speedily as we could. Some
five and twenty able bodied men were thus added to his Majesty's
fleet. The object of our visit to the Irish coast was accomplished,
and the _Norfolk_ continued her voyage to the West Indies. Now you
know what is meant by the word _pressed_, and likewise the nautical
signification of the word _press-gang_."

"And you say that Bill Stubbs has been trapped on board this ship by
such means?"

"Yes, at New Orleans."

"According to your story, then, that does not say very much in his
favor?"

"No, not a great deal; still, that proves nothing--the fact of his
calling himself Bob is a worse feature. A man does not generally
change his name without having good, or rather bad, reasons for it."

"What appears to me," remarked Fritz, "as the most singular feature of
your press-gang adventure is, that you are alive to tell it."

"Why so?"

"Because I think it ought to end thus: 'The victims of the press-gang
strangled Willis a few days after,'"

"Aye, aye, but you do not know what a sailor is; our recruits had not
been a fortnight at sea before they entirely forgot the trick I had
played them."

Just as Willis concluded his narrative, the man at the mast-head
called out, "Sail ho!"

"Where away?" bawled the captain.

"Right a-head," replied the voice.

The _Hoboken_ had hitherto pursued her voyage uninterruptedly, and the
Yankee captain now prepared to signalize himself by a capture.



CHAPTER XXIV.

A SEA FIGHT--ANOTHER IDEA OF THE PILOT'S--THE BOUDEUSE.


The captain of the _Hoboken_ was rather pleased than otherwise when
the look-out reported the strange sail to show English colors. He
looked rather glum, however, half an hour afterwards, when the same
voice bawled that she was a bull-dog looking craft, schooner-rigged,
and pierced for sixteen guns. The Yankee had hoped to fall in with a
fat West Indiaman, instead of which he had now to deal with a
man-of-war, carrying, perhaps, a larger weight of metal than himself.

The heads of the two ships were standing in towards each other, there
was no wind to speak of, but every hour lessened the distance that
separated the antagonists.

"Pilot," said the captain, addressing Willis, "be kind enough to let
me know what you think of that craft."

"I think," said Willis, taking the telescope, "I have had my eyes on
her before. Aye, aye, just as I thought. An old tub of a Spaniard
converted into an English cruiser, and commanded by Commodore
Truncheon, I shouldn't wonder. She has caught a Tartar this time,
however. Nothing of a sailer. If a breeze springs up, you may easily
give her the slip, if you like, captain."

"Give her the slip! No, not if I can help it. My cruise hitherto has
not been very successful, and I must send her into New York as a
prize. Mr. Brill," added he, addressing the officer next in command,
"prepare for action."

In an instant all was commotion and bustle on deck. Half an hour
after, the captain, now in full uniform, took a hasty glance at the
position of his crew. A portion of the men were stationed at the guns,
with lighted matches. Others were engaged in heating shot, and
preparing other instruments of destruction. Jack and Fritz, armed with
muskets, were ready to act as sharp-shooters as soon as the enemy came
within range, and Willis was standing beside them, with his hands in
his pockets, quietly smoking his pipe.

"What, Pilot!" exclaimed the captain in passing, "don't you intend to
take part in the skirmish?"

"I am much your debtor, captain, but I cannot do that."

"And these young men?"

"They are not Englishmen, and your kindness to them entitles you to
claim their assistance. I am sorry that honor and duty prevent me
giving you mine."

"No matter, captain," said Fritz, "my brother and myself will do duty
for three."

"Then, Pilot, you had better go below."

"With your permission, captain, I would rather stay and look on."

"But what is the use of exposing yourself here?"

"It is an idea of mine, captain. But I shall remain perfectly neutral
during the engagement."

"As you like then, Pilot, as you like," said the captain, as he
resumed his place on the quarter-deck.

At this moment a cannon ball whistled through the air.

"Good," said Willis; "the commodore gives the signal."

"That shot," observed Jack, "passed at no great distance from your
head, Willis. You had better take a musket in self-defence. Besides,
that ship is English, and you are a Scotchman."

"The ship is a Spaniard by birth," replied Willis, "and it is pretty
well time it was converted into firewood, for the matter of that. But
it is the flag, my boy--_that_ is neither Spanish nor English."

"What is it, then?" inquired Fritz.

"It is the union-jack, Master Fritz. It is the ensign of Scotland,
England, and Ireland united under one bonnet; and as such, it is as
sacred in my eyes as if it bore the cross of St. Andrew."

Musket balls were now rattling pretty freely amongst the shrouds. The
young men levelled their muskets and fired.

Soon after, the two ships were abreast of each other, and almost at
the same instant both discharged a deadly broadside. The conflict
became general. The crashing of the woodwork and the roaring of the
guns was deafening. A thick smoke enveloped the two vessels, so that
nothing could be seen of the one from the other; still the firing and
crashing went on. The sails were torn to shreds, the deck was
encumbered with fragments of timber; men were now and then falling,
either killed or wounded, and a fatigue party was constantly engaged
in removing the bodies. There are people who consider such a spectacle
magnificent; but that is only because they have never witnessed its
horrors.

Already many immortal souls had returned to their Maker; many sons had
become orphans, and many wives had been deprived of their husbands;
but as yet there was nothing to indicate on which side victory was to
be declared. Soon, however, a cry of fire was raised, which caused
great confusion; and another cry, announcing that the captain had
fallen, increased the disorder.

A ball crashed through the taffrail, near where Jack and Fritz were
standing; it passed between them, but they were both severely wounded
by the splinters, and were conveyed by Willis to the cockpit. The
doctor, seeing his old friend Jack handed down the ladder, hastened
towards him and tore out a piece of wood from the fleshy part of his
arm. He next turned to Fritz, who had received a severe flesh-wound on
the shoulder. When both wounds were bandaged, he left the care of the
young men to Willis, who had escaped with a few scratches, which,
however, were bleeding pretty freely--to these he did not pay the
slightest attention.

"How stands the contest?" inquired Fritz in a weak voice.

"The _Hoboken_ is done for," replied Willis; "the commodore was
preparing to board when we left the deck; but it does not make much
difference; we shall go to England instead of America, that is all."

"God's will be done," said Fritz.

Just then Bill Stubbs was swung down in a hammock; both his legs had
been shot off by a cannon ball. The surgeon could only now attend to a
tithe of his patients, so numerous had the wounded become. A glance at
the new comer satisfied him that he was beyond all human skill, and he
directed his attention to the cases that promised some hopes of
recovery. Willis, seeing that his old comrade was abandoned to die
almost uncared for, staunched his wounds as well as he could, fetched
him a panniken of water, and performed a number of other little acts
of kindness and good will. This he did, less with a view of obtaining
an explanation from him at a moment when no man lies, than to mitigate
the pangs of his last convulsions. For an instant the old mariner's
body appeared re-animated with life. His eyes were fixed upon Willis
with an ineffable expression of recognition and regret. He
convulsively grasped the Pilot's hand and pressed it to his breast,
and his lips parted as if to speak. Willis bent his ear to the mouth
of the dying man, but all that followed was an expiring sigh. His
earthly career was ended.

The hardy sailor who is supposed never to shed a tear, then wiped the
corner of his eyes. Next he turned to the children of his adoption,
whose pale faces indicated the amount of blood they had shed, and
whose wounds, if he could have transferred them to himself, would have
less pained his powerful muscles than they now grieved his excellent
heart.

A party of boarders from the enemy had taken possession of the ship.
Willis reported himself to the officer in command, and at his request,
Fritz and Jack, together with the cargo of the pinnace, were conveyed
on board the victorious schooner. Shortly after the _Hoboken_ was
despatched to Bermuda as a prize, with the prisoners, the wounded, and
the dying.

The old tub that had gained this victory was named the _Arzobispo_,
having, as Willis supposed, been captured in the Spanish Main. It was
under the command of Commodore Truncheon, better known in the fleet by
the _soubriquet_ of Old Flyblow.

The _Arzobispo_, though old and clumsy, was a stout-built craft; and
so thick was its hide, that the broadsides of the Yankee had done the
hull no damage to speak of. The superstructure, however, was
completely shattered; the masts and rigging hung like sweeps over the
sides; and, to the unpractised eye, the ship was a complete wreck. A
few days, however, sufficed to put everything to rights again so far
as regards external appearance; but how this impromptu carpentry would
stand a storm was another question.

The commodore was on his way to Europe when he fell in with the
Yankee, and, notwithstanding the disabled condition of the ship, he
resolved to continue his voyage. Some of the officers expostulated
with him on the hazard of crossing the Atlantic in so shaky a trim. He
only got red in the face, and said that he had crossed the
herring-pond hundreds of times in crafts not half so seaworthy. He was
like the

  Froggy who would a wooing go,
  Whether his mother would let him or no.

The consequences of this defiance of advice were fatal to Old Flyblow;
for, a week or two after his victory, he was pounced upon by the
French corvette, _Boudeuse_, which was fresh, heavily armed, and well
manned. The commodore's jury masts were knocked to pieces by the first
broadside, his flag went by the board, and he was completely at the
enemy's mercy. Willis lent a hand this time with a good will; but it
was of no use, the wreck would not obey the helm, and the corvette
hovered about, firing broadsides, and sending in discharges of
musketry, when and where she liked. It was only when the commodore saw
clearly that there was neither mast nor sail enough to yaw the ship,
that he waved his cocked hat in token of surrender.

Fritz and Jack were still confined below with their wounds, when
Willis brought them word that they would have to shift themselves and
their cargo once more. The captain received them on board the
_Boudeuse_ with marked courtesy, and informed them that he was bound
direct for Havre de Grace.

"It seems, then," said the Pilot, "that neither America nor England
is to be our destination after all. But never mind, there are no lack
of surgeons amongst the _mounseers_."

"If we go on this way much longer," said Jack, sighing, "we shall be
carried round the world without arriving anywhere. Alas, my poor
mother!"



CHAPTER XXV.

DELHI--WILLIAM OF NORMANDY AND KING JOHN--ISABELLA OF BAVARIA AND JOAN
OF ARC--POITIERS AND BOVINES--HISTORY OF A GHOST, A GRIDIRON, AND A
CHEST OF GUINEAS.


At first the three adventurers were regarded as prisoners of war;
when, however, their entire history came to be known, and their
extraordinary migrations from ship to ship authenticated, they were
looked upon as guests, and treated as friends.

"I thought I had only obtained possession of an English cruiser," said
the captain; "but I find I have also acquired the right of being
useful to you."

The commander of the _Boudeuse_ was a very different sort of a person
from Commodore Truncheon; the former treated his men as if every one
of them had a title and great influence at the Admiralty, whilst the
latter swore at his crew as if the word of command could not be
understood without a supplementary oath. The English commodore might
be the better sailor of the two, but certainly the French captain
carried off the palm as regards politeness, urbanity, and gentlemanly
bearing.

The wounds of Fritz and Jack were healing rapidly under the skilful
treatment of the French surgeon, and, with a lift from Willis, they
were able to walk a portion of the day on deck. With reviving health,
their cheerful hopes of the future returned, their dormant spirits
were re-awakened, and their minds regained their wonted animation.

"The corvette spins along admirably," said the Pilot, "and is steering
straight for the Bay of Biscay."

"Ah!" said Jack sighing, "it is very easy to steer for a place, but it
is not quite so easy to get there. I am sick of your friend the sea,
Willis; and would give my largest pearl for a glimpse of a town, a
village, or even a street."

"If you want to see a street in all its glory, Master Jack, you must
try and get the captain to alter his course for Delhi."

"But I should think, Willis, that there is nothing in the
street-scenery of Delhi to compare with the Boulevards of Paris,
Regent-street in London, or the Broadway of New York."

"Beg your pardon there, Master Jack; I know every shop window in
Regent-street; I have often been nearly run over in the Broadway, and
can easily imagine the turn out on the Boulevards; but they are
solitudes in comparison with an Indian street."

"How so, Willis?"

"Well, it is not that there are more inhabitants, nor on account of
the traffic, for no streets in the world will beat those of London in
that respect--it is because the people live, move, and have their
being in the streets; they eat, drink, and sleep in the streets; they
sing, dance, and pray in the streets; conventions, treaties, and
alliances are concluded in the streets; in short, the street is the
Indians' home, his club, and his temple. In Europe, transactions are
negotiated quietly; in India, nothing can be done without roaring,
screaming, and bawling."

"There must be plenty of deaf people there," observed Jack.

"Possibly; but there are no dumb people. Added to the endless
vociferations of the human voice, there is an eternal barking of dogs,
elephants snorting, cows lowing, and myriads of pigs grunting. Then
there is the thump, thump of the tam-tam, the whistling of fifes, and
the screeching of a horrible instrument resembling a fiddle, which can
only be compared with the Belzebub music of Hawai. If, amongst these
discordant sounds, you throw in a cloud of mosquitoes and a hurricane
of dust, you will have a tolerable idea of an Indian street."

"There may be animation and life enough, Willis, but I should prefer
the monotony of Regent-street for all that. Would you like to air
yourself in Paris a bit?"

"Yes, but not just now; the less my countrymen see of France, under
present circumstances, the better."

"What is England and France always fighting about, Willis?"

"Well, I believe the cause this time to be a shindy the _mounseers_
got up amongst themselves in 1788. They first cut off the head of
their king, and then commenced to cut one another's throats, and
England interfered."

"That," observed Fritz, "may be the immediate origin of the present
war [1812]. But for the cause of the animosity existing between the
two nations, you must, I suspect, go back as far as the eleventh
century, to the time of William, Duke of Normandy."

"What had he to do with it?"

"A great deal. He claimed a right, real or pretended, to the English
throne. He crossed the Channel, and, in 1066, defeated Harold, King of
England, at the battle of Hastings."

"Both William and Harold were originally Danes, were they not?"
inquired Jack.

"Yes; I think Rollo, William's grandfather, was a Norman adventurer,
or sea-king, as these marauders were sometimes called. William, after
the victory of Hastings, proclaimed himself King of England and Duke
of Normandy, and assumed the designation of William the Conqueror."

"Then how did France get mixed up in the affair?" inquired Willis.

"William's grandfather, when he seized the dukedom cf Normandy, became
virtually a vassal of the King of France, though it is doubtful
whether he ever took the trouble to recognize the suzerainty of the
throne. As sovereign, however, the King of France claimed the right of
homage, which consisted, according to feudal usage, in the vassal
advancing, bare-headed, without sword or spurs, and kneeling at the
foot of the throne."

"Was this right ever enforced?"

"Yes, in one case at least. John Lackland--or, as the French called
him, John Sans Terre--having assassinated his nephew Arthur, Duke of
Brittany, in order to obtain possession of his lands, was summoned by
Philip Augustus, King of France, to justify his crime. John did not
obey the summons, was declared guilty of felony, and Philip took
possession of Normandy. Thus the first step to hostilities was laid
down."

"The English having lost Normandy, the vassalage ceased."

"Yes, so far as regards Normandy; but, in the meantime, Louis le
Jeune, King of France, unfortunately divorced his wife, Elenor of
Aquitaine, who afterwards married an English prince, and added
Guienne, another French dukedom to the English crown."

"So another vassalage sprung up."

"Exactly. All the French King insisted upon was the homage; but Edward
III. of England, instead of bending his knee to Philip of Valois,
argued with himself in this way: 'If I were King of England and France
as well, the claim of homage for the dukedom of Guienne would be
extinguished.'"

"Rather cool that," said Jack, laughing.

"'We shall then,' Edward said to himself, 'be our own sovereign, and
do homage to ourself, which would save a deal of bother.'"

"Well, he was right there, at least," remarked the Pilot.

"The King of France, however, entertained a different view of the
subject. Hence arose an endless succession of sieges, battles,
conquests, defeats, exterminations, and hatreds, which, no doubt, gave
rise to the ill-feeling that exists at present between England and
France. It is curious, at the same time, to observe what mischief
individual acts may occasion. If William of Normandy had remained
contented with his dukedom, and Louis le Jeune had not divorced his
wife, France would not have lost the disastrous battles of Agincourt
and Poitiers."

"Nor gained the brilliant victory of Bovines," suggested Jack.

"Certainly not; but she would have been spared the indignity of having
one of her kings marched through the streets of London as a prisoner."

"True; but, on the other hand, the captured monarch would not have
had an opportunity of illustrating the laws of honor in his own
person. He returned loyally to England and resumed his chains, when he
found that the enormous sum demanded by England for his ransom would
impoverish his people: otherwise he could not have given birth to the
maxim, 'That though good faith be banished from all the world beside,
it ought still to be found in the hearts of kings.'"

"One of the kings of Scotland," remarked Willis, "was placed in a
similar position. The Scottish army had been cut to pieces at the
battle of Flodden, the king was captured in his harness, conveyed to
London, and the people had to pay a great deal more to obtain his
freedom than he was worth. But, before that, the Scotch nearly caught
one of the Edwards. This time the English army had been cut to pieces;
but the king did not wait to be captured, he took to his heels, or
rather to his horse's hoofs. He was beautifully mounted, and followed
by half a dozen Scottish troopers; away he went, over hill and dale,
ditch and river. Dick Turpin's ride from London to York was nothing to
it. The king proved himself to be a first-rate horseman, for, after
being chased this way over half the country, he succeeded in baffling
his pursuers. All these escapades between England and Scotland are,
however, forgotten now, or at least ought to be; there are, doubtless,
a few thick-headed persons in both sections of the empire who delight
in keeping alive old prejudices, but they will die out in time."

"It seems, however, they have not died away yet," said Fritz, "in so
far as regards France and England, since the two countries are at war
again. But, as I observed before, had it not been for the ambition of
William and the anti-connubial propensities of John, the English would
never have been masters of Paris, and a great part of France under
Charles VI."

"Still, in that case," persisted Jack, "Charles VII. would not have
had the opportunity of liberating his country."

"Then," continued Fritz, "history would not have had to record the
shameless deeds of Isabella of Bavaria."

"Nor chronicle the brilliant achievements of Joan of Arc," added Jack.

"Any how," observed Willis, "the mounseers are a curious people. I
have heard it remarked that they are occupied all day long in getting
themselves into scrapes, and that Providence busies herself all night
in getting them out again."

By chatting in this way, Fritz, his brother, and the Pilot contrived
to relieve the monotony of the voyage, and to pass away the time
pleasantly enough. Each contributed his quota to the common fund;
Fritz his judgment, Jack his humor, and Willis his practical
experience, strong good sense, and vigorous, though untutored
understanding. A portion of Jack's time was passed with the surgeon,
between whom a great intimacy had sprung up. Time did not, therefore,
hang heavily on the hands of the young men; for even during the night
their thoughts were busy forming projects, or in embroidering the
canvas of the future with those fairy designs which youth alone can
create.

One morning Willis arrived on deck, pale, and with an air of fatigue
and lassitude altogether unusual. He gazed anxiously into every nook
and cranny of the ship.

"Whatever is the matter, Willis?" inquired Jack. "Have you seen the
Flying Dutchman?"

"No, Master Jack," said he in a forlorn tone; "but I have either seen
the captain or his ghost."

"What! the captain of the _Hoboken_?"

"No; the captain of the _Nelson_."

"In a dream?"

"No, my eyes were as wide open as they are now; he looked into my
cabin, and spoke to me."

"Impossible, Willis."

"I assure you it is the case though, impossible or not."

"Where is he then?" exclaimed both the young men, starting.

"That I know not; I have looked for him everywhere."

"What did he say to you?"

"At first he said, How d'ye do, Willis?"

"Naturally; and what then?"

"He asked me what I thought of the cloud that was gathering in the
south-west."

"Imagination, Willis."

"But look there, you can see a storm is gathering in that quarter."

"The nightmare, Willis. But what did you say to him?"

"I could not answer at the moment; my tongue clove to the roof of my
mouth, and I rose to take hold of his hand."

"Then he disappeared, did he not?"

"Yes, Master Jack."

"I thought so."

"But I heard the door of my cabin shut behind him, as distinctly as I
now hear the waves breaking on the sides of the corvette at this
moment."

"You ought to have run after him."

"I did so."

"Well, did you catch him?"

"No; I was stopped by the watch, for I had nothing on me but my shirt;
the officers stared, the sailors laughed, and the doctor felt my
pulse. But, for all that, I am satisfied there is a mystery
somewhere."

"But, Willis, the thing is altogether improbable."

"Well, look here; Captain Littlestone is either dead or alive, is he
not?"

"Yes," replied Jack, "there can be no medium between these
hypotheses."

"Then all I can say is this, that as sure as I am a living sinner, I
have seen him if he is alive, and, if he is dead, I have seen his
ghost."

"You believe in visitations from the other world then, Willis?"

"I cannot discredit the evidences of my own senses, can I?"

"No, certainly not."

"Besides, this brings to my recollection a similar circumstance that
happened to an old comrade of mine. Sam Walker is as fine a fellow as
ever lived, he sailed with me on board the _Norfolk_, and I know him
to be incapable of telling a falsehood. Though his name is Sam
Walker, we used to call him 'Hot Codlins.'"

"Why, Willis?"

"Because he had an old woman with a child tatooed on his arm, instead
of an anchor, as is usual in the navy."

"A portrait of _Notre Dame de Bon Lecours_, I shouldn't wonder," said
Jack; "but what had that to do with hot codlins: a codlin is a fish,
is it not?"

"I will explain that another time," said Willis, the shadow of a smile
passing over his pale features. "The short and the long of the story
is, that Sam once saw a ghost."

"Well, tell us all about it, Willis."

"But I am afraid you will not believe the story if I do."

"On the contrary, I promise to believe it in advance."

"Very well, Master Jack. Did you ever see a windmill?"

"No, but I know what sort of things they are from description."

"There are none in Scotland," continued Willis; "at least I never saw
one there."

"How do they manage to grind their corn then? There should be oats in
the land o' cakes, at all events," said Jack, with a smile.

"Well, in countries that have plenty of water, they can dispense with
mills on land. Though there are no wind-mills in Scotland, there are
some in the county of Durham, on the borders of England, for it
appears my mate Sam was born in one of them. His father and mother
died when he was very young, and he, conjointly with the rats, was
left sole owner and occupant of the mill. Some of the neighboring
villagers, seeing the poor boy left in this forlorn condition, got him
into a charity school, whence he was bound apprentice to a shipmaster
engaged in the coal trade, by whom he was sent to sea. The ship young
Sam sailed in was wrecked on the coast of France, and he fell into the
hands of a fisherman, who put the mark on his arm we used to joke him
about."

"I thought so," said Jack; "the mark in question represents the patron
saint of French sailors."

"After a variety of ups and downs, Sam found himself rated as a
first-class seaman on board a British man-of-war. He served with
myself on board the _Norfolk_, and was wounded at the battle of
Trafalgar [1806], which, I dare say, you have heard of."

"Yes, Willis, it was there that your Admiral Nelson covered himself
with immortal renown."

"There and elsewhere, Master Fritz."

"It cost him his life, however, Willis, and likewise shortened those
of the French Admiral Villeneuve and the Spanish Admiral Gravina;
that, you must admit, is too many eggs for one omelet."

"As you once said yourself, great victories are not won without loss,
and the battle of Trafalgar was no exception to the rule. Sam, having
been wounded, was sent to the hospital, and when his wound was healed,
he was allowed leave of absence to recruit his strength, so he thought
he would take a run to Durham and see how it fared with the paternal
windmill. Time had, of course, wrought many changes both outside and
in, but it still remained perched grimly on its pedestal, but now
entirely abandoned to the bats and owls. The sails were gone, and the
woodwork was slowly crumbling away; but the basement being of hewn
granite, it was still in a tolerable state of preservation. The place,
however, was said to be haunted; exactly at twelve o'clock at night
dismal howls were heard by the villagers to issue from the mill.
According to the blacksmith, who was a great authority in such
matters, Sam's father was a very avaricious old fellow, and had hid
his money somewhere about the building; and you know, Master Jack,
that when a man dies and leaves his money concealed, there is no rest
for him in his grave till it is discovered."

"I really was not aware of it before," replied Jack; "but I am
delighted to hear it."

"When Sam arrived, nobody disputed his title to the property, except
the ghost; but Sam had seen a good deal of hard service, and declared
that he would not be choused out of his patrimony for all the ghosts
in the parish; and, in spite of the persuasions of the villagers,
resolved to take up his abode there forthwith. Sam accordingly laid in
a supply of stores, including a month's supply of tobacco and rum. He
first made the place water-tight, then made a fire sufficient to roast
an ox, and when night arrived made a jorum of grog, a little stiff, to
keep away the damp. This done, he lit his pipe, and began to cook a
steak for his supper. The old mill, for the first time since the
decease of the former proprietor, was filled with the savory odor of
roast beef."

"And there are worse odors than that," remarked Jack. "Whilst the
steak was frizzling, he took a swig at the grog; and, thinking one
side was done, he gave the gridiron a twist, which sent the steak a
little way up the chimney, and, strange to say, it never came down
again.

"'Ten thousand What's-a-names,' cried Sam, 'where's my steak?'

"No answer was vouchsafed to this query; he looked up the chimney, and
could see no one."

"The steak had really disappeared then?" said Jack, inquiringly.

"Yes, not a fragment remained; but he had more beef, so he cut off
another; and, as his head had got a little middled with the grog, he
thought it just possible that he might have capsized the gridiron into
the fire, so he quietly recommenced the operation."

"And the second steak disappeared like the first?" "Yes, Master Fritz,
with this difference--there was a dead man's thigh-bone in its place."

"An awkward transformation for a hungry man," said Jack.

"'Here's a go!' cried Sam, like to burst his sides with laughing,
'they expect to frighten me with bones, do they? they've got the wrong
man--been played too many tricks of that kind at sea to be scared by
that sort of thing. Ha, ha, ha! capital joke though.'"

"Your friend Sam must have been a merry fellow, Willis."

"Yes, but he was hungry, and wanted his supper; so he continued
supplying the gridiron with steaks as long as the beef lasted, but
only obtained human shin-bones, clavicles and tibias.

"'Never mind,' said Sam to himself, 'they will tire of this game in
course of time.'

"When the beef was done, he kept up a supply of rashers of bacon, and
threw the bones as they appeared in a corner, consoling himself in the
meantime with his pipe and his grog."

"He must have been both patient and persevering," remarked Jack.

"This went on till a skull appeared on the gridiron."

"A singular object to sup upon," observed Jack.

"'I wonder what the deuce will come next,' said Sam to himself,
throwing the skull amongst the rest of the bones.

"The next time, however, he took the gridiron off the fire, there was
his last rasher done to a turn.

"'Now,' said Sam, 'I am going to have peace and quietness at last.'

"He sat down then very comfortably, and kept eating and drinking, and
drinking and smoking, till the village clock struck twelve."

"Good!" cried Jack. "You may come in now, ladies and gentlemen; the
performance is just a-going to begin."

"Sam heard a succession of crack cracks amongst the bones, and turning
round he beheld a frightful-looking spectre, pointing with its finger
to the door."

"Was it wrapped up in a white sheet?" inquired Jack.

"Yes, I rather think it was."

"Very well, then, I believe the story; for spectres are invariably
wrapped up in white sheets."

"The bones, instead of remaining quietly piled up in the corner, had
joined themselves together--the leg bones to the feet, the ribs to the
back-bone--and the skull had stuck itself on the top. Where the flesh
came from, Sam could not tell; but he strongly suspected that his own
steaks and bacon had something to do with it. But, be that as it may,
there was not half enough of fat to cover the bones, and the figure
was dreadfully thin. Sam stared at first in astonishment, and began to
doubt whether he saw aright. When, however, he beheld the figure move,
there could be no mistake, and he knew at once that it was a ghost.
Anybody else would have been frightened out of their senses, but Sam
took the matter philososophically and went on with his supper.

"'How d'ye do, old fellow?' he said to the spectre. 'Will you have a
mouthful of grog to warm your inside? Sit down, and be sociable.'

"The spectre did not make any reply, but continued making a sign for
Sam to follow.

"'If you prefer to stand and keep beckoning there till to-morrow you
may, but, if I were in your place, I would come nearer the fire,' said
Sam; 'you may catch cold standing there without your shirt, you know.'

"The same silence and the same gesture continued on the part of the
ghost, and Sam, seeing that his words produced no effect, recommenced
eating."

"There is one thing," remarked Jack, "more astonishing about your
friend Sam than his coolness, and that is his appetite."

"The spectre did not appear satisfied with the state of affairs, for
it assumed a threatening attitude and strode towards the fire-place.

"'Avast heaving, old fellow,' cried Sam, 'there is one thing I have
got to say, which is this here: you may stand and hoist signals there
as long as ever you like; but if you touch me, then look out for
squalls, that's all.'

"The 'old fellow,' however, paid no attention to this caution. He
strode right up to the fire-place, and, whilst pointing to the door
with one hand, grasped Sam's arm with the other. Sam started up, shook
off the hand that held him, and pitched into the spectre right and
left. But, strange to say, his hands went right through its bones and
all, just as if it had been made of the hydrogen gas you spoke of the
other day. Sam saw that it was no use laying about him in this
fashion, for the spectre stood grinning at him all the time, so he
gave it up.

"'I wish,' said he, 'you would be off, and go to bed, and not keep
bothering there.'

"Still the spectre maintained the same posture, and kept
pertinaciously pointing to the door.

"'Well,' said Sam, 'since you insist upon it, let us see what there is
outside. Go a-head, I will follow.'

"The spectre led him into what used to be the garden of the mill, but
the enclosure was now overgrown with rank and poisonous weeds. There
was a path running through it paved with flagstones; the spectre
pointed with its finder to one of them. Sam stooped down, and, much to
his astonishment, raised it with ease. Beneath there was an iron
chest, the lid of which he also opened, and saw that it was filled
with old spade guineas and Spanish dollars.

"'You behold that treasure!' said the spectre, in a hollow voice.

"'Ha, ha, old fellow! you can speak, can you? Now we shall understand
each other. Yes, I see a box, filled with what looks very like gold
and silver coins.'

"'I placed that treasure there before my death,' added the spectre.

"'Ah, so! than you are dead?' said Sam.

"'One half of that money I wish you to give to the poor, and the other
half you may keep to yourself, if you choose.'

"'Golley!' said Sam, 'you are not much of a swab after all, though you
look as thin as a purser's clerk. Give us a shake of your paw, my
hearty.'

"Here Sam, somehow or other, stumbled over the lamp, and when he got
up again the spectre had vanished. He laid hold of the chest, however,
and groped his way back to the mill. When safe inside, he made a stiff
jorum of grog, and then fell comfortably asleep. That night he dreamt
that he was eating gold and silver, that he was his own captain, that
the cat-o'-nine tails was entirely abolished in the navy, and that his
ship, instead of sailing in salt water was floating in rum. When he
awoke, the sun was steaming through all the nooks and crannies of the
old mill. All the marks of the preceding night's adventures were
there--the gridiron, the empty rum jar, the the table o'erturned in
the _mélée_ with the ghost--but the chest of money was gone."

"And what did Sam conclude from that incident?" inquired Fritz.

"Well, he supposed that he had slept rather long, and that somebody
had come in before he as up and had walked off with the box."

"If I had been in his place," continued Fritz, "I should have said to
myself that the mind often gives birth to strange fancies,
particularly after a heavy supper, and that I had muddled my brain
with rum; consequently, that all the things I imagined I had seen were
only the chimeras of a dream."

"But that could not be, Master Fritz, for two reasons; the first, that
the mark of the ghost's hand remained on his arm."

"Very likely burnt it when he grilled the bacon."

"The second, that the ghost was no more seen or heard of in the mill."

"That proof is a poser for you, brother, I think," said Jack.

"Did you heave that sigh just now, Master Fritz?" inquired Willis, in
a low tone.

"It was not I," said Fritz, looking at his brother.

"Nor I," said Jack, looking at Willis.

"Nor I," said Willis, looking behind him.



CHAPTER XXVI.


WILLIS FALLS IN WITH THE SLOOP ON TERRA FIRMA, INSTEAD OF AT THE
BOTTOM OF THE SEA, AS MIGHT HAVE BEEN EXPECTED--ADMIRAL CICERO--THE
DEFUNCT NOT YET DEAD.


The corvette, notwithstanding the multitude of British cruisers
scattered about the ocean, and the other dangers that beset her, held
on the even tenor of her way. A gale sprung up now and then, but they
only tended to give a filip to the common-place incidents recorded in
the log. This quietude was not, however, enjoyed by all the persons on
board. Willis was a prey to violent emotions; and so it often happens,
in the midst of the profoundest calm, storms often rage in the heart
of man.

Whether in reality or in a dream, Willis declared that Captain
Littlestone paid him a visit every night, and invariably asked him
precisely the same questions. On these occasions, Willis asserted that
he distinctly heard the door open and shut whilst a shadow glided
through. That he might once, or even twice, have been the dupe of his
own imagination, is probable enough; but a healthy mind does not
permit a delusion to be indefinitely prolonged--it struggles with the
hallucination, and eventually shakes it off; providing always the mind
has a shadow, and not a reality, to deal with, and that the patient is
not a monomaniac. The dilemma was consequently reduced to this
position--either Willis was mad, or Captain Littlestone was on board
the _Boudeuse_.

In all other respects, Willis was perfectly sane. He himself searched
every corner of the ship, but without other result than a confirmation
of his own impression that there were no officers on board other than
those of the corvette; and yet, notwithstanding his own conviction in
daylight, he still continued to assert the reality of his interviews
with Captain Littlestone during the night. The Italians say, _La
speranza è il sogno d'an uomo svegliato_. Was Willis also dreaming
with his eyes open? Might not the wish be father to the thought, and
the thought produce the fancy? There is only one other supposition to
be hazarded--could it be possible, in spite of all his researches,
that Willis did see what he maintained with so much pertinacity he had
seen?

These questions are too astute to admit of answers without due
consideration and reflection; therefore, with the reader's permission,
we shall leave the replies over for the present.

On the 12th June a voice from the mast-head called "Land ahoy!" much
to the delight of the voyagers. The land in question was the island of
St. Helena. This sea-girt rock had not at that time become classic
ground. It had not yet become the prison and mausoleum of Napoleon the
Great. The petulant squabbles between Sir Hudson Lowe and his
illustrious prisoner had not been heard of. Little wotted then the
proud ruler of France the fate that awaited him, for, when the
_Boudeuse_ touched at the island, all Europe, with the single
exception of England, was kneeling at his feet.

On the 30th the Island of Ascension was reached. Here, in accordance
with a usage peculiar to French sailors, a bottle, containing a short
abstract of the ship's log, was committed to the deep. Willis thought
this ceremony, under existing circumstances, would have been better
observed in the breach than the observance, for, said he, if a British
cruiser picked up that bottle within twenty-four hours, she stood a
chance of picking up the _Boudeuse_ as well.

On the 15th July the peak of Teneriffe hove in sight This remarkable
basaltic rock rises to the extraordinary height of three thousand
eight hundred yards above the level of the sea; it is consequently
seen at a considerable distance, and constitutes a valuable landmark
for navigators in these seas. Six weeks later the _Boudeuse_ dropped
anchor in the Havre roads.

Here the three adventurers had to encounter by far the greatest
misfortune that had as yet befallen them. The continental system of
Napoleon was then in force. The importation of everything English or
Indian was strictly prohibited. The cargo the young men had brought
with them from New Switzerland, which already had escaped so many
perils, was, therefore, declared contraband, and seized by the French
_fisc_--an institution that rarely permitted such a prize to quit its
rapacious grasp.

Behold now our poor friends, Fritz and Jack, in a strange land,
deprived at once of their fortune and their chance of returning
home--the two beacons that had cheered them on their way! All their
bright hopes of the future were thus annihilated at one fell swoop.
Their fortitude almost gave way under the severity of this blow; the
excess of their distress alone saved them. Grief requires leisure to
give itself free vent; but when we are compelled, by absolute
necessity, to earn our daily bread, we cannot find time for tears; and
such was the case with Willis and his two friends; they were here
without a friend and without resources of any kind whatever.

If they had only known Greek and Latin; if they had only been half
doctors or three-quarter barristers, or if even they had been doctors
and lawyers complete, it would have sorely puzzled their skill to have
raised a single sous in hard cash. Fortunately, however, whilst
cultivating their minds, they had acquired the art of handling a saw
and wielding a hammer. The blouse of the workman, consequently, fitted
them as well as the gown of the student, and they set themselves
manfully to earn a living by the sweat of their brow. They were
carpenters and blacksmiths by turns, regulating their occupations by
the grand doctrines of supply and demand.

Jack alone of the three was defective in steadiness; he only joined
Willis and his brother at mid-day. What he did with himself during the
forenoon was a profound mystery. He rose before daybreak, and
disappeared no one knew where, or for what purpose. His companions in
adversity endeavored in vain to discover his secret; he was determined
to conceal his movements, and succeeded in baffling their curiosity.
To judge, however, by the ardor with which he worked, he was engaged
in some one of those schemes that are termed follies before success,
but which, after success, are universally acknowledged to be brilliant
and praiseworthy instances of industrial enterprise.

If, after a hard day's work, when assembled together in the little
room that served them for parlor, kitchen, and hall, the power of
regret vanquished fatigue, and sadness drove away sleep, then Jack,
who compared himself to Peter the Great, when a voluntary exile in the
shipyards of Saardam, would endeavor to infuse a little mirth into the
lugubrious party. If all his efforts to make them merry failed, all
three would join together in a humble prayer to their Heavenly Father,
who bestowed resignation upon them instead.

If Willis and his two friends were not accumulating wealth, at all
events they were earning the bread they ate honestly and worthily.
They had all three laid their shoulders vigorously to the wheel and
kept it jogging along marvellously for a month. By that time, a
detailed report of the seizure of their property had been placed
before the director of the Domaine Extraordinaire, who was the
sovereign authority in all matters pertaining to the exchequer of the
empire. He saw at once that this capture was extremely harsh, and
probably thought that, if it became known, it would raise a storm of
indignation about the ears of his department. Here were two young
men--Moseses, as it were, saved from the bulrushes. Lost in the desert
from the period of their birth, and ignorant of the dissensions then
raging in Europe, they were unquestionably beyond the ordinary
operation of the law. This will never do, he probably said to himself;
the civilization which these two young men have come through so many
perils to seek ought not to appear to them, the moment they arrived in
Europe, in the form of spoliation and barbarism.

The name of this _extraordinary_ director of Domaine Extraordinaire
was M. de la Boullerie, and, when we fall in with the name of a really
good-hearted man, we delight to record it. He felt that the two young
men had been hardly dealt with, but he had not the power to order a
restitution of the property, now that the seizure had been made, and
sundry perquisities, of course, deducted by the excise officials.
Accordingly, he referred the matter to the Emperor, who commanded the
goods to be immediately restored intact. Napoleon, at the same time,
praised the functionary we have named for calling his attention to the
merits of the case, and thanked him for such an opportunity of
repairing an injustice.[I]

There are many such instances of generosity as the foregoing in the
career of the great Emperor--mild rays of the sun in the midst of
thunderstorms; sweet flowers blowing here and there, in the bosom of
the gigantic projects of his life--which many will esteem more highly
than his miracles of strategy and the renown of his battles. As
nothing that tends to elevate the soul is out of place in this volume,
we may be permitted to insert one or two of these anecdotes.

In 1806, Napoleon was at Potsdam. The Prussians were humbled to the
dust, and the outrage of Rossbach had been fearfully avenged. A letter
was intercepted, in which Prince Laatsfeld, civil governor of Berlin,
secretly informed the enemy of all the dispositions of the French
army. The crime was palpable, capital, and unpardonable. There was
nothing between the life and death of the prince, except the time to
load half a dozen muskets, point them to his breast, and cry--Fire.
The princess flew to the palace, threw herself at the feet of the
Emperor, beseeched, implored, and seemed almost heart-broken. "Madam,"
said Napoleon, "this letter is the only proof that exists of your
husband's guilt. Throw it into the fire." The fatal paper blazed,
crisped, passed from blue to yellow, and the treachery of Prince
Laatsfeld was reduced to ashes.

Another time, a young man, named Von der Sulhn, journeyed from Dresden
to Paris; unless you are told, you could scarcely imagine for what
purpose. There are people who travel for amusement, for business, for
a change of air, or merely to be able to say they have been at such
and such a place. Some go abroad for instruction, others, perhaps,
with no other object in view than to eat frogs in Paris, bouillabaisse
at Marseilles, a polenta at Milan, macaroni at Naples, an olla podrida
in Spain, or conscoussou in Africa. Von der Sulhn travelled to
assassinate the Emperor. Like Scævola and Brutus, he, no doubt,
imagined the crime would hand down his name to posterity. In youth,
all of us have erred in judgment more or less. Sulhn thought the
Emperor ought to be slain. Unfortunately for him, the Duke of Rovigo,
the then minister of police, entertained a different opinion. He
thought, in point of fact, that the Emperor ought not to be killed:
hence it was that the young Saxon found himself in chains, and that
the Duke went to ask the Emperor what he should do with him. We ought,
however, to mention that the young man, in his character of an
enlightened German, testified his regret that he had not succeeded in
carrying out his project, and protested that, in the event of
regaining his liberty, he would renew the attempt. "Never mind," said
the Emperor to the duke, "the young man's age is his excuse. Do not
make the affair public, for, if it is bruited about, I must punish the
headstrong youth, which I have no wish to do. I should be sorry to
plunge a worthy family into grief by immolating such a scapegrace.
Send him to Vincennes, give him some books to read, and write to his
mother." In 1814, the young man obtained his liberty, his family, and
his Germany, and it is to be hoped that he afterwards became a
respectable pater-familias, a sort of Aulic councillor, and that,
during the troublesome times in the land of Sauerkraut, he was before,
and not behind, the barricades of his darling patria. If he be dead,
it is to be supposed that, instead of lying a headless trunk
ignominiously in a ditch, or in the unconsecrated cemetery of Clamort,
he is reposing entire in the paternal tomb.

On the 15th of March, 1815, the Emperor landed at Cannes--he had
returned from the island of Elba. On the beach he was joined by one
man, at Antibes by a company, at Digne by a battalion, at Gap by a
regiment (that of Labedoyer), at Grenoble by an army. The hearts of
the soldiers of France went to him like steel to the loadstone--first
a drop, and then a torrent; the Empire, like a snowball, increased as
it progressed. At Lyons, the Count of Artois, the setting sun, is
obliged to go out of one gate the moment that Napoleon, the rising
sun, comes in at another. Smiles, orations, triumphal arches, and even
the discourses that had been prepared to welcome the Bourbons, were
used to congratulate their successor on his return. Cockades and flags
were altered to suit the occasion, by inserting a stripe of red here
and another of blue there. One national guard, but only one, remained
faithful to the Bourbons; he would neither alter his cockade nor his
colors, and remained true to his patrons in the hour of disaster.
Everybody asked, what would the Emperor do with him? Would he be
imprisoned or banished? Neither; the Emperor sent him a cross of the
order of merit! It is, no doubt, grand to have overthrown the
brilliant army of Murad Bey in Egypt; to have vanquished Melas,
Wurmser, and Davidowich in Italy; Bragation, Kutusoff, and Barclay de
Tolly in Russia; Mack in Germany; and thus to have reduced the entire
continent of Europe to subjection. But it appears to us that a still
greater feat was the victory he gained over himself, when, in the
midst of the fever excited by his return, and the animosity of
parties, he gave this cross to the solitary adherent of misfortune.
Having made these slight digressions into the future, it is proper
that we should return to our story.

The mysterious roads of Providence do not always lead to the places
they seem to go; it often happens that, when we expect to be swallowed
up by the breakers that surround us, we are wafted into a harbor, and
that we encounter success where we only anticipated disappointment.
The rigorous enactments of the continental system, that the other day
had ruined the two brothers, became all at once the source of
unlooked-for wealth; for, on account of the scarcity of colonial
produce, a scarcity dating from the prohibitory laws promulgated in
1807, the merchandise of the young men had more than quadrupled in
value.

From the grade of hard-working mechanics they were suddenly promoted
to the rank of wealthy merchants. They consequently abandoned the
laborious employments that for a month had enabled them to live, and
to keep despair and misery at bay. Willis, greatly to his
inconvenience, found himself transformed into a gentleman at large,
which caused him to make some material alterations in the manipulation
and quality of his pipes.

Fritz busied himself in collecting in, the by no means inconsiderable
sums, which their property realised. He did not value the gold for its
glitter or its sound, he valued it only as a means of enabling himself
and his brother to return promptly to their ocean home. Jack undertook
the task of finding a scalpel to save his mother--doubtless a
difficult task; for how was he to induce a surgeon of standing to
abandon his connexion, his family, and his fame, and to undertake a
perilous voyage to the antipodes, for the purpose of performing an
operation in a desert, where there were neither newspapers to proclaim
it, academicians to discuss it, nor ribbons to reward it? As for the
gentlemen of the dentist and barber school, like Drs. Sangrado and
Fontanarose of Figaro, the remedy was even worse by a great deal than
the disease. But, as we have said, Jack promised to find a surgeon,
and the research was so arduous, that he was scarcely ever seen during
the day by either Willis or his brother.

To Willis was confided the office of chartering a ship for the
homeward voyage, and there were not a few obstacles to overcome in
order to accomplish this. French ship-masters at that time engaged in
very little legitimate business; they embarked their capital in
privateering, prefering to capture the merchantmen of England to
risking their own. One morning, Willis started as usual in search of a
ship, but soon returned to the inn where they had established their
head-quarters in a state of bewilderment; he threw himself into a
chair, and, before he could utter a word, had to fill his pipe and
light it.

"Well," said he, "I am completely and totally flabbergasted."

"What about?" inquired the two brothers.

"You could not guess, for the life of you, what has happened."

"Perhaps not, Willis, and would therefore prefer you to tell us at
once what it is."

"After this," continued Willis, "no one need tell me that there are no
miracles now-a-days."

"Then you have stumbled upon a miracle, have you, Willis?"

"I should think so. That they do not happen every day, I can admit;
but I have a proof that they do come about sometimes."

"Very probably, Willis."

"It is my opinion that Providence often leads us about by the hands,
just as little children are taken to school, lest they should be
tempted to play truant by the way."

"Not unlikely, Willis; but the miracle!"

"I was going along quietly, not thinking I was being led anywhere in
particular, when, all at once, I was hove up by--If a bullet had hit
me right in the breast, I could not have been more staggered."

"Whatever hove you up then, Willis?"

"I was hove up by the sloop."

"What sloop?"

"The _Nelson_."

"Was it taking a walk, Willis?" inquired Jack.

"Have you been to sea since we saw you last?" asked Fritz.

"If I had fallen in with the craft at sea, Master Fritz, I should not
have been half so much astonished. The sea is the natural element of
ships; we do not find gudgeons in corn fields, nor shoot hares on the
ocean. But it was on land that I hailed the _Nelson_."

"Was it going round the corner of a street that you stumbled upon it,
Willis?" inquired Jack.

"Not exactly; but to make a long story short--"

"When you talk of cutting anything short, we are in for a yarn," said
Jack.

"And you are sure to interrupt him in the middle of it," said Fritz.

"Well, in two words," said Willis, knocking the ashes out of his pipe,
"I was cruising about the shipyards, looking if there was a condemned
craft likely to suit us--some of them had gun-shot wounds in their
timbers, others had been slewed up by a shoal--and, to cut the matter
short--"

"Another yarn," suggested Jack.

"I luffed up beside the hull of a cutter-looking craft that had been
completely gutted. But, changed and dilapidated as that hull is, I
recognized it at once to be that of the _Nelson_. Now do you believe
in miracles?"

"But are you sure, Willis?"

"Suppose you met Ernest or Frank in the street to-morrow, pale,
meagre, and in rags, would you recognize them?"

"Most assuredly."

"Well, by the same token, sailors can always recognize a ship they
have sailed in. They know the form of every plank and the line of
every bend. There are hundreds of marks that get spliced in the
memory, and are never forgotten. But in the present case there is no
room for any doubt, a portion of the figure head is still extant, and
the word _Nelson_ can be made out without spectacles."

"But how did it get there?"

"You know, Master Fritz, it could not have told me, even if I had
taken the trouble to inquire."

"Very true, Willis."

"I was determined, however, to find it out some other way, so I
steered for a café near the harbor, where the pilots and long-shore
captains go to play at dominoes. I was in hopes of picking up some
stray waif of information, and, sooth to say, I was not altogether
disappointed."

"Another meeting, I'll be bound," said Jack.

"My falling in with the _Nelson_ astonished you, did it not?"

"Rather."

"Then I'll bet my best pipe that this one will surprise you still
more. You recollect my comrade, Bill, _alias_ Bob, of the _Hoboken_?"

"Yes, perfectly."

"Then I met him."

"What! the man who had both his legs shot off, and died in consequence
of his wounds?" inquired Jack.

"The same."

"And that was afterwards thrown overboard with a twenty-four pound
shot tied to his feet!" exclaimed Fritz.

"The same."

At this astonishing assertion the young men regarded Willis with an
air of apprehension.

"You think I am mad, no doubt, do you not?"

"Whatever can we think, Willis?"

"I admit that my statement looks very like it at first sight, but
still you are wrong, as you will see by-and-by. I could scarcely
believe my eyes when I saw him. 'Is that you, Bill Stubbs,' says I,
'at last?'

"'Lor love ye!' says he, 'is that you, Pilot?'

"He then took hold of my hand, and gave it such a shake as almost
wrenched it off.

"'Where in all the earth did you hail from?' he said. 'I thought you
were dead and gone?'

"'And I thought you were the same,' said I, 'and no mistake.'

"'Alive and hearty though, as you see, Pilot; only a little at sea
amongst the _mounseers_.'

"'But what about the _Hoboken_?' says I.

"'What _Hoboken_?' says he.

"'Were you not aboard a Yankee cruiser some months back?'

"'Never was aboard a Yankee in all my life,' says Bill.

"And no more he was, for he never left the _Nelson_ till she was high
and dry in Havre dockyard; so, the short and the long of it is, that I
must have been wrong in that instance."

"So I should think," remarked Fritz.

"Yet the resemblance was very remarkable; the only difference was a
carbuncle on the nose, which the real Bill has and the other has not,
but which I had forgotten."

"Like Cicero," remarked Jack.

"Another Admiral?" inquired Willis, drily.

"No, he was only an orator."

"Bill soon satisfied me that he was the very identical William Stubbs,
and that the other was only a very good imitation."

"He did not receive you with a punch in the ribs, at all events, like
the apocryphal Bill," remarked Jack.

"No; but what is more to the purpose, he told me that, after having
struggled with the terrible tempest off New Switzerland--which you
recollect--the _Nelson_ found herself at such a distance, that Captain
Littlestone resolved to proceed on his voyage, and to return again as
speedily as possible.

"'We arrived at the Cape all right,' added Bill, 'landed the New
Switzerland cargo, and sailed again with the Rev. Mr. Wolston on
board. A few days after leaving the Cape, we were pounced upon by a
French frigate; the _Nelson_, with its crew, was sent off as a prize
to Havre, and here I have been ever since,' said Bill, 'a prisoner at
large, allowed to pick up a living as I can amongst the shipping.'"

"And the remainder of the crew?" inquired Fritz.

"Are all here prisoners of war."

"And the Rev. Mr. Wolston and the captain?"

"Are prisoners on parole."

"Where?"

"Here."

"What! in Havre?"

"Yes, close at hand, in the Hotel d'Espagne."

"And we sitting here," cried Jack, snatching up his hat and rushing
down stairs four steps at a time.

Willis and Fritz followed as fast as they could.

When they all three reached the bottom of the stairs.

"If Captain Littlestone is here, Willis," said Jack, "he could not
have been on board the _Boudeuse_."

"That is true, Master Jack."

"In that case, Great Rono, you must have been dreaming in the
corvette as well as in the Yankee."

"No," insisted Willis, "it was no dream, I am certain of that."

"Explain the riddle, then."

"I cannot do that just at present, but it may be cleared up by-and-by,
like all the mysteries and miracles that surround us."

FOOTNOTES:

[I] This circumstance is historical, and will be found at length in
the Memoirs of Napoleon, by Amédée Goubard.



CHAPTER XXVII.

CAPTAIN LITTLESTONE IS FOUND, AND THE REV. MR. WOLSTON IS SEEN FOR THE
FIRST TIME.


Jack, on arriving at the hotel, ascertained the number of the room in
which Captain Littlestone was located. In his hurry to see his old
friend, the young man did not stop to knock at the door, but entered
without ceremony, with Fritz and Willis at his heels. They found
themselves in the presence of two gentlemen, one of whom sat with his
face buried in his hands, the other was reading what appeared to be a
small bible.

The latter was a young man seemingly of about twenty-four or
twenty-five years of age. He had a mild but noble bearing, and his
aspect denoted habitual meditation. His eyes were remarkably piercing
and expressive; in short, he was one of those men at whom we are led
involuntarily to cast a glance of respect, without very well knowing
why; perhaps it might be owing to the gravity of his demeanour,
perhaps to the peculiar decorum of his deportment, or perhaps to the
scrupulous propriety of his dress. He raised his eyes from the book he
held in his hand, and gazed tranquilly at the three figures who had so
abruptly interrupted his reveries.

"May I inquire," said he, "to what we owe this intrusion on our
privacy, gentlemen?"

"We have to apologise for our rudeness," said Fritz; "but are you not
the Rev. Mr. Wolston?"

"My name is Charles Wolston, and I am a minister of the gospel, and
missionary of the church."

"Then, sir," continued Fritz, "I am the bearer of a message from your
father."

"From my father!" exclaimed the missionary, starting up; "you come
then from the Pacific Ocean?"

[Illustration]

Here the second gentleman raised his head, and looked as if he had
just awakened from a dream. He gazed at the speakers with a puzzled
air.

"Do you know me, captain?" said Willis.

Littlestone, for it was he, continued to gaze in mute astonishment, as
if the events of the past had been defiling through his memory; and he
probably thought that the figures before him were mere phantom
creations of his brain.

"Willis! can it be possible?" he exclaimed, taking at the same time
the Pilot's proffered hand.

"Yes, captain, as you see."

"And the two young Beckers, as I live!" cried Littlestone.

"Yes," said Jack, "and delighted to find you at last."

Littlestone then shook them all heartily by the hand.

"It is but a poor welcome that I, a prisoner in the enemy's country,
can give you to Europe; still I am truly overjoyed to see you. But
where have you all come from?"

"From New Switzerland," replied Jack.

"But how?"

"By sea."

"That, of course; and I presume another ship anchored in Safety Bay?"

"No, captain. Seeing you did not return to us, we embarked in the
pinnace and came in search of you."

"Your pinnace was but indifferently calculated to weather a gale,
keeping out of view the other dangers incidental to such a voyage."

"True, captain; but my brother and I, with Willis for a pilot and
Providence for a guardian, ventured to brave these perils; and here we
are, as you see."

"And your mother consented to such a dangerous proceeding, did she?"

"It was for her, and yet against her will, that we embarked on the
voyage."

"I do not understand."

"For her, because, when we left, she was dying."

"Dying, say you?"

"Yes, and our object in coming to Europe was chiefly to obtain
surgical aid."

"And have you found a surgeon?"

"Not yet, but we are in hopes of finding one."

"If money is wanted, besides the value of the cargo I landed for you
at the Cape, you may command my purse."

"A thousand thanks, captain, but the merchandise we have here is
likely to be sufficient for our purpose. Unfortunately, gold is not
the only thing that is requisite."

"What, then?"

"In the first place, a disinterested love of humanity is needful;
there are few men of science and skill who would not risk more than
they would gain by accepting any offer we can make. It is not easy to
find the heart of a son in the body of a physician."

"What, then, will you do, my poor friend?"

"That is my secret, captain."

During this conversation, the missionary had put a thousand questions
to Willis and Fritz relative to his father, mother, and sisters, and a
smile now and then lit up his features as Fritz related some of the
family mishaps.

"You must have undergone some hardships in your voyage from the
antipodes to Havre de Grace," said Littlestone to Jack,
"notwithstanding the skill of my friend the Pilot."

"Yes, captain, a few," replied Jack. "I myself made a narrow escape
from being killed and eaten by a couple of savages."

"And how did you escape?"

"Providence interfered at the critical moment."

"Well, so I should imagine."

"Our friend the Pilot was more fortunate; he was abducted by the
natives of Hawaii; but, instead of converting him into mincemeat, they
transformed him into a divinity, bore him along in triumph to a
temple, where he was perfumed with incense, and had sacrifices offered
up to him."

"Willis must have felt himself highly honored," said the captain,
smiling.

"These fine things did not, however, last long, for next day they were
wound up with a cloud of arrows."

"And another interposition of Providence?"

"Yes, none of the arrows were winged with death."

"After that," remarked Willis, "we fell in with a Yankee cruiser, were
taken on board, and carried into the latitude of the Bahamas, where we
fell in with Old Flyblow, who, after a tough set-to, sent the Yankee a
prize to Bermuda, and took us on board as passengers."

"And," added Jack, "whilst we were under protection of the American
flag, Willis fell in with a certain Bill Stubbs, who was shot in the
fight and died of his wounds. This trifling accident did not, however,
prevent Willis falling in with him alive in Havre."

"You still seem to delight in paradoxes, Master Jack," said the
captain.

"The English cruiser," continued Jack, "was afterwards captured by a
French corvette, on which it appears you were on board _incognito_."

"What! I on board?"

"Yes; ask Willis."

"If you were not, captain, how could you come to my cabin every night
and ask me questions?" inquired the latter.

At this point, a shade of anxiety crossed Littlestone's features; he
turned and looked at the missionary--the missionary looked at
Fritz--Fritz stared at his brother--Jack gazed at Willis--and Willis,
with a puzzled air, regarded everybody in turn.

"At last," continued Jack, "after experiencing a variety of both good
and bad fortune, sometimes vanquished and sometimes the victors, first
wounded, then cured, we arrived here in Havre, where, for a time, we
were plunged into the deepest poverty; we were blacksmiths and
carpenters by turns, and thought ourselves fortunate when we had a
chair to mend or a horse to shoe."

"The workings of Providence," said the missionary, "are very
mysterious, and, perhaps, you will allow me to illustrate this fact by
drawing a comparison. A ship is at the mercy of the waves; it sways,
like a drunken man, sometimes one way and sometimes another. All on
board are in commotion, some are hurrying down the hatchways, and
others are hurrying up. The sailors are twisting the sails about in
every possible direction. Some of the men are closing up the
port-holes, others are working at the pumps. The officers are issuing
a multiplicity of orders at once, the boatswain is constantly sounding
his whistle. There is no appearance of order, confusion seems to reign
triumphant, and there is every reason to believe that the commands are
issued at random."

"I have often wondered," said Jack, "how so many directions issued on
ship board in a gale at one and the same moment could possibly be
obeyed."

"Let us descend, however, to the captain's cabin," continued the
missionary. "He is alone, collected, thoughtful, and tranquil, his eye
fixed upon a chart. Now he observes the position of the sun, and marks
the meridian; then he examines the compass, and notes the polary
deviation. On all sides are sextants, quadrants, and chronometers. He
quietly issues an order, which is echoed and repeated above, and thus
augments the babel on deck."

"A single order," remarked Willis, "often gives rise to changes in
twenty different directions."

"On deck," continued the missionary, "the crew appear completely
disorganized. In the captain's cabin, you find that all this apparent
confusion is the result of calculation, and is essential to the safety
of the ship."

"Still," said Jack, "it is difficult to see how this result is
effected by disorder."

"True; and, therefore, we must rely upon the skill of the captain; we
behold nothing but uproar, but we know that all is governed by the
most perfect discipline. So it is with the world; society is a ship,
men and their passions are the mast, sails, rigging, the anchors,
quadrants, and sextants of Providence. We understand nothing of the
combined action of these instruments; we tremble at every shock, and
fear that every whirlwind is destined to sweep us away. But let us
penetrate into the chamber of the Great Ruler. He issues his commands
tranquilly; we see that He is watching over our safety; and whatever
happens, our hearts beat with confidence, and our minds are at rest."

"Therefore," added Littlestone, "we are resigned to our fate as
prisoners of war; but still we hope."

"And not without good reason," said Willis; "for it will go hard with
me if I do not realize your hopes, and that very shortly too."

"I do not see very well how our hopes of liberty can be realized till
peace is proclaimed."

"Peace!" exclaimed Willis. "Yes, in another twenty years or so,
perhaps; to wail for such an unlikely event will never do; my young
friend, Master Jack Becker, is in a hurry, and we must all leave this
place within a month at latest."

"You mean us, then, to make our escape, Willis; but that is
impossible."

"I have an idea that it is not impossible, captain; the cargo Masters
Fritz and Jack have here will realize a large sum; the pearls,
saffron, and cochineal, are bringing their weight in gold. I shall be
able to charter or buy a ship with the proceeds, and some dark night
we shall all embark; and if a surgeon is not willing to come of his
own accord, I shall press the best one in the place: it won't be the
first time I have done such a thing, with much less excuse."

"One will be willing," said Jack; "so you need not introduce One-eyed
Dick's schooner here, Willis."

"So far so good, then; it only remains for us to smuggle the captain,
the missionary, and the crew of the _Nelson_ on board."

"But we are prisoners," said Littlestone.

"I know that well enough; if you were not prisoners, of course there
would be no difficulty."

"Recollect, Willis, we are not only prisoners, but we are on parole."

"True," said Willis, scratching his ear, "I did not think of that."

"The situation," remarked Jack, "is something like that of Louis XIV.
at the famous passage of the Rhine, of whom Boileau said: 'His
grandeur tied him to the banks.' Had you been only a common sailor,
captain, a parole would not have stood in the way of your escape."

"But," said Willis, "the parole can be given up, can it not?"

"Not without a reasonable excuse," replied the captain.

"Well," continued Willis, "you can go with the minister to the
Maritime Prefect, and say: 'Sir, you know that everyone's country is
dear to one's heart, and you will not be astonished to hear that
myself and friend have an ardent desire to return to ours. This desire
on our part is so great, that some day we may be tempted to fly, and,
consequently, forfeit our honor; for, after all, there are only a few
miles of sea between us and our homes. We ought not to trust to our
strength when we know we are weak. Do us, therefore, the favor to
withdraw our parole; we prefer to take up our abode in a prison, so
that, if we can escape, we may do so with our honor intact."

"And suppose this favor granted, we shall be securely shut up in a
dungeon. I scarcely think that would alter our position for the
better, or render our escape practicable."

"You will, at all events, be free to try, will you not?"

"That is a self-evident proposition, Willis, and, so far as that goes,
I have no objection to adopt the alternative of prison fare. What say
you, minister?"

"As for myself," replied the missionary, "a little additional hardship
may do me good, for the Scriptures say: Suffering purifieth the soul."

"We shall, therefore, resign our paroles, Willis; but bear in mind
that it is much easier to get into prison than to get out."

"Leave the getting out to me, captain; where there's a will there's
always a way."

"Do you think," whispered the captain to Fritz, "that Willis is all
right in his upper story?"

Fritz shook his head, which, in the ordinary acceptation of the sign,
means, I really do not know.



CHAPTER XXVIII.

WILLIS PROVES THAT THE ONLY WAY TO BE FREE IS TO GET SENT TO
PRISON--AN ESCAPE--A DISCOVERY--PROMOTIONS--SOMNAMBULISM.


Three weeks after the events narrated in the foregoing chapter, the
thrice-rescued produce of Oceania had been converted into the current
coin of the empire.

The greater portion of the proceeds was placed at the disposal of
Willis, to facilitate him in procuring the means of returning to New
Switzerland. He--like connoisseurs who buy up seemingly worthless
pictures, because they have detected, or fancy they have detected,
some masterly touches rarely found on modern canvas--had bought, not a
ship, but the remains of what had once been one. This he obtained for
almost nothing, but he knew the value of his purchase. The carcass was
refitted under his own eye, and, when it left the ship-yard, looked as
if it had been launched for the first time. The timbers were old; but
the cabins and all the internal fittings were new; a few sheets of
copper and the paint-brush accomplished the rest. When the mast was
fitted in, and the new sails bent, the little sloop looked as jaunty
as a nautilus, and, according to Willis himself, was the smartest
little craft that ever hoisted a union-jack.

Whether the captain and the missionary still entertained the belief
that the Pilot's wits had gone a wool-gathering or not, certain it is
that they had followed his instructions, in so far as to relinquish
their parole, and thus to lose their personal liberty. They were both
securely locked up in one of the rooms or cells of the old palace or
castle of Francois I., which was then, and perhaps is still, used as
the state prison of Havre de Grace. This fortalice chiefly consists of
a battlemented round tower, supported by strong bastions, and
pierced, here and there, by small windows, strongly barred. The foot
of the tower is bathed by the sea, which, as Willis afterwards
remarked, was not only a favor granted to the tower, but likewise an
obligation conferred upon themselves.

When the Pilot's purchase had been completely refitted, stores
shipped, papers obtained, and every requisite made for the outward
voyage, the departure of the three adventurers was announced, and a
crowd assembled on shore to see their ship leave the harbor. She was
towed out to the roads, where she lay tranquilly mirrored in the sea,
ready to start the moment her commander stepped on board. Neither
Fritz nor Jack, however, had yet completed their preparations. For the
moment, therefore, the vessel was left in charge of some French
seamen, whom Willis, however, had taken care to engage only for a
short period.

Somewhere about a week after this, Fritz and Jack, in a small boat,
painted perfectly black and manned by four stout rowers, with muffled
oars, were lurking about the fortalice already mentioned. The night
was pitch dark, and there was no moon. The waves beat sullenly on the
foot of the tower and surged back upon themselves, like an enraged
enemy making an abortive attempt to storm the walls of a town. Not a
word was uttered, and the young men were intently listening, as if
expecting to hear some preconcerted signal.

Meanwhile, in one of the rooms or cells of the round tower, about
sixty feet above the level of the sea, Captain Littlestone, the
missionary, and the Pilot were engaged in a whispered conversation,
through which might be detected the dull sound of an oiled file
working against iron. The cell was ample in size, but the stone walls
were without covering of any kind. It was lighted during the day by
one of the apertures we have already described; the thickness of the
walls did not permit the rays of the sun to penetrate to the interior,
and at the time of which we speak the apartment was perfectly dark.

"I should like to see the warder," whispered Willis, "when he comes,
with his bundle of keys and his night-cap in his hand, to wish your
honors good morning, but, in point of fact, to see whether your
honors are in safe custody. How astonished the old rascal will be! Ho,
ho, ho!"

"My good fellow," said the missionary, "it is scarcely time to laugh
yet. It is just possible we may escape; but vain boasting is in no
case deserving of approbation. It is, indeed, scarcely consistent with
the dignity of my cloth to be engaged in breaking out of a prison;
still, I am a man of peace, and not a man of war."

"No," said Willis, "you are not; but I wish to goodness you were a
seventy-four--under the right colors, of course."

"I was going to remark," continued the missionary, "that I am a man of
peace, and, consequently, do not think that I am justly entitled to be
treated as a prisoner of war. Under these circumstances, I am, no
doubt, justified in shaking off my bonds in any way that is open to
me; the more particularly as the apostle Paul was once rescued from
bondage in a similar way."

"He was let down from a window in a basket, was he not?"

"Yes; whilst journeying in the city of Damascus, the governor, whose
name was Avetas resolved to arrest him and accordingly placed sentries
at all the gates. Paul, however was permitted to pass through a house,
the windows of which overhung the walls of the town, whence, as you
say, he was let down in a basket, and escaped."[J]

"I trust your reverence will be in much the same position as the
apostle, by-and-by--only you will have to dispense with the basket,"
said Willis.

"I have no wish to remain in bondage longer than is absolutely
necessary," said the minister; "but there still seem difficulties in
the way."

"Yes," said Willis, plying the file with redoubled energy, "this iron
gives me more bother than I anticipated; but it is the nature of iron
to be hard; however, it will not be long before we are all out of
bondage, as your reverence calls it."

"May not the warder discover our escape, and raise an alarm in time
to retake us?" inquired the missionary.

"No, I think not," replied the captain; "thanks to our habit of
sleeping with our faces to the wall, he will be deceived by the
dummies we have placed in the beds, for he always approaches on
tip-toe not to awake us."

"That may be for the first round; but the second will assuredly
disclose our absence."

"Very likely," remarked Willis; "he will then go right up to the beds,
and shake the dummies by the shoulders, and say, Does your honor not
know that it is ten o'clock, and that your breakfast is cooling? The
dummies will, of course, not condescend to reply, and then--but what
matters? By that time we shall have shaken out our top-sail, and
pursuit will be out of the question. I should like to see the craft
that will overtake us when once we are a couple of miles ahead."

"Poor man!" said the missionary, sighing; "our escape may, perhaps,
cost him his place."

"No fear of that," said Willis; "perhaps, at first, he will make an
attempt to tear his hair, but, as he wears a wig, that will not do
much mischief."

"I shall, however, leave my purse on the table," said the missionary;
"as it is tolerably well filled, that may afford the poor fellow some
consolation."

"And I shall do the same," said the captain.

"If that does not console him for being deprived of the pleasure of
our society, I do not know what will," observed Willis.

"It is now two o'clock," said the captain, feeling his watch, "and the
warder goes his first rounds at three; we have therefore just one hour
for our preparations."

"I have severed one bar," said Willis, "and the other is nearly
through at one end, so keep your minds perfectly at ease."

"Your patience and equanimity, Willis, does you infinite credit," said
the missionary. "Minister of the Gospel though I be, I fear that I do
not possess these qualities to the same extent, for, to confess the
truth, I feel an inward yearning to be free, and yet am restless and
anxious."

"There is no great use in being in a hurry," said the Pilot; "the
more haste the less speed, you know."

"True; but might not these bars have been sawn through before? If this
had been done, our flight would have been, at least, less
precipitate."

"You forget, Mr. Wolston," said the captain, "that we did not know
till nine o'clock the affair was to come off to-night."

"And I could not come any sooner to tell you," remarked the Pilot; "I
had the greatest difficulty in the world to get in here; the maritime
commissary would not take me into custody."

"I forgot to ask you how you contrived to get incarcerated," observed
the captain; "you were not a prisoner, and could not plead your
parole."

"No; and consequently I had to plead something else."

"Willis," said the missionary, "the work you are engaged in must be
very fatiguing, let me exercise my strength upon the bars for a short
time."

"If you like, minister, but keep the file well oiled."

"What, motive, then, did you urge, Willis?" inquired Captain
Littlestone.

"'Mr. Commissary,' said I, 'one of your frigates captured the English
cutter _Nelson_ some time ago, but the capture was not complete.'

"'How so?' inquired the commissary.

"'Because, Mr. Commissary,' said I, 'you did not capture the
boatswain, and a British ship without a boatswain is no good; it is
like a body without a soul.'

"'Is that all you have to tell me?' said the commissary, looking glum.

"'No,' said I, 'to make the capture complete, you have still to arrest
the boatswain, and here he is standing before you--I am the man; but
having been detained by family affairs in the Pacific Ocean, I could
not surrender myself any sooner.'

"'And what do you want me to do with you?' said he.

"'Why, what you would have done with me had I been on board the
_Nelson_, to be sure.'

"'What! take you prisoner?'

"'Yes, commissary.'

"'You wish me to do so?'

"'Yes, certainly,'

"'Is it possible?'

"'Then you refuse to take me into custody, Mr. Commissary?' said I.

"'Yes, positively,' said he; 'we take prisoners, but we do not accept
them when offered.'

"'Then you will not allow me to join my captain in his adversity?'

"'Your captain is as great a fool as yourself,' said he; 'he need not
have gone to prison unless he liked.'

"'That was a matter of taste on his part, Mr. Commissary, but is a
matter of duty on mine,'"

"This bar is nearly through," whispered the missionary.

"There is no time to be lost," said the captain; "the warder will be
round in a quarter of an hour."

"Well," continued Willis, "the commissary began to get angry, he rose
up, and was about to leave the room, when I placed myself resolutely
before him.

"'Sir,' said I, 'one word more--you know the French laws; be good
enough to tell me what crime will most surely and most promptly send
me to prison.'

"'Oh, there are plenty of them,' said he, laughing.

"'Well, commissary,' says I, 'suppose I knock you down here on the
spot, will that do?"

"Was that not going a little too far, Willis?"

"What could I do? The ship was all ready, everybody on board but
yourselves, circumstances were pressing, and you know I would have
floored him as gently as possible."

At this moment the bar yielded. To the end of a piece of twine, which
Willis had rolled round his body, a piece of stone was attached; this
he let down till it touched the water, and then the caw of a crow rang
through the air.

"That was a very good imitation, Willis," said the captain. "You did
not break any of the commissary's bones, did you?"

"No; the threat was quite sufficient; he would not yield to my
prayers, but he yielded to my impudence, and ordered me into custody.
At first, however, I was thrust into an underground cell; but I
obtained, or rather my louis obtained for me, permission to chum with
you; and, by the way, what a frightful staircase I had to mount! that
more than any thing else, obliges us to get down by the window."

[Illustration]

Willis, who continued to hold one end of the cord, at the sound of a
whistle drew it up, and found attached to the other end a stout rope
ladder. This he made fast to the bars of the window that still
remained intact. At the request of the minister, all three then fell
upon their knees and uttered a short prayer. Immediately after,
Wolston went out of the window and began to descend, the captain
followed, and Willis brought up the rear. All three were cautiously
progressing downwards, when the missionary called out he had forgotten
to _forget_ his purse.

"I have made the same omission," said the captain; "hand yours up,
Wolston."

The missionary accordingly held up his with one hand whilst he held on
the ladder with the other. The captain bent down to take it, but found
he could not reach it without endangering his equilibrium. They both
made some desperate efforts to accomplish the feat, but the thing was
impossible.

"I see no help for it," said the missionary, "but to ascend all three
again."

"That is awkward," said the captain.

"Gentlemen," said Willis, "three o'clock is striking on the prison
clock; the warder will be round in two minutes."

"God sometimes permits good actions to go _unrewarded_," said the
missionary; "but he never _punishes_ them."

"Let us re-ascend, then," said the captain.

"So be it," said Willis, going upwards.

They had scarcely time to re-enter the cell before they heard the
sound of steps and the clank of keys in the corridor. The steps
discontinued at their door, and a key was thrust into the lock.

"What is the matter?" cried the captain from his bed, as the gaoler
thrust his head inside the door.

"Why," said the warder, "I heard a noise, and thought that your honor
might be ill."

"Thank you for your attention, Ambroise," replied the captain, in a
half sleepy tone; "but you have been deceived, we are all quite well."

"Entirely so," added the missionary.

"All right old fellow!" cried Willis, with a yawn.

This triple affirmation, which assured him, not only of the health,
but also of the custody of his prisoners, seemed satisfactory to the
gaoler.

"I am sorry to have awoke your honors," said he, as he withdrew his
head and relocked the door; "it must have been in the room overhead."

"Good?" said Willis, "the old rascal expects nothing."

Two well-lined purses were laid on the table, and in a few minutes
more the three men resumed their position on the ladder in the same
order as before. They arrived safely in the boat, where they were
cordially welcomed by Fritz and Jack. The men were then ordered to
pull for their lives to the ship, which they did with a hearty will.
The instant they stepped on board the anchor was weighed, and when
morning broke not a vestige of the old tower of Havre de Grace was
anywhere to be seen.

"Why," exclaimed the captain, looking about him with an air of
astonishment, "this is my own vessel!"

"Yes, captain," said Willis, touching his cap, "and I am its boatswain
or pilot, whichever your honor chooses to call me."

"But how did you obtain possession of her?"

"By right of purchase she belongs to our friends, Masters Fritz and
Jack, but they have agreed to waive their claim, providing you proceed
with them to New Switzerland."

"I agree most willingly to these conditions," said Captain
Littlestone, addressing the two brothers, "the more so that my
destination was Sydney when the _Nelson_ was captured."

"In the meantime, captain," said Fritz, "my brother and I have to
request that you will resume the command, and treat us as passengers."

"Thank you, my friends, thank you. Willis, are all the old crew on
board?"

"All that were in Havre, your honor; I commissioned Bill Stubbs to
pick them up, and he managed to smuggle them all on board."

"Then pipe all hands on deck."

"Aye, aye, captain," said Willis, sounding his whistle.

When the men were mustered, Littlestone made a short speech to them,
told them that they would receive pay for the time they had been in
the enemy's power, and inquired whether they were all willing to
continue the voyage under his command. This question was responded to
by a general assent.

"Then," he continued, turning to Willis, "the share you have had in
the rescue of the _Nelson_ and its crew, conjointly with my interest
at the Admiralty, will, I have not the slightest doubt, obtain for you
the well-merited rank of lieutenant of his Majesty's navy. I have,
therefore, to request that you will assume that position on board
during the voyage, until confirmed by the arrival of your commission."

"Thank your honor," said Willis, bowing.

"And now, lieutenant, you will be kind enough to rate William Stubbs
on the books as boatswain."

"Aye, aye, captain," said Willis, handing his whistle to Bill.

"Pipe to breakfast," said the captain.

"Aye, aye, sir," replied the new boatswain, sounding the whistle.

"By the way," said Littlestone, turning to Jack, "I do not see the
surgeon you spoke of on board. How is this?"

"He is on board for all that," said Jack, drawing an official looking
document out of his pocket; "be kind enough to read that."

The captain accordingly read as follows:--

    "_Havre, 15th October, 1812._

    "This is to certify that Mr. Jack Becker has, for some time, been
    a student in the hospitals of this town, and that he has
    successfully passed through a stringent examination as to his
    acquaintance with the diagnosis and cure of various diseases; as
    also as to his knowledge of the practice of physic and surgery
    generally.

    "He has specially directed his attention to the treatment of
    cancer, and has performed several operations for the eradication
    of that malady to the satisfaction of the surgeon in chief and my
    own.

    (Signed) "GARAY DE NEVRES, M.D., Inspector of the Hospitals".

This document was countersigned, sealed, and stamped by the mayor, the
prefect, and other authorities of the department.

"How have you contrived to obtain so satisfactory a certificate in so
short a period?" inquired the captain.

"I was introduced to the chief surgeon by the medical man on board the
_Boudeuse_. I stated my position to him, and, probably, he threw
facilities in my way of obtaining the object I had in view that were,
perhaps, rarely accorded to others. All the cases of cancer, for
example, were placed under my care; I had, therefore, an opportunity
of observing a great many phases and varieties of that disease."

"Are you determined to follow up the profession of surgery, then?"

"Yes, captain; I have shipped a medicine chest on board, a complete
assortment of instruments, and a collection of English, French, and
German medical works. It is my intention to make myself thoroughly
familiar with the theory of the science, and trust to chance for
practice."

"Then allow me, Mr. Becker, to rate you as surgeon of the _Nelson_ for
the outward voyage. Will you accept the office?"

"With pleasure, Captain; but, at the same time, I trust there will be
no occasion to exercise my skill."

"No one can say what may happen; disease turns up where it is least
expected. Lieutenant," he added, turning to Willis, "be kind enough to
rate Mr. Becker on the ship's books as surgeon."

"Aye, Aye, sir."

Meantime the _Nelson_ was making her way rapidly along the French
coast, and had already crossed the Bay of Biscay. The _Nelson_ behaved
herself admirably, and took to her new gear with excellent grace. All
was going merrily as a marriage bell. They did not now run very much
risk of cruisers, as Fritz had French papers perfectly _en regle_, and
Captain Littlestone would have had little difficulty to prove his
identity; besides, the speed of the _Nelson_ was sufficient to secure
their safety in cases where danger was to be apprehended.

One night, about four bells (ten o'clock), when Willis was lazily
lolling in his hammock, doubtless ruminating on his newly-acquired
dignity, his cabin-door gradually opened, and the captain entered.
Willis stared at first, thinking he might have something important to
communicate, but he only muttered something about a cloud gathering in
the west. This was too much for Willis; it resembled his former
meditations so vividly, that he leaped out of his hammock, seized
Littlestone by the collar, and called loudly for Fritz and Jack.

"It is not very respectfull, captain, to handle you in this way; but
the case is urgent, and I should like to have the mystery cleared up."

The two brothers, when they entered the cabin, beheld Willis holding
the captain tightly in his arms.

"I have caught him at last, you see," said the Pilot.

"So it would appear," observed Jack; "but are you not aware the
captain is asleep?"

And so it was Littlestone had walked from his own cabin to that of
Willis in a state of somnambulism.

"What is the matter?" inquired the latter, when he became conscious of
his position.

"Nothing is the matter, captain," replied Jack, "only you have been
walking in your sleep."

"Ah--yes--it must be so!" exclaimed Littlestone; gazing about him with
a troubled air. "Have I not paid you a visit of this kind before,
Willis?"

"Yes, often."

"Where?"

"On board the _Boudeuse_."

"That must have been the craft I was transferred to, then, after the
capture of the _Nelson_. Just call Mr. Wolston, and let us have the
matter explained."

On comparing notes, it appeared that the captain and the missionary
had been on board the _Boudeuse_. Both had been ill, and both had been
closely confined to their cabin during the entire voyage, partly on
account of their being prisoners of war, and partly on account of
their illness. On one occasion, but on one only, the captain had
escaped from his cabin during the night. Willis might, therefore, have
seen him once, but that he had seen him oftener was only a dream.

"It appears, then," said Littlestone, "that my illness has left this
unfortunate tendency to sleep-walking. I shall, therefore, place
myself in your hands, Master Jack; perhaps you may be able to chase it
away."

"I will do my best, captain; and I think I may venture to promise a
cure."

Willis was sorry for the captain's sleeplessness, but he was glad that
the mystery hanging over them both had been so far cleared up. His
visions and dreams had been a source of constant annoyance to him; but
now that their origin had been discovered, he felt that henceforward
he might sleep in peace.

After a rapid run, the sloop cast anchor off the Cape. Here Captain
Littlestone reported himself to the commander on the station, and
received fresh papers. He also sent off a despatch to the Lords of the
Admiralty, in which he reported the capture and rescue of his ship. He
informed them that his own escape and that of the crew was entirely
owing to the tact and daring of Willis, the boatswain, whom, in
consequence, he had nominated his second in command, _vice_ Lieutenant
Dunsford, deceased; the appointment subject, of course, to their
lordship's approval.

Willis wrote a long letter to his wife, informing her of his expected
promotion, adding that, in a year or so after the receipt of his
commission, he should retire on half-pay, and then emigrate to a
delightful country, where he had been promised a vast estate. He said
that, probably, he should have an entire island to himself, and
possibly have the command of the fleet; but he thought it as well to
say nothing about tigers, sharks, and chimpanzees.

The missionary also wrote to England, relinquishing his charge in
South Africa, and requesting a mission amongst the benighted
inhabitants of the Pacific Ocean, where he stated he was desirous of
settling for family reasons, and where besides, he said, he would have
a wider and equally interesting field for his labors.

The two brothers found at the Cape a large sum of money at their
disposal; this, however, they had now no immediate use for; they,
consequently, left it to await the arrival of Frank and Ernest, who,
in all probability, would return with the _Nelson_.

The arrangements made, the _Nelson_ was fully armed and manned, an
ample supply of stores and ammunition was shipped, the mails in Sydney
were taken on board, and the sloop resumed her voyage.

FOOTNOTES:

[J] 2nd Cor., xi., 32.



CONCLUSION.

Three months after leaving the Cape, the coast of New Switzerland was
telegraphed from the mast head by Bill Stubbs. A gun was immediately
fired, and towards evening the _Nelson_ entered Safety Bay. Fritz,
Jack, Captain Littlestone, the missionary, and Willis, were all
standing on deck, eagerly scanning the shore.

"There is father!" cried Jack, "armed with a telescope; and now I see
Frank and Mrs. Wolston."

"There comes Mr. Wolston and Master Ernest," cried Willis, "as usual,
a little behind."

"But I see nothing of my mother and the young ladies!" said Fritz.

"Very odd," said Captain Littlestone, sweeping the horizon with his
glass "I can see nothing of them either."

A horrible apprehension here glided into the hearts of the young men.
They knew well that, had their mother been able, she would have been
the first to welcome them home. Perhaps, under the inspiration of
despair, their lips were opening to deny the mercy of that Providence
which had hitherto so remarkably befriended them, when at a great
distance, and scarcely perceptible to the naked eye, they descried
three figures advancing slowly towards the shore.

One of these forms was Mrs. Becker, who was leaning upon the arms of
Mary and Sophia Wolston.

"God be thanked, we are still in time," cried Fritz and Jack.

A loud cheer, led by Willis, then rent the air. Half an hour after,
the two young men leaped on shore; they did not stay to shake hands
with their father and brothers, but ran on to where their mother
stood. It was a long time before they could utter a syllable; the
greeting of the mother and her children was too affectionate to be
expressed in words.

Next morning, at daybreak, preparations for a serious operation were
made in Mrs. Becker's room. The entire colony was in a state of
intense excitement, and an air of anxiety was imprinted on every
countenance. In the room itself the wing of a fly could have been
heard, so breathless was the silence that prevailed. The patient's
eyes had been bandaged, under pretext of concealing from her sight the
surgical instruments and preparations for the operation. The real
design, however, was to hide the operator, whom Mrs. Becker supposed
to be an expert practitioner from Europe; for it was not thought
advisable that a mother's anxieties should be superadded to the
patient's sufferings.

At the moment of trial the few persons present had sunk on their
knees; Jack alone remained standing at the bedside of his mother. The
Jack of the past had entirely disappeared; he was somewhat pale, very
grave, but collected, firm, and resolute. It was, perhaps, the first
instance on record of a son being called upon to lacerate the body of
his mother. But the moment that God imposed such a task upon one of
His creatures, it is God himself that becomes the operator.

When, some days after, Mrs. Becker--calm, radiant, and
saved--requested to see and thank her deliverer, it was Jack who
presented himself. If she had known this sooner, it would, most
undoubtedly, have augmented her terror, and increased the fever. As it
was, it redoubled her thankfulness, and hastened her recovery.

Frank and Ernest embarked on board the _Nelson_ when she returned to
New Switzerland on her way to Europe. Two years afterwards, the former
returned in the capacity of a minister of the Church of England,
bringing with him a sufficient number of men, women, and children to
furnish a respectable congregation; and it was rumored, though with
what degree of truth I will not venture to say, that one of the young
lady passengers in the ship was his destined bride. Ernest remained
some years in Europe, partly to consolidate relations between the
colony and the mother country, and partly with a view to realize his
pet project of establishing an observatory in New Switzerland.

Willis, instead of being suspended at the yard-arm as he had insisted
on prognosticating, received his lieutenancy in due course,
accompanied by a highly flattering letter from the Lords of the
Admiralty, thanking him, in the name of the captain and crew of the
_Nelson_, for his exertions in their behalf. As soon, however, as
peace was proclaimed, he retired on half-pay, and, with his wife and
daughter, emigrated to Oceania. He assumed his old post of admiral on
Shark's Island, where a commodious house had been erected. We must
premise, at the same time, that to his honorary duties as admiral,
conjoined the humbler, but not less useful, offices of lighthouse
keeper, manager of the fisheries, and harbor-master.

As a country grows rich, and advances in prosperity, it rarely, if
ever, happens that the sum of human life becomes happier or better. It
is, therefore, not without regret we learn that gold has been
discovered in a land so highly favored by nature in other respects;
for, if such be the case, then adieu to the peace and tranquillity its
inhabitants have hitherto enjoyed. The colony will soon be overrun
with Chinamen, American adventurers, and ticket-of-leave convicts.
Farewell to the kindliness and hospitality of the community, for they
will inevitably be deluged with the refuse of the old, and also, alas!
of the new world.


THE END.





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